Pharrell: Black Women Should Find Love In The Mirror & Not Project Their Delusions On To Covers
Pharrell has some interesting words and an interesting perspective on the backlash he’s received regarding the cover art for his album G I R L which did not feature any women with night-shade skin. Pharrell sits down for an emotional and very revealing interview with Oprah for Oprah Prime, and the topic of the album cover comes up, as well as the lyrics to Blurred Lines which have been tagged as “misogynist”, and IMO rightfully so. Now Pharrell is one of my favorite people, I know he hates defending his art, but his words to Oprah suggests that he doesn’t understand the depth of the arguments behind the backlash.
On the topic of dark skinned women not appearing on the artwork for the album entitled, G I R L, Pharrell suggests their is a new black mentality and black women who are insecure should find love in the mirror and not on the cover of albums or magazines. Dayum!
I just thought to myself, is this the time that we’re going to be divisive. Because at the time with this album cover, “Happy” was like, rising. I was becoming the first African-American in a full year to hit number one. Is this the time that we’re going to pick to be divisive?
So then, I went on to explain that she is African-American and I used to date her and it must suck to be a black girl of that color because you’re being questioned if you’re black enough. Her dad is black, her mom is white. Here’s my thing. Why are we having this conversation….I was like, see, this is what I didn’t want to happen because you make an issue about first I didn’t have no black girls on there. Then, it instantly turned into they’re not dark enough. So when a brown-skinned girl were to go and try and put on her robe, she gets attacked.
The new black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The new black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation, it’s a mentality. It’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you and you’ve got to pick which side you’re gonna be on. You choose to be on. The name of my album is not called race, it’s called G I R L. It’s for the female species. That’s number one.
Number two, my mama is black. My mom is a huge part of my business. My wife is black. There are certain people who allow the delusion in the mirror, in their own mirrors, to become issues. You should not find confidence outside of your mirror. Why are you sharing your delusion. Whatever that space is between you and your mirror, what does that have to do with me?
This is my work. I recognize that there are issues. We get judged on our skin. I just stated that there hadn’t been an African-American like…so we look at things like that. I don’t allow that to run my life. I don’t live my life trying to be black. What I do is, I nurture my curiosity and use it. I’m proud to be what I am. So my thing is, the new black is a mentality. You don’t do things because you’re black. You do things because you’re genuinely interested in something. Is there a lot of black in equality. Absolutely! But I’m the main one waving the flag. What do you mean? Don’t find your confidence in a cover. Find your confidence in the mirror.
I actually don’t have a problem with the artwork, didn’t even notice the hue of the women on the cover. BUT I do have a problem with his words. For me Pharrell actually makes the situation worse. Number one, the female species has dark skinned women, so I’m not really understanding that point. Number two, I don’t think the women who speak out about being underrepresented do so because they’re insecure or because they don’t love the “woman in the mirror”, and I definitely don’t think they’re delusional. I believe they’re speaking out because Pharrell as an artist has an opportunity to broaden the scope of beauty but chooses not to on this cover for whatever reasons, which is his right, but…
For an artist who thinks outside of the box you would think Pharrell would be the one to get it. Why, Pharrell having a black mother and a black wife, as he keeps on noting when explaining this topic, doesn’t think to include someone beautiful like his mother in skin hue on his cover about the “female species”, is the question he has failed to answer. If he would have just said, I didn’t think about it, I saw these four beautiful women and went for it, I wouldn’t have bat an eye, but to suggest that women need to find love in the mirror and stop projecting their delusions; saying that women who are constantly being marginalized in society need to stop trying to challenge the status quo, actually makes me a little upset. The women that speak up are not trying to be divisive for the most part, they are trying to challenge the concept of beauty and ask an artist who has a universal appeal to broaden the concept of beauty to be more universal on an album that is suppose to be about all. The cover doesn’t feel like it was about all women and there lies the problem.
Just as other artist contribute to Pharell’s sound (no Marvin Gaye shade intended), and just as other artist inspired him to find a career in music, the images women and girls see on the TV, magazines, and music videos, contribute to the way they identify themselves in society. It shapes their idea of beauty because these images are projected at them from the time they awake to the time they fall asleep. It’s not a matter of not loving the woman in the mirror, we all have insecurities, it’s a matter of society challenging what we see in the mirror and labeling it as wrong. It takes a strong mother and father to engrave beauty into their children and to shield their self-confidence, but society can tear it all down in a moment’s time.
I do understand some of what Pharrell is saying, this social media culture is always finding controversy in the smallest of things. I think he should have let the art, the cover speak for itself. However when he starts talking about divisive, delusions, and insecurities…he comes across as insensitive, misinformed, and his words undermine his art. Let the critics critique, and let the art speak.
I do love Pharrell. He also does the same thing when attempting to explain the lyrics to Blurred Lines. He actually tries to explain that the song really isn’t a misogynist song, OK, but what about the video. Anyway, head over to Necole Bitchie to read his take on Blurred Lines. Also check out the joy he has when talking about his wife.