He's Always Got Something Under His Hat
Pharrell is a 13-time Grammy-award-winning artist, rapper, singer, and producer.
He's won Billboard awards and BET awards. He's one of the most well-known musicians out there. His upbeat, positive song "Happy" was a colossal success and it still makes the rounds on pop radio stations.
Pharrell Used To Be Like This
The song was almost immediately derided for being predatory toward women.
The lines "I know you want it" and "the way you grab me / must wanna get nasty," certainly don't sound like consent is on the table. The #MeToo movement that's developed over the last few years has not been kind to "Blurred Lines" either.
And the music video is also highly suggestive, with models sashaying around, with Thicke and Pharrell looking like they could have their pick.
It's the 'I Was Born In Another Era' Argument
Pharrell, in an interview with GQ magazine for their "New Masculinity" issue, tried to explain away his work on songs like "Blurred Lines," saying:
“I was also born in a different era, where the rules of the matrix at that time allowed a lot of things that would never fly today."
He admits that things have changed now, and he won't write the same things he did back then.
”Advertisements that objectify women. Song content. Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place.”
Pharrell also says that "Blurred Lines" woke him up to this new reality. Before that, he says, "I didn't get it."
"Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, wow. They would have me blushing. So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, What are you talking about?"
"There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up. And I know you want it — women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, What’s rapey about that?”
Now Please Stay Awake
Pharrell says he finally got the message, and when he did, he was amazed at the revelation, apparently.
“And then I realized that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behavior. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women."
"And I was like, Got it. I get it. Cool. My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel. Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too. I realized that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realized that. Didn’t realize that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind.”
At least he knows now.