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Pharrell Williams Responds To G I R L Backlash

 
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Alias_Avi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alias_Avi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 3:16am
He just summed up what I've been trying to say my entire BHM existence

Originally posted by verysmartbrothas verysmartbrothas wrote:


Two Thoughts About The Reactions To Pharrell’s GIRL Album Cover

1. It’s been two years since Trayvon Martin was murdered. A couple weeks since a jury let Jordan Davis’ killer off the hook for murder. Eight months since I watched Fruitvale Station. These and other notable stories about the tenuousness of Black male life have dominated (and will likely continue to dominate) our conversations about what it means to be present in America. Black males are both endangered and dangerous. Threats and targets. Feared and scared. Policed and…privileged.

Yes. Privileged.

This (obviously) does not apply to all Black males. But, for many who’ve, by the grace of God, managed to make it to their 20s, managed to be employable, and managed to stay out of the system, the tides change. People will support and root for you just because you’re a living Black man with a job and a driver’s licence. Someone might even create a job for you. You have social capital. If you brush your teeth, tie your shoes, and can put two sentences together, you’ll likely have romantic options. You will always be included.

This privilege is also tenuous. You’re still a Black man in America, which means it can be lost forever at a traffic light. Or at a movie theater. But it exists. And the mental juxtaposition of possessing this micro-level privilege while existing in a hostile country can be jarring, comforting, and humbling. Sometimes all at the same time. It can also make you a prick.

I thought about this yesterday when reading some of the reactions to Pharrell’s GIRL album cover. More specifically, I thought about how, when I first saw it, I didn’t think anything of it at all. I clicked on a link, said “Oh, I guess Pharrell has a new album” and went about my day. The “Black male artist surrounding himself with racially ambiguous women…again” thing didn’t even register with me.

A small part of this is due to the fact that I don’t pay much attention to Pharrell. I like his music, but I like it the same way I like grapes and pillowcases. The bigger part is due to me just not being as sensitive to the context making that cover upsetting to (many) Black women. I looked at it and saw an artist trying to convey a sexy type of “fun.” Others saw another example of a prominent Black man shunning his sizable Black female fan base and promoting “other” women as some sort of feminine ideal.

Just as I didn’t intentionally overlook how potentially troublesome that image could be, I’m sure Pharrell didn’t consciously want to insult Black women. He’s probably laying in some hyperbaric chamber below a lake right now, shocked at the pushback it’s received. And both my lack of awareness and Pharrell’s lack of consideration is a result of privilege. It didn’t immediately register to me because I’m not as sensitive to those types of images, and I’m not as sensitive to those types of images because I’ve never had to be. Sure, when someone points it out, I recognize it. And, I’ll even join the “yeah..that’s effed up” chorus. But, despite whichever challenges I face as a Black man, having my sexual/physical/aesthetic value and desirability constantly dismissed (or even ignored) — often by the same people I love and support — is something I’ve never really had to deal with.

2. This conversation brings up another point; a point that makes you wonder if a person like Pharrell or Kanye is caught in a perpetual catch-22.

GIRL’s cover features Pharrell and three women in bathrobes. It looks like they’re in a hotel room. Maybe a private home or resort. It’s (somewhat) implied that they’ve either just finished a foursome, or they’re about to go have a foursome. (8:20 am edit: So, according to some comments here and on Facebook, the cover may also suggest they’re just headed to some type of spa. Which doesn’t negate my main point, but does prove I was raised on Cinemax After Dark.) If this is true, they’re his sexual props, and it would qualify as objectification. Maybe it’s not as explicit as “Tip Drill”, but the idea is the same: “I’m a cool mother. So cool that all these beautiful women want to have sex with me.”

With videos like “Tip Drill”, the objectification was the problem. With the GIRL cover, though, the problem seems to be that Black women aren’t considered attractive enough to be objectified. But, sexual objectification is a bad thing. As is using women as sexual props. Right? Or is it only a bad thing when it’s not done tastefully by someone as cool as Pharrell?

I’d try to answer those questions, but I think I just gave myself a nosebleed. Where’s a hyperbaric chamber when you need one?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)




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afrokock View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 3:20am
Sexual orgy never came into my mind when I looked at that pic
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote kfoxx1998 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 8:16am
Originally posted by Alias_Avi Alias_Avi wrote:

He just summed up what I've been trying to say my entire BHM existence


It doesn't seem like he actually said anything of value thoughLOL.  I hope you're just saying you agree with him because that 'rambling thoughts of a reader' thing he just did was useless. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote melikey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 8:45am
Originally posted by kfoxx1998 kfoxx1998 wrote:

Originally posted by Alias_Avi Alias_Avi wrote:

He just summed up what I've been trying to say my entire BHM existence


It doesn't seem like he actually said anything of value thoughLOL.  I hope you're just saying you agree with him because that 'rambling thoughts of a reader' thing he just did was useless. 



Ok I thought I missed something. Maybe part is missing?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Alias_Avi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 8:50am
It's not that deep... just that Black men have some sort of privilege over bw that they don't realize

a Black man realizing this was worthy of posting tis all

Originally posted by kfoxx1998 kfoxx1998 wrote:

Originally posted by Alias_Avi Alias_Avi wrote:

He just summed up what I've been trying to say my entire BHM existence


It doesn't seem like he actually said anything of value thoughLOL.  I hope you're just saying you agree with him because that 'rambling thoughts of a reader' thing he just did was useless. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kfoxx1998 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 8:54am
Okay.  I just have a feeling he forgot all about it 3 minutes after hitting submit because he wasn't very committed to his own epiphanyDead.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (12) Thanks(12)   Quote Random Thoughts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 8:58am
White people mocking/dismissing the 'black girls rock' movement pissed me off. I wrote essays and got into all kinds of debates about why it's needed, how black women are aggressively told from birth that they aren't as valuable as other women. Gets me mad.
 
I never clicked on this thread even though I kept seeing it on the front page cuz I don't really care about Pharrell. Finally clicked it this morning, saw the image and almost clicked right out. But I went ahead and read through a good majority of the thread.

Bit of self-realization came out. I'm provoked to anger when white people diss or diminish black women but I might not blink an eye if a black man does so.

Must reconcile this.


Edited by Random Thoughts - Mar 04 2014 at 9:00am
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Alias_Avi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Alias_Avi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 9:08am
Wow RT

that's awesome that you realize that
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 04 2014 at 9:21am
Thing is he would still sell the same regardless
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote f8dagrate Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 4:02pm
Man I had to burn all my capes for this dude. Wow you are so ignorant as hell.

It's insecurity. If you love who you are—and I'm not saying that there's not a plight out there for people who have different skin colors, because Mexicans go through just as much discrimination, if not more discrimination, than black people do in this country. Right? ... The girl that was closest next to me is black, but they didn't know that, so they jumped the gun. And it wasn't all black women. There were a lot of black women that were really angry at some of those girls, but some of those girls are the ones that instantly get mad when they don't see somebody that's dark. And it's like: "Yo, you don't need nobody to represent you. You represent you. You represent the best version of who you could be. You go out there and change the world." Because I'm black, and I wouldn't trade my skin color for nothing. But I don't need to keep wearing a badge that tells you that I'm black every time I do something! I'm black! In fact, the media will tell you I'm the first black person that's had a number-one record in America in a year since Rihanna's "Diamonds" in 2012—the first black person! ... So why do I need to roll around with a scarlet letter on my forehead that says "Black"? My mother's black, who's a big part of my business; a black woman runs my business; and I'm married to a black woman. What more do you want? And why are we talking about this? And if we're going to talk about degrees of black—what is it in this country? I still believe that if you are at least 1/32nd of black blood in your body, even if you look like you, you are deemed black. Right?


Also, the black woman in the G I R L album cover is one of Skateboard P’s ex-girlfriendsfrom ten years ago. Back in the interview chat, the GQ writer agrees with Pharrell, as any good journalist would, to get him to keep talking and swirl farther into his tangent. Pharrell doesn't disappoint.

Lenny Kravitz is biracial, but to me and everybody else I know, he's known as one of the biggest black rock stars of all time. Our president: He's biracial! Mom was white, daddy was black, and he is black. So what do you want me to do, go picket in front of the White House that he's not black enough? So to me, that's a divisive conversation that just comes at the wrong time, because the first black guy to have a number-one record in over seventy countries—number two in this country, to Rick Ross: I'm happy! That's my man. No one deserves it more than him. But at the end of the day, the rest of the world: It was mine. I'm a black man. I'm happy to be black, and anybody that is not happy to be black will point around and ask for that kind of sympathy. But the thing is, let's not ask nobody for no more sympathy. Let's get together ourselves and support ourselves.

It doesn't make sense to me. That kind of divisiveness is not necessary at a time when we're supposed to be unifying. That's what happiness is all about, and if you look at my "Happy" video, I had everybody in there: fat, skinny, gay, straight, purple, polka-dot, plaid, gingham print, houndstooth, alien. I *&%^$#@Ein' had dogs in there! I had children in there! I had kids in there! I'm the most indiscriminate person that there is! I believe in equality.

So which is it? Is President Obama black or not? Since you're so mad: Is he black or not? Come on, man! We ain't got time for that. We are black people. This is the new black. Oprah Winfrey: That's the new black. She's a black billionaire. President Obama: He is a black American president. Regardless of what you think about him, this is his second term. That's the new black. LeBron James: the first black man ever shot on a Vogue cover, a black man. Me: a guy that's written a song at 40! Nominated for an Oscar, four Grammy awards—at 40! That's the new black! And by the way: a song that has transcended my lyrics, my own intention, and has become a movement and helped cancer patients. That's the new black! Black ain't a color: Black is a spirit, and it is ubiquitous. In fact, there's more black out in space than there is stars. We have nothing to be insecure about.


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