I get it, Pharrell Williams is happy. He’s happy his “Happy” song eventually topped the charts. He’s happy that people embrace his “singing.” And he’s so happy he cried tears of joy during a recent Oprah Winfrey interview when he saw other people sing his song.
Everyone loved that segment.
Pharrell, Oprah, and tears–ratings gold.
But outside of the clip, Pharrell had some interesting thoughts on what he refers to as the “new Black:”
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. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.
Hey Pharrell, let me borrow those rose-colored glasses for a minute.
Last time I checked being Black was more than just a mentality. If that was the case, then I could choose to be just about any other race because, you know, my mentality wants to be White on Friday, so I can use White privilege for just one day.
Frequent Clutch contributor, Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) read Pharrell for filth on a recent Facebook status:
Y’know, I’m tired of these rich, disconnected Black men (this means you, Kanye West) denying the lingering prevalence of racism to the amusement of whites whose attention they so desperately covet. I wish celebrities’ opinions didn’t matter so much, but they do frame the culture & Pharrell’s bulls–t is poison. Structural racism is real, struggle vocals and the mix and matching of refrigerator wisdom over an uplifting beat be damned. In sum, Pharrell, grow up, or at the very least, shut up and “sing.”
And there’s the problem. These artists don’t live in reality. Maybe Pharrell should ask some of the Black guys that are in the Virginia Beach area, just how “new Black” they were when they were being racially profiled. I’m sure they”ll be happy to explain it to the cops while they’re on the side of the highway with the contents of their car being searched.
It’s almost like these people become famous and get to walk around with a shield that guards them from racism, or they don’t watch TV and see the victims of racism on the news. Hell, even Oprah should have mentioned the fact that she was recently on the receiving end of racism during a recent high-priced shopping trip.
In response to Pharrell’s comments the hashtag #whatkindofblackareyou was formed.
I’m the “How tall are you? Do you play any sports?” Black #whatkindofblackareyou
Gigi Chanel (@GGChanel) April 16, 2014
— Trudy (@thetrudz) April 16, 2014
Im hoodie up while coding, could give an eff about respectability politics, brand building, gatekeeper ignoring Black #WhatKindOfBlackAreYou
— Elon James White (@elonjames) April 16, 2014
Not everyone agrees with Pharrell’s description of the “new Black,” but freedom of speech reigns supreme, so he can be whatever kind of Black he wants to be.
I, on the other hand, will be the kind of Black person that calls it all bullshit.