Pharrell’s new album “G I R L” is pretty amazing. That aside, the Academy Award-nominated producer is facing controversy surrounding the album art that doesn’t feature any women of color (unless you count the racially ambiguous tan woman at the end of the line that appears almost hidden).
Pharrell called in to Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” to discuss the backlash and admitted that he has a dark skin family members and married a Black woman, Helen Lasichanha (who we’ll note has darker skin than all of the women on his album cover).
“It just sucks for people to look at something and to assume that they know what’s going on,” he told Charlamagne, Angela Yee and DJ Envy. “If they just bothered to listen to my album they would know that the album was an ode to women, period.”
He went on to say, “The one thing that I was just trying to help and aid in changing was the crazy statuesque standard of you gotta be White and thin to be beautiful.”
After justifying the album’s purpose, he addressed the critics who feel that the “light-skinned Black woman” on the cover was representative of the African-American woman.”Unfortunately they looked at the cover. They didn’t see what they felt like… I don’t know was the definition is.”
Pharrell then asked, “What is this conversation?[...] So is our President not Black? Does Lenny Kravitz not one of greatest rock men? Is Lisa Bonet in or out?”
“And I’m not mad. I understand. I understand that plight. My dad is a dark skin guy,” he continued.
Here’s the thing, darker-skinned and the average Black women (not the Lupita’s of the world who’s exotic features have become the standard for acceptance) are just not acknowledged. The average Black woman, in all of her brown-skin glory, is not properly represented. So when Pharrell, who prides himself on forwarding the diversity moment in the mainstream, excludes the “everyday” Black women from the cover of his “ode” to women, women are going to react.
“My mom is a Black woman that is a huge part of my business. My business is run by another Black woman and I am married to a Black women. What are we talking about?” We’re talking about the fact that not one woman on the cover of “G I R L” looks like his mother…or his wife…or his dark skin uncle that he mentioned in the 6-minute phone interview.
Don’t get us wrong, we appreciate Pharrell’s nod to femininity in an era when women are used as props in music videos, perpetuated as arm candy for award shows and degraded in almost every song on the radio, but let’s be real, you can’t fight the stereotypes “that be” when you adhere to them.
Pharrell, where is this diversity you speak of? Because your album cover only reads one thing…
Listen to the full interview, here:
Beauties, what do you all think about Pharrell’s “ode” and does the colorless cover offend you?