Who could forget the song ‘Blurred Lines?’
It peaked at number one in 25 countries, was famously sung by Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and launched model Emily Ratajkowski into the spotlight. And although it was hugely popular, ‘Blurred Lines’ was also hugely problematic.
The music video featured artists Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I flirting and dancing with numerous models wearing nothing but nude coloured thongs. The lyrics were heavily criticised for glorifying rape culture and degrading women.
Now, more than six years on from its release, rapper, singer-songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams is openly recognising how the song perpetuated a culture of toxic masculinity. He recently spoke with GQ about how he’s evolving as a musician:
“Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today,” Pharrell said. “I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place.”
When the song started to receive backlash in 2013 for its “rapey” lyrics, Pharrell was at first confused by the public’s reaction because there were plenty of women enjoying the song too.
“And then I realised 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 behaviour. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women.”
Today, Pharrell is using his platform to amplify the voices of women as much as he can. Among his projects, the ‘Now Is Her Time’ campaign with Adidas featuring female activists and artists of all backgrounds.
“Man, what would the world be like if women held all of the highest positions worldwide?” he asks GQ.
It would be ah-mazing Pharrell.