Pharrell Addresses 'G I R L' Album Cover Backlash: 'We're arguing amongst ourselves within color' [Audio]


Pharrell Williams called into The Breakfast Club this morning and discussed his new album G I R L, the recent controversy over the album artwork and more.

If you’ve been on social media since he announced the album about two weeks ago, you’ve probably seen the backlash regarding people feeling he didn’t feature any black women on the cover.

It turns out people were wrong. He reveals that the woman closest to him in the photo is indeed a black woman.

What really disappointed me is they jumped the gun, because the one I’m standing closest to is black. She’s a black girl from Wisconsin that I used to date over ten years ago or maybe like twelve years ago. That just must suck man for people to look at something and to assume they know what’s going on. If they just bothered to listen to my album, they would know that my album was an ode to women, period. And the one thing that I’m trying to kill…well I can’t kill anything…but the one thing I was just trying to help and aid in changing the crazy statuesque standard of you gotta be white, waif, and thin for you to be beautiful.

He also reveals his next single from the album will be “Marilyn Monroe” (which we love).

My next record is called “Marilyn Monroe” and the chorus is, ‘Not even Marilyn Monroe who Cleopatra pleased, Not even Joan of Arc, That don’t mean nothing to me, I just want a different girl.’

So that means no matter what color you are, what size you are, what you’re into, your sexual orientation, I respect you as a woman because I know without you, none of us would be here. But unfortunately, they looked at the cover & they didn’t see what they felt like — I don’t know what the definition is. That she’s a light-skinned black woman. But I mean, what is the conversation? So is our president not black? Is Lenny Kravitz not one of our greatest? What are we talking about? Is Lisa Bonét in or out?

I’m not mad because I understand. I understand that plight. My dad is a dark-skinned man. I understand that, I know what that is all day long. Have I lived it specifically? Yeah, I’m a black man.

They just reported I was the first black person to go number one on pop radio since Rihanna, but then you’re gonna shoot at me? What do you mean? I’m gonna turn 41 in April. Of course I’m doing this for us. What are you talking about, man?

My mom is a black woman who is a huge part of my business. My business is run by another black woman and I’m married to a black woman. What are you talking about?

Charlemagne then makes a joke about including Gabourey Sidibe (a darker skinned woman) in his next video to make people happy.

I refuse. My whole album is about women — period. There’s such a bigger statement that I’m making in the album that relates to all women and that’s how I think we bring everyone together is when we respect the female species across the board. I’m not telling you my album don’t have no slick, perverse things. That’s what I do sometimes!  I like curves I like eyes, beauty, body, all that stuff. But there are some real, true, keystone points about how I feel about women as it pertains to humanity, the social imbalance, how they don’t get paid as much as men do. Or like how these legislatures are trying to tell women what they can and can’t do with their body. Meanwhile, these same people are beneficiaries to a woman. Not a man, but a woman agreeing to have them, but you’re going to tell them when they can and can’t do it. It just bothers me because they’re missing the point.

He wraps it up by bringing the conversation back to the album cover.

Man, it must suck to be that black woman that’s on my cover right now because she’s black. When they find out that she is black, then what? Then we’re arguing amongst ourselves within color. Then the argument’s going to be she’s not brown enough. Then my question to you is, are y’all asking me do I have an Indian person on the cover? Why aren’t you asking about a Pakistani person? A Middle Eastern person on the cover. I just…MAN! What are we talking about? We’re making huge strides here. Let’s unify, dude. ‘Cause honestly, if you know anything about me, if you’ve seen any of my videos, you seen any of the girls I’ve ever dated, you know I like ‘em all.. You would know that.

Very well put. What are your thoughts on the cover? Listen to the interview below!

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