Rss

Pharrell paid tribute to Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Eric Garner (etc!) at the Grammys….and almost all of us missed it.

Pharrell performed “Happy” last night at the Grammys and made a powerful statement…that you probably missed.

Personally, I was caught up on the arrangement (which I happened to like!) and the dancers.  There was a lot going on!

But what I DIDN’T catch, was this….

Media preview

Yes. The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture that all (who have been paying attention) are familiar with by now as part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement associated with Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

And notice the hoodies? Trayvon Martin? Remember?

Yes. Pharrell did that. And I appreciate him for it.

In case you missed the performance:

The arrangement and performance makes so much more sense to me now. It was a mix of light and dark, happy and…unhappy.  And notice where the unhappy parts come in (piano soloist, etc).  Notice the words. The movements.

This is brilliant. And important.

Now. Some people are still mad at Pharrell because of some previous comments made about Mike Brown.

In a cover story interview for the November issue of Ebony magazine — conducted weeks before the decision — Williams broached the topic of Ferguson, telling the publication’s Kenya Hunt: “I don’t talk about race since it takes a very open mind to hear my view, because my view is the sky view. But I’m very troubled by what happened in Ferguson, Mo.”

In the interview, published on Ebony’s website Nov. 13, Hunt asked if the singer had seen the surveillance video allegedly showing Brown stealing cigarillos from a local convenience story and pushing a store employee.

“It looked very bully-ish; that in itself I had a problem with,” he said. “Not with the kid, but with whatever happened in his life for him to arrive at a place where that behavior is OK. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

{Huffington Post}

Those comments were made before the grand jury decision.  Here are his comments after:

Pharrell Williams said that ‘everyone is heartbroken’ there was no grand jury indictment of a white cop over the fatal shooting of a black, unarmed teenager Michael Brown, a week after the musician sparked a heated debate by calling the victim’s behavior ‘bully-ish’.

The singer said in an interview late on Monday that his perspective on the case hasn’t changed since the shooting in August.

‘My feelings have been the same since that boy was murdered,’ Williams said backstage at The Voice in Los Angeles, where he’s a coach. ‘Everyone is heartbroken. It’s another teen, unarmed teen gunned down.’

{Daily Mail}

Here’s my thing. Pharrell said Mike Brown was acting like a bully in the convenience store.

AND HE WAS. His behavior was OUT OF LINE. Yes, I said it. It was wrong. So are y’all mad at me now too?

Where I think Pharrell went astray was asking about why we weren’t talking more about THAT. And I ONLY think he went astray because he didn’t really articulate what he was really (I think) asking. Most people interpreted him as saying that we (1) shouldn’t focus on the murder, and/or (2) that Mike Brown deserved what he got.

I disagree with that interpretation. From his later comments, I honestly believe he was simply bringing to light the circumstances behind black men and criminal behavior. Because, let’s be honest, Mike Brown was exhibiting criminal behavior. Does that have ANY bearing on what happened later on that day? NOT. AT. ALL.  And I think that’s what Pharrell should’ve gone on to say.

Pharrell used his performance at the Grammys, “music’s biggest night,” to send a message. And instead of appreciating that, so many are criticizing him for what he said in November 2014.

Is it not possible for people to have one view and then be educated? Is it not possible for people to have a change of heart? Are we going to be mad and upset forever and ever at artists/etc., even if they come around and do something like this? Is it not possible to grow and evolve?

Now, as I am typing this, I am reflecting on my feelings on Young Thug. I’m not here for him, and it’s mainly due to his comments on Ferguson (go to the 1:43 mark).

Personally, I think this was ignorant. And I’m not here for people who don’t even have a CLUE about what’s going on in black America, artist or not (seriously, how do you miss this?).

BUT. Even with this. If Young Thug were to seek out some type of understanding/education/enlightenment and then come back and express his feelings about what’s going on, I couldn’t be mad at him anymore.

Bottom line: Pharrell did something important here. And again, I’m pretty sure more of us missed it. But look what’s happening now. It’s being talked about and recognized.

He has played a major part in keeping the movement going. And for that, I’m not mad at him.

Comments are closed.