Pharrell Williams is featured on the cover of GQ magazine’s ‘New Masculinity’ issue.
GQ’s November 2019 issue puts Pharrell front and center as the traditional men’s magazine shares “an exploration of the ways that traditional notions of masculinity are being challenged, overturned, and evolved”.
Excerpts + photos below…
When asked why he agreed to be the face of their “New Masculinity Issue,” Pharrell states:
Well, when it comes to having this conversation, I don’t necessarily know that the masculinity is new as much as the conversation is new. That’s number one. But I think this is a way that I can speak up at a time where we’re in the middle of a spiritual plight. A spiritual war. When people are online, they have their real identity; then they have, like, a nickname. Right?
Williams also apologizes for his role in perpetrating “toxic masculinity” in the hip-hop community and says he was “embarrassed” for perpetuating rape culture in his 2013 hit “Blurred Lines”.
“Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff,” the 46-year-old Aries said.
“It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place… I think ‘Blurred Lines’ opened me up. I didn’t get it at first. Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, wow. They would have me blushing.
So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was like, What are you talking about? There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up. And I know you want it – women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, What’s rapey about that?”
The father of four says he soon began to see the popular song in a different light:
“…and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behavior. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, Got it. I get it. Cool. My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel.”
He continues, explaining that the song “Happy” forever changed his heart…
I realized that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realized that. Didn’t realize that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind. And then here comes “Happy,” a record that I didn’t write for myself, that I ended up being on, that made people feel happy. I wrote that song for CeeLo.
That made me cry. It literally made me cry. Like, I was on the Oprah show for my birthday, and she showed me a video of people around the world singing that song, and that shit fucked me up. Bad. I was never the same. So I don’t beat on my chest. I haven’t been the same since any of that music.
CLICK HERE to read Pharrell’s FULL GQ interview.
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Photo Credit: Micaiah Carter for GQ