The multi-hyphenate also speaks about growing up in the ’70s, his career and more.
Pharrell Williams is the latest cover star of GQ‘s “New Masculinity” issue. Alongside the lavish spread styled by fashion director Mobolaji Dawodu, the multi-hyphenate chats with editor-in-chief Will Welch about male role models, masculinity and more. The feature explores Williams’ status as fashion icon over the years, his thoughts on African-American culture and gender fluidity.
In conversation style, Pharrell also speaks about growing up in the ’70s in a pro-black household and how that impacted him. He expands on this by detailing it as a “celebration of black DNA.” He also opens up a bit about being influenced by his father and uncle growing up. Further in the profile he expressed his thoughts on Internet culture, the upcoming election and more.
On “Blurred Lines” and masculinity:
“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? And then I realized 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 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.”
On who his male role models were growing up:
“When you’re young, and you’re a ’70s baby, who you looked up to was people on TV. But now my values are more centered. I look up to my dad a lot. I looked up to my uncle on my mom’s side. I looked up to my uncle on my dad’s side, who is now a bishop. He was a classical pianist, a child prodigy. Still plays amazingly, and he has a show on Netflix now—he put together this amazing gospel choir.”
On the next presidential election:
“There’s how I feel, and then there’s the reality. I feel like…it’s time for a real true change in ourselves. And it’s less about who is going into office. It’s more about who is going into the voting booths. But the reality is that people don’t know that we are in the middle of spiritual warfare. And they’re massively distracted.”
To read Pharrell William’s newest feature, head to GQ‘s website. Take a look at the cover below.