Comments musical genius Pharrell Williams made about the unrest in Ferguson, Mo. and unarmed teenager Michael Brown’s death in an Ebony magazine interview are ruffling feathers and offending Brown supporters.
Williams, who sat down with Ebony’s Kenya Hunt before a grand jury decided not to bring charges against the white police officer who shot and killed Brown, said the teenager’s behavior in a surveillance video released days after his death was “bullyish.”
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?”
Hunt then made parallels between Williams’ remarks and sentiments of “respectability politics” advocate Bill Cosby about black society. Williams agreed with Cosby’s statements, which many felt was a chastising of black communities about the wrong things.
“And I agree with him. When Cosby said it back then, I understood; I got it. Listen, we have to look at ourselves and take action for ourselves. Cosby can talk that talk because he created Fat Albert, he tried to buy NBC, he portrayed a doctor on The Cosby Show and had all of us wearing Coogi sweaters. You’ve got to respect him.”
Williams did add, however, that the shooting of Brown was both painful and wrong.
“I believe that Ferguson officer should be punished and serve time. He used excessive force on a human being who was merely a child. He was a baby, man. The boy was walking in the middle of the street when the police supposedly told him to ‘get the f–k on the sidewalk.’ If you don’t listen to that, after just having pushed a storeowner, you’re asking for trouble. But you’re not asking to be killed. Some of these youth feel hunted and preyed upon, and that’s why that officer needs to be punished.”
But maybe what the “Happy” singer should focus on is the systematic racism that allows black youth to continually be killed by para-military forces. Like Williams told Hunt…”why aren’t we talking about that?”
What do you think of Pharrell’s comments? Sound off below…