This morning, we woke up to some beautiful photos of icon Pharrell Williams posing for GQ. The Micaiah Carter-shot, Mobolaji Dawodu-styled portraits instantly went viral, as Pharrell’s music and skin are timeless, of course — but also, he and GQ flirted with the idea of masculinity, while discussing as much in the cover story.
“It started with the ‘I can pull that off’ thing. I wore a lot of Chanel, and I wore tons of Céline. Like, I got all the O.G. Céline. Because they were clothes I could fit in. When you listen to yourself and you’re comfortable in who you are, you wear what you feel like fits and looks right on you. And that’s it,” Pharrell tells the publication, later admitting that he is embarrassed by some of his old music. “I was also born in a different era, where the rules of the matrix at that time allowed a lot of things that would never fly today,” he says and when asked to elaborate he tells GQ, “Advertisements that objectify women. Song content. Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place.”
“Blurred Lines”, for example:
“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. Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too. 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.”
As GQ‘s story dropped, photographer Micaiah Carter hit social media to express joy and gratitude for the opportunity. Not only did he capture Pharrell in all of his agelessness, but this particular story and the message behind it, expressed through Pharrell’s words and through Carter’s photos, are right on time.
“One of my biggest dreams in high school was to work at GQ (at any capacity), fast forward to today I wouldn’t believe that I would be shooting a cover for them with Pharrell for the November issue,” he tweeted. Take a second to check out more of his stunning work below.