Who knew “Blurred Lines” could teach a man about rape culture? Pharrell, the cover star of GQ’s New Masculinity issue, is talking about when he started to understand #MeToo in a new interview and it turns out, it had a little something to do with Robin Thicke’s song. It was that 2013 track, which Pharrell co-wrote, that taught him we live in a “chauvinistic culture.”
See, Pharrell told GQ, that back then he didn’t really understand the issue with the song’s message. “And I know you want it — women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time,” Pharrell said. “So it's like, What's rapey about that?” But, soon he started to realize “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.”
Pharrell told the magazine that it “blew” his mind to realize that his songs could be sending a message of toxic masculinity. In fact, Pharrell told GQ that he’s actually kind of embarrassed of his discography. (“Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today,” he said.) But it’s “Blurred Lines” that made him change his tune, quite literally.
With “Happy,” which came out the same year as "Blurred Lines and yes, made many people just that, Pharrell learned he could write songs that made everyone feel good. “Like, I was on the Oprah show for my birthday,” he said, “and she showed me a video of people around the world singing that song, and that shit fucked me up.” He added, that he hasn’t “been the same since any of that music.”
Now, Pharrell is evolving by making music for your great-grandchildren, releasing a unisex sneaker collection with Adidas, and supporting women leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Man, what would the world be like if women held all of the highest positions worldwide?” he asked. “Women are waking up every day, more and more, to the fact that they have the power. Women, millennials, and the Gen-Zers have the power.”