With a new album on the way and a possible Oscar win this weekend, things have been going good for Pharrell. But this hot streak hit a snag on Wednesday when the producer/singer faced angry backlash on Twitter for the cover of his upcoming album “G I R L.”
The cover features Pharrell and several women clad in bathrobes starring coquettishly at the camera, which drew accusations of racism and sexualization. Many took issue with the cover art, saying the imagery isn’t indicative of the entire racial spectrum of women. Prominent figures, like writer dream hampton, lamented that the cover was disappointing in that it doesn’t feature a wider variety of women of color, in particular black women.
I'm sure Pharrell's album is great, he's been making the best music of his life. Cover was disappointing. Google Chokwe Lumumba.
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) February 26, 2014
Thursday morning on The Breakfast Club, Pharrell called in to address the controversy. The musician seems to be surprised by the backlash, saying he has the utmost respect for women and wanted to convey that message with the entire “G I R L” album.
“What really disappointed me is that they really jumped the gun,” Pharrell said of the criticism. “It must suck man for people to look at something and to assume that they know what’s going on. If they just bothered to listen to my album, they’d know that it’s an ode to women.”
He goes on to say he respects the “female species,” and that the backlash takes away from the keystone points he aims to make about the gaps that exist between women and men in society. The next single from “G I R L” is “Marilyn Monroe,” a track Pharrell says will further explain his position and make a “bigger statement,” about his connection to women.
Listen to Pharrell’s interview below:
Ru Johnson is an arts and culture music writer living in Denver. You can follow her on Twitter here.