View profile

Is Pharrell trying to tell us something?

Revue
 
Internets, Your uncle who was in prison was right about there being a covert scheme to rob the black
 

Life in a Shanty Town

October 18 · Issue #138 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

Internets,
Your uncle who was in prison was right about there being a covert scheme to rob the black man of his masculinity, and the latest evidence is Pharrell wearing a dress on the cover of the new issue of GQ.
Billed as “The New Masculinity Issue,” I shudder to think what else is in it. I only skimmed the Pharrell article because I needed something to write about, and it’s the rare occasion when the white man pretty much does your job for you like this.
I didn’t read it any more closely because I was afraid that if I did, some of the ideas might seep into my brain, and I don’t have the kind of job where I can show up wearing a blouse: I could be addressed using a homophobic slur, and I don’t know if I’m emotionally equipped to deal with that.
From what I could gather, Pharrell is dressing like a woman now because he can relate to transgender people, because he finds the effect of being online—where you’re represented by an avatar—to be similar to gender dysphoria, and because he likes women’s clothes anyway.
As discussed in the article, Pharrell was cross-dressing before it was all trendy. He began carrying a purple Hermès Birkin bag in 2007, and in 2015 he wore a coat by Céline, which doesn’t even make clothes for men.
Purple, you’ll recall, from the Teletubbies, is the official color of homosexuality. In fact, the purple Teletubby, Tinky Winky, also carried a purse. I wonder if that’s where Pharrell got the idea. He’s been known to be less than completely original.
Which brings us to “Blurred Lines,” one of my favorite songs of all time, philosophically. (I don’t actually listen to it, natch.) I suspect that the purpose of this interview, at least in part, was to distance Pharrell from that song, since he can’t make any money from it anyway.
“Blurred Lines” is now considered problematic because its lyrics suggest that women want you to make sweet, passionate love to them even if they say they don’t. If it had been released in 2019, it would have resulted in Pharrell and Robin Thicke being thrown in jail. (T.I. would have avoided arrest, but not because he cooperates with law enforcement.)
Fortunately, Robin Thicke et al. got in just under the wire, back when a man could still be a man—the old masculinity, if you will. But then Marvin Gaye’s family sued them into Bolivian. They somehow got all of the “Blurred Lines” money, even though it doesn’t have a single note in common with “Got to Give It Up.”
No longer being allowed to rip off older musicians presented an existential threat to Pharrell (as it would any good rap producer), so I guess now he’s going to be a designer. He may have seen the fact that Kanye West supposedly made $150 million last year from those Yeezys.
I know Pharrell has his own line of Adidas, presumably released after Kanye’s (or was it vice versa?). They must not be selling anywhere near as well as the Yeezys, or else he wouldn’t have to be out here dressed like a woman.
It’s announced in the article that Pharrell is dropping a line with Chanel, which, like Céline, doesn’t even make clothes for men. This won’t be Chanel for men (which doesn’t even sound right), but rather women’s clothes that men can also wear if, like J. Edgar Hoover, they’re into that sort of thing.
It’s a wild idea, even in this day and age, but who knows? We’re coming off a summer that was dominated by Lil Nas X and Tyler the Creator. Pitchfork just declared a Frank Ocean’s Blonde the best album of the entire decade. Are they also in on this?
The key might be to phase the line in gradually. Start with something that’s otherwise masculine, like a sweatshirt, but in a color that’s inappropriate for men to wear, like pink, and then gradually ratchet up the femininity until you’re dressed like Billy Porter at the Met Gala.
In other words, the same trajectory they took with the music.
Take it easy on yourself,
Bol

Did you enjoy this issue?
 
Become a member for $5 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Byron Crawford
You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue