- 15 Oct 19
Six years after the release of 'Blurred Lines', Pharrell Williams speaks out about the sexist lyrics of the song.
'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I. was a huge hit in 2013, but it didn't take long for people to realise the very questionable lyrics hidden behind that catchy beat. Now, six years after the release of the song, Pharrell Williams denounces the song, recognising the sexist undertones of the lyrics.
Speaking to GQ, the rapper, songwriter and producer admits that he would never perform some of his older songs today, saying, "I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place. I think 'Blurred Lines' opened me up".
To refresh your memory, 'Blurred Lines' features lyrics like "I know you want it" and "Can't let it get past me", using that age-old male misunderstanding that "No" in fact means "No" and is not an invitation to continue harassing women. Because of these lyrics, the song was accused of promoting rape culture – an accusation that is now finally recognised by Pharrell Williams.
"I didn't get it at first", he told GQ , "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 realised that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman", he continues, "and it doesn't matter that that's not my behaviour. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, 'Got it. I get it. Cool.'"
This realisation along with the release of 'Happy' was a huge turning point for him, Williams says, "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 realised 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."