BLACK VOICES

Common, Pharrell, And ‘The New Black': An Ignorant Mentality That Undermines The Black Experience

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Recording artists Pharrell Williams (L) and Common attend the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To In
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Recording artists Pharrell Williams (L) and Common attend the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons honoring Martin Bandier at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

“The New Black doesn't blame other races for our issues.”

So decreed Pharrell Williams when the hit-making superstar spoke to Oprah last summer about the current racial climate in America. In the months following the release of Pharrell’s sugary soul-pop hit “Happy,” the country struggled through a summer that saw a string of high-profile cases involving police killing innocent black citizens. But while speaking to Oprah, and having watched clips of fans paying tribute to his uber-cheerful single, Pharrell decided to advertise a “new” mindset for black people to adopt—one of good ol’ positive thinking.

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