Pharrell Williams has distanced himself from ‘Blurred Lines’, the controversial 2013 single from Robin Thicke which drew criticisms for normalising rape culture.
Back in 2013, it was pretty much impossible to avoid Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’. Featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, the tune shot to the top of the charts around the world, sold millions of digital downloads, and basically become something of a cultural phenomenon.
However, between its nudity-laden video and infamous Marvin Gaye copyright case, the track drew widespread controversy for its content, with many claiming that the song normalised rape culture with the implied message that “consent is a blurred line“.
Although Robin Thicke has not had any singles even come close to the same level of fame as ‘Blurred Lines’, the song’s legacy has remained, with plenty of people – including Pharrell Williams – coming to label the tune as an example of widespread misogyny.
Speaking to GQ recently, Pharrell explained how he’s come to regret the song, though the initial positive reaction from women left him confused as to what the issue was.
Check out Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’:
“I didn’t get it at first,” Pharrell explained. “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 realized 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.
“My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel,” he added.
“Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too. I realized 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.”
Despite Pharrell Williams having defended the song in its early days, Robin Thicke seemed to imply in a seperate interview with GQ that the song was nowhere near as empowering towards women as he first suggested.
“We tried to do everything that was taboo,” he explained. “Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women.
“Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.’ People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.'”
Regardless, it’s heartening to know that Pharrell Williams has since seen the light, and recognises the error of his ways.