Pharrell and Oprah: The BIG Picture

We saw the interview. We’ve seen the cute tumblr GIFs of Pharrell getting teary-eyed as people from here to Iceland sang his “Happy” song. And I’m sure we’d all be delighted to win a title as prestigious — for lack of better word — as GQ’s Man of the Year.

But for true fans of Pharrell — those who have been down for at least a decade or more — we know that Pharrell was not man of the year this year by our standards. He was DEF. man of the year circa 2001 when “Grindin’” was on heavy rotation and nearly every hip hop, R&B, and pop artist broke their neck to get a taste of the Neptunes sound. Beyond his producing talents, N.E.R.D. was a powerhouse, BBC was 10 times more popping than it is now (is anybody still waiting in line for Ice Creams?), the StarTrek label, well, existed, and he almost singlehandedly brought skateboard culture to the mainstream. According to our standards, Pharrell was man of the year, maybe even man of the Decade, a long time ago.

But Oprah wasn’t checking for him back then. It wasn’t until he released this cookie cutter, suburban-friendly stuff that he was invited to appear on the show. It’s awesome that Oprah congratulated him for “making it”, but the BIG picture here, to me at least, is that Pharrell didn’t make it when he was holding true to his original fan base; he made it when he appealed to everybody else. 

And it’s no secret that when we (which could mean you if you feel where I’m coming from) set a standard of excellence, it won’t always be recognized by the mainstream and, therefore, it won’t be remembered as excellence. For example, to me and many others like me, Dead Presidents is one of the best movies ever made. But since it didn’t win any Oscars or SAG Awards, it wont be recognized as such. 

I’m sure many of us agree that “Happy”, “Get Lucky”, and “Blurred Lines” are not Pharrell’s best work even though they topped the charts and challenged that “glowstick/glowstick/trap/trap” echo we constantly hear on the radio. But in true Oprah fashion, he is being rewarded for crossing over. 

That’s the BIG picture. I’m going to go listen to GIRL now lol

“I think the best moment in my life was when I was going to kick that guy’s ass on stage for touching that girl without her permission in our audience. I mean, like..I almost blacked out. I just saw it and I almost lost all conscious thought when I was singing. It was like I was possessed or something. I mean..how deluded are you as a man to think you can just claim ownership over a woman? This isn’t some kinky BDSM shit. This is your power hungry little dick acting out because you have issues.”
— Kurt Cobain (via whatevelyn)

(via photosbyjaye)

christylezbacon:

Great time w/ Tavis Smiley! The show airs TONITE!!!! Check the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS.org for your local listings!!!! (at Tavis Smiley Set)

theturnstyles:

jahlee:

(art by jah) 

who u finna TRY, tho???
this is the best gift ever

theturnstyles:

jahlee:

(art by jah)

who u finna TRY, tho???

this is the best gift ever

“If you can’t afford the textbook, may I ask why you took the class?”

Finances professor in a required class, submitted by peakcapitolism (via shitrichcollegekidssay)

Privilege. 

(via skyliting)

(via posttragicmulatto)

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photos of Howard University, 1946, for LIFE magazine.

(via photosbyjaye)

'Let Us Build a National Negro Congress', John Davis, National Sponsoring Committee for a Negro National Congress, Washington, DC, 1935.

(via abstrackafricana)

“My name is Ella. My name is not Ford, or Chrysler or GM. I’m talking about being able to buy food and provide rent and heat. I’m not talking about furnishing an office. Or making more or having a larger profit margin. I’m talking about sustaining my life.”
— Retiree Ella Johnson worked for the city of Detroit for 33 years. She faces a 34% cut to her pension check under Detroit’s bankruptcy proposal. (via nprontheroad)

(via posttragicmulatto)

hiphopfightsback:

If you weren’t aware, Tupac played the bass portions for many of his records.

hiphopfightsback:

If you weren’t aware, Tupac played the bass portions for many of his records.

The New Yorker highlights Carl Van Vechten’s timeless photographs of the African American experience in Harlem.

Images: 

Top: Zora Neale Hurston, 1940
Row two: L: Leontyne Price, 1953 R: Muriel Rahn, 1944.
Row three: L: 
Ethel Waters, 1940. R: Ella Fitzgerald, 1940
Bottom: Alvin Ailey, 1955


(via breakmakeexpand)

THROWBACK THURSDAY

"Hard Times" - Dr. Buzzards Original Savannah Band

one of the most beautiful songs ever. somebody should cover this