Pharrell is joining forces with music streaming giant Spotify in an effort to shed light on the black historical experience in America. The campaign is titled Black History Is Happening Now and will release content all month along.
In one promotional video about the digital initiative, the Virginia-bred producer is encircled by a slew of bright lightbulbs as his shadow projects against the brightness in the midst of the poignant narrative heard with subtitles.
“The one thing that you cannot deny is that this country was built by the hands of many different cultures, but mainly the African-Americans,” he begins. “Because they were the ones that were put to task to go out and actually do the work. And all the while having to endure the pillaging of where they were from identities taken from them, and forced to do things that they don’t want to do. Far from a choice.”
“Our influence is everywhere in clothing, music. You know, there would be no rock and roll without us. Like, we’ve been here. Black now is America,” he continued. “Black future in America. Black history in America.”
It’s great to see Williams speak on the black experience, especially since he’s been in some hot water for his comment in the past about ascribing to “the new black.” During a 2014 interview with Oprah, the Grammy Award-winning artist said, “The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality,” he said.
“And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.”
Watch Pharrell in another Spotify Black History Is Happening Now clip below and more on Spoti.fi/pharrellwilliams via your Spotify app.