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15 October 2019 05:55

Pharrell Williams BLACKPINK Jennie Kim

Pharrell says ‘Blurred Lines’ scandal changed his idea about sexism: ‘We live in a chauvinist culture’

In an interview, Williams says he has now realised the song, made with Robin Thicke, contributed to sexism Pharrell Williams has distanced himself from Blurred Lines, his 2013 collaboration with Robin Thicke, which provoked controversy for its depiction of sexual politics. Countless universities banned the song from being played at student events owing to the lyric "I know you want it" – and a video in which the pair cavorted with topless models. Williams told GQ that he didn't understand the uproar at first, because women appeared to like the song. "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. He said that he came to understand that the language used in the song is also used by men "when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn't matter that that's not my behaviour. Williams "realised that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams: Blurred Lines – video "When you pull back and look at the entire song, the point is: She's a good girl, and even good girls want to do things, and that's where you have the blurred lines," he told US music magazine Pitchfork. Despite the backlash, the song went to No 1 in countries around the world, including the UK and the US, and some critics disputed the interpretation of the lyrics.

From Blurred Lines to New Rules: how sex in pop has changed for ever Read more In March 2015, a jury found Thicke and Williams liable for copyright infringement based on the hit's similarity to Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up. They were ordered to pay $7.4m to Gaye's estate, followed by a second payment of $5m following a final judgment in December 2018. Pharrell Williams talks about a wide variety of topics in his new cover interview with GQ, particularly his definition of masculinity and what it does and doesn't (and should and shouldn't) mean in the charged atmosphere of 2019. As part of that, he actually raises the subject of "Blurred Lines," his 2013 collaboration with Robin Thicke that was not only the subject of a $5 million judgement against the pair for co-opting the "feel" of Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up," it has also come under fire for lyrics that are perceived by many to be "rapey" ("Girl, I know you want it … Do it like it hurts"). Williams had previously defended the song, calling the criticism of it "sensationalism," but he says he now understands it. "I didn't get it at first," Williams told GQ editor in chief Will Welch.

"Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. "So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, 'What are you talking about?'," he continued. "There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up. "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," he said. "Even though it wasn't the majority, it didn't matter," he concluded.

Pharrell Williams is adjusting with the times and taking a step back to discuss one of his biggest pop hits. The artist-producer and fashion mogul talked to GQ for its New Masculinity issue (released Monday) about his 2013 single, "Blurred Lines," which he recorded with Robin Thicke and T.I. Back then, there was a controversy surrounding the record's lyrics, which critics said degraded women, and the tune's video, in which one of social media's most openly sexual influencers, Emily Ratajkowski and other women frolicked in skimpy garb. Speaking to the men's fashion magazine, Pharrell said the Billboard award-winning record has aged terribly. "I was also born in a different era, where the rules of the matrix at that time allowed a lot of things that would never fly today," said Pharrell, 46, of his career then and now. 'BLURRED LINES' RULING: PHARRELL WILLIAMS, ROBIN THICKE ORDERED TO PAY MARVIN GAYE'S FAMILY $5M The 13-time Grammy Award-winner said it took the backlash from his infamous Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus-performed record to flip his perspective on what the song meant to people within the larger society, not just within his fan base.

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And I would be like, 'wow.' They would have me blushing," the "Happy" singer said. The Virginia Beach, Va., native said: "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. Didn't realize that some of my songs catered to that. Pharrell graces the cover of this year's GQ Masculinity issue, and while speaking about the topic at hand the singer/writer/producer confessed there was some material in his back catalog that he's not particularly proud of, including "Blurred Lines," his collaboration with Robin Thicke. "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. Even though it wasn't the majority, it didn't matter. He also reflected on songs that bring him joy, like "Happy," a track he revealed wasn't even meant for himself. Like, I was on the Oprah show for my birthday, and she showed me a video of people around the world singing that song, and that s--t f--ked me up," he recalled. "My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel" Pharrell Williams has moved to distance himself from 'Blurred Lines', the controversial 2013 hit he performed alongside Robin Thicke. Because 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. The track drew attention after peaking at Number One in 25 different countries when debate around some of its lyrics –particularly the line "You know you want it" – led to many labelling the song chauvinistic and sexually aggressive. "Then I realised 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 behaviour," Pharrell explained. Cool.' 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 realised that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Didn't realise that some of my songs catered to that. In 2016, the songwriters appealed a verdict that awarded $5.3 million in damages after it was found that their hit shared similarities to Marvin Gaye's 1977 song 'Got To Give It Up'.