Pharrell says ‘We deserve a Black future’ in essay on racism

Pharrell Williams curates a Time magazine collection of essays including his own words on racism and what it means to be Black in America.

Pharrell Williams Time magazine essays
Pharrell Williams appears on stage at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards show at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 03, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

In a new editorial project in Time magazine, Pharrell Williams invites influential voices to lend their words to important subjects and pens an essay of his own.

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The collection in its entirety is titled The New American Revolution and is described as “a special issue of @TIME Magazine that envisions a Black Future in an America where all people are actually created equal” Williams posted on social media.

The multi-hyphenate talent writes on America’s racist past, current events, and his hopes for what is to come.

“But if we are ever to hold this nation accountable, we must force it to construct a future that offers us the same opportunities for wealth, prosperity, and success as the ground-floor profiteers who built an empire with our free labor,” he writes.

Williams also details the process behind his choices in curating thought-leaders for the entire collection.

“So, in assembling this project, I asked some of the most qualified people I know in every field—from Angela Davis to Tyler the Creator, to Representative Barbara Lee—to talk with us, and with one another, about the way forward. I wanted to convey a vision of a future filled with the artists, creators, and entrepreneurs who can fulfill the promise of this country’s principles,” the Grammy-award winning producer writes.

Angela Davis Time Magazine
Angela Davis speaks at The 2013 Peace Ball: Voices of Hope And Resistance at Arena Stage on January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Alongside the aforementioned essayists, Atlanta rapper 21 Savage shares the importance of financial literacy.

“I didn’t even know how to open a bank account until I became a rapper. When I was a kid, I knew there had to be a way to understand how to make and save money—but no one was teaching me that in my Atlanta schools,” the Grammy-award winning artist shares in his essay titled For Black Americans to Undo Centuries of Racist Policies, We Need Financial Literacy

Nikkolas Smith, Imara Jones, Janaya Future Khan, and Danielle Geathers all write pieces on their respective causes, including trans rights, education, and art.

Some of the work is presented in a conversation format. Davis joins Yara Shahidi, Lee speaks with Jamaal Bowman, and Tyler the Creator is paired with Kenya Barris.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka joins Mikey Williams and the series is completed by dialogue between Dr. Otis Brawely with Douglas Brooks and Geoffrey Canada and Tyree Boyd Pates.

Written content is not the only medium Williams chose to express his ideas about race. In collaboration with Jay-Z, he will release a new song, “Entrepreneur,” in alignment with the Time package.

“The intention for a song was all about how tough it is to be an entrepreneur in our country to begin with,” Williams says.

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“Especially as someone of color, there’s a lot of systemic disadvantages and purposeful blockages. How can you get a fire started, or even the hope of an ember to start a fire, when you’re starting at disadvantages with regards to health care, education, and representation?”

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