Today Pharrell released the official album cover for his second album ‘Girl,’ to the chagrin of many women. Much of #blacktwitter was in dismay at the sight of the album cover. A lot of black women were outraged at the fact that none of the women on the album cover appear to be black. As you can see the three women featured on the cover look white [although the one furthest back looks like she could be mixed]. Now before I go any further, I must say that perhaps my opinion is biased because I’m not darker-skinned. But I am still a black woman nonetheless and I do acknowledge the fact that we lack representation in the media (and when we are represented it isn’t always in a positive light). But I DON’T think that every race needs to represented on every single piece of artwork that comes out, although I do agree that there should be EQUAL representation of every shade. As a black man, many black women expected Pharrell to display black women (of varying shades) on the album cover. If you go back to Pharrell’s old videos you will see that indeed there are many that included him embracing black women (see “Frontin’” and “Beautiful” videos). Also, many people forget (or don’t realize) that Pharrell is married to a black woman. So to reach as far as to say that he doesn’t like black women or has an issue with us is a stretch.
Again, I must reiterate that I do agree that black women and particularly dark-skinned women are not as equally represented as their light-skinned and white counterparts. I don’t have any qualms with the album cover and I wouldn’t be offended if it included all darker-skinned women. I just think every single race does not have to be represented in every single form of art at all times. Asian and Indian women could easily complain that they were not represented on the album cover. I think the larger issue is the fact that colorism still persists in our society. All that we want is equal representation in the media. Pharrell should be free to have whatever type of women he wants on the album cover, because after all it’s art. But I think it would be a bigger issue if Pharrell NEVER displayed women of color in his videos. I think we are overly sensitive to everything because of the fact that we [black women] aren’t equally represented in the media, so every picture with a black man that doesn’t include us is seen as offensive.
I wouldn’t be offended if Pharrell used all Asian women in the album cover; he’s a musician and I grant him freedom of art. It would be a bigger issue to me if he NEVER used women of color. Colorism is obviously a problem that rears it’s ugly head in every facet of our lives but should artists have the right to freedom when it comes to their album artwork? Do you think Pharrell should have included dark-skinned women on the album cover?