Last night VH1 aired their Hip-Hop Honors award show. The annual event pays tribute to hip-hop’s best and brightest, this year focusing on “90s Game Changers.”
Performances from Missy Elliot and Teyana Taylor brought the 90s to life and honorees like Mariah Carey tied the show together for a nostalgic trip. Amongst all the nostalgia, Pharrell Williams gave a speech with a tone we’ve sadly heard before.
Pharrell took his time on stage to speak on our country’s divided social climate. During his speech Pharrell urged viewers to “open your eyes” and pay attention to what’s going on around us.
Denouncing the sudden rise of white nationalism and hate, Pharrell spoke from the perspective of someone who wants peace. This speech fit into the 90s theme perfectly as it would have been just as relevant 20 years ago.
When addressing those who don’t look like him Pharrell went on to say,
“For everybody else in this country…don’t think because they’re coming at the African-Americans and the Jewish community and the Hispanics that it can’t be you too just because you look like them… The enemy is this divisive mentality, it’s on this side of the wall — it’s already here”.
Without addressing specific moments, Pharrell’s speech was a call to action for not only those who are directly oppressed, but the entire country.
In a country where we have people raising the Nazi flag in honor of hate, Pharrell warns “the white nationalists are walking towards your future — what you gonna do?”
On his “Jon Snow shit” artists like Pharrell continue to make these conversations heard where they need to be.
Earlier this month Williams agreed to take part in a free concert in Charlottesville alongside Dave Matthews Band, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Ariana Grande, and a slew of other A-List artists.
As hate continues to grow in this country Pharrell urges love to grow right next to it.