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Pharrell speaks on Controversial “GIRL” Album Cover featuring “No Black Female”



Pharrell - Girl - February 2014 - BellaNaija

Pharrell defends his new album cover – GIRL.

Fans spoke out on Twitter that the musician didn’t feature a black lady on the cover of the album which he says is an “ode to women”. They were very vocal, even speculating that he didn’t think black is beautiful.

Pharrell who will be at the Academy Awards on Sunday, called Power 105.1′s The Breakfast Club to speak on the cover. He said there is a black girl on it and he dated her in the past.

Check it out!

What really disappointed me is they jumped the gun, because the one I’m standing closest to is black.

She’s a black girl from Wisconsin that I used to date over 10 years ago. Maybe 12 years ago. That just must suck man for people to look at something and to assume they know what’s going on. If they just bothered to listen to my album, they would know that my album was an ode to women, period.

And the one thing that’s I’m trying to kill…well I can’t kill anything…but the one thing I was trying to aid in changing the crazy statuesque standard of you gotta be white, waif, and thin for you to be beautiful.

Man, it must suck to be that black woman that’s on my cover right now because she’s black. When they find out that she is black, then what? Then we’re arguing amongst ourselves within color.

Then the argument’s going to be she’s not brown enough. Then my question to you is, are y’all asking me do I have an Indian person on the cover? Why aren’t you asking about a Pakistani person? A Middle Eastern person on the cover. I just…man. What are we talking about? We’re making huge strides here. Let’s unify, dude. ‘Cause honestly, if you know anything about me, if you’ve seen any of my videos, you seen any of the girls I’ve ever dated, you know I like ‘em all.. You would know that.


  1. Cocobutter

    February 28, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Lol Pharrell you dated them all, ride on bro. An ode to women, smh women don suffer for this world o!


    February 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

    We all really need to forget this colour thing. People are people. simple!

  3. Nneks

    February 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I used to find things like these sick or rather ridiculous to be honest But for a while I am beginning to understand where African American women are coming from. How come the black man likes to claim to unify the world and not discriminating but are not trying to unify the black community. Other races seem to care less about unifying the world but rather try as much as possible to promote their own race. A white or Indian would use their own people to model their fashion line and videos, stil people and blacks would buy their products but for some reason a black person feels the need to use white or models of other races to sell their goods. Well it is slightly getting better in Africa as a continent, the only way we would move forward is to practice group economics and support each other.

    Withstanding if you don’t like the cover don’t buy it.

    • AA

      February 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      AMEN SISTA!!!! I have been saying the same thing! Its only black men that want to unify the world at the expense of black women, but other races continue to dump on our race. Who are we fooling?

    • Uncle

      March 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      So what is wrong with a black man wanting to unify the world? So the fact other races put the black race down and the black man decides not to do same, makes him evil? Y’all should get it together please. Nice response Pharrell!

    • nene

      February 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      gbam. he makes no sense. i pity african american women the most because their own men and people don’t even value them. sad sad.

    • ogeAdiro

      February 28, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      If I discriminate against other races, doesn’t that make me the same as the very people I resent? Do I want to project my race at the expense of hating myself? For the non philosophical part of the answer to the question “Why do black successful guys marry white babes in America and vice versa?”, the truth is that there are just way more white people in America than blacks. It gets even worse when you’re a professional of some sort. Barack and Michelle were the only 2 black people at their firm. If Michelle wasn’t there, chances are that Barack would’ve dated and possibly married a white woman.
      Beauty is beauty. Don’t believe the nonsense hype. Some fat women are hot, not all of them. Some dark skinned women are hot, not all of them. Some skinny women are hot, not all of them. Some light skinned women are hot, not all of them. I’ve been around a lot of guys from different races. Some of them were as white as snow and some as black as an onyx. The only time the woman’s race becomes a factor is if she isn’t considered to be “hot”. I was with this skinny, tall white guy and a beautiful black babe came out from the car in front of us. The girl wasn’t tall, she wasn’t skinny by any measure, she wasn’t too dark nor was she fair skinned, but ‘oh girl’ was hot. My quiet geek guy comot head from car tell the girl “you’re beautiful”. The girl just looked at us and smiled. Guyman that I’ve only seen date white girls talked about this black girl for about 5 minutes. Being black doesn’t make you beautiful, neither does being white. The thing is that socioeconomic factors dey affect physical beauty and those factors are not working for a lot of blacks in America. The one I won’t agree with is the media selling normal looking black women as stunning. I’m not fine oh but I’m also not blind. Well sha, beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder. So that na the one caveat.

  4. mrs chidukane

    February 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I’m surprised this in on BN.It is black American women with their low self esteem who make a mountain out of every mole hill.Who cares if he uses aliens? Or all white women? It’s his album cover, feel free to not buy the album. So are my light skinned friends not black like me? What of white South Africans that identify as African?I just wish for once they will teach their kids that they are beautiful and not get up in arms over artists doing what they want.

    • Proud village woman

      February 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      you must be joking with “It is black American women with their low self esteem …” Many continental Africans have serious low self- esteem issues as well related to white supremacy. It all boils down to how we deal with it. E.g city women in Nigeria deal with low self esteem by bleaching their skin as opposite to speaking about/ against colorism, like their AA sisters do….

    • mrs chidukane

      February 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Oh please spare me that. Majority of the people screaming didn’t deal with slave trade or white supremacy directly. How do you think the girl on the album cover feels about people screaming she’s not black enough? Light skinned women being hated on cos they’re light as if they created themselves. AA women have self esteem issues, period.Reading foreign blogs I wonder. Calling Kim k a w***e and praising Amber Rose?Hating on Beyoncé and hailing Rihanna? Loving Lupita and that white guy but hating on Michael B Jordan and a white friend of his at the beach? They have serious low self esteem please.

    • ao

      February 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Why would they not have low self-esteem given the history of slavery, Jim Crow, colorism, and inclusion based on how close one approximates white phenotypes. Just as there is white privilege, there is also light-skinned privilege among various Black and non-Black cultures including Nigeria. Some people are strong enough to withstand racism/colorism, but many are not; hence, the low self-esteem. You make it seem as if the collective low self-esteem is self-induced and not traceable to historical and present factors.

    • phatgilrzbwinning

      February 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      I take serious offense to your comment…serious offense! I was raised by a strong African American woman…and yes I am half Nigerian too. Neither my mother , nor any of the females on my African American side suffer from this low self esteem issue you speak of. I am about to have a daughter of my own, and I would appreciate her looking out into the media and seeing someone she can relate to (dark, light, fat , Skinny, short, tall)…that doesn’t make me have low self esteem, that’s just me not wanting society to give my daughter a complex unknowingly. We cannot avoid media, so i believe what everyone wants is to be fairly represented. As an adult now, i am confident in my appearance ,that his Album cover does not and cannot bother me( already in my husbands house ,so whats my business)…but we have young girls out there who are still easily influenced , that we need to think about. Don’t go around making hasty generalizations Mrs Chidukane, your not empowering or making anyone better by further putting down people you have already deemed to have “Low self esteem”…thanks.

    • Nma

      February 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Ditto! Society already gave black women a bunch of complex: from weaves that don’t look anything like our own hair texture to skin lightening. I definitely agree that issues like this need to be addressed for the sake of our future children.

      Mrs Chidukane; ur myopic sense of reasoning deters u from seeing the bigger picture…i won’t waste my breath further cos i know ur type.

      Pharrel is making no sense at all. The model he’s claiming to be black obviously doesn’t even have up to 1/2 black in her. How convenient for him to use a racially ambiguous looking model. smh.Why use a full white woman, full latina and can’t use a full black woman? He is surprised and upset at people’s reaction meanwhile he claims that this is an ode to “all” women? But u made sure to no represent a woman that looks like ur sister and mother?? He is ridiculous.

  5. eve

    February 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    ORIGINAL COVER go on pharell… If someone needs pharell to put black woman on it to feel beautiful then the person is a fool … Im black and within me i know im beautiful i dont need someone else to say that to me … but if someone says it.. it is still well but the person will tell me what i know already . Black ladies please be confident and stp fighthing over issues like that!!

    • paloma

      February 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm


  6. Thatgidigirl

    February 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    ode to women ke? after that his song with Robin Thicke that is an insult to women? Abegi!

  7. Cocobutter, I’m not sure u understand the meaning of the word “ode” you might wanna google that.

  8. Aibee

    February 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Never heard the song but looking at the girls in the picture I could tell the last girl had some black blood somewhere in her lineage. Like Pharrell said, if we are all up in arms about black women, how about native (Red – pardon me if this is offensive) indians, Arab/Middle Eastern women, asian women etc? We need to look beyond the colour and racial divides. Beauty is beauty, simple.

  9. @edDREAMZ

    February 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    It is his album, he can do anything he wants with it and beside, this white black shit should have stop by nw……

  10. ao

    February 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Pharell is free to have whatever album cover he wants; just as I am free to decide that I will not buy it. The end.

    • Iris

      February 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      That is all. People can like to give themselves headache sha.


    February 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    O ma se o, Black girls including many Nigerian/African women are starting to be ANNOYING. You guys are the same Black/African women that marry white and Lebanese men in DROVES. Yet get mad when a mixed race lady like Miss Nigeria Anna Banner(whos father is white) or Eku Edewor (Whos father is white) are “favored” by Black men for their light complexion or they do not “represent Nigerian/black Ladies”. Even some girls were hating on Wizkids babe Omotayo teller saying “shes not fine, she only light” lol her father is white too. Whos fault is it?

    No be you guys that say “african women should marry oyinbo” welp that’s what happens, you get mixed race daughters who are favored over darker girls. Stop complaining and get used to it. LOL PS. i LOVE darkskin women but I hate hypocrites


    February 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    @Mrs chidukane: soooo you are now just knowing that alot of african women are following the path of African American women? Some of these babes were just commenting how much David and Adanna Ohakim make cute couple and will have cute children. But they are also the same babes who will hate on Light skin mixed race girls who are favored to be Miss Nigeria and Models like Eku Edewor and Anna Banner whose fathers are both White.

    As a man why should I feel Insecure because RAMSEY NOAH is mixed race- with a white father? He is still my african brother. Its just a shame that such mentality has come over to naija babes- they hate on mixed race girls as long as its not their own daughter with their white husband/bf. hypocrites Mixed race girls are taking over african Music scene – Ironically, many are the daughters of African mothers and white or lebanese fathers.

    • omada

      March 1, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      Can you please stop with your generalisations? It makes you sound really unintelligent.


    February 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Its his album cover o, black skin activists. If he decides to use only black women on the cover, will you all still complain?
    Only insecure black skinned ladies will give a hoot about this. Let’s channel our energy on more important things pls

  14. Wife of the Don

    February 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    How many white or Latino NBA/ NFL or baseball players are married to black women…please someone tell me….

  15. shay shay

    February 28, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    All I know is that I am in love with Pharrell… even if they are blue, orange or silifa colour… Pharrell…drool !!

  16. Olori Tari

    February 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    To think I saw this album cover yesterday and nothing of such crossed my mind. Generally, I’m just getting really concerned with the way people are always angry ? They pick up on the littlest thing and start to analyse and evaluate and even start to put all sort of sociological perspectives. Yes, they don’t mind pulling out feminists and Marxists view for a very very minor and laughable case. I hope all this everyday anger is just for the internet ? Because I’m actually getting worried.

  17. CB

    February 28, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    For the commenters who say black athletes, entertainers, doctors, etc….ALWAYS marry someone of a different race, then your I need some facts, because I have some for you…across all levels of education, blue collar, white collar, entertainers, lawyers…black men marry black women at a rate of 87%…when people say all or most or most of the time, I would think they mean at least 51%

  18. SOLO ACT

    February 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    black men are insecure and jealous of WHITE men that is why they want to date their women by force by fire. they take no pride in their own at all. non of these women are phenotypically black. ask yourself how many times a white man has released an album cover without a noticeable white woman. they dont even use or respect biracial women, in fact how many times has a black female singer used a non black man in her music vid? but black men would carry white, biracial and latina women on top their head like they are the alpha and omega. Black men Worship the ground white women walk on and it is time people start exposing them. ive got no respect for a black man at this point

  19. Lets be real

    March 1, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Common people … race matters. And if you think it doesn’t you are fooling yourselves.
    This man (without knowing it) is teaching young girls about his standard of beauty. You may think this is going overboard. It is not. When this is the image that little girls see all day long, that is the image they will strive for. Lets see more afrocentric features please.

    • SOLO ACT

      March 1, 2014 at 2:48 am

      thank u oooo after these same people wud be cursing out Toke for bleachin. its like WHY wunt she bleach when apparently these 3 white women on the cover are now “black” mchew. its always a Black man that puts down his women and it seems like they are too unintelligent to understand critical thinking and the underlining messages in images.

    • anwuli

      March 2, 2014 at 9:41 am

      you know!…. i for one couldnt really care less about the race of the girls Pharrell chooses for his album cover – white o, asian o, latino o, etc. that is his business, his album cover, and perhaps his preference in beauty. i dont care. i believe women should be secure in themselves – colour and all, and not seek validation from the media. what i have an issue with, however, is him coming out in defense to say that the lady standing beside him is black. the backlash on his album cover has to do with the fact that there is no one on there whom people with “dark” skin colours can relate to and identify with. she may be 75%, 50%, 25% or 1% black for all we know. the issue is that VISUALLY she does not represent the black or dark skinned sisters out there. and for him to then come out and say that perhaps the whitest looking of them all is actually black, i find is quite an insult to the intelligence of those complaining. it only goes to validate their point even more. If this is what the media feels black people should look like, where then is the representation of the truly dark and black skinned sisters.
      It really would have been better for him to keep quiet, than come out to say this.

  20. Zee

    March 1, 2014 at 12:37 am

    People talking crap here….. If u don’t like it then don’t buy…. Tu face or wiz kid for put white gal too looool…

    • Hannah

      March 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      @Zee don’t mind them. its a BIG shame majority of them are women (Nigerian women). talking crap .

      Enjoying my “Girl Album” and am loving “come get it bae” . Headphones on, dancing time.

  21. Nana

    March 1, 2014 at 3:43 am

    People are talking about the cover, but it is obvious that this is not about the cover. I don’t buy Pharell’s albums, so I could care less who is on it. The “black” girl on it is “barely” black, but that’s when brothers will say she is “black” because of the one drop rule that determined what it was black back in the day in the USA. However, whether we say it or not, many black men have “trophy mentality preference” for light skinned women and it shows up in who they date, marry, select as recording artists to produce for or have on their labels, or as models in their magazines etc. I’m in this field so I know first hand. Even recording artist, Amerie said it was so bad that brothers just wanted to get with her without knowing or caring about who she is because all they were concerned about is what is she mixed with. The bottom line is that anyone can do anything and hook up with who they like, but God is not color struck and blesses who he chooses to as we see with Lupita. Amen!

  22. Cocobutter

    March 1, 2014 at 3:44 am

    @ OAP Toolz or whatever you call yourself, maybe you need to read Pharell’s statement again, instead of suggesting that I use google!!! What an insult, some people don’t bother reading the whole article, they just come here to attack other people smh, jeez lets talk about bullying!!!

  23. 'Midé

    March 2, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Pharell is so cool and beyond race that he dated them all. He bonks without any colour screener. Good for him. He even dated a black girl on his album

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