A valiant, yet failed,Hypocritical effort to promote Black Entrepreneurship through Song
“It’s sort of like singing, but different!” Sir, you would have a truly magnificent voice if your lower register had the power and clarity that is so obviously lacking in your upper register!”
These are 2 of the many quotes I desperately researched and found to adequately describe the
painfully tone deaf presentation of Pharrell Williams in his and Jay-Z’s recent release of the song and Video “Entrepreneur:
To have two of “the biggest artists of all time or “Black Men '' collaborate and praise the very people they've garnered their succe$$es off of the back$ of, unapologetically, is truly disdainful and quite frankly, hypocritical!
Please allow me to elaborate!
Aside from homeownership, Entrepreneurship provides the second best opportunity for the “Black Man” to achieve generational wealth/success. With that being said, the images presented throughout the video were, indeed, powerful and profound! However,....
Entrepreneur #1- Pharrell Williams
A) In 2019, Williams et. al. was finally found guilty of copying an iconic and legendary “Black Man’s” hit single “Got to Give it Up” and using it to create Blurred Lines. Marvin Gaye’s Estate was forced to sue Pharrell et. al. and was, eventually, awarded approximately $5M in this historic ruling. Although this was the first time he was found guilty of “track jacking,” this certainly was not Pharrell’s first time at the “alleged” Intellectual Property theft rodeo, for...
B) In or about 2014, Pharrell attempted to trademark the name of his “creative venture and way of life I Am Other.” However, Will.i.am objected saying that people could confuse the two companies, leading to legal action and eventually a settlement.
C) Williams has been charged with numerous other copyright infringement lawsuits/charges of copying filed or alleged by other artists including:
1) Boone v. Jackson et. al- (Holla’back v. Young’N Holla’back-2006)
2) Peter Currin- (I’m Frontin v. Frontin-2010)
3) Geggy Tah-(Feel Like Me vs. Whoever You Are-2009)
4) Richard Morrill- (Who's got My Lighter vs. Spark the Fire)
5) Anne Marsen-Happy Video vs. Girl Walk All Day)..and others.
To have been continuously alleged and now officially charged with Intellectual Property improprieties against many “Entrepreneurs” and pretend to encourage and champion such may suggest that Mr. Williams may be no better than a Common Thief, an “Imposter” and/or“Hypocrite” as opposed to an authentic “Entrepreneur.”
Jay partnered with the completely and totally White Owned NFL league to “amplify the league’s social justice efforts' ' while simultaneously denigrating a “Black Man’s”(Colin Kapernick’s) now infamous and iconic Civil Rights campaign of the century. This convenient partnership, to many, gave the league justification for the allegations of blackballing and treatment of Colin Kapernick which called attention to the racial injustices and police brutality faced by “Black Men.” By professing that “Black Men'' should “ be past kneeling” Jay’s sentiment now rings hollow to everyone other than himself (at the time of his Partner$hip with the NFL) and Derick Chauvin (the white police officer whom we watched suffocate the life out of George Floyd), by doing exactly what Jay declared we should have been past…”kneeling”... on the necks of our “Black Men.”
Additionally, as recently critiqued by former NBA Star Stephon Marbury, this same Entrepreneur has, admittedly, profited off of illegal, immoral and potentially life threatening actions of illegal drug sales to the very “Black Man” he raps about. “At an early age, between choosing to get a low-paying ‘decent’ job, he opted to get a high-paying ‘indecent job’ – drug selling. Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, his place of upbringing, was heavily infested with drug abuse and hence it soon became a money prospect for the young Shawn Carter. It all ended when he surrendered himself completely to rap music.)*2
Could such behaviors have contributed to the destruction and negative life consequences for the very same “Black Men” he raps about?
Or, has he indeed “grown” and “atoned for” these indiscretions by all of his philanthropic actions and criminal justice reform initiatives supporting many of his former prey/individuals residing in the very same poverty stricken neighborhoods he allegedly preyed upon? Perhaps... and we must commend him for such if that is, indeed the case. However, will those directly affected by such actions be as forgiving... if still alive?
In summary, at what point do we hold these admittedly talented “Black Men” fully accountable for their hypocritical stances and demand that the messages we send to our children are from the messengers we want our children to, truly, emulate?
Should we stop propping our “Black Men”up to be iconic “Entrepreneurs” by parading them in front of our children at Virtual Graduation celebrations/television shows as some sort of “heroes” when, in fact, much of their succe$$ has consciou$ly or unconscious$ly to been achieved on the “necks” and “backs” of “Black Men” everywhere?