For all the excitement over Pharrell’s first solo album in eight years G I R L, which is streaming now on iTunes radio, not everyone was excited about the album cover. Many fans criticized the artwork for not featuring any black women—this, of course, with zero knowledge of any of the models’ racial background. To put an end to the controversy, Pharrell phoned into Power 105.1′s The Breakfast Club this morning to explain that the critics got it wrong:
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 or 12 years ago. That just must suck, man, for people to look at something and to assume they know what’s going on. And 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 I’m trying to kill and trying to aid in changing is the crazy statuesque standard of you gotta be white, waif, and thin for you to be beautiful.
He then goes on to express his frustration with the light-skin vs. dark-skin debate that’s plagued the black community for decades, and talks about how much it means to him to be the first black artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 with “Happy” since Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in 2012. He also announces that the album’s next single will be “Marilyn Monroe.”
Listen to the full interview below.