Like so many entertainers and celebrities, Pharrell Williams of “Happy” fame has decided to weigh in on Ferguson. In an interview with Ebony Magazine, the singer made a rather pointed comment about Michael Brown’s actions.
EBONY: Did you see the video allegedly showing Michael Brown stealing from a convenience store minutes before his death?
WILLIAMS: It looked very bully-ish; that in itself I had a problem with. Not with the kid, but with whatever happened in his life for him to arrive at a place where that behavior is OK. Why aren’t we talking about that?
Good question, Pharrell.
The interviewer went on to say that they “almost hear the gnashing of Bill Cosby’s teeth” when this comes up. (Although mentioning Bill Cosby at the moment is extremely problematic.)
Pharrell then completely tempers his comments by immediately following up with his belief that Officer Darren Wilson should go to jail anyway, because, well…. read it for yourself.
I believe that Ferguson officer should be punished and serve time. He used excessive force on a human being who was merely a child. He was a baby, man. The boy was walking in the middle of the street when the police supposedly told him to “get the f–k on the sidewalk.” If you don’t listen to that, after just having pushed a storeowner, you’re asking for trouble. But you’re not asking to be killed. Some of these youth feel hunted and preyed upon, and that’s why that officer needs to be punished.
Pharrell is trying to have it both ways, and it’s not possible. On the one hand, he acknowledges that Brown committed a robbery before his confrontation with Officer Wilson, and asks a question that others have brought up – why did Brown feel like he could shoplift, rough up the storeowner (elevating his crime from shoplifting to strong-armed robbery), and then take on a police officer right after that? Apparently it would be insensitive and/or racist to ask his parents this question. So, credit where it is due to Pharrell for bringing it up.