LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams said he was “embarrassed” by one of his biggest pop hits, the 2013 song “Blurred Lines”, having realised that the lyrics were “rapey”.
The song, which Williams recorded with singer-songwriter Robin Thicke and rapper T.I., was banned from a list of universities after its lyrics were panned for promoting a culture of date-rape and its sexually explicit video.
Williams, 46, whose songs also include “Happy”, defended the song in earlier interviews despite coming under attack for lyrics such as “I know you want it”.
But in an interview with GQ magazine this week, Williams said he now understood how the lyrics could be seen as “rapey”.
“I realized that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behavior,” he told the magazine.
“It just matters how it affects women.”
Williams said he was “born in a different era” where many of the things that he grew up with that were considered normal would be viewed differently now.
“Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place,” he said.
“I realized that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country.”
Reporting by K. Sophie Will, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org