Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams Tackle Race in a New Song
Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z are weighing in on the plight of black men and women in the United States — through a collaboration on a new song entitled “Entrepreneur”.
After the death of George Floyd earlier this year, the debate on racial inequality has surged globally. Naturally, the subject has permeated pop culture as well, where several artists are trying to infuse social issues into their art now.
“Entrepreneur” dropped on Friday in conjunction with Williams’ high-profile new Time magazine cover, “The New American Revolution” — described as “a special project curated by [Williams] that examines America’s oppressive past — and the potential for an equitable future.”
This new issue of Time features conversations with Angela Davis, Tyler the Creator, Naomi Osaka, Geoffrey Canada and more — discussing the systemic inequalities that black people have faced throughout U.S. history and how a more equitable future might be achieved across all industries and communities.
“The intention for [the] song was all about how tough it is to be an entrepreneur in our country to begin with,” Williams told the magazine. “Especially as someone of color, there’s a lot of systemic disadvantages and purposeful blockages. How can you get a fire started, or even the hope of an ember to start a fire, when you’re starting at disadvantages with regards to health care, education and representation?”
Lyrics from the new single touch on themes that are found in the new issue of Time: “In this position with no choice / The system imprison young Black boys / Distract with white noise.”
The title of the new song alludes to a key principle that Williams believes is necessary to overcome racial inequity: economic empowerment. Williams believes it will help improve communities across the board if they have adequate funds to work with.
Jay Z’s lyrics stress the importance of supporting black-owned businesses and starting one’s own ventures: “Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you?,” he raps, referencing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — adding, “For every one Gucci, support two FUBU’s.”
Although the song touches on serious themes, Williams also emphasized its inspirational message: that people should stick together, treat each other better and welcome each other — which will lead to more money and more opportunity for all.
The music video also spotlights various black entrepreneurs and community leaders across the country, celebrating their achievements as well.