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Speaking to Ebony magazine well before Monday evening’s grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, Pharrell Williams shared his thoughts on Ferguson, admitting that some of his views might get him “in trouble.”

Williams said the video of the late teenager robbing a convenience store minutes before his death “looked very bully-ish.”

“That in itself I had a problem with,” he explained. “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?”

Ebony suggested that remark was reminiscent of comedian Bill Cosby‘s long-standing wish for the black community to look inward on racial matters.

“I agree with him,” Williams said. “When Cosby said it back then, I understood; I got it. Listen, we have to look at ourselves and take action for ourselves. Cosby can talk that talk because he created Fat Albert, he tried to buy NBC, he portrayed a doctor on ‘The Cosby Show’ and had all of us wearing Coogi sweaters. You’ve got to respect him.”

However, Pharrell asserted, “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 “Happy” singer continued: “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.”

Asked about the militarized police response to the initial Ferguson protests, Williams asked: “Why do you need that equipment in the inner city? There was a lot of excessive force used, and that’s why I felt President Obama needed to be there.”

He suggested that “the hangover from Ferguson is going to be a long one, worse than Trayvon Martin.”

Asked whether racism still exists, Williams pointedly answered: “Yes.”

A Year Later: Remembering Michael Brown & The City Of Ferguson
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27 thoughts on “Pharrell talks Ferguson: Wonders What in Brown’s Life Led to ‘Bully-ish’ Robbery

  1. Wonder if he feels the same way about white ppl since they been bullying blacks since we came over here on those cruise ships. Plus every one he works with in the rap game talks about bullying or killing someone.

  2. Nobody can argue what the white race is. History tells the world time and time again what they are, pure evil on this earth. Worldwide murderers. Humanity would know nothing but happiness if they didn’t exist.

  3. Honestly on said:

    Don’t try to reason with brain dead cave n!@@ers. The neanderthal apes are rigid racist. This cave n!@@er derren wilson is a lying child killer. His mother was a lying cave n!@@er and convicted felon. Karma will deal with this mayonnaise monkey. These feces smelling cave apes will cannibalize themselves with their violent nature. They should have never been let out of the caves of Europe.

  4. Scott,
    After being shot four times you believe that Brown then turned around and ran toward the person shooting him?! Are you for real? And there aren’t witnesses who testified to any such thing. There was ONE count ’em ONE witness who backed up Wilson’s account who incidentally claimed to be 100 yards away from the incident in his/her second interview with police in August. Now, he/she claims to only have been 50 yards away.

    • Donna, forensics show that the casings where in close proximity to the body, meaning he had to come back to the officer. Toxology reports showed that he was high…who knows why he turned and came back. Witness testimony is frequently inconsistent, so you have to weigh it based on physical evidence. Facts matter. At the time of the shooting Wilson DID know about the theft and that Brown matched the description. He didn’t know it when he rolled up on them, but as he drove past, he saw the cigarellos and realized the two individuals matched the description provided by dispatch, and he back up and tried to cut them off. This is in the testimony despite your earlier remarks. There are many legitimate profiling cases we can rally around. This is not one of them. He stole, bullied the clerk, disobeyed an officer, then got into an altercation with the cop inside the police car. His death is tragic. But it’s not like the cops just rolled up on him for no reason. Pharrell, at least, had the courage to ask the hard questions we should be asking ourselves.


    • Hmmm interesting assessment since Rev Al and many others spend countless hours in Chicago, DC, LA, NY and Atlanta speaking to and mentoring to young men of color. Maybe if you broaden your vision and stop being so narrow minded you can see some of the work activists do in their community to try and combat that violence you speak of. However if you’re trying to gain knowledge from your local media channel you won’t find it until the person of color commits a crime. I find it interesting that yes 91% of crime committed against a black person is by another black individual. Yes that number is atrocious but let’s not turn a blind eye to the fact that 86% of crime committed against a white person is by a white individual. Care to elaborate why you see no call for action on white on white crime??

  6. Ppl the cop said his gun jammed. A gun doesnt jam and then all of a sudden it starts to shoot. If it jammed then its done or it will back back fire on u. Damn he just lied.

    • Back fire? What are we talking about a car or a firearm? Ever hear of stove piping,
      failure to reach full battery, failure to feed, failure to eject common malfunctions associated with semi auto weapons his police training would have taught him to quickly
      resolve any of those situations

      • Read the testimony champ, the event only lasted 2min. If he had time to problem solve a jammed gun then he had time the think, meaning he could process that the assailant was unarmed. Plus if a gun jams it might explode on u, backfire. Do ur research.

      • watched the interview 2 min is a lifetime in a situation like that ,I’ve cleared jammed weapons in seconds and I still reiterate If the gentle giant had been raised with better civility he would still be alive we keep wanting to blame every one except

    • He said the gun clicked when he pulled the trigger. If the clip is unseated or if the gun was not fully recocked when a round is already chambered, it could misfire. He recocked it, which is just as simple as pulling it back. It’s spring loaded and takes a fraction of a second. These guys practice it all the time. What would be his point in bringing that up if it didn’t happen? He’s got nothing to gain by making a story like that up.

  7. Mike in MO and every place else Assault &Battery can get you dead if you choose to go up against
    An armed or superior adversary it’s interesting how people keep throwing out that “unarmed teen” label in a physical altercation there is no such thing as an unarmed person, the man in Philly that snatch the grown woman off the street was unarmed
    The last couple of police shootings in my city involved white perps.
    So I guess the cops here haven’t got the memo their only supposed to shoot black
    I continue to ask the question if Michael Brown had not robbed that store would he be dead now?
    I would also like to see a TV interviewer ask the parents how they about the store video
    As far as cops don’t shoot violent white criminals? GOOGLE (north Hollywood shoot out circa 1997)

    • Hmm interesting jhuf you still didn’t answer my rhetorical question….so let me sloooooow it down for you a little. The white guy who killed the state trooper in PA and on the run and finally caught is where? Does he have any bullet wounds on his body? According to your logic he should have been killed going up against an authority figure…correct? Not only did he assault an officer but he KILLED him. I’ll await your response. Please provide examples and not your own ideology about cops shooting white individuals. You claim for me to google an event from 1997?? Really you can’t be that dumb to not realize its freaking 2014! For everyone of your white perps shot by an officer I can give you 7 men of color shot. When you await the questioning of Michael Brown’s parents let’s ask the parents of the cop killer in PA what went wrong in his upbringing? Next let’s asked the CO movie theater shooter parents what happened? Oh we can’t forget the 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook can we? Oh damn how did I forget what about the 22 church shootings this year? How did I forget the shootings at our military installations.

      Man when you have this meeting you going to need to rent out the biggest arena you can find for all these white parents. Hit me up when you send out those invitations!


  8. U right massa the cop should hv just pistol whipped him and brought the chains out and just dragged him with his truck like youll use to do and still do n some parts that would teach his family a lesson, never mess with a demon. Damn. What a society.

  9. The Truth on said:

    @Linda, don’t be a part of the problem. Be a part of the solution. Film footage showed Michael Brown bullying the store clerk, and stealing the cigars. I agree he should not have been killed, however we do need to look within, and raise our kids to respect others and society.

  10. I agree Scott. Again, I want to stress that the cop did wrong; however, this could have been avoided if Michael would have just listen; even if Michael was done wrong, Michael could have reported that cop. IT has been done by other blacks.

    • Amber, I’m not saying the cop was right. I actually think he should have waited for backup before confronting Brown. But you do have black testimony that there was a fight in the car, and that Brown charged back at the officer after being told to stop. So, there are a number of different takes on what happened, and we’ll probably never be 100% sure. But, in this situation, Brown wasn’t simply doing nothing. He wasn’t dwb (driving while black), or just chillin’ and the cop rolled up on him for no reason. We also have to be honest with each other about that. I hate when I hear white folks talk about personal responsibility as if it’s code directed at us, but guess what…sometimes we need to own that. We all know people working the system…we joke and laugh about it, right. But let’s be honest about it and stop making excuses. It’s hard for us to hear sometimes, but when are we going to start living up to what our people gave their lives for? It makes me sick when I think of all our brothers and sisters who gave their lives just so we could vote, and then we don’t show up at the polls, and then wonder why we don’t have any representation. We’ve got to take care of our own problems. Not saying it’s easy, but WE have to own it.

  11. Also, we as blacks need to learn to respect ourselves FIRST. We can not demand another race to respect us when a lot of us do not respect each other. We even makes jokes about not even wanting to date/marry our own people and act like someone of another race will treat you better. WE make excuses for calling each other the N word. WE have fear of each other. We shot each other like dogs in the streets YET we expect others to show us respect. It wont work. We already have a strike against us when we are good but when we act up, that is going to make it even worst.

  12. Regardless Michael Brown did not deserve to die being unarmed. Having said that, this goes to show that we as a people need to start taking responsibility in the things we do. I believe Michael reacted to the cop because he thought the cop was coming after him for the store incident even though the cop did not know he was in the store incident. Even though the cop over did it, Michael should have listen to cop, even if he was done wrong, wait until he got home, go to Chief (if the CHief did not do anything, go to Mayor) and file against the cop. WE need to learn to use our HEADS instead of our fist. It is all about being able to “wake up” the next day and NOT dead with an ego in a grave.

  13. I don’t believe that Michael Brown was or did commit a robbery prior to him being MURDERED by D. Wilson.

    This is just another lie that White folks have told in order to justify that POS Wilson’s excessive force!

    If you tell a lie enuff, eventually some folks will begin to believe it which is why this bogus “robbery” story got started.

    Mr. Brown was shot and killed because that RACIST Pig Wilson feared Black men!

    Since White Pigs suffer from Xenophobia-they need to stay out in the suburbs where they will only have to police their own kind!!!!!!!!!

    • So the tape released of Michael Brown stealing the cigars and assaulting the store clerk was a lie? His friend even said it was true. Brown didn’t deserve to be shot and killed but he did steal and assault the clerk.

      • In MO assault & battery gets you 2-5 yrs in prison not death! Like Arsenio used to say…things that make you say “hmmmmm”…so explain to me why when a white man shoots and kills a police officer and injures another in a gunfight….is a fugitive for almost 2 months when finally captured the cops arrest him without incident?? Also when arrested had in his possession 2 semi automatics weapons…3 grenades…handcuffs and 2 knives…however once again was just arrested. Your answer like many others would be because he didn’t put up a fight or try to run or better yet…we didn’t fear for our life. Interesting because the reason why you were searching for the guy in the first place was because he KILLED A COP! However I guess he found his conscience running/hiding for over a month.

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