Monday night’s (September 18) annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors ceremony brought back the heat with a ‘90s-era time travel, courtesy of the culture’s most iconic artists like Trina, Missy Elliott, Xscape and Warren G.
Openly welcomed at any celebration of Black America, it also brought forth an impromptu address from acclaimed Neptunes super-producer Pharrell on the current state of the U.S. nation. And for America’s most privileged population, a.k.a. White America, the address was especially important as the live festivities of Black culture unfolded.
Calling upon the television viewers first, Pharrell demanded that when it comes to the treatment of minority citizens in America, they pay just as much attention to the injustices as they do everything else on their TV screens. That goes for the “color-blind” folks, too.
“So for everybody at home right now watching this, and acting like y’all don’t see what’s going on out there, open your eyes,” he started. “You keep saying you don’t see what’s going on on television—what’s happening to us—open your eyes.”
Pharrell continued his declaration, alluding to one of America’s most avoided subject matters, slavery, and reminding that Black America is here to stay. His forewarning to those who have turned the other cheek to the racial climate, however, was one of the most intense points of his speech.
“And for everybody else in this country, the human condition is important,” he said. “Don’t think just because they’re coming at the African-Americans, and they’re coming at the Jewish community, and they’re coming at the Hispanics that it can’t be you too just because you look like them. They’re using you.”
Considering that the “Frontin’” emcee previously shared sentiments supporting “All Lives Matter,” the deliberate inverse of “Black Lives Matter” fueled by white America, some might find his latest dialogue surprising. Fortunately, he’s now set off on the right foot in 2017, however, and his message is definitely one for the hip-hop history books.
Hear some of what he had to say in the video below.
(Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)