Saturday, November 5, 2016

An Afternoon with Pharrell, Talking Entertainment, Inclusion and -- Of Course -- Trump


Variety's first-ever Inclusion Summit brought together some heavy industry hitters to talk diversity and more in entertainment. I moderated the final panel of the day, a chat with Pharrell Williams. And although Pharrell is fairly soft spoken, he's got a lot to say. Most of the chat was about "Hidden Figures," the movie he produced about three African-American women who were instrumental in working on the early U.S. space program. (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae star).

Variety's Dan Holloway wrote up the highlights:

“If all the women in this nation decided to vote and support the first female candidate, there’d be nothing to worry about,” Williams said in a conversation with Indiewire executive editor and Variety editor-at-large Michael Schneider. “It’s that easy.”

Of Clinton, he added, “Has she been dishonest about things? Sure. Have you?” Accusing Clinton’s opponents and Trump of “gender bias,” he said, “She don’t lie no more than any other politician does.”

At the end of a conversation that focused on Williams’ wide-ranging career in film, television, and music — including as a producer of the upcoming feature “Hidden Figures,” Schneider asked Williams how the social and political polarization of the day has impacted him and his work. Williams responded with a long period of quiet.

“That silence in this room right now is often what I feel when you see some of the things that are being said, not just about my culture, but about women,” Williams said. He spoke of the need for women to wrest control of society from men. “I’m praying that women come together and save this nation,” he said. “You think about the destructive things that have come from mankind, it’s mostly men.”

Watch the video in this Variety tweet:

Meanwhile, Entertainment Tonight was also there, and filed this report:
When taking the stage with Variety's Editor-at-Large, Michael Schneider, Pharrell admitted he's "praying for the human condition." "I'm praying for women, I'm praying that we make better decisions," said the GRAMMY winner. "We're at a place and time where people say things -- and you'll see woman supporting that," adding "It ain't just men on that trail following that guy." Pharrell is of course referring to Trump and the leaked Access Hollywood video from 2005 where he can be heard making lewd comments about women, as well as the sexual assault allegations against the presidential candidate, which he has denied. "If all the woman in this nation decided to vote and support the first female candidate, there would be nothing to worry about," added the "Happy" singer. "It's that easy."

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