Pharrell Williams has penned a powerful essay for Time in which he says the protests sweeping the nation have made him finally feel like an American.
For it, Williams curated a series of essays and conversations between Black leaders and celebs that “explore America’s oppressive past and visions for a more equitable future.”
It includes a variety of perspectives such as “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, activist Angela Davis, actress Yara Shahidi, and Grammy-winning rapper Tyler, the Creator.
“I wanted to convey a vision of a future filled with the artists, creators and entrepreneurs who can fulfill the promise of this country’s principles,” Williams writes in the essay of those he assembled to participate.
His essay, titled “America’s Past and Present Are Racist. We Deserve a Black Future,” draws parallels between the history of America and the racial reckoning which is occurring in the country now.
He writes that “America was founded on a dream of a land where all men were created equal, that contained the promise of liberty and justice for all.”
“But all has never meant Black people,” WIlliams continues. “Like most Black Americans, I understand that all exists only in the augmented-reality goggles available to shareholders, power brokers and those lucky enough to get in on the initial public offering. But the ongoing protests for equity and accountability that have overtaken cities across the nation have made me feel something new that I can only describe with one word: American.”
He also makes the argument for economic equality as well as true equal opportunity and representation for Blacks if this country is actually offer the American dream.
“America’s wealth was built on the slave labor of Black people: this is our past,” Williams writes.”To live up to America’s ideals, we must trust in a Black vision of the future.”
Williams and rapper/mogul Jay-Z dropped the single “Entrepreneur” on Friday in conjunction with the project.
“The intention for a song was all about how tough it is to be an entrepreneur in our country to begin with,” Williams told Time. “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?”
CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this report