You may not have heard of him until he became a judge on NBC's "The Voice" or until his song "Happy" became an international super hit, but for me Pharrell Williams is a trailblazer who is so much more than just reality show judge and music producer. In today's world where finding an honest role model in the limelight is hard to find, I'm grateful to have grown up watching such an awesome example of one. He isn't perfect, but following his career has taught me a hand full of important life lessons, here are just a few.
He taught me to think outside the box.
Pharrell's music is ubiquitous and he has never stuck to one genre or type of music. He has experimented with many different sounds and following him musically I have learned creative risk are essential to staying innovative and forward-thinking. Moreover, he takes just as must creative risk with his style as he does with his music. His ever changing fashion continues to push the envelope and has taught me to do the same in whatever I do.
He taught me about fashion.
Pharrell has been quite the fashion icon over the years. From popularizing the Japanese streetwear brand Bape and creating his own successful clothing line Billionaire Boys Club/ Ice Cream, to his signature Arby's style hat he wore to the 2014 Grammy's. He has also piqued my interest to haute couture. He has been featured in Vogue modeling for such high fashion brands as Louis Vuitton and Chanel, even name dropping these legendary fashion brands in his songs. Pharrell's trend-setting style not only gave me incite into the world of fashion early on, but gave me the confidence to find my own sense of style, and wear it with confidence.
He taught me to be myself.
Let's be honest, Pharrell can be little weird and eccentric. But that's what makes him so cool, he is unapologetically genuine. The early 2000s was a period of time when dressing in fitted clothing, skateboarding, and listening to anything that wasn't rap (as a young black boy) was looked at as uncool, but Pharrell pioneered a generation into thinking otherwise. He showed me to embrace the things that I like despite how outlandish or different they may be. In doing so, he taught me to follow my own path and how cool it is to be authentic.
He taught me how to be great, without being cocky.
The most amazing thing about Pharrell is his ability to stay sincerely humble despite all he has accomplished. It would be so easy for him to have an ego in an industry full of them (We're looking at you Mr.West), but he continues to take all his success as a blessing. What makes his humility so much more appealing is his thirst to stay innovative, despite what he as already accomplished. He has taught me under all circumstances to stay grateful, modest, and to always strive for more.
Check out the video for one of my favorite Pharrell songs "Frontin" below, featuring Jay Z.