One week prior to a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, singer Pharrell Williams told Ebony Magazine that the teenager exhibited “bully-ish” behavior.
Williams, one of the most popular black artists in America, spoke candidly about the surveillance tape showing the alleged robbery, the altercation Brown had with police, and ultimately Brown’s behavior leading up to his death.
“It looked very bully-ish; that in itself I had a problem with,” Williams said, referring to the surveillance video that allegedly showed Brown forcibly stealing cigarillos from a store shortly before he was fatally shot by Wilson. “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?”
Williams then elaborated on his opinions regarding the outcome of the Aug. 9 incident:
“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,” he said.
After the news of the grand jury’s decision broke, Pharrell turned to Twitter to speak out again on the subject: “I’m heartbroken over the news of no indictment in Ferguson. Let’s all pray for peace.”
The artist’s stance on Wilson walking free was praised by some of his followers. However, many on Twitter called Williams out for his previous comments to Ebony, one even calling for the revocation of his “black card.”
pharrell williams saying that michael brown exhibited ‘bully-like behavior’ translated to the ultimate revocation of his black card.
— mama (@nurserycrimes) November 26, 2014
#MikeBrown was a bully says Pharrell Williams. So do we get a pass to shoot bullies in society? Way to go Pharrell. Fox news says Hi.
— Tina Ison (@Tinaleigh777) November 26, 2014
Hey white people, y’all want Pharrell Williams?
— Terrell J. Starr (@Russian_Starr) November 26, 2014
— charles crews/ (@crews4you) November 26, 2014