Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z have released their first new song together in more than a decade, “Entrepreneur.” The song’s video is a powerful statement in itself, showing a series of Black entrepreneurs and how they solved a social or business problem that confronted them. Rapper Tyler, the Creator and filmmaker Issa Rae are just two of the many people who are presented in the series, which also includes a moment of silence for the late Nipsey Hussle.
“The intention for a song was all about how tough it is to be an entrepreneur in our country to begin with,” Williams says. “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?”
Jay Z, in his verse, stresses the importance of supporting Black businesses and starting one’s own ventures. “Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you?,” he raps, referencing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, before adding, “For every one Gucci, support two FUBU’s,” referencing the “For Us, By Us” clothing line.
Others entrepeneurs featured in the video include Robert Hartwell, Six Sev, TyAnthony Davis [Founder of Vox Collegiate Junior High], Vincent Williams [Founder of Honey’s Kettle], Iddris Sandu, Beatrice Dixon [Founder of Honey’s Pot], Arthell & Darnell Isom[Founders of D’ART Shtajio], Neighbors SkateShop, Alrick Augustine, Denise Woodard [Founder of Partake Cookies],Chace Infinite [Founder of Harun Coffee Shop], Chef Alisa [Founder of My Two Cents], Debbie Allen [Founder of Tribe Midwifery], Angela Richardson [Founder of PUR Home], Miss Bennett Fitness, Black and Mobile, Trill Paws Dog Accessories, Third Vault Yarns, and “The First Black Valedictorian of Princeton” Nicholas Johnson. They all make cameos as title cards introduce their accomplishments.
The song, produced by Williams with his longtime partner in the Neptunes, Chad Hugo, “is trying to communicate that when we stick together, treat each other better and welcome each other, there’s more money and more opportunity for everyone,” Williams says.
The song is released in conjunction with Williams’ new Time magazine cover package, “The New American Revolution.” According to the announcement, the issue, curated by Pharrell, includes conversations with Angela Davis, Tyler the Creator, Naomi Osaka, Geoffrey Canada and more about “the systemic inequalities that Black people have faced throughout United States’ history, and how a more equitable future might be achieved across policy, medicine, culture, sports and education.”
Pharrell recently spoke with Variety about longstanding racism issues in the music industry.