From hit songs to business ventures in fashion, property, and skincare the recently turned 48-year-old Pharrell Williams is transitioning from hip-hop producer extraordinaire to something profitable and spectacular. Behind the scenes, his investment and business portfolios are growing to be impressive.
Pharrell’s best body of work across movie soundtracks, voice acting and singles have been giving us entertainment since the 1990s. He is often featured in as well as produced songs such as Kelis Milkshake, Nelly Hot In Herre and even Holla Back by Gwen Stefani. He's a man that prefers to keep his talent behind the scenes, and despite this, his features regularly reach number 1, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke was kept at number 1 for over 5 weeks. Pharrell didn’t stop there, alongside the Universal Pictures animation Despicable Me 2, he released “Happy” in 2013, which stayed at number 1 for over 12 weeks. His musical talent is undeniable but what most do not know is his talent regarding fashion technologies, future and finance.
Opening I Am Other in 2012 the multi-talented musician created an umbrella company for his ventures. The first and most successful being the fashion line Billionaire Boys Club. Despite recent financial strains the brand still holds significant weight in the streetwear fashion world. Yet this isn’t the only fashion venture Pharrell has dipped into. In 2004 he created ICECREAM a supplement to his Billionaire Boys Club line and despite his clear passion for the brand he sold 50% to the Iconix Brand Group. This brought a lot of debt to the fashion label and in efforts to save his projects, Pharrell and his partners purchased back the share last year.
Although BBC is Pharrell's most discussed venture he also joined sustainable company Bionic Yarn in 2014. This ocean aware and saviour company uses recovered material and recycles them through a scientific process in order to reduce waste and save oceans. The company has a grand supply chain reaching from New York to Asia, and turns trash to treasure to help reduce the 8 million tons of plastic thrown out each year. He told Women's Wear Daily in 2014, “fashion is certainly a huge part of everybody’s lives. You wear it every day, and for some people, it’s a status symbol or a statement of how much they have spent on clothes, or it’s a means of expressing their identity and who they are.” Not only does he have his own clothing ventures, but Pharrell also teamed up with G-Star Raw in 2016. His co-ownership of the denim brand allowed him to create his own line which was extremely popular and near enough steered the fashion house from bankruptcy. Pharrell not only proved his talent with the brand but also his flexibility when it comes to the industry.
The limitlessly talented musician has starred in many shows such as The Voice and has created opportunities for other musicians. Pharrell also starred in the Netflix show Voices Of Fire of which he was executive producer. The gospel competition aimed to create ‘the best choir in the world.’ Although Pharrell's most recognised achievements are his music he has also ventured into the world of film and voice acting. During his career, he has starred in the likes of the Simpsons, yet his most recognisable voice acting role is in the 2018 version of the Grinch of which he narrated the entire movie. Pharrell's relationship with film is pretty concrete and he is rumoured to be voice acting in a film coming out this year, as of yet no details have been released. The R&B singer featured heavily on the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2 in 2013 and featured number one ‘Happy.’ This broke records holding the number 1 title for over 12 weeks and even won a Grammy for best music video. His trophy cabinet must be overflowing at this point.
His voice is his main attribute yet the artist is stretching himself into new opportunities this year. Joining Vogue to show off his morning skincare routine and new venture, Pharrell commented on the subject of skincare expressing that “It's not male nor female it's for humans, that's what this whole thing is about.” Pharrell took full advantage of a gap in the market and political, social and economic situations to create a genderless skincare line Humanrace. When speaking to Vogue he expressed that “there are so many questions about gender and I just want to connect with humans.” Taking the notion we all have the same body to a different level his skincare line aims to break boundaries particularly with soft masculinity and beauty. Throughout centuries beauty and skincare have been seen to be a female occupation and hobby. Pharrell's line aims to break that stereotype and encourages men to be enthusiastic about their skin, beauty and body. Branching off from his BBC and ICECREAM businesses the gender-defying skincare brand is following trends and keeping up with society. At the age of 48 Pharrell openly understands the importance of gender and is conventionally giving society what is needed, no pink, blue, for men or for her in sight. Pharrell's skincare brand has not only opened up understanding for him personally but voiced his political and social opinion on gender. And not only has he broken boundaries for gender but also the hip-hop game. Known to be hard-faced and masculine, a male hip-hop artist isn’t exactly the prime painting for a skincare founder and ambassador. He has broken that fragile masculine image of hip-hop and questioned “why not?” He is a man unafraid to challenge norms and stereotypes.
Pharrell is breaking gendered and social stereotypes with his creative endeavours and that's exactly what the future needs to thrive. Although his music isn't number 1 on the regular anymore his producing, songwriting, voice acting, skincare enterprising and fashion founding career is keeping strong ahead. His recent venture also includes South Beach hotel ‘Goodtime,’ a lavish, fun having hotel where all are encouraged to recharge. Alongside Dave Grutman (AKA the King of Miami nightlife), Pharrell’s new 226 room hotel enterprise is to be the home of culture and identity and was described by a press release as the “vacation with a vacation.” In an interview with NBC, Williams described the hotel as “A place you are and get to be.” His versatility is simply unquestionable but makes us wonder what will Pharrell create next? A genderless fashion line? A politically open social platform? Or even something completely off course like the CEO of the WWF? Pharrell Williams' possibilities are endless and his ventures so far have proved his relevance in current culture.