The Concept of the New Black

The Concept of the New Black


Oprah’s interview with Pharrell Williams on the concept of “New Black” indicates that the superstar has aligned himself with a new race that is entirely different. Speaking, Williams identified himself as the New Black. To him, The New Black cannot put a blame on other races for problems related to black people (Jason). The New Black also realizes and dreams that it is not about pigmentation but about people’s mentality that will work for or against them. While it is admirable for people to believe that African Americans can transcend race, I think that Pharrell William’s concept of the New Black is a significant issue to people who do not conform to his narrow ideas. As a celebrity and public persona, Williams lives in an entirely different world free from the many “isms” that Black people encounter in their daily lives. For black people in the African Diaspora, the concept of the New Black cannot be applied to their experiences and does not fit with their goals because of the challenges they have to go through to adjust to a society full of inequity and injustices.

The New Black concept does not indicate the challenges encountered by Black people in their daily lives. Being black in modern societies is not necessarily easy, nor is it necessarily hard. It is misleading for Pharrell Williams to generalize the experience of being black, as it disregards the individual. That being said, a black man somewhere in the world is on death row for a crime he did not commit, while another has already been killed (Cormac and Aldrich 477). As other’s skin color nudged them up at one pivotal moment in their life, it knocked someone else down. Human experiences are vast. The worst part of being black in America is not being believed. Empathy or the benefit of the doubt is never something that a black person can bank on receiving. When a Black person makes a mistake, the society at large will not see him as a crazy person figuring life out or an irredeemable thug. Ultimately, the most emotionally draining aspect of being black is having to jump through hoops to prove that they are normal, trustworthy human beings when other people can just show up, say who they are, and be taken at face value (Chae et al 49). Therefore, being black is an experience that cannot be pinned down to one general statement, but there are plenty of joyful black experiences in the world, as well as there are tragic ones.

The New Black idea does is not related to goals of Black people living in the African diaspora. Contrary to Pharrell William’s statements on the concept of the New Black, the latest economics study shows that racism is much worse than a hard to detect 1% discrimination; each interaction point within society may be 13% more likely to discriminate and reject service or interaction with African Americans compared to whites (Whittington et al. 71). Presumably, people have hundreds of small interactions with society every day. It is always frustrating when interactions do not go well. Still, a 13% higher rejection rate stings, and it is not just the hate crimes of white nationalists every day; pervasive racism hurts Black people every day. This makes racism so destructive to the potential hindering success of all members of society. Racism, unfortunately, is pernicious and relentless. Even though the Jim Crow laws and slavery came to an end, discrimination against Blacks is still persistent. In addition to the scourge of failure-denial of service on daily interaction, the income gap and wealth gap continue to add to the pestilence of racism (Chae et al. 51). The median income of a white family can almost send one of their children to an Ivy League College for four years; the median income of an African American family could not even afford one semester of Ivy League education for one of their children. Therefore, when Pharrell Williams says that it is not about pigmentation, he is entirely wrong.

The emergence of the concept of New Black is not in any way connected achievement of full citizenship by black people. Any person born in the United States is automatically an American citizen. As descendants of the Indigenous people in the United States, Blacks were fully granted their citizenship after the abolishment of Slavery and Jim Crow laws. Several historical changes indicate his (Cormac and Aldrich 477). Africans in the Americas predates any modern government in North or South America. They were not “citizens” of any country, but indentured servants, chattel slaves, or freeman adventurers and colonists. This is the same way that other large racial groups also came to the Americas. It was a later development that had a great deal to do with the lack of native laborers and the local climate that resulted in the temporary indenture becoming chattel slavery and tied to race. Considering the status of slaves when they first arrived, their owners kept records. The slaves came in as assets and that, in the era of mercantilism, early in the 1600s, necessitated adequate record-keeping (Chae et al. 53). As a result, there is strong proof that people from Africa (Blacks) have a long and, in some respects, better-documented claim to being American than nearly any other ethnic, national, or cultural peoples.

The concept of the New Black cannot be applied to any Black person in the United States or African Diaspora. Being Black in the United States means living in fear of accusation, employment bias, and a constant need to work harder and longer than other groups. In Canada, it means that a Black person will be viewed with suspicion (Cormac and Aldrich 486). In other countries, it means working twice as hard and reaching twice as high to obtain what non-blacks get. It also means a sense of pride for what their ancestors overcame and a sense of inspiration to keep fighting.

The concept of race significantly matters in the 21st century. Their experiences shape people throughout their lives, and many of those experiences involve older people telling younger people about their own life experiences. This means that the 21st century falls into a historical context, and none of the social facts of the issue can be judged or even understood outside of that context (Whittington et al. 80). The race has mattered in the present as a social context. In the U.S., individuals are much more like to be stopped by the police than they are Black. Nonetheless, people may not be able to buy or rent property because of their skin color. Also, they will get fewer job interviews, more likely to be convicted in a court of law, and more likely to be denied medications because of their race.

In conclusion, Pharrell Williams’ concept of the New Black does not represent what Black people face nor fit their goals in the African diaspora. This is because of the experiences and challenges they go through in their daily life. The same concept also does not indicate that black people have achieved full citizenship because black people are among the first people in the U.S. There are many reasons why race matters in the 21st century. People must be aware of these problems to work on correcting them.














Works Cited

Chae, David H., et al. “Area Racism and Birth Outcomes among Blacks in the United States.” Social Science & Medicine, vol. 199, no. 1, 2018, pp. 49–55., doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.04.019.

Cormac, Rory, and Richard J. Aldrich. “Grey Is the New Black: Covert Action and Implausible Deniability.” International Affairs, vol. 94, no. 3, ser. 1, 2018, pp. 477–494. 1, doi:10.1093/ia/iiy067.

Parham, Jason. “The Curious Case of the ‘New Black’: A Conversation.” Gawker, 24 Oct. 2014,

Whittington, Elizabeth Y., et al. “Exploring Discursive Challenges between African Americans and African-born U.S. Immigrants from the Standpoint of African Americans.” Southern Communication Journal, vol. 86, no. 1, 2020, pp. 71–83., doi:10.1080/1041794x.2020.1861479.

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