Photos by A. Shurtleff. There must be something in the water in Virginia, Pharrell Williams said at the University of Virginia on Friday — and UVA graduates, whether born and bred or transplants, have an obligation to use their talents to help others. “Virginia has continued to produce icons, and I know that there are a bunch of future icons in this room waiting to reveal yourself,” he said in a fiery Valedictory Exercises address at John Paul Jones Arena.
“But my deep love for Virginia and for its people does not blind me to the fact that there is also troubled water here. In fact, my love for Virginia heightens my awareness that Virginia has a complicated history, a history that continues to shape the present.” Williams is a producer, songwriter and philanthropist who was born in Virginia Beach and performed at the Concert for Charlottesville in 2017. He spoke about challenges endemic to Virginia since its founding, and challenged graduates of the Class of 2019 to fight oppression wherever it is found.
Pharrell Williams offers inside look at Something In The Water music festival.
Verizon announced on Friday a partnership with Pharrell Williams to launch a tech-infused music curriculum in nationwide Verizon Innovative Learning schools. The education organization under the Verizon Foundation works toward providing free technology, internet access, technology-focused curriculum to under-resourced middle schools. The partnership also includes the building of a Verizon Innovative Learning Lab, which will feature cutting-edge technology such as augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics and machine learning. The lab will be located in a middle school in Pharrell’s hometown of Virginia Beach.
“I want all children to have access to that kind of creative growth, access and support. All kids, not just my own,” the producer recently told Billboard of how art can impact lives. “There’s a lot of variables in a situation as to why something falls apart, but there’s only one scenario where it holds together, and that’s when all the variables are there. The environment, the family, the school, the system — there’s so many things. We just want to do what we can to balance the odds so that as many kids as we can afford, or help and assist in whatever ways, get this access and support.”
In celebration of Nigo and Pharrell’s first Human Made store opening in Kyoto, Japan, on May 3, the brand has announced that a limited run of the collaborative Solar Hu Glide shoe launching exclusively in-store.
With Pharrell’s debut Something In The Water Festival heading to his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va. later this month (April 26-28), the multitalent has revealed a few more surprises up his sleeve. The festival announced on Tuesday that Timbaland, N*E*R*D, Busta Rhymes and Fam-Lay will be joining Skateboard P’s ensemble of friends accompanying him on stage.
The three-day festival put together by Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams will be at the Oceanfront from April 26-28. Organizers said as many as 25,000 people a day could attend. Last October, Pharrell Williams and his longtime manager, Ron Laffitte, met with officials from the city of Virginia Beach, Va., the Grammy-winning producer’s hometown, to pitch a new festival, Something In The Water’, that they wanted to launch this summer.
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