Leaning into the allure of achievement, big corporations have been able to capitalize on capturing the attention of millions across the globe who aspire to one day reach the league or land atop the Billboard charts. While Nike personifies the spirit of athletes that aspire to excellence and Apple represents the ethos of innovators making the world more connected.
Adidas stands for creators actively redefining industries and disrupting business models. With a growing roster of notable change-makers such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, the apparel company aims to represent today’s ambitious era of multi-hyphenates, reflecting an influence that extends beyond a singular segment.
Julian Mitchell: Describe the inspiration behind this year’s ComplexCon activation and why this experience was important to introduce at the conference?
Torben: Our biggest source of inspiration is always our consumer, and the constant feedback we receive about our brand events and experiences. We challenged ourselves to show up at ComplexCon with moments that bridge the gap between cultural icons and their fans, while offering great product through a fully digital shopping experience. In addition to our new design with Pusha T, we worked closely to give local aspiring musicians one-on-one time with him during ComplexCon. As part of the Sound Labs program, those chosen by Pusha T worked to earn a musical development grant.
He draws a parallel between collaborating and writing a song.
I think collaborations for me are where I learn about myself and others. It’s where I learn new techniques and new ways of thinking. It’s a means for me to elevate myself. Collaboration has given me so much, just like music has given me so much. It’s the same idea where the collision of two, three, four notes make a chord or a harmony. The same principle applies to when I work with another human being, when you combine different creative minds to make something new. It all comes down to discovery and learning in the end.
The question of cultural appropriation all depends on “who’s holding the paintbrush.”
Well it depends on who’s doing it. Cultural appropriation was born out of different groups feeling like something very dear to them in terms of their customs is being used by a group that wouldn’t normally be associated with those particular customs, but in a situation where it would be deemed offensive. I guess I’m trying to speak with diplomacy and I’m finding it hard to do so [laughs]. Because I would normally just say it in a different way. But I guess the best way to say it is that we in America currently live in a matrix that’s mainly tailored for the benefit of the older, straight white male.
A couple of songs with Pharrell? Did I hear that right? Interesting. Everyone wants to work with Normani but like I mean who wouldn’t? 😌💁🏾♀️ pic.twitter.com/ysLrHYu6Fk
— Jassy❄️/Stream Waves!!🌊🌊💜⚜️ (@Jasmani_kordei) December 8, 2018
Just ahead of taking the stage for his American Express Platinum House Concert at the 1 Hotel during Art Basel in Miami on Saturday, Pharrell Williams sat down with PEOPLE and opened up about the love of his life, wife of five years Helen Lasichanh. “I love her because of everything that she is, good, bad and indifferent,” Williams, 45, says of the model and designer. “We share a space in love that is, I don’t possess her. You know when I was young I used to say things like, ‘Oh, she’s mine.’” “But she’s not mine,” says Williams, before adding, “but she sure makes me feel like it.” “I’m exhausted,” he said just ahead of the performance, “just tired from this whole year.”
Williams says his time in South Africa — where he took the stage at Global Citizen Festival alongside Beyoncé and JAY-Z for their song “Nice” — was the most inspiring. “It was beautiful. I was there with all of my gorgeous people and DNA. It was beautiful to see all of that,” he says. “There’s a lot of familiar energy that you feel. Language might be different, customs might be different, but you feel the energy when you’re around your people. It’s just a natural thing.” “I didn’t say one word on the verse,” he says with a laugh. “But it was a blast — we had a great time.”
Pharrell has been nominated again for next years Grammy Awards in 4 categories which are ‘Best Pop Solo Performance’ by Camila Cabello’s ‘Havana (Live)’, ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’ by Camila Cabello with ‘Camila’ & Ariana Grande with ‘Sweetener’, ‘Best Urban Contemporary Album’ by The Carters with ‘Everything Is Love’ and ‘Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical’, you can find the complete List HERE!
Category 5 – Best Pop Solo Performance
• “Havana (Live)”
Category 8 – Best Pop Vocal Album
Category 20 – Best Urban Contemporary Album
• Everything Is Love
Category 70 – Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical
• Pharrell Williams
• “Apes***” (The Carters) (T)
• Man Of The Woods (Justin Timberlake) (A)
• No One Ever Really Dies (N.E.R.D) (A)
• “Stir Fry” (Migos) (T)
• Sweetener (Ariana Grande) (A)
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