by G. Brown
The November issue of GQ magazine wants to introduce you to the new modern, millennial man with a cover that has heads turning and tongues wagging…
In case you missed it, the model is singer, producer, fashion icon Pharrell Williams sporting a very ‘Billy Porter-esque’ frock…umm coat…umm outfit. The headline “The New Masculinity” frames him in the same triangular shape as his outfit.
GQ editor in chief Will Welch says on GQ.com that since taking over the reins at the men’s magazine, he and the staff have been grappling with one key question-“How do you make a so-called men’s magazine in the thick of what has justifiably become the Shut Up and Listen moment?” The answer–why just appeal to men in this time of gender fluidity?
Welch says the publication formerly known as a magazine exclusively for men is now seeking to engage with a “diverse, and gender-nonspecific audience.”
That includes addressing men’s fashion which brings us to Pharrell on the cover. The “Happy” and “Blurred Lines” Grammy award-winning singer, producer was an obvious choice to redefine GQ’s look. Williams’ venture with Japanese fashion icon Nigo spawned hit brands like Billionaire Boys streetwear. And when he’s not grinding out hit songs or creating runway clothes and jewelry…he’s busy ignoring the trends and blazing a style trend of his own.
Still, some fans don’t like the cover look and are uncomfortable with the androgenous vibe…
Pharrell isn’t the first singer or celebrity to push the confines of comfort by exploring new fashion frontiers. Remember when Will Smith’s son Jaden sported skirts and dresses?
Fashion has always colored outside the lines of normal. The industry persistently straddles the line between art, fantasy, and outrageous. What works on the runway and fashion mag covers often gets drastically toned down before it sales on the rack at your local department store.
A lot of people suggest Pharrell is making a statement or hinting at some confession about a closeted life.
Others approve of the iconic photo and rise above all the chatter of ‘is he gay or bisexual’ to focus on the momentous achievement the cover is making for people of color.
MU’s Team Inspiration Today comes from @micaiah_carter’s GQ cover story on @Pharrell for their November issue titled “The New Masculinity”
A huge stride for creatives of color as the photographer, stylist and cover star representing this story are all of African descent. 🌍 pic.twitter.com/fhqBNJaXfA
— Melanin Unscripted (@MelaninUnscript) October 15, 2019
Welch is right when he says masculinity is changing. He sees that as good which isn’t to be confused with comfortable. Masculinity has morphed from the days of cavemen hunting and killing their dinner with spears to metrosexuals who are likely to be sitting next to any woman on her next visit to the salon for a mani-pedi.
Fashion doesn’t determine a man’s masculinity, but some accuse the industry of trying to blur the lines between genders with men wearing dresses and women wearing fedoras and ties.
Will every man be sporting a frock…umm coat…umm outfit like Pharrell soon? No, it’s just another fashion magazine trying to sell copies by capturing the conversation. And so far, it seems to be working.