Pharrell’s emotional Oprah moment shows that men can be vulnerable, too

It should be simple and such an easy thing to give and to love and yet so many men struggle to do it.

Internet Culture

Published Apr 18, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 11:10 am CDT


So, the incredible and extremely successful rapper/producer extraordinaire, Pharrell Williams, has been a favorite of mine since he collaborated on Justin Timberlake’s first solo album back in the day.

He has it all: looks, fame, fortune, talent, excellent character, endless creativity and connections. That only names a few, and I don’t even know him!

When I saw something about Pharrell crying, I thought, “Damn. Here’s a strong, talented high-profile man. What on earth made him cry and why did he do it on camera?”

So, why did this make me cry to watch it?

I cried because he’s clearly struggling with the tears. I wondered if he felt ashamed or scared to cry on camera, knowing it would be public and up for criticism. I wondered what he meant, exactly, when he said, “Why am I crying on Oprah?”

I cried because, if you listen to them both, you will hear the supreme and unbelievable joy that comes after incredible suffering and struggle. You will hear how hard they both worked, against tremendous odds, to achieve the success they both have. I resonated with the bittersweetness of hard-earned success.

I cried because their success has largely and almost exclusively come from their inner desire to help people. His song “Happy” isn’t his best or most inspired work, but it has had a profound cultural impact. People all over the world are walking a bit lighter and with more spring in their step because of this song.

This song is raising the vibe of human existence in almost every country right now on this planet. And as Oprah said, anything that comes from that clear and selfless intention will absolutely be successful.

It should be simple and such an easy thing to give and to love and yet so many men struggle to do it. We struggle to show the overwhelming human emotions of pain, joy, elation, fear, trepidation. We worry about crying in public. 

I hope this video changes that. I hope this video of Pharrell crying achieves as much if not more distribution and success than “Happy.” I hope that, because what I saw in this video/interview wasn’t two superstars. I saw two people who really know the meaning of love. Love expressed as art and love expressed as one’s life work.

I hope this video goes viral because Pharrell allowed the truth of his joy and gratitude for his life to come out and he expressed it so beautifully and so clearly, with tears—to someone who really got it, too.

If you allow yourself to feel the same things, you can’t help but cry along with him.

This article was originally featured on the Good Men Project and reposted with permission. Dillan DiGiovanni is a health coach, speaker and writer for the Good Men Project. He’s into real food, deep people and Buddhism.

Photo via Merlijn Hoek/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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*First Published: Apr 18, 2014, 10:00 am CDT