Kelis Slams Music Execs, Says Black Artists Are Owed Reparations & Calls Pharrell a ‘Thief’: He’s Worse Than The Big Labels!

Kelis, Pharrell

Kelis Slams Music Execs, Says Black Artists Are Owed Reparations & Calls Pharrell a ‘Thief’: He’s Worse Than The Big Labels!

Singer Kelis is challenging top record label executives to put their money where their mouth is regarding support for black artists who have generated millions of dollars into its wallets.

On Tuesdays (June 2nd), the 40-year-old songstress took to Instagram to share an action plan of ways music labels should pay back black artists. Kelis suggests four key points and writes:

“…Labels and platforms can start with amending contracts, distributing royalties, diversifying boardrooms, and retroactively paying back all they black artists, and their families, they have built their empires on.”

After sharing her plan, Kelis responded to several comments including a follower who says artists aren’t forced to agree to the terms of their music contracts. Kelis replies,

“Please. Okay, if you don’t get it, just be quiet. This is all part of it. But I have no more explanation for you if you can’t see that.”

The Grammy-nominated singer agrees with other followers who point out money isn’t a replacement for a life that has been taken away, but Kelis feels that reparations are definitely due. Kelis writes,

“No, it’s called reparations, sir. The lives can not be brought back but the rest of us who are still here fighting deserve what we were promised.”


In addition to calling out top music industry executives on supporting black artists more, the singer slams super-producer Pharrell. She writes,

“Thief, like the big labels, worse in fact. Black in black crimes.”

Pharrell Williams

As reported earlier this year, Kelis opened up on how she was “blatantly lied to and tricked,” by Pharrell into signing a contract that prevented her from making money from the sales. She said of Pharrell and his the Neptunes co-artist Chad Hugo:

“Their argument is: ‘Well, you signed it.’ I’m like: ‘Yeah, I signed what I was told, and I was too young and too stupid to double-check it.’”


She added:

“And he did that thing to me that he’s notorious for, which is making a nod from the stage [to someone in the audience], so it seems like there’s mutual respect, when in reality. I’m like, OK, I’m not going to yell back: ‘You stole all my publishing!’ So you end up nodding back and everyone thinks everything’s great. Like, whatever.”

The Neptunes fully produced both of her first two albums: 1999’s Kaleidoscope and 2001’s Wanderland. Kaleidoscope peaked at number 144 on the Billboard 200, and has sold nearly 250,000 copies in the United States.

Her comments come after Raphael Saadiq also accused the music industry of being looters.

What are your thoughts on Kelis’s claims against Pharrell? Let us know in the comments!




Authored by: Gregory Molette