Pharrell Williams calls for economic equity during MLK event

FILE - Norfolk State University President Javaune Adams-Gaston bestows Pharrell Williams with an honorary doctorate after he gave the commencement speech, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Norfolk, Va. In remarks made Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, during the Urban League of Hampton Roads’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. awards program, singer and music producer Williams challenged corporate America to “do more” by supporting entrepreneurs of color and adopting economic equity measures. (Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot via AP, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Singer and music producer Pharrell Williams is challenging corporate America to “do more" by supporting entrepreneurs of color and adopting economic equity measures.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that in remarks Monday during the Urban League of Hampton Roads’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. awards program, Williams said big businesses need to invest in people of color and noted that some of them already are.

“Not all businesses,” Williams added. “The smart ones — the ones that will be here in 50 years.”

Williams singled out the Japanese financial and venture capital group SoftBank. He said the group was investing in founders of color, who could then create generational wealth and change their cities for the better.

Williams, who was born in Virginia Beach, also urged businesses and philanthropists to support the Urban League and thanked the local chapter for their work in financial wellness, health and housing.

The event, which could not be held in person because of COVID-19, was livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. Several local leaders were honored for representing King’s legacy of social justice.

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