07/02/2014 03:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Robin Thicke, Please Check Your White Privilege


Mr. Thicke,

I write this as a black man who knows what it means to be treated as a criminal the moment I cross the street. I know what it feels like to hear the words "threatening," "suspicious," and "potentially harmful," every day.

Your new album "Paula" and all the promotion you are getting for it in the name of exploiting the marriage you once had is repulsive. And what is worse you have taken to appropriating black soul and R&B to harass her.

With all due respect, Mr. Thicke, please check your white privilege.

I have no qualms with interracial dating. I think it is a beautiful thing in an age where we all should be more accepting and understanding about race, love, and matrimony. But here is where you have taken advantage of such a relationship and have now become destructive.

We will just forget what past signs of disregard you have had for black entertainers and their work, and focus on your recent charges. As a white artist in a genre that was created, perfected, and initially curated by black musicians, you have benefited from a more diverse fan base. Your hit single "Blurred Lines" was played on every radio station from Harlem to the Hamptons and being married to actress Paula Patton solidified your positive embrace within black entertainment.

But after a publicly messy divorce, and no obvious sign of it returning, you did the unthinkable. You decided that your next stunt would be to create a record that would win back the heart of the very women you decided to stomp on. But not only would you write songs that would be about her, you would actually choose to visually and musically taunt her for the whole world to see. And as a result, exploit your most intimate times with her for the profit and notoriety that she doesn't want.

Robin Thicke, that is called harassment. And what is even worse is that you are incorporating the very music that you appropriated from her community to violate her privacy and space. How disgusting.

And where is the white privilege in that? For many years, black musicians and artists have created music that suggests previous infidelity and romantic hardship. We all know who Usher was talking about in "Confessions" or who Eric Benet was writing his comeback songs for. But none of them had the boldness and audacity to exploit the very women they did wrong, nor did they attempt to play the victim.

Because you are white and have the privilege and entitlement to not automatically accept "no" or any other form of rejection, the public can cheer you on as you fight for what you feel you deserve. Regardless of what reasons Paula has for leaving you, your possessive nature has given you the mindset that she has no say. Even when you admit you have done wrong.
And that is your white privilege.

Because a black man like myself would never be able to publicly harass a white woman in my music and think that I could still collect a check. Because I will never be able to perform at any predominately white awards show like you did at the BET Awards and flaunt my obsession. And if I even dared attempt to exploit the innocence of children to fuel my creepy infatuation, my career would be over.

Sure, social media isn't giving you that much of a break as of recently, but your record label is and that is problematic. Because once again we are reminded that black women in this country, no matter how innocent or rational they are, will never get the proper respect they deserve.

And that is why I will never purchase a record from you again. I will not let your profit off of the imperialistic mindset that has made you a celebrity. You are putting a black woman through public pressure due to your own selfish wants and desires.

If you knew what was best, you would hang it up. Check your privilege and acknowledge that the example you are setting for a new generation of musicians and men is toxic. Instead of trying to show the world how bad you feel you deserve back the heart of a woman who has rightfully left you... try going to therapy or taking a break.

And I say all of this because men of color would be persecuted publicly for such outlandish behavior and would not get a second chance. Do you honestly think that an album like this is really going to make her change her mind?

You messed up, she left you, and it is over. I'm sorry, Mr. Thicke, but "no" in a divorce means "no."

There aren't any blurred lines there.


Ernest Owens

A black man who wants white musicians like Mr. Thicke to stop having "blurred lines" when it comes to acknowledging their privilege.