Is Pharrell Williams the World's Best Neighbor?

"We had to bury my cousin on my birthday," says Pharrell Williams. So the day the music producer and impresario turned 48 years old was devoted not to his own life but to one cut short at 25, that of Donovan Lynch. "It was bittersweet," Williams says. "The way he died was bitter. Where he is right now is sweet."

Lynch was gunned down by the police in his and Williams's hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on March 26; Williams has just returned to Miami after speaking at the funeral. "I wasn't able to deliver the speech with the fire and intention I wanted," he says, his voice wavering, "because I was just choked with emotion."

In the days after the shooting, the police department gave varying stories about whether Lynch had brandished a gun. The bodycam of the officer involved was never activated, a violation of department procedures, so no footage of the incident exists. "It's not just the loss of life. It's also the cause of the loss of life," Williams says, running his hands over his face. "And it's a much larger problem, you know?" The family and other advocates have called for a federal investigation.


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