Helen Lasichanh and Pharrell Williams
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September 11, 2018 06:45 PM

Pharrell Willliams is passionate about protecting young artists and preserving their creative instincts — starting with his own little ones at home.

The rapper and prolific producer, 45, teamed up with American Express to throw the first ever Yellow Ball on Monday at the Brooklyn Museum. The event benefitted the Young Audiences Arts for Learning, the nation’s largest arts-in-education network.

Williams spoke with PEOPLE at the event about the cause, and why he thinks it’s so important to protect young artists.

“Waking up one day and realizing that there’s something that you love to do — we need to protect that,” he said. “We want people to recognize that you have to protect the artist at all costs. You have to protect the preservation of those worlds that foster arts education. Don’t let that burn down, that’s the thing that must stay there. Everything that’s man-made was someone’s epiphany, and that process has to be protected.”

RELATED: Pharrell Williams to Host the Yellow Ball Feat. Missy Elliott, Says Raising Triplets Fills Him with ‘Gratitude’

Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliott and A$AP Ferg
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

American Express announced they were introducing a special yellow credit card for members at the event that night, and donated $1 million to the cause on top of the over $300,000 raised from ticket sales. Williams also called on friends Missy Elliott and A$AP Ferg to celebrate the night, as well as renowned artist Daniel Arsham to create a one-of-a-kind installation. 

RELATED VIDEO: Pharrell Williams Describes Parenting Six-Month-Old Triplets: ‘It’s A Full-On Assembly Line’

And the producer said that with all he has going, he and wife Helen Lasichanh still “make time” for each other. The two are parents to 10-year-old son Rocket and 20-month-old triplets.

“I’m just enjoying my family, so it’s good,” he said of staying behind the scenes as a successful producer for the time being. “We make time. We carve out time for ourselves, but we also love it, too. We love being with the babies. It’s crazy. And all of my babies are creative — we have to protect that.”

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