Race & Identity
Why Justin Timberlake needs to have a serious conversation with his whiteness
The BET Awards on Sunday night were peak blackness. Queen Bey and King Kendrick gave us an explosive opening performance, Jennifer Hudson and Bilal gave us an amazing tribute to Prince and Jesse Williams gave an incredible speech on black liberation, calling out white appropriation of black culture
Needless to say, Williams' words inspired so many people. Even people who never speak on systemic oppression...like...ever.
People were super confused on JT's new inspiration.
@jtimberlake @iJesseWilliams Did you like the part when Jesse talked about white people stealing from us? That should resonate with you'
— sockruhtese (@sockruhtese) June 27, 2016'
For some reason, Timberlake picked the worst time to respond.
Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation
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Bye. https://t.co/FeTmGLOKVc — Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 27, 2016'' Yes, you read that tweet correctly. After praising Williams for a speech on calling out white gentrifiers of black culture and those who are bystandards in Black Lives Matter, Justin Timberlake decided to clapback
Naturally, Twitter wasn't having it.
@jtimberlake he was talking about ppl like u though. Not Protecting black women. Gentrification of our art.— MDW (@dcjanfan) June 27, 2016'
@jtimberlake @MrErnestOwens the same how? pic.twitter.com/xrUbzo0QQ3 — Anti. (@fentyxrih) June 27, 2016''
"We are the same..." Justin Timberlake pic.twitter.com/NKQeOIFRK3— R'asclat Al Ghul (@Felonious_munk) June 27, 2016'
After being dragged for a few hours, Justin Timberlake issued an apology that made the situation 10 times worse.
I feel misunderstood. I responded to a specific tweet that wasn't meant to be a general response. I shouldn't have responded anyway..'
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 27, 2016'
I forget this forum sometimes... I was truly inspired by @iJesseWilliams speech because I really do feel that we are all one... A human race— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 27, 2016'
I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US
--JT — Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 27, 2016''
Yikes. Timberlake made that apology go from bad to really bad.
Justin Timberlake is going to have to rebrand himself as a bluegrass singer by morning time.— mark (@ithinkmark) June 27, 2016'
Justin Timberlake pulled the "we are all once race/the human race" card. Peak Whiteness unlocked. We can go home now pic.twitter.com/uH8ci4wprc — T'Clarkisha Kent (@IWriteAllDay_) June 27, 2016''
Lmao Justin Timberlake really hit us with pic.twitter.com/0p7D93Fk01— vodka lemonade (@KingBeyonceStan) June 27, 2016'
Some people defended Timberlake.
@DelicateQueeen EXACTLY. I'm really gonna need black folk 2 understand the difference between "appropriating" & "appreciating" — YoGurlJoJo (@JoellePhillips) June 27, 2016''
But most dragged him
I waited a whole decade for Justin timberlake to get a rightfully deserved dragging pic.twitter.com/dNOJFf8FBQ— you:ash | me:lotion (@RiaBeyonce) June 27, 2016'
A few things are clear:
1) Justin Timberlake needs to hire a woke publicist to monitor his Twitter account.
2) Justin Timberlake did not actually hear the real message behind Jesse Williams' speech
3) Justin Timberlake needs to log off Twitter.Justin Timberlake epitomizes kumbaya white liberalism. Initially, Timberlake praises Williams for an incredible speech on racial justice. But, the moment someone confronts him about his whiteness, he descends into #AllLivesMatter territory
Timberlake's impressive history of not advocating for the black community is clear. He claims we are all one race but we see that we are most definitely not. We were not all one race when Janet took on intense criticism for their Super Bowl performance (which was completely his fault) while he continued to flourish. We are not all one race when police officers pull over black people. We are not all one race when fashion blogs praise white women for appropriating black hair while shaming black women for being too ghetto. We are not one race when Timberlake secured his financial future on the back of black culture and continues to benefit from white privilege
The intention behind Timberlake's words does not matter, because the damage is the same. Before he continues to appropriate black music and proclaims he's ready to topple white supremacy, Timberlake needs to have a serious conversation with his whiteness, because, it's clear from those tweets that he is not ready