2016 BET Awards: Justin Timberlake Receives Backlash Over Tweet About Jesse Williams’ Powerful Speech on Racism
Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams was awarded the Humanitarian Award at last night’s BET Awards and gave an incredibly poignant and speech on racism, human rights and police brutality. Justin Timberlake tweeted that he was “#Inspired”, which enraged Twitter so far as to accuse him of appropriating Black culture.
Now, Timberlake is apologizing.
Timberlake originally wrote,
In addition to paying tribute to those killed by police or while in police custody (such as 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and more), the Black Lives Matter activist’s speech included a bit on the way that “whiteness” appropriates black culture:
We’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius, then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.
The thing is though, just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.
Timberlake, who sings mainly R&B ever since he went solo from the pop band NSYNC in 2002, maybe shouldn’t have said anything. But since he did, Twitter went in on him:
Timberlake clarified his statement two hours later when Twitter noticed the flippant and condescending response that he gave to @MrErnestOwens, who brought up the time that the pop star brashly ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s costume and exposed her breast during their 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance without accepting responsibility for it afterwards to add context to his criticism.
“I feel misunderstood,” Timberlake began.
Ultimately, he apologized “to anyone that felt [he] was out of turn.”
Watch Williams’ 4-minute acceptance speech below: