Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage
Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage
Justin Timberlake is facing major backlash on social media.
The "Can't Stop the Feeling" singer was moved by actor Jesse Williams' Humanitarian Award acceptance speech at the 2016 BET Awards, so he took to Twitter to share his thoughts with fans. "@iJesseWilliams tho… #Inspired #BET2016," the 35-year-old Grammy winner tweeted.
One of Timberlake's 55.6 million followers, Ernest Owens, responded, "So does this mean you're going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too. #BETAwards." Owens was referring to Timberlake's 2004 Super Bowl performance, in which the singer accidentally flashed Janet Jackson's breast on stage. Many have argued that Jackson's career never recovered as a result of the scandal (dubbed "Nipplegate"), while Timberlake's career continued to soar. In response to Owens' tweet, the pop singer wrote, "Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye."
Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation.— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 27, 2016
How a major white pop star speaks on social issues after being "inspired" by Jesse Williams... "We are the same" https://t.co/269BkDqzsX— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) June 27, 2016
Timberlake's response only led to more outrage, so he apologized. "I feel misunderstood. I responded to a specific tweet that wasn't meant to be a general response. I shouldn't have responded anyway…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," he tweeted. "I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US. – JT."
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.— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 27, 2016
Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET
Ironically, in his speech, one of the things Williams touched upon was cultural appropriation. "Now, this award—this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country: the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. It's kind of basic mathematics: the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize," the Grey's Anatomy star said. "Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves."
Williams promised, "We can and will do better for you."
"What we've been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So, what's going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours. Now—I got more, y'all—yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice's 14th birthday, so I don't want to hear anymore about how far we've come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich," Williams said. "Tell Rekia Boyd how it's so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt."
"The thing is, though, all of us in here getting money—that alone isn't gonna stop this. All right, now. Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone's brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies. There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven't done. There is no tax they haven't leveed against us—and we've paid all of them," he continued. "But freedom is somehow always conditional here. 'You're free,' they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn't acted so...free. Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now."
"And let's get a couple things straight, just a little side note—the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That's not our job, all right? Stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest—if you have no interest in equal rights for black people— then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down," the actor, 34, added. "We've been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and 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 and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is, though...the thing is that just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real."