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Here's why people are accusing Justin Timberlake of 'stealing black culture'

The singer has been accused of exercising ‘white privilege’ after a series of tweets he sent last night.

Tonight, 9PM PST. #CantStopTheFeeling #OfficialVideo

A photo posted by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake) on

LAST NIGHT, THE BET Awards took place in Los Angeles. The awards ceremony honours African-Americans and other ethnic minorities in music, sport and film and this year’s event saw the likes of Beyoncé, Drake and Serena Williams pick up gongs.

The most talked about moment of the night, though? That would be the passionate speech delivered by Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams.

Williams was honoured with the Humanitarian Award for his work as a race activist and used the platform to deliver some hard truths about racial equality and police brutality.

Source: CulSire ~ Where Culture Meets Desire/YouTube

The speech quickly went viral with many commending Williams for his powerful words.

Among those to tweet about the speech was Justin Timberlake, who wrote that he was “inspired” by Williams.

Timberlake was immediately accused of cultural appropriation by a follower and that’s when it all kicked off.

jt Source: Ernest Owens/Twitter

In response, Timberlake attempted to shut down the criticism by insisting that we are all the same.

a Source: Justin Timberlake/Twitter

And people were having none of it.


Timberlake quickly sought to make amends and apologised to anyone who felt his remarks were “out of turn”.

But the controversy has continued to rumble today with people accusing the singer of exercising white privilege.

He was also criticised for stealing black culture while remaining silent on issues affecting African-Americans.

accu Source: Chrystal/Twitter

Similarly, people were quick to remind him of how he treated two of the most iconic African-American performers ever — Janet Jackson and Prince.

Twitter used accused Timberlake of throwing Janet Jackson under the bus following the infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction and publicly dissing Prince when the late singer hinted that Timberlake was ripping him off.

As The Daily Beast notes, Timberlake mocked the pair in the Timbaland song Give It To Me.

Lest we forget, on a BET Awards’ night that boasted not one, but four Prince tributes, that The Purple One himself took issue with Timberlake’s “borrowing” ways on his 2006 pop album FutureSex/LoveSounds. Some in Prince’s inner circle claimed that the album seemed to ape his style, and Prince addressed it at a post-Emmys party performance in 2007, announcing to the crowd, “For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”
Timberlake responded by mocking Prince’s height while accepting a Golden Globe on his behalf, before dissing Prince on the Timbaland track “Give It to Me,” with Timberlake singing:

For those keeping score at home, the verse was clearly aimed first at Janet Jackson, with the “Just let me clear the air…” referencing her interview with Oprah blaming Timberlake for the Super Bowl snafu and the “missed you on the charts” bit mocking Janet’s recent album 20 Y.O., which only sold about 655,000 copies in the U.S. And the “now if se-sexy never left” jab and the remaining lines target Prince.


Many have also defended Timberlake, stating that the whole thing is a storm in a teacup.

Don’t expect this to be the last you hear of all this.

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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