Justin Timberlake apologizes for angering Twitter with BET Awards Tweet

By Tribute on June 27, 2016 | 10 Comments

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake is apologizing for upsetting the Twitter-sphere with a Tweet he posted in reference to actor Jesse Williams’ Humanitarian Award acceptance speech at the 2016 BET Awards.

The Grammy winner, who was accused of appropriating black culture, clarified his intentions by writing, “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 continued, “I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing by LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US. -JT.”

The “out of turn” commentary began in the wake of Sunday’s BET Awards. The “SexyBack” singer was apparently moved by Jesse’s poignant speech and Tweeted the following: “@iJesseWilliams tho… #Inspired #BET2016.”

The seemingly innocuous Tweet prompted one of Justin’s followers, Ernest Owens, to reply, “So does this mean you’re going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too. #BET Awards.”

Ernest was citing the infamous “Nipplegate” incident from the 2004 Super Bowl, where Justin performed during the halftime show with Janet Jackson and accidentally flashed her breast on stage. Several people have suggested Janet’s career suffered severe damage after the scandal, while Justin’s was bolstered.

Replying to Ernest, Justin Tweeted, “Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye.”

That’s when flame turned to full-fledged fire, as Ernest replied, “How a major white pop star speaks on social issues after being ‘inspired’ by Jesse Williams… ‘We are the same.'”

Ernest was supported by several other Twitter users who shamed Justin and called him out for emulating “black culture” through his music “while ignoring issues affecting black people,” among other points.

Check out the “Can’t Stop the Feeling” singer’s first Tweet, followed by the exchange between him and Ernest, as well as Tweets from those offended by Justin. Finally, look for his apology at the bottom.

Do you think Justin has exploited “black culture” for the betterment of his career? Was he wrong to feel “inspired” by Jesse’s speech? Share your thoughts with us!

Comments & Discussion

  1. Mmmmhm • June 27, 2016 @ 4:47 PM

    I don’t see why it was wrong for him to say he liked Jesse Williams’ speech. But I do think it was dumb of him to engage in the conversation any further.

  2. Kris • June 27, 2016 @ 5:47 PM

    I don’t think he said anything wrong either. I agree, he should not have engaged people who were looking to pick a fight. It’s a no win situation.

  3. Abigail • June 27, 2016 @ 6:33 PM

    No, but if we really are “the same” as he says, why hasn’t he ever come out and spoken about the issues the black community faces? Where’s the activism on his part? I don’t think it was wrong of him to champion Jesse’s speech, but by saying “we are the same,” he’s implying that he understands the unique problems encountered by the black community. That’s wrong.

  4. mike • June 27, 2016 @ 8:35 PM

    Social media is poison. It has become little more than a delivery system for petty outrage.

  5. Kris • June 27, 2016 @ 8:41 PM

    JT was making a supportive respectful comment. There are many causes in the world. You can’t champion them all. Clearly there are differences and challenges in all communities, black, white, asian etc. Ultimately we are all part of the human race, which makes us all the same, which I believe was JT’s point. Are we socially equal? No, but not every twitter comment by a celebrity should be considered profound social commentary. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  6. Snepts • June 28, 2016 @ 1:30 AM

    “Nipplegate” was no accident; it was a carefully calculated publicity stunt that set the stage for many more in the years that have followed. Timberlake and his bandmates were the One Direction of their time; it’s impossible to take him or his “music” seriously.

  7. Andrea • June 28, 2016 @ 11:16 AM

    I don’t know why he was singled out. A lot of people said similar things – both white and black. Why don’t they pick on someone who criticized the talk or said something incendiary about black people, why get angry at people who support civil rights?

  8. Mabel • June 28, 2016 @ 12:21 PM

    White people are the source of all evil in the world. Didn’t you know?

  9. Jayden • June 28, 2016 @ 2:44 PM

    Well said Kris. Well said.

  10. Jacob • June 28, 2016 @ 4:47 PM

    I don’t know if his opinion was… Justified.

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