Justin Timberlake came under scrutiny Sunday night when he remarked on Jesse Williams’ acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award at the 2016 BET Awards.
While he tweeted that he was “#inspired” by Williams’ speech, it prompted one Twitter user to call him out for cultural appropriation to which he replied, “Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye.”
His words seemed to anger quite a few fans, including Chicago-based hip-hop artist Vic Mensa. The rapper was part of a panel on Larry Wilmore’s “Nightly Show” Wednesday night, where he called out Timberlake for not using his platform to speak out for black rights.
He said, “I feel as if the issue is not Justin Timberlake having an input or even appreciating this speech. That’s something that most people can resonate with. Our problem here is that Justin Timberlake himself is definitely benefiting from using black culture for his sound, his dance moves, his dancers and blowing up off of it. But if you roll down Justin Timberlake’s Twitter for the past two years, which I just did, you see nothing that supports black people when it’s more difficult, when it’s a struggle.”
Mensa added, “With everything that’s going on, with everybody that’s been killed by police on camera in the past couple of years, there’s no #BlackLivesMatter, there’s no ‘praying for Baltimore,’ there’s no ‘praying for Flint.’ Because that’s a dangerous subject for him to touch. And we’re not feeling him being down when it’s beneficial to him and turning a blind eye when it could be dangerous.”
The rapper later cleared up his statements on Twitter.