Culture

Vic Mensa Called Out Justin Timberlake For ‘Using Black Culture’

Culture

Vic Mensa Called Out Justin Timberlake For ‘Using Black Culture’

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On an episode of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Chicago rapper Vic Mensa called out Justin Timberlake for cultural appropriation. The argument first sparked after Timberlake tweeted about Jesse Williams’ BET Awards acceptance speech, which directly addressed Hollywood and its prominent use of cultural appropriation.

In response, Twitter began bashing Timberlake for his own use of cultural appropriation, to which the singer responded by saying, “The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation.” When more backlash ensued, Timberlake backtracked by saying he felt misunderstood: “I was truly inspired by [Jesse Williams’] speech because I really do feel we that we are all one… A human race.”




On The Nightly Show, Mensa joined a round table to discuss the controversy. He said Timberlake has benefited from appropriating black culture, while also standing idly by as Black people get hurt. Mensa’s frustration with the “Sexyback” singer doesn’t necessarily come from Timberlake’s borrowing from black culture, but from his inaction.

“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,” he said. “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 there’s a struggle.”

He continued, “With everything that’s going on, and everybody that’s been killed by police on camera in the last 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 […] We’re not feeling him being down when it’s beneficial to him, and turning a blind eye when it could be dangerous.”

Watch Mensa on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, below.