Vic Mensa is NOT here for Justin Timberlake.
During a roundtable discussion on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, one of the highlighted topics was Timberlake’s post-BET Awards tweets. Following Jesse Williams’ fist-pumping and powerful speech on societal racism, Timberlake tweeted that he was “inspired” by Williams’ words.
The tweet led to a slew of comments being tossed his way questioning his use of Black culture for profitable gain. This, of course, turned into another social brawl when he responded, “Oh you sweet soul.Once you realize that we are one in the same, the sooner we can have a conversation.”
Condescending much? Hell yeah.
And it did not fall on deaf ears. After splitting from his very pop group, N’Sync, Timberlake went on to collab with artists such as Timbaland, Jay-Z, Pharrell and Beyoncé, some of the most prominent names in the game. These collaborations also kept JT in line with the pulse of Black music culture, which led the singer to score several chart-topping hits. You can’t deny good music, and for the most part, Timberlake’s been making it with the help of the biggest Black artists in the industry. It also doesn’t hurt that the Memphis-bred artist seems to have soul.
However, when it comes to the ideal of #AllLivesMatter, which can easily be implied by Timberlake’s “we’re all the same” message, this is where the line is drawn, and the issue with other cultures stepping into Blackness when profit is involved gets discussed.
Vic Mensa, a Chicago rapper signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, isn’t feeling it. Mensa regularly uses his music to speak out about issues like police brutality, #BlackLivesMatter, and race.
During the Nightly Show roundtable, Mensa took Timberlake to task for only being “down” with Black people when it’s convenient.
“If you roll down Justin Timberlake’s Twitter for the past two years, which I just did, you see nothing that supports Back people when it’s more difficult, when there’s a struggle,” Mensa said.
Yes, music unites people, but picking and choosing when you want to adapt “Blackness” is what have many upset.
Mensa went on to point out that JT’s presence in social justice movements on issues in Flint, and other tragedies around the world, is non-existent.
“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.”
Watch the full discussion below and share your thoughts in the comments and/or via Twitter @EBONYMag.
LaToya (Toi) Cross is a writer and editor for EBONY.com and social media manager for the JETmag.com platform. Catch her sharing work, thoughts, music, art and capturing life via @ToizStory on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.