Justin Timberlake
photo: Reuters Images

Justin Timberlake, who is currently more famous for writing family-friendly jams from kids movies and paling around with Jimmy Fallon than for churning out the soulful singles that made him huge a decade ago, typically only tweets when he has a new song out, or there's a natural disaster that needs his thoughts and prayers. However, he came out of his dad-cave to engage with the tweeters after the BET Awards Sunday night (June 26), and probably wishes he'd stuck with singing in an omelette costume.


It all started when Justin got inspired by "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams' politically charged speech.

The actor received the BET Humanitarian Award for his awesome work with everything from raising money for Flint, Michigan to working with Black Lives Matter. Timberlake was understandably inspired by his words on police violence, appropriation, and the importance of voting in the upcoming election. 

Twitter user Ernest Owens then came back at Justin for his own alleged appropriation and the Super Bowl incident with Janet Jackson. Justin's response was ... not great.

Oh, JT. Sometimes it's best to just ... not.

Owens was of course referring to the infamous 2004 Super Bowl "nipplegate" situation — which many argue ruined Jackson's career, while doing virtually no damage to Timberlake's (People even nicknamed him "Teflon man"). He acted pretty terribly during that time and seemed more than happy to let her shoulder the blame in his many half-ass "apologies," so Owens is arguing that Timberlake should maybe focus on giving her a long-overdue apology instead of tweeting support. 

Timberlake could have just tweeted out the Jesse Williams thing, let people like Ernest Owens reply willy-nilly, then gone on with his life. But nope. 

People on Twitter, rightfully, took Justin to task for the condescending nature of the "sweet soul"/"we are all the same" tweet.

Everyone from Anil Dash to Roxane Gay weighed in, reminding Timberlake to check his privilege and listen not talk if he truly wants to honor Williams' speech (and the Black culture he so heavily borrows from).

Justin soon apologized with a "we are all one race" type of deal.

photo: Twitter

As I'm sure you might have guessed, his apology was not well-received. As many pointed out, Williams' speech was addressing Black people struggles — one of those being cultural appropriation, something of which Timberlake has been frequently accused, and the tearing down of Black women, which ties into the Janet Jackson thing — so using that to tweet out a storm of "we are all one race" stuff seemed more than a little bit misguided. 

Anyway, the TL;DR here is that some people should stick to RT'ing compliments for "Can't Stop This Feeling" if they're not ready to listen to some painful truths about their own privileged career.