Justin Timberlake Forced To Apologise After Twitter Takes Him To Task Over BET Tweets

What started out as one tweet praising a speech at the BET Awards has turned very sour for Justin Timberlake after Twitter attacked him for cultural appropriation.

Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams was awarded the Humanitarian Award and delivered a powerful speech touching on everything from the police killings of black citizens to the appropriation of black culture. He received a standing ovation at the end of the speech with audience members like Jamie Foxx left in tears.

Following the speech Justin Timberlake tweeted out “#inspired,” leading people on Twitter to question him on instances of cultural appropriation.

Journalist Ernest Ownes tweeted at him writing, “So does this mean you’re going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too.”

It’s Timberlake’s response that angered Twitter even further as he wrote back to Owens saying, “Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye.”

Apart from this being a condescending response, there are a number of reasons why Twitter are angry at the singer. Firstly, Timberlake was widely accused of appropriating Prince‘s music on his 2006 album FutureSex/LoveSounds. Prince responded during an Emmy’s performance in 2007 “For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left,” to which Timberlake responded in his track Give It To Me saying, “Now if se-sexy never left, then why’s everybody on my shi-i-it.”

Secondly, he’s also copped flack for leaving Janet Jackson to fend for herself after her 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction which saw Timberlake expose her breast in front of millions of viewers.

Williams’ speech touched on these exact notions of appropriation which is why people are so upset that the pop singer responded like he did. At one point Williams even directly pointed the finger at white people for, “ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”

Timberlake’s since taken to Twitter again to offer an apology 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…”

Apparently, he took inspiration from Williams’ speech, “because I really do feel that we are all one… A human race.”

“I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US,” he concluded.

Watch Jesse Williams’ speech below and also read Justin Timberlake’s tweets.

UPDATE 1/7/2016: Vic Mensa has called out Justin Timberlake for benefiting from his use of black culture.

Watch: Jesse Williams’ BET Speech

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