Vic Mensa has weighed in heavily on Justin Timberlake‘s response to Jesse Williams’ powerful BET Awards speech on racism, saying that it’s inappropriate for the singer to benefit from parts of black culture while not speaking out about the issues facing black America.
Timberlake had initially tweeted support for Williams’ speech, saying he was “inspired,” but then found extreme criticism online when he said “we are all the same” to a journalist asking him about his own cultural appropriation.
Speaking on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore on Wednesday as part of a round table discussion, Mensa said, “Our problem here is that Justin Timberlake himself, you know, 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 there’s a struggle. 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,’ you know, 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.”
Later, when it was asked whether the excitement around Timberlake’s comments was strictly a Twitter beef, Mensa said, “Twitter is just representing what people are thinking, that’s where we can stream of conscious represent ourselves. People are tired of at this point of just being used.”
Mensa clarified his statements in a tweet posted Thursday (June 30), saying he was not trying to “bash” the “Can’t Stop the Feeling” singer. He wrote, “I was just shedding some light on the idea of cultural appropriation.”
Watch the Nightly Show panel here with Mensa’s tweet below:
My statements on @TheNightlyShow were not to bash Justin timberlake. I was just shedding some light on the idea of cultural appropriation
— still alive (@VicMensa) June 30, 2016