Vic Mensa shared his opinion on Justin Timberlake’s cluelessness about cultural appropriation and Black issues, voicing what many Black viewers were thinking. The Grammy-winning singer tweeted during Sunday night’s BET Awards that he felt “inspired,” which led Twitter users to question his heavy influence of Black music as a white performer.
“Oh, you sweet soul,” Timberlake wrote in response. “The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye.”
It led to heavy criticism for the hitmaker, who reacted to Williams’ speech in which he poetically described the trouble with cultural appropriation.
“This invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying Black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold,” Williams said while accepting the Humanitarian Award. “Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them; gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”
Rapper Vic Mensa gave his take on The Nightly Show June 29.
“I feel as if the issue is not Justin Timberlake having an input or even appreciating what was said in the speech. I mean that’s something that everybody – most people – can resonate with,” 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, you know,” Mensa 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’, 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.”
The next day, Mensa tweeted his statements were not meant to diss JT.
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
Watch Mensa’s segment below.