Jesse Williams made an incredible speech after being awarded the Humanitarian Award, and following the speech, Timberlake took to Twitter to say he was “#inspired,” which in turn, had one user, Ernest Owens, instantly challenging the singer, saying, “So does this mean you’re going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too.” Timberlake responded saying, “Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye.”
Mensa, for one, wasn’t going to let that insanely problematic comment go by unnoticed.
In a new appearance on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, the rapper spoke passionately about the whole ordeal, discussing how JT is one example of a white celebrity that has not used his platform to help advocate against the oppression Black people face but has had no problem appropriating the culture throughout his entire career.
“I feel as if the issue is not Justin Timberlake having an input or even appreciating what was said in the speech,” Mensa explained. “I mean, that’s something that most people can resonate with. Our problem here is that Justin Timberlake himself 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 past couple of years,” Mensa continued. “There’s no #BlackLivesMatter, there’s no #PrayingForBaltimore, there’s no #PrayingForFlint, 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 show went on to discuss various topics relating to Williams’s speech and why everyone has had a problem with Timberlake’s responses, specifically touching on how white people have appropriated Black culture selectively, as well as how culturally significant and timely Williams's comments truly are.
“Sit down until you can show us you care,” Mensa added, building off of a clip of Williams’s speech that was replayed on screen.
Check out the rapper’s wise words in the clip below.
(Photo: Rebecca Smeyne/Getty Images)