Soulja Boy is the latest African-American to defend Justin Bieber after years-old video of the pop singer telling a racist joke surfaced over the weekend.
Justin Bieber is in the eye of a race storm after years-old footage of him telling a racial slur-including gag when he was 15-years-old was published by British tabloid this past weekend.
A Vine snippet of Bieber’s repeated N-word “punchline” quickly went viral.
Within hours the singer issued a lengthy and seemingly heartfelt apology, which partly read:
“I’m very sorry. I take all my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable mistake.”
Bieber’s statement also described his five-year-old gaffe as “reckless and immature,” and said he hoped the publicizing of his “faults” would stop the perpetuation of ignorance and others “from making the same mistake in the future.”
Shortly after, Bieber posted the apology to his Twitter account where it still remains as his last message.
On Monday, Soulja Boy — real name, DeAndre Cortez Way — who is a rapper, producer and actor, spoke up in defense of Bieber.
Speaking to TMZ, Soulja Boy insisted the Canadian star is not a racist while also making the point that the video is five-years-old.
The Sun tabloid, which originally posted the video on Sunday reported Bieber was 17 in the clip and said the footage was filmed as part of the singer’s 2011 movie Never Say Never.
TMZ later clarified that Justin was 15-years-old in the video and that it was shot backstage at a promotional event.
Simple maths reveals Bieber was 16 when Never Say Never opened in the US on February 11, 2011.
The biopic was mainly filmed in 2010, with candid footage also including Bieber as a baby and material from 2007-9.
In the video interview, Soulja Boy said:
“I talked to Justin yesterday. I called him. He in Cancun [Mexico]. We spoke about it. The footage is so old. He was 15. The footage is super old.”
The 23-year-old continued: “It was a very touchy, serious situation. But we all slip up, we all make mistakes. And I told him, man, I said, ‘ You’re a great person bro, we all slip up.'”
The Chicago native recalls Bieber replied, “Thank you Soulja for having my back.”
“Let the kid live man,” Soulja Boy said, adding. “We all slip up, we all make mistakes. Y’all know he’s not racist. I’m his homie, all his homies is black,” he added.
When asked if he thought the black community was “jumping on” Bieber “a little too hard,” Soulja replied that the former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments had “got people a little antsy.”
(Photo: Bieber and Soulja Boy.)
Soulja’s defense of Bieber follows supportive comments by other pals of the embattled artist.
On Monday, champion Welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather posted:
Justin has been nothing but kind to me, my daughters & sons over the years. We all make mistakes when we are young, it’s part of growing up.
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) June 2, 2014
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) June 2, 2014
The Sun speculated in its Sunday report that Bieber’s five-year-old racial slur gaffe will not go over well with the many associates and ties he has with African-Americans in the music industry, including his mentor Usher Raymond.
The veteran singer signed Justin to a production deal at his RBMG Records label, before he and manager Scooter Braun brokered Bieber’s record deal with Island Def Jam. Justin has worked with numerous black artists including Sean Kingston, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Drake, will.i,.am, T-Pain, Kid Cudi and more.
While it remains to be seen if The Sun’s dire prediction for Bieber’s career is correct, the singer has also been defended by former bodyguard Kenny Hamilton, an ex-assistant and Believe tour photographer Mike Lerner. All of whom insist Justin is not a racist.
Meanwhile, around the Internet polls are underway and comments pages are heaving.
(Photo: Bieber and mentor Usher Raymond.)
Over at CNN, one commenter identified as ‘John Muller’ writes:
“Really, it’s a joke about racism, not a racist joke in itself. It’s pointing out violence directed at black people, not saying they deserve it, or caused it for any reason. The only issue is the use of the dreaded ‘N’ word by a white boy. If Dave Chappelle told this joke, no one would bat an eye.”
In contrast, commenter ‘disqus4214’ said of Bieber: “He should be fined 2.5 million dollars and have his vocal cords forcibly removed.”
Another poster notes: “The cultural and ethnic sensitivity in this country has gotten way out of control.”
“A 15 year old kid used a racial slur in a joke which he then said was stupid immediately and somehow we have to judge him for this years later?”
They conclude: “I have heard quite a few people use racially insensitive language in my life. Most of them were ignorant. Very few of them truly were hateful and malicious. We need to stop pretending like we are all perfect and judging others at the drop of a hat. I see this as a bigger issue in America. ”
Where do you stand in this debate readers: Do you think continuing to judge a 15-year-old Justin Bieber as a “racist” for telling an N-word gag five years ago after he has offered an apology is overkill, or do you think the label is appropriate?
Let us know in comments below.
[Images via MailOnline/Instagram.]