Justin Timberlake may be riding high, but there are a small number of people (so far) who are petitioning President Obama, Al Sharpton, and Loretta Lynch to hold Timberlake responsible for the cultural theft of the African-American community. The mission statement of the petition on Change.org is pretty harsh.
“Justin Timberlake has made a career out of culturally appropriating his music, looks, and just about everything else from the black community. This should be a crime and it needs to stop. It’s okay for white artists to appreciate black music, but they shouldn’t do black music. This is racism and white privilege out of control. “
Some of the people who have signed the petition are very angry.
“It’s unfair that Justin is a success while so many Black artists fail,” says Luis Gonzales of Bell Gardens, CA.
“Justin Timberlake ruined Janet Jackson’s career by unveiling her top. Because of his white privilege, he didn’t suffer any of the backlash,” claims Aaron Jones of El Paso, TX.
“Cultural appropriation gets worse every year and we need to call white artists out for it,” responds Eric Perez of Los Angeles, CA.
Like many other white artists, Justin Timberlake’s alleged “cultural appropriation” has come under attack in the past few years. In 2013, Colorlines wrote an essay about why they consider it a problem.
“Yes, Timberlake has rightfully earned his place among modern pop music legends, but he also embodies the historical mistrust that exists between white performers and black listeners that dates at least as far back as Elvis Presley’s 1950s foray into what was then called race music.“
Author Jamiliah King added that Justin Timberlake likely wouldn’t have the musical freedom he enjoys without the very white music industry. However, he says that Justin himself isn’t responsible for this and shouldn’t be blamed solely.
Joel Jenkins from Mused says we shouldn’t let Justin Timberlake get away with his alleged appropriation.
“Now I thought we were all being polite with this open secret but how can his performance not be seen for what it is? It’s black. Just like his beat progressions, almost all of his band, vocalists and his ‘call and response’ ad libs reflect the aforementioned statement,” Jenkins claims, before adding that black artists who do the same thing Justin does don’t get the same acclaim.
Some people in the comments section after the article disagree with Jenkins’ assessment.
“Black artists cant win? Michael Jackson seems to not have had a problem. Whitney Houston who to me personally was a bit overrated did extremely well. Prince did fabulous. I could go on but it won’t be necessary,” says Apollo26.
“You can’t be serious with this. The ‘white people appropriating black music’ ship sailed before I was born and, I’d wager, before you were born too. It’s a little late to get shirty about it now. And since JT is not the first white musician to adopt black pop music, and I’m hard pressed to believe he’ll be the last, why is he on the hook?” asks Jane Lane.
Some people think that Justin Timberlake is the latest victim of political correctness gone way too far. Others think the concept of “cultural appropriation” leads to segregation. Where do you stand on Justin Timberlake and his alleged cultural appropriation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
[Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images]