It may have only been four words, but Justin Timberlake’s tweet set off a firestorm of feeling.
The “Can’t Stop The Feeling” singer was moved by Jesse Williams’ BET Awards speech, and took to Twitter to express his support for what Williams said. Justin Timberlake’s tweet, though, launched a world of response.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) June 27, 2016
Some saw the Justin Timberlake tweet as an opportunity to remind the singer of his 2004 Super Bowl half-time performance with Janet Jackson – a performance that turned into the notorious Nipplegate scandal.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) June 27, 2016
— Lorenzo (@EpicL86) June 27, 2016
In fact, Justin Timberlake did apologize for what happened at the 2004 Super Bowl, though not directly to Janet Jackson. According to Billboard, Timberlake apologized during his acceptance speech at the 2004 Grammy Awards, an incident that the publication said was “laughable.”
“What occurred was unintentional, completely regrettable, and I apologize if you guys were offended,” Timberlake said.
Regardless of what happened in 2004, Justin Timberlake’s current tweet from yesterday generated static that the singer took as a reminder that sometimes, people do not use social media for noble intentions.
— Christopher Kokoski (@Chris_Kokoski) June 27, 2016
Noting that sometimes, he forgets that Twitter is a social media platform that is observed by all, particularly when it comes to celebrity, Justin Timberlake acknowledged that his tweet was meant as simply a response to a specific incident and not an invitation to be dragged. According to Entertainment Tonight, Justin Timberlake said that his tweet was merely an acknowledgement of his steadfast belief that “we all are one” and further apologized to anyone who may have felt that his tweet was inappropriate.
Regardless of his efforts to apologize, Justin Timberlake’s tweet has gotten over 4,800 likes and has been retweeted over 2,400 times. The comments about the Justin Timberlake tweet has set the singer’s brand buzzing on Twitter, with #JustinTimberlake currently trending at over 38,000 tweets. While Justin Timberlake may not have expected the backlash, he no doubt appreciates the support he is also getting from his followers, who are effectively telling those who are bringing up Nipplegate or accusing Timberlake of being one of the biggest stars who regularly engages in cultural appropriation to back down.
Justin Timberlake probably wishes he didn’t log onto Twitter last night: https://t.co/GM5FfYAguX
— billboard (@billboard) June 27, 2016
One of the biggest conversations that appears to be occurring in the wake of the Justin Timberlake tweet is why people are even fussing over the cultural appropriation of music in the first place, particularly given that music is supposed to transcend issues of race and color.
While Jesse Williams has yet to respond to the Justin Timberlake tweet, Billboard reports that the singer’s response to reporter Ernest Owens’ tweet seemed dismissive.
“Oh, you sweet soul,” Timberlake tweeted after Owens brought up Nipplegate and asked the singer if he was going to “stop appropriating our music and our culture.”
“The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation,” he wrote.
While the social media storm following the Justin Timberlake tweet was intense, Irish Examiner said that Timberlake had been moved by Jesse Williams’ powerful talk about racism – the focus of his speech as he accepted the BET Humanitarian Award.
According to Billboard, Williams evoked a great deal of emotion during his acceptance speech, which is what led to Justin Timberlake to tweet about how inspired he was. Hearkening the past, Williams brought up names like Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice – names that garnered a lot of attention in the media for their questionable deaths and the involvement of law enforcement. He noted that “The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander — that’s not our job so let’s stop with all that. If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record, a critique of our oppression.”
Regardless of how one might feel about the Justin Timberlake tweet, it is important to consider that Timberlake is more than allowed to feel inspired by Williams’ moving speech – and that he is a far different person from 12 years ago.
[Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images]