Larry Wilmore hosted a roundtable discussion on his show yesterday about the controversy surrounding Justin Timberlake’s response to Jesse Williams’ speech at the BET Awards. During the segment, Vic Mensa explained that the reason the tweets felt so disengenuous was due to Timberlake’s selective engagement with black culture.
“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,” Vic said. “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.”
Vic went on to list several major incidents that affect the black community, including the water crisis in Flint, the BlackLivesMatter movement, and the riots in Baltimore. He noted that while Timberlake claimed to be “inspired” by Williams’ speech, he wasn’t doing enough to engage the community he was benefiting from. “That’s a dangerous subject for him to touch,” Vic said. “We’re not feeling him being down when it’s beneficial to him, and turning a blind eye when it could be dangerous.” He finished out the discussion by saying “Sit down until you show us you care. Don’t tell us shit unless you show us you care.”
Mensa later tweeted a clarification to his comments, saying that he wasn’t trying to bash Timberlake specifically, but rather to explain why many black people had a problem with cultural appropriation issues.
You can catch the entire segment in the video above.