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Justin Timberlake Called Out by Rapper Vic Mensa

By Robyn Collins

Rapper Rick Mensa has criticized Justin Timberlake for appropriating African-American music without supporting African-American causes. Mensa was responding to a recent Twitter exchange that began after Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams accepted a humanitarian award at the BET Awards and addressed racism and cultural appropriation in his speech.

Related: Justin Timberlake Puts Foot In Mouth With BET Awards Comments

Moved by the comments, Justin Timberlake tweeted: “@iJesseWilliams tho… #Inspired #BET2016.”

This intended good deed did not go unpunished. One disgruntled critic responded: “@jtimberlake @iJesseWilliams Did you like the part when Jesse talked about white people stealing from us? That should resonate with you.”

Timberlake worsened the situation by tweeting: “Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye.”

Then he back pedaled a bit: “I forget this forum sometimes… I was truly inspired by @iJesseWilliams speech because I really do feel that we are all one… A human race.”

On The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, Mensa said, “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. 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.”

Mensa continue: “With everything that’s going on, and everybody that’s been killed by police on camera in the last couple of years, there’s no #BlackLivesMatter; there’s no ‘praying for Baltimore’, there’s no ‘praying for Flint’, you know, 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.” Mensa concluded with, “Sit down until you show us you care. Don’t tell us shit unless you show us you care.”

The rapper later took to Twitter to clarify that his comments were not meant to “bash” the singer but that he was “just shedding some light on the idea of cultural appropriation.”

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