Fans attack Justin Timberlake over his response to a speech about racism

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake fielded a series of negative tweets on Monday in response to his praise of actor and Black Lives Matter activist Jesse Williams’ moving speech at Sunday night’s BET Awards. Timberlake tweeted that he was “inspired” by Williams’ speech on institutional racism, which addressed the police-related deaths of people like Tamir Rice and Eric Garner before concluding with an attack on cultural appropriation.

But after Timberlake praised Williams’ speech, the singer’s Twitter followers lashed out, accusing him of appropriating black culture himself as a white R&B artist. One person responded to Timberlake’s praise of Williams by tweeting, “So does this mean you’re going to stop appropriating our music and culture?” Timberlake then responded to this tweet with a statement that only further angered some: Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation.

Timberlake’s “we are the same” statement regarding racial unity set the internet off, as his followers went on to lambast the singer for being racially insensitive.

The US singer later apologized, “I feel misunderstood. I responded to a specific tweet that wasn’t meant to be a general response. I shouldn’t have responded anyway,” the singer tweeted.