By Hayden Wright

Last night, Jesse Williams accepted the BET Humanitarian Award with an impassioned, provocative speech on the long, uphill journey of #BlackLivesMatter. Justin Timberlake took to Twitter to write that he was “#inspired” by Williams’ speech and quickly drew ire from critics who accused him of belonging to a system of cultural appropriation.

Metro national columnist Ernest Owens wrote, “So does this mean you’re going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too.” The latter was a jab suggesting that, as a black woman, Jackson bore the majority of backlash from their infamous 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction.”

Related: Justin Timberlake Honors Anton Yelchin

Timberlake snapped back with some dripping Southern condescension: “Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation.” Given the context of the event, his words ignited more criticism from the #BlackLivesMatter community on Twitter and prompted a swift backpedal.

“I feel misunderstood. I responded to a specific tweet that wasn’t meant to be a general response. I shouldn’t have responded anyway,” he tweeted soon after. The backtrack then turned into an apology.

“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,” he wrote. “I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US.”


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