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When will everyone learn that when you go against Beyoncé’s wishes, only failure and fury will follow? There are rumors floating that Lifetime is considering making a film based on the life of the finest Creole to twerk the earth. A source tells the Daily Star, “Beyoncé is arguably the world’s biggest star and has a story Lifetime thinks is too compelling to ignore.”

Oh, please reconsider.

Of course, British tabloids are notorious for lying like hell, but when you factor in the reality that the network is making a film about Britney Spears, there is legitimate reason to fear. And boo. And hiss. In that order. Word to Momma Dee.

To give them a lil’ teaspoon of credit, Lifetime has come a long way with its original movies, notably the ones with Negroes in them.

With This Ring and A Day Late and a Dollar Short, respectively, were well-made and enjoyable. Each of those were based on novels, however, which meant they had rich material to work with and, more or less, authors who wouldn’t let the network take their works and ruin them. When it comes to Lifetime biopics, that’s where the compliments about Lifetime original movies go to die a slow, excruciating death.

The Aaliyah biopic was equal parts absurd and abysmal, and the one made about Whitney Houston released a year later was not absolutely horrible, but pretty damn bad all the same. Now, Toni Braxton’s biopic, Unbreak My Heart, was a fast ride in terms of storytelling, but nonetheless enjoyable. The key difference between the Braxton biopic and the other two, however, was Braxton’s involvement. Once again, if someone who is the root of the source material is involved, a Lifetime movie will be OK or surprisingly good.

To that end, we can all easily infer that Blue Ivy’s mama wants no parts of this project.

The film is said to be using J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book Becoming Beyoncé: The Untold Story for “inspiration.” In other words, the plan is to use a book Beyoncé didn’t want out for source material—only annoying her even more. As an original member of the Beyhive, I’m now worried about whether my even mentioning that book is a sin.

Forgive me, Beyoncé. I only wrote it to shade it. Amen. Uh oh, uh oh, oh no no.

This source explained: “They know they may receive some pushback for digging into some of her darker moments, but believe her story must be told.” And: “It could ruffle a few feathers, but finally people might get a sense of the real Beyoncé.”

Here’s what’s going to happen: Beyoncé will likely have this project shut down and cleanse the universe of this ugliness. If that miraculously doesn’t happen, this movie will be raggedy as hell. Again, Lifetime has its cute original-movie moments, but this is Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. Lifetime can’t handle that splendor.

Beyoncé is Houston, Texas. Lifetime is Tyler, Texas. Beyoncé is a luxurious weave plucked directly from a Malaysian handpicked by God, not a weave bun from the gas station that you can clip in. Beyoncé is worthy of a cinematic masterpiece if and when she decides to have a movie based on her life made, not what Lifetime would offer, which is more or less the moviemaking equivalent of cold General Tso’s chicken ordered four days ago.

Read the rest at The Root.

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trump-kfcDonald Trump is fat. If Dennis the Menace grew up to be a racist, real estate tycoon with a bad tan and a huge stomach, he would look exactly like Donald Trump. Trump hasn’t been anywhere close to thin since Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears ended in 1991. Yet, one of Trump’s favorite hobbies is mocking the weight of other people.

During Monday’s Real Housewives-reunion-themed presidential debate, Hillary Clinton called out Trump for his bad habit of belittling women like former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Trump should have let that story die Monday, but as we’ve learned over time, Trump just can’t help himself—especially when it comes to anyone he finds fat.

To wit, the next morning, Trump called into Fox & Friends to dig himself into a deeper hole by claiming that Machado “gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.” Some, like Newt Gingrich, have come to Trump’s defense. “You’re not supposed to gain 60 pounds during the year that you’re Miss Universe,” Gingrich explained at an event staged by the Log Cabin Republicans, a group for LGBTQ conservatives.

Please note that Gingrich, like Trump, is fat. Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, Trump continued to advocate for himself in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. According to Trump, when it comes to Machado, he “saved her job because they wanted to fire her for putting on so much weight.”

So in 1996, when Trump referred to Machado as “an eating machine,” he was helping her. Well, that didn’t seem to do much for her. Since Monday, another former Miss Universe contestant, Jodie Seal, who was Miss Australia in the 1996 event, has shared similar accounts of Trump’s weight-centered line of antagonism. Seal told Inside Edition, “He said to me, ‘Suck your stomach in, or suck your gut in.’” Seal added that Trump “put a lot of the girls down.”

But if he was helping them, what about all the other times he’s insulted people over their weight? Trump complained to Howard Stern in a 2003 interview that he thought Jennifer Lopez’s butt was too big. A decade later, Trump told Stern that Kim Kardashian has “a fat ass.”

Then there is Barbara Res, an executive who supervised the construction of his headquarters, recalling Trump telling her, “You like your candy.” Res also noted that Trump only referred to a city official as “the fat [f–k].”

But, yo, Trump is fat his damn self. How has he managed to get away with this for so long? Trump’s obsession with fast food is notorious. Trump loves KFC, which further explains his poor showing with black voters besides the whole unabashed racism thing. Trump loves a Filet-O-Fish moment from McDonald’s. Actually, Trump just loves the menu.

During a CNN town hall held in February, Trump declared: “The Big Macs are great. The Quarter Pounder. It’s great stuff.” In a New York Times profile of Trump, fast food junkie, Kellyanne Conway, now his campaign manager but then senior adviser, quipped, “I don’t think Hillary Clinton would be eating Popeyes biscuits and fried chicken.”

That’s because Trump’s fat ass would be calling HRC fat if she snuggled up with the Tuesday two-piece special the way he’s prone to. Trump gets away with many things, including his shady business dealings, racist statements, xenophobic statements, and so on. By “get away,” I mean not being denounced as the bigot that he is (we collectively instead argue about the term racist and how it hurts people’s feelings or whatever).

He should not get away with this, though. Now is the time to call out Trump on his hypocrisy. It’s also the time to call Trump “fat boy” for the rest of the campaign.

Is it nice to call people fat? As a former heavyweight lover myself, no. However, special times and hypocritical hefty jackasses call for special measures. When you’re fat like Donald Trump, you shouldn’t be going around talking about other people’s weight.

Read the rest at The Root.

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The trailer for it may have been awkward, but once you actually watch Mary J. Blige’s interview with Hillary Clinton on her Apple Music talk show, The 411, in full, you’re likely to find out it’s rather innocuous.

The memes surrounding the image of Blige and Clinton in what looked to be an emotional moment were funny. As were the jokes fired off about Blige presumably bursting into song. However, there was a bit of a visceral reaction to the image of Blige, a black woman, singing in front of Clinton, a white woman, though that actually says more about their own discomfort with certain behavior in front of white people than about Blige herself. Heaven forbid a singer burst into song.

The editing was misleading and, arguably, damaging in the presumption it gave people, but fret not, Negroes and those who fancy themselves allies. Blige is not referring to HRC as “Miss Hillary” during the interview; nor is she telling Clinton, “Pardon the watermelon on my breath.”

What you get between the two is more or less a daytime-talk-show interview on a pay music site. It also plays into the growing trend of outlets having famous people interview other famous people. Sometimes it works; other times, not so much.

Before it begins, it’s clear that Clinton is on friendly terrain. Blige explains before the Democratic presidential nominee arrives, “What inspires me most about Secretary Clinton is that she’s a woman and she’s running for president.”

When Clinton arrives, she compliments Blige about her glasses. Full disclosure: They are fly. Later, Blige compliments Clinton about the ivory suit she wore when she made history by becoming the first woman to accept a major party’s nomination for the presidency. To be fair, Clinton’s suit was white-party excellence.

The questions Blige poses to Clinton are noticeably easy in the beginning. Like, “What do you want people to know about who you really are?” Another: “How has your faith guided you in this process?”

Then come Blige’s inquiries about the role Clinton’s mother played in her life; the relationship she has with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton; and what it’s like being a grandmother.

Now, as for the singing that brought so much attention, context is key. That moment didn’t happen until 18 minutes into the interview, when Blige notes that she’s about to sing a 16-year-old song (“American Skin [41 Shots]”) by Bruce Springsteen. She sings well, despite revealing that she’s worried about how she’ll sound; and then the two have essentially a Hallmark moment. They clutch each other’s hands and Clinton extensively rehashes lines we’ve already heard when she’s been met with similar questions about police brutality.

Blige was not crooning “Pull up your pants and be nice to the po-lice” ideology, which just goes to show what people learn when they wait to see something in full before reacting to it.

We are now at least two decades into the practice of presidential candidates appearing on talk shows to reach out to voters. This encounter was another instance of this, only in digital form. Blige, surprisingly, did note that black people feel that racism gave way to noted obstructionism toward President Barack Obama’s administration, and she asked whether sexism will deal Clinton a similar fate. Did Clinton give MJB the deets on her plans to potentially take executive power to unprecedented levels if need be? No, but what did you expect?

Speaking of expectations, no one should fault Blige for this interview. And as to whether or not Clinton is willing to enter less friendly environments to talk more about policy and how the policies pushed by her husband affected black people, duh. Clinton is not about to go knock on Michelle Alexander’s door and ask for a chat.

Politicians, particularly those, like Clinton, struggling to get key voting blocs to feel enthusiastic about this election, are going to avoid goofing up. Even Obama, in the last stretch of his presidency, ain’t exactly sitting down with anyone to talk about his deplorable record on deportation. That doesn’t mean those questions cannot be posed, though. They just need to be posed by the right people.

Read the rest at The Root.

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In July, Meek Mill appeared to have had some sort of epiphany. Taking to Instagram, the Philadelphia rapper declared, “AFTER DC4 I won’t continue to rap about extreme violence!!!” Around that time, Meek had been posting about Black Lives Matter and, in that same Instagram post, he wrote, “Stop focusing on non important shit and use your platform to bring attention to these foul ways some people believe we should b treated!”

Meek also had this advice for fans: “I seen a few celebs say 1 thing about it…This the most intense it has been in years don’t let up!!!! Pay attention to these people y’all look up to too! And jump on they ass and let them know we ‘see em’ THIS SHIT IS NOT A GAME!”

The declaration came in the midst of many rappers speaking out against state-sanctioned violence and racism. And many faced the same pointed critique: How can they condemn one form of violence, while glorifying violence on record?

T.I. was asked about this recently in an interview with The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. “I think people need to take into consideration that hip-hop traditionally has always been a reflection of the environment the artist had to endure before he made it to where he was,” T.I. explained. “So if you want to change the content of the music, change the environment of the artist and he won’t have such negative things to say.”

Meek has said similar things: “Don’t question my raps because it’s a life we lived and suffered from, I have a right to express my myself!” That he does. Still, Meek must’ve felt something to give a public pledge.

However, this month, beef with The Game appears to be bringing out the worst in Meek, returning him to old habits. After shots back and forth, the beef has culminated in Meek’s remix of Young M.A’s “Ooouuu.” Hearing the song, one wonders how he can disavow violent language because of its real world implications, while continuing to use violent hate speech?

First, if you’re writing about guns, homicide, and “trigger finger,” you’re not that committed to your own pledge. (And, before you mention it, we’re still in a pre-DC4 era. However, the album is reportedly finished and on its way this month: if Meek had set a date for a serious subject change, that time has come and gone.)

Beyond that, though, this entire song is nearly five minutes of Meek and his cronies calling The Game a faggot. At one point, Meek raps, “Strippers turned rappers look what we come to/You a faggot/My lady’ll never fuck.”

The irony here is that Meek is freestyling over an instrumental from a gay rapper. When I mentioned this on Twitter, straight Black men attempted to explain the nuances of homophobia to me, in “child left behind” fashion. It was akin to white folks trying to break down racism to us presumably confused Negroes.

Let me save everyone from repeating themselves: It’s beef; it’s hip-hop. Blah, blah, blah. There. Settled.

Read the rest at Complex.

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Jimmy Fallon is a silly man. That’s neither a compliment nor an insult; it’s a statement of fact. As a cast member of Saturday Night Live, he was best known for being unable to maintain a straight face during a joke. Fallon is a congenial goofball, which is why he ultimately was the perfect replacement for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

To Fallon’s credit, that silliness and amiable disposition has made him uniquely capable of humanizing all of his guests. Some people arguably don’t deserve such treatment, though—folks like Donald Trump, who is a bigot of the highest order, a consistent sexist, and a man who’s willingly tied his brand to the tenets of white nationalism in the same way he slaps his his name to various tall towers across the world.

Fallon has spent the last year or so making fun, and making light, of Trump, but his interview with the Republican candidate on Thursday night—the same night that Trump’s camp had to assure everyone that he isn’t still a proponent of the birther movement—was an all-time low. Already, there are articles pouring out condemning Fallon for being far too jovial with a racist than necessary. Fallon has been dismissed for “pandering” to Trump and not truly weighing the severity of the looming presidential election. As a viewer who loathes Trump and all he embodies, Fallon’s line of questioning is wince-worthy. The late-night host asked Trump hard-hitting questions like:

“Do you still want to do this?”

Of course he does.

“There’s probably kids watching. They do stay up late and watch our show. Why should they grow up and want to be president?”

Why would anyone encourage this foolish man to influence kids?

“Did you always see yourself getting into politics?”

Has Fallon never seen that clip of The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1988 in which Trump is talking about what he’d do as president? He’s been notoriously teasing a run for decades now.

“Do you think your business background helps you with campaigning?”

A shady businessman goes into politics. What could possibly happen?

“Do you pay attention to the polls?”

What planet has Jimmy Fallon been living on?

When Trump tells a story of why he orders fast food—he fears someone at a restaurant who dislikes him will do nasty things to his order—Fallon says, “I never thought about that.” What does Fallon think about? Honestly. Truly.

Read the rest at Complex.

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As alluring as the athleticism displayed throughout each and every competition is, one of the more fascinating portions of the Olympic Games for me is watching nations that are not particularly loving to Black people magically muster up an affinity for Black folks on the world stage. Nationalism is the root of this, but it is nonetheless quite the ironic sight to see every four years. Social media, as it does with most things, only makes what’s already present more pronounced.

So, it is not at all surprising to see that while many Americans of every hue champion Olympic competitors like Gabby Douglas, there is a small but very vocal faction of the population actively reminding us that racism is still an American pastime.

After just completing her last routine and final post-competition interview of her career as an Olympian, Douglas was asked about the wave of criticism she received from some in the U.S. Tears began to fall down her face before she explained to ESPN: “I tried to stay off the internet because there’s just so much negativity. Either it was about my hair or my hand not over my heart [on the medal podium] or I look depressed. … It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It’s been kind of a lot to deal with.”

It’s unfortunate that Douglas’ critics have been given this much power. I’ve wondered whether or not people responding to Douglas’ critics were louder than the critics themselves—which only magnified the influence of contemptuous fools. Mariah Carey once offered advice on how to deal with this sort of problem when she sang on “Ain’t gon’ feed ya/I’mma let ya starve” on “Obsessed.”

Then again, Douglas’ Instagram alone was filled with comments like “nigger” and “flying nigger” over the weekend. Perhaps many jumped ahead of the problem because they knew what was on the horizon. At this point, though, whether or not her critics were given too much attention no longer matters. By now, we’ve come to see that Douglas has been indeed hurt by the remarks. Her mother, Natalie Hawkins, has described Douglas as being “heartbroken.”

Read the rest at Complex.

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Like many celebrities who wrongly employ the phrase as a means of evading responsibility for their actions, A$AP Rocky doesn’t seem to know exactly what “taken out of context” means. There are not many ways to interpret, “What the f–k am I, Al Sharpton now? I’m A$AP Rocky. I did not sign up to be no political activist.” It’s a sentiment as clear as the color of the sky in Los Angeles on a relatively smogless day.

The same goes for the rest of the quote: “I wanna talk about my motherf–kin’ lean, my best friend dying, the girls that come in and out of my life, the jiggy fashion that I wear, my new inspirations in drugs! I don’t wanna talk about no f–king Ferguson and s–t because I don’t live over there! I live in f–king Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate. I’m in the studio; I’m in these fashion studios; I’m in these bitches’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life.”

Some of us knew of his 2015 TimeOut interview when it was first published. Despite Rocky’s claim in an interview Wednesday with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, reading the TimeOut interview in full will do little to alleviate any frustrations with his thought process. And before that radio interview, the Harlem rapper, who now lives in “f–king Soho and Beverly Hills,” said something equally clueless while speaking before the Debate Society of Oxford University. During that conversation, Rocky said, “Why are we exploiting the beef between the urban community and the police force when 60 people got shot on a Friday and Saturday [on a July 2014 holiday weekend] in Chicago in black-on-black crime?”

A$AP Rocky’s issue is not that he was misquoted or that his remarks were received differently than intended; it’s that his words have come back to haunt him several months later. They haunt him because as state-sanctioned violence against black people in this country continues to happen, those who enjoy a platform but do not advocate on behalf of black people are widely viewed as part of the problem. In his more recent radio interview, Rocky did not so much offer clarity about previous comments made as he tried to parse his words.

In his initial response to the social media pile-on, he took to Twitter to take shots at those finding the TimeOut interview late, though he did now acknowledge “all this social injustice makes me f–king sick, tho I’m still no politician.”

Read the rest at The Root.

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During a recent appearance on The View, Leslie Jones got emotional as she honored Whoopi Goldberg for the impact the legendary comedian had on her life. While many of us will continue to boo, hiss, and roll our eyes at Goldberg’s bewildering opinions on race and racism expressed on the show, in that moment, Jones’ remarks reminded everyone of how impactful a figure the legendary comedian is and why. As Jones very earnestly told Goldberg, “I love you for what you’ve done for black women, I love you for what you’ve done for black comedians, and I love you.”

As moving as it was to hear Jones note how she can now replicate Goldberg’s influence via little black girls watching her in the reboot of Ghostbusters, events that have happened before and after the premiere have proven just how poorly treated female entertainers who look like Leslie Jones and Whoopi Goldberg still are. Take for instance, Jones’ revelation that no designer wanted to dress her for the film’s premiere. Fortunately, designer Christian Siriano, who makes a habit of dressing famous women of all shapes and sizes, stepped in once Jones made her complaints public. And when he was met with a river of kudos, Siriano took to Twitter to make something clear: “It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size. Congrats aren’t in order, a change is.”

Indeed. While this is one example of all’s well that ends well, the reality remains that Jones, “not sample size,” tall, and dark-skinned, continues to contend with varying forms of prejudice. Fame and fortune can change many things about one’s life, but if you are black, even those novelties have limitations. Money and name recognition has not shielded Jones from barriers rooted in racism because white supremacy still marginalizes anyone who is not white and who does not live up to white standards of beauty. And now more than ever can those reminders be serviced to you instantaneously and consistently by way of social media.

On Monday, Jones used her Twitter profile to highlight the racism she has been bombarded with due to her role in Ghostbusters. Jones was berated with epithets, stereotypes, and every other fixture of American racism that is typically associated with the black experience. Whereas Jones’ remarks to Whoopi Goldberg warmed my heart last week, her tweet about her feelings in light of the barrage of online racist attacksbroke it.

“I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now,” Jones wrote.

I noticed that the first response under this tweet was from Siriano, who referred to Jones as a gem. She very much is that, and even if you do differ from that opinion, at the very least, she is deserving of basic human decency. Others joined Siriano in pouring love under Jones’ acknowledgment of pain, but make no mistake: the pain is evident.

That’s why with respect to some of the writeups about Jones’ ordeal on Twitter, I found the depiction of her tweets peculiar. As some have also pointed out, Jones did not “bust” her detractors and she didn’t exactly “put them in their place” either. The intent behind these categorizations are well-meaning. Nonetheless, this is not about Jones speaking from a place of strength, or frankly, playing into the “strong black woman” narrative.

Read the rest at Complex.

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If systemic racism employed the services of a carnival barker, that person would sound exactly like former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. A fusion of buffoonery and bigotry, there are only two things Giuliani is known for when speaking to the media: invoking 9/11 and bashing Black people whenever news of racism and state-sanctioned violence hits. Speaking at the Republican National Convention on Monday night, Giuliani called for racial unity, saying “It’s time to make America one again: one America. What happened to: ‘There’s no black America. There’s no white America, there is just America?'” The irony, of course, is that Giuliani himself is responsible for perpetuating systemic racism.

One recent example of this is Giuliani’s appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation.

Though Giuliani feigned sympathy for the plight of the Black experience in America, he quickly opted to dismiss those who seek to improve it as he categorized the Black Lives Matter movement—which advocates against police brutality and calls for criminal justice reform—as “inherently racist.” Giuliani then went on to offer the thoughtless critique, “If you want to protect Black lives, then you’ve got to protect Black lives not just against police.”

Of course, this is typical Giuliani. In 2014, he said the following about the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown during an appearance on Meet The Press: “The fact is that I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing the fact that 93 percent of Blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We are talking about the significant exception here [in the Brown case]. I’d like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this.”

Giuliani has repeated this sentiment whenever he has been called to appear on television to discuss unarmed Black people dying at the hands of the police—which is not that significant an exception given the additional lives that have been lost since Brown’s death. Even so, Americans have one of the highest murder rates in the industrialized world. And although we don’t have more actual crime than other wealthy nations, we have more violent crime specifically because we have greater access to guns. Of that violent crime, murder in America is largely intraracial as 90 percent of Black Americans are killed by other Black Americans and 83 percent of white Americans are killed by other white Americans.

Giuliani, as Jamelle Bouie once noted for Slate, “does not know crime as well as he thinks.” What Giuliani does know, however, is racism (stoking white fear of Blacks) for the purpose of campaigning and racist policy (the implementation of “stop and frisk”) when governing.

To wit, Giuliani went on to say on Face The Nation: “If I were a Black father and I was concerned about the safety of my child, really concerned about it and not in a politically activist sense, I would say be very respectful to the police, most of them are good, some can be very bad and just be very careful. I’d also say be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood, don’t get involved with them because son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you not the police.”

And of course, Giuliani blamed Black culture for racial tensions, claiming, “They sing rap songs about killing police officers and they talk about killing police officers and they yell it out at their rallies.”

This recalls Giuliani’s criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, when he argued, “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.” Yeah, Giuliani’s dad was a mob enforcer who, along with his five brothers, all avoided military service during World War II. And since we’re on child-rearing, the reality is, when Giuliani’s daughter Caroline Giuliani was arrested for shoplifting in 2010she didn’t have to worry about dying in a prison cell like Sandra Bland. Instead, she was leisurely escorted out of the store while Bland, an unarmed black woman arrested during a traffic stop, was found hanged in her jail cell under mysterious circumstances. Bland’s arresting officer was later charged with perjury, but there were no indictments related to her death.

The same goes for the many, many Black men and women have been absolutely respectful to police and have subsequently died—like the very Black men who were gunned down by police that netted Giuliani yet another unfortunate booking on a national platform.

Read the rest at Complex.

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Bless Justin Timberlake’s vanilla-flavored heart. In the year of LEMONADE, he’s only now realizing that it’s a new day — a time in which the things he says that the kids would describe as “problematic” won’t just float away unquestioned.

To wit, moments after Timberlake said he was “#Inspired” by remarks made by actor/activist Jesse Williams celebrating blackness and decrying cultural appropriation at this year’s BET Awards, a few Twitter users felt similarly inspired to inform the pop singer that they had not forgotten his trifling past. One tweet yielded an actual response from the *NSYNC heartthrob turned pop star: “So does this mean you’re going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too.”

Timberlake responded, though all he did was confirm that he likely missed key points made by Williams (while coming very close to echoing “all lives matter” rhetoric): “Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation. Bye.”

Then came more eye-roll-inducing tweets. Like the one where he plays at being the victim: “I feel misunderstood. I responded to a specific tweet that wasn’t meant to be a general response. I shouldn’t have responded anyway…”

Or the one where he opts for a patronizing tone rather than a sincere display of humility: “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.” (Again with the “all lives” mindset.)

And of course the one where he offers a weak apology: “I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US. –JT”

As mighty white as all this sounds, I don’t believe cultural appropriation is the fundamental issue here. A Southern white boy from Memphis being into R&B isn’t surprising or remarkable in any meaningful way. The same goes for any child born in the 1980s who was inspired by the two of the biggest artists of that era: Michael Jackson and Prince. The white boy making music inspired by black art isn’t what’s wrong with Timberlake. It has little to do with why he enrages many of us at times.

What’s grating about Timberlake and white entertainers like him is that, for all their fandom as it relates to black culture, they don’t seem to give much of a damn about the black people who created that culture and continue to keep it alive and fresh. And, to make matters worse, these entertainers typically benefit and profit from our culture more than we ever do. The problem with people like Timberlake is that they will use their white feet and dance to Michael Jackson-indebted steps only to run back to their ivory towers when convenient.

In Timberlake’s case, this would be February 2004, in the hours that followed his Super Bowl performance with Janet Jackson—the one in which Timberlake pulled at her costume to reveal her breast on live TV. Though both apologized, Timberlake did so as if he had absolutely no idea what was intended to happen during that set—opting instead to place most of the onus on Jackson.

Jackson told Oprah Winfrey that she felt Timberlake left her hanging “to a certain degree.” Only years later would Timberlake admit to this in interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying, “I wish I had supported Janet more. I am not sorry I apologized, but I wish I had been there more for Janet.”

Timberlake used Jackson’s celebrity to increase his own, and then used his privilege as a white man to let the black woman take the fall for an incident that involved both of them. Many of us will never forget or forgive what he did to Janet Jackson because it’s a reminder of how little capital black people have in this country—even if you’re as popular and as influential a star as Janet Damita Jo Jackson.

Read the rest at Complex.

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