Panel - Justin Timberlake's Twitter Backlash & Cultural Appropriation

June 29, 2016 - Vic Mensa 06/29/2016 Views: 33,147

Rapper Vic Mensa, Rory Albanese and Robin Thede examine the harsh reaction to Justin Timberlake's tweet praising Jesse Williams's takedown of cultural appropriation. (5:54)

Okay, welcome back.I'm here with my panel.

First up, Nightly Show contributor Rory Albanese.

(cheering, applause)

And Nightly Show contributorRobin Thede.

(cheering, applause)

And he's a spokesmanfor Respect My Vote,

and his new EP There's A Lot Going On is out now.

-Rapper Vic Mensa.-(cheering, applause)

And for everyone at home,join our conversation right now

on Twitter-- @NightlyShowusing the hashtag #Tonightly.

All right, so, last weekendat the BET Awards, uh,

Jesse Williams gavean electrifying speech.

Take a look.

And we're done watchingand waiting

while this invention calledwhiteness uses and abuses us,

burying black peopleout of sight and out of mind

while extracting our culture,our dollars,

our entertainment like oil,black gold.

-Ooh!-THEDE: Yes!

-(cheering, applause)-Bam.

Yeah, he dropped...he dropped a couple of mics,

and during the showJustin Timberlake

tweeted that he was inspired.And then he got trolled

by somebody who was a littlesensitive during that moment

on Twitter, and Timberlakeresponded with this tweet.

All right?

And then Twitterjust really lost its mind.

-THEDE: Yeah. -People thoughthe was being condescending,

blah, blah. Why do you thinkthere was such a big reaction

to this reaction?

Okay, so, I feel as if the issueis not Justin Timberlake

having an inputor even appreciating

what was said in the speech.I mean, that's something

-that everybody, most peoplecan resonate with. -Right.

Our problem here...our problem here

is that Justin Timberlakehimself, you know,

is definitely benefitingfrom using black culture

for his sound, his dance moves,

his dancersand blowing up off of it.

But if you roll downJustin Timberlake's Twitter

for the past two years,which I just did,

you see nothingthat supports black people

when it's more difficult,when there's a struggle.

You know, with everythingthat's gone on

and everybody that's been killedby police on camera

in the past couple years--there's no #BlackLivesMatter.

-There's no"praying for Baltimore." -Right.

There's no "praying for Flint."

You know? Becausethat's a dangerous subject

for him to touch.

And we're not feeling himbeing down

when it's beneficial to him,

and turning a blind eyewhen it could be dangerous.

And did you feel likethat was, um...?

(applause and cheering)

Did it feelthat was the underlying feeling

with that kind of battlethat was going on?

'Cause Jesse's speech hada lot of that in there

about cultural appropriation.

THEDE:Yes, and it was

-really powerful, you know.-Right.

And I think,you know, part of it,

Justin just caught black peopleat a bad moment.

Like, we were so hypedoff that speech.

-WILMORE: Yeah. -We had neverheard anything like that.

It was like when I wentto go see 12 Years a Slave...

WILMORE: It's like,"This is the BET Awards."

We didn't knowwhite people were watching."

-Ah. -No, they weren't,but it was like,

when I went to go see 12 Years a Slave,

I left the movie theatre,a white man opened the door,

and I was like,"Too little, too late, sir."


-You know, I was, like...-Wow.

-You just get hyped,and you feel so right. -Right.

But not... You know what it was?

That happened to me with Wolf of Wall Street, by the way.

-Yeah? Yeah. -I fired twostockbrokers after that movie.

Not the... not the same?

-No, it's not the same.-Not really.

-Just trying to relate.-Yeah. -Not the same.

-Sorry. Just trying to relate.-No. That's fair.

No but I think, you know,it was his follow-up tweet

where he said,"We're all the same."

-WILMORE: Mm-hmm.-Just after Jesse had said,

"We're not being treatedthe same." -WILMORE: Right.

You know, it was like, you can't"All Lives Matter" us,

and then also be inspiredby his speech, you know.

-You know? -Mm-hmm.Do you feel like that's

a feelingthat's out there right now?

Because his speech had a lotof different aspects to it.

But culturalappropriations part--

did it feel likethat was just a Twitter beef,

or that's a real feelingthat's out there right now?

MENSA:I mean, Twitter

-is just representing whatpeople are thinking. -Mm-hmm.

That's where we can, stream ofconsciousness express ourselves.

-People are tired atthis point... -WILMORE: Right.

...of just being used.

Is there any partof black culture

that seems safeto appropriate,

and some that doesn't?

Just... I'm just tryingto help Rory out. Like...

-Yeah. -Yeah.-(laughter)

I mean, I'd be, like,for Timberlake,

just being a white guyand trying

to get involved in thisis a mistake.

-I'm learning that immediately.Um... -(laughter)

No. I think that the thing that,

to me,it makes perfect sense is, like,

the black communityhas been ostracized

since the beginning of timein this country, obviously.

And we've not invited themto the party the entire time.

And they've created their ownworld, their own culture and all

these things they have to dowhen they weren't invited.

-WILMORE: Undecided.-And now they've created

these awesome thingswithin that culture.

And we're like, "Oh, we'll takethat, we'll take that and..."

-Right. -And it's like, "No.(bleep) you. Like, you can't

take the good (bleep) and ignoreus on every other issue."

-WILMORE AND THEDE: Right.-I totally get

why people were pissedabout that.

But when doesappropriation stop,

and when does something justbecome part of the culture?

'Cause there's a lotof young white kids who...

that's all they know. That'sthe music.... -That's just...

-Yeah, but... -...andthe culture that they know.

They don't see itas appropriation, right?

But they don't wantto appropriate

-the voter suppression...-Right. That's what I'm saying.

...and predatory loansand job discrimination.

You don't wantto appropriate that stuff.

-WILMORE: The bad stuff. Right.-ALBANESE: Right. -(applause)

ALBANESE:It's like... It's, uh...

It's, um... it's like aselective appropriation.

-Absolutely. -It's likeselecting the things that are...

-WILMORE: But who would wantto appropriate that? -Well...

THEDE: But that's the thing.But that's the thing.

-You're in or out. You knowwhat I mean? -Thank you.

-That's what I'm saying.-You can't take what

-you like and let... you know...-WILMORE: He also talked about

critique, and I want to showthis other part of this speech

that Jesse was talking about.

Can we show that real quick?

If you have a critique for theresistance, for our resistance,

then you better havean established record

-of critique of our oppression.-(applause and cheering)

If you have no interest...

If you have no interest inequal rights for black people,

then do not make suggestionsto those who do. Sit down.

-(applause and cheering)-Let me tell you something.

-He was keeping it 1,000.-THEDE: Yeah, he was.

-THEDE: Sit down, son.-Sit down.

Sit down until you show usthat you care.

Don't give us any...don't tell us...

-WILMORE: Yeah.-THEDE: Right.

...(bleep) unlessyou show us you care.

-And listen, you can't get awaywith (bleep) today, man. -Man.

-No, but the truth is, islike... -No, 'cause guess what?

-you don't have to tweet that,Justin Timberlake. -Yeah.

He could have said everythinghe was inspired about.

-THEDE: Right.-And then we'd have been cool.

-(laughter) -Well, I thinkthat ironically one of the...

the mediums that serve to dividewith appropriation music,

I think, is the same mediumthat can help bring us together,

'cause music is oneof those forces.

-MENSA: Right.-ALBANESE: Mm-hmm.

...that does bring a lotof people together.

-THEDE: Absolutely. -Sowe'll see. We'll be right back.

ANNOUNCER: If you live in the New York City area,

or are planning to visit, grab some free tickets

to attend an upcoming taping of:

All Shows