Justin Timberlake means a lot of things to people. Maybe he was your first crush back in the NSYNC days. Maybe he emboldened you to try out an all-denim look or an edgy Ramen noodle hairstyle. Or maybe he taught you a lesson about the Teflon nature of white male privilege and how, for some, nothing bad sticks.
But times are a-changing. Last night at the BET Awards, Jesse Williams delivered a speech that will blast your understanding of what getting goosebumps feels like to all-new stratospheric levels.
If you don't have time to watch it in full, make time. If that's not possible for some reason (nosy boss, bad internet connection, what have you), here are some choice lines that'll give you an idea of what we're working with here:
- "Police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what's going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours."
- "The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That's not our job, alright - stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down."
- "We've been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we're done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil - black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. Just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real."
Justin Timberlake was presumably watching at home and felt moved, as anyone should. He decided to tweet from his glass house.