Britney Spears Recalls Justin Timberlake’s Cultural Appropriation NSYNC Years: ‘Tried Too Hard’
In an except from The Woman in Me, Spears recalls Timberlake's eagerness to be accepted by the Black community during his years in boy band NSYNC.
"His band NYSNC was what people back then called 'so pimp.' They were white boys but they loved hip-hop. To me, that's what separated them from the Backstreet Boys, who seemed very consciously to position themselves as a white group," the excerpt begins, as read by Michelle Williams for the audiobook version of Spears' memoir.
"NSYNC hung out with Black artists. Sometimes I thought they tried too hard to fit in," she continues.
"One day J [Justin] and I were in New York going to parts of town I had never been to before. Walking our way was a guy with a huge, blinged-out medallion. He was flanked by two giant security guards. J got all excited and said, so loud, 'Oh yeah, fo' shiz, fo' shiz! Ginuwine, what's up homie?'" Spears recalls, adding that when her assistant at the time, Felicia Culotta, playfully poked fun at Timberlake's blaccent, the "Cry Me a River" singer "wasn't even embarrassed."
Check out the excerpt, below:
This is hardly the first time Timberlake has been called out for cultural appropriation.
In 2016, Timberlake received backlash after he weighed in on actor Jesse Williams' speech at the BET Awards, which addressed cultural appropriation.
"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," Williams said, according to Cosmopolitan.
After Timberlake tweeted that he was "#inspired" by the speech, journalist Ernest Owens called him out for not defending Janet Jackson at the 2004 Super Bowl, as well as for borrowing from Black culture despite not rallying for Black causes.
"So does this mean you're going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too," Owens tweeted at Timberlake.
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