Last night America watched as Justin Timberlake embodied what I like to call the “New White Man.” He performed with LOTS of people of color surrounding him, thereby “vetting” him. The “invited to the cookout” vibe, that we are familiar with by now. It is as if Justin thinks if he surrounds himself with as many people of color as possible standing BEHIND him or flanking him, then he has earned his black card. He always strikes me as one of those white boys who is just dying to say the N word, and will use his black friends as a shield to say it. “What I have loads of black friends and they say it!”
The performance last night speaks for itself, the vocals were unintelligible at best and pretty weak in volume and tone. However the performance of race was what is always striking to me. Justin Timberlake seems to have an obsession with black bodies, if he is not ripping black women’s breasts out on live television,
Then he is reanimating the black corpses of music royalty to do his bidding.
It was even more striking to me seeing this white boy who has attempted to rebrand himself as country lite (trying to appeal to white people again after chasing after blackness and R&B for so long) with his new Man of the Woods album, putting the image of Prince up on a white sheet…the irony was not lost on me. Prince actually told us this is something he definitely did now want, Prince Hates Holograms. In short, simply the semiotics, the meaning of the doing of this is terrible. Consider how much money Justin has made off of black music, and black music producers. Then think about what transpired with Janet Jackson after he threw her under the bus and his career took off. Now look at him using the image of a dead black musician to entertain an audience under the guise of “tribute.” It is the New White Man doing the same old thing as the old white man. He loves to hang with black folk, but his intention and practice is no different from slave plantation owners, and that is to use blackness as he sees hit for his financial profit and gain. The camouflage of “wokeness” with his tweets and surrounding himself with blackness, cannot hide his actual goal and aim: to squeeze every inch of blood and money out of blackness to line his white pockets with cash. As I saw the image of Prince enslaved to perform last evening, I kept thinking that this is a new form of digital slavery. Even in death, whiteness can now tell our black bodies to work…