In response to “Justin Timberlake is rebranding himself as a white Man” From The Outline. An article about upcoming album “Man of the Woods” by Justin Timberlake.
This is satire, right? It has to be. I hope it is.
But just in case it isn’t…
I’m not a journalist, and I don’t try to be. I’m just a casual blogger that has a lot to say and I read your post this week, only because I’m a big Justin Timberlake fan. So yeah I may be a little biased, but I’m not blind.
Or maybe I am…However…
Something tells me that you’re probably not a fan of Justin Timberlake. Something tells me that you have no earthly idea of how he’s carried himself through the entertainment and music industry for the last 23 years he’s been doing this thing. We’ll just focus on the last 13 or so though, since his solo career is what you seem to have a problem with.
“Justin Timberlake is rebranding as a white man”.
When was Justin Timberlake ever not white? Ok Ok, I know, too literal, right? So let’s look at it from a cultural standpoint. From the start of your article, you visualize the settings from which Justin’s album teaser is set from (You did a good ass job with that, by the way). And for some strange reason, I don’t have any idea why, you immediately think “Damn this is some white people shit”. Just because he’s in some wilderness setting.
“White colonialist fantasies aside, there’s something very familiar about this pivot in Timberlake’s style.”
These are your words. Mind you, the album, NOR the single has even dropped at this point when you posted your article, so how is this pivot familiar? What pivot? What are you basing your opinion on? Additionally, how is this quote even related to his race? Oh, the visuals? Because this is some “white people shit”? White people love the outdoors and wilderness. But here’s a news flash. Probably not many, but black people tend to love this as well, but that’s beside the point. You’re assuming here that Timberlake’s visual association of wildlife to be sort of a “celebration” of his whiteness, and we all know what assuming things get you.
Authenticity is quite marketable now, and for white pop stars that means shifting away from the hip-hop and R&B-influenced sounds that made them famous, and toward the sounds of Southern and country rock. For Timberlake, the pivot should be sonically natural: Originally hailing from Tennessee, Timberlake has never been shy about celebrating his Southern origins. And considering Pharrell and Timbaland are both producers on the album, Man of the Woods is likely to retain some familiar influences.
So why are you even typing this article right now?
But with his insistence in the video that this album will be his most personal yet, Timberlake is indulging in the inexplicably popular fallacy that music with heavy country influences is somehow more profound or emotionally acute than music that is electronic, lyrics that are rapped, or songs that inspire listeners to shake their asses.
Have you heard the track yet? Because all of this assumption is just really causing a problem for me.
Not to straight up copy and paste your whole article here, but you are reaching SO MUCH. I feel that you are reading too much into this. Justin Timberlake has essentially grown over the years as an artist. From a young teen heartthrob (Justified), to the sexy young adult (FutureSex/LoveSounds), to the experienced sexy adult (The 20/20 Experience) to full out husband and family man (Man of the Wild). He’s calling this his most profound and personal because this album is reflecting his personal life. If writing about your family isn’t considered profound just on it’s own without including race then I’m not sure if you have a full grasp of the word. How in the hell do you get “Justin is rebranding as a white man” out of this, is beyond me.
Timberlake has a long history with hip-hop and R&B, genres invented and dominated by black people(…)His first single as a solo artist featured legendary hip-hop duo Clipse and was co-written by The Neptunes.
Justin Timberlake has worked with Timbaland and The Neptunes for the vast majority of his solo career. If anyone is to blame for him appropriating black culture, they share the blame.
Now that that is out of the way, Justin Timberlake’s first single “Like I Love You” with Clipse was a Pop track with a Rap feature. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that track on a single Hip Hop station growing up. To add to that, Justified was solely a Pop album with hints of hip hop flare due to Timbaland and The Neptunes. With the exception of “Cry Me a River”, Timberlake’s songs were rotated on Pop stations.
It wasn’t until FutureSex/LoveSounds when Justin got more play on Urban stations and even then only half of the album (if that) consisted of a straight up Urban tone. The rest of it was Pop. Tell me the last time you heard “SexyBack” on a Hip Hop radio station? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
With the 20/20 Experience, Justin ventured into Pop Soul, which had his most Urban influence for an album. But it wasn’t that he was straight up jacking the hip hop style, he involved Pop into something different. Into something great, and I implore you to go back and listen to it.
Again I don’t think that you’ve really listened to Justin’s music. Which I guess you don’t really have to, to come up with this crazy notion of an article you’ve written here. Also, I feel that people of color don’t really appreciate Justin’s music other than his singles that play on urban hip hop stations. Justin has never branded himself as black. People just tend to have this mindset that he’s appropriating the culture and I feel that that’s where you get this notion about him branding himself as a black person. And you know what, it’s fine to feel that he’s appropriating the culture, because to an extent, he is, but I feel that he’s appropriating by association, and who’s to blame for that?
Maybe that’s a conversation for another day…
Edit: After speaking with a few friends on this topic, I may have missed the ultimate point of the original article. However, I do feel that the original author is jumping the gun prematurely at the fact that the music has not been released. So who knows if Justin will be embracing his “white roots”. Being able to “play the field” due to privilege is more of a societal issue than it is a personal issue. And maybe one day we can work on that.