In the wake of George Floyd‘s death in the hands of Minneapolis police officers, protestors across the country have sought to bring awareness to racial injustice. Recently, activists have called upon officials in many U.S. cities to remove images and symbols of racism — including statues of Confederate leaders.
Now, Justin Timberlake is lending his voice to the cause. Born and bred in Tennessee, Timberlake is using his Southern roots and his celebrity platform to argue that these statues of slave-owners have no place in modern society.
On Instagram, Timberlake shared a video of Jeffrey Robinson, legal director of the ACLU, explaining why Confederate statues should be taken down.
Along with the video, Timberlake included his own thoughts, writing, “A lot of you know I’m from Tennessee … a state that happens to be the home of many many confederate monuments. I’ve been listening closely to the ongoing debates about what to do with these statues — and I really want to take a minute to talk about this.”
On Twitter, Timberlake also called for the monuments to be taken down, stating that “America was built by men who believed in and benefitted from racism. Plain and simple.”
When we protest racism in America, people think we are protesting America itself. Why is that the reaction? Because America was built by men who believed in and benefitted from racism. Plain and simple.
If we plan to move forward, these confederate monuments must come down. https://t.co/j2IgZ8Nr7D
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) July 6, 2020
Timberlake retweeted a post by the ACLU stating that the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest is still featured in the Tennessee State House, despite the grisly role Forrest played in the Civil War.
Forrest was a slaveowner, slave trader and Confederate general, and he was later believed to be a KKK leader. He was known widely for his viciousness in battle and for leading to the deaths of countless American soldiers, including former slaves who had joined the Union Army.
Although lawmakers in Tennessee are taking steps to officially end his state holiday (Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, July 13), they voted against removing his bust from the Capitol.
In the past, Timberlake has faced accusations that he has appropriated Black culture and spoken over Black people, for which he has apologized.
Now, Timberlake is using his platform on social media to highlight the concerns over Confederate monuments and their impact on Americans.
You can watch Jeffery Robinson’s full presentation on Confederacy in the United States in the ACLU’s YouTube video here:
And you can learn more about Confederate symbols in the U.S. at the ACLU website.