The Maddening Arrogance and Elusiveness of Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake’s solo career has always struck me as a profound exercise in insincerity. And his arrogance has always been almost insultingly transparent, but no one seems to notice it – or care.

Take this nugget from his “beggin for a black pass” 2003 Vibe cover story where the woman who taught him how to “sing black” – herself a white woman (lawd!) – basically outs him as a poseur at the very same moment we were supposed to be believing we were getting the real Justin:

Although Timberlake loved R&B growing up, he didn’t perform it professionally until he became a regular on The Mickey Mouse Club. His vocal coach, Robin Wiley, who was a producer on the show, remembers how the then 12-year-old had to adjust. “He hadn’t sung a ton of R&B-ish stuff, mostly country, and the show covered whatever was on the radio,” Wiley says.

Or the fact that Justified was really just equal parts Timbaland’s unique brilliance and Pharrell’s “repurposing” of shit he’d written for Michael Jackson. Also from the Vibe article:

The Neptunes could easily have given Timberlake a “Girlfriend Part 2,”and no one would have been mad. “I wanted to break the rules in terms of what people thought we were going to do for Justin,” Williams says. So the producers decided to use Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall as inspiration. In fact, they dusted off five songs they submitted for Jackson’s HIStory Volume 1 and Invincible albums that were rejected. Williams rewrote parts of those songs with Timberlake and created new versions of “Senorita,” “Let’s Take a Ride,” “Last Night,” “Nothin’ Else,” and “Take It From Here.”

But I get it. People record other people’s leftovers all the time. Why does Justin doing this bother me so much? Continue reading

Here We Go Again

Can’t front like the man isn’t gorgeous. Photo Credit: Norma Jean Roy for Details Magazine.

Can’t front like the man isn’t gorgeous.
Photo Credit: Norma Jean Roy for Details Magazine.

Joe Jonas never seemed like a poseur, so why are his handlers modeling his inevitable solo stardom off of the King of 21st Century Poseurdom, Justin Timberlake?

But will Joe Jonas be believable as a real rock star? Can the fans ever forget that they loved him in fourth grade?

“I look at Joe’s scenario as kind of like when Justin Timberlake broke out of ‘N Sync,” says Rob Knox, a producer working on Joe’s solo project who previously teamed up with Rihanna and Jamie Foxx. “Justin was 21 when he came out as a solo artist. Joe is coming to producers who know how to create that edgier pop feeling. We’re not doing any boy-band songs.”

What they are doing, Joe says, is an eclectic mixture of “electro indie pop rock.” “It’s Joe’s album, it’s not just something put together for him,” says Danja, another veteran producer on the project, whose past work includes Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds. “He’s collaborating with the writing. He’s very different from what you’d expect. All I can say is he’s an adult man. He has a rock-star edge about him.”

The entire Details piece reads exactly the way all the articles about Justin Timberlake before he released Justified read – Joe really likes girls! Joe drinks! Joe is kinda sorta embarrassed by the Jonas Brothers! Joe is a rock star trapped in teen idol purgatory!

Blah blah blah snooze.

Continue reading

And Y’all Wonder Why I Can’t Stand Him

Anyone who knows me knows I can’t stand Justin Timberlake.  He’s the 21st century Elvis.  He steals outright and then gets indignant if you notice.  And Black folks seem to love him unconditionally, which hurts my heart.

This video is the latest instance of Timberlake’s disgusting White entitlement.  But this “joke” comes off mean-spirited and not at all funny.

Do you get to “joke” about it when you couldn’t wait to apologize and leave Janet flailing in the winds of public opinion?  Or is it that you get to “joke” about it because you did what you were “supposed” to do and be a good little boy?

I mean, let’s not forget that Janet played hook chick to him (her first fuckin mistake…of all the people to be hook chick for).  And that’s how he does her?

And now he has the audacity to “joke” about it?!???!!

This “joke” is in extremely poor taste. The “wardrobe malfunction” had real consequences for everyone, except Justin.  Janet’s career has never really recovered.  And the FCC has been more involved in television broadcasting than it has been in decades.  The response was one of the most prominent examples of how race and gender work in concert to rob black women of their humanity and the benefit of the doubt.

I mean, he rips of her bodice and she’s the vixen?

I just don’t know what’s worse.  The joke or the fact that he’s doing it by yet again ripping off Black music.

After deserting Janet, ripping off her brother for Justified, ripping off Prince and Robbie Williams’ swagger for FutureSex/LoveSound, and then making fun of Prince on the Golden Globes…there seems to be no end to how much Justin is feelin himself and how little regard he has for the people and the music that has made him a superstar.

I don’t need the reverence that Usher and Ne-Yo and nem give, but at least acknowledge that you walk in forms you didn’t create.  Acknowledge that your popularity has as much to do with you being White as it does with your talent.  Stop frontin like the shit is new just because you are singing it.  Stop fronting like we don’t all know that most of what works in your music has more to do with Tim and Pharrell, than anything that you bring to the table.  A little humility goes a long way.

I didn’t think I could possibly loathe the little poseur any more than I did before.