Justin Timberlake is making it known that he wants to see Confederate monuments taken down, as it is one of the ways for America to move forward in the fight against racism. The 39-year-old singer hails from Memphis, Tennessee, which is a state rife with statues honoring Confederate leaders. He shared an Instagram video on July 8 from the ACLU which reported there are still 1296 Confederate monuments across 10 southern states. It explained that those states accounted for over 4,000 lynchings during a 73 year span from 1877 to 1950.
“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,” Justin began in the caption. ⠀
“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. This is when you hear ‘But that’s all in the past.’ So let’s be clear…those men who proudly owned and abused Black people are STILL celebrated all over the country,” JT continued. ⠀
“There are roughly 1,848 confederate statues of in the US. More than half are in the South, and it’s not acceptable. No one should be protecting the legacies of confederate leaders and slave owners,” he explained. The “Say Something” singer added, “If we plan to move forward, these monuments must come down. But let’s remember: Removing these statues does not erase our country’s vile history of oppression — removing them is a symbol of respect for Black people in America and it’s a step towards progress and actual equality for all.”
Justin is following in the footsteps of Nashville resident Taylor Swift, who was one of the first celebrities to speak out on the issue after Confederate statues began toppling in the wake of George Floyd‘s May 25 killing and Black Lives Matter protests. On June 12, Taylor called on the Capitol Commission and Tennessee Historical Commission to take down statues of Confederate figures that the 30-year-old and many others called out for their “racist” values.
“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” she tweeted. Taylor added, “Taking down statues isn’t going to fix centuries of systemic oppression, violence and hatred that black people have had to endure but it might bring us one small step closer to making ALL Tennesseans and visitors to our state feel safe.” Taylor also wrote, “We need to retroactively change the status of people who perpetuated hideous patterns of racism from ‘heroes’ to ‘villains.’ And villains don’t deserve statues.”