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BET Awards 2019 - Portraits

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Since we’ve all been sequestered in our homes, artists around the world, from various mediums are entertaining us with their talents. Singers and songwriters have gone up against each other in Instagram Live competitions to determine which artist has the better catalog. This past week, producers Scott Storch and Mannie Fresh went head to head against one another.

And while we were all rooting for Mannie Fresh, when it came to commercial hits and memorable records, Storch was the clear winner.

During the session, we learned that Storch was one of the writers of Timberlake’s hit records “Cry Me A River.”

Aight cool.

But this revelation not only sparked a renewed interest in the 2002 hit, it resulted in people doing some digging. And it revealed some interesting background info on the song as a result.

Someone remarked that their favorite part of the song was when Justin did the “Cry me, Cry meeeee” ad-libs in the last 50 seconds of the track.

Then someone had to let that person know that that wasn’t Justin at all.

Instead, it was singer and songwriter Marsha Ambrosius who sang that part. And there were receipts to prove it.

In a 2014 interview with The Los Angeles Times, Ambrosius said,

“They were recording in Philadelphia at the time. Timbaland sat me down to see where my head was. He said he had this song that had a couple of missing elements that he thought I could fine-tune. I’m listening to what is this phenomenal song and at the time it didn’t have the hook all the way [or] the outro. I went into the booth, matched my vocal with Justin’s and did it a couple of times to get the feel, which is why barely anyone knows I’m on the song because we sound the same. I sang that ‘You don’t have to say, what you did” [line], did the outro. I was playing when I did it and Timbaland kept it. I knew it was a great song in the studio. I didn’t know it would be that song.”

The song went on to win a Grammy and in 2016, Ambrosius shared that she was there that night—just not sitting next to Timberlake.


I don’t think it’s any secret that Justin Timberlake has a complicated relationship with the Black community. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who will deny Timberlake’s talent, there is resentment of the fact that as a White man he’s gotten more access doing Black music than Black people have.

Then there’s the fact that after the 2004 Super Bowl debacle with Janet Jackson, his career skyrocketed while hers plummeted. And she didn’t feel he did everything in his power to stand up for her.

So the fact that another Black woman had something to do with his success and she wasn’t properly acknowledged or celebrated is yet another example of Timberlake’s and the music industry’s problematic legacy.

See what people had to say about all of this below.

In addition to Marsha’s vocals, Tye Tribbett along with the Greater Anointing Choir sang background as well. The more you know.


Recently, Marsha pointed out her contributions.


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