Case No. 6: Justin Timberlake
He brought “Hotback,” but when Prince retorted that “Hot never left” that piss-ant wrote a whole rap with Timbaland about it. He’s an actor now.
BUT WHAT IF HE WAS BLACK? INVISIBLE (OR … BETTER?)
Justin was always an above average-to-excellent pop music guy, but that’s often when compared to other pop music guys. While he came from the “House of Mouse” – which create white kids for public consumption regardless of their level of singing ability – most black male vocalists of R&B have to deal with a little something called “black audiences.” Black people have a certain “standard” about who can and cannot sing. Competition is stiff and we celebrate our history of booing people off the stage. I’ve often said that as much as I’ve enjoyed Timberlake, if he’d been a black guy he would have struggled. There are too many black male R&B acts, running around, pretending like they wereThug Michael Jackson.
Instead of dancing causing wardrobe malfunctions with Mike’s sister, Timberlake would have been fighting to get out of the background of Chris Brown, Usher, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Trey Songz, Mario, Jaheim and Omarion. But there is an upside of being forced to deal with intense competition.
Timberlake might actually be a BETTER performer if he was black.
You don’t learn how to be the next Michael Jackson or Prince when you have no competition. You get that when you are expected to beat and exceed the best. So maybe Justin Timberlake could have been a one-hit wonder stuck on the R&B Hot 100 list … or he could be the Greatest. We’ll never know, because he had just enough talent, plus novelty factor to blow up anyway.
Case in point: I’m not a Chris Brown fan, but I would assume his dedication to being a well-above average dancer while maintaining his singing chops is because he knows the competition is always one hot beat and hook away. Also, an example where if you’re white and a novelty, but surrounded by good mentors forcing you to push yourself … cough … Justin Bieber. Cough. Again, not a fan, but he can play more instruments and I’m sure that swagger coach will pay off any day now.