Add Justin Timberlake to the growing list of Hollywood luminaries who have called for the removal of Confederate statues and symbols across the country.
On Tuesday, the 10-time Grammy winner reflected on his Southern heritage in a lengthy Instagram post. His native state of Tennessee, he wrote, features many monuments that celebrate “men who proudly owned and abused Black people.”
“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,” Timberlake said. “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.”
Timberlake also posted a short video featuring American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson.
In the clip, Robinson pointed out that the top 10 states with Confederate monuments “account for over 4,000 lynchings in 73 years from 1977 to 1950.” He also praised cities and states that have taken “the first step to a true reckoning with America’s racialized past” by removing such statues and other markers.
Timberlake echoed Robinson’s sentiments in his post.
“If we plan to move forward, these monuments must come down,” he said.
The former ’N Sync star’s plea followed that of another Volunteer State native, Taylor Swift.
“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” Swift tweeted last month. “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 ― not just the white ones.”
Faith Hill took a similar stance June 25 when she called on Mississippi lawmakers to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state’s flag.
“Now, it is time for the world to meet the Mississippi of today and not the Mississippi of 1894,” tweeted Hill, who was born in Ridgeland, Mississippi. “We have to realize that this flag is a direct symbol of terror for our Black brothers and sisters.”
Two days later, Hill got her wish, as both the Mississippi House and Senate voted in favor of retiring the state’s flag. Voters will choose the new design in November.