The 35-year-old singer caused controversy when he praised actor Jesse Williams' moving speech at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards last weekend (26Jun16), tweeting: "@iJesseWilliams tho (though)...#Inspired #BET2016."
A number of users on Twitter slammed Timberlake for remaining largely quiet on Black Lives Matter issues while appropriating black culture - a subject Jesse raised in his speech.
One person, using the name Ernest Owens, wrote, "So does this mean you're going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologise to Janet too. #BETAwards," and Justin replied, "Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realise that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation... Bye."
Now Grammy-nominated rapper Mensa has waded in to the debate, criticising the Can't Stop the Feeling singer for commenting on Jesse's impassioned speech in a bid to further his own career.
"Our problem here is that Justin Timberlake himself - you know - is definitely benefiting from using black culture for his sound, his dance moves, his dancers, and blowing up off of it," the Down On My Luck rapper said during a roundtable interview on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore. "But if you roll down Justin Timberlake’s Twitter for the past two years, which I just did, you see nothing that supports black people when it’s more difficult, when there’s a struggle.
"With everything that’s going on, and everybody that’s been killed by police on camera in the last couple of years, there’s no #BlackLivesMatter; there’s no 'praying for Baltimore', there’s no 'praying for Flint', you know, because that’s a dangerous subject for him to touch. And we’re not feeling him being down when it’s beneficial to him, and turning a blind eye when it could be dangerous."
Mensa concluded: "Sit down until you show us you care. Don’t tell us s**t unless you show us you care."
After the interview aired, Mensa took to his Twitter page to reassure fans that he hadn't intended to "bash" Timberlake, but was "just shedding some light on the idea of cultural appropriation".