I am a white Canadian and I will never know what it feels like to be an African American but what I do know is I am willing to stand up and use my voice to shine light on racism, because it's a real thing and it's more prevalent now than I have ever seen in my lifetime.. we are all Gods children and we are ALL EQUAL.
Justin Bieber has long been the target of criticism for some of his more questionable and controversial behavior. He has been accused of indiscriminately borrowing aspects of Black culture for his music and his image without regards to their context. He’s been in trouble for telling racist jokes.
However, through it all, all anyone ever asked of him was to do better. A lot of his behavior could be attributed to youthful mistakes, but a lot of it was just one link in a long chain of similar behaviors from other stars who borrowed cultural signifiers for cool points and discarded them when they no longer worked. All we ever wanted was for him and others to acknowledge the privilege that they have when they want to wear other cultures like a costume to prove they’re hip and go all the way. Stand up for those marginalized groups, instead of just using them as props when it’s convenient.
It looks like Justin is at least starting to get it. Without prompting, without warning, and seemingly without any underlying ulterior motive, Justin Bieber used his platform to make a statement, posting “Black Lives Matter” to his Instagram along with a caption that demonstrated the burgeoning understanding of the responsibility to use privilege to stand up to injustice.
“I am a white Canadian and I will never know what it feels like to be an African American but what I do know is I am willing to stand up and use my voice to shine light on racism, because it’s a real thing and it’s more prevalent now than I have ever seen in my lifetime.. we are all Gods children and we are ALL EQUAL,” he wrote.
For what it’s worth, I understand that a post like this is a much greater risk for him than say, sliding in a gym’s DMs to identify a pretty employee. Taking a hard stance runs the risk of cutting off a significant portion of his fanbase; it’s why more traditional, American stars avoid making political statements altogether. And this, by itself, won’t change the minds of the majority of people. But it does prove that those of us in the struggle have a powerful ally, with a huge platform that can be used to impact real change in policy, and mobilize those of Justin’s fans who are willing to do the work. That’s all anybody could ever have asked.