Justin Timberlake's new music video for "Supplies" is just as baffling as people are saying it is. The singer has realized it pays to be woke, and has incorporated every last aspect of the recent #MeToo movement, protest culture, and Black Lives Matter into his music video, all of which would still seem ham-fisted even if Timberlake really did act as an advocate for women and people of color outside his music — which, he really doesn't! Let's examine.
Perhaps most recently, Timberlake was seen at the Golden Globes wearing a Time's Up pin while fresh off acting in Wonder Wheel, Woody Allen's latest film. Allen is an accused child molester, and recently some of those who have acted in his films have donated their salary to Time's Up and other organizations that support women. Timberlake has not spoken about his participation in the film, which Allen's accuser, daughter Dylan Farrow, says is equivalent to complicity. With this in mind, the image of Timberlake sitting in front of a sea of "Me Too" posters quickly falls flat.
Then there's Janet Jackson. Timberlake told Zane Lowe for Beats 1 that he and Jackson made peace after the incident in which he accidentally pulled off her costume during their 2004 Super Bowl performance. However, Jackson was the one banned from the 2004 Grammys, not Timberlake. While he acknowledged that "America's harsher on women. And I think that America is, you know, unfairly harsh on ethnic people," it's only proved more true by the fact that Timberlake has been invited back to perform in 2018, leaving fans livid that he was forgiven while Jackson's career took a hit.
Oh right, and there's this:
remember how the video for "cry me a river" was about justin timberlake stalking britney spears & breaking into her home while she was showering so he could film himself having sex with with a hot model & how this elevated his career while she spiraled into a deep depression https://t.co/Bg5fuzuuJk— melissa lozada-oliva (@ellomelissa) January 18, 2018
But even if we push these things to the side, the video doesn't do itself any favors. The lyrics are self-congratulatory in a way that's off-putting, and don't match up with the fact that he's put himself opposite a woman in the video who acts like nothing more than arm candy.
"Saw you being caught up by some guy you used to know/Stepped in between the both of y'all/Said, 'I'm leaving, do you wanna go?'" the lyrics read, and he later adds that these things make him a "generous lover."
I'm always wary of admonishing well-meaning men who try to participate in a feminist movement, and I do think Timberlake means well. But he can't get away with the title of "ally" if he isn't willing to do the work. Let's let the reaction to this video serve as the spark that turns his words into actions.
Watch the video below: