Justin Bieber expressed his appreciation for Black culture over the weekend, vowing to use his platform to denounce racial inequality moving forward.
The Grammy-winning artist posted a short but passionately worded note to Instagram on Saturday, pledging solidarity with the global protests against police brutality and acknowledging the influence of Black culture on his own career.
“I am inspired by Black culture. I have benefited off of Black culture,” Bieber wrote. “My style, how I sing, dance, perform, and my fashion have all been influenced and inspired by Black culture.”
“I am committed to using my platform from this day forward to learn, to speak up about racial injustice and systemic oppression, and to identify ways to be a part of much-needed change,” he added.
Bieber, 26, began his career at age 13 as a protégé of Usher. He has been accused of cultural appropriation and making race-related gaffes over the years.
In 2016, he was hit with backlash after wearing his hair in cornrows and, later, in dreadlocks, both traditionally seen as Black hairstyles. Two years before that, he issued an apology after TMZ uncovered video footage of him using the N-word while telling a joke to friends when he was 15.
Bieber has been more conscious of keeping his privilege in check both on social media and in interviews more recently.
“When I was young I was uneducated and found myself saying really hurtful things not knowing the power of my words,” he wrote on Instagram in December. “Racism Is still very prevalent and I want to use my voice to remind we are all human being and all of EQUAL VALUE BEFORE GOD!”
Bieber and his wife, Hailey Baldwin, joined CNN’s Angela Rye for a Facebook Live conversation last week, in which he said he’d been “feeling shame” following the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
“Why did it take these men being killed for me to almost take a blanket over my eyes? Why now?” he said. “I do feel bad when it comes to that.”
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