hindsight in 2020

Justin Bieber, Having ‘Benefited Off of Black Culture,’ Vows to Help Fight Racial Injustice

Photo: G020/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Whether it was being mentored by Usher from the age of 13, drawing from R&B sounds, or idolizing Stevie Wonder and Boyz II Men as a child, you can definitely hear the influence of black artists in Justin Bieber’s pop oeuvre. According to a new Instagram post the singer wrote this weekend, he knows it, too, and he’s planning to give back the best he can. “I am inspired by black culture. I have benefited off of black culture,” Bieber wrote on Saturday. “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.”

It isn’t the first Black Lives Matter post Bieber wrote recently, having called for the arrest of the Louisville officers who killed Breonna Taylor and posting about George Floyd’s death at the hands of four police officers. In a recent live conversation about allyship with wife Hailey and CNN’s Angela Rye, the singer said he felt shame at his lack of anti-racist action before now. “I’ve been feeling shame in the sense of like, why did it take these men being killed for me to almost take a blanket over my eyes?,” he said. “Why now? I do feel bad when it comes to that.”

In 2014, video of a 15-year-old Bieber delivering racist jokes emerged, for which he later apologized. In December of last year, Bieber posted to Instagram: “When I was young I was uneducated and found myself saying really hurtful things not knowing the power of my words. 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 Reflects on How He’s ‘Benefited off of Black Culture’