Twenty two-year-old, Grammy award winning solo artist, JustinTimberlake, was selected to host the “Motown 45″special alongside Lionel Ritchie, however, due to a conflict inscheduling, Timberlake opted not to participate in the event.
According to Billboard.com Timberlake gladlyaccepted when asked to host the show but a prior commitment to staralongside Morgan Freeman, LL Cool J and Kevin Spacey in”Edison” forced him to withdraw from hosting the event.
Although Timberlake contests that his removalfrom participating in the show was solely based on his upcomingappearance in “Edison” where he plays a journalist whouncovers police corruption, several members of the African Americancommunity disagreed with Timberlake’s inclusion in the”Motown 45″ special.
A coalition of influential African Americanleaders and organizations demanded back in February that theAmerican Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) eliminate pop star JustinTimberlake as co-host of the upcoming ABC-TV spectacular, scheduledto air sometime in May.
The coalition, along with many otherindividuals, was highly offended with the selection of Timberlaketo co-host a Motown event. With an illustrious history, Motownbegan in Detroit 45 years ago and is recognized today as the iconof R&B and soul music around the world. In opposition to formerNSYNC member’s insertion in this legendary tribute, thealliance created a national email, fax and phone campaign againstABC.
An array of prominent African Americanrecording artists launched their careers at Motown. From StevieWonder, Marvin Gaye, Dianna Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinsonand the Miracles, The Four Tops, The Commodores, Lionel Ritchie,the Temptations and finally the Jackson Five, Motown has a proudand historic legacy of housing some of America’s greatestrecording artist.
According to Blacknews.com Najee Ali,Executive Director, project Islamic Hope, a non-profit nationalcivil rights organization, stated, “the selection ofTimberlake as co-host of this Motown special is a cultural insultto the Black community.” Ali went on to say, “thisspecial, celebrating the success of the legendary music label,should not be compromised in the pursuit of a crossoveraudience.”
Rachel Crouch, senior mathematics and interiordesign major at Howard University, also disapproved withTimberlake’s inclusion in the event and is satisfied with therole that the coalition played in organizing an effective protest.”What does Justin Timberlake know about Motown, other thanwhat he’s copied from us for his music genre and mademillions off of.”
Timberlake’s handling of the recentSuper Bowl incident during a performance with Janet Jackson alsoappalled the Black community and further encouraged them not tosupport him. Timberlake refused to take responsibility for exposingJackson’s breast on national television and instantlyisolated himself from Jackson, like she was the one to blame forhis actions.
According to Blacknews.com Timberlake toldreporters, “I mean I was completely shocked and appalled, andall I could say was, ‘oh, my God, oh, my God,” inresponse to the “wardrobe malfunctioning” episodeduring the halftime Super Bowl performance.
All proceeds from ticket sales from”Motown 45″ will be donated to the United Negro CollegeFund.