What is the importance of Justin Timberlake’s apology to Britney Spears & Janet Jackson?

Saying he was “deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right,” Justin Timberlake provided us some important materials for relevant commentary. He dosed our sensibilities with some meaningful lines and messages, the kinds of which we don’t see often. Because of the widespread practice that encourages us to rationalize our actions rather than admit our wrongs. If we can find a way to ‘explain’ our ‘position’ and do it in a persuasive manner, we may end up not apologizing for obvious wrongs, especially when while making ‘our point’ we ‘connect’ with some fans who extend some kind of solidarity to us.

Unfortunately, it seems that offer of solidarity is often interpreted as justification for the temptation to dig in instead of apologizing. And heaven knows how much damage could have been avoided had we apologized for a wrong and not created the conditions by which we were enabled to dig in.

Those who argue that because it is coming late in the day, it is no longer necessary, miss the point of the whole exercise. Justin would want to go on record that he acknowledged his wrong. It is more honorable to do so and teach others, like he did last week, than ‘bottle’ it up and assume time would wipe the wrongs away. The true measure of a man is determined not by how much of the truth he twists or cover-up, to obtain any kind of material advantage but how much of dignity and honour his conscience witnesses to him that he truly deserves, following an honest assessment of his actions or inactions. It is better to affirm what he truly feels on the inside than stand on an impressive edifice sitting entirely on shifting sand.

When he said “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” he took the lesson further. Although we all have come short, how many acknowledge and admit their shortcomings, like he did? Why is it easier to hype our strengths than acknowledge our shortcomings?

Going further, he said “I specifically want to apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed… “Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognise it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again.”

Altogether the strength of the apology rest heavily on the choice of words he used in his post last week.

Below are some key phrases from the post:

“deeply sorry”

“I fell short in these moments” “And in many others”

“I want to apologize” “I know I failed”

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