Justin Bieber continues his commodification and profiteering off of Black culture with his appearance in the video for "Popstar."
Justin Bieber still doesn’t get it.
The Canadian pop star — who is white — stood in for fellow Canadian Drake — who is bi-racial and identifies as Black — in the video for the latter’s new track, “Popstar,” with DJ Khaled.
While I’m not sure why this was advisable or even cute, Bieber still doesn’t seem to understand that he’s still blackfishing, and it needs to stop.
In the video for the new single, which you can see below, DJ Khaled repeatedly calls Drake to film a video for “Popstar.” Drake, unmoved, calls in reinforcements — in the form of Justin Bieber.
Bieber, unable to move by himself, also brings controversial manager Scooter Braun and wallflower wife Hailey Bieber along for the ride.
Afterward, Drake writes an Instagram post thanking the “Baby” singer for doing the absolute least.
According to experts, “blackfishing” occurs when someone not of the Black race pretends to be of the Black race, and usually in a stereotypical way. While it’s often used to describe women who cynically co-opt Black features — such as Selena Gomez, Madison Beer, and Kylie Jenner — it can also be used to describe people like Justin Bieber, who co-opt Black music to further their career while Black artists who put out similar music languish in obscurity.
To be clear, Justin Bieber isn’t just “blackfishing” because he “acts/sings/dances Black.” He’s blackfishing because he “acts/sings/dances Black in a stereotypical way” (in this case, the exaggerated dance moves, the middle finger in the air, the stereotypical “urban” inflection).
It’s not unusual for white artists to profit off of Black culture — but it is problematic. Bieber doesn’t recognize his role in it after all this time — and all these Black friends of his — makes it an even bigger problem. He achieved mainstream success using R&B, and hip hop inspired music, while others with far more talent languished in obscurity — and there’s no need to continue this pattern. Not in this day and age.
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Last modified: September 23, 2020 2:28 PM