Fox News host Eric Bolling dismissed actor Jesse Williams’ highly-praised speech at the BET Awards on Sunday, arguing that black entertainers owe their success to white people.
“The reason why rappers are living in — you know, driving in Mercedes-Benz’s and living in neighborhoods is because they’re selling their music, not just to the black community, but to the white community,” Bolling said on The Five on Monday. “Every suburban white kid thinks he’s the next rap star, thinks he’s the next Jay Z.”
As the Los Angeles Times reported, Williams invoked Billie Holiday’s seminal song “Strange Fruit” in the midst of his remarks against cultural appropriation.
“We’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil,” Williams said. “Black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”
The hosts were also perplexed by the criticism levied at Justin Timberlake — who has been accused throughout his solo career of appropriating black pop culture — for posting, “The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation” after a Twitter user who asked if he would apologize to Janet Jackson for allegedly abandoning her following the outcry over their performance in the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
While Timberlake subsequently apologized, Bolling and his co-hosts repeatedly sang his praises during the discussion, while expressing disbelief over Williams’ remarks.
“I didn’t know he was so angry,” said co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle.” He seems so upset, I don’t know, I mean I feel like, yeah, there’s things that go wrong, but also focus on the positive.”
Watch the discussion, as posted by Media Matters, below.