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usher bieber

Bieber’s mentor finally steps in.

Over the past week and a half, Justin Bieber‘s image–which had already taken several hits after his alleged prostitute flings in Brazil coupled with his arrest in Miami–took a major hit once again, after two videos were leaked to the internet, courtesy of TMZ, of Bieber making racist jokes. In the initial video, which was taken when the pop star was 15, Bieber used the “n word” in the punchline to a joke–it’s worth noting he knew he was being filmed–but that was, for the most part, chalked up to be a young kid who made a bad joke, and a bad mistake.

The very next week, another video–this one was taken when Bieber was 14–surfaced that was significantly worse. Bieber changed the chorus of one of his early hits, “One Less Lonely Girl” to “One Less Lonely N***a”, and went on to sing about killing black people and joining the KKK.

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Pretty heavy stuff.

It’s also worth nothing that Bieber’s two mentors, Usher and Ludacris, are black, and while most wondered if Usher would address the budding controversy, the veteran singer–who is gearing up to release his new album–has finally released a statement on the awkward situation.

At my core, I am a person that supports growth and understands without judgement, that growth often comes as a result of pain and continues effort. As I have watched Justin Bieber navigate difficult waters as a young man, I can tell you that he hasn’t always chosen the path of his greatest potential, but he is unequivocally not a racist.