Usher is standing by his old friend Justin Bieber. The R&B singer wrote a lengthy note on his Instagram account on Saturday, June 7, defending the young entertainer after yet another video surfaced this week of him making racist remarks when he was 14 years old.
"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," the 35-year-old wrote, along with a throwback picture of the two. "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."
"What he was 5 years ago was a naive child who did not understand the negative power and degradation that comes from playing with racial slurs," he continued.
"What he is now is a young man faced with an opportunity to become his best self, an example to the millions of kids that follow him to not make the same mistakes." (Usher recently spoke about his protege in the new issue of Nylon Guys, noting that he doesn't turn his "head in shame" when he sees the controversial singer getting into trouble.)
"Facing my mistakes from years ago has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with," Bieber said. "But I feel now that I need to take responsibility for those mistakes and not let them linger. I just hope that the next 14-year-old kid who doesn’t understand the power of these words does not make the same mistakes I made years ago. At the end of the day I just need to step up and own what I did."