Justin Timberlake put out an official statement defending the title of his latest song, “Take Back The Night.”
The single, which dropped last week and is featured on The 20/20 Experience-2 of 2, shares a title with the Take Back the Night Foundation, a group that looks to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.
“Upon the release of my new single ‘Take Back The Night’, I was made aware of an organization of the same name called The Take Back The Night Foundation,” Timberlake wrote in an official statement obtained by Radio.com today (June 15). “I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with the organization.”
For over 35 years in the United States, Take Back The Night has been focused on eliminating sexual violence in all forms. In the last decade, thousands of colleges and universities have created their own chapters as a way of keeping students protected against sexual violence.
“As I’ve learned more about The Take Back The Night Foundation, I’m moved by its efforts to stop violence against women, create safe communities and encourage respectful relationships for women–Something we all should rally around,” he said. “It is my hope that this coincidence will bring more awareness to this cause.”
Katie Koestner, Board Director of Take Back The Night, hopes that this debacle will also bring more light to her cause. In an interview with Radio.com today (July 15) following the release of Timberlake’s statement, she explained that because the organization trademarked their name back in 1973, entities looking to use the name must check in with them first.
On Friday (July 12), the organization’s legal department sent Timberlake a letter explaining to him what it is that they do and also expressed some dismay over the song’s lyrics. Koestner said her, along with organization, have no problem with songs that speak about sex, as long as it is consensual, citing a statistic that one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Left up to interpretation, lyrics like “The way you move, you go crazy, that’s incentive for me,” can cross the line from being sexy to dangerous. “We’re not anti-sex,” Koestner explained. “We’re anti-sexual assault.”
While Koestner was saddened to hear Timberlake hadn’t heard of her organization, she took it as a sign that Take Back The Night needed to work harder to get their name out there. “It’s a really important issue that needs to gain visibility,” she said. “We need to shed light on it.”
Her hope is that the organization will be able to gain notoriety among stars of Timberlake’s caliber, who can send the message, not just in a statement, but on a regular basis to their fanbase.
“In an ideal world, our pop culture icons will speak out more about healthy relationships in front of large groups of people or on Twitter,” Koestner said. “But I’ll start with a sentence.”