With Justin Bieber, a pop star with many connections in the hip-hop world, coming under fire this week for an unearthed video of him making a racist joke at age 15, it seems as if everyone in the music sphere is eager to voice their opinion on the issue. Following Lupe Fiasco's comparison of Bieber to Donald Sterling, Usher, the singer's former mentor, has come out in defense of Bieber. 

Usher, who covers this month's issue of Nylon magazine, spoke on Bieber: "I gave every bit of advice and always told him it was up to him if he really wanted this. Now that he has it, as an adult, it's his to manage. Do I turn my head in shame based off of what I see, what I know? Nah, I don't because it's all part of life's process. Am I in it with him? Yeah." 

Though he clearly isn't disappointed in Bieber, Usher did say: “It’s unfortunate. I hate some of the things I hear. Is it all true? I don’t know. But I will tell you this: Success comes with a price. Every person that has grown up, grows through something. It ain’t just perfect from the beginning.” 

Then asked about his mentorship of Bieber in the singer's early days, Usher was quick to praise the practice of established artist taking young talent under their wings, saying he benefitted greatly from Diddy's help early on in his career:

“Artist development made me who I am,” he said. “Somebody took the time to help me find what it is that works for me as an entertainer and who I am as a music maker.” 

Stay tuned for more musicians' responses to Bieber's racist joke -- there will inevitably be more before this story blows over.


[Update: Usher Makes Another Statement]

Though Usher already commented on Justin Bieber's actions after the first racist video surfaced, today he has spoken out once again. The R&B singer published a statement to his Instagram account this morning, in which he came to Bieber's defense once more.

In the post, the singer argues that Justin was young and naive during the filming of the videos, and is "unequivocally not a racist".

Read his full response below.

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. 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. 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.