When Justin Timberlake wrote a single “Take Back the Night,” he had no idea there was an anti-rape foundation of the same name. His song, which has nothing to do with rape or the ending of sexual violence, is simply a disco-ish R&B song with sexual lyrics. The foundation bearing the same name is simply shocked, somewhat narcissistically, perhaps, that Timberlake never heard of them.
“Everyone at Take Back the Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name,” Katherine Koestner, executive director of Take Back the Night.
“The lyrics are definitely very sexual and not at all clearly anti-sexual violence,” said Koestner. “‘Use me,’ for example, is not a great phrase for anyone affiliated with the organization.”
Nevertheless, assuming Timberlake is just ignorant, and not malicious, the anti-rape group decided to drop the charges against him for using their name as a lyric.
“At this point, we’re going to bow down gracefully, and accept that fighting this in court probably isn’t the best use of anyone’s time,” Koestner said.
“It’s best to focus on the mission, and his stated support is important to us. Mostly, it was shocking that an institution that goes back to 1973 went unnoticed by the likes of Justin Timberlake. It shows how much visibility we really need.”
The organization has a capacity to be perpetually shocked, apparently. That a musician was unaware of them might not shock the rest of us. Timberlake, meanwhile, has rather sheepishly and lamely said that his single could bring awareness to the institute.
“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. I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with the organization,” he said.
“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. It is my hope that this coincidence will bring more awareness to this cause.”
Well, that’s a polite way of saying, “don’t sue me,” anyway.
With lyrics such as “Tonight’s the night, come on surrender,” it isn’t exactly a happy coincidence. “Your love’s a weapon / Give your body some direction / That’s my aim” might even be unfortunate lyrics for a song named this way. “Come on, use me up until there’s nothing left,” might also be a sad coincidence.