Michelle Williams' Reading of Spears Memoir Is Getting Attention

Actor is making headlines for her reading of audiobook, especially one Timberlake snippet
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2023 12:47 PM CDT
New Star Getting Buzz From Spears Memoir: Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams arrives at the Oscars on March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Britney Spears' new memoir continues to make headlines, and now the audiobook for The Woman in Me, released Tuesday, is making news of its own. It's narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Michelle Williams, whose readings are now going viral, particularly one snippet involving Spears' ex, Justin Timberlake. That clip, per NBC News, involves a section in which Spears describes 'N Sync, Timberlake's band way back when, as different from the Backstreet Boys, their main rivals, because of how the 'N Sync boys hung out with Black performers.

"Sometimes I think they tried too hard to fit in," says Williams in the audio version, reading Spears' words aloud. "One day, J and I were in New York going to parts of town I'd never been to before. Walking our way was a guy with a huge blinged-out medallion. He was flanked by two giant security guards. J got all excited and said so loud, 'Oh yeah, fo' shiz, fo' shiz. Ginuwine! What's up, homie?'" The internet reacted almost immediately once the clip started circulating.

"Nothing can prepare you for these 15 seconds of michelle williams doing a justin timberlake impression as written by britney spears," one commenter noted on X, including that particular audio segment with their tweet. Another person called it "art," while yet another ridiculed Timberlake's "blaccent," via Williams' reading. BuzzFeed notes that the audio started a conversation on Timberlake's appropriation of Black culture in the 2000s, which included wearing his hair in cornrows and using African American Vernacular English, or AAVE, when speaking.

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However, some marveled at Williams' impression of Spears in her readings. "Michelle Williams channeled Britney Spears for this line reading about Jamie Lynn," Spears' younger sister, wrote one fan. Some even said Williams should win an award for her vocal interpretation of Spears' words, per USA Today. "[W]hen michelle williams wins the best audiobook recording grammy for this line reading what then," one commenter wondered. (More Britney Spears stories.)

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