R&B superstar Usher has spoken out in defence of his protege Justin Bieber once more as the fall out from the Baby singer's racial slur controversy continues, insisting the youngster is "unequivocally not a racist".
The hitmaker has come under fire this week after two old video clips, filmed in 2009, emerged online showing him using the N-word in a racist joke and singing about joining notorious race hate group the Ku Klux Klan.
Bieber has issued two formal apologies to date, claiming it was a "reckless and immature mistake", and his mentor Usher subsequently branded the scandal "unfortunate", but vowed to stand by his 20-year-old charge, stating, "Every person that has grown up, grows up with something. It ain't (sic) just perfect from the beginning."
On Saturday (07Jun14), Usher took to his Instagram.com page to further express his feelings about the situation, which has threatened to derail Bieber's career.
He shared a photo of himself with Bieber, and in the accompanying caption, he wrote, "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."
Usher is not the first African-American celebrity to come to Bieber's defence - 50 Cent, Soulja Boy, boxers Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Mike Tyson and actress Whoopi Goldberg have also voiced their support for the youngster.
Meanwhile, the embattled singer has reportedly turned to Christianity to help him get through the backlash and was allegedly baptised in a bathtub this week (ends08Jun14).