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Justin Timberlake may be able to text Jay Z and Timbaland at a moment’s notice, but perhaps he has been overestimating the credit limit on his Black card.

Madonna celebrated her 56th birthday over the weekend and the 20/20 Experience composer had every bit of sincerity when he saluted her for another year of life. His choice of words in doing so, however, were highly questionable.

“A happiest of Bdays to my mother chucking ninja, @Madonna!! Hope you have a great one, M!,” he exclaimed.

Even the most casual inhabitant of the Hip-Hop culture knows that “ninja” is a visual and auditory safe substitute for the n-word. And Timberlake, a benefactor of a huge career that bridges the best of pop and R&B, clearly was aware of this as well.

Almost immediately, the tweet was deleted but the collateral damage was inevitable. A public defender might argue that Madonna may thrive on the word, seeing that her comfort level with the hood appears to be clearly intact, but two wrongs still don’t calculate a right solution.

Flip through the pages below to see the outrage the birthday tweet sparked. Barring the opaque cop out that there are bigger issues in the world, let us know if you think JT should be excused for his salutation or not in the comments below.

Photo: Owen Beiny/WENN

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