Justin Timberlake a Motown No-Show
02/25/2004 AT 07:03 PM EST
The Grammy-winning "Justified" singer was scheduled to split the emceeing duties with Lionel Richie, but on Tuesday, Timberlake's representatives said he would be unable to attend due a scheduling conflict with his upcoming film "Edison," the Associated Press reports.
"He'll be in the middle of filming when the event is scheduled to be taped, and that's the reason he can't do it," a spokesman for Timberlake said. The special is to be filmed April 4, the same day shooting for "Edison" is scheduled to begin.
However, the selection of Timberlake as a cohost for a special about the label dedicated to black musicians had drawn criticism from some African-American organizations.
"The selection of Timberlake as cohost of this Motown special is a cultural insult to the black community," a statement from the group Project Islamic HOPE read, according to Reuters. "This special, celebrating the success of the legendary music label, should not be compromised in the pursuit of a crossover audience."
But Timberlake's reps denied his decision to bow out of "Motown 45" had anything to do with any criticism that had been directed at the former 'N Sync star.
"Motown 45" will feature performances by Mary J. Blige, the Temptations and the Four Tops, and is expected to air on ABC in May.