Usher has come to the defence of his protégé Justin Bieber, describing him as ‘unequivocally not a racist’.

The singer’s comments come in the wake of leaked footage of Bieber when he was younger telling racist jokes.

Usher said that at the time the footage was taken, Justin was too young to understand the ‘negative power’ of what he said.

He posted a photo of the two of them on Instagram with a message defending the 20-year-old star.

He wrote: ‘At my core, I am a person that supports growth and understands without judgement, that growth often comes as a result of pain and continues effort. 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 first introduced Justin to the world back in 2009.