Justin Bieber receives backlash after using Martin Luther King Jr. speech on Justice album

25 March 2021, 15:29 | Updated: 25 March 2021, 15:30

Justin Bieber receives backlash after using Martin Luther King speech on Justice album
Justin Bieber receives backlash after using Martin Luther King speech on Justice album. Picture: Getty/Twitter

The Pop singer has sparked controversy after sampling two speeches from the late civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr.

Justin Bieber has received backlash after using two of Martin Luther King's speeches on his new album Justice.

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The 27-year-old pop star's choice to use speeches from civil rights leader Martin Luther King were highly criticised online.

Justin opens the album with a Martin Luther King speech, on his first track "2 Much". The activist is heard saying "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".

On track 7 of the album, Bieber has an 'MLK Interlude' sampling King's 1967 sermon, ‘But If Not’.

Many fans were confused as to why Bieber made an album "full of love songs about his wife" with no tracks regarding social justice, yet he included snippets from MLK's speeches.

Others also argued that Bieber tried to be the 'white saviour' figure after he spoke about the album as a way to 'unite' people, without acknowledging how this benefits him.

Some people argued that although he is spreading awareness, it is in a self-serving manner, as he makes profit from the streams and sales from the album.

Many questioned whether Justin Bieber is promoting unity for his own gain or if he is genuinely passionate about fighting for equality.

The "Peaches" singer told Vogue he aimed to "amplify [Dr] Martin Luther King Jr’s voice to this generation” to encourage people to stand up for what is right.

He also wanted to expose that MLK was standing up against what "was ultimately racism and division".

Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American activist and leader in the civil rights movement, from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American activist and leader in the civil rights movement, from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Picture: Getty

However, this did not translate for everyone who heard the song.

One fan wrote "The new Justin Bieber album #JUSTICE is pretty good for the most part, but it does have some seriously rocky moments."

"Mostly, I feel like he definitely shouldn’t have included the Martin Luther King samples and titled the album JUSTICE. It’s performative at best."

Another Twitter user wrote "Justin Bieber really used an audio clip form Martin Luther King jr about injustice as the into for a love song about Hailey Baldwin....because that makes sense".

Before releasing the album, Bieber announced a campaign to raise awareness for social justice organisations, naming Anti Recidivism Coalition, Alexandria House, the Compton Pledge, Baby2Baby, the Equal Justice Initiative, LIFT, Self Help Graphics and Art, This Is About Humanity, the Poor People’s Campaign and the King Center.

Martin Luther King Jr's daughter, Bernice King, thanked Bieber for his support on Twitter.

“Thank you, @justinbieber, for your support, in honor of #Justice, of @TheKingCenter’s work and of our #BeLove campaign, which is a part of our global movement for justice.”

See other reactions to Justin Bieber including MLK speeches on his album.

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