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
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.
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".
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".
Each of us, including artists and entertainers, can do something.— Be A King (@BerniceKing) March 18, 2021
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. #MLK #EndRacism https://t.co/nTkR1XdcvW
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.
I do love Justin Bieber's new album but I do not get the MLK Interlude at all! But as a love song album yeah its good...but I do not get any social justice vibes.— Michelle Hughes (@Miche314) March 19, 2021
I just listened to Justin Bieber’s album. I feel a tad bit confused— specifically wondering why is it named “Justice” and the use of Martin Luther King’s voice?— Tylissa (@tylissalockhart) March 22, 2021
He integrated the sounds of late ‘80s pop / ballads, reimagining the feelings of love & romance.
Justin Bieber sprinkled some Martin Luther King Jr. quotes throughout his album, named the album "Justice" and called it a day😭— Cause of death: capitalism (@beckybeck69) March 20, 2021
Man, @justinbieber using his influence and platform to showcase Martin Luther King and his words within his new album is quite inspiring tbh!— Shauna Jones | Ubi-Toon (@Shauna_c_jones) March 20, 2021
i really don't get how other people not being appreciative that justin bieber is actually using his platform to educate and raise awareness for black lives matter and equality by including martin luther king's speech in his album. he got a permission to use it as well +— wil 🍑 (@yuhitswil) March 20, 2021
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