Justin Bieber’s new album Justice is sparking controversy for its use of two Martin Luther King Jr. speech excerpts.
The 16-track album, which was released Friday, opens with a famous MLK quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The clip then leads into the album’s first track “2 Much.” But the use of the civil rights leader to intro a collection of pop songs didn’t sit well with many, who voiced their disapproval on social media.
There is also an “MLK Interlude” that appears midway through the album. King speaks about causes so great that they are worth dying for, which serves as a lead-in for “Die for You” about Bieber’s love for a woman. “I would walk through burning fire / Even if your kiss could kill me / You know I would die for you / Yeah, I would die for you,” he sings.
However, Bieber’s attempt to tie in MLK’s activism with his love songs fell flat. “If you’re wondering why anyone thought it was a good idea to conflate civil-right martyrdom with the thought of succumbing to a hot woman, keep wondering,” wrote Variety.
bieber has an interlude on his new album called ‘MLK interlude’ and it‘s a clip of a MLK speech and then it moves into a song…. about his love for… hailey? pic.twitter.com/DQVYUiLV4o
— ︎joe (@jxeker) March 19, 2021
This is a real MLK speech on a Justin Bieber album. Ava couldn’t even use MLK’s speeches for SELMA. https://t.co/fh7LcDVeIV
— RacismSummitBookingAgent (@KirkWrites79) March 19, 2021
im confused why this justin bieber album is called justice and has a whole mlk skit if it’s just about how in love he is with hailey bieber💀
— bri🤪 (@iamabriannaa) March 19, 2021
Despite the backlash, Martin Luther King’s family is coming to Bieber’s defense. According to TMZ, Justin cleared the audio clips with the MLK Estate. MLK’s daughter, Bernice King, also took to Twitter to thank Bieber for his support.
“Each of us, including artists and entertainers, can do something. 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,” tweeted King.
Each of us, including artists and entertainers, can do something.
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
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) March 18, 2021