Justin Bieber Called Out for "Tone-Deaf" MLK Interlude on Justice Album [Video]

Justin Bieber is facing backlash for incorporating excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr. speeches into his new Justice album.

via: Newsweek

Justin Bieber released his latest album Justice on Friday, and fans are a little confused by his use of Martin Luther King Jr. samples at various points on the album.

King is featured twice on the album. His first appearance is right at the album opening “2 Much,” in which Bieber includes a snippet of his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” where King says, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Later in the album, the track “MLK Interlude” features audio of King’s “But If Not” sermon delivered at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in 1967, according to Democracy Now.

Justice features a steady mix of features from both well-established and up-and-coming artists from across the music industry. For some of the more famous collaborators, Bieber tapped Khalid and Chance the Rapper to feature on the tracks “As I Am” and “Holy,” respectively. As for fresh faces, the Grammy-winning singer also worked with The Kid LAROI, who made a big impact with his viral hit “WITHOUT YOU” on TikTok, on the song “Unstable.” None of these collaborations are particularly surprising coming from Bieber, but the samples of the civil rights leader have made an impact.

Bieber spoke about his decision to include the parts of King’s speeches with Vogue, explaining that, growing up Canadian, the civil rights icon wasn’t “part of [his] culture,” and that he wanted to help share his message.

“What I wanted to do with this was amplify [Dr] Martin Luther King Jr’s voice to this generation,” Bieber told Vogue, implying that Justice was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. “[T]his speech was actually during the time when [he had] a feeling that he was going to die for the cause, and what he was standing up against was ultimately racism and division. I think his message was that a lot of people can be afraid to stand up for what is right, but if you’re not standing up for justice—for what is right—what are you doing with your life? I’m sorry to get so deep, but these are the times we’re living in. That’s why I wanted to make this album because I think it’s very timely and very necessary.”

Despite appearing well-intentioned, the tracks that the samples preface are both seemingly love songs. “Two seconds without you’s like two months/Don’t wanna close my eyes, I’m scared I’ll miss too much/Don’t wanna fall asleep, I’d rather fall in love,” Bieber sings on “2 Much.” The song that follows the interlude, “Die for You,” is a passionate anthem, where the pop star says that he would do exactly what the title says, “even if your kiss could kill me.”

The samples drew mixed reactions on Twitter. Some fans praised Bieber for trying to be socially conscious and sharing King’s messages. Other people criticized the record, noting that despite being titled Justice, the album didn’t really appear to have much to do with justice.

Justin Bieber told y’all he wanted to be nominated in the R&B categories for the Grammys. If the “hip-hop drums” didn’t do it on his last one, maybe using MLK Jr will get him over the hump.

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