Justin Bieber Roasted for Sampling MLK on New Album: ‘No One Asked for This’

“What I wanted to do with this was amplify Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice to this generation,” Bieber says

Last Updated: March 19, 2021 @ 11:58 AM

Justin Bieber dropped his new album “Justice” on Friday, and it features an unusual writing credit — the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The Biebs samples King in two songs on the album, but his choice to mash up King’s historic speeches about racial inequality with songs that are largely about being in love with his wife struck the wrong chord with some fans.

Bieber tweeted about the album’s release Friday and said he was using it to start “supporting organizations that embody what justice looks like in action,” including The King Center, Equal Justice Initiative, and Anti-Recidivism Coalition. He’s trying to get fans to donate to these organizations in exchange for a chance to win some of his merch, signed instruments and tickets to an eventual 2022 tour.

On the new album, Bieber opens with recordings from some of King’s most famous speeches, including a 1967 sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, which he uses on his song that’s literally called “MLK Interlude.” Bieber also quotes King’s 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” where he recycles one of the pastor’s most famous quotes — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Bieber is from Canada, and he has not been super vocal about civil rights issues in the past. His decision to name the album “Justice” and promote it under the guise that it’s a social justice-related work instead of what it really is — a heartfelt, emotional compilation of love songs to his wife, Hailey Bieber, and contemplations on religion — caught listeners off-guard, and one described it as “dumb pandering.”

Plenty of people also found it funny that Bieber was able to “collab” with MLK, and some were reminded of the time last summer when electronic DJ David Guetta remixed part of King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” in a tone-deaf “tribute” to George Floyd.

One listener noted they were laughing at “the way MLK jr is credited as a WRITER for a new Justin Bieber song bc he sampled “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” in a song about how much he loves his wife. No one asked for this…”

“What I wanted to do with this was amplify Martin Luther King Jr’s voice to this generation,” Bieber told Vogue. “Being Canadian, it wasn’t so much a part of my culture.”

Bieber continued, “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.”

While some of Bieber’s hardcore fans praised him for at least trying to appear woke on the new album, the widespread takeaway on social media Friday seemed to be criticism. Bieber doesn’t have a perfect track record when it comes to issues of race — back in 2014, he caught heat after  videos surfaced of him telling racist jokes about killing Black people,  joining the KKK, and using the N-word as a punchline. Bieber later apologized.

Bieber has also caught heat for trivializing the Holocaust — a year before his N-word incident, Bieber visited the Anne Frank House and for some reason, his takeaway on Twitter at the time was, “hopefully she would have been a belieber” (referencing his fan base).

Check out reactions to Bieber’s MLK tribute below.