Justin Bieber may be simultaneously reigning atop this week’s Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 to historic measure (as we reported here), but he’s also #1 on another tally: the sh*tlist of critics who claim elements of his latest album – ‘Justice’ – appropriate Black culture.
No stranger to these claims over the years, the latest of this type of accusation wielded toward Biebs comes due to the inclusion of two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech excerpts on the new LP.
As the sound bites continue to cause commotion, controversy, and backlash, the GRAMMY winner is clapping back at detractors via his first Clubhouse appearance.
‘Justice’ opens with MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on its song ‘2 Much,’ and later on 16-song project an “MLK Interlude” is heard that features sound bites from King’s 1967 sermon “But If Not” (heard above).
During his first-ever Clubhouse chat recently, Bieber acknowledged the ongoing controversy and defended his decision to use MLK’s voice in his songs. In response to critics who claim the usage was “tone deaf,” the GRAMMY winner said:
“Being Canadian,… they didn’t teach us about Black history. It was just not a part of our education system,” he said. “I think for me, coming from Canada and being uneducated and making insensitive jokes when I was a kid and being insensitive and being honestly just a part of the problem because I just didn’t know better. For me to have this platform to just share this raw moment of Martin Luther King in a time where he knew he was going to die for what he was standing up for.”
Later in the chat, Bieber said his intent was ultimately to introduce his young fans to Dr. King’s ‘incredibly, touching speech’ and, even though his attempt was met with backlash, he was okay with being subjected to the ‘hate by putting that on the album.’
“I want to keep growing and learning about just all social injustices and what it looks like for me to be better, what it looks like for my friends to be better,” he revealed. “And I know I have a long way to go. I love that when people are listening to my album, these conversations are coming up and they’re like, ‘Well, how is he going from Martin Luther King into a love song?’”
Finally, Justin clarified any rumors he was trying to compare himself to MLK.
“I’m not trying to make a connection between me and Martin Luther King. That’s why I never try to talk about social injustice or I didn’t want to be the one to talk about it because I just have so much more learning to do,” he relayed. “But I have this man who was ready to die and what he believed to be true. If I’m not willing to face some sort of ridicule or judgment of people wondering my motives or whatever that is, for me, it was a no brainer.”