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Justin Bieber’s 'Justice’ isn't performative - it's an ode to standing up for what’s right

I believe that an album doesn't have to focus on one particular thing - It can encompass a myriad of subjects that spark inspiration.

Justin Bieber’s 'Justice’ isn't performative - it's an ode to standing up for what’s right

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 23: Justin Bieber (L) and Tori Kelly (R) attend an event honoring Sir Lucian Grainge with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 23, 2020 in Hollywood, California.

Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

On Friday morning, there was an immense amount of buzz around Justin Bieber's new album, Justice. The album is a follow-up to last year's Changes, and fans swiftly learned that Bieber and Co. decided to use speeches from civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. throughout the project.

He even announced a campaign to help raise awareness for social justice organizations such as The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (also known as The King Center), which he would be supporting himself.


Bieber has stated time and time again that he wouldn't be who he is as an artist without the help of Black culture and music, yet he still often faces scrutiny for his decisions.

Bieber's name began to trend - both for good and bad reasons - given his use of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s quotes. The album started with one of Dr. King's most recognizable quotes: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," and also incorporates the "MLK interlude" that features samples from King's 1967 sermon "But If Not."

The day before the project was released, Dr. King's daughter, fellow activist Bernice King, expressed gratitude for his support of her father and seemingly the fight for equality.

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"In honor of #Justice I'm supporting organizations that embody what justice looks like in action," tweeted Bieber. Bernice King then retweeted and added the following: "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."

This is actually quite heartwarming of her to say.

Now, I see why there is some confusion surrounding Bieber's use of Dr. King's quotes. Many have been trying to figure out the connection between the civil rights hero and other tracks on the album, especially one titled "2 Much," which is a song about his wife, Hailey Bieber.

I believe that an album doesn't have to focus on one particular thing. It can encompass a myriad of subjects that spark inspiration - as long as it's not offensive.

To me, it is powerful that Bieber incorporated something as significant as civil rights into his body of work in the first place when he's not even an American. It says a lot about his character and his drive even to bring awareness (even if it's small) in the first place.

Have you heard Justin Bieber's new album Justice? Do you think his use of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s quotes are performative?

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