Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., has thanked Justin Bieber for his support of the King Centre charity in the midst of backlash over the singer’s use of speeches from the civil rights icon on his new album. The King Centre, established in 1968 in memory of King, Jr. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of King. It is now operated by King’s daughter, Bernice.
Bieber, ahead of his album’s release on Friday, announced a campaign to raise awareness for social justice organizations, listing those he would be supporting himself. The King Center was among the organizations listed. Bernice on Thursday thanked the singer on Twitter, writing: “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 part of our global movement for justice,” she added.
Bernice’s message of support comes amid controversy on Twitter over Bieber’s 16-track “Justice” album released Friday. Listeners have criticized the singer over some of the tracks that featured clips of King’s speeches. The first song on the album, “2 Much,” opens with a clip of King saying “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” before the pop star goes ahead to sing about love and romance. The track “MLK Interlude” also features samples from King’s 1967 sermon “But If Not”.
“Justin Bieber has an ‘MLK interlude’ on his album. Then, an 80s inspired pop song about dying for love comes on next,” wrote a Twitter user.
“Justin bieber really wrote another collection of love songs to his wife, threw in a little one minute MLK speech and called the whole album ‘justice’ PLSs,” another user wrote.
“I’m confused why this whole justin bieber album is called justice and has a whole mlk sit if it’s just about how in love he is wirth hailey bieber [his wife],” one listener added.
Bieber’s “Justice” comes a year after his “Changes” album. Chance the Rapper, Burna Boy, Khalid and Giveon made vocal appearances aside from King.