Justin Bieber has released his hotly anticipated sixth studio album today. Justice comes amid some controversy for the Canadian pop star; some focused on his sampling of speeches from Civil Rights leader and icon Martin Luther King Jr. Other controversy takes the form of a copyright infringement from a dance group named Justice – who say Bieber illegally co-opted their image for his album cover. Nonetheless, Bieber forges onward with his message of justice and unity – plus a team-up with Propeller to promote the cause of justice.
Bieber’s New Album is Meant to Have a Soul
Bieber’s sixth studio album reflects the soul of 2020 and 2021. With the murder of George Floyd by police in 2020 and the summer of civil unrest in support of Black Lives Matter that followed, Justice seems an obvious theme for an album. Bieber, who wasn’t born in the USA, wanted to nonetheless celebrate the spirit of justice and forward progress and bring enthusiasm to an exhausted generation.
Rolling Stone shares Bieber’s thoughts on the album; “‘In a time when there’s so much wrong with this broken planet, we all crave healing — and justice — for humanity,’ Bieber said in a statement. ‘In creating this album, my goal is to make music that will provide comfort; to make songs that people can relate to, and connect to, so they feel less alone. Suffering, injustice, and pain can leave people feeling helpless. Music is a great way of reminding each other that we aren’t alone. Music can be a way to relate to one another and connect with one another. I know that I cannot simply solve injustice by making music, but I do know that if we all do our part by using our gifts to serve this planet, and each other, that we are that much closer to being united. This is me doing a small part. My part. I want to continue the conversation of what justice looks like so we can continue to heal.’”
The album features three most recent solo releases, including Holy ft. Chance the Rapper, Lonely ft. Benny Blanco, and Anyone.
Controversy Surrounds the Album’s Launch
Unfortunately, Bieber’s message has been lost a little in translation. The singer’s choice to sample some snippets of King’s famous speeches for his songs has raised eyebrows. Newsweek reports, ‘”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.'”
However, folks are skeptical as the sound bytes are placed in what ostensibly appear to be love songs. Per Newsweek, “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.”‘
And French dance group Justice has sent a Cease and Desist letter to Bieber over his album design. On the cover, Justice is featured with a cross through the T – a design the group Justice claims they copyrighted in France and the EU. Vulture shares, “Justice’s managers told Rolling Stone that Bieber’s team rejected the letter and claimed the JUSTICE album and merch wasn’t infringement. The cease-and-desist, meanwhile, threatened ‘immediate legal action and damages including, but not limited to, punitive and injustice relief.’”
Propeller Campaign Offers a Chance to Support a Good Cause
Despite the controversy, Bieber is focused on the message behind his album. Teaming up with Propeller to support a good cause, the 27-year-old mega star extends the message of his album into the campaign. A media release about the collab explains that the goal is, ” … to raise awareness and generate support for organizations that are doing important work which embody what justice and healing looks like in action. Bieber shared via Twitter, ‘In honor of #Justice I’m supporting organizations that embody what justice looks like in action.’
The nonprofits benefiting from the campaign include Alexandria House, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Baby2Baby, Equal Justice Initiative, LIFT Los Angeles, Poor People’s Campaign, Self Help Graphics & Art, The Compton Pledge, The King Center and This Is About Humanity.”
In order to win, contestants must complete an action – actions include donating to several justice-adjacent causes. Each action earns points towards prizes, which the website list:
- “Win a pair of floor tickets to a show of your choice when Justin goes on tour in 2022
- Take home an Epiphone Hummingbird Artist guitar signed by Justin
- Go on a shopping spree and pick out any Justice merch you want from Justin’s online store (up to $500)!”
Visit Propeller for more information and to enter.
For Justin Bieber’s new album, visit Justin Bieber Music.