Here's What Martin Luther King Jr. Really Thought About Advertising Amid Dodge Using His Voice In Super Bowl Ad

There's also a divide between King's family on who allowed the icon's voice to be used in the ad. 

Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches have influenced and inspired many, but no one would've expected to hear the icon's words used in a Super Bowl commercial.

It's exactly what happened Sunday (Feb. 4) when the civil rights figure's The Drum Major Instinct sermon served as a narration for Dodge's “Built To Serve” ad with a connection to the their Ram Nation volunteer program. The mission was about service and used certain sentiments by King to reflect it.

“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant,” King is heard saying in the ad. “That's a new definition of greatness.”

Backlash was immediate, especially since there were plenty of contradictions by using King's voice in the ad. For one, King wasn't a big fan of large military budgets and as his speech Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967 showed, he wasn't fond of advertising at all.

“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism," he said in the speech. “They have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. In order to be lovely to love you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you're just buying that stuff, that's the way the advertisers do it.”

One fan even took a portion of the SCLC speech and applied to the Dodge ad.

Fiat Chrysler, which owns Dodge, said they got the green light from King's estate to use his speeches. King's estate is ran by his son Dexter Scott King, while the non-profit King Center is ran by King's daughter Bernice King. She quickly distanced herself and the center from the ad via Twitter.

However, the estate's managing director spoke to Slate on allowing King's words to used in the ad.

"When Ram approached the King Estate with the idea of featuring Dr. King’s voice in a new “Built To Serve” commercial, we were pleasantly surprised at the existence of the Ram Nation volunteers and their efforts, Eric D. Tidwell, the managing director of Intellectual Properties Management, Inc. said Monday (Feb. 5).

"We learned that as a volunteer group of Ram owners, they serve others through everything from natural disaster relief, to blood drives, to local community volunteer initiatives. Once the final creative was presented for approval, it was reviewed to ensure it met our standard integrity clearances. We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s “Built To Serve” Super Bowl program."

You can check out King's take on advertising here.

From the Web

More on Vibe

David Livingston/Getty Images

'Chappelle's Show' Co-Creator Says R. Kelly's "Goons" Confronted Dave Chappelle Over Skit

One of Chappelle's Show's most recognizable skits recently popped back into the mainstream conversation after Lifetime's docu-series on R. Kelly aired in early January. The 2-minute sketch features Dave Chappelle singing and enacting a song titled "Piss on You." The skit took its cue from Kelly's ill-famed sex tape where he urinated on a 14-year-old girl and went to trial for child pornography charges.

While the skit's reception was met with mixed reactions, the main subject was far from pleased with Chappelle's production. During an interview with "The Breakfast Club," the show's co-creator/writer Neal Brennan revealed that Kelly "wanted to fight Dave. His goons stepped to Dave in Chicago and Dave's goons intervened. The goons negotiated."

Prior to that revelation, Brennan broke down the purpose of comedy, stating that, "We will observe things, we'll make fun of things. Did people want us to round up a posse and go arrest R. Kelly? Like, what were we supposed to do?"

People were mad last week that we did an R. Kelly sketches 15 years ago. Here's me explaining comedy to them. pic.twitter.com/FQoxIALqkr

— Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) January 15, 2019

Two years ago, Chappelle briefly discussed the sketch on HOT 97 and said it almost remained in a vault of skits that were never going to see the light of day. "That was the one sketch... I was going to cut it but then I watched it, and I said, 'This is so funny' and this is the crisis — can the audience handle it? So we left it in there," he said. In an interview with GQ, Kelly said he never heard of Dave Chappelle.

Watch the full interview below.

Continue Reading

Andre 3000 Stars In New Space Thriller 'High Life'

A new space thriller is coming to theaters this year. Andre 3000 will star in the new film alongside Twilight's Robert Pattinson in High Life, and the first trailer looks pretty intense.

The feature focuses on a group of criminals who are coerced into a mission to travel towards a black hole to find an alternate energy source. They are also forced to undergo sexual experiments while in outer space. The 2-minute preview features Pattinson and Andre 3000 as they struggle to survive on the spaceship.

High Life originally premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in Sept. 2018. It received positive reviews from numerous film critics.

"High Life is as visually arresting as it is challenging, confounding, and ultimately rewarding - which is to say it's everything film fans expect from director Claire Denis," Rotten Tomatoes said of the film.

The film is written and directed by Claire Denis. High Life will hit theaters on Apr. 12. Watch the new trailer in the video above.

Continue Reading
Romain Maurice

They Don't Want You To Win: D.J. Khaled Joins 'Bad Boys' Sequel

D.J. Khaled knows they don't want you to win, but that hasn't stopped the producer and performer from doing just that.

Variety reports Asahd's father will star alongside Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the forthcoming action-comedy Bad Boys For Life. It's unclear at this time what role Khaled will play.

Also joining the cast is Vanessa Hudgins, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, and Paola Nuñez. Joe Pantoliano reprises his role as the irritable Captain Howard.

Smith and Lawrence play detectives Mike Lowery, and Marcus Burnett respectively. While Lowery shoots first and asks questions later, Burnett, the family man, tries desperately to incorporate a more pragmatic approach.

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will helm the film and Jerry Bruckheimer returns as the franchise producer. The first Bad Boys was released in 1995 with a $23 million budget and earned $141 million in the box office. Bad Boys II released in 2003 had a $130 million budget and earned $273 million.

The third installment of the buddy-cop film revolves around a new specialized unit that clashes with Lowery and Burnett's old-school tactics when a new criminal threat emerges in Miami.

Continue Reading

Top Stories