The ad uses Martin Luther King‘s words and voice from his 1968 “Drum Major Instinct” sermon. While the audio of King’s speech plays, the ad shows emotional moments such as soldiers reuniting with their families as well as footage of athletes and students, the Washington Post reported.
“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. That’s a new definition of greatness,” you can hear King saying.
That’s when the new Dodge Ram truck shows up, along with the tagline, “Built to serve: Ram.”
Unsurprisingly, people were upset about the ad, with many saying that the NFL was disrespecting King’s legacy. It’s especially a slap in the face when the NFL has been blackballing Colin Kaepernick for protesting against inequality.
“Black people cant kneel and play football but MLK should be used to sell trucks during the super bowl,” writer and comedian Akilah Hughes tweeted. “Unbelievable.”
Black people cant kneel and play football but MLK should be used to sell trucks during the super bowl. Unbelievable.
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) February 5, 2018
On Sunday night, Dodge released a statement defending its ad, saying that it was “honored to have the privilege of working with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. to celebrate those words during the largest TV viewing event annually.”
“Estate representatives were a very important part of the creative process every step of the way.”
Roland Martin provided some insight to this on Twitter, writing, “Dexter King runs the MLK Estate. It is essentially run by the lead trustees – him & Martin Luther King III. @BerniceKing &
@TheKingCenter have released a statement that she had nothing to do with MLK’s voice appearing in @Dodge Super Bowl commercial. That’s on Dexter and MLK III.”
Dexter King runs the MLK Estate. It is essentially run by the lead trustees – him & Martin Luther King III. @BerniceKing & @TheKingCenter have released a statement that she had nothing to do with MLK’s voice appearing in @Dodge Super Bowl commercial. That’s on Dexter and MLK III.
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) February 5, 2018
“This is not the first time that the MLK Estate – Dexter and MLK III – have allowed the voice and likeness of their father to be used to sell a commercial product. Also, keep in mind that Dexter and MLK III sued
@BerniceKing and tried to get her removed from @TheKingCenter,” he continued.
As for Bernice King herself, she tweeted out a simple, succinct response: “No.”
Grio fam, is the ad in line with MLK’s legacy or is it disrespectful?