Martin Luther King Fortnite: What comes to mind when you think of the online video game Fortnite? What’s the first thought that comes to mind? There’s good news for you if you answered “the late Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.” A new virtual in-game exhibit will pay tribute to the slain leader by exposing players to his speeches and crusade for justice, according to Epic Studios, the game’s parent company, which announced the exhibit on Thursday.
Since artists such as Travis Scott and Ariana Grande have made promotional appearances in Fortnite, which is best known for its battle royale-style violence, Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize winner and well-known advocate of nonviolent protest, was an obvious choice for an in-game feature. Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and well-known advocate of nonviolent protest, was an obvious choice for an in-game feature.
Players will be able to visit the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall, where they will be able to hear King deliver his infamous 17-minute speech calling for civil rights, according to Epic. The new exhibit, which was created as part of a partnership with TIME Studios, “teleports players to D.C. 63, a reimagined Washington, DC.”
Longtime players of Fortnite and other “free” battle royale games have grown accustomed to the absurdity by this point, and while events like Travis Scott’s virtual concert and the ability to play as Thanos fit within the game’s absurd sponson, using Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech to make even more money while feigning interest in actual Black struggle is on par with putting Harriet Tubman in the game.
These are people who have actively opposed American capitalism, and for whatever reason, Dr. King’s estate has permitted his likeness to be utilized in a callous manner in the interests of corporate profit.
One of the most lasting failures of the civil rights movement, articulated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is that we have battled hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have done, and I am confident that we will prevail. However, I’ve come to believe that we’re integrating into a burning house at this point. I’m concerned that America may be losing whatever moral vision she may have once possessed.”
The video game Fortnite has grown in popularity over the past few years, transcending the typical boundaries of a video game. As a lucrative event venue, it has brought in millions of dollars for musicians such as Ariana Grande and Travis Scott, while also dominating the battle royale scene as a metaverse with purchasing clothes and emotes from a limitless number of companies, businesses, and personalities.
Fortnite took a different approach in the wake of George Floyd’s death in July, sponsoring a panel discussion about race relations in the United States. With hundreds of fans hurling virtual tomatoes at the screen and denigrating presenters with a slew of emoticons, it was an utter failure.