Fortnite March Through Time

Martin Luther King’s Daughter Had No Involvement in the Fortnite March Through Time Event

Fortnite is holding a commemorative March Through Time event in collaboration with PlayStation and Time Magazine, celebrating the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will take players to a virtual Washington DC titled D.C. 63, where they can watch videos of the full 17 minutes of MLK’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

If you’re surprised, bewildered, or stunned by such a somber event taking place in Fortnite, of all places, you’re not the only one. Hundreds of fans expressed mixed feelings towards the event, considering Fortnite’s collaborations typically feature fictional superheroes from the DC and Marvel Universe, as well as other video game franchises. Even real-life cameos are generally limited to pop stars and famous athletes and intentionally stray from real-life portrayals of living people, much less those who have already passed. Additionally, some videos have shown just how absurd it appears to be to have characters like Superman and Rick from Rick and Morty flossing while Dr. King gives his speech.

While we won’t be seeing any Fortnite-esque interpretations of the famous civil rights leader, the event does also feature a special D.C. 63 spray that is unlocked upon completing challenges and quests. It’s also important to note that the experience was created with the help of several members of the Fortnite creative community. However, discussions around the event eventually led both the official Martin Luther King Jr. Center and King’s daughter Bernice King to issue statements about the issue. Specifically, both parties state that they had no involvement in the collaboration, saying that licensing decisions for Dr. King’s intellectual property is done through Intellectual Property Management.

The decision to use King’s speech and footage came from Intellectual Properties Management, a for-profit corporation and “exclusive licensor of the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Bernice King states that “decisions around licensing [her] father’s intellectual property are outside of [her] personal purview.”

However, the official PS Blog description mentions an interesting point:

March Through Time would not have been possible without the contributions of American Family Insurance, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The above wording doesn’t directly state that King’s estate had any involvement in the event or to what extent, and may just be acknowledgment of the role they play in Dr. King’s legacy. While neither the Martin Luther King Jr. Center nor Bernice King directly criticized the event directly, it’s curious to see MLK’s own estate is trying to distance itself from Fortnite‘s beleaguered attempt to celebrate his achievements.

You can check out the official Fortnite March Through Time event trailer below:

[Source: Twitter, PS Blog]