We were all excited to get a glimpse of the album artwork for Justin Bieber’s upcoming album Purpose (due out November 13), but some Middle Eastern countries are apparently less than stoked about the cover art, which they are calling “provocative,” due to the fact that Justin Bieber is shirtless in the photo and showing off the cross tattoo on his chest – a major no-no in Muslim nations. As a result, some Middle Eastern countries, like Indonesia, have actually gone ahead and preemptively banned Justin’s new album, which has caused a major headache for the pop star’s team.
This is possibly the very first time someone has complained about Justin Bieber taking his shirt off (have you seen those rock-hard abs??) and it’s not just some random parent upset about the provocativeness of Justin Bieber’s shirtless pose…it’s the entire Middle East. It’s also not just his bare chest these countries are worried about, it’s the cross tattoo that can be found there. Justin Bieber got his chest cross tattoo back in January 2014, at the same time the singer was caught up in all that legal trouble, and the piece was done by celebrity tattoo artist Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy at 40,000 feet, on a flight from Panama to Canada aboard Justin’s private plane.
After inking Justin Bieber’s cross tattoo, Bang Bang admitted that it was “the most difficult tattoo I’ve ever done for sure,” and the idea that the two may have broken the record for the highest-altitude tattoo was thrown around for a while after that. Record-breaking or not though, the cross tattoo on his chest is a meaningful one for Justin Bieber, who has always been open about his strong belief in Jesus and admits that he often draws on his Christianity for inspiration in his music. He recently told Complex:
I, personally, love Jesus and that was my salvation. I want to share what I’m going through and what I’m feeling and I think it shouldn’t be ostracized. I think that everybody should get their chance to share what they’re doing or where their journey is headed. I actually feel better and more free now that I know what I can do and what I can’t do. My voice, I’m not gonna let it not be heard anymore. I’m gonna use my voice for a reason.”
As a result of this latest Justin Bieber kerfuffle, the pop star’s team has no choice but to scramble to revamp the Purpose cover and come up with alternate album artwork, or else suffer the loss of not selling any albums in the Middle East. In other news, it’s a good thing Justin doesn’t have to change the title of his new album, considering he got the word “Purpose” inked on his stomach just last week. What do you all think of Justin Bieber’s cross tattoo and this new drama over the artwork for his upcoming album??