Before I watched the “Oprah” episode featuring Justin Bieber, I thought he was just another talentless teeny bopper, only famous because of his Beatle bowl haircut and baby face, but I slowly realized how wrong I was. Sure, his agents have obviously shaped him into something he’s clearly not– an urban kid with a hip hop edge, but I see something else in him. No, I’m not a fan of his music; I recognize the fact that he’s a CHILD, and growing up with ’90s teen pop, I have seen teen stars fall to the armpit of fame, drinking, drugging, and partying themselves to near-death (see: Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears). Has Justin Bieber’s childhood ultimately gone to waste because of his fame, and what’s up with all the rumors?!
First of all, let’s examine Justin as a person, not a celebrity. His mother didn’t seem to peddle his talents (yes, I said talents! The boy’s got pipes!), taking him to agency after agency. Instead, she posted his videos on YouTube for her friends and family to see Justin’s talent in action. Then, agents sought HIM out, not the other way around. He wasn’t featured on the Mickey Mouse Club or American Idol– he was a REAL kid with REAL talent, so that’s the main difference. Once “discovered,” Justin’s talents were then perfected and he got that “pretty boy swagger” that makes all the pubescent girls swoon. Sure, he’s not the Canadian pre-teen anymore, but he’s doing something he loves and he’s getting paid to do it. Also, his mother, Pattie, plays a huge role in his daily life, keeping him grounded and under control. This makes a huge difference, at least in my opinion, because it’s not hard to tell that the kid has manners, something that’s rather hard to find in celebrities these days. He may not be able to go to Burger King, but I think overall his mother and agents have done a great job ensuring he doesn’t get too involved in the celebrity culture and tabloid scene.
However, what I don’t understand is the scrutiny he’s under; it seems constant. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again– he is a CHILD. When he was barely sixteen years old, tons of rumors circulated, many formed on 4chan and other similar sites, that Justin was gay, often mocking his girlish features. That was one of the less vulgar rumors, and many are still circulating. What makes him so different than Miley Cyrus or any other minor who happens to be famous? Remember when Jamie Foxx made a rude comment about Miley, or when Kanye completely embarrassed Taylor Swift? If it had been Justin Bieber, no one would have noticed. I guess it’s the fact that he’s a boy, and boys can obviously deal with critical comments better than girls. Whatever it is, it’s wrong. He’s barely older than my kid sister, and no one, especially someone so young and malleable should be under so many watchful eyes.
These things being said, I think Justin Bieber may just be around for a long time. I’m thinking the younger generation’s Usher or Justin Timberlake; that is, if he doesn’t crumble under the media. He has real talent, a great personality, and good looks, not to mention there’s a crowd of “Beliebers” watching him rise higher and higher on the chart of fame.