Justin Bieber: When Is Enough Enough?
By Sa'iyda Shabazz
Since he burst onto the scene in 2010, Justin Bieber has been everywhere. With millions and millions of Twitter followers to match his millions and millions of dollars, it is no wonder why he has become a mega star all before his 18th birthday. Now, having just turned twenty, at the beginning of this month, it seems that his star may be slipping…just a little.
From the start of 2014, it seems that every time Bieber is in the news it’s not because he’s promoting his latest single; it’s because he’s getting in trouble with the law. Several times have been because of drugs (mostly marijuana) but also vandalism, assault and resisting arrest without violence. All of this has led to a major backlash, even calling to deport him. Granted, Bieber has always been a polarizing figure in pop music, but it seems that now it is only getting worse. This newfound bad boy image begs the question, how long will it be tolerated? And if he was another artist, would he be treated differently?
Because he is marketed to a teen market (his fans call themselves ‘Beliebers’), would taking a stronger stance against his behavior be a detriment to the music industry? Even though he hasn’t released an album since 2012, he’s still a multi-million album seller. It would seem that even with his spurt of bad behavior he’s still doing the entertainment industry a favor. Tabloids know that even featuring a one page write up on him will cause his fans to buy a copy, but putting his face on the cover? That’s almost priceless. The more he keeps his name in the news, the better it is for everyone’s pockets.
One could also argue that this is all due to growing pains. When he first came to the US, Bieber was a 15 year old kid with a goofy haircut. Now, he’s on the verge of adulthood. Could all of this bad behavior just be him stretching his wings and testing his limits? Things like egging your neighbor’s house and drag racing your car are not unique to him but the consequences could be worse because people know that they can make an example of him. Like most boys his age, as he becomes a man he will be tested.
But what he seems to fail to understand is that because he is in the public eye, his actions are made into case study. Can he really afford to be reckless? Most people would say no. Because he is a teen idol, he has a responsibility to his younger fans to behave like a mature adult. But most of the girls to whom he is considered a God don’t care about his actions. In fact they are defiant and more than willing to defend him to the death. Their loyalty is unyielding. If you post a tweet saying anything negative about him, beware, there’s a good chance that there are young Beliebers trolling and they will have something to say. It is unknown how he has brainwashed these girls into wanting to be a part of his breaking the rules but it is a true testament to his popularity.
To me, it is interesting though that the only fans of his who can see that maybe he isn’t the best role model seem to be under the age of 13! There are a few little girls in my life who realize that maybe Justin Bieber isn’t exactly the best person to look up to. Just the other day while showing me her oft-played with Bieber doll, my friend’s 8 year old daughter told me that now she “just likes his music,” citing him as not so much a good guy anymore.
Another friend’s young daughter made her mom buy her a new backpack for school because she felt that she was perpetuating the wrong message with Bieber on her back. It is hard to say why these little girls seem so much smarter than girls who are probably 10 years older than them but at least someone is using their brains! It is hard to say how much longer this behavior will continue, especially since he still has another year before he is 21, but maybe he should take some time off and reflect on his actions. Not just how they’re affecting those who look up to him but how they are affecting him. Is this something that he’s going to be proud of when his kids Google him in 20 years? Probably not. Of course you can chock it up to childhood foolishness but it’s time to stop.
Go make a music record, not a prison record.