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None of us will ever truly understand what it’s like to spend a year, a week, or even just a day as Justin Bieber. This of course can be said for anyone, but few people have lived their life under such scrutiny as the Biebs.
Plucked from YouTube at age 14, Bieber quickly rose to become the new King of Pop and then watched as all his hard work was almost washed away thanks to a few years spent acting like exactly what he was: a teenager with too much disposable income and not enough people telling him ‘no’.
Bieber has spent the past year atoning for his wrongs, which if we’re trying to maintain any form of perspective, only included one act that could have been dangerous (Justin still denies he was drag racing on a Miami street in January 2014). We’ve forgiven celebrities with much less fame and talent for committing acts that were much more serious. We’re not even accounting for the hundreds of thousands of dollars Bieber has given to charities or the hours he’s spent bringing awareness to those less fortunate. So why has does a 21 year-old millionaire have to continually apologize for egging a house, peeing in a bucket, and acting like, dare we say it, a spoiled brat? Because heavy lays the pop crown.
We know that Bieber is sorry for his recent wrongdoings. We know because he’s told us. Justin has apologized on social media, on television, on the radio, during entire weeks of the Ellen show dedicated to him. He has literally sung the word ‘Sorry’. Even more importantly, Bieber has acted sorry. The chip on his shoulder is almost gone, with Bieber showing new maturity and self-awareness in interviews.
While his recent album sales win over One Direction with Purpose may indicate the public has indeed forgiven Justin, we’re not fully convinced. He’s the angelic-faced teen who has turned into a bona fide Calvin Klein model. He’s funny, smart, musically gifted, and pretty damn rich. The Biebs is just as easy to hate as he is to love.
Celebs are often praised for speaking out about social, economic and health issues, whether it’s Angelina Jolie’s public decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy or Jennifer Lawrence becoming the new face of the gender pay gap. That’s why when Justin announced earlier this week that he would be cancelling his upcoming appearances on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade we thought, good. Time for Justin to be the face of saying ‘no’.
Bieber vaguely cited ‘personal reasons’ as the cause for his cancellations and instead of speculating over the multitude of things this could mean, we’re focusing on the positive. Rather than have another public meltdown that’s fodder for the tabloids, Bieber said ‘no’. Too many events mean cringe-worthy interviews, fights with paparazzi, and neck tattoos. We’re just going to assume that’s what happened.
There’s a power in saying ‘no’ that many adults don’t learn until they’ve spent too many night’s FOMO’ing to the point of physical and bank account exhaustion. While we’re not saying that spending every night in front of the TV is the way to go, knowing when to say ‘no’, whether it’s social or work-related, is an important part of keeping a healthy emotional, physical and mental state.
Bieber saying no shouldn’t be viewed as a spoiled star not honouring his commitments. His years of world tours, charity events, public appearances and on-camera interviews can attest to the fact that the kid shows up. Instead, the focus should be on Bieber growing and learning that sometimes in life a person can be spread too thin. What about the fans who were looking forward to seeing Bieber this week? It sucks. There aren’t many other ways we can put it. But not seeing your musical idol is much better than having a front row seat to his meltdown. Those bedroom posters are much less painful to put up than they are to take down.
Instead of being the poster child for bad behaviour, let this recent move make Bieber an example healthy decision making. Say no, take a beat, and come back as your best self.
This is the only way I want to hear Bieber saying ‘sorry’ from now on.