Childhood was anything but an uplifting time for me, but I grew up to have a fairly promising career and strong support network. It’s why I’ve always favored Cinderella Story celebrities over those who got where they are today through connections, wealth and nepotism. It’s why I’ve defended Justin Bieber to friends, co-workers, relatives and even strangers all these years. Until now.
Though I didn’t actually see his 2011 film Never Say Never, I know what it’s about — and that it made a lot of people cry. It showed viewers how an adorable poor boy from Canada became one of the biggest pop sensations of all time. Not only was this floppy-haired kid raised by a teen mother who’d attempted suicide a few months before becoming pregnant with him, but he also grew up in low-income housing without a single showbiz connection. Yet he demonstrated so much talent and passion for music at a young age that he catapulted to success after being discovered online. It was amazing to watch.
As annoying as many found him, I was truly inspired by Bieber’s story, as I almost always get behind the underdog or Cinderella figure. His DUI charge Thursday morning, however, has forced me to reevaluate my stance on The Biebs. First he urinated into a restaurant mop bucket, then he frivolously cursed a former president, then he egged a neighbor’s house, and then he spray-painted a wall with Kelly Osbourne. I’d say his girlfriend Selena Gomez dodged a bullet, and she’s probably thankful to have that kind of energy out of her life at the moment.
None of those things could have killed anyone, but driving 25-30 miles over the speed limit under the influence is another story. That kind of behavior can hurt others, so no matter how troubled he may be right now, endangering lives is unacceptable and inexcusable. That’s why I’m hoping most of the #FreeBieber hashtags are in jest. Given the blind dedication of many Beliebers, however, I’m certain some of these people think it’s everyone else that needs to give the guy a little slack.
I know he’s still a teenager. At 19, I wasn’t a fully formed human being either, but Bieber’s behavior is beyond immature. He’s reckless, and what would a Belieber think had Justin hurt one of his/her relatives? Would Justin still be in the right because he’s Justin Bieber or would he just be another crappy person to force his own problems onto others through idiotic, thoughtless actions?
He may have beamed in his “smug” shot, but Bieber isn’t really smiling inside. A happy person wouldn’t be doing all these questionable things. He’s crying for help. He recently announced his retirement from music, and look what happened to Amanda Bynes after she publicly quit acting. Bynes, who was also charged with a DUI, got help before she could harm another person, and it’s my hope that the same can happen for Bieber. Some folks are taking pleasure in his downfall, but I don’t like to see anyone crumble, let alone for the entire world to see. I truly hope he gets better. Last February, my good friend and former college newspaper colleague Jazmine Woodberry pondered whether Bieber would become a timeless singer like Justin Timberlake or a washed out sadsack like Aaron Carter. At this rate, he’s doing much worse than Aaron Carter, and he did that to himself in less than a year.
As much as I want the old Bieber back, I am done standing up for him. His Cinderella Story has inspired me since I first heard about him in 2009, when he automatically followed everyone who followed him on Twitter, but as my former co-worker Jamie Frevele pointed out to me, Cinderella never got tanked at the ball or drove her pumpkin off the road. Bieber, if you want to continue with the rags to riches story line, you shouldn’t be doing these things either.
What do you think of Bieber’s downward spiral? Share in the comments.
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