NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Please don’t laugh. I’m a Justin Bieber fan.
I’m far too old for his music. I first became aware of him through all the merchandising surrounding him, not his songs. For awhile, the anti-Bieber backlash on Facebook and Twitter was almost overwhelming. I remember the post, “Dear God, please give back John Lennon – Take Justin Bieber.”
Yet the two times that I’ve seen him on TV – The 2011 Grammy Awards with Usher, and ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve last year – he’s been a very good performer.
But I was sold on Bieber after reading the story of Avalanna Routh, the 6-year-old brain cancer victim who’s dream was to meet him. The meeting took place last February, on Valentines Day.
I’m just cynical enough to say it might be PR – visit a sick girl and get a nice fluff story on the Today show. But it doesn’t look like that’s what happened here. He stayed for the afternoon. He told his fans about ATRT – the rare brain tumors that took Avalanna’s life last month – and awareness and money has been raised. (Read it here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2209122/Avalanna-Routh-6-known-Mrs-Justin-Bieber-dies-cancer.html )
Of course, the reason many celebrities don’t do this type of thing is that it leads to more requests from other fans. Indeed, there’s a sick 5-year-old girl in Milwaukee hoping for a Bieber visit when he plays the Bradley Center on Sunday. There are some reports that Bieber does more of this sort of thing than we realize. There’s really no way of knowing.
Bieber is young. He’ll be surrounded by fans and material excess for the rest of his life. Temptations will abound; he could come off the rails. There’s no certainty that he won’t spiral down like Miley Cyrus or Brittany Spears. But I bet his story has a different ending.
For so many people, achieving celebrity status is self-serving. There’s no greater purpose than personal satisfaction and a life of excess. Some – very few, actually – learn about giving something back. An 18-year-old entertainer has figured that out at a young age. That means even bigger, more important things might lie ahead of him. And that’s why I’m a fan.