I’m a Belieber

Why You Don’t Have to Be a Teen Girl to Appreciate “the Biebs”


Most 17-year-olds worry about the SATs. Justin worries whether or not he tweeted happy birthday to Usher. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Published: March 30, 2011

A year ago, I was on my GO! trip in New Orleans when I first experienced the worldwide phenomenon known as Justin Bieber.  As my team and I drove around the city, his song came on the radio. The tune was annoying and cheesy, and as he crooned “baby, baby, baby,” I begged the person sitting shotgun to change the station. The last thing I wanted to hear was another lovesick song by the world’s latest teenage heartthrob.

Exactly one year later and Justin Bieber’s “Baby” is one of the top-played songs on my iPod. A ticket stub from “Never Say Never: The Justin Bieber Movie” sits on my dresser. Oh, and a Vanity Fair magazine cover with his photo is proudly displayed on my door.

I know, folks. It’s sad. It’s sad that I ever thought badly of him. It’s sad that I wasted so much time and energy lambasting him. It’s also sad that I didn’t see him when he performed at Madison Square Garden. When I think of all the wonderful opportunities I’ve denied myself, I, too, am saddened by my blindness.

Because Justin Bieber is actually, well, not that bad. He can sing. He can play the drums, piano and guitar. He can even dance (Hey, he’s improved over the months. They can’t all start out like Michael Jackson.).

Justin Bieber is a good kid, and I’m here to defend him from you nay-sayers. He may not deserve your love, but he definitely deserves your respect.

Oftentimes when a person suddenly leaps into the media and becomes inescapable thanks to serious overexposure, his “hater” base grows just as quickly as his fan base, which is what happened in the case of Justin Bieber. I remember reading a short article a few months before he became a household name. The article noted that some young performer had been steadily garnering thousands of views on his Youtube videos and had the support of Usher, who was seeing to it that Bieber would become a star. I watched one of his videos, didn’t think much of it and Justin Bieber disappeared from my mind.

Then he was famous. Just like that. All of a sudden this kid who I had stumbled upon earlier was all over the radio, the news, magazines—I didn’t understand what happened. I thought he was just average, and here he was causing malls to shut down and teenage girls to faint. Why was one youngster generating Beatlemania?

It was easy to hate him after that. Why was he so special? What was so great about his music? He was only famous, I thought, because teenage girls aren’t the brightest girls in the world. These are the same people who made Hannah Montana a hit show and let the Jonas Brothers take over. Did we really have to hear them scream about a new 15 minutes-of-famer? Magazines with his face glared at me in the grocery store. Radio DJs wouldn’t shut up about him. Thus, with sudden overexposure came fierce rejection. I, along with almost everyone else I knew, hated Justin Bieber and just wanted him to go away.

Then, things changed. I spent the summer abroad and heard little-to-no news of Justin Bieber. It was glorious. No mention of his hair or anything. When I returned, it was time to come back to Fordham and begin classes. My roommates and I caught a performance of his on MTV show, and again I wasn’t impressed. But one of my roommates was. She began playing that song I so hated, “Baby.” Yet, for some reason, I didn’t mind it as much this time. I even played it a couple of times after that. Then a lot of times after that. Then three times a day every day after that. “Baby” went from being the worst song in the world to the catchiest and most fun single I had ever had the privilege of enjoying. Justin Bieber had finally stopped infiltrating my life, and that’s when I let him in.

People say Bieber has no talent and doesn’t deserve the spotlight. But he’s 17. Give him time, and he might just prove he has staying power. The more I learned about his humble upbringing and realized he hadn’t just been offered this life on a silver platter, the more I admired him for making it this far. Even if you think he’s just another pretty face, don’t hate him for it. If Usher thinks he’s good enough to make an album, then who are we to say otherwise? You don’t have to read the news coverage. You don’t even have to listen to his music. All it takes is a switch of the radio dial. It takes more guts to defend the Biebs than mock him, and if you give it time, you might even grow to like him, too. Never say never.