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Apr. 10 2010 - 2:51 pm | 11,568 views | 1 recommendation | 6 comments

What’s up with Justin Bieber and Usher? It’s easy: Ka-ching!

While I’m as slightly perplexed as everyone by the mentor-protege bond between Usher and Justin Bieber (the presence of Ludacris notwithstanding, I can’t imagine that “Baby” is the kind of music Usher listens to in his spare time), I don’t like what this video is suggesting.

Recently, I was watching some of Bieber’s videos on YouTube, and I was shocked by some of the comments being made by Bieber haters. It’s okay if you don’t like his music, but there’s no need to make it personal, carping about everything from his sexuality to whether he’s wearing lip gloss. The kid is 16 years old, and he may have the bank balance of a small nation, but he’s got feelings, too.

Although I suspect it won’t be the case, there is every possibility that Bieber’s career won’t live to see his 20th birthday. That’s a risk every teen idol takes. Usually, their stars don’t burn brightly for more than a year or two. But consider this: When Justin Timberlake was Bieber’s age, there was absolutely no evidence that he would evolve into the major talent that he is today.

But I get where his detractors are coming from. This is not the edgiest music on the charts. What I do not get is the speculation about Bieber’s sexuality. Come on! The guy is 16 years old. Does anyone really expect him to be singing in a baritone about bitches and hos? I find it refreshing that a 16-year-old performer is singing age-appropriate music about puppy love and first dates.

And that, I imagine, is what Usher sees in Bieber: a little bit of himself. Remember, Usher wasn’t always the sexy star he is today. When he first hit the scene, he himself was a squeaky-clean teen. Sex didn’t really enter his musical equation until he scored his first Top 10 pop hit with “You Make Me Wanna” around his 19th birthday — and that was tame compared to some of the stuff on his new album.

So I’d say he deserves props, not potshots, for helping to boost a talented teen’s American dreams. And if he happens to make a billion dollars along the way, more power to him.


2 T/S Member Comments Called Out, 6 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    I still do not know what a Justin Bieber is.

    But I do like this blog!:


  2. collapse expand

    You’re one of the few media commentators to recognize two important facts: 1) Justin Bieber does possess talent–he indeed does have the potential to be more of a Justin Timberlake than a Sean Cassidy; and 2) The guy is only 16–give him a break! Sheesh, there are a lot of really jealous guys (most are male) making all those hater comments. Thanks for a nice article.

    • collapse expand

      Hey, Mark. I sometimes get flak for being too hard on performers, but when critiquing musicians or actors or whatever, I’ve always tried to stick to the work and not make it personal. Jokes and insults about a person’s sexuality — especially a teenager’s — are never acceptable. And yes, people do need to remember Justin’s age. I wouldn’t even think of comparing him to Stevie Wonder, but not even Stevie was Stevie (the one who recorded those landmark albums in the ’70s) until he was in his 20s!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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