By Ray McDonald
Reviewing Justin Bieber’s list of recent woes, I keep coming back to one well-known saying: “Be careful what you wish for. It just may come true.” The former clean-cut teen idol is stumbling from one PR crisis to another: run-ins with paparazzi; sudden hospital visits; and most recently, a nasty episode with a neighbor. (Bieber’s entourage insists that the singer never spit on, nor threatened the neighbor who confronted him about racing his Ferrari around the neighborhood.)
An early video of young Justin performing Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”
What went wrong? It wasn’t that long ago – 2008, to be exact – that marketing executive Scooter Braun was surfing the web for new talent, and came upon home-made videos of a 13-year-old Canadian. He plucked the kid from obscurity and flew him to Atlanta to audition for Usher. A former teenaged phenomenon himself, the R&B star established a joint venture with Braun, and hustled young Justin into the recording studio. As of May, 2012, Justin Drew Bieber had sold 15 million albums. Thirty-six million Twitter followers hang on his every word. He makes tens of millions of dollars a year. All of that success before he turned 19 a few weeks ago.
A 19-year-old with adoring fans worldwide and millions of dollars at his fingertips. What could go wrong?
Justin Bieber leaves the stage mid-performance: London, March 7, 2013
Though to be fair, we should note what can go right. More than once, Justin has reached out to fans in need. Whether in pursuit of good publicity or not, an act of kindness to a child with leukemia is still an act of kindness.
Bieber this week responded to criticism over his latest incident, declaring his good intentions in the face of opposition. He says that he wants to be a good role model, and “sources” claim he doesn’t want to become the next Lindsay Lohan.
Can Justin Bieber save himself from the perils of fame? Let me know what you think he needs to do.