Friday, March 14, 2014

An Exploration On Canadian's Hate For Justin Bieber

With his recent legal troubles, I decided to take a look back at Justin Bieber and my fascination on the general hate the people have had for him since he first came out.  Call me bored or call me intrigued but I have questions that Sway can't answer.

Justin Bieber has been in the public eye since he was 13 years old.  Posting videos of himself singing on his YouTube channel, from his home and on the steps of buildings in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario.  Once the young singer began to gaining the attention online, a bidding war between Usher and Justin Timberlake began, with young Justin eventually choosing Usher over the former N*SYNC singer.  Bieber is the first to be signed to a major label contract basically off of the internet, a trend that would only continue for singers, actors, directors and more to come in the foreseeable future.

Since his first big hit "Baby" featuring Ludacris, people have hated him.  Was it the hair?  Was it the music?  Was it his babyface image?  Unfortunately, it was all of it.  Most pop acts would receive backlash but this was a new age of pop stars and general artistic critique from social networks like Facebook, Twitter and personal opinion blogs, like this one.  You see, there were guys that hated him because he was popular at the age of 14 and his song was everywhere.  He also shared the same haircut as some skater kids and other Caucasian males who didn't want to visit a barber.  Or hair stylist.  (A haircut that was popular at the time with Canadian boys).  They hated a kid with hair like a mop and who was singing, dancing and making girls scream.  You know the same girls that you may have liked at that age?

Fast forward five years, Bieber was still in the press, even bigger than before.  He cut his hair that resembled a lesbian, got tattoos, dated Selena Gomez and spazzed out at photographer saying "I'll beat the f*ck out of you."  That's when the babyface image was no more and the nickname Biebervelli was coined by hip-hop writer Kazeem Famuyide.

When he announced in 2013 he was going to retire after his digital album Journals, I took it as a sign that he needed a break.  Three studio albums, two compilations, one EP and a few remixed albums, is a lot for anyone, let alone before he can legally drink in the US.  But it was more of a reason for him to have more free time to partying with his rapper friends, play basketball, skateboarding and of course, hockey.  If that isn't what a 19 year old who works all the time wants to do on their free time, then I clearly don't know high schoolers as well as I thought. 

Then he got arrested.  Everybody and their mother had something to say.  The news, late night TV, all across social media, then the mug shot was released, then the comparisons to Corey Haim began.  It was terrible.  Then CP24 was there live as he was sworn in for assaulting a limo driver.  Then reports of him getting deported.  Then the internet jokingly decided whoever won the Olympic game between the US and Canada's men's hockey game the loser keeps him.  It was madness.  But this is what you all wanted.

You wanted him to fail, you wanted him to crumble, you wanted him to not be successful.  Since 2010, your vitriol for him has grown and has now begun to sprout.  You have now blossomed into a full blown hater.  Congrats!  Here's some complementary dirt for you!  You quench your thirst every time he's mentioned in a conversation, every time you see his name on a news ticker.  For what reason did you have to be so outspoken towards a 14 year old that dance and sang?  Or when he performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010, during a drum solo, he lost a stick.  Suddenly, you had the "expert" drummers coming out of the woodworks claiming they never do that.

But I think I finally know why.  Yes it's because he's a pop star, yes it's because he's been acting the ass and yes it's because he's Canadian.  It's easy to make fun because his mere citizenship makes him an easy target from his fellow Canadians.  Canadians don't like it when our own get international fame.  There's no other reasonable answer but that.  Whenever a song by a Canadian band or artists receives airplay, the casual fan will feel joy for them but once they go international, the joy turns to disdain.  I've met my share of people who dislike Canadian talent.

Bieber, you hate.  Drake, you don't like.  Celine Dion, I personally don't care for.  Nickelback, nobody likes them.  Dallas Green admitted his fans thought Alexisonfire sold out.  I'm not the only one who wishes they never heard Patio Lanterns by Kim Mitchell.  Simple Plan, you couldn't stand.  Sum 41, you were a fan of, then they matured and Brown Sound left but you still liked Green Day?  Why aren't Canadians proud of their own?  Jealousy?  Or do you want to keep what's yours?

Is Canadian content so exclusive?  Would you prefer it if he had stayed in Canada?  Became a staple on MuchMusic like Damian Abraham from Canadian metal band Fucked Up, had his own documentary (real or fake) series like the Trailer Park Boys, CTV specials during the holidays like Russell Peters or Michael BublĂ©?  America was going to discover him, in some way or another.  The Kids In The Hall, the comedy troupe from the early nineties, started out in Canada but soon were discovered by Lorne Michaels, creator of SNL.  With Michaels help, KITH got their own show that broadcasted in Canada and in the US, on HBO.  Their show ran for five years and each member had their share of fame in the US and back home in Canada.

The ceiling isn't too high for those who choose to stay in Canada and work in the entertainment industry; and the kid from Stratford made it further than any other male pop singer.  Pop music is a median that reaches bigger audience than big band (Michael BublĂ©'s genre).  Apart from the Flintstones theme song, Carleton singing Kalamazoo on Fresh Prince and walking through a department store during the holidays, most don't listen to big band music. The Stratford kid, sings better, makes more money and is more popular than most Canadian men, the same Canadian men who express their hate for Bieber the loudest.   The only scientific reason as to why Canadians express so much hostility toward those who have successfully made it, is jealousy.   Jealousy in men is influenced by one man's dominance over another in a physical, mental, financial, psychological, or popular way.  Now I know people will say they aren't jealous but if you're a long time Bieber hater: someone who has called his haircut stupid, his singing terrible, didn't like his songs, ashamed he was Canadian or wished he would die; I need for you to explain why.  We can exclude last year, because he did a lot to prove a case but prior to that, I think a bit of an explanation is needed from those long time non-Beliebers.

Me personally?  I don't mind the Biebs.  I didn't like 'Baby' at first because the overplay was annoying but after seeing Aziz Ansari's Funny Or Die sketch where Biebervelli shot him and stole his song, I warmed up to it.  I liked his second album, Believe.  His collabo with Drake was fire.  His #MusicMonday installment in the fall was nothing but hit after hit.  He showed that he was maturing in his music which is rare for pop acts mainly because we're never too sure on their age.  Carly Rae Jepsen was 27 singing a song that was written for a 16 year old.

Oh, and by the way, Journals was GREAT.  It honestly was.

To steal from myself, that igloo that Canadians like to feel safe in has melted a bit since last year.  Bieber has gone through his own troubles, Drake has thrown lobs to US men about the racial ethnic women Toronto has to offer (not to mention his OVOFest gets bigger every year) and of course, Rob Ford.  Don't really need to get into that one.  The igloo is melting under the spotlight.  Justin knows what people are saying but strong willed people can't be broken; as he alluded to in his first song since his arrest, 'Broken' -- I cannot be broken/ like I know you were hoping -- Justin is still young and still learning but eventually he'll get it right. when he decides to come home on brighter terms, I hope Canada shows some remorse.

We all make mistakes especially when we're young but some of us aren't watched by millions or have millions to spent it how we may.  Right now a spotlight is on Toronto, we can't hide anymore.  It's time to show support for Canadian acts under these bright lights while they last and put our jealousy aside.

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