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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

Scene takes on: Justin Bieber

Justin bieber web
Susan Zhu | The Observer
Susan Zhu | The Observer

Thirteen-year-old Kathy would be ecstatic to write about a thriving YouTube sensation as lovable, innocent and — dare I say — cute as Justin Bieber. Sixteen-year-old Kathy, on the other hand, would be shaking her head right about now. As a 19-year-old on the brink of my roaring 20s, I’m not too sure what to think while writing about such a back-and-forth pop star. I do, however, recognize one thing as certain: Justin Bieber’s style and youth may have fluctuated, but his fan base has remained steadfast.

Bieber’s many “Beliebers” under the influence of the infectious “Bieber Fever” have persisted since 2010 — timely to his peak as an adolescent YouTube prodigy. A fan base as strong as Bieber’s upped these video hits to over two billion, making him the first person to do so on the site and helping to kick off his notable singing career.

The consistency of Beliebers, despite the celebrity’s rocky transition into adulthood, is strong, which certainly reflects his fans’ loyalty. Many of his fan base members, comprised mostly of teenage females, have remained staunch in their love for Bieber, despite frequent scandals and an arrest after Believe debuted in 2012. Between labeling Anne Frank as a Belieber — a comical bit of shadenfreude — and charges of resisting arrest in 2014, Bieber’s fan base has remained tender, strong and true.

If the Beliebers had a line graph, their loyalty to the pop star would positively correlate to their obsession — specifically to mend their broken hearts with regard to Bieber’s love life. Passive aggressive tweets and not-so-subtle death threats to the celebrity’s numerous lady friends have been recorded throughout the years. Their staunch fixation on Bieber’s smooth beats, rhythmic dance moves and handsome looks have permeated through every aspect of his life — an obsessive characteristic to extreme Beliebers everywhere.

This, of course, marked a point in my life where I stopped believing in Bieber. If his questionable decision-making was not enough of a turnoff, his intense fan base certainly did the trick.

So, the question remains: Why, if Bieber has fluctuated morally and physically throughout the years, has his fan base remained loyal? While I had trouble deciphering the answer, some Beliebers have admitted to feeling a sense of loyalty to their pre-teen selves and thus find it difficult to renounce their fandom.

Bieber, who made his claim to fame after posting several YouTube videos and eventual working under Usher's tutelage, certainly has made a name for himself. In spite of his flaws, fans have remained steadfast in their love, support and defense for Bieber — a key trait in a successful fan base and, more importantly, successful pop star.

This success hasn’t gone unnoticed. Bieber’s recent comeback song “What Do You Mean?” has ranked among the Billboard's Hot 100 top 10 singles in 2015 for 10 weeks and counting. That song and his newest single “Sorry” have pervaded listeners’ ears everywhere. They’ve even instilled a newfound interest in Bieber’s musical progression within previous Bieber fans, myself included.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bieber’s career develops, what with his newfound tropical vibes. One thing, though, will undoubtedly remain: the Beliebers’ characteristically strong love for their favorite pop star.