Justin Bieber was discovered on the Internet. He has been a dominating presence on it ever since. His Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds are followed by millions. He is the focus of discussion on thousands of other platforms, from celebrity and gossip sites to music media outlets and a myriad of others. No celebrity has had the continuous, relentless spotlight he has — much less evolve into an adult while navigating it.
That’s what makes his recent posts about what it is like being a celebrity performer so compelling. This 2014 Rolling Stone article states he told a friend he was tired of feeling like he was under a microscope. He has since expressed that sentiment many times.
“Mentally and emotionally exhausted”
Last March, he announced on Instagram that he would no longer take selfies with fans because the paid appearances left him “feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression.” The others — random requests during the course of his days — make him feel like “a zoo animal.” Now, after winning best male artist of the year at last Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards, he posted about feeling privileged and honored to be recognized by his peers, but also feeling awards ceremonies are “hollow” and exclude an authenticity that he craves.
A new control over his image and future
His recent behavior has been met with a flood of criticism and concerned discussion on and off social media. But many other people are supporting him—including us. Honesty poses risks—both personally and professionally—and his level of openness leaves him even more exposed to the spotlight. But it also gives him a new control of his image and future. If he loses some fans, he will gain more…and a deeper avenue of creative expression that will serve him well in the future.
As one fan posted on his Facebook page, “We all make mistakes and hopefully we all learn from them. I appreciate good music and that’s it. Keep ur head high Justin.”