An earth-shaking event is round the corner or that’s what a tribe of fans called Beliebers firmly believe. Many a teen must have screamed in ecstasy when the news of the 23-year-old Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber’s concert at DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai on May 10 was made official.
As the feverish pitch leading to the colossal event is ramped up by the event managers in a well calibrated manner, I wish I could be at the scene of action as one among the thousands, if not to watch the mega star singing but to gauge the reactions of his frenzied fandom from close quarters. A couple of months ago, while on a car travel with family members in Chennai, my brother’s school-going children crooned an English pop song and I nonchalantly told them, “Justin Bieber, right?” “Mass (Great!) Uncle,” they declared in their lingo jubilantly.
I was hardly aware of the JB mania that was prevalent amongst the youngsters until a year ago. Last year, as part of a voluntary group based in Oman that conducted an essay contest for school students, I was assigned the responsibility of evaluating a set of essays written by the children studying between grades 10 and 12. The topic given to them was ‘Effects of Media’ and the participants were expected to bring out ways of staying clear of media’s potential ill effects and absorbing it’s positive aspects.
As I went past the first para of the submissions, I stumbled upon this name called Justin Bieber (JB)—entry after entry without exception. Until then, I had known JB just as a pop singer and heard his songs played out regularly over Oman English FM radios but hardly did I realise the impact this young icon had made on the teens and pre-teens of a generation. How’re they going to connect JB with the topic, I wondered. The children had described how JB’s mother had uploaded on YouTube, songs sung by JB as a 12-year-old and how the videos had been spotted by Scooter Braun who catapulted Bieber to instant stardom. The students hoped that one day, they could also become popular through media and, contribute to charity a la Justin Bieber. Media is powerful, they concluded, radiating positivity and hope and resonating with their inspiration.
Hope, after all, is the need of the hour and I realised Justin Bieber had instilled this in the youth of our times in good measure, his controversies as an evolving celebrity notwithstanding. I wished JB many more years of singing and sound health and that he doesn’t get bogged down by the perils of fame and stardom.