Justin Bieber: Growing Up On Blast Ain’t A Blast
Justin Bieber isn’t a write-off, he’s just growing up.
That is the dominant message that came through from his manager Scooter Braun, mentor Usher, director Jon M. Chu and the singer’s family, at the Believe movie world premiere in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
While the 19-year-old bailed on talking to media apart from an oddly nuanced interview with MTV, the event hosts, elders in his camp rallied as press questions rained.
Braun’s task was doubled, as he fielded probes on Justin’s earlier radio claim that he was retiring.
While the singer hedged on clearing up that rumor when asked to, his manager dismissed it at the premiere but confirmed Bieber will be taking a break next year to have a private life and regroup.
Braun told The Associated Press, “I think he’s going through normal teenage stuff and he’s trying to fight this idea of wanting to be normal but then the responsibility that comes with being who he is.”
Referring to the months of incidents, allegations, and rumors against Bieber that accelerated from March as a “Pandora’s Box,” the manager stressed his belief in Bieber as a person and an artist.
“It’s a work in progress,” Braun said. “I’m not done yet. He’s not done yet and I expect him to make great decisions and then make mistakes; that’s being human. And I think our job is to continue to care and be there for him and let him be there for all these kids.”
To some, Bieber’s “Assault on Precinct The World” should be seen as a series of teenage mishaps inflated by relentless and often shabbily motivated media scrutiny or selectiveness. Others, like The Daily Beast’s Amy Zimmerman see a “leather jogging pant-clad, tattooed Lucifer” facing a task of “winning back the trust and admiration of his admiration of his fan base in 2014.”
Usher, part of the power-broking team that launched a small town boy to warping, worldwide fame, also shared his take on Bieber’s extraordinary 2013, telling AP:
“I mean more money more problems.” He went on,”The beautiful part about it is that those that are invested in a long term story you understand that there are peaks and valleys in every person’s life some. Unfortunately the reality is he has to live with a camera in front of him but what he chooses to do on or off camera is analyzed or scrutinized in some off way.”
Meanwhile, Justin’s grandmother Diane Dale, also at the premiere, believes “the media has been terrible” to her grandson.
“There are so many lies going around. A little bit is true but most of it is lies. It’s terrible,” she adds.
The singer’s mom, Pattie Mallette, observed: “It’s tough because the whole world is a critic.”
She noted, “I think sometimes people dehumanize celebrities and I think what’s so great about this movie is that you get to see his humanity.”
Chu, the returning director on whose shoulders so much appears to rest, gets to grill Bieber in the film about his behavior.
At the premiere he described the singer as someone who’s “always been a troublemaker,” but is also “charming” and a “good kid.”
Notably, Chu said of his decision to helm Believe after the success of 2011’s Never Say Never:
“I wouldn’t come back if I didn’t like him [Justin] and who he was. So I think it’s a testament to the people around him that stick around that they love who he is, and they want the world to see that. And I want the world to see that. And I think when you do see it, you’ll accept him you’ll accept him for the good and the bad.”
As for Bieber — unmissable in red Balmain, and popping white shoes, shirt, and shades — he cut an overt yet wary figure at the premiere; arriving late, avoiding the press gauntlet before entering the theater, and reportedly leaving before the film screening ended due to fan mayhem.
“I wanna get to know my family more,” he said Wednesday. “I want to figure out myself [in 2014] as a man. I’ve been away so much, I’ve missed a lot of great years with my brother and sister.”
Teen ticking time-bomb, or misunderstood tabloid target?
Perhaps Justin is simply light and shade, good and bad. Like all of us, in constant motion between the best and worst of ourselves.
The Believe movie debuts across the US on Christmas Day. The singer’s Journals album drops on December 23.