Miley Cyrus defends her old mucker Justin Bieber over his controversies and exploits and says that less-than stellar moments in the Canadian’s childhood were “exploited” and he should be given “time to grow up.”
Is she right?
Miley Cyrus, like Justin Bieber, knows the spotlight can become a harsh searchlight.
While both are former child stars, the killing off of “Hannah Montana” and all that wholesome Disneyness was instigated and shoved down our collective throats by Cyrus herself. By and large, it’s been embraced by media and even non-fans as an expression of a good time-gal’s liberation — and even post-feminism.
It had been thought this was only due to Bieber’s marijuana-enhanced run-ins with the law and more naive mentality of his family background, compared to the glitzy, moneyed Cyrus clan who instinctively knew how to handle public heat over her VMAs twerk-fest last year.
Now, with the release of two videos of Bieber cluelessly using the N-word when he was 14 and 15-years-old, in moments that play back as much longer than the real time minutes they actually lasted, we see that a sword of damocles has hung over the “Baby” star’s career right from the start as extortionists reportedly slow-dripped money demands to suppress footage.
Did that have an effect on Bieber’s mind, view of the world, a growing, knowing fear that the sky would cave one day?
Speaking on Australia’s The Today Show earlier this week as her Bangerz tour continues in Oz, Miley defended Bieber’s child/teen integrity stumbles.
When asked for an overview on Justin’s infamous year-plus – which includes funny exploits, less funny missteps, legal challenges, and the recent racism storm – Cyrus’ compassion was clear.
“I think people need to sit and think about the times in their life when they were not proud of who they were,” she said.
Miley then made the point that people should remember it’s not only Bieber who’s isn’t perfect, but everyone.
“Imagine if that [less-than-stellar moments] was completely exploited and everyone had their opinions,” she continued.
Still referring to Bieber, she added: “I think people just gotta have time to grow up and figure out who they are.”
Surprisingly, Miley’s response was considerably more mature and measured than gnashing elsewhere.
Bieber’s forever immortalized but undeniably child-like use of racial slurs finds its echoes in playgrounds over generations, the anti-Muslim sentiment that swept the U.S. after 9/11, and the casual low-level “-isms” that surrounds all of us — whether spoken or thought.
All of it is learned and handed down from adults via stand-ups, pundits, shock jocks, some media outlets, online sources, families, books and the rest — to kids. Then we wonder where they get it from, when in fact kids reflect and repeat what is around them. Bieber first heard the N-word song of his hit “One Less Lonely Girl” performed by a comic on television.
As anyone who has ever been around typical 13-21-year-old boys and adolescents knows, very little comes out of their mouths that isn’t wildly inappropriate. If they’re not guffawing at race-based jokes, it’s sexuality and gender based gags or smirking over “fart” jokes amid a slew of other tasteless material.
Of course there are exceptions, but typically it’s an age range group that likes to shock and is intensely concerned with appearing to know more than it does. Suffice it to say, it’s not a time of life that should be candidly filmed for extended periods. And if it is, rarely stands up to scrutiny.
Put simply: Justin’s racially insensitive comments were exploited by people who couldn’t give a toss about racial equality and civil rights. They held the videos over a then child Bieber and his team to extort them for money, with TMZ’s access/suppression deal allegedly also in play before a UK tabloid exacted its paywall returns.
Few have criticized that. Yet, it’s exponentially more repulsive than juvenile repeats of the N-word by an immature child/teen.
In the first of two apologies, Bieber said: “As a kid, I didn’t understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt.”
He continued: “I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance.”
Based on the observable reality of the now 20-year-old Bieber and those he spends his time with, it seems the racial insensitivity he expressed as a kid fell away as he grew up, toured the world, and made numerous African-American friends – all of whom defended him in the recent storm.
In short, far from being a racist; Bieber made the journey from racial non-awareness — to awareness.