Justin Bieber didn't just say “The show must go on!”, he made it happen – May 17th and 18th in Osaka and Tokyo, respectively.
By going ahead with the long-planned shows and taking the time to visit children affected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, the Canadian pop superstar showed a level of maturity and depth of feeling that must have surprised those who judge him only by what they read in tabloid newspapers and critical online forums.
Before I go any further, let me state that I'm not a fan of Justin Bieber's music. I'm also turned off by the cult of celebrity that seems to have surrounded him, though I understand it's something that goes with the territory when Forbes.com rates you third on their list (after Lady Gaga and Oprah) of the World's 100 Most Powerful Celebrities.
Just turned 17, Bieber earned $53 million over the past year from music sales, concerts, and “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”: a 3-D documentary film that grossed $100 million worldwide. Bieber first rose to prominence though videos posted at YouTube by his mother beginning in early 2007. Fast forward 4 years and “Baby,” his first hit song, has established a new YouTube record by virtue of being viewed an astonishing 500 million times!
But you already know that, Beliebers or not. You also can't fault Bieber for letting some of the relentless adoration go to his carefully coiffed head. Did he really need the hassle of flying to Japan to perform the final two concerts of a two-year long tour that he probably wished was over long before? Probably not, especially after a few members of his concert crew balked at going to Japan out of irrational fears over radiation leaking from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant. Fellow pop stars Avril Lavigne and Slash had already canceled concerts planned for Japan, so it wasn't as if he'd be the only one.
But he didn't blow off the concerts, or his Japanese fans, and you'd better believe every single person in attendance at Osaka Zepp and the Tokyo Nippon Budokan appreciated Bieber's presence. Then he went the extra mile, appearing on Japanese TV shows and meeting with children affected by the disaster. I don't think he did these things because his managers told him it would be good for his career, which is humming along just fine, thanks. He went the extra mile, both literally and figuratively, because he's a good kid at heart who knows what's right and insists on showing it.
During one of Bieber's meet & greet sessions with some kids affected by the disaster (see the video above), American ambassador John Roos shook his hand and told him, “You're a very special young man sending a message to the entire world”.
I have to agree, even though for Justin Bieber being “special” is just being himself and letting his unaffected humanity show through. Watch the video and you'll see it. As strange as it might sound, the world needs more Justin Biebers... or at least, a lot less of sanctimonious, self-centered celebs who show time and time again they're all show and no substance. (via Japan Probe, main image via Justin Bieber Zone)