Artist of the Month: Justin Bieber

Surprise. An article about the ever-rising superstardom of Canadian not-so-young-anymore heartthrob, Justin Bieber.

It would be foolish of me not to capitalize on Bieber’s explosion in popularity, right?

The artist of the month featured in the month of January is Justin Bieber.

I never thought I'd see the day where I'd willingly save a picture of Justin Bieber onto my computer.

I never thought I’d see the day where I’d willingly save a picture of Justin Bieber onto my computer.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of the man they call Justin Bieber. I don’t really follow his every move like the Beliebers out there, I don’t really listen to his music, nor am I a big fan of his apparent Diva attitude. What I can admit to, however, is that the recent change in his sound has caught the attention of a more grown-up audience, and for good reason as well. Justin Bieber isn’t a boy anymore. He’s a man. And other grown ass men around the world are acknowledging that.

This babyfaced blond was first discovered on YouTube (it seems like every bloody artist nowadays is discovered on YouTube, and here I am tone deaf with no concept of pitch whatsoever). He was soon signed to a record deal and released his first album in 2010, where he recorded typical teeny bopper pop songs like Somebody to Love and the infamous Baby featuring Ludacris. His babyface, my-voice-hasn’t-cracked-yet vocals and typical teenager charm caught the attention of young impressionable girls worldwide, and the Biebs became a hit.

Of course, you can’t possibly be liked by everyone, and as much as Bieber was adored, he was despised by a more mature audience.

Apparently, Bieber didn’t stick to his goody two-shoes image too long, and he chose to go down a more risky path. In 2012, Bieber released his third studio album, Believe. The single As Long As You Love Me featuring Big Sean included a more adult video clip, including scenes of Bieber being beat up by his girlfriend’s disapproving father (I actually laughed at this. I’m a terrible person.) After these more adult-y songs, it would be expected that Bieber would be more well received, right? Well, other than the ridiculously catchy song Boyfriend, adults still didn’t respond well to the Biebs.

Fast forward to 2016, and now this meme could not be any more accurate.

This is truth.

This is truth.

So what happened in between the release of Believe and today? Bieber’s fourth album, Purpose. The cover art should spell it out for you, really; Bieber isn’t a boy anymore, and he wants to let people know that. This album featured hit after hit after hit, with my most favourite being Sorry, where the video clip features an old family friend New Zealand dance extraordinaire Parris Goebel and her dance crew. Compare Bieber’s first album to his most recent, and you can clearly see the evolution that the Canadian has gone through.

With only four studio albums to his name, it’s surprising that the man has amassed such an empire and mass following, and it doesn’t seem like his popularity is stopping any time soon. I mean, today it was reported that he had dyed his hair purple. Like, this is headline stuff right here. I dyed my hair bright red once, and no one wrote about that… tear.

I acknowledge that Bieber has come a long way since his Bieber-hair days, and does have the talent that warrants this much attention, but I am quite content to sit here listening to Kacey Musgraves tbh. Y’all can have Bieber.

– by Noah La’ulu

I am not Plastic Fob-tastic

If I had to choose one term that I hate with a fiery passion to abolish, it would be “plastic fob”. Never heard of it? Let me explain.

100% genuine. 0% plastic.

100% genuine. 0% plastic.

To those of you who don’t know me, my cultural background is Maori, Samoan and a dash of Irish in there somewhere. I was born in Australia so I identify myself as being Australian but will never hide my cultural background. I am proud of my pacific roots and embrace my culture – maybe not to its full extent, but I still love and acknowledge where my ancestors have come from.

As I have had a “traditional” Australian upbringing in the beautiful country town of Bathurst, I’m not as cultured as someone who was born and raised in the islands; I don’t know all of the cultural norms and I don’t speak neither fluent Maori or Samoan (not for lack of trying, I have pestered my parents to teach me on numerous occasions). In fact, I speak better Portuguese than I do either of those languages.

Does that make me any less Samoan or Maori than another child of the pacific? No, it doesn’t. As people who are normally stereotyped as easy-going and friendly, why are some Polynesians so bitter towards each other?

This is where “plastic fob” comes in. A plastic fob is, basically, someone who has a cultural background from the Pacific Islands yet doesn’t act or behave like a “normal” Polynesian would. That is what pisses me off. I get this term branded on me by so many of my own people who don’t even take the time to actually get to know me. My best friend, who had a similar upbringing as me and who is half Samoan and half Italian, has the same issue as me; we went through a lot of the exclusions just because we were “plastic”. I know some of my siblings have to deal with this kind of, dare I say, bullshit, as well.

Let me put this on the record: I am not plastic. I am not pretending to be anyone but me. I am who I am. Just because I am not musically gifted in singing or playing acoustic guitar does not make me any less Polynesian than it does the guys from Nesian Mystik. Just because I am not working in some form of security does not make me any less Polynesian than my big brave cousin who does. I haven’t been to neither of the homelands (New Zealand or Samoa just FYI), but you try and put me on a plane and you will see how difficult of a task that is (see attached).

I get judged a lot just because I am a lot different to the “stereotypical” Polynesian man and have been called a “plastic fob” many times in my life and sometimes worse. It’s ridiculous.

Please, my fellow Polynesians, whether you be Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean or Maori, we need to learn to stick together and not judge one another just because we’ve had a different childhood. One of the things I most enjoy about our culture is how I can bump into someone whom I’ve never met before and still say hello or give a polite nod just because we have that same cultural similarity. We are some of the most beautiful people on the planet so let’s not change that and let’s please abolish the term “plastic fob.” It tells a better story about the insulter than the insultee.

My name is Noah. I am Maori. I am Samoan. I am Irish. I am a journalist. I am a rugby league enthusiast. I am video gamer. I am a horror movie lover. I am a country head. I am a pole dancing student. I am my own person. I am not plastic.

– by Noah La’ulu

Sluts vs Players

So I was on the train the other day, casually minding my own business, when I heard a small group of girls a few rows down from where I was sitting (who looked to be in their late teens) talking about a “slut” they knew. Not bothering to keep their voices down – I’m assuming it was because there weren’t many people in the carriage – they gossiped with abandon about how this girl had supposedly been with many guys, and how people had found out and bullied/bad-mouthed her about it.

Now, I know what they were talking about is nothing out of the norm, but what was unsettling was that they seemed to relish the fact that she was being bullied. I won’t elaborate on how the girl was apparently bullied or to what extent, but the fact is that she was, and that these girls felt it was justifiable. At that moment, two things simultaneously popped up in my mind; I suddenly thought of pop artist Lily Allen’s latest single, Hard Out Here (where she sings about the inequality in treatment between promiscuous males and females), and mentally asked myself if these girls would relish or at least relish it as much if a promiscuous male was bullied, or bad-mouthed etc.

Lily Allen has a b***y p***y.

Lily Allen has a b***y p***y.

The answer in my mind was most likely not.

Because judging from other times that I’ve seen or heard people talking about similar matters, such males are only called reasonably offensive names and more often than not, they’re simply regarded as “players”. Whereas with females, the words “slut” and “whore” are often used with a heavy intent to denigrate them, and in some cases, almost make every word or action of hurt that comes their way seem justifiable.

So it’s obvious they earn heavier societal repercussions than their male counterparts do, and that is something I fail to understand. If, for example, both a male and female were to have the same (large) number of sexual partners and/or encounters – and the word “large” is very subjective here – it would most likely be the female who gets degraded and vilified more heavily. Lily Allen candidly sums this up with her lyrics, “If I told you ‘bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut…When boys be talking about their bitches, no one’s making a fuss…”

I know this topic/issue is nothing new, but having seen and heard people slut-shaming (as it is casually referred to) every so often, it’s irritating to see the discrepancy in treatment between both genders – especially when we’re supposed to be living in an era where males and females are equal, in a sense. I mean, I know it’s obvious that religion, culture, society/social norms and upbringing etc influences or helps to shape our views and opinions on these matters but to be honest, it’s simply unjust and demeaning to females, to say the least. Allowing males to do as they please in terms of sexual ventures and having any number of sexual partners without the harsh condemnation sets females back by far – in a way, it’s like restricting a right.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being a misandrist, and I’m not going to inject my own views on promiscuity here either – as it is both unnecessary and irrelevant – nor am I aiming to sway other people’s views on it as it is a quite a complex and subjective matter – for example, people have different opinions on what it means to be promiscuous, or if it’s morally right or wrong etc. But what certainly needs to be pointed out is that in this day and age, females should have more rights than they have had previously, and having the right to be treated as equally as males in terms of sexual ventures and experiences is one of them.

– by Rosemary Nguyen

Fad Off!

I’ve lived in Sydney since I was 9 years old and during my tenure here, I’ve seen many different trends or fads come and go. A few people who are as mindless as they are impressionable have followed these trends until the cows came home while I’ve remained indifferent about whatever’s “in” or “hip” – because people still use the word hip anyway. I’ve been quite comfortable in my own skin and style.

Anywho, here are a list of trends that have come and gone and haven’t been touched by me in any shape or form.

I live in a double-storey suburban house and I’m gangsta

These kids trapped in a struggle... and so on and so forth.

These kids trapped in a struggle… and so on and so forth.

Remember when Joel Turner (picture above) came out with the hit song “These Kids” and suddenly everyone wore their pants down around their knees with thick, obnxious chains around their necks? Enter the “Gangsta Beatboxing Street Artist” fad. I specifically remember boys who had no interest in rap and urban music all of a sudden profess their admiration for 50 Cent and Eminem just because it was the “in” thing back in the day. These tryhards would spit and heave and try to claim that as beatboxing when really, it sounded as if someone was losing a lung. Breakdancing was also a popular thing for the Gangsta Beatboxing Street Artists who, as hard as they tried, couldn’t master the truly wonderful art. Speaking of art, it became cool to tag walls with $2 spray paint with some terrible logos or even worse, your own initials.

As you’re picturing all of this in your head, aren’t you glad this fad died out?

Only cool people slash their wrists

Anyone spare a blade?

Anyone spare a blade?

Why, pray tell me, did self-harm become a fad? Shortly after the gangsta species faded out, in came the Emos. Long fringes, black clothes and body odour from here to Raleigh, North Carolina. While the emo genre was underground previously, artists like Dashboard Confessional rose this fad to international stardom. Along with this “popular trend” came the music subgenre of “screamo”, which was basically someone screaming whilst instruments accompanied the ear-damaging lyrics. For some reason, however, people took this as an opportunity to make self-harm cool; red cut lines across the wrist were almost as common as breathing during this time and people would even boast about how damn emo they were by posting pictures of their self harm on MySpace (which was Emo Haven back in the day). The emos lasted a bit longer than the gangstas, and I can proudly say I took absolutely nothing from this culture. I wore painted-on jeans before emos were even born. #totesamaze #craycray

The Beach Boys would be so proud… or not

Oooohhh surferrrr girrrrl...

Oooohhh surferrrr girrrrl…

Roxy. Billabong. Ripcurl. Rusty. Basically any brand that is currently available at your local City Beach. There was a time when surfing became the “in thing” and all the boys in the yard were wearing these surfer brands to look cool and would walk around with a surfboard despite having no talent on it whatsoever. These guys and gals would lay out on the beach to get that “I’m totes a surfer” tan and would lighten their hair to have that surfy look. Meanwhile, here I am with my pale brown skin and dark hair – and I don’t even care.

I get that Home and Away makes it look like every Australian underneath the shining sun goes surfing but I have never touched a surfboard in my life and have no real interest in getting thrashed from a body of water.

Aesthetics because no one cares about brains anymore

I don't mind Zyzz as a person, but really.

I didn’t mind Zyzz as a person, but really.

Okay so I remember a time when people didn’t really care about how big their pecs were or how bulging their biceps were. Everyone was just lax about being their size, big or small. Nowadays, people are hitting the gym just for the social factor and not for the concept of getting physically fit. Big bulky men (or women) are as common as breathing now and it’s come to the point where muscles aren’t even attractive anymore. With the introduction of (stupid) phrases like “Do you even lift” and “She squats bro” suggest that people in the current day and age are more concerned about what’s on the outside than what’s on the inside. I’d prefer to have a conversation with a brain than a bicep to be honest but that’s just me.

I joined a gym to look like Candice Swanepoel (NOTE: not possible), not to fit in with the clouds that hang around my area. I decided that food is much better than exercise so my relationship with the gym ended not too long ago. I’m pretty sure I did more exercise than the bodybuilders that went there to look at themselves in the mirror and get hard-ons over themselves.

***

I’m pretty sure there are other fads that I’ve overlooked but really, these three were the worst that I can remember. To use an overused motivational quote that frequently sees my Facebook news feed: “You were born original, why die a copy?” Case and point.

– by Noah La’ulu