Monday, July 19, 2010

Legaci, Justin Bieber, and What it All Means

Bieber Hate: Drawing the Line

To be honest before these last 2 months or so, I didn't know much about Justin Bieber. I didn't know he had a youtube channel or that he had been discovered by Usher. By the time I first saw him on the We Are the World II music video, he was already an American phenom well on his way to stardom.

I listened to it a couple times but I wasn't floored by his hit single "Baby." At first glance, I thought he was a Disney channel clone destined to star in tv movies, headline a 3D concert, then eventually relegate himself to the bin of child stars who've outgrown their novelty. Simply, I didn't hate the kid, but I just wasn't into his music. But there had to be something special about him, as he had erupted into a media and cultural sensation overnight.

My interest piqued when my brother-in-laws group Legaci were invited to be Justin's backup singers after their youtube cover of "Baby" got them noticed. I watched several more of Justin's videos and listened to a couple more of his songs. I wasn't surprised by how popular he had become or the number of page views he had accumulated. What stunned me was the sheer number of people who've fabricated a hatred him. And not just a dislike for his music, but a dark disgusting out pour of death threats, profanity, and bile for what fans adoringly dubbed "Bieber Fever." As if his existence was somehow a detriment to society. Collectively among haters he had become the poster boy for bad music and posers alike. The solution they often pose to remedy this "Fever"? The resounding solution proposed by many morbidly enough is simple: Kill Justin Bieber. I can understand not liking his music or his style, but wishing death upon a kid is evil, and shows a severe spiritual ugliness and lapse in moral integrity. He's a kid singing pop music. If you isolate him as a detriment to society, you need to expand your perception of whats actually going wrong in this world.

A couple weeks ago I discovered a movement (of which I had to stifle my laughter), of Metal fans united under the common goal of flooding the Bieber music channel of dislikes and redundant messages of hate. No, this isn't my lead into why metal heads are dumb and are jealous of Bieber. I'm gonna give humanity the benefit of the doubt, and assume that not all metal purveyors waste their time waging war on pop music. I hate saying it because it's so damn obvious. Music like any type of art is subjective. It's why Nicolas Cage and Adam Sandler are huge box-office draw yet often gets panned by critics. There are no mass movements lambasting them with homophobic slurs and death threats, regardless of how awful their movies are. What makes them exempt, and Bieber an acceptable target? One article I read posed this question "Is it that you really hate his fans and not Justin Bieber?" Just something to ponder on...

Just saying its okay to have standards. We all have them. Just don't think you are the standard. The world does not revolve you or your opinion. Tomorrow your internet could go down, and your plight against musical injustice wouldn't be any less effective. Give it up and fight for something that doesn't make you look small and petty.

Haters. The key to surviving the fever is this: remember what his target audience is--kids and teens. Having gone to the concert I know this to be a fact. He is incredibly over among this age group for simple reasons. They enjoy his dancing, his singing, and his looks. What I saw were fans, both kids and adults, dancing and singing along. A mother in front of us danced with her daughter.
Is that really something you want to be pissed off about? C'mon, I know there are a couple parents out there joyfully declaring their child's old soul whos love for pink floyd and the beatles transcends the immaturity of the common child. Good for you. When all the other parents are treating their ecstatic kids to a Bieber concert, I'll make sure to remind your kids the next time the Beatles roll into town.

I read an article from SF Gate which reviewed the concert and criticized it for having poor production values. While posing a debatable opinion, he discredited himself immediately by going on a tirade about Bieber wearing a hat all night. A paragraph devoted to how Justin robbed his fans by hiding his trademark haircut. He wrapped up his review, but making a cutesy yet illusory observation that "the arena was dotted with tweens who had curled up in their seats and fallen asleep." I must have missed something because Oracle arena hadn't been that loud since the "We Believe" playoffs. Next time they send someone to review a concert, I recommend they save the ink and send someone who actually wants to go.

Here are 5 observations/opinions I developed the night I watched MyWorld 2.0

1. Bieber is a kid, an exceptionally talented kid. With enough discipline, and a solid support system, he can be great (note that i didn't say the best. as that terms sends to aggravate the haters en masse). To date he is just 16 years old. Don't make childish comments like "he sucks at drums, or he can't sing." He has enough talent to be credible, and enough upside to grow. Shut up and see where he can go.

2. The set was awesome. The guy writing the article saw fit to tear it down, but this was far from some small town production. Granted he may have lofty standards but judging from the exclamation "awesome" from a young girl behind me as the lights and lasers came on, the set impressed someone who really mattered.

3. Justin has an amazing ensemble of band members, dancers, and backup singers. They performed with a youthful exuberance and genuine excitement rewarding the audience for their intensity. They complimented Justin beautifully showcasing a wide array of talents.

4. The sound in the arena was near deafening. Kids love him like crazy. The only thing brighter than their light sticks were their smiles. seriously.

again. what is unjust about that?

5. Stop tasting everything with a silver spoon. If you simply don't like his music, stop comparing him to the merits of the musicians you hold on a pedestal. Young Justin Bieber is not Led Zeppelin or Marvin Gaye, so why speak their names on the same breath. You can either enjoy his music, or you can't. Don't over complicate what isn't complicated. Honestly the music ain't half bad. In fact I find it quite catchy.


My brother-in-law Micah created Legaci along with friends to bring their dreams of becoming Asian American mainstream performers into fruition. They've gone through the ups and downs both common among struggling artists and unique to Asian artists. It wasn't until they started doing covers on Youtube that they got the national and international attention their talent deserved.

Eventually Bieber caught wind of their talent, and Legaci soon found themselves to be one of the music industries' biggest success stories this year.

I read a lot of comments and I know many Legaci fans are proud of what the group has accomplished. Rightfully so, they are insanely talented yet remarkably humble. But there are quite a bit of comments that talk down to Justin Bieber, saying that Legaci can do better. As well meaning as this sentiment is, the fans are misguided in this regard.

Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber, and their staff are due much more respect than they are given. If you knew Legaci from the start, you would know better. If you knew of the the passion they had inherited from their first manager before he died, you would know better. If you truly knew the plight of the all members past and present who sacrificed so much of themselves to keep their dream alive, you would know better. If you knew of their families who urged them to believe in something when it was practically nothing. Who devoted resources upon resources in Legaci, raising them, nurturing them, so that their dreams no matter how wild or unrealistic always seemed "possible." If you knew all this, you would know how blessed to be where they are now. You would understand the gravity and emotional reprieve of that first phone call from the Bieber camp, basically saying: yes. we noticed you.

So the next time you think to discredit Justin Bieber or his crew, remember this: Legaci's strength and character has always been grounded in it's humility, in all members past and present. Their tweets reflect this. The reason this group works is that is never bigger than the dream that drives it. Jaymill, a current, yet inactive Legaci member summed this up succinctly stating, "Ever since we started Legaci I never once asked God to be rich and famous... all I ever wanted was for us to stay together, I knew if we stayed together only good things would come our way." Many fans ask, "how did you get to sing for Bieber?" Thats how. The dream is a summation of its composite parts. And those composite parts are built of determination, loyalty, and above all love. That's what made it possible. The dream is nothing without the people who get you there. believe that.

Legaci has reason to be indebted to Scooter, Justin, and the rest of their camp. They made their dreams come true. That's reason enough to gain your respect.

Below is a shirt design I made to represent the (touring) members of Legaci. I started this on my graphire tablet and finished it on my brand spanking new intuos. Thanks to Claire and Crystal for bouncing ideas.

If/when i start officially making quality shirts I'm getting a screen printer. Iron-Ons ain't the business.


  1. This was a good post! I totally agree with everything you said! Keep up the work :)

  2. ASOLUTLEY GREAT ARTICLE.....Well said and can not wait to see them all in Novemeber...I am an elder die hard fan... So us older generation love it all too...Ur right the music is catchy but I find it to be refreshing too...Brings back some of what we lost and that is RAW TALENT COIMG FROM THE HEART AND SOUL....makes you feel is al REFRESHING!! Go for it and print those shirts those are a hit in the making! GREAT JOB!

  3. thanks dbroaddus! you enjoy the music and no one should be able to tell you otherwise...

  4. This article says it all very well. I am a parent of a 10 year old girl who idolizes Bieber. I took her to the concert here in Portland and did the VIP Experience as a birthday gift to my daughter. I figured it was a concert I would tolerate, but ended up really enjoying the experience and loving how excited my daughter was. It was the first time I had heard or seen Legaci. After that night I became a fan of their true talent and now follow them on YouTube, Twitter & FaceBook. I can't wait to see how far they go because they are truly amazing.

  5. Kristi. I just want to thank you for sharing your experience. I love hearing how excited your child was and how happy that made you feel. Thank you for taking the heart of "bieber mania" and emphasizing its core. Glad you guys discovered Legaci through the concert as well. They deserve every fan they get.

  6. Thank you son. This made me cry.You have so eloquently described what is in my heart. I had been a witness to the struggles of Legaci being their Lega Mom. Nothing can compare to how I feel right now as to the opportunity extended to them by Scooter, Justin and to all those that were involved in giving them the chance to fulfill their dream. God bless them all.

  7. Wow, thank you for writing such a very well written article.

    Micah's auntie Josie