There are a lot of Justin Bieber haters out there. I personally was a “Belieber” for about three years until he started to change from a relatively innocent pop star who sang catchy love songs into a skinny eighteen-year-old with earrings, tattoos, and an attitude problem. His songs are still great if you ask me, but I’m no longer in love with him like I once was. I lost faith in his character.
I was recently surprised when, while perusing Instagram, I stumbled upon the attached photo. It depicts Justin Bieber holding 6-year-old Avalanna, who recently passed away due to ATRT, an atypical form of cancer. She met Bieber because of a Facebook page created by her parents, but Justin Bieber chose to keep the friendship strong long after their meet-and-greet. She was featured in his TV special “Justin Bieber: All Around the World,” and is referred to by the pop star as Mrs. Bieber.
Accustomed to the plethora Justin Bieber’s frequent self photos I come across every day, I was particularly moved by this picture, almost to the point of tears (granted, I am a relatively emotional person). The caption is short but heartbreaking: “my angel.” Looking at Avalanna’s face, you see in her eyes the love she has for her idol. It is obvious that Justin Bieber truly cared for her during her short life. Whether Justin Bieber uploaded the photo in memory of Avalanna or for good publicity is debatable. If the photo was uploaded to commemorate the life of “Mrs. Bieber,” then it is an excellent form of pathos because it truly touches the heart of the viewer. The simplicity of the photo allows the viewer to understand the relationship the two of them had. If the photo was uploaded for publicity, it certainly did its job. With over 350,000 likes on Instagram, Justin Bieber’s photo earned him headlines all over the internet. As a publicity stunt, the photo loses some of its emotional connection with the audience because it seems more self-centered than focused on Avalanna herself.