The news of Michael Jackson’s death came just hours after the announcement of Farrah Fawcett’s death after losing her vigilant battle with cancer. All though her death was sad, the world was more in shock when first hearing that the King of Pop was in the hospital and gravely ill. Then a few hours later it was confirmed, at age 50, Michael Jackson was dead.
Michael Jackson moon-walked his way into the hearts of his millions of fans around the world. His musical influences can still be seen and felt today. Without Michael would there be a Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Usher, or Justin Timberlake? You can still hear some of his songs being played in clubs. Everyone has their favorite Michael Jackson song—mine has to be “Man in the Mirror”.
I still remember seeing “Thriller” on MTV when I was just a little twerp. I was scared and intrigued at the same time. When did zombies learn to dance like that? Michael Jackson was responsible for making music videos relevant. His videos were like mini movies with a storyline, drama, & action. You could also expect to see a celebrity cameo or two. Marlon Brando anyone? He spared no expense when it came to producing these videos. The dance sequences in the videos were elaborate and have been mimicked by many today. You just don’t see music videos like that anymore. Actually you rarely see music videos in general since MTV has gone the reality TV route, but that’s another story for another time.
When he wasn’t making music, Michael always seemed to be giving either his time or money to some charity. He also created the “Heal the World Foundation”, which produced one of the most star-studded videos of all time. It brought musical artists from all different genres of music to participate. At that time, this was something only Michael Jackson’s influence could bring together. Everyone wanted to be around him. Egos were set aside to help produce a song that helped raise money for his foundation. He was a giving man and truly loved children, almost to a fault.
With all the good that Michael Jackson had given the world, there were plenty of times where he made you shake your head and ask “What is he doing?”. I think everyone knew there might be something amiss with him during the 80’s when he had his chimp named Bubbles. Then there was the time when he brought (actually carried) Webster (Emmanuel Lewis) to the Grammy Awards. I should add that Brooke Shields was his other date. What an interesting trio that was. I think people just felt he was an eccentric soul who enjoyed attention.
Then came the 90’s and the accusation of child molestation were made public. Michael denied and denied these rumors and even settled out of court with the alleged victim, who was reportedly paid $20 Million in damages. Many will say that if you aren’t guilty, why pay? Michael claimed that his advisers told him that it would be wise to settle early or it would be a long drawn out court process. Either way, the damage to his image was done.
In time Michael would go on to marry Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis. This marriage would go on to produce one of the most awkward kissing moments of all time at the MTV Video Music Awards. It looked forced. It felt like you were watching two siblings kiss—just weird. This marriage would be short lived, but Jackson would continue to make music that made his worldwide fans happy.
His life would continue to bring the “huh’s” as Jackson would go on to get married again, have two kids, get divorced, and then come up with a third baby. The third baby was named Prince Michael, but was also referred to as Blanket. Blanket that was made famous for being dangled over a hotel railing in Germany. Questions of child neglect then arouse. To help himself reconnect with fans and to let them get to know him on a personal level, Michael allowed himself to be in a documentary. Bad move by Michael, because it would just make people question him more. It showed him hanging out in a tree (South Park did a great spoof of this) and saying that it was okay to allow boys to sleep in his room. He would go on to say that would sleep on the floor during these sleepovers. Not that smartest thing for a man who faced molestation charges before to say.
It was after this documentary was released that a new set of allegations were made against Michael. Once again, he was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This time, the charges would stick and he would go to trial. Michael was eventually tried and found not guilty of all charges. It was said that the Mother of the alleged victim’s testimony swayed jurors to vote not guilty. The not guilty verdict still didn’t change many people’s opinions of him. To many, he was a pedophile who got away with it because he was famous. Guilty or not, he’ll have to answer to his own God.
Over the course of the years Michael became a parody of himself with all his quirks and the zaniness that followed him. He liked his privacy, which I can’t blame him for, but his antics brought him the attention he so tried so hard to avoid. Whether it was all the plastic surgery, having his children wear veils wherever they went, or he himself wearing masks like a luchadore, and even showing up to court in pajama pants, he always could be seen in tabloid magazines or on the TMZ website next to some witty caption. He never seemed to escape the scorn of the public eye, but a lot of that he brought onto himself.
I don’t think Michael ever recovered from the child molestation allegations. Whether they are true or not, there was something not right going on behind those walls in the Neverland Ranch. Maybe someday the truth will come out. Although he still had fans that remained faithful, he hadn’t produced a number one hit in years. His poor spending habits had caused him to come into debt that would force him to sell Neverland Ranch, which could have been a blessing in disguise.
He was about to have his “Comeback Tour” in London. The tickets had sold out in minutes. He was doing fifty shows, so it was already a financial success for him, but would he be able to come through with his signature performances? It sounds like he would be able to as he had been practicing very diligently in Los Angeles in preparation. He was seeking perfection to ensure he pleased his fans. Its too bad we’ll never find out what he had left in the tank.
Whether you loved him, hated him, or fell somewhere in between, it still remains the same. He is the King of Pop and has a firm hold on that crown. Lets also not forget that he is leaving behind three children, who are now Fatherless. Maybe now they can live somewhat of a normal life out of the eyes and camera flashes of the paparazzi, but knowing the world of tabloid journalism, that’s highly unlikely.
Everyone will have their own memories and opinions, but all the that matters is that the King of Pop is dead.
You can leave your questions and or comments after the bump, or email me at [email protected](Ryan Madland)