1970, backstage of ?The Ed Sullivan Show?, a kid was wondering around, waiting to perform on stage with his band when Ed Sullivan approached him and said “Never forget where your talent came from, that your talent is a gift from God.” Like most people who have been given a special gift and are expected to use it for the benefit of others, the same was expected of the twelve years old and he lived up to the expectations. The boy was, and never stoped being, what I call, a sensitive. It seems to me that some people in the world are more susceptible to suffering than most of us, they see different and feel much more; they all appear to have in common a special affection for art, in which ever form: poets, painters, musicians, writers are all more or less sensitives. On June 25th 2009, on a Thursday, a sensitive died and with his death, the entire world woke up to an emotion felt at such a high level only every so often. Papers all over the world covered the subject of his death on front page, people gathered to mourn the loss of an icon with songs and candles and farewell messages, and everyone seemed to feel Michael Jackson’s death as if it were a beloved member of their own family who had died. News of his death spread as fast as light travelling from its source towards receptors and, as it has been said, “it nearly broke the Web” (Cloud 10). Michael was not just a musician, he was a force that brought people together in music.
Michael Jackson was born on an August night in 1958 to Joe Jackson and Katherine Scruse and music had been present in the Jackson family long before the birth of Michael and then, when he was a young child himself, the soulful tones of R&B and early rock’n’roll songs were part of every day home entertainment with his father — the guitarist of a local group and his mother, hopelessly in love with music as well. The parents desire to see their children perform for larger audiences than the local community members became a dream came true with the enacting of The Jackson 5 — later the Jacksons, but alas an event that took away many moments of joyful playing with other children in the park. His father’s obssesion went as far as violently punishing his children if he was displeased with the rehearsals, but Michael however had not taken the in the group at such a frail age because of sheer overbearing parents, but because talent run his blood the same way adrenaline pumps the veins: at high speed and with immediate effects. The Jackson 5, now relocated in Los Angeles, hit the charts with their No. 1 ?I want you back? song on January 1970, followed by other hits such as “ABC,” “The Love You Save? And ?I’ll be there.” Michael began following a solo career as well, parallel to his work with the family group and his No. 1 came with the first solo album Ben and with the eponymous song. By 1978, the group had changed record labels, called themselves the Jacksons and emerged with Destiny, an album further establishing their name on the market. Another Michael solo album appeared a year later; entitled Off The Wall, it brought him a Grammy Award and lots more credit and fame for himself as well as for the Jacksons. In 1982, having made a name for himself already, several events occurred that for ever changed the life of people all around the world. Thriller was released and Michael choreographed ?The Moonwalk? dance move. The success was tremendous, just as Michael had expected it to be ever since he started working on the album. As he explained in regards to the three videos that were produced, Michael wanted to ?present this music as visually as possible?, he was interested in “something that would glue you to the seat, something you’d want to watch over and over” (Jackson, 134) and that was exactly what he got. In 1987 Bad followed, listing such tracks as ?Man in the Mirror? And ?The Way You Make Me Feel? and, some years later, Dangerous was released which included the ?Black or White? hit. HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I appeared in 1995 featuring ?You Are Not Alone?, “Scream,” and ?They Don’t Care About Us? among other songs; already the artist’s life had started to be affected by people’s judgement over his plastic surgeries, but by the release of Invincible album in 2001, things got really carried away with Michael appearing in front of the audiences wearing a surgical mask and covering his children’s face with veils. In 1993 Michael had been suspected of dubious behaviour towards children while hosting sleep overs at his ranch and in 2003 suspicions rose again as the artist admitted to British journalist Martin Bashir that he continued having them after the allegations and confessed that he enjoyed sharing his bed with children during the time. Within a year, Michael faced legal accusations of supposedly having molested a and was taken to court in a trial that lasted for about a year with media buzzing around the subject and Michael’s reputation being shredded to pieces. Although the charges were eventually dismissed, Michael’s finances had reached bottoms and he parted to Bahrain at the invitation of Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa who offered the King of Pop a large sum of money to continue making music. In 2009 a tour was announced as a ?final curtain call — and Michael was expected to perform in London at the O2 arena on the 8th of July. The tour was called This Is It and was a sold out in only four hours, but it never materialized itself. Michael Jackson died before ever having the change to perform as announced, and This Is It became a documentary-concert compilation of Michael preparing for the shows in London.
What Michael had always wanted was to “tell people stories — make them see pictures, make them cry and laugh, take them anywhere emotionally with something as deceptively simple as words” (Jackson 15); his music did all that and, through his texts, Michael talked about abhorring violence, taking care of nature and children. As a black person growing in times when racial prejudices were still very common, he became the voice of a generation in regards to the importance of growing up free of race prejudice. Michael’s philanthropist actions were directed not at constructing an image of himself but towards people working together to develop a feeling of union and mutual understanding. Thus, Michael has contributed not only to the development of the musical industry where he undoubtedly revolutionized the sound, the dance, the image, the production of videos, but he also had an impact on society and so powerful was his influence over people, that his brother, Jermaine, became convinced that the artist had fallen victim of the system with the government plotting to taint his reputation. Jermaine said that “this whole thing was designed around greed, power, and money. They expected to push him off a cliff and he would fly, but he couldn’t fly. He fell.” (The Times 46) One thing is true, Michael’s gift to all of us, is his music, untainted, pure.
Cloud, John. “With a Dramatic Pause, the World Mourned the Death of a Brilliant but Troubling Idol.” In Special Commemorative Edition Time. July 2009. Print.
Jackson, Jermaine. “My Brother Michael.” Interview with Andrew Billen. The Times Magazine (2011): 44-49. Print.
Jackson, Michael. Moonwalk. New York: Harmony Books, 2009. Print.