Michael Jackson Essay

Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the
dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the
dance lives on. On many an occasion, when I am dancing, I have felt touched by
something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with
everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and
the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the
slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I
keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and
the creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing. . . until there
is only. . .the dance. (Jackson 1992, 2) Artists have a special communion with
the creative forces of the universe. Regardless of the medium of expression
used, artists utilize creative energies to produce works of art, beauty and
power for humanity to witness. This is evident in paintings, sculptures, films
and other forms, but it is universally expressed and appreciated through music
and dance. When an artist focuses on both of these forms, the rhythm flows from
his heart to the rest of his body until he becomes the rhythm itself. This can
be seen in the life of Michael Jackson. His forms of creative expression cannot
be confined to categories, styles, or mediums. He is his own art, and messages
are his mediums. Great artists are not exempt from the slings and arrows of
fortune, and Michael Jackson is no exception. Fame and popularity have prices
one must pay, and to maintain the glitter of glamour, one must compete for the
limelight. Despite his infamy, Michael Jackson continues to attract audiences
and impart inspiring messages through his music. Katherine and Joe Jackson were
married on November 5, 1940, under the Jehovah’s Witness faith, They soon
began to raise their family in a quiet little city called Gary, Indiana. Nine
years later, their seventh son, Michael Joseph, was born on the 29th of August.

Being musically inclined, Katherine and Joe shared their talents among their
nine children. The Jackson children soon began to sing at the church choir and
perform at school programs and town pageants. Michael, who began studying at
Garnett Elementary School already was winning various talents contests at the
age of five. A few months later, his older brothers formed a band and decided to
entere various talent searches and amateur contests. It was only a few years
later that Michael joined his brothers to form The Jackson Five. Joe Jackson
arranged for The Jackson Five to perform at small clubhouses for a few bucks a
night. Their talents did not go unnoticed. After being discovered, The Jackson
Five released their first single in 1968. In that same year, they released their
second single. Due to its success, they performed in the same shows as The
Supremes, James Brown and Sammy Davis, Jr. After a number of performances, The
Jackson Five signed a contract with Motown Records. I Want You Back / Who’s
Loving You, their debut single with Motown, sold two million copies in six weeks
and earned them their first gold record. As a result, The Jackson Five was
invited to appear on various television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The
Johnny Carson Show, The Sonny and Cher Show and Soul Train. In 1970, The Jackson
Five released their first long playing album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson
Five. This album topped the charts in both England and America. In the
mid-seventies, The Jackson Five Show aired on television and their albums
continued to earn gold records. Wanting to have his own career, Michael Jackson
left his brothers and began recording on his own. Having been the front man for
The Jackson Five for many years, Jackson’s separation from the group caused
their album and concert sales to decline. Michael’s first solo album, Off the
Wall, turned out to be a success along with the singles She’s Out of My Life
and Rock with You. Off the Wall broke records and sold twelve million copies
worldwide. Jackson continued to outdo himself with the victory of his following
albums: Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory Past, Present and Future Book I and
Blood on the Dance Floor. Michael Jackson’s success has not only generated
more contracts and more popularity, but also a number of world records, awards
and accomplishments that no individual recording artist has ever received all
together. In February 1981, the single Thriller remained on the Top Ten charts
for two straight weeks. It is the first single to reach this position ever since
John Lennon’s Imagine in 1971. In 1983, Michael Jackson received his first
award from the Guinness Book of World Records in London. The album Thriller is
the most successful album to date and has sold over forty-two million copies
worldwide. The album has earned one hundred forty gold and platinum records. In
1984, Jackson won a record eight Grammy Awards in ten categories. These are just
a few of his musical accomplishments that accompanied his success. Due to this,
Jackson has set large product endorsement contracts. In this field, he holds his
second Guinness World Record as the person with the highest paying contract to
date. Forbes magazine noted Michael Jackson as one of the richest men in the
world and as one whose income is purely generated by his own talents (Brown
1996, V). His single, We are the World performed together with various artists,
was the highest grossing single of the year. We are the World was part of a
project called USA for Africa, and all proceeds of the single were used to help
starving Africans. As a result of his philantropic efforts, Jackson has
generated various humanitarian awards from UNICEF, WHO, The Boy Scouts of
America, The Make-a-Wish Foundation, The National Aids Fund, former US
Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan. Jackson has also founded the Heal the
World Foundation to assist the poor around the world. Michael Jackson is not the
only person responsible for making him what he is. The media plays a vital role
in building Jackson’s image and increasing his popularity. In almost
everything Jackson does, the press is present: performances, charity work,
medical check-ups and even trips to the bookstore. Various rumors, ambiguous
facts and sensationalized stories are fed to the public. No matter how true or
false the stories reported by the media are, people keep on eating what is being
fed to them. The press is always on Jackson’s side in good times and bad. On
the other hand, Jackson, who grew up surrounded by the press, does not react to
these in a violent manner. In fact, he uses the media to his advantage. Jackson
organizes numerous publicity stunts and even contacts the press whenever he will
be present at certain events. Through this, he makes use the press to form his
image. Although his tactics do not always succeed, it still draws the attention
of the media and the general public. As long as there is a story that people
would buy, the press will always be with him. As one rises, others will try to
put him down, and sometimes, in one’s attempt to be more inconspicuous, the
more noticeable he becomes. Michael Jackson’s change of skin color and
cosmetic surgery has drawn worldwide attention and has puzzled many. There are
also issues and questioning his sexuality and identity that still remain
unanswered. In August 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of child abuse, but the
case was dismissed due to the lack of evidence. Two years later Jackson married
Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie. They were divorced twenty months later.

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In 1996, Michael Jackson married Debbie Rowe, his dermatologist’s assistant.

Rowe gave birth to Prince, their first son, are already expecting a second child
on the way. Some wonder if the child is really Jackson’s and question the
validity of the marriage. These are just a few of the factors that contribute to
his infamy. The rest is trivial. Others feel that he is an artist lost in his
fame and fortune, and is attempting to be everything that he is not.

“Michael is like an elephant getting into a car. The more he tries to fit
in, the more attention he gets.” (Corliss 1993, 66) Going through Michael
Jackson’s art can be a tough job. It is sometimes very challenging to draw the
essence out of the trivia. In addition, one cannot be truly objective in
studying something that is very different from the rest. It is rewarding to do
so, because one gets a glimpse into one of the most creative minds of this
century. In doing this, one might uncover the mystery that all geniuses have.

His music has been labeled as popular music, “. . .which appeals to a
variety of audiences in the mainstream of society.” (Morse 1991, 45) In the
past, his music has been categorized as Soul music, since it is music
predominantly used by Black Americans. Jackson’s songs in his early career
certainly reflect this category since it involves a lot of powerful vocal
renditions, downbeat rhythms and dark, ambiguous themes of faith love, betrayal
and passion. Most of today’s popular or pop music traces its roots back to
soul music. This makes Jackson’s songs have a generally welcomed appeal. His
songs like Billie Jean, She’s Out of My Life, and Don’t Stop Til You Get
Enough, I’ll Be There and Got to Be There reflect the characteristics of soul
music. As Jackson’s music evolved, his messages became more positive, the
rhythms have become more upbeat and lively, and his lyrics speak of brotherhood,
justice, hope, freedom, respect, peace and love. Examples of these include songs
like, Black or White, Will You Be There, Keep the Faith and Heal the World.

Jackson takes responsibility for his fame by expressing his ideals through his
music. As a result, one can see an artist fully integrated in his work, where
the artist, the art and the ideal are one. Throughout history, man has attempted
to make the abstract concrete and to make the unknown understood. Man is a
creature who believes in things beyond him and has an internal drive to express
it in many ways. This has been evident in art. If left alone, man will begin to
create. Man’s role becomes that of a co-creator. Man does not only create
useful things, but also things that express his deepest feelings and his highest
ideals. Michael Jackson’s art is just one of the myriad of contributions made
by man. It is a gesture of humility on his part for sharing his talent and
responding to the impulse that propels him to create. It is no doubt that his
art brings him fame and admiration. It elevates him to legendary status. If one
shall look deep enough, one may see the results of one’s response to his
creative impulse to use it for the benefit and enjoyment of society. Despite
these gifts, artists live different lives from others. Faults and failures are
common to most of them. These are probably results of their energy as well as
the frustration of everyday life that do not comply to their ideals and dreams.

The artist’s work survives. It gives joy to millions. Michael Jackson’s life
has been pictured as less picturesque and very controversial. He can only be
understood and forgiven based on the intensity of his passion and love for his
art. History’s lists are abundant with artists and their dark sides. There is
Van Gogh and Woolfe who both struggled for sanity, Juan Luna who murdered his
wife, and many more. Michael Jackson is one of them. In general, artists
definitely contribute to mankind in various unique ways. Many of them overshadow
their infamy. Hopefully, Michael Jackson shall be remembered in the same light.


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