Billie Jean wasn’t his lover, the same way he was Smooth but not a Criminal. He died singing ‘They Don’t Care About Us’, raising a rabble for the less privileged the same way he convinced the pop culture fraternity to rise and sing, ‘We are the World’.
For someone who was born an ordinary man but went on to achieve sky-rocketing fame, there’s ought to be a massive irony that Michael Jackson sang the famous ‘Earth Song’, an epochal plea to his fellow humans to step forward for a planet being increasingly ravaged by a climate of collective wrongdoing.
But instead of there being an irony, there’s a massive surprise. And the surprise is not so much about Michael Jackson’s hit-numbers and record-breaking music, scores of which he composed, sang, wrote the lyrics for and danced to but rather for the massive misunderstanding that his life attracted.
Had Michael Jackson not died back in 2009, that’s pretty much what he’d been doing now, in this moment of time; dancing away maniacally to hypnotic beats and ground-breaking rhythms to which only he could do justice. Instead, it won’t be completely incorrect to suggest that with each passing year and with the subsequent passage of time- ever since Michael’s demise- his life begins to grow continually as an enigma.
It continues to both attract and divide fans and curious thinkers about the man behind the fame and the soul behind the dancing gipsy avatar who probably never set out to court as many controversies, accusations, allegations and misdeeds that over a period of time came to haunt his glorious but controversial life.
It’s a matter of fact that when a celebrity dies, he or she happens to rise as a legend. Michael Jackson too, quite like Bob Marley, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, among the many established artists and actors, died young.
It’s just that with his passing, his legend only became stronger albeit through a constricted passage of understanding that’s checkered with as many achievements as misunderstandings.
In fact, if one were to set out to understand the true meaning of celebrity and the trials and tribulations of Michael Jackson’s life would suffice to give one a clear understanding. No one before the King of Pop and definitely none since the Gary, Indiana-born arose with such manic thunder around the world as a globetrotting entertainer who could pretty much do it all; dance, sing, compose, entertain, engage in charity as well court endless contemplation about his conflicted life.
In that regard, it’s both sad as well as alluring, if the truth is considered, that as much as Michael Jackson’s life leaves one stunned like the trippy beats of Thriller, it leaves one hounded for the sheer sadness his demise battles to this day.
We know what Michael Jackson’s most phenomenal moments are. We are aware of the cult-status the star holds and probably shall unless one were to wipe away the very fact that if James Brown’s music put the world onto the dance stage perhaps as much as Elvis’ music did, then Michael Jackson’s effort ensured that the world remained or stayed there on the stage itself, dancing continuously.
We know that if right now (at this very moment) if one were to put on Billie Jean- from his 1982 classic Thriller (of which he sold about 750 million albums)- loud and blaring on any busy street, shopping arcade, residential area or even a corporate compound, probably someone would end up doing that Moonwalk perfectly.
We also know that Michael Jackson probably did as much for others as he did for his own family, despite changing vagaries of his own fame and till the end, didn’t probably depart on a happy note, still upset about his father’s mistreatment of him, mellow for the love of his mother, Katherine and a bit perplexed with the strange and uncanny relationship he shared with his own siblings, especially his brothers.
A collective view of the above leaves one often introspecting on some misconceptions about Michael Jackson. Furthermore, it reaffirms the fact that many elements of Michael Jackson’s life remained as facts, clearly known and also that there were some misconceptions about Michael Jackson that cannot be overlooked.
Here are 5 popular misconceptions about Michael Jackson that stand the risk of being shrouded in mystery.
How bizarre was Michael Jackson’s relationship with his children?
One child’s face covered constantly in a mask, another’s face covered behind some kind of veil, his own face at all these times lying behind some mini curtain of sorts, that perpetually hid his nose, what was all of that. While a father does wish to protect his kids, to what extent would anyone be scared as to be covering his kids’ face in a mask.
Many have offered multiple theories in that regard. Some believe that Michael feared his kids being kidnapped and then being tasked to ransom and hence all that extra effort. Some believe that MJ valued his privacy a bit too much to be acting normal.
Whatever it is, his own relationship with his children warrants some answers which one might never receive.
Beyond all of these, the ever-confusing question as to whether he was the father of his own kids, especially of Paris and Blanket- there were really tough times in Michael’s life. Also, it didn’t help that for some reason, Michael found it sensible to dangle his baby from the hotel balcony during his controversial 2002 Germany visit. What was that about?
Michael Jackson and the racist rant often levelled against him
To survive in the shark-infested waters of America’s celebrity-driven culture, one could easily lose all signs of sanity. Michael Jackson too came close to that edge and quite often. One cannot offer the logical explanation to even suggest something like this but truth certainly is that many feared (believed) that the reason Michael Jackson “turned white” was because he felt insecure of his ‘ugly’ black looks.
While on most occasions, one would refer to his lengthy medical history with Vitiligo, a skin disorder complicatedly related to pigmentation, there’s still no logical premise to accuse the King of Pop with such a massive claim and nor sufficiently find a way to debunk flawed or flimsy theories.
What only makes these intriguing at the end is when one questions the self through a very basic question that possibly would never be asked: why on earth would a man have ‘wanted’ to ‘intentionally’ look or appear white when he sang a glorious song of racial unity called “Black or White”, from the hit album Dangerous?
How stressed was Michael actually when he died? Was he mentally derailed?
Rob Stringer recently shared that MJ frequently tops the list of highest-earning dead celebrities. But the question is- how much was he truly worth when he died?
An established fact is that Michael Jackson was the rightful owner of several unreleased numbers, later released upon his death, in the initial years as a mark of respect. The same were on the Universal music label. Tommy Motolla, one of music’s most influential personalities and a person known well to MJ has shared the same. Still, confusion runs abound whether Michael was truly broke before he passed away. And there’s also no clear understanding of whether MJ ever even wanted to but could not pay a penny to two of his bodyguards despite them taking care of his children as if they were theirs.
In an excellent and nearly career-saving arrangement with Sony Music’s sell-out landmark deal in lines with the O2 London concerts, which he said were his ‘Final curtain call’, Michael was to have performed 50 concerts. How would that make him broke? Surely they may have paid him something. If they did, did he pay the two popular bodyguards he hired in Las Vegas ranch and if he didn’t, why didn’t he? Wasn’t he the conscientious and affable boss and do-gooder?
He would not have performed even for a few hours, let alone 50 concerts?
This is a mystery that’s stranger than Bermuda Triangle’s. And the funny thing is, it’s out there in front of us in the public domain.
It’s alleged that MJ had consumed no or very little food and was barely alive on meds and pills because of which he clearly lacked the will and energy to dance to the requisite number of concerts he had willingly signed up for.
While passion is something, practicality and one’s own focus is something quite other and MJ, knowing well that he needed money and a desperate final call to bid adieu to his performing life would’ve known the rigours involved. In the past, he often ended up doing months of travelling and touring rigorously, whether it were his standout acts in Japan, Germany, Romania.
Surely, he would’ve known what he was up against. So the claim that over-work ‘killed’ him and a dangerous cocktail turned out to be lack of food- sounds malicious and defunct. Surely a man of his calibre on whose concerts rested the chance of a make or break of many a music label wouldn’t have conscientiously misled Sony, his then-saviour.
So what exactly happened? To make matters worse, while it was known that MJ was on drugs, why wasn’t an intervention made? We will never get to know any of this.
In the end, the suggestion that MJ lacked the physical rigour to dance is rendered defunct when you see the scintillating moves he was pulling off and with great skill in the dance rehearsals for This is It concert! It’s all there to see. For a life that was perhaps birthed to entertain but left us a bit abruptly although not before leaving us as much surprised as stunned, it’s hardly a surprise that MJ’s greatest act was Thriller!
And perhaps there are no misconceptions about Michael Jackson in that regard.