A man loved by fans from all over the world – called a monster by others. Nonetheless, Michael J. Jackson was a superstar, a world icon, and a prince. Michael left behind a mark on the world and influenced lives back then and now, even inspiring other artists. Raised in a talented family, Michael was use to a life of fame and publicity. However, fame brought multiple ups and downs, ranging from ridiculous pranks with his friends and family to shocking accusations leading to court. Michael Jackson is admired by much of the world, but only a few knew who the man was behind closed doors.
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Michael’s life began in Gary, Indiana on August 29th, 1958. The family occupied a tiny, three-room home, which housed both of Michael’s parents and six brothers and four sisters. Despite having a large family, growing up, Michael was closest to his brother Jermaine. When the band began as The Jacksons and had done multiple talent shows and small gigs at bars and strip clubs, they were noticed by a publisher, Motown Records, who later named them The Jackson 5. Michael had been the baby of the group at the age of five and was to be brought in on bongos as his brothers performed. Later, Michael was set up to sing alongside his brother Jermaine, who, at the time, played the bass guitar. Even on tours, the two brothers were joined at the hip, playing pranks and always causing trouble where girls were present. Michael, after a few years of releasing albums and gained popularity with The Jackson 5 and Motown, began a solo career alongside his work with the band at the age of thirteen. The Jackson 5 sold forty-eight albums overall, Michael having seven solos while Jermaine had nine solos (Jackson 22-24).
When the band left Motown for Epic Records, their first publisher, Jermaine shocked them with the news that he would stay behind, he was the manager’s son-in-law, and the situation was complex, while the band just wanted to grow as a pop/disco/R&B group. Nevertheless, the band – in shock – continued with the move to EPIC Records. After the band moved, Motown told them that the Jackson 5 was the company’s trademark name, and the band was forced to choose a new one, so the band went back to the previous name, The Jacksons (Jackson 117).
The Jacksons brought new ideas and energy to the writers at EPIC. After Michael started a solo career alongside the Jackson 5, he released three solos – “Got to Be There”, “Rockin’ Robin” and “I Wanna Be Where You Are” as well as a ballad he sang for the movie Ben – “Ben”. Michael met Quincy Jones, his future music producer, on the set of the movie The Wiz, after an embarrassing mispronunciation of the word Socrates, Quincy quickly, but politely, corrected the rising star. They easily became friends, giving each other advice while they also pushed each other to do new things. As they worked together, Quincy gave him advice on rhythm and harmony, leaving Michael to describe the man as a God with music, and had Quincy help with nearly all of his albums and hits since the moment Michael mispronounced Socrates (Jackson 142-46). A year after the movie, Michael released Off the Wall, an album featuring songs such as “Rock With You” and “Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough” which both quickly became number-one hits.
During the Jacksons time with EPIC, they made four albums, yet the band were not getting the fame they felt they deserved, as well as after innumerable disagreements within the company. The band left and created their own production company named; Peacock Productions. This change, as well as the production of thirteen albums, gave the band instant recognition. Although, like any other dream, it must end, and it ended for the brothers in 1973 after work on the charts plummeted to an all time low. Though Michael continued on in the music industry, his family scrambled to find purchase in another music company to continue with the only thing they ever knew. Michael thrived on the stage, and though in the book Moonwalk he stated that he had never done drugs despite being tempted, it became false later on when he became known as the King of Pop (Jackson 130-47).
Michael poured his heart and soul into the album’s, trying to make them as unique as possible. He stated multiple times how he wanted to make short movies instead of music videos, and how he wanted to leave the audience speechless. While making Thriller, many of the other actors and actresses thought Michael was weird because he enjoyed the makeup, and because the star enjoyed going through the process of becoming someone else entirely. The Thriller campaign lasted a year, Michael paid any overrun budget costs from his own pocket, the same thing he did for Beat It. Thriller began to affect Michael in 1984, with multiple Grammy nominations as well as Thriller being certified as the best-selling album of all time. Although, the side effects of Thriller made Michael lead a more quiet and private life, perhaps the best-selling album led the star to an early demise (Jackson 222-27).
Michael had three world tours, the first was The Bad World Tour, which was also his first solo tour. The tour began in Tokyo, Japan on Sept. 12th, 1987, and concluded in L.A. U.S.A on Jan. 27th 1989. During the sixteen-month-long tour, Michael performed over 100 concerts in fifteen countries, to approximately 4.4 million people, the tour grossed over $123 million U.S. dollars. The Bad World Tour became the largest and highest grossing concert tour ever. Michael also sold out seven shows, led to an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records. Michael’s second tour was The Dangerous World Tour, the first half began June 27th, 1992 at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, Germany and ended in Mexico City, Mexico November 11th, 1993. The second half began in August 1993, having the singer trek through Asia, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Mexico and South America. Though the star performed sixty-nine concerts, he had to end the concert early due to an illness. Michael did, however, donate all proceeds to the “Heal The World Foundation” along with other, smaller charities. The third tour, and last, was the HIStory World Tour, the first leg began Sept. 7, 1996 in Prague, Czech Republic and ended in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 4th, 1997. The second leg began May 31st, 1997 in Bremen, Germany and ended August 10th, 1997 in Hockenheim, Germany. Around 2.2 million fans saw the first leg of the tour, and when it ended, it skyrocketed to 4.5 million fans out of fifty-eight cities, thirty-five countries and five continents with an average of 54,878 fans in attendance (Kotsinyan; “Michael Jackson Tours and Concerts”).
During his second leg of the HIStory tour, Michael visited the Sanwi in Africa, only to leave as a prince. During his time there, the king insisted that the King of Pop was a descendant, so Michael left to get himself tested, only to find that the Jackson family really had royal blood and were descendants of the royal Sanwi line. After Michael returned and the King was told the news, Nana Amon Ndoufou had immediately crowned Michael “Prince of the Sanwi”. The King had visited Michael in the United States once, and left pleased. However, after the kingdom received the news of Michaels death, the king scoured the country for a successor, and found one in a man named Jesse Jackson, an American pastor, and titled as a ‘son’ of the late singer. (World News, “Kingdom of Sanwi”) (Kotsinyan, “Michael Jackson Tours and Concerts”)
Despite having a ‘son’ after death, Michael wasn’t too close with his blood family during his life. Michael seemed to break away from his family after the Jacksons split, but still supported them greatly. Michael’s family, while the notable singer was still alive, never said a bad thing about him, and to the public, they seemed to love Michael dearly. Though that was not the case, after Michael’s death, the family described things that shocked the world and made the star out to be a monster. They revealed how Michael was controlling as well as how paranoia plagued the man’s daily life. They described how Michael refused to let them have a career of their own – even going as far as sabotaging and bribing companies not to produce their music. . (Avila et al, “…Trials and Tribulations”)
Michael faced multiple hardships in life, ranging from troubles within the family to being sued to the accusation of two similar but separate crimes. What Michael was sued for exactly, was never explained, but rather – most likely – hidden by the musician’s team who wanted to keep Michael’s image clear of any blemishes. Although, in 1993, the icon was accused of the molestation of a child named Jordan Chandler. They had met the year before, and over the duration, it was shown that Chandler spent countless nights with Michael at the Neverland Ranch and that the two even shared Michaels bed. (Wardrop, “…events that led…”). When the charges surfaced, it devastated Michael, and after speaking heatedly, Michael paid an undisclosed settlement amount before it went to court, and Chandler never said another word of the charges after the payment. Though, that is not the end of the nightmare. (Mcshane, “Sex abuse charges…”)
In 2005, Michael was yet again charged with child molestation charges and even accused of giving the children wine, or how it’s used in the case, “Jesus juice”. Michael strongly denied these claims, pleading not guilty, but when faced with interviews, Michael had told the interviewer he cannot speak about the situation, but the interviewer asked questions regarding the charges, and Michaels answers left suspicion despite what he had said before. One interviewer even questioned Michael on whether or not he thought it was okay to sleep with a child in the same bed, only for Michael to reply as if there was nothing wrong with it as long as they didn’t do anything harmful. Though, during his trial, police searched Michael’s home, only to find some incriminating pornography of gays and teens that just turned eighteen, even finding a video titled“Barely Legal”. They had photographed the stars nude body, and searched for the discoloration marks the child had described before, though it was similar, Michael’s entire body was discolored because of his disease of vitiligo, a condition he had described to fans before, and there were few – but critical – observations that were not correct. Over the duration of the trial, Michael’s health declined severely, the dependency on drugs became more and more evident. After months of the trial, the superstar was ruled innocent and was cleared of all charges, but Michael was still millions in debt and emotionally scarred after such a lengthy and terrifying event. Michael’s family – after the singer’s death – explained how, years before the trials, one of the brothers had begun to write a book, described Michael and his personal dealings with children, only to be stopped when Michael found out. Despite this, Michael had gone on and had romantic relationships with women, including marrying the daughter of Elvis Presley, and going on to have children of his own with his next wife, Debbie Rowe (Duke, “…Drug Addict…”) (Gottlieb, “…several drugs…”) (Avila et al, “…Trials and Tribulations”).
Michael had three children, having his first two children with his wife, Debbie Rowe. Michael’s first son was Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., born February 13, 1997. Next was the first and only daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, born April 3, 1998. Michael’s last son was born February 21st, 2002 and named Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson ii, but was not conceived normally, Prince was, instead, a donor from a woman that remains unknown. Paris was only eleven years old when her father suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead, only to defend Michael strongly during the trial after the rock star’s death. She explained, how for months he felt threatened leading up to his death, and claimed that it was all planned between multiple people. Since Michael’s death, Paris has been studying to become an actress and seems to be the helper on the side for new fashions. (Schremph, “What is…”) (“Paris Michael…”) (Schneider, Karen S. and Monica Rizzo, “What Friends Are For”)
Michael Jr. – the eldest – was only twelve years old when Michael died, and went under the guardianship with Michael’s mother, along with his siblings. Jr. has already begun his entrance as a media personality, showed up as a guest on the news program Entertainment Tonight as well as interviewed director Sam Raimi, James Franco, and Zach Braff about the movie Oz The Great and Powerful. While Prince has also expressed the desire to dive deeper into show business, wanting to become a producer, screenwriter, director, as well as an actor, Prince has also graduated from Buckley School and has decided to go on to college at Loyola Marymount College in Los Angeles. (“Michael Joseph “Prince”…”)
“Blanket” Jackson is famous from his father’s incident of dangling him off the side of a hotel balcony above thousands of screaming fans, but has been staying out of the public’s eye ever since Michael’s death. Though, no one seems to know much about the boy except for the name change from Blanket to “Bigi” after years of bullying for the former nickname, he did appear at his father’s funeral and spoke to fans, and once more when Bigi and his siblings accepted a grammy award in their father’s name. Bigi currently lives in California and attending school, and has so far lived an uneventful life since Michael’s death when the boy was only seven years old. (“Prince Michael…”)
During the last fifteen years of life, Michael became dependent on drugs, and, as a result, became paranoid. Michael had become a different person, began to videotape guests, including family, who stayed at the Neverland Ranch, even set up a security system around his own room deep in the Ranch. How Michael became a drug addict, ties into an incident with fire during a commercial for Pepsi. Michael was then prescribed Opioids, a painkiller, for the burns on his scalp. Though Opioids were not found in his system after death, and instead, Propofol was found which Dr. Conrad Murray prescribed Michael for sixty consecutive nights which was, in what Conrad claimed, to treat Michael’s insomnia. The night of June 25th, 2009, the star died, it was ruled to be an overdose of Propofol. Leading up to his death, Michael, during the Dangerous tour, was forced to cut it short in order to go to a rehab center because of his dependency on drugs. (Duke, “…Drug Addict…”; Gottlieb, “…several drugs…”)
The aftermath of Michael’s death seemed to never end, the fans were destroyed and weeping, his family was outraged and wanted justice, and Michael’s personal physician, Conrad Murray, was at the center of it all, accused of involuntary murder. It wasn’t long when people started to point fingers at the physician when it was declared that Michael overdosed on Propofol, and it was found that he had a number of other drugs in his system, as well as numerous health problems. The drugs found in his system were: anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Lorazepam, short-term anesthetics Midazolam and Lidocaine, which can be used along with Propofol. It was also found that Michael had weighed only 136 pounds at the time death with the height of 5’9. X-rays showed Michael had suffered from arthritis in his fingers and lower spine. Michael also had tattoos done in order to seem more normal, pink on his lips, dark tattoos on his eyebrows as well as on the frontal scalp to hide the burn damages and to hide most of the condition; vitiligo. (Duke, “…Drug Addict…”; Gottlieb, “…several drugs…”)
Conrad tried to deny all accusations of wrongful manslaughter, but as evidence continued to come to light – bloodied shirts to pills that were not allowed in Michael’s possession, as well as lack of technology that was supposed to be used to treat Michael – the Jackson family refused to back down – making the trial last for two years. After an absurd amount of court hearings, and much money lost, Conrad was ruled guilty in the death of Michael Jackson, King of Pop, and faced four years in prison as well as his license as a doctor taken away in the state of California. During and after the trial, the family of Jackson’s, including children, paid tribute to the famous star, as Paris constantly fought to keep the innocent image of her father in fans’ hearts and to have the man who killed her father brought to justice to pay for what the physician did. The debt left behind after the star’s death has slowly diminished, the Neverland Ranch brings in more money year after year, and Michael’s work is still paying off to this day in 2017. (“Fun Facts”, “10 Thrilling”, “Michael Jackson: 100 Facts”)
Michael Jackson, despite having faults, changed the world for the better. Michael had closed the gap in music between blacks and whites, and gave fans hope for the future, as well as changing people’s views of each other, having them love and help others rather than hate and destroy. His belief that love was the power to cure the world of evil lurking within it, and did everything in his power to get people to not hate, but love. While Michael was accused of horrible things in life, even sued, and his own family went against him after his death, he still tried to change the world into a better, loving place. May the beloved star rest in peace, R.I.P. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, and loving father.
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