Michael, in his lifetime, tried to unite races through music and succeeded to a point where no other could have imagined. He even did everything in his power to try to make this crazy world we live in a better place. In return, he wasn’t hailed or appreciated as he should have been (not even close in my opinion). Instead, he became another black outcast in his native land.
What’s interesting though, is that we’ve been told time and time again to take away from our history lessons the greatest moral of them all- do not let history repeat itself. Yet, this is exactly what keeps happening. Why, in despite of social, environmental, and economical lessons which have been branded in our brains from the time we were young, are we letting history repeat itself?
From public ridicule to the butt of cruel jokes, Michael was put under an incredible amount of pressure and was unfairly shackled with the chains of torturous scrutiny because he was black. Not only do I believe this is what ultimately lead to his demise, but I believe this lesson heeds a warning and tell-tale signs of a much-needed change in the media, music industry, and America as a whole. I’m not saying it’s full-blown racism, yet. Given his fan base throughout various periods in his career, I think the opposite to be true. Until, of course, a certain point.
That certain point? When a black man (Michael) began to outsell a white man (Elvis).
From the beginning of Michael’s career, it’s safe to say the majority of the Jackson 5/ The Jacksons fans were black. This being that Michael was a young adorable black child whose positive image of Motown, catered to the black demographic (with the exception of Teena Marie). Now, one could say ”well things were beginning to change back then, so it is possible that the fan base was more diverse than one would expect.” In counter of said argument, change was apparent, but was slower to clutch American pop culture in the late 60’s, early 70’s. During this point in his career, Michael was allowed to be famous because “there’s no way a child could ever outsell Elvis. Let alone the fact he’s black.” White performers, for the most part, were the majority of the American musical influence and pop culture. So, there was nothing to really worry about, so to speak.
At the point in his musical career, Michael’s solo success began at epic proportions. He earned the title of the first person to do outstandingly well on a debut solo album. Off the Wall was such a huge success by any debut album records, and yet it only won one award. Of course this brings up the story of Michael’s never ending drive to create the world’s greatest album of all time. But in despite of all the hype and success of Off the Wall, he was practically shut out of the 1978 Grammys.
Now along with the stress that comes with the territory of a solo career, to make things worse, Michael began to experience the first signs of skin discoloration caused byVitiligo. ALthough, publicly no one would have known this until the release of the worthy follow-up to Thriller, Bad.
As he had hoped, musically, Michael could not be ignored. In various music awards and ceremonies, he had finally got the attention he earned for Off The Wall ten-fold. Not only is this a pivotal moment for pop culture, but also when the rumors start crawling and the trouble begins. For a black person was beating all the records of white artists.
Although Bad proved a worthy follow-up to his masterpiece Thriller, once again, after receiving much praise and beating records left and right, Michael was practically shut out of the Grammys. The excuse this time was caused by all the speculation about Michael’s personal life, and that got in the way of his awards. He became too weird for America’s standards. The theory of “we can’t let him do better than any other white artists, especially Elvis” comes to mind. More than just a coincidence? Don’t think so. The Bad Era also bred a new kind of media coverage for Michael. Non-stop negative tabloid journalism. This was the period were the media saw the changes Michael’s skin underwent, decided he wasn’t saying anything fast enough (or sufficient enough), and felt as if they were obligated to tell the world what they “knew” was happening. (More like knew exactly what wasn’t. Of course no one will own up to that. That would be too much like right.)
Unfortunately, Michael’s appearance could no longer be ignored. From the last time he emerged from his haven in 1985, to 1987 when Bad was released, his skin was completely different. (… And the medialoids said: let there be lies!)
Of course, Vitiligo is a rare skin disease. It’s easier to believe that someone who has no history of lying or being caught in a lie would know what they were talking about when it came to their personal medical history. So why was it okay for the tabloids and medialoids to continue to print those outrageous lies even after Michael’s spoken word? Why was it easier to believe that he was painfully bleaching his skin, instead of suffering from Vitiligo?
Why, when it comes to Michael Jackson, is it easier to believe a lie?
( Part Two coming soon.)