Michael Jackson began his career as part of the Jackson 5 when he was a very young child. He and his brothers were relentlessly pushed to do their best by a father who, by Michael’s own admissions, sometimes used disturbing disciplinary measures. However, also by Michael’s own admissions, his work ethic was partially created by Joe Jackson, and we possibly might never have experienced Michael without that pushing. In the beginning, and even after breaking off with his brothers, he struggled to make the “big time” and sometimes paid a high price along the way. Regardless of how he got his start or rose to the top, Michael Jackson made a lasting impression on America -- from 1965 to 2009. Michael worked constantly throughout his career: whether it was for his fans, charity organizations and child welfare, the environment, or because he “couldn’t stop until he got enough”.
All anyone has to do to view Michael’s life is turn on the radio or TV, read the papers or get on the Internet. He couldn’t go anyplace without making headlines. His activities were constantly reported upon: great new songs, wonderful concerts, health matters, attempts at shopping, girlfriends/wives, travel, fashion, his face, his home, contract negotiations. Documentaries were made that beautifully highlighted his accomplishments, informational back stage concert happenings, and ugly, damaging rumors and stones cast about bad choices he made; millions of blogs posted items about him – good and bad; billions of photographs chronicled every moment of his life – the boy became a man in front of the world; constantly surrounded by people and yet, he often stated that he was very lonely most of his life. When he created Neverland, he had hoped to have a safe haven from public scrutiny, but it was not to be. Eventually, he had to leave that one place of peace and harmony – never to find joy there again. That is sad because he spread so much joy to so many people around the entire world. He tried marriage twice and struck out there as well, adding to the curves on his road in life.
Though he was constantly pressured by the media, he never disappointed his fans while he was on stage. Michael even went so far as to perform in a wheelchair at the 1993 Soul Train Awards after a rehearsal injury. We saw him working hard in the snippet of that last rehearsal tape that has been released from his "This Is It" tour. Yes, we have heard that he was in debt, but who isn’t right now? We heard he suffered from a host of injuries and maladies including 2nd degree burns to his scalp, vitiligo, Lupus, and a lung disease – but still he kept performing…for his fans.
One of the few places he felt loved was on stage. Think about that for a moment…a place where everyone adored him, called out his name, rarely had the opportunity to even touch his hand…and yet that was one of his greatest pleasures; spending time with his children and helping others were the other two. You have to wonder about that fact as well: what chance did he have of sustaining a meaningful personal relationship when he couldn’t trust anyone except strangers at arm’s distance or youngsters too young to judge him? No wonder he said he was lonely. From a very early age, everyone he met wanted a piece of him or his money – except his children. To them, he was just Daddy…finally, Michael found someone that genuinely loved him for who he was.
His 2009 Virgo horoscopes said he was in for a surge or new energy and creativity and that he was about to experience a sort of rebirth. He certainly exhibited that with his planned 2009/2010 tour. What could have been? We will never know because he left us before the tour even started. It’s great that his music sales have recently skyrocketed; unfortunately, he didn’t live to see that outpouring of love.
So much confusion, deception, mystery, and rumor surround his June 25, 2009 death that we may never know what happened that night. People everywhere have their own opinion of Michael Jackson’s music and personal life choices. A few facts we know for certain include his tremendous dancing skills, his numerous donations to charity, and the love he had for his children. Much more will be written about him in the years to come about his old and new music, his children and his lasting effects on mankind. I choose to think he was a loving father and a humanitarian that helped countless people with his multi-million dollars of donations provided by his musical talents. Physically, he is gone, but he will never be forgotten. I chose to remember him as the King of Pop who changed music forever. And, without pulling too hard on the religion card, I choose to think he was “put here” to brighten our lives and to effect positive change in the world – two things he did. I hope that whatever awaits us after death, if a “place” exists, he has found peace at the end of his long and winding road.