Jay Leno opened his Tonight Show monolog the other night by saying that the Santa Barbara Sheriff's office has a warrant out for this man and the camera showed a picture of Michael Jackson. The picture showed Jackson as we know him today -- long straight black hair, pale complexion and the famous Michael Jackson nose. Jay Leno then added, "Or this man." The camera panned onto another picture of Jackson where he had a completely different complexion and hair style - and a different nose. "Or this man," and a third photo was shown which portrayed Jackson completely different than the first two pictures. "Or this man," and a forth picture was shown. I have to admit, I laughed... Jay Leno stopped at four pictures but I knew he could have taken the joke even further.
This is a diversity critique about Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson had established himself as one of the most successful musical artists of all time. He has been labeled as the King of Pop. For many years Michael Jackson fell under the media's main radar even though some felt he continued to be a superstar who at any time could produce a new hit. After ABC's 20/20 aired an interview produced by Martin Bashir in February of 2003 named 'Living with Michael Jackson', Jackson quickly returned to the headlines. The result of the interview may not have been what Jackson wanted. He became the brunt of more comedians' jokes, he raised concerns of childcare advocates, he raised the interest of the IRS and to make matters worse, Jackson was seen by many as a poor father and maybe even a pedophile. During his interviews, Michael claimed that sharing the bed with a child is true love. "Jackson's birth certificate says he's 45. But this 45-year-old declares, "I'm Peter Pan," owns a home featuring amusement park rides, and explains his penchant for lying in bed with children during sleepovers in terms that my third-grade son and his buddies might use: "Why can't you share your bed?... It's very loving. Because what's wrong with sharing a love?" (Britt)
Michael Joseph Jackson was born the seventh of nine black children in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958. He became the lead singer of the Jackson 5 at the age of five. After their first four singles, "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There" all made it as number one, the Jackson 5 signed a lucrative deal with Motown and the family relocated to California. "In 1982 Michael Jackson released the world's largest selling album of all time, 'Thriller'. This album produced 7 hit singles, breaking yet again more records, and went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide." (ALL MICHAEL JACKSON. com) To say that he was destined to for greatness is an understatement. "In 2002, Forbes estimated that Jackson had earned half a billion dollars over his career. In the 1980s and 1990s, they said, he was a music deity, pulling down $50 million a year." (Marino)
At the end of the 1980s Michael was named 'Artist Of The Decade' for his success off of his 'Thriller' and 'Bad' albums." (ALL MICHAEL JACKSON. com) So during the 80's and early 90's, Michael Jackson was not treated poorly by the media. He was a star. He was seen as an eccentric idol that had a tough childhood. Many actually felt bad for Michael even though he was financially head and shoulders above the rest. Many may have questioned his sexual preference but he was on top so it was left alone. But was he gay or straight? "In 1994 Michael married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock legend Elvis Presley. The marriage only lasted for 19 months, as they divorced in 1996." (ALL MICHAEL JACKSON. com) The rumors began to fly about Michael and children at the Neverland Ranch, Michael's scenic amusement park and home. But the rumors seemed to be just that - rumors.
Besides the rumors, other issues throughout the mid-90's began to raise that started to aid his fall from grace. For one thing, Jackson was getting older. But besides Jackson's age, it appeared that the singer was bleaching his skin and altering his facial features with excessive plastic surgery. Although he vehemently denied that he had multiple plastic surgeries in recent interviews, Jay Leno's monolog makes one wonder. The mid-90's brought about sudden fashion changes. The grunge wardrobe of the rock world for example made Jackson's wardrobe suddenly strange. The fact that Jackson needed protective masks and umbrellas on sunny days to shield him from the elements made additional rumors circulate that he was getting stranger as time wore on. But then, accusations and a hushed settlement concerning homosexual pedophilia made people start to question who the King of pop really was.
The true downfall of the king of pop was the fact that the taste of America's youth changed quickly to harder music. "The sound that buried Jackson's career was something longer-lasting, something that had been bubbling up in music for more than a decade, something that has only grown in scope since the early '90s: hip-hop, a once marginalized genre that has become the soundtrack of American youth culture. Jackson could never recover from the ascent of hip-hop, because in sound, style and attitude, hip-hop represented everything he could never be." (Marino) Michael Jackson simply had too much competition in the music world. Artists like Kirk Cobain, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and the East Coast West coast rap games changed the way kids listened to music. Cobain and Grunge stole the rockers and Dre. And Snoop at first stole the black audience and eventually they conquered the middle class white kids as well.
Kids now wanted to be gang'sta rappers and Michael Jackson's image was too soft for that crowd. Today, rumors run rampant that Jackson is going broke. "Now he's caught in a financial squeeze caused in part by a superstar lifestyle he can no longer support, and he has borrowed about $200 million, according to the magazine. Much of the loan came from Sony, and Jackson put up as collateral his 50% interest in Sony ATV, which owns 300,000 songs, including 200 Beatles titles. Jackson also owns songs recorded by Elvis Presley and other stars. His publishing holdings were estimated last year to be worth about $450 million. Forbes estimated his net worth in 2002 as $350 million, but he has heavy liens against his property. He spends millions a year on taxes and upkeep for Neverland and homes for relatives in Southern California and Las Vegas." (Marino)
This week headlines and news stories are focused on Michael Jackson. On the same day he released his latest CD, the Santa Barbara Sheriffs office came visiting the Neverland Ranch armed warrants. "Pop superstar Michael Jackson is expected to turn himself in to police here obeying an arrest warrant charging him with multiple counts of child molestation, police sources said." (Unknown, "Michael Jackson to turn himself in on multiple child molestation charges") Jackson was formally charged last week with molestation, child endangerment and other pedophilia related charges. He has already paid three million dollars (or the percentage required) for bail and also has had to relinquish his passport. "Which brings me back to Jackson. His fans hate to hear it, but children may need protection from him -- even children whose parents are too stupid or celebrity-struck to provide it. I don't know if this gifted, troubled man -- yes man, Jackson never forfeited his rights or requested "adult supervision" when developing his lucrative business deals -- is a child molester." (Britt)
In conclusion, I feel Michael Jackson is his own worst enemy. While on top of the charts…
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