…of Michael Jackson’s talent.
Once upon a time I would have done what I could to nurture my dream of becoming an entertainer.
I can remember as a child sharing a passion for music with my mom. Among my cherished memories are the occasions when she would play the ukulele while we sang her favorite Hawaiian songs. Among them, Ke kali neau, The Hawaiian Wedding Song.
My love for dance was initiated by an older sister who taught me…the fox trot and the cha, cha, cha. Later, in my teens, I went on to master and instruct others in…the mashed potatoes, the twist, and the jerk.
In college I entered a talent show. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a competition because I don’t remember any prizes being awarded. However, the next day I got a call which made me feel as though I’d won.
A guy called inviting me to be the vocalist for his band, explaining they did gigs at the local hangout for university kids. Thrilled to be asked, I nevertheless decided against a singing career. For a girl like me, born on Maui in the late 40’s, entertaining was too much of a dream to ever become reality.
The rest is history. At 65 I’m very contented with my lot in life…a housewife for 44 years with a loving husband and daughter who cherish me.
Michael Jackson, on the other hand, died a lonely man most of his life. If he’d lived longer he more than likely would have enjoyed some of what I have…in the love of his three children.
I have probably read all that’s been printed about Jackson, before and after his death. Not having kept abreast of his life and career once he separated from his brothers, I wanted to know all that there was about him after he died.
Reading various biographies about Jackson helped me formulate a more balanced perspective of the man. I arrived at my own decisions as to who among all the players in his life were there for the right or wrong reasons. These included…the lawyers, the businessmen and women…the reporters and others in the media…and family and friends.
Without thinking twice, I’m certain that Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe both loved their husband very much. That Michael Jackson used them to his own advantage is also undeniable.
Jackson was a master manipulator, having learned from his family and all those who wanted a piece of him financially. Unfortunately, that included everyone who had anything to do with him. How could they resist? He was an irresistible man, personally and professionally, by all accounts.
Blame for the mess his life became was shared by all, including Jackson himself. It didn’t help that poverty set the scene for the way it unfolded, his parents and siblings grabbing for whatever they could to keep the dream of wealth alive. And Michael spending his way through billions of dollars faster than he could earn it.
It was apparent Jackson was trying to fill the hole in his psyche with all the material things he could amass. That was the reason the number of concerts for This Is It quickly jumped from the initially agreed upon 10, to the staggering amount of 50. He was in hock up to his eyeballs…and some.
The man was a magician when it came to getting in and out of trouble, personally and professionally. Unfortunately he had to pay up sooner or later. Hence the lawsuits that never seemed to stop, even after his death.
Untouchable, The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson by Randall Sullivan, reveals the overwhelmingly muddled mania surrounding one of the most iconic celebrities ever to have been born. I could only repeat to myself as I read my way through the book’s nearly 600 pages that it was almost best that Jackson died when he did.
He was like the grey whale at the center of a sharks’ feeding frenzy that I’d seen on a television documentary. There would have been no shred of the man left, had his life continued to spiral downward as it was.
It was interesting to observe that among all the bad people in Jackson’s life, there was no differentiation as to race, creed, gender, age, or social and financial standing. Whites, blacks, Jews, Muslims, men, women, young, old, rich, poor…they all shared in the Sodom and Gommorrah that followed the star wherever he went.
The more I read of celebrities who succumbed to the trappings of fame and wealth, the more I’m thankful for having escaped going down that road. Even minor celebs have their share of unwanted drama, like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and the self-absorbed Kardashians.
Jackson was a smart man in many ways and determinedly naive in others. In the moment he could destroy all he’d built by shrewd business negotiating. More often than not, the little boy who didn’t have a normal childhood won out when struggling with the man Jackson was trying to become.
As in all walks of life it seems, if our morals and values are not solidly grounded, we can easily be caught up in the confetti that swirls around us. If we could only remember that all those little pieces of paper eventually find their way…
I look forward to reading that book, too. Being so far away from the spotlight, I can’t imagine how he swirled down that whirlpool, but I can see how he couldn’t get out of it. That’s too bad, because I thought he was such a talented entertainer. Too bad he was never happy in his personal life. As they say, there, but for the grace of God, goes us.
Definitely hope you get to read the book. It is probably the most definitive one for me as far as understanding MJ. As you say it left me thinking celebrities do NOT have a better life than me. For sure. Money and fame does not buy unconditional love, peace of mind, and a small fraction of this earth where I can do as I like without the interference of a whole bunch of busy bodies yanking at me. If it weren’t for his genius, I’d say Jackson, for all the misery he endured, might have been better off not being born. Then again, he did bring a lot of joy and comfort to many. Like you however, I wish he could have reaped personal happiness that endured beyond just making money and what it could buy him, including friends.
Good review, Hugmamma. I never followed MJ’s life that closely. He was living in such a different world than me. It was interesting in some ways though. — Suzanne
I think MJ was living in such a different world from most of us. The wheeling and dealing and money that was involved is mind-boggling. And then there’s his mega-talent. We don’t see that too often either.
I can’t imagine living with all that attention. He had a difficult life despite all his blessings. But what a talent he was. How I would’ve loved to have seen him in concert. That book sounds like a great read (albeit a long one!)
I saw the Cirque du Soleil tribute to MJ. It was fine, not great. I too would have wanted to see a live performance. When I need an MJ “fix,” I watch the video of his live concert in Japan. He was in his prime then with respect to his talent and his looks. It’s obvious he’d had some cosmetic work done, but nothing like the sad caricature of Peter Pan he’d come to resemble at the end of his life. hugs for sharing…
I saw the Cirque du Soleil tribute, too. Agree it could’ve been better, but I’m glad I had the opportunity.
btw…congrats on your publishing successes…
Thank you. That is, if I actually get a book deal out of it. It’s always a waiting game in this business. 🙂
At least you’ve got two feet in the door… 🙂
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I never really looked into his life, grabbing things here and there and imagining it was rather complicated. But I’ve always considered him a genius.
I totally agree! MJ was a genius in many ways. Had his life been less about money and more about his talent, the world might have benefited tremendously. As it was, profiting from his talent was the false god at whose feet many worshiped. hugs for the comment…
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