Michael Jackson Essay Research Paper Consciousness expresses

Michael Jackson Essay, Research Paper

Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the

dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the

dance lives on. On many an occasion, when I am dancing, I have felt touched by

something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with

everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and

the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the

slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I

keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and

the creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing. . . until there

is only. . .the dance. (Jackson 1992, 2) Artists have a special communion with

the creative forces of the universe. Regardless of the medium of expression

used, artists utilize creative energies to produce works of art, beauty and

power for humanity to witness. This is evident in paintings, sculptures, films

and other forms, but it is universally expressed and appreciated through music

and dance. When an artist focuses on both of these forms, the rhythm flows from

his heart to the rest of his body until he becomes the rhythm itself. This can

be seen in the life of Michael Jackson. His forms of creative expression cannot

be confined to categories, styles, or mediums. He is his own art, and messages

are his mediums. Great artists are not exempt from the slings and arrows of

fortune, and Michael Jackson is no exception. Fame and popularity have prices

one must pay, and to maintain the glitter of glamour, one must compete for the

limelight. Despite his infamy, Michael Jackson continues to attract audiences

and impart inspiring messages through his music. Katherine and Joe Jackson were

married on November 5, 1940, under the Jehovah?s Witness faith, They soon

began to raise their family in a quiet little city called Gary, Indiana. Nine

years later, their seventh son, Michael Joseph, was born on the 29th of August.

Being musically inclined, Katherine and Joe shared their talents among their

nine children. The Jackson children soon began to sing at the church choir and

perform at school programs and town pageants. Michael, who began studying at

Garnett Elementary School already was winning various talents contests at the

age of five. A few months later, his older brothers formed a band and decided to

entere various talent searches and amateur contests. It was only a few years

later that Michael joined his brothers to form The Jackson Five. Joe Jackson

arranged for The Jackson Five to perform at small clubhouses for a few bucks a

night. Their talents did not go unnoticed. After being discovered, The Jackson

Five released their first single in 1968. In that same year, they released their

second single. Due to its success, they performed in the same shows as The

Supremes, James Brown and Sammy Davis, Jr. After a number of performances, The

Jackson Five signed a contract with Motown Records. I Want You Back / Who?s

Loving You, their debut single with Motown, sold two million copies in six weeks

and earned them their first gold record. As a result, The Jackson Five was

invited to appear on various television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The

Johnny Carson Show, The Sonny and Cher Show and Soul Train. In 1970, The Jackson

Five released their first long playing album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson

Five. This album topped the charts in both England and America. In the

mid-seventies, The Jackson Five Show aired on television and their albums

continued to earn gold records. Wanting to have his own career, Michael Jackson

left his brothers and began recording on his own. Having been the front man for

The Jackson Five for many years, Jackson?s separation from the group caused

their album and concert sales to decline. Michael?s first solo album, Off the

Wall, turned out to be a success along with the singles She?s Out of My Life

and Rock with You. Off the Wall broke records and sold twelve million copies

worldwide. Jackson continued to outdo himself with the victory of his following

albums: Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory Past, Present and Future Book I and

Blood on the Dance Floor. Michael Jackson?s success has not only generated

more contracts and more popularity, but also a number of world records, awards

and accomplishments that no individual recording artist has ever received all

together. In February 1981, the single Thriller remained on the Top Ten charts

for two straight weeks. It is the first single to reach this position ever since

John Lennon?s Imagine in 1971. In 1983, Michael Jackson received his first

award from the Guinness Book of World Records in London. The album Thriller is

the most successful album to date and has sold over forty-two million copies

worldwide. The album has earned one hundred forty gold and platinum records. In

1984, Jackson won a record eight Grammy Awards in ten categories. These are just

a few of his musical accomplishments that accompanied his success. Due to this,

Jackson has set large product endorsement contracts. In this field, he holds his

second Guinness World Record as the person with the highest paying contract to

date. Forbes magazine noted Michael Jackson as one of the richest men in the

world and as one whose income is purely generated by his own talents (Brown

1996, V). His single, We are the World performed together with various artists,

was the highest grossing single of the year. We are the World was part of a

project called USA for Africa, and all proceeds of the single were used to help

starving Africans. As a result of his philantropic efforts, Jackson has

generated various humanitarian awards from UNICEF, WHO, The Boy Scouts of

America, The Make-a-Wish Foundation, The National Aids Fund, former US

Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan. Jackson has also founded the Heal the

World Foundation to assist the poor around the world. Michael Jackson is not the

only person responsible for making him what he is. The media plays a vital role

in building Jackson?s image and increasing his popularity. In almost

everything Jackson does, the press is present: performances, charity work,

medical check-ups and even trips to the bookstore. Various rumors, ambiguous

facts and sensationalized stories are fed to the public. No matter how true or

false the stories reported by the media are, people keep on eating what is being

fed to them. The press is always on Jackson?s side in good times and bad. On

the other hand, Jackson, who grew up surrounded by the press, does not react to

these in a violent manner. In fact, he uses the media to his advantage. Jackson

organizes numerous publicity stunts and even contacts the press whenever he will

be present at certain events. Through this, he makes use the press to form his

image. Although his tactics do not always succeed, it still draws the attention

of the media and the general public. As long as there is a story that people

would buy, the press will always be with him. As one rises, others will try to

put him down, and sometimes, in one?s attempt to be more inconspicuous, the

more noticeable he becomes. Michael Jackson?s change of skin color and

cosmetic surgery has drawn worldwide attention and has puzzled many. There are

also issues and questioning his sexuality and identity that still remain

unanswered. In August 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of child abuse, but the

case was dismissed due to the lack of evidence. Two years later Jackson married

Elvis Presley?s daughter, Lisa Marie. They were divorced twenty months later.

In 1996, Michael Jackson married Debbie Rowe, his dermatologist?s assistant.

Rowe gave birth to Prince, their first son, are already expecting a second child

on the way. Some wonder if the child is really Jackson?s and question the

validity of the marriage. These are just a few of the factors that contribute to

his infamy. The rest is trivial. Others feel that he is an artist lost in his

fame and fortune, and is attempting to be everything that he is not.

"Michael is like an elephant getting into a car. The more he tries to fit

in, the more attention he gets." (Corliss 1993, 66) Going through Michael

Jackson?s art can be a tough job. It is sometimes very challenging to draw the

essence out of the trivia. In addition, one cannot be truly objective in

studying something that is very different from the rest. It is rewarding to do

so, because one gets a glimpse into one of the most creative minds of this

century. In doing this, one might uncover the mystery that all geniuses have.

His music has been labeled as popular music, ". . .which appeals to a

variety of audiences in the mainstream of society." (Morse 1991, 45) In the

past, his music has been categorized as Soul music, since it is music

predominantly used by Black Americans. Jackson?s songs in his early career

certainly reflect this category since it involves a lot of powerful vocal

renditions, downbeat rhythms and dark, ambiguous themes of faith love, betrayal

and passion. Most of today?s popular or pop music traces its roots back to

soul music. This makes Jackson?s songs have a generally welcomed appeal. His

songs like Billie Jean, She?s Out of My Life, and Don?t Stop Til You Get

Enough, I?ll Be There and Got to Be There reflect the characteristics of soul

music. As Jackson?s music evolved, his messages became more positive, the

rhythms have become more upbeat and lively, and his lyrics speak of brotherhood,

justice, hope, freedom, respect, peace and love. Examples of these include songs

like, Black or White, Will You Be There, Keep the Faith and Heal the World.

Jackson takes responsibility for his fame by expressing his ideals through his

music. As a result, one can see an artist fully integrated in his work, where

the artist, the art and the ideal are one. Throughout history, man has attempted

to make the abstract concrete and to make the unknown understood. Man is a

creature who believes in things beyond him and has an internal drive to express

it in many ways. This has been evident in art. If left alone, man will begin to

create. Man?s role becomes that of a co-creator. Man does not only create

useful things, but also things that express his deepest feelings and his highest

ideals. Michael Jackson?s art is just one of the myriad of contributions made

by man. It is a gesture of humility on his part for sharing his talent and

responding to the impulse that propels him to create. It is no doubt that his

art brings him fame and admiration. It elevates him to legendary status. If one

shall look deep enough, one may see the results of one?s response to his

creative impulse to use it for the benefit and enjoyment of society. Despite

these gifts, artists live different lives from others. Faults and failures are

common to most of them. These are probably results of their energy as well as

the frustration of everyday life that do not comply to their ideals and dreams.

The artist?s work survives. It gives joy to millions. Michael Jackson?s life

has been pictured as less picturesque and very controversial. He can only be

understood and forgiven based on the intensity of his passion and love for his

art. History?s lists are abundant with artists and their dark sides. There is

Van Gogh and Woolfe who both struggled for sanity, Juan Luna who murdered his

wife, and many more. Michael Jackson is one of them. In general, artists

definitely contribute to mankind in various unique ways. Many of them overshadow

their infamy. Hopefully, Michael Jackson shall be remembered in the same light.


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