“If you enter this world knowing that you’re loved and you leave knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.” These were the famous words of the late Michael Jackson, and despite his death he proved that he was not just an entertainer; but that he was an influence to the world in more ways than one. Music, fashion, and dance have all been influenced by Jackson during some point in time, which is why he was not considered as just a star, but as a fashion icon, an innovator, and most notably the “King of Pop.”
Born in Gary Indiana on August 29 1958, Michael Jackson at 11 started his music career with his brothers in a group called, The Jackson Five. Due to his unique talent, it was evident that Jackson was the star of the group, setting him apart from his brothers. It was shortly after his portrayal as a scarecrow in 1978’s “The Wiz,” that Jackson branched off into his own solo career.
Under the direction of Berry Gordy and producer Quincy Jones, his first establishing album was 1979’s “Off the Wall,” which featured the hits, “Don’t stop til you get enough,” and “Rock with you.” His next album “Thriller” went on to become the best selling album of all time, winning him an unprecedented eight Grammys Awards, spending 37 weeks at number one, and featured a 14-minute short film that revolutionized the world of music videos forever.
Following his chart topping success, came the 1987 “Bad” album, where Jackson introduced us to a more “don’t mess with me,” type persona along with seven top 10 singles. In 1991 “Dangerous” was released, which included the hit single and controversial video for “Black or White.” Five other albums were released after “Dangerous” including his 2001 album “Invincible.”
Aside from his music, Jackson was faced with media scrutiny; with child molestation charges, labels as being “Wacko Jacko,” and claims that he bleached himself to look white among others. All of these accusations, however, were just the media’s way of bringing down a successful person. It was not until his death that the media finally realized how much of an impact he had on the world. Let’s put it this way, what other entertainer received as much media attention, an outpouring of grief around the world, and had such an increase in record sales upon his death? Michael Jackson had that much status that he was even capable of stopping the news when it came to coverage on current day issues.
Jackson died June 25 2009, it was later ruled as a homicide. Prior to his death he was working on a new comeback tour titled, “This is it.” With tickets already sold out, the anticipation for his July tour was something sure to go down in the history books. Unfortunately, due to the tragic event the concerts never happened, but thanks to the support of the Estate of Michael Jackson, behind the scene footage of the concert in progress was featured in a documentary that hit theatres October 2009. Fortunately for those who missed the film or for those who wanted to watch it again, Millersville University aired its own viewing this past Feb. 26 at Club de’ville.
The documentary itself was unlike any other I have seen before. It was as if I had a front row seat to his concert, filled with an adrenaline rush that had me at the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. “This is It,” captured Jackson as the singer he was known to be, and the dancer who everyone dreamed to move like. Even with some of the best young back up dancers, at the age of 50 Jackson still had the moves. Not only that, but the documentary showed how Jackson was a filmmaker, an architect and a creative genius. He did not go for simplicity; he went for going above and beyond when it came to “putting on a show.” It showcased Jackson’s aim to be a perfectionist, paying attention to detail and bringing out the magic in everything.
One of the most talked about segments in the show was “Earth Song,” which was later aired at this year’s Grammy Awards in 3D. It was a song that emphasized Jackson’s efforts to preserve the environment and bring awareness about animal welfare. His message in the song couldn’t have come at a better time, where current environmental conditions are not where it should be. Another one of Michael’s creative approaches was his recreation of “Smooth Criminal,” where he edited himself into a classic film. The recreation of “Thriller” was an incredible approach, with the digital effects, dancing and costumes it was sure to be a crowd favorite during the time of the concert series. I was amazed by all of his ideas, all of his moves, and all of his works. It was exciting to see what could have been, but sad to realize that it never will.
In spite of his death, I have no doubt in my mind that Michael Jackson was smiling down from heaven, proud that all of his fans were able to see firsthand what was considered and anticipated to be an incredible comeback concert. His intent for the comeback tour was for his children to see him as the performer aside from the father figure he was perceived to be. Michael Jacksons “This is it”, was definitely worth seeing, bringing back memories and creating new ones of one of the world’s most beloved entertainers. It just goes to show you that Michael Jackson wasn’t just the “Man in the Mirror”, but he was the man that influenced the world through his magic.