This Is It: Michael Jackson and his last musical role

“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.

  • agi

    we love Michael Jackson and we miss him!

  • Dana

    I was reading an article about the media bias against Michael Jackson and I have no doubt in my mind he was a good person and an excellent father.

  • Dan

    Michael Jackson

  • Cherubim

    This is one beautifully written piece of literature.
    Congratulations to you!!!!
    God Bless Michael Jackson and protect his children.

  • Madison

    I agree with everything that you said in your article. For years he has been trying to spread the message “heal the world” and only now are people beginning to realize what they have done to the earth. He was a prodigy and a genius, a one in a billion. We just didn’t realize how lucky we were to have him.

  • Weffie

    Nice article – thanks!

  • Nessie Benjamin

    Dear Shanae,
    Thank you for writing such a nice article about Michael Jackson. Just one little eensy correction: Berry Gordy had nothing to do with the making of the album “Off the Wall”. Gordy was the owner of Motown records. “Off the Wall” was produced for Epic records, a subsidiary of Columbia records.
    But the rest of the article was fine, smooth flowing, very nicely put together. Thanks again.
    from Asd

  • Pam

    This was well written, but you got one fact wrong: Berry Gordy had nothing to do with Off the Wall. The Jacksons left Motown for Epic Records in the mid 70s.

  • sanny

    so ur saying hes still alive?

  • cielo

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I miss Michael Jackson so much. He was and is everything you said he is, and most of all, a person. I truly hope and pray that he can see everything from up there, in hopes that he can realize how much he was loved. Thank you for sharing.

  • Darlene

    i believe and AGREE with all of what was said……i will miss Michael and he will always be KING OF POP,also love his outfits,he is sooooo sexy.

  • rochelle

    BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE!!!! Thank you Shanae for this awesome piece on Michael Jackson. It is a joy to read something that isn’t full of insults and put downs, but gives this hard working entertainer his just dues. Michael didn’t deserve the mean treatment that he had to deal with over the years and frankly it sickens me to read some of the trash and criticism that people are still pumping out nearly a year after the shock of his sudden death. Thanks again Shanae. WELL DONE!!!!

  • S Wright

    Thank you so much for the wonderful and touching article. There is so many of us that loved him so much.

  • casey

    Great article! What an incredible entertainer appreciated and loved by thousands worldwide. His music is being listened to by all ages, nationalities and will continue for years to come. RIP Michael..

  • herati

    MJ 4EVER. great article. mj was magic.

  • Pato

    Really beautiful. Finally someone who says the incredible work that he always did. congratulation!. Michael was and will be always the best person and entertainer.

  • huma mahmood khan

    i still miss him so much… u michael