Tuesday, 30 May 2023
Culture Pop Culture

Farewell, Michael Jackson

I feel almost speechless.  It is unbelievable to hear that Michael Jackson passed away.  Right on the heels of the most popular Angel, Farrah Fawcett; though she had been out of the limelight for many years until her recent bout of cancer.  Michael has always been in and out of the limelight.  And not always for good publicity.

Like most people, I do follow some celebrity news.  You really can’t help it when it’s everywhere. I suppose I was more interested in my teenage years, but not so much now.  And back then, Michael was BIG.  I won’t say I was a huge fan – I liked some of his songs, but I never “got” the craze.  Because of his death, most people will start concentrating on that part of his life.  Rightly so, since death has a very sobering effect on everyone.

Time may be gentle on his image, but on the other hand, it may refocus attention on his later years when controversy dominated.  Let’s face it, he did lead a very controversial life.  We may criticise people for being so star-struck, but in some ways, Michael Jackson showed that he was star-struck as well.  Though I never knew the man, his actions seemed to reveal someone who was not confident with his own image.  He had multiple plastic surgeries, presumably to look like Diana Ross. He was uncomfortable with his own skin, so he lightened it.  I know he attributed it to vitiligo, but I don’t believe that accounted for all the whitening.  The issues with Neverland, his “children”, and all the youths he associated with will never be fully understood.  There may have been some truth in the accusations levelled at him, but I’m sure there may also have been some maliciousness in hounding him and attempting to extract as much money as possible.  He was essentially bankrupt in the end.

The controversies led him to remove himself from the limelight and for a while, he lived in seclusion.  Then he decided to come back and had planned 50 concerts in London this summer.  It sounded an incredible feat and now, unfortunately, it will never be done.  He cannot prove his critics wrong.

It was said that he suffered from multiple health problems.  Surprisingly, I was never aware of any of this.  Perhaps, I was not obsessed enough with celebrities to have found this out sooner.  That would explain why I still find it unbelievable that he is dead.  I am more inclined to believe that the stress of a comeback brought on the heart attack, if that is what really killed him, rather than any long-term health issues.

He always appeared vibrant and energetic, but that may just be a public front.  He was rather thin, and had always been so, but in his heyday, it was a healthier looking slimness.  That could be because he looked more natural then.  I can’t help but think how differently his life would have been had he not put himself up to public scrutiny by undergoing surgery and adopting such eccentricities.  That may have been the true Michael Jackson, but hindsight shows that it was not a good move to publicise it.  He was so much more popular when he was a normal black man who could out-perform anyone in his time.  Instead, his life went downhill and I’m sure he suffered physically, mentally and emotionally from that roller coaster ride.

Michael was a living legend and it will take some time for Hollywood to get over this one.  Hopefully, there won’t be any silly conspiracy theories, fake deaths and Michael sightings.

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