Although I missed the true era of Michael Jackson, I remember being fully fascinated with him ever since I was a kid. The way he floated between different racial and even some gender stereotypes was something I couldn’t comprehend or even consciously realize at that age, but was interested in nonetheless. I think this, his originality, is what made him such a sensation.
As SID explains, Jackson is deeply rooted in soul music, but was able to appeal to the mainstream through his originality, his sensual style, rock and roll dress, and ambiguous racial features. This ability to dance in the in-between and skirt the line between black and white, masculine and feminine, and sexual and asexual is what perplexed me and interested me so much. Perhaps it was the contradiction that made Michael Jackson such a once in a lifetime star. People love to revere and criticize what they don’t understand, and Jacksons bizarre, even sometimes-insane actions on top of his unusual image could be what created what was one of the most constantly speculated stars of all time. Oftentimes black stars are viewed as being sexy in terms of their strength and masculinity, but Jackson refuted this stereotype with his slender body, nearly feminine looking features, and high pitched voice. Despite this, he was still looked at as emanating sexuality through his performance. This originality that he was able to create is probably what put him from being a star in the soul music genre to being an international mainstream superstar.
It is no question that stars are stalked by the media and talked about so often by their fans that they are sometimes driven into insanity. We’ve watched stars like Brittany Spears and Amanda Bynes’ minds unravel in front of the entire world, and Michael Jackson was no exception to this. Perhaps it was his originality and his ability to be different that lead to his eventual loss of sanity. While my parents viewed him as the adorable young kid who was loved by so many and able to break down so many racial barriers, I was unlucky enough to see him at his worst. Unfortunately it seemed his stardom and his inability to be understood by the masses made him a spectacle, and it is too hard for most people to live under that type of microscope. After studying him further than just the people magazine I pick up at the grocery store, I hope to remember him for his talents, rather than the many bizarre spectacles he created later in his life.