Michael Jackson: The Artist of the Century
Dr. Hasan A. Yahya
As soon as The singer died in Los Angeles at age 50, Thursday, June 25, 2009. A Bahraini royal mourned him publicly, young Lebanese held a candlelight tribute, Egyptian musicians hailed him as an inspiration for young people. Damascus described him as "a giant in the music industry." While he was known as Dame Elizabeth Taylor called him: the King of Pop. At Tunisia, a girl committed suicide when she heard of the news. All over the world, the music market was booming with Michael’s songs.
The worldwide wave of grief that has greeted the news of the untimely death of pop star Michael Jackson is as extraordinary as was the man himself. News bulletins globally have been dominated by reports first of his death and then of the preliminary results of his autopsy, which was completed by toxicology tests. While the toxicology tests still being conducted, Michael Jackson's cause of death is listed as "deferred" on his official death certificate which shows that his sister LaToya Jackson provided the information on the death certificate, as "musician" in the field of "entertainment."
There is no social category or status did not share mourning MJ worldwide. Cities around the world from Los Angeles, to, Shanghai, including Mumbai, Paris, London, Berlin, Cairo, Manama, Lebanon, and Tokyo. Sydney and Johannesburg, stunned fans gathered in vigils and sang his music. Politicians found time out to express their deep regret at Jackson’s passing. The Internet slowed to a crawl and the Twitter site actually crashed, as fans searched out the latest news, exchanged messages and made millions of commercial downloads of Jackson songs. TV networks in many countries cleared their schedules to broadcast tribute programs to the dead star.
No Arab singer come close to imitate him in his styles in dancing and bold acting on the stage. For one reason, Arab singers are family members and the culture still control not only the artists but their financiers from rich people and Royal Emirs. Therefore, they need 50 years plus to have the courage to act like Michael Jackson.
Born at Gary, Indiana on the skirts of Chicago, Illinois, and corner of Michigan and Indiana in 1958. When he was 10 years old, he began to be known through Jackson five with his four brothers. Michael Jackson lived one year at the Kingdom of Bahrain, his host was the son of the King. Later the Bahraini Prince Abdullah under the al-Khalifa clan, was forced to cut off funding Jackson, his kids and nanny in an extended stay in Bahrain. Jackson was no longer welcome to unlimited generosity from the Bahraini royals. Jackson left Bahrain to Germany, and then on to Italy. But later, he found a couple of wealthy families in Dubai and Oman, where his friends hosted him away from the media.
Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley were American icons, one white, and the other was black. His appreciation of the King of the Rock was in the form of love and marriage with Presley’s daughter, at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. She was 25 years and MJ was 35. When the announcement was made, It broke many fans who were fond of Michael Jackson. The marriage did not last long, 20 months to be exact passed on the marriage, Presley was 27, filed for divorce from the then-37-year-old pop star.
Ups and Downs : Jackson lived his luxurious life as top singer, his expenses and travels and projects as well as the allegation against him made him in dept for millions of Dollars. For example, $270 million were taken in loans owned by Fortress Investments company. Fortress had given Jackson an extension to resolve his problems. but nothing's happened, Fortress will either foreclose on his property or make a deal with Sony Music which produces the singer albums. Sony, doesn't want Fortress to foreclose and send Jackson's loans to a public auction via bankruptcy court. Jackson's inability to deal with reality and his financial problems became a veritable mountain of ash blown into air at any time.
Famous personalities knew or adopt Jackson’s talents. For example, Diana Ross, the famous black singer was the first to get a glimpse of Jackson's talent when she watched him and his older brothers perform at Motown head Berry Gordy's Detroit mansion. Jackson, was 10 years old, even lived with his Supreme mentor, whom he once said he confided his "deepest, darkest secrets." More than a decade later, the pair starred in 1978's The Wiz, an all-black version of The Wizard of Oz. Elizabeth Taylor was a great sympathizer with Michael, when child molestation allegations faced Jackson, he had the staunchest support from his longtime friend Elizabeth Taylor ‘s Dame, who the singer told Oprah Winfrey in 1993 was the one who anointed him the King of Pop – a moniker that stuck until the end of his career. Liza Minnelli was a longtime friends since 1982, Jackson made a love connection for pal Minnelli, introducing her to her fourth husband, David Gest, Minnelli kept the favor to be repaid by having the singer serve as a co-best man and ring bearer at her star-studded 2002 wedding to Gest. Cher (the famous singer) and Jackson maintained a connection over the decades after the pop star appeared on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour with his older brothers as part of the Jackson 5. Brooke Shields also was linked with Jackson in the '80s , rumors connected Jackson with the beautiful actress, They met mostly at home, because he didn’t like going out in public, as he told Opera Winfry one time. Madonna too, Jackson took her as a date to the 1991 Oscars, creating a worldwide paparazzi frenzy. Madonna, found her match in Jackson. The two went on to reportedly collaborate on a song for Jackson's Dangerous album. Politically President Reagan honored Jackson in the White House.
Dates in Jackson’s Life: Michael Jackson holds a street sign that he was presented with by Gary Mayor Scott L. King, left, during a news conference in Gary, Ind., June 11, 2003. Jackson returned to his hometown for the first time in nearly two decades and was also presented with a key to the city. Michael Jackson performs with Britney Spears during Jackson's "30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years" concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, Sept. 7, 2001. In 2002, Spears offered Jackson birthday wishes onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards and he mistakenly thought he was accepting a special "Artist of the Millennium" trophy, drawing barbs from the show's host and viewers.
Michael Jackson testifies in Santa Maria Superior Court, Nov. 13, 2002, in a trial in which he was accused of cancelling scheduled concert appearances, costing his promoter several million dollars. Jackson had appeared weak and ghostly pale at many of his public appearances at the time, and his own attorneys have said he has been involved in nearly 1,000 lawsuits.
Jackson caused an international uproar when he displayed his baby, Prince Michael II, to fans by dangling him briefly from a fourth-floor balcony in Germany, Nov. 19, 2002, in this image made from television.
Michael Jackson the Artist of the Century: carries the jacket he wore when he received his Artist of the Century Award onstage at a charity event in Berlin, Nov. 20, 2002. Jackson brought the jackets he wore at 29 American Music Awards in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. These and other clothes from German stars were auctioned to help German street kids. German composer Ralf Siegel paid $16,000 for the jacket shown.
Michael Jackson and Islam: The Arab and Muslim World, beyond his global reach, Michael Jackson held a special place in the Muslim world, as one of the first major Western entertainers to break through cultural barriers in the 1980s. Some made a connection with the pop icon because of rumors, never substantiated, that he had converted to Islam. And that he sang a song praising Allah as Thanks to Allah Wahuwa ala Kulli Shayin Qadeer. the Merciful and the Forgiver. Others embraced him as one of their own after he sought refuge in the Gulf emirate of Bahrain in 2005, Oman and Dubai, after his announced trials of child molestation charges in the U.S.
Arabs knew Michael Jackson for his music and loved the person as a role model. At his peak, in the 1980s, a time without Internet and satellite TV, the Arab world was more shielded from Western pop culture. Jackson was one of the few successful crossover artists.
Some Bahraini persons considered him as Bahraini. Because he spent a year in the Kingdom, as a guest of the Bahraini Prince. Jackson kept a low profile there, largely staying close to his host. Strangely enough, unlike Arab generosity, after Jackson's departure, the sheik sued Jackson for $7 million, for failing to fulfill a joint music venture, but the two settled in a friendly manner. In his words to the Gulf Daily News, Prince Abdullah said: "the world has lost a giant in the music industry."
Across the Arab world, the tributes to Jackson, who died Thursday, mirrored those elsewhere around the globe, though some argued the singer had a special appeal in the region among young people. The rumor of his conversion to Islam was strong, religion is a big part of identity in that part of the world, and the idea he became Muslim boosted Jackson’s popularity. Those who publicized the rumor depend on comments made by his brother, Jermaine, a convert to Islam, who has said his brother showed interest in the faith. In November, a British tabloid confirmed Michael Jackson conversion to Islam at a friend's home in Los Angeles. In Lebanon, about 100 young fans lit candles and sang along to his songs in a downtown street lined with bars and restaurants. A few tried to moon walk while others cheered.
Was Michael Jackson an angel? Was he a saint? Did Michael made mistakes? Sure he did. Did he use poor judgment? I would say yes. Was he evil ? who knows? We have a man who at a very young age was in the spotlight, he never got a chance to be a kid. He wanted to see the good in everyone and bring that out. His biggest downfall was that he only wanted to see the good in everyone and thought everyone looked at the world the same way he did. He only wanted to be what he never was a child, and to the dark, depressed cynical mind set that we have, we looked for problems. And when you look hard enough you'll find what you want. Was Michael Jackson a pedophile? it was never proven. Was he strange? By many standards, maybe? but what is strange for someone is not for someone else! we call strange and abnormal according to our judgment and according to our personalities and values. He was viewed as normal and innocent for millions of fans around the world. Now the man is dead let us have him, and remember him for the good and innocent soul he tried to be.
In conclusion, in spite of what Jackson sought cosmetically to change his skin color and features, he demonstrated the unifying power of music worldwide. He will be remembered for a long time to come. I think America will celebrate his birth or death every year side by side with 4th of July. Who knows? www.hasanyahya.com