Abstract: Drawing on the emerging scholarly study of ‘Jacksonism’, a movement typified by the study of the multi-modal art, political impact and cultural significance of Michael Jackson, this article de-constructs the mythological personas of the artist by exploring both his cultural deification and many subsequent attempts to degrade his deified status. This article is available in Italian via this link: https://michaeljacksonstudies.org/the-dangerous-philosophies-of-michael-jackson/, and in Spanish via this link: https://michaeljacksonstudies.org/arrojar-piedras-y-esconder-las-manos-la-personalidad-humana-de-michael-jackson/.
Essay by Elizabeth Amisu, PGCE, MA, editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies and author of The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife.
Amisu, Elizabeth, “Throwing Stones to Hide Your Hands: The Mortal Persona of Michael Jackson”, The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies,1, no. 1 (2014). Published electronically 17/06/2014 https://michaeljacksonstudies.org/throwing-stones-to-hide-your-hands-the-mortal-persona-of-michael-jackson/. Originally published electronically 11/06/ 2014 https://elizabethamisu.com/2014/06/11/throwing-stones-to-hide-your-hands-the-mortal-2/.
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Throwing Stones to Hide your Hands: The Mortal Persona of Michael Jackson
by Elizabeth Amisu
‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ (John 10:32-34, NIV)
Stoning is a ghastly act of communal justice against one person and is still used as a form of execution in various parts of the Middle East and Africa. In the biblical book of Kings two liars slander a virtuous man named Naboth, accusing him of cursing both the King and God. Although Naboth is innocent he is still taken out of the city and stoned.1
There are several culprits in his demise: the king who wants Naboth’s land, the queen who wants to please the king, the slanderers whose motivations for destroying Naboth are unclear and the public who are easily led without evidence. The tale has all the makings of Shakespearean tragedy but the parallels to Michael Jackson’s life are unnerving.
At the beginning of his story Naboth is both wealthy and content. However, he is also in the wrong place at the wrong time, namely a place called Jezreel with a vineyard near to the palace of the King of Samaria. Similarly, thirty years ago in 1984, Michael Jackson was in America with a dream to become the biggest star who ever lived.2 His deification as a solo artist began with the release of his 1979 album, Off The Wall, which was, by 1981 ‘the biggest-selling album ever by a black artist’3, while the 1982 release of Thriller, its groundbreaking short films and an iconic performance at Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever4 completed his veneration.
Thrillerwould sell ‘a bigger number of copies than the number of human beings there have ever been, or will ever be, on Earth. Its numbers are bigger than the number of grains of sand or blades of grass or drops in the ocean or molecules or atoms.’5In truth the album has sold an estimated 110 million copies to date6and as a result of its unparalleled success, Michael Jackson would be hounded by fans and literally chased by paparazzi for the rest of his life. He was often barricaded in his own home, ‘there’ve been a couple of scuffles at gate on Hayvenhurst, and they can get dangerous… it hurtsto be mobbed. You feel as if you’re going to suffocate or be dismembered.’7
At this stage in his career he was given a superlative Idol Persona whose facets were unrecognisable from the man they signified. In many ways it was at this point that Michael Jackson became a trademark, a simulacrum of a person.8A confessedly shy, mild-mannered dancer, singer and musician, he would be characterised as more god than human with his military jackets and rhinestone gloves. However, in his own words, ‘accomplishments alone are not synonymous with who I am. Indeed, the cheery five-year-old who belted out Rockin’ Robin and Ben to adoring crowds was not indicative of the boy behind the smile.9
Jackson was not equipped (it is questionable whether anyone could be) for the astronomical fame bestowed upon him. A friend and biographer would claim that as a child star and victim of domestic abuse he ‘arrived in adulthood with missing pieces… [who] tried to compensate for this through the home he built, his appearance, his music, and his interests.’10The 1995 composition, Childhood, his most autobiographical asks: ‘Have you seen my childhood? I’m looking for the world that I come from… No one understands me/They view it as such strange eccentricities…’11
It is difficult to say whether anyone could have coped with Jackson’s extraordinary renown. To some extent he had already started to become un-real as a human being through the dominant over-representation of his image that pervaded throughout the world, it’s ‘actuality… seemed to have been not merely distorted, but overwhelmed, drowned in a sea of his own images’.12
Jackson wrote that ‘one of the side effects of the Thrillerperiod was to make [him] weary of constantly being in the public eye’13and the more famous he became, the more he became a target of vicious attacks by the press. ‘There was a darker side to the media backlash. Jackson had become the most powerful African-American in the history of the entertainment industry… it is no coincidence that this was the precise moment when the tide began to shift.’14
Academic, Joseph Vogel gives a far more likely hypothesis for the creation the malicious Wacko Persona. The ‘Wacko Jacko’ moniker was coined in 1985, “Jacco” or “Jacco Macacco” is Cockney slang for “monkey”. Its continued use can be interpreted as an insult to Jackson’s ethnicity.15
Jackson, quite rightly reviled the nickname, the use of which was tantamount to discrimination by the tabloid press. In a 1997 interview he explained that he desperately wanted to shield his son from these cruel jibes. Poignantly, he remarked, ‘Did they ever think I would have a child one day… that I have a heart. It’s hurting my heart. Why pass it on to him?’16
The gradual lightening of his skin from the early eighties which went unexplained until a televised 1993 interview17was manipulated to contribute further to the formation of this second false persona. He was a sufferer of an aggressive, disfiguring medical condition which, since his personal identity was synonymous with his identity as a celebrity from childhood, was so emotionally crippling he rarely spoke of it, ‘it’s a problem for me… something I cannot control.’18
Jackson kept his arms covered at all times and always went out with an umbrella because the sun was toxic to his de-pigmented skin. He described himself as being ‘allergic to the sun’ and was permanently covered in thick layers of cover-up to even out discolourations.19
However, despite this true explanation the dominant fabrication (which still pervades) is that he did not want to be black. As in Naboth’s story there were certainly slanderers who worked to defame him.
Due to the rumour mill, the Monster Persona was beginning to emerge, even though Jackson, a poster-child for racial equality took his signature move, the moonwalk ‘from these beautiful black kids in the ghetto’ who he called ‘the real dancers’.20 We have to look no further for an affirmation of racial pride than his 1988 donations to the United Negro College Fund21, casting of women of colour as leading ladies in short films, from Ola Ray (Thriller) to Naomi Campbell (In The Closet) with the only Caucasian exception being his then wife, Lisa-Marie Presley (You Are Not Alone).
Significantly, the short film, Remember The Timehas an all-black cast and director in John Singleton. Set in Ancient Egypt, it features Magic Johnson, Eddie Murphy and Iman.22Ancient Egyptians are rarely depicted as full sub-Saharan Africans and the reason for this casting can be seen as presenting an ethnic minority in power. Furthermore, most of Michael Jackson’s leading males were African-American also: Wesley Snipes (Bad), Michael Jordan (Jam), Eddie Murphy (Whatzupwitu), Taj, Taryll and T.J Jackson (Why) to name a few.
Elena Oliete exemplifies the perceived threat of a person who can cross cultural boundaries globally, through the universal mediums of song and short film, simultaneously crossing the physical divides between race and gender. By the early nineties he had already ‘been rejected by large numbers of both black and white people. The former consider him a traitor and the latter do not accept him as a white person […] his skin change has served to show up the artificial cultural construction of social hierarchies based on racial distinctions.’23
In Naboth’s tale the king first asks him to sell his lands, to which he replies he cannot give away his family’s inheritance. The king goes home, upset at not obtaining his quandary. It is then the queen asks him why he is so unhappy and on learning why decides to ‘fix’ the situation. Events for Naboth have already begun to spin out of control and there is little he can do about it. 24
The 1989 video for Jackson’s Leave Me Aloneis a parodist depiction of a man physically imprisoned by a media circus, which consists of several animated versions of the stories written about him.25By 1992, Jackson was similarly attempting to reclaim his public persona from the already extreme state it had been warped into, ‘I had no idea people thought I was so weird[…] it feels good to be considered as a person, rather than a personality’ he said at the 35th Grammy Awards.26
Despite a dominant discourse indicating his artistic and economic decline, Dangerouswould outsell Badby millions of copies, showing that in 1992 he was becoming, despite the fractured personas, more popular, not less. Through a candid interview at his Neverland home he laid to rest many rumours: ‘I’ve never had my cheekbones done, never had my eyes done, never had my lips done and all this stuff. They go too far, but this is stuff that happens every day with other people.’27It was in this same year that he was beset by salacious false allegations which would carry his representation into its most destructive and pervasive Monster Persona.
Jackson’s close friendship with children, from Emmanuel Lewis to Gavin Arvizo was well-documented.28In no way had it ever been hidden from the public because there had never been anything to hide. Jackson evidently treated these children as equals and considered them his friends. It is likely they were the friends he wished he had as a child. They accompanied him to award shows and with their families spent time at his home.
However, ‘Michael’s innocent childlike qualities had been warped into something pathological and creepy in the public’s perception.’29The fact that Jackson was clearly emotionally vulnerable and had been an advocate of children’s rights since the start of his adult career was hardly reported by the press.30Despite this, in a 1993 poll 88% of TV Viewers believed his innocence and 78% were in favour of him.31The stoning which followed was clearly not orchestrated by the people but by the press.
Jackson had always been very vocal about his affinity for young people, ‘children are pure and innocent and good’. In autobiography and several interviews he explained this affinity was rooted in his own sense of lost youth, ‘I remember my childhood as mostly work.’32He gave millions of dollars of his own money to children’s charities and very often visited orphanages and hospitals, giving away gifts to sick and dying children at his own expense.33There was significantly little coverage of Jackson’s considerable humanitarian effort compared to coverage of unproven claims and wild conjecture, as Charles Thomson’s articles, One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History and Michael Jackson It’s Time For Outlets to Take Responsibility in Covering the Rock Star illustrate.
The moment the allegations appeared, much like the two slanderers in Naboth’s story, the press seized upon them and the public, primed by the depersonalizing Idol Persona and the damaging Wacko Persona were ready with stones. All they needed was a monster and they would, if they had to, make one. Jackson, who was categorically anti-drugs34would, from this point on, struggle intermittently with painkiller addiction.
Repeatedly, Jackson attempted to explain himself, even appearing at the NAACP awards. ‘Not only am I presumed innocent, I am innocent! And I know the truth will be my salvation.’35There was a wealth of evidence that he was guiltless, much of which is expressed by Mary Fisher in her explorative article, Was Michael Jackson Framed? As she looked into his accusers, she discovered a trail of prior wrongdoing. Not only was Jackson innocent like Naboth but his accusers were guilty of both extortion and slander. Their reward would be millions of dollars. For sharing his talent with the masses and his money with sick children, his reward would be shame and disaffection. The queen in Naboth’s tale probably paid her slanderers richly while they escaped unharmed.
Jackson, who was a high profile and generous champion for disadvantaged children would be typified as a child molester for the rest of his career. He would, while attempting to restore his three false personas and depict his true Mortal Persona in a frank and honest documentary, Living With Michael Jackson36be seized upon by the same lawyer and District Attorney through a similar extortion case, after which he was summarily acquitted.37
Soon ‘Jackson’s fruitful artistic career and musical denunciations of society’s oppressivecultural constructions had been eclipsed by the widespread social condemnation of the singer as a monstrous child abuser… The zombie-like singer and author of Thrillerhad effectively become a real monster and, as such, he was accused of the most monstrous crime.’38
The ritual process of stoning begins with slander. Jackson was effectively slandered repeatedly by the press and his accusers with lies which were disseminated amongst the public. Although, in 1994 Jackson had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing and was further acquitted in 2005, the process had already begun. Negative images and cruel words reduced him to an object, as far removed as possible from the compassionate human being he was. ‘Most people don’t know me, that is why they write such things[…] I cry very often because it hurts and I worry about the children, all my children all over the world.I live for them[…] have mercy, for I’ve been bleeding a long time now. MJ’39Jackson never concealed the emotional pain he felt at the libel of the world’s press and the slander of the public. His appearance was an area of significant weakness for him, ‘the biggest struggle was right there in the mirror. To a great degree, my identity as a person was tied to my identity as a celebrity’40and there may be some truth in the hypothesis that he suffered from body dysmorphic disorder41, ‘my appearance began to depress me… once I came offstage, there was that mirror to face again.’42
Fame, like the concept of persona, is simply a figment of our imagination created in a generalised consciousness. “It’s science fiction,’ Jackson said in a 1995 interview, ‘It’s not true.I know myself and it’s sad when other people have to read those things and they believe it. I know eventually the truth will prevail and I’m about truth.’43Hence, we must consider a holistic representation of Michael Jackson, one which is not based on conjecture and tabloid sensationalism but hard evidence. It is the literary academic’s place and duty to write about Jackson, the artist. For this is what he was.
Only through academic study of his life and creative work can we gain insight into his genius and innovation.To construct his Mortal Persona we must utilise his artistic canon in the form of autobiography, poetry, and lyrics, musical composition, fashion, live performance and cinematic works, supported with his collaborative material, extended body of posthumously released material, documentaries, and countless video and print interviews.In a particularly moving speech at Oxford University, Jackson was unexpectedly candid in his revelations, ‘all of us are products of our childhood. But I am the product of a lack of a childhood, an absence of that precious and wondrous age…’44 The speech, though eloquent and moving was given little press coverage and considered as yet another oddity. Its valuable content in support of children’s rights was generally ignored and the 1993 allegations mentioned to lessen its importance.
Ironically, Jackson’s uniqueness, lauded when moonwalking and providing a sense of escapism for its audience was now condemned for creating a theme park home and befriending child stars. Everything Jackson said and did was given salacious nuance. How then, could anyone benefit from his unique charm, talent and perspective?Jackson’s Mortal Persona is that of a human being who, despite his difficult upbringing and daily pressures, was still a loving father, devoted son, entertainer, philanthropist and humanitarian.
Jackson, his friends, and family tried to promote his Mortal Persona and encourage a positive reception of the vulnerable man behind the art but this mostly fell on deaf ears. For many it was not till the final moments of his televised memorial, during which his eleven year-old daughter described him as ‘the best father you could imagine’ that his humanity really began to pierce the social consciousness. This man, though a simulacrum, though an idol, was still purely Paris Jackson’s dad.45
When a victim is stoned in the modern world they are usually buried, leaving only the head exposed. Perhaps, similarly the public and press hide the signifiers of humanity because it is evidence that these people are, in fact, living.
They feel pain and their image on a screen, album, magazine, or catwalk doesn’t stop that from being the case.The level of injustice Jackson endured in life was substantial and his great success came at a terrible price. He sings prophetically in the Bad 25 track, Price of Fame, ‘Father always told me you won’t live a quiet life/if you’re reaching for fortune and fame… I feel the pressure settin’ in/I’m living just to end./I’m feeling all this pain/Don’t you ever complain!’46The real Michael Jackson continually fought a losing battle in a simulacra-infested celebrity culture. In his own words the wall was ‘too high get over/Too low to get under’.47He lay between a demonised representation of himself and an idolised representation.
Nevertheless, it can be argued that the ‘people’ did not hate Michael Jackson any more than they hated Naboth. They were a tool in the hands of his slanderers. Though the public carried Jackson out of the city, they could not stone him. Despite the powerfully negative press which had become daily fare his This is It tour sold at the rate of eleven tickets per second and forty-thousand per hour. In March, just three months before he died, The Essential Michael Jackson album, consisting entirely of (repeatedly) previously released material was number one.48
Like the superhuman some thought Michael Jackson was, he resurrected his Idol Persona in preparing for a highly anticipated comeback at London’s O2 in 2009. He was quoted saying ‘his children are now old enough and want to see him on stage’.49It would have been their first opportunity to see him perform live. Inertia and his own self-confessed ‘will of iron’50kept him going when others would have abandoned public life entirely. In this way he was truly unique. He was writing a classical release due to be recorded in London,51working on a new album and his principal physical problem, despite his prior conditions, was an easily treatable lung infection.By many credible accounts, Michael Jackson was a healthy, if slightly thin, fifty year-old man when he died. Apart from an incompetent doctor and an unfortunate propensity for the use of Diprivan (which should never have been administered to him) he could have lived long and given the world so much more.
A needless death is Naboth’s tragedy and sadly, it is also Jackson’s.52When a person is stoned their torn, crushed, faceless body is taken out of the sand (in which it has been buried) and checked for signs of life. If a doctor confirms so they are shoved back in and the stoning resumes. It is not the last stone that kills. It’s a culmination of all those that went before. Instead of picking up stones to throw we must, with careful consideration, decide whether we should in fact extend our hands in support.
Michael Jackson’s fifty years on earth were a singularity. He was commoditized before starting secondary school, meaning many of his earliest memories were the roars of adoring crowds, which unfortunately, were also the sound of stones being lifted and checked for the right weight and size. Understandably, his solo music professed alternate desires to escape his numerous problems (Why You Wanna Trip On Me, Leave Me Alone, Xscape, Fly Away, They Don’t Care About Us) and be strong in the face of adversity, (2 Bad, Will You Be There, HIStory, Keep The Faith, Heaven Can Wait).It is possible that Michael Jackson’s formative years grew to an almost painful need for love and caused him to regress in an attempt to regain his lost youth. These were things he could not help and should never have been used against him. Ultimately, it was the sharp focus of our cruel collective gaze that caused him the most suffering: ‘Does it affect me? Yes. But I’ve become immune in a way too. I’m very strong. I have rhinoceros skin. But at the same time, I’m human, so anything can hurt like that[…]’53
The one facet of Michael Jackson’s Mortal Persona which was not readily publicised before his death, was his unparalleled capacity for love. He genuinely loved people he did not know, children especially. He showed that love through paying medical bills, taking entire families on holiday, giving away millions of dollars and thousands of hours. He never asked for recognition for this and rarely, if ever drew attention to it. This was the one extraordinary characteristic we could have drawn from most and still can now.
We are all capable of looking to the truth before making judgments, of treating people as people, not personas, whether they’re on television or on a perfume bottle. Jackson reiterated throughout his career that the reason he loved children was because they treated him like a human being, not an idol, wacko or a monster.
Jackson’s last persona was created in his tragic and sudden death. One can imagine the crowd leaving Naboth, their work done, only to find he had not cursed the king or God. They see now that they have been misled and their guilt is unbearable. What then becomes of all Naboth’s children, family and friends? For them there is no reason, only an innocent man cruelly betrayed. In our case it is the children Jackson so wanted to help, his grief-stricken fans and all who loved him who suffer.The public, not the slanderers created the final persona of Michael Jackson and the world’s press were forced to accept and conform to it. Especially The Daily Mail, who regarded the artist as ‘a fairly minor figure… little more than a novelty act.’54The outpouring of grief was, finally, an acceptance of the magnitude of Jackson’s global artistic and social impact. The Idol Persona was now obsolete and the Immortal Persona was appropriated with the release of the film, This is It,55allowing audiences a cathartic opportunity to see him live one last time.
Twelve fans reportedly committed suicide in Australia,56over a billion people watched his memorial. Everything in Jackson’s life had been superlative except for the man himself. By contrast he was soft-spoken with a slender frame which had to be accentuated through clothing.57The people of the world beatified his Immortal Persona, their infinite King of Music sold millions in the year he died.58Ironically, he did not receive this fierce love in later life.Michael Jackson sought immortality through his art. It was his dream that his work would stand the test of time and be as ubiquitous as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.59
None of us will live long enough to know if he achieves this dream. The sad fact is that the catharsis of the tragic contributes to timeless narrative. As in the preventable climax of Romeo and Juliet, Naboth’s story, though thousands of years old resonates with pathos. We are always moved by the loss of the innocent and resentful of what could have been.What cruel force drove the king, queen, slanderers and all who attacked Naboth? Was it a deep-rooted hatred for his success or simply a desire to acquire what was rightfully his? The questions of human nature remain unanswerable. However, Jackson, in his inimitable style took his suffering and turned it into an artistic legacy. His death served, for a short time, to unify people of all races under his banner and a song he had written to honour a friend became his requiem, ‘like a sunset dying with the rising of the moon. Gone too soon.’60
Elizabeth Amisu, author of The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife, holds an MA in Early Modern English Literature from King’s College London. She completed her teacher training at the University College London Institute of Education and has seven years’ teaching experience. She is co-founder and editor of The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies online. For ‘The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies she has edited two publications, An Academic Companion to Michael Jackson Studies and Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On: An Academic Conversation – Michael Jackson & Prince;written several articles and book reviews, most notably ”Throwing Stones To Hide Your Hands’: The Mortal Persona Of Michael Jackson‘, which has been translated into Spanish and Italian; ”The Isle is Full of Noises’: Revisiting the Peter Pan of Pop‘, available in German; ”Crack Music’: Michael Jackson’s Invincible‘, also in Italian; and ”Heard it Through the Grapevine’: Are We Losing Michael Jackson All Over Again?’, also available in Spanish.
1 Kings 21:13, NIV – Naboth’s Vineyard: Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.’ 3 But Naboth replied, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’ 4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’ He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. 5 His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, ‘Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?’ 6 He answered her, ‘Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’’ 7 Jezebel his wife said, ‘Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’ 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. 9 In those letters she wrote: ‘Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. 10 But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.’ 11 So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. 13 Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, ‘Naboth has cursed both God and the king.’ So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. 14 Then they sent word to Jezebel: ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’ 15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.’ 16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard. Notes). MJJ Productions. Epic. 1991.
2. Frank Cascio,My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man(William Morrow, 2011), p. 96 – “It’s not just about thoughts and words. It’s an emotion that drives through your blood. You have to feel and live it every day until you believe it.”
3. Joseph Vogel, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson(New York: Sterling, 2011), p. 31.
4. Man in the Music, p. 7; Michael Jackson, Moonwalk (Doubleday, 1988), pp. 210-213.
5. Chris Roberts, ‘True enough: Michael in fifty shards’, The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson(ed.) Mark Fisher, (O Books, 2009), p. 107.
6. Man in the Music, p. 55.
7. Jackson, p. 91.
8. Jeremy Gilbert, ‘The Real Abstraction of Michael Jackson’, The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson(ed.) Mark Fisher (O Books, 2009), p. 137-149.
9. Michael Jackson, ‘Heal the Kids’, Oxford Union, Oxford, 6 March 2001.
10. Cascio, p. 206.
11. Man in the Music, pp. 200-201; HIStory, pp. 38-39.
12. Gilbert, p. 138.
13. Jackson, p. 227.
14. Joseph Vogel, ‘Abortion, Fame, and ‘Bad’: Listening to Michael Jackson’s Unreleased Demos’, The Atlantic, 10 September 2012, ‘theatlantictimes.com’, [accessed 15 May 2014].
15. Joseph Vogel, ‘How Michael Jackson Made ‘Bad’’, The Atlantic, 10 September 2012, ‘theatlantictimes.com’, <http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/how-michael-jackson-made-bad/262162/2/> [accessed 15 May 2014].
16. Man in the Music, p. 224.
17. Adrian Grant, Michael Jackson: A Visual Documentary The Official Tribute Edition (Omnibus, 2009), pp.158-159.
18. Michael Jackson Talks to… Oprah Live. ABC. February 10, 1993.
19. Michael Jackson Talks to… Oprah Live.
20. Michael Jackson Talks to… Oprah Live.
21. Grant, p. 111.
22. Man in the Music, p. 155; Remember The Time, dir. John Singleton, Dangerous: The Short Films (MJJ Productions, 1992) [on DVD].
23. Elena Oliete, ‘Michael, Are You OK? You’ve Been Hit by a Smooth Criminal: Racism, Controversy, and Parody in the Video Clips “Smooth Criminal” and “You Rock My World”’, Studies in Popular Culture. Vol. 29, No. 1 (October 2006) <http://www.jstor.org/stable/23418072>, pp. 57-76.
24. 1 Kings 21:13, NIV.
25. “Michael Jackson: The Man Inside ‘Moonwalker’ Video”. Sarasota Hernald Tribune. Google News. Retrieved April 6, 2010; Variety Staff(January 1, 1988). “Moonwalker”. Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
26. Grant, p. 159.
27. Michael Jackson Talks to… Oprah Live.
28. Randall Sullivan, Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson(Grove Press/Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012), p. 167.
29. Cascio, p. 73.
30. Grant, p. 55.
31. Grant, p. 172.
32. Jackson, p. 9.
33. At Large With Geraldo Rivera Interview. Fox News. 5 February 2005. – “I´ve travelled the world over eight times. I do as many hospitals and orphanages as I do concerts. But, of course, it´s not covered [by the press…] I´m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people.”
34. Jackson, p. 282 – ‘Often in the past performers have been tragic figures. A lot of the truly great people have suffered or died because of pressure and drugs[…] You feel cheated as a fan[…]’
35. Grant, p. 173.
36. Grant, p. 232.
37. Bush, p. 177 – ‘I dressed Michael Jackson every day of his fourteen-week trial[…] Michael became withdrawn, cynical and tired over these years.’
38. Oliete, p.71.
39. Grant, p. 106.
40. Jackson, p. 95.
41. Sari Shepphird, Michael Jackson & BDD: “Body Dysmorphic Disorder” <http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2009/07/michael-jackson-bdd-body-dysmorphic-disorder/> [accessed 15 May 2014].
42. Jackson, pp. 96-97.
43. At Large With Geraldo Rivera Interview.
44. Oxford Union Speech.
45. Grant, p. 275.
46. Bad 25(Liner Notes). MJJ Productions. Epic. 2012.
47. Thriller(Liner Notes). MJJ Productions. Epic. 1982.
48. Grant, p. 271.
49. Grant, p. 271.
50.Michael Jackson: The Making of Ghosts. VH1. 1997.
51. Vogel, p. 258-259.
52. Sullivan, pp. 400-404.
53. At Large With Geraldo RiveraInterview.
54. Richard Littlejohn, ‘Mob grief proves Britain is more wacko than Jacko’, Dailymail, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1196373/LITTLEJOHN-Mob-grief-proves-Britain-wacko-Jacko.html> [accessed 15 May 2014].
55. Michael Jackson’s This Is It. dir. Kenny Ortega (Columbia, 2009) [on DVD].
56. Katrina K Wheeler, ‘Distressed fans commit suicide over Michael Jackson’s death’, Examiner, <http://www.examiner.com/article/distressed-fans-commit-suicide-over-michael-jackson-s-death> [accessed 15 May 2014].
57. Bush, p. 61 – ‘…creating an illusion that his physical presence took up more space than it really did.’
58. Vogel, p. 22 – ‘…the benchmarks went on and on.’
59. Jesse Jackson Interviews Michael Jackson. 27 March 2005 – ‘I said, I’m just going to do a great album, because I love, em, the album Tchaikovsky did, The Nutcracker Suite, it’s an album where every song is like a great song. I said I wanted to do an album where every song is like a hit record[…]’
60. Dangerous(Liner Notes). MJJ Productions. Epic. 1991.