We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.

The Misunderstood Power of Michael Jackson’s Music

His influence today proves him to be one of the greatest creators of all time, but Jackson’s art—like that of many black artists—still doesn’t get the full respect it deserves. 

michael jackson ap images 615.jpg

AP Images

More than two and a half years after his untimely death, Michael Jackson continues to entertain. Cirque du Soleil’s crowd-pleasing Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour is currently crisscrossing North America, while a recent Jackson-themed episode of Glee earned the show a 16 percent jump in ratings and its highest music sales of the season. Even Madonna’s halftime Super Bowl spectacle harkened back to a trend first initiated by Jackson.But there is another crucial part of Jackson’s legacy that deserves attention: his pioneering role as an African-American artist working in an industry still plagued by segregation, stereotypical representations, or little representation at all.

 

Jackson never made any qualms about his aspirations. He wanted to be the best. When his highly successful Off the Wall album (in 1981, the best-selling album ever by a black artist) was slighted at the Grammy Awards, it only fueled Jackson’s resolve to create something better. His next album, Thriller, became the best-selling album by any artist of any race in the history of the music industry. It also won a record-setting seven Grammy awards, broke down color barriers on radio and TV, and redefined the possibilities of popular music on a global scale.

 

Yet among critics (predominantly white), skepticism and suspicion only grew. “He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables,” predicted James Baldwin in 1985, “for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.”

 

Baldwin proved prophetic. In addition to a flood of ridicule regarding his intelligence, race, sexuality, appearance, and behavior, even his success and ambition were used by critics as evidence that he lacked artistic seriousness. Reviewsfrequently described his work as “calculating,” “slick,” and “shallow.” Establishment rock critics such as Dave Marsh and Greil Marcus notoriously dismissed Jackson as the first major popular music phenomenon whose impact was more commercial than cultural. Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Bruce Springsteen, they claimed, challenged and re-shaped society. Jackson simply sold records and entertained.

READ MORE:   http://m.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/02/the-misunderstood-power-of-michael-jacksons-music/252751/

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3 responses

  1. Zen Merchant

    MICHAEL JACKSON is truly the KING OF ENTERTAINMENT! and everybody knows it! the whole world is still mourning for him and missing him!! he had morals that no other entertainer has and the the BEST SHOW ON EARTH he is loved by all ages the world over !! WE WANT YOU BACK MICHAEL !!!

    February 9, 2012 at 1:34 AM

  2. Zen Merchant

    WHY ISN’T Mj’S PICTURE BEING USED??

    February 9, 2012 at 1:38 AM

  3. michael jackson did much more than entertain and sell records, he was a humanitarium (oops if my spelling is off). he gave to charity like no other entertainer, he spoke publicly about how to make a better world for all of us. his pleas were in his music as well. he was able to get millions of people to listen and learn about what was truly going on in our world and he taught us to open our eyes and hearts to knowledge that we would have never learned in books or even by our own president. he taught us about love and generousity and that still continues to grow. things are making more sense about what is going on around us and it is because michael stood up and spoke. so, with that said, michael jackson is much more than music and entertainment and selling records, he is setting records.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:41 AM

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