Michael Jackson Ten Years Later — Can We Separate the Music From the Man?
Think about it. You may not be purposely listening to him, but he's still everywhere. You'll catch a quick bit at a mall, a store, a sporting event, or even an elevator. Michael Jackson passed away ten years ago and since then the man and his life have been challenged and debated in courtrooms, magazines, and television. The King of Pop's legacy is challenged continually, leading many to forget the music and focus on the man.
While still alive, Jackson had been accused of inappropriate behavior by several young boys, but it was an explosive HBO documentary released earlier this year, 'Leaving Neverland,' that put renewed attention on the allegations against the Jackson. It left millions of fans around the world struggling with one big question -- is it possible to love, listen to, or even buy Michael Jackson's incredible works of music, and also believe he molested little boys.
When we look at the music the numbers are astounding. Jackson won hundreds of awards. Actually, he won more than any other popular music recording artist to date. His awards include 13 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Legend Award as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He won a record 26 American Music Awards (including the "Artist of the Century" and "Artist of the 1980s"). Add on 13 number one hits in his solo career, which is more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era with estimated sales of over 350 million records worldwide. That made him one of the best selling artists in history. He was a musical genius.
Much like R. Kelly and his fall from grace due to new perceptions of long-standing sexual allegations, many radio stations have stopped play Michael Jackson's music and once loyal fans have stopped listening to the sounds that filled their playlists. Is it too difficult to separate the music from the man? The power of the internet and social media has given everyone a chance to comment, to spread their thoughts and to pick and choose what they want to believe. And more important, what they listen to.
For many that can remember the days of the Jackson 5, that sweet little boy who took the stage of the 'Ed Sullivan Show' back on December 14th, 1969, and captivated the world, will be who they remember. The Michael Jackson Estate released a statement Tuesday morning that said in part, “When mastery of a craft is the measure, Michael Jackson's divine abilities remain the yardstick by which others are measured and against which today’s masters still measure themselves.”