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The Man Behind The Mirror Essay

1768 words - 8 pages

Known for his iconic dance moves and hit songs, Michael Jackson is one of the music industries’ most extravagant and prodigious legends. But was Jackson’s life really as spotless as a “Smooth Criminal” or is there more to his “Human Nature”? From his successful childhood in the Jackson 5 to his outstanding solo career, Michael Jackson endured problematic and morbid situations. Michael stumbled upon painkiller addiction after badly being burnt shooting a commercial. Michael Jackson, although famous, struggled with self-esteem. He saw himself as lonely and at the apex of his Jackson 5 career, found himself walking through his neighborhood hoping to run into someone to talk to. But affecting his career the most was his strive for perfection. Because of his addiction, depression, self-consciousness, and hunger for perfection, Michael Jackson hampered his creative processes causing one of the most dramatic and controversial deaths.
As a dancer, singer, songwriter, and music producer, Michael Jackson had one of the most successful childhood careers. On August 29, 1958, Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana. He was born into an African American, working-class family from a father, Joseph, and mother, Katherine. Joseph and Katherine had eight children. Alongside Michael were Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy, and Janet. Most of their children had great music potential. Their father worked in the steel mill which was a tough, mind-numbing job. But, he played music as an escape. Joseph was in a local R&B band called the Falcons, and he played guitar. Michael’s mother, Katherine, worked in a department store but still had a passionate love for music. She grew up listening to western music in Alabama, where she was born. Though she struggled with polio as a child, she played clarinet and piano. With so much music history and background of the Jackson parents, five of the their children seemed to stand out.
The Jackson 5 was born in 1964 and was composed of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael. Signed under Berry Gordy, American record producer and songwriter, the Jackson 5 was one of the successful music acts in the 1970s. These adolescents were among the first black teen idols to appear to a white audience. But with hits such as “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, and “I’ll Be There”, the Jackson 5 endured harsh criticism.
Parts of this criticism came from their father. Joseph Jackson pushed his sons to succeed, but maybe too much. There were reports of Joseph Jackson using violence against his sons. As Michael grew older, his teen years in the Jackson 5 had some struggles. MJ said that his biggest struggle as a teenager did not involve recording or performing, but that it was, “right there in my mirror” and that “to a great degree, my identity as a person was tied to my identity as a celebrity”(Jackson 95). Michael got very shy and became embarrassed to meet people because his complexion was very bad.“My appearance began...

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