From Rolling Stone’s archives:
In the year[s] since Michael Jackson made his first national television appearance with his brothers at age 11, he has evolved from a singing and dancing soul music prodigy to the self-proclaimed but widely acknowledged “King of Pop” to one of the most widely ridiculed of all public figures.
That is a literally tragic transition. The so promising start:
And behind that:
From a young age Jackson was physically and mentally abused by his father, enduring incessant rehearsals, whippings and name-calling. Jackson’s abuse as a child affected him throughout his grown life. In one altercation — later recalled by Marlon Jackson — Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and “pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks”. Joseph would often trip up, or push the male children into walls. One night while Jackson was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Jackson suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.
Jackson first spoke openly about his childhood abuse in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. He said that during his childhood he often cried from loneliness and would sometimes get sick or start to regurgitate upon seeing his father. In Jackson’s other high profile interview, Living with Michael Jackson (2003), the singer covered his face with his hand and began crying when talking about his childhood abuse. Jackson recalled that Joseph sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed and that “if you didn’t do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you.”
And how should we see the later parts of his life? An evil pedophile? An obsessed person who had altered his body past reasonable boundaries? Someone of immense talent about to undertake a wildly success tour? I don’t know. What do you think?