Michael Jackson: The Dual Facets of Stardom

We as an audience are enthralled by the work of a good artist, we are captivated by their charms and their talent and so appreciative of the end-product that is finally shown to us, that the hardwork and struggle behind that brilliant result is often neglected.

We are so consumed in it that it becomes a phenomenon, a style, a way of living, an inspiration for millions.

These thoughts came to my mind as I shuffled through the TV channels, flashing the stories about the life, death and the tremendous work of the legendary Michael Jackson, on his birthday(August 29) the other day. The hearts touched through his songs, the millions he entertained throughout his life that knew no boundaries, physical or political.

Michael Jackson was the epitome of such a phenomenon. He was not just a singer, he was an amazing performer, who could connect to his fans; he carved out his own style in the industry so well, that people call him the “King of Pop”, and rightly so. He raised the expectations from a singer-performer and pushed the bar of excellence higher. Even today, in dance studios across the world, one of the key styles in any curriculum is the pop n lock; even today people’s skills in dancing are tested and judged by how well they do their pirouettes and moonwalks.

When audiences like something, they desire it more. The urge and curiosity to find out more about those we admire, those who have touched our hearts is natural.

Rather, the desire is mutual. Talented people become stars by favourable response from audiences.It is the fans that make them successful and popular by encouraging them to deliver more.

In response to people’s appreciation and affection, our stars give back. More.

Initially, it was just through their work and their public life surrounding it, but eventually, tabloids and fans got access to the personal lives of stars, through various media. Sometimes, the intrusion into their private lives became a blessing in disguise for stars- it kept them in constant limelight, but often, the boundaries of morality and privacy were crossed.

Michael Jackson’s life had been under constant public glare. Of course, people wanted to know more about the star whose tunes everyone danced to.

But once the ugly, tangled and often, neurotic and confused real lives of stars are exposed, their aura and appeal diminish.

Because, after gaining all this knowledge, it finally turns out that stars are actual, real people as well, with real life-problems and issues, with highs and lows, with different seasons-the glorious summers and the cold winters and the gradual transition in between.

Michael Jackson had experienced all seasons in his life. From an average life, the dark knight rose above the circumstances and proved to be better than all his siblings, all the while, keeping a lot at stake, and losing a lot on his way to gain fame.

MJ was one of the first celebrities, in the proper sense of the term. All his life was on the camera. His highs and lows could be seen by the world in the comfort of their homes. Sometimes it was unwanted yet, inevitable. Such as when the news of the scandals in his life reached as far and wide as his songs and albums.However, in some instances, it can be a desperate plea to stay in the limelight. The rumours and publicity demoralising him were traced back to being started by him.

There was a child in him somewhere, who wanted approval and appreciation. His skin illnesses, his surgeries for societal acceptance reflected a need somewhere to be desired and wanted and needed. When serving the people becomes a priority over personal and family life, then, the need to be loved and appreciated and remembered by them also crops up. The strength to stand up to one’s fears and weaknesses and to accept oneself as they are, end up being subject to the love of the people.

We all need some idol to inspire us, some milestone to achieve. So do the stars. They also need something to live for, something that inspires them to work hard every day. Michael Jackson was one of the biggest philanthropists the world has seen. He truly gained happiness by helping others and it is because of this genuineness philanthropy that charity became a “cool” thing for all celebrities that followed.

For the walk of fame, a lot is put at stake. Very few are remembered as legends, as pioneers, as one of a kind. This attribution is much, much greater than all the controversies and judgement that the stars are subjected to. Unfortunately, today, many celebrities are cashing in on their status and not being known for their talent. But fame, like all other things that matter, is hard-earned. And the truly talented are ultimately remembered for their work and their invaluable contribution to their field.

Abhiruchi Chatterjee

Image Source [http://www.billboard.com/photos/stylus/502536-michael-jackson-617-409.jpg]