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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Jacksons: An American Dream


















"We've come a long, long way from 2300 Jackson Street, when my brothers and I used to long for a color T.V. We weren't beaten down by poverty, and we're not going to be beaten down by fame, either."
When the news of Michael Jackson's death reverberated across the globe, I was devastated into silence. You mean to say that we will never hear any new music from the King of Pop? Never will I see him appear again in his shiny patent leather shoes, sparkly white glove, and feathered fedora. No one can ever replace his music, his unmistakable falsetto and magical moves. His endless talent is undeniable, it's genius, and it's his.
For the past few weeks, I kept getting the question--"You're not going to blog about MJ?" Truth is, I didn't want to actually accept the news of his death. I also didn't know how to include it in a movie blog. But this week, I got my chance:
I was one of the very few folks who hadn't ever watched the entire 1992 saga The Jacksons: An American Dream. After Michael's passing, I felt there was no better time to catch it when it came on this week (as a two-parter, thankfully) on TVOne. Though the five-hour movie only recaptured the time up until right after the amazing Thriller album, it did show Michael's fragile yet extraordinary childhood years with The Jackson 5, his heartbreaking relationship with his father, and just how wildly successful he and his brothers became--from the fans, to moving on up from Gary, Indiana to Encino, California to, of course, the undeniably amazing music.
Coming up in 60s during the time when groups like The Osmonds and the Beatles stole the hearts of young teenagers everywhere, Joe Jackson was able to divert all attention to his talented five sons, who just so happened to be Black.
Though of course I didn't like how it all went down with Joe ruling with an iron fist (and his infidelity), but he did what no other man had managed to accomplish during that time--manage the most successful Black male group in the 60s and 70s. You gotta give it to him for that. But it certainly came with a price--the alienation of his children from himself (even having them call him by his first name adds fuel to the fire), and virtually stripping them of a regular childhood. It especially took its toll on little Michael, the ever-sensitive but wickedly talented seventh Jackson kid, who later went on to become the King of Pop and forever live in our hearts.

May he finally rest in peace.

Don't miss TVOne's fantastic week-long tribute to MJ all this week at 9pm on TVOne.

[No rating today, folks.]

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