A big issue in the news lately has been the shocking documentary called “Leaving Neverland”. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
And I, like many people, used to love Michael Jackson. I still have his History album on cassette (audio tape, for you young’uns. Google it) and used to listen to it a lot throughout my childhood and sometimes still do.
Now, I’m not going to comment on the documentary. Yes it’s shocking beyond belief and everybody seems to have an opinion on it.
But there was something the director of the documentary said which sounded weird to me. He said:
“We’re going to have to re‑evaluate the way we see Michael Jackson… People will have to listen to his music in the knowledge that he was a prolific child rapist. If they’re comfortable doing that, fine. If they’re not, well perhaps listen to something else for a while.”
Then I heard that many radio stations in New Zealand have declared that they will not be playing Michael Jackson songs on the radio anymore. Radio stations that had played his music as number 1 of the top 500 songs of the ’90s for several consecutive years.
I think this is kind of ridiculous.
People are trying to make others feel guilty for listening to music. As though they somehow become a privy to his crimes or his character just because they play his music on their phones or radio stations. The music isn’t tainted.
I don’t get why his music has to take a hit. Especially 10 years after he has been dead. What about the 30+ years they were being played and listened to around the world when he was alive and doing the things he’s currently being accused of? Just because there wasn’t enough “proof” of what he was doing when he was alive, his music was okay to be played, but since this documentary, suddenly it’s tainted? These allegations were around when he was alive too, you know.
People seem to be acting as though his songs are no good anymore. And anyone who listens to them are also somehow supporting his paedophilia.
And that makes me very confused.
He is not his songs. The two are mutually exclusive, in my opinion.
I listen to Bad and Beat it and appreciate the music. The music alone. Even if they were sung by someone else, they’re still great songs.
You can’t associate an art with a person to the point where you have emotional attachment with that person. If you believe that every famous person is good and pure, you’re living in a very naive world. Everyone has something hideous about them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t super talented and can’t produce something that everyone loves.
Every singer/actor you like probably has something you would find horrifying about them. About their character. You just don’t know about it.
I don’t think there’s any point mixing the two up. He can be a terrible person and still make great music. It’s like that saying about giving the devil it’s due. And listening to his music isn’t something you should feel guilty about. They’re still bops. You’re not supporting his crimes or anything. You can still listen to his music and not approve of the things he did when he was alive.
Just appreciate the art for what it is.