Michael Jackson The King of Pop

Sources: The Examiner – By Vicki Davey | All Things Michael


This article is to celebrate my four year anniversary as a writer for the Examiner.com. Because I started as an African American History writer, I believe this anniversary article should highlight one of the greatest people in African American history – my all-time favorite Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. Why him? Well, because it has always felt like we grew up together. I watched him perform with his brothers– my eyes wide in awe as this little boy my own age was on the TV — dancing his little legs off to “ABC” and other songs he and his brothers made famous. Michael Jackson and his brothers became so famous that they were on the covers of magazines,had their own cartoon series, met with and performed for presidents and queens, and toured the world many times. Michael Jackson developed his own genre of dance to accompany his amazing music and had the whole world dancing with him. He was famous beyond imagination, and his fans waited hours just to get a glimpse of him as he appeared for his concerts around the world.

From the age of five, until he died in his early 50s, this icon of pop was beloved by his true followers. If you put yourself in Michael Jackson’s shoes, you might see the other side of the story of his famous life of glam and glitter. He was a little boy who could never simply go outside and play like the rest of us kids. Playing tag, hide & seek, or dodge ball in someone’s backyard, handball against a neighbor’s garage door, basketball in the driveway on the corner, or a friendly game of kick-ball in the neighborhood cul-de-sac – it was impossible for this young boy to enjoy any of the simple things most of us enjoyed in that era of history. The Jacksons’ father is known to have been very strict with the family, and it is said that they were always working either on dance routines, in music rehearsals, or traveling to their next gig. I’m sure they found moments of fun, but it has been reported that it was basically all work and no play for this family.

When he was a little older, this now very famous young man built his own fantasy land where he could play whenever he wanted to – and he called it Neverland Ranch. At his ranch, Michael Jackson had exotic pets and a fairy tale playground with amusement park rides that was probably the next best thing to Disneyland! He brought underprivileged children to his Ranch so they could enjoy the beauty, the exotic animals, and enjoy the rides and fun he had created. Of course other children wanted to come over and play — and when they did, the rumors began. People began accusing Michael Jackson of things I prayed he never did. Through reports from close friends like Brooke Shields, Michael Jackson was just a big innocent kid with a Peter Pan complex who wanted to live out his dream of being a “real boy” with friends. I believe those people who accused him of such atrocities were exploiting his kind nature and were opportunists who only saw dollar signs when they were welcomed into his fold. The media tried their best to blitz Michael Jackson, and he was merely a target for a media that has tainted or ruined numerous celebrity lives with their vicious gossip and nasty headlines. For me, I choose to remember that boy on the stage singing and dancing his heart out.

He was once quoted to say: “Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars? Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,” people would say, “Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a single word that comes out of his mouth.”

Michael Jackson was not only known for his music, having earned numerous awards that created music history, but Jackson was also known for his work as an actor and a published author of books. Michael Jackson has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts with organizations such as “Heal the World Foundation” which he founded in 1992, and for his efforts around the world with the HIV/AIDs virus.

I grew up dancing to Michael Jackson’s music, singing along with him in the car, using his music in my own fitness classes to inspire others to get up and exercise, and to lull me to sleep at night. I was fortunate to go with some friends to Dodger Stadium for the family’s Victory Tour back in 1984 (their last tour together), and was in my glory as I sat down front on the grass with my friends, Jan and Francisco. There were a lot of famous people there honoring the King of Pop and his brothers as they danced and sang the night away. The Jacksons were all good, but as always, Michael had something special that just made him stand out from all the rest. He was, after all, dubbed the King of Pop, and he certainly lived up to the name.

Michael Jackson was inspirational. He was a good son, brother, father, and friend; and he was taken from us much too soon. I remember thinking when I heard the announcement of his death on TV, that it had to be a hoax on Saturday Night Live, because surely he could not be taken from us so soon. But, as we all well know, it was sadly true. Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson, and thank you for the wonderful memories.


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Flint Native Lisa Campbell Chronicles Michael Jackson’s Life Story

Source: Mlive.com – By William E. Ketchum III

Flint native Lisa Campbell poses in front of the Michael Jackson “museum” in her Phoenix, Ariz. home. Campbell has researched Jackson for several years and has appeared on the likes of CNN and E! Entertainment Television for her books about him. Her latest, “Michael Jackson: The Complete Story of the King of Pop,” hit the stores on Nov. 9, 2012.Courtesy Photo | Sharon Stambolos

FLINT, MI — A wealth of information about Michael Jackson is available with a quick Google search of the entertainment icon’s name, but that doesn’t mean that all of it is true.

With her new book, a Genesee County native hopes to tell the singer’s life story to anyone willing to listen.

Flint native Lisa Campbell’s adoration for Michael Jackson began in 1979, with the release of the singer’s breakthrough record “Off The Wall.” Ever since, she has read, watched, researched and collected just about everything related to the King of Pop.

Her home in Phoenix, Ariz., where she moved with her husband six years ago due to a job opportunity for him, has an entire room dedicated to the singer. Some would call it a shrine, but Campbell affectionately calls it a “museum:” a large video library, a Bic lighter with Jackson’s likeness, postage stamps, promotional posters, the original animation film from the Jackson 5 cartoon series, and much more.

So when Campbell saw false information regularly published about Jackson, she felt like she could be a more reliable source.

For example: many believe that Jackson won eight Grammys for the classic album “Thriller” in 1984, but Campbell says that wasn’t the case. Only seven were for “Thriller,” while the eighth was for his work on a children’s recording of a storybook for Steven Spielberg’s film “E.T.”

Also, the story about Dianna Ross discovering the Jackson 5, she says, is untrue; it was only a rumor that Motown spread to help the group get more attention. The group was actually discovered, she claims, by Bobby Taylor, of the group Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers.

“I was continuing to research about him, and I’d see things that were more and more incorrect,” Campbell said. “I thought, I could write a better book than this. So I actually did it.”

The Flint Central High School and University of Michigan-Flint graduate penned “Michael Jackson: The King of Pop” in 1989, when Jackson was touring for his album “Bad.”

She sent two copies of the books to Jackson’s office in Los Angeles: one for him to keep, and one for him to sign and give back.

She got back more than she expected.

“Michael’s manager called my house, and said that Michael flipped over my books. He loved them,” she said. “He had his publicist call me and work with me in promoting the book.”

Campbell appeared on CNN and talk shows by Vicki Lawrence, Patrice Berry, and later, E! Entertainment Television. She also said that she received three dozen red roses on her birthday from Jackson’s camp.

She was scheduled to be flown out to Los Angeles to attend an award ceremony that Jackson would be honored at, but he was slammed with the child abuse allegations, and he asked to be withdrawn from the event.

Later, Jackson gave her perhaps the biggest acknowledgement of all by listing her name in the “Thank Yous” section of his album HIStory, on the same page as legends such as Quincy Jones and Paul McCartney.

“I had no idea (that I would be listed), I just bought my copy on the first day of release. I read the ‘Thank Yous’ because I like to know who all those people are,” she said. “It was beyond any of my highest expectations. I hoped I’d somehow know that Michael was aware of my work, but he was so gracious with me and so nice in everything that he did for me.”

Amidst the criminal charges Jackson faced, Campbell wrote “Michael Jackson: The King of Pop’s Darkest Hour.”

Both of her first books are largely out of print, but after mourning the singer’s death, she decided to edit, rewrite and combine her first two books to compile “Michael Jackson: The Complete Story of the King of Pop,” which hit digital retailers such as Amazon on Friday, Nov. 9.

The book chronicles Jackson’s entertainment career, philanthropic endeavors, his child molestation accusations, the global response of his death, and the continuation of his legacy through trustees of his estate.

She considers it the definitive account of his life and career.

“I thought if I could change someone’s perspective who thinks of him as a freak show,” she said, “that it was a worthwhile project.”