Ten years after death, MJ is finally dead to me
Michael Jackson lived for 51 years, he worked for 46 years out of them. Creating soul-touching music, changing lives, inspiring generations. They don't make superstars like him anymore. The man defines the word genius, and he wasn't a genius like Albert Einstein or Sir Isaac Newton whose work (if I may say so) won't appeal to masses. He was a rage, in life and in death. His work reached many people, his hands reached many kids. A decade after his death, Michael Jackson is finally dead to me. Here's why.
But, why are we talking about MJ today?
No body understands the full implications of child abuse. Does the child know what is happening to him? Would the survivor overcome the trauma as an adult? Would he grow up to become an abuser himself? Does the cycle of abuse ever stop? But, where your mind doesn't reach, art does. Go watch Leaving Neverland documentary to understand how abuse changes your childhood, adulthood, you and your loved ones. Permanently. Irreparably. Irrevocably.
The artist can never be separated from his art
The two-part documentary revolves around two men - Wade Robson and James Safechuck- now in their 30s, who were abused by MJ when they were seven and ten respectively. Seven and ten. 7 and 10. The crime is incredibly gory, but what do you do when the criminal is MJ, who was an adjective and not a person while you were growing up? Can you still be an admirer of his art? Or do you cancel his art?
How do I cancel his art?
Cancel culture is a term used to "refer to the phenomenon of 'canceling' or no longer morally, financially, and/or digitally supporting people - usually celebrities - or things that many have deemed unacceptable or problematic."
Cancel culture v/s Justice culture
Like Amanda Marcotte pointed out, Cancel culture exists because Justice culture has failed miserably. The first allegations of child abuse against MJ surfaced in 1993 and the last in 2003. Can you imagine mustering infinite courage to raise your voice against the biggest superstar, and then losing the case to arguably the biggest paedophile? Law has rarely punished the rich and mighty celebrities (looking at you, Salman Khan). Therefore, Cancel culture is a commoner's way to remove the word "alleged".
What happens to his legacy? He will "moonwalk" through it
And, now the most important question - what will happen to MJ's legacy, a man so loved that his fans used to call him by his first name? There are two possible scenarios: His fans will defend him endlessly, question the motives of the victims, keep loving him the way only his fans do. Or people are convinced that he was a molester. And, then what? The man is dead. Meanwhile, here's a fun fact: According to Forbes, MJ's total career pretax earnings, adjusted for inflation are $4.2 billion.
Am I a bad person if I love his music?
You can't erase a person like MJ from your memory, you can't live in a world where his songs would never be played, you can't train your mind to not like his music, and you can't provide justice to the countless kids he abused. But, you can stop celebrating the erstwhile 'King of Pop'.