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Michael Jackson was an American singer-songwriter who became an international pop music icon prior to his death in June 2009, earning him the honorific nickname “King of Pop.” Online, Jackson is often remembered for his eccentric reputation, impressive stage presence and child molestation accusations.
Starting in 1965, Jackson began singing with his brothers in a band formed by their father Joseph named The Jackson Brothers. The following year, the group’s name was changed to The Jackson 5. In 1979, Jackson launched his solo career with the album Off the Wall. In 1983, Jackson’s released Thriller which went on to become the best-selling album of all time. Over the next 12 years, Jackson released several other successful albums, including Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).
In 2001, Sony Music Entertainment launched MichaelJackson.com, which initially contained an interactive Flash animation that allowed the user to navigate the site (shown below).
On June 21st, 2005, a Michael Jackson YouTube channel was created, which accumulated upwards of 7.5 million video views and 590,000 subscribers over the following nine years. On March 28th, 2007, the Videojug YouTube channel uploaded a instructional video demonstrating how to perform Jackson’s signature “moonwalk” dance move, garnering over 33.6 million views and 19,800 comments in the first eight years (shown below).
On December 19th, the official “Michael Jackson” Facebook page was launched, gaining more than 75 million likes in the next seven years. On July 6th, 2009, the @michaeljackson Twitter feed was created, gathering more than 1.42 million followers over the next five years.
On June 25th, 2009, Jackson was found dead at his mansion in Los Angeles, California. That day, Redditor wacrover submitted a link to the TMZ announcement of Jackson’s death, which gained over 4,800 points and 2,300 comments prior to being archived. The search engine Google initially interpreted the wave of Google “Michael Jackson” queries as a DDoS attack, blocking search results for the keywords for 30 minutes. Both Wikipedia and Twitter reported crashes, the latter of which received around 5,000 tweets-per-minute mentioning the pop star. The Internet company Akamai reported that worldwide Internet traffic was 11% higher than normal that day.
- The Robot is a street dance that imitates the sudden, jerky movements reminiscent of a robot or mannequin popularized by Jackson with his performance of the 1973 Jackson 5 song “Dancing Machine.”
- The Moonwalk is a dance technique which creates the illusion of being pulled backward while the dancer is trying to move forward. Jackson popularized the move after incorporating it with performances of the song “Billie Jean.”
- The Sideways Kick is a move Jackson would often use in a variety of dance routines.
- The Crotch Grab is a controversial gesture Jackson with often employ in performances accompanied by a loud yell.
- The Anti-Gravity Lean is a trick move popularized by Jackson in the 2009 music video for the song “Smooth Criminal.” During live performances, Jackson used a special pair of shoes that attached to the stage to execute the technique.
- The Spin is a dance technique that involves spinning around several times on the ball of one’s foot. It was widely used by Jackson in a number of his routines and music videos.
On May 13th, 2008, YouTuber FierceDeityXeroX uploaded a Pokemon battle parody video in which Michael Jackson performs his signature dance moves against several Pokemon and molests and Pokemon trainer (shown below). In six years, the video gained more than 14.9 million views and 34,700 comments.
Jackson earned the honorific nickname “King of Pop” as early 1984, following the worldwide success of Thriller, the best-selling album of all time as of June 2014. With hundreds of awards received, Jackson is the most-awarded recording artist in pop music history.
In the media, Jackson was often portrayed as an eccentric with rumors regarding his bizarre spending and lifestyle habits. After he was accused of sexually abusing children, Jackson became the subject of jokes and ridicule regarding his sexual orientation and alleged perversion.
In July 2007, a video was uploaded to YouTube featuring inmates from the Cebu Provinicial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Cebu Province, Philippines performing Jackson’s “Thriller” dance. On June 25th, 2009, the /r/michaeljackson subreddit was launched for discussions related to the deceased pop star. On July 8th, YouTuber pierrewikberg uploaded footage of a flash mob performing the dance for Jackson’s song “Beat It” at Sergels Torg in Stockholm, Sweden (shown below, right).
On June 23rd, 2011, the JPomichael YouTube channel uploaded an animated tribute to Jackson featuring a cartoon likeness of the deceased pop star (shown below, left). On August 27th, 2012, YouTuber Marquese Scott released a tribute video to Jackson in which he performs a choreographed dance to a dubstep remix of the song “Dirty Diana” (shown below, right).
Michael Jackson was born on August 29th, 1958 in Gary, Indiana as th eeight of ten children. He has stated that he had a troubled relationship with his father, who he claims physically and verbally abused him. In May 1994, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley. The pair divorced less than two years later.
Child Sexual Abuse Accusations
Jackson was accused of sexually molesting children on two separate occasions. In 1993, then 13-year-old Jordan Chandler accused Jackson of sexually abusing him. Jackson denied the allegations but reached a financial settlement with the Chandler family to resolve the matter in January 1994. In 2005, Jackson stood trial for the alleged sexual abuse of 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo and was found not guilty on all counts. In 1997, Jackson married his longtime friend Deborah Jeanne Rowe with whom he had two children before the pair divorced in 1999.
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