Michael Jackson used symbols in his art numerous times and the symbol „prison“ cited Jackson in his own special way for decades.
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„Sometimes you feel like you’re in prison!“Michael Jackson, 1997. 1
„Becoming successful means, you become a prisoner.“Michael Jackson.
The symbol „prison“ in Michael Jackson’s art
1983 in BILLIE JEAN, Jackson symbolizes prison as the price of fame: Jackson is to be seen in a „bedroom“, a symbol of privacy. Here, the tabloids invent the „Billie Jean scandal.“ Other inventions in Jacksons real life have followed. 2
In 1988 in Michael Jackson’s MOONWALKER, he is once again on the run from people chasing him (symbolizing the army of reporters from the tabloid press?)
1988 Michael Jackson’s MOONWALKER
1988 Jackson in LEAVE ME ALONE. Jackson shows us in this short film that he is caught in that entertainment industry that was his life. Imprisoned. Tied up. Trapped.
Michael Jackson behind the bars of BAD, 1987, his short film about racism and prejudices. He repeats the symbol „prison“ in the 2001 film YOU ROCK MY WORLD. The boss of the entertainment forced him for the last time: „Show me what you’ve got.“
Michael Jackson and the „prison“ in his 1991 film aptly named IN THE CLOSET.
1997, Michael Jackson symbolically behind bars in BLOOD ON THE DANCEFLOOR. In the 1995 „prison“ version of THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US Jackson dropped the symbolism and literally showed himself in prison. it also seems that he took over the handcuffs from 1995 into BLOOD ON THE DANCEFLOOR.
A life in prison can be symbolized in several ways. Michael Jackson was trapped in the entertainment industry on the 1991 DANGEROUS cover and in SCREAM, 1995.
The public and the symbol „prison“ in Michael Jackson’s art
But in his art Michael Jackson not only shows himself being in prison, his viewers/his public are also behind bars. However, it all depends on the point of view.
- Michael Jackson interview Barbara Walters, 1997, youtube.com/watch?v=477dXVOLl3I
- Screenshots: on this website taken from „Michael Jackson’s Vision [Deluxe Edition] [3 DVDs], released 2010, https://www.michaeljackson.com/news/michael-history-13/