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Singer-songwriter Michael Jackson's award-winning career as the King of Pop transformed the face of pop music and popular culture. He released the best-selling album in history, Thriller, in 1982. He died unexpectedly in 2009.
The Jackson 5 - Full Biography (45:17)
The Jackson 5 - On Tour (1:38)
The Jackson 5 - Discovery (1:30)
In 1969, five young brothers from Gary, Indiana stepped out into the spotlight and changed the music world forever. Through Berry Gordy's Motown, The Jackson 5 recorded some of the most recognizable tunes in pop music history.
Michael Jackson and his brothers lived their childhoods on the road and toured in a volkswagon bus.
From the very beginning, no young star was as talented or passionate as Michael Jackson.
Smokey Robinson recalls how Michael Jackson and his brothers were discovered by Motown.
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In a later interview, Jackson explained that "We were waiting for thousands of fans down below, and they were chanting they wanted to see my child, so I was kind enough to let them see. I was doing something out of innocence." But many were unforgiving of the star's behavior, with former fans and media outlets clamoring to have Child Protective Services take Jackson's children from him.
Jackson's reputation was served another blow in 2003 with the television documentary,
Living with Michael Jackson. British journalist Martin Bashir spent several months with Jackson, and he got Jackson to discuss his relationships with children. He admitted that he continued to have children sleepover at his ranch, even after the 1993 allegations. Jackson said that sometimes he slept with the children in his bed. "Why can't you share your bed? That's the most loving thing to do, to share your bed with someone," Jackson told Bashir.
Jackson faced more legal woes in 2004 when he was arrested on charges related to incidents with a 13-year-old boy the previous year. Facing 10 counts in all, he was charged with lewd conduct with a minor, attempted lewd conduct, administering alcohol to facilitate molestation, and conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. The resulting 2005 trial was a media circus with fans, detractors and camera crews surrounding the courthouse. More than 130 people testified, including Macaulay Culkin who appeared on Jackson's behalf. He said that he had been friends with Jackson as a young teen. While he had stayed over at the Neverland Ranch, he told the court that Jackson never tried to molest him. Jackson's accuser also appeared via videotape and described how Jackson had given him wine and molested him.
On June 14, 2005, Jackson was acquitted of all charges. His reputation, however, was effectively destroyed, and his finances were in shambles. Thanks to mounting legal bills, the singer no longer had a bank account and was unable to maintain even his most basic finances. Jackson soon found refuge in his friendship with the prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who wired Jackson the money needed to pay Neverland's utility bills. He then invited the pop star to his country as a personal guest.
In Bahrain, the prince provided Jackson with more than $7 million, not including living expenses. He also built the singer a recording studio, hired him a "motivational guru" and helped Jackson to entertain family at Christmas. In return, Jackson promised to collaborate with the prince on a new album on Al-Khalifa's record label, as well as write an autobiography and create a stage play.
None of the work materialized, however, and Jackson soon faced litigation from his friend for reneging on his promises. In even greater financial straits, Jackson defaulted on the $23.5 million loan owed on his Neverland Ranch in 2008. Unable to part with certain items, including the crystal gloves he used in performances, Jackson sued to block the auction of some of his personal items from the home the following year.
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Many African-Americans made their name performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, including Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. The roster of talented artists who made their careers after a successful amateur night at the Apollo grew so large, that the venue earned a reputation as the place to jump-start the career of an ambitious hopeful. Other performers, like Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, came to the theater after experiencing big professional success, adding further credibility to the historic New York concert hall. Explore the biographies of some of the more notable African-Americans who stepped out onto the Apollo stage, making entertainment history.
Apollo Legends 25 people in this group
Celebrity Bookings 31 people in this group
What is it with celebrities and sex scandals? Like love and marriage, famous people and sex scandals just seem to go hand in hand. They're some of society's most powerful people, but these actors, politicians, athletes and musicians just can't seem to control their desires. These days it seems like if you open the closet of nearly any celebrity, some kind of (sexy) skeleton is sure to fall out. Here are the famous people who have had their naughty indiscretions—often plastered all over the front page of the newspaper.
Famous People Involved in Sex Scandals 105 people in this group
Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
Explore our curated collections of African-American figures, including: