Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer fondly dubbed the King of Pop. He is one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. But did you know that there is a reason behind his obsession with his appearance?
Michael Jackson’s father would often torment him about his physical appearance as a child. He would call him “fat nose.” This led to Jackson having four rhinoplasties and excessively fussing about his face, skin, and body for the rest of his adult life.
The Early Life of Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. He was the eighth of the ten kids in the Jackson home. They lived in a small two-bedroom home on Jackson Street. His mother, Katherine Ester Jackson, played the clarinet and piano. She dreamed of becoming a country-and-western performer as she worked part-time at Sears. His father, Joseph Walter “Joe” Jackson, was a former boxer who played the guitar at a local rhythm and blues band. He also worked as a crane operator.
In 1964, Michael and Marlon Jackson joined their older siblings in their father’s band called Jackson Brothers. Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine were the backup musicians that played the congas and tambourines. While it may have seemed to be a fun family activity, Joe Jackson was very harsh to his children. He would often belt their hands if they made any mistakes during rehearsals. Joe even admitted to whipping Michael regularly. It was not considered abuse back then, but it was a common way to discipline the children growing up.
Later in the same year, Michael started sharing the lead vocals with his older brother Jermaine. They also changed the group’s name to The Jackson 5. The brothers went on to record several songs up until 1973. Their records started to plummet down the charts by 1972, and they disbanded in 1973. On the other hand, Michael and Jermaine’s solo careers were quite successful. (Source: The Guardian)
Michael Jackson’s Appearance
Michael Jackson has been an entertainer for over four decades. He led a successful career as part of The Jackson 5 and later as a solo artist. As an adult, he began to change his appearance. He would often talk about his father’s abuse and how Joe Jackson would constantly torment him about his looks. Michael would then say that he never had the chance to enjoy his childhood. Somehow, this took a toll on his mental health, which led to him obsessing about his appearance.
Michael Jackson suffered from a condition called vitiligo. It is characterized by depigmentation of the skin occurring in patches. While the cause of vitiligo is unknown, it is believed to be triggered by an environmental factor. He initially tried to cover the spots with black make-up thinking the patches would harm his career. After the media implied that he was trying hard to be white, he spoke about his condition.
There is no such thing as skin bleaching. I’ve never seen it.Michael Jackson on the Oprah Winfrey Show
In addition, to correcting his skin’s color, Michael also had several nose jobs done. In his 1988 autobiography Moonwalk, he wrote that he had two rhinoplasties done, but after his death, it was revealed that he had four since his cartilage collapsed and they had to rebuild his nose. Because of the health issues he faced with his nose, and he had been quite sensitive to pain. (Source: ABC News)