Michael Jackson: 10 Years After His Death, a Murky Legacy

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It has been a decade since Michael Jackson passed away.

That means ten years for fans to mourn, but also ten years for some fans to reconsider their feelings about the late King of Pop.

Earlier this year, the Leaving Neverland documentary aired.

The accusations and revelations made by MJ's former defenders shook Jackson fans and family to their cores.

Chilling descriptions of a sexual predator were hard for some to reconcile with the cheerful innocense that Jackson displayed in life.

Now, ten years after the world mourned his death, so many wonder how they should feel about the music, the memory, and the man himself.

1. Remembering Michael Jackson

Remembering Michael Jackson
On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson passed away at the age of 50. The cause of death was an accidental overdose.

2. It has been 10 years

It has been 10 years
But, far from the outcry of despair and mourning that arose in 2009, many of the King of Pop's remaining fans aren't sure how they should feel -- about his music, about the anniversary of his death, or about him.

3. But what about his family?

But what about his family?
His personal legacy is one thing, but Michael was only the most famous member of a very famous family -- music royalty.

4. Katherine Jackson, the matriarch

Katherine Jackson, the matriarch
Reports have said that Michael's death personally devastated Katherine and that she has never recovered from this loss. Whatever he was, he was also her son.

5. And now?

And now?
In recent years, reports have said that Katherine is at the epicenter of every family power struggle because she controls so much of the vast Jackson family fortune.

6. Michael's siblings are still struggling to cope

Michael's siblings are still struggling to cope
La Toya Jackson recently consulted a reality TV medium, Tyler Henry, in the hopes of better understanding Michael's accidental death.

7. And there's Michael's father, Joe

And there's Michael's father, Joe
Just nine years and two days after Michael's death, Joe Jackson died after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was surrounded by loved ones, including his grandchildren.

8. Joe was deeply loved, though controversial

Joe was deeply loved, though controversial
Many horror stories have described Joe Jackson as a tyrant who used pain and abuse to mold his children into the talented performers that they are. Many believe that the damage that he inflicted defined Michael for life. But to his grandchildren, he was their beloved grandfather. Even Michael reconciled with Joe during life.

9. Prince Jackson

Prince Jackson
Prince is Michael's eldest of three. Prince is now a university graduate who loves motorcycles, cars, and his siblings. He also has a YouTube channel where he and his younger brother review recent films.

10. These sibling bonds are powerful

These sibling bonds are powerful
Losing a parent at a young age can be devastating, especially for celebrity kids. The trauma can either force them apart or bring them together. Prince, Paris, and Blanket stuck together.

11. Paris Jackson

Paris Jackson
Paris is the most visible of Michael's children, in part because of her successful career in modeling and acting, but also because of her social media presence. She loves spirituality, environmentalism, and has zero chill when it comes to clapping back against rumors.

12. Paris has also struggled

Paris has also struggled
According to reports, Paris has struggled with self-harm, suicide attempts, and alcohol abuse. She had a very close bond with her father, and has received multiple tattoos in his memory.

13. Fortunately, she's not alone

Fortunately, she's not alone
In addition to her siblings, Paris also has emotional support from her godfather, Macaulay Culkin.

14. She also has a career

She also has a career
We mentioned her modeling work and acting. Just this week, it was announced that a new season of Scream, titled Scream: Resurrection, will air later this summer, and Paris will be featured in multiple episodes.

15. And then there's Blanket*

And then there's Blanket*
*Blanket, whose name caused a considerable stir among fans, now goes by Bigi these days. Bigi is 17 years old.

16. It sounds like he's doing really well

It sounds like he's doing really well
In part because he is a minor, Bigi is much less visible to the public than his older siblings -- which is great. But his interests include martial arts and video games. Good for him!

17. But they knew Michael as a beloved relative

But they knew Michael as a beloved relative
Others remember Michael Jackson very differently, and that is what makes his legacy so powerfully, painfully complicated.

18. Leaving Neverland left its mark

Leaving Neverland left its mark
Early this year, "Leaving Neverland" captivated audiences. It was a chilling documentary telling the stories of two men who had, many years ago, defended Michael Jackson in court when he was accused of grooming and molesting young fans.

19. Wade Robson

Wade Robson
Wade had testified in MJ's defense in court, but would later describe how he had been carefully groomed to do so.

20. It was eye-opening even for MJ's most devoted fans

It was eye-opening even for MJ's most devoted fans
Ten years is a long time for fans to go without their erstwhile "hero" and to mature and consider things.

21. And we can't forget the effects of #MeToo

And we can't forget the effects of #MeToo
In the '90s and the early '00s, many were incredulous at the idea that Michael could have been a serial predator while putting on such a friendly persona and while leaving some people in his orbit, who might look like ideal victims, untouched. After #MeToo, a lot of people realize that the rich and powerful can easily hide who they really are.

22. James Safechuck had his own story to tell

James Safechuck had his own story to tell
He specifically recalled how Michael had allegedly "rewarded" him for specific sex acts by buying him expensive jewelry.

23. He describes the system that they had worked out

He describes the system that they had worked out
Safechuck describes going into jewelry shops and pretending that James' hand was a perfect match for a woman's that that they were buying a gift for her. He still has a number of these rings.

24. it's hard to think of MJ the same way again

it's hard to think of MJ the same way again
He is still honored as the King of Pop by a number of music institutions, and his influence upon the world of music cannot be questioned.

25. It's difficult to separate the man from the art

It's difficult to separate the man from the art
Some feel that his passing makes that easier -- that they can enjoy MJ's music and even performances, safe in the knowledge that they're not supporting a man accused of such terrible things. Others just feel disgusted. Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves how we feel about MJ, his music, and his legacy.

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Michael Jackson Biography

Michael Jackson mug shot
Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, with the best-selling album of all-time and more than a dozen massive hits. After years of physical... More »
Born
Died
Birthplace
Gary, Indiana
Full Name
Michael Joseph Jackson