Michael Jackson’s words were disseminated in liner notes, magazines and even a blog. His first published book was a 1988 autobiography, Moonwalk; the second, a children’s storybook based on Moonwalker (dir. Jerry Kramer, 1988) and the last, a 1992 publication called Dancing the Dream. ‘On Michael Jackson’s Dancing the Dream’ contextualises this collection of ‘poems and reflections’ within its author’s career and positions a work which Jackson described as ‘more autobiographical than Moonwalk’ as a pivotal moment in his career. The essay poses and answers, using emerging academic study of Jackson’s art, the following questions: ‘what exactly is Dancing the Dream’ and ‘how is it significant’?
Elizabeth Amisu is a postgraduate scholar of Early Modern English Literature. She is also a lecturer of English Language, English Literature and Film Studies. It is her goal to bring wider attention to Michael Jackson as artist by creating an academic model for the study of his art.
ON MICHAEL JACKSON’S ‘DANCING THE DREAM’
‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on…’
There is a pervasive misconception that Michael Jackson did not leave much more behind than ‘a few scattered memories’. This presumption stems from an acceptance of him as simply a commercial product, rather than an artist; a person who sold records through controversy and spectacle rather than dedication and learning. It is a symptom of the reductions his life was plagued with. In truth, the Jackson canon consists of several released songs and albums, upwards of forty short films, three books (including an autobiography) and hundreds of unreleased songs.
Dancing the Dream is, arguably, one of the best-kept “secrets” in Michael Jackson’s artistic back-catalogue. So secret in fact, that twenty-two years after its publication, Rolling Stone did not include it in their 2014 tribute issue. Nevertheless, it showcases the author’s most personal feelings on children, mortality and the human condition.
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Amisu, Elizabeth, On Michael Jackson’s ‘Dancing the Dream’, 7 July 2014, ‘elizabethamisu.com’, < http://elizabethamisu.com/post/91073957802/on-michael-jacksons-dancing-the-dream-dangerous>