Micheal Jackson and his brothers were forced to practice for hours. Their father used a belt or a branch every time they got things wrong.
Trigger Warning: Corporal punishment, child abuse
The scars of a broken childhood remain forever. No matter how much you grow or mature, a part of you still looks behind the hurtful experiences of the past that traumatized you. The King of Pop Michael Jackson, unfortunately, had such a childhood. Though he caught the attention of people at a very young age with his wide smile and impeccable talent through the Jackson 5, Jackson's young mind was wounded by his father's abuse. As time progressed, the singer created a name of his own but his newfound success did not change the pain of his troubled childhood.
In 1993, he mustered the courage to speak about his father, Joe Jackson, and how his brutal parenting affected him as a young boy. Speaking to Oprah, the singer stated that his father pushed him and his siblings to work hard and rehearse for long hours. He claimed that his father would sit with a belt in hand while they practiced and punished them with it if things didn't go well.
"If you didn't do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you. I love my father, but I don't know him. I don't know if I was his golden child or whatever it was. Some may call it a strict disciplinarian or whatever, but he was very strict. He was very hard. Just a look would scare… but I do forgive him," said the late artist, according to Mirror Online.
While Joe was behind the success of the Jackson 5, he forgot to give Michael and his siblings the love of a father. Jermaine, Michael's brother and a member of the band said, "None of us can remember him holding us or cuddling us or telling us 'I love you'," according to The Guardian.
On discovering his children's musical talent, Joe just turned into a "cold and violent" man, who wanted results. He did not allow the kids to play outside with other children and insisted on a 5-hour practice every day after school. Moreover, he hit them with a branch every time they got a dance step wrong. The children were also hit with a belt buckle or the cord of an electric kettle.
"If you messed up you got hit, sometimes with a switch, sometimes with a belt. Dad would make me so mad at him that I’d try to get back at him and get beaten all the more," wrote Jackson in Moonwalk, his 1988 autobiography, according to Yahoo Entertainment. Besides, the kids were also forced to carry cinder blocks from one side of the garden to the other for hours as punishment.
Jackson once opened up about missing a childhood because of constantly being forced to work as a kid.
"It’s like being on a ride you can’t get off and you think, 'Oh my God. What did I do?' and you are committed and you can’t get off. It hit me before I was a teenager. I wanted so badly to play in the park across the street because the kids were playing baseball and football but I had to record," said the artist, according to Today.
Apart from the physical punishment, Joe called Jackson "big nose" after he found his talented son was very conscious of that particular feature. Joe's criticism and mockery affected Jackson so much that even as an adult that he constantly covered and touched his nose with his left hand, according to The Guardian.
Eventually, the singer distanced himself from his father and fired him from his manager post. Their relationship remained strained and Jackson claimed that despite being an adult he was still scared of his father.
"I am scared of my father to this day. My father walked in the room — and God knows I am telling the truth — I have fainted in his presence many times. I have fainted once to be honest. I have thrown up in his presence because when he comes in the room and this aura comes and my stomach starts hurting and I know I am in trouble," said the artist, according to Today. However, he claimed that he saw a change in his father.
Unfortunately, Jackson was not lucky enough to repair the broken relationship or get closure. He passed away in 2009.