Musician: Michael Jackson
Song: They Don’t Care About US
Album: This is It
Media Channel: Video, Version 1 and 2
Type of Music: Message/Pretest-Oriented
Overall Impression: Powerful, Bold, Courageous
In the video, surrounded by a choir of Brazilian singers and group of Brazilian Drummers, Michael Jackson, the king of Pop, sends a powerful, lyrical message designed to get the attention of those who oppress others. “They Don’t Care about Us, “is one of the most moving songs written about the abuse of those who are less fortunate by those who are more privileged.
In addition to the first version, there is a second prison version of the song. Some of the lyrics of been changed to suit the environment, but the message of protest is still the same.
A Far-Reaching Song that Crosses Borders
Although the setting of the song is in Brazil, a place of devastating poverty, police brutality, and other dangers to society, the lyrics in the song has far reaching implications that touch all oppressed societies.
Nevertheless, compared to the highly popular song “We Are the World,” which was designed to bring about world awareness and unity in the light of poverty and wars, “They Don’t Care about Us,” seemingly attacks a certain privileged groups and entities which possess a toxic mindset toward specific, races or classes in society.
The song echoes Marvin’s Gay’s, hit “Make Me Want to Holler, the Way They Do My Life,” a song which protests oppression and neglecting the plight of the African American Community.
Song’s True Meaning
“They Don’t Care About Us,” is a concept that is instilled deeply back in the minds of all the oppressed of the world, whose government has deserted them. Government corruption in many third world countries is so bad that citizens have all but lost hope in ever living a life of peace, joy, and love.
Mothers see the ribcages of their children and are helpless to do anything about it. Fathers watch their entire family waste away because there isn’t any food for months.
How can anyone believe that someone cares when no one is around to give them even a glimmer of hope.
A Song Saturated with Powerful Lyrical Massages
The Lyrics in the Song Speaks powerfully in terms of what is going on in society, including the United States of America when it comes to young black men.
“I am a victim of police brutality.”
“I am tired of being a victim of hate.”
“Beat me, hate me, you can never brake me.”
“Shoot me, sue me, everybody does me!”
“Kick me, hit me, don’t black or white me!”
“Innocent, in the news, everybody dogs me, Black man, Black man…”
“If Roosevelt( Franklin) was living…”
“If Martin Luther( King) was living…”
The song lyrics speak volumes. Clearly, frustration is shown for the troubles plaguing victims of police brutality. The images of Michael Jackson leaning a policemen’s shoulders indicates one of the groups responsible for the frustration and fear in the African American community in the US, not only in third world countries.
In the song, Michael Jackson also mentions the name of too iconic figures that played a significant part in influencing the direction of humanity: Roosevelt and Martin Luther. I don’t know exactly what he was attempting to say about these iconic figures, but he seems to suggest if they were living they would do something to resolve the problem of oppression.
A Reflection of Michael Jackson’s Troubles
“They Don’t Care about us,” also reflects some of Michael Jackson troubles dealing with allegations of child molestations, a cloudy accusation which was never really proved.
Nevertheless, once you are in the media due to a damaging accusation, especially as a person of color, the media is merciless in destroying your established image, regardless of insufficient evidence.
After listing to this powerful protest song, I wondered what impact it would have had on the African Americans communities in the United States. Michael Jackson died On June 25, 2009. An acute dose of Propofol and benzodiazepine proved too intoxicating, destroying his physical body and resulting in death.
Mysteries exist unto this day. Was it intentional? We will probably never know. Nevertheless, if Michael Jackson had lived to give his supposedly final tour, the song,” They Don’t Care about Us, “would have sounded loudly across the African America, Latino, and other oppressed communities in the US.
A Possible Unifying Song
The possibility of this song unifying the poor against oppressive entities was a great possibility in the United States where freedom of speech and religion abound. In the third world, dictator-oriented countries, protect is somewhat restricted or could be smothered by the higher ups, even before it gets started.
But in the United States the song could have been a source of unification, not an anguish and anarchy, but in unity, love and redirection, especially in the black community. If no one cares about the black community, it must find ways to care for itself.
As a powerful protest song, I would give “They Don’t Care about Us,” a 9 out of 10. I believe the song would have highly impacted America had Michael Jackson lived to deliver the message from state to state, as he intended.
Nevertheless, if the song would have gotten the proper airplay in this country, as it did in other countries, it would have still been somewhat effective in bringing awareness for meaningful change in oppressive societies.