The Source

Michael Jackson's Music Is Rising On The Charts Since 'Leaving Neverland' Release

There's a lot of confusion and debate around Michael Jackson and his music right now, and for good reason.

Whenever a public figure is accused of crimes, it forces them to be recontextualized within popular culture, and that can be really hard to do.

Often, it can take years for the ramifications to be fully felt.

While it may seem like a big wave of opinions cause the shift, it's actually the result of everyone making their own decisions over time until a consensus is sort of reached.

While the allegations against Jackson can't be proven, this is just another example of an ongoing debate about him.


Allegations of sexual abuse reach all the way back to 1993, raising questions about how long the benefit of the doubt can be granted to a person.

And if you decide that you can't condone what that person may have done, how do you justify still liking their work?

For some, alleged crimes of this magnitude mean that the art of the accused is now off-limits. That any money spent or enjoyment had is a way of supporting the crime and dismissing the victims.

Others argue that creative work should be separate from the individual who created it.


For example, many people argue that you should still be able to enjoy the book (and movie) Ender's Game, even though author Orson Scott Card is very vocal about his racist and anti-LGBTQIA+ beliefs.

As time moves forward and culture shifts, we all have to decide how to deal with problematic faves.

Ultimately, it's a personal decision and it varies from person to person.

So it doesn't really surprise me to learn that Michael Jackson's music is appearing back on the music charts.

In a churn of emotions like this one, there are many reasons to want to stream a song or two.

Maybe you're steadfast in your belief of his innocence and want to show that support, regardless of radio station bans.

Maybe you do think he did horrible things, but also believe that art should be separate for the artist.

Or maybe, you're just not sure yet.

Sometimes you just need to try it out. It could be that you turn on "Billy Jean" and immediately start bopping your head and singing along, all worries forgotten, or you may find that you can no longer listen without picturing abused boys.

Both responses are valid and it's too soon to vilify people for their choice to listen or not.


According to the Evening Standard, as of March 8 the album Number Ones jumped 44 places on the iTunes charts within a matter of hours. Other albums have risen too, many ending up in the Top 200.

It's only been a week or so since Leaving Neverland aired, so I'm sure we'll see more of this sort of thing as the culture catches up with people's feelings.