chapter  1
14 Pages

Conflict and Contradiction: Nineteenth-Century Blackface Minstrelsy

In a London press conference in March 2009, before screaming fans and the world's media, Michael Jackson bullishly announced his comeback: a run of ten shows over eight months, starting July, to be held in the capital's 23,000-capacity O2 Arena. After showing up almost an hour late to what was a brief and seemingly drugged-up performance, Jackson declared: 'This is it, the final curtain call'. When tickets were released, sales went through the ceiling for This Is It, reportedly selling at their peak at a rate of 16,000 per second. The wisdom of AEG Live's decision to finance Jackson's comeback was quickly cross-examined: rumours of Jackson's ill health had not gone away since his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges. Since that time he had led a semi-reclusive life with his three children, for a time in Bahrain and latterly in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles.