I believe performers should try to be strong as an example to their audiences. It's staggering what a person can do if they only try. If you're under pressure, play off that pressure and use it to advantage to make whatever you're doing better. Performers owe it to people to be strong and fair.

Often in the past performers have been tragic figures. A lot of truly great people have suffered or died because of pressure or drugs, especially liquor. It's so sad. You feel cheated as a fan that you didn't get to watch them evolve as they grew older. One can't help but wondering what performances Marilyn Monroe would have put in or what Jimi Hendrix might have done in the 1980s.

A lot of celebrities say they don't want their children to go into show business. I can understand their feelings, but I don't agree with them. If I had a son or daughter, I'd say, "By all means, be my guest. Step right in there. If you want to do it, do it."

To me, nothing is more important than making people happy, giving them a release from their problems and worries, helping them to lighten their load. I want them to walk away from a performance I've done saying, "That was great. I want to go back again. I had a great time." To me, that's what it's all about. That's wonderful. That's why I don't understand when some celebrities say they don't want their kids in the business.

I think they say that because they've been hurt themselves. I can understand that. I've been there too.

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FROM: Oprah Remembers Michael Jackson
Published on September 16, 2009


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