by Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
At 22, Paris Jackson bears the scars of a childhood that took a devastating turn 11 years ago with the death of her father, Michael Jackson.
After the King of Pop’s death, a chaotic years-long struggle with family turmoil and multiple suicide attempts began for Paris.
But, like her father, who once described how he bounced back from adversity because of having “rhinoceros’ skin,” Paris has proven just as resilient.
She moved out of the family home at 18.
She found and lost love on at least two occasions, but it’s her most recent ex, Gabriel Glenn, that Paris appears to sing about on her new single, “Let Down,” the first from her debut solo album “Wilted.”
The CD, containing 11 songs with a mostly Punk vibe, is set for release on November 13,
“Let Down,” is accompanied by a video that opens with Paris shedding a blood-filled tear and with somber vocals declaring, “You were my all/And now I fall to the ground/you hit the wall/And now I crawl underground.”
Punctuating the raw emotion, a chorus belts out, “Let me down again/Break me/Flush me down the drain/Let me down again.”
“Her songs reflect heartache over her boyfriend and, unconsciously, they are a reflection of heartache over her father’s death,” Psychiatrist Carole Lieberman observed.
Paris Jackson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between exhibition on Monday, May 1, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/File)
Lieberman has had an adversarial history with the Jackson family.
It was the two reports the Beverly Hills doctor made to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and Child Protective Services that led to child sexual abuse charges against Michael Jackson in 2003.
Jackson was acquitted during the subsequent criminal trial in 2005.
Lieberman, who also sent a complaint to authorities after Jackson dangled his then infant son, Blanket, over a hotel balcony in Berlin in 2002, said Paris appears “vulnerable to bad boys who will break her heart because of her relationship with her dad and his untimely death.”
Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and regular expert child psychologist on CBS-TV’s “The Doctors,” noted that since Paris is a child of notoriety and privilege, scrutiny under the public microscope will always complicate personal vulnerabilities.
“A person must be ready to admit their struggles and accept help. In June, she and her ex-boyfriend filmed a docu-series in which Paris revealed her suicide attempts and said music was a way to channel her pain,” Walfish reflected.
“It has been previously publicized that she had made multiple prior suicide attempts. However, this is the first time that Paris Jackson has openly declared accountability for her actions,” Dr. Walfish continued.
“This kind of verbal declarative ‘owning up’ is precisely the penicillin for shoring up, bolstering, and self-empowerment required toward the healing process. I have seen several cases in which the psychological and emotional process of healing becomes well-rooted, and then deeply hidden artistic talents are set free and emerge via an unblocked artist.”
Neither Lieberman nor Walfish have treated Paris.
Prince Michael I, Paris’ brother, served as executive producer of the new album, and many have called him a calming influence for his sister.
Michael Jackson’s three children, Prince, 23, Paris, 22, and Blanket (now known as Bigi), 18, have emerged as the latest in a long line of gifted members of the famed Jackson clan.
Tito Jackson’s three sons formed the Band, 3T, and enjoyed hit records and sold-out concerts around the globe. Jackie Jackson’s son, Siggy (known as “DealZ”), has found success in hip-hop.
Jermaine Jackson’s children, including Jermajesty and Jaafar, have sometimes joined their father onstage and have cut their teeth in the music business.
Randy Jackson’s daughter, Genevieve, and Rebbie Jackson’s son, Auston, have also wowed a new generation of Jackson fans – with Austin being a spitting-image of his late superstar uncle.
“I found so much healing through creating this,” Paris told the Associated Press in a recent interview about her new album.
“And there are moments where I’ll listen back to certain songs, and I’m like, ‘Wow, I was so naïve.’ But for the most part, it’s just like so much gratitude and joy that I get from listening to these songs and just seeing the development and the evolution,” she said.
Dr. Walfish believes Paris faces one more obvious hurdle in her battle against depression or self-harm: media scrutiny of “Wilted.”
“Responses and reactions by music critics are and should be irrelevant,” Dr. Walfish warned. “Everyone likes their own cup of tea. What matters most is this newfound pathway to life and self-acceptance that Paris has found through connecting with her inner self through art and music.”
Tellingly, Paris demurred when asked by the Associated Press what her late father might think of her music.
“I don’t know. I’m not him, so I can’t speak for him,” she responded.
“But I hope he would be happy, and I think he would be stoked because I’m happy.”