Why do they Impersonate?

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I am so sorry if you have missed this electrifying performance by the Frenchman Michael Jonathan that had been tagged worldwide as the Number ONE Michael Jackson impersonator. This guy came to South Africa 10 years ago and fell in love with our country.

He was a regular face in France where he delivered mind-blowing performances at places like the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge and Champs Elysees in Paris. Some of his routines include electric dances to songs like Billie Jean, Thriller, Beat It, Wanna Be Starting Something and The Way You Make Me Feel, to name a few.

OK well, he was on your doorstep so to speak. At the Roodepoort Theatre and the show ended last Sunday. Please keep an eye on the Theatre link on our Homepage to see what is running now. The tickets at the theatre come fairly cheap, until Pantomimes hit the stage. They are quite expensive especially when big stars are playing, but keep on taking your children to the theatre, it is important. Michael Jonathan as Michael Jackson below.

  • Michael Jonathan

But back to the main title and the question. Why do people impersonate? There are basically two world stars that had been impersonated for years on end, and I think you will know precisely who I am talking about.

Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson…and on a smaller scale, The Beatles.

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Seriously, we have career impersonators,

  • Those are people who impersonate only by voice like Trevor Noah as comedian (and he is good), then you get people who impersonate with clothes and make-up (voice included)
  • Then there is identity theft, a criminal activity. This is where the criminal tries to assume the identity of another with the assumption to commit fraud, such as accessing your confidential information, or to gain access to property not belonging to them. The act is social engineering and they are called impostors.
  • Then we have decoys, used as a form of protection for high end political and military like you see in movies, yes that really exists. This involves an impersonator who is employed (or forced) to perform during public appearances, to mislead observers or possible threats to the safety of the VIP.
  • Then you have people making up Fake News, misleading stories to sow discord, causing people to fight, or dislike each other for social, business or political gain. Something that is so serious nowadays that it can cause the outbreak of a war or something more serious like a world war. Some of the latest well-known cases is the world renowned Bell Pottinger PR Company from England that was exposed in SA. We have seen the poor POTUS (President of the United States) affairs that had been infected with Fake News and Russia.
  • And this one is real creepy. For the Sake of Companionship you can rent a Family. You can hire someone that looks more or less like your late husband, or portraying your friends or family. This can be seriously creepy, or just simply for companionship. If you have the money.
  • Below is an interview on 8 November on SAfm, podcasted here by Iono.FM. The show is Morning Talk and an interview with Michael Jonathan. This clip with the compliments of SAfm.

But this can’t be compared to Michael Jonathan. I met him on 8 November at SABC on his way from SAfm interview. Quite a nice chap. He lives the part and looks like him too. But there are many Jackson impersonators all over the world.  Like most impersonators, they live a Michael Jackson lifestyle, walk like him or almost talks like him. The screech Heeee hee, is part of the make-up. The American photographer Lorena Turner of the Communication Department at California State Polytechnic University, took 4 years in tracking down 35 impersonators making a living out of the Michael Jackson legacy. Some of them took the expensive facial plastic surgery to make it look “almost” real.

Michael Lukas and Brandon Hunt of Las Vegas look like obvious plastic surgery models.

  • Michael Lukas Las Vegas

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For them, the world can’t be without Jackson (as with Elvis). And it is not how Jackson or Presley sang or the songs they did, this is about the change they’ve made. They came here on earth, literally being different to the status quo of the time. That is what makes you a game changer that never dies. You are different.

I had a chat with a young man in Quintin Street some time ago. The chat was about how different you are. You know you are different not because you tell it to yourself. You know you are different because you see the direction in which the rest are going. Everybody gets locked up with brands, you do what your friend does, and you try to do what the Jones’ do.  At the end you disappear in the flock of sheep. The Micheal Jacksons are the people that look into the opposite direction of the flock of sheep. Within the flock it is crowded, you cannot see, hear or think. It is noisy, less creative and more group related, every young man or young woman has got their hooka pipe lit and the brandy bottle open, wasting time and energy.

In the opposite direction of the sheep it is not crowded, you can think and be creative. This is where the Michael Jacksons, Elvis Presleys, Elon Musks, Nelson Mandelas, Salvador Dali’s and Imtiaz Soolimans dwell. Because of who they are, they’ve created arts, economy, politics and technology. Can you believe that 8 years after his death, Michael Jackson still entertains the crowds of the world, and he still creates jobs? Only his legacy that is.

Below is a video shot at the Roodepoort Theatre where Michael Jonathan is doing his thing on stage. He published the video himself on Youtube.

Disclaimer : I do not own any publishing rights for the audiovisual material used as illustration in this blog and wish to thank the owners of such material, especially Michael Jonathan, Roodepoort Theatre and SABC (SAfm)