Harry Styles has been styled the “new King of Pop” on the cover of Rolling Stone UK, a move that has upset not only fans but also the family of the late Michael Jackson.
Jackson, who passed away in 2009, was famously known as the “King of Pop” throughout his life. Though the title has also been used to describe other artists including Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber, it remains synonymous with the “Thriller” singer.
Taj Jackson, Michael’s nephew, was among those hurt by Rolling Stone UK using the moniker to describe Styles on their cover. “There is no new King of Pop,” Taj tweeted. “You don’t own the title @RollingStone, and you didn’t earn it, my uncle did. Decades of dedication and sacrifice.”
Taj added that, “the title has been retired,” but insisted he has no ill will towards Styles. “No disrespect to @Harry_Styles, he’s mega talented,” he wrote, suggesting that the magazine “Give him his own unique title.”
There is no new King of Pop. You don’t own the title @RollingStone, and you didn’t earn it, my uncle did. Decades of dedication and sacrifice. The title has been retired. No disrespect to @Harry_Styles, he’s mega talented. Give him his own unique title. https://t.co/td6SSSVkfX
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) August 22, 2022
Fans of the MJ also flooded social media on Monday voicing their displeasure. “Michael Jackson is the King of Pop,” one person wrote. “He broke racial barriers, revolutionized and set the standard for music industry through his groundbreaking creativity and pioneering. A true Legend!”
“Michael Jackson is the ONLY King of Pop,” another person tweeted. “It’s a universal fact and everyone needs to accept that.”
“PEOPLE take the ‘king of pop’ title so lightly nowadays that they just throw it to about anybody,” Twitter user @ThrillerGlitter commented. “[I] don’t even think people fully grasp the meaning of the title. Michael Jackson is the King of Pop! putting that title to anyone makes it nugatory; meaningless.”
Though dubbed Rolling Stone‘s first global cover star, Styles was only given the “King of Pop” title on the U.K. cover of the music magazine but not on the U.S. cover. Incidentally, the Michael Jackson estate owns the trademark to “The King of Pop.”
You can read some more social media reactions, below.
Michael Jackson is the King of Pop 👑
He broke racial barriers, revolutionized and set the standard for music industry through his groundbreaking creativity and pioneering. A true Legend! #KingofPopMichaelJackson pic.twitter.com/XksD0rzRay
— MJJ LEGION HD (@MJJGallery) August 22, 2022
Michael Jackson is the ONLY King of Pop. It’s a universal fact and everyone needs to accept that.
— 𝓥𝓮𝓻𝓸𝓷𝓲𝓬𝓪💫 | fan account (@iamveronica777) August 22, 2022
rolling stone (uk) calling harry styles the king of pop is a very bold move considering the most notable person to hold the king of pop title is michael jackson. how do you put michael jackson and harry styles on the same level with a straight face.
— sk (@kirkxxs) August 22, 2022
there is only one king of pop pic.twitter.com/ER70buOGoE
— 𝒮 ᴹ♚ᴶ (@SM00THCRIMlNAL) August 22, 2022
being called the ‘new king of pop’ while not even being close to what michael jackson was is sick
— ً ً (@highafbizzle) August 22, 2022