Michael Jackson‘s character in The Wiz film was iconic. Here are his own words describing the character’s depth, work hours, the script and his motivation to be in the film.

“My character (the Scarecrow from the movie ‘The Wiz’) had plenty to say and to learn. I was propped up on my pole with a bunch of crows laughing at me, while I sang “You Can’t Win.” The song was about humiliation and helplessness – something that so many people have felt at one time or another – and the feeling that there are people out there who don’t actively hold you back as much as they work quietly on your insecurities so that you hold yourself back. The script was clever and showed me pulling bits of information and quotations out of my straw while not really knowing how to use them. My straw contained all the answers, but I didn’t know the questions.

Watch this scene from ‘The Wiz’ when Michael Jackson performs “You Can’t Win.”

In this article

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Artist Name: The Wiz

Album Name: The Wiz Soundtrack

“I still enjoy seeing The Wiz and reliving the experience. I am especially fond of the scene where Diana asks, ‘What am I afraid of? Don’t know what I’m made of…’ because I’ve felt that way many times, even during the good moments of my life. She sings about overcoming fear and walking straight and tall. She knows and the audience knows that no threat of danger can hold her back…Doing ‘The Wiz’ was an incredible experience. It was always something I wanted to do, because I had always loved the movie and always fell in love with the scarecrow. I saw the play six times. I’ll do other parts if I like the script as I did with this. We worked outside on the movie a lot, and it was cold, the coldest ever in New York. There were 600 dancers at the World Trade Center, all wearing costumes like swim outfits, and it was so cold a lot of them quit. It took me three hours a day to get the makeup on, and then after I took it off, I’d look like a drug addict, with my eyes all watery and red.” (The Jacksons Tenth Anniversary Special, 1979)” – Michael Jackson

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