MICHEAL JACKSON DEAD
Those were and are still the most shocking headlines for me right now in 2009. They honestly don’t make much sense when I look at them together…because I honestly don’t remember living in a time without Michael Jackson. Even if he wasn’t making headlines, or making good ones (which is a whole other discussion), I knew I could count on feeling the presence of Michael in the world,
somehow, sometime, if not just from hearing one of his many hits on the radio in a day, or if I so decided to swim in my puddles of joyful nostalgia (which I often do) and pull “The History” up on my itunes on my morning commute to work.
There’s nothing like the joy, or revelry, or pensive introspection that comes usually with the melodies that only a Michael Jackson song can conjure up from within us.
Funny I should mention that previous statement. June 25, 2009, was actually one of those days that I felt the “inert” desire bubbling from deep within me to “Swim in my puddles of nostalgia” and hear some Jackson Five! It’s wild! I was even irritated with myself for not having my Jackson Five hits album imported into my computer already when I went to look for it. So promptly, I imported my Jackson Five fix and uploaded my favorites of it (the majority) into my ipod with the “grand” idea of playing them poolside.
Yes, I was debuting my “poolside-wear” for the first time this summer, in the company of a dear new friend, and her lovely friend who cordially invited me to come to a posh, pool-spot in the “Uptown” area of Denver that afternoon. The day itself was overshadowed by an “ominous” cloud cover. We set up shop by the pool anyhow. The crowd soon loving the Jackson Five coming from our ipod speakers, Air-drum action and all. How little did we know.
Amazing because, that “ominous cloud-cover” became completely sure of rain. As we sang along to the soulful plea of “Who’s Lovin You,” drops began to fall from the sky. We wrapped swiftly as the drops increased in speed and mass. That was only the beginning of Mother Nature’s Monsoon tribute, which then continued to pour out what seemed to be symbolic of the tears that would later well from the depths of every Michael Jackson fans’ soul in the world.
Needless to say, that Monsoon would soon become a great flash-flood, that would have me pulling over to “wait-out” the blow-over, and, subsequently, ending up stranded at a local grocery store one mile from my home, for over an hour. Never had I experienced a flood like that. This day and the following, the world will cry for Michael.
Michael Jackson was a phenomenon from his birth, and my introduction to music appreciation. What’s funny is, as a young child, a pre-schooler in the 80’s, naturally, I never knew Michael as the cute little black boy from the Jackson Five. Yet he existed in my life for as long as I could remember. For me, he was first and foremost, The Moonwalker. At that stage, he was already world-reknowned, and still rising. To me then, he was my “hero” and future “husband.” Lol.
He was ALSO the one and only NON-cartoon movie that I would LIVE and BREATHE to watch all the way through. Moonwalker was iconic even in 1987. It was the ultimate Friday “special treat” in my predominantly black pre-school environment: my teachers would bargain, “If ya’ll are good, we can watch Moonwalker!” I remember, my childhood friends and I in pre-school, cheering with the utmost joy, just waiting to see the first music-video clip of MJ on the screen, so we could dance and sing along with it.
I remember, “Man In the Mirror” had to be one of the 1st songs of his that I memorized the lyrics to, because it was always the 1st video shown on the Moonwalker. As a black child growing up in Denver, Colorado, where our numbers were few and far between, Michael united us. All of us, little black babies, and white and latino babies alike, we came together in song, dance and celebration whenever Michael shouted out the prominent hooks of “Bad”, “Beat It”, “Billy Jean”, “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Thriller.”
I remember when watching the Moonwalker, watching the kids’ rendition of “Bad” in complete envy, and wanting SO badly to be one of those kids in the Michael video, just to feel he knew me. I already felt like I knew him– after the Moonwalker, what more does one need to know of Michael? Lol. What ever the case, we all thought those kids dancing in the video were by far, the coolest kids in the world. Who could forget the “Can you Feel It” video, the Jackson’s emulating the “Creation Story!” Now that’s one video, that my brother and I thought we were both in. Like he could touch us, and we him. That’s one that slipped under the radar, and it’s absolutely incredible and worthy of mention. He had such a love for us as children. I knew it even back then, I could feel it. Michael was everything magic after Disney. Outside of family, Michael Jackson was my first hero, and I wanted to be his friend, or girlfriend. 🙂
I was a BARBIE fiend, like many of us “girly-girls” were–perfectly content when armed with a little briefcase full of barbie dolls and barbie clothing. Back then, boys who were “cool” played with action figures, and would wince at the thought of even being caught holding a barbie doll. There was however one exception, and that was if you were the bearer of the Michael Jackson Thriller Doll. Michael had a barbie, and my brother was given one. His instant joy upon recieving the only doll he ever owned was indescribable. He loved the Michael doll, and he was “cool” for having one.
Later on however, his need for that Michael doll fell away as things do when we get older, and so I adopted it into my collection, and was dawned yet another gift of Michael Jackson soon after. I visited family in New York one summer when I was about 8 years old or so, and a family friend, a preteen girl by the name of Angel, gave me a mixtape that included Michael’s “Bad” album. It was among the first cassete tapes of music that I owned.
So when I got home, I had a soundtrack for my barbie “sagas.” I would sit in my room for hours, creating dramas between my barbies. I would have my Michael entertain them. Sometimes he would be included in the drama, love triangles and such, and when he would choose a love himself, “Liberian Girl” was often the song of choice for the occasion. 🙂 That was one of the first of his “love songs” that I fell in love with. Also, I’d like to note, that there’s no other artist I know of that has ever expressed romantic love for an” African” beauty.
Even now, I still believe that the R&B love ballads and songs of Michael Jackson are some of the greatest of our time. He knew the kind of love he wanted and he knew how to make people want it from him. He was sexy. That’s an undeniable fact. I feel these songs are often over-looked, and overshadowed and of course they would be when you look at his “more prominent” works. Still always remember “Lady In My Life” ,”Remember the Time”, “Who Is It”, “In the Closet”, “Liberian Girl”, “She’s Out of My Life”, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”,”Give In To Me”, “You are not Alone”, “You Rock My World”, “Butterflies”, “Heaven Can Wait” and “Break of Dawn.”
In the Moonwalker, there is a snippet of Michael and the Jackson Five. They do this clay-animation forma`ge that’s really awesome as they run through “ABC,” “Rockin Robin” and “Dancing Machine” and have Michael explaining as a child, his big heart for all the world. I was watching that at home, and I asked my mother about that “boy,” that boy is Michael Jackson too mommy? She then
proceeded to educate me on the Jackson Five by watching the “Jackson Five Cartoon” with me. I was an instant fan, relating all the more to Michael as a child, because he was a child too!
I think every child growing up then wanted to dance like Michael. And thus we are a generation of dancers. Michael Jackson made it the coolest thing to do. He was “it.” Every girl wanted to be WITH him, and every boy wanted to BE him. He could do no wrong in our eyes, and everyone, other celebrities he was friends with were liked because if Michael liked them, they must be cool.
There was so much variety to his music. In SO MANY ways, I could define myself, my feelings on an issue, with a song by Michael Jackson. I’m not the only one that felt that way, and that is in fact why he was the “King of Pop.” His messages were universal, he was SO relatable in lyricism, and
unstoppable as a performer…which kept that certain “magic” about him. If you didn’t know, you could see it, one performance by Michael Jackson, and be made a believer. A believer in the power of music, and it’s impact when it’s been DONE RIGHT. I wish I could have had the honor of seeing him live in concert.
Every solution to any challenge I faced could be found in a Michael Jackson song. As we grew into the 90’s with him, what struck me more and more was my wittnessing of the Humanitarian in him. “Man in the Mirror” was the beginning for me, and probably my favorite of all of his “Help Humanity” type songs. He did have more of those than any other artist I can recall. I believe he started a trend among pop vocalists in those type of songs. Because of him, I cared for humanity more.
When Michael sang, he didn’t just sing. He moved with the words in a spirit of passion. He moved as though his music were a stream of power that was sure to make him take flight. No one had to guess what it meant when he did his unmistakeable air-hump with the now trade-mark, crotch-grab that made him BAD! He moved in divine spirit. A spirit which I now am sure was that of the Holy Ghost. He screeched, and wooped; he lept around on the stage. He allowed himself to become completely taken in the enrapturment of his music. In turn, so did we.
That is why at his concerts, oftentimes people were overcome by tears, and passing out in the crowd. They were experiencing the Holy Ghost. That’s one thing to note, is the massive
pandemonium at Michael Jackson’s concerts. It wasn’t just two or three people moved to obsessive mental exassperation, try hundreds of thousands, all literally going “Wacko over Jacko.” His concerts were held in the millions in some places. People losing sleep from excitement and not eating before they went had something to do with it too. To have such impact, astonishing.
Not only that, but MJ had a PR Campaign that was out of this world! April of this year, I purchased both DVD volumes of “The History.” In the opening is the pandemonium, armies marching, and Michael all suited up in his “Ambassador of the World” getup amidst hundreds of soldiers. He used governmental imagery to make his presense to the world known. I honestly believe he wanted to be looked upon as a “prince of peace”, and even to go so far as a demi-god. I say that because the finaly of “The History’s” opening is of a massive, golden statue of Michael Jackson being unveiled on the streets of some seemingly european city. Spectators, media helicopters and the like, all trying to capture the glory.
As much as he may have liked us to think it at times, and though he had the God-given merit, Michael Jackson was no God. I feel the Lord allowed us to all witness, despite all his great works and majesty, that Michael was still a man. And we would discover the deeply flawed and misguided individual that he was. Michael Jackson was indeed a sensitive soul. A special individual from his earliest beginnings. He was lavished deep psychological scars upon himself by those closest to him,
namely Jo Jackson, his own father.
His father was, in Michaels’ sense, overbearingly hypercritical and demanded nothing but the utmost perfection from Michael. This in turn left deep bruises of insecurity, and ultimately seeded the sometimes bizarre and eccentric, child-like behavior that Michael would exude and become known for throughout his career.
Probably the most obvious psychological damage was that exuded in the literal morphing of his own image. To this day, he is probably thought of as the person with the most reconstructive facial surgery done, ever! He was NEVER done “fixing his face.” And that came with repercussions that would be mocked across the globe. He was a laughing stock, in that sense. Sadly, He became demonized by the American press after his first accusations of child-molestation in 1993, which were never
He had an uncanny love for children, young boys especially. This, we all wittnesed first-hand in his various relationships with young male celebrities of the day, namely McCauley Culkin. Nothing out the norm, just good old-fashioned friendship. Those celebrities never had any issues. Just the “average Joes” kids that he would allow into his home. They all wanted something out of him…$$$.
On that note, that is not to say that Michael was blameless in the accusations. Granted, no grown man of his stature should be sharing his bed with 12 year old boys. But why take it to that place of perversion in our minds that “something other” should be going on besides sleep in that scenario? Knowing the love of innocence that has always been apparent in MJ’s character. Why did we have to draw these conclusions? It’s a societal mindset, and it doesn’t hold true in other places in the world.
Whatsonever, the early millenium brought Michael down to an all-time low in his career. No respect from his home country anymore. Like that, the brightest star in the galaxy had fallen. Most people didn’t look back because by then he had 2 accusations under his belt. Both unfounded. Plus his facial structure was deteriorating and the name, “Wacko Jacko” became befitting in many scenarios. People forgot how much he had done for the world…it’s very sad in retrospect. I’ll be honest, I laughed at him. A lot. However, I never believed he had the capacity to harm a child, sexually or other. Deep down, he was a child himself. A sheltered, and over-exploited little black boy with God-given, barrier-breaking talent from Gary, Indiana.
I think what a lot of people fail to understand about Michael is that he embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, in a sense that he never wanted to live the way he did. He never got to be a regular kid, he even KNEW THAT as a kid. So in order to counter the pressures of rising above standard, and growing up famous, the tremendous amount of stress that embodies…he remained a child inside. He built “Never Never Land” right here on earth, to ensure that he would keep that essence of childhood somewhere. A place where children could be children. Where he could be a child with children, and absorb their essence. He knew what was denied him his whole life, it pained him, so he compensated for it the best he knew how. Lord knows he had the money to do it. Childhood was the sacrifice, the payment Michael Jackson never forgot for Super-stardom.
He was a godsend for sure. Sent to deliver the beautiful, unshakable, undeniable message of God to the world. I wittnessed that first-hand with his performance of “Will You Be There,” (the song from “Free Willy”). He lived his life out on stages, I realize now that I’m glad God called him home
now. The question arose on Larry King the other day, “Could you really see Micheal Jackson grow Old?” Imagine him, in his later 70’s and 80’s, talkin about, “I wanna Rock wit you…” lol. Honestly, I can’t. Not that I can’t, but I don’t really want to either.
God was timely with MJ’s homecoming, it was either now, or on some stage during his 50-world tour stint that he was planning. The Lord didn’t let him die a slave to the art. I’m glad. Michael honored the Lord, he lived his purpose, and when one actually does fulfill their purpose here on earth, why live any longer on this plane of existence that often comes filled with pain and sorrow? Pain ruled over Michael here, why else would one take so many pain-killers? (haha *nervous grin*).
He left an undying legacy for us all. Let it live on through us, the children of the 80’s and the 90’s (they call us Generation Y, I believe). He was cool. A christian, whether he knew it or not. He was awesome. Absolutely inspiring. Extraordinary. Stupendous. A legend. The original Icon. He didn’t just do love songs like some before him. However, ALL of his songs were EMPOWERING LOVE in some way. They say God is love. A job well done, Mike. 🙂
He couldn’t have topped that. 🙂
MJ, you were loved. MUUUAH!!! Rest In Peace baby!