At 5:26 pm EDT, the entire world stopped.
The news of Michael Jackson’s death is surreal not only to the Jackson family I’m sure, but to every person who ever heard his distinctively high tenor voice or witnessed his revolutionary dance moves. To every person who went to a music store to pick up his records. For that matter, to every person who considers themself a fan of music and/or the entertainment industry. For me personally, I feel indescribable. Really, I do. I don’t know how to explain it and I feel weird for feeling like this because I’ve obviously never even met Michael Jackson. I feel an emptiness, I feel a bit nauseous and I can’t stop tearing. Is it pathetic? Maybe. But let me try to figure out why I feel the way I do.
My earliest memory of music involves Michael Jackson. I remember being a kid and constantly popping in my Dad’s pre-recorded VHS of the full Thriller video. I remember my Dad owned a lot of Michael Jackson videos on VHS and I remember them all being in these all black video cases with no labels. But anyway, I recall being completely intrigued by the video. Sure, it was probably because he turned into a Werewolf that had a lot to do with it but whenever that scene came on, I literally hid behind the sofa. If I was so damn scared of the video, which I recall being, why would I constantly play it? Simple, because I was infatuated with the music that accompanied it. Not to mention the scene where he gets a bunch of zombies to dance with him. I mean, if you can get a bunch of zombies that clearly only want to eat you to dance with you instead, you have some kind of presence.
But more seriously, I also remember my Dad taping one of the shows from the Dangerous tour on HBO and I remember watching that one all the time too. By that time I was around 7 or 8 and I understood how influential and popular the man was. The intro for that particular concert (which I think was shot in an Asian country), involved an entire army leading him to the stage, a crap load of cars and trucks, and screaming, sweaty fans. Fans, I might add, that would pass out in the middle of the concerts and have to be taken away. Oh yeah, I didn’t even mention the 50 foot tall replica statue of Michael that was part of the show. The scope of the concert, along with the carnivals and zoos in his backyard, his constant pledging of making the world a better place, and his obvious lightening of his skin only seemed to add to the mystique of the man. He was clearly different than everyone else, even people in the music industry, but everyone seemed to love him and his music, so to me, that’s all that I knew. I knew what I saw. Like I said, I was only 7 or 8 years old so what else was I supposed to think? He seemed like a mythical figure brought here to make millions upon millions of people smile while we also would watch in awe.
My final early memory involves the Black or White video. I remember that I had a bedtime set for 8:30 on school nights but on one night, Michael Jackson was going to debut his new music video at 9:00 and so I got to stay up later than normal. So big was the Black or White video that it debuted on all the basic channels (abc, nbc, cbs etc. along with I think cnn and mtv). It was huge. And it was an awesome song too. Of course, Michael Jackson couldn’t seem to do anything without garnering some sort of criticism. The end of the video involved a scene where he destroyed a car and grabbed himself and so it was edited out of the TV version of the video. Oh well. Again, situations like that only seemed to add to his significance. Amazing.
Anyway, I guess what it comes down to after looking back is that I’m upset because my Dad was involved in introducing me to Michael Jackson. Granted, I would have heard about him regardless of whether my Dad liked him or not but it makes it more personal. Hey maybe my Dad can meet him now?
I think what also bothers me is how some people unfortunately choose to remember Michael Jackson. Clearly not everyone is a fan of Michael Jackson, that’s fine, but to hear and read some of the things I have makes me quite upset. Some may think I’m naïve but I truly feel Michael Jackson was as good of a person he says he was. The man clearly had a goal of making the world a better place and bringing happiness to everyone, especially children. And before everyone thinks I’m cracking a joke, I’m being serious. It’s no secret that even though Michael Jackson was a celebrity at a young age, he had a crappy childhood that clearly affected him throughout his life. I think the last thing he wanted was to have kids grow up the way he did and so he went out of his way to make many children’s lives better. Unfortunately, the majority of people didn’t seem to view things that way. Crap, the last thing I wanted to do was make this sound like I’m defending Michael Jackson. I’m not. I don’t condone anything he did that lead to his legal troubles but I do think that because he was acquitted of all charges in both trials, we should look past the B.S. and remember him for what he wants us to remember him for, trying to make the world a better place.
This world has enough hate in it already. Why shun someone away who only wanted to bring love to every person of every country in the world. Personally, I think it’s heartbreaking to hear that a man who seemed to care so much about everyone else in the world, lived such a lonely, secluded life due to the seemingly never-ending ridicule from ignorant, hateful people. I mean seriously, have we as a people really reached the point where we choose to condemn based on accusations rather than praise based on accomplishment? Please!
In conclusion I guess, music and dance are two of the very few things that can bring people from all walks of life together. Michael Jackson dedicated his career to solving the problems of hate in this world, not only through his music and dance, but through his charitable work as well. Can’t we at least give him the respect of believing his intentions were always honorable?
Oh well, I’m tired and delirious and not even sure if what I wrote makes sense, I hate when that happens. But anyway, I hope I got my point across. I miss you Michael Jackson. Your legacy will live on forever, at least for me.
For my generation, I think we can all agree that today was the day the music really died.
Rest in Piece King of Pop