I am stunned. I am still in shock. I cannot believe this man is dead. My own reaction surprises me when it comes to the death of Michael Jackson. I guess I was one of the many people who took for granted that he would always be around to entertain us. Amazing how it is all about us. What about him?
I grew up in the 80's and as I look back at that time, Hip Hop was just beginning and Disco was ending. Ronald Reagan was in office and the era of greed was being born. The Cold War was in effect and I remember having nightmares that we would have a Nuclear War with the Soviet Union. I was a skinny kid that felt he was ugly and struggled to find his place in a Catholic School he hated going to. There was one person that made that go away: Michael Jackson.
He was a larger than life icon that I identified with. He was cool and had such a swagger in his music videos. I wanted to be him, even if only for a few minutes. His music made everyone stop and dance. I remember my aunt having the Thriller Album. See with vinyl, the covers are huge! It was him laying down and when you folded out the cover would see him laying next to a Tiger! I was so amazed by that.
I connected with him because they would play the Jackson 5 cartoon in syndication. So, you could see adventures about them and listen to their old music. I was young enough to believe the music was all the same anyway. But, seeing him as a kid gave me a sense that I could be like him. I mean think about it...How many black cartoons were on TV besides Fat Albert?
Which beings me to my next point. He dominated POP music! He was a black man first and he dominated the industry. I remember staying up late to watch Friday Night Videos and New York Hot Tracks (I did not have cable at that time) to watch Beat it or Billy Jean. You have to imagine the impact of this black man on the black and latino youth. He was it. The problems in the Bronx would seem to fade when his music was on the radio.
I know...he had problems in the 90's. I feel I need to say something about this. This man was the kindest man in the world in part because he never grew up. He never had a childhood and endured an abusive father. The pressure of being in the music industry is only enhanced because he lacked self esteem. He got lighter and lighter to gain acceptance that he felt he needed. He hated his nose because he felt he was ugly. We will never know what made him hate his image but I can say that he had a mind of a child and children is what he connected with the most.
Most people have passed judgement on a man we have no idea about. He was misunderstood. We do not know what happens behind closed doors. There was a trial and he was acquitted, but the court of public opinion will always rule. So, everyday he died a little inside. I am sure all he wanted was to have his childhood back. More people came forward with accusations and he paid them because he did not want deal with a trial. Why? Because trial or not. He was guilty in the eyes of the media.
I feel that he knew he was going to die soon. It just makes sense to me. He made music only for his children to hear (funny how no one mentions child molestation of his own kids right?) when he is dead. Who does that? He declined the Jackson's Reunion Tour. Sure, he had a tour in the works, but I think he just knew...
It forces me to think about my own mortality. Yes, every death does. But this one hurt the most. Right now, it just makes me think about my entire life. When I hear his songs I tear up because some of it just hits home. Particularly his songs about love.
It is over now. He is dead...coincidentally, of a heart that could not take it anymore...a broken heart. He died a lonely man. That is punishment enough for anyone who thinks he committed a crime. It is over. Let the man rest in peace.
I will miss you Mike, your music will live in me forever.