My music collection began with MJ's Bad. And boy was the brotha B-A-D. I still remember bouncing on the floor in my grandma's den watching the debut of the Bad movie/video on TV. Michael ripped the floor in his street-outlaw leather jacket and silver buckles. Over time I outgrew my crush on Michael. My childish infatuation for him matured into a great respect for his music.
Black, white, brown, yellow--we all loved Michael Jackson. For black folks Michael held a special place in our hearts. He successfully elevated soul to the international stage. When black folks saw girls in Asia passing out over the gloved one at concerts, we knew this brotha's talents was serious. His music pushed the color barriers off the dance floor and brought awareness to social justice issues like poverty and racism. Michael was one of the first wealthy black celebrities. Not rich, but wealthy. Black folks were proud.
With fame comes drama. Michael's actions outside of music turned some of us off, including me. Skin lightening, allegations of child molestation, wearing masks and pajamas in public, child-like behavior, financial problems, dangling his baby over a balcony and other antics. His actions left us fans thinking, " What's up with that Michael?" And he had so much plastic surgery that the handsome mocha-colored face girls fawned over since late 60s was unrecognizable. The same media that crowned him King of Pop, added "Wacko" to his title. We didn't understand him and so he became an easy punchline at times. But interviews with Oprah in 1993 and Martin Bashir 10 years later gave us some answers. Michael Jackson's recollections of his abusive childhood under his father explained a lot. Eventually, I saw MJ not as someone weird, but troubled and longing for a childhood. The world met him when he was 11 years old and from then on he lived in front of the cameras. All of those factors took a toll on him. That absolutely doesn't excuse some of the things he did but it's true.
We may have our judgments about MJ's behavior. But personal stuff aside, Michael Jackson was without a doubt a supreme artist. I'm sad about his death. As I'm typing this post to "You Are Not Alone" I'm tearing up. I can't believe he's gone so soon. Michael Jackson set the music-bar so high that I don't believe anyone will ever come close to reaching it. His genius can't be copied. And no one can step to his moves on the dance floor. He was phenomenal.
My crush on the slim guy with the curly hair and a glittery glove may have been a phase. But Michael Jackson gave me, and millions worldwide, a love I will never let go. Music.
Forever the King of Pop
Forever the King of Pop