Sunday, June 28, 2009
On this past Thursday, we lost likely the single greatest performer and overall entertainer of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. For so many, including myself, it still seems surreal. Michael Jackson, dead? Can't be! Not the "gloved one" the self-proclaimed (and world recognized) "King of Pop"? Unfortunately, it is the truth...he is gone. But is he really?
Over the past few days I have seen any number of folks reliving old childhood memories about Michael Jackson. On television, radio, and of course the internet. The sense of loss with regard to Michael has been met with the joys of memories tied to the fabric of our lives through his music. More evidence of not just his genius but his connection to the global community.
Over the past three days I have listened to almost his entire discography and what I was able to understand and recapture were those moments growing up--when every moment corresponded to a different MJ tune. I remember sitting at my godmother's house watching "Beat It" for the fist time on MTV. Then too, recalling just as I had with my introduction to James Brown, trying in vain to mimic Michael's moves. But who didn't?
Where were you on March 25, 1983 when Jackson did the moonwalk for the first time? Even if you don't remember that particular day you do remember how your mouth dropped when he glided across the stage the first time you saw the video footage?
Many of us feel like we grew up with Michael. That is true to a certain extent. The fact is Michael Jackson was twenty years older than I so he was hardly my age, but for my generation we grew up watching Michael outside of the Jackson 5. We knew only the solo artist and were introduced later to his brothers. Older generations did indeed grow up with Michael from his earliest performances to his release of "Invincible." The unmistakable thing about him was youthful exuberance that was Michael Jackson, the artist, the performer, the man.
He was not only a slice of Americana, he was America -- filled with all the promises of innovation and excitement. From his influence on fashion and dance, to the use of new media, to when he broke down racial and all other barriers when "Thriller" aired on MTV. A lot of us forget about that. I sure did.
He also represented the valleys of life, those low moments that show our resolve and test our very spirit. From his legal woes and just the constant pressure to produce chart topping albums and unbelieveable performances, the case can be made that maybe he was a victim of his own success.
As each of us walks down memory lane playing our favorite Jackson tunes today, tomorrow, and years from now, I am left remembering one of his famous J5 songs, "Never Can Say Good-Bye."
We really never can say good bye to MJ, he is still here with us in each of us. Older and very young generations of all nationalities and ethnicities. I'll likely be in advanced age telling future generations what it was like to see the Moonwalk or how I used to run upstairs from the basement in my parent's house after seeing "Thriller" and hearing Vincent Price's malevolent laugh in my head, hoping not to get snatched by the zombies from the video.
Peace and respect to the spirit and memory of Michael Jackson -- "The King of Pop."
Posted by negrointellectual at 8:42 AM