09 July 2009

Michael Jackson Remembered

Like much of the world around me, I have been thinking about Michael Jackson. I remember the time he set his hair on fire during the filming of a Pepsi ad. I also remember the tight kinky perm my cousin Shawna got that we called the "Michael Jackson hair".
It is interesting as I think over the different aspects of how his music impacted my life - as someone else said he was sort of the "fabric of our lives", singing in the background at our school dances, entertaining us on MTV, his life ever being consumed for our amusement. and it makes me so sad. To hear people recount how he would be giddy with excitement when he could be disguised well enough to walk down the street like a normal person. I know a lot of people think that being rich was enough of a reward to compensate for all he gave up as a celebrity, but I disagree. Other than his family, did he ever know that anyone truly loved him without ulterior motives? I think that this drove his interest in children and eventually becoming a father.
I've heard people say he was a "freak" and a "pervert". If he was, then I suggest that he was one of our making. Was he ever given a chance to be normal? Did he ever get to live any semblance of a regular life? If he were not a celebrity, would he be gone today? I think he was here and is gone because we used him up.

Maya Angelou's summed it up beautifully in her tribute "We Had Him"

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Julie. I was not a huge fan or anything, but as child of the late 70's and 80's, his music was definitely present in my life. I remember watching the "Thriller" video for the first time and I remember waiting for the video/short movie for "Bad" to come on MTV. When I hear his music, it reminds me of my childhood. I think that is why so many people are responding to his death.
    The most touching parts of his memorial service were the moments we caught a glimpse of him as a person. I still tear up when I see the footage of his daughter. It's just so sad on so many different levels.


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