[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“There’s somethin’ I wanna tell ya. I’m not like other guys. No, I mean I’m different.” ~ from the 1983 short film Thriller.
No, Michael. You’re not like the other guys. Thank God! We indeed love you because you stood apart. Mama Katherine knew this from the day you were born. The child of abundant gifts who carried the burden of those heavy packages. You shared those gifts with us giving and giving of yourself even to your expense. The price you paid to give…tears tear at our joyous façades.
You gave Black people hope in the aftermath of the tragedy of 1968. You gave young girls someone to crush on. You gave young boys someone to look up to. You gave us style and fashion. You gave Motown another chapter to add to their legacy. You gave us The Robot. You gave us The Scarecrow. You gave us the Jhericurl. You gave the music industry a higher standard to live up to. You gave us Billie Jean and the Moonwalk. You gave us magic. You gave us magnetism. You gave us electricity. You gave us excitement. You gave us excellence. You gave all people hope that our divides and artificial separations would one day go by the wayside.
You gave us our hero, our musical cultural Superman to break any obstacle. You gave us record-breaking tours, concerts, and performances. You gave us record-breaking albums. You gave MTV its status. You gave hip-hop its outlet to better spread its message. You gave us Moonwalker and the Smooth Criminal lean. You gave to charities. You gave to foundations. You gave to institutions. You gave to orphanages and hospitals. You gave the media ratings and readership. You gave the busybodies gossip. You gave us understanding. You gave us courage. You gave us inspiration. You gave us joy. You gave us timeless music. You gave your voice. You gave your dance. You gave your heart and soul. And you gave your childhood.
But did you have to give up your privacy? Did you have to give up your humanity? You said this in your song Will You Be There:
“But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End But I’m Only Human”
“Everyone’s Taking Control Of Me
Seems That The World’s Got A Role For Me
I’m So Confused Will You Show To Me
You’ll Be There For Me
And Care Enough To Bear Me”
We didn’t allow you to be as human as the rest of us. We called you ‘The Brother From Another Planet’ and ‘Larger Than Life’ while we derided others for calling you ‘Wacko Jacko’. People couldn’t believe you had to use the bathroom, couldn’t believe that you could father children, couldn’t believe you could grow facial hair, couldn’t believe you could get sick, couldn’t believe you could get old, couldn’t believe you were flesh and bone.
But you WERE larger than life. The impact you have on the world through your magical song and dance is otherworldly. The young kid from the ‘hoods of Gary became a cultural ambassador, a King of Music who penetrated Iron Curtains and Great Walls. From the tip of a black fedora whole populations stood at attention. From the sparkle of a glittery glove whole nations were mesmerized. One slight shy 5 foot 11 inch tall entertainer has more power to shape the minds of people than all the politicians put together. You are FAR more than a mere entertainer.
Those who are called your musical peers were even influenced by you. A young Prince Rogers Nelson saw a boy his age fronting a quintet of Afro-headed brothers on his television screen. An ambitious Madonna Louise Ciccone aspired to be the female Michael Jackson. This trio all born in 1958, the year the Grammy Awards started, but you, Michael, stand in league all his own. Nobody’s on level with The World’s Most Famous Man! Nobody can top The King of Pop, Rock, and Soul!
You might as well be called The King of Fame because you suffered severely with this unofficial title. After you reached the top of the mountain, the egocentric press did their best to tear you down and turn the people against you. In their minds they made you and therefore they can break you. They had nothing to do with it. It was YOU who made them. They built their coffers by covering your adventures on stage and in life. Give the people what they want. But the people wanted too much and you only had so much to give.
But throughout the strain of this insane life you stayed as strong as anybody could expect. How many times did we hear you show resilience as you talked about your Rhinoceros Skin? They hurt you but could never stop you. All the lies, all the scams, all the betrayals, yet you refused to change the core person you always were. Damn the consequences! It’s easy to hate the rich in world full of poor. But we know what price it took for you to build this wealth and are impressed by your selfless big-hearted generosity. To build hospital beds inside your Neverland theater just to personally entertain bed-ridden terminally ill kids before they pass on. And they call you Freak. Hmph. Kindness is NEVER weakness.
Oh, how I feel for your family. Your children! How can they go on without their father? How will the siblings get along with a brother missing from the pack? Janet! Jermaine! What about Katherine and Joe, your mother and father? Parents never want to bury their children. What about the nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and family friends? My God! How can they deal?
And we say Why? Why? Tell ‘em that it’s human nature? NO!! YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD! Michael Jackson can’t die! The King can’t die! If I had my way, you would be preparing to shut up all those ignorant critics on your record sold out concerts! But so sad for all of us, it’s not my choice to make. The Creator has called his angel home. Number 777 goes back to heaven. The earthly body has died but the spirit is eternal. Like a comet blazing ‘cross the evening sky…gone too soon.
Michael, I am not what I am today without you. You have been with me since birth and have taught me so much on how to be and how to see. Thank you for wisdom like “The lie runs sprints, but the truth runs marathons” and “Just because it’s in print doesn’t mean it’s the gospel.” There is nothing wrong with being different, with standing apart from the pack. There is nothing with being true to yourself. There is nothing wrong with kindness and generosity. There’s nothing wrong with escapism and wonderment. And there’s nothing wrong with putting your heart on the line for something you believe in. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate the elementary things.
Man, you were always too good for this place.
And this time, Michael, we love YOU more.
R.I.P., MJ. Rise In Power. Your legacy is forever.