Friday, June 26, 2009
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
When I got the news that one of the world's greatest performers had passed, I was sitting in my living room, drawing one of my children's illustrations. My friend's son called me and asked if I had heard that Michael Jackson had died. Immediately I said no, I hadn't. My mind started reeling and I quickly convinced myself that this was some terrible hoax, perpetrated by a very sad and cruel nimrod who had nothing better to do. I began to repeat to myself "this can't be true, this can't be true." I simply couldn't wrap my brain around the thought of Michael Jackson being gone. Just last night (Wednesday) I had heard that he was preparing for another tour of 50 cities, and that he planned on working with a personal trainer to get in shape for the extensive itinerary.
Now he's gone. Just like that. The self-proclaimed King of Pop is no longer among his adoring fans, at least not physically. He'll forever live on in our memories, in spite of the strange and eccentric turn his life took in his later years. For me, he'll forever be that sweet, yet extremely talented kid who led his brothers to stardom and gave me my first taste of a real concert. I'll never forget being in the Olympia Stadium, on Grand River Ave in Detroit, with thousands of screaming teen-aged girls (that night I learned I could "holla" with the best of them). My poor mother endured a noise I'm sure she could never have imagined possible, as she watched me climb onto my chair and transform into this unrecognizable screaming banshee of a child.
Then there was the night Michael Jackson showed us how to walk on the moon without ever boarding a space ship (though he did transport us to another world). In one evening, he changed the course of entertainment and the face of fashion for future generations to come. During his magnificently memorable performance on Motown's 25 Anniversary Special, Michael convinced us that flooded pants were no longer dorky and that wearing a matching set of gloves was passe.
Yes, there's no doubt about it, Michael Jackson changed our lives forever. His creative genius remains unrivaled in the world of entertainment.
It's no secret that in recent years, Michael had experienced his own personal journey into the land of the strange and frightfully odd. There were many facets to the man in the mirror. Some may choose to dwell on the wildly eccentric Michael. I, on the other hand, choose to remember the monumentally talented Michael that brought joy and excitement to his fans around the world. He gave us a brand new dance, taught us that mediocrity was not an option, and caused many a fledgling entertainer to stretch him or herself beyond the normal perimeters of what was once considered entertainment.
Thanks Michael, for that night long ago, my own personal date with you. Though I stood in the midst of thousands, you made me feel like it was all just for me. You will truly be missed.