Call me a sceptic, conspiracy theorist, extreme fan, or just plain in denial; but on June 25, 2009, at 2:26 pm when Michael Joseph Jackson was pronounced dead and the world paused to mourn, I sat there thinking to myself what a great publicity stunt it was. Record sales would skyrocket the next day, the man suing him for $25 million would have to drop the suit, and those who believed he molested little boys would turn away from the accusations and try to remember the King of Pop in a good light.
“He is probably in Dubai right now, watching it all play out,” is what I told myself. “Clearly they have the wrong person.”
Since then, I have been waiting for the confirmation of that notion–April fools, you got punked, SIKE; anything of that nature. Now… One week later, NOTHING. I almost feel a little bit ashamed, thinking that such a loving and respectable man would do such a thing. Someone who lived, breathed, danced, and sang for his fans. Someone who dedicated all of the energy in his feeble body to putting on the greatest comeback show the world has ever seen. But, what else could I have thought? As crazy as it seems, I never thought about Michael Jackson dying. Not in my lifetime; not at 50; not from a heart attack. I thought he was invincible.
Unfortunately for my dreams of seeing him in concert – something on my “Top Ten Things To Do Before I Die” list, it began to sink in. Janet Jackson made her first public appearance since the news on Sun. June 28, 2009, at the BET Awards. There she stood in front of millions of fans with tears in her eyes and hurt written all over her face–a face that fully convinced me that my theory was far from reality. Her words seeped deep down into the large abyss of my emotions –“To you, he was an icon. To me, he was family.”
This left me in total and complete shock. It is really true. No more Michael. No comeback tour. No more slander on the news. No more King of Pop.
I was never one to follow celebrities. If you asked me who sings the new song on the radio, I probably could not tell you. If you asked me who stars in that new movie coming out, I probably could not tell you. But ask me who is the GREATEST musician and entertainer to ever live and I would, without hesitation, say Michael Jackson. His music not only inspired artists from all over the world to reach their dreams, but also inspired everyone to be better people.
♫ If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change. ♫ – Man In The Mirror
He broke down racial barriers.
♪ If you’re thinking about my baby it don’t matter if you’re black or white. ♪ – Black Or White
He was the reason MTV even began playing “black people” on their station – Billie Jean was the first video on MTV from a black solo artiste.
“Unfortunately I never met Michael Jackson but he touched my life. The whole reason I love music and love performing is because I watched Michael Jackson. The whole reason for my pursuit of music is from watching Michael Jackson.”
As my friend Tari Aina-Lovell, and many others, would put it.
No artiste has ever had as magnanimous an impact worldwide as him. His “Thriller” album sales have YET to be topped by any artist. He has had more number ones from one CD than any other artiste and he danced like he had no bones in his body; always putting on a performance that made him a global sensation.
I went on YouTube the day after his alleged death, and happened upon a video.
Underneath that video, I saw the following comments:
“RIP from Saudi. RIP from Philippines. RIP from Portugal. RIP from India. RIP from Sweden. RIP from Morocco. RIP from London. RIP from France. RIP from Slovenia. RIP from Lithuania. RIP from Costa Rica. RIP from Peru. RIP from Japan. RIP from Germany. RIP from Switzerland.”
This was just the day after, and the list goes on.
After seeing this, with tears welling up in the corner of my eyes, I thought to myself: This man died and the ENTIRE world stopped. His videos took over Vh1, E!, MTV, and BET for days, and his music took over dozens of stations all over the world. I even saw an article: “How many people does it take to break the Internet? On June 25, we found out it’s just one — if that one is Michael Jackson.”
I wanted to fall out from watching him perform one day. It was on my list of things to do; “watch him perform.” He was and is the Greatest thing to ever happen to music, to entertainment, to the world in much respects – he was not just here to bring music to life. But though he was globally appreciated and adored, he was still a lonely man who dedicated his entire life to giving children the love they had never even dreamed of. Who gave money away like it was never ending – so much so that he died millions of dollars in debt and even had to give away the place he so much adored; the Neverland Ranch. He was an amazingly talented man who simply lived to love and inspire, and who never planned to grow up and stray from his “Peter Pan mentality”.
As my other friend Alex Day said, “I actually think Michael Jackson is much like Peter Pan because all both of them were concerned about was the love of a child’s heart and the unshakable belief of a child’s mind. Peter Pan was to the “lost boys” what Michael Jackson was to us; and they both were just filled with magic. I strongly believe that just like Peter Pan and the “lost boys” he was only trying to teach us how to fly.”
As for his personal life, I never believed for one second that Michael Jackson molested anyone. All they had as testimony were some “detailed” stories. Well, for $22 million dollars, I could make up the most vivid story you have ever heard. I’m not sure which is which, but one of the boys he took into his home was a cancer patient with no money – he should be ashamed. The only reason he lives to even tell that lie is because Mike paid for his treatment. And another one – who came from the broken and extremely poor family – his family had already been on the chopping block for that same kind of fraud. Mike just had an abundance of love to give to children. Those who were poor, diseased, had broken families – you name it. He actually started a foundation that brought those children to his home at Neverland Ranch – for goodness sake the place was an amusement park. It is a shame that someone cannot give love in this world without the motives being questioned. As many have said, he was simply a big kid, and kids seem to have a better and less corrupted perception of the world.
Now, all we have left is your music, memory, and influence. And because of that, you will NEVER die.
R.I.P Michael Jackson. You have finally found the world you came from.