Retro Blog – My Special Take: Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Posted: June 29, 2012 in African American Stories and Viewpoints, Decision Factors, Editorial, Entertainment, Music, Reflections
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This blog was written in June of 2009, at the time of Michael Jackson’s death. Yes, it was a stunning time to realize that one of the best pop stars of all time had gone to soon. Read up.

Like everyone, I am stunned. I am stunned because one of my favorite artists that I’ve listened to since childhood is gone. Well, I wouldn’t say “gone”, more like a “see you later”. Sitting up late Thursday, I popped in my Michael Jackson Live in Bucharest DVD and just watched it, only a couple of frames of Billie Jean, Thriller, Jam, and Man In the Mirror. And also, I watched the interview that he did with Oprah Winfrey back around 1993. And to this day, I still watch it like it was the first time. Then, Michael was 34 years old. And most questions and statements were highlighted about the Moonwalk, the tabloid, grabbing the crotch in term of rhythms (even I wanted to know why he always did that) and “mini-movies” in terms of his music videos. Earlier on Thursday, when the news broke, I was at work, and just doing my daily assignments. And about a couple of minutes later, there was more reports on the Internet about Michael Jackson died. I’m like WHAT?????!!!!! Just like that. I’m thinking this can’t be real. No way. But as the news progressed, knowing like, it would be just fine. But it wasn’t. I remember posting a Facebook message in which it read “It seems like almost everyday that we’re losing our legends. But you never know when the time comes”. Over and over again, I reflected that of Farrah Fawcett, who previous passed earlier. The last time I remember reading about two deaths in one day, featuring an actor and musician, it was John Lee Hooker and Carroll O’ Connor.

Now since this happen, I don’t what to say. But I can say this: Even though Michael Jackson had his issues. Even though that Michael Jackson had his good days. Even though Michael Jackson had his bad days and I dare say ugly days, to me, he still stood still. I remember when Michael like everyone else, was diagnosed with the skin disorder. And coming to think, most questioned is he still black? Believe it or not, that question was passed around. I didn’t believe the hype though that much. And plus, I have a younger family member that has this same disorder and it is real.

So what about the path that has been laid? Well, I say look at his craft. I believe that his creation of music videos redefined what they should be. We know Thriller (although I was scared of it as a kid growing up. I admit it.) But the piece was groundbreaking no question. Even on MTV, in which didn’t have black artists featured previously back in it’s beginning stages. The art of dance in which the Moonwalk, I think is a lightning rod of his entire dance moves. Plus giving credit goes toward break dancing, Fred Astair, Jackie Wilson, and even James Brown. And the albums, even though that the group albums of the Jackson 5 were a starting point, but I can say that Bad, Thriller, Off The Wall, and Dangerous are the main four that I think were best.(And still are) Invincible and HIStory are a runner up. I would also say that his collaborations with Paul McCartney with the singles “Say, Say, Say” is a good craft to show along with Mick Jagger with “Stage of Shock”. And come to think I remember they were one of the first songs I have listened to out of him. Plus that kind of geared me to listen a little rock music in mix with R&B, Pop, and Soul. Matter of fact, that was the beginning for my listening moods. In addition, I have listed my favorite MJ singles in which I can put on a playlist:

Beat It

Thriller

Billie Jean

Bad

Dangerous

Give Into Me

Jam

Earth Song

Tabloid Junkie

Scream

Why You Wanna Trip On Me

Baby Be Mine

Get On The Floor

Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough

2000 Watts

Unbreakable

You Rock My World

Speed Demon

Who Is It?

In The Closet

Rock With You

Invincible

Threatened

Black or White

Workin’ Day And Night

Another Part of Me

Dirty Diana

Smooth Criminal

The Way You Make Me Feel

Can’t Let Her Get Away

Remember The Time

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

In closing: not the final closing, but in closing in general, Michael Jackson has given us so much of his talent. Either in videos, singles, award shows, surprise appearances such as the 2003 BET Awards in which he helped presented James Brown the Lifetime Achievement Award. (Still remember that) his 30th Anniversary Special, a SuperBowl Halftime Show, President Clinton’s Inauguration, and not to forget: Motown 25. And I too was looking forward to his final curtain call concert in July via the highlights. Take notes. Whether you loved him, hated him you have to respect him. There is no question that artists like Usher, Ne-Yo, Mario and others might somewhat mimic Michael’s dance moves, but none of them won’t be able to be Michael Jackson.

Furthermore, I remember back in my elementary school days, that we would have these discussion contests between Michael Jackson and Prince. Some of you may remember this. Who was the better performer out of the two? I said Michael, most said Prince but hey who’s counting. They’re both different performers but they are both winners. Also before V100, Hot 102 (now 102.1) used to play Michael Jackson song all the time, everyday. In 2006, when I was on vacation in Detroit, I went to the Motown Museum and one the exhibits I remember looking at was indeed a hat. The same hat that Michael Jackson wore at Motown 25. Plus, I’ve heard a true story about that the hat was stolen from the museum and it was returned thanks to a tip, and plus MC Hammer was given credit for making the request. Matter of fact; take a trip to the Motown Museum. Everything is original. Albums, costumes, Studio A, a candy machine, etc. Even Berry Gordy’s Apartment is still the same when he lived there. And come to think, I need to find my Beat It coat from my childhood!

As a fan of his music, and black music in general that I grew up listening to, I am honored to have this in my collection. Not only in collection, but in life that I can relate trying encountering the real world. Here are some examples:

Beat It, Don’t Stop Till Get Enough, and Unbreakable reminds me of staying tough and alive no matter what happens. And making sure to keep going without anyone interfering within your progress.

Bad and 2 Bad reminds me of standing up to those that try to put you down. Show them who’s Bad, in a good way. In other words, Step to them!

Get on the Floor, and Off The Wall are a constant reminder of going to the party dance floor and boogie, the same can be for Burn This Disco Out to finish it.

Who Is It, to me is an identity song. A constant reminder of asking: who am I, and what is my purpose?

Jam is most a remembrance of 90’s NBA Basketball, which had Michael Jordan in it. And dunk contests with a Hip Hop feel.

Man in the Mirror, Earth Song, and Heal the World are humanity songs that try to encourage the individual to do the right thing at times of need. Personally, I think Earth Song is more a “green song” in my view.

Scream and Why You Wanna Trip On Me, are constant reminders of stopping the madness and asking why are you hating on me? This should take notes on those that like to make fun of those who are different in all.

Black Or White and Another Part of Me reminds me of hanging out on a cultural aspect. Plus it should be noted as universal without regards to race, creed or class.

Smooth Criminal reminds me of a throwback to murder mysteries, trying to find out who done it, where and why.

P.Y.T., The Way You Make Me Feel, She Drives Me Wild, Can’t Let Her Get Away, In the Closet, and You Rock My World reminds me of getting a hook up, not in the worst way.

Billie Jean, Dangerous, Tabloid Junkie, and Dirty Diana are some what different, but the same can be reminded of keeping an eye out for a person that may not be trustworthy. Even news that is not true.

As for Thriller: dark and scary from a horror movie. Even encountering against fear, like Ghosts.

Remember the Time constantly asks: Do you Remember? Dating, good times, calling on the phone about 2:00 in the morning. Some of you can relate!

This is my special take on a gifted superstar that had a great effect on my soundtrack life. Right or wrong. Just my thought. Michael will be missed, but not forgotten.

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