Over the past few days as we come to grips with Michael Jackson’s death I find that we are all mourning different Michaels. The Michael I mourn is the Michael of my childhood. I still see him as the lead singer of the Jackson 5. He was the precocious child with the adult soul. I still see him and his brothers showing us all the latest dance steps. I still wonder how did Jackie feel dancing behind his little brother. Did he feel like Fredo in the Godfather or was he comfortable in his supporting role? My friend Gail and her contemporaries mourn the silver-gloved Michael. She and her friends are part of the Thriller generation. The other group of mourners grieve over the loss of the myth. They are too young to have heard the music when it was released. They have heard their parents play the music and they have heard it over the radio, but they are finding that through his death the true genius of his music. Over the last few days I have heard commentators say he united the world, but what is also unique is he closed the generation gap. So today we mourn the many faces of the man in the mirror.
Tag Archives: Jackson 5
Today we are wrapping our minds around the fact that Michael Jackson is dead. Yesterday we just could not believe it. We are still reeling, but gaining our footing. I have talked to friends last night and everyone has there favorite Michael Jackson or Jackson Five memory. I was talking to my friend Jonelle this morning and she said something that made me think. She said we loved him and his brothers so much because “they were the people that lived down the street and made it,” We loved them because they were us. They were raised in a working class home and they were never expected to be a household name. Joe Jackson knew his sons were talented, but he could not have dreamed a dream so big. So we loved their music, but we were also proud of them because their lives gave us hope. Don’t get me wrong we knew that everyone would not grow up to be superstars, but we knew we all could grow up to be somebody.
Tonight everyone who ever wrote a Michael Jackson article has been in front of a microphone. Several of them have given their dime store analysis of jackson, but one thing that struck me wrong was their portrayal of Joe Jackson. They have said that Joe would take the kids on tour for weeks, and he also used to beat the children. Joe has been painted as a villian, but what he really was a visionary. He saw that his children had real talent and he saw that Michael had the potential to be a supestar, and he made it happen. Joe Jackson was a product of his era. Most black children who grew up in the 60s and 70s were spanked, whipped or beaten by their parents. It was not child abuse. They truly believed spare the rod spoil the child. This is how they had been raised and this is how they raised their children. They did what they knew to do and now that we know better we do better, but let’s not crucify Joe Jackson. As we celebrate the life of Michael jackson let us not vilify Joe Jackson without his guidance we would not have known Michael Jackson.
I grew up with the Jackson 5. They were all so cute my friends and I would sit around dreaming about which Jackson we would marry. I bought Right On magazine so I could keep up with what the brothers were doing. So today when I heard that Michael Jackson had died I felt like it was a death in the family. It is so hard to believe. Over the years Jackson was plagued with legal problems, but that is not what I will remember about him. I will remember seeing them on the Ed Sullivan show when it was still rare to see somebody black on television. I will remember being amazed when I first saw him do the moonwalk. I will remember the Motown 25 special in 1983 where Michael gave a performance that is still talked about today. I am sad tonight, and I will miss the Michael Jackson I grew up with. Rest in Peace Michael.