Today I sat in the Memphis Airport and watched the memorial service for the King of Pop. It was strange to see so many people transfixed as they watched. Seeing Michael Jackson’s casket brought it all home. Our heads knew Michael had died but the finality of seeing the casket brought the truth to our hearts. It has been almost two weeks since his death, and we have watched endless tributes and analysis ad nauseum, but today we witnessed the end of an era. We were electrified by Rev. Al, we shed a tear as Queen Latifah read the poem written by Maya Angelou, and we laughed when Berry Gordy recalled his first meeting with the future superstar, and finally our hearts broke as his daughter Paris told us about the wonderful father she will miss. It was a day we will always remember because the world moved as if the King of Pop had choreographed the steps. We were one on this day. He brought ebony and ivory together for one last time.
Tag Archives: Michael Jackson’s death
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.
Al Sharpton said that it was so ironic that some of the same people praising the dead superstar today would not have given him the time of day yesterday. It was a true statemnt because of the complexities of the man. Michael Jackson was an incredible entertainer who provided the soundtrack to my generation. My children can only remember him as anything other than a wierd looking man, but I still remember him as one of the most talented entertainers that I ever saw. I have heard people say when talking about someone who has died that when you look at the obituary you see the date that the person was born followed by a hyphen and then the date that person died. What is important is what that person did between the hyphens. How did they live? What impact did they have on others? Did they make a difference. When you look at Michael Jackson’s life you can say he lived alot between the hyphens.
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.