Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just smile

I have to do it. While the media coverage is daunting to say the least and there are FAR more important things happening, I have to post about Michael Jackson. MJ. Wacko Jacko. The King of Pop. Whatever you want to call him.

Maybe it is my age, maybe my childhood packed with dance classes, maybe my love for all things eccentric, but let’s just say I LOVE HIM! Oh, he is a complete freak show, a bit shady, and had questionable relationships to put it nicely, but above all else, he was an immensely gifted AND talented man.

He really did write the soundtrack to my life. I was only three when he did the moonwalk for the first time, and I do not remember watching it, but I can guarantee you that my Detroit born parents tuned in to watch the Motown Anniversary. I vividly remember many nights practicing MJ moves with my brother, sister, and Heather (the babysitter) on the parquet floor in the living room. I can still moonwalk to this day. When I was 6, I hid one of my white Easter gloves under all my clothes in the bottom drawer so I could go to Mass with only one (in my mind) sparkly glove. I always wanted silver sequin socks. I went to a premier of the movie Free Willy not for the film but for the soundtrack. I own the Making of Thriller video and have watched it more times than I can count. I stayed in ballet so I could go on Pointe and do a toe-stand in any kind of shoes just like him. The album HIStory was the talk of my driver’s ed class when it was released in the summer of 1995. We all bought it at Sound Warehouse the day it was available. We would listen to Bad, Thriller, and Off the Wall for hours after work during “book rush” in college. I never wanted to dance like him because I always knew I was not that musical. His moves were just another instrument in his hits. It was incredible!
There were times that he was a complete train wreck. Do you remember the Lisa Marie kiss? Eww! Do you remember that weird belly shot in the "You Are Not Alone" video? Oh, and the fact that he and Lisa Marie were naked? Eww times two! And that just scratches the surface of oddities. But aside from all of that, today he was saluted. Stevie Wonder, a man who has won 22 Grammy awards, recognized him with song. Maya Angelou wrote a poem about him, remembering “normal” moments of side splitting belly laughter and “performance” moments like the toe-stand. Berry Gordy called him the “greatest entertainer to ever live” and Gordy knows a few great entertainers. Most who spoke today talked about perfectly normal times with a perfectly normal guy.  A guy who loved much and laughed often.  I did not know that guy, but the entertainer that I grew up with was an idol.
I remember that Elisabeth adored him and always wanted to meet him and see him in concert. Luckily, she was given the chance to do just that before she died. She went to his concert on September 10, 2001 in New York.

My dad has always told me “if you believe it, you become it.” I realized I should actually listen to him when I was 21 and heard an interview with MJ where he said, “…whatever you believe, you become.”


Bobbi Janay said...

Did you read the blog post Lisa Marie wrote about him , it make you see that there was love there just a different kind of love.

The Wife O Riley said...

We had taped that Motown 25 Anniversary when it came out and my sister and I watched it over and over again trying to do the moonwalk.

Now my daughter has a few of his videos on DVD and has watched Thriller a million times to learn that dance.

He was an incredible entertainer and will be missed by many generations.