Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

The King of Pop is Dead! Long Live the King!

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Two weeks ago my daughter and I were driving home from her college with a car loaded up with her junk.  Excitedly I told her I had finally gotten Ne-Yo’s latest CD and that I really loved it.

“You know what it reminds me of?  You know what he sounds like?  Michael Jackson, circa 1980s!”  I laughed.  I played a song for her.  “Come on now, here he should say “hee-heee” and  ja’mon.  You need a ja’mon. ”    We laughed. 

A lot of young artists today want to emulate Michael.  I hear him in the timber of Usher and the riffs of Timberlake.  Notwithstanding his personal troubles (which I’ll talk about in moment) he was the consummate performer that has had a large impact on music and American culture for a good 30 years which could have been 40 if the last decade hadn’t been marred by his personal issues.

I remember loving him when I was 5 years old.  Dancing Machine was the song and in 1976 we all were dancing the robot.  I was sure I was growing to grow up and marry him, like all the other little black girls I knew.  For the next 13, maybe 15 years I held onto it.  Michael was the man.   He was hitting with his brothers and then in 1979 he stepped out on his own with the Off the Wall album.   When I was old enough I had pictures of Mike on my wall and a photo album of pictures and articles about him.  I even subscribed to Right On Magazine just so I could get an 8×10 glossy black and white photo of him which I decided should replace my brother’s Air Force photo in our living room (needless to say Lonzo was livid). 

I grew up in the generation that didn’t know who Martin Luther King was really but thought he deserved his own holiday, where black music was still played primarily on black radio stations and blacks on our own television shows got all of us talking.  The Jacksons, and Michael particularly, made cultural strides that made Gen Xers watch.  Michael and his brothers were on a saturday morning cartoon that even my brothers would watch.  Michael was the first African American artist to get played on MTV, before that they notoriously wouldn’t play any singers/bands of color and for a long time it was just him then him and Prince.  He set records with his singles and albums and concerts.   Up until the early 90s he could recreate and change himself to say fresh, new and relevant.

And then the 90s hit and allegations of child molestation, insanity, skin bleaching and nose deterioration.  The first time he was accused of child molestation I couldn’t believe it and the 2nd time I didn’t want to.  It was then I began to distance myself away from him.  I could acknowledge he was probably insane albeit talented and, sadly, not one could reach him to get him help because he had so much money.  He’s talented, we could say, but he’s batty.  He’s one of us although he doesn’t look like us anymore.  We got love for him but we just want him to stay lowkey.

Mostly we would just blame his father who emotionally and physically abused him.  Even in the Jackson movie they showed Joe making fun of his features and coloring.  And we wondered how stable Mike really was.  It’s hard explaining to the younger generation how a child who was chocolate with frizzy hair and a wide nose could grow into a man who was beige with straight black hair and then an anime character.  Or a man you’re not really sure you want your young kids emulating.

I heard a few months ago that MJ was going to have a comeback which I wasn’t sure about it although I was curious to hear new music from him.  Fatherhood has only added to the enigma (who hasn’t wondered what is up with Blanket?) and his seclusion makes you wonder if he can still make it funky.  He’s been practicing, wanting to do a worldwide concert.  Is that what did him in?  Was he healthy?  Who was looking out for Mike?  Did he know he was sick?

Whatever anyone can say about him they can’t deny his impact not just on Boomers and Xers but on Millennials and not just on Americans but on people across the world.  Who hasn’t seen the Bollywood movie with a shout out to Thriller?  Or the Thai prisoners who also danced to Thriller?  Michael has gone around the world and made people sing and dance.  The legacy he has left us won’t be forgotten.  I only wish he could have experienced the peace that he desperately needed from boyhood on and he could have gotten the love that would have brought him down from icon to just a regular man.

I feel so hurt from the family, but mostly I mourn for Michael.  For the boy he was, for the man he could have been and for the legend he will always be.

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Written by rentec

26 June, 2009 at 2:19 am

Posted in entertainment, news

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One Response

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  1. It’s been a while since a celebrity death has made me as sad as this one. Michael Jackson was always a tragic figure, pretty much from birth thanks to an abusive father. I am of the persuasion that the accusations of pedophilia may or may not be true; I think between the psychological damage he got in his beginnings and the weird things that fame of that magnitude will do to your brain he could’ve been so honestly unaware or dismissive of social norms that whatever happened with the kids COULD have been completely innocent. Man, he was something like 40 million in debt when he died, and the saddest thing about it is that it’s entirely possible that all he wanted was to have and share the childhood that he never had.

    aaargh it makes me so sad

    Leticia

    26 June, 2009 at 1:59 pm


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