Friday, June 26, 2009

I Wanted A Little Time

I needed a little time to gather my thoughts about Michael Jackson's death.

I'm not as shook up as many folks, but neither am I immune to feelings of loss.

When I was a little boy, like many little black boys, I was a crazy Michael Jackson fan. I wanted the jacket, the glove, the curl (thank you mom for saying no to that.)

One of my earliest memories is going to a friend's birthday party and performing a never-ending dance routine to the Michael Jackson records that played all afternoon. I took my shoes off, climbed my little chubby butt up on the wooden deck, and didn't stop until I got enough. I was moonwalking, spinning, crotch-grabbing, the whole nine yards. I look back on that day and I cringe.

But I also smile.

I can't say that my family played Mike all the time in the house, or that he was the soundtrack to my youth. But, he was still there. He was so big, so massive that it was impossible to escape his reach, impossible to not be aware of who he was and the music he made.

That's powerful...

It's only as I've aged that I've come to grips with Jackson's checkered life. The obvious self-hate, the potential hatred of all black folks, the alleged pedophilia. All of those things made him much less beloved in my mind, but I never crossed over to the team that had outright hatred for the man. Maybe I refused to truly consider how heinous the accusations were, or maybe I was just being contrary.

It could have have been a black thing. An unwillingness to accept that another of our icons, another man who used to bear my skin color was now held up as an example of all the problems that occur when you give niggers money. I'm not trying to justify my attitude about Jackson just trying to understand it.

Now, he's dead. Like all of us, he's taken that final breath, moved on to that realm that's built on speculation and conjecture. I don't truly know where Jackson ended up although my beliefs tell me it was likely hell.

But, I do know that he's no longer here. He can no longer sing, dance, enthrall or disgust us. I hear his voice coming from the television and radio and I realize that's all any of us have left.

Somehow, that seems right.


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11 comments:

Lolo said...

I think he's been in hell for some long time. I pity the child he was, the pain that obviously damaged him and whoever caused that child to turn into the man should be in hell.

I've been making MJ jokes for years now, partly as reaction to how I almost turned my back on how happy his career always made me feel but mostly in disgust at how he perpetuated the damage done to him.

I truly hope he's at peace and I pray that his alleged victims also find peace in their lives.

Lorraine said...

Thanks for this. This is the best post about his death I have read.

@lolo: You summed up my thoughts exactly.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there...

I believe that Michael suffered emotionally throughout his entire life... and that he did the best that he could to press on...

He was immensely misunderstood and openly vilified and ridiculed and I believe that it impacted him mentally and emotionally....

I don't believe that he was a happy person and I feel that his adulthood was very sad for him...

May his soul rest...

MacDaddy said...

Everything Lisa said is how I feel. But I think it's interesting that the corporate media, the very institution that vilified and ridiculed him, have now joined hands with the rest of the world to praise and mourn him...for ratings of course. Funny how that works.

But, Michael, you're in a safer place; and not even your father can harm you now.

Mr. Noface said...

This post sums up my thoughts quite well. I was more shocked than sad when I first heard about Jackson's death, but even after the shock wore off, I'm still not as sad as I thought I would be, for a star that made a major impact on me growing up. I realized this, there was a Michael Jackson that I admired and at times wanted to emulate (dancing and singing I mean). However, I lost that Michael Jackson in the early Nineties and I mourned that loss. The person that remained was a disappointment to me as a fan (even though my opinion probably mattered very little) and I could no longer turn a blind eye to what he was doing (at that time in the present) because of what he did (in the past).

Now with his death and all the tributes that followed (and continue to follow) it, I realize that the Michael Jackson I loved and admired lives on through the music that he made. So really I've lost nothing, so that's probably why I'm not as sad as everyone else.

I send prayers up for his family and for all those around the world who felt the impact of his death a little (or a lot) harder than I did. May he rest in peace.

Gye Greene said...

Good post.

Not sure where you get the ''Hell'' part, though. Unless you think that Jehovah's Witnesses automatically go to Hell.

My take on him -- not that I've devoted a lot of time to this -- is that he was an unhappy guy, without any true friends. But, he tried to be nice to people, and meant well.

Pedph'la stuff: I thought nearly all of that was debunked: the kids, after they reached adulthood, admitted that their parents had pressured them to make accusations, for the $$$.


--GG

Big Man said...

Gye

I hadn't heard that about the pedophelia stuff. I still think something strange was going on there. No grown should be sleeping with strange children. Period.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

@ BigMan

I understand what you mean about an adult sleeping with children but you have to realize that Michael had a different way of relating to children than most adults... and I am not saying "different way" to incinuate that he was improper...

I think that social boundaries that are deemed appropriate and inappropriate are based on cultural background... what is overly affectionate in ONE culture is acceptable in another.

Michael traveled the entire world at a young age and so he was exposed to many different cultures and learned from other cultures around the world... for Americans to expect that he would ONLY reflect the American brand of masculinity or that the American way of relating to children is ALL that he should reflect is a bit unfair to him...

In other cultures, parents DO sleep with their own children...granted these children were not his...but still...

The media is still focusing on that aspect of Michael but really, we should be celebrating the genius of his music and showmanship....

Lisa J said...

Wow, I don't believe in hell (well I get a little agnostic on the topic when I think about people like Hitler and Stalin) but if there is such a place I surely hope MJ isn't there. I never really believed the accusations about him. Haven't been a huge fan for awhile but they always seemed off to me and more of a shake down than anything else. Whatever happened, if he did do it, that is tragic, but if he didn't those kids were still vicitmized by evil people forcing them to lie and to do bad things for money. I think MJ was a very vulnerable person who was taken advantage of by many many people because of what seems to have been a very sensitive, gentle nature. I also think the white mainstream media just went ape$hit over the idea of taking a black man who broke many barriers down. Whatever the thing was with his skin changing and his nose, as LaToya Petersen, the mod at Racialicious, pointed out and as I saw for myself in his videos, he still surrounded himself with lots of black people and gave black directors, and dancers their due throughout his career. What seemed espeically telling was in his video for a song I think is called, "they don't care about us" is that it was all black, and black mixed race folks faces who you saw, that say a lot. I appreciate all he did for music and the joy he brought to people and I appreciate all he did for humanitarian causes and he actually is the pop star who from what I heard donated the most money to date for humantiarian causes, especially for children worldwide. I just hope he is in a better place or is at least at rest after having a very sad life, despite his many great talents and fortunes.

Big Man said...

Trumpet

That was a real good point. Plus, now there are the rumors that he he didn't even do anything with that first little boy. That would change everything.

Anonymous said...

"Plus, now there are the rumors that he he didn't even do anything with that first little boy."

That and the fact that the boy went to his then principal explaining how his father set the whole scheme up. The father was even recorded on tape discussing how he'd extort money from Michael. But, y'all don't know nothing about that. Sad to say even fans are hidden from the truth. RIP MJ, it seems very few were on your side.

Raving Black Lunatic