Although I was not the biggest fan of Michael Jackson, I feel that it is somewhat necessary to write about his passing. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Jackson died yesterday June 25th as a result of cardiac arrest.
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When most people think of Michael Jackson they’re first thoughts are of songs like Bad, Beat It, and Thriller, or more recently of his confusing behavior, countless plastic surgeries, and the accusations of child molestation. My first thought, oddly enough, is of Captain Eo, a 3D movie that was shown in Disneyworld’s Epcot. I really don’t remember much of the movie, but I guess that was one of my first real encounters with Jackson’s music. And because of that, thoughts of Jackson will forever be related to my childhood memories.
I remember as a childhood, Jackson’s music video were such a huge deal. When a new one was released, my entire family would watch its first airing together, it was a bigger deal than HBO’s weekly new movie.
Thriller scared me to death, I couldn’t watch without closing my eyes, up until the zombies big dance number of course, than it was about the coolest thing I ever seen. And every year on Halloween my brother and I would wait to watch it on MTV. Every year on New Year’s Eve, MTV would hold a countdown of the best music videos ever, and every year I would be so mad when it was beat out by Nirvana’s Nevermind.
When Black and White, came out my eyes were closed again, this time by mother who completely disapproved the ten minute long gyrating, crotch grabbing, and shamone screaming solo. My thoughts were mostly concerned about how and why he could to turn into a panther; not to mention why was he so angry at that car?
Remember the Time, was I believe, the last big video we all made a fuss to watch on its premiere. There was of course more shape shifting, more celebrity cameos, and much less excitement. This seemed to be the moment when we all stopped caring about his music and vision, and started to focus on the craziness. How did that cute little black boy become that crazy white woman? And for the last ten years or so that’s all people seemed to focus on, the Wacko Jacko element, his bizarre marriages, the beetles dilemmas, counting down the minutes until his nose would fall off, hanging babies over balconies. We were no longer waiting for his next epic music video premier, but for the Martin Bashir documentary exposing his bizarre way of life. The Michael Jackson that so many people had grown up with had become a complete alien to us, literally. The music was gone, I couldn’t even tell you the name of his last release (something about Russia right?) His art had turned to chicken-scratch, and his legacy was left in tatters.
Now that he is gone, we all seem to be left picking up the pieces, somewhat rediscovering not only his genius but also our love for him. We are looking back remembering how cutting edge was Billie Jean, how light-hearted the Jackson 5 made us feel, how he broke down so many barriers for black musicians and influenced so many artists today. This is how he should be remembered. I may not have understood him much as a child, but I knew he was important, and he left a major imprint on my childhood, and he will always be that to me, a part of my childhood, now lost.
Jackson was always somewhat obsessed with the idea of Peter Pan. Never having a real childhood experience of his own, he likened him self to the character, the boy who never grew up. I read once that J.M. Barrie was inspired to write the book to console the many parents who had lost their children to TB. He felt that Never Never Land could be a place where these “lost boys” could find a home, and parents would feel safe that their children were out having the adventures that they dreamed of. It’s a strange thought, but lets hope it’s true.
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