Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

Faced with foreclosure, Michael Jackson was forced to put his beloved Neverland Ranch on the auction block, but the dream was not for sale. In the end, Michael’s wish came true: he will never grow old.

I fell in love with The Scarecrow in “The Wiz,” convinced that this kid didn’t have a bone in his body, so limber and loose was his portrayal. More than that, the magic came through.

A generation of African-American kids who passed through my ‘hood adored Michael Jackson, bringing me blank videotapes to capture specials on MTV. Was this the last generation to love music as opposed to rap and hip-hop? Probably.

Behind the eccentric, the “Wacko Jacko,” was an innocence and a need to recapture the childhood he never had. Sitting with Oprah on the edge of a stage at Neverland, both with legs dangling, Michael made it clear he was captive to the superstar bubble surrounding him all his life.

As for the subsequent charges against him, I believe he was the victim of his own fame and fortune. No acquittal would erase what a public wanted to perceive.

In my video collection are two documentaries taped back to back. The first is Martin Bashir’s famous interview with and betrayal of Michael Jackson. In a stroke of brilliance, Jackson had his own camera crew filming the same program simultaneously. The second documentary by Jackson’s crew shows how Bashir’s skillful editors manipulated the interview, taking statements out of context, to shed bad light on Jackson. I kept these two documentaries as a classic example of how film can be doctored by skillful editors to distort a person’s meaning and produce a false effect.

Bashir ingratiated himself with Jackson, moved into his inner sanctum, then used him for financial gain. But, Jackson outsmarted him with his own film.

I believe Michael Jackson wrote no better eulogy for himself than the words of my favorite of his songs:

I'm starting with the man in the mirror;
I'm asking him to change his ways;
And no message could have been any clearer:
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

PHOTO: Statue of Michael Jackson in Eindhoven, the Netherlands


Read Frodo, Keeper of the Ring: “The Boy Can Play, Do The Walk On By.” LINK

Watch the “Man in the Mirror" video. LINK

1 comment:

Tiny said...

Like the title of one of his songs:
Gone to Soon.

His talent will never be matched by anyone else. He was one unique artist whose music will live on. Tiny is sure most people are unaware of the good he did for other people.

AS Jacko points out, self is the only one who can change the person in the mirror. But first, the person has to have the 'want to.'

Tiny's heart and sympathies goes out to his family and friends. The world has lost a bigger than life talented artist. May he rest in peace.