Jul 7, 2009

Soule Restaurant: Michael Jackson, The Legend

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Before Farrah Fawcett’s unfortunate passing, I watched Good Morning America features on her life and felt… uh… very little. I mean, her death bought attention to our need for cancer research; but personally, I felt nothing.

Ed McMahon’s passing elicited a similar apathy. I mean, these are public figures, not personal friends.

And then there was Michael.

No… other than in my imagination, we’d never met. And yet, Michael Jackson was a prominent figure in my life. His music was a tremendous influence to generations of people. He revolutionized music videos, created fashion trends, and raised the bar for musicians.

I remember playing the Jackson 5 Christmas album when I was younger, (you know… the big black CD). I would sit and stare at his image on the album jacket and imagine the person he was.

I imagined that he was somewhat rebellious, but sweet; full of energy and passion for his music, with an infinite love for his family and friends. I wanted to know the person behind that tremendous talent, and I like to imagine that my estimation of his character was very much on point.

I remember watching a Michael Jackson special on our state-of-the-art 11-inch black and white TV. No HD, but yet, when he danced, my heart pounded. I watched as people in the audience passed out and were carried out over the crowds and felt their overwhelming awe of being in his presence. I wanted to be there.

I understood the magnitude of his being. Long before Thriller… long before Never Never Land… long before the scandals that I choose not to believe… I understood that this man was a genius.

Michael Jackson’s talent was so considerable, it was virtually impossible to contain. It forced him to become somewhat of a recluse, or risk being lovingly torn to pieces by his adoring fans.

I remember when my friend Marlon got the Thriller album. She told me that it came with a black, curly hair that was very shiny and smelled really good, stuck in the album jacket. Hair that she’d discarded.

I was devastated.

Didn’t she know? That was Michael Jackson’s hair! I couldn’t believe she could be so callous and insensitive. Things were never the same between us afterwards.

Michael Jackson tried to make us raise our standards as a people. He admonished us to reflect on the Man in the Mirror while considering those who were less fortunate. He wooed us with Baby Be Mine, made our hearts soar with the Butterflies of first love and nursed us through our first heartbreak with Who’s Loving You, while still allowing us to Remember the Time of love. A man who is now tragically, inexplicably Out of Our Lives.

When Princess Diana passed away, I understood that we had lost a great woman; a humanitarian. I understood the period of mourning that spanned nations.

With Michael Jackson’s death, I am greatly saddened. I feel as if I’ve lost a personal friend; a friend who contributed much in his lifetime, and was misunderstood in many ways. A tragic figure who will remain a legend until the end of time.

I’m saddened.

Tremendously saddened.

And I will love him forever.

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