Simply the Best

26 06 2009
Michael at his best

Michael at his best

This morning while watching the Today Show as they were chronicling Michael Jackson’s life, I felt that familiar swell in my neck and the warmth in my face and the warmth around my eyes, and before long, tears started streaming down my face.  Rather than choke them back and “man up”, I went ahead and let them fall for a few minutes, then I shook off the wave of grief that had overcome me, and got up to shower.

I, like most of you, didn’t know Michael Jackson.  But we grew up with his music, his videos, and savored every morsel of access we got of his life through the media.  For me, Michael Jackson was the first artist who I loved everything he did and couldn’t get enough of.  I remember the night that “Thriller” premiered on Night Tracks in 83 and since it came on so late and I was only 7 years old, I couldn’t hang, so I made my older sister promise to wake me up if I fell asleep.  You all know how excited and well produced the video was. My best friend at the time that lived behind me had an older brother that a few years later got a hold of a making of thriller vhs.  My sister even had a Michael Jackson doll that she is pissed that she can’t find now.

I put the “Off the Wall” picture at the top of this post because contrary to popular belief, this was his best album. I say contrary to popular belief, because the pop world and popular music embraces “Thriller” as MJ’s best, but black folk undeniably hold “Off the Wall” as his best. Mike was still soulful, wore an afro, and him and Quincy just put it down for the people.  I’m not hating on “Thriller” at all, because it was a great album in it’s own right, but my opinion is that when you throw in hard rock guitar riffs, that doesn’t connect with most blacks in a way that it does with a lot of other cultures.  But I digress.  MJ was the sh!t. His albums were the sh!t. We have suffered a HUGE HUGE loss, and he will be missed.

My most vivid memory was 1985. It was me, my sister, and two of my cousins. We went to Jacksonville to the stadium where I believe the Jaguars play, if that’s the one, and we witnessed the Victory tour.  Yes, all the Jacksons in their glittery flashy uniforms doing songs from the Victory album, old J5 stuff, and Michael doing some of his solo stuff.  I remember my sister crying and her and I screaming so much for Michael our throats were raw. My stepmom laughing at my sister crying, and when they performed the song “Heartbreak Hotel”.  I was on an energy filled high for several hours after that concert.  Last night my sister reminded me that she got to go to the “Off the Wall” tour which probably was back in 81 or 82 so. I am pretty envious of that.

The initials MJ must hold a special key to some kind of superhuman success or ability.  Michael Jordan was the greatest that ever played and Michael Jackson is the greatest entertainer there ever was and there ever will be.  Yes, even greater than Elvis (which is laughable to even consider otherwise).

Now, Michael in later years lost the appeal he once had and as I grew older it lessened even more. His behavior and actions got stranger and his skin got lighter.  By looking at a picture they had on the news, he looked like a white woman.  Black people joke about Michael’s tranformation and his behavior, but the common feeling about Michael Jackson in the black community always remained clear: “Yeah Michael Jackson is a weirdo, but he’s OUR weirdo, and he’ll always be no matter what.” Because make no mistake about it, Michael Jackson will always be that little black boy in the huge black family from Gary, Indiana, which wasn’t nothin nice. Black people will always be proud of what the man was able to accomplish in his short time on this planet.

I feel a somber mood in my universe, and although I didn’t know Michael and probably will never know what trials and tribulations the man went through (some external and some self imposed), I feel sorry for him and his family and everyone who’s life he touched.  The world will miss him. I know I do already.

If you would be so kind, holler at your boy and share with the class your fondest MJ memory.

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3 responses

26 06 2009
IceBerg J

My fondest memory is watching the Thriller video for the first time and being “blown away” by what he put together…He made music videos an art form and not just a marketing tool for an artist.

26 06 2009
A

“the common feeling about Michael Jackson in the black community always remained clear: “Yeah Michael Jackson is a weirdo, but he’s OUR weirdo, and he’ll always be no matter what.” ”

Amen and Aaaaaa-men!!!

My favorite memory right now is the “We are the World” movement. It was this groundswell of support for Africa that just made me feel all warm inside. I LOVED that song and its tremendous star power. No other artist in that time could’ve pulled that off like he did. He was doing Oprah long before anyone could say her name.

Man, he could dance, sing, write, give, and did I say dance? There will NEVER be another. I’ve seen the Chris Brown imitation MTV keeps showing, but no one will ever have that MJ bop and swag. Truly. One of a kind.

29 06 2009
AddWaterStir

Thanks for this, Cord! Very nice tribute to the one and only King of Pop. If only I could still fit in my little t-shirt that had P.Y.T. on the back. Yes, he will be missed.

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