If you told me that I would outlive Michael Jackson, I would have told you no way. Honestly, MJ is one of those people who you just knew would live forever. We thought of the possibility of other artists and iconic people dying, but never Michael.
I grew up with the guy, and I am sure that damn near all of you reading this did as well. He just seemed like one of those constants: Death, taxes, and Michael Jackson. But no more. That part of A-merry-can music history died today in a Bel-Air mansion at approximately 4:00 PM EST. That white glove and the red jacket will be in the Smithsonian one day. (If they are not already.) The guy was that much a part of A-merry-cana.
To us black folks this loss is especially hard, because no matter how hard he tried to change himself and run away from who he was, many of us still accepted him. He was the same little Michael from Gary, Indiana that he was four noses ago. Maybe it's because we understood that he grew up on the stage and under the eyes of a taskmaster like unforgiving father. Maybe it's because we understood that he never really had a childhood and for all his talents, he was somewhat of a pathetic figure. And then, of course, there were the alleged little boys. None of us can pretend that the ugly trial didn't take place. We all whispered about it long before the trial, and even after he was acquitted of those horrible charges, many of us still believed that the whispers were true. And still, in spite of all that, we accepted him. Oh we killed him for those and other indiscretions, and rightfully so, but at the end of the day, he was fam.
We forgave because he broke barriers. He was the first black artist to really get some shine on MTV. He turned white folks on to our music and the way we dance to it. (Who can forget Michael moon- walking into white A-merry-ca's living rooms and their hearts?) And he crossed over and got paid. (Yes, we celebrated the fact that he got paid. Because contrary to what plenty of you believe; black folks aren't all crabs in a barrel)
But we loved him mostly for what he gave us: The memories. Those old J-5 albums: The Love You Save; ABC;Dancing Machine;One More Chance. Pick one. Anyone. I am sure you would be picking a memory right along with it. I watched some of those old J-5 routines on television tonight, and I got goose bumps. (Oh if that Michael Jackson could have still been with us) I felt a profound sense of sadness, because it reminded me of a youth and an innocence that I will never get back. In a way, Jackson's dying closes that chapter, and I never wanted to say goodbye.