Friday, June 26, 2009
Celebrating the Music & Magic of Michael Jackson
Since the white-oriented corporate media has decided that today is bash Michael Jackson in death (as they did when he was alive) I have decided this is CELEBRATE MJ Day. I'm still in utter shock and may shed a tear or two but that's okay. He may have been an entertainer but he fully lived up to that description. He ENTERTAINED and THEN SOME!!!
Otherwise why would we be able to listen to a single note of a song we recognize and have our hearts beat a little faster? The smile would often appear at the corners of our mouth before we'd even had a chance to recognize it. It was so much more than the music, so much more than the choreography, so much more than the "Shum-On". He had a divinely acquired gift at moving people. People from all walks of life, from all corners of the world, all generations. I think his impact was even more profoundly felt outside the United States. We forget the influence of African-American artists and the unique impact we have on the world.
When you live in a different part of the world there are a completely different set of circumstances for the denizens of that country. They have other cultural influences. Michael Jackson was an ambassador of our cultural heritage and did more for spreading "American" values than any government initiative. He was more iconic than the Golden Arches!! Think about it. Who doesn't know about the Jackson family? His music did so much to uplift the image of Black people around the world.
Remember this video released at the beginning of the year? I still couldn't believe prisoners had reenacted Thriller after two decades but here they are:
His music was able to resonate with so many because he wrote and recorded songs that reflected light and joy. Not a "woe's me" or " I hate the world" or "I live in the hood and drink 40's" in the bunch. His songs spoke of universal themes that everyone could relate to - and dance to. I can still listen to an MJ song and not feel embarrassed. I could play his songs in a corporate work setting and not have them deemed inappropriate.
Most artists today hope to have one song that has that kind of impact, but he had a catalog of dozens, probably hundreds like that. I'm very curious to see what his estate will do with all of the unreleased material. You know there have to be some gems in the mix. He worked with a who's who in the industry after all.
The networks are planning a slew of tributes (so they can get ratings) and it is right and just that they give him his proper respect. He influenced at least two generations in his short time here on earth: the Boomers and Gen X. I was explaining to my youngest sister what it was like to watch the Motown 25th Anniversary show when MJ performed Billie Jean and Moonwalked how much of an impact he had on us and why that performance was so special. The Millennials and younger still get a taste of his brilliance but they're not experiencing it for the first time. They don't understand the roads he paved over to clear a path for the artists that came after him.
Some of his best songs don't have videos but the ones he made were always gravity-defying and cutting edge. The fact that he put so much thought, time and money into them - his excellence is why we're still talking about him now. A lesser artist whose life may have been less controversial still wouldn't have left such a gaping hole in the world as the passing of this once-in-a-lifetime legend has.Who wasn't in this video!?
This was MJ giving us the sexy I admit I felt uncomfortable thinking of my childhood crush as a grown man...and getting it on with uber goddess Naomi Campbell, but it was tasteful.
We clamored for a Jackson x Jackson duet and we got it!! I just realized how similar their voices sound. The talent in one family is still astounding.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs. When he starts off singing, "Girl close your eyes" oh my! The pure joy on his face while performing this is evident. He also still looked the MJ of our youth. I think this when he was at his best. RIP!