I woke up this morning hoping that the news of Michael Jackson’s passing was really just a bad dream, unfortunately it wasn’t. Today is a day of mourning for the King of Pop. Yesterday a mother lost her son, siblings lost their brother, children lost their father and the world lost the greatest entertainer of all time. The web, news sites, and bloggers flooded the media with up to the minute updates of the icon’s status with TMZ first breaking the news that Michael Jackson died yesterday of cardiac arrest. His death has undoubtedly left a black hole in the world of music and his fans in a state of disbelief.
His contribution to the music industry will forever live on. Michael Jackson was not only a musical genius but he was a trend setter and innovator who transcended race, color, gender and all of those boundaries that usually separate people. He was able to unite people in a way that no one else could. He created a legacy that has left the world deeply saddened.
Despite his troubled past, child molestation allegations, countless surgeries, and his vitiligo illness, (which saw him transform from a masculine looking black man to a frail, pale-faced figure) the world continued to love Michael Jackson the musician and how could they not? He has impacted the world of music in such a significant way that not only did we grow up on his music but so did most of our parents.
The Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson have been a part of my life for my entire existence. Although I was only 2 when Off the Wall was released it is still one of my all time favorite albums. Thriller was released in 1982 and is the world-wide all time best selling album in the world, certified platinum 40 times. That’s 40 million copies of ONE album. No other artist in history has ever been able to accomplish what Michael Jackson has. I remember sitting in the auditorium of my elementary school every Halloween and watching the Thriller video. I also remember sitting in my living room in Queens with my parents and sister when the Black and White video first premiered. It was the first time anyone had ever used the facial morphing technology in a video. When I saw a black man morph into an Asian woman I was in awe. The world had never seen anything like that at the time. Whenever Michael Jackson did something it was so big, so different, and so creative that when he spoke the world listened. He was always ahead of his time and he paved the way for a lot of the musicians today. Before Prince, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, or Chris Brown there was Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson has been in the public spotlight since he was a kid and he literally grew up while the world watched. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for him. Growing up for a normal kid is difficult so it must have been 10 times harder for Michael. He started performing at the age of 5 in school talent shows and local musical competitions and at an age when most children are playing with toys and just being children, Michael was already working at becoming the musical legend that is admired by millions of fans world wide. It’s no wonder that it seemed as if Michael never really grew up from being that tortured 5 year old kid; his obsession and adoration of children, his Neverland Ranch, the numerous children sleepovers that he allegedly hosted where all a result of the constant pressure and abuse by his father when he was a child. Michael seemed to regress to that 5 year old child the older he became. Growing up with that much pressure can take its toll on anybody. For most of his life he was battling the demons that seemed to plague him since his childhood.
Today as I sit here and think about how Michael Jackson influenced the world, I am committed to celebrating his life rather than mourning his death. So turn on your radios, TV’s or iPod’s and sing along to your favorite Michael Jackson song because although the world has lost a true musical icon I will always “Remember the Time”. RIP Michael.