Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MJ in my life

I always used look through the stacks of cds my parents had by the stereo in the living room.

Plopped down, kneeling in front of the hundreds of cases, I'd take out a handful and marvel at the cover artwork. I specifically always being intrigued by one particular album, Dangerous.
It was one of those covers where one simple glance did not cut it. There was so much to the picture, so many pieces that drew you in closer for extended investigation of detail and portrait.

His music was just as enticing.

I had plenty of cassettes with "Rockin Robin" and "ABC" as a kid, which made for the perfect youngster sing-a-long dance party. As a tween, Michael's music sneaked his way into the movies I watched (Free Willy's "Will You Be There") and soft rock radio waves I listened to while in the car with my parents ("Black or White").

As a teenager, it was just common place to know all about MJ, from his early hits with as lead of the Jackson 5 to the "Thriller" dance. If you did not know how to moonwalk, you envied anyone would could, and you wish you could learn. It was not as easy as Michael made it seem.

And Michael still has a presence in my present life today. There is always a new song out that uses a MJ sample or draws upon inspiration from MJ's dancing or music videos. I think I am safe to say that a Michael Jackson song played at every single dance, party and bar that I go to.

Today the Michael Jackson memorial was held at the Staples Center. I was able to watch most of it, breaking away from the TV for about 20 minutes to run errands for my parents. Luckily, radio stations were broadcasting a live feed too.

I thought the whole thing was well done, which great speeches and performances that highlighted the greatness of Michael Jackson, his contribution to the world and unparalleled talent.

I thought Brooke Shield and Reverend Al Sharpton's speeches really showcased that, as much as Michael may have been misrepresented in the media, he was a loving, caring and extremely compassionate musical entertainer at his core.

"I want his children to know there was nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what your daddy had to deal with," Sharpton said.

And so true. After Jackson's death, it came to light that all the accusations against Jackson of abuse were in fact false. It is heartbreaking to think that Michael's reputation was so wrongfully tainted. I have to admit that my image of Jackson definitely waivered in the past decade, with all of his odd behavior plastered across the media.

I found it sad that even today I saw plenty of people still bashing Michael on twitter. If you do not like him or do not think he is as influential as others believe he was, that is fine. I guess I am just blown that there are still so many haters out there despite how obvious it is that MJ had a huge and positive impact on the world.

But thanks to the BET awards and today's memorial, I once again remember the Michael Jackson that made me smile, made us all smile. The MJ that had the power to bring together everyone, regardless of race, religion or difference. And above all, the MJ that was a true gift to this world, creating music that brightens our day within the first few notes and his first few lyrics.

Rest in peace, Michael. You will be missed.

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