I grew up on Michael Jackson — as almost everyone my age did. As a grade schooler, Mom would allow me to fall asleep to my Jackson 5 cassette tape. I would cry to the lyrics of “Ben“. I would groove to the sound of “Dancing Machine” (but not in bed).
Then as an adolescent, (during his Thriller period), I totally believed that he and I would one day marry. I wore replicas of his red leather “zipper” jacket, his diamond glove, and his dance pants. His pictures graced my every wall. I wrote him fan letters. I won tickets to his concert in Connecticut. I believed that every love song he ever wrote was about me. And I hated Billie Jean for wronging my man.
Later on … as a teen, my infatuation with him faded some, but I was still such a fan of his work. I was so proud of his work on the “Bad” and “Dangerous” albums. I was particularly inspired by “Man in the Mirror” (still am), “Black or White“, “Heal the World“, etc.
As a young adult, I went from seeing him as a heart throb to admiring him as an inspirational humanitarian. His charity works gave me hope. His words gave me hope. And his love for me — felt so good. I KNEW he loved me. He showed me … and he told me. Over and over … throughout my life … just as Mister Rogers did. And I believed him … and still do.
BUT, then came the speculation that something was seriously wrong with him … that perhaps his love for children was not as innocent as we all believed … and that his plastic surgery was getting out of control … that his mental health was in serious question, etc. And I began to wonder. I still do. There is MUCH to wonder about. And no real answers.
I watched every documentary about his legal and psychological “troubles” (this one was especially revealing) … and felt even more confused about him. But what I knew in my heart — no matter what — was that Michael Jackson was a troubled, wounded (but beautiful) soul. And I became sad for him. However, I was also sad for the two boys who accused him of molestation. And I was purely disgusted at the footage of Michael Jackson where – after being acquitted of his most recent child molestation charge – he was seen dancing for his fans on the top of his limo in jubilation over his acquittal. I could only imagine how his young accuser must have felt about this brazen victory display. To my mind … even if Michael was innocent … and this boy was forced to accuse him for the sake of making his parents some money (which does seem to be the case) … then couldn’t Michael have displayed some sympathy for the boy involved? …. some respect for the child he claims to love? Couldn’t he have toned it down a bit? And lets not forget the droves of thugs from The Nation of Islam who provided crowd control for his trial. Any true knowledge of this group should leave one a bit horrified by their beliefs (as a Mother to a black son, I am enraged by them to no end). Apparently, Michael recently converted to this so-called religion during his trial. Gross.
Anyway — it was after all this that I lost some *wide-eyed* affection for Michael … and felt more sympathy for his lack of mental health than anything else.
Now he is gone. And I feel such mixed emotions. In a way – I am glad for him that he has left what he himself called a “very lonely” and painful life. Yet, I am also sad that he did not come to a point of self-love (at least as much as we can tell) … and that he left this world without being able to see his babies grow into adulthood (my worst fear).
I pray that his children are grow up in a safe, happy & healthy atmosphere. I pray that the world does not hound them throughout their lives. I pray that they love themselves in a way that their father seemed unable. I also pray for the boys who were swept into a whirlwind of painful controversy regarding their relationships with you. May they be in peace — over whatever it is that did or did not happen.
And I say a hearty thanks to Michael. You inspired me greatly. In fact, I would say that you have made me a better person. You were such an important role model for me throughout childhood. You have now met your maker … and only the two of you will know your trespasses. All that remains down here is speculation and sensationalism. No matter your “sins” or lack there of … you were an incredible human being who did much good for so many. Your body of artistic work is absolutely phenomenal and could never be replicated. You are forever the King of Pop (by the way – please say hello to the first King for me). You will be greatly missed.
Rest in Peace.
P.S. One of my fave songs: You are Not Alone.