Whew! Those three years have passed by so swiftly. I can still feel the shakes and anxiety I experienced when getting that call from my mother, informing me that Mike was hospitalized and turning on CBS to see the drama unfold. We had just lost Farrah Fawcett that same day and something was in the air. I knew it. Just something that I will never forget. It was as if someone was playing a sick joke or I was in some kind of weird nightmare. When it was confirmed that he died, I was just mortified, shocked, paranoid and frightened. Seeing the hundreds of people cluttered at the UCLA Medical Center is an image that will never escape my conciousness. My mind went blank at that moment and that whole rest of the day. I couldn’t eat, watch any special or news broadcast involving his sudden death, or listen to music. That day was just…a wild circus! Seeing the helicopter taking off with his body to arrive at the coroner’s officers was just sickening and sad. All this didn’t hit me until the night of June 26th, when watching the “Gone Too Soon” and “Liberian Girl” videos and just thinking about how much this man was really L-O-V-E-D.
Outside of all of the drama and controversy that has surrounded his untimely death and its aftermath, it is important that Michael’s music and impact is prevelant in the culture we live in today. Nonetheless, we must also utilize Michael as the true example of a complex genius as well as multi-faceted man, who lived life on his terms without a care. Sure, there were perplexing moments in his life that caused him to be mythologized, maligned and unfairly scrutinized, but Michael was deep. Deep not only in his many talents, but his character as well. His soul, giving spirit and courage was abundant and it all derived from the spirit and hope of his own upbringing. The hardwork and commitment of the Jackson Family fueled a whole new movement in American culture and Michael, along with his parents and siblings, did their best to show the world how there is indeed light at the end of any tunnel.
The hidden links in Michael’s enduring musical legacy lies tales and messages of desire, struggle, justice, joys and sorrows. These stories must’ve been among the culmination of Michael’s own personal life, as it was filled with a myriad of pride and devastation. Amazingly, these songs are the only real stories that have accurately told the truth on the many dimensions of Michael Joseph Jackson. His defining voice and remarkable talents as a performer, songwriter, producer, musician and dancer were filled with careful skill and unmatchable virtuoso, which echoed the best of other icons such as Jackie Wilson, James Brown and Charles “Cholly” Atkins before him. The fiery and perfection of Michael’s talent was towering, but his sweeping career, which lasted four decades, proved that there was something more. Vision and dedication was among the many reasons as to why it all stood strong.
The legacy of Michael Joseph Jackson is simply this: endurance, pride and willingness. If one takes the time to listen to his entire catalog, from the earliest Steeltown recordings to the last full-length of his career, Invincible, there lies the journey of a legend. We will miss Michael! I salute you as a man and living testimony of what a human being should be. Furthermore, thank you for everything!