What Michael Jackson Taught Me

Being a black bloke, and in middle age, I remember when I started going off Michael Jackson, some years after Thriller, after the Bad album came out. Even with Thriller his musical style had changed, going from the African-American soul music we expected like in Off The Wall, to a harder-edged rock, which to seemed to made for its appeal to whites. It wasn't the stuff I as a black person expected, and he has also began to appear tough, challenging and snarling and Bad in his music and videos, as the album name suggests. There was this issue about his desire to change his appearance from a black male to that of a white Hispanic looking female, nose jobs and all that - after all why should a very attractive highly eligible negro male (even before the nose job visible in Off The Wall) want to turn hmself into a white female? In retrospect it is obvious he had his issues. But one day, I can't remember what I was doing then, I heard the Jackson Five song, "I Want You Back" playing then it struck me - "That IS Michael Jackson!!, That IS Michael Jackson!!". Then it struck me how hard I had been on him because the change of his appearance and musical style. I can't say I had payed much attention to his music particularly since Thriller in spite of his success. It made me realize that the boy in that song was also Michael Jackson, and to me he was as much Michael Jackson as the man he had become in his later, paedophile claims and all the other stuff notwithstanding. It made me see that a man should be judged on the whole of his life, not just in a particular part as with Michael in his latter years. A person's life is not just their own memories in their own life, but the memories and feelings they leave with others. If Michael is defined by the memories and feelings he placed in others minds and hearts, there is a billion times more of him in others, than there was in his own life. All those feelings are also Michael Jackson and they live on, and more of him will come into existence as more people now and in the future get to know his music and his videos. The positive joyful feelings he left in others outweigh his negatives by a billion to one, and in that sense there is probably more positive Michael Jackson out in the world than there is for almost any person in history. I also believe that when we weep for the bereaved we are really weeping out of our pity for our own selves, not for the bereaved, even when we can't help ourselves. The positive memories he left behind are the real Michael and all those who are sorrowfully mourning him stop doing so. They are just feeling sorry for their own selves - wherever he is Michael certainly is not. Anyway this is what Michael taught me, and it his lasting impression on me, more so than his music. A person should be judged on the whole of life, not just by the bad parts alone. It is time for me to go out there and create more positive memories of myself in others. I have some catching up to do in that respect, and so do a lot of us out there, and also avoid bad ones. Mr and Mrs Jackson, father and mother, the whole world thanks you for the joy your son brought into the world, and all your family as well. Let no one malign or disparage your legacy of your son as his positive legacy, can be matched by few people in history. May God bless you, your family and all your descendants for all eternity. Now people, what are you waiting for? Go out there and create some good memories. Peace.

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