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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Remembering Michael

There was a time when I was more than a bit ambivalent about Michael Jackson, especially in the early 90s when the first controversy broke. Prior to that, I just shook my head in wonder at a then young man who seemed so rudderless, floating whereever his impulses took him. Many of the stories and rumors surrounding him seemed to obscure his talent and genius, and also distanced him from his fans and those who just wanted to understand why, why the many bad decisions, why the self mutilation, why the seeming lack of common sense.

Of two weeks ago, I was still ambivalent when Michael announced his new tour. But somewhere that ambivalence passed when Michael did. All of a sudden, the floodgates of memories and tears opened, and I find myself now wondering whether I judged harshly, or pre-judged without knowing all of the facts. Here's the truth that I now see: whether Michael was a pedophile I will never know unless hard evidence is presented to the public. This is not like R. Kelly, where there is a video; all we ever had were testimonies from people whom some might say had a lot of self-interest in Michael's money.

So, I back off from judging and let myself remember how much I loved the Jackson 5, how I hoped one day to grow up to be Mrs. Michael Jackson; how I eventually "outgrew" the Jacksons, as they came to be known in the late 70s; how after a few years, I "rediscovered" Michael when "Against the Wall" came out; how I started to be amazed at the genius of this indefatigable singer, dancer, writer, producer as he introduced hit after hit. Even as he was pictured with a variety of "dates," I was never interested too much in his personal life; my chance of becoming Mrs. Jackson had long passed in my mind and all I wanted to do was appreciate his music. But then those charges came, and I couldn't gauge whether or not to believe or not. Thus the ambivalence.

During that ambivalent time, Michael wrote a song that I knew even then in a technical and human sense was one of the greatest songs ever written. And for a fraction of a second as I viewed the video with its awesome production, that ambivalence fell away. In the wake of Michael's death, I searched out a vid link and was disappointed that it had been removed from YouTube. Thankfully, I found another site with a link to "Earth Song" and in viewing it, I realize the talent that is now lost to the world.

We in the public never really knew the man who was Michael Jackson. And unfortunately, just as in the case of so many musical geniuses who left us too soon, entertainers like John Lennon, Elvis, and Marvin Gaye, we have lost the privilege of seeing what more he had to offer.

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 7/07/2009 08:14:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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