Saturday, June 27, 2009

Me, Michael, and Ben

I can only imagine how many articles, tributes, blogs, and songs will be composed in memory of the artist known as Michael Jackson. He died Thursday after collapsing at his home in Bel Air. I don't recall ever being so profoundly saddened by the loss of an entertainer. And I say the artist known as Michael Jackson because none of us really new the man; only the image he created or the caricature the media perpetuated.

Already, the press is dragging up his legal issues, health issues, and financial problems. But for many of us, those things are difficult to recall while humming the lyrics to our favorite MJ cut. I think the reason many of us feel so unhappy about his death is because his body of work brought us so much happiness. When I think of his songs, his dances, his weird, little boy voice acceptance speeches, I think of my life at those moments. I rocked with him. We moonwalked. He was Bad and I was Badder. He invented music videos as far as I'm concerned. His concerts remain the best orchestrated and performed. His musical influence was, well, Thrilling.

See, when I think of MJ. I'm transported to a time when I was younger, skinnier, richer (in my mind), and very happy. Gathering with my friends to watch a premier of his latest video or learn his new dance routine were highlights of my life. Nothing hurt when I was in MJ's world. Even his music with a message, like that black or white tune, was drama free. The controversies of the man were absent in his music.

So I don't know if the man MJ was a good person or not. It's not up to me to decide. I do know the artist transformed the music industry and brought joy to a lot of people. My hope is that we can bury the man, Mr. Jackson, along with his issues without burying the music of Micheal.

Oh, my favorite MJ song is "Ben." Like the true nature of Michael, I can't even explain why. It just makes me happy.