When I was sixteen, I hated Michael Jackson. Nearly every girl that I knew had a Michael Jackson poster on her wall. I'd enter the room and there would be Michael Jackson smiling above her bed--it should have just said, "Michael was here." Talk about a mood killer. And to top it, we were both the same age!
Still, I couldn't envy the man. Not only because he was a genius, but because I felt an affinity for him as a fellow Jehovah's Witness. And I know how a religion like that can weigh down the soul.
For Michael was born to sing, he was born to set our souls on fire--to show us how a spirit body could soar.
Year after year Michael would create great music. In Jamaica, I'd stand there at a party waiting for the moment, hoping for a slow dance when the DJ would play "Got to Be There" or "Ben." If I got that dance, things would be looking up--that is until he'd stare at me again.
I continued to listen Michael's music when he played with my hero , and when I came to Miami, hoped again that they'd play " in JamaicaDon't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You" at a disco in Miami. In those early days in Miami, nobody knew about Bob Marley, so Michael became my musical pimp.
Michael's music followed me through my young adulthood, student days, college days, young married days, young fatherhood days--no road trip was ever complete without a Michael Jackson song: "It's just a Thriller" Even now when I have to get on the treadmill every morning, Michael leads me out of my stupor with "Shake Your Body Down to the Ground" or "Beat it."
Those songs, those songs. Those songs I'll never forget and which have become permanent fixtures on my iPod:
"Rock With You."
and my favorite, "Human Nature"
But what I'll always remember is the first time I saw him on MTV and the opportunities that he created for every single R&B, hip-hop, reggae singer, …
And when he moonwalked!
And, yes, there were the dark moments in his life. He is gone now so they won't follow him into his next life.
And if anyone is still inclined to judge, listen to "Human Nature" one more time.
Rest in Peace, Brother.