Today is a day I will remember forever: A final farewell was paid to Michael Jackson at the age of 50. Michael Jackson was respectfully laid in his final resting place. I was never a die hard Michael Jackson fan that attended every concert, purchased every album and poster, had a crush on him or memorized all of his dance steps, but no one who lived during the 60s,70s, 80s or 90s or even today can say in truth that they were not somehow aware of Michael Jackson and affected by his music, style and legacy. I enjoyed his music and admired his many gifts. In my life, his music is truly a venture through my life experiences from childhood into my adult life.
When I was young I remember the Jackson 5 Cartoon Show on television. My brother, sister and I would wake up early, get our bowls of cereal and camp out in front of the TV on Saturday mornings anxious to see what the Jackson’s would do on the show that day.
When I got a bit older, I remember watching Soul Train on Saturday mornings and how excited I was to see the Jackson’s performing. I remember watching Michael closely and almost being upset if they took the camera off him because he always had the most animated performance of all the brothers.
I remember being in middle school and seeing Michael on the “Rock With You” album cover. There was no denying Michael’s charm and charisma. Appearing by himself for the first time was a new experience for many viewers but he was a wonderful performer and was extremely handsome.
In high school I remember the Thriller album. That was the only Michael Jackson album I purchased but it was well worth my money. The most memorable thing about that album was that every song on the album was a hit. I can still see the tiger he had displayed across the cover when you opened it. Everybody memorized the steps to the dance he performed. They did his dances at school, people dressed like him, tried unsuccessfully to dance like him, wore one glove, and watched the Thriller video over and over no matter how many times you had seen it. I remember my friend’s little sister had the video and they played it all day long. I remember my nephew singing “Thriller” at two years old trying to imitate Michael’s voice, his stresses, and his flair. Of course, he had the words wrong and was saying “Feel It” instead of “Thriller” but we got the message. He used the same verbiage for “Beat It.” (Feel it) He would get so excited to hear Michael’s songs on the radio. Even at two years old he realized that Michael’s music was unique and somehow superior to any other songs that came across the airwaves.
As I got older, Michael’s music grew older with me. Music videos became a phenomenon and every station including MTV, BET, VH1 and all the others played a non-stop barrage of Michael Jackson tunes. The “Remember the Times” video with Magic Johnson, Zeus, and Eddie Murphy stands out in my mind as one of the best videos written for a song.
Michael Jackson’s music and legacy will continue to live on in our hearts and minds. He will be forever remembered as one of the absolute best at what he did. Death is a funny thing. It makes you evaluate your own life and re- evaluate your existence and your purpose. Have you given you best at all you’ve chosen to do in your life? While you may not do life-changing things like Michel did, what have you contributed to society? How has the world be affected because of your presence on earth?
For some of us, it won’t be a big thing. It will simply be raising our children, loving our families and living our lives so that they are pleasing to God. For others of us, it will be something our world cannot do without. Whatever you are called to do, do it with vigor, excitement and as much enthusiasm as if you are entertaining millions. When all is said and done, we are really performing to an audience of one. Our actions should reflect the joy and love of our father in heaven.
My prayers go out to the entire Jackson family. As Janet Jackson said so well, “To you Michael was an icon but to us, he is family.” I pray for his children, his parents, his siblings and other family members on the loss of their father, brother, son, and relative. May God comfort them in their time of bereavement. For God well knows the loss of a son can bring great pain and anguish. May He bless them with His presence at this difficult time.