This was the part where I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.
“Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father I could imagine,” she said, dissolving into tears and turning to lean on her aunt Janet. “I just want to say I love him so much.”
I’m not sure I’d consider myself a fan, but I remember growing up with his music as a teenager.
His grisly life has been a sobre reminder to my generation of what could become of us – destroyed by the things we pursue, haunted by our dreams, empty even though we own everything we want, never quite achieving what we set out for. yet, somehow, in that melancholy, able to raise a thin, clear voice to say, “Heal the world / Make it a better place / For you and for me / And the entire human race”.
Sometimes I wonder when does someone really die? The day they are in the coffin or sometime before that? But is “resurrection” the truth which gives us hope?
Maybe it was around 1992. That’s when the plastic surgeries and ever-whitening skin began to morph him into something more noticeably un-real. Or perhaps it was back in the early ’70s when, under the harsh rule of a demanding stage parent, he was not allowed to be a child, but then years later didn’t seem to understand how to be an adult either.
By the late ’90s, the “ABC” – Off the Wall – Thriller versions of Michael Jackson were clearly notions of the distant past. I’ll never forget the day in 1997 when my wife came home from her job as a daycare worker and told me she had overheard a discussion among the 9- and 10-year-olds about Michael Jackson. After she offhandedly referred to him as an African American, the kids’ eyes widened in disbelief: “You mean Michael Jackson is black?”
Many of us used to think that Michael Jackson’s constantly changing looks were the result of his desire not to be black. The narrowed nose, straightened hair, and lightened skin all suggested a person who was attempting to escape his genetic fate. Yet, Jackson always spoke about being proud of his racial heritage. And his continued influence on the black urban and hip-hop artistic communities was immense, despite the fact that he appeared to be running away from his race.
Could it be, as Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page has suggested, that Jackson was not trying to escape his race so much as the image of his father that he saw in the mirror?
Dan adds a unique dimension to our common reflections based on MJ’s life. This distinctive Christian list is worth some time.
I am interested in the way celebrities form our lives.
They live out our dreams. They receive the adulation something inside of us wishes to receive. They may keep their bodies in shape, or even reform them in Michael’s case, to be what they want them to be. What we think of Michael’s “whitening” of himself, and his phobias aside, the fact that he or any other celebrity can do something about their persona, fascinates us.
Now, the question of a life’s impact, when granted celebrity status by the micro and macro powers that be, rises to the surface. Whether it be Mother Theresa, or Michael Jackson, I believe the same list applies.
A pause we all need to make. Some extra introspection anyone?
‘The church’s notion of the faithful dead as the communion of saints (see my Mystic Sweet Communion) has been replaced in popular culture by the cult of dead celebrities whose lives for the most part serve more as cautionary tales than good examples’.