We Will Forever Rock With Michael Jackson: In Memoriam

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today, most of the world is mourning the lost of one of entertainment's biggest and brightest icons, the untouchable Michael Jackson. The sudden outpouring of sympathy and support to the Jackson family has been immense as people were no doubt shocked by the passing of the King of Pop on Thursday afternoon. As the shock and sadness begin to subside for awhile, it's time to celebrate the life and most importantly, the music of Michael Jackson. Jackson's life story is now legendary, as journey to super stardom is well-known; how he went from starting his career at age six alongside his older brothers in the legendary Motown group, The Jackson 5 and then crafting himself into a pioneering pop star. While in later years, Jackson's personal dramas about his childhood, his pedophilia accusations, his physical morphisms and financial troubles seem to tarnish his image, at the end of the day, one thing was always a constant: his undeniable talent. Jackson's talent shone out like a lighthouse beacon, and proceeded to cast onto music's mainland, challenging other artists and setting trends that no other artist were attempting to do. As he was a child star in the early cracklings of his career, Jackson was one of the first musicians that grew up and grew into a wondrously flourishing adult solo career, something that at the time, was rarely seen or rarely accomplished.

The story of Michael Jackson's genius hook-up with composer, Quincy Jones in the 80's and how the two of them crafted three of of the most important albums in music history is truly a fascinating slice of music history. The earnestness of 1979's Off The Wall, the pure artistry that went into 1982's Thriller and the stylish nature of 1987's Bad, all three of these albums, in some way, changed the way the public listened and consumed music. In retrospect, the music industry was affected by Jackson's outpouring as he modernized soul/funk music, segued it with pop and rock elements and altered how the mainstream viewed Black artists and their music. We all can pretty much attest, that without Michael Jackson, Black soul/R&B/funk artists wouldn't of made it onto MTV's once Wonder Bread format. Contribute he did as his music videos were movable works of art, that made the music video format of the latter 20th century a staple in music history. As Jackson influenced the music industry and its occupants, he also managed to influence his listeners.

Most can recall memories of how Michael Jackson's music touched their lives, whether it was intentional or not. To me, this is what made Michael Jackson such a universal artist, whether or not you wanted to listen or watch him glide effortlessly on stage, you ended up being engaged by his voice, his style and of course the videos. This collective package was something that couldn't be ignored. While I wasn't around during the massive Thriller era, and a mere baby when Bad was on shelves, I still was introduced to Michael Jackson at a young age by my parents, who owned his albums and would play them constantly in our house. At about age of four, I was obsessed with the Bad album, and would beg my Dad to play it, all along absorbing it's musical makeup. At the time, I never understood the context of the songs, but the time I spent with my parents singing and dancing along to the music, I will always cherish. By this time, Michael Jackson had become the first artist I truly loved and tried to emulate by unsuccessfully imitating the Moonwalk and the "Remember The Time" dances in our family den. Michael Jackson, for me, introduced me to what music and true artistry was all about, how it was to be executed and delivered, and that molded me into the music lover that I am today. He was apart of my childhood, and today, like others, I feel that my childhood has somewhat vanished. Yet still the memories are there, whenever I hear the lushness of "Human Nature" or see Michael dance fiercely alongside sister, Janet in "Scream", memories my Dad playing domestic DJ and my Mom dancing in the kitchen come flooding back.

While there have been individuals who will use this moment to further grind salt into open wounds today by discussing (and joking about) his odd behaviors and legal issues, I feel those individuals are missing the point, or weren't fully aware of the impact Michael Jackson had on many individuals and their lives. We need to understand that Michael Jackson created a look, a musical niche, a dance style, and a persona all in one go, and that was something that isn't a regular occurrence and sad to say, an artist of his caliber may never cross our way again. To conclude, today is a day that we should take the time to celebrate the music and the legacy of Michael Jackson and tell him thank you for blessing us with his talent and creativity.

We must remember the time...the time of Michael Jackson. May he rest in peace.


  1. Great post. Beautifully written.

  2. This was wonderful.
    Micheal had such an important impact on our lives. My life in general. Like I think Usher said it best when he said "I grew up, lived and breathe Micheals music. I don't know anything else"


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