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For the love of Michael (PT 1)

June 26, 2009

I remember arguing with Regina Miles over Michael Jackson. We were in second grade and she was dead set on convincing me and three other seven year old girls that Michael Jackson belonged to her. I remember digging in my backpack to find evidence of my devotion. Out of my schoolbag came books,magazines, posters and even my zippered Beat it jacket all proof of my undying devotion to Michael Jackson. She had the same items and probably a few more as did most of our classmates. She pushed her glasses back on her nose and stared me down all the while claiming Michael Jackson was “her man”. While I didn’t know what romantic love was, I did know I loved Michael Jackson. I knew this girl was tripping. I was Michael Jackson’s biggest fan. Regina and I never did agree on who Michael Jackson “belonged to” and I guess we never will.

I remember watching Motown’s 25th anniversary wide-eyed as he dazzled the audience and thinking he had to be the “coolest” man to ever walk the planet. I shared my sentiments with my mother who shook her head, claiming Michael Jackson and his brothers were around when she was younger. His genius was nothing new to her. She felt he belonged to her era. She introduced me to the Jackson 5 and I fell in love even deeper. It didn’t seem that the little brown-skinned boy with the soulful eyes and amazing ability to translate love and relationships through music was the same man on stage with the flashy socks and tight black pants and unnerving sex appeal. Year earlier I recall riding in my Uncle’s convertible jeep while he blasted “Off the Wall.” He believed Michael Jackson belonged to his generation. Years later I sat on the sofa with my own daughter watching television and she sees a clip of Michael Jackson performing overseas. “No one can be Michael Jackson,” she says, although I believe she thinks Chris Brown is a close second. Still she believes Michael Jackson belongs to her. I just looked at her and shook my head.

After hearing he was gone Thursday afternoon I sat in my car with an up and coming female group. All three looked as if they’d loss a family member. Michael Jackson had been an inspiration to each of them. You could see it in their eyes, they’d experienced a very personal loss. Over the years I’ve interviewed various artists from all walks of music. As a freelance writer, I’ve interviewed everyone from platinum selling/ Grammy-winning singers, rappers and musicians who all share a consistent theme when speaking inspiration is Michael Jackson. I’ve interviewed producers, songwriters and even sound engineers; the consistent thread is always and will always be Michael Jackson.

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