Friday, June 26, 2009

Soul Heaven

Never Can Say GoodbyeThe past 10 to 15 years have proven to be difficult times for Michael Jackson. During that time period it was difficult for us, his adoring fans, to focus squarely on his artistry, music, legacy and humanitarian efforts. We've been inundated with non stop stories detailing MJ's oddball behavior. The press labeled The King of Pop 'Wacko Jacko,' he was crucified for loving children and deemed a child molester. Difficult times indeed. News of his shocking, untimely death allowed myself and many others to reflect on the man and his music and the countless personal memories surrounding all things MJ, thoughts of bad times have vanished from my memory bank.

Losing Micheal is, in a real sense, like losing a close relative. We all grew up on the music of MJ. His music transcended generational gaps. My 52 year older mother grew up listening to the soulful sounds of Michael and his brothers. She even dreamed of one day marrying Mike. Born six years after the release of Off The Wall and two years prior to Bad, the timeless music of Michael Jackson played throughout the soundtrack of my life, the life a child growing up in inner-city New York during the 90's.

Michael epitomized everything that was cool. There was a time when we all, boys & girls, wanted to be MJ. We wanted the black penny loafers, the black leather jacket, the glove, and the jeri curl! We can all remember our very first introduction to MJ and how we spent countless hours trying to imitate his signature dance moves. We can all remember when someone, having just discovered MJ's music, came to the playground and tried his or her best to duplicate MJ's dance moves, body and facial movements and vocal magic. Within a few minutes, a battle would ensue as everyone on the playground was trying to be just like Mike.

Yesterday, while listening to the Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye," my 10 month old daughter began to mutter the words "bye, bye, bye." A few tears fell. I began to imagine a world without Michael Jackson. It proved to be an impossible task. Believe it or not, the entire world speaks the same language, the enduring music of Michael Jackson.