Got to be there

The world is mourning the death of a black man. Well, towards the end of his life he wasn't "black" in the literal, physical sense, but he was a black American nonetheless.

It's probably only fitting that my very first blog entry be about my first, and only, true celebrity obsession: Michael Jackson. I have spent the last two days allowing the fact that a man I once divulged all of my attentions, thoughts, feelings towards, is now dead, and he is younger than my father. Sure, there were other fleeting crushes and infatuations that came after MJ in middle school, mostly (Will Smith, Sean Patrick Thomas, Lee Thompson Young aka The Famous Jett Jackson), but none of them lasted more than a few months. I cannot recall when I first fell in love with the "gloved one" but I can say the interest began around 6, right before my father banned him from the house the first time he was accused of sexual abuse, peaked when my dad revoked the ban and Thriller and Bad were allowed to spin on our record player again, and did not die down until around 12 when I was in 6th grade and it became embarrassing among other schoolmates to like him anymore since he had become so weird.

Some highlights of that peak:
-having my mom rent the History Collection of his music videos on VHS from Blockbuster several times before she finally bought me my own copy (which I still proudly own and ironically watched, along with Moonwalker on VHS, only 2 weeks ago)
-choreographing an "interpretive" dance to "Man in the Mirror" and then making my 5 cousins and sister learn the dance to perform for our families during one of our frequent gatherings
-practicing the Thriller dance when I was bout 8, crotch grab and all, and my mom catching me as I walked by, probably disturbed that her 8 year old daughter was grabbing her crotch...
-typing a note (which I never mailed) to MJ, after his HBO concert was cancelled because he had collapsed for some reason or another, secretly hoping that he would sense how much I cared and offer to fly me to wherever he was so I could meet him

Yes, I was obssessed, and about 10 years too late. While everyone else was fawning over Usher (which I did for a brief time) or JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas...duh) or Leo DiCaprio, I was in love with the guy who was now "Wacko Jacko." My obssession for MJ the man, post-Thriller, has died a strong death, but god, I will ALWAYS love the music. And the videos. And his absolute dedication to his craft. Once I discoverd the people I greatly admire now, I realized that they in turn inspired MJ--so much of Astaire is in MJ's performances, as in "Smooth Criminal" (they wear the same exact outfit as Astaire wore in "The Girl Hunt Ballet" in The Band Wagon, moves are inspired, too) or in "Bad" and "Beat It", with their Jerome Robbins-inspired dance moves and settings. MJ was an old soul, and I see that in myself as well--in fact, perhaps I was born in the wrong era; so many things I seem to love I'm at least 20 years behind on.

I still can't believe he's gone. And that I never got to see him perform. Of course we'll never see anything like him again. No one buys albums anymore. And music has become so confuseed by itself that elements of rock and hip hop and country and pop can be found all in the same song, for better or for worse--that doesn't mean it's going to bring millions of people from Japan, Australia, Spain, Iran, even a Phillipine prison together.
I would say that as long as he doesn't screw up, Obama will probably be only the second black man in history that all corners of the world will mourn, but considering the fact that Michael burned a lot of bridges and has been accused of so many heinous crimes, maybe Obama can make things even worse than Bush (never going to happen) and STILL be loved in passing. It's been said before, but MJ, like Obama, truly crossed color-lines. As much as I love movies, film just doesn't have that same global effect on people. Because music can be played virtually anywhere and doesn't require us to sit down and be still, we can associate a million different universal memories with music, and that's what seems to touch people the most about him.

I guess this first blog post was more of a therapeutic blog for me. I could say much more, but this is what I've got right now. To everyone who thought of me when they found out about him and texted or called me to see if I was okay (I have to admit, I found it kind of funny...I guess I make my admiration of him known to everbody!), thank you. I just hope his family and friends are okay and get through this as best they can. Because really, MJ gave fans everything he could in the world of entertainment--memories, work ethic to aspire to, creativity; those closest to him have lost much more.