Sunday, August 29, 2010


"We're sendin' out, a major love / And this is our message to you / The planets are linin' up, we're bringin' brighter days / They're all in line, waiting for you / So know the're just another part of me..."
Michael Jackson, Another Part of Me

I have been a fan of Michael's since 2001, shortly before Invincible came out. I was watching the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards in my room and N*SYNC came on to perform their song "Pop". I wasn't really stuntin' it too much, but it was the Video Music Awards, where something usually crazy happens out of nowhere, so I gave them a chance and didn't turn the channel. I watched Justin and 'nem dance and sing, like they usually do. Towards the end, the playback was having quote-unquote technical difficulties, so I was like, "OK, something stupid is about to happen." They circled around to the main part of the stage, and the end of the song was different: "We, Must, Be/Kings of.....POP!" Meanwhile, a giant Etch-A-Sketch was lowered behind them ever so conspicuously. "Kings of Pop" was written on it, and then shaken to make it read "King of Pop". It took me like 2-3 seconds to realize what the hell was going on, and by the time I realized it, a silhouette of the Smooth Criminal outfit was starting to come together.

And then Michael emerged from behind the drawing.

I have never been more excited over a musical moment than that one. I got up off of the floor and sat up intently and watched him dance. I knew he wasn't as crisp and concise as he used to be, but by the end, I was hooked, and my allegiance to Michael began. I went to Best Buy, or Wal-Mart, or somewhere and scooped up all of his albums since Off The Wall and discovered a new side of music I had only been exposed to briefly. I recall around the summer of '95/'96, my mom used to bump the 'Dangerous' cassette tape, and I always thought that someone was saying "arch" in the beginning of the song "Why You Wanna Trip On Me", lol. I had played the Moonwalker game on Genesis briefly, and never beat it because of the zombies in the graveyard level near the end of the game (I have the arcade version on my computer and have beaten that numerous times, lol). Because of that game, I always used to think that "Another Part of Me" was a different version of the song "Bad". So imagine my joy, years later, when I pop in the Bad cassette tape on side 2, and start jumping and snapping when APOM comes on.

In 2001, I was trying to find out what I liked musically, and not a lot of stuff was sticking to my tastebuds. I mean I liked certain groups and artists, different genres, but there wasn't a lot of music that got me excited. When I started listening to Michael, it was the missing piece to my music library. I started jumping on forums and message boards, gathering any and all audio/video I could find of this man. I read about his history, his life, and the love and care he put into every song he made. I got to see how he evolved over the years, professionally, personally, and yes, physically, and started to dig deeper. All the while I was eating up every sound, every snare, every kick, every ad-lib, and every mumbled line that came from his albums. There is something about Michael's chord progressions in his music, coupled with his rhythms in his lyrics, that get me high, but that comes from repeatedly listening to his music and appreciating the little details that match those two up to make his music much greater than most. Some of his unreleased material is better than some of these 'artists' out here. And there is something about the way he moves to the music, the way he accentuates a pause or sound effect with a body movement, that adds that much more perfection to the performance at hand. Go YouTube it.

Some people separated the man from his music, and said while they enjoyed his music, they didn't necessarily care for him as a person. With me, it was an all-or-nothing proposition, and I supported him from day one; you could say I was star-struck a little bit. However, I was never one to try to explain away his faults to someone who didn't like him -- yeah, I knew he fucked up sometimes, but he was one hell of an entertainer, and there was no way for me to separate the star on stage from the man that created that spectacle from his own mind. I learned about the child molestation cases and read about those carefully so that I knew the facts from fiction....even the one that occured while I was discovering him, the one that he was so joyfully, successfully, and rightfully vindicated from.

Through my research, I found Michael to be a respectable man who made the best out of the cards he was dealt. I appreciated the love he shared around the world without any expectation of return, which is why the cruel things that have happened to him are undeserved and despicable. I am a Michael fan that has his head on straight, so I know he wasn't perfect, and that yeah, he had some things coming to him, but when you give love like he has, you are going to get it back eventually. Once, during a scholarship interview, I answered the question "Who in your life would you like to be like when you grow up? (Or something to that effect)" I foolishly answered my mother, but I should have said Michael. His dedication and perseverence towards excellence and perfection, combined with his humility and concern towards those who are not as fortunate as most of us, is something that I do want to possess in my professional and personal life, because it's giving all you have, which you can't say of most people, and I don't want to be like most people.

Most of you know me as your resident MJ fan and ambassador to all things concerning him. I could hold a clinic off the top of my head about him. I could do something corny like listen to his music all day, which some people will do and sooner or later, phase him out of the rotation. I could shout out to everyone how great Michael is and how he's the best thing since sliced bread and how nobody will ever catch his legacy of performances, hit singles, humanitarian work, and album sales.

But I'm not.

Hell, I didn't even stop working out when I got the first text message (of many) "Michael Jackson went 2 hospital for cardiac arrest?!" from a friend of mine. I went to the movies like I planned to, went to eat, and came home. Because the way I saw him was almost like a family member of mine....which is the way everybody treated it when I got a billion phone calls and text messages while the shit was hitting the fan. I appreciated the love, don't get me wrong, I was just busy and didn't want to hear the news (cause everybody was going crazy) until it was solid and confirmed.

Michael was a part of my everyday life for the past 8 years and he will continue to be. I was a fan of his when it wasn't cool to be one, even while his latest album sales (and his reputation) weren't living up to the good old days of the 80's and 90's. I listened to him almost every day, I YouTubed him when I had nothing to watch....I was even reading a feature on his People Magazine covers and the stories they had on him a couple days ago, chronicling his rise and fall from grace. When I started this blog, there was only one choice to show the world in the blog's background what I was about. And most of all, I appreciated and loved the little things about him and his music that most people didn't have a clue about, as opposed to the snippets of BS and regular stuff you see on TV and in the news.

Like how the 'Dangerous' album was damn near on track to outsell Thriller if it wasn't for the first child molestation case.  I will listen to "Can't Let Her Get Away" (a song from the 'Dangerous' album) over "Remember The Time" any day. Go look up how Thriller was going to be a totally different album than what it was, and the 'unreleased' tracks that were supposed to be on it. Read up on how the father of the first alleged child victim wanted to make an album called EVANstory (named after him) to compete with Michael's HIStory because he felt he was talking about the case when he shouldn't have been. Be amazed at how Michael does not know how to read music but can make up melodies, rhythms, and compositions better than you've ever dreamed. Find out that the military-style dance from Rhythm Nation is actually a dance idea that Michael lent to Janet to help her blow up into a star in her own right. How Michael and Prince were supposed to collaborate on the Batman soundtrack from 1989; Michael on the love songs, Prince on the 'evil' songs -- not to mention on Michael's track "Bad". Discover that he bought out one of his 1988 concerts at Madison Square Garden for underprivileged children to enjoy his gift. Realize that Michael makes bank everytime you hear an Eminem song. And many other truths that are waiting for the world at large to discover.

I gave him time, love and respect ever since I encountered him, so I have no lost time to be regretful over. No music that I'm torn up I didn't listen to. No true story that I'm sad I didn't read. It's business as usual over here. I'll miss him, and the album that he was supposed to come out with, the concerts that could've brought him back to relevance, the joy he would've continued to bring new generations, his love for the music....but I won't miss people trying to suck every dime out of him and concocting schemes to undermine his successes. He has been a troubled soul in recent years, and I'm glad and personally relieved that he won't have to spend another moment hurting anymore; I can even rest easier knowing that. It does feel like I have lost someone in the family, but I'm content, because I really championed him 'cause I felt it from the heart, and I'm proud of every second I supported him and his music.

Even though he was 50, it was still too soon.

This is my happy song, whenever I get upset, angry, sad, disillusioned, anything. And it is the song that describes what Michael is to me. No, he's not dancing circles on the stage, or kicking to high heaven, but watch his joy, his excitement, his respect for the music (and his zipper falling down, lol) and how he is unabashedly unashamed of sharing it with the world. The world didn't lose an amazing artist, a spectacular entertainer, an unassuming humanitarian. It lost a hell of a human being.

Respect and love always, Michael.

*I wrote this the day after Michael's passing last year.

1 comment:

  1. I'm probably one of the biggest MJ fans out there as well and am always willing to defend him when needed. The only thing that always bothered me is that he always tried to lie about the surgery he had done. I mean really, just two nose jobs......yeah right. I am always of the mindset that if you will lie about one night you are capable of lying about anything. I will always believe that while nothing happened in the 2003 something that we would deem inappropriate happened in 1993 although I do think the father just wanted money and a lot of the things that was said didn't really happen. I found this article pretty interesting especially the story about his nose falling out during the Scream video sessions.