I have been silent on my blog about the death of Michael Jackson. Part of it is due to the oversaturation of the event in the media, but part of it is the time it takes me to process some things. I didn’t know what Michael Jackson’s death meant to me. I was sorry he died, felt bad for his family, etc., but other than that had no real strong feeling. It wasn’t until my 10 year old nephew began sending me Michael Jackson music videos that it began to have more of an impact of me. He sent me the video “Black and White,” and I responded “I was 11 years old when this came out.” And I remember when the video aired. A Michael Jackson video being aired was a big event when I was a kid. This one aired simultaneously on November 14, 1991, n 27 countries. He really revolutionized what you could do with the music video. He also used them to provoke a reaction. Jackson got involved in trying to unite the world, and I think that was a fitting role for him. Jackson had vitiligo, in which the pigment of your skin is lost. I have known people with this condition, and it is usually a slow process where the pigment disappears in patches. Did Jackson have the process expedited? Maybe, but I don’t know that I would blame him, he was very much in the public eye. The nose thing? Was he trying to look more “white” I don’t have the answers to that. Maybe Jackson saw himself as a bridge. A bridge between races, cultures, and sexes and genders. Maybe his appearance reflected that.
Jackson was also a great entertainer. I can still remember the first time I saw the full length “Thriller” video. It was in my cousin Emily’s basement, just after dusk, the lights out as we sat cross legged close in front of the tv. I was a little scared, I admit it. As time went on and Jackson became more the butt of jokes and criticized in the media, I didn’t know what to think. Jackson was odd, sure, but that’s not against the law, and most successful performers are quirky in some way or other. As far as the allegations, well in this country you are innocent until proven guilty, so who am I to say? I can say the media was hypocritical in its portrayal of him before and after his death. I can say that I think they went overboard on the coverage when I wanted to know what was happening in Iran, as well. But the media has never really been known for being impartial– a big part of what they are is entertainment and selling commercial slots. I did enjoy Jon Stewarts “Rippy Awards” on the daily show, which mocked the mainstream American media coverage. I think it should have been covered, just not to the 24/7 extent it took on. And as Jackson was very private in life, he probably wouldn’t have been too keen on that either.
In short, I’m saying that I still don’t know what to say, and that’s not much. But after my nephew sent those videos, I felt I had to say something. Because his music is still affecting people, and that is what his legacy will be.
On a lighter note– proof that I know the Thriller dance: