Eight years has passed since the King of Pop, Michael Jackson died of a Propofol overdose on this very date. I watched as television appearances, music videos and memorabilia of Michael Jackson flooded the internet, TV stations and radio. I was thirteen going on fourteen at the time. I remember it all like it was yesterday. His death will and always play a role on how I view and assess the lives of musicians and performers particularly ones before my time.
Growing up, I was a fan of Michael Jackson and his music despite the fact that his musical pinnacle had long passed. My mother was a fan of his and grew up listening to the Jackson Five and followed his solo career. So she played his music around fairly often. I never really paid attention to much of the media scrutiny surrounding his molestation trial, his supposedly eccentric behavior or controversy about his children’s paternity. Once I look back on all of it, I believe that it was an attempt to discredit Michael Jackson’s accomplishments in the music industry. At some intervals, I feel for it, but I always grasped back to loving Michael Jackson and his music. From his Jackson Five Days to his solo career, I believe that his music was the soundtrack to my life.
I remember hearing news of Michael Jackson’s death like it was yesterday. I was babysitting my younger sister and brother and flipping the channels because I was bored. Then I heard that Michael Jackson was on cardiac arrest and rushed to the hospital. I saw scores of people waiting outside of the hospital where he was being treated. Though that flash from the television was brief, it is still embedded in my mind. Eventually, I did changed the channel to Fuse where there was a Kanye West video playing. My mother had come home with some groceries and Taco Bell in tow. She walked in and told me that Michael Jackson had died at age 50 from cardiac arrest. None of us believed it at first. Though I ate the food and went to bed, I couldn’t reconcile the fact that Michael Jackson had passed away until weeks later.
During that summer, I had watched enough of music videos, old television appearances and performances of Michael Jackson to last a lifetime. I started to do some more research on his life and musical accomplishments. I was more impressed by him and it made me like him even more. But what really took me by surprise was his televised memorial. I was shocked and flabbergasted to see so many industry people, family members and friends come forth to share their memories of him. These people weren’t even present when Michael Jackson was being scrutinized and put down daily by the media. So I assumed that these people were fair weather friends and acquaintances speaking about their encounters and experiences knowing and interacting with him. However what really drove me to recognize Michael Jackson’s humanity was when his then, eleven year old daughter, Paris Jackson’s speech. When she came on stage and expressed how much she loved and missed her father, I was moved to tears. It made me realize that Michael Jackson was more than just a musical icon, he was also a son, brother, uncle, and father to three children that he left behind. In spite of his talent, Michael Jackson was a mere mortal just like the rest of us.
A video of Paris Jackson’s speech at the televised Michael Jackson Memorial
Despite his untimely death on June 25th, 2009, Michael Jackson will continue to live on through his music, stories from those who knew him, and his music videos. To me, that was the day that the world stopped and mourned the passing of such a great musical legend. Though I am still sadden by his demise, his music will always live on and he will always be alive to me……in that aspect.
Watch and enjoy
Michael Jackson’s Thriller(the video, not the album)
Michael Jackson’s Rock With You
Michael Jackson’s Bad
Michael Jackson’s In the Closet