Thursday, June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson Was Not a "Celebrity"
I remember it so clearly: the first time I heard the Thriller album. I was in my aunt and uncle's basement and the adults were playing pool.
My Uncle loved music and he insisted that everyone listen.
"This kid is amazing. Really!"
And though everyone quickly went back to their game, I was enraptured. I knew he was right.
I scanned and read and reread the liner notes of that album, stared at the cover photo, looking for some explanation of what sounded like genius to my 14 year old ears. My body desperately wanted to dance but I was too shy and so just sat and listened, amazed.
The music of Michael Jackson -- from the time he was small -- was different, and it changed music. Maybe not in a serious Philip Glass sort of way, but not everyone has to be serious or Philip Glass. There is genius in fun, in joy, in what seems, on the surface, to be "simple."
But that wasn't enough. Micheal's body changed our lives, too. Gene Kelly is reported to have said that there was no other person on the planet creating unique dance besides Micheal Jackson.
Again, from the time he was small, you couldn't keep your eyes off of him. No matter how many people were around him, he was all there was.
And now look around -- look at the music and the dance being made even now and I dare you to find anything that is in not some way connected to or derivative of Michael Jackson.
No, he was not a "Celebrity." A Celebrity is someone who whores themselves but has no actual skill for which they should be admired -- like the current reality television "stars."
Michael Jackson was Famous -- and for good reason.
Michael Jackson was famous because he did something that no one else could do, and for that, he earned and deserved our admiration and our accolades.
Michael Jackson, it seems, never found peace in this life; I pray that he finds it in the next.