June 26, 2009

Our King of Pop, Gone

Haiku Friday

After two hours of
driving, listening to news,
I am finally home

I surprise myself
by sitting in my car, as
the tears came, sudden.

I cried in earnest
for someone I didn't know
but felt like such loss

My peers have never
experienced this before
our King of Pop, gone

We were at the zoo, four Moms and seven kids (minus mine), and she suddenly said "I've got news". I looked over at her to see a shocked look on her face as she recited the text message from her husband - Michael Jackson died of a heart attack. I was shocked, we talked a little. When we got in the car to leave, we heard his music on the radio. In the car, my friend and I tried to remember last time the radio stations played a tribute - one song after the other by an artist. The last we could remember was Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995.

It took a while for it to sink in, as I made the drive from Seattle to Bellingham, I listened to CNN - Wolf Blitzer & Anderson Cooper. I was mostly okay, until Jermaine Jackson's statement. I stopped for coffee and by the time I got home, I found myself inexplicably bawling in my car in the driveway. Even as I write this post and listen to people talk about him, I almost can't comprehend it.

I just can't believe he's gone. I wish that I'd had some way to write down some of the things I heard on CNN on my drive. I absolutely mean no disrespect by this, but a thought went through my head comparing this to 9/11. Not because it's the same kind of tragedy at all, but because when I knew what happened I was unable to pull myself away, and all I wanted to know was what? Why did this happen? And it is an event that changes the world for my generation - what other icon can you think of the same age or younger than Michael Jackson that is such an integral part of the music of that generation?

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and unfortunately Michael Jackson faced some big struggles with his legal battles. My personal belief is that he did have problems. Who doesn't? But I absolutely don't believe that he harmed any children. I believe that he had mental issues, probably because of his childhood and the dysfunction in his family. I believe that he probably did have inappropriate social relationships with kids, but not in the sense that he molested them or was attracted to them - in the sense that he somehow identified with them and felt comfortable with them. And that he wanted to give love to children because he did not feel loved as a child. It's really very sad, and I think that the lawsuits that were brought against him were probably about money more than anything.

Despite any opinions you might have about his personal life, there is no denying the indescribably impact he had on music and on the musical culture in our world...

"There's really no question if you're going to talk about the most looming, dominant figure in 20th century pop music," pop-music expert and USC associate professor Josh Kun tells E! News, "Michael Jackson is that person. He became synonymous with what pop was, and what it still is today." link

"I can't find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael's passing," Justin Timberlake wrote. "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."

"May God cover you Michael. We all lift your name up in prayer. I pray for the entire JACKSON family particularly Michael's mother, children and all his fans that loved him so much," Usher wrote in a statement released by his rep. "I would not be the artist, performer, and philanthropist I am today without the influence of Michael. I have great admiration and respect for Him and I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to meet and perform with such a great entertainer, who in so many ways, transcended the culture. He broke barriers, he changed radio formats! With music, he made it possible for people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama to impact the mainstream world. His legacy is unparalleled. Michael Jackson will never be forgotten."

Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which honored Jackson with 13 Grammys, says, "Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon." link

BeyoncĂ© said: "This is such a tragic loss and a terrible day. The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. He will always be the king of pop! Life is not about how many breaths you take, but about how many moments in life that take your breath away. For anyone who has ever seen, felt, or heard his art, we are all honored to have been alive in this generation to experience the magic of Michael Jackson. I love you Michael.”

Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Tommy Mottola said "It’s the death of an American icon," the mogul tells USA TODAY. "There are three people that stand out in my mind -- Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. That's the triumvirate that sums up American popular culture, iconic people became worldwide figures with worldwide popularity in the music industry … He was "the single most talented person I’ve ever known. There was every aspect of creativity, as a performer -- from the early days with the Jackson Five and being biggest phenomenon in the world -- and as a songwriter, (he wrote) some of the most outstanding and memorable songs you ever will hear. His videos were groundbreaking -- he defined the video age. He was the person who married video and music more than any individual ever did or ever will …He was a rare and beautiful and gifted and extraordinarily talented person. ... I think the pressure of this quote on quote comeback was overwhelming to Michael, because it was being billed and staged as a comeback, and that’s incredible pressure. It's overwhelming."

Beginning in his childhood, and throughout his life, he was an artist that spanned race, culture and generations. His music, his lyrics, his unique style and voice, and his dancing were amazingly huge influences on artists that came after him. His death is being compared to Elvis & John Lennon, and I feel like those are valid comparisons. He was an amazing artist.

He was also a brother, a son, and a father, and for his family, as with any family who loses one of it's members, I am sad. There is a part of me that's confused by my response, and feeling so connected to the loss. After all, I'm not a superfan. I have some CDs, but I don't have them all and I wouldn't necessarily list him on a list of my favorite artists. But I also realize in hearing all the clips on the radio how much of his music I know, and that's somewhat remarkable.

In the end, I really just want to pay tribute to one of the greatest stars out there, someone who struggled in life and still managed to provide so many amazing things for this world and the people in it. Someone who contributed amazingly to everything from music to blending music styles to dance to music videos. Someone who can make you smile. Go ahead, I dare you to listen to this, and not to smile...

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Cathy said...

i felt so sad about it, too. what a shock!

Equidae said...

i was never a fan for any artist i have to say but MJ songs were and will remain unbeatable...he gave a lot and was taken to cfourt for money and nothing else i am sure

MochaTrina said...

He might have had his problems, but you cannot deny his genius! I am a die hard fan.

My cousin hosted a Michael Jackson party once. She projected his videos on the wall of her house and I had a great time performing the Thriller dance along with the people in the video. Til this day, I remember each and every step to the Thriller video. I did the dance last night and my kids were amazed.

And I impressed them with sign language rendition of the chorus of we are the world.

jabblog said...

So sorry the news spoilt your day.

Mighty M said...

What a nice post. I was very saddened too.......was just a huge favorite of mine during my childhood (and beyond)!