Last week the Greatest Entertainer of my lifetime-Michael Jackson-died suddenly. I didn't realize how his death impacted me until today while watching his memorial service. For the last week, there have been countless newspaper articles, television shows, internet postings about the life and legacy of Michael Jackson. Despite all of this, his music had a profound affect on my life.
I was 2 years old when the Jackson5 appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Later when they began touring I remember sitting in the sun waiting for them to perform at the Ohio State Fair-free with fair admission. Each of my brothers and sisters had the Afro hairstyle, just like the Jacksons. We would gather around the television to watch whenever they performed and even watched their cartoon. It was the first time I can remember seeing people who looked like me on television.
My brother, Jeff was the ultimate MJ fan-studying his dance moves and learning the words to his songs so he could perform at school talent shows. My mother, a seamstress, would make his costumes and he would always steal the show.
I was in high school when MJ was at his peak with the infamous moonwalk performance at the Motown 25 celebration. That was all we could talk about when we got to school the next day. The "Off the Wall" and "Thriller" albums contain some of my favorite songs and the Jackson 5 Christmas album is one of my all time favorites.
The BET awards last Sunday were dedicated to Michael Jackson and at the end of the show, Janet made an appearance on behalf of the family. The picture above was flashed on the screen behind her. This was the moment that his passing became real to me because she spoke of how that even though the world had lost a musical genius, she had lost her big brother. I have 2 older brothers so I could only imagine the pain she was feeling at losing him.
This is how I will choose to remember him.