I heard the news while at work. I didn't cry nor did it feel the same way as when John Lennon was shot and killed. Heartbreak for the children didn't tug at me as it did with Princess Diana was tragically killed in a motor accident. It was as if a little piece of my childhood passed away. And for that, there is sadness.
I've written before that the Jackson 5 helped shaped my personal love of music. It was Michael's "Look over your shoulder, honey!" that developed one of my earliest celebrity crushes. The color of his skin had no relevance. In my little girl mind, Michael was singing for me.
I cut that record off the back of a Sugar Crisp cereal box. It was one in a series. It wobbled on the turntable, but oh how I loved that song. I would wait for that famous line to come on and sing right along.
Fast forward to my freshman year in high school. With time to kill in the afternoon a few of us are gathered around the piano that is on stage in our high school auditorium. A young man who sported an Afro similar to Michael Jackson's is playing and singing. It's a song I had never heard, but caused me to immediately fall in love with its melody. It's sad. "She's Out of My Life." I learn that it's on my childhood icon's record, "Off the Wall." I never purchased the album but would later borrow it from a friend. In old school style, I copied it to cassette tape.
From then on my love affair with MJ would be all about the music again.
It's difficult to separate his personal life from the genius of his music, but I managed as have many other millions. If we judged people based on their behind-closed-doors activity and refused to consume their product or abide by their policy we'd never vote politicians into office, watch movies, listen to music, read books, look at art ... we'd never have friends and we'd shun our families. Agoraphobia would be first nature.
I'm not about post mortem hero worship. Don't get me wrong and please don't think I'm justifying any wrong doing on his part. What I am saying is that his melodies evoke emotion that takes me to a particular place in my life. I am not a psychiatrist and I'm not qualified to make observations about his alleged warped childhood or adulthood.
I am a music fan. If you have issue with that, well, all I can offer is this ...
mamasay mamasa mamacusa!!