Thursday, September 17, 2009


Most of his fifty years, Michael Jackson lived in the spotlight. It was fitting that his death would be accompanied by a blaze of glory. When MJ was barely five, his father Joseph Jackson acknowledged his talent and knew he’s Got To be There, singing with his brothers in the Jackson 5. He even had something to do with Ben, a soundtrack of a movie about a rat.
MJ was Bad, an enigma who at times acted dangerously; small wonder about the scandals that would dog him in later years. MJ was a thriller; his life was Off the Wall of just his country and placed on the pages of HIStory. MJ, at least at a point, was almost musically Invincible. MJ was often imitated, but he could never be duplicated. MJ would be Forever Michael. He was all about Music and Him. Destiny chose him to be a consummate entertainer. It did not matter whether he was black or white, MJ is the greatest entertainer that ever lived; with over 750 million copies (and still counting) of his albums sold worldwide. Like Rev. Al Sharpton rightly said, “Michael Jackson was a trailblazer and historic figure...It was MJ that brought blacks, White, Blacks, Asians and Latinos together...No controversy will erase the historic impact...Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of colour way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama.”
But MJ was a confused genius that never got rid of his childhood demons. He grew in his body and skill, but never grew in his spirit. He was a victim of a complex that wired him to self destruct. Fame has always been a serial killer, murdering people who never grew out of their closet of insecurity, dysfunctional childhood and the extreme demand of a world that would always want more from their mega-superstars and out of envy and jealousy by a section, would want to milk them dry. In the end, the consummate entertainer was consumed by the stage that transformed him into a global icon. They loved him and hated him. They praised him and criticized him. They lifted him and brought him down.
The toxicology and autopsy report would never reveal this. It’s stale news that MJ’s death was precipitated by many factors. Of course he died suddenly after a cardiac arrest; he was hooked on so many prescription drugs and painkillers. It was a miracle that he even lived this long. He flagrantly disobeyed the laws of nature for so long by trying to restructure his body and thirsting for immortality. How can mere mortal reverse the set standards of immortality? MJ was not just a victim of his own eccentricities; he was a victim of a circle of leeches and vampires disguised as friends. He was sucked up by their pretences until he couldn’t live without pain killers and prescription drugs. But let’s face it. MJ was dead long before he actually died.
Michael Jackson was killed by friends who were not there; in his many, many times of need.
Uri Geller, bestselling author, psychic, motivational speaker and close friend of Michael Jackson, once asked him, “Michael, are you lonely?” He looked at Geller intently and replied, “I am a very lonely man,” But who truly cared? MJ’s so called ‘friends’ left him in the lurch, consumed by loneliness and deluge of insecurities, when they could have helped him in those years of scandals. “It’s amazing to see how many people are now praising him that wouldn’t go near him in the last several years, and condemned him,” Al Sharpton again. “For years, I asked Michael to think about what he was doing and I had hoped he’d get help and stop being around the people he would often accompany himself with. I wish he had listened,” said Geller.
Every man deserve friends who would not abandon them in their days of need; friends who would truly love you even when you have left them far behind in a blaze of glory, just like MJ did, friends who would not be envious of your success and stick with you in scandals even when you’re guilty, friends who would be comfortable telling you the honest truth about issues so as to help you become a better person. “MJ thought us to stand for each other, it’s not about mess, it’s about his love message. MJ beat it, he rose to the top, out sang his cynics, out-danced his doubters” said Al Sharpton at his memorial service. But even the King of Pop, singer, songwriter, dancer extraordinaire, couldn’t out-dance the frailty of mortality.
Many critics would want to blame MJ for allowing many things that happened to him. Maybe it was not his fault. But the price of ‘genius’ and ‘stardom’ could be so great, especially for a man who sees a vicious world through the eyes of a child. “Michael was no freak,” said Al Sharpton, “He was a genius.” True. He was blessed with an extraordinary talent. But talent always come with responsibility. Great talents always come with a high demand for responsibility. Maybe, in the long run, MJ couldn’t handle the pressure on his man-child shoulders. Maybe so many around him took advantage of his childhood heart of innocence. Maybe he refused help from his Family and true Friends. Maybe he got lost in his search for true Faith; because your faith - what you believe, who you believe - would define the essence of your existence; your identity and your value system.
Michael Jackson’s memorial reinforced some timeless truths. (True) FRIENDS matter. Filter your friends. Choose them wisely. Your FAITH matters. Trust your faith. Believe in God. FAMILY is everything. Stick with them, love them unconditionally. Ah that word, love. Love conquers all.
“We had him,” Maya Angelou wrote in memory of MJ. Love him or hate him. At least, we should be grateful to have witnessed such talent and genius in our time. People like Michael Jackson happen once a two lifetimes. Almost a million fans had bought tickets in anticipation of the greatest comeback ever in musical history. “This is it,” MJ himself said when his planned 50 concerts at the O2 Arena in London was announced. It really was it. The King of Pop, the greatest entertainer who ever lived, had no time for an encore.

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