Tribute to An Icon

So its Friday morning (in London) and I am still in bed. My phone rings and I pick it up, it’s my seven year-old son and he says ‘Dadda, Michael Jackson’s died!’

Michael Jackson through the years

Michael Jackson through the years

In that moment I forgot about tiredness, I forgot about my problems and I sat up for about an hour teary eyed and in a kind of mental and physical paralysis. This man was not a member of my family, this man was not someone I knew personally and yet I was grieving him like he was.

Jackson_Michael_750.jpgMichael Jackson’s music has been a soundtrack to my life. His music allowed the child in us to come out, to have your dad dancing like a lunatic at a barbecue, or your younger siblings doing dangerous moves in very small spaces. Michael Jackson was important to me because I grew up with him. I saw him from when he was small and grew with him. He was a staple in my life.

Michael Jackson has influenced and defined modern pop and RnB. Think Justin Timberlake, Neyo, Usher and Chris Brown – you cannot help but see the connection. Even though I was into Hip Hop and soul music it was okay to listen to Michael’s music even though it was pop. Michael’s music didn’t need a label, he just did what he did and we loved him for it.

thrillerIt’s the 1970’s and I was about 8 years old when my dad brought me and my brothers a video concert tape called ‘Brothas and Sistas’, it was a live show from some place in the States and featured artists like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Isaac Hayes, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Otis Redding, the list was endless. The highlight of the tape however was a three minute performance by the Jackson 5. We replayed those 3 minutes on that tape everyday watching this little boy sing with his older brothers. I wanted to be that little boy and from that moment I was hooked.

Fast forward to the 1980’s, a Friday night at 9pm and my brothers and I are sitting around the same video recorder waiting to tape the world exclusive debut of the ‘Thriller’ video. What we saw over the next 15 mins was truly amazing and over the following weeks we perfected that dance routine, (in fact I can still remember it to this day!)

Next came Bad, and even though I was older now the effect and the set up was exactly the same. It was the anticipation that I wasbad about to witness something mind blowing and I was not disappointed. Bad also introduced the world to Wesley Snipes. Liberian Girl had Eddie Murphy and Smoothe Criminal had Chris Tucker. And that’s not forgetting Black and White. Every video he did was groundbreaking. They were mini movies that we looked forward to previewing. He created the concept of the choreographed video, and his performance at the Grammy awards in 1984 when he did the moonwalk! Three words….Oh…My…God!!

Throughout all the negativity that he went through, all the jokes about his lifestyle, all the child abuse claims, we supported him and stood by him. It defied logic. I don’t think anyone really believed he had a bad bone in his body or any of the negative news stories that were reported. No one really cared; he was just Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson has fans in every age group, who else can claim that? My seven year-old son knows MJ, as does my mum who isdangerous 70. Little kids dance to Thriller even though the track came out before they were born, (sometimes even before their parents were born!). We all know his music and we felt like we knew the man. People all over the world can sing Michael’s lyrics in English regardless of what language they speak!

So why did he have such an effect on us? In short, I don’t know. There are few people in this world who are genuine, loving and truly care about others. Michael Jackson seemed to really care about his fans. He gave himself to us and didn’t ask for anything in return other than our enjoyment.

He allowed us into his heart and he paid us all back in the best possible way. He gave us something that we can keep and cherish for ever. In his music we have a legacy and we can all tap into it and listen to it at any time. There is a Michael Jackson track for every mood and every occasion. His music has the power to uplift us and change us for the better.

history

When I look at the so called role models and icons out there today, I don’t see anyone who comes anywhere close to this man, I cannot see anyone or even imagine anyone that can replace him. Pop stars today should look at the sacrifices MJ made for his art and our entertainment and learn from him. He was a superstar, a global brand and a real icon long before the power of the internet made such things easier to accomplish. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to listen to his lyrics and dance to his music.

Michael Jackson, beloved son, father, brother, uncle and the King of Pop – I salute you.

The video that desegregated MTV and changed the music industry

The video that desegregated MTV and changed the music industry

Click the link to watch Thriller video.

Join the global conversation and tell us what your favourite Michael Jackson song is and why.

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4 Responses to “Tribute to An Icon”

  1. Thriller Videos are always great, i love those dancing zombies..

  2. Big Joe Says:

    My favourite song was Do You Remember? The year was 1994, or was it 1993?

    RIP MJ…

    Anyone know what happened to his cyropreservation plan? I’m already looking out for his lost tapes, b-sides, unreleased tracks & Tupac style new album releases

  3. Mampo-bama, New York NY Says:

    It’s hard to only think of one as there’s more. My favorite song has to be “Man in the mirror” MJ is gone but certainly not forgotten, his music will live on forever – RIP

  4. Masi, Washington DC Says:

    My all time fave MJ tune is Human Nature, it’s a beautiful song but also I think the title is a pretty good reason for some of the suff people do – sometimes it is just human nature, nothing more and nothing less. RIP MJ.

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