Today marks the end of an era. Even as I write this article, the words Michael Jackson is dead seems surreal. For these are words that were not suppose to be uttered anytime soon if at all. Not because he was only 50 years old, but because at some level we still had to come to terms with the fact that he was a mere mortal. The gift, the skills, his genius is not usually possessed by the average person. The death of Michael Jackson can not be dismissed as the death of just another entertainer or celebrity, for he was a lot more than that. A legend, an icon, even these words do not give him enough credit. He reached and transcended levels no one could have thought possible. He sold more records than any human being alive or dead. A Michael Jackson concert was an event in and of itself. He did things on stage which no human being could do. He reinvented pop music, giving it another resonance and established him self on her throne as the undisputed king. He dazzled his fans and audiences over and over again. You simply could not get enough of a Michael Jackson show. He inspired millions of artist by raising the bar and recreating the limits.
But in all the brightness, the glamor and the fame there was something else lurking in the shadows. Something bizarre weird or even mysterious. The allegations of pedophilia against him did not help the circus that had become his life. In 1993 a thirteen year old boy accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing him and while no one wanted to believe it, it brought certain aspects of Michael Jackson to the fore front. His ever changing appearance, his outings with a monkey, his lack of interest in adults or people his age and his obsession with children soon took center stage. He wasn't just a very talented individual any more but an enigma to be reckoned with. The allegations were soon dropped after he paid a whopping 20 million dollars to the family of the accuser.
On a personal level the death of Michael Jackson or more accurately the death of the artist brought out mixed emotions. I had been following his work for as far back as I can remember. He was my childhood hero, the first and the best. The first time I saw Thriller was in the summer of 86. I was 8 years old, and at the time, I wasn't sure what to make of it. It was too short to be a movie and too long to be a music video. If there was a message to be gotten from Thriller I didn't get that message. What I got, and what I was sure of, was I wanted to be that guy, I wanted to look sing and dance like him. Every move, every step, every note just seem to fall in the right place at the right time. It was like nothing I had ever seen. I could not refer to him as a musician, some how that just didn't quite cut it, I couldn't call him a dancer or an entertainer for I had seen dancers and entertainers they just didn't fall in the same category. His talent was unprecedented he was at a level of his own. But as I grew older, it occurred to me that he was slowly but surely replacing his person with his personality. Michael Jackson the artist was slowly taking over Michael Jackson the man. His life in general became a public spectacle and the world his stage. So he did everything he could to make the best of a very difficult situation. One of the saddest moments was when he climbed on the car outside the court yard and did a dance right after he had been accused of child molestation. Every one except for Michael Jackson knew he might be spending the rest of his life in prison. The only way he could deal with that undeniable fact was to do what he had done his whole life and that was to perform. A few years earlier he had dangled his baby out of his hotel balcony in Germany in front of thousands of screaming fans. Everyone, once again thought that was a very dangerous thing to do except for Michael, in his mind he was on stage. Sharing his gift with the rest of the world as he had done since the age of 5. Regardless of what you might think of him, his life could not have been easy. Every step he took every move he made was scrutinized with a microscope. Privacy just wasn't something people understood when it came to Michael Jackson.
He was a child performer who never grew up, and for the longest time we loved and praised him for it. So he did what he could to hold on. He used plastic surgeries to reverse the aging process, he built a theme park around his home, he surrounded him self with children all the while giving us what he thought we wanted. No one told him that it was inappropriate for a man his age to sleep in the same bed with children, no one told him that he had to grow up and accept the responsibilities that goes along with adulthood. No one told him that nature will eventually take its course. When it finally did, we made fun of him, we called him every name in the book, wacko, criminal, pedophile, child molester, he reacted the only way he knew how. He performed and performed and performed until his childlike heart gave out.