I Choose to Remember: Michael Jackson (August, 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

It is hard to put into words feelings about someone who has had such a profound, yet subtle, influence on your life.  Someone who reminds you both of your youth and your mortality.  But I will do my humble best.

When I found out that Michael Jackson had died on June, 25, 2009, of what appears, at this time, to be cardiac arrest, I was in shock as were the so many others that I communicated with via Twitter.  Many recalled a favorite song or songs and/or lauded his many talents and impact on performers past and present.

I don’t have a specific memory of Michael Jackson; it’s more like a series of fragmented memories which include snippets of performances as a member of the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist as well his legal trials and exhibition of inexplicable behavior.  The closest personal connection I have to the artist known as Michael Jackson was my work as a receptionist at the post production house that finished the Scream video, his duet with sister Janet and notably, the most expensive music video to date.

Michael Jackson  (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009)   photo: Examiner.com
Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009) photo: Examiner.com

Unlike many others out there, more fragile sorts I suppose, I want to remember it all — the good and the not-so-good, the normal as well as the bizarre.   I want to remember the iconic performer as well as the tormented soul.  I want to remember both the youthful innocence and the adult manipulation.  I want to remember it all because all of it is Michael Joseph Jackson.  All of it informed his work as an artist, as in icon, as a symbol of our youth, as a sad representation of our present, and as a bellwether of our future.

Despite efforts to be transcendent — of race, culture, class — through his music and not-so-artful manipulation of his physical appearance, he could transcend the psychic pain of an unrealized childhood.

So what are we left with?  Memories.  I cherish all of them for their joy and their instruction.

7 thoughts on “I Choose to Remember: Michael Jackson (August, 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

  1. You said it well. He *was* such a study in contrasts – the legend who could attract crowds, yet he was painfully lonely; the man who had no childhood who constructed his own reality at Neverland … it’s all so, so sad.

  2. we regret the great loss of the King of Pop Michael Jackson!
    Leave also your last greeting at Michael Jackson on our site, thanks.
    a big and now sad fan

  3. Hear lies a true friend to the heart and mind of my life’s effort to help children and the world. My soul aches every day. I had talked to him a week before and thought we had an understanding of where we were trying to go from here. I believed that there was foul play in this action. He was going to finish the concert and was to add to it as he went on each tour. I can’t stomach this, it still hurts all over how can we move on with such hurt,pain,sorrow,emptiness,void. I dream of him, prayed for him cried with him. For young people news is anything and everything. One day they will make it something worth while. No one didn’t really want to here. He was man of great statues a sense of value for love, charity and hope. Where does a person go when they reach the top. As Martin Luther King reached his mountain, we sent Michael with all of his glory and fame. No matter how or what they’ve said. You can;t stop God’s beauty. I’ll RESPECT Him and LOVE him 4 ever!!!!!!!!!

  4. My comment may be late in arriving, just found my way to your lovely post, but I wanted to add: Michael Jackson’s music was my first introduction to dance as a way of getting to know other kids. I was very shy and kinda stood around at parties. But when they started playing ABC or The Love You Save, I jumped in and became part of the action. I’ve loved him ever since – and his all too public struggles to live a life of faith and gentleness is a fishbowl have always pulled at my heart. I hope that he’s finally found peace – and Im so grateful that the world chose to honor this gentle soul’s gifts, not dredge up his tragic flaws, after his death.

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