In a not so distant past, a scrawny bespectacled guy stood and exclaimed, “Hi,my name’s Michael Jackson.” The corny introduction exploded the classroom into a episode of mocking giggling! That scrawny guy was me, on my first day in Secondary One.
Fast forward, and here I am scrolling down the pages of tributes laid for the legend that he was. Mr Michael Jackson, or perhaps as rumoured, Mikael, a name he took upon embracing Islam.And so we were told.His unexpected demise was made known to me,as early as the break of dawn when I was bottle feeding the baby.As surreal as it was,seeing the bold headline flashed across Channel News Asia, it was even weird to feel gratified. Gratified perhaps by that small fact that I am a generation,lucky enough to witness his crotch grabbing antics on real time.Not through the yesteryear memories embodied in YouTube vids.That will be for my son.As the days pass,and as more news and snippets of his life filters through,I feel sadden.
Perhaps sadden is too general a term to use.I’m not a myopic fan,who’ll probably conspire to claim that he’s still dancing with Elvis.I’m just another human being,who have been subtly impacted by the branding legacy of his music.As footages of young Michael screeching on the stage with his entourage of Jackson 5 played itself,I cannot help but wonder aloud…”What happened?”
No doubt,as days,weeks,months and years pass,we will probably be engulfed with bits and pieces of his life story.He was a child abuser,a homosexual,a bulemic,a misfit, a depressed and forlorn figure and a gazillion other adjectives describing a flawed hero.How did a musically inclined prodigy self destruct on the paths of depression and aggression?Did the fame and scrutiny proved to be a disastrous cocktail of events,that drove him onto the brinks of insanity?Or was he destined to forever be enshrouded in that legacy of erratic behaviours and clueless antics.Poor Michael.Michael the entertainer was an immaculate example of just what artiste this days are severely lacking.Raw passionate showmanship.The one handed white glove.The smooth almost floating Moonwalk.The declining almost impossible 45 degrees decline.And that memorable crotch grabbing motion that leaves both men and women delirious.
Which brings me to the point of this entry.Just what did I learn and can learn from this mountain of a man?
There is and can only be one Michael Jackson.He may be debt ridden in the region of half a billion,but analysis has indicated that his music legacy will surpass the billion mark profits.Just like Bruce Lee,John Lennon,Kurt Cobain and so many others,the legacy left will provide sustenance for their family’s upbringing.But how did Michael elevate himself,as the black man that defined the entertainment industry in a white man’s country?
Simple.He packaged himself as the complete brand.A brand that renews,reinvents and redefined the face of music/entertainment industry every now and then.
And for that alone,he is worthy of the legend tag he is entitled to…