I didn’t expect my reaction—didn’t see the tears coming.
But come, they did, when my girl Mitzi called the house and urged me to turn on CNN. Rumor had it that Michael Jackson was dead and the news organization was chronicling the growing crowd gathering outside the hospital where his body allegedly lay—where his brother, Jermaine, was expected to announce the terrible news.
And when Michael’s death finally was confirmed a year ago today, I walked slowly over to my iPod and turned on my favorite MJ song ever—”I Can’t Help It”—and cried like a damn baby.
Gone. Too. Soon.
Out of the tragedy came some good, though. THIS STORY claims that in death, Michael Jackson made a big comeback, with his estate generating hundreds of millions of dollars (rivaling only the estate of Elvis Presley); I can raise my hand and say that my Lila—and kids like her who were introduced to his amazing music after his death—has singlehanded added a pretty penny to the MJ clan’s pockets. I’ve downloaded practically his entire catalogue of music and videos onto her iPod; she’s absolutely addicted to her copy of This Is It, the documentary-styled footage of MJ’s concert rehearsals; and she regularly trolls YouTube looking for lyrics and any other songs or videos she may have missed.
It does my heart good to walk past her room and see her standing in front of her TV, a glove on one hand, her shirt open and one of my fedoras tottering precariously atop her twists, trying to moonwalk on carpet. “Mommy,” she says breathlessly, pumping her hips, “I need the fan so the wind can blow on me like it does on Michael Jackson.”
This is the sign of a true artist—transcending generations, inspiring musical appreciation, warming spirits.
No matter the shenanigans, no matter the rumors and innuendo, no matter the questions and claims, ultimately, it’s about the music. Plain and simple: Michael made great music.
Thanks for that, Mike.
You are missed.