In recent days, ten to be exact, I’ve been enthralled in the world of Michael Jackson. You may have noticed the number of MJ posts since his passing on June 25, 2009. There was more enlightening information about the man that I was tempted to post but decided not to so I wouldn’t bombard the blog with MJ all day. However, I felt my first written post about Mr. Jackson wasn’t enough. I have learned more about the man behind the music since that day and became more inspired and amazed by him. I also felt guilty.
He was truly misunderstood and believe me, I know what that feels like–it’s annoying, it’s hurtful and it’s frustrating. And like so many Americans, I, too, misunderstood Michael Jackson. No, I didn’t think he was a child molester. However, I didn’t rule out the possibility either. I just didn’t want to believe it for there was no true evidence from the two cases and I just didn’t want to think that he did it and fall into the media’s sensationalism.
Nevertheless, I did wonder about his seemingly bizarre behavior and his endless love for children and child-like things. I did wonder about his skin color and the ever changing structure of his face. I did ponder over his career and how much love and respect he received during the Thriller and Bad era versus the Dangerous and Invincible era. I wasn’t that excited about the comeback tour. I guess, in a sense, I wasn’t paying that much attention to Michael Jackson. I didn’t know the man at all and like I said in another post, I was not a fanatic. I only appreciated the music and the performance. The rest was up to interpretation.
Sadly, I didn’t realize how brilliant, caring and interesting this man was, and still is in spirit, until after his transition. I read and listened to a speech he did at Oxford University in 2001, which I didn’t know about until after June 25th. It was truly a raw, honest and beautiful speech. It made me laugh and cry. It also made me realize how wrong I was about him. He didn’t do anything to those kids. He couldn’t possibly harm a child. He loves children too much to ever do that. He even said in an interview that he would slit his wrists before hurting a child in any way.
Even though I’ve never fault him for those charges, I still felt extremely guilty after that speech, almost to the point of feeling slightly sick to my stomach. To be excuse of such a heinous act and to have almost everyone look at you differently, to one degree or another, must have been the most painful feeling. To be rumored of not liking who you are over and over again due to a disease that couldn’t be controlled must have been frustrating. To be constantly questioned about it and to be constantly not believed had to have been a nightmare. To be put in a situation where you are trying to do the best by these children by providing them their childhood with unconditional love and support, financial and otherwise, to only be subjected to their parents’ greed must have been heart wrenching. To be labeled as “wacko,” a “freak” and other negative names must have hurt like hell. And to know that there is a possibility that all of this was happening due to the extreme success of a talented, intelligent Black man, who outsmarted the big honchos in the music industry, made him believe that it was a conspiracy against him and rightly so.
He was not perfect at all. He had flaws. He made mistakes. To his omission, he compensated the lack of childhood in his early years by building Neverland Ranch and having friendships with children. He outbid a friend, Paul McCartney for the publishing rights of Beatles songs and might have married Lisa Marie Presley for the wrong reasons. He was addicted to painkillers at one point in his life. He also had too many unnecessary cosmetic surgeries on his nose. He said things that would be deemed questionable. He did things that most would say is odd and eccentric. He was a human being in all its complexity.
I don’t want to make him appear to be a saint but I do believe wholeheartedly that his intentions were good in his music and in his personal life. He wanted to end the mistreatment of true artists in the music business, especially Black artists. He wanted to help heal the world through an initiative of rebuilding the parent/child relationship. He spoke out against racism, injustice, police brutality, greed and other social issues that America still haven’t dealt with, through song, speeches and interviews. As one of his bodyguards said, he was the most misunderstood person in the world.
Michael said in one interview that if a lie is told over and over again, you will begin to believe it. He also said that the truth will outlive a lie. I think with his recent transition, people are finally seeing the truth and appreciating the music, the dance and the man of Michael Jackson.
And I have a funny feeling that he would forgive us all for misunderstanding him while he was here on this Earth.