Following the demise of a true legend, I chose to publish this piece written by my friend and colleague, Cassandra Mercy.
She pays tribute to the King.
Uri Geller was one of Michael Jackson’s closest friends and said that he once asked him about his lifestyle. Michael said he was the loneliest person on earth. It is that statement that sticks with me as I write this tribute to a man whose music was the cornerstone of my pre-pubescent years. How could a man who had such cult like fans be so lonely? It is sad.
A friend of mine once schooled me on artistic geniuses. She said they give so much to the world that by the time they are on their own, they need extraordinary measures to fill them again. Think of R. Kelly, Toulouse Lautrec, Beethoven, Allen Poe, Wilde or even Michael Vic.
Extra-ordinary people need extra-ordinary measures to attain chi. Michael belongs to the class that is just above extra-ordinary.
MJ was plain out weird. Now, before the fanatics get offended I should add, weird is not a bad thing, it is just a more poetic way of saying “different”. He had strange quirks, idiosyncrasies, and domestic habits and this contributed greatly to his loneliness. I got the idea that Michael couldn’t fit in with the boring lot that had such conventional lives.
The list of his close friends reveals a man who didn’t suffer fools or dull people gladly. He was lucky enough to be able to afford a lifestyle that allowed him some semblance of personal freedom to follow his various whims.
Watching his interviews over the years, the impression I got of Michael Jackson was of a tender soul, misunderstood; and of course, a little misguided. His compassion was unmistakable, regardless of the drama that came later. He exhibited endearing symptoms of the Peter Pan Syndrome that were just pure entertainment. While not an ardent fan of the man, I could understand the preoccupation the world had with him. He drew people in, even before he sang a single note.
Few of us ever find the seat of our soul. I believe Michael Jackson did. God-given talent is generously distributed among the populace but finding a way of expressing and sharing that talent that works for you is very rare. Watching Michael in concert was revealing in itself. He was a man who lived a secluded and mysterious life in private but on stage you could see his soul. It was his moment of true expression and the world recognised and lapped it up eagerly.
In these last years his role of course changed dramatically. He switched from being an entertainer par excellence to the entertainment itself. Those of us who were cognitive in the 80’s were hit the tragic irony that became Michael Jackson following the endless sagas be it Neverland, Caucasian babies, little boys or even Bubbles. I remember my mother insisting that it was not the same person and that Jackson was pulling a Saddam Hussein stunt on us with a body double.
The disturbing trials are particularly gruesome because whatever the court decided cannot possibly compare to the prison he went into after them. A man who was a legendary entertainer was dismissed to internet cracks, tabloid snippets and late night jokes. It was not the way I would have envisioned this man going down. It makes one think of legacies and such. That said, it isn’t all bad. I wonder what went through the King of pop’s mind as he watched a whole generation of little kids try so hard to be like him. I hope he felt proud as he watched Usher, Omarion, Timberlake and Genuine shamelessly turn him into an entire genre of music.
Personally, the memory I want to remain with of Michael Jackson is him singing in that whispery voice, “Nakupenda pia, nakutaka pia, mpenzi we.” That was absolutely fantastic.