I needed a seat-belt because of the excitement of watching Michael Jackson on stage. He was crafting his final piece of showmanship for his fans who unlike any other musician I know spanned the world in their millions – and I was now a part of it.
I must admit I did not know what to expect when I went to watch ‘This Is It’ on Friday. Michael Jackson was nearly 50 at the time for crying out loud. He had been out of the limelight and was going broke. As much as he loved what he was doing, the money factor in the whole performance/movie was a bit hard to ignore. I knew it was going to be a hard bargain.
The first thing they show on screen is a teary teenager who cannot believe that he and several others will be dancing alongside Michael Jackson. Despite the fact that he probably was not born during MJ’s heydays on stage, he was moved with emotion. It’s fair to say that it may be because he was chosen from among thousands that showed up for the audition, but there was more to it.
When MJ came on stage, you couldn’t help but notice how gaunt he was. In orange jeans, a blue t-shirt and a shiny silver jacket – the King of Pop looked frail. I thought about what his diet might have been, and what drove him in his life – apart from the music.
But after he opened his mouth and then with little struggle performed the dance moves, I was left in awe. This is it. This was Michael Jackson. This was the icon. This was the maestro of stage performances and this was meant to be his masterpiece.
I have never been a groupie but my alter ego wanted to cry because of how talented this man was. Every time he opened his mouth I had to shake my head in wonder. This man was so immersed in the music he was totally oblivious of anything outside of that musical cycle.
I felt like I loved him. And I understood why the teenagers who barely knew him were weeping their hearts out. I think unlike other artists his music was about giving back to his fans. It was a self-less act of love, and demanded the same from whoever watched.
Even in my village, Bukembe, about 12 kilometres from Webuye town, people knew and loved MJ.
At this point, I am just ashamed by how judgemental people were of him and how this destroyed most chances he had of a normal life. People, let’s behave ourselves and stop judging people. I hope this never happens to anyone else.