Sources: The Examiner – By Vicki Davey | All Things Michael
This article is to celebrate my four year anniversary as a writer for the Examiner.com. Because I started as an African American History writer, I believe this anniversary article should highlight one of the greatest people in African American history – my all-time favorite Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. Why him? Well, because it has always felt like we grew up together. I watched him perform with his brothers– my eyes wide in awe as this little boy my own age was on the TV — dancing his little legs off to “ABC” and other songs he and his brothers made famous. Michael Jackson and his brothers became so famous that they were on the covers of magazines,had their own cartoon series, met with and performed for presidents and queens, and toured the world many times. Michael Jackson developed his own genre of dance to accompany his amazing music and had the whole world dancing with him. He was famous beyond imagination, and his fans waited hours just to get a glimpse of him as he appeared for his concerts around the world.
From the age of five, until he died in his early 50s, this icon of pop was beloved by his true followers. If you put yourself in Michael Jackson’s shoes, you might see the other side of the story of his famous life of glam and glitter. He was a little boy who could never simply go outside and play like the rest of us kids. Playing tag, hide & seek, or dodge ball in someone’s backyard, handball against a neighbor’s garage door, basketball in the driveway on the corner, or a friendly game of kick-ball in the neighborhood cul-de-sac – it was impossible for this young boy to enjoy any of the simple things most of us enjoyed in that era of history. The Jacksons’ father is known to have been very strict with the family, and it is said that they were always working either on dance routines, in music rehearsals, or traveling to their next gig. I’m sure they found moments of fun, but it has been reported that it was basically all work and no play for this family.
When he was a little older, this now very famous young man built his own fantasy land where he could play whenever he wanted to – and he called it Neverland Ranch. At his ranch, Michael Jackson had exotic pets and a fairy tale playground with amusement park rides that was probably the next best thing to Disneyland! He brought underprivileged children to his Ranch so they could enjoy the beauty, the exotic animals, and enjoy the rides and fun he had created. Of course other children wanted to come over and play — and when they did, the rumors began. People began accusing Michael Jackson of things I prayed he never did. Through reports from close friends like Brooke Shields, Michael Jackson was just a big innocent kid with a Peter Pan complex who wanted to live out his dream of being a “real boy” with friends. I believe those people who accused him of such atrocities were exploiting his kind nature and were opportunists who only saw dollar signs when they were welcomed into his fold. The media tried their best to blitz Michael Jackson, and he was merely a target for a media that has tainted or ruined numerous celebrity lives with their vicious gossip and nasty headlines. For me, I choose to remember that boy on the stage singing and dancing his heart out.
He was once quoted to say: “Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars? Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,” people would say, “Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a single word that comes out of his mouth.”
Michael Jackson was not only known for his music, having earned numerous awards that created music history, but Jackson was also known for his work as an actor and a published author of books. Michael Jackson has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts with organizations such as “Heal the World Foundation” which he founded in 1992, and for his efforts around the world with the HIV/AIDs virus.
I grew up dancing to Michael Jackson’s music, singing along with him in the car, using his music in my own fitness classes to inspire others to get up and exercise, and to lull me to sleep at night. I was fortunate to go with some friends to Dodger Stadium for the family’s Victory Tour back in 1984 (their last tour together), and was in my glory as I sat down front on the grass with my friends, Jan and Francisco. There were a lot of famous people there honoring the King of Pop and his brothers as they danced and sang the night away. The Jacksons were all good, but as always, Michael had something special that just made him stand out from all the rest. He was, after all, dubbed the King of Pop, and he certainly lived up to the name.
Michael Jackson was inspirational. He was a good son, brother, father, and friend; and he was taken from us much too soon. I remember thinking when I heard the announcement of his death on TV, that it had to be a hoax on Saturday Night Live, because surely he could not be taken from us so soon. But, as we all well know, it was sadly true. Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson, and thank you for the wonderful memories.
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