Originally published on July 2, 2009.
We all remember Michael Jackson in our own special way. He touched the lives of several generations of Americans and people across the globe. He was an icon, a force.
He made us believe that there were possibilities everywhere. He made us look at color in ways most Americans never had, and lthough his color lightened as he grew older, he made it clear that “It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or White.”
I remember as a child not having cable TV. In “certain areas” of New York City, cable came to the neighborhoods rather late. And while all of my friends at school were talking about MTV, I had no clue what it was. We did not get cable in my house until the late 1980s.That being said, I do remember when Michael Jackson and Sony had to fight MTV to put Jackson on the new music video station. At that point in time, all the videos on MTV were by white artists, and it was not until the threat of losing several other artists’ videos that MTV acquiesced–and MTV was never the same. I think I was allowed to go to a friend’s house in 1984 to see the premier of “Thriller,” which to date remains the longest music video in history.
But Michael did a lot more than break down barriers and bring music into our homes.He showed us what pain and struggle looked like. He showed ushow stardom really can have a downside.
People balked when he bought the rights to part of The Beatles’ catalog, now worth close to $1 billion. I still believe in my heart of hearts that that purchase was part of his demise. I believe that there are those who never wanted a Black man to hold in their hands the power to determine where The Beatles would and would not be played and how their music would be used. It was a brilliant purchase in terms of monetary return, yet the cost may have just not been worth it. What so many forgot for so long is all the good that he did for children in need. He helped so many and made dreams come true.
Even after all of the controversy that has surrounded him for over a decade, he could still fill seats in concerts yet to come.
On Tuesday in Harlem, thousands gathered at the famed Apollo Theater to bid farewell to the King of Pop.
“Gone Too Soon” was a song that Jackson performed. The lyrics were written by Buz Kohan. The song was dedicated to Ryan White, a young victim of AIDS whom Jackson befriended. The song talks about a death too soon, and that is what all of the world thinks of the death of Michael Jackson. Here are some of the words from that famous song:
Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight
Here one day
Gone one night
Like a sunset
Dying with the rising of the moon
Gone too soon
Gone too soon