What bothers me are bandwagon tributes. An Icon, they say. A Genius. The same cackling media outlets that refused to play Michael Jackson’s music for years, and affixed an implicit punchline to his name. Whatever. Artists are not perfect people. We can choose to accept the art without embracing the artist. In the case of Michael Jackson, I embraced both[.
Born in Gary, Indiana (a fairy tale story in and of itself) the whole family accomplished amazing things. At one point, the Jackson 5 had the nickname of “Black Beatles” because of the Hysteria that ensued when they arrived on the scene. But Michael, dear Michael. He shook hands with the Queen. He changed pop culture forever. His music will live on forever. And there’s a generation of us that will idolize him as long as we breathe as untouchably “bad”. He gave us infinitely more than we ever gave him.
So here come the tributes, the tears. Celebrate genius in life. Not as it’s ripped away. Flowers for the dead pale in the glow of flowers for the living.
Steve Walsh and I interviewed his Brother, Tito, about the family’s story (including Michael’s) and about their Gary Roots. Listen here:
And, from the FIRST Michael Jackson album, I bring you my joint, “I Wanna Be Where You Are”….