Michael Jackson taught me how to dance - I would pop in my Thriller cassette into the tape player in my little Datsun and bop all the way to my night job at the supermarket. I force fed rhythm into this short Chinese body by way of Billie Jean.
"So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf
And just enjoy yourself"
- Off the Wall by Michael Jackson
"She was more like a beauty
queen from a movie scene
I said don't mind, but what do you mean I am the one"
- Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
I sat glued to the tv screen watching his first music videos on MTV. A non-white face sang to me, and I loved it - I loved the way he danced, my butt would shift from one side to another, I melted when his voice hit a high pitch to pops of sugar coated notes. He was the anti-thesis of the spandex big hair bands that crowded the space around him. He stood out like a beacon of hope that I didn't have to listen to White Snake wail nonsense while a model writhed on the hood of a sports car.
His life moved along with mine, we both aged, although his was less natural than mine. In his world he drew inside of himself and into a world where he felt protected; the Boy in the Bubble. I moved out to a world where I had no control and I flailed until I found my footing. How ironic that he had less control than I did. I could never imagine what it was like to live in a fish bowl of non-ending speculation and having one's bones picked bare by the public in the name of "need to know".
He needed to perform to stay solvent and to stay relevant. Both of which killed him. His genius rose above us all, and our hands grabbed at him, trying to pull him down to our level, where he would be just like us, we threw stones, we threw roses, all of which drew blood.
Rest in peace Michael, heaven is the eternal theme park for the good souls and you have an unlimited pass.
I'm Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life
It's Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .
- The Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
Image: Ophelia Chong / Nightmen