World reacts on Michael Jackson's death
There are few people whose lives have the cunning ability to capture a people’s imagination in life and death. One such person is Michael Jackson.
On Thursday night, in the middle of normal late evening television programming, a frenzy of rumours swept cable television that the King of Pop had suffered cardiac arrest.
But from the obituary-like breaking news features and the rapid fire trend of new information and various interviews in which friends and associates referred to him as ‘was’ instead of ‘he’s’ it was clear that one of the most brilliant musical lights of his generation had finally gone out for good.
It was a solemn moment. My earliest memories of the boy or man, depending on how you refer to the handsome lanky black fellow with the knack of walking backwards, feet sliding on the ground, dancing as if his body is boneless on black and white television are very good memories.
Also known as the break dance king, MJ as he was fondly known gave young people like me in the eighties our first sense of real self esteem in our black colour.
His signature break-dance and later his moon walk is still a hit in many places all over the world. Here in Kigali, MJ wannabes have garnered reasonable fanatical audiences in karaoke places like the Sky Terrace.
Michael Jackson was a star in the real sense of the world. The young black boy with a huge afro, an infectious smile and a golden voice is a far cry from the frail ‘white’ man who graced his planned comeback tour press conferences with weak erratic pronunciations, “This is it, this is it.”
We know the king of the show who was capable of bringing the roof down every time and for the whole show. No wonder he invented the modern musical video for MTV with his creative short story cum music bits and pieces that enchanted the viewers not only for the music but in the ingenuity of their storylines.
But when all is said and done, we will remember Michael Jackson for many things apart from his magical stage appearances. One of those special things that he did is the song “We are the world” which he wrote and later sang together with a host of other musical icons for the benefit of the hungry in Africa.
He will be remembered for his love for children although in later years his association with minors has caused him much embarrassment and humiliation, perhaps unfairly because the biggest price he paid for his young stardom was the complete loss of a normal childhood.
By innocently consorting with children he may have tried to reclaim that lost time when he was busy dazzling the lights out of crowds instead of being rocked to sleep by his parents and kin. The star of the Jackson 5, a group of brothers and sisters, who depended on their young soloist brother for much of the stage magic will now assemble to remember the days when age did not mean anything to them, especially in the presence of unquestionable talent.
Michael Jackson’s music is legendary. It does not belong to any generation or race or country. The likes of ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Man in the Mirror’ not only made him a household name but one of the first true crossover musicians.
For anyone to release four number one hits at eleven years old and stay on top of his game in a career spanning from the age of six to fifty was stuff for the legend that he later turned out.
Michael Jackson was not just a fellow juggling his words and dance strokes in an attempt to make a good stage combination. He was a complete performer, and an artist at that. He was the kind of artist who takes the light out of the room and focuses them on himself, an original dancer who did not copy music but invented famous ageless strokes like the moon walk.
Though unceremoniously, the events of Thursday night may have ended the King’s show, but you can be sure that like that of Elvis Presley, Bob Marley and other inspirational kings of the show business, the real timeless MJ show is just about to start. In CNN’s Larry King’s words, “He gave us his talent…let’s miss his talent.”