Today should have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday.
In a few hours, I’ll be in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, celebrating with Spike Lee, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and tens of thousands of people who love Michael Jackson just as much as I do. As wonderful a time as I’m sure we’ll all have, though, the sad fact is that MJ should be celebrating with us.
In the words of Spike Lee:
It’s going to be a joyous, festive, celebratory party. At the end, we’ll all sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Michael, We’re going to make sure he hears us, too. All over the world, people are going to be celebrating his birthday. But he’s going to hear Brooklyn; Brooklyn is going to be in the house. Deep.
There are (at least) two kinds of Michael Jackson fans: There’s the kind that loves a lot of his music and gets down to the ground when “Billie Jean” comes on at a party. And then there’s the kind who, yes, loves his music (even the stuff that went virtually unheard in the U.S. in the past 15 years), but perhaps more importantly, loves the man. I fall squarely in the latter group. For me, it isn’t possible to separate the life from the career—and frankly, it wasn’t possible for Michael, either.
This was a brilliant, kind, beautiful (and I mean that in every sense, and from birth to death) generous and truly loving man who literally gave everything he had to the world, and left nothing for himself in the end. This is the most misunderstood and hideously violated artist of our time, and his death has brought with it what will surely be many, many years of continued tabloid fodder based only slightly in truth, and primarily in sensationalist profiteering.
Yes, I am angry, and I am very, very sad.
Today, however, I will celebrate. I will dance and I will sing and I will forget to be afraid of how I look doing it. Can you feel it? Happy birthday, Michael. I hope you’ll hear us in Brooklyn.
Recommended Reading: Top Ten Questions Everyone SHOULD Be Asking About Michael Jackson, by Brenna Chase
(Photos by Albert Watson, 1999)
p.s. Yes, it’s been a while, I know. Tonight I read through some of the comments that were left on my last post over the last couple of weeks, and all I can really say is that I’m sorry I’ve disappointed those of you who have come to expect something from me here on a regular basis. I can’t promise that, though, because I’m a human being with human distractions (like what you’ve read about in this post) that devour my attention completely, often for long stretches of time. This isn’t a job, it’s an extension of myself. I hope you can understand that.