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What the Fuck? Michael Jackson is dead.

June 26, 2009

Alright, this is depressing as fuck.

I first heard the news as a rumor between two cats outside the corner store about 4 hours ago on my way downtown.

“Yo, you heard Michael Jackson died?”

“Naw, man I heard that was just a rumor.”

A small lump in my stomach started to throb. The kind you get when you realize something’s gone irreversibly wrong and there’s nothing you can do about it.

As I kept walking the sounds of “Thriller,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” blasting from nearly every car that passed confirmed it and by this time the lump had blossomed into a full blown sadness. What the Fuck? Michael Jackson is dead?

For a minute I felt like pulling an old-black-moms-at-her-son’s-funeral and break down right at the corner of 17th and Telegraph. What the Fuck? Michael Jackson is dead?!

Billie Jean was the 1st video that I can really remember and the cool trippiness of it helped shape a love for surreal imagery that still effects a lot of my artistic sensibilities. The flashing sidewalk, the ill dude in the sunglasses with the cat, Mike’s oddly sexual lyrics proclaiming an innocence I didn’t quite understand. I was six years old and Michael Jackson was the first freaky black person I’d ever seen.

Before Prince and Rick James, and later Jimmie Hendrix, George Clinton and a whole line of out-there folks, Mike was the 1st one to get me thinking about things a little differently. For me he helped define a particular flavor of manhood, something that I still see and admire in people like Bill T. Jones, Gregory Hines and my old poetry professor, Tim Seibles. From that flashing sidewalk and dance moves to the tight jeans and slightly effeminate stance, this skinny little dancing dude cut a sharp contrast with all the men around me.

He didn’t wear a thick cloak of toughness, his voice was kinda high and his music helped you get through the stupid shit in life. Life in on 4th Ave wasn’t exactly sweet and while most of the men around me were hard, stoic, and focused on some invariable level of “the struggle” Mike was the first person that helped me see that being a bad mothershut-yo-mouth wasn’t the only way to approach manhood.

And while the later years raised a few eyebrows, there was always those sentimental memories that would win out over all the rumors and monkeys and absurdity. I mean it was Michael Jackson. You’ve seen Thriller right?

A few weeks ago I was watching one of those reality thingamawhutzits that took a “behind the scenes” look at the selection process for the dancer’s for Mike’s last tour. It was this huge Hollywood meets MTV melodrama with quick camera edits, dirty looks and dramatic voiceovers.

Dancers had flown in from all over the world for the chance to dance with The King of Pop and those that were interviewed, most in their early 20’s, told stories of growing up with his music and broke into tears proclaiming how this was the biggest opportunity of their lives.

And as sobby as it was I knew where they were coming from. I mean I’m pretty low on the groupie totem pole but you’d have to be a cold mothafucker not to appreciate all Michael Jackson’s done over the years. His music was a constant celebration of life and the need to things better and it’s best was a call for peace and joy that cut through even all of my cynical bullshit.

So yeah, what the fuck. Michael Jackson’s dead. And I’ve still got a little ache in my stomach. I’m anticipating a lot of tribute parties this weekend and I’m gonna have to get my ass from in front of the computer and check them out. Dude played a big part in the way I look at life and the rest of the world. Gotta respect that. Let’s have one last dance.

Mama se Mama sa Mama Motherfuckin sa

5 Comments leave one →
  1. subject-verb agreement permalink
    June 26, 2009 4:46 am

    a life honored through another’s experience; in memory through memories.

    great writing. xo

    • Boothism permalink*
      June 26, 2009 2:18 pm

      Thank you. I really had just planned on posting a couple of videos. I started writing an intro and an hour later I had this. To be honest I had never really thought about MJ’s effect until yesterday.

  2. June 26, 2009 3:10 pm

    He was human, he was an artist….which as we know, doesn’t always come out right when dealing with reality. But damn, he was an artist, and a fine one at that…

    • Boothism permalink*
      June 26, 2009 4:27 pm

      I honestly can’t imagine living my life in public like that and still be expected to make art. I always wonder how much his music was a direct relation to the pain he was going through.

      He always brings to mind that line Rene Ricard wrote about Basquiat: You could never explain to someone who uses God’s gift to enslave that you have used God’s gift to be free.

  3. Elle Pea permalink
    June 26, 2009 4:50 pm

    Michael is amazing. My heart is broken over his…Uh Death? right death. It’s still unbelievable. You nailed the sentiment KB.
    The world was different after he moonwalked during the 25th Motown anniversary…And still even more different today. If Michael Jackson can die… it is a sure a hell that the rest of us will too.
    RIP Michael. May God bless you.

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