Posted Friday, June 26, 2009, at 2:49 PM
I'm truly heartbroken. MJ was my very first love. I wrote him letters through his fan club when I was a girl, of course never imagining that his cute baby-face would eventually morph into something that looked like a laboratory creation. I loved him through my teen years and even stuck with him through high school and into my first years of college. By then I was long over wanting to marry him and was doubtful that he even liked girls. Still, watching his physical transformation through the years was heartrending. He was such a beautiful boy when he was just plain black and with a real nose instead of a pasty, cream-colored creation with a plastic plughole. But the interesting thing about MJ’s many physical phases was that with each one he became less a member of any one group and more a musical symbol for all. Of course it was mostly because he was such a fantastic entertainer; his music, his singing, and his dancing skills were unparalleled. But at the same time, gay, straight, and sexually ambiguous people could equally embrace him, as could every racial and ethnic group across the board. That’s why he was once as loved in Japan as he was in South Africa, as he was Moscow, as he was in Harlem or Minnesota. Few entertainers ever reach across so many racial, cultural and geographic lines.
I just wish the kids who now worship only moderately talented here-today-gone-tomorrow music studio creations being passed off a "stars" could have seen the old Michael-pre-sex abuse allegations, freakish face, and oddball behavior-perform.
A few years ago, after turning my little niece on to MJ through his song "Rockin Robin," which I would sing to her as lullaby, I gave her a CD of MJ from his Jackson Five days. She looked at his picture and asked: "Who is this?"
"Michael Jackson," I said.
"No it's not," she insisted. "Michael Jackson is peach, he's not brown."
She was stating the facts as she saw them, but to me her comments captured just how colorless, and universal, MJ had become. My niece was right. MJ was a peach, flaws and all.
Photograph of Michael Jackson memorial by John Moore/Getty Images.