R.I.P. Michael Jackson: The Greatest of All Time

Friday, June 26, 2009 0 comments
Posted Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:55pm PDT by Billy Johnson, Jr. in Hip-Hop Media Training
It still has not hit me. It feels so strange. Michael Jackson is dead. He was only 50 years old, a milestone age. He just celebrated the 25th anniversary of "Thriller," the best-selling album of all time, and re-released it in February.



He was scheduled to start his show run in London in a few weeks.



Maybe Michael's career had reached its peak, but I was not convinced that he was done with music. When he turned 50 last August, I did a series of interviews with radio stations. All of the DJs asked me if I thought Michael Jackson could make a comeback. They wanted to know if he could get past the controversies that dominated his news coverage over the last 10-plus years. My answer was a matter-of-fact "yes."

People often underestimate the power of music, and the effect that it has on us. We sometimes forget how a great song with a feel-good message lifts us up, and makes us smile and remember the place we had the most fun dancing to it and with whom.

Michael Jackson is one of the few artists in the history of the art form to be able to take one song, like "Billie Jean," and reach people of all age groups, races, and nationalities.

Michael has done this time and time again for decades, as both a solo artist and member of The Jackson 5.

This type of legacy cannot be erased by even the most horrible of charges and allegations. His music and performances are historic and forever engrained in our hearts.

Rick Sanchez, a floor manager at the popular Amoeba Music in Hollywood, says that his staff was "equally shocked" when they heard the news of Jackson's passing. "A lot of people are buying his music which usually happens in these situations," Sanchez says, referring to the breaking news of a musician's death.

Sanchez adds that all of Jackson's music always sells well at his location.

Rosemary Jean-Louis, a Michael Jackson fan and blogger from Atlanta, is nervous, hoping the news reports that Jackson has died are not true. "I don't want to believe it because it's Michael Jackson," Jean-Louis says. "He has been the guy considered invincible who always seems to come back. He is only 50. He was on the verge of such a big comeback with his concerts. No matter what he's gone through or what the crazy circumstances and dark period of his life with that poor trial-that taken aside-he is one of the musical geniuses of our times, truly the King of Pop."

I never learned to do his moonwalk dance move, but like everyone else, I was blown away when I saw him unveil it on Motown's famous 25th anniversary TV special in 1984.

I was too shy of a kid to get one of the red-and-black stripped jackets like the one he wore in the "Thriller" video, but I thought it was cool.

I did, however, have an afro Jheri curl in 1979, when Jackson released his album "Off the Wall," which included jams like "Don't Stop ‘til You Get Enough" and "Workin' Day and Night." I was 10, and whenever the high school girls on my block told me that I was cute and looked like Michael Jackson, I blushed and took it as a huge compliment.

My 6 1/2-year-old twins know and love his music as do the rest of us. This will never change.

I know he had been dealing with a lot these last few years. I hope that at the time of his passing he was in a happy place. Reportedly, he had been rehearsing in Los Angeles for the last two months, preparing for his London dates. His 50-year-old life may have been short, but it was impactful. His accomplishments are tremendous.

I offer my sincere condolences to his children, parents, siblings, and other family members, and to his friends and fans.

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