Everybody knew Michael Jackson, the mega star. He enthralled generations of people with his mesmerizing music and caused mass hysteria everywhere he performed. He had the same effect across all age groups, all sexes and all nationalities. His appeal was universal. To many he was next only to God. Through his music and dance, he gave people a medium to connect to God and a way to have glimpses of the divine ecstasy that meditation gurus talk about after years of concentration and prayers.
Through his brief lifetime, Michael Jackson, influenced a lot of people from all areas of life. He accumulated a huge fan following. I believe he has the largest no of fans than any artist in music history. This large group is characterized by a startling fact: Every single one of them share a personal bond with the singer.
I remember reading a comment by a flabbergasted blog reader somewhere on the internet. He compared Michael Jackson fans to religious zealots. He wondered why nothing shakes their faith. I might have some answers for him.
We, the MJ fans, are not only fans but devotees. I had an opportunity to interact with thousands of these people following his death, and I was amazed how close we all felt to each other based on only one common interest. As I got to know more and more of them, I began to see how we all felt exactly the same way about him in everyway. It didn’t matter, if we were 16 years old or forty, if we were from US or Ethiopia, if we spoke English or Zulu. He had helped us all personally in some way or other. Almost all of us had a personal story of triumph, made possible only by our faith in Michael.
For us, he was first and foremost a sensitive and caring human being and then a superstar. Yes, he was larger than life on stage, but off stage, he was just a human being with his share of problems and challenges. We gave him the space in our hearts to make mistakes and learn from them. We loved when he got up on that stage and made us scream, but we recognized the fact that he was not born only to please us. If and when he wanted to live his own life, he had the full right to do so without us interfering.
Above all, we all are united in recognizing Michael Jackson as a pure and uncorrupted soul. We cared and that’s why we made an effort to get to know him beyond the murky images projected by yellow journalism and certain self serving sections of the media. For all those people who don’t want to make this effort, we are sorry. We are sorry because they missed an opportunity to witness how it is to be in touch with your pure inner self. Yes, we all have a child inside us who, if permitted, would like to climb trees and watch Tom and Jerry and roll on the floor laughing. We all have a crouched-in- the -corner child inside, whose eyes, if permitted, would shine up getting Super Soaker guns as birthday gifts and finding friends to throw water balloons on. We, the Michael Jackson fans, are aware of this part inside ourselves and can bring it out to enjoy life to the fullest when opportunity comes. And who do we have to thank for all this but Michael. He showed us that it is, in fact, possible to keep your soul pure and preserved from the corrosion of fame, fortune, age and most importantly hate. Because of him, we have been able to bring out the best in ourselves from time to time.
It was this strength of character and constant belief in love that made us bond with him and made possible for him to affect each of us personally. Some of us survived unfair jibes of friends and family, because we saw him do it. Some of us came back from the threshold of suicide because we heard his voice at the right time. Some of us battled diseases and afflictions because we saw him as an inspiration. We were able to face it all, tragedies and triumphs, because he stood by us all along. We derived courage, strength, hope and most importantly, love from him and his music.
The two most shameful incidents of display of human greed in the musical history (1993 and 2005 accusations) that misguided a lot of people never held any importance for us. We had faith because we had taken the time to know the real Michael Jackson. Yes, children slept in his bedroom. People question that because pedophilia exists in our world. It didn’t exist in Michael’s world, and that’s why, when you see it through his perspective, it is not weird at all.
And you ask why our faith never shakes? Faith doesn’t need proof and trials. Faith knows. We know. Michael Jackson will be remembered as a musical legend forever by the world. In our hearts, he will also be remembered as a messenger of love in whose soul God had left a little of Himself. I know he rests in peace because he is, finally, at home up in the Heavens.