From the same source of life – we all come, and inevitably so we must all return.
The passing of artist and performer Michael Jackson yesterday was quite a shock to many. My thoughts and prayers are with the Jackson family during this difficult time – and especially with Micheal’s young children. May they be protected from the media machine that so tragically tore up much of Michael’s life, while ironically celebrating him as one of the world’s most incredible and dynamic performers.
Like many of my generation, the music and public persona of Michael Jackson were a great part of my youth. My serious interest in music began at age 10 when I first saw Michael perform on television, shortly after his “Thriller” album had swept the world. His charisma, uninhibited passion for his art and his unique style filled my head with dreams of one day being able to share my own music with the world.
Few can come close to claiming even a fraction of what Michael accomplished during his career – from child-star as lead singer of the Jackson 5, through his work in “The Whiz” and onward to a solo career as an artist in an absolutely unparalleled musical/performance domain. Michael’s work and music bridged the world and generations. His choreography, concert formats, music videos, album production, charity efforts (”We Are The World” in specific) all set a standard that few could rise above.
Over the years the media scrutiny, mockery and sensationalizing of his personal life always angered me. During the very difficult times of his career I always supported and defended Michael – admiring him for remaining artistically driven and gracious to his supporters.
Each day people with tremendous lives pass from this world – farmers, students, cab drivers, children, elderly retired teachers, soldiers and parents. Who are we to judge the degrees of their “success” or the levels to which their lives touched the lives of others? Each day we should morn the losses of the world’s valuable contributors, and each day we should celebrate the positive achievements of all our earthâ€™s inhabitants.
With that in mind, I write these expressions not because “Michael Jackson the Super Star” has passed onward, but because a guy named Michael inspired me to sing, dance, smile, be gracious with those who shared my art with me and above all (as Michael would say whenever accepting an award) “Thank God” for all the wonderful adventures of life.
May Michael’s music carry on for many, many more generations – inspiring people to dance, dream and hope for a better world.
Lastly – many have been in touch with me over the past year to inquire about my personal relationship with Michael Jackson. A November 21, 2008 Sun (UK) article spread internationally stating that Michael had adopted the religion of Islam through friendship with both myself and my colleague Idris Phillips during recording sessions in Los Angeles.
For the record: Though our professional circles did cross-over slightly with various common professional acquaintances – I never had the honour or pleasure of meeting Micheal Jackson personally, nor did we ever correspond on matters of our professions, personal lives or faiths.