I have been called a fake fan. I’ve been told that I’m fronting, pretending to love Michael and be sad because everyone else is. I don’t care what other people say, and I know that my love of Michael’s music came in an unconventional way, but I am sad, it does hurt and I am a true fan.
Growing up, the one person in my family who loved Michael Jackson the most was my aunt Jackie. She has Down Syndrome and would play his music all the time, especially on Sunday afternoons where she would dance in her room to his tapes. I remember she had the ‘HIStory’ tape and my sister and I would watch it with her and it would scare me. Seeing the huge crowds of people screaming and fainting would kind of freak me out. But of course, my earliest memory of Michael Jackson is the ‘Thriller’ video that I honestly couldn’t watch all the way through until I was about 15. It terrified me, but one thing I could always appreciate was the dancing.
It sounds weird to say, but I fell in love with Michael’s music just last year after watching ‘Thriller night’ on America’s Best Dance Crew season one. They were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the album and every crew had to perform to one of the songs and have some of Michael’s signature moves thrown in. Every crew killed it. It was the most solid episode of ABDC ever and I fell in love with the music, because of the dance. I downloaded ‘PYT’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ because of the show. Then, Chapters started playing the Thriller album and later his number one’s album and I got in to the music even more. Even when they had Michael Jackson night on American Idol a few months ago I go introduced to even more music.
Now, with his passing, I don’t want to listen to anything else. All I’ve been doing now is building up my Michael collection on my iPod and listening to him. I like his usual songs, the ones that everyone knows, but my all time favorite Michael Jackson song is ‘Wanna Be Starting Something’ just for the African chant thing at the end.
The day he died, I watched CNN for six hours straight, trying to come to grips with it but I couldn’t, it still doesn’t even seem real. My heart really goes out to him because of the hard life he had. He was so shy and isolated, he never got a chance to be normal, and he couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without the world watching. He was the most beautiful little black boy, with an Afro that makes me jealous, and then became this ghostly white man who didn’t even look human. No will ever know what Michael did to himself or why he did it, but I can only imagine the intense self-hatred inside of him to have so much surgery.
But besides all of the controversy, because none of that matters anymore, I believe Michael Jackson’s biggest contribution to the world was with dance. I feel that dance is something that not a lot of people are talking about in the media when speaking about his legacy. Michael Jackson created his own style of dance. When you see someone spinning, moon walking, pointing, popping and locking you can look at it and say ‘that’s Michael.’ There are millions of dancers all over the world who started dancing because of Michael Jackson. Jackson himself discovered one of the most brilliant choreographers of our time, Wade Robson, when he was young and he was in a few of his videos. Routines in videos like ‘Beat It’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Remember the Time’ are timeless. Choreography today is so trendy, the moves are so now that in ten years they will be out of style. Michael’s routines will never go out of style. People are still doing the Thriller dance, I learned it when I was about 17 and still do it whenever the video comes on. The ‘Bad’ video comes to mind as one of his greatest because the movements were so jazzy. They were doing high kicks and extensions that you would never see a male artist do today. However, my all time favorite Jackson routine is the one from ‘Remember the Time’ choreographed by Fatima. It had that Egyptian feel to it, with the tutting and the arms but at the same time it was straight hip-hop. I think that was the first and only time Michael did hip-hop and it was amazing. I’ve never attempted to try to learn that dance, that’s how classic it is to me. There’s also the ‘Scream’ video with him and Janet. Seeing the two of them side by side, doing that hard hitting, Tina Landon choreography still makes me squeal. Janet is my ultimate icon and to see both of them dancing together like that is still an amazing sight. I believe more than anything that Michael Jackson will live on through dance. Dance is the reason I fell in love with his music.
I’m a fan, just in an unconventional way and Michael’s music and dance will forever live on through me. I will remember him as an incredible performer, a humanitarian, a dancer and an icon. Everything else doesn’t matter anymore.
Rest in Peace Michael.