One year ago today, at around four in the afternoon, I was riding on a shuttle bus at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. I called home to inform my loved ones that I was on my way home after a daylong business trip. Right before the call ended, I was asked, “Did you hear that Michael Jackson died?”
“Michael Jackson who?” I asked. Certainly not the King of Pop, I was thinking. Michael Jackson had existed my entire life, either as a member of the Jackson Five, the Jacksons or a phenomenal solo artist. He was embarking on a series of 50 concert dates at London’s The O2 arena. It had to be a cruel hoax or he was mistaken for another individual with the same name.
But, of course, it was the Michael Jackson. It was the man whose legendary performance on Motown’s 25th anniversary special mesmerized me as a child. The man whose videos I had watched repeatedly and whose dance moves I clumsily attempted to master. It just didn’t seem real. Yet, when I made it to the terminal, the television monitors were tuned to CNN and groups of people had gathered beneath and were staring intently at the images of his body being wheeled into an ambulance. It was real. Michael Jackson was dead.
There are those today who will remember Michael Jackson for many reasons – his eccentricities ad his legal troubles to name a few. I, however, plan to focus on his dazzling career, historic accomplishments and volumes of songs that have stood the test of time.
RIP, Michael. Thank you for the years you dedicated to bringing joy to your millions of fans worldwide.