I'm going to take a moment and keep in so real, I'm not sure how people will take this admission.
I own a Michael Jackson jacket.
That's right. I own a Michael Jackson Jacket. Remember when 50 Cent said, "I'll leave you like them Michael Jackson jackets - with all them zippers." That's the kind I have.
My Michael Jackson jacket is a replica of the one that the megastar wore in the "Beat It" video, one of the many singles from the Thriller album. Michael rocked his coat as a red leather, zippered up fashion monument for the ages. For those that may be clueless or simply don't know, Thriller (109 million sold) is the greatest selling album of all time and will most certainly remain such.
Forever is why I still own that Michael Jackson jacket.
The music, the legacy and the culture that was created around MiJac is one that will never ever, ever go away. There are some that will attempt to detract or derail his legacy because of scandal or his eccentricities, but that's and impossible feat, even to the casual listener.
When I was a child, my school had a Michael Jackson contest. It didn't require you to dance or anything, but you did have to come to school dressed like the King of Pop. And, that's what I did. I don't really recall if I had the coat first and then entered the contest or the other way around, but I put on a white church glove and ended up winning the contest. It was fun and I still get jokes about it to this day from my brother.
That was the power of Michael Jackson though.
He started on Earth, but he soon soared. His trip took him above the clouds, beyond the stars, further than the only celestial bodies we view with a telescope. At the age of 50, hes traveled longer distances than any single entertainer that we have witnessed to date. To those of us that were kids, young adults and adults, we bore witness to that brilliant light he radiated as he ascended into a universe of his own.
There are others that only know some public construct known as "Wacko Jacko," and that's a dishonorable term and a testament to the nastiness of the human spirit. Michael was that cartoon on Saturday morning, that disco guy that was "off the wall," that ultra kid that was reared at an early age to be the larger-than-life personality that was endeared by adorning fans worldwide. There are too many memories, but one of mine is when he did the Hip-Hop-inspired moonwalk at the Motown 25 Anniversary. I know they say it was all father Joe Jackson, but there was some divine intervention with Michael Jackson.
The truly interesting aspect of Michael Jackson, for me, is that I never wanted to be him. I never had a drippy curl or some of the other aspects of the King of Pop. Honestly, my father was my standard for being a man. I was always into hardcore Hip-Hop music, such as Run DMC, who even jabbed at Michael for being on the softer side of the music. In fact, my father never was a huge fan of Mike, because he had a penchant for the gruffness of one of MiJac's influences - the late Mr. James Brown. But, the music, the style and the peoples love of Michael Jackson carried on with the force of tougher men.
Through all the changes in music, all the younger talents, and even through the scandals of the 90's, I held onto the Beat It jacket. It remains a reminder of a glorious day gone, but one that we'll all hold onto. I was really confused about my feelings upon hearing Michael Jackson died. Death is so readily dished out that its easy to become desensitized to it. Not Michael. His passing felt like a family member died suddenly, tragically. To me, its very close to the way I felt when Jam Master Jay of Run DMC died.
After the news broke, all my friends and family called, IM'd, twittered, facebooked and any other means to reach me to express their sadness over the death of the King. But even before this day, Michael was being transferred from generation to generation. When I hear Rihanna's "Please Don't Stop The Music," I make certain the kids in my family hear the original, "Wanna Be Starting Something." In fact, I had them listening to all of Michael's solo material before he died. If you look at Ne-Yo, Usher, Justin Timberlake and so many others, you are looking at Michael Jackson. I suppose its about time to re-discover his records with the Jackson 5, the solo ones, the unreleased old songs and hopefully the new music that lives in vaults somewhere.
And in my personal vault, in the closet in a guest room, lives a red pleather coat with zippers that don't even zip. What is supposed to be chain mail on the shoulders is merely painted plastic that looks like medal. The pleather is old and pealing, but its still there. Man, Michael Jackson was the man and I don't need any fancy words or descriptions to say that any more clearly.
Shoot, I wish this jacket still fit. I'd rock it right now like it was nothing.
Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson...Forever starts now.