With a smile, I read about a sweeping contract between Michael Jackson's Estate and Sony Records that will make Michael's music alive for years - decades - to come. I smile because I have witnessed in the last 9 months how MJ's music has influenced my own children.
My two daughters met Michael several times. They were short interactions, as it was more about letting our kids meet, and Michael would be in and out, giggling and telling me he couldn't believe I was a mother. But these interactions were always followed by many questions by my daughters about why he looked so strange. Michael's plastic surgery, when witnessed up close, was difficult to face.
And, my children, who really knew nothing about who he was or that he was famous, would be confused about why he looked like that or chose to do that to himself. (To the extent, that I personally swore off ever doing plastic surgery because I firmly believe in showing my daughters that we need to love who we are inside, not just on the outside.)
I was always sad after these meetings, because I felt that my girls could never know how magnificent Michael had once been or that his music transcended his own insecurities. To be honest, we didn't play his music much anymore at home, and their music mix was more contemporary.
But since Michael's death, it has been difficult to miss his music. Right after he died, we were in London and Paris, and literally everywhere we went his music was playing. This happened worldwide - when we returned home to LA or visited India several months later.
And I watched as my children heard his music they would smile, listen to the words, move to the beat.
And one day in October when I picked up my 5 year old from preschool, her class was having a dance party, grooving to BAD. Every day, my 8 year old practices MAN IN THE MIRROR, a song they are performing for a school event. And she takes in each word of the song. When we hear HEAL THE WORLD or EARTH SONG (2 of several songs that my father helped MJ write the lyrics for), I watch my daughters discover the timelessness and significance of his music.
Recently we saw Mama Mia on Broadway, and I knew it was a matter of time until MJ's music appears on Broadway or a new WII game is released featuring his songs. Of course, the over commercialization means big business to many, and its part of his tragic story that it has all happened after he died. I just pray - and know the Executors of his Estate know many are watching - to make sure that his children see the financial benefit.
But, I smile because ultimately Michael will be remembered for his music. A tortured soul, yes. But also a soul that could move people, and make them feel connected with his song.