Michael Jackson was a brilliant singer, song-writer and dancer. He was a leading entertainer and musician for more than three decades. The world was his stage. So it is only proper that we celebrate his exceptional musical accomplishments. But let us not celebrate this life.
There are so many questions about Michael's life. There was his childhood in Gary, Indiana, apparently filled with abuse. This we should not celebrate. There were many accusations of pedophilia, including some very explicit news accounts, and reports of substantial out of court settlements. This we should not celebrate. There was a lengthy addiction to drugs, including Valium and Ativan, to help him cope with chronic pain, and Xanax for panic attacks. This we should not celebrate. There was his whitened skin and his clef chin. This we should not celebrate. There was a child who became a man only to do everything possible to remain a child. This we should not celebrate. There were his children who were frequently shrouded in veils and always denied a normal life. This we should not celebrate.
Yes, there were many generous acts. Jackson supported about forty charities. He did do many good things. But these cannot answer the questions. There was the unprecedented We are the World campaign. But this cannot answer the questions. Yes there were many shrewd business decisions. Yet there were so many terrible personal decisions.
Yes there was Thriller, Off the Wall, Bad, Dangerous and History. Yes there was Beat It, Billie Jean and Black and White. Yes there was the Jackson Five as well as an extraordinary solo career. Yes there was the moonwalk, the hat and the glove. Yes there were the break through music videos and magical dance routines. Michael Jackson was a historical talent, a one of a kind person. But this does not answer the questions.
Michael's music is an exceptional legacy. As an entertainer, he was the best. As a role model for our children, Michael was among the worst. Michael's music moved us, inspired us, lifted us from our sorrows and troubles. Yet so much in Michael's life disappointed us.
As millions around the world watch the endless television coverage of Michael's memorial, let us keep this brilliant life in proper perspective. Let us celebrate the King of Pop. Let us celebrate his music.