Rock with a Legacy

By Wednesday July 8, 2009

Rock with a Legacy

Michael Jackson is undoubtedly the greatest entertainer who ever lived. No one can deny that his music transcended cultural barriers and allowed people around the world to dance together. Like many others, I remember dancing to his videos in front of the TV screen when I was growing up. I could never have imagined a world without his music and fame. Tragically, the world must now accept this reality.

Yesterday’s Michael Jackson Memorial Service that was held at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles truly represents the impact that Michael Jackson had on his family, friends, and fans. Celebrities including Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, and Stevie Wonder joined to pay tribute to his life, sharing his powerful songs with the world watching.

The service was touching as Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Usher, and thousands of people who dearly loved Jackson reflected on his life and the things he did that made him remarkable.

I feel that we all loved Jackson and I especially was comforted when Stevie Wonder stated “as much as we feel, and we do, that we need Michael here with us, God must have needed him far more.” Jackson’s dear friend Stevie Wonder sadly stated: “This is a moment I wished I didn’t live to see” and paid tribute by singing his own “Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer.”

I was moved by Motown founder Berry Gordy who spoke about Jackson as a child prodigy signed at age 10. Gordy named Jackson “the greatest entertainer who ever lived.”

The fact that people around the world watched the memorial on TV demonstrates that Jackson fans will forever enjoy hits like Thriller, Rock With You, and Remember the Time, which entertained the world and got people dancing.

Usher’s heartrending rendition of Gone Too Soon, which Jackson wrote himself as a memorial for AIDS victim Ryan White, captured the sympathy of his family, friends, and fans.

Jermaine Jackson’s version of Smile, apparently Jackson’s favourite song, was uplifting and paid homage to his brother.

The most difficult moment for me was when Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter, Paris-Michael, broke into tears and said “ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him… so much.”

I was glued to the TV last night and saw many newscasts reporting on the memorial service. One statement that stuck with me that I heard several people say is that Jackson “was often imitated but never duplicated.” I couldn’t agree more.

Following the memorial, CTV News interviewed celebrities attending the service, including Canadian hip hop artist and actor Maestro Fresh Wes and former MTV host and media entrepreneur Juliette Powell. I found them both insightful and I appreciated hearing from them during this hard time.

Maestro Fresh Wes stated that Jackson made the bar and then broke the bar and expressed his admiration and appreciation for Jackson’s legacy.

Juliette Powell was asked if there will ever be another Michael Jackson. She said that there will only be one Jackson, but with the proliferation of technology, we are no longer reliant on record companies. She also stated that Jackson has opened the way for many future artists. I feel that he is an inspiration to mankind to make and enjoy music.

CTV also interviewed singer and dancer Jeff Daniel in LA (creator of the backslide, which Jackson transformed into what is now the moonwalk). Jeff shared with viewers a little bit about Jackson’s dance history.

According to Daniel, 1980 was the first time Jackson learned the backslide from him. Jackson then honed his own dance move: the famous moonwalk and performed it for the first time in 1983 on the television special Motown 25th. I also heard on another newscast that Jackson was creating a new dance move that he planned on performing during his world tour and I can only imagine how impressive it must have been.

I was comforted when Jeff stated that Jackson achieved all he needed to in this world and if he had done more shows or his widely-anticipated world tour, that would have just been “icing on the cake.”

Jackson is not only the creator of the best-selling albums of all time, but he also donated the most to world charities. In addition to his music, that is embedded with powerful and positive messages of unity and love, Michael really practiced what he preached. I was moved by the fact that billions of people watched his memorial.

My deepest condolences go to the Jackson family and friends and to everyone who Michael has inspired and helped in this world.

Like Jackson’s loving sister, the talented and beautiful Janet Jackson once sang:You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” She couldn’t have been more accurate.

  1. Cait Lafleche on Wednesday 8, 2009

    As controversial a life Michael had, he was without question a musical legend. My favorite part of the memorial was when Brooke Shields spoke.

    However I have some issues with the extreme coverage.. for example.. On Tuesday the day was all about his memorial coverage, but what about the two Canadian soldiers who died in Afghanistan that day? And on this note, what about the 766676 million other tragic and sad things happening in our world right now?

    I understand you writing a post about him, it only makes sense since you are a music lover and he clearly meant something in your life. I just think that the rest of the world just needs a little perpective on this….And to avoid complete controversy and an even more negative post I’ll leave out his supposed crimes and allegations which I have issues with as well.

    You love music, and that’s all that matters. I just needed to vent a little!

  2. Christina on Wednesday 8, 2009

    I agree with you Cait that Michael undoubtedly had a very controversial life. However, I felt compelled to pay tribute to his music and legacy more than his personal life. I think the extreme media coverage of his death reflects the international fame that he obtained, with billions of people wanting to attend the memorial and even more people watching it on television. He truly changed the world with his music, in so many positive ways. Many successful artists/celebrities have been influenced by Michael (Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Usher, and many others) and he is truly a legend that will be emulated for decades to come. He was also a very generous person, giving more to charities than any other artist in the world – I think THAT deserves some recognition from the world.

    However, I am deeply troubled by the fact that during Michael’s recent questionable and controversial times, he didn’t receive anywhere close to the support that he is receiving now after his passing. Where were his billions of fans and friends when he needed them most? One quote I especially appreciated in the memorial that I didn’t include in my post was when Al Sharpton said to Michael’s children “your daddy wasn’t strange, the things he had to deal with were strange.” We can all have our own opinions about the true MJ, but regardless I think the world sees how much he changed it through his music.

  3. Andrea Banks on Wednesday 8, 2009

    Christina, what a great article. I appreciated the way you covered the memorial, in an informative, yet personal way. Michael definetly has his issues, and the fact is none of us will every know what he went through or if he did the things he was accused of. The one thing that we do know is that he made great music and was a fabulous entertainer. His success was universal and it brought million of people together and I think we should celebrate that.

    However, I do agree that the news coverage was a bit excessive. But really, at the end of the day the average American audience cares more about celebrities than anything else, so we really shouldn’t be too surprised. Just wait till the investigation is over…then they’ll really dive in…