Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remembering the King

The death of Michael Jackson stirred a variety of emotions. I will never forget that night. I sat at the West End Wine Bar sipping a glass of wine. My close friend Monica Daye and I were celebrating the King’s life. “Do you have any of his music,” Monica asked the bartender. “We need to celebrate.” It was hard to hold back the tears.

“What’s going on,” a customer asked. We informed her MJ was dead. “Noooo.”

I bond was created that night. “Your name is Wenny Wiggley,” I joked. You have to change your name when you get married.” Her fiancĂ© shook his head no. His last name is Magill. It seemed to fit better than Wiggley.

It was a fitting way to remember the King. That night he brought us together. An African American male, an African American female, a white female and a white male. We told stories about back in the day when Michael glided across the stage. We talked like he was our best friend. “Damn, I’m gonna miss him,” I thought doing my best not to cry.

Less than an hour later, Monica and I danced to “Thriller” in a parking lot near Brightleaf Square. We danced and laughed while waiting for her boyfriend to join the celebration. We remembered the moves from that amazing video. The lyrics came easy. Again, I fought back the tears.

The emotions overwhelmed me. A few days later I marveled as people in the teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties and seventies danced to his music. I watched as young and older sang and danced. Everyone knew all the lyrics. It was a wedding like none I have ever seen. The bride, Nicole Owens, and the Groom Kahlil Thompson, joined the crowd during the tribute. Everyone sang. Again, I fought the tears. What is it about Michael Jackson that appeals to so many people?

Maybe it’s the way he broke through the barriers that stood prior to the launching of his career. I remember a time when black music remained on the other side of the tracks. It wasn’t played on the top 40 formatted stations. Jackson forced MTV to place his videos in heavy rotation. He refused to acknowledge categories of division. In his life, and in his music, he rejected the notion of classification. He was more than R&B, Rock or Pop music.

More than that, he rejected constructs that measured racial identification. He was more than a black man-he was a man with a social consciousness articulated in his music. “We are the world”, “Man in the Mirror”, “Too Soon” and other songs challenged the world to consider love and peace. The world is mourning his death because of the void created once his music vanished from heavy rotation. We’re left with Drake’s song about a woman being the best sex he ever had, or Lil Wayne’s new song featuring Young Money. Check out the lyrics:

Uh I like a long haired thick red bone Open up her legs then filet Mignon that pussy Ima get in and on that pussy If she let me in Ima own that pussy Gon' throw it back and bust it open like you posed' to Girl I got that dope dick Now come here let me dope you You gon' be a dope fiend Your friends should call you dopey Tell em' keep my name out they mouth cuz they don't know me Huh But you can call me tune chick I'll fuck the whole group Baby I'm a groupie My sex game is stupid My head is the dumbest I promise I should be hooked on phonics haha But anyway I think you're bionic And I don't think you're beautiful I think you're beyond it And I just wanna get behind it and watch you (back it up and dump it back- back it up and dump it back) [CHORUS:] Cause' we like her And we like her too And we like her And we like her too And we like her And we like her too And we like her And she like us too I wish I could fuck every girl in the world I wish I could fuck every girl in the world I wish I could fuck every girl in the world

Some call it club music. Others claim lyrics like these aren’t problematic. Some even claim they’re suitable for youth to listen. With all of that being said, the world was a much better place when we had Michael Jackson instead of Lil Wayne and the other promoters of social degradation. Many claim music has always been laced with lyrics about sexual pleasure. That is true. I remember Marvin Gaye’s anthem about the force of sexual healing. Sex has always been there, but there is a serious difference.

There are no boundaries. Women are presented as objects to fulfill a man’s urge for gratification. She is a toy to be used by a man with no sense of commitment. Once done with her, his boys can use her. In the meantime, it is made clear that the goal is to have as many as he can. His wish is to fuck every girl in the world. How pathetic.

Michael will be missed.

1 comment:

  1. Carl, I mean, TRULY. We are all in mourning for Michael. But, I am more so intrigued by your observation of yet another example of the slow, painful death of authentic soul that leaves with him. Dude, was Mike even in the coffin?? Who knows. Anyway, I digress... it's hard to contend with such a candid street-level view of the reality surrounding the loss of this icon - for we've lost so much more than "The Greatest Entertainer that Ever Lived". We've buried alongside him yet another vital contribution to music as it was intended to be. Now THAT'S the "Thriller". It's the scariest thing I've seen in a while. So, I say let this be a battle cry to those of us in Generation X who have been blessed with a voice, and big HUGE ups to you for delivering a reality that is often times held captive without reason.