My earliest Jackson memory was that he was, in the first part of his solo career, referred to as the Prince of Pop in the press. He wondered why he couldn't be the King of Pop, which was considered musical blasphemy since the only "King" then was Elvis. But over time Michael became The King of Pop. Either that or Prince the singer was all, "Yeah, I don't THINK so. Get your own fucking name."
This is not a happy peppy review because I don't do happy peppy. This is wonderment how addicts like Elvis, Heath Ledger, Chris Farley, John Belushi and Michael Jackson get deified in the face of all the people who loved them and turned a blind eye to their addictions. But as an addict myself I know one thing, the only person who could stop me was me.
I have no idea how they pulled this memorial off. It was a testament to the Jackson Family's attention to detail and perfection that created the Jackson 5 in the first place. This family was driven and disciplined and it accounts for their enormous fame. And pain.
But the event was over-staged to clearly allow Michael's memory to resonate in a positive way. LA shut down FREEWAYS and we usually only do that for white Ford Broncos. We are, after all, the second largest city in the United States.
There was a plea couched in a speech from one of America's most loved athletes, Magic Johnson, who told a very funny story about having dinner with Michael. But then he went on to mention the aunts, uncles and cousins the 3 Jackson children will now have to play with, the subtext telegraphing that Michael's children belong with Jackson's mother. They know full well that California law will likely give the children to their bio Mom unless they can prove Debbie Rowe is unfit.
The only thing Reverend Al I'mAlwaysScreamingAtSomeone Sharpton did was screech about Michael changing the rules for black people on MTV. Fine, but dude, dial it back an octave. And Lionel Richie, pack it in. I can't look at that mustache for one more minute. And John Token White Guy Mayer, your 15 minutes was up 2 years ago. Mariah, stop already with the hand gestures and the boobs falling out at a memorial. We're seen them. Many many many many many times.
A Democrat from the House of Representatives was called to the podium and emphasized that in the U.S., you are innocent until proven guilty. Talk about out of left field. Brooke Shield's speech was lovely and touching but highlighted that the PRESS GOT IT WRONG about her and Michael's relationship. As in, "everything you've ever heard about Michael has been wrong."
I tend to be cynical about things that don't seem to originate directly from the heart but come with an agenda. I know they miss their brother and son and I'm not saying they didn't love him, but this was a commercial. A positive spin on what the future should hold for these 3 children. No one knows who Blanket's mother is. Are you fucking kidding me? AND STOP CALLING HIM BLANKET.
The last vision of Michael's daughter Paris crying, saying her Daddy was the best Daddy in the world and that we had no idea how great he was as a parent was a questionable decision and Janet Jackson hustled her off stage immediately afterwards. People blasted Sarah Palin for parading her Down Syndrome child before the RNC and only time and reviews will decide if allowing Paris Jackson to speak had the same effect on people. I've been watching TV all day and they've repeated this little girl crying over and over and over. The exploitation is ironic in that Michael never allowed them to be used by the media. We didn't even know what they looked like.
I watched the NBC special on Dateline and one of the saddest things was Martin Bashir saying as Michael was growing up and realizing he was starting to resemble his father, the father who beat him constantly, that's when he started the skin bleaching and excessive plastic surgery. If you look like your abuser, you don't need to see That Man in The Mirror every day. Michael once said, in an interview years ago, that it's not IF a parent loves a child, it's how that child remembers that love. That seems to sum up what happened to Michael. He didn't remember his childhood with a lot of love.
This is what I will take from his life and leave the rest to karma. In a one hour interview on a radio program, Michael said, "If you're surrounded by negative people, get rid of them. You can never succeed with them around. What you think is what you become."
That is good advice, no matter who he really was. R.I.P. Michael.