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Michael Jackson and The Five Stages of Grief: Bargaining

1 July 2009 29 Comments

In the traditional sense, bargaining means making a “deal” with a higher power – for example, I’ll be a better person, I’ll trade XYZ, just let me live or bring my loved one back. In this case I’m sure we all agree that we’d ante up a few bucks for the Resurrect Michael Jackson Fund. As far as still-living pop singer currency I’d be willing to put up, say, FIFTYLEVEN Chris Browns and a bucket of R. Kellys for just one Michael Jackson. Since the weight of Michael’s contributions is heavier than most of what we could possibly barter up, I’m taking today to go a little off track to a form of bargaining that Michael engaged in, one that, unless we make peace with it, could mar our memories of him forever. I’m talking about the huge elephant in the corner of our mourning room: the changes in Michael Jackson’s appearance.

michael-jackson-ebony-magazine-cover

In November of 2007 Michael Jackson appeared on the cover of Ebony and I was so shocked by his appearance that it encouraged me to write him an open letter.

Dear Michael,
How are you and the kids? I hope fine. I’m writing to you because of your latest Ebony cover. You look fabulous! What I mean to say is, you look like a white woman. Please don’t be insulted, I understand now that you want to look this way and it’s OK. You’re color struck and hate your nappy hair just like most black Americans, the difference is that most of us don’t have millions of dollars to look anyway we want. Just because I’m dark and nappy doesn’t mean that you needed to stay that way too, and I know having vitiligo must be such a pain! Since I saw the Ebony cover I’ve been thinking about you and how great you are and wondering why you don’t seem to agree. Don’t you understand that we would all love you if you wore your hair natural? Don’t you understand that we would all love you if we could see your vitiligo splotches? I may even love you MORE if you didn’t feel the need to change the structure of your face so much (no one really needs a cleft in their chin). And NOTHING is going to stop people from talking trash about you no matter what you do! But it’s all water under the bridge now – what’s done is done and I think we should move forward. All of that aside, I have a small proposition for you. I would like for us to go on a little vacation together, I was thinking Barbados or something, on you, of course. I think that we should both get into swimsuits with no makeup and frolic in the ocean and not worry about what happens to our hair and skin. Would you be open to that? I think that if you let me see your perm go back and some of your vitiligo splotches, and I let you see my flabby thighs and my peasy kitchen we could really connect. I would love to see you all nappy and splotchy in the sun and just look you in the eye and say “Michael I love you no matter what,” just because it’s true and is something I think you need to hear. I’m no expert, but I have been accused in the past of loving myself too much and I think that if I could rub off on you a little you’ll live a happier life in the long run. I know I speak for so many people when I say that the time has come for Michael Jackson to love himself, no matter what he looks like. We all want you to stop what you’re doing to your face, skin, and hair, and come home to us even if in your own mind you look terrible. Remember, Michael, it all comes down to your power, that one moment where you changed black history, music, dance, in fact the whole world, forever. Watch this video and remind yourself, Michael. And let me know about Barbados.
Love,
Thembi

At the time, as much as I felt for Michael, I hadn’t thought very hard about what it must be like to watch yourself go through physical changes and be willing to do anything to stop them. This is where the bargaining component comes in. We’ve all been there – if I just scrub a little harder, starve myself one more day, push my cuticles back more often, get that mole removed, wear a little more makeup, throw in a few more Wet n’ Wavy tracks – ANYTHING – then I’ll love myself a little more, people will love me a little more, I’ll even be a better person. We’re all willing to go different distances to get to that point where we feel perfect and loved, but for Michael the stakes seemed so much higher and of course, the resources greater. The first time I was due to appear on camera I was practically willing to put paint thinner on my face to get rid of a tiny pimple, so I can hardly imagine to what lengths I would go if the affection of millions of adoring fans was at stake. He’s always been a handsome fella’, but what was Michael willing to do and why?

mjjet79

Let’s put our imagination hats on for a moment, shall we? One day you look in the mirror and notice a light spot at the corner of your right eye. You think nothing of it at first and figure it’ll go away, but eventually it gets larger and larger. Then the same thing happens to your left eye, the edges of your fingers, the corners of your mouth. The pigment is slowly spreading off of your brown skin. You have vitiligo. I’m guilty of staring at vitiligo sufferers on the street and just can’t imagine dealing with what many view as disfigurement, especially while living in the public eye. The only camouflage options are heavy makeup or a procedure called total depigmentation where the skin is cleared of all pigment with bleaching cream or laser therapy. It is unknown which of these procedures Michael Jackson may have used, but the photographic evidence of his vitiligo is abundant. Like most people, I assumed that he wanted to look white, but I now realize that skin color is the smallest piece of blackness there is – I’d rather hear a black man sing a love song about a Liberian Girl than watch today’s black artists run paper bag tests on the “good haired” half-naked women in their videos…so who is really “blacker”? Not only that, but what were the chances that anyone, especially non-black people, would ever forget that Michael Jackson was actually an African-American? I have to accept that vitiligo played a significant role in Micheal Jackson’s life both physically and mentally, and his skin was probably the last thing he would ever have changed if he could.

mjintshirt

Now that we’ve made peace with Michael’s lightening over time, the only skin disease that makes half of your nose fall off is leprosy, and Mike didn’t have that. What he may have had, however, is Body Dysmorphic Disorder “a psychiatric disorder in which the affected person is excessively concerned about and preoccupied by an imagined or minor defect in his or her physical features.” No one can say for sure if Michael had it, but he definitely meets the criteria. He didn’t seem to just dislike his appearance, he was willing to go through changes that rendered him almost unrecognizable, even to himself, and what’s damaging about this is the loneliness of not recognizing one’s own face in the mirror. Combined with the gradual loss of pigmentation, how could his metamorphosis, even to the extent that he caused it, NOT make him a little weird?

Perhaps the most troubling fact about Michael is that he used cosmetic surgery to make himself look less African. Let’s face it – he was one of the richest and most famous black people to ever live and he repeatedly chose new noses with nothing black about them. To make peace with this fact, I call upon black America’s historical discomfort with our own big noses and nappy hair. Things are slightly different today because we see black faces and natural hair all the time on television and among our peers, but when Michael Jackson was growing up a big black nose was the kiss of death and even “Black and Proud,” hadn’t been invented yet. Was Michael Jackson just a regular black person with the rare means to massage that damaged part of the black psyche through surgery? When it came to his hair, was he just a fifty year old man who got a curl in the eighties and never let go of the conk? When I look at it this way, the unexplainable becomes less tragic, more reasonable, and just kind of sad – not just for Michael Jackson but for black folks as a whole. Speculation aside, one thing is for sure – Michael Jackson would want the world to remember him as whichever version of himself we want. I’m personally going to pick Michael circa 1981 and accept what Michael may never have been able to – it’s the talent and magic that makes a man, not what’s on the outside.

Throwback Video: Michael Jackson on The Flip Wilson Show

For some interesting black history, read about the treatment of vitiligo sufferers in America as sideshow freaks and everything…

As always, sharing your thoughts in the comment section is encouraged.

Previous: Part 2 of 5,” Michael Jackson and The Five Stages of Grief: Anger”

Next: Part 4 of 5, “Michael Jackson and The Five Stages of Grief: Depression”

29 Comments »

  • DJStylus said:

    I’m still coming to terms with how I turned away from his music because he began to look so grotesque that I couldn’t bear to look at him. I missed out on everything after Bad because he was so disturbing to me. The video for You Rock My World is just too painful to watch. He sounds like he can’t breathe through his nose.

    I eventually took to declaring a difference between “Black Mike” and “Alien Mike”. I never said “White Mike” but I still feel guilty for not considering what you’ve written here.

    This is a great series of posts.

  • OneChele said:

    Part of my sadness with Michael’s passing is that I kept hoping someone would get through to him and let him know that just being Michael was enough. He didn’t need to remake Thriller, he didn’t need to BeDazzle every jacket he owned, he didn’t need a smaller nose, straighter hair, or any more strategically placed band-aids.

    When you stripped all of that stuff away, we just got Michael Joseph Jackson: a brilliant songwriter, masterful singer, gifted dancer and all around entertainer. I, for one, would have loved to see a Michael Jackson Unplugged – just him, a piano and a microphone. Ah well, not meant to be.

  • m. heart said:

    What a thoughtful post this is, thank you.

  • Cynthia said:

    Awww I am going to remember him circa Remember the Time…was that 90’s?

  • Thembi (author) said:

    @DJStylus
    I feel kind of guilty, too. I guess that’s the way it is when someone passes away, but I can’t help but think that we all kind of turned our backs on him, if not just subtly, because he was in fact hard to look at! My parents thought he looked crazy during the Thriller years because no one was really getting plastic surgery back then. I have to believe that he looked in the mirror and thought “what have I done to myself,” just like Mickey Rourke does, for example…

    @Cynthia
    Remember the Time was 1992. He was still holdin’ up pretty well then!

  • Treina said:

    Thank you, again, for a great post. My cousin has vitiligo as well, and I remember thinking, when it became public that Michael had it, that maybe his experience of it would help promote understanding and acceptance which would in turn help ease the experience of others. But I can’t even imagine what Michael’s experience of it must have been given he never escaped public scrutiny.

    As for which image of Michael sticks with me, it’s really actually one feature–his smile–that I’ll always remember. That remained the same no matter the many other changes, and seeing him smile never failed to bring one to my face in return.

  • crys said:

    so this has been a very interesting read – thanks.

    however, i DO NOT believe he had vitiligo (and neither did quincy jones)…i believe that was BS. i mean i love mike and all too – but he was not above telling us some straight up bs (as in – he did not have plastic surgeries – or wait, did he say he only had a FEW -??? something like that)…and then the whole white kids issue….in my opinion mike most definitely had issues with being BLACK.

  • Donajanaina said:

    I believe he had vitiligo, but did try and make himself look whiter. and you know what? in my opinion he was rewarded for it. From thriller onwards- the more mulatto looking he became the more popular he got -with all those white people in budapest screaming and fainting over him- they didnt see him as black no way.

    I also get the feeling that his very early examples of black manhood screwed him up. Sensitive, shy, kind and soft spoken doesnt really gel with the image of ignorant, gruff voiced, OG Joe Jackson.
    Maybe him turning himself into a white woman was him rejecting the machismo and cruelty he felt he was excpected to display to be an “authentic” black man by his father.

    His blue eyed father also constantly dissed him about his nose saying you cant of got that from my side of the family.

  • Thembi (author) said:

    @Donajanaina
    You make an important point – it’s absolutely true that the lighter and less-black in the face MJ got the more success he had (at least to a point). We’ll never truly know whether that success was due to these changes or if it was just about the music. From an international pop culture perspective, though, I’m sure the mulatto-ness that you speak of played at least some role. Maybe its the same reason that the first black person to win an Oscar played a Mammy – little by little the world deals with and accepts black people…? I’m not sure, and I could never guess whether or not that was MJ’s intent in changing his appearance. Thanks for commenting!

  • Ginneh said:

    Liberian Girl??? All this time I thought it was SIBERIAN Girl! Damn I guess he really DID love black people.

  • ChiefCrystal said:

    Thanks for this post Thembi. Folks can be so ignorant of truth, even when it’s staring them in the face.

    As for Qunicy Jones, who is he to talk? Ain’t at least three of his five wives/baby mamas white–which makes many of his children look just like MJs? Sounds like he may have more of a “color complex” than MJ. I hate hypocrisy. For a person who self-touts himself as a friend, that’s just plain “trif.”

  • Janet said:

    If his vitiligo did claim his natural haircolor, I can see how he would shave off his brows and paint them on instead. Unfortunately he wound up looking like Groucho Marx after losing a boxing match. Poor Michael. He was soo good looking back in the days. Any woman (including myself) would’ve been eager to jump his skinny ass and give him any color babies he wanted. With those dance skills, I have no doubt they would transfer to the bed. Alas, that handsome face is long gone. How I wish to see how MJ would have looked like if he layed off the later work to his face. Even fugly Tito looks positively dashing with age.

  • TUNDE said:

    I will always respect Micheal Jackson,even though he changed his face that does not matter,Rest in Peace MICHAEL JACKSON.

  • ruth said:

    tous mes comdoleance pour la famille je vous aime beaucoup

  • shaday said:

    i never really noticed him or fall in love with him or even felt for him and his disastrous face and empathetic lifestyle until he passed away. lots of love micheal.

  • brit-brat said:

    i love michael joseph jackson he rocks i have his thriller cd and it goes stupid hard. MICHAEL I LOVE YOU…………….

  • BELLA said:

    I WILL ALWAYS MISS HIM
    I LOVE YOU MJ

  • Yvonne said:

    I appreciate your articles, Thembi. I’m still having a very difficult time accepting this loss and your articles and the comments from others are helping me. Thank you.
    Here’s a stream of consciousness:
    Perhaps it began to go to far with this face morphing although I’ve never judged him one way or the other. I’m beginning to think myself strange that I never judged him because the black community seems to be pretty united on having a problem with his face. I am Black too, but I just always believed in him and felt that I understood all the ways he had to compensate for a very difficult life. I also never read the tabloids or paid much attention to the trash talk…
    Having grown up with him (I’m 48), he’s simply the soundtrack of my life and he has such a strong spirit and soulforce, it’s all I ever really hold on to… Yet, clearly, something was wrong and he was in such pain. I had no idea that he was still suffering. I could see he felt awful during the trial — I feared he wouldn’t live through that — but he did, he left Neverland, he went away, he came back and next I hear he’s on tour again. I was relieved because I worried that the psychological homelessness of leaving Neverland would kill him but the comeback seemed to be on the horizon and I assumed he had really turned a corner. I did not know there were such painful issues still haunting him and eating him alive and it has gutted me in a very unexpected way. Now that I’m looking at so many photographs of him, videos, relistening to songs,
    I see that he doesn’t really smile as much as I’d imagined and some of the photos or videos where he is smiling are very pure indeed.
    I’m still baffled, though, why many think it strange that he decided to have more European or white features. I believe that he had vitilago. If you’ve ever seen photos of his lower leg and foot, it’s blotchy and doctors I know say it looks just like vitilago. Also, his coloring looks so devoid of pigment (versus lightening to appear whiter) that it looks like the skin of people with the disease. So, I’ve always believed it even before he claimed it. With such white skin, how could he have kept an afro or natural hair or african features? He would have looked hideous and like an albino. Clearly, he knew he knew physical features are important for an artist and he wanted to protect his sex appeal. No matter how good he sings or dances or composes and writes, a pale skin black man with a big nose, lips and bushy hair just doesn’t sound appealing. It appears to me that he had to figure out what to do and he decided to become creative. It started on his hand, so he wore a glove and made a fashion statement and it went from there. However, I do hear your point about self-loathing but I think that came later. But at the beginning, it was simply, I have a disease, I’m losing my color, how do I turn this around? The real elephant in the room, is the drug use. It’s understanding how easily one gets hooked on a prescribed opiate. This kind of thing changes your brain chemistry and it may be that which began to then make him obsessive about his appearance and all the rest. I will miss him for the rest of my life.

  • TARRA said:

    Thanks so much for all the facts! It is so sad to read some of these comments and hear people still doubt if he had vitiligo or not, even after pictures of him without make up on have been shown with him having the blotches all over his skin. He has been on countless interviews and spoken about how proud he is to be BLACK! His songs Black or White, They Dont Really Care About Us, and others clearly acknowlage his race and that he is proud of it and wises people could look past color, but poeple still have negative comments. It’s just crazy to say the least and even after his own dermatologist said he had vitiligo… a few people say they don’t believe it. Well news flash! No one cares what you believe, you were not of any importance in his life! Let him REST IN PEACE! And about his children, leave them out of it. You can be biracial and look like you’re fully black or fully white. Do you not recall that way back in slavery days when a white man knocked up a slave and the child was born some could pass for white!! I’m sure Michael was heartbroken when he started to loose his beautiful complexion, the only thing he didnt like about his looks was his nose, and that came from his dad putting him down to make him feel like it made him ugly. To hell with the haters! WE LUV U MICHAEL JACKSON!!!

  • Adrienne said:

    Thank you for the comments. I am a lifelong fan of Michael Jackson. I never once paid any attention to his change of appearance and never thought that he wanted to be white. I accepted it that he had Vitilago. I felt really bad for him how he was treated in the media by his looks. I always loved his music and will never forget in 5th grade when I got” Off the Wall.” To me Michael Jackson will always be that sweet guy who sang,”She’s Out of my life.” I know that there are many MJ haters and people who criticized his appearance. But, it didn’t matter. It is really sad how people saw this change in appearance then tried to link that to the “strangeness” and eventually the allegations. That is really sad. I will ALWAYS stand by that MJ was a very shy guy who loved God and was a child of heart. I love you MJ now and forever. God Bless the Jackson family.

  • Monique said:

    honestly i don’t think he had vitilligo i think after he was burned in the pepsi commercial he was trying to get his skin the same color and just kept doing it michael jackson is an amazing man he did charity, he was a great father even at 45 he was an amazing performer i was only 8 and i fell in love with his music, he was handsome with out all the nose jobs but i think because his father made fun of it he felt like everyone else didn’t like it so he kept trying to perfect his nose when i see michael like he is now i try not to think about his looks he was so tortured about his looks about how he raised his kids and the molestation charges there have been so many jokes about him and i think it’s ashame that everybody realized how great he was after he died and i feel sorry for his kids and family.

  • Shaaheen Adam said:

    Well in my opinion it doesn’t matter what he did, as it is his personal life and his hard earned money, if he wanted to do plastic surgery its upto him, if he wanted to have straight hair thats upto him, if we dont like it we have the choice not to watch him perform, so i guess what he did is what he felt was right, so we should all respect his choice. We love you michael its not what you are outside that got our respect, its your very soul, and we’ll always love you.

  • Cam said:

    I’m an 80s baby, just getting into MJ around the time “Thriller” came out. I didn’t love the music until “Bad”… which is when he began turning lighter for whatever reason.

    Still to this day, he was my favorite entertainer. Couldn’t NO ONE captivate me with a stage performance quite like him, and I doubt anyone will for a very long time, if not ever. But what hurt me the most aren’t the accusations of child molestation, but what it meant to me as a young boy seeing someone go from my shade of dark brown to a “pale face”. It HURT my psyche because I look at it and see pain, resentment, and self hatred. The multiple plastic surgeries, the restructuring of his face….. it nearly brings tears to my eyes to think he hated himself THAT much where he didn’t want to be Black anymore. His voice was the same as I remembered it listening to Thriller & Bad, but in appearance, he wen from looking like a Black man to a White woman. And that STILL messes with me from time to time.

    He is still my favorite musician because his music is timeless. I’ll always wonder if the price he paid – self mutilation – for super stardom unlike any I’ve ever witnessed….. was worth it.

  • laura said:

    Michael really did have vitiligo, you can see from the early pictures where his dark skin has white splotches.
    However, judged by his choice of super narrow nose, and getting rid of his beautiful natural hair, I’d say he was ashamed of being black. It’s understandable and I totally agree with him when he tells Oprah,what about the people who spend hours in the sun trying to become other than what they are? what about self tan? dark people who bleach their skin get criticized, but no one thinks twice when white people darken their skin with self tan…to become other than what they are…
    I love Michael. I miss him so much.
    He was sensitive about his nose. His father teased him about it and his brothers teased him about it, his nickname was ‘Big Nose’ enough to give anyone a stigma, right? his cousins and everyone teased him about his acne. I think the acne and the nose problem for him caused major insecurities about his looks, the direct result being body dysmorphic syndrome. If his looks had been positively reinforced when he was young, he probably would never have developed the disorder. And then he went and had white children. The book Michael Jackson, the Magic and the Madness really helps you to understand…him and Lisa Marie had a wild hot sex life, he wanted kids, she didn’t…because she thought all she could see ahead was a messy child custody battle. It’s strange that Michael wanted to have biological kids with Lisa, but not use his own sperm cells with Debbie?… However, I think Blanket looks so much like Michael. Same exact eyes. He has dark skin too. Despite the psychological reasons for not wanting biological children, all three of them are his children and he was an amazing, amazing father. A father to put most fathers to shame. If you watch the clips, it’s just incredible how he plays with them and also other clips of Michael playing with other kids like Macauley kid, I just couldn’t stop smiling. All I could think about was that Michael was a big kid, that’s all he was. He was having so much fun.

    It really is sad isn’t it that his nose was so mutilated he had to wear a prosthetic tip? it was concave without it. The nose may not have been race related. He wanted a nose thinner than white people..noses come in all shapes in sizes whatever your race. He has been so badly wounded by taunts at his nose that he basically wanted it eradicated and altered dramatically. I love MJ, and I don’t think he’s a tragic figure unlike the director of Thriller but the one thing that intrigues me eerily, is the fact that Michael constructed himself many new faces to hide behind. They were quite literally masks. It wasn’t his face. They were lies. When he looked into the mirror, it wasn’t HIS face staring back at him. To me, that’s truly frightening. I would be abosulty horrified if I looked into the mirror and couldn’t recognize myself. I read a novel called ‘Sarah’s Face’ and it reminded me of Michael a bit. It’s about a girl obsessed with a superstar…everyone wears a mask of his face…she goes to live with him…he obsesses over her..his face gets mutilated by plastic surgery and he steals Sara’s face after she agrees to an operation. I think they put it on his face, because he wanted her face. She is left without a face, and has to get a new one and a whole new identity. That concept alone..a whole new face..a whole new identity..I wonder if Michael got a new identity for every face? His signature certainly changed dramatically.

  • Star said:

    He had vitligo. I’m extremely frustrated with the people saying, ‘Oh, I don’t think he did.” Well, he did. It’s a hereditary disease. Look it up. He wasn’t ashamed of his skin color at all, he wasn’t. You people who throw judgement really make me frustrated. You wouldn’t be so quick to judge if you were actually more of a good person like Michael was. He was amazing, with a loving heart. I only wish I could be more like him. He just cared so much, and showed it. I love you Michael. And thankyou for everything. For the music and for setting such a wonderful example the human race.

  • LORENZO said:

    well for me i think that micheal wa fragile and being in limelight at a little age and he would definitely be in front all audiences all the time so the thing about self appearance really matters a lot. when you tell the person you got big nose, you got acne, you too dark like a charcoal, u too fat, u can send that person to even commit suicide, thats if the person is too fragile and sensitive. so michael was really concious about his looks and i dont think he recieved praises more on his looks than han his songs and his meekness. well for me, am very dark and my friends tell me that to and sometimes i sneak to by bleaching cream just to lighten up but when i look at people that have disorders from the usage of the cream i quite using it.

  • Judy said:

    Thank you Thembi for the articles on The Five Stages of Grief. Although it is December, I still find myself occasionally breaking down and crying over Michael’s life and death. In spite of the vitiligo and physical changes, the depth of his soul was always there in his eyes and his most profound feature that never changed from the time he began performing at a young age. To me, his eyes said everything and I will never forget him.

  • JustBrowsing said:

    I’ll add a late comment also. I didn’t see what the 5 stages of grief were, but his issue was psychological. People (and many animals), no matter who they are, will eventually adapt to their environment, and take on the characteristics of the species that is heavily present. Most of the wealthy in the US are European American, and they would have been in MJ’s circle. It’s not as extreme as it seems. It’s also the psychology behind African American athletes dating/marrying European American women. That’s whose in their circles.

  • BlingThing said:

    After wondering if there were any other people feeling the loss of MJ the way I am (after almost seven months.)I did some internet searching and found your site. I have enjoyed reading the many great comments on MJ and the way people feel about him. I have begun to be a little concerned because everyday I am on You Tube, my jukebox, Ipod, or whatever else that will play his music.

    My 16 year old son who discovered Michael after his death plays his music upon waking, most of the day on weekends, after school, and upon going to bed. In other words whenever he has free time, Michael is on. Before that though I was greeted with T-Pain or Kanye every day.So I guess I should be grateful. I have become a fan of Kanyes’ music though, and feel he too is going through some things, so I am careful not to knock him as people did Michael. From time to time

    I watch concert footage I have purchased. I purchased many, many items of memorabilia off of eBay in the past couple months (I think I am over that phase though, thank God.) I had to chuckle when you said you were writing papers and about to do a dissertation on him, because I had been mulling that over too! I thought it might be a way of getting through this.The Jackson family has been in my life since I was around 17, I am 56 now and my other three sons and hubbie are beginning to think I am crazy. Don’t get me wrong, they are all big fans but I can’t seem to let go. I feel like I have lost a member of my family and know that the first year is always the hardest.Sometimes I think it is because an era of my life has died and that is what I am actually mourning. People say to fans, “well you didn’t actually know him”…Ah but I did. I did not know the man, Michael Jackson, but I knew the entertainer Michael Jackson very, very, well. I think about what life is going to be like without any new MJ dance moves to go along with the new music that is bound to come out. Sometimes I think more people feel this way but are afraid to admit it. I pay close attention when people talk about him, it tells the tale!

    There is also the question of my faith. I am totally devoted to Christ but sometimes Michael overwhelms my thoughts and I don’t want to play around with idolatry. I am sure it will turn out to be a “first year is the hardest thing”, cause it is not like I am incapacitated or anything. The rest of my life is still going right along as usual. I just wish I could stop thinking about, analyzing, missing, crying and wishing he could come back and see how much he was loved, especially by black fans. We may not have been as vocal as our European counterparts but I believe our love runs deeper and is more forgiving and does not harbor pretense when it comes to our entertainment icons.

    Living in Detroit, I took my son and grandson down to the Motown museum/studios to be with other MJ fans upon his death and celebrate his life. Black folk were having a Dee-troit party!!! It was great, there was dancing, singing, an impersonator who was very good. We got a chance to view pictures which Motown was displaying and giant posters of Michael they had hung and fans(black and white) got to leave condolences,stuffed animals,and flowers. You could hear the music blasting from the speakers all up and down West Grand Boulevard! When it was all over the condolences and stuffed animals were driven by police escort to a historical cemetery near my house, where they were buried. A local marble company supplied a memorial headstone with MJ’s name, birth, and death and a description on it for the grave. I have visited once, near his birthday. The setting is beautiful and many of the Motown legends are buried there. Even though the man, Michael, got a little strange, I never turned my back on him. Only the Lord knows what he may have been capable,or guilty of, and He will deal with that. It was not my job to judge him.

    I remember praying with my eyes closed tightly as the verdict was about to be announced outside the courthouse after his trial…”Lord pleeeezze don’t let them send that boy to jail, pleeeeeze.” That would have been the ultimate blow to break this man down. As a black person I did not want this particular brother to have to deal with that. I did not want my people to have to deal with that. I did not want the back stabbers and sunny day so-called friends of his to have that satisfaction. I especially did not want the media to have the satisfaction. Well I guess I have almost written my dissertation, LOL Wow! that was great therapy!

    Thanks Thembi! By the way…do you know how hard it is to find that 2007 Ebony. It is quite the collectors item. I have found one and it is a promotional copy at that, with no barcode on it! Michael I pray you have finally found some peace my brother. I love you.

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