Mama Say Mama Sa Ma Ma Coo Sa
Over the weekend, my sister, her husband, webMAN and myself sat around my parents’ living room to discuss our favorite Michael Jackson memories.
For some reason, I was the only one who could blab off about 20 different times that Michael Jackson’s music touched my life in some way or another. I thought I would share my favorite ones below. Feel free to include yours in the comment section.
1. I witnessed on TV the first time Michael moonwalked. I didn’t get what the fuss was all about…until I tried to moonwalk myself.
2. In second grade, we buried a time capsule in front of our school. Our hope was to dig it back up on graduation day and laugh at all the funny things we put inside. Sadly, no one remembered where exactly we buried the thing when graduation rolled around. But the janitor (who was still there after 10 years) was able to point us in the right direction. It smelled awful because some girl named Holly stuck pizza in her envelope. But the best reveal was Gene Stroman’s realization that he had buried Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. It was still in the wrapper in perfect condition.
3. The Spring Show for the Bobcat Belles always had a black light routine that the juniors were in charge of choreographing. We chose a Michael Jackson medley, that included white gangster outfits dancing to Smooth Criminal and skeletons dancing to Thriller. We ended the number with Heal the World. That was NOT my idea. But a skeleton glowing in black light making the peace sign is pretty cool.
4. When I went on a mission trip to Costa Rica two years ago, we stopped at an “American” cafe that played 80s videos on a big screen. We were eating our huevos rancheros and minding our own business when Thriller came on the big screen. I jumped out of my chair and performed the entire dance right along with Michael and the other zombies. I’m pretty sure I strained my bad knee when I executed a perfect spin, popped up on my toes and grabbed my crotch. But it was worth it.
5. When I started working at my first job at the agency in Dallas, I became fast friends with Kathrina. I remember talking to her about music and what we liked and the subject of Michael Jackson came up. I will always remember her saying, “I prefer black Michael Jackson. You know…before he turned into a white woman.” Love her.
6. My first Great Debate. And first Great Debate retraction.
RIP Michael Jackson.
I am so old, I remember watching the Jackson 5 cartoons on Saturdays mornings along with Fat Albert. I remember where I was the first time I saw Thriller on the big screen in a Pizza place in Spartanburg, SC during a college road trip from UNC. Everything Michael did before he became a father was the best. I heart your friend Kathrina. R.I.P. MJ
Lori: I’m old too. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade when the Jackson 5 hit it big. Saw the Jackson 5 perform around 1973 – incredible.
I have such mixed emotions about all this adoration, though, because I think he was a musical/performing genius, but I think he was a man with deep-rooted problems. Lisa Marie Presley’s blog comparing his death to her father’s death was extremely telling.
Maybe he will find peace in death.
I remember begging to be allowed to watch the Thriller video and getting so scared halfway through that I screamed, ran away and had nightmares for a week (or more).
there have been a lot of highs and lows in MJ’s life but one thing is for sure… his music will live on forever.
I don’t know why I am so sad. It’s not like I actually knew MJ or anything but for some reason I feel like I did when Princess Diana died, like I had lost an old friend.
I am finding it hard to remember anything but the good things about MJ. Forget all the drama that has transpired in the last 10 – 15 years. Think back to how ultimately cool and awesome (yes, I said awesome) he was when Thriller came out. I know everyone that was on the Westlake Hyline dance team in 1984 fondly remembered our Spring Show “Zenith” that was titled Thriller. My senior year and we had THE COOLEST dances to MJ’s songs. I bet there were 36 girls who thought about that and smiled this week. We even wore a single glove for one of the dances!
His music makes me think about certain events from high school and growing up. He was such a refreshing and inventive artist. He created things that others couldn’t. I feel bad that the younger generation, like my kids, will never know his genius, only the problems he has had. His music and legacy will live on.
Deepak Chopra made some very interesting and insightful comments about MJ, some of which may explain why he seemed to “turn” so odd. Nothing he did was ever good enough for his father, and growing older meant he could lose his talent (as had his brothers before him), so he yearned to remain a boy. His life must have been very difficult: to be worshipped by the public, but not appreciated privately. The early plastic surgeries were beneficial, but somewhere along the line a doctor (likely Steve Hoffelin) botched his nose and the repairs to repair the repairs just made the situation worse and worse and worse. As Chopra said, by any normal standard we would consider the damage done to his face a travesty. Instead of considering the possibility that the later surgeries were reconstruction, it was viewed as plastic, vanity surgery. Yes, of course he decided to have the surgery himself, but it’s a fact that when enhancing surgeries go wrong, often the reconstructive surgeries done to repair damage end up being worse than before. MJ’s life seems to have been one massive series of bad advisors, hangers-on, pretenders, etc. The more alone he was, the worse it became. (And I personally include his entire family in this.) His talent and genius was undeniable — there for everyone to see. But the man was dreadfully lonely, shy, pathologically confused — and horribly vulnerable. Clearly his children, whether or not genetically his, were his light, his joy, his reason for living. We cannot assume that because they wore masks, etc. in public that their lives were ruined by him — do we immediately think that the Beckham’s youngest is ruined because he likes to wear Spiderman costumes in public? Kids like make-believe, pretend, and costumes. It’s possible the man treated them “normally” in private.
I believe in the law. By law MJ was acquitted of crimes against children. Yes, he paid to settle claims against him — but who would not, if they had the money and viewed the relentless scrutiny as heartbreakingly painful?
MJ was a tortured soul — whether by his past, his family, his dreams — but he was also tremendously gifted and gave people all over the world enormous joy and entertainment. I was uncomfortable with what I knew of his life, but I was in awe of his music.
I worked at Disney World (Orlando) in 1983 when MJ used to have a suite at the hotel we ‘castmembers’ hung out at after work (the ‘Giraffe’). When MJ was in the house, his balcony was lit up with Christmas lights and the elevators did not stop on that floor. I remember one visit, a couple of my friends and I sneaked up the service elevator to his floor to take pictures in front of his door – it had a sign that said ‘Michael Jackson Suite’ on it. I took Amy and Joan’s photo but security chased us down before we got a photo of ME!!! However, I saw MJ in the Magic Kingdom – and have several up-close pics of him – and he was so relaxed and friendly and chatted with the crowd and gave autographs. I couldn’t help but think that if HE himself had opened the door to his suite instead of security finding us there, he probably would’ve invited us in for a chat. This was fall of 1983, right at the height of his career when THRILLER was so very popular.
I love looking at those pics of MJ – when he was still obviously happy and so handsome, before something went so wrong in his head and his heart!
I truly do not believe the allegatiions against him – I feel that they were just some parasites looking to extort money from him. However, he obviously had some issues that likely included some form of mental illness, but I can’t believe that he had anything other than good intentions in his heart!
Rest in peace, MJ! You will be missed by so many!
Did anyone else go to Jesse’s family’s wine website? kovacsbrothers.com The 2 wines are sold out. I don’t feel like he’s the one on the show to further his career though!
I am a little older than some of the other commenters here. I was in junior high in the mid-latter 1960’s and remember some of the first televised performances of the Jackson 5. I was a huge fan and had posters of the group all over my wall. Michael was so cute and charasmatic and passionate about performing – some of that spark never went away no matter how tarnished other aspects of his persona became later on. Those aspects have been and probably will be debated for a long time to come, and the reality is that the truth of what did or did not happen will likely never be known for sure. The reality that is (in my humble opinion) not debatable is that Michael was a larger than life talent, who singlehandedly changed the face of music and dance forever with his songs and signature moves. Love the picture that you included in this post Lincee. That is the face of Michael that I will remember.
Sometimes we don’t really appreciate what we have until it’s gone, and sadly that is the case with Michael Jjackson. With his death, all of the tabloid stories and legal problems that overshadowed the last 15 years of his life are irrelevant and no longer interest me. What lives on is the glorious spectacle of his music, which he put so much of his life into, for all of us to enjoy. And the sobering realization that he gave this world so much more than it ever gave him. RIP Michael. We’ll miss you more than we ever thought.
I was in Kindergarten when the Jackson 5 cartoon was out. I remember having an argument with a friend over who was the best – The Osmond’s or the Jackson 5. I actually stood on the side of The Osmond’s (Donny and I were going to be married one day, you know.) But I loved the Jackson’s as well. I remember standing in front of the mirror with a hairbrush singing “Ben” – what an awesome song for a little kid. Later, I remember being in the 9th grade and going to a party at my cousin’s house……we were playing the Off the Wall album while participating in a very interesting game of Spin the Bottle and Post Office – LOL!!! That whole experience of puberty and boys was all brand new….whenever I hear any songs from that album, I remember that time of my life. And finally, I remember dancing at my senior prom to Beat it and Billy Jean….they were smoking hot songs. Michael Jackson was such a talented genius, and was part of my childhood and my coming of age. I choose to focus on the good stuff and not the troubles that he’s had in his later years. Rest in Peace Michael!!!
So here I am… eating mac & cheese, reading Lincee’s blog. Can I have a hallelujah for those who have spit food on their monitor? I can’t be the only one.
The MJ memories are still going on in my house… my 2 year old daughter watching 4 straight hours of videos on MTV last Friday night with me, and her trying to mimic his dancing. Greatness. But I will say that good old MJ got me through MANY a high school road trip, and all my friends made such fun of me that I would rock out and car dance to his music. And you know how everyone has “that Christmas” they remember, getting the best present ever?!?! Mine was my sweet Granddaddy, God bless him, buying my cousin and me the Michael Jackson dolls (like Barbie dolls) when I was about 6. Mine was in the blue glittery military jacket, hers was Thriller red. But MAN did we ever love those things. Best entertainer of all time in my opinion. NO ONE can dance like him. No one ever will.
I have been checking your blog everyday since last Thursday looking for your entry on MJ–I knew you would, what with the Great Debate and all. You and your other fans have aptly reminded us of his genius and talent in the music industry. I too wish him to rest in peace, and hope that maniacal fans will not turn him into a spectacle similar to Elvis after his death. While I think he was a tragic figure, I mostly hurt for the three children he has left behind, and the future they will have to face in his celebrity wake.
I can’t believe you remember that conversation from all those years ago. I also remember you and Trez trying to teach me how to do the moonwalk. Thanks Lincee and RIP Michael Jackson. Love you both.
Thanks for opening this discussion. I am so happy to read good things about Micheal Jackson. He was a music genius but also a beautiful soul- he gave us hope with his music and his generosity. I remember I became a MJ fan when he did a show in country, I was 12 at the time and just learning English. I would listen to his songs and hope that perhaps we could “make it [the world] a better place”. His music was very inspiring, and MJ himself was very inspiring, nobody wins over 190 awards in their life time just because….
#6 Cindi, I appreciate your comments, because I feel the same way. After 1 year of trial and 135 testimonies, he was finally acquitted- it can only mean one thing. While facing these allegations we was awarded the Golden Elephant Award for his humanitarian efforts in Africa… Nobody talks about the wonderful things he did for the world. Besides his music, he helped children all over the world and funded many programs.
It is so sad to see how the American media twists some tragic events in his life to make him out to be someone he was not. It is hard for me to understand why some Americans cannot see what a wonderful man he was. The entire world knows him in a different light than some of the people in his own country… That is really sad…
Micheal Jackson, thanks inspiring my life with your music and generosity! May you rest in peace!