In case anyone forgot (intentionally or not), today is the fiftieth birthday of Michael Joseph Jackson.
I choose to remember the Michael of my conception (circa Jackson 5), my childhood (Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad) and my teenage years (Dangerous); the one whose music followed me from London all the way to Ghana the first time I moved out here back in ’87.
I still remember the day I received a package from my London-based mom containing Bad and how the simple possession of an original (!) tape of Michael’s music (much less my poor impersonation of his dance moves) gave me swagger back in Cape Coast University Primary School.
I will respectfully ignore the Michael who – having to choose between Teddy Riley’s apprentices to stay relevant circa Invincible – chose Rodney Jerkins over the Neptunes, turning down in the process half the songs that would make Justin Timberlake the star he is today (yup…) Can you imagine if he had accepted Like I Love You? Instead we got Rock My World.
Rock my world, Michael?
I will try to not to remember the man who…
Whatever he is today, did or didn’t do, Michael Jackson has contributed too much to my musical education and entertainment for his birthday to pass without comment.
I’ll keep it simple:
Hope you make the headlines this year for making good music again.
(It’s been awhile.)