I think it was the English poet William Wordsworth who once said that “The child is father of the man…” this holds too true for
the Late Pop Mega Star Legendary phenomenon. Indeed Michael Jackson was far larger than life.
Musical charisma, enigma, fame, child abuse scandals, court cases, weird life, genius, controversy, freaky nature, loved by many, hated by few, …all could be used when looking at Michael’s life.
One thing that seems clear is that the name Michael belongs to Great men. In fact even the letter “M” initialing any ones name is indeed a Midas touch. Check out names like Michael Jordan, Michael, Michael Owen, Mike Tyson, Michael ludi, Mandela, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Marley, Martin Luther King, George Michael, and our own Mykel Charley Hingha of Kitsch Production Fame.
The world came to a stand still when the news of Michael Jackson filled the airwaves. Even the Confederation Cup match ran sour. For quite some time Michael had been away from the limelight. In 2005 when he won the law suit for alleged child abuse many fan went hysterical. Not much after that really happened until he decided to treat the world once more. He was working hard on rehearsals for the planned performances and a possible world tour. This was never to be.
Many people think he should have died hereafter. One interesting thing about Michael was that people cared more about his music than the life he lived. Michael got to fame too early to enjoy a normal childhood…he was indeed father of the man that he never became.
Michael challenged nature by doing that expensive plastic surgery to be a Whiteman with the pointed nose. A lot of people blame him for it…I don’t. With the kind of fame he had he needed a corresponding acceptance by the whit folk. Remember racism was at its best at the time. In any case a lot of Sierra Leoneans from the regions had to take creole names in order to survive in Freetown. Some guys only revert to their original names after college or so.
There is this case of John Gbla who I think visited Jamaica as a musician. The Jamaicans found it difficult to pronounce his surname…they pronounced it without the initial “G “. He had to accept and even introduced himself as Bla and not Gbla You see abnormal situations bread abnormal behaviors.
Michael Jackson was often called Wacko Jacko especially after his plastic surgery. Many people will be wondering why so much time has been given to his death. For African kids Michael’s life leaves behind a lot of lessons to learn from.
Most of Michael’s life on earth he was battling with an identity crisis…a battle he never won till death. Out here in Sierra Leone a lot of kids use their youthful years on talents that fetch a lot of money and abandoning the normal life of a kid. Michael never tasted childhood… no wonder he loved children so much although ironically his scandals and law suits were mainly for alleged abuse of kids, lawsuits that depleted his wealth to a large extent. Parents need to bring up children not in their own interests but the best interest of the child. Parents can some times be selfish you know…using their kids to make money and not give them a rounded life especially education.
Michael left behind a lot of legacies. His uniqueness is yet to be matched. His invention of the moon walk was symbolic that he lived in this own world far from the madding crowd…though he himself had some madness. Michael never went on drugs, at least we are not told. He defied gravity through his dancing steps. Indeed he was by far the best in the 2oth century. You can hardly watch an artiste performing without doing a bit of Michael Jackson stuff. No wonder even the great Akon has of late been featuring Michael’s music. The many controversies that surrounded Michael did not in any way destroy his musical genius. His fame will remain all time high even long after his death. Jackson had for most part of his life been lonely.
At age 5 Michael was already a great child super star with initially outstanding performances with four of his siblings known as Jackson 5. In 1982 the release of Thriller propelled Michael to World Class Artiste for all time. 51 million copies were sold and the track remained number one on the world chats for a long time. By the early 80s Black music in white America was not listened to but Michael’s music was irresistible. He gave a new color and shape to showmanship.
Perhaps the best after James Brown, a relative, I understand.
Michael married the daughter of Elvis Presley and had two sons, but the marriage broke off. He later had a third son by another woman…that again did not work. He never disclosed the mother of the third child.
I can remember in the early 80s dancing groups in Freetown like the davalgee Brothers and the Falcons tried hard to do the Michael Jackson steps.
Also there were Mike Jackson competitions which were hotly contested. I was once a judge for one competition at the Traxx Night Club in my neighborhood. The three Michael Jackson contestants were very good indeed and it was so difficult to choose the winner…We were almost beaten up at the final announcement. Oh you could have seen the city almost turn apart by gangs supporting one performer or another imitating Michael Jackson.
When the Off The Wall track came out in the USA 28 million were sold i.e. one for every 12 persons. Michael was unique…ground-breaking at every level.
He changed the Pop culture and it was never going to be the same again. It is difficult to identify Michael’s mentor. The only person whose fame was high at the time before Michael was the great James Brown whose legendary track Sex Machine rocked the world to madness. He was also a very electrifying and irresistible. I can remember in around 1969 in Bo School we the junior boys were made to go into performing competition on James Brown the Show Master. I can remember when I was given the improvised mike and I sang Sex Machine. It went like this Giropa…Gironley …Giron machine…gironley, like a sex machine …..
At Demby’s Hall we used to skate from one end of the hall to the other doing the James Brown stuff with so much madness. It was so much fun. I think Michael must have admired him. At that time in Sierra Leone the two major Musical Bands were Super Combo and Afro National. Then a New one came up to rock Bo town. I think it was Super Negro and they could do James Brown’s Sex Machine. This really made them very popular. At the time we did not have so many pubs and in fact kids never went to pubs or night clubs. This was the time Fufulay bars sprang up all over the place.
It was a make shift dance hall demarcated by thatches. We used to watch through pigeon holes studying the adults enjoy while we tried to learn the steps. You see Sex Machine came along with its own dance and you had to do it if you were a Bo School Boy.
Even kids that never knew Michael Jackson are still dancing the Break dance or doing the Moon Walk. Mike is gone but his legacy lives on. The dancing continent of Africa will have to wait for another Michael…for now they can make do with the likes on Usher, P.Square, and others. What will definitely happen is the rejuvenation of the Michael Jackson dances and performances. As the world is still in grief and shock…we join pop fans to mourn the legendary mega Star…the 13 Grammy Award winning, Guinness Book honored, controversial, electrifying, fantabulous, irresistible and captivating Michael.
If you are called Michael then you have to try to be successful but make sure you minimize his excesses. With all the fame Michael died in debt…all his wealth was depleted before he passed off. Can you imagine at the tender age of 13 years Michael was already worth 22 million U.S dollars. What a lesson to our Musical youth of Sierra Leone! We only hope his children’s charity Foundation will carry on. One thing is just too clear…the world could not stop him, racism never stopped him…but when he died he indeed stopped the World. Wacko-Jacko Keep dancing in Peace. Indeed Arch Angel Michael will lead you on.
Big lesson though …It is the rain that fell on the sugar cane that made it sweet, that also fell on the bitter leaf that made it bitter”
By S. Beny SAM