Everyone was grossly aware of how significantly his appearance changed over the years and although he may have lost many fans with his celebrity antics and later during his legal trials, (allegations from which he never fully recovered) those of us that were such fans of his former self, seemed to acknowledge these faults but still stay loyal to the King of pop.
Regardless of how you felt about Michael, he leaves behind a legacy that changed music, dancing, and in many ways, the world forever. He revolutionized the music video, popularized MTV, brought people from around the world together, spoke out against racism both publicly and through his music, supported more charities than any other pop artist, and could dance like the dickens. Man could he dance. His musical accolades are astounding and he probably remains the most recognizable person on the entire planet. People in 3rd world countries devoid of televisions even know who he is, and that's pretty remarkable.
So many of us grew up imitating Michael and his timeless moves. We dressed like him, danced like him, and played his songs and videos until we were satisfied. In recognition of his departure, I went out with a friend last night for dinner and a movie, and everywhere we went I did the moonwalk or a conspicuous MJ leg kick. The cars that let us cross the street gave appreciative nods, some people laughed, and others gave a hoot or a holler. The hostess at the restaurant didn't find my moves very amusing, so I threw in a crotch grab and a few pelvic thrusts for good measure. No, I really didn't . . . . but I should have.
As should be respectful and customary when reflecting upon the lives of those we lose, perhaps we can remember him for his greatness and not his idiosyncrasies or shortcomings. Perhaps we can remember the time how Michael thrilled us, encouraged us to look in the mirror, told us to beat it, scream, or heal the world. It seems that he spent his whole life giving, but we were never quite able to give anything back. We are a society that is pitiably infatuated with the celebrity phenomenon and we show our fickle adoration by smothering the lives of those we idolize. Stardom carries a hefty price, and it seems that being the King requires even a greater one. Michael Jackson was a brilliant entertainer, but before that, he was a person. A person like any other, with fears, dreams, passions, and thoughts. He possessed an infectious smile, a huge heart, and the uncanny ability to make you want to groove. And that, my friends, is worth a crotch grab any day of the week. Hee-hee . . . Schamone!