Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The “Michael Jackson” In All of Us

By Akin Ojumu
Owings Mills, Maryland
On the day of Michael Jackson's Memorial

The news of Michael Jackson’s death touched me – a deep part of me – in ways I never imagined. Ordinarily, I shouldn’t give two hoots about the demise of an unbelieving entertainer. There was nothing about him that should have made my soul so downcast, and my spirit, feel empty. If you had asked me, a couple of weeks ago, who and what he meant to me. I would have been emphatic in my response, “Nothing!!!”

So why I do care so much now that he is dead? What’s this regret I feel knowing he’s departed this realm for yonder? The answer is simple. In each of us there is a “Michael Jackson”. In the deep crevices of our being there lives a Michael Joseph Jackson. This man was part of us – a deep and buried part – that has been suppressed since the time we got born again and ceased being of this world. Regardless this part of us still moves to the beat of “Beat It” and is still thrilled every time “Thriller” is played.

This is not about the songs. Indeed the guy could sing. He sold close to 1 million albums and that’s not counting all the pirated copies……..and most of us wouldn’t even be considered for a place in a 1-person local church’s choir. It is not the moon walking – or the “backsliding” as we knew it back then. Oh yes, been there and done that. Michael Jackson was a genius……….a phenomenal achiever that you only find once in a generation, but not a whole lot of us will be remembered in that regard. Do we consider ourselves fan of Michael Jackson? Not by a long shot. In fact secular music – of any beat or rhythm – is no longer our thing: we don’t buy ‘em and don’t listen to ‘em anymore.

Michael was a consequence of the greed and deeds of a lecherous and exploitative father. An abusive and overbearing parent, Joseph Jackson’s entry in Wikipedia reads as follows:

When he managed his family, he ordered each of them to call him "Joseph", which led to several siblings being estranged from their father. Michael Jackson claimed that from a young age he was physically and emotionally abused by his father, enduring incessant rehearsals, whippings and name-calling, but also admitting that his father's strict discipline played a large part in his success. In one altercation—later recalled by Marlon Jackson—Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and "pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks.” Joseph would also trip up or push his male children into walls. One night while Michael was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Michael suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.

At the tender age of 8, Michael Jackson literarily became the bread winner for the entire Jackson’s household. For a morsel of bread his father threw him out to the wolves – all alone in the woods of the Hollywood. In exchange for fame, Joseph Jackson shamelessly sold his son into the slavery of show business. And the vicious and wicked world of showbiz used and abused him. In their greed they squeezed out of him every bit of life, leaving him in pain, misery, and empty.

Michael, deprived of normal childhood, lived his adult life in search of that stolen childhood. For most of his life he struggled with identity crisis – for he was never allowed him to define himself, rather he was turned into a money making caricature of what he really loved to be.

So he went and built Neverland – a castle and habitation for unimaginable and unbridled fantasies. Neverland is a world, originally, featured in the fictional books written by J.M. Barrie. It is the dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and others. The residents of Neverland refused to grow up, and it is often used as a metaphor for eternal childhood (and childishness), immortality, and escapism.

You see Michael had to build a fictional world to escape a world that has been so cruel and unfair to him. He sought refuge in the sincerity and innocence that exude from a child’s heart. In the world of a child he felt safe and secured. So he had them all around him in great numbers.

He grew up a man who despised everything his father represents. As a result he had a face and skin reconstruction. From being a man endowed with Negroid features he became one with the craniofacial resemblance of a Caucasian.

Did he ever attain the joy and peace that he sought in life? I have my doubts and that saddens me greatly. I’ve often found myself praying for this man, that he may one day come to the knowledge of Christ. Was my prayers answered? It’s hard to tell – and that again is a source of the sorrow I feel for his death.

A lot of us who mourn him today wished that Michael would never die – at least not at the age of 50. Having been intricately woven into the fabric of our youth, his passage into eternity of uncertain destination leaves a stain on our conscience. Because it’s now too late to pray for him.

Adieu Michael. What else is there to say?


SFoundation said...

There will still be a lot to say of MJ. But like you, i think i found closure today.
He is an important part of the fabric of world history, born again or not and today i learnt a lot. Like the fact that he was in Guiness bk of records for giving to charity.
God desires us to fulfil our destinies. Flawed or not, Micheal came close.

XtianDoctrine said...

There are still plenty to say about MJ....just watch the TV channels.