Today is the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.
A year ago today I was in Los Angeles, at the offices of a new client. Working. My client covers news for African-Americans, so as soon as news broke about MJ, we were all over it. Except, this was too real to be part of our everyday work storyline.
I remember crying at my desk in my client’s office. It was awkward. I was new, meeting all the staff that week, yet according to TMZ.com and my Twitter stream, MJ was dead. I was frantically surfing the web on my laptop, hoping this was a joke or not as serious as it seemed. But streams of tears fell down my face anyway. Uncontrollable tears. I mean I wasn’t sobbing, I wasn’t audibly crying. But the tears. They flooded my eyes and wouldn’t stop rolling down my face. Did anyone need any tears? Because I had plenty.
I cried on my way home from work. Bawling in my car on the 405 South freeway. Bawling. I hadn’t even watched a lick of TV yet, but the thought of the King of Pop dying hit me so hard. I was surprised it hurt me so much. In the past few years, MJ had been grating my nerves. While I loved Mike like an uncle, his antics were starting to annoy me rather than concern me. Most notably, his children were suspicious because they didn’t even look partially black, but here he was parading them around with face masks and butterfly wings. He was bizarre. I just wanted him to get his act together because it was bothersome that he had become such a joke to the American media.
After it sank in, I cried for what seemed like a month. When his funeral aired, I was back in New York. I remember I tried to take a day off from working and sat on my couch and watched his funeral coverage all day. Between CNN and Twitter, I was on all coverage like white on rice. I also cried all day, a box of Kleenex by my side for my fits of sadness, wailing and ugly crying. This was one of my more emotional days in recent personal history.
I played MJ on my iTunes for the next month and cried through all his tracks. MJ was the soundtrack of my childhood and coming of age, and he was an artist that spanned generations. My mother and I could both relate to MJs music, and we had our own MJ-related music memories. And now he was gone.
Today I am obviously able to cope with things a little better. MJ songs bring a little sadness, but in the club I am definitely amped when any MJ track hits the speakers. He was a troubled man, but also one of the most unique human beings on earth. He lived a life nobody else on this planet endured, and for that, I give him a pass for all his eccentricities and bizarre behavior. He coped the best way he knew how and nobody else can judge him or tell him otherwise because they have not walked the path he has walked.
Anyway, I just wanted to write down my thoughts about MJ because last year was so painful, I couldn’t form my thoughts in a coherent manner.