Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael and Me

Happy Fantabulous Tuesday!

I have a guest today - and he's written for the blog before. Reading his post made me realize just how much Michael Jackson affected my life. We all have shared our "Michael Moments" since last Thursday, and today DMoe shares his.

Michael and Me...by DMoe

Its been about 5 days since the initial word came in simple texts and emails..."Is Michael Jackson dead?" one friend asked. At that moment, at about a little after 4pm last Thursday, I had not heard anything. In the moments that followed, his cardiac arrest, the frantic attempts to revive him, the mad dash via ambulance to the UCLA Medical Center, and ultimately, the end of his life, things really seemed to happen so fast that afternoon. Just as our parents have those indelible images etched in their minds of their life's historic ride, we, my friends, have just had one added to ours.

In these days that followed, I've had quite a few Michael Jackson tributes in my mind. The music, the videos, the signature moves, and the distinctive styles have all left a mark on me. They have "tattooed my soul" -- if you will. This sentiment may sound simple in concept, but allow me to elaborate.

First of all, the amazing thing about a performer with this kind of undeniable talent, this undying attention to skill, and this inextinguishable fire to be a phenomenon unto his musical craft, is that we have had the collective privilege to see the superstar's blueprint. Aside from that, each of us has our own "Michael and me" story to tell as we remember his life, in symmetry with our lives.

Collectively, we know the facts of his tortured childhood, the moments in his rise to stardom, the controversial stories of scandals and tabloid headlines - but...there's something else to Michael and me. There's a unique wrinkle to Michael and you. It's the DOZENS of indelible images of the posters in your room growing up, it's the way we gasped as we watched the Motown 25 special on March 25, 1983, and it's how you had to learn every move from the "Thriller" video from the moment it premiered on December 2, 1983.

"Michael and me" stories have been flying across the human landscape in an unparalleled way these days. From one end of the planet to another, everyone has their own. Here's mine:

As a kid, I knew the Jackson 5 well. My parents were Motown-era teenagers when they met, so the music was a staple in my childhood. Then again, many genres crowded my wee little brain as Kenny and Cheryl were avid listeners and fans of musicians that spanned the panorama somewhere between Parliament, Ahmad Jamal, Stevie Wonder, Wes Montgomery, Earth Wind & Fire, and Rufus & Chaka Khan (to name a few). And then, there was Michael Jackson. Upon "Off the Wall's" release in the summer of 1979, that 8-track just seemed to become its own entity in my parent's collection. We listened to it incessantly. I requested it riding in the car to my games, to school, from school, to church, from church, and on road trips. My "Michael and me" had officially begun. 30 years later, the cavalcade of unique ideas of his work have certainly woven themselves into the fabric of my being. That's beautiful and undeniable.

In 1982, "Thriller" was released, and Michael's star power was blossoming quickly. This kid from Gary, Indiana was becoming something unto himself, the likes of which Music just hadn't seen on this scale. With the release of "The Girl is Mine" as the first single (in retrospect, a debatable tactic), this album would live to see itself become the biggest record EVER. For fans like you and me, the rocket known as "Billie Jean" would launch this work into the stratosphere, and follow-up musical missiles like "Beat it", "Thriller", and "PYT" only solidified the fact that we were indeed orbiting around this thing - and it was getting bigger.

By the time "Thriller" was released, my parents had gone their separate ways. Meanwhile, my mom and I were adjusting to a new life, making new friends and meeting new people. One of the first experiences with new friends was the dance teacher at my mom's new school inviting us (the music teacher, her sister and her son) over to her house to watch the world premiere of Michael's "Thriller" video.

There were about 14 of us that night. Moments before it aired, we all knew this was special. The memory of that night is not necessarily about seeing the video, its about "experiencing" it. I distinctly remember the air being sucked out of the room like we were seeing something we had never seen before. As Michael became the terrorizing wolf on screen, as he grinned in the horror movie chomping on popcorn, as he spit game to Ola Ray down that street while she sauntered to the beat, we knew......something was happening. We knew THIS was definitive. And then, he began to change....Ola turned around and Michael became one of them. The next thing we know, they became a platoon of funky-ass zombies, who, as everybody said that night, were "gettin' it!!"

Music and television were never the same. Never again. This was a game changer at the turn of a shoulder as Michael exclaimed..."Cuz this is Thriller!" Damn right Mike. This is Thriller. This is exactly what the hell this is. When this thing ended, as he casually consoled a freaked-out Ola, and offered to take her home, we knew. We knew this was something else, and there's something to be said for the things in history that are just that. Something else.

For many occasions during the next 2-plus decades, Michael did that to us again and again. He was something else repeatedly. From the moment Michael struck that Fedora pose at "Motown 25" in 1983, to the Egyptian experience he immersed us in for "Remember the Time" in 1991, "awestruck" was Micheal's personal calling card with each of us. Lest we forget, a then 32-year old Michael had completely flipped a couple of popular dances at the time, worked them into an Egyptian scene, and gave us another number with a cadre of funky-ass Egyptians, and they were doing the King Tut, the Bart Simpson, the pop-lock and they just generally killed it. Yes Mike...We DO remember the time when we fell in love. We do remember the times when we first met.

As a matter of fact, we will never forget the things we've seen, the good times, the friendships we've made, the loved ones we've lost, all of the bumps along life's way, and exactly where we were when you wowed us, time and time again.

The music, the videos, the robust creativity, and the genius will be remembered for ALL time.

That's Michael and me.



Annamaria said...

FIRST!!! :)

Annamaria said...

This was a fitting tribute to Michael. You should give BET some notes.

Brooke said...

I had to sit on this post for a minute to really reflect on my “Michael and Me” moment. It was hard to do, because there’s been so many. But if I had to choose the one that changed me forever, it would have to be Motown 25, 1983.

How many people can say that their lives were changed at the age of 10? I can. Definitely. My mother told my sister and me that MJ was going to be on the Motown Special and that we should watch him. I had heard of him before, heard his songs and knew the words. But he was “just” Michael Jackson at that point.

Until he came out on stage, glittery glove, highwater pants, jheri curl and mega watt smile. I was awestruck. He moonwalked across the stage and I burst into tears with amazement. My sister was right there with me, my mother looking at me like I was someone she didn’t even know – a weeping, screaming demented child. I was changed.

Later, as I watched the broadcast premiere of Billie Jean on MTV, I was equally mesmerized by the dance moves and beats that eventually helped to break down the race barrier on MTV. Within weeks, my walls were plastered with posters of MJ, and my mom got me a photo album that I could use to collect MJ newspaper and magazine clippings. I went thru at least 3 cassette tapes of Thriller because I played it so much and the tape popped over and over. I couldn’t get enough.

Like DMoe, I was hypnotized by Thriller. It wasn’t a video, it was a movie. Experiencing that video triggered something profound in me. I didn’t just enjoy his music and his performances. I worshipped him. I loved him.

Fast forward to 1991 and I’m a freshman in college. I’d had several “crushes” by then. But being a MJ fan never got old. It was never “uncool” to love MJ. As college students, we crowded in my dorm room to watch the premiere of “Remember the Time.” I was suddenly 10 years old again. We were like “that man is BAD!” Choreography – brilliant. Star Power - Eddie Murphy and Magic? Whoa. Simply brilliant.

I even remember my heart beating fast as he performed at the half time show of the Super Bowl. What was that? 1993? I never could get enough of Michael. I still can’t.

I think back over my life and remember the Pepsi commercial with Alphonso Ribiero. I remember when MJ burned himself and his glittery “thumbs up” letting us know he was okay. I remember thinking he was the greatest man on the planet for wanting to save starving children in Africa with “We Are the World.” The memories are endless.

Like DMoe said, I am a perfectly sane 36 year old woman who has achieved many milestones in life, with many more to come. I recall all the key events of my life that changed me, from graduating from college, to witnessing my nephews being born – and to living in a time when I shared the earth with Michael Jackson. I can remember where I was and what I was doing during historic moments – 9/11, Katrina, Princess Diana dying, Biggie dying, from when I first fell in love with MJ...and when my heart broke when I learned he had passed on.

If over the next few days you find yourself tiring of the relentless media coverage, questioning why there is such an outpouring of grief on pavements around the world for a man who was a tortured genius, just pour over your own “Michael and Me” moments from your life. Listen to “PYT” or “Rock With You”, “I’ll Be There” or “Man in the Mirror.” Watch the Thriller video. All of that will provide a reminder of why so many mourn him so deeply...a man who wanted to heal the world of its global problems, like hunger and homelessness – who was equally concerned with the human condition as well us making us dance. He changed lives, though maybe not in the ways he intended. That’s why we just can’t stop loving him...always.

momo925 said...

well said... a very heartfelt and worthy read. He will never be forgotten :-)

Now you should listen to him and "beat it"! lmao

DMoe said...

Well said Brookey...

In the interest of not creating a blog-worthy novel, I left many aspects of Michael and Me on the cutting-room floor. There's soooo much more, and its a vast expanse of thought that could be pretty much - endless. But, hey that was the impact of Michael's work.

As for Momo, since you always wanna be startin somethin, how bout you "Mama-say-mama-sah-mama-Koo-See-your-azz" off this blog and get back to work.

DMoe aka JJ Evans (that makes Mo Thelma)

momo925 said...

Dmoe you already know who's bad and we all know it ain't you. YOU AIN'T BAD! YOU AIN'T NOTHING! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Don't hate Tito...don't hate!

momo925 said...

I'm micheal... you tito...remember that! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Brooke said...

Uh oh, it's a battle of the Mo's! aww shucks!

DMoe said...


Since you may be unaware of the "Good Times" dynamic between JJ and his little sister Thelma, try these on for size:

If I'm D-Bo - that would make you Smokey.

If I'm Marty Mart, - that would make you Pam.

As for your little reference
to the Bad video, MoMo would be any one of these cats pictured at 5:49 in the video here:


LMAO. Sucka.

Dmoe aka Fred G. Sanford (that would make Momo Esther)

The Cable Guy said...

Did I miss something? What is going on between DMoe and Momo? Is this a lover's quarrel or something?

momo925 said...

Ok Dmoe you won't stop till you get enough aye???
You took all that time for that??! LMAO! Its ok gramps...I know it was hard for you to think of something...alzheimer's kicking in and all.

How are you using my joke you biter?! That would make you Wesley! lmao thanks for giving us a visual :-)

Fall in line Tito...Remember it ain't too hard for me to JAM my foot up yo A$$ LMAO !!!

Now me and Brooke are going to lunch to give you time to think of something else scramjones!

DMoe said...

Hey Cable guy,

Wanna know bout our beef?

Here's the deal...
Simply put:

"Everytime i'm in da kitchen, SHE in da kitchen, In da GotDamn refrigerator, eatin up all da food - all da chicken, all da pig feet, all da colla greens, all da hawg maws."


The Cable Guy said...

LOL!! That sounds funny, but I don't get it - what kitchen?? I mean, I know its from Friday.... but????

Y'all are funny today - that Debo/Smokey, Martin/Pam reference was hilarious.

Just kiss and make up :)

Brooke said...

Cable Guy - what he means is everytime he calls to chat with me, Momo is standing here at my desk - without fail. It's like they got it timed or something - hence everytime he's in the kitchen, she's in the kitchen :)

They can't learn to share me :)

The Cable Guy said...

Well, neither one of them can have you cuz you belong to ME!


DMoe said...


That's the story, every time I'm chatting with B on the casual, next thing you know Mo azz pop up like acne.



The Cable Guy said...


Well, back to the blog - this was a great post. Everyone has a "michael and me" story to share. I know I may seem too young, but I knew of Thriller and Beat It and Billie Jean just like the rest of you. And knew all the dance moves too. He will definitely be missed.

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