Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering a Legend

It was a shocker to wake up this morning and hear the news that Michael Jackson had died of heart failure.
My most vivid memories are from highschool, watching his music videos with my friends and playing his vinyl record Thriller on the record player.
We all tried to imitate him, from wearing a silver glove, to military-style jackets, going up on our toes, and attempting to do the moonwalk (without much success). 
What's interesting is that young people in China were only a few years old when Jackson became a superstar as a solo artist and so they aren't familiar with his hits like Beat It, Billie Jean and even We Are the World, as a fundraiser song for the famine in Africa.
Instead Chinese fans know him from the 1990s, with his albums like Dangerous and Bad.
But what's interesting to note is that he was the one big artist from the United States they all knew and admired -- Madonna to many of them is just a name and they don't consider her much of an accomplished artist, as much as Jackson anyway.
Some say his lyrics appealed to them, while others thought his dancing was one of a kind.

Earlier this evening I went to a DVD shop at Yaxiu, the Cotton Market at Sanlitun, and as my friend and I were browsing through the fake DVD selection, a young Caucasian boy rushed in.

"Michael Jackson? Michael Jackson?" in English.

But the storekeeper replied, "All sold out!"

The boy's mother asked if they had sold a lot of Jackson's stuff.

"We sold it all," he said.

"Do you know why?" she asked.

"Yeah, of course!" he replied. He later explained to an American that he loved Jackson's voice and that his dancing was so cool.
Today I've been watching wall-to-wall coverage and tributes to the "King of Pop"... while I admired his artistry, especially in the 80s, it's sad that his personal life ended up being such a bizarre story with his marriages to Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, his three children, charges of child molestation and then of course the plastic surgeries..
Hopefully he will be remembered for his contribution to pop culture, catching the wave of the MTV generation and making music videos more than just a way to promote his songs.
As one Chinese fan remarked, Jackson has gone to his Neverland. Amen. 

1 comment:

ks said...

strange human reaction. when he was alive he was ridiculed over and over again about his personal life. after he died people are crying mourning his passing , praising his achievement etc. why a 180 degree change? is it because his song and dance so great? pity the doctor who gave him the fatal shot.