Today Los Angeles was rocked by the funeral of Michael Jackson. 20,000 people gathered at the Staple Center for this tribute to him. Millions upon millions watched around the world. I must admit that I am one of those people who have been overwhelmed by the media saturating us with information over the last week or so. As we turn to CNN at night, to get a news update, we are bombarded with yet another interview or retrospective. I do realize the irony and hypocrisy of my adding to the topic overload by writing this blog but what can I say, I felt compelled.
That compulsion is responsible, in part, for flooding downtown Los Angeles today with mourners, celebrities and just people who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. This was a man whose art crossed generations and broke cultural barriers. There is no sheltering our children from the news of his death as everywhere you go people are talking about it, and most televisions in most restaurant have been carrying his image and music. Our 7 year old daughter was full of questions about him and his life. We answered them the best way we could leaving out the issues related to his alleged interactions with children but including that , while he was famous and talented, he struggled in many ways. She is now listening to his music with great enthusiasm. This is a good thing.
It is sad when someone dies and the sadness here is amplified by the loss of a talent that produced art which resonated with people throughout the world. Whether you adored this man for his talent or despised him for his reported personal behavior, most everyone can agree that he was a gifted performer. The media frenzy has touched on the circumstances around his death but has really focused on the pain and trauma of his life. Sadly, many children are abused and many lives are lived in relative emotional torture and in the end there will not be a grand send off for most of those souls. I can't help but to think that the individuals, who have suffered as children or have been forced to grow up all too soon, may feel a connection to MJ and may even find his music and his story healing. He was an exceptional individual but he was human and therefore flawed. That should be part of the message. I did not know him and I have no interest in standing in judgment. Very few people actually know the truth, whatever that may be, about his alleged indiscretions but many it seems, who did know him personally, loved him dearly.
Michael Jackson will most likely be more famous in death than he was in life - if that is even possible. His music will be danced to and sung by future generations which will bring young and old together. This is a great thing. So while I am ready for the news media to return to other current events I was certainly interested in watching the impressive send off for this man. As it does when I hear of any loss, my heart goes out to those who were close to him personally and have lost a loved one. The dust will eventually settle and the spotlight will turn away from Michael Jackson and onto the events du jour. It is time for that to happen but in my humble opinion, and as someone who grew up on the sounds of his music and smiles as I hear my daughter singing his tunes, today's grand funeral service was a fitting tribute. RIP MJ and may your loved ones be comforted by the ever present sound of your voice and may your music always bring people together.
"He was often referred to as "The King" but the Michael that I knew always reminded me more of the Little Prince. . .. ‘What moves me so deeply about this sleeping prince is his loyalty to a flower. The image of a rose shining within him like a flame within a lamp, even when he's asleep. And I realized he was even more fragile than I had thought. Lamps must be protected. A gust of wind can blow them out. . . .. Eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart. What's most important is invisible.'"
Brooke Shields on Michael Jackson at his Funeral Service July 7, 2009