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World Day: Michael Jackson’s Eternal Legacy and the Reason for His Death

dnmjby Demetrius D. Walker

Many of my friends have asked me why I waited so long to post an article on my childhood hero Michael Jackson.  The truth is, until today I didn't know how to absorb the news.  Every time I tried to sit down and write how I felt about Michael's passing, I became too overwraught with tender childhood recollections of watching Moonwalker.  I would think back to begging my parents for a shiny, red zipper jacket or reminisce on singing "Beat It" completely wrong (you couldn't tell me the hook of that song wasn't "Beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it, beat-a-beat-a-beat-a-beat it!").  I'm sure most 80s babies will agree when I confess that my fondest memories of that entire decade all center around the phenomenon that was Michael Jackson.

So when my phone went nuts with Tweets, Facebook updates, and text messages claiming MJ's death last Thursday, I was in disbelief.  Michael Jackson can't die, he's not like the rest of us human beings I figured.  As TMZ persisted that Michael was indeed gone, I argued with friends and family saying I would not believe the news until CNN and other major networks confirmed his death.  In the 45 minute window that it took for that to occur, I was completely certain that Mike was just in a coma and he would bounce back from his ailment like the true superhuman he was.  Then came the report from CBS News: "Michael Jackson is indeed confirmed dead in Los Angeles."  My heart sunk into my stomach, as it miraculously rained in Houston for the first time in 40 days.  I walked outside and felt the tears of every Michael Jackson fan on Earth.

Truth be told, I had lost some of my childhood enthusiasm for MJ over the course of the last decade.  I never thought he was guilty of the child molestation charges levied against him, but I was angry with him for allowing there to be any doubt that the accusations were true.  "Why couldn't he just stop inviting these kids to sleepover" I pondered.  It frustrated me that Mike would leave himself open to speculation.  Therefore, I allowed the media circus surrounding that situation to diminish my admiration for the world's greatest entertainer.

Despite my reservations about Michael's naiveté, I will be forever indebted to him for making me a dreamer.  Seeing Michael Jackson conquer the whole planet, traveling from country to country causing people to pass out from his mere presence, I felt capable of doing ANYTHING.  As a young black boy growing up in homicide central, East New York, I never felt limited in my ability to effectively change the world.  I owe this ambition to MJ, the celebrity I most idolized.

As I grew older and started to actually understand the substance in the lyrics I regurgitated as a child, I realized that Mike was one of history's biggest social activists.  Michael Jackson brought much needed attention to the issues of domestic violence, world hunger, poverty, and racism.  From his domineering platform as Earth's biggest pop star, Michael preached love in songs that still resonate from Brooklyn to Tokyo.  Watching his memorial service today at the Staples Center, it became painfully obvious that this man has influenced more people than any other human being that has ever lived (except perhaps Jesus, Muhammad, and Buddha).  Not only has he influenced billions of people, Michael Jackson has united Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus with his gift of song.  I wish there was a way to quantify the number of smiles and tears (of joy and sorrow) that this one man has brought.

I'm a firm believer that all things happen for a reason.  For the past week people have been scrambling to grasp why Michael Jackson is gone.  I even toiled with the idea that his death was senseless.  After watching the memorial service, the purpose of Michael's death became painfully apparent to me.  Michael Jackson died so that his legacy would be enhanced at a time when the planet Earth needs it most.  His death proves that we can get along with different nationalities, races, countries, and cultures to exemplify the greatest human emotion of all - LOVE.  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D - Houston) mentioned that a bill has been introduced in Congress to recognize Michael's contributions to the United States.  While I admire Lee's effort, I feel this is too small of a measure to truly honor Michael Jackson's legacy.  Therefore, I call for a U.N. resolution to install We Are the World / Heal The World Day as a global holiday.  I envision World Day as a time for everyone to examine the issue of social equality.  It would be a day similar to Christmas, except for the fact that people would give gifts to those whom they've never met and need it the most.  This is the true legacy of Michael Jackson the Humanitarian.  I close with this:

There's a place in
Your heart
And I know that it is love
And this place could
Be much
Brighter than tomorrow
And if you really try
You'll find there's no need
To cry
In this place you'll feel
There's no hurt or sorrow

There are ways
To get there
If you care enough
For the living
Make a little space
Make a better place...

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough
For the living
Make a better place
For you and for me

Heal The World - Michael Jackson, The Greatest Entertatiner To Ever Live


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