Michael, Shining Star, Slips Away

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[Michael Jackson’s Passing: Comment]

As a bona fide child of the 80s the reality is still sinking in.

Regardless of the gargantuan amount of coverage, commentary, debate and discussion I'm still in a state of shock. I'm not delusional, I'm aware that no one is immortal but still, the creator of the first cassette I ever owned, the first song lyrics I ever knew by heart, the man who made Moonwalker –lets see how many people own that one on VHS—dead?

Is that possible?

Today's memorial is further confirmation that the seemingly impossible has actually happened, featuring heartfelt performances from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie and Usher, as well as personal tributes from Brooke Shields, Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson.

There were a myriad of touching moments throughout the event: Jermaine Jackson’s emotional performance of "Smile," his brother’s favorite song; Brooke Shields fighting back tears as she relived countless memories; Smokey Robinson fondly speaking of hearing 10 year old Michael sing a song he’d written, "Who's Loving You?," and practically usurping ownership; and, John Mayer's beautiful guitar solo of the under rated classic "Human Nature."

Today was a poignant celebration of Michael Jackson's life and achievements. No one wanted to go there and no one did, directly. But everyone must have noticed the thunderous applause when Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee reminded everyone that under the U.S Constitution we are "innocent until proven otherwise and the standing ovation when Rev. Al Sharpton told Jackson's children that there was nothing “strange” about their father only what he had to endure in his lifetime.

As for me, and I’m sure for countless others –besides perhaps Rep. Peter King—the most heart wrenching and honest moment was when 11-year-old Paris Katherine Jackson, Michael's daughter stepped up to the mic and spoke of the "best father you could ever imagine."

It would take a pretty hardened cynic or a media hungry Congressman not to sympathize, as she spoke, not of a superstar or a world class entertainer, but simply of a father. In that moment, it was easy to forget all his other titles as she promptly broke down; Michael Jackson superstar and all was instantly a father, and now three kids have lost him. 

And so it's over.

The impossible is possible. As Maya Angelou said in her beautiful poem "our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind."  But, she also offered: "Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him." 

R.I.P Michael Jackson.




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