• Saturday, July 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Michael just got off the wall

Micheal Jackson -compressed

KEN UGBECHIE

I grew up knowing he was the Man in the Mirror who had a Liberian Girl. Under the moonlight in the sand dunes of my country home in present day Delta State, we rushed like Speed Demons to Get on the Dance Floor just so we could Burn this Disco Out. And yes, we danced and danced of course with our Pretty Young Thing(s) until we became too Dangerous for the night. Scared of the Moon and its 2000 Watts of incandescence, we would Beat It back to the disco to meet Little Sussie, our Superfly Sister.
I grew up hearing his high pitch squeals of ABC with his chubby, chummy and cherubic siblings. The syllables of his name resonated through our Childhood. We would Scream, Smile and Cry until we became Speechless. Even without the sight of Blood on the Dance Floor, Morphine on the table and Ghosts in the neighbourhood, we all got Butterflies in our bellies because we all thought life was cruel.
We often asked, is life cruel? Is it Scary? Like The Lost Children, we would return home at the Break of Dawn wondering what would happen if Papa knew we did not Keep the Faith but went out partying with Billy Jean all night long. I grew up loving him because he counselled me Don’t stop till you get Enough.
He told me it’s Human Nature to Fall in Love because It’s the Falling in Love that would lead me to the Lady in My Life. But Michael cautioned me neither to do it with Dirty Diana nor with a Stranger in Moscow. Through his Earth Song, he told me They Don’t Care about Us but that if we Come Together we can Heal the World. All through the years, he kept telling me be strong, Don’t Walk Away even when you feel Threatened for Whatever Happens, we are Unbreakable.
Each moment I Remember the Time that my colleagues and I were Working Day and Night as proofreaders in the Daily Times in the days of yore, I would say Michael, Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu ( Spanish for ‘I just can’t stop loving you’) because truly your lyrical power and affection won’t Leave Me Alone.
Michael was just Another Part of Me and hell, it hurts to know he could Fly Away, Gone Too Soon like the fading shadow of a Street Walker. Each time I Wanna Be Starting Something, I would look to HIStory for inspiration. For verily, his story was that of a conqueror. He came, he saw, he conquered (Veni vidi vici). He conquered frontiers, barriers and prejudices. He taught humanity You Can’t Win without love. He warned us not to believe the Tabloid Junkie but to remain Just Good Friends of the printed matter. Yes, I grew up knowing him as the Thriller For All Time.

Read Also: In my quest to just make a living, I landed myself a career in creating happiness – Micheal

In the Back of our mind, In the Closet of our living rooms, we asked for more. We said Heaven Can Wait until We’ve Had Enough. But This Time Around, The Man in Michael insists on playing the Heartbreaker. Michael sure broke our hearts and now I Can’t Help It but ask the Sunset Driver to take his soul to a place where he would have no more Trouble. True, Michael just got Off The Wall.
Before we could say You Rock My World, he has Xcape(d). He has fallen off the wall never to Fall Again. Indeed, the world is one huge expansive wall and all of us are like ornaments hanging – some graciously, some perilously – off the huge wall.
Some occupy more space than others. Some shine in dazzling beauty casting rays of brilliant colours on their environment. Others simply are muted in colour and dimmed in significance. But whether bright or dull, each day an ornament is plucked off the wall. Each day, another ornament is placed on the wall. Fifty years ago, baby Michael Joseph Jackson was placed on the wall. At barely five years, he proved too precocious for his age, dwarfing other ornaments including those he met on the wall. From a little shining star, he glowed and glowed into a mighty Northern star, casting his rays to far and near places.
Every hour of his life was an episode. Every moment was crowded with events, honour and with much people who believe in him. He was arguably the most popular personality on the face of the Earth, not because he tried to change from Black to White, not just because of his eclectic dance step and frenetic, even magical, stage craft but because he made us realise that collectively We are Here to Change the World. Yes, I grew up loathing that misguided idea of his that changing the pigment of his skin is more important than improving the content of his character. Michael was full of strength. He was also full of weakness. He taught us that at the end of the day, we are only human.
But we must not focus on his frailties. We must remember him as the man who charmed us with his lyrical prowess. When he sang, Will You Be There, he provoked us to love and to empathise. In We Are The World, he taught us to give, to care and to leave the world better than we met it.
He was the King of Pop and also the legend of philosophy. He was born Black but he died a morph of both Black and White. But what difference does it make. Black or White, in death he left us a promise of another tomorrow. And to the Jacksons, I say, You Are Not Alone. In your darkest hour, in your deepest despair, we will still care; we will be there for you.