Sunday, June 28, 2009

Micheal Jackson Is Dead

I know it's off-topic, but there are some things that certain communities might want to discuss.

I feel as though the entire tapestry of my coming of age has been ripped from the walls in a single 48-hour period.

Ed, Farrah and Michael, all gone.

Have mercy.


Quote For The Day

"It's weird that we're talking about him today in the past tense," --Serena Williams, ESPN studio


Karen said...

I am in absolute tears. Playing in the background is my digitized version of Thriller. Oh man, this is so sad. When I saw news of Farrah's death today, I called my friend in Jamaica and we mourned because we loved Charlie's Angels and we always wore her hairdo which we called the Farrah Flash It. We did not have much hair (being black and nappy headed) but we tried with our straightening combs and we wore the little shorts and the blouses. In 1972 I think it was Michael was supposed to perform in Jamaica as part of a One Love Peace concert with the Jackson Five. I danced at that concert as a child. I dont think the Jackson Five came. I moonwalked. I did Beat It. I was Billie Jean. I am devastated right now. He was everything in the 80s to me. He was the consummate performer. I loved him. Rest in Peace my brother. You will be missed. Man, I wish I was home in Jamaica because I would play Thriller the way it was meant to be played - on a turntable.

Craig Hickman said...

The little Black girls I know called it the Farrah Flip.

Loved Charlie's Angels. Loved it.

I'm numb about Michael Jackson.

Simply numb.

oddman said...

Wow. That is too young. Ed, well, he was 85? 86? But Michael? 50 yrs old? Such a shame for one so young. And I had no idea Farrah was gone too - I could never wear her Farrah do - couldn't stand the length needed and would chop it off.

Makes one feel old, when your contemporaries pass on.

Thriller was the King of Pop's masterpiece. My favorite song of his? Black or White.

Graf_sampras said...

This is very sad to hear - both Michael and Farrah!!

i too admired both of them greatly - whatever the controversies were around them .

they lived their lives as well as they could and as true to themselves as they could.

I hope both their families and friends will find catharsis even at their passing.

Graf_sampras said...

Graf_sampras said...

it says he collapsed this morning and never recovered at the hospital.

it might have been a stroke? if anything related -- it is a sad reflection perhaps of what TENSION Michael must have gone through all his life..having to bear so much attention for his talent and then his idiosyncrasies and unique talents and personality:

at once the center of adoration and vilification as well as exploitation for his money and celebrity.

Pamela said...

Have mercy indeed, Craig.

I don't know what to say. It's not like I knew him personally, but his music has been an absolute presence in my life since I was a kid listening because of my parents.

I can't articulate anymore.

I'll leave a video of the song that has really personal meaning to me:

May he rest in peace. His music will live forever.

Graf_sampras said...

a Video Tribute to Michael from

Graf_sampras said...

the more this sinks in - the more I realize how sad i am at his passing.

Tennisfan said...

Farrah's condition was known so it was very sad but I wasn't shocked by her news. But Michael Jackson's death came totally unexpected. I was waiting for his come back tour in the States because I never had the pleasure to watch him live. Sad, Sad news.

dapxin said...


Stunned. Speechless. And scared - my/our own morbidity.

Graf_sampras said...

CNN) -- He was lauded and ridiculed. He broke down barriers and built them around himself. He soared to heights unimaginable with his music, and he made the ignominious front page of gutter tabloids worldwide.
Michael Jackson broke down musical and cultural barriers his entire life.

Michael Jackson broke down musical and cultural barriers his entire life.

For Michael Jackson, the spotlight was always present, and the rest of the world followed.

With "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" -- the latter with Eddie Van Halen's scorching guitar solo -- he was almost single-handedly responsible for getting videos by African-American artists on MTV and helped revitalize the moribund Top 40 format in the early 1980s.

"Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a friend. "Michael did with music what they later did in sports, and in politics and in television. No controversy will erase the historic impact." In Depth: Michael Jackson special report

"Thriller," a 14-minute video extravaganza directed by John Landis, paved the way for the elaborate music videos to follow -- including Jackson's "Scream," recorded with sister Janet in 1995, which cost a reported $7 million and may be the most expensive video ever. Audio slide show: Michael Jackson and his music »

His incredible dance talent, a modern twist on the Motown moves he witnessed as a child, led to a heightened focus on choreography in pop music videos and stage shows.

His 1982 album "Thriller" smashed records. It was No. 1 for 37 weeks and, at its peak, sold a million copies a week. To date, it has sold nearly 50 million copies worldwide. The achievement set a high bar for Jackson; when his 1995 greatest-hits CD, "HIStory," sold 7 million copies, it was considered a relative failure.
Don't Miss

* In Depth: Michael Jackson

Jackson was also a fashion icon, his heavily zippered leather jackets a de rigueur 1980s fashion accessory, his single, spangled glove beyond compare.

On the down side, Jackson also led in making pop stars the subject of the paparazzi and tabloids in a way, perhaps, equaled only by such icons as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the pre-"Sgt. Pepper" Beatles. Rumors abounded, from his pets to his sleeping habits to his cosmetic surgery, all fodder for the press. After stories arose of possible child molestation, he never got back in the media's good graces; he was treated as a traveling circus.

Graf_sampras said...

From the time he was a child, it was obvious Michael Jackson was something special. In 1966, when he was 8, he joined his brothers in the band his father put together and started singing lead with brother Jermaine.

Though Motown Records was the top label of the 1960s, inventing what it called "the Sound of Young America," by 1969 -- when Jackson and his brothers in the Jackson 5 first hit the charts -- the label was finding itself out of step with the psychedelic and hard-soul sounds of the times.

Enter the quintet from Gary, Indiana.

Motown signed the group in 1968 and poured its all into the Jackson 5's first single, "I Want You Back" -- the writing and production team were credited as "The Corporation" -- and Jackson's imploring, dramatic vocal rocked America. The song hit No. 1 in January 1970, and was followed by three more No. 1s in quick succession.

Thanks to their squeaky-clean image, the Jackson 5 became teen idols, unusual for a group of African-American youngsters. Michael Jackson's face appeared on the covers of teen magazines; the band even became the subject of an animated Saturday-morning TV show, another first for an African-American group.

But it was in the 1980s, when Jackson became a worldwide phenomenon, that his impact really began to be felt.

He was much imitated, from his hair to his clothes to his dance moves. The music was superbly crafted pop, produced by Quincy Jones and often written by Jackson himself. Even rock critics approved; the album "Thriller" earned an A from the picky Robert Christgau, among others.

There came a moment, around that time, when pop music went into a Jackson era. "Thriller" had nine songs; seven of them became singles. Jackson teamed with Lionel Richie to write the fundraising song "We Are the World"; it was his presence, as much as that of Richie, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, that propelled the song to No. 1.

Jackson reteamed with his brothers for an album, "Destiny," and accompanying tour. It was the hottest tour of the year, despite complaints about sales practices. (Partly because of the controversy, Jackson announced publicly he was donating all his money from the tour to charity.)

He was a role model. At the peak of his fame, there were reports of a humbly dressed Jackson ringing doorbells as part of his Jehovah's Witness faith.

Though Jackson's image eventually became sullied by the molestation allegations and stories of eccentricity, there was never any doubt about his entertainment legacy. "Thriller" and "Bad" are still among the top sellers of all time. His fluid dance moves and stage presence set standards that rising stars -- often compared to Jackson -- struggle to equal.

"Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was the most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched. He was truly one-of-a-kind," said Dick Clark, who would know.

And then there's the music, from the early, explosive joy of the Jackson 5 hits to the elegant ballads, down-and-dirty grooves and ecstatic dance hits of his solo years. "The Love You Save," "Billie Jean," "Beat It," "Bad" -- they are pop music boiled down to its best essence, with a good beat, an engrossing melody and even, sometimes, a message of love and fellowship.

It's enough to take a listener to the moon.

From CNN news

royce said...

The Sun of England is reporting his death details. Don't know if they are reporting this in the USA or even if they are true.

Graf_sampras said...

Tennisfan said...

Farrah's condition was known so it was very sad but I wasn't shocked by her news. But Michael Jackson's death came totally unexpected. I was waiting for his come back tour in the States because I never had the pleasure to watch him live. Sad, Sad news.

Thu Jun 25, 08:50:00 PM


SO rightly said , tragic as both individuals' passing has been. Farah really also suffered long, repeatedly and was such a sad lady after her days in Charlie's Angels where she really shined, along with her co-stars.

at least they are at rest now.

but with Michael, recently , i had begun wondering where he had gone to and WHEN he was going to come up with something that's going to re-affirm himself . i was fully expecting that as he grew older and hopefully more at ease with his life ..his talent woudl flower even MORE, with greater depth and maturity and creativity.

so sad.

nykinora said...

I'm feeling much the same as everyone else around here. It's so unbelievable. First of all R.I.P. Farrah. People will always remember the Farrah Flip and that smile...

And MJ?
For 40 years he blessed with his creativity, innovation and sheer genius. There will never be another like him, and I was never really sure if his insane level of talent was more of a curse than a blessing for him. But I'm glad that we had had him.

I was just talking about my mother who was telling me about a report in the news about prisoners in the Philippines dancing to MJ and doing a MJ routine. There was another report with Bollywood stars praising him.

And I was thinking about how both my mother and I love MJ while my youngest sister who is 11 years younger than me used to squeal and hide under the table whenever he came on TV because she was so in love with him, and who rang me up this morning in a state of shock.

And then I think about how powerful he was in the sense that he could transcend generational lines, cultural and national barriers, language barriers - about how he was both masculine and feminine at the same time.

And we were laughing about how he could not only out-dance and out-sing all-comers under the table, but he could out-accessorize them too ;) (Epaulettes and silver gloves forever!)

I will miss him so, so much and like Sampras-Graf I hope that he finds some measure of peace that he couldn't find in this life.

Craig Hickman said...

Andrew Sullivan, one of my favorite writers, who can write his face off when he feels like it, wrote this:

"There are two things to say about him. He was a musical genius; and he was an abused child. By abuse, I do not mean sexual abuse; I mean he was used brutally and callously for money, and clearly imprisoned by a tyrannical father. He had no real childhood and spent much of his later life struggling to get one. He was spiritually and psychologically raped at a very early age - and never recovered. Watching him change his race, his age, and almost his gender, you saw a tortured soul seeking what the rest of us take for granted: a normal life.

"But he had no compass to find one; no real friends to support and advise him; and money and fame imprisoned him in the delusions of narcissism and self-indulgence. Of course, he bears responsibility for his bizarre life. But the damage done to him by his own family and then by all those motivated more by money and power than by faith and love was irreparable in the end. He died a while ago. He remained for so long a walking human shell.

"I loved his music. His young voice was almost a miracle, his poise in retrospect eery, his joy, tempered by pain, often unbearably uplifting. He made the greatest music video of all time; and he made some of the greatest records of all time. He was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone.

"I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours' and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out.

"I hope he has the peace now he never had in his life. And I pray that such genius will not be so abused again."

oddman said...

That is a wonderful piece by Sullivan, and unhappily, true. A tortured young man trying to find his childhood, and with no one to trust anymore, except his sister Janet, I think.

May Michael indeed find the peace he never had.

Maru said...

thanks Craig for that piece you posted.
At first I was shocked and then deeply sad for the tales I kept hearing on CNN told by himself in interviews about his lack of childhood and lonelyness.
How could he had ever been expected to be normal? it was not possible. Very sad.
I was only a child (I was born in the 80's) but I remember his music and the people I used to listened it with, and I was really surprised on how his passing affected me.
Like dapxin said...
"Stunned. Speechless. And scared - my/our own morbidity."

May he rest in peace.

Graf_sampras said...

TRIBUTES To Michael Jackson: Online, At Vigils and From Heads of State.

NY Times.

YOU BET - MICHAEL JACKSON has done MORE for good things in the world than BUNCHES of Heads of State!!!
Michael had more AUDACITY and HOPE than any number of them!


dapxin said...


Here is serena + McEnroe on MJ just a few minutes on the BBC.

I just love Johns straightness

dapxin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graf_sampras said...

and this is true about Michael - what sullivan wrote;

I wanted to write something along those lines - but deemed it perhaps too "political" .

but THEN - the SADNESS of this great individual, this gentle soul and genius, who ended up having to find paths that would torture himself - yet in that sadness become an "entertainment" for the world itself - WAS a product of the culture of celebrity.

this is in fact a demonstration of how SOCIETY's most debased demands DESTROYS a Gentle Soul.

I will never forget how beautiful his singing was - whether as a child or a grownup - and will never forget how, growing up myself - that child's voice of his with his brothers just sent a shiver down one's spine in his expressiveness.

and it seems , right to the end, Michael kept looking for the childhood that was lost.

and indeed, as sullivan says, society IS at fault at the sadness of someone that was such a GIFT !!

inspite of THAT -- he gave a message of what? really? in his defiant , audacious way that broke so many barriers,

it was LOVE. may he rest in peace.

dapxin said...


I am sure the point John makes would interest you craig.

I couldnt email it to you

Graf_sampras said...

for some reason i want to remember Michael Jackson, above all as this child - the child who could have been HAPPY.

it really breaks one's heart to know how sad his life had become.

Graf_sampras said...

Graf_sampras said...

Geller said: "He was under tremendous stress. I think the anticipation of this mammoth challenge that was coming up, this 50-date tour, put him under huge pressure.

"To do 50 is a challenge for any super artist."

Gellor said Jacko died a "very lonely man" and "drank the love" of fans around him.

tangerine said...

MJ ruled the 80s and therefore a part of my childhood as well. I'm surprised how much his death has affected me. I couldn't help but notice that he died the same as Elvis Presley did: a superstar who was beloved all over the world but did not have one true friend he could count on. He must have felt like the loneliest person in the world.

Forgetting all the scandals and general freakishness that plagued him later on, I prefer to remember MJ as I first saw him at the height of his powers: doing the moonwalk for the first time ever during the Motown 25 celebration. That performance gave me goosebumps, I had never seen anything so electrifying. To this day no other performance I've seen on any music award show has made me react in the same manner. You had to be there in that moment to truly understand the impact this one performance had on the country at the time:

Craig Hickman said...

dapxin, my personal email address has changed. You can get it again on my other blog.

Thanks for sharing that interview.

b said...

I just saw this post. Thank you Craig for posting about him. I caught the news late yesterday afternoon and was so upset I couldn't do much for the rest of the evening.

Amazing, a few weeks ago I was watching some talent shows and other works on youtube (e.g. Britain's Got Talent snippets, DWTS etc) and was amazed at how many acts have drawn inspiration from Michael Jackson, either his music, his shows, or both. People of all ages, walks of like, different countries - still raving (even if in jest) over material that's at least 20 years old...

I have had the Thriller CD in My car a couple years now.... somehow "Wanna be starting something" doesn't seem to get old.

Was not expecting this now, although since following the last trial I came to the horrible realisation that he might not be safe - i.e. he was worth more dead than alive.... sigh

I also hate to see his legacy tarnished and the media distorting him into a wholly tragic figure.

As an aside, Craig - no offense - but I really do not like the Sullivan piece - find it patronizing....

Craig Hickman said...


No offense taken. We like what we like; we don't like what we don't like.

It's all good.

Graf_sampras said...

you know -- that old song when he was a kid -

""I'll be There" - could really sum him up.

and in a way HE'LL ALWAYS be THERE in our hearts and memories fondly.

and how fitting it would be!

i can't forget how movingly he sang that song!

dapxin said...

Just call my nammmmmme....
I l be there....
I am welling up again...

Graf_sampras said...

Daily News City Guide Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

Michael Daly
King of Pop's pal: Michael Jackson raised his children with 'loving discipline' - like he never got

Wednesday, July 1st 2009, 1:12 AM

Fans pay their respects at the modest childhood home of Michael Jackson and family in Gary, Ind.
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Whatever biology and genetics may or may not say, there is no disputing what the three children considered Michael Jackson.

"They called him, 'Daddy,'" Mike La Perruque, his long-time confidant and head of security, said Tuesday.

And, in La Perruque's experience, Jackson's primary goal was to be the very best daddy he could be in all the ways so much more important than any biological particulars.

"The kids were Michael's life," La Perruque said. "If there is anything that can be said about Michael, he was a very good father."

Jackson's father had been inordinately harsh, and he took this as a guide of how not to be.

"He thought a father should be what was opposite of what he received as a child," La Perruque said.

At the same time, Jackson understood that children need limits to help them find themselves and their place among others.

Graf_sampras said...

He guided them not with a stinging belt but with quiet words whose intent was always not to hurt but to help.

"Loving discipline," La Perruque said. "One thing he didn't want was to spoil the children."

La Perruque can recall moments such as when he was speaking with Jackson, and little Paris came running up to say something. Jackson paused and spoke as a daddy should, quiet and firm but warm.

"Paris, do you have an emergency?" Jackson asked.

"No," the child said.

"Do you see I'm talking to Mike?" Jackson asked. "You have to say 'excuse me' or wait unless you really need something."

La Perruque also remembered occasions when Jackson took his two older children along with the children of family friends to a toy store such as FAO Schwarz. "The other kids were going nuts, cartfuls of toys," La Perruque remembered. Jackson spoke to his children in that voice of loving discipline. "He would tell Paris and Prince, 'You're only allowed to have one toy and whatever it is, make sure it's one you really want,'" La Perruque remembered.

As the security chief from late 2001 to 2004 and then again from the summer of 2007 until the following spring, La Perruque assisted Jackson with another worry regarding the children. This was also born of Jackson's own childhood, when he was recognized and mobbed wherever he went.

"He did not want his kids growing up in the public eye," La Perruque said. "He wanted to minimize their exposure as much as he could, so his kids would not get the same public exposure he received when he was growing up."

The children were given masks when they went out until Jackson noted that the children of other celebrities were able to tolerate a certain amount of exposure.

"It was done just to protect the children," La Perruque said.

Jackson provided the children with someone very close to a mother in the person of their nanny, Grace Rwaramba. La Perruque can describe her with a single word. "Wonderful," he said. "I have only great things to say about Grace."

La Perruque has children of his own who are slightly older and he had long daddy-to-daddy talks with Jackson about the love and attention and guidance kids need as they progress through the stages growing up.

The oldest of Jackson's children was still two years from becoming a teen when La Perruque last saw them about a month ago at a family birthday party hosted by Janet Jackson at a Beverly Hills restaurant.

The three sat with their daddy, who was thinner than La Perruque had ever seen him. The children themselves seemed as unspoiled as ever.

"They were not the type of kids who run around crazy and do whatever they wanted to do," La Perruque said.

More than anything, all three seemed to be what any daddy wants most.

"Happy," La Perruque said. "They always seemed happy."

A month later, that happiness has become a measure of their heartbreak. They are out of public view in the family compound as the world buzzes about biological and genetic paternity.

The indisputable certainty is how rightly they called Michael Jackson daddy.

Graf_sampras said...

Michael Jackson named Diana Ross as possible guardian of his children in his will

• Document from 2002 in hands of lawyer
• Estate left to trust for Jackson's mother and children

* Buzz up!
* Digg it

* Ewen MacAskill in Washington
*, Thursday 2 July 2009 01.28 BST
* larger | smaller
* Article history

Nipsey Russell, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson during filming of The Wiz in 1977

Nipsey Russell as Tinman, Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as Scarecrow, photographed during filming of The Wiz in 1977. Photograph: AP

Michael Jackson's will was published yesterday, revealing he had left his entire estate to a family trust and named the Motown diva Diana Ross as potential guardian of his three children.

Jackson nominated his mother Katherine as the children's guardian in the first instance but, if she was unable to do this, he asked Ross to take custody. Ross – widely credited with having discovered Jackson – was also a friend and successfully raised five children of her own.

Earlier in the week, Jackson's parents said they were unaware of any will. But one written in March 2002 and carrying the singer's signature was in the hands of his friend and lawyer John Branca. The family filed it with a Los Angeles court yesterday. At just five pages the will is relatively short, but still reflects some of the bitterness he felt about his life. He was at pains to state that his former wife, Debbie Rowe, mother of two of his children from whom he had been divorced three years earlier, should be cut out of his will.

It was also telling that he named Ross as a substitute for Katherine rather than his father, Joe, who he has in the past accused of having beaten him as a child.

The will states: "If any of my children are minors at the time, I nominate my mother Katherine Jackson as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children. If Katherine Jackson fails to survive me or is unable or unwilling to act as guardian, I nominate Diana Ross as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children."

Ross, 65, is said to have introduced the Jackson 5 to Motown Records, though those involved at the time said this was a public relations stunt, and they had been discovered by others. But she did in 1969, just as she was leaving the Supremes to embark on a solo career, introduce them to national audiences.

The will hands his entire estate over to the Michael Jackson Family Trust, basically his mother and children. His wealth at the time was estimated at $500m (£302m). Two years ago, Jackson had $567.6m in assets, including his Neverland ranch and the rights to songs by the Beatles, but had debts of $331m, leaving him with a net worth of $236.6m.

His decision to cut out his former wife may encourage her to challenge the Jackson family for custody of the children and a share of the assets. She has not given any hint yet of her intentions.

There was no mention in the will of where Jackson wished to be buried.

A family spokesman, Ken Sunshine, said yesterday a public memorial is being planned but it will not be at Neverland. Details will be announced shortly, he said. Family members held a discussion with police, the fire services and other authorities in California on Tuesday about crowd control, traffic and other logistical problems. The LA Times reported yesterday that the Jackson family wanted to bury him at Neverland but could not find a way round legal obstacles to burial at a private residence, even though the California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had agreed to help clear the bureaucratic difficulties.

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Michael Jackson's mother given temporary guardianship of children
27 Jun 2009