Today marks the five year anniversary of Michael Jackson leaving this planet to return home as an angel in heaven. I was blessed recently to attend the magical Cirque de Soleil honoring the King of Pop, and I will certainly never forget that night. However, the magic that is Michael Jackson impacted my life long before attending that show. I remember being a little girl, sitting in front of the television, watching Michael Jackson dance, with children in a Pepsi commercial, and thinking, “I wanna be just like him when I grow up.” Not even realizing at the time, that I had a difficulty walking, much less dancing as though I was weightless and floating across the floor. But, it wasn’t just his ability to dance or sing. It was the effervescent light, or energy, that permeated the room, even through the screen of a television. That same energy that has caused hundreds of girls, women and even men alike, to pass out in his presence. That same energy that catapulted him to fame like none other. I even begged for a silvery-white glove to wear, and I remember being told by other boys, in my elementary school class, “you can’t wear that. You’re a girl!” Of course, I responded, “Who says? My aunt said, ‘if the glove fits, wear it.’” Even at the young age of 12, when the epic song, Man in the Mirror, came out, my fascination and admiration for Michael Jackson, became even stronger because 12 was the age that I really began to feel a calling within myself to serve the world and make it a better place. Of course, at 12, idealism runs rampant in the mind. and I thought, with love and compassion, all the world’s problems could be solved, and this song Man in the Mirror, became an anthem that I played relentlessly, until I, literally, wore out the cassette tape.
Fast forward to 1998, I was a young 22 year-old, planning to make the big move across country to Los Angles, the west coast. If any of my dreams to serve and make the world better could happen, I was sure they could happen there. The first time I went to Los Angeles, I was completely blown away by the number of young adults and teenagers that were homeless on the streets of Santa Monica beach. Of course, being from Washington, D.C., I had seen my share of homeless people, but never homeless children. So, with my beloved anthem, Man in the Mirror, blaring out of the speakers of my rented van, while on one of my first of many trips to prepare and set out for the move, I went into McDonald’s and bought $150 of hamburgers and cheeseburgers, with the song Man in the mirror, blaring ,i handed out as many hamburgers and cheeseburgers as $150 was able to purchase. For the most part, the kids were very grateful, and very obviously longed for someone to talk to. I had heard stories of survival, rebellion, tragedy and inspiration, that i sill carry close to my heart. Eventually, when I did move to Los Angeles, there was a young man named Nathan, who I kept up with. He wasn’t like the other kids. He was filled with ambition, and truly wanted “off the streets.” Bur, he escaped a home where he had been severely beaten and abandoned, after he was caught kissing another boy behind the bleachers at his high school. very often, I would bring him food, a blanket, or clothing that I thougtht would look nice on him. He told me one of the last times I saw him, that whenever he heard the song Man in the Mirror, he would think about the little angel in a wheelchair who passed out hundreds of hamburgers though he adniiteed the first time that happened, he was frightened, be ause the van that I had rented looked like “a gang member’s van with tinted window.’ with music blaring. He said he’d never been so shocked, to see Little Old Me, come ut in my wheelchair, with as many hamburgers as I could hold. I also had o teach myself, once I moved hftere, never to have cash on me, because I would inevitably be handing it out to kids in the street. I often wonder what happened to Nathan. I don’t know his last mane, or even if he’s still in California but I’m sure he’s found his way to success, with his optimism that was unfailing even in the worst of circumstances . And, I am proud, that I was able to play the smallest role in this journey, giving him a piece of Michael’s magic along the way. I still use that song to raise myself up, as an anthem, to continue serving,even if I’m met with criticism or unappreciated. i don’t mind because my efforts are pure, and as long as G-d and Michael can witness my continued effort to pick myself up and be of service, I am content and peaceful.
The song is so full of truth and reflection. If we find ourselves in this modern world where taking selfies is often a daily activity, then we certainly have the opportunity to look at ourselves and ask, “what have we offered the world today?” Not just an image but from the heart. As many of you know, over the last couple of days, I have flooded social media with messages supporting and educating on childhood cancer, as yesterday was a day of great importance when advocates for this cause went to Capitol Hill to voice the need for more funding and research. One of the parents lovingly know as Tattoo Tom, started a non-profit organization called StillBrave, after his daughter, Shayla, passed away from cancer. His slogan is, “I asked, why isn’t somebody doing something, and then I realized I am somebody.” I mention Tom and that organization because that slogan truly captures the essence of that song, “Man in the Mirror.” Michael continues to be an advocate through his music, for humanity and children, with numerous songs, like “Black and White,” “Human Nature,” the Earth song, and, most recently, from the latest album , Xcape, “Do You Know where your Children are?” All of these songs and so many more, speak to equality, love, respect, and preserving human life and the planet. His passion and love for humanity, and changing the world for the better, will inevitably endear him to my heart. As is often the case, when an earth angel, uses their light to cast out darkness in the world, that darkness rises up in an effort to rob that light, and this happened to MJ, as he was countlessly falsely accused of terrible deeds ike harming children, being crazy, even putting his own children in harm’s way. I know with every fiber of my being, that he did no such thing, as these acts undeniably, go against everything he stood for. I do think he fell victim to substance abuse, in an effort to escape the demands of his iconic name, and the pain inflicted on him by the same people in humanity he was working to save. Unfortunately, greed from those that worked for him led to his untimely death, as he was not properly protected or cared for, but rather used for his financial status and where he was able to buy compliance, giving him access to the deadly substances that ultimately lead to his death. But, whether he passed, because of carelessness and/or addiction, I believe his light-filled soul could only withstand the lower vibration of the earthly plane for so long, and his spirit had to return to the higher plane, where his heart and essence was free and will always be timeless.
My wish for the world is that more people will rise up, supporting causes that Michael supported, and embrace his music as a collective anthology of music to serve as their anthem, when they are in need of some Michael Jackson magic to lift them up so they can carry on to be of service.