REPOST: Remembering Michael JacksonPublished by Torrence Glenn on Friday, June 25, 2010 at 8:09 am.
Today marks the one year since the “Anniversary” of the death of the Chief Minister of Pop Music, Minstrel Michael Joseph Jackson. The saints love a title don’t we? Ha! But seriously, gospel artist or not, Michael Jackson was one of the most influential artists of all time and his influence didn’t stop with pop and r&b. His music and career despite the the hiccups were just as relevant to those of us who proclaim to love gospel music. So with that in mind, I’m reposting a blog I did right after his funeral close to a year ago.
What’s interesting is that it seems like it was only yesterday that we found out the news that Michael had passed; but at the same times, it feel like it’s been a good while since so much has happened in the past year. The funeral, the movie, the charges, etc. It’s all been so much in so little time that I sometimes have to remind myself that he really is gone. I won’t put many disclaimers in this part of the post because I get that out of the way in the beginning of the repost, so I’ll just say “It’s my blog and I can blog what I want to!” (*In my best Cyndi Lauper voice.*) RIP MJ!
***passed mic to myself***
No, he isn’t a gospel artist. I’m not even sure if he professed to be “saved.” (Deep ones, go away! I’m out of flotation devices and this ship will sail REGARDLESS.)
So I know you’re thinking “Why would Torrence take so much time in between blogs about gospel and then have the nerve to dedicate a post to Michael Jackson?” Or perhaps you love and appreciate Michael Jackson as an artist, but at the same time are thinking “Yeah, he was good and all that but he had nothing to do with gospel music!”
So yes, I’ll acknowledge that he was in fact, not a gospel artist. But I’d be remissed (how’s that for church talk!) to ignore the contribution he has made to and received from gospel music. “What do you mean Torrence?” Well, I’m glad you asked. (So churchy today.) Full disclosure, I was/am a huge fan of Michael’s music and ministry so this post will read as such. (Yes, I said ministry! If handing out clothes and feeding the poor at your church’s outreach center is ministry, then you have to count the millions of dollars and efforts Michael made to charity as ministry too! So deep ones, if you’re STILL reading stop now! )
So here, in no particular order of importance are my thoughts, tribute, and ramblings regarding Michael Jackson and Gospel:
The Jackson 5 - Come on (or shall I say shum-on), you know The Jackson 5 were really a five-member quartet! The costumes, the choreography, the one guy singing lead and the bitter background singers who had to sing in the shadows? That group had all the makings of a quartet group to me and I haven’t even addressed those vocals.
Joe Jackson was his daddy. – It’s no secret that Joe Jackson was mean, strict and arguably to some (not me) abusive. He beat those notes right on out of those kids. Sounds a lot like some of our favorite choir directors of yesteryear and today now doesn’t it? I’ve heard stories of hymn books being hurled accross the choir stands for wrong notes and all that. I’m just saying…
White socks and black shoes. – For my entire childhood, I had to watch women in church rock white stockings and black shoes and think it was hot! The excuse? “It breaks up the black.” Whatever. I’d rather you just be honest and say you were trying to look like Michael Jackson. Which brings us to…
The Glove (and everything that came with it) – Rhinestones? Check. Sequins? Check. Glitter? Check. Now what about this checklist does not SCREAM 1st Sunday, convention, first lady, etc. Be honest! And you ushers past and present know you wish you could have spruced up that uniform with one of those gloves.
Kirk Franklin, Tonex, Tye Tribbett, Deitrick Haddon, 21:03, et al. – Nuff said. Ok, I’ll say a little bit more, ha! But really, without Michael’s legendary lead of genre mixing and showmanship would any of the artists I mentioned and their counterparts exist.
We Are The World – We’ve all been to a convention, conference or retreat at least once. And admit it, one of the best parts of these events is the “sing-a-long/mic toss.” He brought together the top artists of the day, got em in a room together, turned them into a choir and they did a sing-a-long and mic toss.
Neverland Ranch – With all the news coverage lately about Michael’s former home, I kept saying to myself “Every room almost looks like an old school pulpit!” Think about it, all that gawdy and gold furniture with the velvet cushions. You know your Bishop used to sit in a seat like that…even now. You could tape an episode of TBN’s “Praise The Lord” in any of those rooms.
Michael Jackson spoke in tongues – Ok, seriously, have a laugh! I know he was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and all, but I think he just may have snuck out to a black church pretty regularly. Because umm “mama say, mama sa, mama coo sa” will make you feel some kind of way when the music breaks on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.” And let’s not forget “shum-on” and “Shondo Annie” from “Smooth Criminal.” I’m just gonna stop there. Somebody is going to kick me out the church. LOL
Yeah, I know it wasn’t the most somber “tribute” but I just had to get it out and wanted you to get it out with me. But seriously, say what you want. Michael Jackson had serious gospel style chops and would wail and tune up with the best of any gospel singer you can name. Click the link below to the “Bad” video. Fast forward to about 14 minutes in (it’s the long version) and you’re gonna see the gospel come out of Michael! Ha!
Rest In Peace Brother
And one more thing. Be mindful of YOUR WITNESS. Some of Michael’s closest friends were gospel artists and I’m going to believe that through their words and lives, they had an effect on him. I’m not gonna preach, but like always…I’m just sayin…
PS. use the comments to talk about your MJ memories and let me know if I missed anything. Perhaps you have your own Michael Jackson gospel moments.
PPS. Just finished watching that funeral. Now say what you want about MJ and church. Somebody planning that funeral knew Jesus! Yes!
***switches mic to other hand***
Well, that’s it folks. Pardon me while while I crank “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and do a devotional clap and foot tap on the vamp!