Yesterday, June 30th I visited Harlem to pay my respects to the late Michael Jackson. People around the world are mourning the death of Michael as one big community, transcending borders and backgrounds.
Michael Jackson proved this point in life and in death: It doesn’t matter if you are black or white.
I saw it. You saw it. In this race-based obsessed society of ours Michael morphed from brown skin to white skin – and I loved him harder because of it.
See, it’s not about races/
Where your blood/
Is where your space is/
I’ve seen the bright/
I’m not going to spend/
My life being a color/ — ‘Black or White’ song lyrics
I didn’t cry when I heard Michael died. I was in total disbelief.
I didn’t cry when I walked through the park on my way to NYC and I saw kids dancing to MJ’s song ABC 123.
I didn’t cry when I walked down 125th street in Harlem on my way to the Apollo. Though seeing all the panhandlers working hard to make a buck from Michael’s death through t-shirts, posters, and buttons did make me sad.
I didn’t cry when I bought a white rose from a vendor to leave Michael at the Apollo. It was a small but needed gesture on my part. I went retro for Michael, with an afro, dressed in 70’s clothing.
Today I cried. I watched on YouTube the video for his song “You are not alone” for the first time. Both the song and the video are about Lisa Marie Presley. He lived his music. I didn’t realize until his death how much he loved his ex-wife Lisa Marie.
Rest in peace MJ.
7.7.09:Today is Michael’s LA Memorial Service. The media reports “More than 1.6 million people registered for free tickets to Jackson’s downtown memorial. A total of 8,750 people were chosen to receive two tickets each.”
My favorite quote in Yahoo’s coverage of today’s ceremony: “A few dozen people, some wearing the gold wristband that will allow them into the memorial service, gathered early Tuesday at the perimeter set up outside the Staples Center.
“They’re touching us and saying, `Can you bring the love in for us?'” said Mishelle Van, 37, who said she drove from Hesperia to spend the early morning hours meeting other Jackson fans.”
This reminds me that I gave my white rose for Michael to a lady standing in line. I wouldn’t have been able to get in due to the time I arrived, the number of people in line, and the time the Apollo would close off to visitors. I asked her if she could take my rose in for Michael. She agreed warmly.
9:56pm, post service: Al Sharpton did good! Go to this YouTube user for videos of the LA service.
Below are my pictures from 125th Street in Harlem, at the Apollo Theatre.
© 2010 W. S. Hughes