For the people willing to place innuendo over both verdict and the people who knew him best: they saw a man to be vilified, shunned, and disparaged even as the world mourned. Evenhandedness both in the handling of Jackson’s legacy or his contemporaries seems oddly missing from commentary.
My momma said never speak ill of the dead. And like many others mourning the man and the music, I do my research as much as I let my heart lead. And I cry with a clear conscience.
For his fans, and more importantly his friends and family who actually knew him and called him friend, mentor, or father: they saw a man and an artist who gave of himself, his immense talent, and his fortune to heal the world. These people, who knew him best, showed up today to tell you about the Michael they cherished from childhood until his final days. And we fans watched with broken hearts and teared stained cheeks, memorializing him. Many of us hoping those other people were listening.
How many knew he visited disabled veterans? built hospitals and orphanages? helped famine victims? How many forgot he wrote a song that helped galvanize people to do something about famine? That he raised awareness about so many forgotten people and befriended those who were sick, abandoned, and unloved? How many let the music that united all of us fade away in a swarm of gossip?
Like the Reverend said at the end of today’s service, quoting Michael Jackson, “it’s time to look at the man or woman in the mirror and make a change,” to love each other and shun hatred.