I remember being a precocious twelve year old Black girl whose every waking moment was consumed with thoughts of Michael Jackson. If I do say so myself, I believed at the time that I was his number one fan!!!!

I was so enamored of Michael that I figured I knew every detail of his life no matter how small or insignificant.

I followed his life like an avid sports fan follows the stats of his or her favorite player!!

I knew that Michael was born August 28, 1958. I always calculated that he was 13 years older than me.

I even became a devotee of his catalog of lesser songs.

To me in his early 20’s during his Off the Wall Fame I thought Michael Jackson was the most handsome Black man in America.

He was warm, witty, and down to earth.

I love watching classic videos and photographs of him from this era.

From the perspective of an overzealous fan, it appeared that Michael was a carefree young man with the world as his oyster.

I always fantasied about being a part of his life and the lives of his siblings.

To me they represented African American royalty.

They were rich and famous.

They had loving and adoring fans worldwide.

Then came Thriller.

Thriller as in the block buster, mega selling album of all time!!!

I mean I knew Michael was the man.

But after Thriller, I was like, wow, who is that gloved man?

If I had Michael on the brain before, he was really on mind 24/7 now.

Though it is debatable, Billie Jean was and still is my favorite cut from the album.

Seeing Michael hone and perfect his craft in the new medium of video really solidified him as the greatest to me!!!

Michael had really crossed over to the other realm once his videos were being heavily rotated by MTV.

His performance at the Motown 25 special was very galvanizing as well as his performances on the world Victory tour with his brothers soon afterwards.

Through all of this, I still felt Michael was accessible somehow.

I mean if nothing else, I could still “feel” his music!!!

After Thriller, the Victory tour, and the Pepsi fiasco, it seemed that Michael was in much need of some rest and relaxation.

Enter Bad!!

I loved that album. I was wishing that it would top Thriller as the bestselling album of all time!!!

My favorite cuts from the album were Dirty Diana and The Way You Make Me Feel-again a debatable point!!!

And then>>>

The Michael Jackson that I so loved and adored for many years literally transformed into another other worldly figure right before my eyes!!!

I still wonder sometimes how and why did this happen.

One point I want to make explicitly clear is that I never for a moment believed any of the charges of molestation against Michael.

Unfortunately, these accusations are the downside of fame in America-especially being the most celebrated entertainer in the world!!!

Much has been written about Michael’s extensive plastic surgeries.

I am still stunned at his unusual transformation.

I am at a complete loss as to what he was looking for.

It broke my heart over his appearance at the end of his life.

Michael didn’t look human.

He seemed even more vulnerable.

The African American community had become indifferent to his plight and his fame.

The Michael Jackson that we knew and loved had ceased to exist.

I remember the day he died.

It was late in the day and almost quitting time.

A co-worker informed me that it was being widely rumored that he had died.

We searched in vain for any up to date information.

The confirmation came later that night when his brother Jermaine confirmed his death on television.

His televised funeral was a sideshow more or less.

I was glad to see the homage paid to him by today’s R&B superstars like Chris Brown and Usher at the Soul Train awards following his death.

For me and I suspect most in the African American community, the Michael Jackson that we knew, loved, and honored exists in the pre-Thriller era.

While I believe that there is nothing wrong with crossover appeal, Michael’s white hot appeal to us seemed to lose something.

I can’t exactly pinpoint it.

Did he, as well as his music become irrelevant to the Black experience?

All I know now is that his music in his Off the Wall Days as well as the music he recorded with his brothers are now considered classic masterpieces in the Black community.

I love listening to those classics such as Working Day and Night, Can you Feel It? Never Can Say Goodbye, etc.

These tunes recall the “Real” Michael before all of the drama and disillusionment of fame set in.

In a way they were days of innocence.

To this Michael I never can say Goodbye-which is incidentally my favorite Michael Jackson song of all time!!!!!

Sorry to ramble dear readers.

I just wanted to pay tribute to one of our greatest icons and legends who just happened to stumble and lose their way in the End.

I still love you Michael!!!

Until next time….