I’m a big Michael Jackson fan. When I was a kid, I remember having an action figure of his likeness that came with a little sparkly glove that took forever to get on and always seemed to get lost. I love taking the time to make a playlist of my favorites that people wouldn’t put on a “best of album”. Every time I see a music video with big set pieces, I wonder if that artist is thinking “this is my Thriller”.
It was easy to envision aspects that I admire in Michael being in me. He liked music, I liked music. He worked hard to get where he was, I was working hard towards my goals. He was a good dancer, I have yet to break any bones on the dance floor.
Michael Jackson was the beyond reproach. Placed on the pedestal as the King of Pop forever more.
I even remember getting into a little scuffle once in elementary school because someone had repeated some tabloid story about Michael.
I was not going to hear anything bad about him.
To this day, I still have admiration and love for him and his music.
Some of my “friends” love to tease me about this and try to get me riled up because of the allegations. And I have to contemplate about how do I separate a person and the work that they produce. How much of this is the person being eccentric versus them being … y’know… weird.
So, I feel that I understand what it means for your hero to have allegations against them.
And with time and personal growth, I have learned to except that sometimes you have to separate the person from their work. It started with me understanding that not everything that I do is a reflection of who I am. If that is true for me that it can be true for others.
It’s ok if your hero is not perfect.
You might hear that a person is different than what you’ve perceived in the past.
Because the truth is that I am me and Michael Jackson is Michael Jackson.
Whether he does great things or not so great things does not determine my worth as a human being. I will be forever grateful for having known of him and will continue to argue that his music has changed the way that we perceive music1 and musicians.
All ask, dear reader, is that you take a moment to reevalute the passion that you have for your heroes -whoever they maybe- and understand that critiques made to them are not transitory.
You are you.
I’ll also argue that “Off the Wall” is better album than “Thriller”, but that’s another post. ↩︎