News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
30th June 2009

Sharing Michael Jackson’s blues

posted in In the News, Just life, Local Politics, Women's issues |

Being of a certain age, I grew up with Michael Jackson. I remember dancing with my cousin to the Jackson 5 for hours (ABC, it’s easy as 1,2,3) while choreographing our own elaborate steps and twirls. Michael, in particular, caught my imagination from the start.  I watched with the world as his music evolved and his sense of self morphed into something alien that made me sad. Days after his death, I’m still trying to make sense of what his music and persona meant to me. In Sunday’s Boston Globe, Wesley Morris wrote an article about Jackson that resonates, not only because it acknowledges his great musical talent and explains the allure he held for folks of all colors and nationalities, but because it attempts to understand why Michael Jackson was not good enough for himself—just the way he was created—with dark skin, round nose and nappy hair. Morris attempts to explain the struggle some African Americans have being okay with their blackness, and as a white female, I admit it’s not something I’ve experienced personally. But I do know about gender struggles—such as being okay with throwing like a girl, being emotional, or physically weaker than many men. I have experienced my own version of trying to accept myself as good enough as a woman in a post-feminist world that expects super-career-moms who handle jobs, childcare, community service, and managing the home without breaking a sweat. The unrealistic expectations are difficult enough; the fact that they thrive within an historical and cultural context that exalts manhood makes it worse. So yes, Morris hits a chord with me on many levels when he writes: “They – we – could see well past the bleached skin and unnatural Caucasian features. We could see his blues.” Finally, I understand better my empathy for Michael’s madness. On a more pleasant note, this link on Dick’s blog allowed me to revisit why I love dancing to Michael Jackson’s music and why watching him sing and move is still joyful—a gift he leaves us all. May he rest in peace.

Comments are closed.

  • Blogroll

  • Contact Us

  • Education Links

  • Local Groups

  • Local media