“My purpose? To give in the best way I can through song, dance and music. I’m committed to my art. I believe that all art has as its ultimate goal, the union between the material and spiritual, the human and the divine. I believe that to be the very reason for the existence of art. I feel like I was chosen as an instrument to give music, love, and harmony to the world. I feel blessed and honored to be able to be an instrument of nature that was chosen to give that.” ~ Michael Jackson, Oprah Television Interview, 1993
The above (almost a direct quote, but paraphrased by me) is how Michael responded to Oprah when she asked him what he thought his life’s purpose was and what it felt like to “be him”. This next clip contains imagery of Michael with his voice, in snippets, talking about what art personally, and in general, means to him:
He was very shy and humble in how he said it, and I thought his response was right on (since that is the exact way I feel about art 🙂 ). I have always been a big fan of MJ. Such artistry, as evidenced throughout history, is often rife with pain, drama and loneliness. Many artists have to struggle with making a living and gaining notoriety. Michael had that part in the bag (fully sequined of course 🙂 ).
He was a Virgo, a self-professed perfectionist who was never quite pleased with anything he did, nor with the way he looked. He even was upset that he “could’ve done better” when he first debuted his Moonwalk on Motown’s 25th Anniversary show – “could have stayed on my toes longer”, he said. The rest of us were so mesmerized we didn’t notice. But the doer, and self-reviewer, always does.
“What is once done well is done forever.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I think you did just fine, Michael. Well, and forever.
He obviously had an unusual and difficult childhood, the effects of which, like most of us, showed up well into his adulthood and beyond. As for the allegations of abuse that he was said to have perpetrated, he was found innocent, but a toll was taken. The implications and ramifications of such charges were dire for everyone involved. People often act-out as a reaction to hurt from past experience, no matter who appears to be at fault, innocent or guilty, it happens all the way around. Situations like these can get complicated fast.
Whatever actually did or didn’t happen, it’s a shame, because Michael did give the world so much through his artistry. I, for one, get in a joyful mood whenever I hear his music. No one I’d rather dance to than MJ. (He produced his Thriller video and album the year I graduated High School, need I say more?). He gave a lot of thought to the visual impact, as well as the story, the lyrics, the voice & movement. He took it all very seriously AND had FUN with it. It was the full package of little details that came together to make it a full-bodied experience. There are a few artists that have, do and will, operate in this ‘performance style’ kind of way. I thoroughly notice and enjoy every bit of it. MJ is still King in my eyes.
“The glove was just – I thought one was cooler than two. I love to accent movement. The eye goes to where the white is – you know, the glove. And the feet, if you’re dancing, you can put an exclamation point on your movement if it has a bit of light on it. So I wore the white socks. And for the design of the jacket, I would sit with the people who made the clothes and tell them where I wanted a button or a buckle or a design.” ~ Michael Jackson
In addition to his study and knowledge of the history of art, dance and fashion, as was his goal, he did the rest of us a service by helping to break down social barriers with his music. And, by donating SO much of his time and money to a variety of charitable causes. Most importantly, as his little daughter Paris showed us, (with her tearful tribute to him at his memorial service, flanked by her two brothers), Michael was a most devoted and beloved father. As we all know, if we are parents and we wish to excel at anything, the greatest thing we can do is to succeed at that, especially if our time is short.
A life cut short is always a possibility, on both sides of the spectrum, though it’s something we rather not think about. Being mindful and pausing to give time and attention, doing the “little things” with our children, can enrich your life and theirs. If time is indeed cut short, you will have no regrets and you will leave them a mutually reciprocal legacy, a foundation of feeling loved and valued. That’s how we “make the world a better place, for you, & for me, & the entire human race…”.
Now pause, turn on some tunes, and get to grooving’ and memory makin’!