I was a veteran before i was a teenager - tribute to Michael Jackson

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

By Marlon Crump

by Staff Writer

"If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with."

Michael Jackson.

I thought Thursday June 25th, 2009, would be a typical day............or so I (and the rest of the world) thought.

I went to the San Francisco Main Public Library, at approximately 3:00p.m to check my email. Before my arrival, I noticed that wherever I went, a certain artist's songs were blasting on anything that had a radio broadcast. The stunning reason became apparent when I highlighted the internet site publication of Yahoo News.

Then I saw it, the headline that solar eclipsed the world:


"Jackson was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where doctors said he was non-responsive."

I quickly got up from the computer and walked around. That very headline would've put me in a great state of shock, had I known him personally. For the rest of the week, his music continued to blast everywhere. Everything, his life, success, music, controversies, and the legacy he would leave immediately came out, like an overstuffed closet.

Like the deaths of J.F.K, Dr. King, Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley, and Tupac Shakur, before him, Michael Jackson's death left a stampede of shockwaves that still have yet to be removed, from people's minds. Though death is an assured reality for all human beings, he was always viewed by millions across the globe as an angelic being, for inventing heart-grasping music, and presenting his dazzling performances, far beyond the human anatomy.

For everyone that followed his career since he was eight years old, Michael Joseph Jackson was just that!

"I was a veteran before I was a teenager, "he once said.

After Jackson pursued his own musical solo career away from his older brothers, the legendary "Jackson 5" he earned the non self-proclaimed title: "The King of Pop." His incomparable dancing, moves, singing, gimmicks, clothing, and world wide performances would forever earn him that uncontested title.

The King of Pop had weathered the entire music industry with a thunderstorm that continues to rage, even with his now dearly- departure from earth. During the 1980s, his greatest (and the greatest) album of all time, Thriller, along with many of his other past and present albums and songs had universally-transcended Jackson far above his very own success.

He single-handedly ruled the entire pop music industry during that era. "There's nothing that can't be done if we raise our voice as one." This was an infamous quote by him that was stated at his memorial tribute. My family of POOR Magazine/POOR News Network can identify with those words based on the work that we continue to do, with our own slogan:

"The Revolution begins with I and ends with WE!"

An icon's icon, a performer's performer, and a pop culture folk hero legend's legend earned him the spotlight among many, forever. I told everyone that came around me that he would possibly have the BIGGEST memorial tribute that anyone in the world has ever seen.

I was right.

July 7th, 2009, 18,000 plus fans attended Michael Jackson's memorial tribute, at the Los Angeles Staples Center. An un estimated thousands more fans paid tribute to him outside, while millions more watched the memorial (including myself) on T.V.

Wearing the crystal white glove, his red leather and black Thriller outfit, t-shirts bearing his face or name, posters, and everything associated with Jackson's gimmick were what his fans carried with them, in honor of him.

Myself, among many fans and loved ones knew that he had touched the world to such an unfathomable degree, that this memorial tribute could be held every single day, and no one would still believe that Michael Jackson was really gone.

Among the many speaking participants, celebrities, performers, and highly recognized activists were:

.Singer Lionel Richie

.Singer Mariah Carey

.Singer Stevie Wonder

.Singer Usher Raymond

.Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records

.Kobe Bryant, basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers

.Earvin Magic Johnson, former basketball player, and humanitarian

.Rev Al Sharpton, civil rights activist

.Singer Jennifer Hudson

.Actress Brooke Shields

.Actress Queen Latifah

.Rev Martin Luther King III

And as well Michael's entire family were there to say goodbye to him.

Queen Latifah recited a poem by famed poet, Maya Angelou, "We had him:"

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Guitarist John Mayer, performed one of Jackson's greatest hits, "Human Nature" by the means of his electric guitar. "I’ll be there" (One of Jackson’s hit songs) was sung by Mariah Carey, "Gone too Soon" was tearfully sung by Usher Raymond, " Will you be there" (One of Jackson’s other hit songs) was sung by Jennifer Hudson, "Never Dreamed you’d leave in Summer” and “They won’t go when I go” was sung by Stevie Wonder.

At the O2 Arena, in London, England the "Queen of Pop" Madonna paid tribute to the "King of Pop." Ironically, this is where he was scheduled to perform his next concert dates.

Smokey Robinson spoke the words of legendary singer, Diana Ross, and former South African president, Nelson Mandela, in their shared grief with the world on losing Michael Jackson.

Brooke Shields, a long time friend of Jackson seconded those statements, in her emotional address of Michael. "To the outside world, he had unchallenged ability."

While the "King of Pop" was beloved by millions, there were always the negatives that attacked his career. Being subjected to scandals, allegations, public ridicule for his numerous skin transformations, and being a constant survivor of childhood abuse; only motivated Jackson to work even harder towards penetrating negative public opinions about him.....................by the means of his very own voice and art.

"People write negative things cause they feel that's what sells." Jackson once said. "Good news to them doesn't sell."

"There was nothing strange about your daddy!" exclaimed Rev. Al Sharpton to Michael Jackson's children, as they sat in the audience "What was strange was what he had to deal with!"

Two of Jackson's hit songs, "We are the World" and "Heal the World" were sung, which concluded the ceremony. Those two very songs by Jackson closed out the ceremonial memorial tribute; sung in unison by a community that quickly crowded the stage to be living testimonies, of what message these two songs by Jackson really meant.

"Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. I just want to say that I love him so much."

These were the words of his daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. Millions, (including myself) that watched this tribute had tears in their eyes. Hearing this little girl speak about how much she missed her father, in front of the whole wide world, could've melted the hardest of hearts to trickle a tear.

A flowered, golden casket of Michael Jackson lie below the stage, as he was prepared to be driven out and be laid to rest after the memorial tribute. Days following his death, a picture of him was placed on POOR's memorial alter in honor of all our comrades, elders, and brethren struck down in their struggle for survival.

"Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone." Marlon Jackson said softly, as he stood alongside on the stage with Jermaine Jackson.

A summer's disregard

A broken bottle top

And a one man's soul

They follow each other

On the wind ya' know

Cause they got nowhere to go

That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror

I'm asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you wanna make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make a change,


Na na na, na na na, na na na na oh ho

Lyrics from Michael Jackson’s 1988 hit song, “Man in the Mirror” from his album, “Bad.”


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