My reaction to the news of Michael Jackson's passing caught me off guard. It's not that I knew him, ever met him or even attended a single concert, but his music was a huge part of the playlist of my life.
The first time I heard "Farewell My Summer Love" was on a childhood trip back from Sandbridge Beach with my father behind the wheel. Happier days for my family, for sure.
When I saw him Moonwalk on TV in 1983, he might as well have been walking on the moon. That's all we could talk about at school the next day. I used my babysitting money to buy the "Thriller" album and stayed up late (and all alone) to witness the world premiere of the video on the now obsolete Friday Night Videos. It terrified me, by the way.
"Don't Stop Til Get Enough" boomed from the sound system at Greenbrier Mall when I took to the runway in my very first fashion show. Just hearing that song today takes me back to the days of half and full turns.
I remember my college girlfriends and I joining the throng of fans in Foster Hall, the social epicenter of our university, to watch the premiere of the "Do You Remember the Time" video on the big screen TV. And when I auditioned for the school's dance troop, my freestyle rocked to "Keep it in the Closet".
And I made the squad.
It's not the mortal, flawed, freaky Michael Jackson that affected me. It is truly a case of the music behind the man. Whether you loved him, hated him, or were totally indifferent, his musical gift to this world cannot be denied.