(Photo by Chris Walter, 1983)
I don’t normally post things like this, but I am feeling so sad right now that I don’t know what else to do. Bear with me.
I’m part of the generation that’s old enough to remember Michael Jackson from before he became a punch line, but young enough to not think of him as a child prodigy. When Thriller came out in 1982, I was in second grade. Michael Jackson was 24, and he was a sex symbol like no other. He was mysterious. He was cute. He didn’t look, sound, act, or dance like anyone else—he had moves, he was magic.
The only things I remember about second grade are that my teacher was Mrs. Loeber, and that Thriller was HUGE. It’s impossible to overstate how infatuated the entire world seemed to be with Michael Jackson in the early and mid-’80s, and he deserved every accolade he received (and then some).
If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with me about Michael Jackson, you know that I am one of those people who will defend him to no end. It kills me that his so-called “weirdness” has overshadowed his truly stunning talent for so many years, but I’ve always been able to look beyond that and keep an intense appreciation for all that he contributed to music and entertainment and dance and fashion. I’ve never stopped thinking that he’s magic.