Top 10 Moments of 2009: #1 Michael Jackson ‘This Is It’

There is something to be said for inspiring millions in life but even more so after death. The shocking passing of the man many call the ‘Greatest to ever do it’ and the King of Pop is still a tender subject even as we close out a year full of economic woes, political battles, controversial music and videos and iconic comebacks. Ironically Michael Jackson, like Whitney Houston, was poised for a return to the stage and essentially a final bow that for him was a way to not just provide the fans he loved with music, a phenomenal stage show (as only he could do), and a historic venue to do it in, but a chance to once and for all rise above the idiosyncrasies of modern society and in true MJ fashion, inspire and rejuvenate our hearts. Kicking off 2009 with a plan to return to the stage via ‘This Is It,’ a historic concert series at London’s O2 arena, Michael Jackson set out to, as he had done in years past with “Heal The World,” “Man In the Mirror” and “Earth Song,” touch hearts and minds. Tapping the best dancers, musicians, and other talent from around the world, Jackson pieced together a show that would unbeknownst to him be seen worldwide. While his vision never reached its intended venue in July of 2009, the vision eclipsed music and pop culture posthumously. Even bigger after death as some would say, Michael Jackson ruled music in 2009. Everything from “Thriller” to “Number Ones” and all other efforts in between flew off shelves and into the hands of not just a nation but the world shortly after his death. Collectively dancing to the beat of “P.Y.T.,” “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal” and as you know the list goes on, not a single neighborhood, corner or landmark was silent when the King of Pop made his final bow. While the circumstances surrounding his death were disturbing, the truth is they pale in comparison to the legacy the King of Pop left behind. No matter where you turned in 2009, you found friends, neighbors, relatives, business associates and others with one thing in common – Michael Jackson. As never seen before, neighborhoods and communities came together by the hundreds and thousands to celebrate the life of Jackson. From Los Angeles to Indiana and St. Louis to Tokyo, Michael Jackson’s music, legacy, and vision came true. Even if just for a few days, weeks or hours the world and people, despite race, color, sexuality, and creed came together as one. As we have now seen with “This Is It,” the documentary, Michael Jackson remained true to his craft up to his final hours on this earth. Even with the jokes, allegations, trials and the scorching words often thrown at him over the years, Jackson looked beyond the surface and saw a need to not just entertain but to use his gift to help others. Perhaps the greatest lesson learned with the shocking and still hard to come to terms with death of Jackson is that we must look beyond the surface when dealing with one another. Yes, beauty and certain looks are often touted as being supreme but when the curtain closes and you take a final bow, as did Jackson, the imagery of beauty fades. What is left however is your story. No matter how muddied it may be or how many trials and tribulations you went through in life, your story from beginning to end serves as inspiration for others and perhaps as a cautionary tale. Perhaps Reverend Al Sharpton said it best when he told the late King of Pop’s children during a televised memorial “There was nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with but he dealt with it”.

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