#0022: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson.

The name alone carries with it a certain amount of weight.  He was a dancer, a singer, an entertainer, a music video pioneer, a philanthropist, a father, a brother, and one of the most dynamic – and tragic – figures the world has ever seen.

One year ago today, his life was cut short at the age of 50.  Yet, despite his seemingly untimely death, his influence on the world culture continues to live on.

When I was growing up, Michael wasn’t just a celebrity – he was THE celebrity.  I would catch every single music video, concert special, album release… heck, I even dressed up as him for Halloween one year!

But beyond that, Michael taught me, like the rest of us, that if you do something very, very well, you’ll be able to see and do things that most people only dream about.

His presence on this Earth impacted so many different areas of entertainment.  He is the reason people began taking the craft of making music videos seriously.  He is the reason more and more people took dancing and singing seriously.  And yes, he’s the reason that most of today’s R&B singers and pop acts perform on-stage the way they do.

Unfortunately, Michael was also the poster child for what happens when your wealth and influence causes you to make BAD decisions.  Yes, he was a great entertainer, but his personal life story was not the happiest of stories.  Abused as a child, accused of various crimes involving children, living as a recluse who couldn’t even do something as simple as going to the grocery store… and of course, the addiction to various pain killers and drugs that ultimately brought his life to an end.

But even in Michael’s tragic story is an example of what NOT to do.  And I’ve always believed that, sometimes, the best example a person can give is one with an outcome you don’t want.

And so, on this day, we salute Mr. Jackson for the many influences he brought to us during his life.  Were it not for him, the entertainment world would definitely not be the same.  As for me, I wouldn’t have learned how to moonwalk, which meant I definitely wouldn’t have had an ice breaker to use on the kids who were making fun of me as the “new kid in school” in the 6th grade!

Ah, Michael Jackson… now THAT’S something we should be thankful for!

Have your own idea for something to be thankful for? Email 1001ThingsToBeThankfulFor@Gmail.com.

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