I have to admit, I sat on my couch with much anticipation for the Michael Jackson hologram performance on the Billboard Music Awards. Despite some tweets and Facebook posts beforehand already slamming the idea, I held onto hope.
I miss being able to witness the otherworldly talent and energy that Michael emitted on stage, and wished for the goosebumps that dimpled my arms on those occasions–like the time my sister Robin and I watched Michael’s historic performance of Billie Jean on the Motown 25th Anniversary Show.
Alas, the hologram did not give my goosebumps. I don’t want to say it gave me the creeps either, though I did post on a friend’s Facebook thread that night that I thought there was something creepy about it. Yes, the technology to create Michael’s moving figure through space was amazing. And this virtual Michael still had a healthy nose, and a healthy physique. But, it didn’t satisfy. It wasn’t human, and it made me wonder, what’s next–entire concerts performed by deceased stars–MJ, Whitney Huston, or a full-on Tupac show, that expands on his Coachella hologram from a few years back? The hologram left me feeling empty, and missing the real Michael.
Luckily, the feeling of aliveness returned this week in the form of a high school talent show in Turlock, California. Many of you may have already seen splashed across social media sights this video of a high school student performing Billie Jean, but if you haven’t here it is, and if you have, it’s worth watching again. This boy, who happens to be white, has recreated the dance, move for move, and does a brilliant job. When I watched, I imagined how many hours he must have studied Michael’s Billie Jean performance, and how many more he danced in front of a mirror to nail every move just so. Most of all, I thought this boy must revere Michael Jackson, and how great it is that Michael’s work continues to live on, even in this generation, by those that recognize MJ as one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century.
My friend, Keith Thompson, who is always sharing amazing music with me, shared this video today. Keith works at Brown University as a senior computer education specialist, and I am certain he will be featured more in-depth in a blog post in the near future. About the boy and MJ, Keith had this to say:
I thought is was possibly the best rendition of that dance that I’ve ever seen. I remember watching it when I was a kid on television when it actually happened. We likely lost our minds when he broke out with the moonwalk.
I’m thinking most of his fans were not black, but mostly of international origins. I don’t even think blacks were his biggest audience in America. So to see this young man doing his act isn’t a shock at all to me. Most black people want to do some sort of hybrid (Usher, Chris Brown etc) of his dance, but nobody actually breaks out MJ. Blacks claim Michael Jackson now, but when he was alive they didn’t claim him and he didn’t claim us. He was more of the people than of race. Which is what made him in my mind so amazing, he completely obliterated the color barrier when it came to entertainment. In the same breathe as Jimi Hendrix did….
Thoughts about Michael and race could fill a blog post and a half themselves, but I wanted to include Keith’s perspective, and love his line that Michael “was more of the people than of race.”
Skip the hologram. Watch this.
SOURCE: www.youtube.com, Teen Dances To Michael Jackson video posted by Global Flare