Keeping MJ Alive…Without The Hologram

23 May

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:, Teen Dances To Michael Jackson video posted by Global Flare

10 Responses to “Keeping MJ Alive…Without The Hologram”

  1. Vickie May 23, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Great post! Not being an MJ fan myself – Jackson 5 – yes, yes and more yes, but not really for MJ as a solo, (I think it was all of the freakishness that surrounded him) but I do remember watching that 25th anniversary special and being totally floored, awestruck by his performance. Now that I am older I do find myself listening to his post-Jackson 5 music more and more. I guess I can now appreciate the talent with out all of the other “stuff”.

    • Wendy Jane May 23, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Vickie,

      I suppose I can still be your friend even if you aren’t a big MJ fan.:)

      People were put off by Michael’s appearance and odd behaviors in his later years. It saddened me, and yes, while it was hard to look at him with all that he did to alter his appearance and what that must have meant for him, well, I still regarded him highly for the immense talent that he was and for all he contributed to the world of music and entertainment in his lifetime.

      As always, thanks for your support!

      Wendy Jane

      • Vickie May 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

        Glad you can look past that! 🙂

        • Wendy Jane May 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

          yup:) for me, my love of his artistry overruns the problems he had later in his life.

          • Vickie May 26, 2014 at 9:54 am #

            LOL! I meant – look past the fact that I am not an MJ fan” –

          • Wendy Jane May 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

            hahaha–that’s hilarious. Well, yes, of course–I can’t force my MJ mania on everyone.:) Thanks for clarifying, Vickie.

  2. Sherry Gordon May 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    Dear Wendy Jane,
    Hi, there, Wendy Jane! I so thoroughly enjoy this wonderful blog post article of yours as well as your other spectacularly insightful ones! I felt a longing for our lost musical, singing, and dancing talented genius in our Michael when I saw the hologram. It’s sad he died how he did. It was almost like seeing Michael for real again on our Earth instead of him already being in our Heaven which awaits us. Yet I also had mixed feelings about his hologram. It felt sort of strange and off center to me-I don’t know if creepy is the word I mean-it just seemed like a kind of an odd concept to have a hologram of anyone who has passed on. Michael’s hologram did seem realistic in a strange kind of way, though. It’s sad and heartbreaking how he died in such a premature manner. His suffering wrenches our hearts as well.

    I, too, love and agree with what your friend Keith Thompson said when he stated, “Was more of the people than of race.” How so very true and also when Keith said, “He obliterated the color barrier when it came to entertainment.” I absolutely love how our Michael was indeed a transformative figure! He will always be remembered and honored for the genius in which he was!

    Oh, I thank-you Wendy Jane for also providing the link to the You Tube video of this amazing young white teenager imitating Michael Jackson to perfection. He did such a wonderful and fantastic job. He even looked like Michael Jackson in his right on point moves and dancing. He even has the same thinly slim build which Michael had! I am so impressed with the great job this teenaged boy did. He must have worked really hard and studied and practiced for a very long time to get everything down on point to such impressive perfection!I, too, think that he should have won the talent show at his high school. I sure hope he did!

    I so look forward to more of your very on point and wonderfully enlightening blog post articles, Wendy Jane! I so love how you express yourself in such an exquisite, sensitive, caring, and expressive manner! And I am so excited to read through even more of your great archives! Wendy Jane, you and your family please have a very fun, nice, special, and blessed Memorial Day weekend my white sisterfriend who you are!

    Very Sincerely Always,
    Sherry Gordon

    • Wendy Jane May 23, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      Thanks for chiming in here. I like the way you put it about the hologram being “off-center,” as in there just was something not right about it being done. I see how much you adored Michael and miss him, too, and glad you could relate to what Keith had to say. And, I’m pretty sure the boy did win his talent show:)

      Enjoy your long weekend, too, Sherry!

      Best wishes,
      Wendy Jane

  3. karen kidd May 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Great article, Wendy. I just find it creepy and a bit disrespectful to bring the deceased back via modern technology. Especially with a perfectionist like MJ. He wanted everything approved by himself…as it should have been. I didn’t like it when they did it with Tupac, either. I don’t understand why they just can’t use old footage…like the industry always had before. I too, found the performance by the HS young man, fabulously entertaining and well rehearsed. He certainly got my attention…more so than the creepy hologram.

    • Wendy Jane May 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      That is such a good point you make about Michael being a perfectionist–and he did not approve that hologram from beyond:) I know I wish I could see him again grace the stage, and maybe whoever thought up this, thought his fans would feel like they were getting to see Michael again, but no, it just doesn’t work. Glad you enjoyed the high school boy’s performance.

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to share your thoughtful comments.

      Wendy Jane

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