Why I Can’t Watch The Michael Jackson Documentary. At least, not yet.

12 Mar

me, a couple of years ago in the MJ tee a good friend sent me right after Michael’s passing.

What do you do when your first love dies three times?

I can’t even. How do I even begin to write about all that I’m thinking and feeling, or more like, how do I write about what I don’t want to think about?

Michael Jackson. When MJ died, everyone was all like,

“Wendy, did you hear?”

“Wendy, are you okay?!”

“Wendy, our condolences…”

And, now, these past two weeks, it’s been,

“Wendy, did you hear about the Michael Jackson documentary coming out?”

“Wendy, are you going to watch the Michael Jackson documentary?”

“Wendy, did you see the Michael Jackson documentary?”

And then there was their commentary:

“..it’s very believable..”

“very credible..”

“very disturbing..”

“scary upsetting..”

“heart-breaking”

“sick”

As if I’m not sick over all this. “I can’t bring myself to watch it,” I tell my co-worker, Guy, whose Green Bay Packers screensaver I have changed to every MJ photo imaginable anytime he leaves his computer open. There’s been the Jackson 5 MJ, brown-skinned, fluffy teen afro MJ, white-skinned MJ, plastic surgery gone too far but not so far that I can’t look at him anymore MJ, Billie Jean MJ, and the American Music Awards, sparkly sequin ambassador jacket with Bubbles and Brooke Shields MJ.

Maybe it will make more sense if I share that I was supposed to marry Michael Jackson. I really, really was. I mean, at age 10, I had the scenario all planned out, and the written imagining is one of the many MJ blog posts I’ve posted over the past seven years that I’ve had the blog.

From the time I played the Jackson 5 Third album in my basement when I was in fourth grade, dancing to Mama’s Pearl, in my heart, I had teleported myself to the Jackson’s Gary, Indiana living room, just like how Michael and his brothers sang in “going back to Indiana..Indiana here I come..”‘

Now these documentary people want to take all of that, that adoration and love of Michael and his genius, away from me. I have not watched the documentary and I am not reading any articles about it, but have caught commentary from friends, strangers, and celebrities on social media. My eyes land, spend more time, on the ones I want to see.

“Just them lynching another black man.”

“He’s dead and can’t even defend himself.”

“Why’d they wait until he died to do this?!”

“He was on trial for this for years and he was cleared of all charges. He was found innocent.”

When the child molestation charges first came up in the early 1990’s, I had the briefest, oh no! moment, but quickly and firmly did not believe in these allegations. It was not that I chose to not believe them. I simply did not.

Now I don’t know what to do. Friends who watched the documentary comment on how credible and disturbing the story the two men, who claimed Michael Jackson accused them when they were young teenagers, shared as adults in their 30’s now. While during their original trials when friends I respected said they weren’t so sure he was innocent, it was easy for me to dismiss them, and believe I was right about Michael’s innocence. But now, I find myself wavering. Everyone seems to say the evidence is overbearing in its proof that Michael did these horrendous things I never thought he could have, would have done. Yes, I thought him odd. Yes, I wondered about his sexuality. But I didn’t believe he was a child molester.

“They took down Bill Cosby. They are taking down R. Kelly. Now they’re taking down Michael Jackson. They want to take down all of our successful Black males.”

But what do I do?

What do I do with the box of MJ memorabilia containing the two Michael Jackson dolls, countless magazines featuring Michael on the cover–Time, Rolling Stones–concert programs, MJ pins, earrings, trading cards. And, the fake newspaper my Mom ordered with the made up headline that read: Michael Jackson Admits To Loving Wendy.

And what about the MJ hologram poster my sister Sarah gave me? The MJ playing cards I bought on a visit to Seattle? The MJ decoupaged light-switch plate my sister-in-law Paula gifted me? Or the most amazing Spike Lee first Michael Jackson Memorial Dance Party printed label I peeled off a building on my way back to the subway from the Prospect Park tribute in Brooklyn?

And what about the most fabulous, show-stopping plastic, young afro MJ earrings that everyone always comments on, and the patients at the psychiatric hospital I work with get a kick out of, thinking they are really fun? Except for that one guy a few years back who said, “why are you wearing a dead pedophile on your ears?”

And now I really don’t know what to do. I mean he was said to be the pop entertainer of the century. I mean, Fred Astaire revered him as an extraordinary dancer. He was loved by millions, or probably billions, right? Wait. I just had the thought/question pop into my head, I wonder what Chris Tucker thinks? The comedian and MJ were supposedly close friends. What does Quincy Jones think? What do all the young boys and girls who still wear white gloves and practice their moonwalks think?

Is it true?

Does white America love taking its Black heroes down?

I’m not standing up for anyone who has done gross wrongs, and am not by any means giving any kind of pass to other recently accused celebrities like R. Kelly. I’m not from the camp either that with R. Kelly says, “well, I can separate the man from his music and still listen to his music.” Or at least I think I’m not.

I have not listened to R. Kelly since hearing about his documentary, and trust me, I used to. Ignition was a song I’d sing along to in the car when it came on the radio. I once even almost bought a hipster, heart-shaped necklace charm inscribed with the words, After the party, it’s the hotel lobby.

Guy, that co-worker whose screensaver I was always MJ hacking and I are both on the same page right now about not watching the MJ documentary. He was a huge fan, too. We are also both concerned about whether this means we have to stop listening to MJ music. Guy, in weighing this kind of decision out, said he is fine without listening to R. Kelly, but he is really hard-pressed about having to give up listening to Kelly’s song, Step In The Name Of Love. And, yeah, I can relate. That song is pure, escalating joy. But, never listen again to Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, I’ll Be There, or Never Can Say Goodbye? Do I burn my Off The Wall album?

It’s another death of Michael. It’s the third death to be exact. There was the actual death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009. Then, as my friend Anisa, who I met up with at an outdoor film night, right after hearing about Michael’s death, shared, it was as if for her that the Michael she once knew had already died in a way, once he kept going further and further with his plastic surgery, and I think she may have also mentioned, the earlier child molestation charges. She said that his actual death didn’t hit her as hard because of that. I understood what she meant. I too, had frozen my MJ at the time of his Bad album and subsequent concert tour. I didn’t care as much for his later albums, and I was saddened by all the changes he was making to his appearance with extreme plastic surgery procedures and skin whitening. Of course, so much can be written, and already has, about what these things meant to him; about him. Still, his actual, second death hit me hard. Real hard.

That’s why it touched my heart when a good friend sent me in the mail the beautiful artist-made memorial MJ t-shirt pictured above, right after Michael died. Do I have to burn that now, too?

This is where I am at right now. Some may say I am in denial. But I can’t even come to any conclusions just yet. It is enough to think about the falling.

A house of cards collapsing.

A moonwalk abruptly screeching to a halt.

It’s the same question I began with. What do you do when your first love dies three times?

Here are some past Michael Jackson blog posts. There are probably more than what’s listed here:

Why Are You Wearing Those Michael Jackson Earrings

Calling Michael Jackson

The MJ One Cirque de Soleil Show: Never Grow Up And Still Never Can Say Good-bye

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: