I was eight years old when I was introduced to his music - or rather his dance for the very first time. A vivid memory of that Sunday afternoon, when my uncle persuaded me to watch "Beat it" on YouTube, still lingers fresh in my mind. More than his music, it was his groovy dancing skills that caught my eye. Captivated by what I witnessed on screen, I immediately tried to imitate him. I spent the next few days dragging my feet here and there, trying to mimic his famous moonwalk. I finally managed a decent deliverance of the moonwalk, after blaming the hard floor, and lack of shiny shoes for not getting it right and happily moved on with life.
Even though I practice pure classical dance, Michael Jackson became my benchmark for being one of the greatest dancers. His moves were so sharp and flawless that I began drawing tremendous inspiration from him. His music was upbeat and groovy, which automatically made me dance to its rhythm. Posing to the camera and imitating him became a norm, and it's something I can't shake off, even today. My most treasured memory token of MJ is the super dope sticker of him on my cycle's mud-guard. It is something I have protected from fading away for over a decade now.
My time enjoying MJ was short-lived, as he died soon after, in a scandal that shocked the entire world. My innocent brain could not comprehend the reason why anyone would kill such a fantastic artist. Amidst all the mourning, the nine-year-old kid in me was even more boggled at the magnitude of influence he had over the world—such an impact, which made sites like Google and Wikipedia crash.
As I grew up, the American pop star's quintessential tale riddled with lawsuits, making it less fascinating. Being a celebrity who was always under the spotlight for many reasons (good and bad), MJ was never really forgotten in his life and death. He is criticized by some, hated by many, and yet celebrated by millions.
Today, we are more accustomed to seeing and following many artists across the globe. MJ's success lies in the fact that he was one of those few who earned global recognition, back when there was no easy internet access. MJ was a living testimony, that art transcends boundaries and does not discriminate between gender, race, nationality, or creed.
He may have died too soon, but the legacy he left behind will live on forever in our hearts. I am sure that I will still be attempting to do a perfect moonwalk twenty years from now, while singing Billie Jean and try to look cool, posing like him in the pictures. And as said by the man himself, “Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye, but the dance lives on.”
From a fan who will always celebrate your art, Happy Birthday MJ!!