viernes, 26 de junio de 2009

Leave Him Alone

If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make that change

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways

La película The Commitments es memorable por uno de los diálogos más potentes de la historia. "Los irlandeses somos los negros de Europa, y los de Dublín somos los negros de Irlanda, y los de Dublín Norte somos los negros de Dublín. O sea yo soy negro, y orgulloso". Los irlandeses cantan así porque son negros, igual que ellos, y ponen alma en la música. Cualquiera que haya sido oprimido en su vida es negro.

Michael Jackson tenía un talento innato pero además cuando bailaba y sacaba la voz y montaba sus alucinantes shows era la venganza del que fue esclavizado, no con rabia ni odio, sino que celebrando la vida con música, talento y magia. Alguna vez escuché a George Michael decir que la música de los blancos era la expresión de frustración sexual, mientras que la de los negros era celebrar la sexualidad. Los negros inventaron el jazz, el rock, el hip hop, el soul... los negros lo inventaron todo en esta vida. Y yo me volví en un momento particularmente fanático de la música negra cuando escuché a un pastor gringo decir que los negros inventaron el rock porque eran parte del plan de Satanás para descarriar a la juventud norteamericana. Víctima del plan demoníaco fue mi abuelo quien le había comprado a mi viejo discos de los Jackson Five y tenían varios de Motown. Entendí por qué el éxito de Michael Jackson fue tan espectacular: Elvis tomó la música negra y se la mostró a los blancos, The Osmonds fueron la respuesta blanca a los Jackson Five, pero Michael Jackson fue quizás el primer negro que hizo a los blancos enloquecer con su música y exigir que le diesen todos los premios que la industria disquera blanca había inventado.

De pendejo fui fanático de Michael Jackson. Tengo tres recuerdos de infancia. Uno, un viejísima copia en cassette de Thriller, y mi viejo diciendo que ya no era como los Jackson Five (típico) . El segundo, un volantín que tenía de Michael Jackson. El tercero, viendo alguna película sobre la esclavitud, mi mamá lloraba y yo también viendo como apaleaban a algún esclavo. Yo tanto lloraba que mi papá para consolarme me decía "hijo, es sólo una película", y yo le contesté: "pero es que eso le hicieron a Michael Jackson cuando chico porque es negro". Weás de pendejo, que mis viejos siempre se acuerdan y se cagan de la risa.

Michael Jackson no tuvo infancia como la tuya o la mía. No puedo imaginar las extenuantes jornadas de ensayo a las que fue sometido desde los seis años bajo la severa supervisión de su padre y de millonarios ejecutivos de Motown. No habrá otro Michael Jackson porque hoy ya valoramos otras cosas y los padres de un niño sometido a tan arduo trabajo serían despreciados. Michael Jackson no ha muerto joven, ha muerto viejísimo, lo que pasa es que su vida empezó antes que la de cualquiera.

Con el inmortal "paso p'atrás" (moonwalk) tocó el cielo. Fue un performer como no ha habido otros y no habrá por décadas, y quizás nunca más alguien vuelva a vender tantos discos porque ya ni siquiera existen los discos. No habrá otros Jackson Five porque queremos que todos tengan infancia. O sea, nadie romperá más récords ni ganará más grammies ni cuanto premio exista porque se necesita empezar desde los seis años para coronarse Rey del Pop. Tampoco nadie será tan reverenciado mientras se va convirtiendo en un monstruo delante de nuestros propios ojos.

A Michael Jackson no lo podemos juzgar porque nadie está preparado para vivir una vida como esa, es algo que no podemos entender. Ha sido el más grande de la historia y punto. Más grande que Sir Tom Jones, James Brown y Elvis juntos. Ayer su corazón dejó de palpitar, cayó al suelo y cerró los ojos para no abrirlos nunca más. Michael, descansa por siempre. No lo juzguemos por favor, dejémoslo en paz.

Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone

5 comentarios:

Miguel A. dijo...

Es un grande. No le digamos adiós, digámosle hasta luego. Se ha ido, sí, pero su música queda ahí, como la de Lennon o la de Hendrix.

Te recomiendo mi artículo sobre él también.

Un saludo

Flo dijo...

¡Qué sentida columna!
Gracias por compartirla.

Anónimo dijo...

Hi, it's Emilia again. I'm just going to post an article I wrote about Michael Jackson. I'll have to put it in a separate commentary because it's too long for just one.

Chile Liberal dijo...

Hi Emilia, thanks for the article. So that everyone can read it, I post it here, some may want to check out in the original post, Who Was He – The Question of Michael Jackson

Who Was He – The Question of Michael Jackson

In the early evening of June 25, a small headline in the news read that former Charlie’s Angels actress and hairstyle icon Farrah Fawcett had died. Her death was not particularly surprising, as she was after all 62 and had been struggling with cancer for some time. An hour later when I went to the computer, a much bigger headline stated, “Is the King of Pop dead?” with a huge picture of Michael Jackson in the background. The question was answered shortly afterwards: Jackson had indeed passed away in unknown circumstances, and fans were already gathering outside the hospital to which he had been taken.

While Michael Jackson was a celebrity who received an enormous amount of media attention, it has been said that nobody truly knew him. Indeed, questions about the man linger on. For example, did he or did he not sexually molest the young boys with whom he kept company? He was accused of doing so on two separate occasions, but in the first case he reached an out-of-court settlement with the purported victim’s family and in the second he was acquitted. The jury’s decision was somewhat equivocal: though they stated that they could not exclude the possibility that he might have sexually abused children in the past, in this particular instance he did not. I strongly suspect that the accusations against Michael Jackson were part of the wave of child sexual abuse hysteria that swept through the United States and that led to a large number of individuals (mainly day care workers) being charged on dubious grounds.* But many people will still wonder.

Even before that Jackson’s sexual identity was always the subject of much speculation. It was sometimes hard to tell by his appearance whether he was a woman or a man. A rumour in the 1980s had it that he was intending to undergo a sex change operation because he could no longer silence the “woman in me,” but either the rumour was untrue or Michael Jackson changed plans because nothing became of it. Similarly his sexual orientation was unclear in the minds of many. In his youth he was said to have romantic relationships with actress Brooke Shields and his co-star in the Thriller video Ola Ray. A number of observers suggested that these publicized romances were just for show and that these women served as a so-called “cover” for his true sexual orientation. No media report, though, was ever able to pinpoint any relationship he may have had with another man. He did marry women twice and father two children (and adopt one), but comments about his actual sexual proclivities continued.

Michael Jackson’s greatest ambiguity lay in his racial identity. To quote one of his most popular songs, was he black or white? Pictures of him as a child and young man show him with clearcut African features: a large Afro hairdo and a typical “Black” nose. By the time Thriller rolled around, however, he had obviously undergone a nose job, and his hair was curly rather than kinky. At the time of his death his hair was completely straight. But the biggest question had to do with his skin colour, which became progressively lighter over the years. Jackson himself claimed that the lightening was the result of a medical condition that made his skin lose colour. Such conditions do exist (the mother of an African-American friend of mine had one), but given Michael’s apparent attempts to “Caucasianize” himself (the nose operation, the hair straightening), doubts on the veracity of his explanation will persist.


Chile Liberal dijo...

Of course like many American Blacks Michael Jackson had non-African ancestry as well. One of his ancestors was a White man, another an American Indian. Nonetheless, according to America’s “one-drop rule” Jackson and his family would definitely be considered Black. Some Black activists lamented his various “Whitening” endeavours, seeing them as a sign of racial self-hatred. Jackson, though, never claimed to speak for the African-American community. Indeed, his music was loved by people of all colours throughout the world, so he might have feared losing or alienating some of his fans by embracing a particular ethnic identity. In his song “Black or White,” he appears to disavow any racial allegiance – although many observers noted that for a man who proclaimed it didn’t matter whether you were Black or White he seemed to do everything in his power to be White himself.

An autopsy done on Jackson’s remains was inconclusive. As of now (June 28) the cause of his demise has yet to be determined. In death, as in life, the man remains an enigma. And perhaps that is how he would have wanted it to be.

* Here I do not mean to imply that the sexual abuse of children does not exist or that it is not a serious crime. However, starting in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s there was a trend of attributing seemingly unusual behaviour in children to sexual abuse and fingering adults with whom they had come in contact with molesting them.