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The Thriller, Michael Jackson, might be gone but the thrill will live on

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Hardy L. Brown
The greatest Blues singer B. B. King had a big hit song called “The Thrill is Gone”. It was about a man’s love for his woman and she had done him wrong, so he lost the thrill but vowed to live on even though it would hurt. In the case of Michael Jackson, he is now silent but the “Thrill” we all got from his music, dancing and humanitarian work will live on forever. Unlike the sorrow of the man B.B. King sings about, Michael’s fans will be celebrating each time they listen and dance to his music and watch him on their visual recordings devices.

It is easy to predict his legacy when his name and face is the second most recognizable in the world next to Queen Elizabeth. People put the position of the pope in the same category even though they don’t know him by name or face. Other things to consider about what we have just witnessed is that his memorial service was seen by an estimated 1 billion people of every race, creed, color, age, religion on every continent in every country. For the past eight days his story was top billing over a governor resigning from office and another governor’s sex scandal. It pushed two wars out of our conversation as well as our badly riddled economy.

The other thing his death did was to bring to light the tremendous gifts, talents, humanitarian spirit of this kind and gentle human being. All of us had heard him sing and seen him dance but paid little attention to the words he had written to music. We did not know of the many people he employed or gave a jump start to their career. We did not evaluate the impact of his contribution to bring people together of all faiths and races. When you look at his videos you see faces and names like Vincent Price, Princess Diana, Dianna Ross, Ronald Reagan, Marlon Brando, Mother Theresa, Bishop Desmond Tutu and countless nameless faces from every country in the world.  He has helped so many people by bringing them into the spotlight with him.

And he didn’t stop there he used his position to garner other celebrities to raise money for the needy all over the world especially in Africa. His influence encouraged others to use their talents to serve humanity by giving back to those in need.

Even in his death new singers were introduced to the world. Small vendors were able to sell their Michael Jackson souvenirs while others gave away tickets to strangers so they could attend the memorial service.  Another reason he will live on is after his death four of his songs went on the top ten best selling list. The Congressional Black Caucus is putting forth a Michael Jackson Resolution that will draw debate in congress but will be passed as a permanent place in American history.  No one will ever forget the emotional statement of his daughter, Paris Katherine Jackson, about his love for her and her for him. This was one for the ages and every father hopes his kids would say that about him.  When I first saw the Jackson Five on television I said the little one moves like Jackie Wilson, a Rhythm and Blues singer of the fifty and sixties and James Brown. Little did I know that Michael had watched both and perfected their moves into his own. Just like Wilson and Brown will live on because of Michael, Michael will live on by those who will imitate his style.

While it hurt to have lost the “Thriller” so soon we will forever enjoy the thrill of his music and the joy of trying to dance like Michael. The Thriller is gone but the thrill lives on.

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