RIP Michael Jackson

Tonight, some of us in the bunker are feeling a bit shell shocked by the news of Michael Jackson’s death. Rajni in particular is taking it quite hard. She was a huge fan and had spent years learning to moonwalk which is actually pretty hard for a monkey.

There was a lot of love for Michael Jackson across South Asia, leading to things like this (Kollywood Tollywood) restaging of one of MJ’s greatest music videos:



And we’ve shared this Bhanga/Breakdancing mashup version of Thriller (set to Tigerstyle’s Nachna Onda Nei) before:



MJ’s influence went far deeper than just desi copies of Thriller. There’s also this great video by Prabhu Deva, known as “India’s Michael Jackson,” whose choreography pays clear homage to Jackson without being literal about it:



And lastly, here are some clips from Jackson’s 1996 trip to Bombay, organized by Raj Thackeray just a few years after Jackson weathered the first major child abuse scandal and became hooked on drugs:



My favorite Michael Jackson songs are actually from back in the days of the Jackson Five, before he started hitting the fair and lovely, while he still had his proud African nose and a Sai Baba Fro.

Jackson was an amazing dancer and singer, a genius really, albeit a deeply troubled one. I make no excuses for the crimes I believe he committed, and I remain troubled by the kind of person he became. But in my mind and in my heart, there’s room for both. I can praise for his amazing talent and acknowledge the joy he brought while still acknowledging the rest of it. It’s just tonight, it’s the good stuff that I miss. RIP Michael. I hope you’ve found some peace at last.

76 thoughts on “RIP Michael Jackson

  1. It must be soooooooo easy for you to write things like that when you’re hiding behind a computer screen. I dare you to say what you just wrote, word-for-word, at the water cooler.

    Huh? That’s what you’ve been reduced to? Well, I’ve said this to people I know. Even at the water cooler! And without ducking behind a computer screen! I know, I know, I deserve a purple heart.

    based on nothing but hearsay and projection
    but the gentleness of his spirit and the goodness of his heart is undeniable
    he was also a very kind, decent, good man

    What can I say, RIP Michael? Apparently, I didn’t spend as many hours with him in Neverland as you did.

  2. I don’t know about that child molestation thing. He was acquitted. I really want to believe he was just a 10 year old in a grownup body who was having sleepovers with who he considered his peers, not sleeping with young boys. There are a lot of sick, sick people in this world. But I’d like to think Michael Jackson was not one of them.

    When I was a little girl, my sister and I would play “You be Michael Jackson and I be Prince” and we would sing their songs. I remember the Thriller dance and making my mom change the channel before the Vincent Price part because it scared me too much. And when I was in India, I went to this kids’ dance contest where there were THREE pint-size Michael Jackson impersonators.

    That guy changed the world, and that’s what I want to remember.

  3. R.I.P. Michael. I will always remember you as a gifted artist, a generous philanthropist and a gentle soul. My prayers go out to his family and children.

  4. heard that jacko’s plastic body is going to be recycled into lego blocks. finally kids can safely play with this legend

  5. After one of Anna Nicoles Smith dr’s giving turned out to be Desi (Dr. Sandeep Kapoor) and got in trouble with giving her drugs, I was hoping this dr wouldn’t be. It’s Dr. Conrad Murray they’re looking for.

  6. RIP King of pop – (a tribute from a Gen Xer)

    TELL ME I’M NOT DREAMING … Michael Jackson died. His heart couldn’t BEAT IT anymore. If the news wanted to make you CRY, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Rationally speaking we knew the real MJ as little as A STRANGER IN MOSCOW, we still feel as if we have lost something. I guess it is just HUMAN NATURE.

    Millions of fans are SCREAM-ing MJ — I WANT YOU BACK. But many others do not GET IT. WHY? Many thought that he was an irrelevant weirdo, who was OFF THE WALL — The fresh young artist who personified the MAN IN THE MIRROR at the beginning, and was adored as a MOONWALKER, had transformed himself into something like a LIBERIAN GIRL. Was he even BLACK or WHITE? Others thought MJ was BAD. DANGEROUS. His hounding justified, even without proof because they always felt there were skeletons IN THE CLOSET. It does not matter that unlike today’s “STARS” who always get ONE MORE CHANCE even after getting caught red handed beaking every rule of decency — sniffing coke, beating up a girlfriend or even killing someone, MJ was never given the benefit of the doubt. Don’t ask them where the proof was, they would joke that there was none for he was a SMOOTH CRIMINAL. Don’t argue with them — YOU CAN’T WIN. And do not ask them to have respect for the dead, they will not listen — THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US.

    Instead, REMEMBER THE TIME, when we were just learning our ABCs, when just the anticipation of a MJ Video gave us BUTTERFLIES. Or even when we were not fans, his were the songs with which we used to JAM with our buddies and our GIRLFRIENDS. It was music that made us COME TOGETHER. Its true, MJ used to ROCK MY WORLD, but he also did something far more valuable. He made us HAPPY, he made us SMILE. He made us feel that we could do anything, even HEAL THE WORLD.

    Today we live in dark times, when it seems there AIN’T NO SUNSHINE anywhere. It it tempting to just shut eveything out and say LEAVE ME ALONE. But ANOTHER PART OF ME looks at MJ’s world of optimism and joy. And that’s the world we should be in, WE GOT TO BE THERE. For even our worst day is just ONE DAY IN OUR LIFE.

    SAY SAY SAY, let us define MJ’s Legacy as one that created a better world, a world full of harmony and hope. Let us drop the cynicm acquired over the years and listen with A CHILD’s HEART. Look at the changes that’s going on around us, MJs utopia is not unreachable, WE ARE ALMOST THERE. All it needs it for all of us to WANNA BE STARTING SOMETHING to make this a better place. After all, put together WE ARE THE WORLD. And we are going to make HIStory.

    MJ, EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD to heaven, and thanks for the WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL every time I listen to your songs.

    (Missed a few though:“>

  7. I’ve always thought he was probably compeltely asexual. Also contrivedly a-racial come to think of it. Gave him a universal appeal. Molestors usually have a lot of victims and none of his have come forward except for one who was made to by his father. We’re not sure what happened there. McCaulay Culkin (did I spell that right?) seems to have maintained friendly feelings about his buddy, MJ. Compared to a lot of the celebrities and “artists” whose deaths (often their own faults) are so misguidedly mourned, I’d say Michael Jackson was (probably) a pretty decent person. Just weird like most showbusiness people.

  8. Given his immense performer’s charisma on video, it was no coincidence that Jackson’s popularity in India grew side by side with the spread of television; national broadcasts and colour television began in India in 1982, the year of Thriller’s release. Curiously, while his music reached Indian shores in intact enough condition, the depth of his personal deterioration and the seriousness of his alleged misdemeanours never percolated down quite as efficiently. Indeed, Jackson’s Indian fans could always be relied upon for plentiful supplies of sympathy. “When he was facing those cases of child molestation in 2003, I composed an anthem of support and uploaded it on my website, expecting probably 10,000 downloads,” says Nikhil Gangavane, a Pune-based photographer who helped found the official Michael Jackson fan club in India, with a current enrolment of roughly 13,000 members. “So far, though, it has had over a million downloads.”

    From: Michael Jackson | He inspired legions in India to dance

  9. On a personal note a shocking deja vu was that on Thu I come out of the theater watching the movie Transformer in which the main protagonist had to be resuscitated in the climax and lo and behold I read the gory details of Jackson’s final moments in which his personal cardiologist tried to resuscitate him unsuccessfully.

  10. deepak chopra’s statements are shockingly obscene. i can see the activists or the tabloids or the late night comics use a person’s death towards their respective agenda. it’s like hyenas picking at carrion. even so, it boggles the mind that a self-proclaimed well-wisher of the departed reveals details of his professional relationship in public display of handwringing. yes indeed. the passion of the chopra. what a low life! sit on the om, you gnome.

  11. What? How in the world did you get all that from what Chopra said? He simply related his experience and put the blame where it belongs – on the drug pushers. (Of course, there is personal responsibility on behalf of Jackson too, but it’s too late for him to take that.)

    Drug, a living pyre.

  12. Chopra said Jackson, a longtime friend, asked him for painkillers in 2005 when the pop star was staying with him following his trial on sex abuse allegations.

    from yahoo news. this preceded the link you posted. basically, i think it’s human courtesy to allow the dead some respite in death – if not out of respect for the deceased, then for the ones who grieve him. it’s just a little morbid to put a finger inside a ripe sore and keep wiggling till something of interest pokes out.

  13. He has been cleared of all charges, who are you to say he’s guilty of anything? You, and all those people joking about MJ being a child abusers are really low life people, you don’t know anything at all about him except what you heard on TV, and you still believe TV at your age? Poor you.

  14. From a medical point of view, there are certain characteristics that paedophiles exhibit which can be elicited by abpsychiatrist. I’m sure with 55 days of evidence or whatever in the trial, a psychiatrist would be included in there somewhere and I’m guessing that his or her evidence would be rather crucial.


    Unarguably, more than any other modern Western musician, Jackson made the largest, most far-reaching impact on Indian listeners. It wasn’t limited simply to Bollywood dance masters borrowing his moves or aspiring composers being infected by his beats. It meant that kids on talent shows or neighbourhood dance contests got—still get— inside a hat and slippery-soled shoes to try the moonwalk. Or that canny pavement poster-sellers in the 1980s and the 1990s, knowing exactly what their customers wanted, hawked sheaves and sheaves of giant, unlicensed posters of Jackson in his trademark poses: shoulders thrown back, hips thrust forward, arms akimbo.

    In a statement on his web site, A.R. Rahman, who collaborated with Jackson on a track titled Ekam Satyam in 1999, celebrated his “uncompromising music”. “He pushed the milestone of Pop music to unbelievable levels through the ’80s and ’90,” Rahman wrote. “I am yet to find an artist with that energy, perfection and vision.”

    Jackson would perform in India just that one time, as a part of the HIStory World Tour, in a concert organized with the oddest of partners, the Shiv Sena. (“We would like to accept that part of America that is represented by Jackson,” Bal Thackeray was quoted as saying at the time.) Rokade was too young to attend that concert, but he insists that he knows what the energy and electricity of a live Jackson show must feel like. “He’s the god of dance, after all,” he says. “Even today, when I get on a stage to perform, I think first of him.”

  16. While I wish he could bring back the lost pride through these 50 concerts, maybe he truly needed to rest in peace at the end. I would still find it hard to believe that MJ is guilty of child abuse, given how keen everyone was to prove him guilty. With the find of money, fame and star power he had, was it too hard after all to do it without being accused? Deep in my heart, I feel he was too naive – possibly even asexual and a child-at-heart, and it was easy for people to take advantage of this person. No doubt, he was a troubled man with drug abuse and other problems, but let’s give him the credit he deserves. A truly gifted artist, an entertrainer who broke all boundaries.

  17. When I was a little girl, my sister and I would play “You be Michael Jackson and I be Prince” and we would sing their songs. I remember the Thriller dance and making my mom change the channel before the Vincent Price part because it scared me too much. And when I was in India, I went to this kids’ dance contest where there were THREE pint-size Michael Jackson impersonators.

    Triliani, thanks to you and others for writing these anecdotes. Love it. “You be Michael Jackson and I be Prince” – precious! I am so saddened and loved his music which was such a big part of my life. He trully was a musical genius.

  18. if his stolen childhood was to blame, which is the excuse so many here willingly trot out, how come none of his brothers or sisters, elder or younger, engaged in the kind of behavior he did? would you have been so willing to forgive them if they had done so, or ignore it for a moment? how much talent makes it ok to have amnesia (even if you claim it is temporary) about a grown man using his fame to sleep naked with 12 year olds and his money to buy his way out of it?

  19. Rahul said:

    not to forget sanford. if the story of his disappearance hadn’t become such a thriller, maybe he could’ve returned a day later, the scandal would have gone unnoticed, and he might’ve beat it. but these things are not black or white, so his protestations now that she’s not my lover might’ve just made him look like a not so smooth criminal. maybe it was best that he came out and said “i’m bad, i’m bad” when he did.

    Word to the word play–don’t sweat the hyperbolic histrionic haters, they’re just following orders from the hype machine.

    In other news, our friends at Buffalax released a new Prabhu Deva video a couple of days ago. (In honor of Jacko? Seems so.) Check out the Mark Sanford karaoke if you missed it, too.

  20. How ya’ doin’? I’m one of the writers of “Little Christmas Tree” by Michael Jackson and I just made a new video on the song. If you like it, I hope you’ll share it with your friends and help me make it into an everlasting tribute to Michael.

    Thanks, regards, and Merry Christmas…Artie Wayne