June is Black Music Month: Michael Jackson

June has been designated Black Music Appreciation Month. I think with all the sampling out there we should take the time to honor our musical ancestors. The first artist I wanted to celebrate is Michael Jackson.

When he did the Motown special he was already a legend in the making. He started out with the Jackson 5 that became the Jacksons. Michael was a powerful musical entity that could write, sing, dance, produce and create. He showcased the moonwalk and the crowd went wild.

Michale Jackson's Thriller album cover

Michael Jackson’s Thriller was truly a phenomenon. It broke all kinds of music records and is still a classic more than 25 years later.

I loved Michael as a kid. He was the first African-American artist featured on MTV. The music channel started in the early eighties but many of my favorite artist were never featured there. Micaheal’s album Thriller broke so many barriers and crossing the color line at MTV was one of them. Michael treated his videos like mini films.

When he made the video for Thriller he hired a movie director to make a mini-horror flick for about 1 million dollars. It instantly became a hit. The Making of Thriller (the forefather of reality television in my humble opinion) gave us all the behind the scenes tidbits that went into making the video.

Everybody is making a behind the scenes videos but Michael was the first artist to share in this way. This speaks volumes to his generous heart. Michael may be gone physically but his spirit lives on in his music. He never forgot his musical roots.

Michael Jackson is my favorite dancer. He truly was an artist and his music uplifted people. I was never embarassed to play his songs. I hope Michael is getting the respect and credit he deserved now because he had a lot of pain in his life. I salute you musical legends.

In my upcoming posts I will be talking about James Brown, Bojangles, The Nicholas Brothers and Sammy Davis Junior.