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article imageOp-Ed: The day I met Michael Jackson, the day I'll never forget

By Janet McNair Halbani     Jun 26, 2009 in Entertainment
I grew up to the soundtrack of Michael Jackson's music. I waited my whole life to meet him. In a bookstore at The Palm Beach Mall the moment arrived.
Ever since my parents took us to the Jackson 5 concert at the L.A. Coliseum, their very first major concert tour for their fist hit album, ABC (released in 1969), I’ve been a fan. Crowds of Victorville, California girls chased one of my brothers home from school every day thinking he was Michael Jackson under cover.
“How silly of them,” I thought. “It’s just my brother Kerry.” Why would he be living on an Air Force base with an older brother and 2 sisters, one of whom is named…oh….nevermind.
When Thriller was a hit and Michael Mania was at it’s 80s height, my brother Kerry would say to me, “Janet, he can’t possibly go any higher. He’s larger than life. Can you imagine him aging?"
Kerry McNair
Kerry McNair
Kerry McNair
Instead, Kerry didn’t age and 21 years ago, my brother died at the age of 29.
If I ever got the chance to meet the real Jackson, I’d have so much to say. Security would have to intervene just to spare his ears. Jackson was more than an entertainer -- he was like family to everyone who remembers where they were when they first saw him Moonwalk at the Motown 25 television special. He was unbelievable.
Does anyone remember Jackson doing the human beat box on Oprah’s prime time special at "Never Land Ranch?" This brother could sing simultaneous harmony with himself -- emphasis on the word “simultaneous.” One word sang out split into a chord with no special effects. Who does that?
To hear the headline “Michael Jackson dead at 50,” was somewhat surreal. Just yesterday I heard what I described as, “The voice of an angel,” on a television advertisement singing.
“You and I must make a pact.
We must bring salvation back.
Where there is love,
I’ll be there…”
It was Michael Jackson and his brothers. That voice led me on a series of thoughts starting with where my path crossed that of Jackson’s and ending with the one thing in life that is certain -- death.
I was not a friend, but a fan who last saw Jackson in person in a bookstore at the Palm Beach Lakes Mall (West Palm Beach, FL). I believe it was April of 2005 and it was definitely a Saturday morning, almost as soon as the mall opened, and the crowds had not yet arrived.
As soon as I walked into the bookstore, I noticed additional mall security. A security guard had already tipped me off at the coffee shop that Jackson was indeed in the building. No other shoppers were in the bookstore other than his undercover security detail posing as other shoppers. Once I checked out, it’s as if the mole on the cell phone told Jackson that a 40ish woman posed no threat. Without warning Jackson emerged from who knows where.
I saw the build and stance of the slim man at the magazine rack. I vicariously knew it well. He was taller than I imagined. First, I saw the everyday Joe navy sweatpants. As my eyes traveled up, they took notice of how nearly transparent the skin on his left hand was. He moved slightly toward me as if thinking about greeting me, then back the other way. Finally, he turned toward me.
This was it.
My head slowly tilted up from the bottom of his pant leg, past those thinly skinned hands and at my moment to speak, I couldn’t. The moment arrived that I waited nearly all my life for and all I could muster was an upward head nod that tacitly said, “What’s up?” He waved hello. I think I was taken aback that he was wearing a Spider Man mask -- the whole Spidey head, not one of those front-half-only masks attached by an elastic string.
About 30 minutes later, despite the mask or perhaps aided by it, a crowd of youth were running behind him screaming his name.
“I love you,” he yelled back.
So, just the night before he died, I remembered a botched meeting I’ll never have again. I sensed he could have used a friend, but knew I was just another stranger. I said to myself, I’m not certain of who I will or will not ever see again. But, one thing I am certain of is it is appointed to all of us to die.
What I Am Certain of Regarding Michael:
• He was one of the greatest entertainers the world has known.
• He is America’s National Treasure but we bailed on him during controversy.
• He popularized The Robot and did it again with the Moonwalk revolutionizing dance.
• God gifted us Mozart, Elvis, and Michael. They all left us as young men.
• Every pop and R & B singer of our times is heavily influenced by Michael Jackson.
• Although he shouldn’t have had children staying over, it wasn’t because they were in danger by the hand of
• Mike, but that Mike’s goodness was in danger of being abused by the same people who willfully drove their kids to a remote ranch and accepted expensive gifts and medical care from Jackson.
• Michael single-handedly changed MTV.
• Michael was overwhelmingly acquitted when he had his day in court. People should respect that fact.
• There’s no place in the world that doesn’t know the name of Michael Jackson
Invincible (2001)
Invincible (2001)
Epic records
What I believe about Michael:
• I believe a business man wise enough to buy a large chunk of the Beatle's music library was not broke.
• I believe human leaches have been draining Michael for years now.
• I believe Michael would not want people to forget about Farrah Fawcett & others whom we lost on
the same day.
• His last album Invincible (2001) is more amazing than the controversy dampened sales. Reflect. Pick it up.
• Without mike,there would be no usher, no NSYNC, no Ne-Yo…no music video industry as we know it.
Much of the world is going to remember where they were on June 25, 2009. Let’s celebrate his life and the deposit of positive energy that has revolutionized the music industry and changed the globe. What a gift God gave us in Jackson and Jackson gave us in song and dance.
I believe my brother Kerry at some point today said, “Mike, fancy seeing you here.”
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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