From Thriller to Bad to Black or White? - Aisha I. Jefferson

Once upon a time, there was a young maiden who thought she'd found the love of her life. His smile, oh, gosh, it could light up a room. His little boy shyness was as attractive as it was adorable. She used to kiss this young man good night and for a long time, his would be the last face she saw before her eyes closed and she drifted into deep nocturnal bliss. The young maiden did not hesitate to tell people all over her hometown that this guy was her husband.

He also was the father of her Cabbage Patch dolls!!!!

I am speaking of none other than myself and my first, memorable love, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

When I was in kindergarten and first grade, a "Thriller" poster featuring Michael - sans scary makeup

- and surrounded by ghouls, hung on my bedroom wall, right next to me on my top bunk-bed. My sister and I had claimed the Jackson boys - Michael and Jermaine - as ours. (That was until I discovered Prince and divorced Michael for him.) Of course, we did not know Michael or Jermaine Jackson, but in the world of 4- and 5-year-olds, anything was possible.

Twenty years following my crush on Michael Jackson, I find myself wondering what has happened to the man I used to love.

Now, understand that I never thought I would be writing about this. I often shied away from talking about his case, keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps what we all have seen, compliments of Martin Bashir, and heard, was not true. But I feel that I just have to share my thoughts on a man I am sure all of us at one point admired, loved or respected, and now we find ourselves scratching our heads, wondering, how could he have gotten himself into this situation.

I was on my way to work Friday morning, listening to the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" when J. Anthony Brown and Sybil Wilkes told Tom that Michael's case wasn't looking good for him. My heart sank, but deep down, I knew there was truth to what they were saying. After all, I did see a VH-1 special a few weeks back that showcased home videos of the gloved-one in a light I had never seen him before. The show, "VH-1 News Presents: Michael Jackson's Secret Childhood" showed previously unreleased home videos of Michael Jackson, including him singing about Peter Pan and "cavorting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."

I know this may seem crazy, but for the past 10 years or so, I had started to look at Michael separately, like he was two people.

There is Michael Jackson, who grew up from Jackson 5 fame, to become the so Off the Wall, to be a Thriller on the dance floor and just Bad all the way around. See, that's one Michael, at least in my book.

Then there is post-Bad Michael Jackson, who many think is confused about whether he should be Black or White.

No, I am not making excuses, I am just sharing my thoughts on a man I used to love.

But just as I was going to write Michael off, I saw his Thriller video Monday and realized how much of a musical genius he is. The occasional, "Oh, he was sooo fine!" or "Gosh, he looked so cute!" escaped from my mouth.

I understand that my feelings won't change what has happened over the past 20 or 30 years. And at this moment, I still have no concrete conclusion on how I feel about everything Michael is experiencing, nor can I offer any reasoning for it. The only thing I can say, or do, is quote Billy Dee Williams' character Brian Walker from Mahogany, also starring Diana Ross (go figure): "Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with."

I am not sure if our friend Michael Jackson really had the opportunity to fully experience that.

Aisha I. Jefferson covers police and courts for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at ajefferson@henryherald.com .