By Tosan Okotie
June 30th, 2009
What kind of eulogy does Michael Jackson (MJ) deserve? Itís doubtful if anyone English professor is assigned the task of drafting MJís tribute, that, the write-up would satisfy half the readers because different people have too many good things to share about this distinguished man who mattered so much especially to the folks in Warri-Nigeria. MJ was not only an inspiration to people but he actually impacted huge millions of people/homes with joy across the globe.
Letís see MJís legendary from the happiness perspective which cannot be quantified in monetary terms. Itís no more a secret that many people find solace in smoking or drinking when theyíre depressed. Likewise, many people also get comfort by listening to music, MJís music for that matter. While certain levels of smoking/drinking could cause harm to the body, hearing MJís music really galvanizes the joyous aspect of your mind. Just for those who may not be familiar with the city called Warri. Warri is a city in the Niger-Delta area of Nigeria. Never mind that, the rulers in Nigeria have portrayed Warri in bad light before the world; itís a lie. The early 70s youth in Warri were people of happiness and togetherness especially with the sound of MJís music, be it in your car, home, parties and dance clubs. A little deviation from the subject will be worth it. The reality is that some greedy Northern Nigerian idiots from the ruling class orchestrated Warri to become a war zone of all sort. These Northerners brought division and confusion to the Niger-Deltans in order for them to perpetually steal the natural resources (oil) of the people. In return of their theft, theyíve crafted an insulting fraudulent strategy, and had the impudence to name it with an arrogant word called "amnesty." Well, we would come back to this another day.
MJ was a man whose superstardom enormously influenced the music lives of Warri people. From Market road to Effurun round-about area, and in all the corners of Warri, you hear the sound of MJís music penetrating the thick walls of those record stores to the amazement of passers-by. At parties or dance clubs, if you donít know how to dance on your feet, you certainly will make it on your chair or in any position you find yourself. Once a local "DJ" or a music set operator is armed with MJís disks, then, the dancing floor is bound to be very busy no matter the heel shoes the spectators may have worn. How possible is it for anyone to hear MJís "Off the Wall", or "Billie Jean", etc without engaging the opposite sex as a dancing partner? MJ means so much to the people of Warri and its environs and perhaps other parts of Nigeria and of course across the globe. Even our children are growing up to love MJís music, so why would his legacy not live forever? As part of our culture in Warri, we entertain our august visitor(s) with delicious food. I still remember vividly, when some visitors in 1981 visited. Instead of settling down for the food, they sat-tight and watched a video of MJís concerts which were riveting and forgot about the food. The visitors were thrilled and itís not a surprise that, that gist did not go away for a long time. Indeed, MJ impacted our lives in Warri with numerous exciting moments as we garnered joy from his music.
What amount of encomium can you pour on MJ that would be sufficient? Never mind that there was no "Obama-rism" to give him firm encouragement in order for him not to change his Godís given handsome looks. Ebony magazine of June 26, 2009 revealed that, "MTV wasnít having black folks before that (1983), and it wasnít until Michael Jackson and ĎThrillerí came out, that they decided black folks exist and our music is important." This was a big break-through as per segregation in America. Furthermore, MJ championed charity. Thus, he was at the fore-front of the famous music album----"We are the world." This was designated towards charity. In other words, he contributed immensely to the happiness of poor people by putting food on their tables. MJís contribution to the advancement of mankind did not end with the pleasures he gave to people, he also added his weight to safety on American roads. Recall that, President Reagan presented MJ, with an award for his works against drunk-driving in 1984.
The fact that, MJ became an icon in the music industry as an early teenager and he held the stage for four decades is sufficient to earn our respect. He carved out a niche for himself right from when he was a "baby." MJ grew up as a singer, dancer and composer. Just watch how the legs swing like what we call "ajasco" in Warri. The steps are so entertaining, so is the voice that peers through music minds with ecstasy. How MJ was able to string together effective musical words that matched the beats at that age remains a mystery to many of us. What strikes the mind most is that his music was colorless; as such, itís easy to conclude that MJ was a magnificent genius.
With the joy MJ deposited in the minds of people, this is a salute to the "king of Pop."
Lives in Texas
June 29, 2009