June 25, 2013

June 25th, 2009

It was just another day at the office. I was seated at my desk, in the same office as 'Che and T. We'd been fielding calls from customers the whole morning, into the afternoon... and alternately watching Nollywood films online, and catching up on entertainment gossip. I decided to leave work an hour early, can't remember why.

I got home to a semi-quiet house. My mum had traveled to Nigeria to be with her boyfriend my dad. My younger sister was on her way to Houston. My brother was in the basement, no doubt playing guitar or his drums. And my immediate younger sister had just gotten home from work. We were in the family living room gisting, when my phone rang... I have this policy of separating work from my personal life. Once I leave the office, I'm not interested in phone calls or emails. Something told me to answer 'Che's call.

Che: "Hey Berry. Wsup? Are you home?"
Berry: "Yeah, wsup?"
Che: "You haven't heard? Michael Jackson is dead o!"
Berry: "Yeah right. Che, you're a very wicked girl for saying something like that. What's wrong with you? MJ can't die jo."
Che: "I'm serious! Ok, check CNN and see for yourself."
Berry: "Yeah, yeah yeah. BYE!"

I quickly changed the channel to CNN, and there it was - BREAKING NEWS: Michael Jackson Reported Dead! The most primal scream escaped my lips. My brother, came bounding upstairs from the basement, to find me kneeling in front of the TV, tears streaming down my face. I was numb for a little bit, but then CNN changed their tune, saying the death wasn't confirmed. They said he was hospitalized, and in a coma. For the next hour or two, I alternated between CNN on TV, praying to God to not allow MJ to die, and monitoring online chatter. I cursed TMZ for being the first to report and confirm that Michael Jackson was dead. After all, TMZ was not hard-hitting news; they were merely professional celeb stalkers and who took them seriously, anyway?

Eventually, I realized none of my prayers worked. CNN confirmed that Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was dead. I was in utter shock. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, what I was seeing. There was just no way. I had chatted with a friend in England, who had tickets to the This Is It concert - she wasn't sure what to do with herself. My sister and I had to drop off my brother at my aunt's house, and I refused to listen to any of the radio stations - they were all playing MJ and Jackson 5 songs and I couldn't bear it. When we got back home, my sister said she was too sad and left to her boyfriend's house. I was finally able to get through to my other sister - she'd landed in Houston, and the pilot had announced the news while enroute.

I refused to sleep in my room that night. I was genuinely afraid for my life. I thought, if Michael Jackson can die, then it means I can die too. My cousin in Boston called me to ask if I was okay. I couldn't stop crying on the phone. This was one of the worst pieces of news I'd ever gotten in my life. I huddled on the couch and watched cartoons until I finally went to sleep.

The following morning, Michael Jackson was still dead. For the next two weeks, my life felt dark. I couldn't see the sun, even though it was the beginning of summer. I refused to hear any MJ music, or watch anything to do with Michael. Up until now, I've only watched his memorial service in bits. The first time I watched This Is It (in the theater - months and months after he died), I cried. I went to the restroom and just burst into tears. My mum's like "Really Berry? Really!?"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not an extreme MJ fan, but I truly enjoyed his music and his persona (I don't believe he molested anybody). I even had an MJ-themed karaoke birthday party one year.

My sisters and I, 2010.

I'm not trying to make him out to be an angel or anything. It's not like I ever met him. But for his music, his dancing, I have to say that I really miss MJ. Rest in peace.

P.S. I think Dr. Murray is a cold-blooded murderer.  (Shhh, don't tell him I said so, because I don't have money to be sued for libel and defamation of character).

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  1. Awww...what a post/tribute to MJ. He wz a legend. I enjoy reading up on ur blogposts. U inspired me to start mine :)

    1. Awww, thanks so much! I'll check out your blog.

      And yes, he was.

  2. Funny enuf, people didn't really remember his death this year. If not that you blogged about it, I won't have remembered.

  3. I remember feeling like I had just been hit with a world of truth when I heard the news. Like you said, if the phenomenon that was Michael Jackson could die then so can anyone. For me, his spirit of hope and generosity always radiated through his music (which I love!!) and that was such a wonderful gift. May he Rest In Peace.

  4. This is great. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the man. There's a little something on the man here, perhaps you should read it:



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