Dear Michael Jackson,

We’ve never met but I know who you are. You not only influenced my taste in music and my preference for men with slick moves on the dancefloor but you also helped shape my childhood. I know you’ll never physically see this letter but I’d like to write one anyway because you gave me so much and taught me even more.

My little sister’s first favorite song ever was “Beat It’. You were her first musical love. I loved you as a result because I adore her. My parents had bought the “Thriller” album back when we all had cassette tapes and we listened to that one song the entire way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. My sister and I didn’t get sick of that song but I think the tape deck did because it actually ate the cassette. Needless to say, we didn’t get to listen to her favorite song anymore but we weren’t going to give up without a fight. We tried valiantly to resusitate both tape deck and entrapped cassette but it was hopeless.

My sister and I didn’t understand English back then but still, whenever the chorus came on, you’d see two little girls in the back seat yelling the following:

beat it…
beat it…
…la la la la laaaaa la
Beat it!!!

“Beat” and “it” were the only words we recognized in the entire song (probably because they happen to collectively make up the title of the song my sister was obsessed with) and we sure made them count every time we heard it. We had a blast with that song….that is, before the cassette deck decided to turn the tape into lunch. Thank you for making that trip such a memorable one, Michael.

I have to say that is one of my favorite memories and you were a part of it too.

Michael, I remember when you caught on fire while performing on stage. I learned something about how much an artist must love his art from you that night. I watched on the news as you still raised that bejeweled begloved hand into the air like a flag even as the paramedics carried you off that stage. You didn’t let your fans down even though you must’ve been in such excruciating pain. You taught me what dedication means…especially to the ones who helped me become who I am today.

One of my favorite videos of you (besides “Thriller” but that’s a given because, come on, who doesn’t love that video and do the Thriller dance at high school dances, proms and weddings? I know I did and still do) is “Smooth Criminal”. I absolutely loved that video. It was like a mini movie with an awesome one song soundtrack. What I loved most about this one was how you never let the kids down and you saved Katie from that drug lord dude. You even transformed into a car in that movie!! That was awesomeness beyond all that is awesome. You always looked out for them and their best interest while being the baddest thing that hit that part of the world. I remember watching Moonwalker as a child and thinking it was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Looking back, I now know why I adore men who know how to dress themselves well. I also know why my heart beats just that much faster when I see a man who can move his body in a such a manner that he can command my undivided attention without even saying a word.

But you know what else you gave me that I just realized right now? You were my first ever innocent crush the moment I laid eyes on you in “Smooth Criminal”. This, by the way, is the reason why it is one of my all time favorite songs. God, just the name of that song alone speaks volumes and explains why I gravitate towards the men I do. When I was little, I thought you were a good guy and nothing more. I couldn’t figure out how the words “Smooth” and “Criminal” applied to a good guy but now that I’m older, I know what you really were. You were a gangster but one that’s benevolent. You weren’t afraid of anything. You walked into that dim and smoky club a nobody and alone but you owned everything and everyone in there the moment you shut that door behind you. They just didn’t know it yet.

On a side note, I thought that Asian lady was beautiful and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up because she rushed you out that back door at the end of the video. You won her over, just like how you did with my 7 year old heart.

“Moonwalker” did so much for me. I learned the power of wishing upon stars, loyalty, standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves and keeping promises. I also learned that you are who you are despite the labels placed upon you by others because you are your own person. Through this one video, I really believed magic exists in this world and from that point on, I’ve never looked back. You were my hero and I wished I would one day meet a man who would be all those things to me that you were for those kids….but on a more grown up level.

Michael, to me, you’ve always and forever will be that beautiful, benevolent, super fly gangster in “Smooth Criminal” in addition to being my first innocent childhood crush.

Rest well, Michael. You will be missed. Thank you for all that you have given not just the world but to me.


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