There's a famous story in Greek folklore about a father and son named Daedalus and Icarus. They were imprisoned by King Minos and kept in a tower on the island of Crete. Fortunately, Daedalus was a skilled craftsman and created wings for both of them to escape from the tower out of wax and feathers. As they escaped using the wings, Icarus wanted to fly as high as he could to be with the gods. Despite his father's warning, he flew higher and higher until the wax melted. With nothing to hold the feathers, the wings gave way and he fell to his death.
I'm reminded of this story because when the news of Michael Jackson's death first broke, I realized the parallel between his life and that story. With a few but vital and sad differences.
Michael was imprisoned in such a tower; created by his own mind and kept there by his father who was not a Daedalus but a King Minos. So with Michael acting as both Daedalus and Icarus, he fashioned wings for himself to escape this prison. However, these were no ordinary wings made of wax and feathers. They were created out of his talent. His passionate vocal, his keen songwriting, his powerful dancing and his boundless creative spirit. With these wings, he flew into the clear blue sky.
As he went higher and higher, many others started to exploit all of the cracks in his armor from the damage inflicted on being in the tower. With this fear, he became scared to land, so he continued to fly higher and higher. Unfortunately, for all of his talent and wealth, he could only fly so high. So on June 25, 2009, his wings, just like Icarus', gave way and he fell.
When I was 7-9, I was a Michael Jackson freak. I listened to him obsessively, emulated his dance moves and saw him as a hero. This, like many of the musical phases of my life, passed me by. However, when I heard he had died, it all came back.
He brought so much to this world despite all of the bull that happened to him or that he brought to himself.
He will be missed.