Who killed Michael Jackson?
By Yolie Cerda 05/20/2010
Last year, we were all shocked by the sudden death of an American idol. He had been an idol all his life. No one, but no one, saw it coming. No one expected that he would leave us so quickly; in fact, we all thought he would live forever. After all, this is what a living legend does, right? He is not supposed to die. So, lo and behold, when Michael Jackson (MJ) died, most of us did not know what to do, how to act, what to say, how to respond. It shattered us beyond belief. How could this happen … to him? Isn’t he the King of Pop? He couldn’t have died; he had a role to fulfill. Besides, multitudes of his devotees eagerly anticipated his performances at all his sold-out concerts.
But no, it WAS true; MJ had indeed passed away at his home in Southern California on June 25, 2009. They weren’t rumors after all. Naturally, we all ran to confirm that these weren’t just rumors; sure enough, they were all true. We walked around stunned for the rest of the day. How did this happen? Who was responsible? A myriad of questions swirled around in our minds, and confusion reigned supreme. How were we possibly going to continue living without MJ in our lives? Even if we rarely listened to his music, he was a part of our daily lives, like it or not.
And this is why I pen these words — because I believe there is something much more intrinsic going on here. For you see, my friend, MJ had no privacy. He couldn’t walk, or breathe, or think … or move without the blinding camera flashes going off like machine guns in every direction he turned. They have become piranhas; the paparazzi have gone mad. They don’t care about people’s lives, or children, or need for peace and solace …. My heart hurts for MJ; it truly does.
MJ and I grew up in the same era; this is the only thing we have in common. I was able to run, and skip, and jump, and play as long as I wanted. I was able to go to college. I was able to get married, and have babies … and get divorced in peace. MJ didn’t get to do any of these things. He couldn’t take a walk without a pack of savage wolves trailing him, snapping pictures left and right, each hoping to get the perfect shot to earn fame and fortune before the world. Wolves have a way of imposing themselves in the most unexpected manner; they sneak and poke around in search of prey.
And so I pen this in honor of MJ — a man who never got to be a man, a child who never got to be a child. A man who lived and died a very desperate, lonely life. He never got to know himself, for he never had the freedom to do so.
So who killed MJ? In my opinion, we did. We couldn’t get enough of him. We couldn’t let him live his own life. We couldn’t let him make mistakes. We couldn’t let him be human. The tabloids devoured him, piece by piece. When will we learn, folks, to let pop stars and celebs just be? They have a need for freedom, just as we do. They don’t want to have to look good wherever they go. Sometimes I take my kids to school in my Tigger pajamas. One time, my kids locked me out of our family vehicle just to get a good laugh. I stood outside my door, begging them to let me in before the entire neighborhood saw me.
MJ couldn’t do that. Oh, no, he would have been plastered all over the tabloids the very next morning, in his Tigger pajamas. So, hey Michael, at least you have peace now; at least you can run and play and laugh and scream as loudly as you want. I’m so sorry you never got to do these things while you were in our midst. We were too selfish to let you live your own life. We had an insatiable hunger to know everything about you. No matter which way you turned, we were there, clicking away like crazed maniacs. On some days we adored you, and yet on others we loathed the mere utterance of your name.
Some people would say you did this to yourself … that you wanted the adoration of the masses, that you couldn’t live your life without the flashing cameras. I don’t think so. It’s human nature to seek freedom and comfort and relaxation. It’s human nature to pursue wholeness through the company of others. Most of all, it’s perfectly normal to want to be left alone. Sure, you were meant to be on stage and become famous, but that didn’t mean we needed to destroy your privacy. That didn’t mean we needed to run your life into the ground … literally and figuratively.
Yolie Cerda, mother of five, is a freelance writer currently developing a multimedia-style teen curriculum: The ABC’s of Life: a Survival Guide for Today’s Teens, and writing a book: The Pursuit of a Dream. Yolie resides in Santa Paula and loves the County of Ventura with all her heart.