Linda Jones ruminates on the Michael Jackson she loved... the natural Michael

Whenever Elvis Presley’s name is mentioned, I send my mind back to the image of him during the famous dance sequence in the 1957 film “Jailhouse Rock.” That was a time when he was at his best and looked it.

Back then Elvis was sexy and slim. He wielded power in his pelvis and the curl of his upper lip. The alleged King of Rock 'n' Roll sealed his appeal with shiny black hair styled in a modified pompadour with a spit curl in front.

The image of Elvis that I refuse to let my mind dwell on is how he looked just before he died. I don’t want to remember him struggling through his performances bloated, overweight and dressed in jumpsuits that were hideously ornate. I particularly don’t want to remember the sight of him with those awful mutton chop sideburns and sporting a towering pompadour that seemed to reach as high as the headwraps once worn by Erykah Badu.

Now that Michael Jackson has died, my mind will have to make similar detours to images more pleasant and befitting of another legendary performer who would be King.

Michael Jackson

Linda hopes to remember Michael Jackson the way he used to be.

To get to the more pleasant images of the Michael Jackson that I knew and adored, my mind will have to reach way back. It will have to reach back to the time when the so-called King of Pop was beautiful and brown, relatively happy and indisputably nappy.

The image of Michael that I choose to remember performed without props or pyrotechnics.

Back in 1969, as lead singer of The Jackson Five, it was Michael's pure voice and the harmonious backup of his brothers that charmed millions of viewers during their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. His soul-stirring rendition of "Who’s Loving You" was magnificent.

I choose to remember the Michael whose young voice had an old soul, but was sweet and innocent enough to garner a Golden Globe Award for crooning a love song to a rat.

The image of Michael that I want to remember does not have skin that looked bleached by Nadinola, a nose that was neutralized, and a face that looked like it was repeatedly bounced “Off the Wall.”

The Michael that I choose to remember did not have activated hair. He did not have hair so laden with flammable products that it once caught fire during filming of a Pepsi TV commercial.

Elvis’ spit curl was natural, Michael’s “S curl” wasn’t.

My memories of Michael Jackson will be selective. Whenever I think of him I will direct my mind to see the image of a man-child who was bright-eyed and extremely talented. I will see a Michael who had a face that was untainted, unviolated and protectively framed by a natural halo called an Afro.

Michael, I want you back.

I want you before you became confused and consumed by demons. The Michael I want back is the Michael who was black.

That is the Michael that I see resting in peace.

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