Michael and Me

On the occasion of the first anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, I offer the following remembrance:

This is a picture of me from 3rd grade, performing to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean at my elementary school’s annual talent show. At the time, I was approximately 2 years into my die-hard fandom of the King of Pop. I know that the ensemble looks like it was professionally done, but I actually handled all the costuming personally. I glued each of those sequins on one by one, spelling out ‘Jackson 5’ on the front of the shirt, and making perfect rows up and down the trademark glove. Yes, I know the glove is blue. It was all I could find.

After auditioning and making it into the talent show, my mom asked me good naturedly, “Ryan, aren’t you worried that people are going to laugh at you?” I responded simply, “Why would they do that?” I had no idea what she meant, why someone would find it amusing that a little white boy in big glasses was impersonating Michael Jackson. When I was home last week, my mom told me that she was so scared for me, but her fears were quickly assuaged when I began my performance.

I marched to center stage, and when that well known bass began to thump in the acoustically challenged auditorium, I planted a black fedora on my head and began to move to the beat just as Michael had during the famous Motown 25 performance. When I threw my hat into the crowd, the kids erupted and soon began clapping to the rhythm. It was glorious, even if I did run out of moves halfway through and had to improvise. My moonwalk wasn’t aided by the high-top Chuck’s I was wearing, but no matter. Everyone loved it, and told me so afterward. In the video, you can see the P.E. teacher, Mr. Murphy (who sported a similar MJ-circa-1985 Jheri curl mullet) with a huge smile on his face, moving to the tempo from his chair. I can still hear the applause and the cheers.

25 June 2010 ·

About Me

A filmmaker, journalist, and freelance video producer in NYC named Ryan Jones, who also goes by K. Ryan Jones for professional and pretentious reasons. He reads books, waxes poetic about old Nickelodeon shows, and at certain times of the day has no clothes on.