Saturday, 8 March 2014

You Were There

Michael Jackson released countless number one singles in his lifetime.
He was the King of Pop, a consummate performer, I can't write enough about the man. (So I'll stop).  Regardless of whether you are a fan of the man or not, you can't go past the fact that he was THE MAN.

He skyrocketed to a "whole 'nother level" with his Motown performance in 1985 with his brothers, the first time he debuted his signature move, the moonwalk.  I've highlighted the Man in the Mirror in a previous post but forgot to mention where in one particular grammy performance, he was sooooo in the zone that the choral conductor of the gospel choir that accompanied him was concerned when Michael didn't stand up after falling to his knees in a dramatic spin that ended up with him on the floor - that was reminiscent of a James Brown 'cape' moment.

One of his other live performances for special occasions that is vivid in my mind is the one for Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th birthday.  He performed You Were There.  The song earned Michael an Emmy Award nomination and even though the song was quite short, simple in its lyrical naivete/naivety, it had enough emotion in the song to pay tribute to a pioneer who embodied the sentiments expressed within it.

You were there, before we came
You took the hurt, you took the shame
They built the walls to block your way
You beat them down, you won the day

It wasn't right, it wasn't fair
You taught them all, you made them care
Yes you were there, and thanks to you
There's now a door, we all walk through

And we are here, for all to see
To be the best, that we can be
Yes I am here
'Cause you were there

If you are not familiar with the song, you must watch it on YouTube.
The song symbolises for me the struggle of my parents, the everyman's struggle to be the "first", the "feeling the fear and doing it anyway", because, just because something hasn't been done before, doesn't make it wrong.  Yes, there is the natural fear of the unknown.  How will you know you made the right decision?  What will happen?  When people imply negative connotations or make assumptions, I can fall sometimes into a default setting, like a broken record repeating the mantra I am not a product of my environment, but I thrived in spite of it (or I thrived in what you thought my environment was).

Anything worth having is never easy.  The motivation now as an adult is that even if things are strange or new or difficult to grasp because it has been thrust into your realm of responsibility by nature or provocative means - you are the architect of your own design.

Never forget your past, as it informs your present and you can develop your future.
Acknowledge those who have come before you, who have paved the way and whose hard work, toil and labour, you now partake in and enjoy the fruits.

I am here 'cause . . . you . . . were . . . there . . .