Man in the Mirror

Yesterday, June 25, marked the third anniversary of MJ’s passing. He was 50 years old when he died of a drug overdose after suffering respiratory arrest. Whatever you think of the man (or his music), one thing’s certain: despite the fame and fortune, his was far from an easy life.

Jackson’s father, allegedly, abused him. As a child he was forced to perform; no time to just be a kid. Many called his talents “incredible,” yet he came across sad, lonely and misunderstood. He seemed to dislike himself with an unchecked vengeance, going to extreme lengths to change his appearance. Scandal swirled around him; though he was never formally charged of child abuse, such accusations made him a constant target.

Yet so many of us loved Michael. Maybe not the person – we didn’t know the person – but his music. It’s hard to think of a bad Michael Jackson track, one you wouldn’t turn the volume up for. We think “Rock With You” is the perfect love song …

There’s a connection between Michael Jackson and Bikram Yoga. On the day he died, Danny, who taught the 6 p.m. class at Kits, said he couldn’t get “Billy Jean” out of his head – they’d been playing MJ non-stop on the radio, TV and Internet all day. Danny told us if we could get our hands on a copy of the Thriller album, to flip it over and look at the fine print on the back; apparently Quincy Jones, who produced the record, dedicated it to Bikram Choudhury. Jones was a full-time student under Bikram in 1982, the year Thriller was released.

We wonder: did Jones ever ask Jackson to join him in the hot room? If so, would the King of Pop’s life have turned out any differently? Not to oversimplify the problems that must come with being in the public eye, but maybe if Michael had found Bikram Yoga – or something like it – it would have made things easier to deal with. Maybe it would have calmed his heart, eased his mind and made the struggle with the public, the media and his family a little less excruciating. Maybe it would have forced him to take a good, long look in the mirror and love the man that he saw looking back at him a little more. After all, it’s better to suffer 90 minutes than 90 years. RIP MJ

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