Finally it’s the weekend! I hope you had a good week, and if you didn’t, thank you so much for pushing through. Today’s playlist is in honor of the late great Michael Jackson, as his birthday recently passed on August 29th. He is one of the few musicians I want to listen to when I am in a bad place emotionally and mentally. Many say that they use music as an escape from reality, and I do just that with his music.
With that said, here are just a few videos and songs that instantly sends positive vibes, love, and humor to my soul, and I hope that it does for you as well.
1. Jackson 5 – Dancing Machine
This iconic Soul Train performance is so fun, and showcases the young Michael Jackson doing the robot. I would love it if Soul Train or some variation of a show like that comes back because dance really does make the heart and soul feel grand.
2. Michael Jackson – You Rock My World
Every time I think of Chris Tucker nowadays is from making me laugh in this video, and being a real good friend to Michael. Invincible was the first Michael Jackson album I heard all the way through. I was 7 years old when it came out in 2001. Wow, I was young. 16 years later, I can still recite every word and rank it as one of the most authentic and feel good albums. One thing that I hate about the video is that most of his face was hard to see under the hat majority of the time. I heard an alleged story of why it was, but I don’t want to believe it.
3. Michael Jackson – Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (Live from the Bad tour)
I had a co-worker who saw both Michael Jackson and Prince live in concert. So jealous. If you had the privilege of watching Michael live, especially during the Bad tour, so blessed you are. This performance in Yokohama, Japan is my absolute favorite, and I smile every time I watch it. If you’re confused on why Michael was challenging his backup singer in a dance-off at the end, the routine was originally orchestrated by him and his brothers during the Victory tour. The Bad tour was the first tour he did by himself, and despite the group’s surprising departure after the Victory tour, he still chose to perform The Jacksons / Jackson 5 songs.
4. Michael Jackson – Rock With You
I think he is pretty much the only one besides Rick James that makes Jerri curls look so stylish and modern. That rhinestone wardrobe also never fails to make me smile.
5. Michael Jackson – Remember The Time
I think I can speak for most that this is the first time you see an all black cast in a video, portraying Black dark-toned people as a Pharaoh and Queen. I will say this so many times, but representation matters to African Americans who grow up wanting to see themselves on television to place value of importance in themselves. At least, that’s what mattered to me when I was younger, and I couldn’t stop watching this video because of that.
6. Michael Jackson – Speed Demon
I highly recommend watching his movie, Moonwalker. It will help you understand why Michael and his entourage came out of the smoke in the beginning. The movie is how I discovered this song and video, and I even used to confused his rabbit character with Roger Rabbit. Remember Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I know, two completely different personalities. The dance number and the chase at the beginning of the video is all I used to watch, but overtime I began to listen to the song by itself without watching the video, and now I love it.
7. Michael Jackson – Jam
I wish he collaborated with more hip hop artists (even though he did a song with Shaq and Ice Cube, I’m not kidding look it up). I know Michael did a song with The Notorious B.I.G. before he (Biggie) passed away, but it’s not one of my favorites. Either way, “Jam” makes you dance even if you have no idea how to dance.
8. Michael Jackson – Bad
Every time I watch this, I feel like I’m watching a movie. To this day, I still don’t understand the joke when Wesley asked Michael “what’s your minor?” I laugh anyways, but I feel like I might get offended when I finally find out the meaning of the joke. Michael should’ve done more acting on tv shows or movies in the earlier years other than The Simpsons. He did appear in movies in his later years, but they were not good roles, in my opinion.
9. Michael Jackson Interview at the Hayvenhurst Home in 1983
I think this was the first interview that I know of prior to the Bad era, where he is not nervous and is really comfortable with himself. He’s also really hilarious and shady in this interview. If you’re curious or interested in his mind during this time, this is a great interview to start with. Black boy magic.
10. Michael Jackson – Thriller
Of course I wouldn’t forget this classic. Do you have the dance memorized? Me too….no I lied. Almost. It’s hard to perfect an MJ dance routine.
11. Flip Wilson, Michael Jackson – Math Skit on The Flip Wilson Show in 1972
A few years ago, TV One re-aired episodes of The Flip Wilson Show that was hosted by comedian Flip Wilson. I came across this episode and I was laughing so hard. I swear he’s the king of petty. Michael was 14 years old at the time. Let’s just say, he’s the greatest, but math may not be his strongest skill in this case. He’s an expert at mind games though.
12. Michael Jackson, Diana Ross – Ease On Down The Road
I love everything about this movie. I may just watch it tonight or sometime during this Labor Day Weekend. One of my favorite scenes is when the scarecrow (Michael) and Dorothy (Diana) meet for the first time, which you can watch below.
Do you mean all this time the only thing standing between hanging up there, and living it up down there were those…crows?
13. Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
I discovered this song from Moonwalker as well. Now that I know the story that is attached to the music video, I love it even more. That white suit with the blue accents is just everything, it sure did stood him out from the crowd.
14. Michael Jackson – Private Home Videos (Fun at Neverland)
I believe his Neverland Ranch was his happy and safe place, that allowed him to compensate for the time he lost during his life as a child. I can’t imagine not being able to live and have fun as a child, while I was a child. As weird as people thought he was, he had every right to experience youthful activities that normal adults usually don’t do. He wasn’t normal because he never had the chance to be normal. Speaking of normal, this other clip was pretty funny.
15. Michael Jackson – Private Home Videos (Supermarket)
I thought it was mind-blowing that he never shopped in a supermarket in 30 years at the time of this clip. This is something I do all the time, but like I said, he couldn’t do normal things. Even though all the people in the market was people he knew, at least he got a little taste of what it was like to be in the real world. His fame was out of this world; I don’t think I would want to know what it was like in his shoes.
There’s a lot more videos I’d love to share with you, but these are the most important ones that I watch frequently. I hope you understand a bit of what brings me joy when it comes to Michael Jackson, and I hope you danced and smiled in the process. See you next week for another fun playlist.