Do you remember where you were, when you heard the news?

I was at a liquor store with my husband, when I checked Twitter and saw the news unfold on my timeline. I couldn’t keep it to myself, and told the cashier. I still remember the disbelief on his face as he shouted to the other clerks, “this chick says Michael Jackson just died.” The words felt so surreal. It didn’t hit me until we got back in the car, and literally every radio station was playing his music. I remember driving back to my in-laws house and wondering to myself – how could music that once brought me so much joy, now make my heart feel like it’s broken?

In case you want to reread my original posts, here they are:

Oh Michael

Still Missing Michael

and for EbonyJet, Who Feels It Knows It.

I sincerely hope Michael Jackson is resting peacefully past the pearly gates. The media shenanigans some of his relatives have been pulling as we approach this tragic anniversary have been truly reprehensible, and I’m sure not what he would have wanted in the event of his untimely demise. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about celebrating this man’s life, his legacy, his music. Here are things you can do today to celebrate Michael Jackson’s memory.

— Get yourself some dope Michael Jackson memorabilia. One thing MJ did was inspire the fans. You can find some amazing Michael Jackson tribute pieces, if you know where to look. I love the Young Michael Jackson tee by Afrodelik, this funky Michael Jackson mug by Rothshank on Etsy, and Rachel Stewart’s fly Michael Jackson earrings. Shamon!

– Watch Fuse TV’s Michael Jackson takeover — it begins every day this weekend at 11 am, 10 Central. Music videos, documentaries, and tributes all day till Sunday. Must see TV for any MJ stan. (this happened in 2010. Check your local listings for any Michael Jackson related tributes this week).

— Stop by a bookstore and pick up a copy of Nelson George’s Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson. I’m almost 3/4 way through this musical memoir, and I am thoroughly enjoying the read. Nelson devotes a chapter to each track of Thriller, and reading it while listening to the album on headphones made my Amtrak misadventures almost bearable. Almost. All jokes aside, it’s a thoroughly engaging read and from the very first chapter, offered a fresh perspective on the man-boy behind the legend.

— Spend your weekend like Michael would have. And I don’t mean shopping for extravagant things, or living the life of a big spender. Do something fun and whimsical. If you have kids, go to a park and spend the day playing with them. Fly a kite, climb a tree, go to the zoo, ride a Ferris Wheel. When I think of the end of Michael’s life, separated from his beloved Neverland and his menagerie, it makes me sad.

On a day like today you can make the world your own personal Neverland. WWMJD? He’d probably go to the zoo, get the kids some ice cream cones, and live life with whimsy and delight.

— Make a charitable donation. So much of Michael Jackson’s legacy has been skewed by reports and details of the amount he spent, the amount he owed. But what of the amount he gave? Michael was known and beloved around the world as a man who donated tremendously to charities, particularly children’s charities. Today might be a great day to make a donation to one of Michael’s pet causes, in his name. Jackson Action has a great, comprehensive list of every charitable event and donation Michael made.

Make that change.

Those are my suggestions for celebrating Michael Jackson’s legacy. How do you plan to celebrate?

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Alisha says:
June 25, 2010, 12:28 am
Great post! I miss him so. I've already watched the FUSE special, and I'm wearing my I Heart MJ shirt tomorrow. I'll definitely do something charitable. Now, if I could just get to his Brooklyn birthday party in August!
Dee Dee says:
June 25, 2010, 12:29 am
Great post Bella! I still miss MJ too, I can't event watch the Man in the Mirror video you posted. le sigh. I will def be doing (WWMJD love that) something I think he would love. I'm heading down to the Taste for the concert, chilling on the lawn w/ friends and good fun :)
AJ says:
June 25, 2010, 12:33 am
Great post. I can't even believe it's been a year. I remember when my coworker told me, and I called her a liar. Loudly. I just couldn't belive it. It still saddens me. I love, love, love your suggestions on how to appreciate MJ's legacy. WWMJD? love it.
bella says:
June 25, 2010, 12:38 am
I'll be there to kick it with you, AND I'm wearing my MJ tee!!
Mr_Enygma says:
June 25, 2010, 12:42 am
thanks for this post. I'm still completely in disbelief with the fact that he passed and moreso that it's been a year. i find it amazing that you chose to post "one day in your life" which has recently been one of my favorite MJ offerings and is so appropriate in this time. i've been a fan since Moonwwalker (which came out when i was 4). He's the King of Entertainment, Humanitarian Efforts, and LOVE in general. Again thanks for posting and paying homage to true american ROYALTY
Notorious Spinks says:
June 25, 2010, 1:32 am
What was I doing? I think I was watching TV... I'm going to think about that.
Aminah Hanan says:
June 25, 2010, 8:21 am
I too read about MJ's death on Twitter, sitting in my Nana's living room. At first I thought it was a rumor, but we quickly turned it on CNN and learned that it wasn't true. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. I'll be at Taste too rockin my MJ buttons. RIP MJ
Christine says:
June 25, 2010, 8:25 am
For any Philly natives (and Bella, if you want to spread the word, we would welcome it!) my husband and I along with hopefully a hundred other people will be dancing to Thriller in Love Park on 16th St. and JFK Boulevard at noon on June 26th. The Alzheimer Association will be there collecting charitable donations of whatever anyone would like to make. (Not really a Jackson charity, but next week it will be three years since my grandmother passed away fromthe disease.)( Sorry to hijack the comments! But I've been reading forever and it just matched up. Thanks!
bella says:
June 25, 2010, 8:35 am
Absolutely no problem! I just tweeted it for you, hopefully you'll have a good turnout. And it doesn't matter if it was a Jackson charity or not - Alzheimer's is a disease that needs our attention and this charity needs support! You've got mine!
J. Simmons says:
June 25, 2010, 9:04 am
I was at work when I found out - saw is scrolling past our big screen TV in our Network Operations Center (I work for a telecom company). I celebrated all week by listening to MJ songs & posting fav MJ videos on FB. Now, I'm enjoy a MJ tribute station on slacker radio at my desk - still celebrating!
sthembi says:
June 25, 2010, 10:31 am
What a great resourceful and wonderful post on celebrating MJ's life not just the music, but his charities and also taking inspiration from his creativity. Thank you
Beez says:
June 25, 2010, 11:23 am
Great post, Ms. Bella. I'm all about celebrating his life, and rejoicing in the fact that we even had the chance to experience him.
Divamom says:
June 25, 2010, 12:12 pm
What a wonderful post! I 100% agree with Beez (above). Thanks for this.
Niki says:
June 25, 2010, 12:43 pm
Like Maya Angelou wrote "We had him..." and I'm so glad that we did! I've been doing a weeklong tribute on my FB page and I'll be grooving to Michael music & videos all day. I found out about Michael's passing on the way to my nephew's high school graduation. It did cast a shadow on the whole evening. I couldn't even go to sleep when I got back home because I was going from channel to channel on TV trying to convince myself that this wasn't some awful mistake.
Candy says:
June 25, 2010, 3:51 pm
I found out about his death while I was at work. My co-worker found it on TMZ. I know that that is a gossip site, so I was really hoping it wasn't true. I spent all evening checking news sources that could confirm it. I was so dissappointed to find out it was true. Michael was a genuine star, I hope he's finally found peace.
Pets says:
June 25, 2010, 6:24 pm
I was home and received the information from an overseas call. Today I watched VH1 and an Oprah show where she spoke about him and showed him being on her 1993 show. My nieces and I also took a long drive and sang to the radio station that was playing his ongs on its "MJ Day" tribute. I put "Man in the Mirror" as my mobile ring tone sometime before he weird.
MochaSiren says:
June 25, 2010, 7:07 pm
Love me some Michael!!! I've always been completely deaf to the negativity of people and media!!! We lost a great man and talent one year ago today. Take your rest, MJ!!! You are loved!!! :-)
Maya says:
June 25, 2010, 9:35 pm
*sigh* i can't believe its been a whole year. I'm not as emotional about this as some fans i know but MAN when i think about it too much, things really begin to hit. i'm 19 going on 20 years old and MJ was THE soundtrack to my childhood. so many memories of growing up in my grandmothers living room with my cousins doing the WORSE moonwalk you've ever seen, playing with my big cousins mj doll *the one with the green sparkley jacket*, watching the vh1 marathons *the REAL one where they would show MOONWALKER and GHOSTS not these crap marathons they have now*. it's no one lives forever, but he was just TOO young. i remember the day he died like it just happened. i was with my boyfriend at the movies in newark seeing transformers 2 and right in the middle of the film someone got up and said YO MICHAEL JACKSON DIED. i was just kind of like huh yea right and kept watching the film. it didn't really cause a commotion, i dont really think anyone believed it. and then we left to get something to eat, and there it was on the news MICHAEL JACKSON DEAD @ 50. my bf and i looked at each other with the most confused looks we'd given each other thus far. it's just NOT supposed to happen. and then the tributes started. as i waited for the bus to go home this house behind me was BLASTING motown jackson 5 greatest hits cd. it was bittersweet. LONG LIVE THE KING...Gone too soon but DEF. not forgotten <3
may says:
June 26, 2010, 2:42 am
love u MJ RIP
JenG says:
July 2, 2010, 7:40 am
I was at home, waiting for the news that is was not true. I still can't watch any video of MJ. He is missed!
Ife says:
July 3, 2010, 12:23 pm
Even before MJJ died, I was one of those people who you betta NOT say any nonsense about Michael Jackson to! Now that he's gone, I'm even more resistant to talk to anyone who doesn't absolutely love him. Like his song, he was "Gone Too Soon." My heart aches.
Clark Kopay says:
November 18, 2010, 3:33 am
Michael Jackson is the king of rock and roll!
pets says:
June 25, 2013, 8:16 pm
2013 update. Ever since MJ died, "Man in the Mirror" has been my mobile ringsong as I have the entire song loaded. One of his most thought provoking songs and still makes my bodyhair stand up.