When writing about a truly global celebrity, like Michael Jackson, it's often difficult to separate man from myth, real-life personality from on-stage persona. In short, it's difficult to show the human side of an international icon.
Alternative medicine and self-help guru Deepak Chopra has managed to do all this and more, in a sincere, honest and compelling sketch of Michael Jackson that's been posted to internet site HuffingtonPost.
Chopra, who Jackson left a voice message just two days before his death, first met the King of Pop in 1988, beginning a 20+ year friendship that brought Jackson peace of mind and contentment, two things he always was sorely lacking.
Refreshingly, Chopra has not attempted to make everything fit, nice and easy-like. He's pointed out the ambiguities and uncertainties that being a friend of Michael's entailed. He's not glossed over and hidden anything, writing "(Michael's) mixture of mystery, isolation, indulgence, overwhelming global fame, and personal loneliness was intimately known to me. For twenty years I observed every aspect, and as easy as it was to love Michael -- and to want to protect him -- his sudden death yesterday seemed almost fated."
In the post, Chopra reveals that in the final voice message, Jackson said, "I've got some really good news to share with you."
Jackson revealed he was writing a song about the environment, Chopra reveals, and wanted his spiritually in-tune friend to help with the lyrics. When he called back, Jackson didn't answer. They were never to speak again, in what Chopra calls a 'poignant symbol of an unfinished life'.
Chopra also explains the duality of Jackson's personality. "Michael exemplified the paradox of many famous performers, being essentially shy, an introvert who would come to my house and spend most of the evening sitting by himself in a corner with his small children. I never saw less than a loving father when they were together (and wonder now, as anyone close to him would, what will happen to them in the aftermath). Michael's reluctance to grow up was another part of the paradox. My children adored him, and in return he responded in a childlike way. He declared often, as former child stars do, that he was robbed of his childhood. Considering the monstrously exaggerated value our society places on celebrity, which was showered on Michael without stint, the public was callous to his very real personal pain. It became another tawdry piece of the tabloid Jacko, pictured as a weird changeling and as something far more sinister."
Finally, in a very personal moment, Chopra addresses Jackson's difficulties over charges of pedophilia. "I only wanted to put some details on the record in his behalf. My son Gotham traveled with Michael as a roadie on his Dangerous tour when he was 13. Will it matter that Michael behaved with discipline and impeccable manners around my son?"
Most of us only knew Michael Jackson through his art, but Deepak Chopra knew him as a friend. We thank him for sharing his experiences.