Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Message of Icons
It was in the mid of 70’s when I moved from Bubog Elementary School to San Jose National High School (SJNHS)as a freshman high school student. That was the year when body fit t-shirts and duffle bags bearing pictures of Muhammad Ali and the Jackson Five were sold like hot cakes in the market. I love boxing and music so I bought a couple of them. I am a certified fan of Ali and the Jackson Five. But I only want to remember Michael Jackson as Jackson Five’s lead soloist. Until now.
The Jackson Five concerts in February 13-15, 1976 held at the Folks Arts Theater and Araneta Coliseum, were instant hits. But the quintet who came was not the original singing group managed by Joseph “Joe” Jackson, their father. The original member Germaine who was reportedly sick then was substituted by his brother Randy. The original members of the group were Germaine, Tito, Jackie, Marlon and of course, Michael Jackson. Prior to the Manila concert, there was rumor that Michael died due to drug overdose. And in a pre-concert press conference, Michael told media men : “As you can very well see, I’m here. What do you think?”
According to a news item published in Philippine Daily Express in February 13, 1976, “It was Muhammad Ali’s accounts of the Philippines, according to the Jackson Five, that made them want to come and perform in the Philippines. The Jacksons are friends of Ali.” Because prior to the concert, on October 1, 1975, the Muhammad Ali- Joe Frazier fight dubbed “Thrilla in Manila” was held also at Araneta. The “Thrilla in Manila” was considered one of the greatest fights in 20th century boxing. Ali was declared winner and shortly afterwards fainted on the canvass.
Muhammad Ali they say, is the only remaining black legend now that Michael Jackson is gone. Both Ali and Jackson became messengers of their arts and crafts and their message. I can’t help but compare who between the “King of Pop” and “The Greatest” made a beautiful message and good news out of their lives.
It is not only by winning, by amassing of fortune and fame that make us triumphant or a winner. It is how we live our message, our life.
And when I first heard of the news that MJ has died, I remember the words reportedly uttered by Eddie Futch, Frazier’s trainer, to his suffering boxer at the verge of defeat : “It’s all over. No one will forget what you did (here today)”. Those immortal words came out in “Thrilla in Manila”, an event prior to Philippines’ first taste of Michael Jackson in 1976 before he went solo…