September 3rd, 2009
02:54 PM ET

One More for MJ

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/10/jackson.thursday/art.jackson.2005.gi.jpg caption="Gotham Chopra was a long-time friend of Michael Jackson."]
Gotham Chopra

I thought long and hard about whether to go on CNN tonight and once again talk about my late friend Michael Jackson. Months ago when he died, I did a flurry of interviews, mostly on CNN and with Larry King and got a lot of positive feedback for some of the things I said about Michael. Viewers wrote to me in droves via email, facebook, and twitter; there were grateful that I had “humanized” him. It was natural to me to re-collect Michael more as a friend – I knew him from when I was just a kid on through my college years, my first few years out in the working world, getting married and becoming a father – rather than try to analyze the pendulum of his career from iconic rock-star to scandal plagued celebrity. I was close to him as he endured both phases and what was remarkable was that he stayed largely the same guy underneath, staggeringly intelligent and wildly irreverent, deeply spiritual but quintessentially cynical. Michael was cool, but he was also conflicted. He was forever a contradiction, a creative visionary that wanted to heal the world, but could barely keep his own life together.

Part of the reason I was ambivalent about going on TV tonight was because I’m not attending the memorial service/burial today in which he is finally being laid to rest. The reasons for that were various. To tick off a few: frankly because it’s really weird to me that he died 2.5 months ago and still had not been buried (in the Hindu tradition, the body must be disposed off within two days, and not that I am even very Hindu, but come on…); because I sensed the service would be more of the same – a circus of attention seekers and media – and I didn’t really want to be a part of it; and because, well, I don’t think I was really invited by his family or lawyers or post-death entourage, whoever is running the show. I’m not surprised, nor disappointed. I was good friends with Michael, not his parents nor many siblings, not his wonderful children, nor the many in his entourage who always seemed to be around, and appear just as plentiful and voracious in his death. On the former (the family), this has no doubt been a conflicted time for them as well. When I was with him the last few years, Michael intimated a deep respect for many of the members of his family, but he didn’t profess a real intimacy with them in recent times. He loved his brothers deeply but he didn’t ache to re-establish the famous fraternity the world once knew. Then again, what do I know?

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Filed under: Michael Jackson
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. amanda

    i think the trials he went through really did affect him in a way, can you imagine being accused of such horrible things you never did, he did go through alot of pain. he was truly a great person and he is very missed !!! god has him home now !

    September 4, 2009 at 12:48 am |
  2. Evelyn Geatros

    Thank you Anderson & Gotham for sharing... Gotham you are a 'good friend' and I believe that Michael Jackson knew it.... you looked out for his best interest...THE TRUTH!! what counts is that YOU knew Michael Jackson intimately and probably in a way not even his own family were able to fathom.. NO one can take that away...

    Evelyn Geatros

    September 3, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  3. C.O.L.4E1.L.I.F.E.

    It's people like you/us who keep Micheal Jackson alive in this World that he lefted and loves, thanks for sharing your un-breakable bond, friendship, and love to us who only knew Micheal Jackson as the "King of Pop"! Thank you!

    September 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  4. Nehal

    what you just said about Michael is so great,he was a human being in every sense possible,he was THE true humanitarian,he loved all people,he loved the whole world,but what he got in return shows deep ungratfulness from most of the media.I hope they remember him now-like you did- for his human, good and extremely talented side.I wish that people would stop reading the tabloids and start listening to the voice of truth.
    His legacy will sure live on.He will forever be the best performer the world had ever seen.RIP Michael Jackson

    September 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  5. rosegarden

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt writing with us. I'm looking forwards to seeing your another project abt MJ with us.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  6. Noel Anthony Haughey

    GOD Bless Michael Jackson. He was a gift from GOD.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  7. sonia

    to me Michael seemed to be so lonely despite the people that always surrounded him.
    Help me understand why no girlfriend/wife/partner lasted in a relationship with him?
    Has he ever been inlove?

    September 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm |