Before Michael and Jackie, it wasn’t just James Brown. It was this man.
As we’re in the middle of comparing great acting performances, I have to apply the same standard across the board.
Michael Jackson, my personal favorite artist ever, probably the greatest pop star of all time.
Great actor at times like Sinatra? No. Good actor even? Um….
Look, even the best actors figure out what they can do, but they can’t do well (unless your name is Streep I guess).
Mike tried to go back to the ‘Smooth Criminal’ well here, (and if I remember correctly this was on the back of one of his cases.)
So…Mike standing toe to toe with (his real life friend) the Godfather? Cool moment but…
Mike, catcalling girls in the street, acting like he can’t keep it in his pants when he sees a tastee?
COME ON MIKE…
Have a good weekend!
That’s how I’ll remember 2014. Maybe I was just due for a good year, but truth be told, 90 percent of my stress over the past 12 months could really be called sympathy/empathy at things going on in the world around me.
On a personal level, it feels like I’ve taken a huge step forward in claiming the part of my destiny where I’m this ‘Muslim Zen Master’ (for lack of a better term.) Have I had 365 peaceful days in a row? Of course not. But taking a moment to look back, most of my memories are of cracking jokes, admiring (spiritually and physically) beautiful women, watching and talking and making movies and plays with people who share the same passions. That’s really what it boils down to; this feels like a year where a majority of my time was spent doing things I was passionate about in one way or another. The House of Aziz is definitely in order.
‘America’ continues to force my hand though. It’s interesting (to put it mildly) to watch what’s going on in the world. We all talk about ‘what we would have done’ if we lived in a different era, but there’s a genuine thing that’s happening right now. And where do you (or I) fit into it? I know people who are in the streets, potentially risking their lives for the Cause. I know people who are a little more subtle in their public stances, but do a lot behind closed doors. I’ve seen people who are so entrenched in their place in the status quo that it seems like they’re fighting against their own self-interests. Like I said, it’s all interesting…
Alright, the Zen Master is ‘reflected’ out. In this moment, I’m grateful and thankful. To my family who hold me down through everything. To my friends and colleagues with whom I’ve locked myself into this ‘Make Me Laugh’ deathmatch that really feels like it will go on until we keel over. To my actor and writer and director friends who do good work and stroke my ego in a friendly competition, ‘I can do that!’ kind of way. To the kids coming up behind me who seem desperate for answers, and all I can really say is, ‘I’m doing the best I can to make things easier for you than I had it.’
(Hm. I really didn’t mean to end on a somber note…)
(I know! Let’s go backwards one more time to what I FINALLY knocked off my bucket list on my last birthday!)
COME ON FUZZBALL!!! LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!!! SEE YOU LAMES IN 2015!!!
(chuckling as I put on my 3D glasses, jump into my Interstellar space craft, and leave this hemisphere for the next 2 weeks…)
I made my annual trip to Griffith Observatory this weekend. I saw a show that wasn’t playing on my last trip, and as usual I marveled at how big the Universe is, and how small we are, and how much we still don’t know.
I walked outside; darkness had fallen. I looked out over Los Angeles. My city. My home. And I felt…frustrated.
At this point, I was supposed to be putting the finishing touches on my rise to the Crown. Kobe would be closing in on ring 6, and I’d be courtside with Jack, who’d be grooming me to be the next ‘Laker Fan Number One’ when he’s eventually gone. That was the plan anyway.
But the best laid plans…
As I’m thinking this, I feel his presence. Dressed in a dark jacket not that much different my own. He’s sharp, but in such a public, touristy place like this, nobody really notice us. We look at most like two extras out of a Michael Mann film; maybe people glance for a second, but then they immediately go back to their own business.
The Devil’s voice is charming and playful. Like the voice of VD in that Chappelle skit with the puppets:
‘Why hello Malik Aziz! Haven’t seen you in a while!’
‘It’s not too late for you, my old friend.’
‘Not too late for what?’
‘The courtside seats. The customized black Maserati GranTurismo Sport with gold trim. You know, the Devil is not one to spread gossip, but you give me a year to build up your profile and status, and Beyonce might be back on the market…’
‘Uh huh. Yeah, well, I’m not Michael anymore.’
‘Oh please! You were posting MJ songs on Facebook three days ago!’
‘How do you know that?’
‘I’m one of your Facebook stalkers.’
‘I guess. Anyway, not MJ. I’m not Michael Corleone anymore. I don’t daydream about that kind of stuff like I used to.’
‘And what do you dream about?’
‘I have visions of my woman admiring me for making peace with climbing as high up this mountain as I can without completely selling out what I stand for and what I believe in. I see my children looking at my actions and seeing all the major decisions I made: who I married, where I lived, what I prioritized; and appreciating that it all started with love. And hopefully no matter what I try to teach them, when it’s their time to make those life choices, they’ll start from the same place.’
We’re quiet in each other’s presence for awhile. The moon is out tonight.
‘The world is not kind to honest men, Malik. And this thing you’re passionate about, even less so.’
‘Man, I learned all that before I left Kansas. I guess now I’m just really starting to accept it. I told you, my ego is content now with who and what I attract through my natural abilities and personality. You have nothing else to offer me.’
‘So be it. Jedi.’
The Devil slinks away to make a deal with some other insecure, tortured soul. This is Hollywood. I’m pretty sure he got that done before he got to the parking lot.
I take a deep breath, and I look out over my city.
I turn my phone on and send a sarcastic text to one of my aces.
I jump back in the Matrix and like my people’s posts and updates to let them know I’m thinking about them and I’m glad they’re doing well.
I walk back down the hill to my car and put on the Easy Star.
I feel at peace. It’s been a good night.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you I campaigned a little harder than normal when the opportunity to be in this video came up on my radar.
And I’m only half joking when I tell you the thought crossed my mind, if I would’ve booked it… ‘You’re singing along to Mike in one of his videos. They are characters, stories, living people who you would be equally hyped to work with, but you’re not topping this.’ Seriously. I’m having fun, but being in a Michael Jackson video? The word ‘retirement’ did flash through my mind for a second.
On the flip side of the coin, I also considered how long would be my ego be able to withstand the daily jokes and memes from those of you (and you know who you are) who would send me hourly clips of me jumping around and singing along and getting into a tickle fight with Timberlake. So from that angle, that certainly would have fast forwarded me to how I imagine the last chapter of my life: living in exile, working as a bartender/DJ at Marlon Brando’s Tahitian resort under the alias ‘Davis Samuels, married to a Filipino girl and raising a couple island kids, and biding my time until some friend of a friend goes on their honeymoon and recognizes me and lets everybody back in America know I’m actually still alive and healthy and I’d made a completely new life for myself.
So, all things considered, I guess it’s good I’m not in this video.