By Marissa Mitchell
This is Enrico Hampton. He is greeting guests for another show. His initials are EH, not much appeal there.
But now take a look at him as MJ, or Rico Michael Jackson, a 42-year-old celebrity impersonator.
“The way I talk. I cannot explain. We’re going to do all that. It’s gonna be hot. We’re gonna make it happen,” Hampton said.
Making it happen for his fans is the goal for Hampton’s American Legends Concert at Chicago’s Harold Washington Cultural Center.
The Chicago south-sider has performed as the king of pop for nearly 30 years. He has danced in festivals, parades and parties across the country.
He never got a chance to meet Jackson before his death last year, but he did once show off moves for the star’s father, Joe.
“You know, hoping that the man is looking down on me and giving me the moonwalk approval to what I’m doing,” Hampton said.
He is doing a lot. This is not Hampton’s side gig, it’s his full-time job. What began as a dance at a friend’s Christmas party now includes up to ten performances a day.
He even received a proclamation from the city of Chicago that marks a day in his honor.
“It’s like a stage cream, foundation. It works pretty good to give me that whole Michael Jackson feel,” Hampton said.
With a feel that’s topped off with a wavy wig, a buckled belt, a fedora and the signature sequin glove, he is ready to hit the stage.
“Michael would say, kill it and that’s what I’m going to do,” Hampton said.
Hampton says he has received more performance requests since Jackson’s death. All to feed an audience that cannot let the legacy of the king of pop’s legacy fade.
“I hope everybody enjoy[s] me continuing on his legacy of Michael Jackson. So, just keep your eyes open, cause, you know, just like Michael said, ‘You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’ hee hee,” Hampton said.