If you tell this story of reminiscing to someone else, especially someone who is not black, I’m sure they’ll be pretty confused if not floored by the idea that people could compare the death of thousands in a horrific terrorist attack, or the inauguration of the first black president to the death of any ‘ol celebrity. It is somewhat of a reach. But then again, to black folks, Michael Jackson wasn’t just “any ‘ol celebrity.” Hell, if you ask his legion of fans around the world dressing like him in Asia or doing the “Thriller” routine in prison, they would probably tell you that he was one-of-a-kind as well.
He opened the door for many black artists to get their music played outside of black stations and made MTV wake up and smell the coffee when it came to the talents of our brothas and sistas. Michael’s catalog of music from his youth to his death provided a soundtrack to many people’s lives, and hence, made him something like a son, brother or imaginary boo to many. Not to mention his philanthropic efforts throughout his career were worthy of a boatload of recognition and respect. So while I might have been saddened by the loss of other popular celebrities, I couldn’t tell you where I was or what I was doing at the time I heard of their deaths, but I can tell you that I didn’t run to the nearest Best Buy to raid their music and concert DVD sections like I did when I heard Mike was gone.
Granted, I wouldn’t say the day of his death was on par to that fateful day in September in any way, I’m sure you would think that to be preposterous, but for a new generation of people (not the older ones talking about where they were when Elvis died), it was an important and heartbreaking day that still made you stand still in shock, if even for a second (I’m sure you said something like this: “WHAT!? Michael Jackson dead???) . Nothing wrong with that. That’s why on this day, years later, his loss still invokes a whole day of spinning the Bad album, Off the Wall or a lunch break full of rediscovering the beauty and bad-a** quality of his music videos. In an age where our male R&B artists would rather go techno and fist-pump, find a new yet filthy way to talk about having sex, lip-synch hardcore, have every music video in the club at a different camera angle and have squabbles with any and everybody, yeah, Michael is sorely missed. And if you can clearly remember where you were the day you heard the news that he took his last breath, then I’m sure you would agree.
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