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Michael Jackson

POSTED: June 28, 2009, 6:57 pm

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Michael JacksonMy husband and I introduced Michael Jackson to our 9 year old a few years ago and she responded, “He’s a really good singer!” and continued to play his songs on her iPod, along with The Jonas Brothers, like he was someone new on the scene.

But Michael was not new on the scene; we are blessed to have enjoyed 45 years of his musical genius. Michael Jackson and his family were like royalty to us, Americans, both Black and White and every shade between. We were witness to the joys and travails of his personal life. We were nurtured, carved by his gift, and proud that his genius is part of our history.

I think, like 9/11, we will all continue to ask, “Where were you when Michael Jackson died?” and we will have our own stories of how we heard and felt. Indulge me in that I was walking home Thursday afternoon, talking to a friend on the phone and she said suddenly, “Did you hear that? Michael Jackson is dead!” “What!!??” My heart caved. I looked around my bustling Harlem neighborhood. I stopped the first young man in my path, “Did you hear Michael Jackson died?” He said “What we gonna do about it?” “What do you mean what we gonna do about it!? Michael Jackson is dead! That’s major. That’s like bigger than O’Bama!” I walked away from him, like “Are you crazy?” I stopped everyone till I got to my front door. “You have got to recognize!” I called my husband. I watched CNN, still debate on whether he was dead or half dead in a coma. I knew he was dead. You can’t just TELL the world Michael Jackson is dead. You got to weigh a whole lotta shit before you just TELL the world our King is dead.

All blessings to the Jackson family. Work it out. Let’s make for a proper ending – an ending to a beautiful legacy. Our smooth criminal.

Memorial (and for those who don’t know): Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29, 1958 and died at 50, Thursday, June 25, 2009. He was world recording artist and entertainer. He was often referred to as the "King of Pop” in subsequent years, his 1982 album Thriller remains the world's best-selling record of all time and four of his other solo studio albums are among the world's best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).

In the early 1980s, he became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. The popularity of his music videos airing on MTV, such as "Beat It,” "Billie Jean" and "Thriller"—widely credited with transforming the music video from a promotional tool into an art form—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame. With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced many hip-hop, pop, and contemporary R&B artists.

One of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records—including one for "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time"—13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career, and the sale of 750 million records worldwide. Jackson's highly publicized personal life, coupled with his successful career, made him a part of popular culture for almost four decades.

If you have any comments about Michael Jackson or any current social or cultural issues, feel free to contact Sandra Daley at

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