Remembering the King of Pop
It has been a couple of weeks now since the death of Michael Jackson, and though the networks are slowing down their coverage a bit, there are still plenty of viewing options to choose from if you are following every detail of the story of his death. There has been much sensational speculation regarding his life and his death.
After the initial shock of his death, we are left to ponder what the fascination has been with this “cultural icon.” Many have been fascinated with all of his idiosyncrasies made public by paparazzi and tabloids, while some have been intrigued by his physical change throughout the years. I wonder if the world will ever really acknowledge some of his greatest accomplishments or if his life will be reduced to media sensationalism?
Michael Jackson has set records that no artist has come near to breaking. One hundred million albums sold worldwide. Wow. Will they speak of his ability early on to “cross over” and bring traditionally “black” music to audiences around the world? Will they speak of his charity work? Will they speak of the doors that he opened for black artists worldwide? What will be the legacy of this world-renowned artist who seemed to live a life ridden with turmoil? Does our society accept any role in contributing to the downfall of such high-profile artists by allowing the media the right to hunt them like an animal does its prey, later justifying the hunt and all of the collateral damage with amendments and the right to do this or the right to do that?
These are the things that I will be thinking about as the media hashes out this family’s legendary journey from start to present. I will be looking for the quiet back story of a little boy from Gary, Indiana, who single handedly changed the world with his music.
Gia Paige is Program Assistant of Grants and Community Outreach at the Maryland Humanities Council.