"Michael Jackson: The King of Pop"
In the field of music, there are countless artists who will be remembered for their talents. But talent only goes so far, and sometimes it is the fashion and the dance moves and the controversy that keeps a star alive. When you step past talent and look at the “whole picture” of the artist, there is only a handful in which deserve that sort of recognition: Elvis Presley, Elton John, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Lady GaGa, Ozzy Osbourne, and Michael Jackson.
But even with that list (you really consider who is on that list – all of them own some sort of honorific title of king, queen, prince, princess, and so on and so forth), there is still only one name that stands above all others:
"Michael Jackson, the quintessential King of Pop"
MJ has been in the music business for over forty years, starting as one of the singers in The Jackson 5 during the mid-1960s. It wasn’t until somewhere in the early 1970s that MJ realized that he could go solo… and that he could truly take over the world. From that time, song after song came out in which globally dominated the charts: “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “My Girl”, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”, “Thriller”, “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, “PYT”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror”, “Smooth Criminal”, “Black or White”, “Scream”, and of course, “History”. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His music videos are renowned for their ingenuity. And his fashion sense is over the top, almost like a circus act. But it was a spectacle. One that you had to watch because you were afraid you would miss something.
But his life wasn’t about just making music. There were rampant reports about his sexual preferences, jokes, and two severe allegations of some sexual abuse with a child (none related his own children), consistent references to his nose or skin color, and of course the names (or nicknames) of his children. Suddenly, the King of Pop didn’t matter. It was all about controversy and the next folly he would make.
One year ago (June 25, 2009), the world was shocked and stunned: Michael Jackson had died from cardiac arrest. When the news first leaked, there was shock and a lot of disbelief. And a lot of confusion. The 51-year-old singer was found unconscious in his bed and was unable to be resuscitated (by Doctor Conrad Murphy – the man who presently stands trial for involuntary manslaughter for MJ’s death). He was rushed to the hospital. After all attempts to save his life, he was pronounced death nearly one hour after being taken to the hospital.
The news that MJ had stopped breathing spread online, but more importantly it caused websites to run slowly and eventually to crash from the overload of users. In many ways, this happened due to the ambiguity of the situation. Was he really dead? What’s happening? Is he alright? And it was during this confusion and grief that the world turned to the only source of information in which would hold the truth: the internet.
Sites that have information on celebrities were the first to go down: TMZ.com, Twitter, and Wikipedia. AOL’s Instant Messenger crashed. Google was so overwhelmed with “Michael Jackson” searches, they believed they were under attack. To this day, it was considered a time in which the Internet simply did not know what to do with the 20% more users seeking information. Twitter had 5,000 posts a minute referencing Michael Jackson – nearly 15% of Twitter posts during this time.
Once it was official, Jackson was truly and really dead, the world went on its head. You see, before this it was always a joke to the two sex scandals that plagued him during his life. It was always about that silly glove he wore. It was just a reference to his new skin color and his collapsing nose. It was about how he “done hung a baby over that railing in Ger-mahny!”
Something changed. The King of Pop was no longer the butt of jokes; rather a massive memorial service took over. His music videos aired non-stop, soap-operas were re-written to be able to be “culturally relevant”, commemorative editions of Jackson’s life were published, a massive memorial was held at Staples Center on television for over one billion to watch and mourn with the family, and major networks broadcasted any information they could on Jackson. It was like the sex scandals, the skin color, the nose jobs, and the baby jokes didn’t exist anymore. All that mattered was that he lived and shared his talent with the world. And that glove? It’s now a sign of respect to the King of Pop.
Suddenly, his music is on the radio again. Suddenly, people cared again. Suddenly, MJ’s music is topping the charts. It took Michael Jackson’s death to escape his life’s controversy. Not completely, as his death has been since labeled a homicide. And there are still the a-holes out there who make jokes of children, noses, and skin color. But one year later? It’s truly a different world in which the follies made in life do not succeed the success you accomplished.
His death was needless, and his life was filled with turmoil. But with his death, he reclaimed the popularity and the love and the devotion he had throughout his life… thirty fold. It was his music and his endless devotion to music that we remember, commit to memory, and cherish. It is the white glove as silly and trivial at it is that we wear in honor of his life (and death). It is his dance moves that will push new choreography to new levels. His death gave birth to his rightful namesake, for without a doubt he is the King of Pop.
Michael Joseph Jackson
1958 – 2009
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