Like everyone else, as I watched the coverage on ABC, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, and local affiliates, I could not believe my eyes after all the wondering about his condition after being rushed to UCLA Hospital Thursday that in the end it was announced that Michael Jackson had passed away from cardiac arrest.
Besides all of his great music and success as a huge pop legend and icon, there’s one thing that really stuck out with me. Regardless of whether or not MTV airs enough music these days, one of the things that stand out on a lot of its shows is diversity. There are African-Americans, Latinos, as well as whites, people of many different backgrounds… different races, different sexualities, etc. featured on much of its programming. When looking back at the history of the network, it’s really hard to believe that at one point, MTV was reluctant to air music videos featuring black artists. Not only was Thriller the highest selling album ever, but it also started a significant trend and changed the landscape of music for MTV forever. And now not only was there a tribute on MTV all these years later, but it was hosted by Sway, an African-American and featured his music videos playing all night long. It’s really amazing how far things have come.
I watched an interview in which he said that he brought people together more in a way than even a lot of politicians can. And when I think about it, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Whenever you see footage of fans, whether it be a concert, or with people outside during the trials, and even Thursday with the crowds at the UCLA hospital and outside the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and elsewhere, you see people of all backgrounds gathering in his life to celebrate the fun time that’s about to be had, and in the wake of his death, gathering to celebrate the life of a truly gifted musician.
Rest in peace, Michael.