Look at How Society Works-Remembering Michael Jackson

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Look at How Society Works

by Pen Harshaw

(originally published for Youthradio.org)
http://www.youthradio.org/news/a-little-black-boy-a-world-renown-iconlook-how-society-works
Michael_Jackson_Ben_FrontBlog… After all the jokes are cracked, and the dancing moves have been reenacted, and the voice has been mocked to the point of annoyance…. a subtle sober moment of clarity arises: damn yall, a little Black Boy was born into the worst Black community in America- and grew to be a world renown icon…
 
Michael Jackson passed on Thursday June 25th, 2009, at the age of 50. And the world mourned. Literally the world. People used social networking sites and mass text messages to spread the rumor turn truth. People relied on the technology of yesteryear as they turned to television and radio broadcast for confirmation of the fallen pop icon. And some people used the primitive method of walking through the street informing passing citizens. The world mourned.
 
I watched as people argued via facebook.com statuses: “what happened to MJ”… “he’s dead”… “he’s not dead, he’s in a comma- CNN said it.”… “TMZ says he died”… “don’t believe the media”
 
Some cracked jokes: ” this is bad, real bad-Mike Jackson!”, as a play off a popular Kanyae West lyric…
 
Some thought it was a joke:
person 1:”a, you heard Michael Jackson died?”
person 2 (sarcastically): “ha-ha, i heard that one before.”
 
 …and some looked past the jokes…. His long list unquestionable works of art is forever unified with his long list of questionable extra curricular activities, but the duality of his benevolent artistry and scandalous actuality are nullified when looking at what Michael Jackson meant to America.
 
The list of world renown African-American icons is short. The entertainers on that list is even more brief…
 
They said at the height of Muhammed Ali’s carreer, you could drop anywhere in the world, and people would recognize him. Through all of the alterations to his appearance, MJ was the same way. As the King of Pop music, his popularity could be quantified: over 125 million records sold worldwide (before death, I know the number has skyrocketed since then)…but still MJ, arguably the most known man in the world… admitted to being a lonely man…. this is nothing new, everyone knows its lonely at the top, and just that’s the way society works…
Man, if he was around now to see the worldwide video feeds of candle light vigils, or even able to look out the hospital window back in Los Angeles, where mass gatherings of supporters stayed even after the body had been moved to the coroners office- maybe the little Black boy who once portrayed a scarecrow “getting on down” the yellow brick road, in search of a heart, would have been less lonely before his heart stopped beating…. But you know how society works: you’re not paid your proper respects, until you’re paid your final respects…   
 
Many of us chose to look at him, bypassing the artistry, and casting our media slanted judgments. In death, the jokes still linger, but more disrespectful than the jokes will be society’s appreciation manifesting in the most capitalistic form: t-shirts will be sold at swap meets, his autographed paraphernalia will be an E-bay hot item, and every entertainer who’s career has taken a turn for the worse will be making a comeback… (somebody que Chris Brown…).Unreleased tracks will manifest, and the people that bought Mo-town from Barry Gordy will eat as if they were King’s… of Pop. And finally,  Rev. Jessie Jackson and Rev. Al Shartpon will speak. We almost wait for them to chime in, by now, we’ve grown to know: that’s the way society works.
 
In his greatest moments- that’s what Mike wanted us to do…. look at ourselves in relation to the greater society… and after a full life of childhood stardom, dancing like no other human being, performing and recording sounds that influenced the world over- he still managed to set societal precedents in death: its expected that his death would overshadow headline trades in the National Basketball Association. It’s acceptable that the news would lend more airtime to his passing, than domestic and international political scandals. But I looked at society in amazement: this little Black Boy from the worst Black neighborhood in America grew to a level where his death is bigger news than the death of a pretty white girl’s… damn, that’s not how society usually works….  

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Comments

  1. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    “But I look at society in amazemen, this little Black Boy from the worst Black neighborhood…” Pen Harshaw, what’s your point? Michael Jackson was loved by everyone except the leeches and some other racist white people in America, along with the Wayans family. I don’t understand the point of this letter, really. Maybe “you’ just don’t get why he’s remembered. We all know how racist society works, give it a break.

  2. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    How society works is “IF it bleeds it leads”. Whatever sells the most newspapers and air-time. The media owners are still leeching off this man now that he’s dead. If pain killed Michael Jackson, report who inflicted the most on the man. How society really works is everyone is afraid of the “truth”. The truth is they can make more money leeching off his image dead, their goal was to leave him penniless as he stated about the “leeches”.

  3. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    How society works is blame Michael’s doctor to get the heat off the leeches. Check out the leech media owners at CNN, how they act like they are so concerned about Michael while they make all this money off his death. Then they have the audacity to list the great Michael Jackson jokes. How America works is the leeches control the media and wasn’t satisfied until they broke the man. This is called anti-hammistism, it comes from their Bible and Torah.

  4. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    Every Michael Jackson vdeo of show you watch from here on out, the “leeches” not Michael Jackson’s family is getting paid for his image and music. He owned part of the Beattles, but the leeches own his image and music. That’s how society works. Know who controls “hip-hop”. When you understand that, and you know the nistory of Black people the renasaince will occur. As long as you keep believing wht they feeding through “their” media, you’ll continue to be stuck on stupid, which is where they want you to be while they make all of the money. Jusy like they doing off of MJ.

  5. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    Every Michael Jackson video or televsion program you watch from here on out, the advertising dollars goes to the “leeches” not Michael Jackson’s family. The Jackson family is not getting paid for his music and images being televised. Michael owned part of the Beattles, but the “leeches” own his image and music. That’s how society works. People, know who controls “hip-hop”. When you truly undrstand that and begin to understand history and how these people have exploited our people, then you are ready for the renosaince to occur. But as long as you believe what they are feeding you throguh “their” media, you’ll continue to be stuck on stupid, which is where they want you to be while they make all of the money. just like they doing Michael Jackson – “Sue me, JEw me, Kick me, Kike me” – yeah, they getting paid now that he’s dead, ain”t they? Where is God? These ain’t no chosen people, they are devils. Just study Black history and since the days Black people we brought to America who have been exploiting us? Think about the “Middle Passage”, that took money and credit to happen, didn’t it?

  6. jubakala says:

    One begins to feel himself old when his childhood idols start to past away in an increasing pace… R.I.P. Jacko, you were truly phenomenal!

    The Michael Jackson Discography Guy

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