Written in a notebook while riding the Spadina streetcar on June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson died today. So did Farah Fawcett. I don’t relate much to Ms. Fawcett, but the tragedy of dying so soon after finally saying yes to a proposal hammers home carpe diem. Michael Jackson on the other hand… After all, he was the only true international cultural experience generations have ever had. Childhood memories of Michael Jackson’s music – I entertained doting family members by dancing and lip-synching to videotaped recordings of his performances.
MJ hasn’t actively contributed culturally or been artistically significant in any new form in over a decade – then again, we did set up the highest bars possible for him. This was the most famous man on earth.
But I am from the MTV generation, and I am a black child who grew up in the eighties. The cultural, racial, musical, and other effects of a legacy have been era-defining, only tainted later on in my teens. I guess it’s the price we pay to receive genius. I’m a delusional naïf, but even I know nothing is pure anymore.
Dwele is 636 days older than me. This is his tribute to Michael Jackson: