The Untimely Death of a Musical Diety

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Michael Jackson passed away in the afternoon on Thursday, June 25, 2009.

That felt so weird to type out, let alone to even begin to digest. That Thursday afternoon was essentially the start of my trip to Miami (which was tons of fun may I add) and here I was rushing from work to go home, pack and make my way to Maryland to stay over a friend’s for the night before we flew out earllllly next day. As I was driving in my car, I hear the daily radio programmers interrupting the usual R&B crap we hear…that I admittedly dance to when I am out and about. And they said Michael Jackson had gone into cardiac arrest and was transported to the hospital.I was shocked to say the least. Because, well, cardiac arrest is no joke. Rarely does anyone survive from that and continue to be fully functional. BUT, I figured okay, this is Michael Jackson, c’mon this isn’t happening to him. Not now at least. So I untill I could get home and turn to CNN I relied on my blackberry and specifically, ubertwitter to help keep me posted. And twitter I gotta say kept me abreast, but it became way to much to digest. And having turned on CNN upon arrival at my house I became even more…well nervous really. And once TMZ reported he died (again I saw this via a tweet on Twitter), I refused to believe it.It started to feel like one of those moments where everything slows down to a halt.It almost felt like time  actually stopped. Pretty bold statement to make perhaps, but it really felt like someone really close to me had just fallen ill and I had no clue what to do and how to find out factual information about it asap. So like most other folks, I waited till CNN told us. I figured they were the most credible and respected news network…or at least to me and surely a huge chunk of the world…so if anyone was going to break this news to me..then dammit let it be them.

And damn they did.

It was true. To me, It does not matter in the end who broke it first. Or who had what pictures or images of Michael either that day as he was being transported to the hospital or even this last rehearsal video that’s surfaced as of late.

In the midst of trying to digest the news of his death that afternoon, I tried to busy myself with packing and tried to go on the entire weekend avoiding this ever so present and growing sense of sadness and sorrow.

Now, for the record, I am not the emotional kinda person. Hell, I rarely ever let anyone even see me cry. Yes I do cry but just privately and try to keep it to a minimum. Perhaps a bit strange, but thats me. And I generally have a delayed emotional reaction to these sorts of things, perhaps its because I just don’t know how to deal with them really. So sure I got sad few times when I was out on vacation, especially when every dj at every bar and club in Miami felt the need to do a MJ tribute set. The flight to Miami had XM radio station dedicated entirely to MJ. All the papers had cover stories about it. All the network news talked about his death and of course all the controversy surrounding it and will likely continue to surround this incident.And then there was BET awards trying to somehow sprinkle in MJ tribute performances…although honestly speaking, I thought the show didnt go too well, but I understood and appreciated they tried considering his untimely death. And don’t even let me get into how saddened my family, especially my sister, was about his passing.

But it was not untill I was in the airport awaiting for our flight back home that I began to really read (via my trusty blackberry) and start to digest everything. And I think what hit a nerve and finally had me really feel something was when I saw Janet Jackson speak at the BET awards show.

Now she didn’t say a lot, but the little she did, spoke volumes to me. If that makes any sense.

Fast forward a few days, or well rather a week, that I really began to feel and accept that he was actually gone.

But I still couldn’t pin point why I was feeling so saddened about the death of a man I really had never met in person, unfortunately never will, and never really known. Was it because I love his music? Yea, sure. Was it because he was sucha huge international icon? Yea, sure. Was it because he was one of the first and for a long time only BLACK international icons? Yea, definitely.

But that still didn’t explain entirely what it was that made me so sad about his passing. Yes, Ed McMahon died night prior, Farrah Fawcett died morning of. And Billy Mays died that weekend after MJ passed.

However, I am sorry to say, but the news of his death unquestionably usurps all of theirs and still does. I don’t know If I will ever understand, at least now, why it is I feel so moved by his passing. But I feel like John Mayer stated it well: Michael’s career spanned over 3 generations of people. Myself included. So when Michael died, it is as if a part of my childhood died too.

The musical diety himself is no longer physically present . His death was a sobering reminder of our mortality. And even the greatest, most talented and iconic of them all will pass. Despite all the controversy surrounding his lifestyle, he still was and is loved by all for what he gave to the world through his music, style, personality and overall presence.

So yes, everytime I hear his songs, a part of me mourns a little bit, and I believe always will, but I find refuge in knowing I was witness for many years of musical greatness and history being made. We all have memories of where and what we were doing everytime he premiered a new video or new song or how we wanted to be IN his epic theatrical videos. In the end, despite the questionable physical changes he underwent or the many allegations he faced, I loved Michael Jackson, and always will.

So lets continue to rejoice knowing, that he has left us with all his great music reminding us of how powerful and moving music was and still can be. So thanks for the memories Michael.

Blessings to all,

Selamawit

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