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Friday, June 26, 2009

Gone Too Soon

When regular people watch TV and movies and listen to music, we do so with the understanding that certain superstars look like us and talk like us, but we don't truly believe they are human.

We follow them around grocery stores because it's amazing to us to know that these SUPERstars actually have to live off food the way people on the other side of the television do.

We believe SUPERstars are SUPER human. In our minds, they don't hurt or cry, pay bills or have nightmares. And most of all they don't die. Ever.

Michael Jackson was one of those SUPER humans.

When I got in the car yesterday after work I turned on the radio and the first thing I heard was "We have confirmed that Michael Jackson has died."

I'm sorry? I don't understand. Michael Jackson died? How is that possible? People like him DON'T die.

There were so many people I expected to pass before him. Not that I want someone else to die in his place, but.... we're talking about MICHAEL JACKSON. What am I supposed to do with the knowledge that he is no longer here??? How do I accept that?

His genius was epic; it spanned decades and generations.

My mother grew up listening to him just as I did, but we didn't just grow up listening to him. We grew up with him. He was family.

When MTV refused to play videos by Black artists, Michael Jackson broke that barrier.

His music and brilliance brought together EVERYONE. Not just Black and White but Africans, the Japanese, the British, mid-westerners and southerners, Canadians and New Yorkers.

If there is a word that means more than "icon" - that was Michael Jackson. With a career spanning over 40 years, his type of celebrity no one else will ever have. You don't get two Michael Jacksons. Not in a lifetime, not in a generation, and perhaps not ever.

His death stole the media attention away from Farrah Fawcett, who passed less than 5 hours earlier. But like Larry King said - as sad as it was, we expected her to die. We've known about her cancer struggle for years.

Michael dying was so surprising, so shocking. It was like a punch to the gut that took the air out of my lungs.

He had so much more to do and say. And he had planned to say it. His London comeback tour - 50 shows worth - sold out in less than 5 hours. He was a worldwide SUPERstar, a worldwide SUPER human, and if you watched him perform live, a worldwide SUPERNOVA.

su·per·no·va (sōō'pər-nō'və)

1. The explosion of a star, during which the star's luminosity increases by as much as 20 magnitudes.
2. Supernovae are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy.
3. During this short interval, a supernova can radiate as much energy as the Sun could emit over its life span.

My favorite part is #3.

Well done, Michael.



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