Assistant program director “Lady Grace at Savannah State University’s WHCJ radio station (90.3 FM) pointed out during one of her shows at the beginning of June that June and August represented the station’s “Michael Jackson time.” By that, she meant listeners could expect to hear during these months an occasional extended broadcast of music by the late enduringly great Mr. Jackson.
She then launched into an uninterrupted set that lasted for longer than I could stay tuned in to listen. The music spanned every period of the creative genius’s exceptionally prolific career and included a variety of samplers from innovative mixes by diverse musicians and producers.
In contrast: I recalled a fellow author informing me that she was “burned out” on Michael Jackson and didn’t see the point of different people’s continued expressed devotion to him or his work. I understood and respected what she said. Yet at the same time it seemed clear enough there was––and is––something more than blind fanaticism that drives individuals to continuously visit websites like Seven’s MJJ-777, devour books such as the Official Michael Jackson Opus, look forward to annual celebrations of his birthday in Brooklyn (and elsewhere), and feverishly anticipate the release of both the 25th Anniversary Edition of Bad and director Spike Lee’s documentary on the making of the album.
It did not take long to figure out what my esteemed friend was overlooking.
A Part of the Antidote
The recent massacre in Aurora, Colorado, at the Dark Knight Rises screening, the nonstop bloodbath in Syria, the killings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and starvation in Ethiopia as well as here in the United States are among the kind of phantasmagoric atrocities that have made human existence in 2012 a very unsettling venture. In one sense, such things have always been a part of life. In another, our experience of them is more intense than ever before because of the constant bombardment of information about such events. Although himself frequently a target of guerrilla decontextualization, a major part of the meaning of Michael Jackson’s life was to help balance the accumulation of horrors with something closer to love in its most empowering and healing sense.
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