29
Jun
09

Michael Jackson: Superstar, Icon, Brother, Father & Son Will Be Missed.

I was in Manhattan at an media event when the news broke that  the King of Pop Michael Jackson had died.  Just  hours earlier on the same day, I learned that the actress Farah Fawcett  had given in to her long term battle with anal cancer.  The news of the iconic entertainer was shocking  mainly because I don’t recall Jackson ever being sick or fighting a long term illness that was publically known.

So I  thought how could this be? Michael Jackson? Are you sure? Wasn’t he just recently in  the news about making a comeback with a tour? 

People on the streets of Manhattan were in shock the day the news broke.  Some were even crying as they read their blackberries and were talking on their phones. One person had his faced covered with his hands as he was reading the shocking news on the computer in a local cafe.

“He was so young…so talented..what a huge loss” the gentleman said in disbelief over the news.

It was true. Superstar Michael Jackson was dead at 50.MJPAPER01

 I still couldn’t believe it.  Just a few days prior, I was listening to his songs and was looking forward to his comeback tour.  His “Thriller” album and his “We Are The World” music video are my favorites. As a youngster, I remember reading about his trips to my hometown of Princeton, NJ when he was dating Brooke Shields who was a student at the University in the mid 80’s.

“I can’t believe it. I’m still in shock” said one young & beautiful  girl standing outside Starbucks on 5th Ave with her friends.

Within seconds the  social media tools that we all have come to love and depend on got on it and the news spread like a California wildfire within minutes  jamming  servers and slowing down the transport.   

Michael Jackson graces the cover of 1984 People Magazine. (from The Ravi Report magazine archives)

Michael Jackson graces the cover of 1984 People Magazine. (from The Ravi Report magazine archives)

The next day, every news outlet known to mankind covered the story. People were in shock and frankly, they still are.

“This is just awful” said one young college girl as she was reading the newspaper trying to hold back tears.  Her sentiments were felt all over the shop that were selling the news of Jackson’s sudden death. They had sold out of the newspapers within minutes said the owner.

Michael Jackson was a world famous superstar no matter how you look at it.  His music, his voice, his trademark way of moon dancing on stage, his music videos and his controversial & theatrical  lifestyle all contributed to his larger then life personality.

But who really was Michael Jackson? A superstar who sold millions of albums? A pop icon who entertained millions with his voice and dance? Or a troubled soul who just wanted to make music and be left alone to live life on his own terms. Despite all these “experts” who claim to know what  the entertainer was all about, we  will always be guessing.

While his iconic image became tarnished over the years  for his  lifestyle choices,  dramatic facial transformations and other issues in his private life which eventually led to his seclusion in a foreign country, Jackson still had a  large & loyal following who believed in his talents and ability to make music. Many were even anticipating his comeback as a possible way for him to be back on top of the music charts that once made him rich and famous.

“Michael hadn’t had a hit in a long time so this comback tour would have been great for him”. said one beautiful Asian girl as she was turning the pages of the NY Post that read “Michael Jackson: King of Pop Dead.”

As I strolled down 5th Avenue  even further, I saw  more and more people reading the headlines about how one of the world’s most famous singer could all of a sudden be no more.

“I really feel like the world has lost something special” said a middle aged Spanish lady with tears in her eyes.  “There will be no one else like him. Ever.” she added.

In fact Jackson was preparing and working hard day and night according to media reports  for his tour starting next month. Pictures have even surfaced of him passionately dancing while practicing on stage for his tour two days before his death.

Jackson also loved India and its culture. The feeling was mutual. The star was often  imitated  in Bollywood films with his style of dancing and looks. Indian dance directors would choreograph songs to his music and top Bollywood stars would copy his looks and way of dressing in films and in public.  When Jackson performed in India in 1996 to a sold out crowd of thousands, he said he loved the culture and often talked about it in the press. One of his dance videos even has Indian sari wearing dancers performing traditional “kathak” dance steps to his music. Many of my contacts in Bollywood sent emails saying that they were sad at the sudden demise of the superstar.

As the world continues to absorb the news and as  more and more stories  will surface in the coming weeks about how Jackson died, what condition he died in & who will be responsible for his children and wealth, some of us may want to know the answers while others will just say “Rest In Peace Michael. We hope you had a great ride.”

The next time I  hear Michael Jackson’s music playing loudly in a club, radio or on TV,  I will think of someone who made the world happy and sad at the same time.

The journey continues….but for Michael Jackson  it ended on June 25, 2009.

Ravi


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