Caribbean, USA: Tributes to the “King of Pop”

Despite the controversy which plagued him for the latter part of his eccentric life, the sudden and unexpected death of American-born entertainer Michael Jackson, dubbed “The King of Pop”, has touched millions of people around the world – and the Caribbean is no exception. Regional bloggers pay their respects…

Guyana Media Arts calls Jackson “the world's greatest musician”, and admits the news of the singer's death still hasn't really sunk in, while fellow Guyanese blogger The Intellectual Elite says:

I have never understood the fixation that a lot of the adult men I know have with Michael Jackson.

But I’ll admit that for much of my childhood I liked his music, which as someone pointed out to me transcended barriers all around.

And then I grew up, confused and disenchanted by his ambiguous sexuality, his unhealthy preoccupation with plastic surgery, and the child abuse allegations that continued to dog him. Like with another musician, I have been loathe to listen to Jackson, his musical genius notwithstanding. There’s absolutely no denying that he was a very talented musician…but it’s hard to put those kinds of eccentricities out of your mind.

Bermudian cartoon blog, The Devil Island, mourns for both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, who passed away on the same day, saying of the latter:

Come on. We grew up with him.
Yeah, he freaked at the end, but ‘I Want You Back'? ‘ABC'? ‘Ben'? What he gave us was so much more.

He was an icon. He changed us.

His compatriot Breezeblog comments:

Michael Jackson produced some of the best pop music ever made … but what a strange boy.

…but Crushing Fools comes to the singer's defense:

Although we may never know the truth about the allegations that was brought against Michael Jackson; I personally never believed they were true. I am of the opinion that Michael was a victim of imposed greed, a phenomenon that is widely spread today.

Meanwhile, Jamaican litblogger Geoffrey Philp posts a moving poem that he wrote in Jackson's honour and in another post, remembers his feelings about the musical icon:

Michael was born to sing, he was born to set our souls on fire–to show us how a spirit body could soar.

Year after year Michael would create great music. In Jamaica, I'd stand there at a party waiting for the moment, hoping for a slow dance when the DJ would play ‘Got to Be There’ or ‘Ben’.

I continued to listen Michael's music when he played with my hero Bob Marley in Jamaica…Michael's music followed me through my young adulthood, student days, college days, young married days, young fatherhood days–no road trip was ever complete without a Michael Jackson song.

And, yes, there were the dark moments in his life. He is gone now so they won't follow him into his next life.

And if anyone is still inclined to judge, listen to ‘Human Nature’ one more time.

Other Jamaican bloggers also weigh in. Stunner's Afflictions: “Another great icon of our generation has passed”; Girl With a Purpose: “His ‘Thriller’ album was a testament to the musical and theatrical genius of the man. Yes, he had faults…but the guy was a musical genius!”

Barbados Free Press echoes her sentiment:

Yes, we know he went weird, but Michael Jackson’s Thriller is still one of our favourites and we remember him as he was – not as he became.

…while diaspora blogger Doan Mind Me says:

Do you remember the time when Michael was a pop icon rather than tabloid fodder?

At the end he was more bogeyman than boogie-man, more monster than hero…more caricature than role model but there was a time when Michael apparently was a cool inspiration to black folks and loved by everyone worldwide.

Without Michael there would be no Puffy, no Jay Z, no Chris Brownes, no Ushers.

And man could he dance!

A lot of the boo hoo hoo I miss him stories that will circulate in the coming days are a bunch of crap and highly hypocritical and come from the people who two days ago were more than likely dissing or laughing at ol boy.

Rest in Peace Michael; may you be less troubled now than in life.

His feelings are closely matched by Living in Barbados, who writes:

So, from a boy who seemed like a talented freak of nature, we ended up with a man, who had turned into a freak. Yet, he still produced stunning music and danced like no one else. I just hope that whatever demons he had to live with are now laid to rest.

From St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Abeni says:

It just doesn't feel right that MJ is no longer with us. I feel bad and I am not even the person who gets bent out of shape by celebrities. I am just shocked. Finally, some peace though for the King of Pop. RIP MJ, the music will live on.

Caribbean musician Rasheed Ali, who once met the legendary singer, remembers their encounter:

In 1977, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and speaking with Michael Jackson. I felt sorry for him because he seemed so painfully shy but his warmth and kindness were genuine.

His gentle voice will continue to echo into eternity…

Puerto Rican diaspora blogger Liza adds:

Michael Jackson is dead.

I don't know what to say other than a part of my childhood has died with him.

…while over in the Bahamas, Nicolette Bethel says:

The whiter Michael got the further he got from me and from my friends. The more he assimilated, for whatever reason, the closer he came to yesterday. By the time his hair caught on fire on the Pepsi shoot, we’d determined that Michael, the Michael Jackson we’d grown up with, the singer of ‘Ben’ and ‘Got to Be There’ and ‘She’s Out of My Life’, was dead. All that was left was the clone.

But here’s to Michael — to all the Michaels that he ever was — the greatest performer I’ve ever seen.

Scavella's Blogsphere adds:

When my husband told me…that Michael Jackson had been found not breathing at his home, having suffered cardiac arrest, I didn’t feel a whole lot of sympathy for him.

The reason? I’ve been convinced for the last twenty years or so that Michael Jackson died after Thriller, and that the person we’ve been calling MJ is the clone.

But now that the word is out that they couldn’t revive him, that he might be dead, it’s hit me. This is the boy who sang me through my childhood.

Trinidad and Tobago bloggers also have their fair share to say. Tattoo posts a list of his Top 5 favourite Michael Jackson songs, and follows that up with a more detailed blog entry:

While we had thought of him one day dying, when that day did come, no one was prepared. Cynic and fan alike, everyone was struck with a wave of panic, pain, and sadness when it was confirmed that Jackson had died.

I may not have known the man (or did I through his music?), I may not have ever met the man (would I have wanted to with all of his odd behavior?)…but I felt the beginnings of a little tear over the fact that this great piece of history…had come to an end. Just when he was about to try to prove to everyone that he could rise again, like the phoenix, he could go no further.

Islandista keeps it simple:

An era has ended. He touched all our lives.

And that is all that needs to be said.

And even as B.C. Pires wrestles with the reality that the shock over the murder of a woman on a police station compound in Trinidad “has already begun to pass, in Trini minds, into the realm of statistics…especially when Trinidadians have Michael Jackson’s death to talk about at the next fete and the pelau eating sweet”, he still manages to write a post remembering the singer.

This Beach Called Life sums it up this way:

I suppose it is only after he died Michael Jackson knew what his life really meant.


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