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Africa: Bloggers pay tribute to Michael Jackson

A Nigerian performer impersonates Michael Jackson at a concert in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo courtesy of N.R. on Flickr.

A Nigerian performer impersonates Michael Jackson at a concert in Abuja. Photo courtesy of N.R. on Flickr.

The death of American pop star Michael Jackson has sparked an outpouring of emotion from nearly every corner of the world. Fans are sharing their memories of Jackson on his official site in nearly a dozen languages, and the news made the front page of papers across the globe.

In Africa, bloggers are paying tribute to the King of Pop by posting pictures and music videos. Writing from Nigeria, Oluniyi David Ajao offers a list of his 26 favorite Michael Jackson songs, while Ugandan blogger Serakelz honors Jackson's memory with instructions on how to do the moonwalk, a dance move created by Jackson.

In Ghana, Kent Mensah of Africa News collects reactions to Jackson's passing on Twitter and Facebook:

“Africa loves Michael Jackson… from birth you learn how to survive and that Michael Jackson is music… the most famous musician ever,” Rasco Patterson said on twitter @chickenwang4.

“Make this world a better place for me and you these are the words from a true legend like Michael Jackson. I will always remember you Waco Jaco,” Elton Afari, Accra, Ghana said on Facebook.

Echoing the sentiments of many African fans, Sudanese Thinker remembers the pop star fondly:

In a lot of ways Michael Jackson was my childhood. His music filled it with lots of joy and beautiful memories. It uplifted me when I was down. It made me happy when I was sad.

And as awkward and flawed as he was, I will dearly miss him and his talents.

And Ugandan blogger Dickson Wasake honors Jackson with a poem:

On the death of Michael Jackson;
The tears fill the earth,
Black or white;
The Liberian girl cries,
And so does dirty Diana,
even the stranger in Moscow,
We all scream;
“Oh it’s too bad; oh it’s too sad;
The king is gone too soon,
And I just can’t stop loving him!”

Though many bloggers are grieving over Jackson's death, others are questioning his eccentricities, including his changing skin color. In Ghana, blogger Emmanuel Bensa laments:

….the African culture tells us that we don't speak ill of the dead–and I am not about to do so anytime soon, but what I will do is to categorically state how much of a bad decision it was to become a white man.

Black is beautiful–and it will forever be so. As a Black Man, Michael Jackson had the looks, the voice; the talent. Oh what a shame.

For Ugandan blogger Rosebell, Jackson's death prompted reflections on why the news pays so much more attention to the death of a pop star than to other tragedies:

As I watched the reaction around the world to Jackson’s death I wondered if really all humans can ever be equal. Not that I don’t recognise MJ’s contribution to music and his great talent, I would be naïve to do so, but I wonder why we no longer get the shock when we see death around the world. Everyone seemed to say oh he died young at 50, and then I thought that actually in Uganda life expectancy is at 50. Do you know in many African countries dying of old age is almost history? Do you know that this shock we feel at the loss MJ’s death, many Iraqis face it everyday? The fear for the loss of their own lives and the puzzles of how their children will grow, grips people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Omar Basawad of Safari Notes dismisses these criticisms, focusing on Jackson's legendary talent:

Whatever might be said about Michael Jackson, whatever one might think of him – one thing is certain: he defined an era.

“RIP MJ,” writes Kenyan blogger WildeYearnings. “You now have the whole sky to moonwalk on…”

7 comments

  • Michael Jackson’s death was the death of a phenomenal figure in the world of art. An extraordinary musician with an extraordinary talent, a man who lived an extraordinary life. He was a crooner with out of the ordinary skills and captivating stage command that was unique. It was his own style for MJ was MJ-incorporable. He was special in the global pop music scene and cultivated himself as an artist in his own class the world over.
    He caused a revolution. If you became MJ’s fan you remained MJ’s. For some of us who reveled in his music while young through to adulthood, if you got sucked in his frenzy you never got an exit route. MJ’s capture was total. Despite happy-painful life he charmed millions of people all over the world with his incomparable musical prowess.
    He was the embodiment of the spirit and culture of pop music that has cut through generations. He inspired many. Such people are rare in a lifetime. MJ go in peace.
    Ochieng’ Ogodo,
    NAIROBI.
    Kenya

    • Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee

      My sentiments exactly.

  • Constance Andin

    Michael was a trendsetter.His music had such an impact in my life because it seem to be the only bright spot in my teenage years. Thanks Michael, you were,is and will always be an inspiration to me.

  • Gloved One, Loved One
    (For Michael Joseph Jackson)

    My eyes are heavy, as I watch news footage of you gliding across the stage and gyrating your pelvis,
    At this moment in time this is bigger than the Duke, man, this is bigger than
    Elvis!
    Though you made your living with words, today there are no words to express
    the way the world feels,
    Right now there is no need to go into your discography because it
    encompasses valleys and hills.
    But where do I begin, should I start with your amazing solo career or should I
    start with the Jackson 5,
    When you were just a cute little boy,
    On stage you were talented and outgoing,
    Yet off stage you were introspective and coy,
    In the 70’s, you put the world into a trance with your Œfro and bell bottomed
    jeans as you did the robot,
    Michael, you had everyone at your feet because when you danced and sang you
    gave all that you got!
    Michael, Nat King Cole was a merry ole soul as he sat perched up against momma’s old wooden phonograph next to Billie Holiday, Roberta Flack and the Jackson’s Destiny album,
    Man, you all grew up to be mature, sexy and handsome!
    I am old school and I remember coming home from school putting your albums on,
    These were the days before CD¹s, MP3 players, and IPODS,
    Goodness graciou, listening to your music was heaven sent directly from God.
    You were a great admirer of the legendary James Brown,
    It warmed my heart to see you at an award show holding his crown.
    You ruled the 80’s with a glittering iron glove,
    Moon walking into the hearts of millions
    Moving as gracefully and as freely as a dove.
    Newborns coming into the world already know your name,
    Ailing grandparents in their last days know the same.
    You are Gary¹s finest but the world dubbed you the ŒGloved One¹
    Michael, your legacy is HIStory, DESTINY, OFF THE WALL, INVINCIBLE,
    BAD and most definitely a THRILLER.
    You are the King of Pop the ŒMan In The Mirror!
    You Œrocked our world¹ for over 40 years.
    You gave us such memorable songs as Who¹s Lovin You, Gotta Be There,
    Heart Break Hotel, Butterflies, PYT, Billie Jean, Earth Song, Can You Feel It,
    Working Day And Night, The Girl Is Mine, Say, Say, Say, and
    we ‘Remember The Time¹ you told us that ŒWe Are The World’
    And to ‘Ease on Down The Road.’
    You sold out football field stadiums and integrated MTV music videos.
    Back in the day we wore your buttons and donned white socks and penny loafers,
    And here we stand today in shock and sadness but we know your pain is over.
    Michael, we miss you and though you said ³Heaven Can Wait¹, You Are Not
    Alone, and I Just Can¹t Stop Loving You.
    You were a great humanitarian a gentle human being
    Who came to earth and completed your journey now you will have eternal rest,
    The world loves you ‘Gloved One’ but the Lord truly knows best.
    We ‘Never Can Say Goodbye¹ to you ‘Lovely One.’
    WE LOVE YOU, MJ.

  • quite a loss for a talented individual!

  • Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee

    I agree. Michael Jackson had more talent in one finger than most people have in their entire body. I agree with what Jamie Foxx said on the BET tribute, Mike didn’t owe us ANYTHING. Folks want to bring up his personal life. I know Mike for his music and videos, I didn’t know Mike personally. So why should I try to condemn him. That is why they call it a ‘personal life’ it ain’t nobody’s business. Furthermore, he was acquitted so leave MIKE ALONE! Mike represented fulfillment of dreams and hope to me, his entire family represents that to me.

  • dawood

    Great!!
    Here I’ve tried to collect all notable tributes paid to Michael Jackson by famous peers: http://www.tributespaid.com/tributes-to/michael-jackson

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