Michael Jackson Master Entertainer

By Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, June 26, 2009

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The shocking passing of megastar Michael Jackson has brought his music back to the minds of millions. Although his style of both dance and song may've been superseded by a whole new genre, there were few singers or dancers who didn't borrow something from the artist known as the 'king of pop.'

Among many of today's prominent artists are bits and pieces of Michael, just as he borrowed from the irrepressible James Brown. In Usher, Omarion, NeYo, Ciara, Genuwine (just to name a few), are glimpses of Michael Jackson's frenetic, almost robotic dancing style.

As a commercial artist, he had no peer. His 1983 "Thriller" not only earned a Grammy award, but spawned a dozen hits. The album would go on to sell more than any single artist's: 27 million copies.

Years ago, I told my wife I didn't care for the artist; she told me to ignore all the criticism, the press -- all of it, and look at him as an entertainer, say, like Sinatra.

I did. She was right.

He was a master entertainer, who moved millions not only with his distinctive vocals, but his dancing changed the art like Muhammad Ali changed the sport of boxing.

I never failed to marvel at his sheer brilliance and artistry.

Recently, the prison station showed a video of Jackson's concert in Bucharest, Romania. An outdoor concert, with more people than any of us would care to count, Jackson was in rare form, transfixing the immense throng with a show that was unlike anything they'd ever seen.

For those who feel his music was mere bubblegum pop, and thus devoid of serious social commentary, check out one of his post 'Thriller' songs; "They Don't Care About Us." Filmed in what appears to be a Brazilian favela, surrounded by thousands of dark skinned boys and girls, many drumming to the beat, the song is an anthem of how the rich world treats the poor of the world.

Michael Jackson was a master of his art.

He may be gone; he certainly won't be forgotten.

--(c) '09 maj

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