the words below are not mine, but i think they express the sentiments of many:
S..... called me last night in total shock and dismay after hearing about Michael Jackson. At that point, the reports were conflicting -- one channel saying that he had died, others saying that he was in a coma. I tried to calm her a bit by saying that maybe he hadn't actually died, but I also told her that it didn't sound good. A cousin sent me a text message expressing her shock. She's a cousin I rarely hear from, but I know why she reached out to me. It's because we all grew up listening to Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. We danced to those songs and knew all the words and we were as dazzled by Michael's talent as everyone else in the world. And when something like this happens, you naturally want to reach out to others whom you believe feel as you do for the shared experience of grief. I know that Michael Jackson had his share of weirdness and strange behavior. I know that he was not perfect. But his contribution to the world of music, his legacy and influence are unparalleled, in my opinion. And, he also epitomizes for me, the notion of a person, particularly a black person, that some felt needed to be brought down a peg or two. The way the Calif. police treated him was despicable in my mind. And, the way people turned against him and seemed to take joy in his troubles was also troubling. I think that he was a troubled person, a lonely person, and the stress of having to deal with everything, including the ugly byproducts of fame, was just too much for him. The word is that he probably died from an overdose of medication that sent his heart into arrest and it seems that he was taking lots of medications in this last phase of his life -- probably to deal with physical pain, which was more likely the result of psychic pain.
Early this morning while I was out walking, a black man, probably in his 30s, was sitting on a box crate on one of the corners, and he had today's paper in his hand. He greeted me as I was walking by and said "man, that's something about Michael Jackson." I continued walking, but shook my head and said, "yeah, I know. Too sad." At that point, he pointed to a picture in the paper with the words "The King" and said "they said Elvis was the king, so now why call Michael the King?" I said, well, Michael was the King of Pop. And, he said, "oh, I see, Elvis was the King of Rock and Roll." Interesting encounter, I thought.