“The death of Michael Jackson – 1 year later. Where were you?”

A year ago, the king of pop left the world bittersweet. Many fans that grew up listening to his music remember the icon as an innovator, but they also have to add in the fact that Jackson was a little odd.

I’d like to remember him for bringing hit after hit after hit, with all of the silly stuff and nonsense as a side note to his brilliant career.

I happen to be in Cleveland when Jackson died. Cleveland, of course, is where the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is. As you can imagine, there was a memorial right inside the building. That month, Bruce Springsteen was being featured in an exhibit as one of the latest honorees inducted.

Although people may have made the trek to see the Springsteen memorabilia, they couldn’t help but pay their respects to Michael Jackson. Some cried, some took pictures, some left gifts, flowers, poems, stories, etc. Everyone, however, stopped to look at the growing memorial.

A couple days later, the breaking news was the murder of Steve McNair, the former Tennessee Titans quarterback. Stories bombarded the stations with breaking news of McNair. And then, they were gone. Not for good. But the ‘real’ news was the death of Michael Jackson.

A local reporter talked to the camera about a candlelight vigil at the Rock Hall, encouraging fans to come down. I didn’t get a chance to go but I could only imagine the turn out. A few days later, all that was on television were biographies, Hollywood stories, etc. The grand finale of all of this was live coverage of Michael Jackson’s funeral. I was astonished at the treatment that Michael Jackson received. Roads were closed for the procession, a helicopter following above, and police escorts as if the President of the United States were visiting.

That, in a nutshell, is what Michael Jackson meant to popular culture.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.

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