Superstars—and what stays with us

Originally appeared on

The unexpected death this week of Michael Jackson, an international pop superstar, prompted emotional responses from people around the world. Images of people lighting candles, crying, and standing outside famous musical venues such as the Apollo Theater in New York City, to pay tribute, primarily showed how much people appreciated the entertainer’s contribution to the music world.

It’s been a rough week for celebrity news; Jackson’s death was preceded by intense coverage of actress Farrah Fawcett’s passing after a long illness.

Despite being mired in controversies, and speculation about his oddities, Michael Jackson’s music managed to connect people consistently on a global level. In fact, as a child, I can clearly remember roller skating parties with my friends, while Michael Jackson’s songs played over the loudspeakers. Current musical performers from all genres often speak about his influence on their work. Now people may be left thinking somehow that his musical “genius,” his creative fire, has been abruptly taken away.

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