While approaching the Leimert Park Blues and Jazz Festival on the 4th of July, I noticed a black Benz with R.I.P. M.J. scrawled in white across the back window.
It alerted me to the way Los Angeles is responding to the death of Michael Jackson. A memorial progam has been set for Tuesday morning in Staples Center. More than 500,000 sought to gain tickets to the event. City and state officials are planning a massive effort to keep the scene orderly which apparently will dwarf the recent parade to mark the Laker’s NBA championship.
As intense as the global reaction has been, there is nothing to compare with the epicenter here. Folks who were brandishing Lakers flags a few weeks back are now replacing them with Michael Jackson symbols, some handmade as the driver mentioned above fashioned.
This is another instance where the culture of celebrity overtakes the actual person. I suspect that much of mania derives from the feeling that everyone else is riveted to this story. Just a month before, many of those same folks would have resisted going to a Jackson concert, for fear he was old news.
I just pray that Michael Joseph Jackson’s soul has a chance to truly rest in peace and to ignore the frantic manuevering to profit from his untimely demise. He deserves more dignity than this.
My suggestion for a tribute is for anyone who really wants to honor MJJ’s legacy to find an eight-year-old somewhere who needs music lessons, mentoring and some career guidance and give that kid the love that Jackson was still searching for at his death.