Commentary: 10 Lessons we learned from the death of Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson died last year on this same day, June 25, 2010. It's been a weird year since. We've learned a lot about the pop star as a person and a performer, and a lot of lessons on bad class in the media.
Below, I outline some thoughts I had about what can be taken away from the time since.
For an artist of his size and caliber, one year is about enough time for ones reputation to lose the negativity and indiscretions of his past
… Or not.
- Radio knows when to step it up
- Joe Jackson has no shame
This is a lesson we kind of already knew. But the death of father Joe Jackson’s son further muddies the waters between self-promotion and legacy-guarding, mixed in with genuine mourning (of son and lifelong cash cow).
- Drugs are bad, kids
It seems somehow incongruent with Michael Jackson’s character that he had such a deep and seemingly unbounded use of drugs, where in his last 9 hours alive, according to testimony from Conrad Murray, that he was administered four sleep aides, sedatives and anti-anxiety meds, including that last does of anesthetic propofol. MJ used fake names to have prescriptions filled; he had fired doctors before for not filling these. For someone with a healthy-looking dancer’s body, ready for a string of 50-dates, MJ’s heart was failing in part to his drug abuse.
Usher will not take off his sunglasses while performing, not for anything.
- A new single release after death does not guarantee its adoption on large scale
Everyone got all excited that “This Is It,” the previously unreleased song, was dropping. Then they heard it. It was underwhelming. It peaked at No. 18 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop tracks, and then disappeared in under a month.
- Janet stands out publicly as the classy one
Everyone with association to Michael Jackson had something to say or do after his death, from his relatives to Paris Hilton. It was hard for any of it not to come off as opportunistic (hey, Joe). Jackson’s brothers completed their reality series “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty” for A&E, complete with episodes spent mulling their brothers death. La Toya continues to beat the drum that her brother was murdered (and not the homicide of an accidental overdose, but a larger conspiracy) and has been making the rounds on talk shows.
- Michael Jackson was big enough to change the rules
The Billboard 200 rules, that is.
- It won’t be settled for a good long while which of MJ’s hits will remain best-known
Taking from the same carriage, Billboard says “Say Say Say” is the King of Pop’s No. 1 Billboard Hit. A song penned by Paul McCartney, shared with Paul McCartney?
- God forbid, we may get tired of Michael Jackson over the next seven years
That $200 million deal with Sony? 10 recording projects through 2017.