Photo: Justo Ruiz

The world’s pop star dies at age 50.


I was 90 minutes north of New York City last night
, getting ready to enjoy an outdoor Shakespeare performance, when the news spread across the lawn of picnickers: Michael Jackson was dead.

“Michael Jackson is dead? I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it,” the girl at the concession stand said over and over as she totaled my bill. After she took my money, she started crying.

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This morning, I logged onto Facebook.

Andy Carvin, National Public Radio’s social media guru, wrote:

“How’s this for irony – powerful, graphic #IranElection protest video, set to Michael Jackson’s ‘They Don’t Care About Us’.”

Friends from South Carolina to New York had taken the “What Michael Jackson Song Are You?” quiz and posted their results.

The BBC reported that a Nigerian DJ broke down on air, unable to complete her show, after she began talking about Jackson.
*
I’m (surprisingly) in agreement with the Reverend Al Sharpton, who wondered aloud why the world that ridiculed and all but abandoned Jackson in recent years suddenly lionized him. But then I thought about some of Jackson’s best songs and collaborative projects, and realized that he used his music to remind us of our shared humanity. Here are three of his best:

“Man in the Mirror”

“Black or White”

“We Are the World”

Community Connection:

How did Michael Jackson’s music impact your life– or not? And where’s the most unusual place you’ve ever heard a Michael Jackson song? Share your memories in the comments.