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"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
June 26, 2009
Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” Is Dead
Pop icon Michael Jackson, one of the most-influential recording artists of all time, is dead.
The 50-year-old Jackson, also known as the “King of Pop,” died at Ronald Reagan UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center at 2:26 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time Thursday after suffering a heart attack at a home in Bel Air, Calif., according to the Los Angeles County Coroner. Jackson had been renting the house in a posh section of Los Angeles, in preparation for his sold-out 50-concert comeback tour that was scheduled to begin in August in London.
Paramedics found Mr. Jackson unconscious and applied CPR at the house and continued to apply CPR as an ambulance rushed him to the medical center. At the hospital, a team of doctors worked for an hour to resuscitate him, according to a statement read by Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s brother.
As news of his death spread, thousands of fans and journalists from around the world gathered across the street from the hospital in Westwood, Calif., to pay tribute to Jackson. Fans in other cities stopped in front of department store windows to watch televisions, reporting on Jackson’s death. Television news stations dropped their regular nightly broadcasts to cover his death.
Jackson’s death ends the career of one the most-controversial recording artists ever. His career soared following the sales of his 1982 album “Thriller,” and a 40-year career that kept him in the public spotlight.
“Thriller,” which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller,” sold more than 26 million copies, making it the best-selling album of all time. Jackson sold more than 750 million albums worldwide during his lifetime. He combined pulsating lyrics with amazing dancing, especially his emblematic “Moon Walk,” which always evoked wild screams from concertgoers. He is one of only a few recording artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Jackson was first inducted as a member of the Jackson 5 in 1997 and again as a solo artist in 2001.
Despite the success of “Thriller,” Jackson’s career also suffered deep lows. Law enforcement officials accused him of child molestation at Neverland Ranch near Santa Ynez, Calif., but many of the cases were settled out of court. One case, however, did go to trial. In 2003, law enforcement officials accused Jackson of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland Ranch. Two years later, a jury acquitted him of all charges, but Jackson’s career and life were never the same. He lived abroad for several years before returning to attend the funeral of James Brown on Dec. 30, 2006.
During his career, Jackson became the first black recording artist to appear on MTV, or Music Television. MTV initially refused to play Jackson’s videos because he was black, but CBS Records, Jackson’s record label, threatened to pull all of its artists off MTV if the network did not show “Billie Jean,” and later “Beat It.” Jackson’s partnership with MTV opened the door for other black artists to appear on the network. He also became an early advocate of increased government funding for HIV/AIDs research, following the death of Ryan White, a Kokomo, Ind., teenager, who had become the national poster child for HIV/AIDs. White died April 8, 1990.
Jackson also helped raise money through a series of concerts for the Nelson Mandela Fund for Children. In 1999, he traveled to South Africa, where Mandela honored Jackson with a lifetime achievement award.
In his lifetime, Jackson reportedly earned $500 million from concerts, endorsements and shrewd business deals that included buying the Beatles Catalog. But towards the end of his life, it was rumored that Jackson was in need of money, which explained why he was preparing for such a grueling tour set to begin in August.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born Aug. 29, 1958 in Gary, Ind. He was the son of Joseph Walter and Katherine Esther Jackson, the seventh of nine children. In 1964, Michael joined a group formed by his brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine. The band later changed its name to the Jackson 5. In 1968, Motown Records signed the Jackson 5. In 1972, he released the first of four solo albums for Motown. Three years later, he left Motown to begin his solo career with CBS records.
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