It has been a tiring two weeks since the passing of pop icon Michael Jackson. Celebrations have sprung up all over the world as well as the ongoing controversy surrounding his death. With all the Michael Jackson news flying around, it's hard to decide which stories should be given the most credence. The story that seems to be slowly rising to the top, though, is not of Michael Jackson the famous singer, but Michael Jackson the most influential civil rights leader this country has ever seen.
National figures such as Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton have publicly acknowledged their debt to this trail blazing pioneer. At the official memorial, Sharpton said, "It was Michael Jackson who brought blacks and whites and Asians and Latinos together". I feel embarrassed, because I honestly had no idea. I can only assume that folks from the 1960's were equally unimpressed with Martin Luther King, Jr. It isn't until post-mortem that a person's true greatness can be fully appreciated. I can't wait until more celebrities die. Then I can finally find out what I'll remember them for.
At one point in his address, Sharpton claims the Oprah's and the Obama's of the world only exist by standing on the shoulders of Michael. I applaud you, Rev. Sharpton, for having the courage and clarity to say what I always knew in my heart to be true. I'm not sure if I could have ever voted for a black president had I not heard "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough".
Always the provocateur of unbiased journalism, Bill O'Reilly challenged Sharpton's portrayal of Jackson on the O'Reilly Factor. During the interview, Sharpton said Jackson changed the face of Mtv and Rolling Stone Magazine by breaking down racial barriers. O'Reilly replied by saying that Mtv and Rolling Stone Magazine are "not important". And I suppose Mtv's hit show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila is "not important" either? Obviously Mr. O'Reilly is unaware that the pulse of America is located somewhere down her pants.