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The death of Michael
Jackson, "The King of Pop," dominates global media By
Russell Goldman, Ki Mae Heussner and Ammu Kannampilly
(June 26, 2009) From the streets of Gary, Ind., to the palaces of Europe
and the Middle East, to New York City's Times Square, millions of fans
are mourning the death of Michael Jackson -- fiercely loyal subjects of
a man known as the King of Pop.
Crowds across the globe gathered to listen to Michael Jackson's music.
Word that Jackson, an international superstar for more than four
decades, had died Thursday quickly spread around the world, on blogs, in
e-mails and through Twitter messages.
Even before it was confirmed that the pop star had died, hundreds
converged outside the UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson, 50, was rushed
by firefighters. Fans carried flowers, cried, consoled each other and
sang songs that defined a generation of people around the world. Dozens
more gathered outside Jackson's home to remember an artist nearly
unsurpassed in global popularity.
'The Most Famous Person on the Planet' On the UCLA campus, fraternities on the street behind the hospital
blasted the "Thriller" album in his honor. Other students paid tribute
more quietly, copying Jackson's signature one-glove style.
At the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, Jackson fans
gathered to pay their respects. They played his greatest hits, danced in
the streets, chanted his name and prayed for Jackson and his family.
"For a long time, he was unquestionably the most famous person on the
planet," said Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music
Association, who worked with Jackson for years while at Sony. "He was
remarkable to work with."
Jackson began his career in Gary as a 4-year-old in the Jackson Five, a
soul group made up of his siblings, and garnered a generation of fans
who grew up with him. His rare talent garnered him multiple accolades,
his accolades garnered him outsized fame and his fame earned him a
rabidly devoted international fan base.
Three-quarter of a million of those fans bought tickets to see Jackson's
first tour in 12 years, which was to start in London in less than a
month. All 50 shows in Jackson's "This Is It!" tour sold out.
Newspapers around the world led with the news of Jackson's passing.
Italy's "Corriere della Sera" compared him to Elvis Presley, saying both
musical icons lived with "excesses and phobias." Another Italian
newspaper, "La Stampa" called him "The Devil and Peter Pan" rolled into
In Paris, Daniela Pierre, 23, said, "he will remain the king of pop
forever." 43-year-old Francois Marnez said, "He was a tormented soul,
just like every artist is, but he was a great artist above all."
Jackson fans in Moscow left flowers in memory of the star at the
Alexander Greve of the Michael Jackson fan club in Magdeburg, Germany,
told German broadcaster N-TV, "It's devastating, I cried when I first
heard it, now I just feel completely empty - a day I will never forget."
In Mumbai, radio DJs Jaggu and Tarana paid tribute to the star's
popularity across India, saying "Jackson was the first international pop
singer that many Indians heard."' Superstar choreographer turned
Bollywood director, Farah Khan told Indian TV channel, CNN-IBN that she
considered Jackson her 'guru'. "I officially had no training in dance
and whatever I learnt was from watching Michael Jackson by watching his
videos, especially Thriller over and over again. I consider him as my
guru," she said.
Across the border in Pakistan, the country's most popular English
language radio station, City FM 89, played Jackson songs all day. The
station's general manager, Munizeh Sanai, told ABC News, "There are many
people in Pakistan who don't know that the world is round but know who
Back when there were no private news channels and all televisions were
tuned to the sole, state-run channel, almost everyone in the country
watched a skit show called "Fifty-Fifty," basically the equivalent of
Saturday Night Live in its heyday. One of the all-time great scenes is
being passed around today via You-Tube: a skit featuring Ismail Tara,
one of Pakistan's most famous comics in the 80s, dancing to the sounds
of Billy Jean. His props include a couple of suitcases, a pan, and a
pair of very tight pants.
"Michael impacted us on every level. He transcended everything –
countries, religion, boundaries, everything," said Mashaal Gauhar, a
self-professed "huge" Jackson fan and the editor of a business magazine
In Japan, TV commentator Dave Spector said, "Many Japanese fans were not
just loyal to Michael - they worshipped him. This is going to be a
tremendous loss especially to them." Jackson visited the country in
March, 2007 to attend several events including one called "The Premium
V.I.P. Party with Michael Jackson" where guests paid $3,500 for dinner,
cocktails, and the opportunity to meet, shake hands and have a photo
taken with the King of Pop.
Japan's Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication, Tsutomu Sato
told reporters, "I grew up listening and watching The Jackson Five.
Therefore the news of his death leaves me with a feeling of sadness."
Abu Dhabi-based Faisal Al Qassimi, 26, said Jackson was "the epitome of
cool," adding that "He represented a taste of something else, all of
these places we hadn't been to. He represented music, America, MTV,
youth culture, sex appeal...everything a young man here would aspire
Self-proclaimed Jackson superfan, Nadeem Bibby echoed Al Qassimi's
words, saying, "In Abu Dhabi in the 80s, which was very boring and gray,
he was a colorful larger than life figure we could relate to. He was our
Bibby, 26, said fans in Abu Dhabi "were very shielded from the tabloid
smack. We never held him in such a low esteem," adding, "I don't think
he'll ever die."
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Bahraini lawyer who brought
Jackson to the Gulf after the pop star's 2005 child molestation trial,
and who eventually sued the star for breach of contract, could not be
reached for comment.
In London, the tabloid The Sun had a picture of Jackson on its front
page, showing him in London just 2 days before his untimely death.
Jackson was on a visit to the city, preparing for a series of
eagerly-awaited concerts next month. His death was a huge blow for his
fans in the U.K., especially those who had managed to get tickets to
watch what was tipped to be his curtain call, as he termed it.
Jackson hadn't performed any major concerts since 2001, and previous
plans were abandoned due to concerns over his ill health.
Fans on Twitter, Facebook Honor King of Pop As reports came in about his death, those who had seen him perform
live remembered how he could command a stage.
"He was famous for being on our 'Amateur Night' that we celebrated the
75-year [anniversary,]" said Cheryl Briggs, who works at the Apollo
Theatre in New York City where a young Jackson performed. "Losing him is
Mark Pope, a 47-year-old from New York who, with his brothers, grew up
listening to and copying the Jackson Five, said, "With the death of
Michael Jackson, the world loses today, I mean, I can speak for a lot of
people, we are losing a musical genius."
Ronald Thomas of New York said, "It meant a lot to me. Its hard to
believe. He meant the world to music, that's my opinion. He was so
important because he did things that other entertainers wouldn't even
dream of doing."
Those fans who couldn't show their devotion in real life mourned their
Soon after reports started filtering in about Jackson's hospitalization,
"Cardiac Arrest" and "RIP Michael Jackson" quickly shot into the
trending terms on Twitter, according to the TweetStats.com.
Less than an hour after Jackson's death had been confirmed, more than
500 groups remembering Michael Jackson appeared on Facebook, some with
more than 10,000 members.
Hundreds of Facebook Groups Form to Celebrate Artist
Immediately after hearing reports that Jackson had stopped breathing,
Amish Gandhi, a 31-year-old New Yorker, started the group "Michael
Jackson RIP." He said it wasn't long before he noticed that about 100
people were joining the group every minute. By 9 p.m. Thursday the site
had more than 11,000 members.
"He's an icon of pop music. And there are so many people at a loss
today," he said.
As he moved from Africa as a child to India as a teenager and,
eventually, to the United States, he said Michael Jackson was a
"I grew up listening to his music," he said. "There's just something
about him that no pop icon matches."
He wanted the Facebook page to celebrate his life, and give fans one
central place to exchange messages, share information and mourn.
Other fans -- from all over the world -- expressed their shock and
sadness via Twitter.
"MICHAEL JACKSON CAN NOT DIE! HE'S MICHAEL JACKSON," wrote audreyjana
from Singapore. Then, "I think im gonna cry."
JulianE Angeles from Mayorazgo, Perú, celebrated the beloved artist by
posting his favorite Michael Jackson song, The Jackson Five's "Who's
Loving You," to his Twitter page.
Watching Michael Jackson do the moonwalk for the first time, convinced
Austin-based musician Nakia Reynoso that performing was for him.
There were more than 10,000 blog postings on one Chinese website alone.
Both Sina.com and Sohu.com, the two biggest portals in China had Michael
Jackson's death as the lead story on their home pages, and by 4 pm local
time, more than 33000 bloggers on the two Web sites paid tribute to the
King of Pop.
One of them described him as the "most outstanding person in the world,
the person who loved children the most, the person who loved Peter Pan,
a big kid who liked to climb trees with other kids." Another said, you
are "The memory of a generation, [we] will remember you forever."
Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor also
tweeted about Jackson's death. Recalling a meeting with him when he
worked as the U.N. Under-Secretary General for Communications under Kofi
Annan, Tharoor said Jackson had "Wanted to be U.N. goodwill ambassador
but we couldn't recommend it."
His "songs and impact will of course outlast the recollections of his
oddities," Tharoor added.
Jackson Possessed Ability to Connect
As reports filtered in about Jackson's death, Nakia posted to Twitter,
"RIP The Man In The Mirror, Michael Jackson - I still remember the day I
bought my red leather zipper coat, sequin socks and glove."
"As a fan, I can certainly say that Michael Jackson's music -- his
career -- certainly contributed to my love of music. And as a performer
-- as an artist myself -- there's no way for me to really do the math on
how much I looked at him as someone to follow," said the 34-year-old.
"His level of showmanship is legendary and it certainly rubbed off on
me. I thought if he can get up there and do that, then I could do that."
The Internet nearly buckled under the strain of all the traffic
generated by interest in Jackson's death. During late Thursday afternoon
Pacific Time, major news sites, including those for the Los Angeles
Times, CBS, ABC and AOL, slowed considerably, according to San Mateo,
Calif.-based Keynote Systems Inc., which monitors the performance of
Internet and mobile networks.
Shawn White, Keynote's director of external operations, said, "Beginning
at 5:30 p.m. ET, the average speed for downloading news sites doubled
from less than four seconds to almost nine seconds. During the same
period, the average availability of sites on the index dropped from
almost 100 percent to 86 percent. The index returned to normal by 9:15
Despite persistent allegations that Jackson had inappropriate
relationships with children, bizarre and erratic behavior, fans remained
"I was very surprised, very saddened. I can't imagine the world without
him," said Anita Austin of New York. "I didn't always agree with his
lifestyle but I loved his music and every time it comes on I'm happy to
listen to it again, or dance to it."
Hilly of the Americana Music Association said, "He had the ability from
the time he was 6-years-old to connect with a vast incredible amount of
people. [It was] sad what happened to his whole life."
Chris Connely, an ABC News contributor was the last to interview
Jackson, lives about a mile from the UCLA Medical Center and said he
heard nothing but helicopters and sirens all afternoon Thursday.
"It's a sharp contrast to when I interviewed him on the phone last year
for his 50th birthday, when his voice would fade in and out like a radio
station you desperately wanted to keep listening to," he said.
He was only allowed to ask the pop star three questions, and his
daughter suggested that he ask him whether the AARP had tracked him down
"My favorite memory of our brief interview was his laugh after that
question," he said. "In an all-too-short life that in so many ways was
filled with enigmatic emotions, or troubling ones, his laugh sounded
fresh, clear and altogether genuine. If only there had been more of
ABC News' Christina Caron contributed to this report, as did Sonia
Gallego in London, Cao Jun and Beth Loyd in Beijing, Christel Kucharz in
Passau, Noriko Namiki in Tokyo, Nick Schifrin in Pakistan, Christophe
Schpoliansky in Paris, Lara Setrakian in Abu Dhabi, Tanya Stukalova in
Moscow, and Ann Wise in Rome.
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Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop Culture
By Erin O. Patten
Hip-Hop culture has had a profound impact on marketing in the past two
decades and it provided an intersection for brands, sports, and popular
culture. Erin O. Patton documents this impact in his new book, Under the
Influence—Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop
Adam Graves, senior vice president of Deutsch Advertising says of Under
the Influence and Patton: "If there are any marketers out there that still
think they can ignore the urban market they'd better think again...This
isn't just a book for so-called urban marketers; this should be
mandatory reading for every marketer in the country."
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