The true tragedy of Michael Jackson is that his genius died long before he did. He remains one of the most seminal artists of the late 20th century. But his innovations stopped as he retreated into a dark strange world of excess. He was an incredible philanthropist who also was sadly accused of being a pedophile.

He forever changed dance – his choreography and cinematic talents are still in use today by popular artists like Britney Spears and Beyonce and many many others. So at least some of his gifts are timeless.

For black people, he leaves a mixed legacy. His famous family’s music is iconic yet their dysfunction was humiliating. He was at one time perhaps the most famous and wealthiest black person in the world and it’s likely to take a week or two or three of tributes, remembrances and gossip for the global consciousness to absorb this shock.

Bigger than Coretta Scott King, way bigger than James Brown – this will be the biggest black tv funeral ever. I just hope his crazy family doesn’t act the fool internationally.

Most of all, I feel for his children who are still so young. There will be many questions about mj’s life and death from which they will not be well protected. His estate was in disarray – I only hope that something is left for them when they come of age. I urge the media to refrain from exploiting their loss at this time. He worked so hard, perhaps too hard, to protect them from the exploitation he suffered as a child star.

I also both hope and dread the Mormon Tabernacle’s version of “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”. And “Beat It.”

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