Count on the bloviating Reverend Al Sharpton to taint the memorial service to Michael Jackson held in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009. Not the first time the consummate media- seeking irreverent reverend has done something of this nature. And, as long as he deems himself the spokesman for all of black America, and as long as black America allows him to perpetuate that false image to the rest of us, it won’t be the last.
In his overstated sermon/lecture during a Sunday service in Los Angeles leading up to the memorial service held on Tuesday, Al suggested in no uncertain terms that Michael Jackson was a victim of racial injustice during his lifetime and perhaps moreso now in his death. Even at the memorial service there was an undertone of disenchantment in Sharpton’s remarks
Sermonizing Sunday, from the pulpit of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, Sharpton lamented the media coverage of Michael Jackson’s death.
“I am here because of the disgraceful and the despicable way some elements of the media have tried to destroy the legacy and image of Michael Jackson,” he ranted to the congregation, alleging the media have different standards for black and white celebrities.
“You have had other entertainers that have had issues in their life,” he said. “But you did not degrade and denigrate them… Show the same respect for Michael and Michael’s family that you showed Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.”
(Note to Reverend Al: There are countless books in your neighborhood library detailing the myriad shortcomings of both of these performers.)
Hogwash, Reverend Al! You of all people rightly know the media has handled Jackson’s death with kid gloves, mostly ignoring his ultra-weird lifestyle, cosmetic surgery altering shenanigans, and multiple child molestation allegations while broadcastings countless hours of tribute and adoring attention to his pop legacy. So much so that it has become almost nauseating and grossly overstated. Statements by such folk as Barry Gordy and others that Michael Jackson was “the greatest performer the world has ever known” and “There will never be anyone like him again!” are ridiculous to the extreme and so superfluous as to be comical in nature.
Jackson was a great showman and he will have his place in American pop culture for sure. He sold millions of albums, was a world-wide phenomenon in his time – which had long passed as of his death – and has legions of adoring – and forgiving – fans. That does not deserve the status of “world’s best all-time” anything even taking into account the emotional nature of his premature death and the tendency by some to make emotion laden statements not well thought out in a time of being somewhat distraught.
Michael Jackson was an American success story who lived the glamorous lifestyle to the nth degree, accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth, and was a role model for other aspiring performers desiring success in the fickle world of music. He entertained us and some loved his music and dancing. His life was tragic at times. He proved to be mortal in the end and that is the fate of us all. That and nothing more.
That Sharpton would use this tragic event as a headline grabber, a media attention getter, and as another self-serving promotion of his own agenda is disgusting at best and revolting at its core. He offended millions of Americans who adored and supported Michael Jackson throughout his life and were saddened in his dying, especially white Americans without whose support in their buying of his records there would not have been the Jackson phenomenon in the first place.
And make no mistake about it – in his criticism of the media for a lack of sensitivity and for a lack of understanding black culture, there is another of Sharpton’s hidden racist accusations to all of white America. “I don’t think the media understand who Michael was,” Sharpton was quoted as saying in wire reports. “I don’t think they (read ‘whitey’) have any cultural significance.” As if Sharpton is the only one who truly understood Jackson and black pop culture while the rest of us white folk are insensitive and racist.
Sharpton has long been a purveyor of the politics of ‘victimization’ and he has refined that approach throughout his rise to prominence. From way back in the race-baiting days of his Harlem based preacherhood, when he made a complete fool of himself during such off- the-wall antics as in the ‘Tawanna Brawley’ incident, Sharpton has made his livelihood selling racism as black peoples’ shackles in white America. He has prospered in that approach oftentimes alienating white America.
At one time a fiery preacher, he has now become a comic caricature of himself surfacing whenever and wherever he sees a media opportunity to promote no issue other than Al Sharpton. How can we be surprised that he would pop up at this time of mega media exposure reporting, to an excess, the death of a pop legend to grab an opportune share of the attention, controversy, and fame intended to honor Michael Jackson?
Shame on you, Reverend Al Sharpton! Shame on your self-serving ways and your insatiable quest for misappropriated media attention at a time like this. I feel sad for what you have become.
Michael Jackson deserved better.
(Post Script: And shame on you, the media, for your unending coverage of this nincompoop and for providing him a forum for his racist agenda.)