It is an understatement to say that the media has been obsessed for the last couple of weeks with the death of MJ, however, today, as we celebrate his life it feels so real, so final and so solemn. More than likely we will never see this level of superstardom again. We are sad about this for sure but there are some lessons that MJ taught us that are relevant to us in the agency world and to those of us who want to succeed in connecting to people across all cultures.
MJ was rooted in the 60's era of struggle and Black upward mobility . He was from the rough, steel town of Gary, Indiana, and his father Joe was determined to make sure that his family had a better life. Self determination and the thirst for a better life is what many people in the world desire, and that is probably one of the reasons why MJ connected on that global level. He was symbolic of how pure talent combined with stellar work ethic can take you to the top.
If not for Joe's determination to insure that his family had a better life, we probably would have never known the Jackson 5 or ultimately the "Off the Wall/Thriller" era Michael Jackson. It is well documented that Joe was not always fair or loving but he did instill in MJ, that drive and discipline. MJ's God given talent combined with his ambition, drive and discipline were a HUGE reason for his global success.
MJ is perhaps the greatest example of someone who connected with humanity on a global level, he was a trailblazer and generated excitement from Moscow, to Dakar, to Anchorage to Sao Paulo. I challenge anyone to name another artist who generated so much excitement on every single continent amongst almost every single ethnicity. It is unprecedented and more than likely will never happen again. His demonstrated compassion for the world and yes, children all over the world was a big reason for his global connection.
The dude broke down barriers. He found a way around barriers and maintained impeccable standards. If you were drafted by MJ to produce something for him, write something for him, choreograph for him,or film something for him, you were automatically put into that exceptional category. His high standards for production in music video, choreography and music production are what helped him break down those barriers. MTV did not play Black artist before MJ's Billie Jean but the production standards on that video made it undeniable!
Finally, MJ brought the electricity! The dance moves, the staging, the precision, on point vocals, etc. Sometimes it seems like many performers forget the performing aspect, and the idea of giving it your all. MJ always gave it his all when on stage. There is something to be said about the hysteria he generated at shows. The world is going to miss that electricity!
The world is going to miss MJJ.