Africa, along with the rest of the world mourns the passing of a legend, the one and only Michael Jackson.
There was collective disbelief and sadness from the world all over when it was reported that Michael Jackson had died from cardiac problems on June 25, 2009.
Michael Jackson was one of the few entertainers that crossed racial lines with his music. He was loved dearly on each and every Continent.
Africa had a special relationship with the King of Pop from the very beginning. When he was out front as the 14year-old lead vocalist of the Jackson Five singing group, Michael Jackson visited Africa for the first time.
“When we came off the plane in [Dakar, Senegal] Africa,” he recalls, “we were greeted by a long line of African dancers. Their drums and sounds filled the air with rhythm. I was going crazy, I was screaming, “All right! They got the rhythm… This is it. This is where I come from. The origin.”‘
Nineteen years later, when Michael, now 33, came off the plane in Gabon, a West African neighbor nation of Senegal, he was greeted by an excited, screaming crowd of grade-school students who carried a banner that proclaimed: “Welcome Home Michael.”
Drum sounds again filled the air with rhythm that flowed from fans who gathered at the airport and lined the streets in anticipation of seeing the “king of pop, rock and soul,” who would later be crowned “King Sani” in a West African village.
Michael Jackson was the man behind the song for Africa, “We are the World.” The recording session in January 1985 was held during and after the American Music Awards. Michael Jackson skipped the American Music Awards ceremony that night to record the chorus of the song as a guide to the other artists.
The considerable profits from the enterprise went to the USA for Africa Foundation, which used them for the relief of famine and disease in Africa and specifically to 1984 to 1985 famine in Ethiopia. The combined revenues raised from the sales of “We Are the World” and Hands Across America was almost $100 million.
Michael Jackson was also an artist who regularly used African rhythms and dancing in his music.
And it was the ultimate compliment to African females everywhere when Michael recorded Liberian Girl.
There is no denying that the world lost a magnificent talent and Africa lost a wonderful friend.
May Michael’s soul rest in ever lasting peace.