Michael Jackson's Death: Millions Mourn In the Streets and On the Internet

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 Michael is."

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 Islamabad.

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."

In Kenya, several radio stations have been playing Jackson songs and the local broadcasts are leading with the news of his death. One Kenyan said that many Africans considered Jackson to be "bigger than Elvis." Exceprts fro a weekly show devoted to Michael Jackson and his family that aired in the 1970's was rebroadcast on Kenya's state-run television station.

Denis Ndavi, the commercial manager for Kenya's Homeboyz Radio told ABC News that the station was interrupting its normal hip-hop programming to devote the weekend to Jackson's music. "Even though our audience is just in their 20's, there's a lot of shock, there's grief even from them," Ndavi said. "For a black artist, no-one had been that big ever. Everybody liked the fact that there was a black man running the pop charts. Bruce Springsteen was big too, but he didn't resonate as much with Africans."

Across the continent there are reports of Africans devastated by the news. In Nigeria a local radio anchor broke down when she heard the news and couldn't continue her program. In Ghana, a woman began wailing after a BBC reporter told her about Jackson's death.

Michael Kendege, 37, a Kenyan financial consultant said that he he feels, like many in the rest of the world, as though "A section of my childhood is lost."

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...