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Al Sharpton on Michael Jackson

“It was Michael Jackson that brought blacks and whites and Asians and Latinos together. Because Michael Jackson kept going, he created a comfort level, where people that felt they were separate became interconnected with his music. Later, it wasn’t strange to watch Oprah on television. It wasn’t strange to watch Tiger Woods golf.” [MJ made people] “comfortable to vote for a person of color for president.”

– Rev. Al Sharpton at Michael Jackson's memorial service. His songs from Thriller were the first songs from a black recording artist to be played in heavy rotation on MTV, paving the way for other black artists during a time when the music channel featured mostly white artists.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
I used to like Michael Jackson. I know and I understand he was a great artist. A gifted and talented person. A complicated and tortured soul . His Thriller album was like an ultimate goal that was reached. Not many people will ever get to that place in their lifetime. OK yes that's true. He had an influence on our culture. OK yes. But doesn't anyone remember the bad things? How about those kids he molested? Where are their voices now? Will we ever hear from them? I don't see them on the news. How about when he hung his baby over a railing? How about how he paid some woman off to have babies with him? How about the fact that he tried to make himself white? Nose jobs and more nose jobs and cheek implants and bleaching his skin? How about that? Honestly. With all his money and power. I didn't even stop drinking my coffee when I heard about his death. I lost interest a long time ago.
What he said isn't "wrong" by any means.. he's just Ew.
Al Sharpton.. Ew.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
The first part of this I agree with, the second part about the, I can see where that *might* be somewhat true, but not so much a definitive factor.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
"yo daddy ain't strange...he had to deal with some strange stuff...the press.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
HOORAY for Al. I think he pointed something out that a lot people did not think about until MJ passed. I remember talking about this in high school.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
What a pompous windbag. He needs to disappear.
eveday eveday 8 years
*lack of sensitiveness.
eveday eveday 8 years
I can't stand Al Sharpton either...but he has a point. Though I think the presidency thing was a bit too much -- or maybe not since Michael Jackson indeed broke many barries. I'm sad he died, really. But what makes me even sadder is the lack of sensitivity from some people -- those who post things like "would love to dance/piss on his grave". I've seen comments like these even here at Popsugar. I'm not saying we should all mourn his death -- some people have the right to not feel a thing or even be angry at his behaviour but jokes about his death only hurt those who are alive and still love him.
cg130 cg130 8 years
Crap, I just re-read the original post, and my first comment was related. So sorry! I'm pretty spacey today.
cg130 cg130 8 years
Whoops - I'm so sorry, I wasn't thinking at all. My last comment is totally incorrect and unrelated, ignore it. What I meant is that while he was really influential, I'm not sure that he was really responsible for all of this.
cg130 cg130 8 years
He certainly had a lot of influence, but isn't it a bit much to say that he led to Obama's presidency?
GKitty GKitty 8 years
The Reggie artist were allowed because Eric Clapton and the Police were covering their songs...why not listen to the original artist?
GKitty GKitty 8 years
Leslie is correct, MTV openly stated that no R & B artists will be played on their station, (R&B was code for BLACK). That being said MJ broke the barrier, allowing the Reggie artists and the "Dutchie" (weed) song was allowed in.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
Hey Tres- I did a little more research and there were a few black artists on mtv, but only if they fit the rock genre. But for the most part, MJ was the first in heavy rotation.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I mostly agree with his comment. However, his line: "There wasn't anything strange about your Daddy. What was strange was what he had to deal with", was absolutely the best thing he said.
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 8 years
leslievanhouter, Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie" was on MTV in '82 (Thriller was '83) and Eddie Grant's "Electric Avenue" was also on MTV the same year as "Billie Jean." Since I don't have a definitive source, I'll leave it at the "heavy rotation" part. Thanks for your comment!
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
source on my comment I was alive when MTV was all rock and new wave in the beginning.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
All i hear when Al talks is yelling and empty preaching. I cant stand him.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
actually, I thought MJ was the first black artist on MTV. There's a story about how the president of Epic/Sony was so upset that MTV initially refused to play Billie Jean that he threatened to pull all Epic/Sony artists from MTV rotation and publicize MTV's refusal to play black artists.
janneth janneth 8 years
Obama called MJ a crossover racial figure, and he used the term "comfort level" too.
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