June 29, 2009

Professors Write About Jackson's Influence

The day after Michael Jackson's tragic death, Vassar professors began taking to the internet to comment on the King of Pop's influence.

In an article for ForeignPolicy.com, English professor Hua Hsu writes about the "globalization" of Michael Jackson and the the superstar's international appeal.

"The reason Michael mattered -- continues to matter -- is because he was one of the first truly international stars. Not just transatlantic, not just big in Japan: He was global. The obvious effect was economic. Michael opened markets around the world; he made the world safe for MTV (after first making MTV safe for nonwhite performers, it should be said). He sold records and sold-out tours everywhere. He was, by most accounts, a gracious guest and a kind ambassador."

English professor Kiese Laymon also took to his Cold Drank blog to discuss Jackson and the performer's impact on his life, calling him "the greatest American worker of my life."

"When Mama and I weren’t jamming til all hours of the night to Off the Wall tape I got for Christmas, I was in my room listening to the tape alone. There, I could sing the songs the way I wanted and be weird and fascinated by the minimalist album cover of Mama’s Off the Wallalbum. The Off the Wall cover foreshadowed part of my future with Michael Jackson. Like a lot of folk, I’d be mesmerized by the work of Michael’s feet while also wondering about his face."

UPDATE: Professor Laymon's essay has been picked up by the popular feminist blog Feministing.

No comments: