CaribWorldNews, LOS ANGELES, CA, Fri. June 26, 2009: Before there was Barack Obama, there was Michael Joseph Jackson, sailing across color lines and building an unprecedented fan base in every country around the globe, whether the people there were `black or white.` And the Caribbean fan base was no exception. Yesterday, many cried openly or expressed stunned disbelief that the great M.J. had suddenly passed on.
`I cried today because Michael Jackson was a Father that we all lost!,` exclaimed Haitian singer Wyclef Jean in a tweet. `He lives forever in my heart. I will never forget the day he came to see me in the studio and I played him music. RIP to Michael Jackson my music God.`
`It really hurts. I am saddened,` Jamaican-born reggae music journalist and commentator, Sharon Gordon told CaribWorldNews last night.
`It is really shocking,` added mas costume creator, Trinidadian Rheba Escalera.
`I feel terrible about it. He was my icon too,` exclaimed Barbadian-born Aubrey Campbell of CaribVoiceRadio.
`I am still trying to take it in,` added music writer Stan Smith.
On Facebook, Youtube and on Twitter among other social networking sites, fans rushed to also weigh in and voice the sadness that erupted from within. `At least he`ll finally be at peace,` one fan wrote below his YouTube video, `Scream,` which as of last night had topped six million views.
On Twitter, there were jams in postings, with some 5,000 tpm (tweets per minute) as news circulated that the King of Pop had died at the UCLA hospital in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon after being rushed there by paramedics responding to a call from his home at about 12:30 p.m. LA time.
Outside the hospital and in New York, outside the Apollo Theater, fans flocked to play his music, sing his songs and celebrate his life.
`It is the tragedy to the ET industry in general. He has laid the foundation for many of the industry now,` added Campbell.
Gordon agreed but said the tragic death of the superstar entertainer should be viewed `as a wakeup call.`
`We all should look at our lives and how we`re living,` she warned.
Jackson was just 50 and would have turned 51 on August 29th. He began in the music business at age five with his four brothers as the Jackson Five. Managed by their father Joe Jackson, a crane operator, the young group quickly rose to fame. Michael at age 11 made his debut on national television and the world fell in love with him.
The group`s first four singles — `I Want You Back,` `ABC,` `The Love You Save` and `I`ll Be There` — went to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart, the first time any group had pulled off that feat. There was even a Jackson 5 cartoon series on ABC. He launched his solo career in 1972 while still a member of the group and hit No. 1 as a solo artist with the song `Ben.`
In the early 1980s, he became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African-American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV.
The popularity of his music videos airing on MTV, such as `Beat It,` `Billie Jean` and Thriller, credited with transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool, helped bring the relatively new channel to fame. Interestingly, reports indicate that the bosses of the channel had to be persuaded to play the video, a move on their part that created history and helped Jackson to crash through the racial barriers.
`Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color,` the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement Thursday. `To say an `icon` would only give these young people in Harlem a fraction of what he was. He was a historic figure that people will measure music and the industry by.`
Videos such as `Black or White` and `Scream` made Jackson an enduring staple on MTV in the 1990s. `Black and White` sent a clear message of unity of races while his `Heal The World` hit also focused on just that.
With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced many hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artists.
He is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records, including one for `Most Successful Entertainer of All Time` and 13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career, more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era, and the sales of over 750 million albums worldwide.
Jackson has been cited as one of the world`s most famous men. Jackson`s highly publicized personal life, coupled with his successful career, made him a part of popular culture for almost four decades.
His career was sadly marked by some bizarre and personal woes. In 1994 Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis but they split less than two years later.
He later married Australian Debbie Rowe and they had two children, Prince, 12 and Paris, 11. A third child, Prince Michael II, was reportedly born with the help of an anonymous surrogate mother.
In 1993, he was first accused of child molestation but later settled the case and no criminal charges were filed. However, in 2005 he was charged with child molestation and had to endure a trial. He was acquitted in 2005.
Jackson subsequently moved out of the U.S. to Bahrain but reports surfaced that Jackson had faced serious financial problems in recent years as sales wilted. He faced certain foreclosure on Neverland until he managed to refinance the mortgage on the 270-acre spread.
In recent months, he moved back to a LA home where he was preparing for his 50 sold-out concerts that were planned for London later this summer. Seventy-five thousand tickets sold in four hours when they went on sale in March.
The cause of his death yesterday was unknown at press time but an autopsy report is expected today. But Jackson family lawyer, Brian Oxman, confirmed to CNN that Jackson may have had trouble with prescription drugs as he prepared for his London show.
`This was something which I feared and something which I warned about,` Oxman said on CNN. `I can tell you for sure that this is something I warned about. Where there is smoke there is fire.`