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  • Genius Cannot Always Be Defined

    June 27th, 2009LauraCollaboration, Contributors

    R.I.P. Michael Jackson

    “A true innovator”

    By Laura Russello, MSW

    All day yesterday and today the news has been flooded with stories of Michael Jackson’s death. Regardless of what you may think of the guy, there is no denying that he was a one-of-a-kind genius who changed the world as we know it. But I don’t believe his true genius stops with his music.

    Despite his eccentricities, Jackson in many ways dared to defy categorization in a society that virtually demands it to get any kind of respect. Many would ask, What race did he belong to, and what gender?The media continually tried to pin him down: “crazy,” “Wacko Jacko,” “child molester.” What I believe Jackson displayed in his character was a kind of unified nebulousness, far beyond mainstream categorization, that was clearly capable of bringing tens of thousands of people out into the streets the day he died. Though in mainstream culture we’re taught that to be a leader we must be bold, strong and outspoken, Jackson displayed a quiet, almost intangible personal fluidity and magnetism that changed the world as we know it, and brought people of all backgrounds together. I assert that many, if not most of the rare people who truly connect people to one another are ones who’s way of being is far outside the realm of mainstream understanding.

    Whether we understand Michael Jackson or not, he changed lives. And to be a true innovator, genius and leader, you will likely have to take many hits from a culture that does not understand you. Rest in peace, Michael Jackson, your gifts to the world will manifest for years to come.

    Laura Russello is passionate about the intersectionality of art, activism and community organizing. She is the Executive Director of Michigan Peaceworks, a grassroots organization dedicated to peace, democracy, civil rights and civil liberties.

    Edited by Eseohe Arhebamen

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