Cultural Moments


Michael Jackson Dies, Breaks Google


To me, it was the second most devastating thing that occured this decade. And as far as a celebrity death, it’s the one that affected every demographic, every nationality across the world. I don’t want to do a Kanye thing—“This is the greatest death of all time!”—you know? But Michael reached places that your average entertainer couldn’t. I think the fact that you saw vigils that looked like rock concerts speaks volumes. People actually felt they were related to him. He practically lived in all of our households. And then you saw a lot of people who were formerly s--- talkers who were all of a sudden, like, quoting his life. At first it made me angry, but then I started to wonder if all that relentless gossip and teasing he went through was just a backward way of people saying, “I love you.” When he announced the tour, even though I was excited, I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t going to see it. And not because I didn’t have time to see it. I wondered how he would react to the pressure of the entire world watching his every move. Frankly, I think the world was watching to see a downfall, or a meltdown. I’m almost certain this dark cloud must have been lurking somewhere in his vision. It’s not as though I think he wasn’t up to the challenge, but I do believe such bad energy can affect a person’s spirit. I would like to think the work Michael left us can still rid those missing him of any similar dark clouds.


Thompson is the drummer for The Roots, the current in-house band of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Follow him on Twitter.