Most of us have no idea when we’re going to die, and even if we think we know what will be written or said about us, we have no control. Last week, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died, and what their legacies will be all depends on what you read – or whether you’re watching CNN, Fox or TV One.
When it comes to what your legacy will be, timing is everything. If South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford dropped dead today, his legacy would be as the fool who didn’t read Chapter One of “The Player’s Handbook,” the one entitled “Never Put Anything in Writing.” Or Chapter One of “The Governor’s Handbook,” the one entitled “If You’re Going to Leave Town, Alert Your Lieutenant Governor.”
If Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman dropped dead today, he would be more famous for dating his step-granddaughter (allegedly) than “Driving Miss Daisy.”
And what about the Oxy-Clean dude who died yesterday? What if he had a stain on his shirt, and we discovered he didn’t use the product at all?
My son Thomas was out of his mind with anger when CNN allowed Nancy Grace to cover Michael Jackson’s death after she so obviously crazed with anger when he was acquitted on child molestation charges. It reminded me, once again, that black media uplifts black people and celebrates their greatness with absolutely no shame in our game. George Wallace tells a joke (over and over, I might add) of how no black people are going to hell. Judging by the funeral services we have for them, we’re all going to heaven.
We are the most forgiving people on this earth, and that’s fine with me. From the tribute the TJMS and BlackAmericaWeb.com and our affiliate stations gave to Michael Jackson on Friday to the BET Awards ceremony salutes, nobody celebrates the lives of black people like we do. And no one ever will.
Speaking of BET, no one booed Papa Joe Jackson, in spite of what he may have done to his children. No one clowned Don Cornelius, even though he recently was on the wrong side of the law. No one would dare bring up Tevin Campbell’s close encounter with an undercover cop. And for that matter, you would never hear anyone say that, in reality, our beloved MJ didn’t show up at too many BET Music Awards ceremonies. But it’s all good.
As Black Music Month comes to a close, I thought about the legacy black radio will leave as we continue to fight for our lives. When Michael Jackson passed on Thursday, with all the new technology we have at our finger tips, black radio stood tall with up-to-the minute reports and captured the real, raw emotions of everyone – from the on-air d.j.s to the fans – who needed to express themselves to people who were feeling what they felt. Not trying to win awards, not trying to get ratings, not worrying about our legacy … just doing our thing.
Today on the big show, we want to know what you think your legacy will be. How do you think you will be remembered? Don’t spend too much time worrying about it. Just do your thing. The people who left the best legacies weren’t even trying to. They just busied themselves trying to make a difference on this earth.