Tom, next year, for the performances on the Fantastic Voyage Cruise, why don’t you book Michael Jackson, James Brown, Aaliyah, Levert, Whitney Houston and Tupac?

Now for those of you scratching your heads and saying, “What in the world is Stephanie talking about today?”, you must have missed the news this week about the popular concert series where folks who are already in the grave are performing “live on stage.”

Yep, using leading edge graphic and digital technology, a holograph-like image of late rapper Tupac Shakur performed on stage with Snoop and Dr. Dre at the 2012 Coachella Valley Arts Festival this past Sunday in California.

Snoop and Dre had the rapper’s ghostly image created by Digital Domain Media Group, an award-winning visual effects company and the footage is pretty amazing.

Believe it or not, they are now virtually raising the dead, brushin’ ‘em off, stickin’ a mic in their hand, throwin’ ‘em on stage and making ‘em dance.

Tom, just think about what it would mean for the cruise. It would be an amazing show and we could get ‘em to perform for as long as we want, since they’ll never get tired. We don’t even have to get ‘em any water.

And most importantly–and forgive me for what I’m about to say–we won’t have to worry about any of these performers showing up late.

But all bad jokes aside, let’s really think about this for a second. I certainly give credit to Snoop and Dre for coming up with such a creative concept, but really, have we actually come to the point where technology has mixed so much with the real world that promoters are going to start getting rich off of concert tours featuring deceased, virtual performers on stage?

And if so, what’s to stop living performers from cutting new material that can be performed by their virtual counterparts after their deaths as a way of making money for their children, families or estates?

I mean, how do we feel about this? Is this too much? Or should we just embrace the new technology and let it run its course?

And whatever happened to “Keepin’ it real?” Are we creating the technology or is the technology creating us? Books are giving way to ebooks, outdoor fitness and athletics are giving way to virtual workouts on the Nintendo Wii, and shopping online is threatening and closing down brick and mortar stores.

Maybe I’m old school, but I actually still like face-time with real people. I also love the smell and feel of a classic book. And I like going to concerts where the headliners are still living, breathing human beings.

You see, I think that when we leave out the authentic human experience and all of the context, feelings and emotions that come with it, it can leave us feeling a bit like that transparent image of Tupac on stage: hollow.

I don’t know. I need to hear from you on this one. Text us here at 64-64-64 to answer the question: Do you think paying to go and see the virtual image of your favorite dead celebrity perform on stage in concert is a good thing? Would you pay? Why or why not?

And if you haven’t already, you can go to to see the holographic Tupac in concert performing with Snoop and Dr. Dre. We still have that clip running.

Okay. Check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll leave you with these melodic and – I think true– words from Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell:

“Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing baby… ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.”

Until next time, this is Stephanie in love and hope.

Also On Black America Web:

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