*Warning: MJ stan on the mic*
Beyonce wants badly to be considered an icon. From film roles like Deena in ‘Dreamgirls’ and the melancholy and skip-worthy ‘4’ album closer ‘I Was Here’, the 29 year-old starlet has been campaigning for sometime for the ‘remember me’ spot. Now recently her husband, ‘Watch the Throne’ emcee/mogul Jay-Z joined in naming his wifey “the second coming of Michael Jackson.” Isn’t this lofty, and a bit overzealous, yes? The blog-buzzing comparison made during Beyonce’s string of sold-out shows at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom seem calculated, contrived, and clearly biased. When Beyonce started with the ‘King B’ title, who would have ever guessed it would become so literal?
Whatever our thoughts may be on Michael Jackson – the alleged skin-bleaching, child-molestation, or his children who seemed to have fallen off the Jackson bloodline – we can not deny the late superstar’s incomparable global influence.
The new MJ? Geez, I would have settled for Janet. But even that’s a stretch.
Here’s 10 reasons why King B is NOT the second coming of the King of Pop:
1. Michael Jackson had 40+ years in the game. Period.
Beyonce is on her fourth album. This is clearly no match to Jackson’s loads of released and unreleased material – the chart-topping albums, films, and super-videos.
2. Beyonce will make me dance, but she can NOT make me cry.
Sure, we see Beyonce touring the world with thousands of fans swelling stadiums. And maybe they’ll be a few fights among “the kids” in the audience over room to “Pose for the camera, click, click,” but Jackson’s cross-generational appeal made grown men cry. Don’t believe me? Just YouTube the ‘Bad’ album tour. The man couldn’t even walk down the street. Beyonce, do you have to wear a fat suit to go grocery shopping for Frosted Flakes? No!
3. I mean, at least let the man be dead for 5 years.
MJ’s unfortunate passing was only 2 years ago…are we really ready to replace him already?
4. No one compares to MJ’s philanthropy. No one.
When MJ wasn’t in the studio or touring, the man was off in Africa greeting sick children plagued by HIV/AIDS. He founded organizations, and burn centers. He made a song for Willy and made us all cry at the 1993 Superbowl. Indeed there’s charity work by Beyonce to applaud, but lest we forget, MJ holds the Guinness World Book record for the most money given to charity by any entertainer.
5. She simply hasn’t had enough surgeries and law-suits. *insert humor here*
I’ll need for Beyonce to have a few more obvious surgeries to reach MJ’s appeal. And mega-stars are sued at least twice a week. There’s no record of earth-shattering Beyonce lawsuits interrupting a middle America episode of ‘As the World Turns.’
6. Who has Beyonce influenced? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
There is no pop star since ‘Thriller’ – male or female – who hasn’t cited Michael Jackson as an influence. Usher, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Ciara, Chris Brown, you name it – they all looked to the King of Pop for musical and dance influences. We’re not talking about who was first to wear a blonde lacefront, bag one of the Kings of Hip-Hop, or sport a high-shoulder Balmain jacket. What makes an entertainer iconic is that they set a standard. MJ set vocal and dance standards that changed everything when it came to performance. Sorry Bey stans, the ‘4’ album sets no performance standards.
7. ‘Single Ladies’ is not ‘Thriller’ and ‘Who Runs the World’ (Girls) is no ‘They Don’t Care About Us’
The video for ‘Single Ladies’ was indeed a phenomenon. People took to YouTube creating their own versions, and unattached women everywhere had a new club anthem. But when MJ died, I witnessed children born post-‘Thriller’ who lined Harlem’s Apollo Theater dancing the video’s entire choreography. And while ‘Who Runs the World (Girls)’ is a hyper-produced dance hit with feminist steez, it’s a far cry from the from the intrinsic protest and fed-up vocals MJ pushed out of his controversial hit ‘They Don’t Care About Us.’ All that topped off with a Brazil-based video directed by the king of protest film himself, Spike Lee.
8. MJ comes from an entire musical family.
MJ comes out of a family of entertainers. The Jackson Five, Janet, and yes, even 3T. Unfortunately Miss Tina’s super bedazzled costumes don’t qualify here. And is Solange even a Knowles anymore?
9. Let’s be clear, fame like MJ doesn’t exist anymore.
Arguably, there will never be another MJ. The late superstar’s infamy transcends age, race, and gender (no pun intended). It was a time that preceded celebrity gossip blogs, TMZ 24-hour star access, and Twitter celebrity rants.
10. Finally, where’s the Beyonce impersonators?
When I see a ‘Sasha Fierce’ fitted queen at the Time Square 42nd street station belting out ‘Dangerously In Love’, we can revisit this conservation again. Ok?
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Geneva S. Thomas.