Why the Michael Jackson hologram is disrespectful
Michael Jackson, who died in 2009, has always been near and dear to my heart. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember, with my Aunty Lo-Lo blasting “Billie Jean,” “Remember the Time” and every other hit he made at least twice a week when I visited as a child. Last night, I saw something that I never thought I’d EVER see again. I saw Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop” perform live at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. This was made possible due to advanced technology, that took the likeness, mood, appeal and moves of the late pop star and recreated them for the world to see.
Holograms have been done before. Spring 2012, the legendary Tupac performed with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at Cochella. While most of my peers thought that it was pretty cool, I found myself feeling a bit disturbed. The fact that folks feel they can recreate the likeness of someone without feeling any type of disrespect to their legacy is absolutely baffling to me. I get it. Folks love artists so much that it literally devastates them to know that they’ll never see them again in media, hear their music or be able to watch them in action during performances. Some view holograms as the ultimate form of admiration. To leave behind a legacy so strong to the point that people literally CANNOT let go of you speaks volumes. While I understand that logic, I have to respectfully disagree.
Watch “Michael Jackson” perform at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards:
To me, holograms do more damage than good. People in general have problems with letting go. Letting go of people, situations, jobs, things that aren’t meant to be held on to. What does it say about society if we condone the “o he/she is dead? We’ll just recreate his/her talent, likeness etc. It’s going to be as if he/she never left.” Why stop there? Why not make background dancers holograms too? That way folks can “perform” in multiple places dead or alive. The masses have all but given the green light to promoters to capitalize off of the legacies of those who have passed away with their approval. Granted, it’s been happening with the release of posthumous music from Tupac, Biggie, Michael Jackson and the like. But to see it so blatantly obvious gives me chills. It’s just plain creepy.
People aren’t replaceable. No matter how sharp you make them moonwalk. I just hope folks wake up in time before I have to order my hot cocoa from a holographic cashier.