I Am Gary Hampton.

Michael Jackson Died Yesterday
June 26, 2009, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Blogs

The big question everyone asks when something like this happens is ‘Where were you when you heard the news?

As I said yesterday, I was at my desk in the basement of the MTV building when Johnny said ‘Is Michael Jackson dead?”. This was shortly before 5:30pm, the news was starting to spread on Twitter after TMZ originally announced the death. I replied with “Michael Jackson can’t die.” As I said before, “In a way that’s how I still feel. He was genuinely one of the last (if not the last) true larger than life icon in this world. Untouchable. Immortal. Or so we thought.”

It didn’t take long before every tv in the office was on one news station or another, people either crowded around a tv set or on their computers trying to find out more information. This was the first time during my career in live television where we were literally MINUTES away from a live show and something this huge was happening. The After Show scrapped their whole rundown and dedicated their entire show to MJ. MTV News rushed to get a new story to air about the tragedy, and MTV Live started their show by breaking the news. The office was in scrambles, but everyone still kept their composure.

Outside of the basement where the live shows are made, programming was also rushing about. Our 11pm shows were pulled and replaced with a special MTV tribute to Michael, along with multiple slots today and over the weekend. The only thing people cared about was Michael.

So what did MJ mean to me? To be honest, before today if I would have made a list of my favorite artists I wouldn’t have included MJ. Not because he didn’t make an impact on me, but because it would be too much of an obvious choice. I feel like that’s the story with a lot of people.
Mychildhood is full of MJ memories. In a time before cds and a time when most houses only had one entertainment system, my mom’s record player was where my family listened to music. One of our favorites was a Michael Jackson collection from his early years, including a lot of The Jackson 5. I still have that record, and still listen to it often.
Every Christmas we would choose our favorite festive songs to play and my choice would always be ‘Little Drummer Boy’ by the Jackson 5. I grew up adoring songs such as ‘Ben’, ‘Will You Be There’ and ‘You Are Not Alone’. I’ve always been a fan of pop music, and MJ was king.

I spent my night and this morning watching MJ videos and listening to the ‘Essential Collection’. The impact he had on music is unmeasurable, and the impact he had on the world is easy to see considering that no matter who you are or where you were yesterday, you knew about his death within hours of it occuring. And his impact on music goes way beyond pop music, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice! He changed the way music was made and presented. He was the first black musician to have his video played on MTV. He changed the definition of what a music video could be. He was is a legend.

Forget about the drama, forget about all of the allegations and the rough times. Michael Jackson should be remembered for his great contribution to music.

Again, thanks for everything MJ. Your legacy will live on forever.



Michael Jackson Died Today
June 25, 2009, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Blogs

The fact that this image is legit is a very bizarre thing. This feels weird.

I was at my desk earlier today and Johnny said ‘Is Michael Jackson dead?”, to which I reply “Michael Jackson can’t die.” very loudly across the office. In a way that’s how I still feel. He was genuinely one of the last (if not the last) true larger than life icon in this world. Untouchable. Immortal. Or so we thought.

Thanks for everything MJ.