May 10, 2016
The media can be a double-edged sword. It can be a valuable source of information and medium for change. During the Civil Rights Movement, changes occurred when the nation saw the violence committed against African-Americans who had the audacity to claim their rights as human beings. When the media illuminates, that is when it is at its best. On the other hand, the media can be a vehicle for sensationalism and a magnifying glass for the faults of society but merely for the purpose of spectacle.
Recently, the media has taken a natural occurrence like death and turned it into a sideshow. Prince’s death has been surrounded by speculation and scrutiny. People who performed with him once are coming forward and making commentary on who they thought he was. Maybe it does come from a good place, and they want to express what impact he had on them. I don’t see the point, really. If you’re not friends, why say anything? Are people that insipid that they just want to hear what one celebrity has to say about another who’s crossed over? They just might be.
In life, he didn’t want to be the center of discussion, unless it was his music. Now, speculation continues to linger on as to the manner of his death. The media has been throwing conjecture after conjecture which is inappropriate. The toxicology report won’t be available for another few weeks. Everything they are saying is inappropriate until officials involved in the case make a statement. Personally, I don’t care how he died. He’s gone. Let him rest in peace. It doesn’t affect the public unless it was some sort of pandemic he caught somewhere, and the public needs to be safe. Other than that, the media outlets need to stop the innuendo of a “source” claiming this and that. It’s ridiculous.
In the past few days, people have come forward claiming Prince was their father. If it’s the truth, then these people are entitled to whatever fortune he had. What does any of this have to do with the public? Tabloid journalists site “a matter of public interest” when news involves a celebrity. How does a possible “love child” affect the public in any way? It doesn’t. It’s nobody’s business.
I didn’t know Prince, but I know how private he was. One of his true friends said, “He would hate this.” I imagine he would hate all the speculation, the endless Youtube videos that keep coming up with his likeness, and the random people he worked with once or twice commenting on who they thought he was.
Yet again, an irresponsible media is sensationalizing a natural process. In Prince’s case, he did what he was meant to do, and he has moved on. If you want to honor him, remember his music, what he wanted to be remembered for. Appreciate a free being who spoke the truth. A free being who encouraged others, this blogger included to be who they are, just by his example. Janelle Monae, a close collaborator with Prince performed an entire set in his honor recently and reminisced on stage about who he was and what he meant to her. That’s how you honor someone. You honor what they would want to be remembered for.
However, many of the media outlets don’t care about honoring Prince. They just want readers to have a bizarre story to read and boost their readership. This is someone’s life and legacy we are dealing with. That legacy should not be tarnished and molded by how he left this world or what he left behind in it. He once said, “Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.” Now that he’s gone and can’t defend himself anymore, the media should not create a version of who they think he was. Let his music and his impact represent his true self.
Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer