Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson, India and Globalization

India Michael JacksonImage by Current News Stories via Flickr

Media Studies colleague Vamsee Juluri explains:

But the coming of Michael Jackson to Indian television was also the equivalent, for good or for bad, of the empty bottle of cola that falls from a plane into a remote African village in the movie The Gods Must be Crazy. Michael Jackson was not just a pop star for us; he represented the world beyond India we had only heard about as well as the possibility of catching up with it. Michael Jackson was the first symbol of aspiration for a generation that went from denial to obsession about it almost overnight. In the 1980s, bootleg VHS copies of Thriller went from home to home, even as we sought to work hard and study and buy into the first signs of consumerism that had started to appear. By the 1990s, with economic liberalization and the rise of satellite television channels like MTV India and Channel V, Michael Jackson, his music, image, and charisma all became a part of India, like globalization itself, culminating in his 1996 Mumbai concert and his now poignantly never-to-be promise to return.

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