Exhibit, discussion highlight Michael Jackon’s contributions

A professor and a librarian organized an art exhibit and discussion panel Tuesday night to discuss Michael Jackson as a pop culture icon and celebrate his contributions to society.

“One of the things we’re hoping students will gain from this exhibit is that the library is also a resource for scholarly sources about people and things in pop culture,” Coleman said.

Coleman said she thinks Jackson is a pop culture icon that anyone can relate to.

“Everyone knows him for his dancing and his music,” she said. “People all over the world recognize him as a symbol, like they would Coca-Cola.”

Criminal justice doctoral student and panelist Gabriel Ferreyra is from Mexico and said people in Latin America love Jackson just as passionately as American fans despite the language barrier.

“In Mexico and Latin America, people love dance and song,” he said. “Jackson’s performances were very original and people were able to appreciate his music and choreography because it was that powerful.”

Physics senior Zubair Hussaini and criminal justice senior Ioana Samartinean attended the discussion panel and both said they were huge fans of Jackson. Both were sporting gloves in his honor.

The two had bought tickets to one of his shows in London. Instead of accepting the full refund of their tickets, they both opted for half price and were allowed to keep their tickets, which are holographic. They estimate they lost about $800 between the tickets and the nonrefundable airfare.

“But it doesn’t matter, it was all worth it,” Samartinean said, while wearing a shirt that read ‘I glove MJ.’ “Even though we didn’t see the concert, it doesn’t matter to us.”

Samartinean has a tattoo of Jackson on her stomach and said the day he died, she was celebrating the seven-year anniversary since she became a fan of his music. Hussaini said he was at work when Samartinean texted him the news.

“It was horrible,” he said. “He made awesome music, he gave to more charities than almost any other celebrity and advanced civil rights. He is an icon.”

Reach the reporter at sheydt@asu.edu

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