Questlove Debates ‘Beyonce Is the New Michael Jackson’
Roots drummer and music director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson has set the Internet ablaze-again-with a recent Twitlonger essay on why, to him, Beyonce is the new Michael Jackson. The topic originated in the wake of Jackson’s June 2009 death when Quest, hip-hop journalist Dream Hampton and Fuse TV host Toure proclaimed that the new “Monarch of Pop” was none other than the former Destiny’s Child member and current Mrs. Shawn Carter.
“Anyone wondering who’s the King of Pop after the great Michael Jackson need look no further than Beyonce, the reigning Queen of Pop,” said Toure on Twitter this past weekend. “Is Beyonce as talented as MJ? [Of] course not. Is Beyonce ahead of everyone alive — biggest black singer, No. 1 black woman in Hollywood, global icon — yes.”
For Questlove and other music historians, Jackson’s role as King of Pop and America’s greatest black cultural icon meant that there was an experimental “trial run” to many of his accomplishments.
“Thriller’ breaking open has more to do with the LONG overdue accolades America has FINALLY given Black artists after eighty years of injustice,” Questlove writes. “Threatening to shut MTV down if they don’t play ‘Billie Jean’ has MORE to do with the inequity [of] social problems of America than it did [with] ‘Billie Jean’ being a brilliant song.”
There will never be another Michael Jackson, but who Jackson was is just as important as what he pioneered for those who followed him, including Beyonce. “She has surpassed the Grammy quota,” he explains. “Her videos are studied, copied, parodied, and other ‘-ieds.’ She’s her own empire. She writes her own material.”
Questlove also notes that Beyonce is universal in that she appeals to all races, the gay community and everyone from “housewives and hoes.”
“She can ACTUALLY SING; and dances with the best of them,” the drummer adds. Read Questlove’s full statement here.