Rest In Peace, DJ AM

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dj-amThe devastatingly premature loss of DJ AM or Adam Goldstein has left an already heartbroken music community speechless and perplexed at the fragility and temporality of life itself. After reading through a number of reactions from DJs, emcees, artists and loyal fans inspired by and indebted to DJ AM‘s career, I sense a quiet rage swelling as 2009 continues to claim the lives of many of our musical heroes (and beyond) from Michael Jackson to Titus Baatin Glover. How do we keep finding ourselves here? A place of perpetual mourning and disbelief. The slow and deeply personal process of grieving hardly allows for one to fully grasp (if that’s even possible) the death of one person let alone four or five or six within a short span of nine months. For those of us with no intimate relationships with these artists to remember (beyond moments their music and/or art somehow influenced or affected our lives), we might use these critical times to celebrate their individual and collective contributions to the world both as committed artists and loving people. Some of us find ourselves struggling to come to terms with the complex causes of death (which are many and I don’t pretend to have an understanding of the proper contexts or personal histories that inform them). From mental health to drug addiction, there are aspects of fame and celebrity (and life in general) that we push to the furthest corners of conversation or flippantly dismiss as bourgeois problems to ignore or laugh at. In the end, we (as society) are our own punchline when death is the only catalyst for our deeper reflections (and gestures of love and concern). We should not wait for the worst of circumstances to take hold before expressing interest in each other’s health, well being, and livelihood. Like many others, I found DJ AM’s parting tweet haunting in it’s truth: “New York, New York. Big city of dreams, but everything in New York aint always what it seems” — if anything, let us reflect on the circumstances of the untimely deaths of MJ, Baatin, and DJ AM and move forward with fire and urgency to take care of one another before it’s too late. My thoughts and blessings are with the families and loved ones. I leave you with Michigan hip hop emcee Invincible echoing a similar sentiment in the wake of the tragic passing of Baatin. Lastly, please take the time to read DJ Atrak’s thoughtful words on the life, career and legacy of DJ AM HERE. Rest in peace and power, DJ AM — Baatin — Michael Jackson.

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