After watching the memorial for Michael, I caught wind of what Stevie Wonder had to say before he performed and how he had wished he wasn’t alive for this moment, that he had hoped Michael outlived him.

It came to me that like Kanye said, you should pay your respects to someone way before they die. Once they die, you feel as if you’re cherishing them too late and instead will somehow be seen as a bandwagoner. For our legends, our musicial legends, we had better not take them for granted at all – and here are my five with whom I’ll pay must respect to now before they leave us too soon.


1. Stevie Wonder – If you haven’t found yourself humming a Stevie Wonder song or enjoying Ribbon in the Sky then shame on you. There is a reason why Stevie is considered a legit Wonder and has made numerous contributions to music as a whole. I can’t think of anybody sans Alicia Keys that can sing with that much emotion while behind his own instrument. Come to think of it, how many of our current R&B singers and stars actually play their own instruments. The thing about Stevie that I’ve heard from some is that he’s the other blind guy, as his blindness has him grouped with Ray Charles. That’s an endless debate I don’t wanna get into but let’s leave the man as a legend and call it at that.


2. Prince – I mean c’mon, Purple Rain anyone? Sign O’ the Times? 1999? Musicology? Call My Name? There was no bigger battle in the 80s in black music over who was hotter between Prince and the late King of Pop. I mean, I didn’t notice this until recently but it’s been twenty years since that album and movie dropped and just basically gave a lot of people at Home Depot something to do instead of helping out customers. Face it, we know Prince is great and even though he may not get the giant sendoff that Michael got today, I bet you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they give that man a purple casket.


3. Nelson Mandela – This isn’t a reach but can you name a more important figure to spearhead desegregation in Africa? Nelson Mandela is the benchmark for perserverence in trying times and hell, the man had hsi birthday celebrated the world over and there’s just something about Mandela’s words that move the hell out of you. There’s no words to describe just how important he is to us as human beings, no question about it.


4. Muhammad Ali – I don’t think I need words to express how much of a global impact Muhammad Ali had on people across the world but especially black men. It’s scary to think that for a man who literally fought other people could be so graceful doing it. Plus, his stances on Vietnam and his overall nature just make him so damn likeable and such a important figure in our culture.


5. Bill Cosby – Oh sure, did you not think there was going to be a shock name on this list? I mean, yes, you may remember Bill Cosby as a comedian and the man who owned TV in the 1980s with The Cosby Show (mmm…Lisa Bonet…mmm…older version of Rudy Huxtable). But you also need to remember that a few years ago, folks believed that Bill Cosby was crazy about the things he said about black culture and black youth today and … I agreed with him. Yes, something terrible happened between his generation and mine and I’ve yet to figure it out in this day and age but there’s something about our elders that you need to pay attention to, they aren’t just saying things just to say them.

So there’s my five. What’s yours?

Oh and TV-One’s coverage of the Memorial > every other station period.