Before you read this article, pull out your phone. Launch Safari, open up Google and type the letter “p” into the search bar. That simple letter should yield a specific word: Prince. That word is almost inescapable as of late. All over the media, it’s nestled nicely on top of the list of Google’s suggested searches, above even “Pablo Picasso” and “Parks, Rosa.”
Click on that word and the Internet barrades you with a series of recent articles from news sources like CNN, NBC and Fox. “Prince Autopsy Confirmed” they read, “Prince Honored in Tribute.” As Google so blatantly proves, the death of pop icon Prince – best known for his hits like “Stare” and “The Song of the Heart” – has rocked the world. But with all the attention on Prince, it seems that the unsung heroes – inventors, humanitarians or even activists – are forgotten in his wake.
Since his death on April 21, music lovers have united to lament Prince, from purchasing his albums to unwavering support on social media. But as Prince marks the sixth Hollywood celebrity death this year, the Harbinger staff begins to question exactly how much attention these icons really merit.
Now, this question is made with careful consideration. The Harbinger staff has the utmost respect for Prince and his family members, and we respect his amazing career and the impact he left on millions. As a man who sold over 10 million records and challenged everyday stereotypes regarding race and sexuality, Prince obviously left a major impact on society. But why is it that celebrity deaths should instantly captivate the media’s attention, while so many other important people die silently without so much as an obituary in a local newspaper?
Emma Didlake, Julian Bond, John Carroll to name a few. These are the people who have been forgotten, who have been overshadowed in just the past year. Because people were too worked up over a dead musician, they forgot to honor the work of others. As the oldest known WW2 veteran, a famed civil rights activist and the former editor of the LA Times respectively, we at the Harbinger know that you deserve as much attention as the celebrities who fill our Twitter feeds and news headlines. And because of that, we dedicate this article to you.
The Harbinger staff dedicates this article to all of the people who have committed their lives to make our lives better, yet don’t receive the proper goodbye they deserve. In doing so, we remember and reflect on those who gave us freedoms, innovations and inspirations that make us who we are today. Celebrity deaths are important to honor as well, but our media needs to dedicate something to those who act outside of the stagelight.
If news producers dedicate as much social vigor to these innovators as they do for deceased singers and actors, they can help give these pioneers’ accomplishments a life beyond beyond their creators’. If our Twitter feeds are filled with #RIPdidlake or #remembercarroll2015 we can honor deaths which would otherwise go unnoticed, and learn from their incredible lifetimes.
So, after finishing this article, pick up your phone again. But this time Google something different. Look up the name of one of the people who you would not otherwise pay tribute to. Read about them and remember their accomplishments. Let them impact you and inspire you the same way that Prince’s “Purple Rain” inspired the musical world. Now take those stories and use them to inspire your own generation.