With sensationalized headlines and exploitation prominent in the media, I can’t help but wonder at what point people started caring more about the negative exploitations and minor actions of celebrities in comparison to the big picture of their life? Recently, two individuals of personal interest to me passed away. Both Carol Ann Susi who played Mrs. Debbie Wolowitz in “The Big Bang Theory” and musician Henry Lee “Big Bank Hank” Jackson from the Sugarhill Gang passed this past week from cancer.
Both Big Hank and Carol Susi hailed from Brooklyn, NY, eventually creating careers which would lead them to travel all over the world. Generationally, both actor and musician were known for their vast experiences and the talents which they shared including many of the beats which the Sugarhill Gang made for individuals such as Alicia Keys.
It was during this past Mother’s Day weekend that I had the pleasure of watching Big Hank perform with the Sugarhill Gang at the Village in Lancaster City, one of the two times I saw them in concert. Seeing him that night, it was evident that his health was not the best, and I was grateful to see him while he was still on this plane of being. This musician and his fellow performers held a special place in my heart as I could not only relate to some of their best known music, but they were also beginning their fame when my mother was younger. As for Susi’s passing, I could not help but become a fan girl when all things nerd came to the forefront in the premiere of “The Big Bang Theory,” always teaching me something new in the realm of science fiction and it developments.
I could not help but to feel unnerved in seeing how much the media focuses upon the pointless happenings of celebrities rather than focusing on the positive impacts which famous individuals have provided through their talents and skills instead of their income-based hierarchy in society. Since when is it more important what someone’s bank statement reads or that a female celebrity flashed her private parts on television in comparison to the positive philanthropy provided by celebrities? The Sugarhill Gang performed in Ontario for the United Jewish Appeal to help raise funds for an annual campaign aimed at “building Jewish identity” and “supporting Israel and the Jewish world”, as described by author Alex Nino Ghecia.
It is not to say that only positive behavior should be included within media’s focus, but there is surely an imbalance to the priority of publication and production viewed by the public. It is exemplified by the passing of celebrities that when there is a negative cause due to self-harm, a heavy response always follows with a large presence of memorial based postings. This was largely exemplified by the passing of actors Robin Williams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, passing of extreme circumstances: suicide and drug abuse, respectively. It was not until the passing of these actors that an overview of their life accomplishments and downfalls were highlighted, all triggered by depressions and anxiety heavily hidden to the public.
As for myself, I am not famous, rich or a celebrity in any way, but I know that the dash on a headstone is the most important part of a person’s being, regardless of how the beginning and end dates came to be. Whether celebrity or not, nobody wishes to have their efforts overlooked by petty actions of stupidity, all too often seen in television and print.