Funeral Disc For Sale - Who Will Buy?
By Olumide Adeleye
I know everything about this post is weird. Sure, we
don't expect to see anyone advertising funeral CDs for
sale. I don't mean selling to the immediate family or a
few of the members of the extended family. I'm referring
to selling to the Public, to people whom the deceased
never met. I do not refer to a tiny crowd of admirers. I
write about a multitude of people well distributed
around the world, among the critics of the deceased, his
enemies and of course, his friends.
Having attended quite a few services held in honour of
people who died, I have observed certain trends that are
pronounced in this part of the world: First is the
heavy, wasteful, lavish and mostly extravagant spending
of money that was often not made available to the
deceased when he was alive. In Nigeria to be precise, we
quantify the value of the deceased by how much we are
able to spend on their funerals and so we waste money on
everything from caskets to food. Some children of
deceased people actually take loans to execute funeral
ceremonies! Many spend more than they earn in years! The
second observation is the hypocritical 'respect'
allotted to the dead. People say good things about them
and pretend that they were good people even in cases
where such people were societal miscreants.
But guess what? This post is a call to YOU to think
about your funeral. I do not pray that it comes soon. I
must however remind you that it will surely come one
day- any day. I write because whatever people will
choose to say about you, it won't change who you
actually were. And history has a way of remembering
things. History remembers Hitler. I definitely remember
Lamidi Adedibu, the Basorun Gaa of Ibadan Land. I also
remember the Late General Sani Abacha and no number of
post humus awards conferred on him will change the image
I have of him.
I know I have delivered the conclusion before the story.
The inspiration for this post is actually the memorial
service held in honour of Michael Jackson. I was shocked
to hear that a dead man was having the kind of attention
he commanded that day. Viewing it live was an estimated
population of between six hundred million and one
billion people! That is like saying one of every ten
people in the world abandoned his work to watch the
service held in honour of a dead man! Thousands of
responsible people struggled to get passes to be inside
the Stapples Centre. Some others stayed in churches and
public places to watch projected images. Apart from
Nelson Mandela, I don't know of any other person alive
that can command that kind of attention in death.
And that is not counting the number of CDs of the
memorial service that have been sold. I'm sure the
number has run into millions. In Nigeria alone, I know
that the programme DVD has been pirated by about 3
different outfits. You should know what that is saying
about sales. For most people I know who have the DVD
(including me), it is something that is watched almost
every day. Wait a minute. Here am I confessing that I
watch a memorial service regularly? It's quite simple.
Besides the musical value of that programme, there is
It's a story of a man of influence, a person who has
touched lives. A musician who has entertained to limits
unattained by anyone before him. It is a story of hard
work, of perseverance, of devotion, love, respect and
the ultimate desire the make the world better. It is not
a story of perfection, in fact it is a story stained
with terrible and almost unforgivable deeds like
allegations of child molestation and changing from black
to white. But even those do not remove the fact that
Michael Jackson was a blessing to the world. From his
life, I have the following points:
1. Enjoy life: Michael loved every minute of his
performances. He loved singing and dancing. He spent his
life doing what he enjoyed doing. If he had been a
doctor or a preacher (which are very respectable
occupations), he might have been very good. But he would
not have gained as much satisfaction as he did from
music. I think this is a big lesson for us in Nigeria.
For many youths, JAMB or University Admission Boards
determine what they become in life. Nobody takes you
serious if you want to be a musician or tailor or
hairdresser... In my 100 level days, I was in one of the
most respectable departments in school. The problem was
that I found it extremely boring and meaningless.
Needless to say, I got out of it fast. I don't regret it
2. Start Early (or start now): Michael started at 5.
When you start early enough, you have the time to reach
the top. If age is not on your side anymore, start fast
all the same. You may still have enough time to make
3. Be the Best: It's great to be talented but talent is
not enough. Michael practiced for 18 hours every day!
Little wonder he was the best. Was he a genius? I'm not
so sure. Maybe even my body which constantly refuses to
align to any beat would get to do the moonwalk if I
tried it for 18 hours every day of the year!
4. Heal the World: It's great to make money. But
whatever you do, add more to the world than you will
take from it. In the end, it will count the most. Help
the helpless. Be useful to your community. Be nice to
5. Take Good Care of Your Family: Do you know something
that really got me excited about this guy? His kids.
They had been kept from public glare because like a wise
father, Michael did not want them to be exposed to the
problems of being famous for something they never worked
for. He was obviously close to them (his daughter called
him the 'best daddy in the world'- and she apparently
wasn't lying). His brothers and sisters were also very
close to him. Love was obvious in that family.
6. Be Humble: In the words of one of the speakers,
Michael was the 'greatest, biggest entertainer that ever
lived'. I'm quite sure Michael never quite rubbed that
in, for if he had, he would not have had the caliber of
entertainers who spoke about him at his funeral. It was
obvious that he had not been snobbish or haughty to them
even though he was better and more famous. Only that
kind of attitude would bring both young and old
celebrities together to honour a man. No matter how
great you are, there are some things you need others to
do for you. They will be willing if you are humble.
Copyright Olumide Adeleye 2010. Olumide Adeleye is a
Nigerian Self Development and Motivational Speaker whose
articles are available at http://www.olumideadeleye.com.
You can email the author through firstname.lastname@example.org.