A hologram of Michael Jackson performed during last night’s Billboard Music Awards. Welcome to the future of posthumous music. In a similar style to Tupac Shakur’s performance at Coachella in 2012, the King of Pop’s hologram definitely bore an uncanny resemblance to the singer, but it didn’t look like the Michael Jackson from five years ago. Jackson-Gram hologram performed the new hit “Slave to the Rhythm” off of Jackson’s posthumous album Xscape—which debuted last week at No. 1 in 50 countries.
Jackson’s hologram was dressed in red pants and a gold jacket with militarylike designs on the shoulders. During the performance the hologram hit several of Jackson’s signature moves as it was flanked by dancers and special effects.
But honestly, it just looked creepy.
If this is where the direction of music is going, with deceased artists of holograms being made, where’s the petition to end it all? Although there were some people who thought it was an amazing performance, it seemed blasphemous. Let the dead stay dead. It’s one thing to release music that was previously recorded, but a hologram is a bit much. Last night, people on Twitter seemed to echo the same sentiments:
The hologram also came with its own share of controversy via a lawsuit. Last Friday a Nevada federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Hologram USA and Musion Das Hologram Ltd. to stop the performance. The companies, who were responsible for the Tupac hologram, argued that the award show didn’t have permission to use their patented technology. Apparently the judge didn’t see it that way.
I guess things could have been worse. Imagine one of the remaining members of the Jackson 5 on stage paying tribute. I’m quite sure whatever grease is being used in Jermaine Jackson’s hair could have caused a few of those dancers to slip and fall.
Seriously, what is that in his hair?
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.