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Genius without Borders: A Symposium in Honor of the Genius of Michael Jackson

The Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) at Columbia College Chicago will host Genius without Borders: A Symposium in Honor of the Genius of Michael Jackson.

“Scholars, arts advocates, journalists, musicians and music industry execs are on tap to discuss the musical, cultural and social dynamics that made Michael Jackson the most imitated and sought after entertainer of all time.”

“In the wake of losing Jackson last year, this symposium will shed a different light on his accomplishments and contributions to all genres of music,” says Dr. Monica Hairston O’Connell, director of the CBMR. “The time is right to view his impact through a scholarly lens and to look at the influence his time in Chicago had on Jackson’s musical maturation.”

For program details visit THIS LINK.

Thanks to the unknown artist who created this tribute.

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Althea Legaspi and Ronnie Reese will live blog the events.

Althea Legaspi is a Chicago-based writer/journalist. She’s a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, and her work has been featured in USA Today, Independent UK, Paste Magazine, Time Out, and Relix Magazine, among others. She is NPR-affiliate WBEZ’s on-air music critic, and her features also air on “All Things Considered.” She teaches Music Journalism, Writing for Radio, and Radio Interviewing at Columbia College Chicago and has also served as an on-camera correspondent for,, and the radio show “Sound Opinions.”

Ronnie Reese is a lifelong Chicagoan and candidate for a master of science degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University. A 2003 graduate of Loyola University Chicago, he previously worked on staff at the Chicago Tribune and, as well as a freelance contributor to Anthem, Mass Appeal, Stop Smiling, and Vapors magazines, and alternative weeklies the Dallas Observer, East Bay Express, and San Francisco Weekly. Reese served as editor-in-chief of the Medill School’s Academy for Alternative Journalism publication Who-Ville, and wrote Keeping Granny Alive, the definitive biography of famed African-American cartoonist Robert “Buck” Brown. In 2008, as a copywriter for Blue Note Records, he penned liner notes for reissued albums by Eddie Henderson, Bobbi Humphrey, and Reuben Wilson. Reese is a contributing editor for Wax Poetics magazine, where, in 2009, for the Wax Poetics Michael Jackson tribute issue, he wrote extensive features on the Jackson family’s roots and legacy in their Gary, Indiana, hometown (“Goin’ Back to Indiana”) and a history of the Corporation (“Well-Oiled Machine”), the group of Motown Records songwriters responsible for some of the Jackson 5′s biggest hits.

Follow the CBMR on Twitter at cbmrccc. Track and join the conversation using the hashtag #gwb2010.

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