Sad news in the world today upon hearing of the death of a legend.
With the first day of classes upon me, I was getting ready for bed (a.k.a. laying in bed scrolling through my various news feeds at 1 in the morning) when I first read the headline: David Bowie Has Died.
I was in disbelief. It seemed so surreal. My head was in a fuzz and I couldn’t think straight. David Bowie, the legend he is, couldn’t be dead. It had to be a hoax… Right?
But sure enough, after seeing several news sources confirm, reality set in: David Bowie passed away surrounded by his family at the age of 69, following an 18-month battle with cancer.
The first person I thought about was my mom – she was on a plane and wouldn’t be hearing the news for several more hours. It’s because of her that I even know of David Bowie in the first place; she’s been talking about him and playing his music for as long as I can remember. It was through her stories of living through the glam rock era that ultimately helped shape who she is today. My mom was going to be devastated.
While I was never able to fully experience the Bowie era or see him live (cue the “I was born in the wrong generation” monologue), I was still able to feel the effects of his art today. So many of my favorite artists credit their inspiration to Bowie, and I find that these artists, and many other regular people I know today, say they thank Bowie for giving them the courage to be weird, unusual, and wholeheartedly themselves. I find many times where I fit in that majority.
When I visited the David Bowie Is ___ exhibit last year, I got a glimpse at his legacy and how it helped shape the art world today. All around me were mannequins of his body, wearing the exact costumes and outfits he wore in his legendary music videos and performances. It was like he was in the room at so many different stages of his life all at once.
Two days before his death, on his birthday, Bowie released a new album, titled Blackstar. With that, he also released a music video for the song “Lazarus,” later revealed as a goodbye to his fans.
The lyrics feature eerie lines, such as the opening “Look up here, I’m in Heaven!” and later on “You know I’ll be free / Just like that bluebird / Now, ain’t that just like me?”. The release of this new record was “a carefully-orchestrated farewell to his fans,” as his producer put it.
So, today we say goodbye to the legend that was David Bowie, who touched our lives in too many ways to list. We say goodbye to Ziggy Stardust, the Man who Fell to Earth, the space oddity, David Bowie. Whether we know it or not, we all have something to thank him for.
Thanks for showing me it’s okay to be my weird self, Bowie. You will be greatly missed.