You're Nobody 'Til Somebody...

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...kills you:

Over the last year, the Jackson brand has generated hundreds of millions of dollars, and experts in the management of celebrity estates say that in the long term it might very well equal or eclipse the value of what until now has been the ultimate entertainment estate: that of Elvis Presley, which earned $55 million last year, according to an estimate by Forbes magazine.

"Michael Jackson's This Is It," a film drawn from rehearsal tapes for the O2 arena shows in London that had been scheduled before he died a year ago, grossed $261 million around the world, according to boxofficemojo.com. And last year Jackson sold nearly 8.3 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- far more than any other artist.

Later in the article, it's pointed out that what the estate really needs is a "Graceland," a destination. Evidently they're selling Neverland.

I don't think it's very surprising that those child-molestation charges are being forgotten. People weren't buying Michael Jackson the man, they were buying an ornate mask. I think that's the case with all artists. Sometimes there's some bleed-over. But if you can make people feel good, they don't tend to care.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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