Every so often, a figure appears on the earth whose positive influence can be felt across many different fields and walks of life. As one of those figures, Nelson Mandela made an impact not only in the realms of politics, racism and human rights, but across the arts as well. Movies have been made (and are still being made) about him; songwriters have been inspired to write songs about him; and huge concert events have been held in support of him and what he stood for.
Needless to say, news of Nelson Mandela’s passing yesterday created a massive ripple effect around the world, including the music and arts communities. Social media and the blogosphere came to life as millions known and unknown paid tribute to a man whose legacy meant so much to so many.
Much of the music community’s reaction to Mandela’s death came across the Twitterverse. Here are just a few of the noteworthy tweets found yesterday:
— Rihanna (@rihanna) December 5, 2013
What a heroic, beautiful life Mandela lived. Rest in peace.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) December 5, 2013
— Jennifer Lopez (@JLo) December 5, 2013
nelson mandela's life has inspired us all. we lost a remarkable, inspiring, courageous human being today.
— moby (@thelittleidiot) December 5, 2013
I'm so very deeply saddened to hear of the death of Nelson Mandela. We have lost one of humanity's greatest champions.
— The Real Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) December 5, 2013
GOD Bless the Soul of 1 of The Greatest Humans this Planet has ever known! A True Rep of Love, Courage, Sacrifice & Strength. #MANdela
— COMMON (@common) December 5, 2013
Predictably, the most notable tribute to Mandela came in the form of an essay written by longtime friend and fellow human rights activist Bono, frontman of U2. In his essay, published by Time shortly after Mandela’s death, Bono reflects on Mandela’s passion, conviction, charm and grace, even with former adversaries. Toward the end of the essay, Bono tells the story of a rare occasion when Mandela came near tears, standing outside a former prison cell where the dust of the limestone mines had clogged his tear ducts, rendering him unable to cry:
“For all this man’s farsightedness and vision, he could not produce tears in a moment of self-doubt or grief,” says Bono. “He had surgery in 1994 to put this right. Now, he could cry.
“Today, we can.”
RIP, Nelson Mandela. Your legacy will not be forgotten.