This week the world learned that David Bowie had tragically passed away at the aged of 69 after suffering from cancer.
Leaving behind children, a wife, and a multitude of adoring fans, it’s safe to say the world was, and still is, in shock. One friend said to me, “he was one of those people I thought would live forever.”
As the news spread, the internet erupted, people took to the streets to sing his songs, and homages were paid by fans, celebrities, and politicians alike. Even the Vatican paid a tribute to the late musician.
Through it all, one word continued to be uttered: Icon.
We couldn’t help but wonder, in 2016, what constitutes an icon? What does an individual have to do or say to be remembered and earn iconic status?
The dictionary says it is person or thing worthy of veneration. With that in mind, Bowie, born David Jones, is certainly worthy of such a label.
Labels were, however, something he steered clear from. If someone tried putting that man in a box, he burst out of it again in a brand new outfit and a transformed image. He was a metamorphosis man and the world was hooked on his magic.
He will be remembered as the man that acknowledged definitions, and changed them.
He knew the rules, and he broke them.
Maybe an icon is someone that we learn from or someone who makes us understand something we never dubbed important before.
David Bowie transcended the realms of popular culture and influenced fashion, politics, and society in the process.
He inspired a generation of musicians and creators alike by purely by trusting his own vision and taking a risk. He gave the people what they needed before they even realised he wanted it.
He championed the underdog and consequently, earned the trust and respect of millions through his poetic lyrics and alternative aesthetic.
Whether you appreciate his music or not, there is no denying that we can all learn something from the boldness and bravery of a man willing to go against the masses and strive for change.
Icons shape the world in which we live. They give people hope and make things a little better because they were allowed to shine a little brighter.
If we all embraced our vision of a better society and believed we could be a hero for a day, we wonder how different the world might look.
Try it. For Bowie.