Certainly the highest posthumous praise that can be conferred upon any writer is the assertion that his or her writing permanently altered the literary landscape for the better, opening new textual doors and engaging new readers. That the author's oeuvre was essential and irreplaceable and transformative.
Michael Jackson fundamentally altered the terms of the debate about African American music. Remember, he was a chocolate, cherubic-faced genius with an African American halo. He had an Afro halo. He was a kid who was capable of embodying all of the high possibilities and the deep griefs that besieged the African American psyche.