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An epiphany (stardust memories)

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The "black star" seen by Muhammad Ali in Africa in the 2001 film "Ali."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – This morning, I was awakened by a family member telling me that a “black star” was on the television. What? A “black star”? Then I realized today was January 8, 2017 – David Bowie’s 70th birthday. Nearly a year since Bowie left our world on Jan. 10, 2016.

Walking into the TV room, the screen was paused to an image of a large, black star, identical to the black star image used on the cover of Bowie’s brilliant, final album Blackstar. The family member who told me this is often noted as saying we are "all stardust." Indeed.

I was informed that it was a scene in the 2001 film Ali (released on Christmas Day that weird year), starring Will Smith as boxer and cultural icon Muhammad Ali. It was when Ali and Malcolm X visit Africa and the large black star is quite visible and striking. And we must recall that like Bowie, Muhammad Ali, an undeniable hero, also died in 2016.

And here it is. Blackstar Day. Is the Blackstar Event continuing? We learn today that a new David Bowie EP has been released called No Plan. The song is beautifully melancholy and the video is an homage to Bowie's 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth. We will have more on No Plan soon.

Bowie shared a birthday with Elvis Presley, who would have been 82 today. And like Bowie, Elvis had otherworldly qualities and seemed quite aware of them, as did people who spent any amount of time around both men.

Reading Ted Harrison’s The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley, he notes how Elvis allegedly told a close friend that he knew he was “not of this world” and allegedly said: “I am a man, a human being now, but what is ‘me’ is not from here. I am from out there. Did you ever hear of Rigel? Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation of Orion and the seventh brightest in the night sky. ‘My home is near there – my other home – where I am from, and I have the Blue Star for my sun …”

What is interesting is that Elvis’s own father, Vernon Presley, admits that there was something special about his son and how the night when Elvis was born, “a glowing blue light bathing the humble home where lay his wife and newborn son,” writes Harrison.

Stars loom large for both Bowie and Elvis. And both seemed to be not of this earth, not unlike Jesus.

Very similar to the description of the heavenly star which led the three wise men – magi, or “kings” – to the site in Bethlehem where Jesus Christ was born in humble surroundings, like Elvis in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935.

And what is today? It is the Christian observance of Epiphany (which is officially on Jan. 6th) where “the star of Epiphany is a light, and light reveals what has been dark … a ‘star of wonder,’” as writes Catholic columnist Michael Sean Winters. 

Having a starry epiphany of sorts on this magical January 8th. Happy birthday Bowie and Elvis! We miss you! You won't be forgotten!

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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