When Adam Yauch died, his family and friends lost someone they loved. The rest of us lost someone we knew of and whose work we loved. The Tibetan people lost one of their most high-profile supporters in the U.S.
Yauch was not only a musical pioneer with Beasties; he was an activist and humanitarian. Wherever there was injustice, there was Yauch, wherever there was a voice to be given to the voiceless, there was Yauch.
When I heard that Adam Yauch had died, it was like learning that one of the guys I went to high school had died. I honestly had not listened to a Beastie Boys album in a few years, but they were one of those bands that inhabited my life.
As we remember Adam Yauch and his pioneering musicality, we should also acknowledge his pioneering civic courage -- his identity as a punk musician and rapper for whom citizenship was a natural expression of art, and interdependence a necessary concomitant of citizenship.
With Yauch's passing, it really is the end of an era. New York City is a very different place than it was when the Beasties were coming up in the game, and music and art can't move forward when the artists themselves are in many ways trying to recreate the past.
I want to mourn the death of an icon by watching tributes on a so-called music station. Yauch and the Beasties were pioneers in the hip hop and pop culture world. This news hurts. It's time for MTV to return to its roots.