Michael Baksh

Family Tribute:WHAT COLOR IS A SOUL?

Words by Michael BakshMusic by Baksh/Crane/Maher/CurrieCopyright 2000

I don’t understandHow they can judge a manHe’s a different skinHow can they know who he is inside?

I don’t understand this,The pride and prejudiceThey don’t think it’s wrongIt’s been this way for far too long

We’ve got to change the way we teachGot to change the way we preachWe’ve got to change the way we liveWe’ve got to change the way we give

Chorus:

Oh, what color is a soul?Won’t somebody tell meOh, what color is a soul?

Look at the childrenThey don’t see blackThey don’t see whiteThey play togetherHow do they learn to hate and fight?

We’ve got to change the way we shareGot to change the way we careWe’ve got to change the things we sayWe’ve got to change the way we pray

Chorus:

Oh, what color is a soul?Won’t somebody tell meOh, what color is a soul?

Now’s the time for changingGotta do what needs to be doneOur lives may need rearrangingWe’ve got to come together as one.

Michael Baksh: Abba Aficionado

Michael Baksh would turn up the stereo after dinner at his home in Englewood, N.J., and swing his wife, Christina, and their two young children, Ava and James, to the sounds of Abba. They would dance until they dropped. 'It wasn’t every night,' said Mrs. Basch. 'But it was a lot of nights. It was a lot of fun. He really appreciated his life.'

Mr. Baksh, 36, a Pakistani immigrant who grew up in Washington Heights, loved all kinds of music.

He even wrote songs and performed with a rock band, Sage, in the early 90’s. The band recorded a dozen or so songs, including 'What Color Is A Soul?' which was played at his memorial service last month.

Mr. Baksh had just started his first day as an insurance executive at Marsh & McLennan on Sept. 11.

An exuberant man, with dark handsome looks, he could be hard to forget.

He caught his future wife’s eye in a geology class at Hunter College in 1985. She introduced herself, and asked him out for a soda.

During their courtship, they went dancing every weekend.

Copyright (c) 2001 by The New York Times Co. Reprinted by permission.

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What color is a soul?We shared many good times and laughs in the office and studio back in the Def Jam days. You were a rare music executive at that time. You truly cared and encouraged us to give our all. I will forever remember our flight over to London together and your advice to do a cover of Squeeze's 'Tempted' on my 'For the Sake of Love' album. You knew and loved music. I pray that your family is well. You are missed. A true friend and colleague. Your spirit lives on. Rest in Peace my brother. Tashan
Tashan, Friend
Sep 8 2012 10:00PM
I had the pleasure of knowing Michael in elementary school...Brooklyn SDA on 8th Avenue & 60th Street. At the time, his uncle Mr. Kahn was the principal. My fondest recollection of Michael was a nice classmate who had a soft but infectious laugh, and someone who was always willing to help his classmates. Back in the day we used to be very competitive--but nonetheless, Michael ALWAYS helped me figure out a problem (especially in Math) that I just couldnt get. We lost touch until we ended up at the same High School (Greater New York Academy)....then I ran into him when I too was a student at Hunter College. Recently, I came across an elementary school picture of us. I showed it to my daughter so that she could see the personal human side to the tragedy that unfolded 10 years ago. I thought that was important....we will never forget 9/11. And we will never forget you Michael. Rest in Peace until that glorious day when we shall see you yet again. May God continue to bless your family. Carolena
Carolena Beris-Samarakoon, Friend
Sep 11 2011 9:29PM
It was only for a weekend in Tampa florida 1998 or so with our old broker dealer Invest financial. Its amazing that in only a weekend how somone can make such an impression and impact to my memory. Mike Baksh had such a strong and friendly smile, and his laughter, humor and personality made him shine. Not sure if my memory is accuate, but he may of just had a baby girl around this time. And as I watched the tribute today, was sad as I had missed the tribute of his name. Only seconds later I changed the channel and sure enough it was Mikes daughter telling how much he missed his father. Again only a weekend. But I will remember him forever.....god bless Mike B. and your family. Our family and this world....tears of life....Roderick Rodriguez.
Roderick Rodriguez, Colleague
Sep 11 2011 12:56PM
I have been trying for years to locate Michelle, Michael's sister, who lived above me in a south Minneapolis apartment (where I still reside) in Minnesota. Our family together make a small contribution and she wrote me a wonderful letter, which I still have and treasure. Michelle if you see this please contact me if you would like. My life, as so many, has never been the same since that day. Your family is in my prayers this day, the 10th anniversary of his homegoing to our Lord. May you and your family have peace.
Richard G Evans, Friend
Sep 11 2011 10:37AM
In 1991 I was accepted as a college student to an elite internship/exchange program in London with a school called Richmond College. The program was amazing because I would attend college for 6 months and then work at Sony Music UK for 6 months. To make a long story short the college portion was spectacular and the intern portion was a nightmare. Interns were lowly regarded at Sony Music UK so I was assigned a job to open fan mail for 6 months. I was livid and deeply disappointed because I felt I came all this way from the US to get no working experience doing work a menial job. I called my good friend and mentor Bobbitto Garcia at Def Jam in NY and told him my dilemma. Bobbitto calmed me down and said 'let me connect you with my guy in the UK who's name is Mike'. I called Mike at Bobbitto's request and he answered with a pleasant and eager voice. I explained who I was and my situation in the UK. Mike told me to call him back the next day because he may of had a solution. The next day I called Mike back and he informed me that he got me hooked up with another job. He gave me the phone number and contact for the London office of Def Jam Records. I thanked him several times and he humbly said ' it wasn't a problem ..glad I could help.' I told him I owed him a beer whenever we got a chance to meet. Mike and I never met face to face. That internship he got me changed my life and helped my music business career soar to new heights. I heard that Mike perished in the towers on his first day of work so I had to pay homage to his remarkable legacy. Thanks Mike for everything that you did for me. Your kindness in my time of need was comforting and provided me with the hope to persevere. Thanks for taking the time to help someone you never met. I am forever grateful for your kindness. If Mike's kids or wife ever read this please email me kev@kevmitchell.com and let me know how you are doing. I would love to return the favor that your Dad most graciously extended to me. Rest in Peace Mike. Your legacy lives on. Your Friend in Eternal Life, Kevin Andrew Mitchell
Kevin Mitchell, Friend
Jan 4 2011 11:15AM
I worked with Mike in the 90s at Def Jam Records, right in the same office, same room about ten feet from him for a couple of years. He was always kind, smiling and soft spoken. He always was impeccably dressed and I felt that his love for his family was ran very deep. He was the only man I knew who bought an entire outfit for his then fiance, now widow, Christina..right down to the shoes. Very romantic. I was very saddened, as was everyone who worked with him to hear about his passing, it made it all that much more personal for me. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, on this the anniversary of the tragedy. Simone
Simone Reyes, Colleague
Sep 11 2009 4:38PM
I knew Michael we were classmate. Mike was a very friendly, easy going person. He and Emmitt wrote our Senior class song. It was sad to hear news that Mike had died on 9/11. Having someone closed died was very hard for me. I'm sure it has been for his wife and children. I was told that he lead a beautiful life, That he loves very much his wife and his kids. I will remember him dearly and look forward to seeing him with a big smile and happy like always when our Lord Jesus comes in is glory.
Cinthya Sanchez-Torres, Friend
Sep 11 2008 2:10PM
I went to school with Michael also at Greater NY Academy. He graduated the class before mine. I wasn't as close to him as others, but I always remember him being so nice and pleasant to be around. When I was told about a week after the attacks that it was Michael's FIRST day on the 94th floor of WTC Tower 1, I was in shock. I mean... I KNEW this guy! I, too worked in the towers in the 90's and ironically, so did my Dad in the 70's when they were first built so this has been very personal to me. But then to hear that someone I went to school with was actually there.... it was very painful. Michael was a fine example of a Christian, a gentleman and just an all-around nice guy. He didn't deserve such a horrific death, but I know that he now rests in peace and is smiling in heaven. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones always. God bless....
Ruth Nunez, Friend
Sep 11 2007 10:08PM
I got to know Mike at Greater NY Academy High School in Woodside, Queens. Being a friendly, easy going person; it was easy to become buddies with him. I remember Mike for his cheerful demeanor that was contagious and for being one of the few that all the finicky high school kids genuinely liked to be around. Although we lost contact after high school, I was confident that his life would be one of successes. From the few bits of info I've been able to gather about him via the web, it's comforting to know it was. I trust that his example shines through the family that survives him.
Gaspar Cruz, Friend
Sep 11 2006 10:21AM
I knew Mike Baksh mostly in the late 1980's and early 1990's. We worked together at Chrysalis Records and I recruited Mike to come work with me at the old Def Jam Recordings. He loved music and was kind and generous man. We'd gone our separate ways but the world is a lesser place without Mike.
Charles D'Atri, Colleague
Sep 12 2003 3:46AM