* TST note: All quoted paragraphs in this large branching section of our site are filtered by The Silenced Truth Team. The content of all quoted interviews, articles, statements and tweets has been reviewed, at times, truncated, to benefit speech and reading flow. Negative, inaccurate and highly speculative interpretations about Michael Jackson in certain very few excerpts displayed below have been omitted. Alteration of original semantics, tonality, intent (bar grammar error corrections in the sentence/phrase construction, as well as certain esthetic touches), have not been performed.
“The tragedy of my brother’s death is still with me. But in his death, I have found a mission for my life. My existence is now dedicated to spreading Michael’s message. Michael had a unique place in the world. He not only did good, but taught others how to do the same. This only magnifies his loss to the world.
Michael did charity work all his life – since we first started performing as the Jackson 5. He quickly learned talent alone means nothing – it’s what you do with it that really matters. What are you doing to make things better for other people? In grasping this, Michael found his purpose: Entertain and educate at the same time. Michael grew to understand why the world is in the state it is. He would ask “Why?” but not get trapped in trying to find reasons for each and every problem. His aim was finding solutions. His message was about solutions. Michael’s day-to-day thought process was: “How do I make the world a better place?” He dedicated his existence to responding to this question, and to giving a voice to those who can’t speak out for themselves. Man in the Mirror, We are the World, Will You Be There – all these songs put forward a simple but powerful message: If someone is hungry, give them food, but also help them become self-sufficient. Michael taught us that when you do good, you start with the individual, then move onto a family, a neighborhood, a village, a nation.
Michael always looked for the good in people, but he also wanted people to understand him, and what he was here for. This made the ridicule he endured so much harder to bear. How can someone who gave so much, be the subject of so much hate? Why is it, the more blessed we are, the tougher our times are destined to be? My brother wasn’t a threat to anyone. He was at peace, and his peaceful state was a blessing from God. Michael was given the rare talent to entertain, sing and perform. But the true blessing God gave him was the ability to use his talents to do good for others. Michael’s songs inspired us to do better. That was his true gift.
We still feel Michael’s loss. But what will happen as time passes? What will happen to Michael’s real purpose for being? Who can carry on Michael’s work selflessly, without ulterior motive? Nations and governments are capable of good deeds, but those good deeds are too often done to exert control over others. Michael never wanted to control anybody, he only wanted to spread happiness and joy. Michael supported over 30 different charities. Most people, even the most generous, focus their efforts on just a handful. But Michael was different. He would personally check every charity he supported. He’d examine their track records make sure they did what they said they would do.
Michael’s generosity extended beyond the charities he supported. When a girl needed a liver transplant and no one wanted to pay for it, Michael took care of it. No fanfare, no publicity. There are so many cases like this! Many of them, I myself, am just beginning to learn about. Every time Michael traveled to another country, he would devote time to visiting hospitals, orphanages, cancer patients. That was his calling. In every corner of the globe, this was his routine. The world needs to know this is who he was. Because while there were always cameras following him, the media didn’t tell the story of his caring and compassion. They only wanted to sensationalize him. Michael didn’t care if we knew everything he did for people, because God knows. God knows his intentions, and knows the results. I know my brother is in a very secure, serene, peaceful place. When we live on earth, we are judged not only by who we are, but also by what we do for others. When we leave, we take the good and bad deeds with us. Michael took nothing but good deeds with him.
Michael and I were raised to believe there is a Supreme Being. Having success told us God had a plan for us. Michael used his success in a positive way. He knew that it’s not what you get from others, it’s what you do for others. We all achieve things in life, but the greatest achievement is doing God’s work. Michael was a man of God because he was doing His work. Eternal life is the ultimate reward from God – and Michael has eternal life.”
[Jermaine Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson, singer: source: http://larrykinglive.blogs.cnn.com]
"It almost sounds crazy to say that the show ("This Is It") wasn't about him, but ... he'd put it in perspective all the time, saying, 'This is what we're here for, to spread a message of love and taking care of the planet, that we want people to understand it's very, very dear and not to take it for granted.'"
Michael had read some of the details regarding Laura and Euna’s predicament. As was often the case with him and global events he read about – from famine in Africa to victims of natural disasters in far off countries, to orphans created by wars – he felt a deep sense of empathy for Laura and Euna. When I shared with him that Euna had a four-year-old daughter, he was even more anguished.
“Do you think,” he said hesitantly, “that the leader of North Korea could be a fan of mine?”
Michael said he had seen some pictures on the internet of the Dear Leader. “You know, he wears jackets like mine.”
I couldn’t help but laugh a little. It’s true. Michael always had a fascination with military-like jackets, the types with markers and badges on the collars and shoulders. If you search it online, you will indeed find a lot of images of Michael and Kim Jong Il, similarly bedecked in analogous outfits.
“Please,” Michael responded without hesitantly, “because maybe if he was a fan, I could help get those girls home.”
I explained to Michael that there were larger geo-politics involved, nuclear programs, a new administration trying to assert its foreign policy strategy (Obama), and another one in NK possibly going through some sort of transference of power.
“Yeah,” Michael said wistfully, “but if someone wants to do something good, they just can. They don’t really need to worry about all that other stuff.”
And that was really the end of that conversation. I kept my promise and tried to see if I might find a connection between MJ and KJI, but sadly I wasn’t able to. Before I was able to get back to Michael, the news regarding his tragic passing broke. The tributes and commemoratives began in earnest and have not stopped.
Alas, maybe I’m naïve to have such dramatic hopes for my friend and her colleague, to think that leaders of nations may be influenced by the dying wishes of great artists. Or…maybe not. To me, Michael’s memory will always be as a great friend and mentor. To many around the world, it will be as an iconic and brilliant musical artist. Wouldn’t it be staggering if one Kim Jong Il were to honor him – post-death – as a truly great humanitarian?"
[Gotham Chopra, - son of Deepak Chopra - author and entertainment/media entrepreneur; source: www.intent.com]
[Mallika Chopra – daughter of Deepak Chopra – writer; source: www.intent.com]
[Brett Ratner, filmmaker and music video director; source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com
[Brooke Shields, actress and friend of the entertainer; source: www.rollingstone.com]
[Cory Rooney, songwriter, record producer, Epic’s Vice President of A&R; source: http://thesportsinterview.com]
[Tippi Hedron, actress; source: http://sunrisefamily.com.au]
[David Pack, artist, producer, music director; sources: http://blogs.myspace.com]
But I was so grateful for the fact that he took the time to go and do this for me. And I just kept thanking him, and I had little tears in my eyes. You know, it was so wonderful. And I gave the kids a hug and gave him a hug. He was big on hugs, too […] and matter of fact, he even mentioned to the children, "Love and hugs are free. That's something you don't have to pay for. You, guys, always remember that." But he was telling the children, "Look at her. She is so grateful about having this gift." And he said: "More people need to be grateful." I took a step back when he said that. I mean, what type of people, you know, he's done (ph) for that wasn't? I just found him a very giving and loving person."
[Al Malnik, friend; source. www.youtube.com]
[A.R. Rahman, film composer, record producer, musician, singer; source: http://newsblaze.com]
[David Nordahl, painter and friend; source: www.abc.com]
[Harrison Funk, Michael Jackson’s personal photographer; source: http://news.yahoo.com]
[Rodney „Darkchild” Jerkins, songwriter, record producer and musician: source: http://www.etonline.com]
„He was a gift to the world, he is a bright light and I wouldn't be surprised if the world stopped spinning tomorrow."
[Chuck D, rapper, author and producer; source: www.publicenemy.com]
He performed in soccer stadiums around the world, and sold hundreds of millions of records and dined with prime ministers and presidents. He seemed otherworldly — but he was a human being. Like most performers he was shy and plagued with insecurities. I can’t say we were great friends, but in 1991 I decided I wanted to try to get to know him better. I asked him out to dinner, I said “My treat, I’ll drive — just you and me.” He agreed and showed up to my house without any bodyguards. We drove to the restaurant in my car. It was dark out, but he was still wearing sunglasses. I said, “Michael, I feel like I’m talking to a limousine. Do you think you can take off your glasses so I can see your eyes?” Then he tossed the glasses out the window, looked at me with a wink and a smile and said, “Can you see me now? Is that better?” In that moment, I could see both his vulnerability and his charm. The rest of the dinner, I was hellbent on getting him to eat French fries, drink wine, have dessert and say bad words. Things he never seemed to allow himself to do. Later we went back to my house to watch a movie and sat on the couch like two kids, and somewhere in the middle of the movie, his hand snuck over and held mine. It felt like he was looking for more of a friend than a romance, and I was happy to oblige. In that moment, he didn’t feel like a superstar. He felt like a human being. He went out a few more times together, and then for one reason or another we fell out of touch. Then the witch hunt began, and it seemed like one negative story after another was coming out about Michael. I felt his pain, I know what it’s like to walk down the street and feel like the whole world is turned against you. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and unable to defend yourself because the roar of the lynch mob is so loud you feel like your voice can never be heard.
But I had a childhood, and I was allowed to make mistakes and find my own way in the world without the glare of the spotlight. when I first heard that Michael had died, I was in London, days away from the start of my tour. Michael was going to perform in the same venue as me a week later. All I could think about in this moment was, “I had abandoned him.” That we had abandoned him. That we had allowed this magnificent creature who had once set the world on fire to somehow slip through the cracks. While he was trying to build a family and rebuild his areer, we were all passing judgement. Most of us had turned our backs on him. In a desperate attempt to hold onto his memory, I went on the internet to watch old clips of him dancing and singing on TV and on stage and I thought, “my God, he was so unique, so original, so rare, and there will never be anyone like him again. He was a king. But he was also a human being, and alas we are all human beings and sometimes we have to lose things before we can appreciate them. […] it seems like a whole new generation of kids have discovered his genius and are bringing him to life again. I hope that wherever Michael is right now he is smiling about this.”
[Madonna, American recording artist, actress and entrepreneur - opening tribute speech for Michael Jackson at the 2009 Video Music Awards; source: http://www.rollingstone.com]
[...] We’ve lost an incredible person, Barbara, and I don't think we'll find a person as talented, a person who thought the way he thought. A person with the heart that Michael has, Barbara. People aren't that way anymore. He’s special. He wasn't God, but he was certainly God-like. He was the closest thing to a god that I knew. And I’m gonna miss that.”
[La Toya Jackson, Michael Jackson’s sister, American singer-songwriter, author, actress – interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters 20/20: source: www.youtube.com]
[Tony Buzan, educational consultant of Michael Jackson, source: http://www.boston.com]
„He was a different kind of genius. Michael was a thinker. He did more research than any of the artists that I've mentioned. He was a researcher. He researched me, he researched all of the great people came before him. […] So at nine, he was researching and looking and studying, so he was different - a researcher. […] He wanted to do something, he knew how to talk to me about it in a very shy, nice way, and respectful and everything else, and when he'd get on the stage he'd become this impresario and really, his whole attitude would change.”
[Berry Gordy, American record producer, and the founder of the Motown record label and other subsidiaries; source: http://www.pbs.org]
„It is so hard to express in words what Michael Jackson meant to me. He was my friend. He was one of the reasons I got into the music business. He inspired me. He taught me. He laughed with me. He paved the way for African American artists to be played on MTV which was huge. My heart is full of grief for his family and his children and I pray that they take solace in the incredible legacy of his music and art.”
[Miko Brando, on Larry King Live; source: www.youtube.com]
[Dave Dave (former David Rothenburg, set on fire by his father in the 1983, survivor; interviewed on Larry King Live); source: www.youtube.com]
[Frank Cascio, Michael’s Jackson’s longtime friend; source: http://abcnews.go.com]
[Gladys Knight, American singer/songwriter, actress, humanitarian, author; source: http://www.accesshollywood.com]
[Allen Iverson, American professional basketball player, also runs The Allen Iverson Student Athletic Scholarship Program; source: www.youtube.com]
„It was so hard for Michael to trust anyone, because everybody wanted something from him. […] It hurts when I hear the things that’s been said, but I have to go with my heart, and what I know from my heart that I believe is true. […] A couple of years ago. He called me and he said „I just thought I’d call you and tell you ‚Happy Mothers’ Day”. People don’t know those kind of moments from Michael. […] (The poem ‚Ryan White” (written by Michael),song, and video produced by him: „Gone Too Soon”) just showed that he did not ever plan on forgetting Ryan, and now we plan on never forgetting Michael.”
[Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of activist, hemophilia deceased Ryan White: source: www.youtube.com]
[Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of late Ryan White, interviewed on “The Early Show”; source: www.youtube.com]
[Kobe Bryant, American shooting guard in NBA; sources: http://sports.yahoo.com]
[Quincy Jones, American music conductor, record producer, musical arranger, film composer; source: http://www.newsweek.com]
„[…] I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever."
[Paul McCartney, English singer-songwriter, poet, composer, multi-instrumentalist, entrepreneur, record and film producer; source: http://www.livedaily.com]
[Carson Daly, American television host; source: http://www.time.com]
[J.C. Chasez, American singer-songwriter, record producer, and occasional actor; source: http://www.time.com]
„I first met him when I was called by Francis Coppola to work on a short film for Disney, a 3-D movie called „Captain Eo”. I met Michael on the first day of rehearsal and I was stunned - even though obviously I knew his image very well - at how incredibly sweet and how modest and how innocent he was. And fragile, too. In person you felt he was almost breakable. But (…) he was the most electrifying performer I've ever seen. I think it was very hard for Michael to express anger. He was, I have to say, one of the most polite people I ever met in my life. I never heard Michael say a swear word even when he was upset. He had the most beautiful manners. And I think music was really the only way in which his passion could come through unguarded. It was immense. […] I think, actually, there was a lot of the otherworldly in Michael. He had this talent that I've never encountered before, and I've seen a lot of extraordinary people perform. He was, I think, very misunderstood. I never believed any of the allegations or insinuations against him. We had lunch together about a month (before his sudden demise) and he talked about his ordeal, and he felt like he had really been put through the ringer. He said they wanted blood. I felt so bad for him, and I felt that he was really broken-hearted from what had been done. He was a meteor; his flame burned incredibly bright, and not for long but mightily.”
[Anjelica Houston, American actress and former fashion model; source: http://www.time.com]
[Donald Trump, American business magnate socialite author and television personality; source: www.youtube.com/the Larry King Live show]
[Stevie Wonder, American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer; source: http://www.time.com]
“To figure out who would get the letters that Michael wrote to the group, the girls would draw straws. They would write their names on pieces of paper and throw them in my camera bag, and I would reach in and draw names. The girl who got the letter would take it and make photocopies and give them to all of the others.”
”He was the only celebrity that, if you were devoted enough, he would let you into his house. You think somebody could go to Bruce Willis’s house and say, ‘I love you, I love you,’ that you’d get in? He’d call the police. That’s what all of them would do. All but Michael. If you said ‘I love you, I love you’ to Michael, he would assume you meant you loved him, and he would let you in.”
[Ben Evenstad, Christopher Weiss, photographers/paparazzi; source: http://www.vanityfair.com]
[Austin Brown, Michael Jackson’s nephew; singer, musician; source: personal www.myspace.com]
[Paula Abdul, American singer, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality; source: http://www.etonline.com]
„I'll always regret that my last conversation with Michael Jackson ended with him angrily hanging up the phone -- at least I've long thought of Michael's mood that day more than a decade ago as angry. I realize now that a more accurate description would be "wounded." Michael was among the sweetest and most talented people I met during 35 years covering pop music for the Los Angeles Times. […] In the 1981 interview, he told me, "My real goal is to fulfill God's purpose. I didn't choose to sing or dance. But that's my role, and I want to do it better than anybody else. I still remember the first time I sang in kindergarten class. I sang 'Climb Every Mountain,' and everyone got so excited. It's beautiful at the shows when people join together. It's our own little world. For that hour and a half, we try to show there is hope and goodness. It's only when you step back outside the building that you see all the craziness."[…] Although he would periodically announce recording projects or touring plans (in later years), I couldn't imagine, after all the humiliation and disappointment, that Michael could find the strength to step in front of the public again. I thought the fear of failure was too great. It was easier to stay in a fantasy land. So I was surprised when he announced that he was returning to the stage in a few weeks and was even more surprised when he sold out 50 nights at the O2 Arena in London. Maybe Michael was stronger than I thought. It took enormous courage to be willing to go back on stage for what could be a make-or-break moment -- and the ticket demand must have given him hope. Despite all that had happened, he saw that he was still loved by millions of fans. […]”
[Robert Hilburn, The Times' pop music critic from 1970 to 2005; source: www.latimes.com, his memoir, Corn Flakes With John Lennon, and Other Tales From a Rock 'n' Roll Life, out in October]
„[…] The death of Michael Jackson had indeed come to me as a dramatic shock and I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of sadness. Not only for the late star, but also for all fans and friends, but most importantly, for his family. I not only lost an extraordinary pupil, I lost a great friend. He will be truly missed as one of the most inspirational, kind, and dedicated people to have graced us with his enormous talents. […] I believe he was devoted to making the best tour for his fans that was humanly possibly, and beyond! […] I do hope that in this time of mourning, we as a people, can focus on the immense greatness that Michael shared with the world, and not diminish his name with any negative accusations. He was a beacon of light and harmonious genius, and he should be remembered for all the treasures he left us […].”
[Naomi Campbell, English model; source: http://firpocarr.com]
„…I always tried to be realistic and remind myself that I was the employee and he was the employer. That was hard at times because he treated me better than many friends treat each other. He was always very polite, respectful, honest and compassionate. If you find a friend that is like that 100% of the times...do not lose that friend. […] I was hired to run and maintain the Amusement Park which consisted of the rides, trains the arcade and water fort. Prior to working at Neverland, my work had me traveling all over the world. Thanks to that travel and some of my clients, I developed knowledge of high level hospitality. Applying that knowledge of hospitality at Neverland, I ended up wearing many hats as they say. It was a very rewarding and humbling time for me. The impact that a day at Neverland had on the inner city children and the children who were dealing with life threatening illness was beyond belief. To represent Mr. Jackson and to help make his dream come true for those children, to be part of that magical day and the memory those children will hang on to ... was a blessing. I am sorry to say that even with all the pictures and movies of the ranch you find on the internet, there is no way a person can describe what a day at Neverland is like. It is something that has to be experienced. […] I loved my job at Neverland. My job was to entertain the biggest entertainer the world will ever know. How many people can say that? Michael Jackson the person: caring, compassionate, genuine, practical joker, and an incredible, loving father. […] During my 15 years at Neverland, sitting at a picnic table under a huge oak tree, I had several long conversations with Mr. Jackson about Neverland. Looking into his eyes and hearing his voice, there is no doubt that the charity work done at Neverland was one of the most important things in his life. In time, I believe the importance of those magical days for those sick kids and inner city kids would have found its way back into Michael’s heart. The letters from doctors and nurses from children's hospital and the letters from parents who hang on to the memory of their child and that trip to Neverland, make it very clear how important Mr. Jackson’s charity work through Neverland was. I became very good friends with a kid with Cystic Fibrosis (number 1 genetic killer of children). Jeff visited Neverland once with Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and twice as my guest during the annual employee family day. One day after taking it (Neverland) all in ... he looked at me and said "I don't know if I like Michael Jackson the entertainer (Jeff was a Lollapalooza kind of kid) but I am sure I like Michael Jackson the person". Jeff truly understood Michael and the importance of Neverland ... and as I write this and hang on to those happy memories of Jeff at Neverland, I understand the importance of Neverland. […] I want the media to get their fill and move on to someone or something else. I want Mr. Jackson’s children to be spared the media circus. Every time I see a photo of the kids I get emotional. They are amazing and wonderful children and have suffered a great loss and are experiencing a pain that no child should go thru. I include them in my Prayers every day. … One more thing ... to all the fans ... please pass on to the next generation, the greatness of Michael, both as an entertainer and as a kind, compassionate person who truly wanted to Heal The World.”
[Allan „Big Al” Scanlan, operator of Neverland Ranch amusement park; source: http://www.examiner.com]
[Brian Friedman, choreographer/dancer; source: http://www.examiner.com]
While controversies ravaged this brilliant and unusually gifted musician in the later years of his life, the tipping point of which was the child abuse cases of which he was finally acquitted in 2005, the world at large will perhaps remember Michael as a man and a musician who inspired, cajoled, enlightened and provoked many of us to rethink our political and social notions on race, colour, poverty, the politics of nations, poverty, the underprivileged and the health of our planet itself through such songs as “Man in the Mirror” (1988), “ Heal the World” (1991), “Earth Song” (1996), and “Black or White” (1991). The last song urged the world to fight against discriminations based on race and colour by boldly portraying people from all countries as equal, be it India, the US, Kenya, Ethiopia, China or France in its video with a common notion of humankind: the progress of thought and human spirit. That he firmly believed in the lyrics and tenor of these songs was more than evident in his concerts where despite being such a perfectionist regarding matters of artistic style and dance, Michael would passionately request his audience directly to “make that change” and help prop up the destitute and those less privileged than themselves.
Michael Jackson’s commitment to the cause of African Americans in the US, the poverty in the developing world, and his anguish at the killing fields of Africa, at the nature of violence and the destructive capabilities of weapons were astounding, to say the least. In “Earth Song”, he sang: „What have we done to the world, / Look what we’ve done,/ What about all the peace / That you pledge your only son... / What about flowering fields, / Is there a time ,/ What about all the dreams / That you said was yours and mine.../ Did you ever stop to notice / All the children dead from war / Did you ever stop to notice / The crying Earth, the weeping shores.” In 1985, along with fellow artist Lionel Richie, Michael composed the song “We are the World” to address the limitless despair, conflict and poverty in Africa. The song became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with nearly 20 million copies sold and millions of dollars donated to African famine relief. Michael thereafter donated all the profits from his hit single “Man in the Mirror” to charity and went on to form the “Heal the World Foundation” in 1992. He also addressed the issue of HIV/AIDS and his song “Gone Too Soon” was a poignant heartfelt response to the death of American teenager Ryan White due to HIV /AIDS. It is indeed not a surprise that the man, who lived of, for and by his audience, has now come back to public memory after his death with millions worldwide downloading his songs from the internet since June 25, 2009.
[…] In a press conference in March 2009 in London, Michael Jackson had rather tenderly but firmly stated to his fans that “This Is It” was the last time he will be performing on stage reminding them that the curtain had to fall on his musical performances, that his fans had to learn to live a life post-Michael Jackson. A rather prophetic statement from the singer given two months before he was gone forever. There are many ways that the legacy of Michael Jackson can be remembered (…); there is, however, a more telling personal legacy we need to remember him by. Watching him perform his last number “Man in the Mirror” on the 30th anniversary London concert in 2001 (note: there was another concert where he performed this song) with passionate zeal and conviction, one got this strong sense that Michael Jackson perhaps wanted to leave a message for us all through his music and dance…of a man who wanted to see important political, economic and social changes in the world so akin to the ideas of the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi’s “greatest good for all’. And Michael’s voice will ring on…..
(If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place), Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change, (Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change)/I’ve Been A Victim Of A Selfish Kind Of Love, It’s Time That I Realise, That There Are Some With No Home, Not A Nickel To Loan,/Could It Be Really Me, Pretending That They’re Not Alone?/(If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place), Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make That Change!”
[Dr. Namrata Goswami, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi; source: http://www.mainstreamweekly.net]
„I remember that I went down to Georgia with Muhammad Ali and took him over to meet Jimmy Carter. As the meeting was ending, Jimmy carter pulled me aside and said: „Do you know Michael Jackson? I would love to work with him. He’s doing so many amazing things”. So I got back and I called Bob Jones (Michael Jackson’s former publicist), who made it happen. And they had the press conference and it was the „Heal The World...” whatever. (In those days), I didn’t really have any interaction with Michael, but we had this history. [...] We would have fundraisers and I would always call Bob Jones: ‚Can you send a fedora? Can you send me something else?’, which he did and that helped raise money for the Boarder Babies and all of thee charities.”
„[...] I said, “Venus and Serena Williams (the latter having Bain as a publicist also) would love to meet Michael”. [...] (Evvy Tavasci, his executive assistant at the time) said: „Michael would love to meet them. He admires them a lot”. [...] So, we got there (to Los Olivos, the area of his home) and we walk in. [...] Then he took us personally on a tour of everything. [...] So I called and thanked them the next day, and they were so wonderful – Evvy, Grace (the nanny), and Michael, the children – they were so warm and so wonderful to us. [...] The property was so awesome. Everything was just so well kept and awe-inspiring. He was awe-inspiring. [...] And he had photographs that would have family members’ pictures hidden in them and he would tell Serena and I, ‚I bet you can’t find Janet in that picture.” [...] We continued to communicate, you know? […] Shortly after that, I was asked if I would consider coming and acting as his publicist/spokesperson. [...] It was almost as if he was living two lives (during his 2005 trial). He didn’t want his children to be affected by that. We went through a lot of stress – just the stress of getting up every morning to be in court at 8:30. Then, when he would leave there every day, he left behind all the baggage and all of the stress from the trial and he became Daddy; going over their homework, taking them to buy ice cream, taking them to the movies – just giving them quiet time. He would leave the stress and the strain and the worry and the problems at the front door. He would walk in and he would make it appear as if everything was okay when it really wasn’t. His life was hanging in the balance. I still don’t know how he was able to do that. [...[ Then, he would call me at 2 and 3:00 in the morning, maybe 4, then go to bed and wake up to come into court. And that was every day for months. But one of the things I’ve said to everybody is: people, look at Michael’s record – almost a billion albums sold worldwide, 140 million copies of Thriller, $ 300 million dollars given away to charity – as his legacy. But his real legacy is going to be his children. That’s going to be his greatest legacy. Because he has done a great job as a parent. They have values, they are courteous and they are kind, (...) how he was just able to compartimentalize that (the mob scenes of fans), and I don’t know how he did it to this day.”
„(Michael’s mother) is very strong. She’s just the nicest. I used to tell her all the time when we would talk on the phone. „You and Michael are just alike!” You have the same values and you have that same warmth. They can make you feel very comfortable. And I go back to when Serena and the family and I were there in Neverland, how comfortable you felt. [...]”
„I kept saying all the time „He’s innocent.” You know, you talk to a man as much as I had and you just see their character and their being. He was just incapable of molesting those children. I knew he didn’t do it. It’s horrible. The same ones (who persecuted him) are now calling him the King of Pop. [...] It’s like, in his death, he’s memorialized, but it would have been nicer if some of them had been a little kinder. [...] What pained him was that he didn’t want people to think he was a child molester. He could never hurt children. And that was a horible time and experience that we went through out there in Santa Maria. The people in the city were wonderful to us, but, I mean, you had the world press there and you had so many of them (...). And while he was acquitted, the poll results show that, based on what they’d heard in the media, most of the American public thought that he was guilty. It takes a lot to overturn people’s opinions. That’s what hurt him the most. [...]”
„(Via his London concerts), he was going to mesmerize those of us who’ve seen him and a whole new generation of people who haven’t. I am convinced and sure of that. [...]”
[Raymone Bain, spokeswoman; sources: http://www.s2smagazine.com/September, 2009 issue of Sister2Sister magazine]
“Michael had hired me to do a children's coloring book based on his video "Moonwalker." This was during his "BAD" tour, and the height of his career. The project took about a year, because it took time for him to see what I was doing and get back with his comments on my drawings.
After he came back from the European leg of the tour, he was going to be in New Jersey. My wife and I got VIP tickets for the concert. At the arena, I was brought back to his large dressing room, with a smaller private dressing room for him. There were a lot of people milling around. All of a sudden, Michael came out of his dressing room, in his "BAD" outfit, buckles and belts. He shut the door and just stood there.
When Michael Jackson said he was very shy, he wasn't kidding. The look on his face, to me, was pure fear. I felt he was just looking around the room to find someone, anyone, he knew. After a couple of seconds, he walked into the crowd. This would be the only time I would meet him, and I figured I better do it. […]
I introduced myself and told him that I was the guy doing his coloring book. The second he knew who I was you would have thought we had known each other for years. He was gracious and extremely friendly. He told me that he was really liking the coloring book drawings that I was doing for him.
I brought him over to my drawings and he burst out laughing when he saw them. We chatted for a little bit and he couldn't have been nicer. Needless to say, it was one of the most exciting celebrity meetings I ever had.”
[Rick Tulka, illustrator and caricaturist; source: www.flickr.com]
[David Nordahl, painter; source: www.youtube.com]
[Gloria Estefan, Cuban-American singer and songwriter; source: http://extratv.warnerbros.com];
Years later, he came to see my Las Vegas show and we spent some time together....and we were really looking forward to seeing his show in London. It's unbelievable that he's no longer with us. It still hasn't sunk in.
[…] All I can say is that he must have been under an enormous amount of pressure... to do the shows, and to keep on top of everything, plus this was going to be his big comeback. This is a lot of pressure and it can be overwhelming for anyone. I'm sure it was just too much to handle […] It just keeps reminding us of how precious life is, and that we never know when it's our time. God bless his soul.”.
[Celine Dion, Canadian singer, occasional songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur; source: http://www.spinner.com]
“He was a kind, genuine, and wonderful man. He was also one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived. I loved him very much and I will miss him every remaining day of my life.”
[David Blaine, an American illusionist and endurance artist; source: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com]
He was a great singer - God gives you certain gifts and this child was just an extraordinary child touched by this ability. He could sing like nobody else and he was able to connect with people. When I think of him, I think of this young boy, this teenager I first met … He was a great teenager, optimistic and adorable.”
[Cher, American pop singer-songwriter, actor, director and record producer; source: http://greginhollywood.com]
[Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, English-born British-American actress, friend; source: http://greginhollywood.com]
[Lance Bass, American pop singer, actor, film and television producer, and author, former 'N Sync member; source: http://greginhollywood.com]
[Mariah Carey, American R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress; source: http://www.mtv.com]
“You cannot say enough about what he has given to us musically and culturally. We take for granted people like him...all he wanted to do was give us great music and that's what he did. Every single day was dedicated to us. I'll tell you this. Seeing him in concert in 1983, the Victory concert with his brothers, to watch people faint in the audience. Grown men fainting. Women fainting just because he was that dynamic...all you can say is that you hope we put our arms around his family. So much turmoil toward the end of his career...and I think that's the only thing that you can really hope for is that there is finally peace to this whole situation. […] Let's take time... to do the right thing and honor the beauty of what Michael Jackson was and not the craziness and all of the circus things that the media can grab a hold to sometimes and just go nuts. Let's just honor that guy for all he's done and that's all you can say.”
“I saw the Jackson 5 at Madison Square Garden, which was the first concert I'd ever seen, and they were wearing these knicker pants with these boots that came up to the knees. So I would put these galoshes on and dance around the living room and pretend that I was Michael Jackson. We got together a few years ago and we decided to go into the studio together. I had written a song for him and actually produced the track before he showed up. I played all the instruments, got it ready. We recorded at Marvin Gaye's old studio, up on Sunset Boulevard. We did his vocals for about three days. He was a lot of fun. He stayed for hours. We'd sit on these little stools and eat together and talk. That's where I really got to know him.
I was in Glasgow, coming off the stage before an encore, when I heard the news. I went back on, did the last two songs. Came off and they announced he had died. Coming off the stage like that, when you're amped up and on a high, and hearing that news and having to go downstairs and digest this — it was difficult. I came off stage and went right to my computer and played the track we had done. It was about his life and where he'd been. It's quite triumphant.”
In Michael Jackson, we see innocence and purity rarely seen in an adult. Jackson’s “childlikeness” is perplexing to many people, but it is precisely this trait that sets him apart from an adult world that has learned so effectively to be cold and calculated, smart and shrewd, proper and professional. Adults seeking to improve themselves would need only to emulate Michael and become more childlike.
If Michael was guilty, his sin (borrowing Dylan’s prophetic words) was that he knew and felt too much within. People who feel deeply often seem odd or insane, but, like Dostoyevsky’s Idiot, their superficial lunacy usually conceals a deep understanding of the human heart. Michael’s intense capacity to feel allowed him to be a loving, caring and responsive human being. He was far more capable of love than are most adults. Unfortunately, this acute sensitivity also made Michael extremely vulnerable and susceptible.
The truth is, Michael had the eyes and heart of a child who saw in one dimension – that of pure love. When he saw that someone desired something from him, he gave selflessly, paying no heed to logical consequences or reasonable caution. The dictates of propriety and convention were, as they ought to be, totally subordinated to the dictates of love. It made perfect sense to him to give joy to others, even if this exposed him and his own actions to spiteful, selfish manipulation and ridicule by others.
Michael was not willing to assume, as most adults are conditioned to do, that someone he approached could have a tarnished nature. He gave others the benefit of the doubt, approaching them as if approaching angels and children. When he met demons, thus, he was utterly exposed and likely devastated. This (i.e., the sudden realization that the person he had hoped was an angel could in fact be so malevolent), no doubt, brought him much suffering. [...] In other words, Michael’s purity was such that if he met nine people, all of whom turned out to be vile, he would still greet the tenth as an angel. This defies reasonable human logic, but remains steadfast in its adherence to the greater logic of divine love.
Michael surrounded himself with children not because he was perverted, but because he saw in them the hope for a world which had grown to be far too mature. What he loved in children was the “purity of heart” of the Beatitudes. He tried desperately – in only seemingly irrational ways – to protect this adolescent purity from a world whose hideous cruelty he felt in his very own flesh. If the fact that he saw nothing wrong in expressing love toward children in emotionally intimate ways attests only to his purity, our inclination to assume that he was a pedophile and our willingness to assume that love is a pathological deviation can only attest to our essential impurity. In a world that has fallen to pieces, it only makes sense that (to quote Dylan once again) what’s bad is good, what’s good is bad. Thus, love is a pathological disturbance, whereas cold, rational remoteness defines the new “humanity.”
Michael created and surrounded himself with a world fit for a child because he felt that this is the ideal we should aspire to - an ideal that we so woefully fail to live up to. It was also, incidentally, a way for him to compensate for the pain that was so ever-present to him – the pain of his past and present, the pain of his visceral, personal experience. Michael was sensitive – perhaps hyper-sensitive – and in so being, he felt far more directly and deeply than most others do. Agony led Michael to an absolute moral response. However unrealistic and idealistic it might seem to a practically minded adult, this response - this Neverland world that eradicated the pain of reality through one sweeping contradiction - was totally reasonable for Michael. Michael was the perfect mixture of a child’s innocence and an old-man’s sagacity. He saw both much less and much more than the average person does. Quincy Jones was therefore profoundly astute when he famously described Michael as both the oldest and youngest man he knew.
[...] Erecting ideals like Neverland in an effort to cope with dismal reality is not a moral failure. Properly seen, it is just a symptom of or testament to the pathological state of the world. The moral failure is the dismal reality itself.”
[Filip Panusz, journalist; source: http://www.mjworld.net]
Michael’s star will continue to shine forever because his talent was stupendous and made him the most well-known entertainer of the late 20th Century. I hope Michael can finally rest in peace.”
[Kareem Abdul – Jabbar, American retired basketball player, coach, actor and author; source: http://kareemabduljabbar.com]
When you represent him, which I did, unfortunately - unfortunately for him that we had to do this, but you do get very close to a person, and I sat next to him for four months in the criminal case - it took a full four months, and he was there every day. But what I did learn in the years that I represented him - particularly in that last case - is that he is a very kind person. Truly from his heart. And his whole family is like that. His mother, Katherine, and his sisters, LaToya and Janet - they have their own personalities onstage and everything, but they are the kindest, sweetest people you'll ever want to meet. And his brothers are very nice; they offer to do what they can for you. […]
They were very kind. You would go to the ranch, or a house elsewhere where we met on other occasions, and you couldn't get away without being offered something to eat or drink. And personally, and I don't mean snap your figures and someone comes to do it, they would be very concerned and very kind and generous about everything. And Michael was the same way. He believed that one of the things he could do in life in addition to entertainment was that he could really help children. And I know that's going to immediately get some kind of sarcastic response, but it's absolutely true.
I was there at his ranch when he wasn't even there on at least two occasions when he had a giant group of kids come up. One, a bunch of kids who were from hospitals down in LA -- children's wards -- came up with their families and everything else, and another time it was disadvantaged kids with their families, they were brought up and came up on buses - he had a couple of buses - and he would bring people up and it was like they were at Disneyland. His staff was there, and at one point he had a hundred-something people on staff. They would be offering everybody candy, and something to drink, and play in the game room, and go to the movie theater. And you'd see these kids, and it was just remarkable to see these kids and their eyes so wide and being treated this way.
And the third thing was that Michael was extremely well-read.
No Few people did. In trial - and I knew Michael, but I got to know him a lot better at the trial. The judge was doing jury selection, and it was time for break. Judge Melville said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that jury service is very, very important.' He's trying to convince people not to have stupid excuses to get out of jury service. All judges do this. He says, 'The jury system is a very time-honored system. It's been around for 200 years. We're going to take a break and come back in 15 minutes.
We stand up and the judge leaves, and Michael turns to me and says, "Bob, the jury system is much older than 200 years, isn't it?' I said, 'Well, yeah, it goes back to the Greeks.' He says, 'Oh yeah, Socrates had a jury trial, didn't he?' I said, 'Yeah, well, you know how it turned out for him.' Michael says, 'Yeah, he had to drink the hemlock.' That's just one little tidbit. We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues. But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature.”
[Bob Sanger, defense attorney; source: http://blogs.laweekly.com]
[Snoop Dogg, American rapper, record producer, and actor; source: http://gossiponthis.com]
[Fat Joe, American rapper; source: http://gossiponthis.com]
[Lamont Dozier, BMI songwriter of Holland-Dozier-Holland; source: www.bmi.com]
[Del Bryant, President & CEO, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI); source: http://www.bmi.com]
[Carole King, iconic sonwriter; source: www.bmi.com]
[Sean Garrett, BMI star producer and songwriter; source: www.bmi.com]
[Dre of Cool & Dre, a team of hip hop producers; source: www.bmi.com]
[Kirk Douglas, American actor and film producer; source: http://www.topnews.in]
“I've met him several times, he has personally asked for me and that was very special because one day I got a phone call from John Branca - he was Michael's lawyer at the time - and he told me: "François, It's very strange, Michael called me and he'd like you to come to LA". And apparently that was the first time Michael Jackson personally called his lawyer to invite me. And off course, I was very suprised. He wanted to get to know me. What I didn't know was that he had all my CD’s, about 40 CD’s and 30 vinyl records. And Michael was in love with classical music, he admired all the arrangements I did with the Beatles songs. Michael said "You're doing a great job, you encourage younger people to listen to classical music". And that's really the best way to do it. You take a popular song that most people know and you just adjust it to the classical style of music. [..] There was a big difference between the Michael I met and the Michael on stage. He was a very sensitive man. I'm very very sensitive myself and I believe that's the reason why we had this connection. He could cry for nothing, just like me, I easily get all teared up. I have about 200 pictures (of him). And he probably has many more in his collection of pictures. He also told me what to wear. He said: "You've got to wear your purple T-shirt and I'll wear my red shirt because that's a good marriage.", that's what he said, a good marriage between those two colors. […] He didn't write the song (“She’s Out Of My Life”) himself, but Michael told me it was one of his favorite songs. So he played the song regularly. It was very moving.. he, ... how shall I say this.. I ... I've seen him cry. When I played 'She's Out Of My Life', he put his hand on my shoulder. That's why I'm so, so emotional right now, I'm always thinking about those moments, I'll never forget those moments. We still had to meet again. His big plan was that I would play Bad, Smooth Criminal, Liberian Girl.. with a large symphonic orchestra. […]”
[Francois Glorieux, Belgian composer, pianist, conductor and music teacher; source: http://www.deredactie.be]
[Flesh-N-Bone, from the American Hip Hop group, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony; source: http://www.theboombox.com]
Yet he knew that the world was not kind to him for many reasons,
That must have been so hard for him.
His various attempts to be loved by the world equaled the pain he received from it.
Rest well in Peace.
We will always remember you and love you for what you were to us. […]
[Yoko Ono Lennon, Japanese-American artist and musician; source: http://imaginepeace.com/news]
[Brandon Quintin Adams, American actor; source: http://blogs.myspace.com]
“We talk so much about him as the pop legend, which is important. But we need to remember that he was a man and a father and that's what it's about. He was a wonderful father. […]”
He taught us (my brothers & I) at a young age that it's not "True" charity if you announce it to everyone saying "hey look what I did".
"True" charity is when you do something for someone or give money or time to something and nobody else knows you did it.
That was one of the 1st things our uncle reminded us about when we started having success with 3T. Be charitable and give back.
Use your success and fame for good. Visit children hospitals. Give yourself to the less fortunate. Make your music count for something.
My uncle was truly amazing. Not only did he do all of these things and more. We learned best by his example.
I miss him so much.”
[Toriano Adaryll Jackson, American singer (from brother group 3T) and Michael Jackson’s nephew; source: http://twitter.com/TAJ]
[Susan Olsen, American television actress, mainly known as Cindy Brady from the sitcom The Brady Bunch; source: www.youtube.com]
My father, Ben Barrett, was in the music business and recorded a great deal of Michael's music, from the early days with the Jackson Five right up to the "Dirty Diana" album. My brother Roman and I spent a lot time in the studios, and I remember spending time with Michael--playing video games and consuming "studio snacks" (sugar cubes, Hershey's Kisses, Melba Toast, etc.). For the record, he was always kind and engaging--never once inappropriate with us.
For many years, Michael lived with his parents and siblings down the road from us in Encino, California, on a street called Havenhurst, just off the main road of Ventura Blvd. As kids, Michael and his brothers would ride their bikes up to our house to visit my dad. Just take a moment to imagine Michael as a ten-year-old--that gorgeous little boy singing "My Cherie Amour"--riding his bike around the neighborhood like any ordinary, innocent kid. He was beautiful and, by anyone's standards, astronomically talented.
[…] Young Michael was a natural. His light shone so brightly. He was innocent, exploding with creativity, and in enough possession of his own soul power to radiate his essence. Let's all take a moment to acknowledge that what he expressed in his 1970 recordings of "ABC" and "The Love You Save" was his true, irrepressible spirit--inspiring, enchanting, downright magical! That was the real Michael, before the world of untruth had at him. I believe this is where his soul is returning as he sheds the cage of his physical body […] throughout his life on earth.
The unfolding of Michael's public life has revealed to us the effects of the causes supported by a world of blindness and pain. What happened to Michael could happen to any innocent, and indeed does--every second of every day. A dramatic display of suffering and wasted life can sometimes jolt us out of our programmed, blinkered ways of seeing so we can glimpse the truth. But then most of us get distracted and fall back into our old ways. […]
One of my favorite songs is "The Nightshift" by the Commodores. It reminds me of my dad making music-magic in the studios in the 60s, 70s, and 80s--when most of the biggest R&B hits were recorded. The Commodores recorded this song as a tribute to two of their friends who both passed in 1984: the legendary Marvin Gaye and the great Jackie Wilson. Check out the lyrics, or just download it and have a listen. I invoke it here as a tribute to Michael's legacy and the mirror he offered mankind.
This is for you, Michael. May your pain not be in vain, and may your harmonies bring about greater harmony here on earth.”
[Natalia Rose, author and certified clinical nutritionist; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]
[Usher, American recording artist and actor; source: www.mtva.com]
"He was one of, if not THE greatest entertainer of all time, and was without question the ‘King of Pop.' He was also my friend. He recorded a song of mine on his 1979 ‘Off The Wall' album and in 1981 we sang a duet together. We spent a considerable amount of time together in 2001 at my home music studio and I saw him in a totally different light - as a nurturing and caring father. I was so honored that he dedicated that album to me. […].
[Carole Bayer Sager, American lyricist, songwriter and singer; source: www.mi2n.com]
[Jane Goodall, English UN Messenger of Peace, primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist; source: http://edition.cnn.com]
“Through his prolific body of work, advocacy initiatives and multi-million dollar charity efforts, Michael Jackson raised international awareness and support for some of the most complex and timeless issues confronting the human condition. AIDS, cancer, famine, homelessness, gang violence, racism, totalitarianism, environmental degradation, child abuse, violations of animal rights, restrictions on freedom of speech and other infringements upon basic civil liberties are just some of the difficult subjects Jackson tackled by leveraging the power of his celebrity. Michael Jackson’s intuitive understanding of the problems besetting the human ecological system was uncanny and uncharacteristic for any entertainer close to his magnitude. Many have been so dazzled by Jackson’s masterful showmanship and the consistent controversy surrounding his life and death that it would be easy not to recognize the overarching social and political themes embodied in his music, videos and public interviews. The intense emotional pull, messages and raw feelings that reverberate through the lyrics and sometimes disturbing video imagery of songs such as “They Don’t Care About Us,” “Heal the World,” “Earth Song,” and “Man in the Mirror” are gut-wrenching. A deeper analysis of Michael Jackson’s work reveals an individual with a burning concern for improving the lives of the disadvantaged and persecuted around the world. The passion and verve with which Jackson digs his hands into the soil and grasps the trees in his video for “Earth Song,” an operatic piece where he addresses environment and animal welfare, is a reflection of a leader of humanity who cares deeply about the issues he is challenging.
Global events in the weeks surrounding Jackson’s death alone directly mirror the complex problems for which he attempted to raise international awareness. In Iran and before the world’s eyes, civilian demonstrations were squashed and innocent victims like the young Neda Agha-Soltan brutally murdered by instruments of a totalitarian state. In Washington, D.C., a white supremacist motivated by pure hate attempted a killing spree at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, murdering an African American security guard in his rampage. In North Korea, U.S. journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were unjustly sentenced to twelve years of hard labor to merely serve as international bargaining chips for an evil dictator. Michael Jackson spoke out loudly against these forms of racism and repression and attempted to ignite our passion to prevent the continuance of such abuse, neglect and discrimination. How are we now missing this message when it is even more crucial for it to be absorbed into the public mind? Not only do Michael Jackson’s cries of awakening continue to be ignored but his reputation continues to be smeared. With the current fixation on the gruesome details surrounding Jackson’s physical demise, we have lost focus on the social relevance of Michael Jackson in our cultural timeline. Jackson’s symbol has the power to force what might be a difficult and uncomfortable period of public self-reflection. What progress has been made on the global humanitarian and civil rights issues that Jackson brought to light for the masses? What realistically still needs to be accomplished in each of these realms to actually make future progress? These are the crucial questions that need to be contemplated in the context of Michael Jackson’s death. […] Sometimes it takes one person, not just a political or spiritual leader, who stands out symbolically from the rest of society, to make that society reflect on the principles that it follows and the values it embraces. Jackson, throughout his life and in his death, has been ridiculed and revered, vilified and vaunted. […]”
“His contributions to the entertainment field are no doubt profound. However, it is his broad cultural impact that truly transcends economic, social, political, racial, religious and generational barriers. Jackson rose from being simply a magical performer into becoming a humanitarian of historic import. He was a modern day messenger, a visionary storyteller who raised the level of consciousness for citizens across national boundaries. This level of contribution is what the social contract demands of those who are blessed with natural gifts, power and wealth. Shouldn’t we then embrace and support people who are destined for this life mission instead of deriding them? As history progresses and Jackson’s symbol and work are analyzed in conjunction with the unfolding of human events, the important cultural relevance of his persona will be uncovered. […]The incessant media backlash against Michael Jackson throughout his career and now in his death is driven by the fact that Jackson, as a symbolic figure, forces us to look in the mirror and face the difficult and sometimes intractable problems of our society and in ourselves that we may not want to acknowledge. How dare he? Jackson brilliantly shines light on civilization’s accomplishments and failures in their most extreme forms. […] It just wasn’t believable that someone that acted and looked like him could be kind, sensitive, compassionate and loving. What was the motivation behind it all? What was wrong with him? There had to be something askew. What if Michael Jackson’s motivation was simply to give hope to those less fortunate? Was all of this then just the senseless destruction of a human being to satisfy our insecurities and quell our fears of the unknown and misunderstood. […]”
“It is undeniable that Michael Jackson’s immense celebrity and wealth allowed him to remove himself from mainstream society and observe the world from a privileged vantage point. Sometimes though, it takes that fortunate but isolated position to be able to make the least polluted social observations and ultimately produce the most effective societal commentary through art. Throughout history, the work and lives of multiple artists have been ridiculed and scorned by the public during their heyday, only to be placed posthumously into the canon of the Greats. It is without doubt that Michael Jackson will, in due course, garner this same level of critical acclaim as an artist and most importantly, as a humanitarian.”
[Matt Semino, New York attorney and legal commentator; source: www.michaeljackson.com]
„[...] One number decries the deforestation of the rain forest via a young girl who falls asleep in a Garden of Eden spot, only to awake later with a bulldozer ready to uproot the last plant in the garden. As the film climaxes, a real bulldozer appears on stage, ready to chomp down on Michael. In another number, ten performers have been digitally multiplied into 10,000 marching soldiers as the lyric cries out, “All I really know is that they don’t really care about us.” The film and song present a strong anti-war message, complete with a snippet of a Martin Luther King speech. Jackson’s cast is multiracial, and gorgeous. His musicians were the best of the best. [...] The film’s title has many meanings, as the audience will learn throughout the film. When Michael introduced his tour, he told people, in terms of his own performing career, “This is It.” The show was meant to be his last big public performance extravaganza. When the show reaches the segment regarding the need to stop global warming, “This is It” means we don’t have another planet, and if we don’t turn the current situation around, we may never have another chance. This is it. Toward the end of the show, Michael talks of the importance of loving each other. This is it, the thing we all need most in our lives. Love, spelled L.O.V.E., Michael reminds his cast in a preparatory moment. The film “This is It” is not just for Michael Jackson fans, although fans will certainly enjoy it. But the story is much bigger than that, starting with an unraveling of myths about the man. There is nothing freakish about the man, nothing crazy about him. [...]You’ll see instead, a shy but brilliant artist, with a strong point of view, whose sensibilities are such that he insists key moments in the show wait for a cue on him. [...]”
[Lisa Pease, historian, writer, movie buff; source: www.consortiumnews.com]
“There is no one in the world like MJ. Never has been. Never will be. We all know him in one way or another. In some way he has touched us, been the voice of one of our sweetest memories. And what a wonderful, genuine, compassionate, soft-spoken giant so full of love. He gave us love, excitement, one-of-a-kind moments in a mundane world. I can't believe he won't be with us here on earth anymore. But long from now, when we are all dust, he will still never be forgotten. To the best that ever did it! You are loved, admired and respected forever.”
„You really came to appreciate his kindness and his sweetness and his generosity and the wonderful collaborative spirit that he was about and the way that he worked with people, never wanting to offend anyone. My God, if he thought that he embarrassed somebody, it would just knock him to his knees. That’s why you always saw him, even in the deepest frustrating moments for him, he would say, ‘With the love. That’s what the rehearsal’s for’ because he really appreciated us so much. He said to me, ‘Kenny, go out and find the best artists in the world. Invite them to come and join our journey and then let’s inspire them to go to places that they’ve never been before.’ So Michael knew who was in front of him and he had the greatest admiration and respect for everybody. Even if he had a little debate or a disagreement with someone, he never wanted it to get to the place where that person might have thought that he didn’t care for them or that he didn’t respect them.”
„As we went along over the weeks, everyday he'd say, 'This gives another meaning to "This is It". "This is It", a call to arms. We have to all realize how important it is to invest ourselves and pumping more love back into the world.' He just kept finding more and more and more reasons behind the titles of 'This is It' to nourish the fact that he was doing this and that it was important and that we must.”
„And this was Michael's greatest work, and he was so very passionate about it. He knew that this was a time to return to the stage and remind people of a lot of the messages that had been woven through his music and his art for years. Peace and hope and love and protecting the planet and doing everything we could as a humanity to insure that there is an environment safe enough for future generations to inhabit. We knew from that moment on that this was so important to him. It was a journey we had all begun together that it was very important that we finished it... for and with Michael. [...] Hopefully, if people attend this film (This Is It), and are able to connect with Michael again and are able to hear the messages that are so passionate to him and he was so adamant about. If each one of them goes out and does one thing each day, then that would have made him happy. I believe that starting there can affect a great deal of change, and that would be a triumph. [...] Fortunately, we had the opportunity to assemble this film with Kenny leading the way, and that's all supporting each other, and it began a healing process for us. It proved very helpful and cathartic to be able to sit there with the footage and still be with Michael. I hope that his fans will feel that way, too, that they have him back for a while, and to celebrate him now. I think that the world has mourned for so long, and I'm not at all suggesting that we forget him, but I think it's time to celebrate him and do the work. I think he would want to connect with his fans, get these messages out there, and smile down from heaven that change is actually happening because of his work.”
[Travis Payne, choreographer; sources: www.comingsoon.net]
„He was a father, he was more passionate about things in his life, like all the things that sound corny to people, like love, peace, how we treat people... like the earth, like 'if we don't reverse this thing with global warming'... he was the kindest and gentlest artist I ever worked with," He'd actually say please and thank you."
“I discovered that he was not a diva and he was not a perfectionist in the dictatorial sense where “You must do what I say” kind of thing. He was very collaborative and a lot of people, including me, didn’t really know. I worked with a lotta, lotta stars, big artists, and Michael just had a mystique about him that you didn’t think you could touch him. He was quite the opposite. He was quite probably the kindest, the most generous, the most gracious, the most approachable artist that I every worked with in my life, and you wouldn’t think he would be. We would say “God bless you” and then “I love you” every day. Now how many bosses tell you they love you? Okay? So that’s what it was to work with him. He knew what he wanted and he wasn’t afraid to tell you. But he was also not afraid of change if you could make something better, make his idea better. He was open to that and he didn’t mind being vulnerable in front of you and if you made something better, he would go “Oh no, that’s better. That’s better. I like that better.”
“Michael’s legacy from my perspective is love. That’s what he wanted the world to have. He said we need more of it in the film. That’s what we were able to do with this honor project that his children will be able to see in perpetuity. They will love it. They will appreciate what daddy did which is why he wanted to do it. He said he wanted to do it while he was still young enough to do it and his children were old enough to appreciate it. And his legacy is secure. He loved his fans and he loved the world and he wanted to put more love in it.”
„Michael Jackson was one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever met. He really wanted to do more than just be a musical genius. He wanted to heal and change the world through love, through kindness, through art and through music and I do believe the world’s a better place because he was with us. He was very gentle, very kind. There was, I sort of describe it as a universal Michael and Michael the individual. There was the universalist Michael who wanted to change the globe. Wanted to see the entire world focus on children and he felt that if children were properly loved and cared for that we would significantly reduce the violence in the world, significantly reduce the meanness in the world, significantly reduce poverty, and all of the world’s most important problems. He felt that the way to do that was to focus on the world’s children. So that’s the universalist Michael who thought he could heal the world through music, through love, through humanitarian measures. He was one of the greatest humanitarians in world history. He actually is in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the largest donors to children’s causes, which the media doesn’t like to focus on. There also is the individual Michael, who I dealt with, who was a person, and he loved to see a child smile. He built Neverland to see children happy. He was one of the wealthiest men in the world. He could have spent all of that money selfishly. Instead he had a zoo, he had an amusement park, a theatre, he had statues devoted to the world’s children. If you looked at the artwork in his house, a lot of it centered on children and seeing them happy and respecting them for who they were. Their race, their religion, what part of the world they were from, what kind of native traditions they had. This was someone who as a person, loved to see a child smile. Loved to see a child from the inner city who was growing up in poverty and violence come to Neverland and look at a giraffe and smile and look at an elephant and smile. Get some free ice cream and just be happy. It just meant a lot to Michael because he was a very good person. But unfortunately when you’re that much of a genius, and you’re that wealthy, all of the sharks are going to come forward, and when you combine with that a certain level of naivety, a person who just didn’t want to be wrapped up in money matters all of the time or legal matters. He wanted to do creative things, he wanted to do humanitarian things. That makes him even more of a target for frivolous lawsuits and frivolous claims. [...] Because the media wants shock value and they want to see people go down in flames and they were desperately hoping he would be convicted because it would mean stories for years about what he looked like and how he was doing in prison and was he going to kill himself. Believe me, they were salivating over his conviction and they were trying to skew all of the reporting in a way they hoped would influence the jury to convict him. Even a lot of cheap shots at me throughout that time. Everybody was hoping to profit off his destruction. It was terrible. It’s one of my proudest moments in my lifetime….just acquitting him, vindicating him. In retrospect now, he only had approximately 4 more years to live, at least he was there to be with his kids and just to be vindicated. The trial was so unjust. The case was so unjust and lacking in credibility.”
„Michael was not only compassionate (towards my sister, during his trial) [having eventually lost her battle with lung cancer in early 2005], he sent her the most beautiful and the largest bouquet of flowers you've ever seen. He wrote a little poem for her - it came from him and his children and it was one of the most meaningful things he could have done for her during her final days. One of her last messages to me was that she thought we were gonna win and I thought about her throughout the trial.”
„[...] My meetings with him confirmed my suspicions about these charges. He was a gentle, kind soul. Sensitive, intuitive and creative, it seemed inconceivable that he could be the monster his enemies portrayed him as. [...] The prosecution alleged that Jackson masterminded a conspiracy to falsely imprison a family, abduct children and commit criminal extortion. I can assure you that Michael was not capable of even imagining such behavior. But the more I spoke with him about the alleged molestation charges, the more firm I became in my belief that they were part of a universe of money-making opportunities created by charlatans. During my first court appearance in Santa Maria, the entire Jackson family appeared dressed in white. They were unified, exquisite and powerful in their message of innocence. I delivered my first statement to the media regarding his innocence and my respect for the court and community. My statement included words, to the effect, that this case was not about "lawyers, or anyone else, becoming celebrities." [...]”
„In the wake of his passing, I am haunted by certain late-night phone calls I received from Michael. Childlike, kindhearted and terrified, Michael begged me not to allow corrupt enemies to co-opt my performance. He seemed skeptical about any lawyer truly acting in an honorable, professional manner. I repeatedly assured him that my background had more to do with civil rights than it did Hollywood. The world's most famous celebrity was not accustomed to honest, decent representation. The 14 acquittals were tantamount to complete legal vindication. Nevertheless, I write this with a heavy heart. Michael was one of the kindest, nicest people I ever met. His wistful desire to heal the world with love, music and artistry clashed horribly with the barbaric way he was exploited. The world is a far better place because of him.”
„I was friendly with Michael. I believe that he considered us to be friends. [...] I saw Michael multiple times with his children and thought that he was a very good father. Not only based on seeing him with his children, but also based on his children themselves. They are very well behaved, respectful children, who seemed content in Michael’s company. [...] You could see how much he loved them and how much they loved him. I do NOT believe that Michael did anything untoward to not only his children, but to any other child. He was a child himself. I never in any way viewed him as someone who was capable of doing what they accused him of doing. He was devoted to his family and doted on them. In a town where you more often see children of celebrities with their nannys and in the care of others, I never saw anything like that with Michael and his children. I would say he was a hands on parent, but with the press and some of the public being as they are, I wouldn’t want to say anything that could be interpreted in any way other than the loving scene that I observed between his 3 children and himself. And I stand to gain nothing in stating this. Michael was one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever encountered. He was generous and polite. And where you might expect to see children that were pampered and spoiled, his children showed none of this. [...]”
[Carrie Fisher, source: http://carriefisher.com]
[Madonna; source: www.rollingstone.com]
[Kobe Bryant, source: http://www.kb24.com, (translated from Italian magazine, L’Uomo Vogue]
[Magic Johnson, retired American professional basketball player; sources: www.youtube.com/Jimmy Kimmel Live!]
[Jasmine Alveran, Earth Child, featured in remade video for “Earth Song” from This Is It show; source: www.youtube.com]
“He loved Walt Disney, he studied Walt Disney. He loved it. He read all the books about Walt Disney, that’s why he had an amusement park in his yard. He said one day, when he was 10 years old, he told me: “I’m gonna have a Disneyland in my back yard”, he told me that. He did.”
[Tito and Jackie Jackson, Michael Jackson’s brothers, members of The Jackson 5/The Jacksons, on Larry King Live; source: www.youtube.com]
[David Nordahl; source: www.telegraph.co.uk]
“I wanna take a moment to pay tribute to if not the greatest entertainer of our time, I know he was absolutely one…After you’re friends with someone and you knew them kinda like I knew them, you have to take time now and tell him – and I did, while he was here – so I just wanted to show to you my love for one of the greatest persons and one of the greatest entertainers that has ever lived in our time, I have to tell you that. When someone gives you five decades of their life to music, to entertaining you non-stop…five decades of his life…you must give an applause. (…), you can believe that. You can believe that (“I Will Always Love You”).”
[Whitney Houston, live on tour in Moscow, Russia; source: www.youtube.com]
[Lou Ferrigno, American bodybuilder and actor; source: www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com/Inside Kung-Fu magazine]
[Marlon Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson, member of The Jackson 5/The Jacksons; source: www.mtv.com]
[Michael Bearden, source: www.youtube.com/Lopez Tonight show]
“He was not a criminal and he was not a pedophile. The fact that so many agencies investigated him and couldn't find anything proves he was completely innocent.”
[Thomas Messereau - on the declassification of Michael Jackson’s FBI files -; source: www.billboard.com]
To describe Michael, I would definitely start with: singularly unique. I’ve never met anybody (like him)…Before any of that stuff, before the accolades and all those career achievements and artistic achievements, he was just a really great guy, you know? There were not that many people, ever, that unique who, whenever you see them, no matter how many years go by, it’s always the same, always consistent, loyal; I would say he was very loyal, I would say that he was very encouraging, he always said he wanted to surmount himself and the best people that he could find in whatever their area was, and inspire them to be much greater, and he would always do that. Just being around him was so special and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. […] I asked Michael once “Do these (sensational stories, rumors, lies) bother you, do you ever get upset?”, and he’s like “No..No. Because that’s negative energy and there’s no place for that, and we just have to pray for them”. I think that no one really knew the effect that some things would have on him. I mean, we had a conversation about (the) 9/11 (terrorist attacks) when he was in New York, and so, to hear him recount that and talk about how devastated he was and how he’s running down the hallway and Elizabeth Taylor is there and he’s trying to get everybody into the vans, and how deeply he would be affected by things that would happen on the other side of the world, people he didn’t know, you know, the fact that they were humans, you know, younger humans involved, and the thing was that he would never complain, he would never make it an issue, and I would tell him, I would say: “Sometimes, I think people mistake your kindness for weakness.” And he was like “You’re right”. And I would tell him that I also felt like “You are always putting other people’s needs before your own”, but that was just his nature and that was the way he did it. And we were at the house one time with Carol Woods and I go to play the music and he goes “Oh, turn it down, turn it down…”, and I go “What, what?”, and he goes “The fans outside will hear . I want them to be surprised”, and I say “But it’s Beat It…”, “But I don’t want them to overdo it”. And I was like “Okay”, and I was like “Why don’t you get security outside and ask them to pull down the street…?”, and he’s like “No, no, no, that would be rude”, and I’m like “But you live here, why can’t we play the music?”, and he goes “Well, I want them to be surprised”, and I go “Okay”, and so we’d put the music really low, and then, after we’d finished, he goes outside to the gate and fans come up and he starts talking to them and having conversations, and he’s just standing there talking and they said “What are you, guys, doing inside?” And he goes “It’s a surprise”.”
[Sandrine Orabona, cinematographer; source: www.miamiherald.com]
[Busta Rhymes, American rapper, songwriter and actor; source: www.youtube.com]
[Deborah Ffrench, journalist; source: http://www.sawfnews.com]
[Ken Ehrlich, Grammy producer and longtime associate of Michael Jackson; source: www.vancouversun.com, http://blog.newsok.com]
[Robb Wagner, visual effects producer; sources: www.mjjcommunity.com/VH1 All Access: Making 'Michael Jackson's This is It'"]
[Kenny Ortega; sources: www.mjjcommunity.com/VH1 All Access: Making 'Michael Jackson's This is It'"]
“[The trial period] was very hard for him, and even before that, this was all planned. It was part of the conspiracies, it’s part of the American government, the FBI, to do an investigation for 17 years on Michael Jackson. And for what? They found nothing. And they tried and tried and tried to bring him down, to diminish his popularity, and that’s what it’s so…just unbelievably misunderstood by the world. It’s like, they put these allegations out there, because they want the world to think that he did this. I know my brother. We know each other. My mother raised us to have God in our lives from the very beginning. Michael would never do such thing. But this was a way to put the world’s focus on this, while they’re trying to steal his publishing, his catalogue; he was so powerful. […] But getting back to the trial, this was all a conspiracy and they finally said “We got him”. I feel that, to investigate someone for 17 years, you have nothing on them and you leave the investigations open, they have ways of doing things, that’s why the system is what it is. And that’s what disturbs me, because now, they just release all these FBI files and they said they said they found nothing. They had nothing against him from the very beginning, but you know how this would have made him feel while he was alive, to show that the reason they didn’t release these was because they would have helped him, mentally, his image, his whole demeanor, to people who wanted to believe these ugly things. They knew what they were doing. So, now they release them while he’s dead, because they want him out of the way. And so, I’m speaking like this because I am very disturbed. I’m very disturbed by the system, I’m very disturbed by the way things were handled, because he became so successful, (that) his kindness became a threat. Because that’s the way it is in this world. He’s not interested in politics, he’s not interested in anything but helping people. That’s it. […] [Before finding out the verdict], he was just beating this leg and he was “Why…why, why are they doing this to me?” And they really thought he was going to jail. But (…) his good and his innocence is what freed him. It’s not money….He’s a good soul...That’s what freed him. That’s what freed him. […] They wanted to put his away forever, because they didn’t want the good that he was doing. And they just didn’t want Michael Jackson out there no more, for whatever reasons. And the good that he’s done all over the world, and the message in the music and the type of person that he was and will always be is what freed him. […] (In 2009) he was so excited to sell out 50 shows, ready to get back on the stage and really give people what he was put on earth for, to entertain and make people happy. And all of a sudden, the last night, when they were saying goodbye, and some of his last words…I mean, you saw it, he’s concerned about the planet, concerned about...before the Al Gores, before the Oprah Winfreys, the Obamas, it was Michael Jackson that people looked up to because of the message in his music and what he was put on this earth to do."
[Lionel Richie, American singer, songwriter, record producer, on introducing a Michael Jackson tribute at the 2010 Grammy Awards; source: www.youtube.com; for Prince’s and Paris’ speeches, please visit the Awards & Recognitions section]
“[…] Nearly eight months after Jackson's untimely passing, the release of the new version of "We Are the World" is the latest in a string of events that have served to enhance Jackson's musical and humanitarian legacy, and begin to introduce his message and work to younger generations.
Recent months have seen increasing evidence that old and unproven allegations against Jackson are fading from public view as the world reflects more on his music and his humanitarian work. When major networks, institutions and the Olympics include Michael Jackson's work and his images in their productions and honors, it seems that the claims against him are more discredited than ever in the court of public opinion. For example, in January, Jackson's landmark Thriller video become the first music video to be included in the National Film Archives in the United States. In addition, Jackson's Earth Song became the first 3D video presentation at a live awards show as the Grammy Awards made it one of the highlights. […]”
“I should have come forward with this years ago…it’s been my little secret for too long but now I’m breaking my silence and going public with the fact that Michael Jackson held my hand, too…
The incident took place at Universal Studios during the filming of the music video, Scream, featuring Michael and his sister, Janet. Not too long before this I had met Michael while working on the stage production and rehearsals for the Dangerous tour.
[…] Finally, we get down to business. Michael makes his entrance and is met by Mark who explains the shot. The first footage we shoot with Michael is of him dancing on one of the many white floors seen throughout the video. Michael finds his position, about six feet from camera, does a couple of takes, then mentions how the floor (white vinyl linoleum) was feeling slick. I move in with my tools, a fine grade steel wool, rag and a spray bottle with the ‘special sauce’ and scruff up the floor a bit with the wool then step back. Mark comes out from behind the camera, looks at my handiwork then calls out for Tom before asking me if we lost the ‘gloss’. I say no, give it a quick spray with the special sauce and it dries to a sparkle. When I get up from my kneeling position Michael is smiling at me and says, “I remember you from the tour rehearsal”. I say, “That’s right”, and he asks me how my kids are doing, I say, “Great, amazing.” […] I grabbed a 12-step (ladder), scrambled to the top and began sawing. In an unfortunate moment the portable saw kicked back and amputated a third of my left ring finger. Without word, I reached in my back pocket for my rag, wrapped my finger with it and stepped down off the ladder and exited the set. […] Suddenly the crowd parts and Michael appears and stands there for a moment, leaning over me, looking down. He looks at my left hand held in the air then he looks at me. Then just like that he is on his knees by my right side and he picks up my right hand and holds it in his. He looks me straight in the eye and tells me how sorry he was, he kept repeating how sorry he was, and then he had tears in his eyes and he held my hand until the ambulance came and took me away.
That next week, recovering at home, the gifts began arriving from Michael and Janet, tasteful and cool things like great soaps, a bathrobe, incense, a card. Anyway, that’s my story. Michael Jackson held my hand, too.
Michael, if you read this, thanks for caring.”
[Doug Lewis, stage producer; source: http://veniceartsclub.wordpress.com]
“He came to Zhongshan to see what China was like. It wasn't until I got the list of tourists that I discovered I would be receiving Michael Jackson. On the list there were arrangements for vehicles and restaurants. Then I realized that a superstar was coming! Most of his fans in China feel regret that he never performed on the mainland. However, 22 years ago, he stepped on China ground. He was very nice. At that time, he wasn't surrounded by a large group of bodyguards. In Yongmo Village, many foreign tourists and villagers recognized him and asked for photographs and signatures. He was fascinated by the rice fields, water buffalo and ducks in the pond. Along the road there were villages and farmhouses. He walked on the bluestone road in Yongmo Village, looking with great interest at a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth. He also said 'Hi' to children and took photos with an old woman in front of her house. He and his companions took lots of pictures and videos of the village. […] Michael Jackson was a vegetarian at the time, so we prepared vegetarian food for him. Other than that, it seemed that he wasn’t very picky about food. As the main attraction in Zhongshan, the Museum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and the houses in Cuiheng Village were the "must-go" places for many foreigners. In the Museum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, he showed great interest in architecture with Chinese characteristics. He asked me to tell him stories about Dr. Sun Yat-sen. He seemed to admire him a lot. It was said that he had a Chinese tunic made to order in Hong Kong and brought it back to the United States. He left us with good memories. He was very quiet but also very friendly and would greet the children and take pictures with them. His stay was so short that we didn’t have a chance to discuss specific topics in any detail. When he went back to Hong Kong, he asked his agent to send the group photo to me - and he signed it. To us, it was a wonderful memory. And Michael had kept it for us. hough he is gone, I will always think of him when I look at those photos. He's an extraordinary superstar and will remain in our minds.
[Liu Guangzhi (translated by James Chen), Chinese English-speaking tour guide; source: http://worldmeets.us]
A couple of hours into the flight, my grandma (literally) falls ill. What started as a stomach ache, ended with Granny fainting and tumbling into the aisle.
When she awakes, hovering above (next to my grandpa) and holding out his hand, Michael Jackson.
“Are you o.k.?” MJ asked, in his delicate voice.
He helps Grandma up, and invites my grandparents to join him in first class. They accept.
While Grandma rests, Grandpa enjoys first class service and chats it up with Jackson. They discuss family, food, and Italy (Gramp’s favorite subjects.)
Upon landing, Michael offers to drive my grandparents from LAX to my folks’ house (in the valley.) Once again, they accept.
With Grandma getting pushed through the airport in wheelchair, they make their way to MJ’s limo. However, in an effort to dodge paparazzi, they’re forced to make three limo transfers by Jackson’s security.
Once settled and on the 405N, Michael pops in one of his favorite movies (at the time) Men in black. They watch it together.
Once they arrive at my childhood home, Mom opens the front door to find my grandparents standing on the stoop, with Michael Jackson behind them (holding their bags).
MJ enters the house, puts the bags down, and stands in front of the Christmas tree. He is enamored by its beauty and the “family spirit” in the home.
My mom, in utter shock, FAILS to grab a camera to document the event, instead invites Michael Jackson back for a Christmas party. He politely declines, returns to his limo, and heads to Neverland Ranch.
While a photograph was never taken, he left our family with an amazing memory, one that showed us Michael Jackson’s heart, soul, and genuine kindness. […]”
[Chris Cantore, music enthusiast; source: www.chriscantore.com]
“[…] I do feel like he is in a better place. I do feel like the man that he is and what he did with what he had was right and, in God’s eyes, honorable. Later on, being able to honor him most recently at the Grammy’s [with a performance of Earth Song] with Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, as well as Smokey Robinson and the entire team…Celine Dion as well…I felt like that was a story…that was a story in a song that I felt like anybody needed to hear. I felt like it speaks, once again, of the philanthropist that he is and what he really wanted for our planet. You know, I miss him…and as long as I’m living and there’s a breath in my body, I’ll be entertaining with his stripe on my shoulder, and remembering the incredible moments that I’ve had enjoying Michael; and me…who I am, I couldn’t have been that if I didn’t see all those moments and be inspired.”
[Usher, on the Westwood 1Xtra show; source: www.youtube.com]
“I think he was an angel that was sent to us, and I think that we might have to reflect on how well we took care of him. People like to say ‘Oh, people around him were bad and they didn’t do right by him’, but I think it’s a collective too, because I don’t know the last time and I can’t remember any other artist that attracted that much energy and projected that much power. That was that creative, and affected so many people...was such a diplomat for America and a champion for the American culture and African-American people, worldwide. You know, people wanted to move to America because of Michael Jackson, industry changed, music industry changed because of Michael Jackson, that’s a gift to us and, you know, I’m concerned that the good Lord may not send another one because maybe we didn’t take good care of him. That’s just me. […]”
[Wesley Snipes, American actor; film producer, martial artist; source: www.hollywoodoutbreak.com]
“I’ve known of Michael Jackson since, of course, he was a youngster. My children had known him more intimately than I. But I would say that we became closer to each other in the last 10 to 15 years. […] I met with Michael in a hotel in New York and I said to Michael: “It’s one thing if a million women cheered you, but it’s another thing entirely if a million men cheered you.” And what I would ask Michael is: “If you would sing to the millions that had gathered, I’m looking at the man in the mirror and I’m asking him to change his ways” and, of course, all of us who have principles, we are surrounded by people who advise us pro and con. Michael did not sing, but Michael gave a 100,000 dollars to the “Million Man March”. It was greatly appreciated, but Michael has been getting closer and closer in terms of looking at Farrakhan, listening to Farrakhan, how much he agreed or disagreed, we’d never discussed. But in the last several years, we got, I would say…close. […] If he needed me, he knew how to reach for me, and we were never that far away from answering whatever Michael’s desire was. […] I knew, as Michael grew in consciousness, and wanted to do things to help uplift Africa, African-American people and, of course, Michael, as an international spirit, would uplift anyone who was in need of being lifted, but in the closing ten years or so of his life, I noticed his desire, greatly, to uplift Africa, to work with President Mandela and to do things in video and in movies that would show black people to themselves in a better light. We talked by phone for the 2 or 3 New Year’s, he would call and wish me a Happy New Year and send me about the biggest bowl of fruit that I had ever not only seen, but I had never seen a bowl of fruit that big. We did not do that much communication by telephone, but when I spent time with Michael at his home, he was a very giving person, and I must say to his fans I didn’t get to know Michael just from the beauty of his music and the greatness of his gift musically, but I got to know Michael from a deeper level, the very spirit that energized him to do the things that he did, to write the lyrics that he did, to fight the causes that he fought, this came from a spirit (…) that was not of this world. Michael, to me, had the anointing of a spirit that was beyond this world, and you could tell it by the fact that Michael touched every race, every creed, every color, every ethnicicity, every tribe, it didn’t matter whether you were a Democrat, a Republican, a Socialist, a Communist, he touched…if you were gay or straight, he touched. Michael was, in his life, one of the most universally accepted human beings who demonstrated through his music […] Michael, to me, like Barack Obama, was like a herald of a new kind of age, an age where human beings would not be troubled by the color of their skin, not be troubled by their tribal differences, by their ethnicity, their biology; Michael was a man for the new world that God, in my judgement, promised through the mouth of his prophets that He would bring in. And when one would sit and watch Michael’s concerts, especially the one that my son got from Michael, that he played for me…was it in Romania?...Bucharest. And when you see human beings…I mean, just pass out, because Michael was more, to them and to us than a singer of songs or a great dancer, he was a human being that touched human beings in the deepest part of our being. And that’s, of course, my sentiment toward him, which in the interview, I’d probably wanna go deeper into that. But one thing I wanna say to your wonderful viewers and fans and lovers of Michael…when I visited him, we sat in a room of his house…and, of course, Michael missed his childhood…and, you couldn’t be with Michael in an intimate setting and he not talk about the childhood that he missed, the sleepovers, the pillow fights, the kind of things the children do. […]
I spoke to some that were very close to him (about the This Is It concerts). I was in Africa…or on my way to Africa. And I got a call that there was some nervousness about the number of concerts that Michael was signed to do, and his health, stamina, and that if Michael failed to perform what was in the contract, there was fear or concern that those who wanted to strip him of his (Sony) catalogue and were working for years to weaken him in his cash flow, so that he would give up more and more of his strength, of his catalogue…I mean, his ownership of this catalogue. And, you now, the world has to look at Michael. Michael was not just an entertainer, he was a heck of a business man. […]
[…] If you’re gonna use your fame and your wealth to begin to guide human beings away from destructive paths [like Michael did], then you become dangerous to those who profit from the loss of the human beings, from their dignity and their self-respect, so I suspect…and I go back to the first charge that Michael molested some young boy, if you know Michael, you know his tender heart, you know Michael is not a man that like to fight So, if Michael has money, a lot more than most have, ‘I’ll pay him’. Not because he was guilty, but because Michael did not wish the notoriety, the fight, so Michael paid. But the media was out to cripple him; once you become a pervert in the eyes of the public, that’s the first step in crucifixion, is to destroy your reputation. So, in the crucifixion of Jesus, you know, he is a Man doing all those miraculous things, and all of a sudden, one day, the people said ‘Crucify him’. Why? Because the propaganda of that day, put out against Jesus, made the people to hate Jesus without a cause. So, this was to destroy (Michael’s) fan base; so, after you take him down in his character that he’s not a good person, he’s damaged and destroyed the life of a child, now you begin to see this step up the propaganda…Wacko Jacko and all these kinds of ugly things that the media kept saying about Michael. So, in America, his popularity level went down, his recording sales went down, but his fans that were so loyal to him stayed with Michael, and in Europe, they never bought the propaganda, they bought his records. Now when Michael was riding that crest, still hurting, they came back at him again. And this second time, when they raided Neverland, that hurt Michael to such a degree, that I heard that he, really, after that, didn’t take any joy in going back to Neverland again. And the moment he won the case, which…I mean…in that county where he won the case, the case was overwhelmingly in his favor, so the jurors, not moved by Michael’s gift or talent, they were moved by the weight of the evidence, and they exonerated Michael, but the media never did. […]
[…] Michael was very very sensitive, intuitive, intelligent. […] Michael, in This Is It, was gonna show the world something. I’m not sure that I understood what I was looking at, but when Michael was in London, and Michael said ‘Well, this is it!’, and he raised his fist and then he gave the victory sign or the peace sign, Michael was prepared then to fight not only for his place in the music world, but to fight to regain the dignity, the honor, the respect that many in the media tried their best to take from him. And the military uniforms that Michael wore, the drilling that we saw in This Is It, that showed his preparation for his final concert tour, Michael was becoming more and more militant, and those that could stomach Michael as a great performer may not have been able to stomach Michael as a militant spirit for justice in the world, against war and the misuse of young people all over the world […]. So, when Michael begins to see the wickedness that abounds in high places, Michael will not only begin to sing about it, Michael would speak about it. ‘Leave me alone!’, he said, in that beautiful video that he did about the earth and the killing of the beauty of this that God gave us to keep it pure, to keep it good, to keep it wholesome for these generations and future generations. The speech that Michael made at Oxford…who would know that Michael was that brilliant, that he could write a speech - and I’m sure he didn’t have a speech writer – that spoke to his heart, to his love for his family, his love for humanity, his desire to see people with differences reconcile those differences. Know Michael was about to step onto another stage, and if This Is It was his last concert, then what beyond?...Where were you going, Michael? What were you going to do for humanity, beyond the beauty of your soul, your songs, your dance? What were you gonna do?...Michael was gonna lead. Michael was a great leader. Deep down inside the beauty of This Is It, you could see Michael behind the scenes orchestrating. Mom didn’t wanna go and see it, La Toya and Janet didn’t wanna see it, because they know Michael wouldn’t put anything out less than perfect, but this was a chance for all of us to see the genius of Michael, his paying attention to every single detail…[…] Michael was driven by the same force that fuels the Sun, and that Sun has been burning out there for billions and trillions of years, and people wonder ‘What fuels the Sun?’ When you loved as deep as Michael loved, there’s a fuel that age, time does not erode as quickly as it would those who would have other motivations. Michael was motivated by the awesome power of love. [...]"
[Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of The Nation of Islam, advocate for black interests, critic of American society – interviewed by Raffles van Exel – source: www.youtube.com]
“Aging glam-rocker Gene Simmons made international headlines last month when he claimed to know that Michael Jackson had molested children. In an interview with Classic Rock, Simmons alleged that Jackson was on tape ordering alcohol for children and that during the star's 2005 trial a travel agent had testified to importing Brazilian boys for Jackson's amusement. He also claimed that a musician friend had quit a Jackson tour after seeing 'boys coming out of the hotel rooms.'
What followed was a classic example of copy and paste journalism. Within hours the story had been duplicated by hundreds of blogs, forums and news websites from Australia to India to the USA. None of them had fact-checked the story before they re-hosted it. Jackson was never on tape ordering alcohol for children. There was never any testimony during his trial about young Brazilian boys. Both of these claims were easily disproven by trial transcripts.
As a relative Jackson expert, I was also unaware of any musician ever leaving one of the singer's tours midway through. So when I sat down a fortnight ago for an interview with Jackson's long serving tour guitarist Jennifer Batten, I ran the story by her.
She told me that no musician had ever quit a Jackson tour. Two musicians had been fired but both were let go before the show hit the road, so they couldn't possibly have witnessed anything going on inside hotels.
When Sawf News published Batten's rebuttal I observed an all too familiar phenomenon. Although the story appeared on Google News and was picked up fairly swiftly by the Examiner, nobody else seemed willing to touch it. Whilst Simmons's speculative and ultimately baseless accusations had been reproduced the world over, Batten's expert rebuttal was being suppressed.
I soon began receiving emails from Jackson's fans telling me that they were sending the story to every celebrity news outlet they could think of, including several of those which published Simmons's initial allegations.
But more than 48 hours later, typing an exact quote from Simmons's rant into a search engine produced almost 350 webpages. The number of news outlets hosting Batten's rebuttal? Three.
This was not the first time I'd had a Jackson story suppressed. After Evan Chandler's suicide in November 2009 I was contacted by the Sun and asked to supply information about the 1993 allegations. I spent quite some time compiling my research, advising the newspaper of common myths and how to avoid them, being careful to source all of my facts from legal documents and audio/visual evidence.
When I read the finished article I was stunned to find that all of my information had been discarded and replaced with the very myths I had advised them to avoid. I alerted staff to the inaccuracies but my emails were not replied. The same inaccuracies appeared in every single article I read about the suicide.
The same bias manifested itself the following month when Jackson's FBI file was released. Across more than 300 pages of information there was not one piece of incriminating evidence -- but that's not the way the media told it.
A videotape seized at customs in West Palm Beach and analysed for child pornography was repeatedly referred to as belonging to Jackson. In actuality, files stated merely that the tape was 'connected' to Jackson and that connection appeared simply to be that somebody had written his name on the sticky label.
In another document the FBI logged a telephone call from a tipster claiming that the bureau had investigated Jackson during the 1980s for molesting two Mexican boys. The files made no other mention of the supposed investigation and the claim was ascribed no validity -- the call was merely noted. But the media persistently referred to the anonymous tipster's unsupported allegations as the FBI's own conclusions.
Jackson's FBI file overwhelmingly supported his innocence but its contents were routinely manipulated to give the opposite impression.
Many are quick to scoff when Jackson's fans speak of a media conspiracy to destroy the star's reputation and I used to scoff with them. As a member of the industry I prefer not to think of it as sinister and conspiratorial, but I find it increasingly difficult to explain away the bias with which Jackson is treated.
I wonder whether the problem is pride. When the 1993 allegations broke, the vast majority of information available was released, either officially or unofficially, by the prosecution. Jackson, meanwhile, remained characteristically silent.
Perhaps because the prosecution's version of events went almost completely unchallenged (although I imagine that drama and selling newspapers had something to do with it, too), the media primarily chose to portray Jackson as guilty.
But as the facts started to trickle out it became increasingly apparent that the case was full of holes. The allegations had been instigated not by the boy but by his father, who had demanded a scriptwriting deal from Jackson before he went to the police. He was on tape plotting to destroy Jackson's career and dismissing his son's wellbeing as 'irrelevant'. Then the boy told cops that Jackson was circumcised, but a police body search concluded that he was not.
Although Jackson's innocence looked increasingly likely, most news outlets had made their bed and to this day they seem unwilling to do anything but lie in it.
Whatever the motivation, be it pride, profit or plain old racism, the bias against Jackson is undeniable. The suppression of Batten's comments proves once more than when it comes to Jackson the media is interested not in fact or reason but negativity and sensationalism. Batten accompanied Jackson on all three of his world tours and was known for a decade as his 'right hand woman'. But Simmons -- who self-confessedly did not know Jackson -- has been given over 100 times more media coverage for his inaccurate ranting than Batten has for her firsthand experience.
It is time for outlets to assume responsibility for their own content. Websites should not re-host other publishers' stories unless they can be completely certain that the content is factual. Even if the media refuses to print the truth about Jackson, they should compromise by not printing the lies either. At least that way he can rest in peace.”
[Charles Thompson, journalist; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]
“[…] We stopped and people who hadn't met him before were introduced to him. I remember seeing his manager Frank Dileo come in with the ponytail and the cigar. It was kind of surreal seeing the two of them together. I just remember Michael looked gorgeous close up. He was just beautiful. He was very much hands on and he was an extremely hard worker. By the end of rehearsals we were running the show a minimum of once a day, sometimes twice. I would say that's the number one thing I learned from him: the value of rehearsing that much and that intensely, because by the time we hit the stage everybody was relaxed. […] I was approached in the beginning by somebody who said I could make a lot of money by talking to the National Enquirer, I was just appalled. I thought 'that is just sick', you know? I just got this great gig. Why would I sabotage it like that? It seemed like a really evil thing to do. […] If he wanted to go anywhere he had to alert the security and he had to really have it planned in advance. If he wanted to go to a store they would have to be called and shut it down for him. He was a prisoner of the hotel room, really. […] He did [treat himself and us to special excursions], first at the Tokyo Disneyland. That was just unbelievable. We would go on the rollercoaster rides and when we were done they would just ask us, 'Do you want to go around again?' We were very, very spoiled. […] He wanted to come out with the biggest show on earth. He wanted it to be like Christmas for people. His imagination was like a creative tornado. He would come up with his wildest dreams and then hire people to carry it out. It was really amazing to be a part of that. […]
"I figured [the 1993 child molestation case] was an extortion case, which I still figure it is. Everybody was concerned about him. I think it pains all of us that he was so attacked and so unfairly. Most artists are sensitive and he was talented times ten, so ultra sensitive, and to be slung that kind of stuff... I mean, you can hear it in his lyrics. It's a real drag because you wonder what kind of music he would have come up with if people weren't attacking him like that. Honestly, I think it would have been considered uncool amongst the press to take Michael's side. I think it would take a brave soul to do that, which is really sad. Really pathetic. Even at the 2005 trial... I know people who were inside the courtroom and then they would watch the news at night and it was complete lies. [In the weeks after Jackson’s death] they were respectful for about two or three hours and then they turned it into a tabloid festival. I just couldn't watch it. There were a lot of specials on about him and once in a while I would turn one on and it was just ****. I guess it makes money to just bring up negativity and stir up controversy but it's pathetic and I just can't watch it. It's all about money now, not about truth. People can be very cold. […]”
[Jennifer Batten, American guitarist; source: www.sawfnews.com]
“Michael Jackson not only was a great artist, and one of the most incredible…the most incredible performer we will ever know, he was an incredible human being. […] I always knew my brother was a thousand percent innocent, that’s why I stepped forward. They put him through hell, then the FBI really just disappointed me, cause this is the American system, the government that’s supposed to be just. They’ve investigated my brother for 17 years and they knew that even when he was cleared on both cases, why didn’t they release they files, so any doubt in their mind, whether he did that or didn’t do it, they would realize he never did it. They release the files after he’s dead. […] I’m in shock, still to this moment. There’s not a second that goes by that I don’t think about him. I was with Tito earlier, we just sometimes say it at the same time ‘Can you believe he’s not here?’ And the reason why is because we lost a brother. Forget about the superstar, the songs, all the things he’s done…he was our brother. It was like a nightmare. It was horrible. […] [I miss] everything (about him), hearing his laugh, seeing some of the new creative ideas that were coming, the videos, just how we used to reminisce about the old days, old times and things like that. [I don’t get tired of talking about him], because it’s part of the healing, of letting it out, because…we still cry, but to talk about it, we’re learning to live with the idea, but never really being satisfied and never forgetting…it’s something you have to learn to live with.”
[Jermaine Jackson – interview with Van Der Worst Zie Sterren (RTL 4) – source: www.youtube.com]
“He was a great father to his kids, you know?...(The children) are doing wonderful, I just saw them right before I came right here (for the launch of This Is It DVD in Australia, March, 2010), and I told them I was coming, they wanted to come with me. ‘Uncle Jackie, can we come?’ I said ‘No, you gotta stay in school’, so…[…] He loved his fans. He loved children, people, he loved his fans, he treated his fans the best, ‘cause he knew without the fans, he wouldn’t be where he is today.”
[Jackie Jackson, source: www.youtube.com]
“[…] My dream now is to become an entertainer. Just like Michael was. I just want to entertain, have my own music videos, music. Not even do it for the money, just do it for myself and for people who actually appreciate it. That's always been my long-time dream. My other dream came true, meeting Michael, dancing with Michael. Now my last, ultimate dream is to become a successful entertainer and to keep his legacy living on. He changed me right from when I was little but now he's taught me that anything is possible. Whatever you do, just go for it and always give it 125%. No... 180%! Just live on the stage. If this is your passion then just have fun onstage. If you're frustrated then let it all out. Connect with the music. Connect with the audience. I just learned so much from him on a professional level, just by watching him, listening to him. He was an amazing man when it came to that. I just want to take that on and use him like a father figure.”
[Kriyss Grant, dancer; source: www.kriyssgrant.com]
“There are those rare visionaries who come along, maybe a few every millennia: the Bodhisattvas of the world. They are usually empaths who begin in childhood to literally feel the pain of the world and make vows to the cosmos early in life to change or improve it. They go about spreading awareness and mobilizing forces for change in order to make the world a better place. Counted among them are: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, John Lennon, Lady Diana Spencer, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mattie Stepanek, Nelson Mandela and a little Moonwalker.
The most famous man on earth literally stopped the world and the Internet when he became immortal on June 25, 2009. Michael Jackson was such a one - a cheerleader for humanity and a force for coalescing compassion and mobilizing global forces for change, philanthropy and social reform. A global messenger, Michael’s rise to stardom afforded him visibility and a worldwide platform from which to broadcast his message. His boldness and artistry garnered attention and Michael knew how to get attention. When he pulled enough people in and had everybody’s attention—he emphatically delivered the message. It was cloaked in a form that everyone could understand—the universal language of music.
As a child, he acutely felt the pain of the world and especially the world’s children. Michael’s words in his book Dancing the Dream reveal a thread of spirituality and mysticism rare for one so young. His body of work is filled with myth, metaphor and musical and visual story that encodes a stunning spiritual message for the human race. One has to look closely and deeper for the real message: his Ghost short film holds a jaw dropping message about humanity, mirror and shadow.
His Man in the Mirror song written by Siedah Garrett, became a Gandhi-esque anthem for a generation. He donated 100% of the proceeds of that song to charity as he did with many of his concerts including the Victory Tour with his brothers. Man in the Mirror encourages self reflection and mastery and being the change you wish to see in the world: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror; I’m asking him to change his ways; no message could have been any clearer; if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”
Michael also produced They Don’t Care about Us and other songs to address police brutality and mistreatment by authority. His song and video Black or White changed minds and advanced racial equality and multicultural diversity. His We are the World composition with Lionel Richie and accompanying video gathered 39 of the most visible faces on earth to raise millions to save lives in Africa. Heal the World was sung by children around the globe and at the 1993 Super Bowl halftime show where the whole stadium became a collage of earth’s children of all races and ethnic origins. Michael was the impetus behind Live Aid, Band Aid and he is responsible for starting the trend for musicians and celebrities to engage in fundraising and philanthropy.
His environmental anthem and epic music video Earth Song, was a prominent feature of his planned comeback concert This Is It. Earth Song carries the message that we must become not only custodians but stewards of the planet or risk destroying or losing it. His spiritual messages in the form of self-reflection, commitment and action boldly took on: racism, inequality, war, poverty, gangs, illicit drugs, apathy, the misuse of power, evil, at risk youth, education, family bonds and a host of contemporary social issues. Videos of Earth Song Live can be found on You Tube stunningly raw in their emotion and stark in their message.
Michael’s Don’t Stop till You get Enough is about the Force featured in Star Wars by George Lucas; he was a fan of both Lucas and Spielberg and he understood the concept of The Force, an intuitive conscious energy that permeates creation. He often said it was that intuitive energy, Force, or God who wrote his lyrics, performed and worked through him. He denied his own genius saying that his creativity and power didn’t come from him but through him. He writes about it Dancing the Dream. The last album Michael produced, Invincible included Cry, a song about us—meaning humanity the collective, being the chosen one and needing some kind of sign that we are: ‘on it’… the mission to change the world and create a better version of the human.
Michael’s international concerts featured a military tank screaming onto stage and a soldier who lays down his weapon for a child who extends an offering of peace. He organized concerts at the world’s troubled spots like the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea asking his promoters to send him where he was needed. He teamed up with Pavarotti in benefits for the Warchild organization to help children in Kosovo and Guatemala. He organized a series of benefit concerts in Germany and Korea. He recruited Slash, The Scorpions, Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, A. R. Rahman, Prabhu Deva Sundaram, Shobana Chandrakumar, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti for the Michael Jackson and Friends concerts. The proceeds were donated to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, the Red Cross and UNESCO.
After the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City, Michael Jackson helped organize the United We Stand: What More Can I Give benefit concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., which aired on October 21, 2001 and included dozens of major artists. His song What More Can I Give was written for the benefit and he donated it to the 9/11 families. He founded the Michael Jackson Burn Center at Culver City Memorial Hospital in California. Attending President Clinton’s inauguration, he asked for more funding for AIDS research after Ryan White, another child he had befriended, died from the disease. Michael Jackson is listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as supporting the most charities of any entertainer—thirty nine of them. He met with heads of state and marched with armies round the world. The arm band he wore every day on his sleeve was homage to children and he vowed to wear it until there were no more wars on the planet and no more hungry children. His taped fingers were to remind him and us that there were still injured and suffering children in the world.
Michael, while on tour, would visit orphanages and hospitals in the countries where he played to concert audiences. He often met with leaders and if he found deplorable conditions during his visits, he would threaten to cancel a concert unless the conditions improved within 24 hours. No one ever ignored his demands for it would likely have caused citizen revolts. There are also hundreds of stories from people who were personally contacted by Michael Jackson. After a sniper opened fire at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, Michael called the local sheriff to request an escort from the airport to the school to visit the children; Dave Dave was a child who was badly burned when his father doused him with kerosene and lit him on fire and Michael, upon hearing the story, insisted on meeting and befriending him; Bela Farcas needed a liver transplant when Michael met him at Bethesda Hospital in Budapest so Michael paid for his new liver; he funded burials for children whose families couldn’t afford them and in one case, he sent his sequined jacket and a glove for the child to be buried in; he donated clothing and belongings for fundraisers and was the recipient of humanitarian awards too many to mention during his life and more since the recognition of his contributions since his death.
For decades, his Neverland Valley Ranch hosted monthly guest vacations, whether he was there or traveling, for children who were: gravely ill, inner city, handicapped, poor, at risk youth, gang affiliated, disenfranchised and disillusioned. The video for his famous Beat It featured real gang members Michael recruited—the Crips and the Bloods who collaborated to film it; the two groups had never before cooperated on anything except violence. His work with children was legion and very dear to his heart. Twice during his career, his celebrity, wealth and deep pockets brought accusers and accusations into his life—of improprieties with children. The accusations hurt him deeply and were later proven false and attempts to extort money from him. Although found innocent, the ordeal of his 2005 trial had harmed his reputation and was deeply wounding causing him to never host children at his fantasy ranch, nor live there again. He left his home feeling it had been sullied irreversibly by unscrupulous accusers and underhanded law enforcement personnel. He would never again sleep in his bedroom, in fact sleeping at all became rare; his sleep problems escalated and eventually led to his untimely and eerie death.
Most of Jackson’s work asks us to be emissaries of change and the evolution of human consciousness. The man leaves in his wake, an unparalleled humanitarian legacy, planetary midwifery and the alchemical power of the Bodhisattva used to enhance humanity and the planet. Using voice, magic, majesty, artistry, dance, mystery, sensuality, musical genius, enchantment and colossal talent to get their attention, pull people in, and marshal forces to deliver his message, Michael trumpeted the message: Heal the world, make it a better place; make that change and change the world.”
If one digs underneath the hype, sensationalism and medialoid portrayal of Jackson, one finds a visionary and true humanitarian. If one looks beyond the label of “crazed” attributed to his fans, one finds mostly intelligent, thoughtful people who quite possibly are the greatest legacy he left this world. As the world’s most famous and visible global humanitarian and cheerleader, he leaves behind a worldwide family of 250 million admirers who are taking his teachings seriously. Michael always said his fans were his legacy. Many in the media have given them a cursory dismissal because of the “fan” label. But they got the message and they mean to be the change they want to see in the world and make it a better place. They are an army of humanitarians who are being the change. They mobilize themselves and resources for causes like the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and others. They got Michael’s message and are weaving it into their lives.
Perhaps it’s time Michael Jackson is recognized for who he really was and not for the media frenzied and tabloid portrayal that pandered to a sophomoric public drunk and fixated on the cult of celebrity. His genius is there for anyone who wants to take a closer look, who wants the truth and not the tabloid caricature version. If he were recognized for his real accomplishments we would see an unappreciated visionary and genius, a spiritual teacher among us who was hiding in plain sight and masquerading as a Moonwalking Maker of Magic. If you feel impelled at all to take a closer look you may find your mouth agape and your surprise staggering. And you might even come to understand the Force that was Michael Jackson; then the real legend continues.”
[Barbara Kaufmann, award winning writer, peacemaker minister, healer; source: www.voiceseducation.org]
“[…] Michael referred to not only me but all his loved ones as Applehead, it was a term of endearment for him. […] Michael loved his fans dearly and so often spoke about how much love he had for every single one of you, the fans kept him going and made him happy. He was a wonderful father, friend, uncle, son, brother and just an all around good person! […]
Everyone knew my uncle Michael as one of the greatest performers that ever lived and while I don’t argue that, he was just simply uncle Mike to me. We called him uncle doo doo affectionately because he loved to joke around and play, all the time. He would call me and my brother up in the middle of the night, we hadn’t talked to him for months and he would prank call us using a different voice! We thought it was so funny until we found out it was him. The media may have said a lot of stuff about my uncle that wasn’t true but he never had to convince his family, we always knew what kind of person he was. I remember going to school and having to stand up for my uncle many times because kids knew that it would hurt me and my brothers. I remember all my friends thought I was cool because I was Michael Jackson’s niece but I thought my uncle was the coolest because he always had the time for me and always had a good heart. He never said no to us kids, we have a huge family and whenever Michael was around, and he laughed, tickled and played with us (yes, even when we got grown and older). People painted this picture of my family as being distant and not close, but we all were. We had family day where we would pick a day and somebody’s house, then we would all come and just have fun. I remember for my 7th birthday my uncle was on tour, he gave my mom the keys to Neverland and we had my party there, all my cousins had their birthday parties at Neverland. It was tradition!
Another memory for me is my uncle calling me Applehead, he calls everyone in our family apple head, even my cousins Prince, Paris and Blanket. It was a comfort word for him. I will miss him dearly and always have memories of happy times but in my heart, as long as I can hear my uncle’s laugh, his voice, still remember his hugs and kisses, then my uncle will never pass on. He is always with me! […]”
[Steveanna Jackson, Michael Jackson’s niece; source: www.facebook.com (personal page)]
“He has a very cold look. Frost.”. This was the first impression I got on the flight Rio-Salvador which I shared with Michael Jackson 13 years ago, when he was recording with Olodum. But that impression slowly faded away when I witnessed one side of the singer who maybe just few could see. In the few minutes that I remained standing five feet in front of the star, I tried all ways to interview him. […] But if I could not interview him, despite being the only reporter in the world in there, I witnessed, very close to him, a performance that sparked a clatter of belts being unbuckled and made everyone turn their necks to the first chair of the Boeing 737.
Michael Jackson spent much of the flight playing with his companions, a boy and a girl aged six years at the time. With them, the look of his eyes was different. It was sweeter. I closely followed what few saw and heard: a fairy tale in which he portrayed a little lion lost in the forest. The children were delighted with the roars and the faces during the story. Me too. It was better than any of those mega video clips of the star on TV. This was an almost exclusive clip. For me and for the children.
[…] But who had the greatest privilege was the flight commander. Michael went to the booth and sang a cappella, “Heal the World” when the plane was flying over Itaparica Island (near Salvador), and I was thinking I had already had the best times of my life before this!”
"I was thrilled and intrigued by (Michael’s) invitation, I had watched the Jackson Five perform in Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace more than three decades ago. The images from the concerts are etched in my mind. […] The first time I attend the Oscar ceremony, ET was competing against Gandhi, You know, Jackson had contributed music for ET. […] He told me he was also thinking of producing films and wanted to be a partner in those ventures. He was looking ahead of the concerts. Naturally, the comeback concerts were foremost on his thoughts, but he was feeling very confident of launching films and related projects. […] I am a big fan too. Michael Jackson's rise was spectacular and what he was doing two decades ago was showing way to people of colour that they could cross the barriers and be accepted in the mainstream, like Sidney Poitier did before him, and many, including Barack Obama, would later. Somehow, Jackson was able to connect with people of various background. It wasn't just great music and dance. It was great music and fabulous movements. […]
[…] When I began making films in Hollywood, I had changed my career. I knew I was in a town where mistakes were not easily forgiven. I knew I came from a country that had just a handful of its people in Hollywood. So I look around and who are the people who inspired me? Sidney Poitier, the Jackson Five and Michael Jackson in particular. He was not only a gracious host, but he was also someone who was interested in you as a person. […] We ought to remember him for his music, for his achievements including crossing the boundaries.”
[Ashok Amritraj, independent Hollywood producer; source: http://movies.rediff.com]
“I have never written about the brief relationship I had with Michael Jackson.
But, upon learning of his untimely death last week, I felt compelled to offer a different perspective on the Jackson I knew.
I don't need to tell you he was a genius. I don't need to tell you the impact he had on the music industry or that he was loved throughout the world.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have nothing bad to say about Jackson. In fact, it's just the opposite. He gave me some of the most unforgettable moments of my life. And, for that, I will be forever grateful. […]
[…] When fans asked the King of Pop whether they could get an autograph or take a picture with him, he'd occasionally say, "If it's OK with her," pointing to me.
It was always OK with me. Who was I to break a fan's heart?
[…] Being a part of Jackson's entourage was fascinating and eye-opening. I got to see the inner workings of a superstar's multifaceted, precision-like machine. […]It became clear, early on, that while he was sometimes soft-spoken, he was strong-willed and very direct when he wanted to make a point or have something done. On concert nights, I'd watch as MJ walked from his car to a spot underneath the stage where a platform would eventually elevate him into position to make a powerful entrance. The favorite part of my job was standing in the wings night after night, watching him hit every mark with precision and thinking how blessed I was to observe a master craftsman at work.
Because he had such a commanding presence, I think people forgot he was a man. He's been elevated to superstar status for so long, it's hard for some to look at him as a human being who puts his pants on one leg at a time.
I saw him in those pensive, quiet moments before going on stage. I witnessed him, sans television cameras, sitting, comforting and talking to a child in a hospital who was fighting a serious disease. This is the guy who, on Thanksgiving in Australia, thought it was important enough to come share a meal and celebrate with his staff and crew.
When it comes to Jackson, I can only speak my own truth. The Jackson I came to know was friendly and respectful to me. And, on those occasions when I caught his eye, he would give me that shy, childlike smile.
"And, when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of Heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun."
In gratitude, I say thank you, Michael Jackson. Thanks for the magic, the music and enough memories to hold me a lifetime. — Darlene”
“The version in this post is the one and only time Michael ever sang the song (“Fall Again”). One take. He hadn't even had a chance to learn the song properly (and what an amazing job he did!).
The day he recorded Michael, (songwriter, producer) Walter (Afanasieff) came back to my session at Sony Studios about 2 hours later beaming. He spoke in glowing terms about Michael, about his voice, about his politeness and talent. And what touched me the most was he told me that Michael's children (Prince and Paris) were at the session and M.J had set up a t.v monitor in his recording booth so he could see the children playing with the Nanny in another room while he was singing. The session was cut short because the children were poorly and Michael wanted to be a good Dad and tend to them. He apparently apologised and left the session after only one take. […] It's amazing to hear Michael's demo version of 'Fall Again' so many years later and be in awe of his artistry. Michael is the reason I became a performer (having seen his 'Bad' tour in 1987 and knowing in an instant that performing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life). Listening to his records taught me how to sing. I'm proud that years later in my own career there are pieces of him in my work. And although he is not with us anymore, I like to think that little spark he ignited in me as an artist is part of his legacy. […]”
[Darren Hayes, Australian singer-songwriter; source: http://twitter.com/darrenhayes]
“[…] I was hired to shoot Michael and his brothers, The Jacksons, on a TV show, American Bandstand, and it’s a big TV show in the States…music show. And the first time I met Michael on the set of the TV show I said ‘Hello, Michael!”, and he goes ‘Hi…” and looks away. But when I met his brothers, they were very cool, ‘Hey, what’s goin’ on, man, how ya’ doing, what’s happening, what kind of car you got? Oh, that’s a crappy car’. We were just kidding around and we connected very quickly. So, I just hung out with his brothers. Then, I noticed everybody from the record company and other people from the television station were buzzing around Michael all the time, just trying to get his attention, because, clearly, he was…he’s the star, you know? So I just stayed away. I just took the pictures when I had to and I stayed away. Then, I photographed him on Soul Train, a black music television show. Same thing, I was hanging out with his brothers, we were joking, talking sports, talking about the Lakers and having a good time, and I just said “Hi, Mike’, then I withdrew. Then, I got hired a week later, because Michael was going to receive his awards, his platinum record awards for Off The Wall. And, so I got hired to photograph the record company giving him these multiple platinum record awards. And so, I’m backstage, it as at a performance, they were gonna get us backstage. The limousines pull up, the brothers and Michael get up, they walk to their dressing room and I said hello to Tito, I said hello to Marlon and everybody, and then, when Michael comes up, I just go (*bows head”) like that, he comes right up to me and he goes: “Todd, how come you never talk to me? You joke with my brothers, everybody, but you never talk to me. Don’t you like me?’ I was shocked. I was shocked, because you never have a superstar, a super superstar come and go “Don’t you like me?’. Usually, they’re trying to tell you, “Hey, get away!”. It was completely reverse. And I said, “Michael”, you know, I had to calm myself, I said ‘Michael, you’re fine. I like you. It’s just that you look so busy all the time, I try to give you your space, you know? Because there are so many people around you, I just try to give you your space. “So, you like me?” (he asks), I said, “Michael, I have no problem, I like you.” ‘Okay” (he says), and then he walks away. And I thought ‘What happened!?”, and then I wondered did I make him angry, you know, pissing off, that he had to ask me if I liked him and I was thinking I had a problem, you know, like “What’s wrong with me?” We go to Disneyland the next week. I get a call to photograph him on Disneyland. At Disneyland he says, ‘Todd, put your cameras away’. He was doing a television special. ‘Let’s go on rollercoasters.’ I went on rollercoasters with him, I was screaming and yelling and then, a week later, I get a call from his manager, “Todd, Michael called me; you’re the only photographer he wants you to shoot.” And I said why? And he said “Michael said he likes Todd, because he doesn’t talk much.”
[…] He was a very lonely man, he was a very lonely person. He was imprisoned by his fame and…you know, when you’re that successful, there’s a price to pay, and he was the most successful and he had to pay the highest price and he had to keep a certain amount of security for his privacy. I wouldn’t say he’s depressive, but melancholy. He’s emotional, he would sometimes be like this, quiet, in himself, and sometimes ‘What you do today? We’re gonna do this! Yeah, let’s do that, let’s go have fun, come on, Todd, let’s do this!”
[…] When we were going up the rollercoaster and Michael sees my face and, as you can see, I show my emotions, and I must have been like this (*puts on stiff face*) going up the track for the rollercoaster, and Michael goes “Todd, you’re not scared of rollercoasters, are you?”, and I go ‘No, I’m not scared’, and when that starts, Michael was screaming with joy and laughter and pleasure, and I’m in complete terror. And I always remember that […] Oh, there’s one other story, if you’d like to hear it. We were in the back of the bus, the tour bus and we were looking at a children’s book of photos of children from around the world, and there were some really powerful photographs of starving children in Africa and starving children in India, and Michael was starting to tear in his eyes, I mean, literally, his eyes were getting wet, and he goes, “Oh, Todd, this is so sad, we have to do something’, he goes I wish we can make a book, I wish we could go to Africa and India and take photos. You could take photos of the starving children and I’ll write something and we can show the world all the suffering that’s going on and help these children’. And he said, ‘Todd, would you do that with me?’ and I said “Yeah!...”; he goes “We can travel around the world and we’ll make this book and, you know, it will be for charity”. And I said “Yeah”. We talked about it a few more times and then, it sort of faded away. But four years later, he did ‘We Are The World’ […]. And I thought, “My God!”, that’s the seed for that idea was with the conversation we had in the back of the bus four years before. […]
[When I heard about Michael’s passing] I was sitting in this chair, right in this room…I was sitting in this chair when I heard the news, and I was working on this book, I was working on my book for one year. I started in May, 2008, on my book. This room was full of Michael Jackson photos. That’s it. Only Michael Jackson photos. ‘Cause I had about 200 photos in the room up. My wife come in that door and she taps me on the shoulder and she says ‘Michael just passed’. And all of a sudden, these Michael Jackson photos were just looking at me…and the life of them just sucked out of the photographs. They just changed in an instant. Before, there were all of these memories of joy and now they are markers of sadness and loss…that quickly. […]
There were gangs, I mean real gang members from South L.A. […], the black gangs were there, the latino gangs were there, and serious gang members. So, when you see that video (‘Beat It’) and those heavy-duty guys, those are real! […] And, as soon as they saw Michael dance – because they said there had to be a truce - they honored that truce and it was amazing. Michael was walking around the gang guys without security. NO security. And you could just see the respect they had for Michael. […]
[…] He respected his voice so strongly, he was like an opera singer. He would be drinking teas with lemon and honey constantly, doing scales all the time. We were in the South, and there’s a hundred degrees, like 45 centigrades or something…hot! Going to the hotel room, he would turn off the air conditioner, because it would irritate his voice. So, when you go into Michael’s room, it was like going into a desert, it was so hot, and he’s like sweating a little bit […]; he was suffering a lot for his art, he was a totally committed artist, totally committed. […]
[…] When I was working with him, you cannot say dirty jokes, you can’t be smoking cigarettes, you cannot drink alcohol. It’s a clean space that he keeps around him. When you’re constantly caught surrounded by this view, reality looks different from this this lens, because everything around you is so sort of nice and cheery, so his view of the world, I think, is different than the view of the world that we have. When we walk on the sidewalk, we step into some dog doo. With Michael Jackson, all of the dog doo is swept aside where he goes. So he has a different perspective and I think that, after time, that changes your perspective of life.”
[Todd Gray, celebrity photographer; source: www.youtube.com]
“[…] It's a great loss for us and I just hope and pray that the creator, whatever you believe in, still holds us in favour to send us another angel like that. Because if not, we may have lost more than just a man. It must be something very special to send a man like that down. He influenced so many different people, so many different industries, politics, science, music, art... and then to be taken away? Maybe we didn't take good care of him.”
[Wesley Snipes; source: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk]
”Michael’s concern for people certainly seemed genuine – you don’t give away millions of dollars unless you really believe in the cause. Nor do you open your home to strangers unless you really want to. […] In truth, I think he was bored and fed up with being Michael Jackson. I think he just wanted a quiet life but felt under pressure to be Michael Jackson all the time. As an artist, Michael Jackson had the complete package. He could sing, dance, write and compose. Little Richard once called Michael Jackson the ‘most complete artist’ he ever knew. Michael Jackson, at his peak, raised the bar for quality as both a recording artist and a live performer.
But there have other artists who could sing, dance, write and compose. James Brown and Prince both spring to mind but there are plenty more. However, none of them inspired the same hysteria and adulation as Michael Jackson. I think it was his personality that his fans really bought into. Michael Jackson’s relationship with his fans went beyond posing for the occasional picture or signing the odd autograph. For instance, in 2001 he played two concerts in New York – one on September 7th and one on September 10th. The terrorist attacks happened on the 11th and many fans who had flown to New York to see Michael Jackson were left stranded with little or no money. Jackson tracked down some of those fans and covered them financially, paying for their hotels while they were stuck in NY and then funding their trips home. There aren’t many other artists who would do that.
[…] I was saddened by the loss and I think his story is as tragic as it is triumphant. I feel sorry that he will miss watching his children grow up and it’s a shame that he fought tooth and nail to survive his trial only to die four years later having not done a whole lot in the interim. […] I interviewed Aphrodite Jones in 2008 for a now defunct magazine called Deadline. The article is on my website. She made a comment during the interview about the public’s enjoyment of the ‘lynching’ of celebrities: “There’s this ghoulish sense of everyday people taking pleasure in witnessing the downfall of celebrities; this morbid sense of glee at watching those better off than ourselves being punished for their success.” […] Many think he may have been targeted on account of his race and I think it would be shortsighted to rule that out entirely. I often compare Jackson to Jack Johnson, the world’s first black Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Johnson’s media treatment was unarguably racist, and Jackson’s media treatment has been unarguably similar; name-calling, rampant misquoting, bogus stories, derogatory cartoons, biased coverage of criminal allegations – so on and so forth. Just as Johnson was a black world champion more than fifty years before segregation was lifted, Jackson was a black man who outsold Elvis and owned the Beatles in an era when MTV still didn’t like putting African Americans on its TV channels. […] What is undeniable is that in certain areas of the media there is a blatant and concerted attempt to slander Michael Jackson as frequently as possible. Facts are intentionally misstated and false information is intentionally represented as truth. That much is unarguable.
I reported (a totally factually inaccurate feature) to the Press Complaints Commission for breaching about seven sections of the Code of Practice, including an overt reference to Jackson as ‘a common paedophile’. Unsurprisingly, they found no merit to my complaint. They don’t seem to be interested when newspapers baselessly accuse an innocent black man of paedophilia. And yet, if the Daily Mail referred to Paul McCartney as a ‘common paedophile’, I think the PCC would probably have something to say about it. That story about Evan (Chandler) trying to kill his son didn’t suit the media’s agenda. It portrayed Evan as a violent and shady character and suggested that the pair’s relationship was far from tight-knit or functional, lending credibility to claims that Jordy despised his father for apparently forcing him to lie in 1993. That story about Evan trying to kill Jordy with a barbell – it shattered the myth of Evan as the doting father who just wanted justice for his son. The timing was particularly bad for the media as the incident happened shortly after Jackson’s 2005 trial, during which most outlets had routinely skewed evidence and testimony in order to portray Jackson as guilty. Their first accuser discrediting himself [again] didn’t quite tally with the picture they’d been trying to paint. […]”
[Charles Thompson; source: http://extrememichaeljackson.wordpress.com]
”[…] But the first time I actually met Michael Jackson was in 2006. I was invited to Bahrain to take part in one of the preliminary car races for the Formula One Grand Prix. Our gracious host was Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who was also playing host to another member of royalty, King of Pop Michael Jackson.
[…] As I walked up to Michael, he extended his hand and said, "Hi, Tim." That was weird, but I guessed he had been briefed prior to our arrival. Then I figured I'd try to break the ice, so I said, "Hi ... and you are?" The prince and everyone within earshot looked at me with disbelief, but the King of Pop simply replied "Michael" with no sense of ego whatsoever. I smiled, "I know," and we laughed. To the relief of everyone listening, Michael had a sense of humor.
Before dinner, everyone sat down in the living room and made conversation with each other. Michael didn't say anything at first. He just sat back and played the observer, listening to the conversation, laughing at times and paying close attention at others.
[…] Dinner conversation was as diverse as the characters sitting around the tables. The topic of his big comeback came up early, and Whoo Kid started telling him he should "get hip-hop with it" — cut the hair short, go for a new look and get some bling. Ha. When I told Whoo Kid to show him his big, diamond-encrusted watch, MJ joked, "What is that?" We couldn't stop laughing. […] Right in front of us all, he effortlessly broke out a few dance moves (and totally wiped the floor with Tyson). There was a rapturous applause all round. MJ took a small bow. Tyson sat on the floor in submission. It struck me that Jackson was at his most comfortable when performing; and for an obviously shy man, there was a part of him that loved the attention. It was getting late when Jackson said his goodbyes. He said he was going to spend some time with his kids, who were staying next door, and then read a little.
The Michael Jackson I met was someone who liked to laugh and joke, but he also seemed happy to forget that he was one of the most famous people in the world and appreciated normality in his life. But that wasn't just a normal dinner for me; it's something I'll be telling my kids about one day.”
[Tim Kash, TV presenter and personality; source: www.vh1.com]
“I NEVER ASKED him to moondance, and I never asked him for a picture. Michael said that when he was leaving. He said, ‘Paddy, you’re the only person who I’ve met in my whole entire life who’s never asked me for a picture’. […] Michael had heard about the place (the Victorian mansion, Coolatore House in Ireland) through an agent; he had lots of agents. […] He was very interested in how this country worked, and the boom that was on here at the time. He was an avid reader of The Irish Times; he read it every day from start to finish. […] He was here, or around, all the time. We’d go for walks, and he was fit. Michael could move really quickly; I’ve never seen anyone move so quickly. He was like a ballet dancer.
[…] I eventually told my mam. And then my mam was saying prayers for Michael. And then Michael rang his mother and told her that my mother was saying prayers for him, and then she was saying prayers for my mother, so I went back to my mother and told her ‘Michael Jackson’s mother is saying prayers for you, Mam’. My mother is a small little lady up in Walkinstown and it’s just mad to think that Michael Jackson’s mother was saying prayers for her. […] Although I’m a crap musician, I can say I’ve played with Michael Jackson, I played drums with him. And I sang with Michael. We’d be singing in the car. We sang that song, The Girl Is Mine, that Michael recorded with Paul McCartney. He did Paul McCartney’s part, and I did Michael Jackson. […] He loved history and mythology.
[When he departed the midlands, to attend the funeral of James Brown, he left the Dunnings his television, toys that had been bought for Prince Michael Junior, Paris and Blanket, various hats, a signed piece of wood (all visitors sign a slice of tree trunk) and a page of scrawled signature in the Visitors’ Book]. He was a very generous man. […] We’d told him about (Dunning’s Wax) Museum. He was always interested in wax museums. He said, ‘If I’m around, I’ll launch it for you’. He was due to be in England at the time to do the shows at O2, and we were going to be going over to the shows and all of that. It was a massive shock when we heard he was dead.”
[Paddy Dunning, Irish entrepreneur; source: www.irishtimes.com]
“I try to remember my brother…let me tell you who my brother was: he was a great artist, great performer, dedicated to his career, maybe the best that has ever stepped on stage…a warrior setting goals and accomplishing them, but, more important, he was a great parent, a great son, a fun-loving jokester crazy brother, hard-headed, but fun; a man that dedicated his life and doing his part to improve the life of others. That’s who he was. (June) is a difficult month for me, a difficult month for my family. […]”
[Randy Jackson (CNN interview); brother of Michael Jackson, former member of The Jackson 5/The Jacksons; source: www.youtube.com]
”I knew Michael Jackson. I'm a close friend of the family. I love Michael Jackson, what he's done for music, what he 's done for life. I'm just a fan. I love everything that he's done. He could never do no wrong in my eyes. I mean, I loved the music that he made, the spirit that he brought, just showing people how to love and how to reach out and give back because that's what he did with most of his time and his money, was spent on giving back. He was never about himself, it was always about others.”
[Snoop Dogg (on Larry King Live), American rapper, record producer and actor; source: www.youtube.com]
“I wanna take this time and say thank you to Michael Jackson. Thank you for coming into my life with such beautiful music, thank you for bringing me joy, for bringing the planet joy. Thank you for giving me escape, thank you for helping me to find my dreams. When you’re in the ghetto surrounded by crowd and violence…you gave me escape…I would escape from all the drama around me listening to your music. Thank you, Michael Jackson, thank you for your dedication, thank you for your music…thank you for the dreams…I used to wanna dance like you, I used to draw pictures of you…Thank you for letting me work with you…thank you for reaching out and trying to teach me things about music industry and how cruel people can be, but at the end of the day, loving and appreciating the craft and appreciating the fans…Thank you for flying me to Ireland to work with you, thank you for coming to the show and talking to me on the telephone and answering my phonecalls and calling me on Father’s Day, knowing that I don’t have a dad…thank you so much…thank you for being a friend…You needn’t have had to know me, but you got to know me…thank you. We’ve all lost a great artist, a light to the world, a true talent…We will always remember you…You’re one of the most strongest (sic) people that I’ve ever met, you’ve undergone so much scrutiny, so much criticism from evil wicked journalists who have nothing better to do but criticize…You have seen the music industry rise and fall; you’re not just the King of Pop, you’re king of the industry, you are the king of the music industry. There will never be an artist that will impact the world like you have, there’ll never be an artist that will sell as many records as you…never. There are no record stores, how could there be? There’ll always be Michael Jackson copycats. Thank you so much, you have made the world a wonderful place, you have brought us joy and we thank you for that and we will pray for your and your family…we will always love you. Thank you, Michael Jackson.”
[Will I Am; source: www.youtube.com]
“It was five years ago today (June 13, 2005) that twelve jurors unanimously acquitted Michael Jackson on various charges of child molestation, conspiracy and providing alcohol to a minor. It is difficult to know how history will remember the Michael Jackson trial. Perhaps as the epitome of western celebrity obsession. Perhaps as a 21st century lynching. Personally, I think it will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in journalistic history.
It's not until you find yourself digging through newspaper archives and re-watching hours of TV coverage that you truly understand the magnitude of the media's failings. It was industry-wide. No doubt, there were certain reporters and even certain publications and TV stations that overtly favored the prosecution, but many of the media's shortcomings were institutional. In a media obsessed with soundbites, how to you reduce eight hours of testimony into two sentences and remain accurate? In an era of rolling news and instant blogging, how do you resist the temptation to dash out of the courtroom at the earliest opportunity to break news of the latest salacious allegations, even if it means missing a slice of the day's testimony?
Looking back on the Michael Jackson trial, I see a media out of control. The sheer amount of propaganda, bias, distortion and misinformation is almost beyond comprehension. Reading the court transcripts and comparing them to the newspaper cuttings, the trial that was relayed to us didn't even resemble the trial that was going on inside the courtroom. The transcripts show an endless parade of seedy prosecution witnesses perjuring themselves on an almost hourly basis and crumbling under cross examination. The newspaper cuttings and the TV news clips detail day after day of heinous accusations and lurid innuendo.
It was November 18th 2003 when 70 sheriffs swooped on Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. As soon as news of the raid broke, news channels abandoned their schedules and switched to 24 hour coverage. When it emerged that Jackson was accused of molesting young cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo, the boy who famously held the singer's hand in Martin Bashir's 'Living With Michael Jackson', the media went into overdrive. Networks were so obsessed by the Jackson scandal that a terrorist attack in Turkey went almost entirely unreported, with only CNN bothering to broadcast George Bush and Tony Blair's joint press conference about the disaster.
All three major networks immediately set about producing hour-long specials on the Jackson case, apparently undeterred by the fact that nothing was yet known about the allegations and prosecutors weren't answering questions. CBS dedicated an episode of 48 Hours Investigates to the arrest, while NBC's Dateline and ABC's 20/20 also rushed out Jackson specials. Within two days of the Neverland raid, and before Jackson had even been arrested, VH1 announced a half-hour documentary called 'Michael Jackson Sex Scandal'.
Daily Variety described the Jackson story as "a godsend for... media outlets, particularly cable news channels and local stations looking to pump up Nielsen numbers in the final week of the all-important November sweeps."
Daily Variety was right. Celebrity-oriented news shows saw figures spike when the Jackson story hit. Viewing figures for Access Hollywood were up 10% on the previous week. Entertainment Tonight and Extra both achieved season best audience numbers and Celebrity Justice also enjoyed an 8% rise.
Newspapers reacted just as hysterically as TV stations. 'Sicko!' shrieked the New York Daily News. 'Jacko: Now Get Out Of This One' goaded the New York Post.
The Sun - Britain's biggest newspaper - ran an article titled 'He's Bad, He's Dangerous, He's History'. The piece branded Jackson an 'ex-black ex-superstar', a 'freak' and a 'twisted individual' and called for his children to be taken into care. "If he weren't a pop idol with piles of cash to hide behind," it said, "he would have been picked up years ago."
Encouraged by the audience boosts the Jackson scandal had produced, media outlets made it their mission to milk the case for all that they could. Entertainment Weekly's Tom Sinclair wrote, "Media mavens, from the tackiest tabloid reporter to the nattiest network news anchor, are in overdrive scrambling to fill column inches and airtime with Jacko scoops and talking heads."
"Pressure on news people is enormous," attorney Harland Braun told Sinclair. "So lawyers you've never heard of wind up on television talking about cases that they have no connection to."
Sinclair added, "And not just lawyers. Everyone from doctors, writers, and psychiatrists to convenience-store clerks who once waited on Jackson are weighing in on TV and in print."
While the media was busy badgering a host of quacks and distant acquaintances for their views on the scandal, the team of prosecutors behind the latest Jackson case was engaging in some highly questionable behavior - but the media didn't seem to care.
During the Neverland raid District Attorney Tom Sneddon - the prosecutor who unsuccessfully pursued Jackson in 1993 - and his officers breached the terms of their own search warrant by entering Jackson's office and seizing hoards of irrelevant business papers. They also illegally raided the office of a PI working for Jackson's defense team and lifted defense documents from the home of the singer's personal assistant.
Sneddon also appeared to be tampering with fundamental elements of his case whenever evidence came to light which undermined the Arvizo family's claims. For instance, when the DA found out about two taped interviews in which the entire Arvizo family sang Jackson's praises and denied any abuse, he introduced a conspiracy charge and claimed they'd been forced to lie against their will.
In a similar instance, Jackson's lawyer Mark Geragos appeared on NBC in January 2004 and announced that the singer had a 'concrete, iron-clad alibi' for the dates on the charge sheet. By the time Jackson was re-arraigned in April for the conspiracy charge, the molestation dates on the rap sheet had been shifted by almost two weeks.
Sneddon was later caught seemingly trying to plant fingerprint evidence against Jackson, allowing accuser Gavin Arvizo to handle adult magazines during the grand jury hearings, then bagging them up and sending them away for fingerprint analysis.
Not only did the majority of the media overlook this flurry of questionable and occasionally illegal activity on the part of the prosecution, it also seemed perfectly content to perpetuate damning propaganda on the prosecution's behalf, despite a complete lack of corroborative evidence. For example, Diane Dimond appeared on Larry King Live days after Jackson's arrest and spoke repeatedly about a 'stack of love letters' the star had supposedly written to Gavin Arvizo.
"Does anyone here... know of the existence of these letters?" asked King.
"Absolutely," Dimond replied. "I do. I absolutely know of their existence!"
"Diane, have you read them?"
"No, I have not read them."
Dimond admitted that she'd never even seen the letters, let alone read them, but said she knew about them from "high law enforcement sources". But those love letters never materialized. When Dimond said she 'absolutely knew' of their existence she was basing her comments solely on the words of police sources. At best, the police sources were parroting the Arvizos' allegations in good faith. At worst, they'd concocted the story themselves to sully Jackson's name. Either way, the story went around the world with not a shred of evidence to support it.
It was over a year between Jackson's arrest and the beginning of his trial and the media was forced to try to pad the story out for as long as they could in the interim. Aware that Jackson was bound by gag order and therefore powerless to respond, prosecution sympathizers started leaking documents such as Jordan Chandler's 1993 police statement. The media, hungry for scandal and sensationalism, pounced on them.
At the same time, allegations sold to tabloid TV shows by disgruntled ex-employees in the 1990s were constantly re-hashed and presented as news. Small details of the Arvizo family's allegations would also periodically leak.
While most media outlets reported these stories as allegations rather than facts, the sheer amount and frequency of stories connecting Jackson to ugly sexual abuse, coupled with his inability to refute them, had a devastating effect on the star's public image.
The trial began in early 2005 with jury selection. Asked by NBC about prosecution and defense jury selection tactics, Dimond said the difference was that prosecutors would be looking for jurors who had a sense of 'good versus evil' and 'right and wrong'.
No sooner had the jurors been selected than Newsweek was trying to undermine them, claiming that a middle class jury would be unable to fairly judge a family of lower class accusers. In an article titled 'Playing the Class Card' the magazine said, "The Jackson trial may hinge on something other than race. And we don't mean the evidence."
As the trial kicked into gear, it became quickly apparent that the case was full of holes. The prosecution's only 'evidence' was a stack of heterosexual porn magazines and a couple of legal art books. Thomas Mesereau wrote in a court motion, "The effort to try Mr. Jackson for having one of the largest private libraries in the world is alarming. Not since the dark day of almost three quarters of a century ago has anyone witnessed a prosecution which claimed that the possession of books by well known artists were evidence of a crime against the state."
Gavin Arvizo's brother, Star, took the stand early in the trial and claimed to have witnessed two specific acts of molestation but his testimony was completely inconsistent. Regarding one alleged act, he claimed in court that Jackson had been fondling Gavin, but in a previous description of the same incident he told a wildly different story, claiming Jackson had been rubbing his penis against Gavin's buttocks. He also told two different stories about the other alleged act on two consecutive days in court.
During cross examination Jackson's lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, showed the boy a copy of Barely Legal and repeatedly asked if it was the specific edition Jackson had shown him and his brother. The boy insisted that it was, only for Mesereau to reveal that it was published in August 2003; five months after the Arvizo family had left Neverland.
But this information went almost entirely unreported, the media focusing on the boy's allegations rather than the cross examination which undermined them. Allegations make good soundbites. Complex cross examination does not.
When Gavin Arvizo took the stand, he claimed that Jackson had instigated the first act of molestation by telling him that all boys had to masturbate or else they would turn into rapists. But Mesereau showed under cross examination that the boy had previously admitted his grandmother made that comment, not Jackson, meaning that the whole molestation story was predicated on a lie.
Under cross examination the boy severely undermined the prosecution's conspiracy charge by claiming he'd never felt afraid at Neverland and he'd never wanted to leave. His accounts of the alleged molestation also differed from his brother's.
Unfortunately for Jackson, Gavin Arvizo's cross examination was all but ignored as newspapers giggled and gossiped about what became known as 'pajama day'. On the first day of the boy's direct examination Jackson slipped in his shower, bruised his lung and was rushed to hospital. When Judge Rodney Melville ordered a bench warrant for Jackson's arrest unless he arrived within an hour, the singer sped to the courthouse in the pajama trousers he'd been wearing when he was rushed to hospital.
The photographs of Jackson in his pajamas went all over the word, often with no mention of Jackson's injury or the reason he was wearing them. Many journalists accused Jackson of faking the entire event in order to gain sympathy, although sympathetic is the last word you'd use to describe the media's reaction.
The incident didn't stop the media from sending Gavin Arvizo's lurid allegations around the world the following day. Some outlets even ran the boy's testimony as fact rather than conjecture. "He Said If Boys Don't Do It They Might Turn Into Rapists - Cancer Boy Gavin Tells Court of Jacko Sex," wrote The Mirror.
But the boy's cross examination was another story. It went almost completely unreported. Instead of stories about Gavin Arvizo's lies and the two brothers' contradictory allegations, newspaper pages were filled with snarky opinion pieces about Jackson's pajamas, even though 'pajama day' had been days previously. Thousands of words were dedicated to whether or not Jackson wore a wig and the Sun even ran an article attacking Jackson for the accessories he pinned to his waistcoats every day. It seemed like the press would write anything to avoid discussing the boy's cross examination, which severely undermined the prosecution's case.
This habit of reporting lurid allegations but ignoring the cross examination which discredited them became a distinct trend throughout Jackson's trial. In an April 2005 interview with Matt Drudge, Fox columnist Roger Friedman explained, "What's not reported is that the cross examination of these witnesses is usually fatal to them." He added that whenever anybody said anything salacious or dramatic about Jackson, the media 'went running outside to report on it' and missed the subsequent cross examination.
Drudge agreed, adding, "You're not hearing how witness after witness is disintegrating on the stand. There is not one witness, at least lately, that hasn't admitted to perjuring themselves in previous proceedings either in this case or in some other case."
This alarming trend of ignoring cross examination was perhaps most apparent in the media's coverage of Kiki Fournier's testimony. Under direct examination by the prosecution, Fournier - a Neverland housekeeper - testified that when at Neverland children often became unruly and she had sometimes seen children so hyperactive that they could, feasibly, have been intoxicated. The media scurried outside to report this apparent bombshell and missed one of the most significant pieces of testimony in the entire trial.
Under cross examination by Thomas Mesereau, Fournier said that during the Arvizo family's final weeks at Neverland - the period during which the molestation supposedly happened - the two boys' guest room had been constantly messy, leading her to believe they'd been sleeping in their own quarters all along - not Michael Jackson's bedroom.
She also testified that Star Arvizo had once pulled a knife on her in the kitchen, explaining that she did not feel it had been intended as a joke and that she thought he'd been 'trying to assert some sort of authority'.
In a devastating blow to the prosecution's increasingly hilarious conspiracy charge, Fournier laughed at the idea that anybody could be held prisoner at Neverland Ranch, telling the jurors that there was no high fence around the property and the family could have walked out at any time 'with ease'.
When Gavin and Star's mother Janet Arvizo took the stand Tom Sneddon was seen with his head in his hands. She claimed that a videotape of herself and her children praising Jackson had been scripted word for word by a German man who barely spoke English. In outtakes she was seen singing Jackson's praises then looking embarrassed and asking if she was being recorded. She said that had been scripted too.
She claimed she'd been held hostage at Neverland even though log books and receipts showed that she'd left the ranch and returned on three occasions during the period of 'captivity'. It became apparent that she was currently under investigation for welfare fraud and had also been falsely obtaining money on the back of her son's illness, holding benefits to pay for his cancer treatment when he was already covered by insurance.
Even the most ardent prosecution supporters had to admit that Janet Arvizo was a disastrous witness for the state. Except Diane Dimond, who in March 2005 seemed to use Janet Arvizo's welfare fraud (she was convicted in the wake of Jackson's trial) as roundabout proof of Jackson's guilt, signing off a New York Post article with the gob smacking line, "Pedophiles don't target kids with Ozzie and Harriet parents."
Watching their case crumble before their eyes, the prosecution applied to the judge for permission to admit evidence of 'prior bad acts'. Permission was granted. Prosecutors told the jury they would hear evidence of five former victims. But those five prior cases turned out to be even more laughable than the Arvizos' claims.
A parade of disgruntled security guards and housekeepers took the stand to testify that they had witnessed molestation, much of it carried out on three boys; Wade Robson, Brett Barnes and Macauley Culkin. But those three boys were the defense's first three witnesses, each of them testifying that Jackson had never touched them and they resented the implication.
Moreover, it was revealed that each of these former employees had been fired by Jackson for stealing from his property or had lost a wrongful termination suit and wound up owing Jackson huge amounts of money. They'd also neglected to tell the police when they supposedly witnessed this molestation, even when questioned in connection with Jordy Chandler's 1993 allegations, but subsequently tried to sell stories to the press - sometimes successfully. The more money on the table, the more salacious the allegations became.
Roger Friedman complained in an interview with Matt Drudge that the media was ignoring the cross examination of the 'prior bad acts' witnesses, resulting in skewed reporting. He said, "When Thursday started, that first hour was with this guy Ralph Chacon who had worked at the Ranch as a security guard. He told the most outrageous story. It was so graphic. And of course everybody went running outside to report on it. But there were ten minutes right before the first break on Thursday when Tom Mesereau got up and cross examined this guy and obliterated him."
The fourth 'victim', Jason Francia, took the stand and claimed that when he was a child, Jackson had molested him on three separate occasions. Pushed for details of the 'molestation', he said Jackson had tickled him three times outside his clothes and he'd needed years of therapy to get over it. The jury was seen rolling their eyes but reporters including Dan Abrams heralded him as 'compelling', predicting that he could be the witness who put Jackson behind bars.
The media repeatedly claimed that Francia's allegations had been made in 1990, leading audiences to believe that the Jordy Chandler allegations were predated. In actuality, although Jason Francia claimed that the acts of molestation occurred in 1990, he didn't report them until after the media storm over Chandler's claims, at which point his mother, Neverland maid Blanca Francia, promptly extracted $200,000 from Hard Copy for an interview with Diane Dimond and another $2.4million in a settlement from Jackson.
Moreover, transcripts from police interviews showed that the Francia had repeatedly changed his story and had originally insisted that he'd never been molested. Transcripts also showed that he only said he was molested after police officers repeatedly overstepped the mark during interviews. Officers repeatedly referred to Jackson as a 'molester'. On one occasion they told the boy that Jackson was molesting Macauley Culkin as they spoke, claiming that the only way they could rescue Culkin was if Francia told them he'd been sexually abused by the star. Transcripts also showed that Francia had previously said of the police, "They made me come up with stuff. They kept pushing. I wanted to hit them in the head."
The fifth 'victim' was Jordy Chandler, who fled the country rather than testify against his former friend. Thomas Mesereau said in a Harvard lecture later that year, "The prosecutors tried to get him to show up and he wouldn't. If he had, I had witnesses who were going to come in and say he told them it never happened and that he would never talk to his parents again for what they made him say. It turned out he'd gone into court and got legal emancipation from his parents."
June Chandler, Jordy's mother, testified that she hadn't spoken to her son in 11 years. Questioned about the 1993 case, she seemed to suffer from a severe case of selective memory. At one point she claimed she couldn't remember being sued by Michael Jackson and at another she said she'd never heard of her own attorney. She also never witnessed any molestation.
When the prosecution rested, the media seemed to lose interest in the trial. The defense case was given comparatively little newspaper space and air time. The Hollywood Reporter, which had been diligently reporting on the Jackson trial, missed out two whole weeks of the defense case. The attitude seemed to be that unless the testimony was graphic and salacious - unless it made a good soundbite - it wasn't worth reporting.
The defense called numerous fantastic witnesses; boys and girls who had stayed with Jackson time and again and never witnessed any inappropriate behavior, employees who had witnessed the Arvizo boys helping themselves to alcohol in Jackson's absence and celebrities who had also been targeted for handouts by the accuser. But little of this testimony was relayed to the public. When DA Tom Sneddon referred to black comic Chris Tucker as 'boy' during his cross examination, the media didn't bat an eyelid.
When both sides rested jurors were told that if they found reasonable doubt, they had to acquit. Anybody who had been paying attention to proceedings could see that the doubt was so far beyond reasonable it wasn't even funny. Almost every single prosecution witness either perjured themselves or wound up helping the defense. There wasn't a shred of evidence connecting Jackson to any crime and there wasn't a single credible witness connecting him to a crime either.
But that didn't stop journalists and pundits from predicting guilty verdicts, CNN's Nancy Grace leading the way. Defense attorney Robert Shapiro, who had once represented the Chandler family, stated with certainty on CNN, "He's going to be convicted." Ex-prosecutor Wendy Murphy told Fox News, "There is no question we will see convictions here."
The hysteria of the fans outside the courthouse was mirrored by that of the reporters who secured seats inside, who were so excitable that Judge Rodney Melville ordered them to 'restrain themselves'. Thomas Mesereau commented retrospectively that the media had been "almost salivating about having [Jackson] hauled off to jail."
When the jury delivered 14 'not guilty' verdicts, the media was 'humiliated', Mesereau said in a subsequent interview. Media analyst Tim Rutten later commented, "So what happened when Jackson was acquitted on all counts? Red faces? Second thoughts? A little soul-searching, perhaps? Maybe one expression of regret for the rush to judgment? Naaawww. The reaction, instead, was rage liberally laced with contempt and the odd puzzled expression. Its targets were the jurors... Hell hath no fury like a cable anchor held up for scorn."
In a post-verdict news conference Sneddon continued to refer to Gavin Arvizo as a 'victim' and said he suspected that the 'celebrity factor' had impeded the jury's judgment - a line many media pundits swiftly appropriated as they set about undermining the jurors and their verdicts.
Within minutes of the announcement, Nancy Grace appeared on CourtTV to allege that jurors had been seduced by Jackson's fame and bizarrely claim that the prosecution's only weak link had been Janet Arvizo.
"I'm having a crow sandwich right now," she said. "It doesn't taste very good. But you know what? I'm also not surprised. I thought that celebrity is such a big factor. When you think you know somebody, when you have watched their concerts, listened to their records, read the lyrics, believed they were coming from somebody's heart... Jackson is very charismatic, although he never took the stand. That has an effect on this jury.
"I'm not gonna throw a stone at the mom, although I think she was the weak link in the state's case, but the reality is I'm not surprised. I thought that the jury would vote in favor of the similar transaction witnesses. Apparently the defense overwhelmed them with the cross-examining of the mother. I think it boils down to that, plain and simple."
Grace later stated that Jackson was 'not guilty by reason of celebrity' and was seen attempting to hound jury foreman Paul Rodriguez into saying he believed Jackson had molested children. One of Grace's guests, psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall, leveled personal attacks towards one female juror, saying, "This is a woman who has no life."
Over on Fox News, Wendy Murphy branded Jackson 'the Teflon molester' and said that the jurors needed IQ tests. She later added, "I really think it's the celebrity factor, not the evidence. I don't think the jurors even understand how influenced they were by who Michael Jackson is... They basically put targets on the backs of all, especially highly vulnerable, kids that will now come into Michael Jackson's life."
Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told CNN that he thought the 'prior bad acts' testimony had been 'effective evidence', even though various boys at the heart of that testimony had taken the stand as defense witnesses and denied ever being molested. He also claimed that the defense had won because "they could tell a story, and juries, you know, always understand stories rather than sort of individual facts."
Only Robert Shapiro was dignified in the face of the verdicts, telling viewers that they should accept the jurors' decision because the jurors were from "a very conservative part of California and if they had no doubt, none of us should have any doubt."
The following day on Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer upheld the notion that the verdict had been influenced by Jackson's celebrity status. "Are you sure?" she pleaded. "Are you sure that this gigantically renowned guy walking into the room had no influence at all?"
The Washington Post commented, "An acquittal doesn't clear his name, it only muddies the water." Both the New York Post and the New York Daily News ran with the snide headline 'Boy, Oh, Boy!'
In her final New York Post article about the trial, Diane Dimond bemoaned the not guilty verdict, saying that it left Michael Jackson untouchable. She wrote, "He walked out of court a free man, not guilty on all counts. But Michael Jackson is so much more than free. He now has carte blanche to live his life any way he wants, with whomever he wants, because who would ever try to prosecute Michael Jackson now?"
In Britain's Sun newspaper, celebrity rent-a-gob and talking head extraordinaire Jane Moore penned an article titled 'If the jury agree Janet Arvizo is a bad mum (and she IS)... How did they let Jackson off?' It began: "Michael Jackson is innocent. Justice has been done. Or so the loony tunes gathered outside the courthouse would have us believe." She went on to question the jurors' mental capacity and dismiss the American legal system as 'half-baked'. "Nothing and no one truly emerges as a winner from this sorry mess," she finished, "least of all what they laughably call American 'justice'."
Sun contributor Ally Ross dismissed Jackson's fans as 'sad, solitary dick-wits'. Another Sun article, penned by daytime TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, titled 'Don't forget the kids still at risk... Jacko's own', overtly labeled Jackson a guilty man. Kelly - who never attended Jackson's trial - bemoaned the fact that Jackson 'got away with it', complaining that "instead of languishing in jail, Jackson is now back home in Neverland." Jackson, she concluded, was "a sad, sick loser who uses his fame and money to dazzle the parents of children he takes a shine to."
After the initial outrage, the Michael Jackson story slipped out of the headlines. There was little analysis of the not guilty verdicts and how they were reached. An acquittal was considered less profitable than a conviction.
Indeed, Thomas Mesereau said in later years that if Jackson had been convicted it would have created a 'cottage industry' for the media, generating a story a day for years to come. Long-running sagas like custody of Jackson's children, control of his financial empire, other 'victims' filing civil suits and the long-winded appeals process would have generated thousands of stories each for months, years, perhaps even decades.
Jackson's imprisonment would have created a never ending supply of gratuitous headlines; Who is visiting? Who isn't? Is he in solitary confinement? If not, who are his cellmates? What about his prison wardens? Does he have a prison pen-pal girlfriend? Can we fly a helicopter over the prison yard and film him exercising? The possibilities were endless. A bidding war was raging over who would get the first leaked images of Jackson in his cell before the jury even began its deliberations.
A not guilty verdict was not quite so lucrative. In an interview with Newsweek, CNN boss Jonathan Klein recalled watching the not guilty verdicts come in and then telling his deputies, "We have a less interesting story now." The Hollywood Reporter noted that hastily assembled TV specials about Jackson's acquittal performed badly and were beaten in the ratings by a re-run of Nanny 911.
The story was over. There were no apologies and no retractions. There was no scrutiny - no inquiries or investigations. Nobody was held to account for what was done to Michael Jackson. The media was content to let people go on believing their heavily skewed and borderline fictitious account of the trial. That was that.
When Michael Jackson died the media went into overdrive again. What drugs had killed him? How long had he been using them? Who had prescribed them? What else was in his system? How much did he weigh?
But there was one question nobody seemed to want to ask: Why?
Why was Michael Jackson so stressed and so paranoid that he couldn't even get a decent night's sleep unless somebody stuck a tube full of anesthetic into his arm? I think the answer can be found in the results of various polls conducted in the wake of Michael Jackson's trial.
A poll conducted by Gallup in the hours after the verdict showed that 54% of White Americans and 48% of the overall population disagreed with the jury's decision of 'not guilty'. The poll also found that 62% of people felt Jackson's celebrity status was instrumental in the verdicts. 34% said they were 'saddened' by the verdict and 24% said they were 'outraged'. In a Fox News poll 37% of voters said the verdict was 'wrong' while an additional 25% said 'celebrities buy justice'. A poll by People Weekly found that a staggering 88% of readers disagreed with the jury's decision.
The media did a number on its audience and it did a number on Jackson. After battling his way through an exhausting and horrifying trial, riddled with hideous accusations and character assassinations, Michael Jackson should have felt vindicated when the jury delivered 14 unanimous not guilty verdicts. But the media's irresponsible coverage of the trial made it impossible for Jackson to ever feel truly vindicated. The legal system may have declared him innocent but the public, on the whole, still thought otherwise. Allegations which were disproven in court went unchallenged in the press. Shaky testimony was presented as fact. The defense's case was all but ignored.
When asked about those who doubted the verdicts, the jury replied, "They didn't see what we saw."
They're right. We didn't. But we should have done. And those who refused to tell us remain in their jobs unchecked, unpunished and free to do exactly the same thing to anybody they desire.
Now that's what I call injustice.”
[Charles Thompson; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]
‘We had the feeling that when people saw the true side of Michael, they would fall in love with him all over again. The public would see Michael as an artist, a perfectionist; a man who insisted on getting his way, but who did it with great charm. And most of all with great talent.”
[John Branca, Michael Jackson’s entertainment lawyer; sources: June, 2010 issue of Vibe magazine, www.mjjcommunity.com]
“It sucks that people decided after he was dead to stop will all the bull**** about him being a pedophile and all that other silly stuff. […] I actually felt bad, because, before we met, I allowed the media to just paint a picture in my mind of Michael. [But he was] normal. He was like ‘It’s really nice to meet you…I’m a fan of your music’. ” He [even sang] one of my songs, Go On, Girl. We talked about the album and he told me, ‘I’m not trying to follow any trends. I’m not trying to go back in time. I’m just trying to do quality music with a melody that’s infectious and has a message’.
[Ne-Yo, American singer, songwriter, record producer, writer; sources: June, 2010 issue of Vibe magazine, www.mjjcommunity.com]
“Michael’s people wanted to pay for my plane ticket to Ireland and asked me how much money I wanted. And I’m like ‘I don’t want any money. I’ll pay for my own plane ticket.’ I didn’t want to be one of those producers that took advantage of Michael Jackson and his money. He was emotional, so vulnerable. He had been taken advantage of by so many people in the past.”
[Will I Am; sources: June, 2010 issue of Vibe magazine, www.mjjcommunity.com]
“Mike would say, ‘I want these songs to be happy. When people hear it, I want their hearts to be warmed up…I want people to get up and dance. I want them to be full of love.”
[Akon; sources: June, 2010 issue of Vibe magazine, www.mjjcommunity.com]
“He was looking for a project to not just ‘Heal The World’. He wanted to kill the world’s hate. That was his plan."
[Teddy Riley; sources: June, 2010 issue of Vibe magazine, www.mjjcommunity.com]
“Speechless and numb… that is how I felt as the news of Michael Jackson’s passing reached across the world. I simply couldn't believe it. Two nights without sleep followed, and I still couldn't believe that Michael was gone. And when it did finally sink in I thought only of the pain Michael might have endured, and the pain that his children and mother would suffer. I felt desperately sad for all of his family.
The enormity of the tragedy was reflected by the 24-hour news coverage, the headlines in newspapers, magazines, the messages across social network sites, and the celebrity condolences and tributes. Thanks the 21st Century technology, all this was on a scale that had never been seen before.
The only comfort I could find amidst all the sorrow was that Michael was now in peace. There would be no more physical or mental pain. In dying at the age of just 50 he would become a legend, a giant of the world of entertainment who would be remembered positively, for his music and dancing, instead of being tarnished by scandal.
Unfortunately for Michael it was too easy for the media to paint a negative picture of his 'eccentric' lifestyle. It was easy to twist his motives and question his sincerity. It would have been easy for me to do that too, to take the trust he had put in me during 21-years and do a ‘Bashir’, mocking him because he seemed too extreme or different to your everyday guy. But I won’t be joining the legions of ex-Jackson acquaintances who have ‘sold-out’ for a quick buck. I’d rather keep my integrity and set the record straight, where I can.
His appearance. Yes, he had plastic surgery, but not to the extent people like to believe. He freely admits to having his nose changed a few times. Big deal. Half of Hollywood have, move on. In September 1987, during a telephone call to American chat show host Barbara Walters, Michael said his change in appearance was not only down to two nose jobs and having a cleft put in his chin, but also due to his change in diet over the years, having become a vegetarian. But what people seemed to freak out most over was his skin colour. This was where I felt most sorry for Michael, because he really did have a skin condition called vitiligo, yet most of the media still ridiculed his paleness or the fact that he hid from the sun. When you see someone with skin burns do you call them names? Michael had a skin disease that couldn’t be cured. All he could do was control it in the most aesthetic way he felt comfortable with. When I first met Michael in 1990 he was in the very early stages of the disease, but over the years and during subsequent meetings I could see that patches were appearing across his skin. This is a common effect of vitiligo.
His home – Neverland Valley in Santa Ynez, California – was also the subject of ridicule, just because he had a fun fair and a zoo. I visited there on many occasions and these rides were fantastic! Who wouldn’t want their own fair complete with dodgems and Ferris wheel? And who doesn’t love animals? Michael had enough space (over 3,000 acres) to house and look after two zoos. Yes, there were llamas, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, tigers and more, and they were all beautiful. Michael loved the games, the rides and the animals, but they weren't just for his own pleasure. They were there for the enjoyment of others too. Every week Michael opened the doors of his home to hundreds of disadvantaged children. Many charity organisations were granted the use of the facilities and were treated by Michael’s staff as guests of honour.
I had always felt that people would have been more sympathetic towards Michael if they knew him the way I did, if he had just opened up more and said things straight – as they are. I once asked him if he was aware of all the negative media he received and couldn’t he change some of his actions to help combat it. “I know everything that is going on. No matter what I do they’ll always write something bad,” Michael told me sternly.
Unfortunately for Michael this was all too true. I recall a trip to Budapest in 1994. Michael, along with Lisa Marie-Presley, was visiting children’s hospitals, handing out gifts and toys. I was fortunate to be the only ‘media’ allowed to accompany them into the hospitals, and I was delighted to help in giving the gifts to some of the sick children. However the sceptical press suggested the trip (part of Michael’s ‘Heal The World’ campaign), was nothing more than a publicity stunt. What they didn’t report was the moving moment when Michael brought a smile to the face of a dying girl who had lain motionless and silent for weeks. Her mother, at her side in constant vigil, broke down in tears as her daughter reached out and touched Michael’s hand. Sounds like a miracle, but I saw it with my own eyes. So why was it that people constantly derided someone who genuinely cared and who also happened to be one of the world’s greatest ever entertainers to boot?
I feel the reason was a lack of understanding. People found it difficult to relate to Michael in the way that they did with other stars, especially in this era of reality TV. Michael was (and will forever remain) on a very high pedestal that made him unique, and there were many who were envious or felt threatened by him and wanted to knock him off his perch. He was accused of all sorts, but as Michael put it, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.” It is desperately sad to me that only now, in his passing, does Michael seem to be getting some of the love and respect he deserved whilst he was alive.
At his public memorial service on July 7, 2009, the outspoken civil rights campaigner, the Rev. Al Sharpton gave a rousing speech. His words were heard not just by the 18,000-strong audience in the Los Angeles Staples Center, but by billions tuning in around the world, and perhaps the most poignant were: “I want his children (Prince, Paris and 'Blanket' who were all present) to know there was nothing strange about about your daddy, it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.”
Put yourself in Michael’s shoes, a star from the age of 10; imagine those achievements, the accolades, and the wealth. You could do anything you want. Give yourself three wishes. Hopefully one of them would be for peace and love in the world, but how is that going to happen? We can only do what little we can, according to the resources and knowledge we have. Michael was an innocent and he tried 'healing the world' with all the love he had to give.
I once asked Michael what he considered to be his greatest achievement. During his trip to Budapest in 1994, Michael had promised to help an eight-year-old Hungarian boy, Bella, who was dying from cancer. His life was saved with an operation that Michael and his ‘Heal The World’ foundation had paid for. “Saving Bella’s life was definitely one of the most important moments in my life,” said Michael honestly, furthermore highlighting what a caring humanitarian he was.
I often felt Michael was underrated as an artist. There was so much more to his genius than the record-breaking sales of albums such as ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’, ‘Dangerous’ and ‘History’. Look at the quality of his work, the videos and the live performances. I was fortunate enough to see Michael produce songs in a recording studio on a few occasions. Here was a man who had been learning his art since the age of five, and it showed when you heard and saw him. He knew the tools of his trade inside out, like second nature. This allowed him to channel his heart and soul into his creations, and take them a step further than most artists. Listen to tracks such as ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Earth Song’, ‘Black or White’ and ‘Whatever Happens’ – pure timeless pop genius.
The day after the public memorial service at the Staples Center, I visited the Jackson family home in Havenhurst. As I arrived, Michael's daughter Paris was playing outside. I went up to her and told her that I knew her father well, and what a great and lovely man he was. She said, "Thank you", and I gave her a copy of my book, Making HIStory. The joy on her face as she looked at the cover adoringly was beautfiul. She was so happy, and gave me the biggest hug ever. She skipped off, book in hand, to show her grandmother. Later in the evening, one of Michael's former employees told Katherine Jackson that I had always written positive things about Michael. Katherine replied, “Well, there was nothing negative to report.”
It means a lot to me that I have had the opportunity to document the history of one of the world’s greatest ever entertainers. Indeed one of my proudest moments came one day when I was at Neverland and I saw that Michael had framed the family tree from my book, ‘The Visual Documentary’, and placed it beside his grand piano where he entertained guests. He also told me how grateful he was for my work, and acknowledged this in his credits on the ‘History’ album.
Michael, I am so sorry and sad that you are gone. You are the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen, but moreso one of the kindest, most caring people I ever met. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your great inspiration and for all the opportunities you have provided me with. Your spirit will live on forever, and I will promote the truth and your legacy wherever I can.”
[Adrian Grant, American journalist, author, Executive Producer of website Speechless - A Tribute To Michael Jackson; source: www.speechlessmjtribute.com]
“First of all, I reflect on how lucky I was to meet this very special human being. He was one of the great geniuses to ever live on the planet as a singer, as a choreographer, as an artist. He was unequalled, as far as I’m concerned. We may never see one quite like him. But, just as important, and, perhaps, even more important, he was one of the greatest humanitarians that ever lived. He had a wonderful love for people, particularly disadvantaged people, for children the world over, he saw himself as a champion for the world’s children to get them out of poverty, out of despair, out of abuse, out of violence, and he devoted a good portion of his life to try and set an example for all of us to be kind to those who are disadvantaged and to be kind to the world’s children. He was someone who brought all races together, all religions together, he felt that he appealed to everyone, he was from a prominent black family […] His plan was to have a child from every continent and he, more than anyone I’ve ever met, brought all people together. He was a shy person, he was a sensitive person, he was a spiritual person. And he had an enormous book collection, he loved to frequent book stores. He was one of the most special people, I think, that ever graced the planet, it was a real honor and privilege to meet him and to defend him.
[…] I was in the middle of a jury trial, a federal court in downtown Los Angeles [when I learned of his passing]. I came out of the courthouse at about 5:15 – 5:30, and some sheriffs came up to me and told me that Michael Jackson had passed away, and my first thought was “It’s just a crazy rumor”, because there were always crazy rumors circulating about Michael Jackson, […] a lot of people circulated rumors for publicity, to get articles where he was the subject of so many crazy rumors and I thought that was just another one. I called my office and my message machine was full with calls from media all over the world to get my reaction, and I knew then that a horrible thing had happened, I was in absolute shock over it, I couldn’t , didn’t want to believe it, and, you know something? It is still hard to believe, because I don’t think that a day passes that I don’t hear Michael’s music, it’s almost like he’s still with us all the time. But the reality is, we lost a very special and wonderful human being.
[…] I met him through his brother, Randy, when he was going to be charged in a criminal case in Santa Barbara County. I got calls from friends of his who wanted me to meet him and defend him. I couldn’t do it at that time, ‘cause I was defending actor Robert Black in his homicide case. Months later, Blake and I had a falling out, Randy called me again and said ‘My brother wants to meet you, to be his attorney’ and I flew to Florida and met him. And one thing led to another. I didn’t know what to expect, because I knew Randy for a long time, but I never met Michael. He seemed very quiet, very shy, he didn’t say very much in our initial meeting, he had other people ask questions; he seemed to be in the background observing me and observing what I said and how I said it. […] In a couple of weeks later, Randy called me and said ‘We want to hire you’ and I said, ‘Randy, I assume you’re interviewing other lawyers’ and he said, ‘No, we haven’t, Michael just wanted you’. So, that’s what happened.
[…] It was a big [case]. More media from around the world covered it more than O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson combined. There was never a case covered quite like it and, of course, the pressure was intense; many of y close friends didn’t want me to take the case, because they felt the case was unwinable and that, for the rest of my life, people would say ‘He lost the Michael Jackson case’, ‘He’s the reason why Michael Jackson died in prison’. I don’t live that way. I’m a criminal defense lawyer; I have no problem with difficult cases. And I got into the case, I got to know him, I looked at the evidence and I quickly realized something was wrong here. This man was not guilty. And he was not guilty, he was absolutely innocent of all these charges and the jury saw that way too.
[…] I certainly became much better known around the world than I ever have been, because it was such a big case, I’ve received a lot of blessings from it, from our winning and victory, from my friendship with Michael Jackson. It also brought a few problems, because everybody was approaching me for a while, sometimes with not the greatest motives, and that happens when you have a little bit of fame, a little bit of publicity, but I’ve been, overall, blessed by it, it has given me business, it has given me a higher profile. But the stress going through that was difficult. […] The pressures were intense, the pressure of just defending a case from the prosecution and from someone who has resources against him is bad enough, but I was constantly having to put out other fires around me, lawyers trying to get involved, trying to stab me in the back, people trying to give advice to Michael against mine and, I mean, it was a very very high-stress kind of situation. I lived in Santa Maria, California […] for six months, the trial lasted about five, and it was a very very high-stress situation, but I’m glad we came through.
[…] The media wanted him convicted. So, he would call me at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and he was not sleeping, he was not eating, he was very stressed out, worried about his children, depressed, at times, it was a very stressful time for him. Michael was a very shy, sensitive artist…he didn’t belong in that situation, […] where prosecutors and police painting a false portrait of him, I mean, they tried to say that he organized a criminal conspiracy to abduct children and falsely imprison the family, and committing extortion, as well as the false, you, know, allegations of child molestation and it was very difficult for him to sit there and listen to this nonsense…He had a tough time with it.
[…] I don’t think he totally ever recovered emotionally, you know…After the acquitals, I advised him to leave Neverland, I didn’t feel safe having him them, I saw how the prosecution and the sheriffs had almost done anything they could, no matter how improper, to convict him, and I felt that they wanted him humiliated throughout the world, they’d be gunning for him. And I advised that, you know, Neverland had to had run a course in his life, that he must move on, because you never knew when somebody would try and pin something else on him, that he would never live in peace there. I didn’t know he was gonna move to the Middle East, but if you think about, he left Neverland quickly, he lived in the Middle East and he lived in Ireland, then he lived in France briefly, he then moved to Las Vegas, then to Los Angeles, he was kind of living like a rolling stone, so I don’t really know if he got centered or grounded after that horrible trial. […] He just didn’t know who to trust, where to feel comfortable and I think it was a very traumatizing experience for him.
[…] He was an absolutely wonderful father, I saw him often with his children, they were crazy about him. He’s spent a tremendous amount of time with his children, always concerned about them, always giving them love and attention, always making sure they were well educated, that they were well-read, he took them around the world to broaden their perspective. I’ve never seen a nicer or better father in my life. […] I defendly saw [his close relationship with his mother], I not only saw it in court, but I saw it in private, during breaks. We would go out to a private room on the second floor of the courthouse, and I was seeing him interact with his mother, his family almost every day. And it was very clear that the person who gave him the most spiritual and emotional state was his mother. It was clear what bond they had. She constantly told him that God was with him, that he would come through this, that the truth will prevail, and he really did depend on her for spiritual and emotional strength.
[…] His legacy is not just a brilliant, almost unparalleled artist, artist on the stage, artist in music, artist in choreography, artist in poetry, he was inventive, he took risks, there has never been another Michael Jackson, and I’d like to say I look at the Grammy Awards and I se very talented people, but in slow motion next to Michael Jackson, as far as I’m concerned. But, in addition, he was one of the world’s greatest humanitarians, he did so many things for disadvantaged children, for people in need that he never publicized. He had a rule, at one point, that he would never do a concert anywhere in the world without first visiting a children’s hospital. He had disabled people that’d visit Neverland, he had children from the inner city constantly visit Neverland, he wanted to show them love and fun, animals, amusement rides, a theater. Neverland was designed to help children and disadvantaged people have fun and learn to respect one another and to respect creativity and animals and the planet. I think, as an artist, and as a humanitarian, he was unparalleled and he should be remembered in both of those instances.
[…] I’ll never be the same, what this wonderful human being was like, what a wonderful human being he was, you know, in person, he was shy, he would, sometimes, be uncomfortable with a couple of people. On stage, he was in his element, he was home. But he clearly was an honest person, an intuitive person, sensitive, he liked to sit in his tree, you know, under the moon, and create music, and he would see things that none of us could see; he would put together images and tones that we can only image where they came from. He was a true genius, a true artist and a true humanitarian.”
[Thomas Messereau (interviewed by ReelUrbanNews); source: http://reelurbannews.com]
“Preparations for this This Is It were some of the best days of my life, I mean…having beeen blessed to work with Michael for almost eighteen years, and this being our third tour together…It was just so wonderful to be asked to be involved again into, you know, coming together for such an important reason, you know? And to just have been involved was just a blessing. […]
Michael was always an idol of mine since I was about 5 years old. He is the reason I started dancing and I always told my parents I’m going to work with Michael Jackson, I’m going to work with Michael Jackson, and it became a reality in 1992 when I did Remember The Time, when I was a dancer in Remember The Time […].
[…] Well, of course, working with Michael was always amazing, but, you know, in the beginning, when I first started, I think the first thing I said to him was, ‘Excuse me if I stare at you’, you know, this was just a lot….overwhelming, and he said, ‘It’s okay, I understand, it’s okay’, and he was always so gracious that way. But those days were just amazing, you know, to have the sort of trusting confidence of Michael and to be able to contribute to his art on just a high level was just a dream come true for any creative person, and especially me.
[…] I would have to say that Michael has inspired a lot of [graciousness in me], just the way that he always treated others and care for others around him, especially in the working environment, it was just always so comfortable, you know? […] He was sort of the architect of all the things that we did over the years and he understood the need for a process, the need for that time to have a process and the need to equip everyone around him with what they need to be as successful as they can be. And that was one of the many things that was always so special about him, […] it wasn’t just about making money for him, it was about art. And, of course, his art became so hugely popular and successful that, of course, afforded him the lifestyle that, you know, enabled him to create at such high level.
[…] Absolutely, Michael Jackson was a genius. I think that we throw that word around so many times and sometimes it’s not warranted, but he, absolutely, was a genius. […] He had so many talents and so many gifts and it was not just confining entertainment, you know, he knew a lot about history, not just American history, but world history. He was very into ecology, he was very into the economy, you know, he was very into parts of the world, for instance, he would take the knowledge that he had about people that were dealing with it in certain parts of the world, you know, Thailand or North Africa or, you know, some places like Brazil, impoverished places and he would go to those places [on tours], because he knew if he brought his show to those places, it would generate income in that region, which would help the people and the children. So he took that in consideration, […] he went to places where he thought he could make a difference. And, so that’s why we wound up in some really exotic places, but it was all part of what he felt his purpose was, you know, to really try to be a vessel. He would often times call himself a vessel and that one of his talents was to be able to tune into his higher power and to allow his higher power to send ideas through him, and that’s where he would say his music and his dancing and all of his artistry came from. He’d never take credit for it. And, so, that’s what I mean by gracious and, often times, by putting others’ needs before his own and, sometimes, I’d ask him not to, but he was always concerned about others’ doing, cause he wants everybody to be happy, you know, because if we were happy, he was happy. You know, so that (sic) was just some of the ways he operated.
[…] He found music and inspiration in many many places. You know, he loved trees, he loved how they sway, how the leaves were dancing as they fell, or how birds fly or how fish swim, all of those type of moves he could be inspired by. And so I feel like he created his owm language over the years. He allowed, you know, a few people to work with him on his choreography over the years, I was so fortunate to be one of them for so long, but he was just very welcoming, and all the idea didn’t have to come from him, he wanted the best idea, you know? And he was very quick to give credit to the person that thought of it, he was just not selfish in that way, you know, and that’s rare, especially when you’re talking about a megastar. And that was just always so wonderful to be around, you know, to know that not only am I living my dream, but that all of us around him were helping him. And it was great, it was reciprocal and it was so wonderful.
[…] On [the day of his passing], we would wait for him to come to rehearsal, we got the ultimate goal that said he wouldn’t be coming, and that was just shocking, it still is. […] It was so devastating a day, so, of course, we got the call that confirmed that he, in fact, had passed. Everybody…it was just shock, complete silence for a while, and no one knew what to do or how to react. We were just still and silent, and we were all together and we prayed and lit candles and said prayers and it was just…one of those moments […] when you are going to remember those feelings, and I think that the fact that he passed was just so much more tragic, because he was at the threshold of such a major comeback, such a great return to the stage, that it was just more devastating, because he had done some of the best work of his life. […] So, I mean, when I look at his growth as a performer over the years and as an artist, and see how much he grew and how much he finessed his signature moves and, you know, how much more he had to give, it makes me even sadder, because he never got to do it in front of a live audience. But we had finished the show and he was thrilled and I’m so happy that we finished the show and he loved it and he said ‘We did it’ and we told each other we loved each other and last thing he said to me was ‘I love you more. See you at 1 o’clock tomorrow’. And that would be the last time we saw each other. But I’m just so grateful that with the support of Michael’s estate […], we were able to share with Michael’s fans and his friends around the world what it was he was preparing for them, because it was very special; it wasn’t just an extravaganza for the sake of being big, we were setting a major platform for him to deliver his messages of peace and hope and love for each other and the environment, the planet, our communities and it was much bigger than him returning to the stage to sell some albums, sing some songs and do some dances. It was his opportunity; it felt like his responsibility to do everything he could to help the situation going on that we have here on the planet. And that was his entire reason for wanting to do the show. He had offers before, but he didn’t really want to, and didn’t feel the timing was right, but now that he was a father and, you know, had three kids that are now old enough to appreciate what it was he worked for so many years and what his life had been, and he was still young enough to do it, and he would say it all the time, you know, ‘I’m still young enough to do it, my kids are old enough to appreciate it and world needs it’. And so we got to work. And he was very very honest about his reasonings and he knew that we are now seeing the effects of global warming; he was talking about healing the world, you know, he was talking about all those sort of issues decades ago. And now that we’re actually seeing the weather, the tsunamis and hurricanes and Katrina, all these national disasters and, you know, that really was the only thing he needed to know that it’s time for him to return to do his part. And that’s what we did.
[…] Despite everything that he went through, he was still so optimistic and so positive and grateful and humbled, and newly inspired and so excited and he was enjoying working on his new music and enjoying creating the show and filming the new segments for ‘Thriller 3D’ , and we did more for ‘Smooth Criminal’. He was back at work and he was ready to, you know, continue to give and give and give, and he did up until the last night.
[…] The past year without Michael has been very difficult, but I feel like he is here in spirit, I feel him all the time, you know? I feel as though he speaks to me, I feel as though, not necessarily hear his voice, but in situations I ask myself what Michael would do or how he approached this, or would he handled this, so I get great comfort in being able to do that, and walking into the dry cleaner’s and hearing his music or getting in elevator hearing his music or just changing the radio and hearing ‘Earth Song’… ‘Earth Song’ still stops my tracks, it always has. But I feel like, you know, opportunities like this, of course, and being able to work on the film and I was blessed to be an associate producer on the film, I mean, I never imagined that being the case, but it was…and, you know, that opportunity and working with somebody to promote the movie and traveling, performing with the dancers and doing special performances and tributes and honoring Michael, and being asked of my perspective on things, it is healing, you know, it helps in the healing process, I mean, […] it has definitely been a rollercoaster ride, but it always was with Michael, and I think, the first thing that I said to Kenny [Ortega] that I can remember, after we found out that he had actually passed, was that we can’t be done, you know, we’re almost there, we can’t finish, we have to finish this for and with Michael. We can’t be done! This isn’t it. This is not what it was supposed to be. And so, we ultimately came to the decision, of course, with his Estate, to do the documentary, because that would allow people to not only see what he was planning for them, but to answer a lot of their own questions, you know? If you’re looking at it right there and you’re listening to it right there, you can answer a lot of your own questions, you don’t have to speculate. And you don’t have to continue all the speculation in his death that he dealt with while he was alive, you can see it right there. Big screen! […] So, really, his messages are reaching further, I think, and more people are paying attention now, you know? He got everybody’s attention and it’s now up to us, I think, to do what we can to let them know. […] [Heal The World] was a beautiful song. You know, there was always so much sensationalism surrounding Michael and people would get away from his art, and his art was very informational and informative and revealing and had a lot of knowledge in it. And he was telling us, you know? And then, when Earth Song came, he was telling us, he was asking the questions, it was literally in the song asking questions: what about the holy land, what about the war that is happening over there, what about these kids suffering here, what about the oceans, what about the birds, what about all these things, and I hope now that people get that those weren’t just songs, they were testimonies, he was like a prophet, I feel, you know? Through his travels and his experiences, he knew a lot and he was doing everything he could to share it with everybody, and I hope that now people will really realize that…that these weren’t just oceans and whims, I mean, they were carefully crafted masterpieces that were meant to inspire and enlighten and educate us. And I think he did that, and with the release of the film, and people getting to see Michael in a way that they’ve never seen him before in his process, I think people can have more appreciation for his art; they don’t just see now the record cover and the glossiness in it and the shiny outfit and the pyrotechnics on stage, they could see how all of that came about and why it was there. And I think that made much more [of a] plea for peace, you know, and I’m glad that we were able to share that with the world and I’m glad that people got to see the Michael that they love. […] It’s still very very painful, but I think that I’m content to see that he didn’t suffer, that he now let his legacy that we all gotta step into the plate and do the work.”
[Travis Payne; source: http://reelurbannews.com]
”June 13th marked five years since Michael Jackson was acquitted on ten accounts of child molestation. Apart from family and fans, not many from the general public will pay much attention to this date. For most, it is just another day.
For some of us, though, it is our yearly reminder of a lot of things: of reflection, of redemption, of justice…but also of human nature, and the damage it can sometimes do when unleashed.
Few understand just how biased the media was in their reporting of the trial, and just how calculated and sensationalist they were throughout it. That negativity sells is something everyone already knows, but in the 2005 child molestation charges against the the world’s most famous person, there seemed to be something that ran far deeper. There was a malice and a bloodthirst there that seemed out of the ordinary even by tabloid measurements. And it brings up the very interesting question of what it is that can make thousands of people gang up so completely on one individual. What primal instinct, what fear…can cause us, as a race, to turn into a pitch-fork mob, salivating and orgasming at the thought of lynching someone and literally destroying them?
In 1993, the European Counsil approved Resolution 1003 on the Ethics of Journalism; which recommends journalists to respect the “presumption of innocence”: in other words; you are innocent until proven guilty. In the case against Michael Jackson, however, this, apparently, was no longer relevant. Although the accuracy of the term ”journalism” in association with tabloids can be debated, The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics mentions that good journalistic practice includes for a journalist to do the following:
* Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
* Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
* Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
* Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
* Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
* Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
* Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
* Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.
It seems in the Michael Jackson case – and tabloid journalism in general – these rules did not apply. Statements were taken out of context, facts were twisted, and more focus was put on Michael Jackson’s appearance, than on the proceedings of the ongoing trial.
The question in all of this is not how people became so caught up in preferring fiction over truth, the question is why. Why was it that someone had apparently decided that Michael Jackson did not deserve to be treated like a human being? What was it that made people so provoked by him, and when was it decided that he did not deserve privacy, respect, or compassion? Was it when his face started changing? When he became too androgynous for people to apply the set-in-stone rules of gender roles to him that we worship and follow so religiously? Was it when he became the biggest selling artist in history, or when he gained wealth and financial freedom, while the rest of us went to our day jobs that we hated? Was it when he shunned the public eye because of the chaos that would rear its ugly head whenever he stepped foot outside? Was it his creativity, and his passionate and intense outbursts on stage? Or, was it simply, that he mirrored our own mistakes back to us?
Most of us have, upon one time or another in our lives, come across a person that we have felt an immediate aversion to. More often than not, that aversion springs from how we feel about ourselves while in their presence. Michael Jackson was an avid spokesperson for children’s rights. His charity work spanned the globe, and he donated millions on a yearly basis. He spoke frequently about love and respect as the healers of our broken planet – and most of all, he believed in it. He pointed out the suffering and the wrongdoings on the planet, wrongdoings that largely exist because of our own indifference to them. Having someone mirroring our mistakes and idleness back to us is frightening, and by looking at his generosity and childlike nature, we were reminded that we had lost our own.
This was something that was incredibly provoking to many, and when proveked and insecure, we are designed to reject. By rejecting the thing that makes us uncomfortable, we hope for the feelings it creates to go away. So Michael Jackson was rejected. Again and again, he was rejected and mocked and and crucified by people that were too insecure in their own skin to be able to accept anyone that stood out, and that didn’t fit the mold.
Michael Jackson danced with an injured back, he toured until he fainted, and he stayed up entire nights at a time, for one reason, and one reason only: the hope that we would finally love and accept him the way he so desperately yearned for. But we would not, and we kept pushing him away.
Jackson was born with an extraordinary sense of musicality. In her book ”My Family, The Jacksons”, Katherine Jackson writes:
”It dawned on me that Michael was no run-of-the-mill kid one day in 1960. I was standing in front of my washing machine, checking the load, when I happened to turn around and see my one-and-a-half-year-old son practically under my dress tail. He was holding a bottle and dancing … dancing to the rhythmic squeak of my washing machine.”
While musicality can be trained to a certain extent, it cannot be taught. It is either there, or it is not. In Michael Jackson’s two year-old mind, and in his body…it was very much present, and his parents quickly noticed.
Jackson often spoke of how he felt he could not take credit for his songs, as they “would just come to him”, and all he did was write them down. He cited God, and felt that the music was simply being channeled through him by a higher power. To anyone that has ever watched him on stage, his presence is undeniable. In many ways, he may well be considered a creative and musical genious. Those are few and far between, but instead of being fascinated or in awe…we were provoked. We didn’t understand it, didn’t understand his animated way of behaving or his childlike nature, we didn’t understand his visions or his appreciation for the simple things…so we rejected him. Fear is born out of ignorance, and the world was ignorant. And because he already seemed so different from most of us – again, geniouses are few and far between – it made sense to most people that he was very likely “strange” in the ways that the tabloids reported, too. He was a thirty-something man that loved water balloon fights; a forty-something that enjoyed climbing trees. Seemed plausible he would also sleep in a hyperbarbaric chamber and try to bleach his skin.
As a society, we worship our social norms so much, that anything that strays for them by definition becomes wrong and undesirable. Michael Jackson did not fit into any of the molds set by society. He was born with dark skin, which whitened with time. He was born with a large, wide nose, that he had altered to a small and narrow one. He had long hair, a high-pitched voice, and a soft, compassionate side. He was the antithesis of what society defines as “male”, and expects a man to be.
We raise our sons wth toy guns, scrubbed knees and the notion that boys don’t cry. Michael Jackson was not afraid to show his emotions in every aspect of his life, and he was not an image of the macho culture that we so seem to love. His shyness and softer side was cute when he was little, and possibly also in his early teens, but in a fifty year old man? No, that can’t possibly be right. TV told us that’s not how men are supposed to behave. Reject.
Although the child molestation trial became the final blow to Michael Jackson’s heart, there had been a steady stream of atrocities being written about his private persona for decades, one more vicious than the next. During the twenty years that Michael Jackson was persecuted by the media, no one ever stopped to question the likelihood of what they were reading. Somewhere along the way, we put logics and critical thinking aside and decided that if it’s in print, it must be true. It must be true, because why would anyone lie? What people should be asking themselves is, why would they not? The media is a profit business. It is naive to think that we live in a world devoid of corruption and greed, and the days where the media was a direct reflection of the truth are long gone. What we are left with, are innuendos and cleverly fabricated stories that speak to the morbid fascination and pack animal in all of us, and that are just basic enough to not require reflection.
In retrospect, a vast majority of what was written on Jackson seems laughable and bizarre. According to the press, this is someone that was born a black man but really wants to be a white woman, sleeps in a hyperbarbaric chamber to be able to reach the age of two hundred, rides the roller coaster in his backyard alone in the middle of the night, bought the remains of Joseph Merrick (also known as ”The Elephant man”), and takes female homones to maintain his high-pitched voice. Yet no one ever reacted. No one ever for a second thought “hang on a minute, this can’t possibly be true.” The reason? They wanted it to be true. They needed it to be true, so they could feel collectively part of something. Asking your colleagues or friends if they’ve heard what that Michael Jackson has done now, makes you the center of attention, and it makes you feel part of a group. We are pack animals, we thrive off of others and do not well on our own. We want to belong, to be accepted, to feel appreciated. That was all Michael Jackson ever wanted, too. The only difference is he was never let into the pack.
So why, then, did an entire planet decide it was okay to throw another fellow human being to the wolves and enjoy watching his demise? As a human race, we are not all good. We can be vindictive, manipulative, greedy and selfish, and all of us WILL put ourselves first if we are put into a life or death situation. We’d just like to believe differently. Michael Jackson… believed differently. It is funny how the one man that for so many years experienced nothing but the absolute worst of other people, was also the one that, unlike the rest of us, never became jaded. For someone to be subjected to so much hatred, prejudice, greed and malice, and still not lose faith in humanity…is astonishing. It would have been so easy for him, as it is for all of us, when hurt, to withdraw from the world and grow bitter and cold. The fact that he not only refrained from that, but kept loving this world and everyone in it even more, says everything about the person that he was. And lying about him, judging, hounding and persecuting him and standing by, doing nothing, as he perished….says everything about us.
”History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
We must never be silent. Blind obedience and sheep mentality is the reason why bullying exists. It is, when taken to the extreme, the reason the Holocaust happened, and it is the reason Michael Jackson is dead. There is a predator in all of us, and we are all capable of giving in to the urge of preying on the weak for our own self-gratification – some of just just make the effort to try to control it. To quote the well-known Michael Jackson song: “If they say “why, why?” / Tell them that it’s human nature.”
Never be silent.”
[Sandra Sasvari, journalist (?) source: www.thecommentfactory.com]
”No matter what one personally thinks of Michael Jackson, there is no denying he was a musical genius the likes this world will never see again. Not because there aren’t or won’t be other geniuses to follow, but because he was unique unto himself. He was aloof, yet caring, having donated numerous amounts of money to charities.
There is a price to pay for genius in this world because it sets one apart and puts one in the position of being original in a world that is trapped into a programmed mindset that seeks to attack or tear down those who stand above the status quo.
Michael Jackson was an original; a child man who maintained a degree of innocence so that his art form tapped into an untethered purity imbued with wonderment and imagination. Because his heart was so pure, it could not withstand the cruel accusations and betrayals of those who sought to see his love for children as something vile or his whitened skin as something more than his affliction with the disease Vitiligo.
King Michael had the Midas touch when it came to music, dance and fashion and he was an astute businessman as well. Once on stage, Jackson was thrilling and mind blowing. […]”
“We can’t believe that it’s been a whole year. We still can’t believe it’s true. It’s like, it’s unreal, it’s a dream, but, unfortunately, it is a reality. It’s been hard, especially as this is the first time something like this happened to my family.
The anniversary of my brother’s passing will be a very strange spiritual day. There will be a lot of prayers. The family is extremely grateful for the outpouring of love and affection everyone has shown us during the last year.
I last saw Michael at our parents’ anniversary two weeks before the tragedy. He was fine. He was Michael. He was himself. He was my brother. My biggest regret is that we didn’t spend more time together in the later years. I miss his voice. I miss his smile. I miss his love.
I attended a press conference for the premiere of ‘This Is It’, but I couldn’t go in. I did not watch the movie and I still haven’t seen it. I don’t know when I’ll get around to seeing it, as it’s very hard to watch him like that. But I’m very happy that people around the world loved the movie so much. It’s just that it would have been too painful for me to watch.
I have so many wonderful memories of our times together, especially the J-5 days, playing at the Apollo in Harlem, our time as kids, trying to be famous, the traveling, Motown – those are special days that can never be replaced. Those are the good times.
Michael’s children – my two nephews and niece – are doing quite well. I see them often. They are very strong and also very smart. I am very proud of them. Children have a great way of dealing with situations.
Fans should remember Michael for his wonderful generosity. Michael was overly kind, almost too kind, really. That’s a rare quality, which you don’t find in people very often. Michael’s legacy is his music that will live on and on. It will stand the test of time. Michael will be forever recognized for what he truly is…the King of Pop.”
[Tito Jackson; source: http://twitpic.com]
“[…] Michael Jackson forever remained the broken boy who yearned for a normal childhood but was thrust reluctantly into a spotlight that slowly became addictive. Immersed in a celebrity culture rife with human corruption, he yearned to be innocent. […] Michael knew that God had given him a special gift and with it the power to 'heal the world, make it a better place.' He understood the responsibility of celebrity and was devastated as his was slowly transformed into notoriety. He hated to be hated and was crushed by the chasm between what he saw as his sincere intentions to do good versus the uncharitable public perception of him as a shallow materialist.
Once, in the midst of the thirty hours of recordings we did together […], he revealed how defamatory his celebrity had become. "You get tired and it just wears you down. You can't go somewhere where they don't manipulate what you do and say, that bothers me so much, and you are nothing like the person that they write about, nothing. To get called Whacko, that's not nice. People think something is wrong with you because they make it up. I am nothing like that. I am the opposite of that."
Polite to a fault, he was a soft and gentle soul who prided himself on being different to other celebrities. Whereas they partied in nightclubs, Michael loved being around ordinary families. Where they put, as Michael said, needles in their arms, he was a vegetarian who wouldn't be caught dead with a street drug. And where they, as Michael maintained, engaged in tawdry relationships, Michael preferred the company of innocent kids.
[…] I do not for a moment believe Michael was a pedophile. Those who judge him as such forget that the only time he was charged he was utterly acquitted, and it is time for the public to exonerate him as well. […]
[…] But while his life is sadly irretrievable, the lessons to be culled from his life are not. Few were as eloquent in articulating the profound lessons parents could learn from being around their children. Fewer still were more attuned to the lifelong scarring of children who were victims of neglect. I can still hear Michael's daily admonishments to me to look my children in the eye and tell them I loved them and to never allow a night to go by without reading them a bedtime story.
[…] The lyrics of his songs spoke to the human yearning to mend the broken pieces of the human soul and become whole. Whether it was encouraging himself and his fans to be the man looking in the mirror, or healing the world, he wished for his music to inspire people to choose goodness.
A year after his untimely passing it is time to finally mourn Michael as a man. To remember him not as an entertainer, or to miss him as an international icon […], but as a struggling soul who tried to transform the pain of his broken childhood into an inspirational message of parents cherishing their children. It is time to evaluate Michael his life not in the context of an idol who had much money and fame but as a man who searched for a real home that was not a stage.”
[Shmuley Boteach, American Orthodox rabbi, author; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]
[…] Obviously, I’m biased, but if Michael wasn’t a beautiful, genuine person, then I wouldn’t impersonate him. When I first met him, he was so humble, I almost thought it must be an act. He told me I was an amazing dancer – when I said, ‘Michael, I’m just copying you, you’re the amazing dancer’, he was like: ‘Really? Do you think so?’. It’s not that he was insecure – simply that he was a humble guy. At the This Is It rehearsals, he was going through moves with his dancers and even when things weren’t working, he never once lost his temper. I found myself thinking: ‘How does this guy remain so cool all the time?’”
“[…] Having [members of the family] around has helped the children immensely. They go places together and have fun. They listen to Michael’s music. […] I love looking at photos of my children singing and dancing together, when they looked happy. Not a day goes by I don’t think about Michael. It’s hard for me to talk about without getting all choked up. Years will pass by and I’ll still feel the same way. I have a nephew I am very close to who I’ve have leaned on a lot. Prayer has helped me. I don’t have any regrets. I just live for the children. Michael was so misunderstood. I remember when he brought gifts up to the house for me: a watch, a necklace and ring. I’ll never forget the way he was smiling when I opened each one. He was so generous. He’d give you the shirt off his back. I want the world to know the real Michael. All these allegations in the tabloids, it’s all rubbish. People with children will understand how I feel when somebody says something ugly about my son, especially when it’s not true. That’s why I’m releasing the book [“Never Can Say Goodbye: The Katherine Jackson Archives”]. I’d like him to be remembered as the loving person he was. People can’t understand it because of the child molestation claims falsely laid on him. It’s just greedy people who wanted money. […]One thing I hope for is the next year will be better for me and the family. I hope people continue to remember Michael and keep celebrating his legacy. I hope that things get better for me in time. His death has already brought the family closer together. I want us to be even more close. I try not to regret. I try not to think like that because I don’t think Michael would have had his life any other way. Sometimes I start to tear up. But I am happy about it because I know the world is missing and remembering my son. I could see the fans taking pictures, posing in front of the house. I know Michael would have been happy to see that. I just miss him every day.”
[Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson’s mother; source: www.dailymail.co.uk]
“He's still here. He's still with me and he's just waiting to let the world know. I have to believe he's here because that's what keeps me safe. I have to believe he's still here for the sake of his little children. My mother used to say how we looked identical. Michael and I loved that. We loved to play together, to dance together. Michael would put on a Fred Astaire movie and we'd watch it and then he'd say to me: 'La Toya, you do the dance, then I'll do it.' I'd do the first few steps and then stop because I'd need to see it again to copy the rest. Michael would just start dancing - every step was exactly right. Even as a child I knew Michael was different, special. Everyone knows we had a strict upbringing, and that my brothers [Jackie, 59, Tito, 56, Jermaine, 55, Marlon, 53, and Randy, 48] were singing and dancing as children. But as a six year old it was Michael who would work out the moves. He'd be telling his older brothers where to stand, how to move - he'd even work out what they should all wear. It was our big adventure together [in New York, during the filming of ‘’The Wiz’. We were these kids in New York who had never had any freedom. We were so close. He'd work and then we'd go out shopping. We'd buy clothes, lots of men's suits and hats then we'd come back, put on a Kenny Rogers album and dress up. Michael loved us to wear identical clothes and we'd stand in front of the mirror and laugh. People don't realise that Michael had this amazing sense of humour. He'd love me to go out with him and see his fans. He loved to play cat and mouse with them. This was in the days before mobile phones but, wherever Michael was, fans would turn out in their hundreds. He loved them. He loved them chasing him about town. For him it was fun. He never went off the rails. Michael was always very spiritual. He had this inner goodness and trust, which was what made him so beautiful, but also made him so vulnerable to people who wanted to take advantage.
[…] The most amazing thing about Michael was that he never held any [grudge] against me. I remember when I'd got away from this total hell I'd been through where I'd been beaten, abused, controlled and forced [by my former husband] to say those terrible things about Michael, which I didn't for a moment believe, he held out his arms and just hugged me. I was crying saying: 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry.' He just held me tight and said: 'I am your brother, I always knew it wasn't you saying those words.' I told him I loved him and he looked me in the eyes and said: 'I will always love you more.'"[…] Michael was never really into going out on dates. He always told me that he'd never marry until he was in his 40s because he had so much he wanted to achieve. The loves of his life were always his music, his family and his children.
[…] Michael was fascinated when I went into the Big Brother house. We even talked about him coming on the show as a huge surprise. He loved the idea but he was also terrified because being as famous as Michael makes you very scared. He never had a single day of his life that he remembered not being famous.
[…] I honestly believe that Michael died because the people around him were evil. […] There is so much about his death that doesn't make sense. I get so angry when I think about his final hours. My brother was surrounded by very bad people before he died. It breaks my heart because I was in that situation in my life and Michael was the one who helped me through it. Even now a lot of people around me say to end this fight but I won't. I'll carry on, no matter what it takes. I'm doing it for Michael.
[…] So many times I look up at the sky and I expect him to appear. To do something amazing and miraculous to show us he is here. […] It's too painful [looking at his photographs or listening to his songs]. There are some days I don't even like to look at my own face in the mirror because I look so much like him. […] In those days after Michael died, [Michael’s children] were so vulnerable, like little flowers standing alone in a field. There were so many moments when I felt like I was going to fall apart, but I'd look at the children and it would make me strong. They are a tribute to their daddy. I always smile when I remember him with his kids. I'd go up to the house and there would be classical music playing. Michael didn't listen to pop. In his house you would hear a Mozart symphony, not Thriller. He was very much aware he had to be a mother and a father to his children and he was very sensitive. As a father he was incredible. He'd play with his kids but he was also very strict. They didn't watch television and there was no internet access in his house because he always said he didn't want them to be diseased by the world we live in. As a brother, he was incredibly sensitive. Whenever I was feeling down he'd send me fashion magazines, or turn up and just sit with me and talk or watch The Three Stooges together. One time, he rang me up and said: 'You love Frank Sinatra, don't you?' An hour later he arrived with a huge photograph of Frank he'd had him sign for me.
[…] Michael went through so much. In many ways he was too good for this world. He was like a child in an adult's body and his children were everything. What is amazing is how well the children seem to be now. My mother is doing an amazing job. There is a lot of laughter in the house and so many pictures of Michael everywhere. I feel sorry for my mother because when Michael died a piece of her died too. She has changed, but I know she finds comfort looking after his children. I also know Michael wanted them to be happy and all of us, as a family, have come together to make those three little ones our priority.
[…] We don't want [the anniversary of his passing] to be a sad day. We want to celebrate Michael's life, his wonderful personality, his incredible talent and his beautiful spirit. Maybe we'll watch some old movies, play some music and have a party. One thing is for sure, Michael will be with us. On that day, Michael will be there.”
[La Toya Jackson; source: www.newsoftheworld.co.uk]
"I was devastated when I heard Michael say that [he would leave Neverland] because I knew Neverland was where he had spent the happiest 15 years of his life. It really broke my heart that he felt that way. His big dream was to build a paradise for children and that had been turned into an evil thing by the media. His dreams were completely crushed. […] At one time he thought of opening up a theme park in Albany, New York. I met him in New York and we went scouting up there. The area in general was not to his liking. Michael was a designer. He knew exactly what he wanted. Another location I showed him was a ranch in the Antelope Valley called Rancho Valyermo in Peach Blossom. The ranch was owned by Ruth Yardun and her sons. However, the ranch was very small and in the middle of the desert. It would not have worked for his animals.”
“Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous host, Robin Leach, called it the 'sale of the century'. It was the real estate transaction that made Michael Jackson the owner of what would come to be called the Neverland Ranch. I am the realtor who made that sale. This story (‘Michael Jackson: In Search Of Neverland’) is about Michael Jackson, whom I first met when he was in his teens, and how I helped the King of Pop make his dreams come true and acquire his dream home, Neverland Ranch. Michael Jackson was one of the most brilliant men I have ever known in my life, certainly not the Wacko Jacko described in the media. He was so thoughtful and decisive as a client that he was a joy to work with. He is the only celebrity client that really knew what he wanted - where, when and how. […]”
"A Michael Jackson comes around literally once in a lifetime. They break the mold and I think there are people who just sacrifice their life, their personal life all for the arts. That's what Michael did; he sacrificed his life for the arts."
[Marc Anthony, singer-songwriter, actor and producer; source: www.usmagazine.com]
“Michael Jackson was an enigma, to say the least. Much has been written analyzing everything from his psyche to his appearance to his talent, and there are opinions across the board about the allegations of molestation leveled against him during his life. Fan sites abound with opinionated and impassioned statements and articles about his innocence, most of which simply proclaim that he was found not guilty in a court of law. But there are countless details—including FBI files released in December 2009, court records, and public records—that offer a more well-rounded and supportable claim of innocence against all the charges, not just those in the criminal case.
Lisa: I was never a big Michael Jackson fan. However, having been born in the early 1970’s, Michael’s music was always in the background, always there to be heard and enjoyed. On June 25, 2009, the only news I had received was that Farah Fawcett’s long battle with cancer was finally over. When I returned home after work that evening, I logged on to Yahoo and was horrified by the headline “Michael Jackson Is Dead.” I began to text my husband, trying to multitask by running through the news channels at the same time. I watched CNBC, Fox News, CNN, and whatever channel happened to be broadcasting information about Michael’s untimely demise. As the world knows, the media coverage about Michael was non-stop, with everyone seemingly having an opinion about every aspect of Michael’s life and death. After many weeks of following the story, I continued to be struck by the fact that while so many mourned, so many others made cruel jokes. The dichotomy of feelings engendered by this man was fascinating, albeit in a horrifying way.
Back in 1993, when the first allegations were made public, I was in college. I didn’t really read the accounts of what was happening, but I knew the basic allegations, and for some reason, they didn’t sit well with me. Even after the settlement, I didn’t believe that Michael Jackson had committed the alleged acts.
In 2005, I was sucked into the media reports and thought that Michael was going to jail. Again, I did not believe the allegations, but the evidence being reported at the time was so overwhelming that it seemed a foregone conclusion. When he was found not guilty of all 14 counts of the criminal complaint on June 13, 2005, I completely understood why Michael chose to leave his home country.
However, Michael’s death made me want to delve into the evidence of all the allegations against him in order to determine what really transpired in 1993, and then again ten years later. With some apprehension, I plowed into the research. Once I started even the most basic search I was stunned by how little evidence there was against Michael—both in the allegations of Jordie Chandler and the court case of Gavin Arvizo. I was also confounded that so few credible journalists came to the aid of Michael Jackson, reporting anything other than salacious allegations.
Christy: My husband walked into my office in the afternoon of June 25, 2009, and said, “It’s a bad day to be a celebrity.” At my puzzled look, he said, “Farrah Fawcett died. And so did Michael Jackson.” I was stunned. I skipped right over the Farrah Fawcett news; while I certainly was sorry for what she’d endured, her illness was no secret, and in many ways I was grateful that her suffering was over. But Michael Jackson… that caught my attention. Like millions of others, I immediately became glued to the TV and the Internet, trying to discern fact from fiction. After Thriller, I had lost track of Michael Jackson over the years, not really paying attention to his music or to his life—although it was hard to miss the sensational stories the tabloids frequently ran on their covers every time he dared to venture out. But as I listened to the reports, like Lisa, I was struck by how judgmental and unkind so many people were. I asked my husband if he thought Michael Jackson was a pedophile; he didn’t believe so. I didn’t either, but I didn’t know why I didn’t believe so. Neither of us had followed the 2005 criminal trial in any depth, so I thought perhaps that was why we weren’t inclined to believe the worst. My curious nature got the best of me, and I donned my ‘investigator’ hat and went to work. With so much information available at my fingertips, it was pretty simple to dig deeper.
I began with that bastion of celebrity, Vanity Fair. When I began my research, I had great respect for Maureen Orth, a National Magazine Award-winning journalist and widow of Tim Russert, the famous host of NBC’s Meet the Press. I knew Ms. Orth had covered celebrities for VF, and after only a few keystrokes, I had copies of all of her articles on Michael Jackson. As I began to read, a sense of horror came over me. Sentence after sentence screamed, “bias.” I was appalled at the bias in the reporting, the evident lack of concern about concealing that bias, and at the poor writing and editing.
[full article here: www.reflectionsonthedance.com...eljackson.html]
”Death is final until you come upon the anniversary of the day you lost that person who impacted your life for better or worse. Over the last year, I have rediscovered Michael Jackson's work rummaging through his old tracks and albums.
[…] I grew up in a very religious home. Everything that didn't have to do with Jesus was of the devil. You were basically going to hell for just about everything. Our home was divided religiously; my dad was a liberal Baptist and my mother was a conservative Pentecostal. Both of them sincerely wanted to guard their children from the evils of the world. So when my older brother and I begged my Pop to buy Michael's Thriller album, the deal was we couldn't tell mom and it had to be kept at my grandmother's home where the record player was.
Thriller was the first album I ever owned -- I love all music because I first loved Thriller. I remember the first pressings of the album came in a butterfly jacket; when you opened it there was a full picture of Michael and the cub tiger. I was transfixed on what I heard and what I saw. He was beautiful to listen to; his voice was rich and sincere. His vocals were deliberate in styling but fluid in delivery. When you heard him on that record, you sensed a pureness, a virgin quality to his voice as if this gift was untouched and unblemished. Thriller was a complete album, not a weak track on it and Human Nature is divinely transcendent; an angelic masterpiece. If God could produce a song, it would be Human Nature.
Every forty years or so, once a generation, God gives a gift to all humanity, sweetly and gently planted in the heart of someone that in the right time and when manifested, everything in the world shifts around it. Michael was that gift.
By the time Michael passed away alone lying in his bed, we had come to understand him as a tormented soul, wearied in ways that we could not fully understand. We were unfair to him, we fawned over him too much as a child, we were too critical of him as a young adult, we scorned him too much as a man whose development was arrested very early on and who lingered lost and alone for most of his days. […] He was needy for our adoration of him and became addicted to our adulation of his gifts. […]
[…] We are left to marvel at his body of work […]. What we know for sure is that in the unraveling of what Michael has meant to the world and to black people, it will take years to get a proper perspective and place him in a fair and responsible historical framework. But right now, his meaning is like the broadest ocean and as we travel in it, we find different meanings for loving Michael over and over again.”
[Patrick D. Shaffer, author, public intellectual, sacred activist; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]
”I would say Michael was the epithome of fathers. He was the most incredible, incredible, incredible father. And what an incredible person!...You know, those kids were extremely, extremely lucky. […] [Their good behavior] actually stems from their father. I mean, look…that actually shows the world how those children were raised and how bright they were, you know, when it was time to be in public; they were ready. They’re beyond, beyond, beyond…I don’t know how to say, but they’re just beautiful children and I’m really blessed to even be a part of their life. […] I mean, anyone who loses their father [hurts], you know, it’s not easy for anyone, but I have to say they’re really strong, they’re doing really really well and Katherine (their grandmother) is doing an incredible job raising them and they have a really good support system in place and people really really care about them, are in touch with them and make sure they’re strong and keep them going.”
[Frank Cascio, longtime friend; source: www.youtube.com]
”[…] Michael was most concerned about children around the world going to bed without food. He would talk about it. And he was concerned about our planet. And that was his whole thing – to raise awareness. He was doing these things before the Al Gores, and global warming-ists, he was on it. And he sung about it. He did videos about it. Spent millions and millions and millions of dollars on videos just to show the world for three minutes, look at what we are doing.
[…] Well, [the child molestation claims] were certainly discounted in court. He was cleared on all counts. […] And that’s what I mean about the media trying to attack my brother and to shame him around the world because of something that they know he did not do. And still a lot of people don’t want to believe it. The love that they are giving my brother now that he is dead, is the love they should have shown him when he was alive. The FBI investigated my brother for 17 years and found nothing. And then they just vindicated him after his death. […] It’s bull****. And I will say they clearly should have given him that when he was alive. That would have made him feel better within his heart.
[…] It’s been tough [since Michael’s passing]. There are no words to describe the feeling. We’ll never get over it. […] I miss him very, very much because we’ve been so connected throughout our lives, since the very beginning. Healing comes from performing the songs, accepting awards on his behalf, doing tributes because it’s just something that you can’t explain.”
[Jermaine Jackson; source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
“I got to meet Michael…He came out to one of the shows in Las Vegas. And he came backstage with his kids and said ‘Hi’ to us and was an extremely normal and sweet human being and I could not be more thrilled to meet him. And then again, I was at a restaurant with Kenny [Ortega] and Zac [Efron] and Corbin [Bleu] and he calls, and Kenny is like, ‘You wanna talk to Michael?’ It’s like…what do you say to Michael over the phone!? Like, ‘How is life?’…I mean, it was just so surreal, but my heart goes out to him, you know? He’s one of our most incredible entertainers”.
[Vanessa Hudgens, American actress and singer; source: www.youtube.com]
“[…] I always knew that my brother was the greatest entertainer that we’ve ever seen. He was something special. This was [something I saw] way before the music and Motown; I’m talking about back in Gary, Indiana. I think Michael got to a point where they didn’t understand the heights that he had reached. When you are so high there is nowhere else to go but down. And the same people that put you at those heights are the very people that will bring you down. Michael had no reason to hate anything or hurt anyone. I think a lot of people knew who my brother actually was but they chose not to give him that credit or that respect. […] What hurts me more than anything is that I wish he were here to see the gratitude that the world has for him. When we don’t understand that kind of love or caring for people we tend to think that there’s more to it than meets the eye, when it’s actually simple and pure. His critics now have to go hide. The world showed how much Michael is loved. Now that he’s not here anymore, we will never have another one. [Everyone remembers that] little kid who was eight years old on The Ed Sullivan Show. But I remember him from five years before that, I remember when he was not even in school singing like a bird. It would make you shake your head [in disbelief.]
[…] My mom and dad had an anniversary gathering for their 60th year. And we all were there - the children, the grand kids…we all got together at a restaurant for a dinner. This was in L.A. and that was the last time I saw Michael. The last thing he told me, he always would give me a hug and I’d tell him I love him and he would tell me he loves me more. Those were the last words I heard from my brother.”
[Tito Jackson; source: www.vibe.com]
“I just wish that people would leave well enough alone...you know what I’m saying? It’s still a lot of mess surrounding [his death], it’s a lot of people that are looking for mess and then there’s a lot of people who are willing to entertain those that are looking for mess. I’m not going to name names or whatever, ’cause everybody deals with grief differently. But I think they should just really leave well enough alone. If they want to have one thing a year for Mike, that’s fine — of course, however they choose to honor him or whatever [privately is fine]. But I think they just need to let the fans do their thing [in celebrating]. Let that man rest in peace.”
“I think they should definitely pull the kids back, you know what I’m saying? Like, take his children and pull them back. ‘Cause dude ain’t never want that for his kids. I think that was the one thing out of a life of maybe being misunderstood, and [having] miscommunications and not really discussing a lot of what was going on with him, I think the one thing that we could all draw from…from the way he carried himself was that he didn’t want anybody bothering his children. He didn’t want them to have to deal with the type of ridicule…I won’t say ridicule, but the kind of, you know, craziness and madness that comes with being in this industry. And, unfortunately, it looks like some people want to pull them right into that…and that’s for money, which is kind of sad, because, obviously, the estate of Michael Jackson ain’t hurting for no money. […] Nobody is hurting for money, you know what I’m saying? I would say a lot of people should just leave well enough alone.”
[Bun B, American rapper; source: www.mtv.com]
“Michael Jackson didn’t just master what was black music. He learned it, mastered it, expanded it, and then brought it beyond the walls of musical apartheid. He was in a position no else in the world was in. He had family, he had friends, but he had no peer. And when you’re peerless, it is, naturally, a lonely place. I don’t think the world has been able to mourn properly, because there are too many unanswered questions. I don’t think we can heal until we look at the wound, who inflicted the wound and why; I think we can celebrate his life, but we can’t be settled with his death until we know who, what, when and why. […] I said ‘I’m gonna go to England, I’m gonna go see you moonwalk one more time’, and he laughed, he said, ‘Sharpton, we’ve got a lot to talk about, there’s a lot of stuff going on’. He would always cut right to business or some assignment and I kind of always regret it I never found out what he was talking about when he said to me, ‘We’ve got to talk about what’s going on’. […] We never had that discussion. He was a good man and he deserved a lot more than he got and he gave a lot more than he received.”
[Al Sharpton, American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and radio talk show host; source:.http://itn.co.uk]
“I grew up on Michael Jackson. […] There was just something about this guy. If you cut through all the life [stuff] and just watch what he does, he had a tremendous power. He had a joy, an innocence, a commitment to performance that was really unique. Elvis wasn't that. The Beatles aren't that. It was something different.”
[Nelson George, author; source: www.spinner.com]
”This Friday, June 25th marks the one year anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson, another polarizing figure in his delebrity (dead celebrity). […] I honestly don't care which category you fall into. […] Let us hope the best for his children, and for those who find his musical legacy and philanthropy inspiring, let us hope they use this as fodder to continue moving forward in their own artistic creations and activism.
What I am interested in is doing not a little bit of revisionist history per se, but a little Andrew Jackson number on his brother with the same surnamesake, Michael Jackson. Take a look at Kenny Ortega's documentary, This Is It, compiled from the footage of Michael Jackson's preparation leading up to his series of concerts that were to be held in London in July 2009.
Look at the nonstop patience, gratitude, and professionalism Michael exudes and extends to his colleagues and collaborators at all times. Look at how he rehearses over and over and over again until he gets it right, and how he never complains or whines that he's too tired, or it's too difficult. Look at how his attitude encourages everyone around him to deliver. […] Even if he was "phoning it in" or holding himself back while in rehearsal mode, the exteriority of the verisimilitude in his performance far surpasses most people, even on their best day.
Let's hold this legacy of the passionate, hardworking Michael Jackson up to today's youth all over the world and open a can of whoop a** on the massive, pathetic atrophy of their work ethic. We are plagued by an entire generation of youth with an incredible command of their own sense of entitlement. In the summer of 2006, I had to spend 7 weeks working part-time outside of the office. When I told my subordinate he would have to take on a new responsibility to cover for me in my absence, he replied, "But what if I don't want to?"
Every child, every person in this world, even without Michael Jackson's innate talent or the money brought to him through fame, can become great -- a great teacher, a great administrative assistant, a great Volvo technician, a great volunteer, a great banker, a great plumber, a great computer engineer, a great friend. Let us tell these children about Michael Jackson and say, "Are you willing to work this hard for what you want every day? Are you willing to invest the time to learn what you need to learn, to say 'yes' to every possibility and every opportunity, to go above and beyond what is merely 'expected'?"
[…] Let the music, dancing, philanthropy, and above all, hard work, and the striving for perfection live on, and say to our children, "Yes, you are right, 'We Are the World.' It's time you take a look at the 'Man in the Mirror' and think about what you're going to do about it and how you're going to contribute. Because it's a choice. And your decision, whether you see it or not, affects everyone and everything around you. […]”
[Ashley Wren Collins, American actress, writer; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]
“Like most people of my generation, I grew up idolizing Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. Their dance moves, afros, and hip costumes—everything about them—were the coolest things my friends and I had ever seen. I mean who didn’t want Michael’s red leather jacket from “Thriller”? I sure did. Even though my family spent a great deal of the ’80s in Germany with my military father, there was no way you could miss Michael and his shiny glove or his famous dance, the moonwalk. I could do the moonwalk better than anyone in my class in Germany. The world loved him and so did I.
When we did arrive back in the United States during the mid-’80s, Michael was the undisputed King of Pop, and my brother, sisters, and I ate it up. We watched every one of his videos from the album Thriller with laserlike focus, analyzing his every move so we could re-create them in our living room. “Beat It” was pretty much our family anthem, since we listened to it and sang it so much. After I entered the NBA and got drafted by the Orlando Magic, I went to purchase a house and wanted one on the lake in Florida. The real-estate agent told me he had the perfect house for me and that Michael Jackson had been interested in buying it as well. I actually bought it.
One day out of the blue, there was knock on the door and when I opened it—there stood the King of Pop in all his glory. I’m rarely without something to say, but on that day and at that moment I was speechless. He wanted to see what I’d done with the place (LOL), so I took him on a tour. As you might expect, he loved my recording studio and couldn’t get over my round Superman bed that fits 45 people. He thought it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. Having just gotten a taste of fame myself, I was really surprised by how normal and kind he was. I could tell he really enjoyed just hanging out and talking for a while about basketball and other stuff going on with me. He liked just being a regular guy for a moment.
Since he was so nice, I asked him to hang around a little longer so my youngest sister, Ayesha, could come over to meet him. She loved Michael on an entirely different level and would have killed me if I hadn’t held him there for her. He stayed, and it was probably one of the best days of our lives. He came back to visit another time with Lisa Marie Presley. She loved my Superman bed, too! A couple years later, when I became a Los Angeles Laker, Michael invited me to Neverland for the day. Again, I was speechless. To go to someone’s house that had a zoo and rollercoaster was surreal. I was more excited than any of the kids there. I had a ball and so did Michael.
As my career became more hectic, it wasn’t as easy to spend time with him, but we kept in touch over the years through friends and associates. His death really hit me and my family hard because he’d been so much a part of our lives before we’d ever even met him. My youngest son, Shaquir, who is just 7, cried his eyes out when he heard he’d passed away. Michael was the most amazing performer of my lifetime and, for me personally, an inspiration and a friend.”
[Shaquille O’Neal, American professional basketball player, rapper, actor; source: www.newsweek-interactive.com]
"Music will always be my number one thing, because it's inside me and it's something that has to come out." - Michael Jackson
Over the past few years, while working on my book, Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, I have been fortunate enough to spend hours talking to the people who worked closest with the King of Pop. The 500-page work that resulted chronicles his entire solo career, album by album, song by song, so I have necessarily gone through his catalog countless times as I learned about the history, details, and intricacies of each piece.
For the one-year anniversary since his tragic death, then, I thought it would be appropriate to draw attention back to the brilliance of his work. While some of the songs on this list will be well-known, others have received little attention. One of the goals of my book is to encourage a major re-assessment of Michael's post-1980s work, much of which is outstanding. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Jackson's artistry didn't decline after Thriller; much like the Beatles, it evolved in exciting and compelling ways. Unfortunately, most media purveyors and music critics dismissed this evolution because a) they couldn't look past Jackson's tabloid persona, and b) he never outsold Thriller (a feat, incidentally, that no other artist accomplished either). But there are countless gems in his late albums, and many others that never even made it onto his studio records.
With so much diverse, quality work, coming up with a Top Ten is a daunting -- and admittedly subjective -- task. Yet if I were forced to gather together ten Michael Jackson songs to hold up against the best songs of the Beatles or Elvis Presley or Prince, these are the ten I would bring:
1.) Billie Jean
2.) Stranger in Moscow
This will be a surprising pick to many, but not for those more familiar with Jackson's work. This is Jackson's version of the Beatles' seminal "A Day in the Life": a brooding, introspective minor-key ballad with probably the most compelling lyrics of Jackson's career. The song is about alienation, loneliness, despair. "I was wanderin' in the rain," he sings, "Mask of life, feeling insane." Later he speaks of a "swift and sudden fall from grace," of being stalked by the KGB, and feeling an internal "Armageddon of the brain." Sonically, the song is understated but exquisite, perfectly capturing the detached resignation of the singer in one of his darkest hours. While it never made any greatest hits collections, over time "Stranger in Moscow" will undoubtedly hold up as one of his finest artistic achievements.
3.) Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
4.) Man in the Mirror
One can make a strong case that this classic should be higher on the list. Culturally, it stands alongside John Lennon's "Imagine" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On" as one of the defining anthems in popular music. Like Gaye and Lennon's classics, in fact, it was "Man in the Mirror" that people turned to most after Jackson passed. Critics have varied in their reviews, but there is no denying the power of this song. Its lyrics might seem rather cliche if not for Jackson's total conviction and passion. Watch him perform this song at the 1988 Grammy Awards or simply turn it up loud and listen to the majestic call and response with the Andrae Crouch Singers Choir, and it will make you a believer in its idealistic charge that music can change the world.
5.) Earth Song
In America, this song was largely panned, but it is one of Jackson's most successful globally-- and for good reason. Where "Man in the Mirror" is about inspiration, "Earth Song" is an apocalyptic warning. "What have we done to the world," he sings. "Look what we've done." Long before the green movement was trendy, Jackson was sounding the alarm about the destruction we are doing to the planet. "Earth Song," however, is not simplistic propaganda; it is a powerful artistic protest in the form of a sweeping blues opera. The climax in this song is absolutely breathtaking. The cynicism and indifference it met with in 1995 America, says far more about the country than the song.
6.) They Don't Care About Us
Like "Earth Song," "They Don't Care About Us" was extremely popular globally, but largely dismissed in the United States. This was partially due to ridiculous charges of anti-Semitism. In context, of course, the song's message is one of solidarity with all who are oppressed, exploited and ostracized. This message is chanted on the back of a cracking militant shuffle percussion as police scanners and strings loom ominously in the background. The song's two music videos, directed by Spike Lee, were shot in an impoverished havela in Rio de Janeiro and a prison in New York. A song of both indignation and empowerment, it is unquestionably one of the most powerful protest songs of the 1990s.
7.) Human Nature
8.) Who Is It
Comparisons to "Billie Jean" are apt. Haunting, paranoid, a pulsing bass line, ominous strings. For those that think Jackson didn't produce anything worthwhile after Thriller, this is a good place to start. Listen to the Gothic soprano choir's ethereal strains, listen to the intricate layers on the outro, listen to the pain and loneliness in the vocals. This is not typical pop by any stretch.
9.) Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
10.) Tie- Beat It and Black or White
Okay, I wimped out on the last one and made it two. But they go well together. Both contain socially conscious themes (one dealing with violence, the other with racism); both were huge #1 hits; and both broke barriers, musical and otherwise. "Beat It" merged rock and R&B in a way never done before, forcing radio and MTV to change formatting, and opening the door for countless black artists to come. "Black or White," meanwhile, became Jackson's biggest hit since "Billie Jean" thanks to its classic guitar riff and shockingly bold video. An MJ Top Ten list wouldn't be right without these two songs.
Feel free to write your own lists and debate in the comments. There are, of course, dozens of other fantastic songs in Jackson's catalog. And fortunately for fans, dozens of more to come.”
[Joe Vogel, author; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]
“Michael Jackson is a wonder...A wonderful man from another world that blessed us with his presence and gifted us with witnessing creativity at its finest. I've always been a fan, I mean, who isn't? I love this man. I try to imagine how exactly it was when he got into the studio. I imagine him being like a fountain of ideas. Floating melodies, rhythmic beat boxes flowing from his mouth. Bright energy and dances that just appeared out of every moment. How badly do I wish that I could have witnessed anyone of those magical Quincy Jones sessions. Can you IMAGINE how THAT was! Michael Jackson is absolutely the most important artist of my generation! He changed everything. And still to this day, Michael's flows, dance moves, performances, and video inspirations are everywhere you look! That's how you KNOW he was a force of nature that was meant to come before us and show us what innovation and fearlessness looks like!
And that's my favorite thing about him. How he was unafraid to be totally unique, and special and one of a kind. THAT'S how you become unforgettable!!
It’s hard to pick a favorite Michael Jackson song. But I would say that Billie Jean is one of my favorites! Have you ever heard those lyrics??? How do you make a topic sooo DEEP sound so infectious??? Only HE! That song wows me every time I hear it and makes me want to dance all at the same time!!
I always have and always will love and respect MJ. What he has contributed will never be forgotten and I'm unsure if anyone else will EVER be able to come even remotely close to his class of genius!!
“When I think of Michael, I think of innocence, I think of love, I think of a very brilliant performer and his love for passion and…for his love of music, and dance. […]”
[Ola Ray, American model and actress; source: http://abcnews.go.com]
“[…] He told me that he wrote thousands of songs for his children, who will be taken care of for the rest of their life. Michael let me hear his new songs in Ireland and Las Vegas. They are great songs – brilliant. Michael is a genius. […] Michael should be with us now. He should not be dead. I still cannot believe we lost Michael forever. And I miss him very much.”
[Raymone Bain, spokeswoman; source: http://china.org.cn]
“It almost breaks my heart that the last 10 years of his life he wasn't credited as the real humanitarian that he was. As much as he cared for the environment and cared for children, you know, I think the opposite was said about him.”
[Jason Mraz, American singer-songwriter; source: http://china.org.cn]
“[He was] an incredibly pure soul. […] I was always angry how the Western press treated him. So unfairly. The whole scandal about children. I am 100 percent sure it was extortion. It destroyed his spirit.”
[Jennifer batten, American guitarist; source: http://china.org.cn]
“I think that Michael was a gentle and pure soul. He was wholeheartedly an amazing person as well as a genius musically and what he did for the world of music is just rare and I don't think we'll come across that again soon, you know. He's the King of Pop for a reason and what he left behind for music is just immeasurable."
[Crystal Bowersox, American singer-songwriter; http://china.org.cn]
“Passionate. Passionate about his work, passionate about his view of life. I think that his contribution to the music industry and then even allowing it to pan over to philanthropy was a standard set for what artists do when they reach that point in their careers."
[Usher; source: http://china.org.cn]
“It was as if a hammer had smashed the sun in and everything turned black [when Mr. Jackson passed]. […] Paris is a huge lover of animals and nature, so we dug a vegetable patch and snuck out at night with flashlights to gather enough snails to build a snail farm. Prince, loved to read and was really into movies. He spent hours making animation films using apples in the kitchen. And Blanket was hilarious. Michael built a movie theatre for the kids and had movie nights for them. He liked them to watch black and white movies and little Blanket got really into the 1930s gangster film The Public Enemy. […] Those few months were so happy. Mr Jackson was an almost Willy Wonka-style father, with his crazy sense of fun. […] He loved practical jokes. […]
[…] Mr. Jackson had paid for members of the circus troupe, Cirque du Soleil to perform throughout the house and garden [on Paris’ birthday]. It was magical and one of the security team filmed the whole day. […] [The children] had flown over to Britain with their dad when he announced the O2 tour and had loved it. Mr. Jackson loved the UK - he told me he had a huge place in his heart for the country, the Queen, and the music there. He loved fish and chips and wanted the children to try shepherd's pie. London was one of his favourite places on earth. And in the last week before he died he had British theme nights for the children. […]
[In the last few weeks before his passing] there were a lot of people behind the scenes - business types - putting pressure on him, I think. He looked tired and the training was hard - but he still found endless energy for the children.”
[Kai Chase, celebrity chef; source: www.thesun.co.uk]
“There isn't a day where I don't miss or think about the amazing memories you gave me. Your presence is always felt and your love has never left. Most importantly through your life people now see what a genuine, selfless, giving, kind, heart is all about and that's how I know you expect us to also live our lives. By your example we will do the best we can to always make you proud.”
[Austin Brown; singer, musician, Michael Jackson’s nephew; source: www.austinbrown.com]
“I was a junior in highschool when my friend Michael Jackson asked me to go on tour with him. He was spending the summer in Europe staging the largest ever (at the time) rock tour for his latest album DANGEROUS. I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me go. We'd known Michael for a few years by then and grown quite close. He'd even come and stayed at our house in suburban Boston for a few days. Who could forget the time he clumsily tried to make his bed in the guestroom in the morning in an effort to impress my mother so he might be invited back? Or the ill-fated breakfast he tried to cook for my sister and I that we forced down our throats with strained smiles as he carefully watched us? Aside from being the biggest celebrity on the planet, he seemed like a pretty good guy so eventually my parents relented and let me go.
To describe it in one word: impossibly awesome (because one word is not nearly enough). To be seventeen and the sidekick of the greatest rockstar the world had ever known was indescribable. Paris, Rome, London, Munich, Athens and more. Every city we went to essentially shut down to host him. Where Michael roamed, a million cameras followed. A buzz reverberated and the bright light of fame trailed. And I felt the halo effect, often donning one of his iconic fedoras, his signature sunglasses, and one of the countless slick tour jackets Pepsi supplied us with. Private planes, police escorts, marching soldiers (an inexplicable MJ favorite), Michael was more than happy to share his celebrity because he had more than he'd ever know what to do with. He joked that I could ride "shotgun" with him anytime I liked. He knew I was living vicariously through him and he was happy for it.
“Arriving to stadiums hours before showtime, while he'd have to go through elaborate pre-show routines and wardrobe sessions, I'd wander out onto the stage where dozens upon dozens of sound techs, engineers, and roadies would be rigging the massive stage and prepping the show. Even four or five hours before showtime, thousands of fans would push as far forward as possible so as to get as close to MJ when the show began. You've seen the videos of crazy fans, dehydrated and dazed, having to be dragged out of the crowd by hustling paramedics. I saw it up close and personal - even got involved once or twice when fans started dropping by the dozens.
[…] After those formalities, he and I would retreat back to his hotel, usually the biggest and best suite in the whole city. Michael almost always had the place stocked with old movies, more candy, and more orange juice. Even as thousands of adoring fans chanted his name from the streets below, we'd chat about music, movies, video games, girls, and occasionally the meaning of life.
[…] Over the years my brotherhood with Michael evolved. When I went to college in NYC and lived uptown, he lived at the Four Seasons in midtown and I'd see him regularly, sharing with him collegiate exploits and adventures. Years later when he became a father, he invited me over to Neverland to see "the greatest thing he ever created" - his son Prince. More time passed. I watched as he endured the agony of his dramatic fall from grace, his resurrection through his children Prince, Paris, and Blanket, and then once again the agony of his descent into the shadows of things he couldn't control.
[…] We never got to see a proper ending to Michael's tale. Instead there's a tangled legacy, the bright light of fame shining over the tumbled necropolis of unfounded allegations twisted around the neverending tenderness for his own children. It's funny to me how in the last year, in death Michael has been canonized by many of the same commentators who were so relentless in tearing him down while he lived. […]
One night while on that tour with him, toward the end when I was getting ready to go back to school and the real world, Michael asked me if I was glad that I had come, even though I couldn't stay for the whole tour. He knew I was sad that I wouldn't get to stay until the very end. Still, it was an insane question and I told him so. "Are you kidding?" I said. "Every second I was here with you was a privilege. Thank you for letting me ride shotgun even for a little while."
[Gotham Chopra, American author and entertainment/media entrepreneur. source: http://blog.beliefnet.com]
“Back in the day when I first met Michael, he was warm, and at the same time, inside of himself. He knew there was a fire inside of himself. […] [The Jackson 5, my brother and I, who began working at Motown Records in 1972] used to start [around] 4:30 p.m., after school [let out,]. They'd arrive in a limousine from school and go straight into the studio. It was a wonderful chapter in our lives. It was the greatest experience ever. I think it was spiritually fulfilling. […]
[…] Being the youngest of the Jackson 5, everybody was always telling Michael where to stand. It wasn't because he was ‘Michael Jackson,' but because he was the youngest. One day, Michael walked over and leaned against a piano and just started singing. I was thinking, ‘A kid this young with this much soul.' It was just extraordinary.
[…] When we did ‘The Wiz' I knew Michael, but Quincy was [just getting better acquainted with him,]. It was fun seeing that relationship grow. It shows you what can happen when you have the right combination of mind and spirit. […]
[…] I was going with a wonderful woman and woke up with her, and she wanted to get married, and I wasn't ready. These thoughts were going through my mind on the freeway one night. I said [to myself,] ‘Hey man, you made a choice. Face it. She's out of your life.' I was like ‘Wow' at what I was thinking. By the time I got home, the song [‘She’s Out Of My Life’] was written in 13 minutes. […] [Michael] understood drama. When he sang ‘She's Out of My Life’, he cried. People don't hear how he apologized at the end of every take. I asked Michael on a break if he was alright. I said, ‘Hey man, sorry if I hit a chord.' [Michael] said, ‘No man, I was just getting into the lyrics’. […]
[…] Any time he'd do something on voices, he'd call us. Michael was great. He was always open [to our comments.] But at the same time, he was an incredible singer. […] There were so many songs, that if I hear them, then I can remember them. […] John and I met with Michael at Neverland Ranch, and when he came into the room and sat down, John and I got on each side of him and started singing [a few bars from song ‘Rockin’ Robin], ‘Tweedly-deedly-dee. Tweedly-deedly-dee.' [Michael] was a fun guy. He had such a bright spirit. Michael was an amazing spirit and had a real gift for singing. Everything he did, I found to be unique, funky, hip and tasteful. He was one of the greatest entertainers I've ever encountered and I'll never forget him”.
[Tom Bahler, songwriter, studio singer, arranger and producer; source: www.articlesbase.com]
“I’m a huge fan of Michael Jackson. […] I think Michael…I mean, he was a baby when he started in this industry, and it’s hard, you gotta be strong and I think it’s just…[…] it’s so crazy with media and all that, no one ever wrote an article just to say, ‘Hey, Michael, we really appreciate what you do’. Because, I would wish I had had the opportunity, I wish I would have known, I wish I would have had some kind of premonition, like how can I get in touch with Michael Jackson [to] let him know how much he means to me, because not enough people had told him and I think that’s sad to wait till it’s to late to tell people what he did, but I think he knows.”
[Miley Cyrus, American actress and singer; source: www.mtv.com]
“It's amazing how fast a year can go, especially when you're still grieving over something…[…] No one can believe in my family it's been a year. […]
It's been very difficult for me, it’s been extremely difficult. And as you say, people say that we've lost an icon, we've lost someone that can never, ever, ever be replaced. Michael was so special, he was so different, he was so unusual. He was so loving, he was so caring, he was a father, he was also a mother, he was a brother. He was so many things to people. He was a giving person who gave to all the different charitable events and charities…and it’s just…the talent that was there and just the love that exuberated from him when you were around him is something that will be greatly missed, especially for those like myself and my family who really knew the real Michael, who was around the true Michael that you, guys, never got a chance to really experience, and it’s…that’s the one thing that bothered me, because I always wanted the world to see Michael the way we did. Just…such a good, loving, caring, kind person.
[…] You didn’t see his talent, he had so much more talent than he showed you, guys, which is amazing. The people that were around him know that, they go, ‘Jeez, that is amazing!...”. Truthfully, I have to be quite frank with you, Michael was something sent from God. […] Michael was truly something special from God. You, guys, never really saw what was really within him, the talent that he truly, truly had, that he only gave you a little bit of it. It's amazing. […]
[…] His music has always uplifted me and anyone, I can say, for that matter, because his music has always had such a strong message to it. But, as far as one particular song, anything that he sings such slow, I just…it’s true tear jerker, it’s like, ‘Please, turn it”, the minute it comes on the radio…anything…it’s like, I can’t listen to it!...Because it touches your heart, because he sings with such a feeling, and you feel, you understand what he’s saying; when you hear him sing, it’s almost like you’re putting yourself in that scenario, that story, so you can’t listen to it and you want him to still be with us and…he is. […]
[The anniversary of his passing] is going to be personal…It’s going to be very personal. […] There are activities that are going on. […] However, we will always remember him…[…] I go, ‘We should do something extremely special”, and she goes, ‘La Toya, let’s try to do something like that on his birthday, but not the day that he passed’, and I think that makes her feel better. […]
[…] I have never forgotten him. I will try to remember him, and when I say that, I mean, when I said that I’ve never forgotten him, I wanna think he’s still here, and, for me, it’s safe territory, and it’s so funny, because I was saying to my mother last night and we were both…we cried…and I said ‘Mother…”, and she goes, ‘Honey…I just can’t believe he’s not with us’, and I said, ‘I know, mother, isn’t it difficult?’, and she said, ‘I just can’t believe it’, and you can’t! You just…I think you choose not to, I think that’s what it is, you choose not to. We just can’t believe it and we don’t want to believe that he’s no longer with us. So, I’d like to think that he’s still here. […]
[…] The kids are doing very well, they’re doing very well. You know, we’re both adults here, you and I, and it’s very hard for me to accept it..that he’s no longer with us, and I always wonder about the kids, I always wonder how are they really coping with it, because they’re children, they see it so differently, this was their dad and they’re little and what are their true thoughts? […] But they’re having so much fun, they’re playing and they’re enjoying their lives and they’re spending time with their cousins, which is really great, and I’m happy for them for that, I think my mother is doing the best that she can with them, she’s doing a great job […]. I understood why [Michael kept them away from the public eye], because he felt that the world was so cruel and the world said cruel things and he didn’t want his kids hearing cruel things, he didn’t want them to look at the television and see such cruel things on TV’s, everything was so angelic and pure, because that’s all they knew. […] They are so strong, kids are resilient, it’s amazing how they bounce back, they’re so strong, because I can’t listen to Michael’s music, I can’t listen to certain things at all, I can’t look at certain pictures, I can’t see him on television, I go, ‘I can’t do this right now’, because it gets to me, but they just..’Oh, look at daddy right there!’, it’s like, that’s great that they can do that. I think that’s wonderful.”
”It's been tough, Larry. [This year] went so fast. We've been just putting the pieces together and the family's having a lot of meetings and we're just trying to hold on. […] It's hard. It's -- no, we haven't come to terms. It's something we're learning to live with. But we will never accept it. It's just -- it's tough. Very tough. […] I just can't believe a year has gone by. But to just -- when it happened, so many things came back to my mind. Just the childhood and things that we used to do as a family and a group as the Jackson Five. It was very tough.
[…] Yes, [people finally got to realize what a really sensational performer and person was when This Is It came out], but why they didn't know that when he was alive? Because his music -- if we listen to the content of his lyric in his music, that's what he is. That's what he wrote from his heart, from his soul. And it's sad because now people realize what kind of person he was all along, but he's not here to see that. […] He got a bum wrap because it's just -- he was so misunderstood. And he was trying to take the world on his shoulders and to bring an awareness to the world and what we need to do as people. Yes, he got a bum wrap, yes.
[…] [On the anniversary of his passing, we will] try to make it joyous, but it hurts at the same time. But he would want us to be happy. Michael was very special in the sense that he -- I kind of felt that he -- he felt something about his life, and he did say on numerous occasions at times to my mother that he felt that he was being threatened and someone was trying to kill him. […]
“[Michael’s kids] live with my two [sons], Jaffar and Jermajesty and they're having a good time. They're being kids. And they're playing with skateboards and the dogs running around the house and the parrot and the iguanas and things like that. […] They are doing very, very well. […] They are all ahead and so are my two. So we're very happy about that. […] They get along very, very well. […] I guess right when [Michael’s children appeared on stage at his memorial service], the therapist felt that it was important for them to go in and see Michael right then and there, and they got it all out. But, still, it will always be there. They are learning to live with it, too. But they've done a tremendous job of just being strong and being so young.
[…] It's hard to imagine how that feels, but [Mother] -- she gets numb and quiet sometimes, and I think she sort of relives the childhood of his and just hearing his laugh and what he used to do when he was young.
[…] Michael would never, ever, ever take his own life, and I -- if Michael were sitting here right now, and we were to say to him, ‘Michael, you're not going to be here, and your kids are going to be left fatherless’, he would say, oh, no, that would never happen. And the fact that there's been so many ridiculous things being said by Dr. Klein and all these idiots who were saying these horrible things now that he's not here. I'm very much against that. Michael loved life. He was the type of person who saw a fly in the room, he wouldn't smash it against the wall. He would let it out. He would open the door to let the fly out. He loved preserving life and life for others. […]
[…] You know, Larry, it's not even important whether [Dr. Murray] keeps his license or they take his license away. The bottom line is Michael is not here. […]
[…] We love him, we miss him. The world needs to know the truth. We need to know the truth. You need to know the truth. And absolutely. We're going to do everything in our power as a family to make sure the world knows on what really happened. […] Larry, it's -- Michael's estate is probably one of the most successful financial estates, close to $1 billion now up to this day, and to have all these things about debt and this and that, it's like when he was alive, they beat him down with this child molestation stuff. They try to make it seem like he did this. You beat someone down with the very thing that they love. And this was all planned. This was all to try to kill him with that. They couldn't kill him with that. So he had a dependency on sleeping pills or whatever, so they found a way to kill him with that. They found a way. […]
[…] I did a sort of tribute to him [in Gambia]. There was -- we started the show with a three-minute poem of his, Larry. And the strangest thing. Before we started, the Moon was covered with clouds. And Michael was talking about planet Earth for three minutes, and just his voice ringing all over the stadium. It was so beautiful. And all of a sudden, the Moon was so bright and clear. And then, when it finished, the clouds closed the Moon up against it. Everybody, after the show, said, ‘Did you look at the Moon when your brother was talking?’ I said I felt a very magical moment during that time.
[…] The magic of the Jackson Five was having a team like Motown, having Barry Gordy, Susan Depasse, Shelly Berger, all of these people who knew how to take what we had and put it into this Motown machine and just present it for the world. That was the magic. And then we were so young, singing these grown up songs, and Michael singing about who is loving you, and he has never experienced love at that age. It was just unbelievable. […] Every day. Every day [do I think about him]. I just -- sometimes, I just say ‘Michael, Michael, Michael. Michael, where are you? Michael, I miss you.’ Yes. […] See, his spirit is very much alive. I went to Mumbai, and I went to go on the side of town in India to tailors. And I saw this outfit in the window. And I loved this outfit, but it was in an appliance store. But the store that had this outfit was three stories up. So I walked in and said, where is the store for this outfit. They say it's three stores up. So I go in this elevator, go three stories up, and the guy said, ‘Oh, my God, your brother was here’. I said ‘Who?’ He said, ‘Michael. I made clothes for him.’ So he brought all the pictures out, everything. What are the chances, a billion people, all these tailors in India, and I end up in the same place where Michael was to get clothes? I feel him, just because his spirit is very much alive. He was a positive soul. […] He's going to be remembered as a great humanitarian that cared about people, cared about life, and a great artist, and a humanitarian.”
[Jermaine Jackson (interviewed by Larry King on Larry King Live – rush transcript); source; http://transcripts.cnn.com]
“It brought back a lot of memories and then it brought back a lot of tears, but all in all, I had fun writing “Never Can Say Goodbye.” […] My family and I are not planning, haven’t talk or planned anything about this first anniversary - first year anniversary of Michael’s passing. And one reason why I’m doing this interview is I think that…I hope that the paparazzis and everyone would just respect our privacy during this difficult time and would leave us alone. […]
[…] We had a Maytag washing machine, and it was rickety when the agitators would go, you know how they go [imitates sound]. This one was so rickety that it had a [imitates sound] kinda like that, and Michael was there on the floor wearing his diaper and his little bottle, and he just was dancing to the rhythm of what the washing machine made. […]
It’s been hard. It really has been hard [dealing with Michael’s passing]. But with the friends and loved ones and family around me, I’m doing ok, especially with prayer. So, it helped me cope. […]
[…] [One of my favorite songs is “Man of War” by the Jackson 5]. I love the message. Says, ‘Don’t go to war no more. Study peace, because peace is all we need.’
[…] Every Sunday he would go upstairs in our—we have another room up over the garage, and he made it into a little studio for dancing and exercising, and he would go up there and dance for two hours straight without stopping. So, he wanted to be ready for his 2-hour concert. And so it paid off. Mike was on the show with his brothers and he did some songs with his brothers, and all the brothers left the stage, and I was surprised they were leaving him up there alone. And I was thinking, ‘Now what is he going to do?’ That’s the first time I saw him do the moonwalk. And the theater went crazy. They just went wild. […]
[…] I didn’t know he was gonna bring [Bubbles, one of Michael’s former pets] home because he had talked about getting a chimpanzee, and so I told one of the trainers I don’t want a monkey here. About a week or two later, Michael brought him home and I was shocked to find out that they act so much like humans. He would go and stand in front of you and hold his little hands up for you to pick him up. Just adorable and everybody fell in love with him.
[On my birthday, in 1984, Michael and family] gave me a party and invited my favorite pianist, and then, there was a long ribbon that led all the way to where I was sitting, and they had me follow the ribbon like follow the yellow brick road. Follow the ribbon – there was a Rolls Royce with a big ribbon on top of it. They had told Janet to shop for a car of my favorite color. She had bought a big red Rolls Royce. […]
[…] You remember when they used to show the little African kids starving to death, flies all around their mouth? We, Michael and I, would lay there on the floor watching TV… Michael would look up at me and said, ‘Mother,’ he said, ‘One day’ – he was only a kid then – ‘I’m going to do something about this.’ After he got old enough to manage his own money and do things, everything he did was for the children. And I was very proud of him because he remembered and he gave, up until his last day. […]
[…] He talked about he missed his childhood, which he did, but then, he also said he loved what he’s doing now and he wouldn’t have had it any other way…I imagine he must have liked it a lot because he could have stopped performing anytime he wanted to, and he kept on doing it. He loved what he was doing. Since he was young.
[…] They have lots of cousins and uncles. They’ve been in their life since day one after, and also, after Michael passed, they even been closer. One or two of them are there every day. Kids are doing fabulous. They’re doing good and they’re straight A students. […] At one time they didn’t even know [their father was a superstar]. Cause he never did let them know what he was doing, never did show them any videos of himself or anything – or DVD’s, as you call them now. […] Out of all the people in Michael’s life, I think Michael adored his children more than anything else. And they adored him.
[…] When he was 18 and had his own money, he said, ‘Mother, I’m going to buy you a new house,’ and we went shopping all over for a new house. And homes had gone up so expensive and we couldn’t find a piece of property we wanted. […] The children love it too. They swim, they play football, basketball…everything. And because it was from Michael, now I don’t think I want to move.
[…] The last time I saw Michael before he passed away was about a week and a half… and I had gone to visit him. The children were there, we talked, we played around and had fun together. And Michael even showed me a movie, cause he had a new instrument there. It was really nice, he just played on the bedroom wall. And that was the last time I can remember seeing my son alive. […] I never looked at him after he passed. I - I don’t like doing that. I wanted to remember him smiling and laughing and having a good time the last time I saw him.
[…] He used to come to me sometimes and tell me, and he said, ‘Mother, just think of what I love most in this world are children, and I’d rather slit my own wrist before I hurt a child, and this is what they’re trying to pin on me.’ And I just want them to know that Michael wasn’t like that. […]
[…] He felt that people wanted him gone, wanted him dead. He would always say that. And, for him to say that, he must have known something. It’s just some of the mean, evil, vicious people didn’t want him around for some reason. They’re greedy. That’s what it is. Don’t take that out. They are greedy.
[…] Of course [Michael’s death] could have been prevented, because he had hired a doctor to watch over him. And the doctor was negligent. […] Whatever happened now wouldn’t bring my son back, but I want justice done. And I think when the trial is over, I hope it’s done. But, for me to be at peace, I don’t know.”
“[…] Those who knew my son well will attest that Michael was one of the best person you’d ever want to meet and be around. He loved everyone; he was a good father and a very good son.
Michael was generous, kind, considerate, funny, intelligent, warm and extremely humble. His acts of kindness and generosity were something he hardly spoke about; when in fact he was truly one of the greatest philanthropists of our time. At one point, he was active in 39 charities, and the Guiness Book Of Records recognized him for his donations in the philanthropic world. Michael often saw the good in people and trusted many in the early part of his career, sometimes leading to pain and betrayal in his life.
Most of what I read or heard in the media was not the truth – especially the allegations of child abuse. […] Michael loved children and he worked diligently and passionately to better the lives of the less fortunate…the last thing he would do is harm an innocent child.
[…] Michael was a true artist with the vision to heal the world through music. Being on stage was what he loved to do, and I am happy that he shared his gifts with his fans who he loved very deeply.
Beyond our hardships, our family loved Michael dearly, and each of us share a special bond with him. Through our memories, we will always cherish Michael.”
[Katherine Jackson, from the foreword of book ‘Never Can Say Goodbye – Katherine Jackson Archives’; sources: ‘Never Can Say Goodbye – Katherine Jackson Archives’, http://jetzi-mjvideo.com]
“[…] As his mother, I felt the career pressure put upon Michael was premature, and I’m sad to learn that Michael grew to regret most of the years he spent working as a child. He felt like he missed out on some aspects that he deemed as a “normal childhood”. He was always considerably passionate about his music, even back then. It was what he loved to do […]. Michael knew that he would not have accomplished the level of stardom he did if it weren’t for his commitment as a child. He remained grateful in his accomplishments, and though I’ve heard him complain about his sacrifices, I know he believed strongly in his purpose: to inspire the world with his art. […]
[…] Not able to attend school, we hired Mrs. Fines, a private tutor who went on tour with the band [Jackson 5]. Michael’s best subject was geography. He also had a fascination with Art, History and Culture. While his brothers would go out and celebrate, Michael ventured out to museums and galleries, immersing himself in the culture of the cities they visited. Both Mrs. Fines and her husband, a pianist, formed a bond with Michael and inspired him to appreciate literature. When Mr. Fines passed away, he left his prized piano as a gift for Michael. […]
Michael had a generous nature about him. And even at a young age, he had an entrepreneurial spirit too. Every time he received his weekly allowance, Michael spent it on candy. He set up a little candy shop around the back of our house, so he could give his treats away to the neighborhood kids.
I tried to teach Michael about the world through documentaries. One day, Michael and I watched a film about the less fortunate children in Africa. The state of their lives brought us both to tears. Michael, sympathetic at the age of 14, turned to me and said, ‘One day, mother, I’m going to do something about this.”
Several years later, he did. Michael surprised me on a trip to New York City. We droveout to the airport hangar [where] I witnessed boxes of food, goods and emergency supplies being loaded unto several planes lining the tarmac. I was proud to know my son followed through on his words. He was sending aid to Africa. His generosity didn’t stop there. Donations to charities and years working with disabled children from all walks of life ensued. Michael would sometimes go out at night and randomly give hundreds of dollars to the homeless people he encountered. He valued money far less than he did his goal of making a difference in peoples’ lives, and inspiring the world to change for the better.
Michael was also generous with our family. My children often threw parties for me and hired my favorite country musician, Floyd Kramer, to perform. […] I recall a few days before one of my parties, when my daughter Janet suspiciously asked me what my favorite color was. On the occasion, I was presented with a ribbon and told to follow it to the other end. The ribbon led all the way to the parking lot, where before me, stood a beautiful, shiny, red Rolls Royce.
[…] he befriended those he respected and admired in the music industry, and , although a generation apart, Michael felt like he was able to relate to his mentors…greats like Fred Astaire, Gregory Peck and Yul Brenner, who were also among his closest friends. I’ll never forget the embarrassing night I met Yul. It was late. I was actually sleeping when I heard a knock at the door. Michael entered with Yul following behind to find me bed with my sleeping cap on. It wasn’t unusual for Michael to entertain his guests at our place. […]
A tight bond is shared between Michael and all of his siblings. He got along well with Marlon because they were closest in age, Jermaine, because he looked up to him, and Tito, who was a favorite among all the boys. Michael was also close to his sisters. He and La Toya bonded when they shared an apartment in New York while he worked on The Wiz in 1978. La Toya sang back up for Michael for years and made appearances in both his ‘Say, Say, Say’ and ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ music videos. He was always the ideal older brother to Janet and a big fan of her music. Janet turned to Michael as a mentor throughout her career. They simply adored one another.
Encino, California has been our family home since 1971. […] Michael suggested tearing down our old house and remodeling my dream home right on the Encino property. To our new 10-bedroom estate, Michael added a candy shop, a beautiful gazebo and pool. […] Michael lived at home through the early part of his adulthood.
It was not until the 90’s that Michael decided to move out on his own into the Neverland Ranch. […]
Above and beyond his tutoring, Michael learned a lot about other cultures and the world through his career. After the boys returned home after months of being on tour, Michael was always excited to share his stories and his experiences abroad. […]
[…] The boys grew sensitive to cultural segregation at a young age. Several years later, Michael returned to Australia and to the ton where the aboriginal people lived. Saddened and affected by their oppression, Michael hoped to find the tribes and discover ways to improve their situation. […]
His fans and peers crowned him the King of pop, an icon and a legend. But as big a star as he was, I always saw Michael Jackson as just, my son. Michael’s fame had not occurred to me until one year when he took me to Echo Arena in Liverpool on August 29th, his birthday. The entire stadium was adorned in balloons and banners with “Happy Birthday, Michael” splashed across them – to me, it was a tremendous gesture.
The arena echoed with excitable chants and screams from at least 70,000 fans. And there were about 30,000 more anxiously waiting his attention outside. I was surprised and amazed by the crowd of people who were there for my son. It really impressed me.
And, somehow, through all this, Michael managed to stay grounded. There is no doubt my son accomplished great things in his life, yet he always strived for more. He was ambitious. He was a dreamer.
[…] I have two favorite Michael Jackson songs: ‘Man In The Mirror’, released in 1988, and ‘The Earth Song”, released in 1995. Another one of my favorites was the Jackson Five hit, ‘Man Of War’. I especially liked the lyrics, “Don’t go to war no more, study peace, ‘cause peace is what we need”.
[…] Just like singing and dancing came naturally, Michael was also able to write and compose music organically. In some cases, he would write an entire song overnight. I often heard him shuffling around in his room because an inspiration woke him in the middle of the night.
[…] Songs like ‘Heal The World’ and ‘Will You Be There’ were among Michael’s favorite to write, because he was able to translate his message of peace and good will to his fans. […] He also co-wrote ‘We Are The World’ in 1985 with Lionel Richie.
[…] Among Michael’s friends was Chicago comedian, civil rights activist and nutritional consultant, Dick Gregory. Michael first met Dick in 1978 on the set of The Wiz in New York. Michael, impressed with Dick’s extensive knowledge on nutrition and health, was soon inspired to become a vegetarian. […] I remember my son adopting a serious health regime, with a diet consisting of fish, chicken and vegetable in lieu of red meat. It wasn’t long before Michael encouraged the family to start eating healthy. Dick continued to influence Michael’s eating habits throughout his career until he finally became a full-blown vegetarian.
[…] Sammy Dvis Jr. was a dear friend and inspiration to Michael. The two first met in Lake Tahoe. One night after his show, Michael was admiring Sammy’s watch. Being the generous spirit he was, Sammy instantly removed the watch and gave it to Michael.
I still have that watch to this day, Michael gave it to me as a keepsake. He seldom wore much jewelry himself. Because of his experience with kind-hearted mentors like Sammy, Michael carried on the same generous tradition throughout his life. It was not unusual to Michael to give his fans and friends the things he had that they admired.
[…] I always told Michael, “You only get out of life, what you put into it”. I think those words stayed with him. Michael always knew what he wanted to do and how far he wanted to go. He believed in hard work, a positive attitude and perseverance. No matter what he set out to do in his career, he wouldn’t settle to just be “good”…it had to be his best. He worked tenaciously, for as long as it took until he was satisfied with the outcome. His efforts did not stop there either. Above and beyond, his tenacity was his vision. […]
[…] He often used his intuition as a tool to make business and creative decisions, which in time proved to be very lucrative for him. As he grew older, he hoped to dedicate less time to business and more toward his art. Most of his business dealings were left in the hands of his associates. Being as trusting as he was, Michael became dishearted to learn that several employees and associates betrayed him, and yet it was not in his nature to prosecute them.
Michael received a lot of negative feedback and media backlash when he bought The Beatles catalog. Long before he had any children of his own, Michael came to me and said, ‘Our family will never have to worry about money anymore because of this business decision”. People commented that he overpaid for the catalogue, but Michael knew his investment would grow. He was right. He was always looking ahead.
[…] Clothing was more of a personal and creative and expression for Michael. […] But when Michael was offstage, his sense of style was extremely understated. It was like night and day. […]
Animals were as plentiful as family around our home. There was a giraffe Michael called Jabar, after basketball player, Karim Abdul Jabar. Michael also had a llama named, Lola, as in Lola Falana, a well-known actress. He had two deer, Prince and Princess. And a snake named, Muscles. Michael kept all the animals in a sanctuary he built on the Encino property, all except one that is.
For years, Michael pleaded for a pet monkey. Naturally, I refused, until one day he brought a baby chimp named Bubbles home. Bubbles was different from the other animals we fostered. With a child-like demeanor, he motioned with his arms for us to pick him up. His intelligence was apparent in the way he played games and taunted the dogs we kept around the yard. Bubbles lived and slept in Michael’s room; he was very much a part of the family. You’d never even know there were any animals on the property because Michael kept the area they lived on in immaculate condition.
A staff of over 200 ensured that same precedent was maintained at Neverland Ranch’s animal sanctuary years later.
[…] Most people are not aware of the origins of Michael’s sons’ names, which was actually derived from his grandfather. When Michael was younger he spent time with my father, Prince, in Indiana. Michael’s sons, Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson (Blanket) were named after him.
Long before Neverland, Michael built a candy shop and play area right on our Encino property. The store was always filled with ice cream and treats. All his nieces, nephews and neighborhood kids would come to the house and play. I remember enjoying quite a few indulgences myself as well, though I was always frustrated because Michael, being the picky eater that he was, always resisted temptation to eat candy himself. He was happy just giving it away seeing the smiles on the children’s little faces.
Michael was a big kid himself, and on family visits he often spent his time playing hide and seek with his cousins. It seems like he sought out to compensate for the childhood he felt he never had.
[…] If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s how much my son adored his fans. I’ll never forget the years when Michael was facing trial. Every morning we would leave the ranch together to head into court. Without fail, fans would gather around the gate of the ranch showing their support with signs, gifts and prayers.
It touched Michael and I to see bible verses blown up on signs with loving words of encouragement for him to stay strong during the difficult time he was facing. It was the strength he needed. There were huge crowds of people following his every move. It really did not faze him as it might have most people. One rule he enforced among his security staff was to “always be good to his fans”.
When Michael lived at home, there were several people hanging around the gate of our home on any given day. Every once in a while, a fan would find a way into the yard to see Michael. Sometimes, theywould even find a way into the house. Whenever this happened, Michael always remained calm, pleasant and polite. He was grateful to his fans and acknowledged he would never be who he was if it were not for their love and support.
I’ve been close to my son throughout his life. Our bond grew once his brothers left home, and strengthened while we endured the trials in 90’s. I knew Michael needed me as much as he needed his fans then, so we did not leave his side.
Making music is when Michael felt most in his element. He made a lot of intuitive decisions and really trusted and believed in himself. He really was a big thinker, a dreamer and somehow held on to a belief that he could never fail as long as he put love into his work.
Michael was a happy-go-lucky kind of person. I didn’t have to teach my son lessons about being humble during his lifelong fame; it seemed to come naturally to him. I remember telling Michael as a boy that performing on stage was a job, and that it did not make him better than anyone else. It’s possible that my message resonated; even still, his humility often amazed me.
Michael lived an extraordinary life and was grateful to be able to do exactly what he loved through his art. But both my son and I will agree that his fame did not come without a price. It was both a blessing and a curse.
I’m not one to speculate on what could be done differently if we could do it all over again. I don’t think I could ask for anything more in life than a son like Michael.
Regardless of what people may think, Michael was an extraordinary human being, son and a father. A person who set every foundation with good intentions and with the hope to inspire others through unprescedented (sic) displays of love and humanity. The world knew him, but then again, they didn’t. My son knew his fans were behind him until the end. In return, he gave love, talent, hope and inspiration back to the world through his music. I don’t believe Michael would have wanted his life to have gone any other way. The loss of my son is an overwhelming grief I can never elaborate through words. I share my stories with Michael’s children and his fans, because I know he would want them to know how much they really meant to him.
Fifty is too young to die. Despite the tribulations he faced, I believe he still managed to live as joyously as he truly deserved. I believe my son Michael fulfilled his life purpose.”
[Katherine Jackson; sources: “Never Can Say Goodbye – Katherine Jackson Archives”, http://jetzi-mjvideo.com]
“It’s very hard. It doesn’t seem as if a whole year has passed already, so much seems like yesterday. Michael was the most amazing spirit and not a day goes by when I don’t think of him.”
[Janet Jackson; sources: www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com/News Of The World magazine- special edition]
“No doubt Michael Jackson changed music and pop culture. But the way college professors teach chemistry? What about the fields of engineering and psychology?
A new bibliographic guide to academic literature compiled by two Texas Tech University librarians shows that Michael Jackson’s influence stretched beyond pop culture into the often dusty halls of academia.
Their list of scholarly papers and peer-reviewed articles, culled from more than 100 databases for a special issue of The Journal of Pan African Studies, found the King of Pop referenced in psychology, medical, chemistry, mass communications and even engineering journals.
Yet “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’: MJ in the Scholarly Literature: A Selected Bibliographic Guide” merely scratched the surface of scholarly content related to Jackson, noted Texas Tech Associate Librarians Susan Hidalgo and Rob Weiner. They called the breadth of Jackson’s influence truly astounding.
“I was surprised by a lot of what I read – I just thought I knew Michael Jackson,” said Hidalgo, also head of access services for the Texas Tech University Library in Lubbock, Texas.
Hidalgo and Weiner said they avoided works they deemed sensationalist, saying such literature would defeat the purpose of honest investigation.
Instead, they focused on peer-reviewed or scholarly works with unique Jackson content that might shed light on the way people view larger-than-life celebrities – including one of the most sensational and contentious figures ever to grace the cover of a tabloid.
For instance, researchers used Jackson to critique the media’s handling of criminal cases. A 911 call made by Jackson prompted an article in Fire Engineering journal, while a British Medical Journal piece written after Jackson’s death discussed ethical issues that arise when a patient is more powerful than the attending physician.
One chemistry professor argued that reframing popular songs such as “Billie Jean” could help students understand difficult chemistry concepts.
“I knew that Jackson permeated pop culture, but academics can be kind of snooty about what they choose to study,” Weiner said. “The fact that someone would take a Michael Jackson song and co-opt it as a means to convey chemistry concepts just shows the pervasiveness of Jackson’s influence.”
[Article from sources, Texas Tech University and www.newswise.com]
“[…] When we look at Michael, this is somebody who in 1983, took the total proceeds of his Victory tour and gave them to the people of Africa. In 1984, we see him when he co-wrote We Are The World with Lionel Richie that sold 22 million copies, one of the biggest selling things of all time, and he gave it to the starving people of Africa. He turned around in 1993 at the end of the Dangerous tour – this was 67 concerts, it was 18-months work and he gave every single penny of it away again to the Heal The World Foundation. In 1999, [on occasion of benefit gig in South Africa], he turned around once again and gave all of that work to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. In, I suppose, my lifetime – and I’ve lived nearly a half a century, there are 5 people I can count on one hand that would have achieved this level of enlightment: John Lennon, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Bono, probably, I’d put there as well, and Michael Jackson. The difference with Michael Jackson was, you know, as a double messenger, not only did he do what the rest of them did, but he went and involved himself in things outside this – you know, poverty, racism, and it’s just phenomenal the goodness of his person.
[…] He put out his hand to me and he says to me, ‘I want to thank you for helping the people of Africa’, and then he turned around and he said to me – he pulled out an old, you know, certain thing […], but a magazine…When I left Irak in 1990, and […] I made my way down through Africa, and I wrote quite a long sort of thing called ‘The Silence In The Savana’, and in many ways it was [about] watching the villages where HIV was picking up and devastated, and this is what he read out to me, he says, “Later, we passed many empty villages, apartment stores and huts that are testiment to the structure power of the plague whose path we follow. There’s an eeriness about the deserted hamlets and in the restless winds that stir the blue savannas’ glasses. I listen expectantly to hear the noise of barking dogs or the distance under children playing, and no sun comes.” And he turned around and said, you know, I cried when he read that, and then, he turned around and he threw his arms around me, he says, ‘We must do something for the people of Africa together’.
[…] I think, in some ways, that Michael was a creation of the media and, often, the media didn’t even want to hear this truth about Michael. Now, I’m in a situation at the moment where the media are chasing me from both America and the U.K., and in many ways they want me to, you know, to put around some dirt at Michael or whatever and, you know, it doesn’t really exist. And, in many ways, we even look at the trial in Santa Maria […], I mean, the media wanted to pay the jurors to write certain things that didn’t even exist […] Aphrodite Jones, […] and Aphrodite was one of the media persons who was against it, and she wanted me to appear in a show in New York where she’s totally convinced now that it was a total set-up […]
[…] I know for a fact […] that Michael wouldn’t involve himself in any of the drugs mentioned without the presence of an anesthesist. […] I don’t think he did it himself at all, absolutely not. Michael was not the sort of person who would in any way [do that]. […]
[…] There’s many happy memories [I have of him]. I remember when Michael used to come at the clinic all the time – we have a big glassroom in the clinic, and Michael used to fill all his pockets up with all our most expensive, you know, cosmeceuticals, and I’d catch him, you know, he wasn’t stealing, he was so rich, it was part of the way he did it, you know? And I’d sort of stop him and say, ‘Okay, leave this bag, keep this bag, put this bag’, and then one night, we were sort of down his house and I had a nice jacket that my mother got me, and Blanket had got it and fallen asleep in the sofa and put it over himself. And I turned around and was looking for my jacket, couldn’t figure it out where it was, you know, and then Michael came out sheepishly and he says, ‘Patrick, he takes after his father’ [laughs].”
[Dr. Patrick Treacy, Medical Director of Ailesbury Clinic Dublin; source: www.youtube.com]
“[We Are The World], to me, was an autobiographical song. We are red, yellow, black, white. We live in a multiracial, multicultural world, so let’s act that way”.
[Jesse Jackson, American civil rights activist and Baptist minister; sources: http://jetzi-mjvideo.com/2009 TIME magazine - special commemorative edition]
“I first met him when he was 12. Michael was my little brother. He had all kinds of magic. Michael was connected to that force. It’s like a candle burns inside your soul”.
[Quincy Jones, American music conductor, record producer, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter; sources: http://jetzi-mjvideo.com/2009 TIME magazine - special commemorative edition]
“I remember the day in 1984 when Michael came to the White House. A huge crowd had gathered to watch as my husband presented a presidential award to Michael for lending his influence and his popular song ‘Beat It’ to a cause that was very dear to my own heart – the campaign against substance abuse among young people. Who knows how many lives were saved thanks to Michael’s inspirational message?”
[Nancy Reagan, widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan; sources: http://jetzi-mjvideo.com/2009 TIME magazine - special commemorative edition]
“Ryan just listened to [‘Man In The Mirror’ ] over and over again. It was the last song he listened to.”
[Jeanne White-Grinder, mother of late young activist, Ryan White; sources: http://jetzi-mjvideo.com/2009 TIME magazine - special commemorative edition]
“I was in Miami [when I learned about Michael’s passing] and I was on a boat…the news came on the radio and I remember I looked up at the skies literally parted and there was a huge rainbow. I think it is a tragic example of just how dark and horrible show business can be and how it can [kill you], [try to] strip you of your soul, your essence and a kind of a God-given talent that is really not usually seen in human beings. […]”.
[Rosie O’Donnell, American stand-up comedian, actress, singer, author; source: www.accesshollywood.com]
“[…] He has spent his time giving a message in his music that was across different nationalities, religions, cultures, races and that’s really really important. So, he, really, has spent his time well served on this earth doing God’s will […]”
[Jermaine Jackson (on the red carpet at 2010 BET Awards); source: www.accesshollywood.com]
“Hello, my name is Anthony Jackson. Michael was more than just my cousin, he was my friend, my mentor, my godfather…When I was 7 years old and my father passed away months later, […] this is when Michael came into my life and told me he would be there for me forever. And he was. […] He also showed me how to give back, he took me to hospitals to visit children, and talked to them, held them and gave them toys. He even made his home a place where sick children could come and enjoy life. I’m gonna call it heaven on earth…Neverland was the most magical place on earth […] And hopefully, we’ll realize we must […] serve humanity and the world with all your heart and soul. He said we must have courage, given we are the ones that can help the children and save our planet. He was one of the most creative and bravest men to walk this earth. And I began writing lyrics for music and I would ask him to write me some songs, so there is no surprise they were about having fun, being our best self, helping each other and healing the planet. […] I also want share one of the really deep conversations I had with Michael during his last several weeks. He asked me if I thought he was a good father. I told him he was the best father in the world. Michael’s children meant everything to him and I want Prince, Paris and Blanket to know that I love them and will be there for them forever. Michael’s built my heart. Michael built my heart with his story forever, as he did with so many others. […]”
[Anthony Jackson, Michael Jackson’s cousin – speaking at the Forever Michael event in his honor; source: www.youtube.com]
“I loved Michael Jackson from the first moment I laid eyes on him as a young performer and over all the years of his career. I never wavered for a moment in my belief in his talent and creativity. He was head and shoulders above every performer of his generation. I personally intend to only remember the best of him, his kindness, his charm, his superb musicianship, his magical dancing and his beautiful voice. He was a showman without equal. […]”
[Bette Midler, American singer, actress and comedian; source: www.accesshollywood.com]
“This is such traumatic loss to the world of entertainment and our global culture. His musical impact has changed lives forever including mine. I had the opportunity to perform at his Neverland ranch and cover one of his songs, “Rock With You,” that to this day I still perform on stage. I know his legacy will live on forever. […]
[Ashanti, American singer, record producer, actress, dancer; source: www.accesshollywood.com]
“He meant a lot [to me] and he still does, he’s just a great person, you know, [I was] honored to meet him, to be his friend, and for him to be so kind and, you know, just hang out with and give me advice, he was just a great guy. It’s an honor to be here to be a part of this. […] His music is still out there and it’s so, so powerful, you know, it’s great to hear that, and that keeps you going, ‘cause we’re hearing great music that he left us and it’s such a good thing”.
[Chris Tucker, American actor and comedian - on the red carpet at The Apollo Theater Spring Benefit Concert and Award Ceremony; source: www.youtube.com]
“[…] He was a kind of performer that you just don’t forget, he was legendary, his music is going to go on and on…a perennial art…forever…forever. […] God bless him, I thank him for his genius, for his humanitarianism, for everything that he gave us all that we enjoyed so richly. […] I took him out to Disneyland once with my sons. He was very playful that night and he had a really great time and we enjoyed having him with us.”
[Aretha Franklin, American singer, songwriter and pianist – on the red carpet at The Apollo Theater Spring Benefit Concert and Award Ceremony; source: www.youtube.com]
“He was kind and nice and gentle…and he loved people and he was a great humanitarian. The more he made, the more he gave away.”
[Mickey Rooney, American film actor and entertainer - on the red carpet at the Forever Michael event in his honor; sources: www.youtube.com/RoxX Magazine]
“[…] He was very real with [his humanitarianism], it was all sincere, it was all done out of his love, it was, you know, really easy. […] I got lucky or blessed with [playing in The Jacksons: An American Dream], I’m happy to be a part of that legacy, of course, the family are my personal friends always […]”
[Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, American actor - on the red carpet at the Forever Michael event in his honor; sources: www.youtube.com/RoxX Magazine]
“[…] I’m tellin’ you, it would definitely make a difference in your life [meeting him], just the experience, his energy, and who he was and what he truly stood for. You know, I think it’s something that…I just think God sorted his energy, and what he really was about was too big for this world. […] He definitely is in a better place!...”
[Flex Alexander, American actor, comedian and dancer - on the red carpet at the Forever Michael event in his honor; source: www.youtube.com]
“I’ll answer again and again and again, it doen’t matter. He is…I miss him so much! I miss his presence, his music, he was such a kind, giving individual and I wish that people could’ve treated him well while he was here. I’m glad that we’re here to celebrate his life now, but I wish he could be here to know how much he was truly loved, ‘cause he didn’t know. […] I don’t think that he was [a recluse], I think that he was attacked on the other hand, okay? He was attacked, you know, he was attacked so badly that he didn’t know…I don’t think he truly knew how much he was loved….you know what I mean? […] And that’s a lesson that we have to learn as human beings […].
[Tisha Campbell-Martin, American actress and singer - on the red carpet at the Forever Michael event in his honor; sources: www.youtube.com/RoxX Magazine]
“Yes, he was, genuinely [a wonderful person], the most loving human being I’ve ever ran (sic) into…You know, the guy was pure love and…you know…it’s a shame humanity is not ready for nice people, ‘cause we tend to, you know, get rid of them. Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, doesn’t matter, if you’re good, Martin Luther King, you gotta go! But evil people will stay here forever […].”
“[He was] one of my close friends and I miss him immensely and miss the 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning calls about creative things and just cracking jokes, you know, he had a great sense of humor […] I mean a very good sense of humor. […] He was just a real person, people have to understand that he’s a real guy, you know, he ate, he runs to the bathroom, put his kids to bed at 8 o’clock, he’s very strict with their diet […] I was at [his] house, I’ve seen it, at 8 o’clock he’s like, ‘Excuse me, I’ve gotta go put the kids asleep”. […]”
[Eddie Griffin, American actor and comedian - on the red carpet at the Forever Michael event in his honor; sources; www.youtube.com, RoxX Magazine]
"Usually, it takes me all day to prepare to do a Michael Jackson show”, […] Michael wore lip liner to conceal the Vitiligo. Usually the disease centers around the eyes, mouth area and hands. It’s a gradual change in coloration over time. Thus, Michael had varying shades of coloration which he evened out with heavy makeup as his skin tone gradually whitened. Michael attempted to deal with his disease privately but when folks criticized him he finally revealed his affliction. But still many people didn't believe him, Firestone says. “[…] I hope people will continue to be kind to Michael's memory and to his children. […] I met Michael once in person all of 5 minutes but then later he called and we talked awhile. I had purchased up front tickets to catch the “This Is It,” concert in England, but, of course, Michael died before he was able to do his farewell concerts.”
[Michael Firestone, Michael Jackson impersonator – at the tribute show, "Michael Jackson: The King of Pop”; source: www.soulinterviews.com]
“I have been to Neverland and visited Michael in L.A., when he was rehearsing the “This Is It” London concert. I've been impersonating him for 10 years. I last saw him in April, 2009. Michael was such a sweet person. He truly loved his fans and took the time to sign autographs whenever asked. In fact, he signed his signature on my back and I immediately had it permanently tattooed there. Michael was excited about doing the “This Is It” concerts. He was feeling good, although he was thinner than I had ever seen him before. […]. I looked forward to performing at Lehman Center because everyone wanted to truly honor Michael as the great “King of Pop'”.
[Pete Carter, Michael Jackson impersonator; source: www.soulinterviews.com]
“[…] It was fun working for him…and it’s hard realizing that he’s gone. […] Michael had a certain type of magic and I know people hear about it in his songs and people said he’s magic, but Michael had a way that, if you just spent any time with him, you’d become changed for the better, an uplifted eye-opener, and your spirit changing more for the joy and happiness and you become like him, wanting to change the world or change people. I know the time that I spent with him…it was just so much spirit and uplifting and fun and…it’ll never be another Michael…There’s no way to replace him. You know, I know a whole lot of people that’s connected to him that’s hurtin’ right now and to think about what they’re going through and how they feel…but the good part of Mike is what he’s leaving behind: a legacy of love, peace, a job that he didn’t finish, so, hopefully, we all can get together and do what he wanted, and that was world peace and solve the hunger problem […]. Without a doubt that [his kids and world peace meant more to him than music]….They had to run neck in neck, his music and his kids, not just [his] personal kids, just kids, the whole world…that’s what he lived for, that was his energy, that was his motivation. […]
[…] Mike was special… He was a chosen one. He was the one that God looked at and pointed His finger on it. That’s why Mike survived everything he did. He was spiritually blessed. […] Well, I know a part of me died [when he passed], so I think everybody’s feeling a piece of him have (sic) died as well, ‘cause Mike touched everybody. Michael’s 50 years old, I’m two years older than Michael and he have (sic) touched people and the whole universe. I don’t think there’s another person that can say that…not even a president. That’s just my opinion.
[…] When you get to know somebody and you get to know somebody like Mike and connect…it’s magic…it’s magic!...[…] It’s a whole lot of [memories] I like to think about, I just can’t…’Cause Mike had a whole lot more to offer, that he didn’t get the chance to give everything…[…] And part II of Mike’s life was just about to begin…He’s gone too soon…[…] Without a doubt, [he was capable of reclaiming his life]…and now, it’ll never happen…You know, Mike, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, James Brown […] my mother, my dad…just too many people died…And I think that was one motivation behind that one song, ‘Gone Too Soon’…I mean, he’s definitely gone too soon…
[…] Michael was an angel…one angel…Forget what you heard…Michael made a song once [‘Childhood’]..how can you judge him when you don’t even know him?...And when you listen to the words of that song…he was an angel…”
[Marvin Butts, former bodyguard of Michael Jackson; source: www.wlwt.com]
“One year on, from the shocking events that took place in Los Angeles in the summer of 2009, and the universe of questions Michael Jackson’s extraordinary death threw into orbit shows no signs yet of abating. That Jackson actually died on June 25 is not in question. But it is the manner in which he departed that birthed an epilogue of controversy. Courtesy of TMZ‘s first truly global scoop, conversely at 14:26 pm – recorded as the moment the vitality in Jackson’s body officially flickered and died, the world as we knew it would galvanize into unprecedented hyperlife. AOL would call the ensuing web meltdown a “seminal moment in Internet history.” Jackson’s death would precipitate a virtual news blackout of anything that wasn’t Jackson related. From then to now, speculations of the Grisham-type variety about the state of Jackson’s health and body to conspiratorial scenarios involving AEG, Sony, Jackson’s last advisers, and his doctor – have raged like wildfire across the media.
Los Angeles, in the wake of Jackson’s death, as well as coping with the influx of mourners and the world’s press, also endured a summer of simmering tension between its bullish City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, and Tim Leiweke, president of AEG – the sports and entertainment jewel-in-the-crown subsidiary of the Anschutz Company. Long-standing billboard issues, the city’s huge debt, and good old-fashioned ego, resulted in public sparring for several months as the two men locked horns over who should foot the bill for Jackson’s magnificent Staples Center memorial last July. Simultaneously transmitted live in over 22 countries around the world, news sources recorded the worldwide viewing figures as in excess of 1.5 billion, making it the most watched live television broadcast in history. The run-up to that event saw countless tributes from celebrities, heads of state, politicians, friends, and fans. But there was anger and a repetition of old accusations too.
On Capitol Hill, the day after Jackson died, in response to Congresswoman Diane E. Watson’s request that a minute’s silence be observed for Jackson, some members protested by leaving the House floor. Congressman John Yarmuth, would later tell radio pundit John Ziegler that the gesture made him feel “almost nauseated.” On the same day, Maureen Orth, past correspondent for Vanity Fair, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Today to declare Jackson, “a failure as a human being.” On June 29, Rush Limbaugh called the media coverage a “horrible disgrace,” and on the eve of the July 7 memorial, Congressman Peter King took the time to release a youtube video pronouncing Jackson, “a pervert” and, “a low life.” Diane Dimond, long-time Jackson detractor, responding to the blogs of grieving fans on her website where she had posted an article just days after Jackson died, wrote that she hoped Jackson‘s death would be “ a teaching moment for millions ”adding that, “ the cyclical nature of molestation that causes the victim to grow up and victimize others …the list of what Michael Jackson's life can teach us is long.”
(download full article file from below this page: www.stereoboard.com/content/view/97709/44)
[Deborah Ffrench, journalist; source: www.stereoboard.com]
“The vast majority of the people in that [Memorial service] hall, and certainly ninety nine percent of the celebrities who have come to this memorial did not stand anywhere near Michael Jackson during the years he was accused of those horrible crimes, and they didn't say, 'We believe him innocent, they didn't say let the case go where it may, let the facts prove innocence or guilt.' They just disappeared, and now they have resurfaced to celebrate his life. That is entirely fitting I'm sure, but I personally can't get over the memory of 2005. When Michael Jackson stood essentially alone and accused and convicted in the minds of many of the most perverse crime.”
[Geraldo Rivera, American attorney, journalist, writer, reporter; source: www.mjfanclub.ne]
“In 1992 when the time came to write a dedication for my book Real Magic, I decided to recognize three special people - my dear daughter Saje, my spiritual brother Deepak Chopra, and my friend pop superstar Michael Jackson. I wanted to recognize Michael “whose words, music, and love remind us that it is only through giving that we are saving our own lives.” Michael Jackson had a special relationship with the principles of Real Magic, the idea of “creating miracles in everyday life.” With his enormous musical talent, he created a body of work that brought joy to millions. My children and I spent five very happy days with him at Neverland in 1991. He wanted to talk to me about “real magic,” but the truth is, he already had the magic - the power he needed to dream and create and give. Michael was dedicated to ending world hunger and helped create the 1985 “We Are the World” celebrity sing-along, that brought together some of the biggest names in popular music to raise funds for famine relief in Africa. I didn’t have to explain “real magic” to Michael, because he was already a spiritual being, already kind, loving, and ready to use his musical gift to create miracles. Along with millions of people around the world, I say, thank you, Michael, for sharing your amazing talent to lift our spirits. I’ll remember you as a beautiful human being with a heart as big as the sky. […]”
[Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, self-help author/public speaker; source: www.drwaynedyer.com]
“[…] And then there’s the most recent and visible casualty of the tabloid press: Michael Jackson. Deeply traumatized by the events of his life, by relentless exploitation by tabloid America, by rabid officials who anticipated their own fame in taking down a famous celebrity, dispirited by the treatment of his face, skin color, his home, his work, his life and even his innocence, Michael had trouble sleeping at night. The two cases brought against Michael alleging impropriety with children brought the tabloids down on a gentle humanitarian whose life was about saving and healing children. A man who was singing “Heal the World” in Super Bowl performances and promoting peace in his concerts.
At his 2005 trial, hundreds of reporters drooling over anticipated juicy headlines, descended on the courthouse periphery. For five months they circled like vultures waiting to pick the bones from the carcass of his life served up in a trial with charges that never should have been brought. Michael simply wasn’t guilty.
Prison for someone like Michael Jackson would have been a death sentence. He lived month after month with that threat while the media conveniently left out newsworthy trial developments proving his innocence. Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s brother says he watched the light gradually go out of Michael’s eyes during the trial. A bone-weary, dispirited and traumatized father took his children and left his homeland, leaving behind a grueling trial, a justice system that failed to protect him from extortion, a media that impaled him and left him hanging exposed despite his innocence. He lost a home he cherished and shared for joy because he could no longer live there, the closeness to beloved Jackson family, and his country. A family with a history of extortion of other celebrities had targeted Michael and law enforcement with the media as accomplice, seduced by the allure of celebrity, played life and death games for sport.
How many Vince Fosters are there? What did we lose when we lost Diana and Michael? The loss is incalculable. Diana was the people’s princess and Michael was the most famous humanitarian in the world. They both were devoted to human welfare and social reform especially for children. Their work on this planet is legion and legendary as is their support of charities and generous philanthropy. Neither one had to, but they used their fame for all of humanity, for the elimination of pain, misery and suffering. And how did we thank these global messengers? We killed them. […]”
[Barbara Kaufmann, writer, peacemaker minister, healer; source: www.voiceseducation.org]
”[…] Perhaps we should take a look at Michael Jackson with new eyes, and see him as a child of God. A man who struggled with the price of fame, the spotlight, and the pressures to be someone the world expected him to be.
Perhaps the hardest conversations I have with people today are about Michael Jackson. This may seem strange, but a majority of my friends and peers have a very negative view of Michael Jackson -- his life, his story, his decisions. It's discouraging to me, because the King of Pop is no different than you and I, yet we exploit him so freely. […] The world held those accusations as ammunition, ready to fire their words, their opinions and their hatred onto a man who wanted only to promote peace, love and innocence. His actions were different, his approach to innocence and capturing a childhood he never had was out of the ordinary. […]
[…] I do not understand the slanderous actions taken by members of the body of Christ after his death, and even during his troubled life. Terms like 'Whacko *****', and slanderous jokes shared at the lunch table after Sunday morning services. These actions, I cannot understand nor find acceptable.
As Christians, I feel we lost an opportunity when Michael Jackson passed away. I feel we lost an opportunity while he was living. There before us, loved by millions, scorned by millions, was a man who in his songs shared his heart with the nation. He wanted to heal the world, to make a change, and to be understood.
In the song "Will You Be There," a song many only associate with a killer whale named Willy, Michael Jackson shares some of his most intimate thoughts, that were dismissed by many at the time, and even still today. The song actually illustrates a form of fellowship that many Christians can relate to in the church. These are the lyrics, these words are straight from the lips of the King of Pop:
“...But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End,
But I'm Only Human.
Everyone's Taking Control Of Me,
Seems That The World's
Got A Role For Me,
I'm So Confused,
Will You Show Me
You'll Be There For Me
And Care Enough To Bear Me...”
Was the church there? Were you there? Did you lift him up in his times of darkest despair? Are we there for anyone in the spotlight being ripped to shreds for their fears, mistakes, and problems? Perhaps we should stop casting stones, and judging our brothers and sisters struggling with all the world to see. As a body of believers, we have not been failed by the celebrities of the world, but instead, we have failed them.
My challenge to you this week: pray for someone who is doing things you don't agree with, pray for someone who you think is a mockery to the world, pray for someone you don't like, pray for your worst enemy. The funny thing about prayer---the more you pray for someone, the more you come to love them, care for them, cherish them, words of hate and malice are harder to speak when you take time to care, to pray, and to love.
Michael Jackson was my friend. I prayed for him, and I still mourn the missed opportunity to share love and hope with the King of Pop.”
[Abbi Siler, graduate of Williams Baptist College; source: www.everydaychristian.com]
“I miss Michael so much. I just miss his smile; he had such a wonderful smile. We hurt, like everyone else. We’re not made of steel. We’re human beings; we’re a family. And when Michael passed and the world cried, they didn’t cry because of an entertainer, they cried because of the love that he put back out there and what he was about.
[…] [I feel] really emotional. For a year, it has been just trying to get through it, but this stirs it all up again. We’re still deeply saddened, but we have to remember the good things Michael did. We have to be not beaten by the emotion, but lift ourselves up and keep going. The year has gone by so fast. But we’re still mourning. [We are] just natural [with Michael’s children]. We’re a strong family because of all the things we’ve encountered over the years. If you feel emotion, don’t hold it in. Let it out.
[…] I’d like hearing his songs from when he was young, like ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’, ‘Up Again’ and ‘ABC’. He was just a baby and I remember those days so clearly.
[My wife, Halima, and me] didn’t believe [Michael was gone] at first. Then we didn’t think it was going to be much, if it was true. Forty-Five minutes later, I called my mother at the hospital and heard her say ‘He’s dead.’ To hear that coming from her, I lost it. I dropped the phone. We rushed across town and cried all the way. As we got closer, we could see helicopters circling and it started setting in. I was numb. […] [My mother] was sitting in the emergency ward in a daze, like a statue. My brother Randy was there, my sister LaToya and all the media. […]
[…] I still hear his laughter. I’d make him laugh all the time, because we shared rooms when we were on tour. All the things we did as the Jackson 5, and before that, being around the house in Gary, Indiana. We started so young: I started when I was ten, Michael started at six. […] We can never get over it, it’s just trying to live with it and the fact that he’s not here. We know his spirit is very much alive. I feel him quite a bit. I did a video in India and I saw an outfit in the window of a store that caught my eye. The tailor said ‘Oh my God, your brother was here!’ He showed me pictures. I think that was Michael guiding me. Some billion people in India and, of all the tailor shops, I end up there. I did a show in Gambia for the President with a tribute to Michael: the three-minute poem he wrote, Planet Earth. All you heard was his voice ringing out. The moon was hidden by clouds but when he started talking it became very clear and bright. Right after it finished, the clouds covered the moon again. He would have loved that. He has such a love for the planet and his whole message was to do what's right for it. It was just a magical moment. So, our way of healing is performing the songs and the music. That's what gets us through, really.
[…] Michael knew there was a God. He loved bringing awareness to something as simple as a flower, and how powerful a flower is if you give it life and love and water. This is God, this is not man-made. We know he's with God. When I saw his body lying there, I knew his spirit was gone and that was a shell. He tried to show the world how we are supposed to love and care about each other, to preserve the planet and the animals.
[…] [I was] not really [worried about Michael’s health]. Before a show, he conditions himself and tends not to eat. But dancing with dancers 20 years younger, he held his own. They were impressed that he could make them sweat. He is very strong. One time, my mother wanted us to lift this solid marble table. I lifted one end and it was so heavy. And Michael just lifted it by himself. I said 'Where do you get those muscles from? You're so thin!' He has a strong soul. It's like, it's in his mind first. I said, 'Wow!'''.
[…] They put tremendous pressure on him, a lot of responsibility. For Michael to have a great bill of health from the doctor, then suddenly show up dead? It puts a lot of questions out there. […] It's still an ongoing investigation, so I can't get into too much detail. I blame them all. They look at Michael as a money making machine. We look at him as a brother we love. People outside looked at him with greed. [The trial of Michael’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, for involuntary manslaughter is important to me], because why would someone who loved life as much as Michael take his own life? Some say he took his own life! It's crazy!'' […] All I knew was he was taking something to sleep. I don't know how it was done but someone took his life. […] The surveillance tapes are missing of who came in and out of the house during that time. There's all kinds of stuff. I don't want to get into too much detail. Michael was not the type that was depressed, bored with life, didn't love life or didn't want to be here any more. So you can't say he took his own life. If he was here today and you said “'Michael, would you leave your children behind, knowing that they'll be fatherless and you won't even see them grow up to be 21 years old?” Never! If there was a line drawn on the floor and one side was life and the other death, he would never step across that line. Never.
[…] We felt that was best [for Mother to be their guardian], because there would be no hidden agendas. This is their grandmother. We knew she would raise them as she raised us. The toughest part was keeping the parasites away, people Michael never wanted around him or his children when he was alive. All of a sudden, they're his best friend. […] Michael's kids all get along with my kids very well, and the rest of the kids too, like Tito's grandson, Royal. Tito's three sons, Taj, Taryll and T.J. spend time with them too. […] [My mother is] still dealing with us, too! She's the boss. When she hears the kids around the house crying and laughing and having fun, it reminds her of Michael and us when we were young. I think it helps. [My wife and I] say hi to my mom and see the children running around with the dogs. They have got birds, iguanas and lizards. […] Paris is smart as a whip. She loves people, she loves to give hugs. She's so sweet. I bring her teddy bears and a little koala bear from Australia because she collects them. […] She’s like the little wise one; an old soul. Prince is kind of serious sometimes. We didn't want him to give a speech at the Grammys, because we didn't want the world to think we were exploiting the kids. But he wanted to, so my mother allowed it. I guess it was healing for him. They're very confident, very good kids. No insecurities. Very strong, just like their father. And Blanket is a bundle of joy. He walks around with a toy airplane and flies it through the air, making the noises. […] They have their memories and his music, his legacy. They see him in all of us. I say things their dad used to say. Like I call them 'Applehead'. That's a family saying. […] A lot of things he wouldn't like, [such as them not wearing masks anymore to cover their faces from the paparazzi]. He didn't want them to be all over the media, he wanted them to have a normal life, and it was hard with him so famous. But they have to fit into society at some point, to become citizens. Thyy go to the movies with my kids. They love animation projects; the Shreks, Pixar films, Happy Feet and Iron Man. […]
[…] It’s tough for [my mother to cope with her son’s passing]. You're supposed to go before your child. [Janet and La Toya] come over and take them out for ice cream. We just had a big family dinner for the Lakers game. My mother is a big Lakers fan and had all the kids over. You only get one chance to be a kid and have a childhood and they're being kids. They're making all the noise they want and getting the proper discipline.”
[Jermaine Jackson; sources: www.lipstickalley.com / HELLO! Magazine]
“A while back, I wrote a piece called, ‘Michael’s only crime was being an adult with an innocent mind. Unbeknownst to me, a friend of Michael’s in Ireland, Dr. Patrick Treacy, perhaps agrees as it seems he pretty much told Michael the same thing while he was in Ireland.
While there, Michael fought with his friend, Dr. Treacy, to be able to go in and visit severely burned children at Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Dublin. Dr. Treacy says he now regrets not standing by Michael’s side at that time and not allowing him to see the children.
Dr. Treacy was rightly concerned that the media would turn Michael’s visit around against him, just as they did everything else, particularly so soon after the 2005 trial. […] Michael, however, was more concerned about the children than the potential of negative publicity for himself. Here is the story about the horrific injuries suffered by these children, as printed in the Irish papers, and then the story of a conversation between he and Michael relayed to us by Dr. Treacy:
From the Irish papers:
[…] Gavin, 5, and Millie Murray, 7, were left scarred for life after flames from a petrol bomb from gang warfare, which engulfed them as they sat in the back seat of their mother’s car at Pineview Gardens, Moyross, Limerick on September 10, 2006. The children had horrific injuries and unbearable pain cast upon them following the attack. Such was the extent of Gavin’s injuries, his right year effectively melted away after he was pulled from the burning car. He suffered 25 body burns to his face, head, back and hands and had to be sedated when his wounds were cleaned and bandages changed in Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. Millie suffered 30 percent burning to her face, right arm, right thigh and lower back. Her wounds were reconstructed with skin grafts taken from her back and legs. Both children have to wear protective clothing and continue to receive daily treatment for their injuries.
People said “the children were turned into human fireballs”.
Sheils Murray pulled Millie from the inferno, while Gavin was rescued by neighbors, including Robert Sheehan. The children were rushed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital before being transferred to Crumlin Children’s Hospital. A statement from Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Crumlin, Dr. David Orr, said the children suffered life-threatening burns and would have ‘severe permanent disfigurement.’
The mother said, “When we were coming off sedation, they were in terrible pain, but I had to be there to support them. Most of the time, I had to leave the room, because I couldn’t stand to watch anymore. They will be scarred physically for the rest of their lives. I have to sit up most nights with Gavin as he gets bad nightmares. They are both frightened to sleep on their own, so they sleep with me. Our lives will never be the same again.”, she said.
Dr. Treacy remembers:
“Michael wanted to go and visit them and we discussed it at length. I thought it was a bad idea as the media did not know where he was, it would expose him to their hostility and it could be read totally the wrong way by seeing him going into a paediatric hospital as soon after the paedophilia case.
He wanted me to go in with him and I said I would go in and see how te children were, as I used to work as a doctor in the hospital. He continually asked me, “Are they in pain?”, “Would they be given morphine?”, “How badly they were burned?”, “Will you go and see them for me?”, “Would they be scarred?”, “Were they from a disadvantaged background?”, “Why could he (Michael) not go in to see them?”
Michael: “Why do you say those things, Patrick, that I can’t go in to see them? You don’t believe I would ever harm children.”
Michael then told a long story about how he had been set up by a certain company regarding his Santa Maria case to hand over shares (least said the better!)
Dr. Treacy: “Michael, I would never believe you would ever harm a child!”
Michael: “Then, why don’t you let me go into the hospital?”
Dr. Treacy: “Because your innocence will get you into trouble!”
Michael: “What innocence?”
Dr. Treacy: “You know, your inability to see what the media would make of it is the reason you are in trouble in the first place!”
Michael: “Do you think I would ever harm a child?”
Dr. Treacy: “No.”
Michael: “You mean that from the bottom of your heart?”
Dr. Treacy: “Michael, I think you are like a modern-day Jesus Christ!”
Michael: “If Jesus was here now, would you stop him?”
Dr. Treacy: “No!”
Michael: “You never met Jesus and you do not know him as a person, yet you would stand by him. You say you know me, but you won’t! That is being a hypocrite!”
Dr. Treacy: “Michael, you are right!”
I still felt he should not go into the hospital and stood against it and I must say I regret it to this day I did not walk beside him when he needed me the most.
You know…the children have contacted me since, through someone else and said one of the greatest moments in their lives was the fact Michael thought about them. I mentioned them a year ago in another interview. We also got another child who was severely burned, whose mother is involved in the conversation earlier, who Michael is also helping beyond the grave. I am sure she will not mind what she sent to me. Adrienne O’Donohoe wrote:
“Beautiful being. Thank you so much for giving Jodie the signed photo. Coupled with the fact both of them suffered head fires and he died on her bday, we feel connected to him. He truly was one of the great humanitarians the world has ever seen.” – Adrienne O’Donohoe, Mother of burned child given a signed photo of Michael.
[Seven, Michael Jackson fan and researcher, from their website: www.mj-777.com]
“On the Invincible album we worked in New York and he has…he had his children in New York and I felt so nervous meeting his children!...Like…But he bought them in and he said, ‘I want you to meet Paris and I want you to meet Prince’. And they walked in, playful and they were like, “So this is Theodore”, they weren’t like ‘Teddy’, it was like ‘Theodore”! And they were like, ‘Hi, Theodore!’ And it was just the greatest feeling!...[…] He reads them a book every day. When we were in Virginia, doing the Invincible album, it was not one day miss (sic) [without] reading the children something. So, that showed me right there he’s an incredible father. […] We talked about his moments when he was young and how, you know, he would never have his children go through any of that. He would never scold them or whip them or beat them for no reason…you know, it was just not the answer!...And he knew…he knew, he’s just like, “I would never have them go through the same thing…ever, in their lives!”. And he’s like, “I think the best schooling for children is time out, the best schooling for children is ‘Let’s read a book”’. I have to say his time out was not as bad as, you know, our time out, and, you know, family time out. His time out is the kids have to go lay in their bed and stay in the bed. They don’t go up against the wall and look at the wall for, you know, an hour or ten minutes. They were sent […] with no T.V., so, for me, that’s a good time out! Bu the kids, you know, they knew what it was, they realized what it was…so, that’s what I witnessed when I met the children.”
[Teddy Riley, American singer-songwriter, musician, keyboardist, and record producer; source: www.mtv.com]
“First of all, he was a very kind soul. A humble guy. Very Jesus in spirit who was caring, loving. A true person....he was just a very humble guy. For all his success, he was very, very kind.
His biggest weakness? Being kind, being trusting of people. He trusted people and he also believed in great loyalty. A lot of people betrayed him. He was hurt by Hollywood also. People in Hollywood betrayed him, they turned their backs on him. That hurt him deeply. The powerful people in Hollywood, I'm not going to name their names, turned their backs on him, shunned him. They all fleed from him like a disease.
He asked me to fly down to Florida in 07 to talk with him. So I flew down to Florida that night. His brother picked me up at the airport, and Michael sat up until around 3 a.m. in the morning and he spoke about how Hollywood mistreated him and I could see and hear the hurt in his voice about that situation and I told him, 'You gotta move past it.' I said 'Mike, we're gonna do like we used to do. We're going to jump out on the road and we're gonna show 'em.'"
"Michael was just really an unbelievable person. He was just misunderstood by so many people.
He was an incredible, incredibly, incredibly sensitive person. He was just really sensitive to people.
Some of the guys that worked with him, one of the things that we can take away from MJ was just the fact that, you know in the short time we was (sic) around him, was just the fact that he really wanted people to be treated right.
Every single time we would come out and leave the house, if you can imagine, there's fans outside of his house every single, solitary day. He would always roll his window down. He would always stop and talk to people, these fans, every single time, to some point where I felt it could be detrimental to his safety. He's very serious, adamant and gracious to his fans.
Prince, Paris and Blanket are all really, really smart and beautiful children and they really love their father. [After I had taken them to the family compound after their father's passing] the kids were more concerned about us. It was really kind of shocking. But they're really mature, beautiful children. Paris turned back and said "Well, my Daddy's in Heaven."
"The King of Pop, he's the biggest star in the history of the world....just having small conversations with him [meant a lot].
I'd be the first person he'd see when he comes out. We'd have to pull the cars up and get ready to leave. I'd have to get his door and make sure he was in and I'd say 'Good afternoon Mr. Jackson' and [he'd say] 'Good afternoon' and he'd smile, you know how Michael Jackson was, and that big old smile....oh man…”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matt. 5:8) I read this passage in my hotel room right before the memorial service. I thought about Michael. I thought about how pure his heart was and how he was able to bless so many people with that purity. And yet ridiculed, accused, and abused, he still managed to maintain the pureness of heart so that everyone who crossed paths with him felt his love. He warmly welcomed all of us on the “This Is It” tour. His disposition was so genuinely sincere. That’s what I focused on during “Heal the World”. Looking into the faces of the children, I remembered Michael’s love for them.
I looked up to the heavens and knew God was smiling down on us at that moment. Nothing else mattered. Cameras, media, and business all became a faded echo drowned out by the overwhelming presence of God’s love. Not sure how I ended up closing the service, but I understood it in my heart. It wasn’t showtime; it was ministry time. As the King of Pop, as a legend of our time, and as the first and last of his kind, Michael’s message was even greater, “There are people dying, if you care enough for the living make a better place for you and for me.” This message gets right down to the truth. Death has a way of leveling everyone out so that the rich man holds the hand of the poor man. Though we live our lives chasing after other things, we all understand the importance of relationships, especially when a life is terminated. I was so blessed to see how every person came together at the service. What better legacy to leave than the gift of love? After Michael’s death, my heart was paralyzed. But now, I’m starting to come out and realize that Michael may have left us, but God hasn’t left us. And God is the reason why Michael was so special. “Every good and perfect gift is from above” James 1:16. As long as I’m living, I want to appreciate the people around me and use my gifts wholeheartedly. This life goes by so fast. It’s painful, but often times pain is beautiful. […]”
[Judith Hill, American singer – also sang with Michael Jackson on This Is It; source: http://judithhillmusic.com]
“I wholeheartedly believe that God gave Michael a mission and that was to bring joy, heal the lonely and the broken hearted and to provide for those less fortunate. He certainly helped me through my traumatic childhood.
My parents both passed away when I was six years of age and I grew up without the love that most children in the Western world take for granted. I would spend hours alone in my room, with no friends and finding little joy in life. I believe that when I became a Christian, God placed Michael in my life to get me through each day, and he did. But mine is not the only story like this. He did so much for so many people, often in secret and without recourse to attention or publicity.
I prayed after reading about him walking the streets at night looking for someone to talk to that I would one day become his friend, and God blessed me with many meetings which I will remember to this day.
He is the most humble, caring, sensitive, caring man you could ever imagine. What you hear about him from much of the media is either speculation or fabrication, but what you hear from those who have met him is absolutely the truth. Most will tell you, he has an aura that radiates warmth, love and tenderness, and most never ever forget such meetings.
When meeting or even around Michael, there was certainly an aura. It was quite incredible. And it wasn't just when meeting him, it often continued afterwards too. I distinctly remember after a meeting with him in Tenerife, I just had this tremendous sense of love for everyone. I just wanted to love people. Michael hadn't spoken directly about this to me, but it was almost as if that aura around him had somehow rubbed off on me, if that makes sense?
When I went to the US for the Memorial, I just wept on seeing so many notes and cards outside each of places of significance. From the Hollywood Star to Neverland; from Carolwood Drive to the Staples Centre, people from all over the world had come to place their condolences. And what an amazing impact he had on people's lives - every other note seemed to be thanking him for what he had done, how much he had inspired them to live their dreams, how much he had taught them. And, in amongst the notes and cards in every place were crucifixes and references to God. I was on my knees in tears. I had always, always known that this was a man of God, but I had never fully appreciated just how many ordinary lives he had changed.
Even those fans who never met Michael often felt a deep connection with him. He had that capacity to draw you close, to mesmerize you with his love and compassion, but also with his aura, which he always acknowledged was from God Almighty Himself.
Like Michael, I have vitiligo, although only small patches in unseen areas of the body. I also had a traumatic childhood, and have also suffered from loneliness, persecution, and have been used and abused. I am also attracted to innocence and purity, and have that intense desire to remain a child and to never grow up or grow old. Like Michael, I love music, animals and working to create a more positive world. The list of how much we had in common seems endless and I feel heartbroken because I have not just lost a superstar, but a friend, a soulmate, a twin soul. When Michael passed away, a part of me died with him. Now I often wake up crying for the part of me that is lost.
We are all so blessed to have lived in the era of Michael Jackson, to have learnt from him, to have experienced his magic, whether on screen or in person. Young, old, black, white, rich or poor - we are all blessed to have lived at a time such as this.
God gave us Michael for a purpose. He was a truly a gift from God and, like Jesus before him, he was vilified and persecuted for simply trying to make the world a better place, for being honest, innocent and naive.
I am devastated that he's gone, truly devastated, but I am so heartened by the thought that he is now in a much better place, free from all harm at last. Jesus said that unless we become like children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. How much more childlike can an adult be than the fun loving, eternally young, often mischievous Michael Jackson? But whilst like a child, he also thought like an adult beyond his years, giving to causes and people without thinking twice and often imparting a wisdom far beyond his years.
Michael is alive in Heaven, probably singing with the angels, and he's alive here on earth, in the hearts of people like you and me and in the hearts of his beloved children. Let us continue to pray for them and to remember how blessed we are to have had the chance to live alongside this man of God, who sacrificed a normal comfortable life in order to bring joy and happiness to others."
[Dee Pfeiffer, friend of Michael Jackson; source: www.reflectionsonthedance.com]
“When he was with me, the mask came off, the glove came off. It was just me and Michael. We were alone together. He was just a real genuine guy. There was no BS, no eccentric, he was brilliant. We just had fun. He was just a regular guy like you and I talking.....The thing about Michael. He was a personal guy and all he cared about was being a close friend. Just enjoying life. I mean, I don't care what the media said because everybody wants to focus on sometimes the negativity. I like people for who they are. If there's some people I don't like, I disassociate myself from them, but Michael was just very genuine. He loved all people. […] He was just a regular guy. It was Michael. You and I see a side of him that most people don't see. […] He never forgot friendship.”
“'I’m angry (about the negative publicity) especially now because he's not here to defend himself. He is such a good person, a loving person. Every time....anyone who knew him or had any kind of relationship, you knew he always ended every conversation with "I love you, see you." It was always love.”
“[…] Period: love is Michael. It was real. Michael is…is forever. He was sort of a friend, I met him back in 1975, […] had the honor to play his dad [in The Jacksons: An American Dream]…[…] Everybody’s saying many many things [about Michael], I just say this: Michael, the way I’m reminded, whenever I got to see him, he was just very personable, nice, […] he was a little different, but he was cool and a very nice man. And on behalf of Katherine, and, of course, of the family, I’m accepting this award on their behalf […], and it’s “Michael Jackson: Humanitarian of the Century Award” […].”
“[The Jacksons] are my friends. You know, I’ve known the Jackson family since 1975, […] and they’re just buddies and friends […]. It’s very nice [being here], I feel for [Katherine], for she lost a son, you know, […] my parents are gone, I lost a sister, you know, and I know [what the family is going through], you know, I’m almost getting choked up talking about it, and so I feel it. But to lose a baby…God, it’s gotta be hard. […] My biggest concern when I first heard about it was – you know, I was in New York – it was her [Katherine]. And when I got to see her, you know…she was okay. She was surrounded by her grandkids, so that was really good. […] [I’m here to celebrate Michael], oh, yeah…it’s always forever. Michael is forever. […]
“Michael was a very – as everyone knows, a very phenomenal performer. If they have as good a voice as Michael and can accomplish 3 and a half octaves, actually, 3 octaves and a minor 6, and with all that dancing, 21, 22 songs of full of dancing and maybe a couple of ballads…I used to vocalize him on tour three times a day. […] [I started coaching him’ 32 years ago…32 years ago. […] [The] first meeting [we had]…we were gonna go up the front door, and the carpenters said, ‘No, we’re putting new stairs’. See, we had to go up the roof. I said, ‘What?”, and we had to go up the roof and there was a ladder, we crawled up the ladder, […], and a couple of stairs up there was a door. So I walked over, knocked on the door and this voice says, ‘Hello!”, I said, ‘Is that you, Michael?’, ‘Yeah…Come on in’. So I came in and there he was, holding a chimpanzee by both bare feet, and with a wash cloth he was clening up his butt and put a diaper on it. That was my first meeting with Michael. […] And I taught him in his bedroom all the time, because he was very comfortable there, and he had all of his toys and things like that around him. He had…there was a two-story bedroom and he had mannequins in there, a little girl in a too-too and a boy in a tuxedo and they’re leaning on the top balcony looking down at him. Pinocchio was hanging on the stairway up to the balcony, and as you hit him, he would bounce up and down. And I’d be in there vocalizing Michael on the piano and the chimpanzee would hit Michael in the shoulder and then push Pinocchio, who would go up and down, and then he would clip me on the shoulder, [and] Michael thought that was so funny. And so, our lessons were always punctuated by animals moving in, moving out. And his heart was on his sleeve. Whenever he heard there was somebody in distress, he went to rescue them. When a young boy was put in a room and set on fire by his father – he was burned very badly, Michael read about it. And immediately, he flew up..and the young man was all banished in the hospital […] and his head was in massive bandages. And [the boy] said, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do’, and Michael said, ‘Don’t worry…I’ll take care of you for the rest of your life.’ And he did. He always had something for the (inaudible).
[…] There are so many [memories I have of Michael]. Mostly, they had to do with his heart. He had a great heart. He went everywhere that somebody was in trouble. He went and shelled out money to buy what hey needed or to fix their lives…And when that little boy, Ryan White, was given a transfusion – [he had] a bad blood, he got AIDS, he went and buried a young baby that was drowned because her mother threw her off, because her father had walked away, no way to feed her, so that bay was thrown in the river, or whatever, off the bridge, and her little brother was thrown off the bridge and the woman jumped in. But somebody managed to get the mother and the other child, but the baby was drowned. Michael read about it and, immediately, he went down a long beach and he was waiting for the funeral. And the father had come back […] and he heard of his son’s death or whatever, and someone said, ‘Why hasn’t this funeral started?’ He said, ‘The person paying for it hasn’t got here yet’. About that time, up came a limo, and who stepped out?...Michael…And I remember we were…we were in Liverpool, and Michael read the paper that, as they do every once in a while, a young person brought up by wolves, and immediately, [Michael began to cry], and he said, ‘How terrible!...We’ve got to give a fundraiser for that little fellow.’…You know?...And people would constantly try to get money out of him, he was accused by a young boy of molestation, and the trial was over, he was acquitted, and later on, the boy admitted that his father had talked him into that […]. I’m gonna say that, and that it wasn’t true, and then later, his father committed suicide. So, there are a lot of things that people don’t understand about Michael. He would never, never upset a child in any way. He may have given them too much popcorn, too much ice cream. Over the ranch, there were these great big of hagelnuts ice cream all over the place!...Out of the parking lot, in the southern farm, I used to go out there early with no breakfast, just to go to the soda fountain and have a big dish of hagenuts for breakfast. And every year, we would take all the kids and their parents up to Neverland Ranch. And the parents would come over to me – I’d be sitting and watching it, ‘cause I’d been through all that and I’ve known it for a long time. I was with him when he bought that place. And they would come up with tears in their eyes and say, ‘Where have you taken us?’, and I said, ‘I have taken you to your childhood…taken you to Neverland. This is where Peter Pan is.’”
“[…] We was (sic) in Alabama one night, […] and he was coming out of the dressing room and I was hoping we could make it, because we had a break coming up before we go to Hawaii. When he was coming out of the dressing room, I said, “Mike, don’t exert yourself so much and cut down on all the dancing and the spinning’, and he looked at me with them humble eyes and said, ‘I can’t do the people that way. I’ve got to give them all I got.’ I remember that. […]”
“I actually met MJ back in 1993 in Mexico while I was working for Madonna. The first time I met MJ in a professional capacity was in 2001. I worked with him, his brothers and all the artists for the 30th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He was not at all what I thought he would be. Michael was easy to talk to, engaging and not as shy as I had heard. His brothers were around, so maybe he was in his comfort zone. I found him to be extremely professional and very detailed oriented. Michael knew what he wanted and how to get it, his talent speaks for itself. When I found out I was on the short list of music director hopefuls for MJ's tour, surprisingly, I was somewhat reluctant. I had been the music director for so many big stars in my career and wanted to pursue other musical endeavors closer to home. However, when it's Michael Jackson calling, you have to at least explore the possibilities. First I met with the “This Is It” director, Kenny Ortega; we had a great meeting and he invited me back down that evening to meet with MJ. I asked that there be keyboards in the room when MJ and I met. When they finally brought MJ in to see me, I was already playing around on the keyboard, he walked in smiling broadly with pep in his step. Instantly, he started dancing and swaying to me playing his song "Working Day and Night." We hugged and began talking about what he was looking for and I told him what I was looking for. I interrupted him several times to have him sing songs as I played them, to his credit he did, and we had a great bond immediately. We did a concert for about a half hour just me and him. LOL. As I was leaving, I asked him for the set list and he just laughed. They were looking at a few more guys after me. He said God bless you and I left the room. I wasn't even home good before I got the call to be his musical director. My life was about to be transformed forever.
[…] I think most people would be surprised to know that MJ was very well read and very much into current events. He knew what was going on in the world and could speak in depth about various topics of the day. I think because he was a prisoner of his fame, people thought he was a recluse and I’m sure he was to a certain extent. However, I’ve actually seen him get out of his car to hug fans after rehearsal and take photos and sign autographs with great openness and appreciation. Although he had a lot of security around him everywhere he went, he loved people and he loved life. […]
[…] MJ's passing is still very surreal to me because I, like many people around the world, grew up with Michael Jackson. I never even thought of being in the world without MJ. He’s like a part of daily life like air and water. I was with him so much during the preparation of “This Is It” tour. We spent many, many hours working on giving the world the best show imaginable. When it all stopped, I jumped right into the memorial and then directly into making the film with Kenny Ortega and Travis Payne. After that, I went directly into my current job as musical director for George Lopez's late night talk show, "Lopez Tonight." I've never really had the proper time to deal with it. It's still very difficult for me to listen to certain MJ songs. I'm not sure when or if I’ll get back to the way I was before he passed. I just embrace the love and celebrate the time I did have with him.
[…] I was actually the last one from the company to see MJ as we left rehearsal. I will never forget my last moments with MJ. I was with him most of the day going over many different elements of the show with him and Kenny. Travis was busy working with the dancers and tech people. He had a little light dinner as we looked at the video elements that were being prepared for the show. The meeting was serious, as all of the money people were there and MJ was giving his final approval on everything. He still found time to be silly while all of this was happening. He leaned over to me at one point and whispered in my ear, "Who's your favorite 3 stooges?" I was cracking up because we were supposed to be concentrating on the business. I told him as he was talking to the people about the video and then he would lean over and whisper, "Yeah, I like him too, but my favorite is...".LOL...that was MJ. After that meeting, we hit the stage. It was late. We worked until 11:30 or so, maybe a little later. MJ was amazing that night! He had full command of the stage and he seemed to be able to will his feet to do whatever he wanted. At one point he looked back at me as if to say yeah, I'm Michael freakin' Jackson! I got this! We're about to take the people on a journey they've never been on before. I'm back!
[…] It would have been his last tour for sure, however, that didn't mean it was going to be over after our 2 year run at the O2 in London. He was starting to feel really good on the stage and having a great time performing. One day he expressed to me that he thought he might want to extend the tour 3 to 5 years. Maybe pick up and start over in another country. He did say he didn't want to go too much longer than that. He would have been 55 at the end of 'This Is It', if all went well.
[…] MJ's passing has transformed me forever. Moreover, his living had already changed me considerably. What could have been deemed corny by some who weren't as open as MJ, his constant talk of service and philanthropy and love for fellow man had a big major impact on the way I live my life today. I've embraced more of a service-oriented focus in the way I approach my art. Everything I’m involved in now has to have a social redemptive value to it. He had many talks with me about humility and gratitude and I feel as if I’ve been validated by one of the greatest, if not the greatest entertainer of my lifetime. There is something to be said for choosing to live your life by embracing love and making all of your daily choices in that light. It's been a very powerful awakening for me.
[…] Besides the "three stooges" moment […] I mentioned earlier, one of the funniest moments I’ve had with MJ, and there were many, as he was very silly, was when he and I had a conversation about grits... Here we are in his room at rehearsal talking over business and we get sidetracked into a back and forth about grits. What to put on them, where to get the best, and what city has the best, etc. His youngest son, Blanket, was looking at me and MJ like we were crazy. MJ tried to explain to him what they were. He just dissed both of us and went back to his spider man action figure. MJ and I had a good time that day.
[…] [How would he want to be remembered?] It's always difficult to answer these types of questions, because one is forced to guess what's in a person’s mind and spirit. However, I can say with almost 100% certainty that it would have something to do with saving the planet. Healing the world and the part he played in helping to achieve that goal.
[…] I will not commemorate [his anniversary] at all. I was there with him almost every day during the last days of his life. I lived it. This is an anniversary that is with me every day since it happened. I will do what I do every day. I’m blessed to be upright on the planet. I'll say what I’m grateful for that day, I'll try to make someone's day better, and I'll probably talk to MJ in my own way and tell him I love and miss him. That's pretty much what I do everyday anyway. It's all for L.O.V.E.”
[Michael Bearden, musical director for This Is It– speaking to Ebony/Jet magazine, 2010; source: www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Beardens-Fan-Page]
“During the meals I've had with him, he did pray silently. When he prayed out loud, it was always to God, but that doesn't mean he didn't use any other names. We would talk about God and grace and humility a lot. One day, MJ and I were working on some new music, and during a break we started talking about the name Michael. He said "Hey, Bearden! Do you know what our name means?" I didn't know. He said it means "most like God." And then he said to me, "We can't be big-headed about it. We have to be humble, or God could take our gifts away. Promise me you'll be humble!"
[Michael Bearden - speaking to Ebony/Jet magazine, 2010; source: www.reflectionsonthedance.com]
“[…] I still haven't dealt with the loss properly, as I’ve been working non-stop since it happened. There are still songs I can't listen to and, at times, not only can I feel MJ's presence, I can smell him. Those of us who knew MJ personally know that's a compliment, as he always smelled amazing! He made sure of it. We became very close very fast, especially towards the end. He just trusted me as you can probably tell in the film. If I chose to, I could be very angry and bitter about this whole thing. Moreover, I was in the presence of this Dr. Dude once; though I never met him, I never had a good vibe. I did not like his energy at all. Not even a little bit. I'm a big vibe person and his was all negative to me. [...] You all have the right to feel the way you do. My response will only deal with how I'm feeling. I choose to embrace the love part of this. If you've been here any amount of time, you know I talk about two energy streams, love and fear. For me, revenge is just a sister of fear. Closure is just selfishness if it originates out of fear and not love. I, personally, will not get into a discussion about the pro’s and con’s of capitol (sic) punishment. […] Justice for me would be to continue to celebrate MJ's art. His legacy is in the living and in the love. As we continue to live, the principles in his music and his philanthropy serve as wonderful guidelines on how to honor MJ and secure an undying legacy for him and his children. This doesn't mean we deify MJ, as he was only a human being, albeit extraordinary. We all have capacity to change the world for the better. Even if it's one person at a time. So, justice for me will come in the form of MJ's children growing up to be productive citizens in whatever they chose to be. Justice for me will be to see MJ's art still being studied years and years from now. Justice for me will be knowing that in the spirit of a man who no doubt transformed my life forever, I touch somebody else's life with my own talent and art and they, in turn, do the same to somebody else and to the generations after them. Justice will be for this Dr. Dude to be forgiven by MJ's family. The ultimate act of selflessness. I can't be what I call a buffet human being here, picking and choosing principals that only meet my agenda. Either I embrace love or I don't. I choose not to wish death on someone when it can easily be manifested against me. This is a difficult emotion to choose when you're hurting. Besides, we're only human. If someone hurts you or your loved ones, you want to hurt them back or worse. I get that and I'm still capable of going there. I'm human! I just know that the last time I saw MJ, he told me he would see me the next day at rehearsal and I never saw him again. Even one million years in prison or lethal injection will [not] erase the feeling I get when I hear the last words MJ said to me in my head..So, justice for me is already happening. I was one of the lucky few to have a front row seat to MJ's triumph of the stage. He conquered his fears and conquered his nay-sayers. His look to me that final night of rehearsal is forever burned into my mind’s eye. He had a look like, yeah Bearden, I'm Michael Mutha !^@ F,!^@& Jackson and this is what I do. How dare they doubt me! As my band said that night, ‘MJ has that glow again’. That's justice for me!”
“[…] MJ had a lot of [negativity happening] during his life and I'm not surprised by this at all. He knew what was going on and how negative people could be in his life. We had many talks about this very subject, actually, and I can tell you he was hurt by it. But he was also strong enough to realize what his priorities were in life. […] I had a great repore with most of MJ's security and they were all great to me and Mr. Jackson, as they would call him. This is all for money, $$$, plain and simple. People will choose to believe it or they want [to]. The most important thing you can do is hold on to how you feel when you listen to MJ's music and how you feel about our own personal experience with him. […] I don't care what he had for breakfast or lunch or dinner, and I've eaten with him many times. As I always say here, try to embrace the love and not the fear or the sisters of fear. […]”
“[…] It is extraordinary the influence he's had in the world and it was never lost on him..He knew exactly what he was doing and his impact in the world..Once again, I will never try to deify MJ, as he was only a man, albeit and extraordinary man!... […] MJ and I never talked about [his favorite number, 777] specifically, but we did talk about the concept surrounded by its significance, if you follow me..I think I shared one conversation on the DVD he and I had about the meaning of our name, "Michael". Here's what I think 777 meant to MJ...There are many, many interpretations of the number 7 and what it means, but for MJ, and I’m only guessing per our conversations, 777 is the number of God..just as our name translates to one who is most like God.. Did MJ think he was God? NO! But he did except (sic) his mission on the planet as an archangel of sorts..one who was responsible for the ascension of the soul through the physical body, to help shine light on what man must one day realize..God is love, love is real, God is within us! He used his power of music to convey this message.. Music is the most powerful language available to us on the planet...[…] This is what 777 means […]...Me and MJ talked a lot about these kinds of concepts […]”
[Michael Bearden, musical director for This Is It, source: www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Beardens-Fan-Page]
“I was a staunch defender [of Michael Jackson] before his passing and I was called just to tell you, and I was called by friends and I was told that I gotta stop talking about Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson is the most astonishing person I’ve ever met on the face of this planet. I never expected to meet anybody like him, I never suspected there was anybody like him…He lived to give. He lived to give to his audience, he loved his audience. One night…one day, I got a call at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, here in New York, saying ‘You gotta be out here’, meaning L.A., ‘Tonight, at 11 o’clock, Michael is canceling his tour and you’re the only one he’ll listen to’. When Michael and I sat down in the trailer that night at 11 o’clock – a dark trailer outside the studio in L.A. where he and his brothers were rehearsing for their tour – it was like two profits going out against each other. Michael said to me, “I will not go on stage. I owe my audience, I owe them the most astonishing thing they have ever seen in their life, and my brother, Jackie, is the best dancer I have ever seen, and my brother, Jackie, just came down with a bone shift in his knee, and if I can’t go out with the best dancer in the world, then I will not go out, because I will not want to cheat my audience’. And I felt in Mike…I felt as if Michael’s chest…the ribs had opened like gates and I could see 10,000 kids inside of there, and Michael would not let anybody school around with those kids. He owed them something tremendous.
And I had to convince him of the reasons that canceling his tour would s**** those kids, because they would cease to believe in him, his tour would be so badly…his tour already had been savaged by the press over and over again, his public would not believe in him anymore, and he could feel his audience in my chest. Well, I never expected to meet a human being like that. One day, we were looking at pictures together for what was supposed to be his next album cover, and his knees buckled when he saw only one inch of a picture in a portfolio, and he made an orgasmic sound, and the further he (inaudible) back the page, the more his knees buckled, and I knew I was standing next to him. And I could feel his body language, and the more the orgasmic sounds grew – because Michael was capable of seeing infinity in a tiniest of things, and I’ve never ever in my life expected to meet that kind of quality and wonder and that kind of extreme generosity. He lived for other people. And when he quit living for other people, he died a little. He..I mean, if there ever was a saint on the face of this planet, Michael was it. So, I will defend him till the end of my days and, yes, I talked about him until I was blue in the face long before he ever died, because…look, the first two principles of science, they’re in [my] book, [‘The Genius of the Beast’] are the truth and the price, including the price of your life, and look at things right under your noses if you’ve never seen them before and, then, proceed from there, look at things that you and everybody else around you take for granted and, then, proceed from there. That first one is the quality of courage and the second rule is the quality of wonder, and Michael instantiated, he was, he realified that quality of wonder in ways I never, ever expected to see in my life. […]”
[Howard Bloom, American popular science author and former music industry publicist, also former publicist of Michael Jackson – on air at The Expert Witness Radio Show; sources: www.mj-777.com/The Expert Witness Radio Show]
"Michael was the closest I’ve ever come to a secular angel. A secular saint.
Look, I’m an atheist, but Michael was not. He believed he was given a gift by God. He believed he was given talents and wonders and astonishments seldom granted to us, very fragile human beings. Because God had given him this enormous gift, he felt he owed the experience of wonder, astonishment, awe, and Blake’s infinities to his fellow human beings. But unlike other generous humans – Bill and Melinda Gates, for example - with Michael, giving to others was not just a part-time thing. The need to give to others was alive in every breath he took every single day.
Michael Jackson’s entire life was receiving and giving and the whole purpose of receiving was so he could give. He worked with every cell in his body to give the gift of that amazement, that astonishment to his fellow human beings. Needing the adulation of crowds was Michael’s connection to others, his most profound connection, far more profound than family and friends (though those are indispensable), and far more healing. That act of giving keeps an iconic person, a person who never knows normalness, alive.”
[Howard Bloom, source: www.reflectionsonthedance.com]