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* TST note: All quoted paragraphs below are filtered by The Silenced Truth Team. The content of all cited interview highlights, 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, discourse intent (bar grammar error corrections in the sentence/phrase construction, as well as certain esthetic touches), have not been performed.


He really loved her (his mother) from the bottom of his heart […]. She’s such a loving woman, a very normal woman. She goes to the super market and is very down to earth. […] He often did things as small interviews, just to give the money for his family. He always cared for his parents. That’s simply the way he was. […] He loved and accepted his father, but there was no relation between the both of them. […] First of all, I have to stress that ‘death’ was never an issue for Michael. […] In any case, he would have liked to see a part of [Neverland] open for the public. But whatever the arrangement would have been, he would have liked to see the kids having 100% benefit out of that and no one else. The problem with Neverland is, the county had squandered all their money by pursuing and suing Michael. They now have to alter the infastructure completely. Broader roads to Neverland etc. But there’s no money left anymore. And Michael was always liked very much by his neighbours. The first time I had been on Neverland, it was a wonderful experience. Michael was very, very kind and absolutely down to earth! Simply a hospitable, nice man. Little Paris wanted to shake my hand and Michael looked at both of us and said: “We don't shake hands in this family, we hug!“ All of this was very important for Michael. He treated everyone with incredibly much respect and affection. He really listened to the people and always welcomed them this way: [Weisner clasped his hands in front of his face and imitates the welcome gesture of some far east countries]. He was very, very humble. He always highly respected his employess, no matter whether security, cleaning ladies or gardeners. And they respected him the same way back. They appreciated him very much. They always called him “the boss” or “Mr. Jackson” when they talked about him. […]”

He was no dreamer far away from reality. He had goals and those were realistic goals for someone of his caliber. Of course, he was extraordinary. For instant (sic), I had always to be there for him on demand. When he called, I was instantly on the spot. And if I wasn’t reachable once, then I got a lot of messages on my answering machine. Most of them from Michael’s staff. ‘Mr. Jackson really needs to speak to you, please call him back at this number’. Or when I lived at Neverland and Michael called me at 3 or 3.30 a.m. to discuss new ideas. We just talked and the words just came sputtering out of his mouth. Later then, around seven o’clock, he noticed how late it was. He then said something like: “Dieter, you must be really tired. Let's go to sleep”. And then he sometimes slept ‘til noon. But that’s the way it was, it was in the bag. He was an artist. But Michael was no weirdo! He was highly intelligent and had an eye on everything. […] [The Bambi Award he got in Berlin, 2002] meant a lot to him. When he held his speech there, which we wrote together the evening before, he was totally excited. He knew all those important people, which were sitting there in the first row. And it meant a lot to him to get this kind of appreciation. By the way, he already knew Angela Merkel - before she became chancellor. He simply always kept himself posted. The same when we later had the meeting with Dr. Burda. He and Michael talked together for hours and Dr. Burda was deeply impressed of Michael’s knowledge. No matter if the topic was the Black Forest, Bavaria or politics. Michael was widely read and thus could make a contribution to anything. Also when we met him here, [when he met with the Dalai Lama], it was just the same. They talked for hours. Someone like the Dalai Lama would hardly talk for hours to someone who would only do vague talk. […]”

He would have given few concerts once in a while, for example at the Pyramids. This was something he always wanted to do. But only single concerts (sic) and always something huge and never seen before. But by no means, he would like to go on tour anymore. Touring was simply too much for him. As much as he loved the stage, as little he loved to go on tour. […] [Michael also planned a project, called “Pinocchio 3000”. I had a conversation with Michael about this]. [Weisner puts on the taped conversation, and Jackson’s words, roughly paraphrased were:] “Hello Dieter, this is Michael. I have a close look at the Marvel shares. They got low heavily and it would be the right time to purchase. I just heard that the shootings for ‘Hulk’ have been terminated. And there will also be a bunch of Spiderman movies. I urgently want to get a foodhold (sic) there, before all the others get wind of that. This is the right time for it. Super hero movies will get huge very soon, the next big thing!” After this conversation I contacted Michel Lemire – he is the Deputy General Manager of Cine-Group. He confirmed to me in an email that he and his General Manager were on Neverland and negotiated with Michael. Even the signing of the contract had been confirmed. I spent my time with Michael in Montreal. Our General Manager, Jacques Pettigrew, flew to California where he spent time with Michael and his family. Michael was mainly interested in materializing 3D projects. Hollywood lost its glamour for him and he rather would love to work with people, who cared more about quality than dollars. Afterwards there surfaced those new (and final) allegations against Michael. The projects were in the range of family entertainment and so the climate changed there understandably. Michael left his ranch as we all know and he was located in Bahrain for a certain time. And there were also those financial problems. We have spent time with Michael and we got to know him. We cannot see any truth in all those allegations. He was an artist, who had been misunderstood by so many people. And as we all now can see, he was taken advantage of by as many of them.”

It’s plain madness if you imagine that (Uri) Geller recommended this guy [Martin Bashir] to Michael that much. […] But this is how Michael was. He did anything what he could do for his friends. But it then took on a dramatic scale which became untenable and so Michael terminated [his relation with Rabbi Schmuley]. He did it as usual. Some day he couldn’t be reached anymore. He simply didn’t accept his calls anymore. The same way it went with Geller later. […] [Bashir] was plain disrespectful. Once I got him making a mess of Michael's things. And he even had a key to Michael’s hotel room. I mean, I had one too, of course, but I had to prepare things for him etc.. But I never entered without knocking and waiting for Michael’s invitation to come in. Bashir just opened the door and got in. […] [Michael] did believe until the end that he would have the final say. Just a few days bevor (sic) broadcasting of the documentation, we just were travelling by plane, I got a call and we were forewarned how the documentation would really be. Michael was hoping ‘til the end that the whole thing wouldn’t turn out that way. […] And now, after his death, N24 just shows this crap again! […] And, of course, they don’t show the second part which we did to rectify Bashir’s statements. […]”

He was fully devastated after the trial. […] He had to recover and this took very much time. You may not forget how exhausted he was. Physically, in his soul, mentally – the batteries were just empty. […] He needed time for himself. […] He was a proud man, with much dignity and decency. [...] After we got certainty that he will be prosecuted, he was totally down to the ground at first. He was left in disbelief that they would do this to him. But after this time of depression, he actually took a grip on himself and he changed his attitude. He again became the fighter and he was prepared to attack the whole matter. But despite all of this it was an incredibly hard time for him. If he wouldn’t have had his fans, it would have been almost impossible for him to find a further meaning of life. If he felt bad and down we cheered him up with fan gifts and letters. And he loved it from his very heart. First and foremost the paintings. Not only in those hard times, but always. No matter where we’ve been – if fans were around and he saw drawings and paintings, he always said: ‘Get me the pictures, get me those pictures!. [The fans meant] everything [for him]. They were his family. They were his crutch and they gave him strength. More than any other thing. And he loved them above all things for that. And he told this to his children too. Every time, in any place where we stayed in hotels etc. He showed his fans to his kids and explained to them, what the fans mean to him and how much they love him. [His family] were there and it was good that way. But Michael’s strength and comfort came clearly from the fans. He loved them beyond words. I mean, he respected his siblings and parents and loved them. He always cared for their well-being and that they wouldn’t miss anything. But this closeness and love – it came rather from the fans. Always, when he said that he loves them and ‘I love you more’ – then it was the simple truth. […] Michael was very disappointed about [how most of his famous friends abandoned him]. We did contact some of those people who were known to him at that time. We would like to ask them for public statements to support Michael. But the most of them did not care about it. […] The simple truth – he was all alone. […]”

“[Was he] able [to do the 50 This Is It shows]? Yes, he was able to do it. But he didn’t want it. No way. […] [Frank] DiLeo… Michael didn’t really talk with DiLeo. He just appeared when he noticed that one can earn money again with Michael. He did sign this contract – which he had no permission to do. [DiLeo signed the contract as Michael’s manager, although he wasn’t Michael’s manager and had no permission to do so. When the concert promoter sued Michael and DiLeo, the lawsuit failed.] The concert promoter had no right to sue Michael, because he had nothing to do with it. But they tried to get a little more out of the case by suing Michael, too. […] I don’t know whether or not he said [that he only agreed to do 10 concerts] to the fans. I wasn’t there. But it matches the situation how Michael felt about it. He was framed and taken advantage of. And at the end, they even isolated him from his fans. And this was not typical for Michael. […] He always took his time. No matter where, no matter when. The fans were the most important to him. […] He was all alone. There was almost no one around who didn’t work for AEG or the company which owns Neverland. No matter who you are – you cannot bear it for a long time under such a pressure and loneliness. Even two of his bodyguards were from the Nation (of Islam). There was a huge struggle needed by Michael to make sure that they at least didn’t sleep any longer in his house, but in a caravan outside on his property. […] [When Michael lived in Las Vegas in 2007-2008, shortly before he moved to Los Angeles], those times were very hard for him. When he moved out of Vegas, he had to pack his luggage on his own. There was no one around. And then there was the issue with the company which bought Neverland. They brought to him this Tohme [Thome guy], and Michael did not know that Thome worked for that company. He – well I say it like that – was Michael’s advisor and told him to sell his ranch to this company in order to prevent it vor (sic) compulsory auction. And after this had happened the connection to Philips (of AEG Live) came into existence and they told Michael quite clear: ‘Do the concerts or the ranch will be gone.’ Michael was upset. He wanted to say goodbye with the 10 concerts – as he always mentioned. But they (AEG Live) sold it as a comeback. It wasn’t a comeback for Michael, it was his goodbye regarding his music career. He was only prepared to give max. 10 concerts and that’s it. The whole thing was insured. He never agreed to 50 concerts, so he would have performed only the original number of concerts. When he agreed to do it, he wanted to make it right. And he really wanted to show his kids how it feels when he performs on stage. How the people react and so on. And he wanted to say goodbye to his fans. But that’s not the whole thing. […] [He was] not at all [satisfied with the execution of the rehearsals]. The show wasn’t as complete as it has to be. They weren’t in a position to begin in time. As I said the show was incomplete. The costumes were incomplete. Not even the merchandising contracts were signed! And Michael didn’t have the control about the organization which he normally was used to have. […] The fans should know one thing. Michael wasn’t a drug dependant. Sure, there were times when he took painkiller in the 90ties, and during the trial he also had to take medicine to soothe his pain. But those were painkillers. This doctor had given to him a anesthetic. This is absolutely another kind of story! […] Michael wasn’t addicted to medicine/drugs. Of course, the fans hear about it and they hear about it again. They hear it and they forgive him because they love him. But there’s nothing to forgive – as he never was that way! You should know, there are some doctors – and I have some of their names in my mind – they come to you and say: ‘Oh, you don’t feel good? I have something for you and you feel better. There’s no big deal. You cannot sleep? Here, take this. You will sleep well. Sleep is important!’ […] You must not forget, what this man had dealt with in his life. He was such a sensitive, vulnerable and proud person. And he had been humiliated and ridiculed from (sic) the whole world. And at the end he was all alone. Nobody was there by his side. The best person among us would get weak then. […] In any case, it is according to his wish that he will obviously now making history as a musician and entertainer and not only with the scandals. […]”

[Dieter Weisner, Michael Jackson’s former manager – interviewed by Jacksonvillage; interview roughly translated from German by Monika van Riesen; source: http://mjklub.com]


Michael would get between 50 and 60 extortion attempts per year.  Most of them were paternity. Women claiming that Michael was the father of their child, and a whole bunch of other ones were over music. Somebody had written a song or something and they claimed that Michael had stolen their music or their words. All of those things got thrown out of court because once they got to court, they couldn't back it up. […] I've never met anybody who was more well-adjusted or more normal.  He was just such a normal guy. So intellectual and so bright and so normal. He was an absolutely fabulous father. I've never met a parent that is as good or better than Michael. Those kids were an absolute delight! I've never met kids in my life that were like those kids. I spent a lot of extended time around them. I never heard them cry, I never heard them beg for anything, never saw or heard them throw a fit...”

“He was just so genuine and so warm and so caring. All of the time I knew Michael, almost 20 years, I never ever heard him raise his voice at anybody. Never happened.  He was just such a good person. Just a really deep-down good person. Michael spent a third of a billion dollars on helping children, paying for surgeries, building hospital wings, orphanages a burn center and on and on and on. The good things he did he would never talk about them. You'd always have to hear it from people who were around him, because Michael always thought if you did a charitable act and then you talked about it or bragged about it or something, all of the good you're trying to do, that it negated all of that. So he never would talk about those things. […] I asked him, 'Michael, how can you do that?  How can you spend the time with these children who are dying and then go from that, on stage and give that kind of performance?'  He said, 'How could I not? If these children want to see me. I know I'm not important, but Michael Jackson the superstar is, and if I can make a child live an extra minute or an hour or a day or a month, then wouldn't that be worth it?' Michael was always that way. If he would get a call from somebody and a child was dying, he would get on a plane and go and he would tell them, 'I'm going to be back in 2 weeks to see you,' and a lot of times he extended little kids' lives that way. It gave them something to look forward to down the line.  You have to admire something like that.”

Michael told me, 'We're all put on earth to do something' He said 'I was put here to help children.' Which he died from the time I met him, he was 29 when I met him, that was what his life was all about.  It was that way all the way up to the time he died. Michael never changed. Michael had incredible empathy, especially (for) children that were injuried (sic) or sick or neglected. There were people that were hungry and homeless and that was always in the front of his mind his whole life, and then to be accused of something so horrific, it just stopped him in his tracks and then when it happened again 10 years later, the man was devastated, absolutely devastated.”

“Oh, God, no. We had many talks about that (his looks). He had that inner light and he always considered himself to be extremely ugly. He said he's not a handsome man. 'That's why I don't do interviews and I don't go on talk shows.' He said 'First of all, I don't lead an interesting life, I work all of the time.' (and that's what he did, he worked all of the time). He never did really understand that he had that inner light. Sitting and talking to Michael I would look into his eyes and I could see for 1,000 miles. He had these most incredible eyes. They come off good on film, but nothing like in person. When you're actually sitting across there looking at him. Those eyes were unbelievable. There were times it would just stop me in my tracks and there were times I'd be around him where I'd kind of forget who he was and then it would dawn on me....'I'm sitting here next to Michael Jackson.' I never really got over that. There were times he would do these quick little step things and they were like lightening (sic). It was just so quick, so precise and just amazing."

I never, ever heard Michael complain about himself, about his health or anything else. Any concerns he had were always about his kids. Even when he was facing prison in the last trial, any time he talked about that, he was so concerned, 'What's going to happen to my kid?' But never once did he say 'What's going to happen to me? How about me?' He wasn't a "me" kind of person. He was always thinking about other people. (I would say to him) 'Why do you let them make up all of this crap about you?' and he said, 'First of all, if you're going to be in this business and you're going to be as visible as I am, these are the things they do. No matter what you say, you're not going to stop these people from doing this stuff.' But, that also led to his downfall because he did not speak up early enough." They treated him without any respect for the fact that he's a human being and his whole life has been based on doing good deeds. Like, how can you do that to this poor man? […]”

“Michael would say, 'I'm so fortunate that God chose me to have this talent and I have to use it in the right way.' He always said, 'I could be working at a gas station.' He always was (in awe he was given that) and always grateful and felt priveledged (sic) that he was given this talent and so wanting to use the gift that he gave the right way, which he did and he did it his whole life. […] He absolutely loved the [Neverland] ranch. It was the place that he could go. It was 2700 or 2800 acres. We could drive around, we could drive golf carts, we could walk in the woods, and not worry about fans trying to run him down or anything. He could just by himself. The children that came to the ranch...all the rides and everything there was wheelchair accessible. Everything was modified. All the rides were modified too. He had extra cages built, so arms couldn't flop out or hair couldn't flop out and get caught in something. He was concerned about the safety. The guys that ran the rides...they went to Kansas City every 6 months and took special training to be able to extracate physically challenged children. All those bases were covered and even up in the theatre, there were 2 rooms and there were glass walls that had hospital beds set up so that critically ill children could sit in the hospital bed and watch the movie. He thought of everything.”

“Then of course, I noticed, because he didn't have any makeup on, I noticed the Vitiligo. It was on the right hand side of his face and down his neck and also on the back of his hand. I don't remember which one. I don't know how far it went up his arm because he had a long sleeve shirt on, but I noticed the Vitiligo and as time went on, the Vitiligo spread and spread and spread and it was difficult for him when he had to appear in public or perform, to get the right kind of makeup, because...that skin was white, not like Caucasian white. It was white like a refrigerator, snow white. In the beginning, he did use darker makeup to cover that, but then as it spread, it got more and more difficult to make that white skin the color of the rest of his skin, so he would have to go to lighter and lighter and lighter makeup. Of course the press got on him about that, about trying to be white.  Which is the farthest thing from the truth. Michael never wanted to be white. He was proud of who he was and where he came from, but he had no choice. The one thing he never ever did, he never complained about it. He had every right to.

The way he lived changed as soon as he got the kids. He was so concerned about their safety. He always worried they would be kidnapped or harmed in some way or taken hostage for ransom. He called me when Diana died over in London and he was just totally freaked out. He said, 'That could have been me.' He said, 'We get chased so much,' and he was so worried. He was worried the kids would have a terrible accident, so that's why he kept the kids masked because he didn't want anyone to know what they looked like.

“I asked him up in Denver, 'Do you work out?' and he said 'No, I should, shouldn't I?' He was really guilty about it. I said, 'Hey, whatever you're doing is working”. He was so much fun to be around. It wasn't all darkness. We'd laugh so much. He had a great sense of humor, loved practical jokes....We'd be walking along and he'd break out into song. But not like Michael Jackson. He would sing like it was a man in the shower, just singing. I hated to see that joy go out of his life because he was a very joyful person. He was a happy person and just great fun to be around. […] [When I first met him,], he had a red corduroy shirt and black pants on and loafers that were kind of broken down in back. That's the way he dressed most of the time when I knew him. When he wasn't in public. He lived so simply. Michael never wore any jewelry, no rings, no belts, no watches, nothing, ever. The only time he wore those things were onstage. I was just so impressed with how simply he lived.

“I don't know if people are making things up or if they've been paid to say things, to give interviews.”  (Mr. Nordahl was offered many paid interviews, which he declined). “[They wanted to do the interview] as long as what I talked about was what they wanted to talk about. So, there was a lot of money floating around. Like Star Magazine was traveling around with briefcases full of cash. I never saw Michael with the effects of doing any kinds of drug or alcohol or anything like that, and I saw him all different times of the day. Early in the morning, late at night, all during the day. He was always totally normal. Totally there.  So I don't know. The last couple of years, if that happened to him, I don't know. There's so much misinformation about Michael, except for anything I know personally, I just don't trust it. People are so willing to, I guess to get on TV. I don't know what it is, but they're just so willing to offer information. It used to piss Michael off because he would say things like 'I saw an interview with my hairdresser and she's talking about me and my hairdresser doesn't know anything about me!' He kept himself really separated and I got to be really good friends with him so we talked about just about everything that was possible, but for most people, Michael did not do that, just out of fear of people turning around and talking with someone else about it. Private things. I never did. I never gave into those interviews or anything during that time. He felt comfortable with me. He felt we could talk about things and I wouldn't turn around and talk about things that we were talking about, to other people.”

I spent a lot of time with him during that time, especially after that 2003 thing, and he couldn't sleep. Michael usually tried to turn in around 11 o'clock and sometimes he'd fall asleep, but even if he did, he'd wake up again and so he'd always ask me, 'Is it okay if I wake you up?' and I said 'Hell, yeah, come bang on my door," which he would do, and then he would always worry. He said, 'Oh, you're not getting any sleep,' and I said 'Well, if I'm too tired, I'll go grab a nap in the afternoon.' We'd just hang out like that in the middle of the night until morning came.

“[I got a car once from the Korean Government]. It was too flashy. That just wasn't Michael. It wasn't the way Michael was. […] [Once,] he asked if I finished [a painting for him] and I said that I'm just about done. I'm just kind of wrapping it up and he said, 'Would you mind driving it over so I can see it?' I said 'Sure, I'll do that.'  So I drove over to the recording studio and when I walked in there he grabbed me and said, 'Come on in here," and there was like a store room. So we're standing in this store room and he said 'Those guys are mad at me,' and I said, 'What happened?' This is Slash, Jimmy Jam was there. All these top flight musicians and these guys are used to laying down a track one time. The first time they nail it. Michael's keeping them there till 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning! Going over and over and over the same passages, you know? Just wearing them out. Michael didn't feel comfortable until he had explored every avenue, you know what I mean? He had to know if there was a way he could make it a little bit better.  He did that not for himself. He did it for his fans. I never met a man who was so consumed with how his fans were being treated. The shows he put on, the concerts, they had to be the best they could possibly be. He wanted people to get their money's worth.”

[David Nordahl, American painter – interviewed by Deborah Kunesh of Reflections Of The Dance; source: http://www.reflectionsonthedance.com/interviewwithdavidnordahl.html#]


The King of Pop, arrived in Mumbai on October 30th. The svelte and sexy Sonali Bendre, clad in traditional Maharashtrian (Indian State – Maharashtra) nine yard saree, performed the aarti and tilak for Michael at the airport and he was quite taken up with the entire ceremony. When he was being driven out of the air port in his 20-car motorcade, he stopped his Toyota, got rid of his security guards and stepped out to meet the urchins lined up along the highway to catch a glimpse of him. He picked up several children and hugged and kissed them. He then spent a few minutes with them before he proceeded to the Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray’s residence, Matushree, in Bandra East. Here he was presented with a silver tabla and tanpura, which are musical instruments from India.

Later that evening, at the special bash organized in his honour by Bharat Shah (Organiser of the concert) at the Oberoi, he made a mere three minute appearance. Apparently, the singer had a late night before and wanted to retire to his room early. The crème de la crème of the Indian Entertainment Industry and Royal Families were there. Most of them of course, were left high and dry except for the actor Anupam Kher perhaps who to the initiative of jumping on the stage and grabbing Michael’s hand with a, ‘Yeah Michael, yeah!’. Shobha De (A Writer) was the next to gain inspiration and she even told the Press later, “Shaking hands with him was like an orgasm!” Bharat Shah presented Michael with a silver replica of the Taj Mahal at the same party.

[…]

The Indian media myth about Michael being extremely reclusive, does not hold true anymore. During his stay at The Oberoi Hotel, he surprised the entire staff by mingling freely with his fans, who would drop in at the hotel to catch a glimpse of the King of Pop. He would smile and blow kisses to all his fans and shake hands with as many of them as possible.

According to Butler Manager, Sandeep Walia, who was attending to him with a team of three butlers, Michael loves sweet white wine. That is probably the only kind of alcohol that he consumed during his stay at the Oberoi. Apart from that, he loves orange drinks, Fanta being his favorite and a special German orange drink, Gatorade, which he carries with him. Michael drinks a lot of Diet Coke as well, prefers his drinks at room temperature. Jackson has a penchant for chocolates too, so The Oberoi made sure there were chocolates, of all shapes, sizes and flavours kept in every reachable corner of his room.

Michael Jackson likes a lot of festivity around him. The Kohinoor Suite at the Oberoi was decorated with flowers, balloons, confetti and bowls of sweets and chocolates to give it a spirit of celebration. While in his room, Jackson does not like to use the air-conditioner. He also likes his space. His body-guards have been instructed not to come close to him to give him enough space to move around.

Okay. This is something that will really please his fans in India. According to one of his security men, India is not his new love. Jackson has always wanted to visit the country and the last time his show got cancelled he was very disappointed and upset.

Guess what Michael had for breakfast? On his first morning here, he ate masala dosa and the day after that, he had spicy alu paranthas with butter. His other meals mainly comprised of butter naans, butter chicken, tandoori chicken and spicy vegetable curries. His personal chef is of Indian origin and she co-ordinated his meals with the other chefs at the hotel. Michael Jackson definitely has a predilection for Indian food, but wait till you hear this. According to the hotel staff, he got naans (Enough for an army), tandoori chicken, dishes cooked in butter gravy and lots of paranthas packed, on the morning he was, Jackson asked The Oberoi for an LLD player and a television, as well as a CD player for his personal use. He travels with his own library of CDs and LDs and spends most of the time indoors, watching films.

The world knows he loves kids and there are many in our country who wish, they were kids, because Michael only seemed to have time for them while he was here. At his request, a high tea was organized at the pool side where kids from orphanages were invited to meet and play with him. He gave them gifts and chocolates that he had brought with him. There was a party for kids organized in his room as well, on the day of the show itself. About 50 children were invited and he ordered cakes and burgers for them. He made the kids sit on his lap and played with them. He had asked the hotel to provide him with a few saris which he wanted draped around the sofas during the photo session with the kids, to give his pictures the ethnic effect.

He would pick up his own newspapers from outside the door, which was normally very late in the morning. Michael is a late riser. […] When he returned to the hotel lobby after his mind blowing show, he folded his hands in a namaste and blew kisses to all his fans before he got into the elevator. According to the staff, he was as energetic after the show, as he was before it perhaps! The two-hour-15-minute long performance hadn’t fatigued him in the least. Flying out of India.

Burkhas were arranged for Michael because he wanted to visit Aasha Daan, Mother Teresa’s ashram in Byculla. But due to an extremely tight schedule he wasn’t able to fulfill his desire.

The Show –

November 1, at the Andheri Sports Complex was a spectacular event. The special effects were truly awesome and as for Michael, he can deservedly be called the best performer in the world. For those present at the show, it was an out of body experience!

[…]

The tank that was used on the stage as a prop in “The Earth Song” was made of blocks of plywood, though it appeared as authentic as a battle tank. The other props, such as the dilapidated buildings and the shuttle Michael used to make a grand entrance in, was also made of collapsible material that could easily be dismantled. The show had its own tender moments, when it left everyone present in tears. And that included Michael who was moved to tears at the overwhelming response he received from the Indian audience for the first time. “This has been the best show of the HIStory tour”, he later admitted.

A special route was chalked out for Michael to drive into the Andheri Stadium with his entourage. And it was only at 8.30 pm that he actually reached the stadium.

[Cine Blitz, Hindi entertainment magazine; source: www.clubmj.com]


“The uncovering of the [Gardiner (sic) School] sign is only the latest evidence of what may be a posthumous renaissance of the King of Pop. Immediately after his death […] in June 2009, Mr. Jackson’s music once again dominated the airwaves; a few months later, the movie about preparations for his final concert tour, “This Is It,” became the top box office draw. After years of rumors about financial trouble, Forbes magazine this month named Mr. Jackson the richest dead celebrity.

[…]

Mr. Jackson attended Gardner from 1969 to 1970 after his family moved to Los Angeles to record the Jackson Five’s debut album. When he returned in 1989 for the dedication of the auditorium in his honor, he was the most popular performer in the world.

...

Since Mr. Jackson’s death, however, school officials said they had received a groundswell of requests to uncover his name. The president of the school’s P.T.A. said that on parents’ night, when the principal broached the subject, all 200 parents assembled were in favor of restoring the sign. Steve Zimmer, a Los Angeles Unified School District board member, said they had received no negative feedback from parents.


“As we remember Mr. Jackson, we want to remember the musical genius and the contributions to our cultural landscape,” Mr. Zimmer said. “Having plywood covering up his name is not really showing that we’re making an effort to recognize the positive legacy.”


While Mr. Jackson’s legacy may have remained more controversial in other parts of the country, his affiliation with the school represents a point of pride for many parents here in Hollywood, where bus tours bring people from all over the world to see celebrity homes and hangouts.

...

At Gardner Street Elementary, which has a racially diverse student population, the school’s most famous former student has become an almost uniformly popular figure. A ceremony with the Jackson family at the school has been planned for December, after the sign, which still bears the dust of its seven years in hiding, has been polished.


Many students, especially the younger ones, do not understand why Mr. Jackson’s name was covered in the first place.


“Michael Jackson is the best singer in the world,” said Sean Kaplan, a fourth grader. “We like to sing ‘Thriller,’ and we like to do his dance moves on his tippy toes.”


And with that, Sean moonwalked back toward the playground.”

[Ian Lovett, American (?) journalist; sources: www.nytimes.com, www.mjfanclub.net]


“[…] I really didn’t speak well [about Michael], when I see previous interviews, I’m barky and I tend to want to skirt out of it and I would find quick little exits defensively out of it. […] Because I didn’t understand my relationship with him. […] I understand that there was no one who really knew who I was, so they just assumed I was going along with something that he would be doing, and a lot of that is what I wanted to clear up in an interview, in this interview was to explain… he was brought up that way. You know, before even answering questions about him or talking about him, it would need to be understood fully his life, which is completely different than anyone else’s life that ever was except for, you know, my father. He was conditioned to sort of get himself where he needed to go for his career and with his talent. […] It’s true but, see, and I always confused that manipulation, thinking that that manipulation meant he didn’t love me. But I understand it better now. The manipulation was because it was a survival tactic for him. […] I don’t know why [I’ve only just gotten this clarity]. I really don’t understand that. But yes, this whole last year and a half has been spent trying to gain the clarity, because at some point, I pushed it away and I just had to move on with my life and then that happened and it was like a tidal wave brought it all back.”

“I was in England [when I found out about his passing] and I don’t know why, but it was the strangest day of my life. I was crying all day. […] I don’t know [why,] and I don’t normally do that. I was trying to work and I came home and I was literally cutting my food eating my dinner crying and I wanted to go upstairs and go upstairs and watch something mindless on TV and stop crying. I looked at my husband and said “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just can’t stop”, and then an hour later the call came and I heard. […] Real honest to goodness shock. Not even tears, just floored, I was honestly floored. […] [The next day, I posted a blog about this]. I think I was just rocking a baby to sleep and I was just in floods of tears. I thought, I don’t know, I had a moment of clarity and I realized that all this bitterness I thought I had and, you know, indifference, it was no longer. It all just came… I don’t even, it’s been so crazy. I don’t even know how to explain how all of it happened, which is why I waited over a year to talk about it. Because there were so many phases of this.”

I honestly can tell you that it was, in every sense, a normal marriage and everything was spoken. In the middle of the night, if he needed to wake up and tell me, bounce something off me, and wake me up and wanna talk… if there was trouble…Was he having trouble sleeping then? He was like a little gnome. I used to tell him he was a gnome running around the room, because it was hard for him to sleep. A lot of times I couldn’t sleep either if he wasn’t sleeping. I’d just hear him piddling. It was a bit endearing, but then I didn’t mind it. But he did have a hard time sleeping. […] I loved taking care of him. It was the highest point of my life, one of the very highest points of my life. When things were going really well and he and I were united together and he and I had an understanding about some of the people and the things that could go around him and he was with me on those things and we were a unit and I could take care of him. In spite of what people speculated while I was with him, that I wanted a career or was trying to do something, it was absolute BS. I’ve never been comfortable being front and center, honestly don’t like being front and center. Loved being next to him, taking care of him. I was on such a high from doing that. It was a very profound time of my life. So, it wasn’t anything – it was real, as far as that goes. […] The lowest was… you know, again, when I talk about him. I, now, in retrospect want to make very clear that I understand him now more than I ever did. So, when I speak about him, I can speak about him with understanding and it’s all good now. For some reason, I don’t know what happens when someone passes away and this is what’s come of it, but I’ve come to have all this love again and understanding for him. I don’t know why it had to take all that to have this happen. That upsets me a bit. […] Michael wasn’t a bad person, because that’s how he functioned […]. It wasn’t that – I took it very personally though. I felt like I was disposable. […]”

“[I fell in love with him] for him. Because he was an incredible, an incredibly dynamic person. If you were in his vicinity and he wanted to give – and he showed you who he was, and he was willing to do that in any way, meant that… I have never felt so high in my life. I have never felt so high in my life as that. I am not lying when I say that. He had something so intoxicating about him and when he was on, when he was ready to share with you or give it to you, and be himself and allow you to come in.. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that intoxicated by anything. […] Yeah. It was like a drug. He was like a drug for me. I felt like I just always wanted to be around him, always wanted to be part of – I felt so high. I’ve never felt like that around another human being, except for one, which was my father. […] [I did feel loved by Michael.] Very much so. I don’t think I realized it at the time, how much – what that meant, because I know that was very unusual for him. […] He fell in love with me and I fell in love with him. It was very real. […] We were in the library in front of the fire and he pulled this giant 10 carat diamond out of his pocket and put it on my finger. I think he got on his knees too and proposed. […] We were together a lot and there was (sic) no cameras. I think a lot of that [circus] was because the promo for HIStory was coming so we had to go there and do this, all very manipulated, which I understand comes across as very manipulated period. […]”

“[I felt hurt when he had children with Debbie Rowe.] It sounds… hindsight twenty twenty and I understand him so well now. But at that time I didn’t. […] And I did things that hurt him. I did stupid things too. […] Like, I was very torn because I broke up my family. I left my husband for Michael. I was having a hard time trying to process that. While I was with Michael, I was still trying to process what I had done. I never could feel good about it. I felt like, how could I have done that to somebody and I have these two little ones. Danny was still very much part of my life. Michael didn’t quite know what to do with that sometimes. That made him uncomfortable and I understood that. Michael would wonder, “Why are you in Hawaii with Danny?” I’d take a vacation and Danny would go. Michael would get upset and “Where are you?”, and he would disappear for a couple of weeks and I couldn’t find him. Things would make him uncomfortable and when I would do things that would make Michael uncomfortable, if he got uncomfortable or felt vulnerable, he would ice you out as a mechanism. He would push you away and ice you. It was like a shark sometimes in that way, he could just like that, if you’d done him wrong or whatever, you were out. We had some moments like that. But I have to say in retrospect. That he honestly tried so hard and went through so much with me, and I know now when I look back at it […]. We hit rough waters, we would fight, we would argue, three day arguments sometimes, taking a break to eat and sleep. I have to say that I really admire that he really gave it a good shot, you know, I didn’t appreciate it then and I wish I did. […] I think so, sadly [that he had to die for me to realize he loved me]. […] I think, yes. Sweeping answer would be yes. When we were together, we were really in love. [..] We again, were going to get back together, we spent four more years after we’d divorced getting back together and breaking up and talking about getting back together and breaking up. At some point, I had to push it away because it was not, I wasn’t moving forward with myself. […] [I still loved him even after.] Very much. I left him to sort of stomp my foot in the ground and go… I was trying to take a stand and say, ‘Come with me, don’t do this.’ That was a stupid move, because he didn’t. And he’s, you know, he’s a stubborn… I’m stubborn, he’s stubborn. […] And actually afterwards, he and I were still… I was still flying all over the world still with him to follow. […] [The last time I spoke with him…] Coherently good conversation? Sometime in 2005. It was a very long conversation. I was so removed from him and he could feel it and he could hear it. And I think that’s one of the things that killed me in the end too was that I was very distanced and he was checking to get a read, he was trying to throw a line out to see if I would bite emotionally and I wouldn’t. I was pretty shut off at that point. I don’t even know how I managed to be like that, but I was. He was asking me, he wanted to tell me that I was right about a lot of the people around him, that it had panned out to be exactly what he and I had talked about years ago. He asked if I still loved him and we went into a whole thing about that and I told him I was indifferent and he didn’t like that word and he cried. He was trying to find out where I was at and how I could become so detached. Then, the final part of the conversation was him telling me that he felt that someone was going to try to kill him to get a hold of his catalogue and his estate. […] He did [give me names]. And I’d rather not say them. But he expressed to me that his concern over his life.”

“[…] The answer is absolutely not, in any way. I did not see anything like that, [anything improper between Michael and children]. […] [In the Martin Bashir interview,] I think he said that [he sometimes sleeps with children] sometimes to be defiant, because he got so angry at having been accused. He was such a stubborn little rebel at times and he was like a child and he would just say what he felt everyone didn’t want him to say. […]I think that [the documentary was] edited in a very very manipulative nasty way. […] I can tell you I never saw anything like that.

“That was really, another six months of whatever I recovered from, I think. […] No. I wasn’t able to make peace then [when I was the casket he was in]. I more wanted to apologize. I felt like I wanted to apologize. [For] not being around. […] Had I made a call, had I stopped being so shut off from him, had I said, “How are you?” Had I tried to make a phonecall, you know, I really regret that I didn’t. […] I think I’ve really had to get my head around that in order to stop the pain. […] [My current husband], he is so happy I’ll be done with this interview, he’s like “I just want you to exorcize this and get it out,” because I’ve been… he’s had to hear it for so long. […] And I understand that. But he also understands that, he’s the most understanding person I’ve ever met in my life. […]”

[Lisa Marie Presley – talking to Oprah Winfrey on Oprah; source: www.facebook.com]


“I used 2 love MJ so much I put crazy glue and glitter on 1 of my grandma church gloves! And my, she Whipped my A**! Miss her and MJ!”

[Melissa Arnette Elliott, better known by her stage name Missy Elliott, American recording artist, producer, actress; source: http://twitter.com/MissyElliott]



“At that time [when we first started], we were just like a bunch of guys trying to have a dream. Our dream was to be professional singers and to be the best we could be… you know? […] We didn’t know that [how big the Ed Sullivan Show was when we first performed on it in 1969]. […] Kids were coming from other schools and the hallway screaming and I was real (sic) quiet, and Michael’s a real quiet person too. […] Oh, [Michael was a] big prankster, big time. Big time… […] I would say – I would say Michael [was the most balanced in handling it all the best]. Yes. Yeah. When he hit the stage, he was a different person. I’ve known it from the very beginning that he had the magic. […] It feels like a dream come true, yeah. We were destined to be entertainers and stars and we didn’t know it was going to be that big. I had no idea. […] When I was there [in our home in Indiana], I thought it was this big mansion. It looked big to me. Then I went back and so I said - I couldn’t believe I’d lived in this house – a two-bedroom house. […] Yeah, we had – in our room we had like a bunk-bed with four beds: 1, 2, 3, 4. And all the boys sat – I was at the bottom bed. On the bottom. Yeah. And Jermaine and Tito sat at the top. Michael and Marlon slept together and I was at the bottom. […] Always, I was so protective of all of my brothers. [smiles] Yeah… […]”

[Sigmund Esco "Jackie" Jackson, American singer and musician, a member of The Jackson 5 – speaking with Oprah; source: www.youtube.com]


“Michael Jackson was a legend who is sure to live in eternity. The whole world pursued him for his stardom and talent, but it was in Oman where he felt “truly at home”.

Michael came to Oman with plans for only three days, but he went on to stay with us for 45 days. He loved Oman and its people. People treated him with love, just like a close friend. Michael was very impressed by the love and hospitality he got here which was sadly missing from his life.

Michael was highly impressed by Omani’s rich culture and many a times visited the Muttrah Souq. He bought several souvenirs from the souq and got quite friendly with the people. He visited the homes of many Omani families and spent a lot of time with them. He learned a lot about Omani lifestyle.

Michael spent a lot of time with us in our house. We often got together for lunch and he soon became a part of our family. He felt very comfortable here and shared a lot about his life and how people had treated him. During one of those days, Michael told us about his children and said he wanted them to get the same affection that he received here. He asked them to come to Oman. When they finally arrived, he hugged them and told them in the car, “Welcome home, kids”. I told him: “Michael, be careful, I’ll quote this in the media.” He said, “I don’t care, I love being here.”

We didn’t ask him to say this. People in other places offered him so many things, but still he felt being at home in Oman.

At home, we had organised a party for his children to introduce them to our kids. My sisters prepared a cake for him and his children. It was very special as it had his kids’ names in Neverland and Peter Pan with Michael’s face saying, “Free to be me in Oman”. Michael had tears in his eyes and he told me, “I want to stay here.”

My nephew, Talal Zubair, is a big fan of Michael. At the party, he organised a show and imitated Michael’s moves and jives. Michael was thrilled and his kids said, “Dad, you have to take Talal with you on stage next time.”

Talal and Michael became very close and they used to talk over the phone most of the time. Talal was devastated when he heard the news. The entire family was.

I don’t care what the media says, but Michael was a loving father and was very patient with his kids. He used to teach them new things most of the time. I don’t believe all the rumours that float in the media.

One day we went with the kids to watch a movie. On his way back, Michael asked his son who was sitting behind in the car, what he learned from the movie. The boy was very intelligent and Michael was challenging him with more and more questions. He wanted his kids to be brilliant and to live the childhood he never had.

Michael himself read a lot. We gave him books about Oman’s heritage, architecture, crafts and music. One day he called me at 7 a.m. to ask about the different dynasties in Oman, the forts and the history. Michael was very open and he loved people. Many people visited him at the hotel where he stayed and took pictures with him, but nobody took advantage of his global celebrity status. They did not release the photos in the media. That’s why he felt secure in Oman. He loved Oman, because people treated him like an ordinary person. He was happy to be here. He had travelled around the world and people used to tell him “Michael, we love you.” Only in Oman they told him: “We love you and we want you to stay here”. Many people are very sad at such a great loss.

Michael was humble, generous and a true humanitarian. You would never believe what you hear or read about him if you had met him in person.

Sadly, people around him took advantage of him.

Michael left Oman to go to the US when James Brown died. He was very sad, but he promised to come back. He was planning to come to Oman in December this year to work with us.

He wanted to work especially with Dr Riyadh Hamzah, to compose music and write poems together. I have a recording that says how much he wanted to live in Oman.

We will miss him a lot but he will always be in our hearts. I don’t think the world will ever have another Michael Jackson. He was one of a kind.”

[Source: www.timesofoman.com]


“[…] Michael is a strong – the greatest entertainer, the greatest person in the whole wide world. […] He made us go - that was his thing, he was about sounds. He made us go out in the world and listen and sample – and sample the lions at his zoo and all this stuff. […] He bought us – you know, back in the day when they like the – these stereo DAT players. He made us go out there and take out that place. He bought it for - the purpose was: to go out and sample sounds. […] We went out to his zoo at the Neverlands and we’d sample and these dogs went wild, (…) and one of these animals trying to get out of the cage on us. [laughter] But that’s another story to tell. […] Michael has been really out of touch with certain people and I would say, you know, what it’s true about him, like, he – if someone knew about certain things that he would do that was against him, you know, that he shouldn’t be doing, he would exit them. Yeah, he would exit them. […] He doesn’t – he would not do it around his friends or he wouldn’t do it around family. […] He doesn’t mind company, he loooves company. So, he – as long as a friend is around, he would not do it. He would stay in and take the pain, because he was in a lot of pain. He was in a lot of pain – and that pain from his skin disorder, you know… It (sic) was so much going on with Michael that he was in a lot of, I mean, when he was in a lot of pain, he felt like he had to do the drugs, but if somebody was around, he would just stay and, you know, not do, you know, what he had to do. […] He would make the sacrifice - there you go. […] I’mma say this: this has been a conspiracy from – I can’t directly say it, ‘cause, you know, I signed, you know, a non-disclosure (contract), I could not say it. Understand there’s been – there’s been a conspiracy from A to Z. So, there are people who are doing this for the good - because they’re doing this for the good of the children, but a lot of people are stopping it because they feel that the good of the children is not in their best interest. […]

[Edward Theodore ‘Teddy’ Riley, American singer-songwriter, musician, keyboardist, and record producer – on the phone with The Giant Unplugged Show; sources: http://gyantunplugged.com, www.beehivefm.com]


“If Michael were a color, he would be not one color but all the colors. He represented so much for me. We were very close growing up and I remember nothing but good times. We were very, very close growing up. There were times when he was my teacher. There were times when he was my best friend. There were times when he was my brother. There were times when he was like a producer or a partner in writing. We’d sit and create songs together just for fun. We’d do fun, little, silly melodies that you never forget through your life.”

“I remember that as kids – my brother Randy, Mike and me – we had many chores around the house. After dinner, we’d have to clean the kitchen. So we’d each take a job. I’d do the dishes; Mike would sweep the floor; Randy would be cleaning up all the center tops and that’s when we would create music. We’d create a song, melody. We’d create lyrics. We’d do three-part harmony. So it was fun. We made it fun. We just had nothing but good times.”


[Janet Damita Jo Jackson, American pop singer, songwriter, dancer and actress, Michael Jackson’s youngest sister; source: www.mb.com.ph]


“It has been a while now since I blogged about Michael Jackson. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that in the wake of my last Huffington Post article I became the subject of some rather bizarre conspiracy theories. The second is that there hasn't been much to write about. I have been careful to avoid throwing my hat into the ring over trivial issues partially because I haven't wanted to draw attention to myself in recent months and partially because I don't want to start repeating myself.

However, today I was informed of an incident which I couldn't ignore. Former editor of the UK's Sun newspaper, Kelvin MacKenzie, today appeared on ITV's 'This Morning' and claimed that Michael Jackson was a child molester and that his children are better off now that he's dead.

He made the outrageous comments in the wake of a moving interview with Jackson's children, conducted by Oprah Winfrey, in which the three kids recounted what a wonderful father Jackson was and how they missed everything about him.

Here is a partial transcript of the exchange:

[Clip of Paris Jackson speaking about what a wonderful father Jackson was and recounting how she missed going to art galleries with him.]

Kelvin MacKenzie: Well it's nice of her to say that about her dead father, but I have a much more significant question about how and why some of those children were born and under what circumstances, and whether in the end he would have turned out to be a great father. Certainly there are aspects of him that your audience would raise their eyebrows at. In fact, the death of Michael Jackson may well have saved some children from a lifetime of being mentally corrupted.

Phillip Scofield (sic) (Host): We don't know that, though.

MacKenzie: No, but at the same time he has faced a number of charges and allegations and I feel the children are better off now he has died.

Schofield: I am sure they would disagree with you.”

MacKenzie's comments were despicable. He demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the US justice system and for the ethics of his profession. Jackson was proven innocent in a court of law and acquitted of any wrongdoing. But it's not unusual to witness misinformed pseudo-experts talking rubbish about Jackson's court case. More alarming in this case was the callousness MacKenzie demonstrated in claiming that the children were better off now that their father was dead.

The comments were, first and foremost, wildly inaccurate. He'd just watched the children recall what a wonderful dad Jackson was to them and list the copious reasons why they missed him every waking day of their lives. There is certainly no evidencial basis on which MacKenzie could possibly claim that the children had been rescued from abuse or corruption by their father's death. The comments were, secondly, completely heartless. He acted as though he was concerned for the children's wellbeing and yet thought nothing of making a series of despicable comments about them and their father. How does he think that will be beneficial to their well-being? In brief, Kelvin MacKenzie is a hypocrite.

He's also a bigot. In the past he has claimed that he tailored his newspaper to those who hate 'wogs' and 'queers'. He has a long and provable bias against Jackson and, as editor of the Sun, was responsible for countless inaccurate and heavily biased stories about the star. Given MacKenzie's long and demonstrable (sic) hatred of Michael Jackson, questions must be asked as to why exactly he was asked onto the show in the first place, unless producers were specifically angling for exactly the kind of cruel and heartless comments that he wound up making.

Fans wishing to complain directly to the television show can do so by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

MacKenzie's comments breached numerous segments of the OFCOM Broadcast Code. OFCOM is the UK's regulatory body for television and radio programming.

Section 2.2 of the code demands that, "Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience." MacKenzie's comments were clearly misleading. He ignored the facts and evidence presented at Jackson's trial and dismissed the verdict. He also ignored the children's firsthand accounts of their lives with Jackson in order to portray them instead as having been 'corrupted' and say that they were potential victims of 'abuse'.

Section 2.3 of the code demands that, "Broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context." MacKenzie's comments were patently not justified by the context. In a discussion about an interview between Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson's children, MacKenzie irrelevantly raised the subject of Jackson's trial and proceeded to dismiss the verdict, insinuating that Jackson was a child molester.

Section 7.1 of the code demands that, "Broadcasters must avoid unjust or unfair treatment of individuals or organisations in programmes." This section of the code is constantly flouted when dealing with Michael Jackson. Examples of programmes which were biased, inaccurate and borderline illegal include Martin Bashir's 'Living With Michael Jackson' and Jacques Peretti's 'What Really Happened'. OFCOM never implements this section of the code. Does calling somebody a child abuser when they've been acquitted in a court of law constitute treating somebody unjustly or unfairly? You'd be hard pressed to find anybody to argue that it didn't, but watch OFCOM try anyway.

Section 7.9 of the code demands that, "Before broadcasting a factual programme, including programmes examining past events, broadcasters should take reasonable care to satisfy themselves that material facts have not been presented, disregarded or omitted in a way that is unfair to an individual or organisation." Material facts were clearly omitted and disregarded during Kelvin MacKenzie's unprovoked diatribe against Jackson. He ignored the facts, evidence and verdict in Jackson's trial and accused the star of being a child molester. The host did not point out Jackson's acquittal, either. MacKenzie also ignored the children's comments about their upbringing and proceeded to portray it as the exact opposite of what they claimed.

Section 7.11 of the code demands that, "If a programme alleges wrongdoing or incompetence or makes other significant allegations, those concerned should normally be given an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond." Clearly, Jackson could not respond to Kelvin Mackenzie's inaccurate allegations, but no representative of Jackson's family or estate was invited to appear on the show or to offer a rebuttal in the aftermath.

Fans wishing to complain to OFCOM can do so at this link:

https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/specific-programme-epg

However, they will be required to supply a UK address and telephone number.”

[Charles Thompson, British journalist; source: http://charlesthomsonjournalist.blogspot.com]


“[…] A talented artist and gallery sold the pop star a set of seven paintings just weeks before his passing.  [A 2009 auction] included “Meditations”, which was one of the paintings sold to Jackson.

The artwork reflects what many of those close to him said when grilled by the likes of Larry King. He was a gentle soul and loving father, his friends have reported – and the paintings reflect that spirit with magical “believe” themes of angels, ships, youthful dreams and possibilities. Painted by Laguna Beach artist Patrick Whelan, the talented creator of these paintings and Amber Henry, director and owner at Whelan Galleries, delivered them to Michael Jackson’s home only a few weeks [before his passing]. Both were stunned when they heard the news reports that he died […].

“[…] Businesses and individuals are paying tribute to the icon as a way to show their respect for his good deeds, and honor his music. On the Central Coast at Neverland Ranch, mourners are disappointed and upset that the local officials won’t allow them to hold an event, Heal the World Memorial, to honor his memory.

While some journalists and writers posting on blogs and twitter state they are tired of hearing about Jackson, and news shows such as Colbert Report poked fun at the press coverage, the public wants to hear about Michael Jackson, according to the blog comments we’ve received. His death happened so unexpectedly. Only 50 years old, the singer was to return to stage for a final come back concert and possible world tour.

A selection of paintings will be on display with proceeds of sales contributed to one of Jackson’s charities he supported. Patrick Whelan, a renown artist whose clients have included Random House, Bantam-Doubleday-Dell, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and A&E Television, was especially saddened by the news of Jackson’s passing, stating that he feels a special connection with those who enjoy his art.

“Inside every face is a reflection of all humanity. Look into another person’s face and on some level you will always see yourself. My work intends to demonstrate this,” said Whelan.

[Beach Reporter; source: www.beachcalifornia.com]


“I think of my son all through the day, all the time, and I don't like to talk about him because I get all choked up. It's funny. From a baby in my arms, naming him with my mother. My mother named him. Until he got grown, and that comes to my mind every day. […] Yes, it does. […] Yes, and sometimes during the day I can hear his laughter in my mind, the way he used to - and he always teased, and he would always laugh and have fun with his brothers, you know, when they were rehearsing or getting ready to leave town or things like that. Always playing jokes. He was a...(prankster). […] Yes, I did [feel that his love for me was unconditional], and everybody I talked to that knew him would tell me the same thing. I felt it, too. And I truly loved him. […] Yes, I have to say so myself [that he’s a boy who loved his mother].”

“Oh, gosh. Yes. Yes. The worst day of my life [was June 25]. […] The children were there [at home], his children, but they were in another room. I didn't know they were there. And they brought the children in, and that was the worst. […] His children. […] Prince, Paris and the baby and they were crying. And Paris was - I didn't think - I thought she was going to pass out. She was just saying, "Daddy, I can't make it without you. I want to be with you. I want to go with you." And, you know, I felt so bad for them. […] Somebody told the children when they were - when they came in, they were crying. […] Somebody had told them. […] [Paris was saying,] "I want to go with you. I don't want to live without you." She was saying all those things. […] It was so sad.”

“[During the trial in 2005, I was at the courtroom with him every day]. […] It wasn't hard for me because this was my baby that was going on trial, and I know he was innocent. The hardest thing was the jury. Would the jury believe it? Would they send him to jail? That was so hard. And I prayed for the truth. I said, "If they only knew the truth, he would walk out of that courthouse." And it happened. But I can't talk - isn't that awful how I can't talk about anything without crying, because it was a trying time. […] For him in his life. That's how I felt. All his life, he had to go through stuff like this, and they were just lying on him. […] No. I never thought [for one instant that he was guilty of those crimes]. Because I knew he wouldn't. He loved children, and he was around children all the time, and that's the only way that these people, the ones out there that did it. They know who they are. I'm not calling any names. They know who they are. That's the only way they can make people believe that he did something, because he was around those children all the time. And Michael would always say, "Mother, why are they accusing me of something I love the most? I'd rather slit my own wrist than to hurt a child." He would always say that.” […] [One day], he came [to the courtroom] in his pajamas because he went to the hospital. He fell. He had fell (sic) because we got up before daybreak, and he fell, and so he had to be rushed to the hospital. And so we were going to be a little late. The judge said, "If you don't get here within some time, that we're going to keep all the money that…" I think it was, like, 3 million dollars was his bail. They were going to keep it all. Wasn't going to give it back to him. And so the lawyer called and told him, "You get down here." So he came in his pajamas the way he went to that hospital. […] Yes, it [the trial] did [change him]. […] Because he used to trust people. His problem was he trusted too much. And after that trial, he didn't trust anybody. He would always tell me, "Mother, I don't trust anybody. The only person I trust is you."

“I've thought of it thousands of times. What would I say to him [Dr. Murray]? Why didn't he take care of my child? Why did he leave the room, you know, and why did he give that to him? And it's very dangerous. Why did you do it? […] No. Not at all. [It hasn’t been true for me that time heals it all]. I don't think it will. I don't think I will ever be healed. It will get better, but some days it's just like it just happened. […] Yes. Whenever I can't talk about Michael, I just tear up. It hurts. It really hurts.”

“[Now I’m raising his children]. […] I knew them. I can't say that I know them real, real well, but I knew them well enough, and I would always go to visit them. Just like grandma visits. […] Well, you know what broke my heart more than anything else in this world? When people at the hospital told us, "You can leave now," and Paris said, "Grandma, where are we going?" That tore my heart. It tore me up. I said, "You're going home with grandma. Don't you want to do that?" She said, "Yes. That's where we want to go…" When she said, "Grandma," oh, God, I couldn't take it… […] Well, what they talk about is, Daddy would do this, and Daddy would do that, and they always say, "Well, that's how Daddy did it." Paris, she's very emotional, and she talks about him all the time, and she's a strong one. All the pictures on her walls in her bedroom are Michael. I don't see how she could sit, look at him like that without crying. […]”

“[I think about Michael] every day. A day doesn't pass, not once a day, and then sometimes I just say, I just hate myself for just keep thinking about it, but it's just something I can't help. […] I think about it with a smile sometimes. […] Mm-hmm, and think of the things he used to do and when he was a little boy, what he did, some of the jokes he used to tell, but he always stays in my mind. […] Well, his memory [is with me] and all of that, and I have a lot of good memories, and so that's one thing they can't take away from you.”


[Katherine Esther Jackson, Michael Jackson’s mother – on Oprah show; source: www.youtube.com]



“I think about him every night, you know, look like this, and I just keep picturing him gone, and then every time I go into some place, a restaurant or a casino or something, his music is playing. […] It brings back memories because I remember the songs. I was at every recording session he ever did, and it just brings back memories.”


[Joseph Walter Jackson, Michael Jackson’s father – on Oprah show; source: www.youtube.com]


“[I love to play] video games and sports. […] [When I grow up, I’d like to] produce movies and direct. […] [My favorite memory of him was,] when we were on Bahrain, we used to wake up early and walk the beach. […] With a Coke. […] Yeah, Coca-Cola and Skittles or Snickers. […] Yeah, [we remember our life before]. […] Yeah. [We knew why we put on the masks]. […] Because, then, when we did go out without our dad, then nobody would really recognize us.”

[Prince Jackson, Michael Jackson’s first son – on Oprah show; source: www.youtube.com]


“I'd like to be an actress when I'm older. […] I sometimes do improvs. […] Well, I used to do them with my dad. […]”

“[This was out first year in regular school]. […] I guess I was just nervous [about] everything. […] [But] they just said, "Who's new? Raise your hand." And they had a lot of kids raise their hands. […] My friend, she didn't know. She didn't know who I was until we went on outdoor. […] She didn’t really care. […] She didn't care. […]”

“[Our father,] he tried to raise us without knowing who he was, but that didn't really go so well.. [smiles] I appreciated it [having our faces covered]. It wasn't always comfortable, but yeah. […] [It was to protect us,] yeah.”

“[My favorite memory of my father…] That's really hard.. […] I just have to say spending some "quality time" away from the two, just me and him. The one time we went on the roof when we were in Las Vegas - of our house - and we just saw the Luxor lights. We just saw all the city of lights. We were eating Snickers, and we had some soda, and... […] He was strict [at times too]. […] Sometimes, he would take me to an art museum because we both loved art, and we would do a lot as a family. We would play tag outside, and he got us Kenya [the dog] four years ago. […] Come here, Kenya. Here you go, baby [squeals]… […] Yeah. I kind of felt like no one understands what a good father he was. I'd say he was the best cook ever. […] Yes. Everyone is all, "A cook!?" Like they're surprised to hear it. […] He was just a normal dad, except that he was, I’d say, the best dad ever. […] He made the best French toast in the world. […] He just made the best breakfasts in the world. […] [He cooked for us a lot…]. […] [What do we miss the most about him?...] Everything.”

[Paris Jackson, Michael Jackson’s daughter – on Oprah show; source: www.youtube.com]


“[…] Michael is just one of the healthiest people that I know. He was pressuring me to stay healthy, like, "Akon eat right. What are you doing out there on the road? Are you eating? Are you exercising? Are you drinking a lot of water?" He felt like nothing could be accomplished in life if you're not healthy. […] I thought he was completely healthy from what I've seen, just a lot of people never got close enough to Mike to even know. It's always speculation. It was never them actually knowing. […] Personally, he was a mentor [to me]; he was like a big brother. He always kept me focused. If I had issues, he would console me through them. Like a lot of the controversial s*** that I was going through, Mike was really the one that really taught me how to deal with them, because no one deals with controversy better than Mike. He's been through it; he knows how to deal with it. He would say, "You've got to make sure you stay focused on the music. Don't let it de-focus you from your creation.” […] He was working on a new album, and at the same time doing his re-release [of "Thriller"]. The connection was just instant. It felt like we'd known each other for years. I knew everything about Mike, and it was really surprising that he knew everything about me. The first three months I met him, his first gift to me was a $250,000 watch; it was all diamonds. That's how giving he was. He just wanted everyone around him happy, you know? He was an incredible guy. […] We were working on a lot of ideas. A lot of the songs that were done were all ideas; they weren't really complete songs. He was the kind of person that wanted to lay all the ideas down [first]. He had put everything aside just so he could focus on this tour over at the O2 in Europe. That was his main priority, and he was so excited about it. He was like, "Man. We sold this out in a minute. My fans are still there. They still love me. They're alive." That motivated him more than anything. The main reason he had even accepted these dates was because he wanted his kids to see his legacy -- they never got to see Dad up close and personal, doing it. They've seen videotapes and concert footage. He was trying to create the most incredible show, so his kids could witness it. […] Shortly after the re-release of "Thriller," he had to go out and promote it, and then I was on the road. Every time he was in L.A. or [Las] Vegas, I probably stopped off for two-hour, three-hour visits, hung out with him and the kids... then I would go back out on the road or to the studio, but he would always keep me updated on what was going on. […] We probably talked about three months (before June 25), before I went on this European run. The last we spoke he was in L.A. working on and rehearsing for the tour, and I was actually going to go check out a couple of those rehearsals, see where he was at. He was eating healthy, working out, getting ready for this show.”

“I really want people to remember Mike as the entertainer, the creator. He was really the totem pole of what success was in the industry. When it comes to breaking records and selling records and creating concepts and ideas and high-performance concerts and shows, he set the standard for it. Not only that, but he was an incredible father, a great dad. He treated his kids like kings and queens. He was a philanthropist, gave millions and millions of dollars to charity, always wanted to find new ways to change the world. He was really funny, like, just an ordinary, all out great guy. I wish the world could have seen him outside of the entertainment, just seen Mike the person.”

[Akon, Senegalese-American R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer; sources: http://www.billboard.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

“The world was not ready to hear ‘Hold My Hand’ when it leaked a couple years ago. We were devastated about it. But its time has definitely come; now in its final state, it has become an incredible, beautiful, anthemic song. I’m so proud to have had the chance to work with Michael […]”.

[Akon; source: www.thisisrnb.com]


“It was me, the cameraman, Kenny Ortega and nine boys [when I first met Michael]. Then he came and said: ‘I can not wait, I wanted to meet you’. Then embraced me. Nobody can understand what this man transmits, angelic generousity, a high spirit. You must see it to understand. Then he thanked [my son,] Misha [one of the dancers selected for This Is It] that he has brought me. Michael left after we finished.
[Soon after, the assistant choreographer came to me and told me that Michael was impressed and he wants to take private lessons for him and his children. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to start the lessons with him. […] The film shows exactly the level at which we rehearsed. Misha was coming at 2 in the night exhausted and told me: “Do you think I could give less than 120% to Michael?” After a day of rehearsal, they needed 24 hours to recover. […] [Michael was] motivated and strong. An authentic artist. I studied him carefully. In my life I saw many artists, but Michael is like no one. It was an energy, a master beside him, and the world seemed more serene. Every gesture of Michael had a profound reason. He didn’t need words to convey a message.”

[Irina Brecher Hamilton, Romanian classical ballet teacher in Los Angeles; sources: Gazette Express, http://paulparauan.wordpress.com]


“It became clear to me after working with Michael the first time, on his Dangerous tour, that every time I said yes to one of his adventures, at the journey’s end I always ended up someplace I had never been before. From the ground up, he always enjoyed the process of creating with me, and made me feel that. I remember getting a telephone call at three or four in the morning when we were preparing the This Is It concerts. “It’s Michael, are you awake?” “Yea, I’m awake.” “No, you’re not!” “Michael, I’m awake, really. What do you need??” “Victoria Falls”. That’s all he said. Michael spoke in haiku. He would just throw things at you like that. He wanted [footage of] Victoria Falls to be gushing over the band behind him on stage, as a reminder to the audience of the majesty and wonderment and brilliance of the world. I remember the next day saying to him, “You know, it’s in Africa. That’s far!” And he’d say, “That’s why we have to have it.” He knew no limitations creatively, which was so much fun. Everything was possible. I’m going to miss the phone calls inviting me on the next journey. I’m going to miss going over to the house and hanging out with him. There’s a part of Michael that will always be there with me. My love for him, I know, will be forever. The hard part is going to be not having him in the room, laughing with him, smiling with him, searching him out, and wondering, ‘What is that wild mind of yours going through right now?” Most of all, I shall miss his unconditionally loving heart. He was a deep and profoundly soulful human being.”

[Kenneth John “Kenny” Ortega, American producer, director, and choreographer; source: “Entertainment Weekly – Late Greats 2009 Special Entertainment Issue”]


‘HOLD MY HAND’" was the last song my uncle Michael every played to me in person. He was SO PROUD OF IT. I'll never forget that smile he had on his face as the song played through the speakers (in his room) at the Palms Hotel in [Las] Vegas. After the song was over, he asked me what I honestly thought of it. I told him it was a worldwide number one song and that it was going to be a huge. He was so happy to hear that. I did give the song one slight criticism though. I told my uncle that he needed to be singing more in the chorus and at the end of the song... lol. I said that we (the fans) would want to hear his voice more. :-) "Hold my Hand" will be officially released (…) November 15th. I'm definitely excited to buy it as soon as it becomes available knowing that the moment I play it, I will instantly remember the day my uncle first played it to me. It's these memories of him that I hold on to and cherish with all my heart. Words can't express how much I love and miss my uncle Michael.

[Taj Jackson; source: http://twitter.com/tajjackson3]


“I am shocked that things have gotten this far. This is ridiculous. I was at the studio when these questionable files [off of “Michael”] were delivered. I heard these "so-called" Michael Jackson songs raw and without the distraction of the well produced music […]. How they constructed these songs is very sneaky and sly. Many people who have worked on this project either have strong doubts and questions, while others KNOW the truth, yet decided to turn and look the other way with their hands out for $$$. I will NEVER look the other way. Right is Right, Truth is Truth, Facts are Facts and it will all come out!!! I tried so hard to prevent this craziness, but they wouldn't listen. I KNOW my Uncle's voice and something's seriously wrong when you have immediate FAMILY saying it's not him. Don't you have to wonder why? I have strong, undeniable points. They can't give me answers, yet continue to move forward with lies and deception. Sounding like Michael Jackson and BEING Michael Jackson are two different things. "If you know it's a lie then you will swear it, If you give it with guilt then you will bear it, If it's taking a chance then you will dare it… you would do anything for money"”

To all the MJ fans… regarding the song "Breaking News"… I am so sorry you have to deal with this. My uncle loved you so much and would not want it this way. However, there are songs that ARE my uncle singing on the upcoming album and I will support those 100%. But I will not support "Breaking News" and a few others because it simply is not him. They tried to fool me and they tried to fool you. I told them it would never happen. If you question the validity of a professional photo, you can ask the photographer for more pictures from that photo shoot. If it is authentic, the photographer will turn over different shots. Some with different poses, some even with eyes closed. I questioned the validity of the vocal's (sic) on "Breaking News" and several other songs of theirs that I've heard and they told me no other takes or tracks exist. They claim my uncle was so happy with the performance he instructed them to delete all the other files. I had the honor to learn and watch my uncle record my entire life and that is NOT how he worked. No outtakes, no other tracks, no backups, no proof. Roughly 10 songs they turned in… same story for all of them. I asked for the computer it was created on... they said it broke. I asked for the original hard drive... they said it was destroyed. One dubious excuse after another. In regards to the [Michael Jackson’s Estate] statement [about the authenticity of the songs off of the upcoming “Michael” album], I tried calling Howard's cell, but couldn't reach him. (I wanted to hear from him directly). After calling his office, somebody confirmed that the statement did come from Howard. As I said before, there are many inaccuracies and omissions in that statement. For one, I was also in that meeting and that was not the outcome. Saying that, I don't want to go into further details and take away from the attention "Hold My Hand" truly deserves. You will hear my story, because this is way too important for my Uncle's legacy. The truth will prevail. […] Someone just asked me," is 'Keep Your Head Up' real or are we being lied to again? Sorry, but you won't like my answer…. Let's enjoy Hold My Hand.”

”When I listen to "Hold My Hand", so many memories come to my mind. I think about some of the most treasured qualities… loyalty, unity and love. One of his favorite moments on stage was performing "I'll Be There"…he said, "When they turn the lights on, you can see the crowd swinging their arms, singing along… it's like a sea of love. It doesn't matter what country, it's the same all around the world.” Please listen to the message. Hold My Hand... I will forever.”

[Tarryl Adren Jackson, member of American group 3T, Taj Jackson’s brother; sources: http://twitter.com/Taryll, www.twitlonger.com]

 

“This song was the whole concept of the unity within us together and the holding of hands just naturally unites everyone as one. So, the “Hold My Hand” [song] was – that was his own thing, you know, let’s find a way through music to where we can get in his ears and pass that message down. I mean, he just – he was always a pure spirit, man, always felt like there’s always something you could do. Regardless of the circumstances, there’s something that we can do to better whatever situation at hand… And, you know, that’s what I loved about him the most, because he had that heart to wear – honestly, he had a heart big enough for the world. So, the “Hold My Hand” [song] was the perfect title and the perfect message moving forward, and could relate to anyone, regardless (of) your gender or your religion, you know, or your race. And we just held hands together as a unit, as one person. We could unite and think together as one. And that was the overall concept of the song. That record was done vocally in a (sic) hour. Period. And the record, like, three months after we recorded it ended up on Internet… Which was devastating for both of us, because we wanted to find, like – we wasn’t even (sic) fully complete with the record at the time; it was a lot more that we had to do to it, plus MJ is the kind of person [that] when he makes a premiere, he wants it to really be (a) premiere. For the first time ever, ‘cause you want them to hear it with all the work put into it, we got the video ready to go, you know what I mean? We got the concept for the performance at the show, like, we want all that set up before you put the record out. And then we just felt like we never got that chance. So we were really highly disappointed when that actually happened, because we felt like it cheated the audience from what we were put, you know, actually putting together for them. Now they’ll have the full experience. Well, half the experience. [smiles]”

[Akon; source: www.youtube.com]


“I'm definitely excited about our single, because that was finished, complete, and I'm happy with the outcome. And I know he was [happy too], 'cause we were there finishing the song together, so I'm really happy about what we accomplished on that record 'Hold My Hand.' […] We was (sic) trying to find the unity, like, what can we possibly translate that can bring the world together? It was a song I was previously working on that I eventually let him hear, and when he heard it, he fell in love with it. ... We clicked instantly when it came to it. That was the main concept: Let's figure out something we can leave behind, in 20,000 years later it can still be relevant. […] Me and Mike worked on a lot of concepts before he passed. 'Hold My Hand' was one of the records that was actually fully complete; the rest of the records are incomplete. They're just ideas, concepts, harmonies and stuff like that which the world will probably never see, 'cause I wouldn't want to put it out unfinished. I know at the end of the day if it wasn't fully complete, I don't think he would see it released that way. [The] majority of the concepts we worked on, they were all international, worldwide. It was always the point of which everyone has to find some kind of relativity in it. That was always a challenge, and we found concepts that would do it. We just never got the chance to finish the songs, but 'Hold My Hand' was a prime example.”

[Akon; source: www.mtv.com]


“I definitely thought of Michael [Jackson's] 'Man in the Mirror' when I was writing [song ‘Pray’ for my new album]. There's (sic) so many songs about love and I think that it's great to take it out of that world for a minute. There's (sic) other things that are important and I just wanted to be motivational. [‘Pray’] is s a very uplifting song, very motivational, it definitely comes from the heart. I think everybody young or old will be able to relate to this song. […]”

[Justin Drew Bieber, Canadian pop-R&B singer; sources: On Air With Ryan Seacrest radio show, http://www.celebrity-mania.com]


“’Somebody would like to meet you today’, someone at A&M Records said to me” [Shortly after, a limo arrived outside my home, scooped me up and delivered me to the set of Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker” video.] It was incredible. We sat in the trailer for about an hour. We talked about Bubbles, (Jackson’s pet chimpanzee) and how Bubbles was doing commercials. We talked about how we shared the same vocal coach (Seth Riggs). Michael was so down to earth. I have been in the entertainment industry for a long time and have met a lot of people and I can honestly say that Michael Jackson is the biggest star that I have ever met, but he was also the most down to earth of all. […] [I appear on Michael’s “Behind The Mask” song for the new, posthumous album]. As soon as the music came on and I heard Michael’s voice, I would start to cry. […]”

[Shanice Lorraine Wilson-Knox, better known as Shanice, American singer-songwriter; source: http://blackstarnews.com]


“Working with Michael Jackson was great. He wasn't a dictator or one of those idiosyncratic a******* that feel like they can get away with being an a****** because they're so great. Michael was the embodiment of music.”

“Watching "This Is It" for the 1st time. Reminds me how sad it is that Michael is gone. He was amazing.”

[Saul Hudson, better known as Slash, British-American guitarist; sources: www.guardian.co.uk, http://twitter.com/slashhudson]

 

“I haven't had a chance to listen to [the album Michael] yet. Somebody called me up and asked me if it was Michael, and I said it sounds like Michael. But it's backed up by so many voices where I can't really dig down deep enough or I haven't really had time to dig deep enough to identify it. But no way it should be coming out. It should have all stayed in the vault. […] It seems like everybody is trying to put everything out that they can with him. I don't understand it. It's all to make money. He wouldn't have wanted it to come out this way. They must just be trying to make as much money as they can. I don't know know why else they are doing it. […] He wouldn't have wanted anything out there he didn't put his final touches on. It's a crazy time right now. We're also looking at the descent of the record business. It's a very curious time right now. I've been in the business 60 years, and I've never seen anything like this. […] I think in 10 months to a year, the record industry is going to be in trouble. Big trouble. It's all 95 or 99% piracy.”..

[Quincy Jones, American music conductor], record producer, musical arranger, film composer, television producer; source: www.usmagazine.com]


“In 1986, I toured with the Stevie Wonder's band. But as you know, Michael was a big fan of Stevie and, therefore, he was paying serious attention to the musicians who worked with him ... Until 1991, so I toured with Stevie, but in the meantime, thanks to him I could get to know Michael. I will never forget my first encounter with him. A current immediately passed between us. Musically speaking, we were on the same wave length, we spoke the same language. And purely human, we instantly became friends. Bonds were created naturally, and they have only strengthened over time… […] Before Teddy Riley worked on the album with Bill Bottrell, we’d recorded several demos, including those [for] Who Is It, Black Or White or Heal The World. […] Let me be clear: Michael was not angry with Quincy [Jones]. He has always had an admiration for him and an immense respect. But with Dangerous, Michael wanted to control the creative process from A to Z. Simply put, he wanted to be his own boss. Michael was always a very independent (person), and he also wanted to show that his success was not because of one man, namely Quincy. However, Quincy still had a lot of opinions. This showed when we finished Dangerous, and Michael called Quincy to help him at the end. Quincy still had a lot of opinions about the album. And when Quincy said we had a masterpiece, Michael was no longer hesitant to release the album. […]”

“[In the studio, he gave me a lot of artistic freedom.] Absolutely. Michael was not a rigid man, he was always open to my suggestions and ideas. He gave me full confidence. Most often, I played a melody, and I found the arrangements to accompany him. Regarding the string arrangements or synth sheets, I tended not to work on, and I intervened when he found that the direction I took was not good. Even from a musical point of view, Michael was a genius, he knew he could not do anything and he had the intelligence to delegate some things. Sometimes, he knew exactly what he wanted to hear me sing all parts of a song. Other times, he would let me play until he heard something he liked. This is particularly what happened to songs like "Who Is It’ or ‘Stranger In Moscow’. […] Once he asked me to teach him piano lessons. I told him: "O.k., Michael, do it, seriously. Every day, you'll sit with me for 15 minutes and there will be a little lesson.’ But he never had the patience to commit himself to this discipline. [laughs] I think he knew he did not need to play an instrument to express his talent. While he may not have played an instrument, he was still a fantastic musician. He instinctively understood the music. It was just part of him. […] I've never played [the music for the Sonic Hedgehog 3 video game], and I do not know why the developers have kept the tracks on which Michael and I worked, but we did compose the music [in 1993]. Michael called me at the time to give him a helping hand with this project, and that's what I did. And if he is not credited for composing the music, is because he was not happy with the resulted sound coming out of the console. At the time, game consoles did not allow an optimal sound reproduction, and Michael found it frustrating. He did not want to be associated with a product that devalued him and his music. […]”

“[…] Unlike Stranger In Moscow, Michael knew exactly what he wanted to hear, each pure instrument. He sang all the parts, whether the piano in the middle of the song, or those sheets of synth on the chorus. Everything is his. On this song, I simply carried out his ideas. […] It was very fun. […] I'm glad you mentioned this song [‘In The Back’ from the 2004 Ultimate Collection], because it's one of my favorites. This title is unbelievable and it proves once again how Michael was a genius… Like on Morphine, I play almost every instrument on this song, but all ideas are Michael’s. What a pity he did not write the words as such deserved to be completed 100%. The same goes for Beautiful Girl, by the way. We worked so hard on In The Back… We recorded a lot of parts that are not on the version you know. […] Michael loved finding new sounds that the human ear had never heard before. Often, he repeated: "Brad, get me a sound that hurts really bad." That meant he wanted something that shook him on the inside. Even if we had much use of machines and computers to design some drum sounds, sometimes we would find more ideas… organic, I would say. For example, we came up with banging on the lid of a grand piano with a baseball bat-ball kick to design a specific drum [sound]. [laughs]”

“The newest piece on which we worked, Michael and me, was From The Bottom Of My Heart, that was out to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Overall, the songs we recorded during the latest years are of exceptional quality. Contrary to popular belief, Michael was not an artistic decline. He bubbled with ideas. And these songs on which we worked are more original and more creative than what we'd done together before. […] At no time in his life has Michael lacked in inspiration. Plus, he went through many trials, as was the case in 2005 with the trial, and this had a positive influence on [his] creativity. […] Last year, he called me to work with him again. The problem was that, having been granted my pilot's license, I had just been hired by an airline. […] Being 51 years old today, I might never be committed again later. To my regret, I had to refuse working with him again. […] [I’ll remember] all those laughs we had together... I remember the races we had on the corridors of the hotel while on tour, or the food fights in our rooms… But mostly, I’ll always remember his smile when we listened to a song completed. There was a lot of pride, love and respect in this regard on his behalf. And the feeling was mutual. For nearly 20 years, I have been fortunate to count Michael among my best friends. We had the same age, him and me. Needless to say, I miss him terribly…”

[Brad Buxer, American musician, keyboardist, arranger – interviewed by French magazine, Black & White, 2009; (translation provided by SegaLoco and reviewed by TST); source: http://info.sonicretro.org]


“[Michael's] nephews requested to see me. That was a shock in itself because they could have gotten any celebrity they wanted and they chose me. He flew me in on his birthday [in 2007]. When we pulled up, he was waiting at the door. I was in awe, at first I thought he was a statue. Once I went inside the house, I could hear tourists telling me to open the door so they could see inside. I met his children and nephews and we went to the zoo on the premises in golf carts. Once we returned to the house we had dinner. We sang happy birthday and ate so much food. He kept asking me did I get enough and did I want more. I could barely eat because I was still in shock that I was even there. He made sure everyone was full. After dinner we sat at the table and talked. He acted like the average dad and uncle with the children. I was playing around with the basketball with his nephews when he asked me to show him some moves. So I did my boomerang and hurricane handles. Then I asked him to show me some of his moves. He did the air walk/moon walk move and said ‘that’s all I’ma give you.” The most inspirational moment with him for me was towards the end of the day when he pulled me to the side and said ‘You are an inspiration to the kids. If I flew you out, you know you’re special. Don’t let nobody bring you down, do it the way you want to do it and do it right.’”

[Phillip Champion, also known as Hot Sauce, American streettball player; sources: www.dretaminc.com, www.tambriapeeples.com]


“He noticed I was getting a lot of **** for being different. […] It sounds weird, I guess, but it’s true: I was really mentored by the preparation of Michael Jackson. We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts. He would teach me what he did: how to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it. It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did – and how he did it – was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal] because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown. That’s the mentality that I have – it’s not an athletic one. It’s not from [Michael] Jordan. It’s not from other athletes. It’s from Michael Jackson. That’s how I am. That’s what made me tough. I didn’t need other guys to push me. This is me. I’m like this with you, and I’m like this without you. Michael was the same way. That was our connection.”

[Kobe Bean Bryant, American professional basketball player; source: http://sports.yahoo.com]

 

“The book, [“Michael Jackson: In Search Of Neverland”] is because I found him the ideal paradise he wanted for himself and for his animals. When he was being cited by the animal regulation department continuously…at the family compound. They threatened to come and arrest him and impound all of his animals. They said they belonged at the L. A. Zoo, not at his home. He had llamas, giraffes, a baby elephant, [and] snakes. A python got out, went swimming next door in the neighbors pool; and it scared the neighbors and they called the animal regulation department (laughs). […] He was a bachelor and wanted to get married. All he ever wanted to do was have a home of his own, get married, and have children. A wife to come home to. He tried. […] Michael Jackson and I had a very wonderful relationship… I always thought he was going to wind up being a box-boy at Gelson’s, because he had a crush on a very beautiful young lady who was about 4 ½ feet tall who was working there. […] She was real red-haired, that she wore in little pigtails and he used to come over and act as a box boy for her; pack the groceries for the people who came through her aisle. I always came through there and he would say, ‘Hello Mrs. Berlin’. My son, Will, used to play with the Jackson Five, basketball, at their home. I think they hired him (laughs). He… would come [to the market] dressed up as (in) The Wiz; wearing these shoes that were like on stilts… He came to see that pig-tailed, red-head girl….He loved her. He knew everyone that came to Gelson’s. […]”

“[Prior to becoming his real estate agent,] I wrote him a letter about a family that was losing their home. The man was 87-years-old, Black and married to a White woman. They had three children, young teens. The father had heart disease…and died finally and there was no burial money. Michael Jackson paid for the burial of that man he didn’t even know. […]

“[Michael’s frame of mind during this time, was to become independent of his parents – and for them to become independent of him. He wanted to be alone, away from prying eyes, street traffic and noise. He wanted a place where he could look out the window and see bluebirds, do his own farming and feed his animals. He specified the place had to be accessible to deer, so they could prune his trees. […] My favorite memories of him: when he played ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ on the Boesendorfer grand piano in the living room of the main house; when he ran along the top of a wooden fence on the Neverland property as if it were a balance beam; [when he] developed new dance steps on the stones in the middle of a stream; [when he] planted flowers in the flowerbeds around the main house at Neverland using different color schemes for each season of the year; [when he] slid down the banister and hid in the secret room inside the mansion; [when he] played “Ghost” using a Casper ghost costume in the playroom with moving walls; [when he] held my hand and walked with me throughout the entire ranch. […]”

“My thoughts are that Mrs. Jackson [Michael's mother] is an amazing woman. She’s…a true beauty…I saw her about 2 and a half weeks ago and she told me the story about Michael and his death…For me it’s a heartbreak. I can’t even think about it without crying, because I knew him since he was 12. But she is his mother. I told her Dr. Conrad Murray should be prosecuted for murder. She said ‘No, he can’t be prosecuted for murder, he’s only going to be prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter’. She… was very calm, very polite. She hugged me and squeezed me.”

[Gloria Rhoads Berlin; Michael Jackson’s former real estate agent, author of “Michael Jackson: In Search Of Neverland”; source: www.eurweb.com]

 

He'd seen the Don't You Want Me video - that's why I got the job. And he wanted something cinematic, as well, and his management said he was really into Peter Pan and could we do something that was a little magical? I'd had an idea the previous year to do a Midas touch video with everything lighting up, so the paving stone idea came from that. […] The process was pretty straightforward really; we sent the idea to him and went out to L.A. and shot the video. Before we shot it, he had a really nice idea for another little scene within it where mannequins come to life and dance behind him and I thought it was a great idea. We made the video before the album, Thriller, had come out. It was like five weeks before Billie Jean was going to come out and they wouldn't pay for the extra tailor's dummies and the dancers, so we had to can that idea. Obviously, one month later, he got anything he wanted for the rest of his life, but right then he wasn't quite in a position yet to demand what he wanted. He was a really soft-spoken, sweet guy. Obviously, he was very curious about everything, he wanted to know what was going on with this and that and how that worked. Then suddenly… I was operating the camera for it as well, and the moment he started to dance in that little chorus, it was just so dynamic, it was breathtaking. I remember the camera steaming up because it was pretty stunning. You knew that something special was going to arrive on the scene. This was one of the first videos by a black artist on MTV.”

[Steve Barron, director and producer; source: www.bbc.co.uk]

 

“He changed the way everybody approached their projects. He raised the standards so much. When it was announced that I played on one of his tracks, some people rode in, saying, ‘How could you play on that, that guy is a child molester” and bla-bla-bla, “I thought you were a man of quality”… I mean, that’s awful, those people have no right to say that. They don’t know. […] Nobody contributed more to the world of music than Michael Jackson. Absolutely. […] I played on a beautiful ballad on his [post-death] album, [“Michael”]. It’s called “Much Too Soon”; it’s the last track on the album. I had to do it in a short space of time in London, the producers were in L.A. So, I had to play it over the phone to them and get their approval of everything I did. […] I’ve met him once at the Grammys and all he said to me was, “Keep talking. I like your accent.” [laughs]”

[William Thomas “Tommy” Emmanuel, Australian guitarist; source: www.webnoviny.sk]

 

“I grew up to the soundtrack of Michael Jackson's music. I waited my whole life to meet him. In a bookstore at The Palm Beach Mall the moment arrived. Ever since my parents took us to the Jackson 5 concert at the L.A. Coliseum, their very first major concert tour for their fist hit album, ABC (released in 1969), I’ve been a fan. Crowds of Victorville, California girls chased one of my brothers home from school every day thinking he was Michael Jackson under cover. ‘How silly of them,’ I thought. “It’s just my brother Kerry.” Why would he be living on an Air Force base with an older brother and 2 sisters, one of whom is named…oh….nevermind. When Thriller was a hit and Michael Mania was at it’s 80s height, my brother Kerry would say to me, “Janet, he can’t possibly go any higher. He’s larger than life. Can you imagine him aging?" Instead, Kerry didn’t age and 21 years ago, my brother died at the age of 29. If I ever got the chance to meet the real Jackson, I’d have so much to say. Security would have to intervene just to spare his ears. Jackson was more than an entertainer -- he was like family to everyone who remembers where they were when they first saw him Moonwalk at the Motown 25 television special. He was unbelievable. Does anyone remember Jackson doing the human beat box on Oprah’s prime time special at "Never Land Ranch?" This brother could sing simultaneous harmony with himself -- emphasis on the word “simultaneous.” One word sang out split into a chord with no special effects. Who does that?

To hear the headline “Michael Jackson dead at 50,” was somewhat surreal. Just yesterday I heard what I described as, “The voice of an angel,” on a television advertisement singing.

“You and I must make a pact.

We must bring salvation back.

Where there is love,

I’ll be there…”

It was Michael Jackson and his brothers. That voice led me on a series of thoughts starting with where my path crossed that of Jackson’s and ending with the one thing in life that is certain -- death.

I was not a friend, but a fan who last saw Jackson in person in a bookstore at the Palm Beach Lakes Mall (West Palm Beach, FL). I believe it was April of 2005 and it was definitely a Saturday morning, almost as soon as the mall opened, and the crowds had not yet arrived. As soon as I walked into the bookstore, I noticed additional mall security. A security guard had already tipped me off at the coffee shop that Jackson was indeed in the building. No other shoppers were in the bookstore other than his undercover security detail posing as other shoppers. Once I checked out, it’s as if the mole on the cell phone told Jackson that a 40ish woman posed no threat. Without warning, Jackson emerged from who knows where. I saw the build and stance of the slim man at the magazine rack. I vicariously knew it well. He was taller than I imagined. First, I saw the everyday Joe navy sweatpants. […] He moved slightly toward me as if thinking about greeting me, then back the other way. Finally, he turned toward me. This was it. My head slowly tilted up from the bottom of his pant leg, past those thinly skinned hands and at my moment to speak, I couldn’t. The moment arrived that I waited nearly all my life for and all I could muster was an upward head nod that tacitly said, “What’s up?” He waved hello. […] About 30 minutes later, […] a crowd of youth were running behind him screaming his name. “I love you,” he yelled back.

So, just the night before he died, I remembered a botched meeting I’ll never have again. I sensed he could have used a friend, but knew I was just another stranger. I said to myself, I’m not certain of who I will or will not ever see again. But, one thing I am certain of is it is appointed to all of us to die.

What I Am Certain of Regarding Michael:

• He was one of the greatest entertainers the world has known.

• He is America’s National Treasure, but we bailed on him during controversy.

• He popularized The Robot and did it again with the Moonwalk revolutionizing dance.

• God gifted us Mozart, Elvis, and Michael. They all left us as young men.

• Every pop and R & B singer of our times is heavily influenced by Michael Jackson.

• […] Mike’s goodness was in danger of being abused by the same people who willfully drove their kids to a remote ranch and accepted expensive gifts and medical care from Jackson.

• Michael single-handedly changed MTV.

• Michael was overwhelmingly acquitted when he had his day in court. People should respect that fact.

• There’s no place in the world that doesn’t know the name of Michael Jackson.

What I believe about Michael:

• I believe a business man wise enough to buy a large chunk of the Beatle's music library was not broke.

• I believe human leaches have been draining Michael for years now.

• I believe Michael would not want people to forget about Farrah Fawcett & others whom we lost on
the same day.

• His last album Invincible (2001) is more amazing than the controversy dampened sales. Reflect. Pick it up.

• Without Mike, there would be no usher, no NSYNC, no Ne-Yo…no music video industry as we know it.
Much of the world is going to remember where they were on June 25, 2009. Let’s celebrate his life and the deposit of positive energy that has revolutionized the music industry and changed the globe. […] I believe my brother Kerry at some point today said, “Mike, fancy seeing you here.”

[Janet McNair, American journalist (?); source: www.digitaljournal.com]


“In Summer 2003, Michael Jackson and his team were quietly plotting an extraordinary comeback. Amid the tranquil setting of his sprawling Neverland Ranch, Jackson was meeting with his business partners, advisors and publicist on a regular basis to devise plans for a multi-faceted comeback that would re-launch the star into the stratosphere. The comeback would be surprising, seeing Jackson branch into new areas and industries and rehabilitating his image at the same time.

[…]

The past few years had not been kind to Jackson. His 2001 album Invincible had received a mixed critical reaction and had been mocked by the press as a commercial failure. In the Summer of 2002 Jackson had blamed low album sales on his record company, Sony, branding label boss Tommy Mottola 'racist' and 'devilish'. He claimed the label had sabotaged Invincible by failing to promote it and, in a series of speeches, announced his intention to leave the label. However, his public fall-out with Sony had led to further tabloid mockery and his campaign had ultimately fallen flat.

[…]

Jackson's confidence had been rocked […] [again]. […] He was dealt another blow in February 2003 when Martin Bashir's documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, caused uproar, showing Jackson holding hands with young cancer patient Gavin Arvizo […]”

[…] The concern amongst Jackson's advisors was that the singer's name had become little more than a punchline; an easy target for relentless mockery and abuse. His image was in desperate need of repair. The effort began with damage control. Jackson's camp released a rebuttal to Bashir's documentary, featuring footage of the presenter contradicting the views expressed in his own film and proving that he had omitted vital answers from the star. After exposing Bashir's duplicity, Jackson's camp followed up with a second documentary, Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies, in which the star presented funny and interesting clips from his archives.

An appearance at the BET Awards in June 2003 to present his idol and mentor James Brown with a Lifetime Achievement Award contributed to the wave of good PR Jackson was receiving. The star's brief appearance on the show saw audience members burst into tears and it served Jackson well to be seen presenting an award rather than receiving one for once. Things were beginning to look up for the singer and now his elaborate comeback plans could really be put into effect.

[…]

"Michael was regaining much of his self-esteem and self-confidence after dwelling in the shadows of public scandal and scorn," says publicist Stuart Backerman, hired by Jackson in 2002. "In the language of marketing, Michael was about to be re-branded.

The comeback plan was called the MJ Universe project and it was all about 'the People's Michael', if you want to think of it in political terms. That's what was underpinning this whole scheme. It was about being accessible. After all the years of living as a partial recluse and a tabloid target, he wanted to reach out and be seen in an objective way."

The first step towards making Michael Jackson more accessible would be to create a link between the star and his fans. In Vancouver, a web design company called Blast Radius was secretly working on a brand new official Michael Jackson website (his old one was owned and controlled by Sony). The website would contain what Stuart Backerman describes as 'the most unbelievable interactive videos' and would serve as a medium for Jackson to stay in touch with his fans.

The next step was to open up Jackson's Neverland Ranch. After the Bashir documentary, his sanctuary was seen as a sinister place. In order that people could experience Neverland themselves and enjoy a brief glimpse into Jackson's world, the star planned to launch the ranch as a resort for short breaks […].

Jackson's merchandising had 'dried up' in recent years, says Backerman, and loose plans were in place to launch several new products, beginning with a Michael Jackson clothing line. He was also in talks with a Japanese investor to design a theme park.

[…]

But the jewel in the crown of Jackson's comeback plans was a deal he and his camp had recently struck with a motion picture company in Montreal. For years it had been Jackson's desire to move away from the music business and into the movie industry. In 1993, he had a deal in place with Sony to begin making movies, but the plans were scrapped after Santa Barbara DA, Tom Sneddon, raided Jackson's home and the star found himself accused of child molestation. In recent years, Jackson had made baby steps towards launching himself as a player in the movie world, first making a cameo appearance in Men In Black II and then guest starring in low budget comedy, Miss Castaway. Now he was ready to make the leap.

"He didn't want to really start again with the music," says Dieter Wiesner, Jackson's manager from 1997 until 2003. "After he was done with Sony, he had a whole other plan. His focus was just not that much on the music part anymore. His feeling was that he had really made the best in his life for the music part. He created everything. He made Thriller and things like that and he knew it could be very hard to top these things. For him, it was very important to be successful as a director and an actor, directing movies, making short films, things like that. He was really into it.

"He knew he had to do something for the fans, but it was very clear that he couldn't go back on tour, because he was mentally not into it anymore. He wanted to do big concerts, say, at the pyramids in Egypt - big places - over two or three years. He agreed to do something like that because the fans really wanted to see him, but he felt his real future should be in the film business."

After months of negotiations, Jackson's camp had managed to secure financing so the star could purchase Cinegroupe, a Canadian animated features company, which Stuart Backerman says Jackson wanted to turn into 'a whole Pixar type thing'. In anticipation of the takeover, the company had invited Jackson to begin contributing ideas to an upcoming picture, Pinocchio 3000. A decade after his film-making dreams had been squashed, Jackson was finally about to begin making the transition from music to movies. But before that, he had one burning priority, and that was to release himself from his Sony contract.

"He wasn't ever really right back on good terms with Sony," says Stuart Backerman. "The Beatles Catalogue is one thing but after the whole Tommy Mottola business, it was over. It was not gonna really be happening with Sony again."

According to Dieter Wiesner, Jackson had no plans to move to another label after he fulfilled his contract with Sony. The focus was squarely on movie-making and all signs pointed to the fact that Jackson was serious about achieving his goal. One morning at Neverland Ranch, during the comeback discussions, Jackson presented Stuart Backerman with a signed fedora as a thank you for all his hard work. Inside Jackson had written the inscription, "Dear Stuart, many thanks for your kind help and please don't make plans for the next decade."

In October, 2003, Michael Jackson flew to Las Vegas to begin a series of in-person appearances that would mark the beginning of his elaborate comeback plans. In keeping with his new accessible image, he also took part in several autograph signing sessions, the proceeds from which went to charity. On Saturday 25th October, he was presented with the key to Las Vegas at the Desert Passage Mall and three days later he appeared at the Radio Music Awards to debut his new charity single, What More Can I Give.

[…]

But most excitingly for the star's fans, Jackson was in town to record a new music video. A new greatest hits compilation called Number Ones was due to be released on November 18th and, thinking that it would fulfill his contractual obligations to Sony, Jackson had contributed an unreleased track, One More Chance, and agreed to promote it as a single. Seeing the opportunity to fulfill another contractual obligation at the same time - he owed CBS a performance - Jackson decided to record an accompanying music video. The video would debut on November 26th at the end of a CBS special about the star and then go into rotation elsewhere.

After recording the video, Jackson was set to embark on what Stuart Backerman describes as a 'triumphant publicity tour' across Europe, Africa and South America. "We were going for three months," says the publicist. "We were going to do all kinds of autograph sessions, record signings and fan events and we were going to do something at Harrods in London, too."

"He was going to give Muhammad Ali an award at the Bambi Awards in Germany," adds Dieter Wiesner. "We also had a plan to do something with Nelson Mandela."

Nick Brandt, a seasoned Jackson collaborator, was scheduled to direct the new video. Brandt had worked on numerous short films with the star in the past - most famously on the Earth Song video, which combined Jackson's strong environmental views with the director's acclaimed wildlife photography. Their most recent outing had been 2001's Cry, a video Jackson reportedly refused to appear in due to his conflict with Sony.

[…]

The shoot would take place at the CMX Productions studio and the concept was simple. The song was a yearning ballad about lost love in which Jackson pleaded with an ex-girlfriend for 'one more chance at love'. The video would feature a unique role reversal in which an audience would stand onstage and watch Jackson as he performed the track in an empty, upscale nightclub, hopping banisters and jumping on tables. The set-up seemed to have little correlation with the song and appeared to be more of a comment on the press and public's perpetual invasion into Jackson's privacy - a common theme in the star's videos - essentially showing a crowd of bystanders watching over Jackson in an intimate, off-stage moment, transfixed by his heartbreak.

Jackson technically owed CBS a performance, so the aim was to create a hybrid that would satisfy the broadcaster and also work as a music video. An idea was hatched to give the video a live feeling by following Jackson seamlessly through the club rather than cutting from scene to scene in the typical music video style.

"We had five cameras rolling on him at all times," says a senior crew member, who asked to remain anonymous after speaking without record label permission. "The idea was to try to capture Michael, as much as possible, doing one routine through the club, to give it kind of a live feeling. It would literally flow from one camera to the next. We also had kind of a limited time with Michael, because he would set his own schedule, so we also decided to capture it that way to make sure we could get it all shot cohesively."

Running the production on a tight schedule and a tight budget, the crew got one rehearsal day with Jackson. "Michael came in that day to do dance rehearsals with Nick and to work out how he would move around the club," says the crew member. "That was where we determined which tables he would jump on, so we could light them properly and so on. So that was probably about two to three hours of just Nick and other key crew members working with Michael - maybe four hours. Watching his process with Nick was quite inspiring. He really liked to create with Nick. He was involved in everything. He was obviously an experienced artist in music videos and knew what the process was all about, knew who the key people were to talk to. I mean, he and the crew had a definite conversation about composition and lighting and how to capture various dance moves with the camera and what angles to use. He was truly an artist. He didn't just show up and not care. He was definitely excited to be there and involved in the process and really wanted to create something special."

Jackson's [former] manager, Dieter Wiesner, however, says the singer wasn't quite as excited as he seemed; much of the video had been devised in the star's absence and he was annoyed by the modest budget. "Michael was not too happy about it," he says. "It was a relaxed situation, but it was not what Michael really wanted to do. He looked still for the biggest thing and this was not something he would pick. It was not one of his high class things he did before."

Wiesner says Jackson was also unhappy with the set's resemblance to one of his best known videos from the 1980s. "When we arrived there, the set was already done. He was saying, 'This is like Smooth Criminal'. But he did his job. I think when he started to do something, he did it right. He was not so happy, but he had to deliver something and that's what he did."

Michael Jackson dreamt of a triumphant return to showbiz after years of seclusion with the music video of One More Chance in 2003, only to have the dream turn into his worst nightmare.

On Monday 17th November 2003, a crowd of extras waited in a holding area at the CMX studio. They knew they were there for a music video, but that was all they knew. "We auditioned on the Friday and knew we were going to shoot at the soundstage on Monday," says Ken Yesh, one of the extras chosen for the shoot. "We went the entire weekend wondering who the video was for. Then, when we got there, we signed some papers and on the back page it said 'Michael Jackson, One More Chance, Sony Productions'. We all just flipped."

"That right there was such a moment," says fellow extra Juliette Myers. "As we were going down the line we were cheering because wow, you know, what an iconic moment. We were going to be a part of something that's history."

[…] "Being extras, we started early but we didn't really have to do much," agrees Juliette Myers. "They'd set us up, they'd do some lighting and cue the music and we'd stand and do our part, then we'd cut for a break. There was never really much work. There was a very free, fun and fancy type air about the day."

[…]

Several hours into the shooting day, Michael Jackson, wearing dark jeans and a white t-shirt, slipped onto the set through a back door. "When he made his entrance, it wasn't anything grand," says Ken Yesh. "It was kind of on the down low - really hush-hush. We were onstage at the time, so there were a few whispers of, 'Oh my God, I think that's him!' The room was pretty dim. The whole ambience was the nightclub scene so there were some lamps on the tables and the stage lights were very dim, but he's pretty hard to miss."

"It was like electricity through the air," adds Stephen McClelland. "Everybody was getting really excited."

"We weren't even prepared for him to come out," says Juliette Myers. "We were standing in the bleachers and I was talking to somebody and all of a sudden I heard cheering. I looked up and he was just there. It's weird how you don't even realize how powerful he is until he's there. It's like a presence. I couldn't stop screaming. I tried to be professional but that didn't work. We were all screaming our heads off. But he let us have our time. I'm sure he knew that he was going to have fans so he gave us time to just embrace him and then we got to work."

[…]

The crew had spent much of the day preparing for Jackson's arrival in order to avoid keeping him waiting once he arrived. With everything in position and ready to go, Jackson launched into his first performance almost immediately, meandering around the nightclub and showcasing his famous dance moves.

"I think they told us he wasn't going to be there [at first], because they wanted to see our responses on film when he started dancing," says Ken Yesh, "because when he first came in, it wasn't five minutes and he jumped right into it. He started going into the sequences, walking through the tables at the nightclub, going up to the stage, singing, jumping onto the tables and onto the chairs - and I was looking at everyone else and their faces were like mine. It was just disbelief."

"It was amazing," recalls Juliette Myers. "Part of our reaction was supposed to be shock and awe, but it was real. We were just like 'Oh my gosh, he's here. This is him in real life. He's right in front of us'. It was so easy to be happy and to have the wondrous looks in our eyes. He did a move standing on a table right in front of us and it was like, 'Wow. There it is. This is what we grew up with'. It made that reaction and that moment real."

"They had genuine surprise on everyone's face," says Ken Yesh. "Everyone had a permanent smile across their face. They couldn't believe it. I think we all understood what it meant. We were in the presence of one of the best entertainers ever on the face of the earth. I mean, who has the chance to do something like that?"

"It was like seeing Elvis perform live, or the Beatles," agrees Steve McClelland. "You've got a legend in front of you performing. It was magical. All those rumors about him being past it were, I believe after seeing him, completely unfounded. He was still perfectly capable. He was truly magic. Truly blessed."

Each time Jackson finished the routine, shooting would pause while the crew fixed the set for continuity; in each performance Jackson would kick lamps and wine glasses off of the nightclub tables. Between takes Jackson would interact occasionally with the extras, says Stephen McClelland.

[…]

"We'd all been standing there for a long time. He'd say thing (sic) like, 'I hope you, guys, aren't too uncomfortable back there', because the lights would come up on us and we were standing really tight together and we couldn't move. Between takes we had to stay there. So he was just feeling for us a little bit. When he started to perform he was very focused, but then he would go back to being just casual. He'd say things to us like, 'I hope you all liked that one'. He was being funny, witty."

Mostly, though, Jackson kept to himself. "He was kind of separate," says Juliette Myers. "I think he was just really shy. I remember there was direction that he was very shy so they didn't want us to look directly in his face."

"I was extremely surprised at how humble he was," adds Ken Yesh. "But when the camera started rolling and the music was on, it was like electricity. The guy was completely amazing. He would do the same dance sequence five or six times, flawlessly."

"Michael was soft spoken and kept to himself," confirms a crew member. "But when the cameras started rolling, he just became Michael Jackson instantaneously. The moves and the walking and everything, it was just Michael Jackson through and through. It was amazing. I remember him jumping up on a table and doing a spin at one point and his hands went up in the air and it was just 100% pure Michael Jackson. I'll never forget that memory."

After performing the routine five or six times across roughly three hours, Michael Jackson made his exit. "He was really sweet with all the extras," says a crew member. "When he was leaving, he said a great big goodbye to them and thanked them for all their hard work. He was such a gentleman."

"He didn't just scurry out," says Juliette Myers. "He respectfully said thank you. I don't even know what he was thanking us for, though." She laughs. "He was the star. We were just backdrop."

Jackson was scheduled to return the following day to film frontal shots and close-ups. "Our intention was to shoot from behind Michael towards the audience and then, to save money on all the audience members, the following day we would flip around and shoot Michael's close-ups," says a crew member. "So pretty much everything we got on the first day was head to toe and shot either in profile or from behind, with the audience in the background."

The day's rushes showed Jackson on good form, leaping energetically from table to table, running around the club and looking genuinely happy as he high-fived the crowd. […]

At the end of each take, Jackson had nodded and bowed to the audience, turned his back on the stage - an enormous grin on his face - and walked out of frame. This shot would serve as the end of the music video and the moment was loaded with connotations. Jackson turning his back on the stage, and on his audience, was symbolic of his intention to leave the music world behind and embark on a brand new career path. Perhaps smiling with as much relief as happiness, he was also turning his back on his final music video for Sony and, he thought, walking away from the contract that he so desperately wanted out of. In essence, he was turning his back on his old career and walking away from it, ready to follow the dream that had been snatched from him ten years previously. Michael Jackson was finally going to make movies.

At roughly 8.30 next morning, Stuart Backerman and Jackson cohort Marc Schaffel spoke on the telephone to discuss their departure for Europe the following day. Their conversation was interrupted by an incoming telephone call for Schaffel from Joe Marcus, a security coordinator at Neverland. "It was a weird hour for Joe to be calling," says Backerman, "so Schaffel said he would call me back."

A short while later, Backerman's telephone rang. "You gotta turn on the television," said Schaffel. Backerman switched on his TV and saw the now famous helicopter images of police swarming Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Led by District Attorney Tom Sneddon, 70 sheriffs from the Santa Barbara Police Department had been dispatched to raid Michael Jackson's home. "Honestly," Backerman recalls, "You would have thought it was an army battalion going into an Iraqi village. There were so many of them."

His heart sank. "At that moment I realized that the European trip and the whole MJ Universe project was finished, because by that point, Diane Dimond was on, revealing that it was all over a second charge of child molestation.

"Michael was just getting ready to leave the 1993 allegations behind and rebrand himself. We'd just finished dealing with the Martin Bashir scandal and here it was again." He sighs. "Here it was again."

In Las Vegas, it fell on [former] manager Dieter Wiesner to break the news to Michael Jackson. "Michael was still in his room," Wiesner explains. "He was sitting next to the fireplace when I came in and he was very quiet. I had to tell him and it was not easy to tell Michael things like this because he was in such a good mood. He saw a future. When the Bashir situation arose he was very down. Now everything had changed and Michael was ready to do new things. Then, to go to his room and tell him such a bad situation… it was a disaster.

"I told him, 'Michael, there is bad news, but on the other side you have to see it as also good news. The bad news is the police are on the ranch.' Michael was completely shocked. I was sitting next to him; I had my arm on his shoulder.

"He looked at me and he was really... You could see the blood going out of his face. He was deeply shocked. But I told him, 'Michael, now you have the chance finally to clear up everything. Once and forever you can clear up everything.'"

News spread quickly amongst the crew. "I saw it on TV that morning and by the time I got to the hotel lobby, everybody else had already found out," says a crew member. "So we went to work as normal and waited to see what was going to happen.

"Of course, when we got to the soundstage, it was a complete zoo with paparazzi and fans. It had leaked where we were shooting. The day before, nobody knew we were shooting or anything.

"We waited that entire day for Michael to come and I think we went back a second day. Then he called finally and said, 'I'm just not going to be able to come'."

Jackson spent much of those two days crying, says Dieter Wiesner. "I was sitting with him day and night. He was shocked; he was crying… he didn't know what to do. It was such a bad situation. We were supposed to go to Europe. He was ready to move on in his life and everything was prepared. It was just a beautiful situation and this news shocked him deeply. Really, it killed him."

Two days after the Neverland raid, Jackson's depression turned to anger. When it emerged that the boy behind the accusation was none other than Gavin Arvizo, the boy whose hand Jackson had held in the Martin Bashir documentary, Jackson decided to fight.

"You know, when it was clear that this allegation was because of the Arvizos, then he started to really fight the situation," says Wiesner. "Michael told me, 'Dieter, you know what, they should bring this young boy into a big place, invite all the press and he should look me in the eyes and tell me that I did this.' So he was ready to fight."

That the allegation had come from the Arvizos made the ruination of the MJ Universe project even more galling for Stuart Backerman. "Sneddon didn't have anything except the word of Janet Arvizo, and she was totally crazy," says Backerman. "And I know that because I was there and I saw her. She had a track record as long as my right arm. Sneddon just wanted to get Jackson.

"It's very frustrating to this day. We had the world's greatest celebrity and he was more focused than he had been for a long time. But the whole thing got cut off by Sneddon."

Almost unbelievably, Sneddon had managed for the second time to steal Jackson's movie dream away from him just as he was on the cusp of achieving it. Prior to the 1993 allegations, moving into the movie industry had been Jackson's greatest preoccupation. His chances ruined by the scandal of the Jordy Chandler debacle, he'd wound up back on the road - the one place he'd least wanted to be - and grown ever more weary of the music business.

Movie success was the one type of success which had always managed to evade Jackson - the most decorated entertainer in history - and it had long been the one type of success he truly longed for. Believing that One More Chance would fulfill his contract with Sony, Jackson had felt he was finally free to pursue his vision.

"I really have to say, he was a very sharp guy. He knew exactly what he wanted," laments Dieter Wiesner. "I think if he would have had the time and if nobody had come in-between, he could have been very successful in the second part in this career, with the movies and the animated videos. In my opinion, he would still be here today."

With movie success set firmly in his sights, Jackson was merely jumping through the necessary hoops before he could pursue that goal with one hundred percent of his attention and energy. One More Chance, he had thought, was the final hoop. Michael Jackson had believed that the single and music video [would] win him back his freedom. It is one of life's cruel ironies that the next time his fans saw him, he would be in handcuffs.”

[Charles Thomspon, British journalist; source: www.sawfnews.com]


“[…] The kids, [the Jackson 5] were all manner-able and at peace with one another. When it came time to practise their music, they wanted to stay outside and play, but Joe, [their father,] made them come in and practise. […] Michael was a great little boy — very manner-able and somewhat shy. He would not talk that much, only when you talked to him. He always had a good voice, but I did not think too much of it. I did not ever think they would become famous. They started playing instruments, and I said, ‘Wait a minute. You all are getting down!’ […] Every now and then Michael’s mother would fix dinner for the family and I would be over there,” he said. “The last meal I ate was black-eyed peas and corn bread. They did not have no meat. But we had ice cream for dessert.”

[Leona Macon, former neighbor of the Jackson family in Gary, Indiana; source: www.timesonline.co.uk]


I was only 17 years old when I first met Michael Jackson. It was 1996 and he was staying in Monte Carlo for a few days. I’d always been a fan of his music and I’d heard he was also a massive art lover. At that time I used to draw and sketch a lot as a hobby. My plan was to go to his hotel and give some of my pictures to his security staff in the hope that they would reach him in some way. When I got there with the pictures, the security guards handed them to a member of his staff.

Amazingly, I was told that Michael wanted to see me. I couldn’t believe it. I was shaking. Thank God I had the drawings — if the worst came to the worst, I could always hide behind them. Suddenly I was being ushered up to his suite, by now terrified. As I entered the room — surrounded by his aides, people in suits — Michael was just standing there, welcoming me with a big smile. That relaxed me a little, but I knew things would be difficult because my English was not so good. I lived in Perpignan in France at the time, a town near the Spanish border, but I had only learned some of the language at school. “I’ve done something for you,” I said. He stared at my pictures. I’d brought five or six sketches, they were rough but I was pleased with them. “You study art?” he said. I told him that I didn’t and this caused the most unusual reaction: he started clapping. “You’ve got a gift,” he said. “It comes from God, you have to cherish this gift and feed it. Please keep on creating, I want to see more.” I felt proud and embarrassed at the same time. It was such a surreal experience. As I walked out of the suite, one member of his staff handed me a piece of paper. On it was the name of Michael’s assistant with a telephone number. I was told that “Mr Jackson would love to see more art,” and I walked away from the hotel, my head spinning, lost for words.

Almost immediately, I started sending sketches to Los Angeles without knowing exactly if they would eventually end up in Michael’s hands. I soon found out that they were getting through: I would sometimes get feedback from him or suggestions. I would ask Michael for hints. I wanted to know what I should work on and his answers varied from a single word like “royalty”, or a very precise scene he wanted to see. Most of all, he said, he wanted me to pull from my guts and be creative. He even called one day. The phone rang and a voice enquired, “Celine?” I recognised him straightaway, but I couldn’t believe it. Michael Jackson, the man who made Thriller, the dancer who moonwalked at the Motown 25 show, had called me. Still it was hard to match that person to the voice because he was so humble and normal. I had sent him some sketches of Peter Pan and he told me he loved them. I’d been drawing other Disney characters for him, but he told me to be “more creative.”

“You’ve got imagination, I know it,” he said. “Do something that has never been done before.”

He told me several times to study and to be inspired by the great artists. I was astonished when I realised how knowledgeable he was when it came to classic art. He told me about Michelangelo, Delacroix, Leonardo Da Vinci and Nicolas Poussin. We talked about modern popular illustrators such as Norman Rockwell or Scott Gustafson. In his hotel room there were often piles of art books. He was very fond of the figurative style and enjoyed everything related to fantasy. Following his advice I paced up and down most of Paris’ museums, staring at the work of all the greatest masters and worked hard to improve my craft.

By 1999, I decided it was time to show Michael the new piece I’d been working on: a portrait of him as Peter Pan. I knew he would love it, he was so fond of the Disney character. He was staying at the Ritz in Paris, so I arranged a visit. When he saw the picture, he opened his eyes wide and hugged me really hard. “I love Peter Pan,” he laughed. “I am Peter Pan!”. That wasn’t all. Michael was about to commission an artwork from me. He pointed to the delicate mouldings on the walls that represented cherubs and softly explained the exact scene he had in mind: “Babies are adoring me with love and affection, which represent peace, love and harmony of all races,” he said. This artwork would later be named Inspiration.

During the creative process of this piece, I occasionally received instructions from Michael’s part, asking me to add or remove details in the composition. In the picture, Michael is pictured reaching for the finger of a cherub who is Prince, his first son. When he finally found out about this “detail”, he seemed happy. He believed I’d been inspired by Michelangelo’s Creation Of Adam. At first, this painting was hung in Neverland. Later it would be reproduced on the carts that were used to drive around the ranch, though I don’t know where they are now. Overall, I think he had five paintings of mine, plus a jacket I made for him and a book.

Looking back, one moment summed up our collaboration. I remember that Michael loved the fact that Michelangelo — one of his favourite artists — had inspired generations of others. His great achievements were still widely acknowledged centuries after his death. One day, I had a very interesting discussion with him about the power of art and the way it can transcend life, space and races. At the end of our meeting, Michael handed me a piece of paper. On it was written, “I know the creator will go, but his work survives, that is why to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work.” [He added: 'Dedication, Will, Belief creates all things. (believe. Love, MJ, your (sic) excellent"]) 'He looked at me. “Michelangelo said this,” he explained, though in hindsight, it’s probably a perfect way with which to describe Michael Jackson’s life".

[Céline Lavail, French artist; source: www.celine-lavail.com]

 

“[…] If I did a cover [of Michael’s], I would do – I would either do Blame It On The Boogie, ‘cause that’s a tight song, and – or, or, like, “Man In The Mirror”, but the thing is you can’t really do a Michael song. Like, it’s just hard, because he’s, like, the best […] I was doing - I was going to a radio station, and I was in the car and they told me [that he’s gone] and I just didn’t believe them. I just, like, “Whatever…”. ‘Cause, I was, like - they say I’m dead all the time, but I’m not. […]”

[Justin Bieber, Canadian singer, on Reveillez Vous Avec Nikos radio show ; source: www.youtube.com]


“[…] He didn’t really want things to be heavy, he wanted to be, you know, just light and he would say things like, you know, “People expect me to come overproduced and they expect me to come with big major production, but I wanna be very simple. Simple and straight to the point.” When I’m thinking about this song, [“The Way You Love Me”], and the lyrics, [it] is [about] appreciating the person’s love and how they respect you and how they respond to your love and how you treat them. […] On this piece of paper right here, it shows Michael’s personal handwriting; it’s the insight to his diary of how he thought about his songs and how he wanted the songs to sound. With “Hollywood [Tonight]”, he already had the parts sketched out. And that’s one of the songs that he died [on] and that we didn’t get to get to them. When you listen to “Hollywood [Tonight]”, you know, [it speaks of the] struggles of a girl who had a hard time, ran away from home, talked to gran, it’s a typical situation (?) we have today - people look at Hollywood as, “If I just get to Hollywood, then I know I’ve made it.’ But when you get to Hollywood, Hollywood is – is like any other place in the world. [So, the song is] based on a true story. […]”

[Theron Feemster, better known as Ron "Neff-U" Feemstar", American record producer, songwriter, musician, and singer; source: www.youtube.com]


“I have a Michael Jackson mix tape that my mom and I listened to because we could dance to it!. We have videos of us at Christmas - when my mom was going through her surgeries [for cancer] - singing along to the music. I look back at the videos and it makes me so emotional!”

[Brenda Song, American actress, film producer, and model, sources: Fox All Access, http://justjaredjr.buzznet.com]

 

“First of all, the fued did not continue with Tommy [Mottolla] till the day of his [Michael's] death. Tommy is no longer President of Sony. […] Because Tommy left 2 years after [the] Invincible [mess]. Michael and Tommy were on better terms. The fued ended a few weeks before I married Tommy. Tommy knew I was such a big fan of Michael, and I told him it was dispicable of him to have this ongoing problem with Michael. And with that, Tommy invited him to our home. At first, Michael declined the inivitation, but then he said yes […]. Once he arrived to our home, he began to walk around the house and look at all the pictures. Tommy had gone out and I was the hostess for Michael until Tommy got home. I was so nervous, but I tried to keep it casual, I didn't want him to think I was a crazy fan. He looked at the pictures quietly and then saw one of myself with a white rose on my ear. He picked it up and smiled at it and told me that I looked beautiful. I started shaking. […] After about an hour, Tommy and Michael began to talk to each other when Tommy got home. I told Tommy personally, a day before, for him to apologize and that's exactly what he did. Michael hesitated, but he accepted his apology like a true gentleman. Micheal has such a beautiful soul. And after this, I handed Michael an invitation to our wedding with Tommy. […] [He did come to our wedding and I’ll never forget that].”

[Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda, known simply as Thalía, Mexican singer and actress; source: www.musicaloasis.net]

 

"A couple of months before Michael died, he called me on the phone really upset, that somebody had leaked a song on the internet called "Hold My Hand." I knew this man. And he was very critical about every single detail. He stood in the studio himself, mastering and mixing everything. How can you release a record without that Michael Jackson? […] He wasn't there to do his micro-Michael-managing that he did with 'Thriller' and 'Billie Jean.' […]”

[William James Adams, better known by his stage name, will.i.am, American rapper, musician, songwriter, singer, actor and producer; sources: Rolling Stone magazine, www.etonline.com]


It's nice to hear new music from Michael Jackson. It makes me so sad that he's gone, though. I love the music, but I miss the artist. […] Michael's new song invoking sadness. Instead of rejoicing and being thrilled about new releases, the new song invoked sadness in my heart. I am so happy to hear the new releases, but the music is a big reminder of the gift we lost. I miss him so much, too. […] We miss you, Michael! Love you all. AJ […] I am so painfully sad that he is gone. I am trhilled (sic) the world is still embracing his music, but just think what we are missing in future collaborations and releases. We miss you, Michael. We miss you very much.”

[Aphrodite Jones, American journalist; source: www.facebook.com]


“I recorded a new song, and I wrote it with my partner, […] and we wrote a great song, called “We Know What’s Going On”, and it’s about the economy and what is happening in the world today, and I had this – there was a place in the song where I wanted to use Michael’s sing (sic) some powerful words, and I called a fanclub and they found this piece for me, the fanclub, Michael did this speech at Oxford University somewhere about ten years ago, and it was so powerful. And the lyrics that I wrote, it (sic) fit perfectly with […] [Michael’s words]. And it turned out so wonderful. You know, and we put him – when we inserted it into the songs, it just brought tears to my eyes, ‘cause it just worked perfectly. [My partner and I] started crying, we looked at each other, we just started crying with each other, ‘cause it was just so powerful, when he came in, it was just so… so powerful, and the background saying ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’, with a chant like that, it turned out so great.”

“One of my favorite holiday memories with Michael is that he loved the snow. He loved being in the snow, he loved skiing, you know, or trying to learn how to ski. He never really learned, because, I guess, it was too dangerous with his dancing and things like that, he didn't want to take a chance and injure himself, but he loved the snow quite a bit. So, we would go to Switzerland sometime (sic) and have fun in the snow. […] When we’re talking about holidays and Christmas, well, my mother is a Jehova Witness, you know? So.. But the rest of us, we’re not, so we celebrate Christmas, she doesn’t, so we have to do it like, kinda like not bringing her – not letting her be a part of it… you know, so we have to do it ourselves away from her. […] Since it’s been a year and a half ago since his death, I’d like to say something to all the fans around the world, who’s (sic) been so supportive for my family, and just gave us so much – so much spirit and lifted us when we were tied on, so supportive all the fans around the world, we couldn’t have done - got through this without them. It’s something you never get through. You know, when you lose a sibling like him, but… It’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, but I like to thank the fans for teaching me – keeping me on top right now. They’re so great, I love them all, thank you so much. […] Sometimes I can't even believe it, that he's not here. But he's always around, because no matter where I go, his music is always around me.”

“[Michael’s children] have always got water guns down (at Hayvenhurst, the Jackson family home in Encino) [chuckles]. You have to be careful — they don't care what you're wearing.. The bus, [points to a tiny Volkswagen in the “Michael” album painting] [makes me remember how] freezing [it was for us as kids and members of the Jackson 5], going to Chicago in the cold and the snow, taking instruments out of that bus and slipping on the ice.”

[Sigmund Esco “Jackie” Jackson, American singer, producer, member of the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson’s oldest brother; source: http://content.usatoday.com]

 

“Someone just asked me about charities I support. I support the Boys and Girls Club of America – they are the only ones who wanted anything to do with Michael before he died … I will not name the ones who declined to, but I can tell you it ranged from large churches in Harlem to a Civil Rights group in DC. I still support the Boys and Girls Club and love to see the awe in kids’ faces when I say I met Michael.”

[Aphrodite Jones; sources: www.facebook.com, www.mj-777.com]


“Jackson supported many charities during his life.

[…]

Even as a burn victim himself, after the infamous Pepsi incident, Michael still reaches out to other (burn) patients.

Michael Jackson expressed tremendous interest in humanitarianism, equality, and world peace for all of his adult life.

He did this through song... Can You Feel It, Man in the Mirror, and We Are the World... and so many other ways.

"Michael was a tremendous humanitarian," says reknowned music manager and producer, Ken Kragen. "I don't think he got the credit certainly in the later years with everything that happened."

Kragen was key in gathering the mega-stars who got behind 1985's "We Are the World" project for USA for Africa, which aided famine relief efforts in Africa. "'We Are The World' had to be the seminal moment in his life in terms of doing things for others," Kragen says.

A year after that, Jackson got involved in recruiting stars as Kragen conceived and organized the Hands Across America project... seven million people joining hands to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness in America.

"It forced the government, particularly the president, to release 800-million dollars in feeding funds for women, infants, and children", says Kragen.

Michael Jackson visited hospitals and orphanages wherever he went. Since his death, he's received many tributes from all kinds of people.

"Try to remember that Michael Jackson loved each and every one of us," says Rep. Charles Rangel of New York. "Not just here in Harlem, but all over the world." "He did it because of his heart," according to Aphrodite Jones, author of 'The Michael Jackson Conspiracy.' "He wanted to because he wanted to give." Jones says she came to appreciate Jackson's compassion and generosity while writing the book.

After covering the trial in Santa Maria, how does she think Michael Jackson changed when it came to humanitarian efforts?

"Michael was never the same after the trial," says Jones. "He felt betrayed, not only by the media, but also by many of the people closest to him in his life. All he had left was his family."

Jones says, from that point forward, people just ignored his decades of humanitarian work.

Lou Ferrigno is among those who remember, as he expressed during an appearance on FOX 11's Good Day LA during the week after Jackson's death. Ferrigno was Jackson's personal trainer as he prepared for his upcoming concert series. "It was all about love," Ferrigno says of Jackson's sense of giving. "Giving, reaching love. And being a genuine soul."

Ken Kragen says Michael Jackson's death leaves a hole in charitable fundraising for many pressing causes. He wonders if that void will ever be filled since, as he told us, the opportunities to use such tremendous stardom to make such humanitarian strides will always be rare.

One of these Guiness world records was the record of the Greatest Humanitarian, having given over 300 million to 39 different charities!

[Scott Coppersmith, American journalist (?); source: www.myfoxla.com]

 

“[…] Thankfully, for even the smallest fans, Jackson’s legacy lives on through his incredible music. While he’ll always be remembered as one of the most iconic singers and performers of all time, he’ll also be remembered as a generous humanitarian who shared much of his wealth with those who needed it most.

One remarkable contribution was made to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in 1986, a $1.5 million donation that went to establish a scholarship endowment in Jackson’s name. In 1988, Jackson made a subsequent donation, by giving all of the $600,000 proceeds from a Madison Square Garden benefit concert to the fund.

The fund was created to offer financial assistance to African-American students attending one of UNCF’s 40 member historically black colleges or universities. Since its inception, more than 500 students attending 39 member schools have received the Michael Jackson Scholarship.

Requirements for this scholarship include:

* Undergraduate students attending a UNCF member college or university

* Major in Communications, English or Performing Arts

* Minimum 3.0 GPA

* Must submit the FAFSA and accept financial aid

The award varies, but can be up to $4,000 per student. Recipients may use these funds to pay for tuition, room and board, books, or to pay federal student loans.

This fund perpetually renews, thanks to foresight on Jackson’s part. The interest of this fund pays the scholarships each year, while the original investment continues to earn interest allowing UNCF to offer more aspiring students awards each year.

This fall, another 34 students will be named recipients of the Michael Jackson Scholarship. Saul Williams: “Like so many others, Michael Jackson was my first and biggest inspiration. I own an actual trunk of memorabilia all bought with my allowance money. My mother, who was kind enough to make me a glove and hem my pant legs into floods, let my older sister and I stay out all night, standing in line for tickets to his 1984 Victory Tour. Years later, when I was in college, my freshman year creative writing teacher submitted an essay I wrote for her class, without telling me anything about it, until she asked me to stay after class, weeks later, and handed me a letter which read:

“Dear Saul Williams,

You have been awarded the Michael Jackson Scholarship for performing arts students, taken from the 25 million dollars Michael gave to the United Negro College Fund from the proceeds of his 1984 Victory Tour.

As a result of that, I can proudly say that Michael Jackson paid my way through college.

[…]”

[Edu In Review blog; sources: www.eduinreview.com, http://newsflash.bigshotmag.com]

 

“An unbeliavable story develops in the case of Melissa Johnson. Here comes (sic) the details...

Johnson already used two sets of lawyers in his case against the MJ Estate since August, 2009. On November 1st, 2010 she hired a new lawyer, Edgar B. Pease. Does this name sound similar?

Pease was an attorney of Henry Vaccaro, the man who got ahold the biggest Jackson Family memorablia on the world through bankrupcy court. Now Pease is not only the attorney of Vaccaro and his Vintage Pop, but for Howard Mann and his Vintage Pop Media. Another interesting name?

Mann is the Canadian businessman who approached Katherine and Joe Jackson to support the collection Vaccaro still owns. They have release a book, a calendar and several other merchandises. So now Vaccaro, Mann and Johnson plays in the same team.

On the same day as Johnson hired Pease, Johnson and Mann signed a contract related to a business project. According to this contract Johnson will help Mann to promote the Vaccaro memorablias with her vast collection of intellectual properties related to MJ (mainly domains and trademarks). In a nutshell: Mann tries to get validity for making money of the memorablias, and found a good partner in Johnson who is still fighting against the MJ Estate. Mann will pay 33% of the profits to Katherine and 33% to Johnson (another shady move from Mann that he is not paying Johnson directly, but through Katherine), as well Mann pays all of Johnson's debts that already exceeded $130.000.

How come that Johson's case hasn't been thrown out by the Judge so far? She prayed for extensions in the case on many occasions. On the other hand Johnson has quite a lot e-mails backing her story. She claims that Shmuley Boteach approved her activities preserving MJ's Heal The World Foundation back in 2002.

And if it's still not enough, Johnson claims that in 2005 MJ approved for Johnson to act in his name when it comes to keeping HTWF alive. Guess who was the man between MJ and Johnson? Brian Oxman! Oxman even gave a written statement this September saying that MJ really approved Johnson's work.

Johnson in 2008 contacted MJ's than manager, Van Alexander. The manager once said to her that there is a fight in MJ's team and some "bad figures" took over MJ. Alexander advised Johnson to take HTWF on her own name, because MJ can't take care of it. Johnson furthermore contacted Al Malnik and Mark Harrison as well, both of them were well known representatives of MJ in earlier years.

So what Johnson owns? She has appr. 1800 domain names, trademarks registered all around the world. Pease claims that however MJ paid Johnson $25.000 in 2004 for some intellectual property, this amount was used for reviewal of the domain names. Johnson did not gave back the ownership rights to MJ or any of his entities.

And what Mann owns? 19800 photos, 26 hours of videos, 273 tracks related to MJ and his family.

While Mann is preparing for his testimonial hold on January 7, 2011 and Oxman the day before the parties are arguing over documents. Oxmann will be questioned about his interview gave to one of the television networkds this summer. While Mann will have to proove (sic) his connections to the Jacksons.

[…]”

[from Leslie’s blog: http://lesliemjhu.blogspot.com]

 

"Happy Holidays to everyone around the world. I miss Michael Jackson."

[Phoenix Suns, Canadian professional basketball player for Phoenix Suns; source: www.facebook.com]

 

“On June 25th 2009, I was packing and moving out of a house we had lived in for 6 years and an acquaintance phoned me and said Michael Jackson is dead, turn on the TV. I dropped the phone, turned on the television and there it all was, I fainted, no one was home with me. I woke and cried and cried and I am still crying. My heart is so broken; you see, Michael was a friend and he believed in me. I’ve known Michael since I was 10 years old, we went to school together at Gardner Street school off of Sunset Blvd, we were in the 6th grade together. I was always invited to go to his house to play, he would swing me in this big tree swing and we would speak of our dreams. Michael asked me to go steady on the steps of Gardener Street school. Two weeks before school ended my mother sent me to live with my dad in NM. I never got to say goodbye to Michael.

One week before Michael left this earth, my son and I were shopping at Nordstrom’s, and we run into Jermaine. I asked him to please tell Michael I needed to see him, that I needed to visit, that it was important and I gave him my new numbers. God works in mysterious ways.

In 1991, I launched my production company, it was 2 weeks old when I received a call from Michael’s casting office, asking if I had any American Indian dancers, because everyone he had been interviewing wasn’t right. I told them “I have the best dancers in town”. I really had no one, however, I went to many Pow wows and gathered 30 dancers, one of them being my precious daughter Sage. She was 5 then. Michael’s casting office had no idea that Michael and I knew each other. To make a long story short. Director John Landis, cast 5 dancers, my daughter – who was the jingle dress dancer, and four other dancers from the native community here in Los Angeles that I brought in that day.

Michael shot 7 hours of photos of Sage while shooting his video and used her image for his painted angels in his Neverland ranch. We had so much fun while filming. Michael, Sage and I watched “Willie Wonka” 3 times while everybody had to wait on set. Michael took Sage and Nancy Reagan to lunch, he had asked if I wanted to go, however I declined for obvious reasons. Many stories to remember .....

We had shot the segment of the native dancers in the studio, then Michael read one of my music video scripts and one week later, we were on location re-shooting the native segment out-side. Due to Michael’s insight, he added my production company and shared the press in Entertainment Weekly.

Michael became the leading force in making my company known to the world. It is now an award-winning production company in producing American Indian documentaries and independent films. The 1991 “Black or White” music video and song made history. I was able to negotiate for the American Indian dancers to be paid over and above any dancers on any music video ever, due to the fact they were traditionally dressed (the wardrobe did not come from western costume). To date, they are the highest paid dancers in the music video industry. Also, this segment was the first clip of American Indian dancers in a music video without being a Native American music group/artist.

On our opening night of our 2009 Red Nation Film Festival – A Night of Tribute Awards, we honored Michael Jackson for his “Black or White” Music Video – In Loving Memory of Michael Jackson. I have many personal stories about Michael and that I will keep in my heart forever. I am not going to spend my life being a color, I am a Human Being

God Bless You, MJ.

Together we can Heal the world, make it a better place.

…..We Love You Michael ……

[Joanelle Romero, American actress, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, producer and filmmaker; source: http://twitpic.com]

 

“Not one time [did I think he was guilty], not for one single moment. I knew exactly what was going on, what people were playing at, planning. A few of the brothers knew what was happening. It’s a wicked world out there. The whole thing was totally motivated by greed and money. I wished Michael never did it [paid the accusing family in 1993]. But when you are in this business, sometimes you don’t think for yourself. You have advisers and lawyers – all these people thinking for you and telling you why you should do this and that. They felt at the time the easiest thing for him to do was to give them money and make them go away – don’t drag yourself through a case. […] But Michael is a private person and he did not want the media in his life and all these other things he would have probably had to go through. He was advised just to give them what they want and get rid of them. I believe it was Johnny Cochrane, O.J. Simpson’s lawyer, who told him to do that. […] [When the new allegations broke out in 2003,] Michael didn’t have to say anything. He just walked up to me and looked at me. I knew my brother, I could look in his eyes and see what he was thinking. He said to me, ‘TT, I never did all these terrible things they are saying I did. I could never hurt a child’. He said this in the middle of the trial – that’s the one and only time he spoke to me about it. It was a couple of weeks before the closing. I knew all along he didn’t do it, and he knew we knew it. It didn’t even need saying. People make up things. […]

I don’t think he was 100% during the trial, because it was the strangest thing to go through. Michael didn’t know if the jurors were believing the stories that were being said in court. I remember at the time thinking, ‘Gosh, he is so strong. I could not go through this’. Physically, I was always much stronger than Michael, but mentally, he had to be so strong to go through that. When it was announced that the jury had reached a verdict, we were all at Neverland. We rushed down to the courthouse. I could tell Michael was a little bothered, a little nervous – that was only to be expected. But he was more concerned about his children than himself. In the car, he told my mother, ‘If this doesn’t go right, take care of my kids. Make sure my kids are fine’. It was a natural thing to say. He had to face up to the possibility that he was going to jail, but he never spoke to me about his fears. I think he believed in the system, he wanted to believe in the system. He wanted it to work for him. It may have been on his mind, but he was never terrified he was going to prison, because as the case went on, you could see that there was no validity in the allegations. […] I don’t think anyone copes with prison. Even the toughest guy doesn’t really cope with prison, he just deals with it. You just have to deal with it, no matter what. I don’t think Michael was the weakest man on our planet and he would not have been the weakest man in prison, but I bet the weakest man is dealing with it. […] [The moment the verdicts were announced was] the worst time of my life. As they read them out, it got to five not guilties – they just kept coming and coming. From the first not guilty, right through until the last, it was the most frightening thing. The verdicts alone should tell the world that something was not right about the case. As Al Sharpton said, there was nothing strange about Michael. The only strange thing was what he had to go through.

After the verdict, we went back to Neverland. Michael thanked me so much for supporting him. He told me he loved me so much and said he was especially proud because I never wanted anything from him but love. He said to me, ‘TT, I have a gift for you’. I said, ‘Michael, you don’t have to give me a gift’. But he said, ‘No, I really want to give you something, because you never ask for anything.” He was really persistent and kept saying, ‘Come here, come here, come here’. He walked me over to his garage and he had two Bentleys and he said, ‘Pick the one you want’. That’s the kind of guy he was. I chose the one that he had signed inside the car. It’s beautiful. I’ve still got it. […] Michael was never the same again. It changed him a lot. He became far less trusting of people, even children, because they had hurt him. From being so relaxed around them, he became a lot more cautious. In some ways, the trial ruined his life. He left Neverland and went on this search to find a comfortable place – somewhere he could relax and get over everything. Sadly, I don’t think he ever did find that place. He was searching right up until he died.”

[Toriano Adaryll ‘Tito’ Jackson, American singer and guitarist, and member of The Jackson 5; sources: www.mirror.co.uk, www.mjfiles.com]

 

“In Romania there are a lot of orphans... that are never touched or loved... That's really sad for me. I want to go over there and just hold them. […] He (Jackson) always wanted to help others and he always wanted to make people smile, make people happy with his music and his songs... and that's kind of what I want to do.”

[Justin Bieber, Canadian singer; source: www.contactmusic.com]

 

 

“He didn’t come for show [at my father’s memorial service]. Everybody wanted him to get on the stage and dance, and he didn’t do that. He came to give respect and that’s what he did. Michael came as Michael, a friend and a huge fan of dad. […] I know that day Dad was so happy and elated [when he joined him on stage at the 2003 BET Awards]. It touched dad’s heart. […] [Michael came to Augusta the day before the funeral. After he arrived and met with the family, he requested a private viewing of Dad, which was granted. […] My dad understood the business. He understood how things can get carried away in the media. By the time the story get printed or the story get told, it might be 10 different ways. Dad understood very well how things worked. […] [There will never be another Michael Jackson or James Brown]. […]”

[Deanna Brown Thomas, American businesswoman, humanitarian, daughter of late James Brown; source: http://chronicle.augusta.com]


“Every time I see Michael Jackson’s movie, “This Is It”, I am more and more in awe of this gentle soul, who wanted nothing more than for all of us to love each other, to take care of the planet, and to gift our own gifts to the world, in order to make a positive difference here on earth. I’m sorry to say that I had never even heard of Michael’s “Earth Song” before this movie, but now that I have seen it, it has made a profound difference in my life and I will never be the same.

Michael had an important message to give all of us…just look at his comments from the movie, said during the scenes from “Earth Song”: I respect the secrets and magic of nature, that’s why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening, that every second, I hear, the size of a football field is torn down in the Amazon. That kind of stuff really bothers me! That’s why I write these kinds of songs, you know, to give some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people. I love the planet! I love trees. I have this thing for trees and the colors and changing of leave…I love it!! I respect those kinds of things”.

Michael continues, “I really feel that nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the planet. The planet is sick, like a fever. And if we don’t fix it now, it’s at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have, or it’s like a run-away train and the time has come, this is it”. Then Michael issues a heart-felt plea, to us, his fans, by saying this: “People are always saying “Oh, they’ll take care of it, the government or they will…they?…they who?…it starts with US! It’s us or it will never be done”.

He then closes with these sincerely spoken words: “We need to put love back into the world and remind the world that love is important, to love each other. We’re all One. And take care of the planet. We have 4 years to get it right or else it’s irreversible damage done. So we have an important message to give…it’s important. Blessings to all”.

Michael may be gone but his words will live on forever, and so will the gift of trees that we plant in his honor. I have a dream of seeing “Michael Jackson Memorial Forests” all over the world, on every continent, to keep his memory and legacy alive. Won’t you join me in giving this gift back to Michael?”

[Trisha Franklin, from www.amilliontreesformichael.com]

 

“Hinting at a possible defense in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, Los Angeles County District Attorney believes the defense will blame Michael Jackson’s June 25, 2009 death on a self-administered lethal dose of the anesthetic Propofol. “I do think it’s clear that the defense is operating under the theory that the victim, Michael Jackson, killed himself,” said Deputy DA David Walgren. Ruling his cause of death Aug. 28, 2009 “acute Propofol intoxication,” the Los Angeles County Coroner pinpointed Dr. Murray’s role in Jackson’s death. After a successful rehearsal at Los Angeles’ Staples Center for his upcoming British tour, Jackson was found “not breathing” by Murray at 9:00 a.m. June 25. According to police reports, Murray, Jackson’s $100,000 a month personal physician, tried to administer CPR before calling paramedics at 11:00 a.m.

Murray set up a makeshift intravenous drip, administering Propofol, AKA Diprivan, to treat Jackson’s insomnia. Shorting acting anesthetics, like Propofol, are used for surgery, not treating various causes of insomnia. Murray lacked the training or certification in anesthesia, not to mention appropriate monitoring equipment to engage in such high-risk procedures. By the time paramedics arrived at Jackson’s rented Holmby Hills rented home, he was non-responsive, transferred via ambulance to the ER at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Two-and-a-half hours later, Jackson was pronounced dead by emergency medical personnel. No one knew then what the coroner would find Aug. 28 that Jackson died of “acute Propofol intoxication”, not a rumored “heart attack.” Following Jackson’s death, Dr. Murray went missing before eventually found by the LAPD.

Murray denied doing anything improper that resulted in Jackson’s death. His Propofol insomnia machine defined gross negligence by a licensed physician, creating his own dangerous procedure for treating Jackson’s insomnia. Since the coroner’s finding with respect to Jackson’s cause of death, the defense has been angling for some plausible deniability. “They don’t want to say it, but that’s the direction in which they are going,” said Walgren, referring to the defense’s tactic of blaming the overdose on Jackson. Coroner officials found 150 mg of Propofol in Jackson’s blood, over five-times the dose Murray admitted to administering. Accounting for the difference, prosecutors expect Murray’s defense attorney J. Michael Flannagan to argue that, unbeknownst to Murray, Jackson injected himself with the Propofol causing his own death. Flanagan points to two Propoful-filled syringes found the scene.

Diverting attention away from Murray’s gross negligence, Flannagan hopes to eventually create reasonable doubt in jurors’ minds. Propofol keeps patients unconscious as long as it’s maintained at a certain bloodstream level. Flannagan hopes that jurors believe that Jackson awakened on his own, groped for a syringe and injected himself out of desperation. On Jan. 4, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to bind Murray over for trial on charges of “involuntary manslaughter.” Given that a Propofol drip falls out the usual and customary treatment for insomnia and given that Murray lacked the training or certification to administer short-acting anesthesia, his treatment defines gross negligence needed for “voluntary manslaughter.” Pastor should find plenty of cause to try Murray for “involuntary manslaughter.”

When the coroner revealed a 150 mg lethal dose of Propofol, the defense could no longer claim trace amounts of benzodiazapines found in Jackson’s blood contributed to the 50-year-old pop singer’s death. Because the 150 mg of Propofol was all that was needed for death, the defense now had to blame to lethal dose on someone other that Dr. Murray. Flannagan must convince a jury that Jackson administered the lethal dose to himself. While Murray admitted to police he administered only 25 mg, he believes it’s credible to blame Jackson for the additional product. Whatever Propofol-filled syringes were found at the scene, it doesn’t mean that Jackson took his treatment into his own hands. While the defense can’t make any outrageous allegation, it’s incredulous that Jackson would overdose himself. Jurors will have to decide what sounds more plausible: Overdose by the doctor or Jackson himself.

Whatever happened in the early morning of June 25, 2009, it’s a known fact that Dr. Conrad Murray, without proper training or certification, engaged in gross negligence administering a risky form of anesthesia to treat Jackson’s insomnia. Quibbling over who administered the lethal injection, jurors must ferret out first Murray’s credibility after administering a highly suspect insomnia treatment. While experiments do go awry, the California Medical Board hasn’t taken lightly Murray’s dangerous and negligent insomnia treatment. Arguing after the fact that he only injected Jackson with 25 mg can’t hide his gross negligence in devising such a high-risk procedure. Focusing on the milligram dosage that killed Jackson diverts attention away from Murray’s gross negligence. What killed Jackson was an arrogant physician playing with anesthesia without proper training, experience or certification.

[John M. Curtis, American journalist, editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma; source: www.examiner.com]


“The Michael Jackson trial was unique. More accredited media covered these proceedings than the O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson trials combined. When the verdicts were reached, people in every capital around the world were riveted to their radios, computers and televisions. The "King of Pop" was more popular than anyone, including Elvis Presley.

Jay Leno, Chris Tucker, Macaulay Culkin, George Lopez and lesser-known celebrities testified. Larry King testified outside the presence of the jury. The trial lasted five months with more than 140 witnesses appearing. Twenty-four-hour coverage, including actors re-enacting the proceedings, emphasized the trial's popularity.

When more than 70 Santa Barbara sheriffs raided Neverland Ranch in November 2003, I was driving to Los Angeles from Northern California. I was ending a nine day vacation and ready to resume preparation for the Robert Blake murder trial, set for February 2004. My phone started ringing off the hook with frantic requests that I travel to Las Vegas and defend Michael. I refused, because I did not think I could handle the two cases at once.

After jury selection began in the Blake case, the client and I had a severe disagreement that Judge Darlene Schemp could not resolve. Mercifully, she granted my motion to withdraw. Within a short period, Michael's brother Randy called me to, again, see if I would defend his brother. I flew to Florida, where I met Jackson for the first time.

Upon arriving, I was told by Michael and Randy that they had spoken with Johnnie Cochran in the hospital. According to them, Johnnie said I was the one who could win. I knew Johnnie, but he was not a close friend. I was quite surprised that he would speak so glowingly about me.

Three weeks later, I was told that Michael wanted me and my law firm partner, Susan Yu, to defend him. I returned to Florida and firmed up the understanding. The adventure began.

When I first met Michael, he said virtually nothing. He sat at a distance and observed others field questions. I didn't know if he was intentionally being mysterious or simply observing in his own way. At that point, I had little information from which to judge whether he could possibly have committed the alleged crimes.

My retention generated enormous media coverage. One anti-Jackson reporter immediately appeared on "The Today Show" to announce that I had an African-American girlfriend and attended a black church. The lawyers I replaced did not depart gracefully. One appeared on "Good Morning America" to say he had left voluntarily because less than desirable people surrounded Michael. Certain tabloid shows, like those hosted by Geraldo Rivera and Bill O'Reilly, criticized my appearance. I assumed they were "in the pocket" of prior counsel. This was my baptism.

Initially, Michael was very inaccessible. I scoured every used bookstore and Website for books and articles about his life and character. I read all of them, sometimes twice. 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.

Much has been made about the child molestation charges. Little has been said about the other claims. 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."

These words were designed to change the atmosphere surrounding the defense and, of lesser importance, to hurl a barb at prior counsel. I had not liked the carnival atmosphere surrounding Jackson's defense lawyers. In my opinion, they repeatedly advertised their absolute delight at being in the middle of the circus. Their public statements were, to me, self-serving and amateurish. Michael and Randy Jackson were very suspicious of them. My anti-lawyer-like comments generated controversy. But, a new firm die had been cast. My Irish grandmothers smiled from the heavens!

The prosecutors had an enormous advantage. Two grand juries in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara had investigated Jackson in the early 1990s. Nobody was charged. A third grand jury indicted him in 2004.

During the interim, District Attorney Tom Sneddon had traveled to at least two countries, Australia and Canada, searching for victims. The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department had a Web site seeking information on Michael.

The trial judge wanted to waste little time. The politics surrounding the defense were horrific. Numerous lawyers, most of them mediocre at best, were constantly trying to get to Michael to undermine me. The media smelled enormous ratings and revenue in a conviction. They were like a cloud of locusts, constantly descending on any weakness they spotted or created. There were numerous efforts to discredit me. Former girlfriends called to say they had been approached for unsavory information. I received calls from alleged "journalists" promising me favors for inside information. Tabloid sensationalism was at a premium.

The trial was carnival-like. Mountains were made out of molehills. For example, Jackson hurt his back one morning and went to the hospital. I informed Judge Melville immediately. His message was firm. If Michael did not appear forthwith, bail would evaporate. I instructed him to rush to court in whatever he was wearing. His pajama bottoms became a media feast. But, they had no bearing on the trial or verdict. The jury foreman later informed me that no juror even noticed Michael's pants, or lack thereof. This case was characterized by shock, crisis and confusion.

On numerous occasions, I was summoned to Neverland to handle searches, disputes and a variety of crises. Michael seemed to always have a new "guru," adviser or lawyer who virtually guaranteed a dismissal or acquittal. It was a veritable "sea of fools." But the effort it took to handle these crises was wasted time.

The trial was characterized by contentious legal rulings. For example, the trial judge allowed the following: The prosecution was permitted to start its case by showing a scurrilous, slanted British documentary that claimed Michael was a pedophile. The prosecution claimed this was evidence of "motive."

The prosecution was permitted to introduce evidence that Jackson had settled other claims of child molestation in civil court. The actual dollar amounts were not admitted (as if anyone hadn't heard them!). It was also permitted to introduce evidence of alleged prior similar acts of child molestation. Prosecutors were permitted to introduce such evidence extending back 10 years. As icing on the cake, the court permitted them to call third-party witnesses who watched the alleged acts without any requirement that the actual alleged victims testify.

During the prosecution's rebuttal, the court permitted the prosecutors to play a police interview tape of the alleged victim. Of course, this was rank hearsay. The theory of admissibility was that I had challenged the demeanor of the alleged victim and the tape was relevant to rebut.

As a measure of fairness, Melville permitted the defense to play "outtakes" of the interview footage that were edited out of the British documentary. In these interviews, Jackson denied abusing children.

Five lawyers testified. Three were called by the prosecution and two by the defense. I have always believed that lawyers are the easiest witnesses to discredit. Throw them any measure of flattery and the seeds of arrogance are sown.

We had more good days in this trial than anyone can reasonably expect. But the public never saw how many prosecution witnesses were scorched on cross-examination. The judge imposed a gag order, which I supported. While this permitted more flexibility in court, it made the trial easily distorted by self-serving pundits.

I would often return to my duplex, turn on the TV and turn apoplectic at what was being reported. Quite often, former prosecutors in New York would wax passionately about how a witness behaved. Their theatrics were totally lacking in substance or accuracy. I thought we were winning all along. But the media reported the very opposite. And, of course, jealous, shallow legal pundits had a field day criticizing my performance. To them, God help any lawyer who engaged in unconventional trial behavior. Such hearsay merited capital punishment.

From the outset, I did everything I could to remove race from the case. I immediately removed the Nation of Islam from Jackson's public persona and asked that his father refrain from commenting on race in the media. It became clear that Michael was a person who brought all races together. Unfortunately, some of the mediocrities who surrounded him wanted to profit through racial conflict. This was a constant source of tension.

My reaction to this cauldron was stoicism and a hermit-like existence. Our team lived in condominiums far from the media hotels, restaurants and bars. I was in bed at 7:30 most evenings with a 3 a.m. start. Our staff worked all night updating witness books and performing other chores. Because they had a key to my apartment, the door would open virtually every hour with updated binders appearing miraculously on my stairwell. We lived like this for six months.

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.”

Thomas A. Mesereau Jr. is a partner in the firm of Mesereau & Yu Los Angeles. He was lead trial counsel in the trial of Michael Jackson in 2005.

[Thomas Arthur Mesereau Jr., American trial attorney and former amateur boxer; source: www.mesereauyu.com, Forum Column, Los Angeles Daily Journal]


“[…] I like song number four, without question, [from album ‘Michael’]... Yeah, I think y'all should play that, really. The reason, in part, that I talk about this song is because we all know that, when he died, there were those people who loved him so much - most of the people throughout the world, but there were those who came out talkin' craziness and talkin' just stupid stuff. Some of those people befriended him, and then after he died, come up with this stupid stuff and said "Well, you know..." and that kind of stuff... And it really bothered me. It bothered me so much that that's why I didn't want to do any interviews, because I didn't want to be part of that. But I wanted to be a part of... You know what? He, as in John Lennon, as in many of the people we lost... they were blessings to the planet. And I think a way to show him, his mother, how much we really love the blessing of his life is by just continuing to let the legacy of this man live and be strong. Because love is far bigger than hate, and it should always be that way. So I loved this song a lot. […] I'm hoping, and it sounds to me more -- far more -- like him than not. And I just think that we all have opinions, right? You know? Everybody's got an opinion, we can't stop that. Will [I AM] is a good person, and that's how he feels. I just know that that song I like. I LOVE that song! I just love it, it makes me feel that he's there. That's the spirit of how I like to remember his voice... one of the different ways -- obviously, he had many different ways of singing. So I just look at the positive. If it's going to encourage somebody, talking about love... if it's going to encourage somebody, talking about things that will maybe stop someone who wants to kill themselves, and by hearing something positive, they're inspired to live even greater and better... then let's do that. I mean, we were given the gift not to just let it die when we die. […] (Sings a brief melody snippet: Dooo-wooooh-oooooh...) Isn't it pretty? […] (Sings another brief snippet: Dooo-wooooh-oooooh...)

[Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known as Stevie Wonder – talking to KIIS-FM’s Ryan Seacrest; sources: www.kiisfm.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“Vitiligo (pronounced vit-ill-EYE-go) is a skin pigmentation disorder where the cells that make pigment (called melanocytes) are destroyed, causing white patches in different parts of the body. Often white patches also appear on the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth, as well as the eyeball's retina. Sometimes hair that is growing on areas affected by vitiligo also turns white. There are several theories about the causes of vitiligo; including inherited genes, auto-immune disease, sunburn, or even severe emotional distress. In the United States, between 1 to 2 million people have vitiligo. About half the people contract the affliction before age 20, with the remaining before age forty. Although vitiligo affects both sexes and all races, it is of course much more noticeable in people with darker skin.

The most common form of vitiligo, called the "generalized pattern" spreads quickly and occurs on both sides of the body symmetrically.

Although it is not a fatal disease, it often has debilitating psychological effects on those with the disorder. Self-confidence and self-esteem are diminished, people with vitiligo are ridiculed, and many go into self-induced seclusion. Despite his explosive and electrifying on-stage performances and award-winning mini-movie videos, it was known that Michael Jackson has always been extremely shy and sensitive; even as an adult.

Most people had not heard of vitiligo until Michael Jackson revealed he had the disease in the early 1990s. People watched with amazement as Michael's smooth caramel-colored complexion got lighter and lighter over a few years; many people accused him of "wanting to be white". Only a few people, such as Lee Thomas, a TV News anchor in Detroit, Michigan who suffers from the same affliction, understood what Michael was experiencing. Lee Thomas, a dark-skinned black man, found that his television career was being seriously affected since people were looking at his multi-toned face instead of listening to his words. Today, Thomas spends an hour or more applying special creams and dark make-up to his face before he goes on the air; he leaves his hands stark white. It has taken Thomas many years to come to grips with his disease; he has authored a book and is a national spokesman for the National Vitiligo Foundation. Thomas does not wear makeup when he is out in public away from his television job. […] Anyone who has seen Michael's videos know that often a lot more of his body is exposed when he is singing and dancing; that is part of his persona and image.”

[Pamela Hilliard Owens, known as "waterprise2" in the blogosphere, freelance writer, blogger, entrepreneur, founder of business, Writing It Right For You.); source: http://health.ezinemark.com]


“Yu Kuang is a pop music promoter and concert agent, who invited Michael Jackson to Taiwan for the Dangerous tour in 1993. He appeared visibly upset during a TV news appearance when the news of Michael Jackson's death broke last June. He expressed that he was in shock and very upset at the news of Michael's passing, and paid his tribute to Michael Jackson as one of most iconic and influential artists in the music world. A rare talent that may not happen again for generations.

During Yu's career, he was the first person to bring Western pop music to Taiwan since the 1960's. He began with radio and television and also had a music magazine. From 1982 onwards the government began to liberalise the political system, rules were gradually more relaxed in various social and culture aspects. Yu started to bring in European and American big name pop and rock bands. However, he's best remembered for bringing Michael Jackson to Taipei for the Dangerous tour in 1993, in which time, the culture climate was ready to embrace him.

Yu put in great effort to secure the opportunity of Michael Jackson coming to Taiwan for the first time. He did everything he could to meet all the requirements including sorting out a large capacity stadium, and sponsors, which convinced the agent and finally enabled the concerts to take place and be a huge success.

However, the Dangerous tour in Asia was eventful. Just after Michael kicked off the Asian leg of the tour in Bangkok on the 24th August, the first child abuse accusation against him was made public. Two performances in Thailand and Singapore had to be cancelled because Michael suffered from acute dehydration and exhaustion due to the emotional stress caused by the accusation. Though the tour was heavily insured, Yu was relieved when Michael finally landed at the airport in Taipei on 3rd September, with his friend Elizabeth Taylor who had flown out to support him. The original dates for the Dangerous tour concerts in Taipei were rescheduled for the 4th and 5th September.

Being the most iconic pop star to ever visit the country at the time, the media frenzy and coverage was (sic) unprecedented. Screaming fans surrounded Michael's hotel, calling his name and perusing him everywhere he went, hoping to get a glimpse of him. Michael's amazing super stardom and presence had made a real impression, he was back at his best in Taipei. His outstanding live performances set a new standard in the country and he certainly lived up the name 'King of Pop.' Even after the event, Michael was talked about in the media for 3 months!

After the Dangerous tour in Taipei, Michael showed his appreciation by sending Yu a copy of his favourite portrait of himself 'The Book' as a gift to thank Yu for all his effort and help. Michael came back for the History tour 3 years later in October 1996, which was then organised by another agent in Taiwan. There were two performances in Taipei, and one in Kaohsiung, which was to become Michael's final world tour.

Yu met Michael on 3 different occasions. He recalled when meeting Michael for the first time. […] 'He was very friendly with a very soft voice, like a whisper, and very shy, like a little boy.' The Michael Jackson he knew was simple, pure and had a childlike innocence, but on stage Michael was a super star. He remembered that Michael especially requested the 'King of Pop' title had to be included on the promotional posters, clearly showing that Michael was very confident that he was definitely the 'King of Pop!' Yu remember bringing some children to meet Michael after he expressed his wish to meet some local children. With the children Michael has a 'natural, heartfelt joy that came from within', said Yu.

Yu even met with Michael's family, when his parents and brothers flew out to Taiwan to offer support due to the accusation. Yu recalled how he waited in a room with Michael's Dad and brothers for 'an appointment,' which was the extent of protection from his bodyguards. To Yu, loneliness seemed to play a prominent part in Michael's life.

After Michael's sudden death, Yu's biggest regret was that he was not able to help Michael tour China, Yu felt he had let Michael down. Michael had briefly visited mainland China and Hong Kong as a tourist during the Bad Tour back in the late 80's, he was fascinated by the culture and people. According to Yu, Michael had very strong desire to perform in China, during his 93' Dangerous tour in Taiwan, Michael had personally asked for Yu's assistance to help him achieve this ambition. When Michael returned to Taiwan 3 years later for the History tour, he arranged to meet with Yu, again raising the proposal of going into China, and even signed contract with Yu as a indefinite priority agent to co-ordinate his future performance in China.

In fact, according to insiders, there was a Chinese mainland company in close contact with the Dangerous tour organiser. Beijing was going to be one of the stops along side Taipei, (even Hong Kong was on the list but was later cancelled, the reasons may have been because of not having a big enough stadium, or the noise concern by local residents) in the end, the Beijing tour did not happen. It was in a different time and there was lots of speculation as to why, but one reason known to Yu was that after the relevant authority had seen Michael's music video and material that he had forwarded to them, the response was that they didn't think that one of Michael's dance routines (grabbing his crouch) was in line with Chinese custom. Yu exclusively told the Chinese Nanfang Daily reporter during a interview.

Since the announcement of Michael's O2 'This Is It' concert, Yu had been in talks with a Chinese concert agent that intended to bring the show to the mainland. Yu suggested to wait until the end of the London concerts before pursuing it further. Yu never thought Michael would pass away so suddenly, the Chinese tour would sadly never become a reality for Michael. Taiwan turned out to be the only Chinese country and region that Michael had performed in. Millions of mainland Chinese fans regretfully will never see the King of Pop live in concert on Chinese soil.

Rest in peace, forever the King of Pop!”

[Sources: Taiwan CTI News, Taiwan Liberty Times. Chinese Nanfang Daily, http://mjmemoriestaiwan.blogspot.com, http://www.mj-777.com/]

 

“I love you with all my heart and I know how much you miss Michael . […] Thank you for standing by our side during this difficult time for our family. It's hard to relive June 25th, the day we lost Michael.

 

“It's been an emotional week for my entire family, but it seems like we're a step closer to justice. Thank you fans for your everlasting love.”

[Sigmund Esco ‘Jackie’ Jackson; source: http://twitter.com/jackiejackson5]


“Among the less scrupulous red-top reporters on both sides of the Atlantic, there's an old adage; 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story'.

I can't think of a recent story which has embodied that philosophy more than TMZ's supposed scoop yesterday, accusing Michael Jackson of pressuring a dentist into putting his youngest son Prince Michael II (AKA Blanket) to sleep with anesthetic.

'MJ Pushed Dr. To Improperly Give Son Anesthesia', read TMZ's headline. Shocking indeed. Certainly more shocking than 'MJ's Son Went To The Dentist Two And A Half Years Ago', which would have been a far more accurate assessment of the situation -- for while TMZ accused Jackson of 'subjecting one of his children to risky medical treatment', the truth was far more banal.

At the heart of this story is the allegation that in July 2008, Dr Mark Tadrissi performed oral surgery on two occasions, once on Jackson and once on his son Blanket, which required the use of anesthetic. The snag? Dr Tadrissi didn't have a permit to use general anesthetic in his office, but called in an anesthesiologist anyway and went ahead with the surgeries. Dr Tadrissi was investigated over his actions in 2009 and sanctioned by the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners in 2010.

The TMZ article appears to have been written with two specific intentions; the first, to suggest that Jackson was reckless when it came to drugs -- particularly anesthetic, an overdose of which caused his death in June 2009 -- and the second, to suggest that he was a bad father, ordering his then six-year-old child to undergo a procedure involving the 'risky' use of general anesthetic. In actuality, the facts and evidence demonstrate neither point.

Describing the use of anesthetic on a child during oral surgery as a 'risky medical treatment' is utterly inaccurate and entirely irresponsible. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's (AAPD) website, "General anesthesia can be helpful for children requiring significant surgical procedures." Jackson's son required two hours of dental surgery. The AAPD website also states that, "general anesthetic can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately-trained individual in an appropriately-equipped facility." This brings me neatly to my next point.

According to TMZ's own version of events, which purports to be taken from internal documents, Dr Tadrissi told Jackson he wasn't able to administer anesthetic – so Jackson instructed the doctor to bring in a qualified anesthesiologist.

According to a legal document obtained by SawfNews.com -- a Stipulation Agreement filed by the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners in March 2010 -- Dr Tadrissi did exactly that, hiring a 'Nevada licensed anesthesiologist' to administer anesthetic during Jackson's own surgery. His son's surgery is not mentioned in the Stipulation Agreement, but there is no evidence to suggest that Dr Tadrissi's actions differed when treating the boy.

This confirmation that Dr Tadrissi hired a licensed anesthesiologist renders some segments of TMZ's article entirely fictitious, not least it's incredibly misleading headline, 'MJ Pushed Dr. To Improperly Give Son Anesthesia'. The anesthetic wasn't given by the doctor and it wasn't given improperly. Moreover, Jackson didn't push the doctor to administer anything. By TMZ's own admission, Jackson specifically asked for a professional anesthesiologist.

The article's first line is also fictitious, stating that, "Michael Jackson subjected one of his children to the same risky medical treatment that eventually killed him." Jackson died in his home after his personal doctor -- not a qualified anesthesiologist – self-confessedly administered anesthetic unnecessarily and did so without any of the necessary accompanying equipment. Conversely, in 2008, Jackson allowed a licensed anesthesiologist to sedate his son using the correct equipment in a dentist's clinic for necessary surgery. The situations aren't remotely comparable.

Once you strip TMZ's scoop of its inaccuracy and hyperbole, here's what you're left with; in 2008, Michael Jackson took his son to a dentist, who told Jackson that his son required a two-hour-long surgical procedure and would need to be anesthetized. Jackson asked the dentist to hire a licensed anesthesiologist. The dentist complied. The boy was sedated under the correct circumstances and monitored by a professional throughout his surgery. In other words, Jackson behaved like any other parent, allowing his child to undergo necessary medical treatment but first ensuring that it was to be done properly.

By wrongly accusing Jackson of 'pushing' and 'cajoling' the dentist into conducting a 'risky medical treatment', TMZ implies that the dentist's care was somehow substandard or dangerous. This is untrue. Dr Tadrissi did not stand accused of endangering his patients, giving substandard care or any other form of incompetence. He simply allowed a licensed anesthesiologist to sedate a patient in his clinic without the correct permit.

So for all TMZ's sensationalism -- which would have you believe that Dr Tadrissi is some sort of Dr Feelgood, dishing out anesthetic like lollipops -- his only real mistake was one akin to selling a few bottles of Wild Turkey out of one's garage without first acquiring a liquor license. Aside from covering the cost of the investigation ($2750), Tadrissi was simply required to complete eight hours of education (four on ethics, four on record keeping) and take a jurisprudence exam.

Through misleading and at times wholly inaccurate wording, TMZ has spun a bureaucratic misdemeanor into an exaggerated tale of medical malpractice and maniacally irresponsible parenting. The timing is suspicious; Dr Conrad Murray has just been ordered to stand trial for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson and the media's coverage of both the singer and his physician could significantly impact potential jurors' views on the star's death between now and the trial. By twisting the facts in order to portray Jackson as a deranged diva who demanded the 'risky' use of anesthetic on himself and his six-year-old son, TMZ paints a picture of a man who could very easily have bullied his physician into giving him anesthetic or even have administered it to himself.

TMZ's sensationalistic story about Jackson's trips to the dentist is especially irresponsible given that the website is now seen by many as a go-to spot for news on the star. Ever since the site was the first media outlet in the world to break the news of Jackson's death (although many fans have labeled this a fluke, claiming that the site announced Jackson's death long before it was even called at the hospital) the website has achieved a level of popularity, recognition and perceived credibility which it had never before seen. Already, dozens of other websites have replicated TMZ's story and many more will almost certainly follow suit. In an industry plagued by 'copy and paste' journalism, TMZ should take more care to ensure that its journalism is both fair and accurate. Neither can be said for yesterday's story.”

[Charles Thomspon, British journalist; source: ww.sawfnews.com]

 

“The first time I met Michael Jackson was backstage at The Forum in Los Angeles in early July 1980. He was at the QUEEN show that evening and came to see the band afterwards. He spent time with John Deacon and they talked about ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ which Michael says must be a single. He also spent time with Freddie. He was 22 years old and was like an excited teenager. He had really enjoyed the show and was still ‘up’ from it.

The next time was a couple of years later when Freddie had been invited to Michael’s house in Encino, just north of Hollywood. We arrived at the house, having passed a security tower at the gate. We got out of the car at a mock Tudor mansion, bricks at the lower level, and white stucco and wooden beams above. Michael came to greet us with a big smile, obviously proud of his house. Before we could go in, he insisted we accompany him on a tour of the grounds. I will never forget Freddie Mercury walking through mud, wearing white jeans and white tennis shoes, talking to llamas! We were shown all the animals and taken down to a pond where Michael had swans. Michael had a real love for these animals and birds; they were part of ‘his family’, as Freddie’s friends were part of his.

Michael took us into the house. I don’t know how many rooms there were in it. I do know that Michael lived there with his mother, Katherine, his two sisters, Latoya and Janet, and there were rooms for guests should anybody stay over. As we entered Michael’s bedroom, I was struck by three things, that gave an insight to Michael.. All around the room, on the floor were his gold and platinum awards for ‘Thriller’. They obviously meant a lot to him, he kept them close, but he didn’t need to show them to the world, he didn’t need to show everybody how good he was. The second thing was the large terrarium along one wall containing his snake. Much had been made in the press about this favourite creature, and he was in Michaels’s room, but under heavy planks of wood kept in place with many bricks. He may have been a ‘friend’, but kept very securely. Third and last was- in the middle of the room was a king-size mattress on the floor.

Freddie asked Michael “Where is the bed? You have enough money to buy one!” Michael’s reply “When I sleep, I like to sleep close to the earth”.

“But we are up on the first floor!” retorted Freddie.

We were shown through many rooms including a film room which had a vast library of films where I watched one, while Freddie and Michael worked, joined by Janet. Another wonderful situation was when Freddie was in the toilet, Michael took me to his video games room and we played the early version of table tennis. There were two players, one black and the other white. We started playing and Michael was the one who pointed out that we were playing the opposite colours – “I’m playing the white and you’re playing the black!”

On the way to the studio at the back of the ground floor, we were taken through the kitchen where we were introduced to Katherine, Michael’s mother. She was very kind and hospitable. When Freddie asked for an ashtray, she produced a jam jar lid, as no one in the house smoked!

The work comprised of a Michael track, ‘State of Shock’, which only needed another vocal, which Freddie happily provided. When they had finished it really only needed mixing, but sadly after this session time was the enemy and Freddie and Michael never had free time together, so Michael got Mick Jagger to put his vocal on this and it was released in this form.

The next was a Freddie piece he was just working on at this time. There was a piano tune and Freddie had come up with a few words. Freddie sat at the piano and let Michael try the singing. Where there were no words written Freddie told Michael to ad-lib, which he did with words about love.

Michael then ordered in some food for us all. There were these large platters of cold meats, salads, bread, and fruit. We started in, but Michael wouldn’t touch any as he was a strict vegetarian at the time and would only have food made by his mother.

Work was started on a third track with a working title ‘Victory’. There was only one technician in the studio. There were no instruments set up and no musicians. Freddie and Michael worked in much the same way. At the start of a track they need a drum track to keep the beat, and then they add music and instruments to this. Michael had a clever idea for the bass drum beat. He and Freddie were in the control room with the technician and I spent 5 minutes banging a toilet door in perfect time!! Somewhere in Michael’s vaults there is a tape of me!!

The studio was a place of work for both Freddie and Michael, but watching them you could also imagine two children in a play room. Both of them would throw their hands in the air and burst out laughing when either of them made a mistake, but it really was a serious business too. Thinking back now to this time watching these two masters of their craft were together in one place putting this music together, gives me goose bumps.

Who was Michael Jackson for me? I met a beautiful young man. He and Freddie had much in common. He was confident, and already an incredible musician and performer. He was a resourceful technician and a considerate human being. He never once treated me any differently than he did Freddie. He thought of others in situations even though it might have had nothing to do with him. In the few conversations I had with him, I got the impression that he had few friends. He was working almost all of the time and had many professional connexions (sic) and associates. Maybe he was already a bit lonely, having to have so much security at that early age, and having to resort to bringing indoors the entertainment anyone else his age could go out for. He was only 3 years younger than me, but still hadn’t grown up! He still wanted so many of the simple things in life to bring him happiness, but did find some peace with his animals.”

[Peter Freestone, Freddy mercury’s personal assistant and friend; source: http://montreuxmusic.com]


“On the night of June 25th, when I was on my nightly mile-long 1 am walk that loops me up to Prospect Park then takes me back to my brownstone, I passed a pair of 18 year olds sitting on a stoop at this lonely hour when the streets and sidewalks are usually utterly devoid of human beings. The guy had long dark black curly hair and the girl had a short, blond haircut and was wearing shorts. The male said something to me as I passed. I walked back, took off my headphones, and asked him to repeat it. He said, “Michael Jackson is dead.”

I asked him why he said that to me. I wondered if he knew me from the Tea Lounge on Union Street, where I do my writing, or from the streets and if he knew my Michael Jackson connection. No, he didn’t. He was telling it to everyone. He wanted no one to ignore it.

He was particularly emphatic about making sure that no one over the age of 30 pass it by or dismiss it. Michael Jackson’s death, he felt, was a loss to all of us, whether we realized it or not.

How did I get involved with Michael and his brothers?

It was Spring of 1983 and the Jacksons were getting together to go on the road for their Victory Tour. They were getting the whole family together for this tour, including their dad, who had originally managed the rise of the Jackson Five to the top. Their manager for the Victory Tour called me over and over again for four months, asking me to work with the Jacksons. I kept saying no. At this point I’d helped Amnesty International establish itself in North America, had worked with Simon and Garfunkel when they’d reunited for an audience of half a million in a free concert in Central Park, then when they’d gone out on tour, and I had done Queen’s massive tour of 110,000 seat soccer stadiums in South America.

But I liked to do crusades – to fight for truths others didn’t see. The Jackson’s tour didn’t feel like a challenge. It already had it made. Michael had just sold 36 million copies of just one album – Thriller. That’s nearly three times as many as the previous record holder, Peter Frampton. I didn’t feel The Jacksons needed me. So I continued to turn them down. But I felt that if you’re going to say no to someone, at least you should have the courage to say it to their face. So when the Jacksons came into New York and asked me to meet with them at the Helmsley Palace hotel, I had to do it. Even though the meeting was at midnight on a Saturday night, and I worked from 9 am until I dropped during the weekends.

The minute I walked into the suite the Jacksons had set up for meetings, two things were obvious. One … from the body language of these brothers you could tell that The Jacksons were some of the most honest, ethical, open people you would ever meet. Two: They were in very big trouble. They didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what it was. But what I did know was this: here was a challenge. There was a wrong to be righted. An invisible wrong. A wrong all of us could feel, but none of us could name. I had to say yes.

My first meeting with Michael didn’t come until four months later. I was with Michael’s brothers at Marlon’s pool house in Encino – a tiny two-story building with one room per floor in the back yard next to Marlon’s pool. By then, I’d done my homework. I’d read thousands of articles on Michael. I’d compiled a dossier on the Jackson’s lives. One thing all the articles agreed on was this: Michael was not a normal human being. The articles called him a bubble baby, described him as a person who would shrink from your touch.

But the fact is that neither Michael nor I had been raised in a conventionally normal childhood; neither of us had been raised among other kids. So I didn’t know the common rituals of normal life. I had to teach myself by watching other people as if they were specimens and I was a visitor from Mars. One of the rituals I’d seen was the handshake between strangers. You know, you see someone you’ve never met before but who others want you to meet. You walk up to him or her, you stick out your hand, and you say, “Hello, my name is ______.” This was a ritual I’d almost never used. But when Michael opened the pool house’s screen door, I walked up to him stuck out my hand and said “Hi, I’m Howard.”

I knew what would happen. The articles had explained it. Michael would recoil from my touch. But that’s not what occurred. Michael put out his hand, shook mine, and replied “Hi, I’m Michael.” It was as normal and as natural as could be. The media stories were false. But thousands of press people had parroted them as truths. Something strange was happening in Michael’s noosphere – in the sphere of press perception we are handed as reality. […]

A few minutes later, Michael and I climbed the cramped stairs to the tiny room upstairs where Marlon kept his recording equipment. I’d written a press release and I wanted Michael’s approval. We found places to sit on the stacks of amps and keyboards. I read the press release out loud. And as I did, Michael’s body softened. “That’s beautiful,” he said when I was finished, “Did you write that?” The fact was, I had. And the fact was that writing press releases was not just a hack job for me, it was an art. I’d edited a literary magazine that had won two National Academy of Poets prizes. And in the decades since, the Washington Post has called the writing in my books “beautiful.” But no one else had ever seen the art hidden in the craft and the creativity hidden in the ordinary. Michael apparently had. Once Michael had approved of the press release, we went back downstairs to the small single room on the first floor. Against the walls and lining the room were arcade videogame machines, machines only amusement arcades could afford in those days. And in the center of the room, hogging up most of the space, was a billiard table. The Jacksons were scheduled to have a meeting with an art director from CBS, so the group could decide on the Victory Tour album cover. They wanted me to be in on it.

When the art director arrived, she bore the portfolios of five artists, portfolios she stacked at one end of the pool table’s green felt playing surface. These were not just the black vinyl portfolios most commercial artists use to display their work. Every one of these was a custom-made presentation case made of hand-tooled leather or rich cherry wood. And every one was from a legendary artist, an artist at the very top of his field.

We were all bunched together on the opposite side of the pool table from the art director. Michael was in the center. I stood next to him on his left. And the brothers were crowded around us on either side. The CBS art director slid the first of the portfolios toward Michael. He opened the first page, slowly … just enough to see perhaps an inch of the image. As he took in the artwork, his knees began to buckle, his elbows bent, and all he could say was “Oooohhhhh.” A soft, orgasmic “ooooh.” In that one syllable and in his body language, you could feel what he was seeing.

Do you know the poem by William Blake –

“To see a World in a grain of sand,

And a Heaven in a wild flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,

And Eternity in an hour . . .”

The intense ambition of that poem, the intense desire for wonder, was alive in Michael. More alive than anything of the sort I’d ever seen. Michael saw the infinite in an inch. As Michael opened the page further, inch by inch, his knees and elbows bent even more and his “Ooohs,” his sounds of aesthetic orgasm, grew even more intense. Standing elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder with him, you could feel him discovering things in the brush and inkstrokes that even the artist never saw. By the time he’d opened the full page, his body and voice expressed an ecstasy. An aesthetic epiphany. I’d never encountered anything like it. Michael felt the beauty of the page with every cell of his being.

I’ve worked with Prince, Bob Marley, Peter Gabriel, Billy Joel, and Bette Midler, some of the most talented people of our generation, and not one of them had the quality of wonder that came alive in Michael. He saw the wonder in everything. His quality of wonder was beyond anything most of us humans can conceive.

Look, above all other things I’m a scientist. Science is my religion. It’s been my religion since I was ten years old. The first two rules of science are 1) the truth at any price, including the price of your life; and 2) look at the things right under your nose as if you’ve never seen them before and then proceed from there. And that’s not just a rule of science. It’s a rule of art. And it’s a rule of life. Very few people know it. Even fewer people live it. But Michael was it, he incarnated it in every follicle of his being. 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.

I’d love to tell you the stories of how Michael made these things clear. But, again, those tales will have to wait for another day.

It seems strange to say this, but Michael will always be a part of me. No other superstar I worked with wound himself into the threads at my core the way he did. Michael opened a window to a quality of wonder unlike anything I’d ever been exposed to in my life. For that gift, I felt I owed him. I felt we all owed him. And we still do. We owe him an honest view of who he was. We will owe him that until we finally sweep away the crap of sensationalist headlines and clearly see why those who love him know more about him than any expert or journalist who claims to have probed his life. Those journalists and experts do not know Michael Jackson. But if you love him, there’s a good chance that you do.

Good Bye, Michael.”

[Howard Bloom, former publicist, author; sources: http://thehappiestmedium.com, www.mj-777.com]

 

 

“I am not buying [Dr. Murray’s] story at all. I think he's guilty. I think he acted in a reckless, irresponsible way that caused Michael Jackson's death. […] I'm not surprised because the defense did not really tip their hand at the preliminary hearing. They asked very few questions. They didn't call any witnesses. I have to assume they have experts and witnesses ready to go they think will be helpful to them. […] They have to come up with something. The evidence is damning. I think if they are going to throw ideas out to create reasonable doubt, I don't think it will work. […] Every doctor I have talked to is shocked that Propofol was in the home. They are also shocked that a cardiologist was using it in the home and they are even shocked that the proper equipment and proper assistance was not there. Clearly he was trying to stay involved with Michael Jackson at almost any cost and he wanted to embark on this big tour. He thought it would be a great moment for him and it backfired. I think he acted horribly. […] It's not a charge of first or second-degree murder. I have heard that there was tremendous debate in the Los Angeles county district attorney's office over whether to charge second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter won out. It's easier to prove. I think they have already got the evidence to prove it and I think they will. […] [As a defense attorney,] I think [the doctor]'s going to have to get on to explain why Propofol was in the home and why he did what he did. […]”

[Thomas Arthur Mesereau, American trial defense attorney, on Today Show; source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com]

“Brace yourself. It's starting again. The stage has been set for another legal drama featuring the King of Pop. Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's personal physician, was arraigned on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles Superior Court. Stating, "Your honor, I am an innocent man," Murray pled (sic) not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the star's death. Jury selection for his trial is set to commence on March 28. If convicted, the maligned doctor could face a maximum of up to four years in prison.

Can anyone bear to watch Michael Jackson be dissected yet again in the court of public opinion? Fortunately, unlike the child molestation cases, there are socially prescient issues that will be addressed by a Dr. Conrad Murray trial. Issues that have the potential to generate useful policy discourse.

Michael Jackson will now be presented by the prosecution as the victim rather than the victimizer. This trial will unfold without the star ever having to personally defend his actions or perceived predilections. Instead, the focus will be on Dr. Murray, the man who was privy to Jackson's exclusive daily life leading up to precise moments of his death. Murray's attorneys will need to explain what exactly happened on June 25, 2009. Why did Michael Jackson die and who was responsible? The tables have turned, not out of vengeance brought by "crazy" Jackson fans, but by the law seeking truth where injustice has occurred.

Confident and seeking a speedy trial, Dr. Murray's defense team has already begun to draw their Michael Jackson portrait. Predictably, they will argue that he was a demanding, drug dependent pop star who was sick, suicidal and ultimately responsible for his own fate. Inevitably, certain media outlets will jump on this characterization with stories that blur the line between honest journalism and tabloid sensationalism. Of course, some will argue that every human being, including Jackson, should be held accountable for their personal decisions, actions and even their own death. But come on now! Let's not fool ourselves into believing that mantra is really the crux of this debacle.
While there are many actors in this story, the Michael Jackson tragedy is foremost a tale of the abysmal ethical choices, disastrous professional judgment and horrendous medical practices of a trusted caretaker. Dr. Conrad Murray exploited loopholes in the system, turned a blind eye, became sloppy, tried to cover up his mistakes and then got caught. It certainly could have ended differently.

Giving Murray the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he was working in the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong man. The cash and Hollywood allure though were too seductive for him to resist. Dr. Murray's reputation, livelihood and career now hang in abeyance. Even if acquitted, what he will have sorely learned is that when playing carelessly with a raging fire, you are guaranteed to get scorched.

Hired in 2009 by concert promoters AEG to serve as Michael Jackson's personal physician, Murray was paid the exorbitant sum of $150,000 a month for his position. He was charged with caring for the star and ensuring that Jackson was healthy enough to attend rigorous rehearsals as he prepared for a comeback tour. That spring, Murray promptly closed his Houston and Las Vegas medical practices and moved to Los Angeles to care for the music legend on a full-time basis at his rented Holmby Hills mansion. What eventually developed turned out to be a highly destructive patient-physician relationship.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office determined that Michael Jackson died of acute propofol poisoning. A powerful surgical anesthetic which is only to be administered in a hospital, propofol was being given to Jackson in his home as a sleep aid to combat chronic insomnia. Dr. Murray has claimed that he was unaware of Jackson's propofol use prior to accepting his post and that he eventually became concerned the star was becoming addicted to the drug.

Despite glaring red flags and against his sound professional judgment, Murray continued to administer propofol to Jackson regularly during the two months leading up to and on the day of his death. He allegedly left Jackson unattended under the influence of the drug on that fateful morning, failed to properly resuscitate the star when he stopped breathing and then delayed calling 911, all while seeking to hide evidence. When help finally arrived, Murray did not inform medics that he had ever given Jackson propofol. Negligence?

According to witness testimony from Murray's preliminary hearing, the doctor also crossed clear ethical boundaries on a number of occasions during the time period when he was caring for the star. Such testimony revealed that Murray employed tactics of blatant misrepresentation to obtain excessive amounts of propofol and other sedatives from a Las Vegas pharmacy for Michael Jackson's use. Large quantities of these drugs were later found in Jackson's home after his death. Fraud?

If Dr. Murray believed that Michael Jackson was becoming an addict, why did he continue to administer potentially harmful and addictive drugs? If Dr. Murray was so concerned for Jackson's welfare, why didn't he proactively seek help from family members or handlers to stage an intervention on the star's behalf? Why didn't Dr. Murray just remove himself as Michael Jackson's physician? Whether or not Jackson demanded propofol, his "milk," is irrelevant in this case. Dr. Conrad Murray, a medical professional once licensed in three states, should have never given the drug to Michael Jackson.
The question of whether Murray was negligent in administering propofol to the pop icon will be the central legal issue in this case. However, this saga extends far beyond the universe of esoteric drug names, technical medical evidence and narrow interpretations of law. At its heart, it is a morality play ripe with classic, Shakespearean themes. The opiates of money and power, combined with the lust for celebrity and fame, drove a once respected member of the medical community to breach his responsibilities to his patient, his profession and ultimately to society. How did this happen?

Getting to the nut of the Dr. Conrad Murray case is going to be a dizzying affair. Enduring it, though, will possibly unearth a precedential jewel. Guilty or not guilty, it is highly questionable whether emotional justice will ever be served to the millions who seek it.

What can be the certain outcome of a Dr. Murray trial is that the legal system, the medical establishment and the public will begin to address some pressing policy questions. What are the acceptable parameters of the private patient-physician relationship? How can the fraudulent trafficking of potentially lethal pharmaceutical drugs be stopped? Through what institutional mechanisms can proper standards of medical professional ethics and practice be effectively enforced? Michael Jackson would undoubtedly want an element of humanity and positive social change to come from this imperfect storm. That is its simple potential.”

[Matt Semino, American attorney and legal analyst; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]

“In 2010, Michael Jackson earned $275 million — more than Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Jay-Z combined — despite the fact that he was no longer alive.

Though much of that total can be attributed to the swell of nostalgia that boosted sales of all things Michael in the months following the King of Pop’s death, a sizable part is the product of his underrated business acumen.

[…] Piling up stacks of [money] — and finding unusual ways to ensure that more would follow — was one of his many talents.

Perhaps the best move of Jackson’s financial career was one that had nothing to do with his own music. In 1985, he shelled out $47.5 million to buy a publishing catalog that included 250 Beatles songs. Ten years later, Sony paid Jackson $90 million for half the rights, forming a joint venture called Sony/ATV.

Today, the Jackson estate and Sony share ownership of the catalog, which now boasts half a million songs including titles by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Eminem and other artists. Insiders place the catalog’s value somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion, based on estimated proceeds of $50 million to $100 million per year. The estimate marks a 3,000% increase in value from the catalog’s initial purchase price — better than the 1,650% return on Class A shares of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway since 1990.

“You’re talking about the greatest catalog in existence,” Ryan Schinman, chief of Platinum Rye, the world’s largest buyer of music and talent for corporations, told me shortly after Jackson’s death. “When you have that many No. 1 hits in a catalog, you almost can’t put a price on it.”

One of Jackson’s best business habits was to keep shrewd advisers around him. Perhaps the best example is superstar entertainment attorney John Branca, who negotiated many lucrative deals for Jackson and has done a remarkable job with the singer’s estate thus far. Many praise Jackson for bringing in Quincy Jones to work on Thriller, but it was Branca who scored the industry-leading royalty rate that The Gloved One enjoyed at the time (nearly $2 per album sold), allowing him to reap untold profits from what turned out to be the best-selling album of all time.

Throughout his career, Jackson also sought the advice of other shrewd businessmen, including billionaires David Geffen and Ron Burkle. The latter urged Jackson to keep his stake in the Sony/ATV catalog at all costs, even when the singer was in dire financial trouble during the 2000s. The catalog’s value today is a testament to the wisdom of both Jackson and Burkle.

Another good move: Buying the Neverland Ranch for $20 million in 1987. The property is now estimated to be worth as much as $90 million. […]

So how much of Jackson’s know-how was actually his own, and how much belonged to his advisers?

“I think it was a combination of both,” says entertainment attorney Donald David. “Predominantly, it was his own business sense … I once sat and talked to him for over an hour and he just knew the music business front to back. And he had good instincts. He had really good instincts.”

The eccentric and often absent-minded demeanor that Jackson exuded gave little indication of the mind on the inside.

“He was not the kind of person people portrayed him to be,” David explains. […] Underneath it all, he was a very intelligent, very savvy individual, one of the smartest artists I’ve ever dealt with.” […]

[Zack O'Malley Greenburg, staff writer at Forbes; source: http://blogs.forbes.com]


“Because this album (‘Michael’) is not it! [That’s why it’s not successful]. I know that all is not it ... and the public is not mistaken. […] My family did not have a say [regarding its release]. This is the record company Sony who mounted it alone. Just out of financial interest. […] They are the ones who manage the legacy of my brother. They do what they want and at the end of the year we are paid a percentage. My family and I do not enjoy the image of Michael, because we are not even consulted. […] Many people have been influenced [by Michael] and have been successful with that, but there is only one Michael. […] [Michael’s children are doing] very good. This morning I spoke to my mother who has custody. They are with my children all the time. I see them very often since they live next door to me.”

[Jermaine La Jaune Jackson, American singer, bassist, composer, a member of The Jackson 5; source: www.francesoir.fr]

"It's been a difficult time for me ever since my son passed. When I'm in that courtroom, I can't stand to look at that man [Murray]…and I go because I love my son...I just feel I have to be there. It's the same way when they was (sic) accusing him of molesting, molestation…I was there every day."

"Michael's children are good children, and he raised them out of love and understanding. I don't have a hard time with them, because they know what, how their father had them raised, and they’re very respectful and also it's a difference today. I wouldn't let (them) go into business at this early of age, like Paris wants to be an actress… and I don't think Michael would have let her. He talked about he didn't have a childhood, he wanted to be more...play more.”

[Katherine Esther Jackson, Michael Jackson’s mother, talking to ABC News' 'Good Morning America',; source: www.abcnews.go.com]

 

“The last time I met with Michael, we saw each other from across the room and he made a point of coming over to say "Hello." Instead of greeting me with something like, "Al - it's great to see you," he instead simply grinned at me and said, "By the time I get to Phoenix!"

He related to me by remembering the 18-minute song that I produced with others for Isaac Hayes' "Hot Buttered Soul" album.

Michael always had a great sense of humor and even more important, he had a great sense of love for all of his friends and family.

That, more than anything else, is what is important to remember about Michael Jackson -- The 'spirit of love' was at the forefront of all of his thoughts and of everything he did.

In order to understand Michael Jackson, we must examine not just what he said, but what he did. When we do that, we see that it all was about love. While on earth, that 'spirit of love' manifested itself through him and influenced how he dealt with people, whether it was adults, children, musicians, producers, business associates, family, or friends.

Of course, because he arguably was the greatest entertainer of all time, he was always targeted by people who sought to bring him down to their level. I find it interesting how a person like Michael Jackson could envelope this planet with so much love while "contrary spirits" were determined to cause this man irreparable psychological and emotional distress. He did not deserve any of that, but I guess if there weren't controversy, perhaps he wouldn't have been as renowned and legendary as he is.

I personally choose to remember the positive attributes of Michael, those things we all know to be true about him. For instance, Michael was an absolutely awesome athlete, for he was an indescribable dancer. I'm sure those people who danced with him, and the choreographers who worked with him, had never seen or worked with anyone like him before - or since.

He also was a student of the arts. He studied motion pictures, including the old silent movies and the old musicals. Everything he saw, everything he studied, influenced every step of his dance routines and the totality of his creative thought processes. He studied the great singers, dancers, and musicians, and was an appreciator of virtually all genres of music. He loved jazz, opera, soul, and gospel, and was particularly fond of and inspired by some of the truly great artists of our times, including James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and the penetrating soul of Isaac Hayes and Mavis Staples.

As an artistic leader within the recorded music industry, Michael Jackson always pushed the boundaries, innovating new sounds and images that had never before been heard or seen. When he created the "Thriller" phenomenon, he sought out one of the greatest creative and artistic arrangers of all time, Quincy Jones, to help him with the music and production. Then he went to director John Landis to co-write and direct the 14-minute video. Through this collaboration, he birthed his greatest audio and video work of art. The video has consistently been called the best music video of all time.

In an interview with Brian Monroe of Ebony/Jet magazine, Michael Jackson said, "You want what you create to live - whether it's sculpture or painting or music." He quoted Michelangelo by saying, "I know the creator will go, but his work survives." That is why, Michael said, "I attempt to bind my soul to my work - that's how I feel. I give my all to my work. I want it to just live." […] 'The spirit' that existed in that carnal body we called Michael Jackson transitioned from this plane to the next. But Michael Jackson's thoughts, his soul, and his spirit still live in his music, and thereby he lives through it - still among us.”

[Alvertis Isbell, better known as Al Bell, American record producer, songwriter, and record executive; source: www.thegrio.com]

 

"His kids totally love their dad and he was extremely protective over them. Even when we were just around his staff, he was protective. [He’d go to great lengths to ensure their welfare.] We would babyproof everywhere, like really expensive suites. They would tape up every corner with cardboard and make sure the kids couldn't hurt themselves, and they were very strict on what the kids would eat to make sure they didn't have allergies. […] He was overall a good dad. […] (And) he was extremely mentally sound, very businesslike, very smart […].”

[Ian Barkley, Michael Jackson’s personal photographer; source: http://uk.eonline.com]


My grandma worked with him for, like, 25 years and she became really close friends with him. I knew he was a singer and stuff, but I think it was because he was always around that I never really thought much of it. We just became friends with him. When I was born, I was raised around him, I always saw him. I had holidays with him and stuff like that. He helped me very much. I didn’t know how big he was. It never phased me until I was 13. Then I realised how big he was. […] A lot of my music is a throwback to Prince and Vanity 6. I guess the 80s and 90’s pop music – that’s my favourite era of pop. I’ve known Michael since I was born and he supported me about my singing and has helped my family very very much. He was probably the nicest and most giving person I’ve ever known. There will never be another Michael Jackson. Ever. I was so fortunate to actually know him. He is one of the biggest inspirations of music. Rest in peace, Michael. Thank you for everything you’ve ever done.”

[Sky Ferreira, American singer, songwriter, model and actress; sources: www.bbc.co.uk, www.guardian.co.uk]


“I’ve known Michael and the Jackson family my whole life. Jermaine was married to my sister Hazel Gordy and together they have 3 children — my niece and nephews. There was a time — up until my twenties [when Mother married Arne] — that Michael and I were especially close. He was a kind and loving soul, a brilliant artist and performer. It’s still hard to believe that he is gone. We will miss him forever. […] We’re all taking it one day at a time. […] Having a 3 month old [son] makes it hard to carve out the time to get to the movie theater [to see ‘This Is It’], but I have heard that the movie is brilliant and really shows Michael as the brilliant artist and compassionate soul that he was. I can’t wait to see it.”

[Rhonda Ross Kendrick, American actress, daughter of Diana Ross; source: http://breezymama.com]


“It’s hard… (losing composure, pauses) I’ll always feel that way. I’ll always be waiting for him. […]
I remained very close with Michael for about ten years. Then after that, I continued to stay in touch with him, but not as regularly, every couple of years, and then I did actually see him a couple of weeks before he passed away. […] I was working on a show he came to see, sort of randomly… I do know that in his life he would struggle with being so well known, that was sort of a constant struggle throughout his life. But I do have to say, I spent a lot of time with Michael alone on set, he and I had a lot of scenes together and he taught me so much. He was so dedicated. We would go through – before we even shot he and I would spend sometimes like half an hour together just improving, ’cause he was so commited to it.”


"Michael was magic, pure and simple. He was a man who believed in the goodness of mankind and embodied pure unconditional love. I am so sad on so many levels. For the loss of an innovative genius and who was music and dance personified, for the loss of a man who loved the whole world and touched so many lives, but mostly, for me personally, the loss of a friend that I loved so dearly. Most people don't know about how close I was to Michael for many years following 'Moonwalker/Smooth Criminal', because I was never one to exploit that, even to this day I rarely talk about it, for that was a friendship that I honored and respected as private. I feel compelled at this time though, to speak of my amazing friend, as a witness to his life, and the gentleness of his soul.

He taught me so much, both as an actor and as a person, he continually inspired me to reach beyond my boundaries. He and I spent a great deal of time, one on one, while filming 'Moonwalker.' I remember that he told me once to never rush (an emotion), that everything in life has a rhythm, and that it is the pauses and silences that speak the truth. He understood this better than anyone, he had a way of quietly inspiring everyone around him to be better than (they) ever thought they could be. He helped so many, and inspired us all.

Michael believed in Magic, he believed that we could change the world, and he had such unconditional love that when you were around him, you couldn't help but believe it too. He is intertwined in all of who I am, I became a dancer because of him, I became an artist because he inspired me to dream, and a writer because he taught me the power of moving people through words and actions. I love you my friend, and I know you are in a better place, we were blessed to have you for as long as we did."

[Kellie Parker, American dancer, writer, actress; sources: http://lacienegasmiled.wordpress.com, www.msaagency.com]


“[…] It was in August, 1981 [when I first met him]. He was turning 23 the next day. He had a performance in Pasadena, California, and wanted to look good. At the time, I had my own salon, The Beauty Parlor, in Torrence, Calif. I put up a partition so those in the salon could not see him. […] He was very quiet. He didn't ask a lot of questions. I received "yes" and "no" answers when I asked questions. The partition was up so that he could have his privacy, although he was constantly trying to look over the partition to see who was looking at him. I was summoned by a doctor to come and assist him in evaluating the damage that had been done to Michael's hair. For a while, I traveled with him for some of his engagements. We had a little hairpiece apparatus to cover that area until it healed enough for him to be comfortable with his real hair. [The fire] burned an area in the top of [Michael's] head. […] He was a fun-loving person who treated me more or less as a friend. When I traveled with him, he made sure I would come and meet anyone who was around. The places we would go -- every dinner or performance -- he made certain that I attended with him. He wanted me to be prepared to go. He would not take me away from home and leave me in the hotel. I was well accomodated when we traveled. After the scalp burn, he had meetings in New York. I met Brooke Shields, Liza Minelli, Yul Brynner and his wife, and I was so honored to meet Jacqueline Onasis. After a year, he would call me, "Miss LottieClaudie." That was his nickname for me. Around this time, he also asked me to start doing his hair at his parents' Encino home. […] He liked to play and pity-pat around. He thought it was funny to work on me. I was doing his hair and he'd be rubbing my leg. Or there would be something crawling on me and it would be something he was doing. While I would be doing Michael's hair, Bubbles would run by in a diaper and slap me on the leg. Michael thought that was so funny. He said, "He loves you, Lottie." He thought it was funny for Bubbles to entertain me. Once in a while, Michael would grab my hand and say, "Let's swing out a little bit." We would dance. He would hum something and we would dance. […] He was very kind and nice. How do you keep yourself in the media? They don't want to hear anything good. You gotta let them say something bad and it goes on and on. That's how you keep your name out there. I wonder about some of the things I have heard and if they were really true. As I've said, when you are real good, no one wants to hear anything about you. Most people who know him personally have said the same thing. He was such a giving person. He was a fine friend. He treated me as if I was a friend to him. I respect that. […]”

[Lottie Rose, Michael Jackson’s hairdresser, interviewed by Ebony magazine; source: www.themjifc.com]


“[…] My mother was Michael Jackson's hair stylist from 1981-1994. […] Michael loved to play practical jokes. He would tell my mom that Muscles or Bubbles was around, and then would rub her leg to make her think it was one of the animals. She would hop around and scream sometimes… (it) was really, really funny! […] It was really fun! Great memories… I met M.J. when I was 11 years old… Just so happens, I was at my mom’s hair salon on a Saturday when she received a phone call from Bill Bray, M.J.’s right hand man at the time. He told my mom that M.J. liked her work (she did the hair for the soft sheen print advertisements) they called soft sheen and they referred them to her. My mom thought it was a joke until the limousine pulled up in front of the salon. She told me about M.J. at the very last minute… I couldn’t believe it and went crazy while Bill was pulling the limousine around to the back of the salon. Let me tell you… it was the best night ever for an 11 year old. Really nice guy, very friendly, and the best part was that I practically had M.J.’s attention all to myself. […] He was not shy at all. In fact, I was very shy and afraid to meet him at first because he was M.J.. However, he was very friendly and helped me to warm up to him. M.J. and I talked mostly about me and my friends, what we did for fun, where we liked to go, what it was like to go to the mall, favorite stores, amusement parks, favorite rides, going to the beach, movies and more… He would also call me at home from time to time to chat on the phone. […] I asked my mother about "the lupus" [Michael’s other skin condition] and she confirmed the condition. […]”

[Lottie Rose’s daughter; source: www.lipstickalley.com]


"Michael Jackson was music incarnate. He was the most polite 'celebrity' with whom I have ever worked. He was loving, generous, and funny. I never heard him speak a demeaning or unkind word about anyone. Ever. I sat with him when he laughed like a child, and when he cried for being persecuted by the press for being 'unusual.'

Michael literally gave me a career. He believed in me when I was a novice. He gave me opportunity after opportunity to collaborate, making history again and again. Almost every major accomplishment I have made in the entertainment industry somehow tracks back to Michael and the connections made because of our work together. As a choreographer, he shared with me cherished advice that I have lived by: 'Never force your ideas on a song. Let the music tell you what it wants to be.' […]”

[Vincent Paterson, director and choreographer; source: www.msaagency.com]


"Michael Jackson changed the world and, more personally, my life forever. He is the reason I dance, the reason I make music, and one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of human kind. He has been a close friend of mine for 20 years. His music, his movement, his personal words of inspiration and encouragement and his unconditional love will live inside of me forever. I will miss him immeasurably, but I know that he is now at peace and enchanting the heavens with a melody and a moonwalk. I love you, Michael."

[Wade Jeremy William Robson, Australian dancer, choreographer, director, producer and songwriter; source: www.msaagency.com]


“I consider Michael Jackson one of my earliest teachers. I was so lucky to be able to learn from the ultimate showman - the King of Pop himself. He taught me how to perform on a grand scale and how to create spectacular and memorable performances that touch and inspire people. No one puts on a show like Michael Jackson! His death marks the end of a fantastical life, one filled with passion and artistry. He will forever be in my heart and his influence will always be a huge part of the concert tours and productions that I direct. It is because of Michael that I do what I do. Thank you, Michael, for inspiring me and the entire world.”

[Jamie King, American actress and model; source: www.msaagency.com]


"I will never forget the first time that I met him... The most humble smile, and the biggest hands! It was an absolute honor to spend his last 3 months with him. And even though I didn't know him for very long, the things that I learned from him and the strategy with which he put together a show is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I can still hear his voice whenever anyone got frustrated: 'It's ok, this is what rehearsal is for!'"

[Tony Testa, American choreographer; source: www.msaagency.com]


“I have no words that can express the loss of Michael Jackson. He had such a significant impact on my dancing aspirations and influenced me in so many ways. He is the reason I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a dance & choreography career. I will never forget my first job in Los Angeles, which was the film 'Captain EO'. Just a year earlier I was watching 'Thriller' as a senior in high school, and 2 weeks before I moved to LA I saw the Victory Tour, then suddenly I was dancing with the biggest star on the planet. I was so thrilled and honored. His intensity, passion and dedication was remarkable. I watched everything and tried to learn as much as I could. I had the honor to work with Michael a few times through the years....and everytime it was a joyful experience, a total highlight. I remember him being kind, polite and very respectful....and I also recall when it came time to shoot for picture his explosiveness was unbelievable. His genius body of work will go down in history and will always inspire generations to come. His undeniable desire to be the best and creatively be different pushed us all. I will cherish the experience of working with him and feel blessed to have worked with such a gifted mesmerizing performer. A true legend who will be missed!"

[Barry Lather, American choreographer, actor and musician; source: www.msaagency.com]


“I was working on This Is It with Michael Jackson and we were creating a shortlist of artists we were gonna invite to appear with Michael on the show at several events and different occasions. After we had gotten to the end of the list, we had of course Janet and Diana Ross and Justin Timberlake and Usher and Missy Elliot and Teddy Riley, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and a lot of people that he loved, artists. […] I had the wonderful pleasure of working with Michael for 16 years. First, as a dancer and ultimately as his associate director and producer, as well as choreography partner for This Is It and everything that the project turned out to be, and I’m forever grateful to him for all the opportunities throughout the years… Being able to create with Michael on such a high level where you don’t run into the normal issues with budgets or excess or not being able to realize a vision. The only thing that was the deterrent was time. […] The last time I saw Michael was June 24th. The evening, we had finished rehearsal and we had completed the show, all the beats were there and we were waiting on a few sort of components that would be used for the set and things like that and we were just about to leave the following week for London for a series of rehearsals there before opening. The evening before his passing, I saw him and we had a rehearsal and he was leaving. Just in true Michael Jackson fashion, as he’s leaving, we pass each other and always it was just a regular occurrence. You pass him in the hall or you pass him walking and you say, ‘I love you.’ Most times he’ll say ‘I love you’ first. That was the exchange, always. So we did that. I said, ‘O.k., see you tomorrow’. He said, ‘O.k., see you at two o’clock’, and that was our time. We always met for This Is It and often times for other things. There was something about that time that was good and that was really it. Last thing he said to me was ‘I love you’. So, I’m grateful for that and that was the last thing I said to him. So I’ll remember that forever as one of my sort of favorite moments that was the last thing we said to each other and we meant it.”

“Michael was certainly building himself back to what he would say was getting ready for his fight. He’d liken himself to a boxer. So we were training. He was working closely with his vocal coach, he was working closely with Kenny [Ortega] and I and the production team, realizing this, and the dancers, and his trainer, his nutritionist and he was doing all those things that he usually did. […] It was a different experience because he was a father, so his time was used differently this time, but there was a structure and that he had put in place for himself. He created his own schedule and we facilitated and worked with him on every single minute that he was available and he was sort of just so happy about all of it. He was happiest when he was creating. […] He was working. He was showing up. He was doing his thing… It was an ongoing sort of a task to put this show together and he was at the helm of it all. So I just went so shocked like the rest of the world when he died. I still am in shock.”

[Travis Payne, American choreographer, director, and producer; source: www.cyinterview.com]

“Gone Too Soon.

Michael Jackson has been and always will be the most influential force in my past, present and future creative development.

Michael’s true genius, grace and humanity have influenced me in more ways than I was aware of, until I realized that we had truly lost him. The distinct honor of collaborating with Michael Jackson over these past 17 years will forever be some of my most cherished memories and mean more to me than mere words can express. It brings me great comfort knowing that I never hesitated to tell Michael how much I loved, respected, and cherished him. I shall remain eternally grateful to have known this man, and honored to have been able to call him my friend.

Speechless, That’s how he makes me feel."

[Travis Payne; source: www.msaagency.com]


“The original record (for ‘Butterflies’) I produced and wrote myself. Andre Harris co-produced it with me. I worked with Michael Jackson on the record here in New York in March 2001. Wow, it’s 10 years later and my album is going to be out. I just did the math on that. It’s crazy. [As a tribute to him, I included a remix of ‘Butterflies’ on my upcoming debut album, Late Nights & Early Mornings. […] Getting the opportunity to work with the best who ever did it, on planet Earth, period, is just a blessing. For me, it was just paying my respects. For those who don’t know, I’ve worked with him, but I knew him outside of music. I knew him as a father, as a friend. It was me paying my respects back to him and just thanking him for doing something for me so early in my career I never expected. When I came in the industry at such an early age — for me, 20, 21 — it was way early to take on as a businesswoman, and having Michael Jackson be one of the first artists that you work with as a producer and a writer... I just think that’s a blessing. […] Michael Jackson was a practical joker. He was just funny! And his laugh just made you laugh. When we were in the studio, his engineer kept calling me a singing heifer. And [Michael] would tell the engineer, ‘You know a heifer is a cow, that’s a cow.’ I’ll never forget that. So I’ll always be Michael Jackson’s singing heifer. [laughs]”

[Marsha Ambrosius, English singer, song-writer, former member of duo Floetry; sources: www.rap-up.com, www.mjfanclub.net]


“[…] I knew his manager, John McClain, and I was working on an album with my partners, Spydermann. After completing the album, it did not go as planned and we had to cancel the release. I was very upset. And then John McClain said, ‘Do not worry, Freeze. I have another project for you. I'll be in business with Michael.’ I said: ‘Michael ... who?’, and he said: ‘Michael Jackson! I did not believe it at first and I thought it was crazy. And then one day I was on the phone with my father and someone called me on the other line ... and it was Michael! That's how it all began. I had some songs and I made to Michael. He adored them! Because Michael and I, we have a very similar sound. So every time I came up with something, it was easy for him to study the song because it was as if he already knew it. I asked him about some songs and he adored them. He cherished them. That's how we met. […] I introduced him to many songs. The main songs on which we worked are "Break Of Dawn", "A Place With No Name" and "Blue Gangsta". These three songs were our priorities. "Break Of Dawn" is one of the songs that were finalized. Others have been released later. They are kept in reserve. […]”

“[The first day in the studio with him,] it was pretty scary for me! I felt like being back in primary school and not knowing anything about production! With Michael I relearned everything. The other producers and I were as students facing a teacher. With Michael, it was as if we knew nothing more about our business: we had to start over and relearn everything. He taught us to do everything the best way possible: Michael was a perfectionist and we had to start from scratch to produce music in the best possible way. I was very nervous, very nervous, but very honored! Anyway, Michael was more nervous with you, than you were with him. He was simply the most wonderful people with whom you could never dream of working together. It was great! He knew all about the music industry, everything about everything, nothing was foreign to him, and he taught me a lot. Finally, he was very humble and creative. It was really great to work with him. […] [With Break Of Dawn,] he just had to record the vocals.. and add his magic! It was like flowers and trees grew in the song! He touched it and it became magical! I was shocked! […] Yes, he loved the song! He wanted to leave it as it was! All I had done on this piece, no one had the right to change anything. Because it sounded like he had heard it the first time; we had a dream, a vision, and he wanted to recreate this dream in song to the last detail. He did not want to change anything, he wanted to keep the magic of the song absolutely intact. What you hear on Invincible is exactly the version I've given him before he raises his voice there. […] [As to the other Invincible tracks,] it was incremental work. Sometimes he recorded the lead vocals, sometimes it was just the chorus or adlib ... He also listened to the different mixes and changed some details here and there. He was in full creative process. We wanted the songs to be perfect, and, returning to my analogy to cinema, he was like a filmmaker seeking to improve his film, making evolved scripts or changing actors. This type of process was used to create this song, and overall, the (whole) Invincible album. […] Ultimately, all decisions were his. He was the boss. He was open to any criticism or suggestions benefiting the song, as it kept its effectiveness. All that interested him was to have powerful hits. […] "A Place With No Name" and "Blue Gangsta" will both be on the next album of Michael’s. "A Place With No Name" will be different from the leak on the internet, it will be updated. For "Blue Gangsta" I re-recorded the instrumental. So expect changes. […] Absolutely, it had been finalized.”

“He taught me not only to create a song correctly, but he also gave me advice on the music industry as a whole. My main feeling is that he was an absolute genius. I was fortunate to learn from one of the greatest. I try to apply his advice in the projects I’m undertaking today: I try to keep the artistic spirit of Michael Jackson alive. It's like, I graduated from college musical, "Michael Jackson". Anyway, getting back to your question, the word "feeling" is too frail. There is no word strong enough to describe what I learned and lived with the King of Pop. […] I had great fun working with him. Michael was someone who loved you to make funny jokes. He really spoke about any set, video games, etc.. Then he resumed his work, the lesson resumed.. We were amazed at his performance. It happened like that. […] We never saw him do his vocal exercises before us, but when he came into the studio to record, he stood before the microphone and set the song on fire. As he left, the studio was in ashes and our jaws on the floor. It was really impressive to see. […] He always called me “Freeze”. […] [And I called him ‘Michael’.] We were really close. In fact, to be precise, I called him by his nickname "Mike" instead of Michael. […] In his house, there were lots of video games. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and also Flight Simulator. We spent a lot of time playing them. Yes, I went to Neverland, to relax and work. We worked a lot there. He had a studio at the ranch. So he was working there and sometimes he would say: "Come on, let’s pause, Freeze! Go for a little fun, go into the projection room, go to an attraction, or walk in the zoo!" Neverland was a bit like a second home to me. […] There was a lot of professional equipment [in the studio], Pro Tools, stuff like that, you know? […] Absolutely, Michael was unbeatable when we were talking about the studio. […] He could do everything himself. You know, Michael was truly a "living instrument". He could play some chords on a keyboard, he was doing pretty good. He also knew programmed beats. […] [Michael chose not to sing the chorus for Break Of Dawn], because he liked my version of the chorus. He found it very beautiful, and he wanted to leave everything as it was. He liked my singing. […] Michael loved my singing on "Break of Dawn".”

“[…] "A Place With No Name" is itself a kind of escape, a song where you just close your eyes to find you instantly into a wonderful world. In fact, this song was inspired by "A Horse With No Name", by group America. The lyrics of this song are very deep. I wanted to refresh it, make a version of the 2000’s. […] The group America has loved the idea. They found this "update" absolutely terrific. They were really excited about this project. Compared to the extract leaked on the internet, many wonderful elements were added to the song by Michael. It's more dense, much denser. Believe me, when you hear it, you’ll jump up! […] In fact, this song is very cinematic in its form. It would have been a perfect song for a movie like Avatar, because it shows us a wonderful world, it’s strange, where people are different, but happy. This song is like an escape from everyday life, it is a song by which one is literally transported. […] The real title [for the other song] is "Blue Gangsta". When I heard this remix [by Temperamental, No Friend Of Mine], I could not believe it. Many people called me because of that and I do not understand what had happened. My concern is that I do not even know who released the song! It remains a mystery. Why did they do that? Where did this rap song come from? How did they take the song? In fact, we knew nothing about this story, nor me, nor Michael. We really did not understand where this leak came from... […] The song was not presented to the public as needed. A guy had just stolen the song, added a rap, and swung it on the net. I was not even credited for it any more than Michael! […] There's a song we made together, but I do not know if he had completed his vocal parts. It's called "Rise Above It All". […] It's an upbeat song. If you feel bad, with what's going wrong in the world, be positive and try to be as happy as possible, leaving aside all the negative things. Overcome negativity, go beyond the woes of the world, all wars, the starving children and all the bad things. Assemble yourselves, hold your hands, raise your hands to heaven and get passed through it all. It's a little theme song. I can not say whether he had recorded the song, but in any case, we worked on it. There are other songs on which they collaborated. Most of these songs are mid-tempo, but I can not say anything more. […]”

“Sometimes, he naturally created songs, and when he did hear me, I was stunned. Essentially, it was just ideas thrown here and there, depending on the emotion in which he stood. He was in the creative process and he loved it. From dusk till dawn, he created sounds, melodies, harmonies. It was quite an experience for me. I learned a lot from him. […] We recorded (songs)in several studios. Sometimes in New York, sometimes in California. We spent much time at the ranch. In fact, the choice depended mainly on where the studio was located. We went through the Hit Factory in New York, and memory "Record One" in Los Angeles. We also used the studio of John McClain and was recorded at Neverland. […] Since we started recording together, I knew that I would dedicate myself totally. I didn’t want to work with anyone other than Michael. I had promised never to work with anyone else. It was a full time job: I worked with him for years. I was in the studio with him shortly before his death. […] Actually, we talked a lot and we were about to enter the studio. To be precise, I remember going to see him at his residence in Vegas, and there was a studio there. It was just before he left. […] Nothing was recorded, we just brainstormed. We were about to start the recording sessions: one was ready and we prepared the equipment for the studio. I offered a few new songs I had written especially for him. He loved them very much, he wanted to save them […].”

“I knew that Michael was the most humble people you could meet. He was my best friend, the most beautiful meeting of my life. It's like a meeting with Captain Kirk frankly, who does not wanna meet Captain Kirk? This fictional character was cool, friendly and it was a nice guy. And Michael was a bit like that. As you can imagine, I am a true fan of Star Trek, and that's why I speak of Captain Kirk ... Meeting Michael, it was a bit like if I met Captain Kirk, it was just unbelievable. Today, there are more stars with the same aura. I was really amazed when I met him and my parents are very proud of me: not only have I managed to work with the King of Pop, but that was not limited to a mere professional relationship. I became his friend. […] I love him to death, even today. We were like brothers, very close, so yeah, to summarize, my meeting with Michael, it was as if I had become friendly with Captain Kirk! […] He was incredible, a genius. He was an angel, that’s also why his name was Michael. Yeah, he was truly an angel. [He didn’t have specific hardware demands for records], he did not care as long as it sounded good. He could write something in his notebook and save it like that, it did not bother him as long as it was a good melody or a tube power. […] [At the recording sessions, I remember] there was [Michael’s son,] Prince Michael, Brad and Mike Dean Buxer. There was also Bruce Swedien, of course. […]”

“Michael loved his fans, he loved his music and he loved making music for his fans. He liked to give love and joy to people. It was his mission. He was very dedicated and loyal. It was something he wanted to do, or that he had to do. He loved people from the depths of his soul. And when he made this music, he did it for us. […] I love them [his albums] all. With Michael Jackson, it is impossible to have a favorite song or album. However, when I was a kid, my favorite song was "Rock With You". I found it really amazing ... Yeah, it was definitely one of my favorites. […] [As for my last discussion with Michael..] We were just about to record the new album and when he heard my songs, he told me to send them out abroad as quickly as possible. He liked my new productions. This was our last discussion. He said "I love you" and voilà, it was over. .. […] The music I'm currently promoting abroad. […] He told me to take this album I created right now and sell it abroad, and that's what I’m doing. You know, he really knew something about business, so I’m following his advice. So, here is an info that I’m revealing exclusively: my album is coming soon! […] We’re considering the single release in spring of 2011. It's called "We Are The Robots".”

[Elliott Straite, best known as Dr. Freeze, American singer, songwriter and record producer; source: http://mjfrance.com, translation in English provided by www.mjjcommunity.com, http://translate.google.com, www.thesilencedtruth.com]


"[After receiving the invitation to sing at Michael’s memorial service, I thought,] why [do] they want me to sing? It just puzzled me. How am I the one to sing for it? [Later, his music director told me] ‘He was a big supporter of you and a big fan. He wanted to have you come sing [with] him overseas for his tour. [I couldn’t believe it. I said,] ‘Are you serious?’ I didn't even know the man knew I existed! [I later learned more about him appreciating my work when I performed in Dubai and London, where I spoke with some of his friends there.] They would sit and tell me stories about Michael Jackson. One of them was telling me that when I was nominated for my Oscar, [Michael] was, like, calling [him] on the phone, screaming, telling [him], 'Jennifer won!' And told me the whole spiel. It brought tears to my eyes. Like wow, I’m getting to know him, meet him through his family and friends who still live on.”

[Jennifer Kate Hudson, American recording artist, actress and spokesperson; sources: http://new.music.yahoo.com, www.mjfc.net]


“Despite efforts to smuggle pop music into North Korea, most people still have no idea who Michael Jackson is. And sometimes the biggest fans turn out to be government spies ...Michael Jackson and fan Lim Jae-Heon [meet] at a benefit concert for North Korea, held in Seoul in 1999.

During North Korea's "arduous march" of the 90’s, brought about by the collapse of the USSR and a series of natural disasters, illegal markets of smuggled goods sprang up across the country. It marked the beginning of a slow influx of outside culture still enjoyed by North Koreans today.

Charles Jenkins, a Korean war veteran who was captured and detained for 40 years, has witnessed this cultural transition. As a propaganda tool, he was kept close to the elite and – weirdly – forced to become a film star. He escaped in 2004 and now lives in Japan. When I met him in 2008, he told me the only non-Korean music he came across before the 90’s would be nationalist tomes imported from Soviet Russia. As a result, it wasn't until the mid-90s that he discovered who Michael Jackson was, when a smuggled ***** cassette tape found its way into Jenkins's hands.

Although most North Koreans are still oblivious to MJ.. today – leaving them ill-equipped to offer an opinion on the authenticity of his posthumous releases – those who are allowed to interact with foreigners consume pop music enthusiastically. These days, most students on the foreign relations course at Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung University will at some point encounter M.J., while the penetration of South Korean pop music (and TV dramas) in North Korean cities is widely reported, with both enjoying a wide following despite the act of consuming them being an imprisonable offence.

On a recent trip to Pyongyang, a guide by the name of Mr. Oh took great relish in his regular party trick of "accidentally" confusing North Korean revolutionary songs for flashy South Korean pop. "Whoops! It's North Korean after all ... what a shame, I mean South Korean is much better, just don't tell any one," he would say. We later discovered he was not a tour guide at all, but a government spy keeping an eye on the "evil" Americans in our entourage. He'd done tae kwon do at the Mass Games and is pictured in the official Pyongyang guide book. The guy was an absolute gun. The North Korean Arnold Schwarzenegger. No wonder the government let him listen to South Korean pop and wear a Paul Smith shirt.”

[Alex Hoban, American writer, blogger; source: www.guardian.co.uk]


“News media accounts that Michael Jackson was "debt-ridden", without providing further explanation, gave the impression that the King of Pop's financial situation was something the general public could identify with or readily understand.

But far from it. Jackson's so-called "massive debt" was something that hardly any of us will ever be fortunate enough to experience. I dare say most in the general public have never heard of Jackson's category of indebtedness, better known by some as "acquisition debt".

Acquisition debt involves multi-million dollar purchases of ventures where a significant percentage of the purchase price is financed through "leverage" borrowing. The assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed capital.

When Northern Songs - a music catalog holding thousand of songs, including the Beatles' back catalog - was put up for sale, Jackson took immediate interest in the catalog. He was warned that he would face strong competition. "I don't care. I want those songs," Jackson said to his entertainment attorney John G Branca. "Get me those songs, Branca."

Jackson eventually beat the rest of the competition, including Paul McCartney, in negotiations for the Northern Songs catalog, which lasted 10 months. He eventually purchased the catalog for $47.5 million.

Jackson used equity in his own catalog, MIJAC, along with the acquired assets from Northern Songs for loan qualification, with the newly acquired assets structured for equity to flow towards servicing the debt.

In 1995, Jackson merged his Northern Songs catalog with Sony's publishing division creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. This deal gave Jackson half ownership in Northern Songs as well as half ownership in Sony/ATV. It also included distribution rights to thousands of more songs. With the merger, Sony/ATV became the third largest music publishing venture in the world. Both Jackson and the Sony people were equal partners and vowed to become the world's largest catalog.

Late in 2001, Jackson and Sony acquired Tony Martin's Baby Mae Music catalog of 600 songs.

In July 2002, they bought country music publisher Acuff-Rose for $157 million. The venture included publishing rights to 55,000 songs.

And in November 2007, Jackson and Sony bought Famous Music LLC from Viacom. This deal gave the King of Pop rights to songs by Eminem (a C-rated entertainer who once made light of him), Shakira and Beck, among others. The venture included the assumption of a $30 million debt. They purchased the business for $370 million.

Bottom line. If Jackson was debt ridden, it makes more sense to believe his indebtedness of "$500,000,000" resulted from acquiring multi-million dollar ventures, and not, as media myth makers would have it, "lavish spending." “

[Larry Carter, American Old School scholar, life-long follower and admirer of Michael Jackson; sources: http://ezinearticles.com, http://themjplace.com]


The central issues in the involuntar­y manslaught­er case are clear and simple:

1) patient abandonmen­t, 2) concealmen­t of evidence, & 3) misreprese­ntation to the paramedics­.

Murray's conduct was morally equivalent to a hit and run driver; i.e. a blatant attempt to escape personal responsibi­lity for his actions.

The potential issues of how much propofol or who gave it are nothing more than defense attorney tactics to create 'reasonabl­e doubt.'

However, no amount of tactics can relieve Murray of his responsibi­lity to have watched and monitored his patient.

The verdict should equally be clear & simple, but the Jackson family will not get any real sense of justice if Murray loses his license and serves 4 years in jail.

If Michael's death can serve a greater social good by alerting the American public to the dangers of anesthesia over medication (delirium, dementia & death), then his death will not have been for nothing.”

[Dr. Barry Friedberg, noted Propofol expert, anestheseologist; sources: www.expertclick.com, http://tinyurl.com]

“Dr. Murray failed to use a pulse oximeter, that was left lying in the closet, to measure oxygen levels in the blood, and he neglected to use a brain monitor while administering propofol. These two mistakes are inexcusable, but it's absolutely outrageous that he left Jackson unattended to talk on the phone with a pretty young girl the doctor was pursuing. There is no question in my mind but that the prosecution will be able to establish without a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Murray is responsible for the death of Michael Jackson.”

[Barry Friedberg, source: www.huffingtonpost]


“[That June 25 morning, Murray called me on the cellphone.] I said, 'Hello' and he said, 'It's Conrad'. I asked him what he was doing and he seemed distracted. It just took him a long time to say anything. So I was like, 'OK, let me tell you about my day.' I must have gone on for five minutes or so. I started saying, 'Hello? Hello?' I pushed the phone towards my ear and I could hear coughing and mumbling - there was a lot of commotion. It seemed like the phone was in his pocket or somewhere that made a lot of noise. That's when I hung up. I called and texted him but he didn't respond. I knew there was something really wrong. I felt like this stabbing pain in my chest. For him to get off the phone like that without saying anything to me was not normal and, with all the commotion, it seemed to me like an emergency. I turned on the TV a couple of hours later and heard about Michael. I realised that must have been what was going on. I was really sad about his death […]. Maybe Conrad could have reacted faster. I'm mad that he didn't take care of Michael like he was supposed to. […] [The first time I saw him, he handed me a $ 100 tip for a $ 10 drink. He told me he was from Trinidad and that he had started a clinic in Houston. He told me he was very successful. He said the song I'm Coming Up is the theme of his life - that he came up from nothing to where he was now. He said nothing about [having] a girlfriend and all these children (7, by several women). We talked for about 15 minutes and eventually he said he wanted me to look after him every time he came. Sure enough, he kept coming back and tipping well. […] [Within a few weeks, he landed the role as Michael’s doctor. He said Michael and him had been good friends for a while, ever since Prince got sick and he was called out and Michael liked him. After he took on Michael he started to show off a little more. He tried to impress me with it. […] Every time he saw me, there was money involved […]. We went to a pizza place for lunch and as I was leaving he gave me a hug, grabbed my hand and gave me $450. Another time, he asked me to come to his hotel and gave me a black strapless dress. We went for a meal. He brought up Michael in a very weird way. He said, 'I bet Michael is missing me right now.' After the meal, we went to a bar. On the way, he took out $400 from a bank and gave it to me. Back at the hotel I sat in a chair in his room and he sat on the bed. He gets out a cheque book and writes something, rips out a sheet and gives it to me - it's a $500 cheque. […] [We still talked on the phone afterwards, but no more than 2-minutes per call, as he seemed worried they might be recorded. He told me that whatever I hear about him to not believe it, that he would explain himself - and that he was sorry that I had to go through this.”

"He took a big part in being Michael's doctor ... but I feel he didn't just take it as being his friend, he also took it as in after finding out all these different girls, and his lifestyle, he took it as in the money to help him out as well. [Murray] was more thinking of how the money can help him and how it can change him and give him the life that he wants ... instead of really worrying about the main person and why you're having the job ... which is Michael."

[Sade Anding, Dr. Conrad Murray’s friend interviewed by (tabloids) The Sun and TMZ]


“I thought he was very nice, he was very friendly, [that] he’s a good person. First thing he said (to me) was, ‘You’re too beautiful to be waiting on people at a place like this. […] [He gave me gifts like] the cellphone, the spa (a) dress and cash. […] Close to 2,000 dollars (in gifts and money). […] He was glad that he was the one that was picked to take on such a big role, and he said that if I wanted to, that he was gonna fly me up there to meet Michael and meets the kids. […] [He didn’t mention anything medical to me about Michael, be it sleep, Propofol, medication/drugs, medical attention in Michael’s home, nothing of the sort]. [That fateful June 25 morning, Murray] sounded like something was wrong, he didn’t sound like himself to me at all. He sounded like something was wrong. And then, I’m like, ‘Hey, what are you doing, what’s up? I haven’t talked to you in a while’, and he was like, ‘Well…’, and then he seemed like he wanted to say something and I wish I would’ve just shut up and let him finish, because he just said, ‘Well..’ and that it took forever, and that’s when I realized he wasn’t even on the phone. I’m like, ‘Hello? Hello?”, and it sounded like maybe it was in his pocket or something, ‘cause it was more like (reproduces the sounds), and I heard, like, coughing, and, like, mumbling of voices. He never got back on the phone, and then I hung up and I kept calling and calling and I kept texting him, and then […] I felt like something was wrong. […] I knew that they [the LAPD] were going to reach out for me after that phonecall, like, I knew as soon as I heard what happened, it clicked to me, like, ‘Oh, God.. I’m in it.’ […] [When I called him back days after], I would always ask him stuff on the phone, but it was always, ‘Oh, the phones may be tapped, I don’t wanna talk about anything. […] Oh, yeah!.. Oh, yeah, like, (he was) nervous, like, any question I asked him, (he said) ‘Please, let’s stop talking about it. Our phones could be tapped. […]”

“I just felt like…’Why did you call me? Like, the call was pointless, I’d rather you’d not called me. .. or at least called me when you were – when you were able to talk. […] [Events on that fateful day have weighed heavily on me for nearly two years.] [breaks down crying] It made me sad… I felt like it was my fault, and I really felt like if he wouldn’t (sic) have called me, maybe all that stuff that happened wouldn’t have happened… […] He told me he only had two kids […], and he had 7. […]”

[Sade Anding, talking to ABC News’ Good Morning, America; source: www.youtube.com]


“[For me, it’s been] like a living nightmare, to be very honest, and I just have to say it was very devastational.. And it’s a funny (thing), because you – what happens with me is a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about it, or think about him, sometime (sic) in the middle of the day, and I’m sure if you’ve had a loved one that you lost, you’ve probably experienced it, you just break down and you start crying. […] Sometimes I can listen to [his music], and sometimes I can’t. And I have a little grandson who loves listening to his music, and I just have to leave the room when it’s playing. […] [Michael’s children] listen to the music and I was with them and my mom at the home for about a couple of months. I actually at the time was living in Las Vegas, so I stayed for two and a half months. They go to a private school, actually, […] they’re doing fine, though. […] She seems to be holding on, she’s – my mom has a strong constitution and she knows what she wants to do and she’s doing fine, I mean, she’s raising them. […] For me, I have to be very honest: there is no dissension with me as far as what the decisions were made in regards to, you know, the will, as far as where the money was left. Right now, I think everybody is trying to get used to the fact that he is gone, and when someone dies, it really, you really – it changes – I don’t wanna say it changes people, but they take on a whole different attitude toward life in general and just trying to get back to basics and trying to stay focused, and that’s what’s happening right now, to be very honest, and everybody [in my family] is working – I do know this – toward the fact that they wanna see justice done, because of the way he died. […] With the way he died. […] It seems that that’s the case, doesn’t it, [that Murray’s responsible for Michael’s death]? That’s for sure. I have faith in the judicial system and… we’re gonna find out the truth with everything in a few weeks. […] [I see a man who killed my brother,] yes, I do. […] I want the truth to come out, and it’s very difficult, it’s very hard, ‘cause you have to sit there [in the courtroom] and see all of that. … Just one of those things, oh.. […] It has to be explained and exposed what happened in the very end.”

[Maureen Reillette Brown, better known as Rebbie Jackson, American singer and dancer, Michael Jackson’s sister, talking to The View; source: www.youtube.com]

“[Murray was administering Propofol to Michael and making phonecalls instead of monitoring my sedated brother]. That in itself was devastating to me, that was one of the things that I thought was really out of order… because you shouldn’t be giving it to him, especially not at home. […] I feel that - that’s not very long, is it, for someone losing their life, four years or less?.. But again, I put – I’m putting, when it comes to this situation, [my faith] in the judicial system.”

[Rebbie Jackson, talking to abc7 Eyewitness News; source: www.youtube.com]


“[…] My father was never there the way I really wanted it a father to be. I would see my friends interact with their – their dad, and I would say to myself, ‘That’s what I wanna do’. I wanna be able to sit on his lap, I wanna be able to call him Dad. […] Yeah, he said, ‘That’s my name to you. You call me Joseph. You don’t call me Dad.’ I tried to once. […] That’s exactly what happened. What you just said; he said, ‘I’m Joseph to you, you do not call me Dad.’ (chokes up) (…) That affects you as a kid. Well, it still affects me, as you can see, but it – it really does affect you. I know my father loves me. He just has a very very different way of showing it. […] [Michael said the same thing, we were scared of him.] Of course. […] Yeah, that was my father - [when I was in the bath once,] that was the only time my father ever whipped me (though). […] I was really young. I can’t even remember my age, I was very young. […] A lot of times I’ve felt that my father would take things out on us, because of.. I don’t know, issues outside of the home, […] but we were, we were afraid of my father growing up. […] We don’t speak very often, but like I said, I know he loves me and I’m there when he needs me. He calls me once in a while, we’ll speak and it’s okay, it’s good. […] Yeah, [I still have to call him Joseph.] Yeah.. Are you kidding me, I’ve learned from that way. [smiles] You don’t make the same mistake twice with my father. And you learn that at a very young age.”

“[I’ve dedicated my book to Mike.]”

"We were very close, [Michael and I,] that we did everything together and shared a lot of things. Not everything, but a lot of things. Sometimes, when I was confused, I would talk to him about it. [...] I remember we were in his car, we were driving down into a boulevard, and we  - we'd talk in the car and just have conversations, [...] and a lot of those things he taught me: 'You have to..' this, 'You have to..' that. 'In a few more years, you're gonna be 18 and you will save your money'. .. [smiles] A lot of life lessons. [...] [I always knew Michael was there when I needed him.] "

[…] We had each other's back. [...] But, later on in life, certain things that he was going through - I tried to be there for him as much as I could. And, even with 'Scream', the song, the video... If you listen (to it), (it says) 'Stop pressuring me, / Make me wanna scream', 'I'm tired of injustice', / I'm tired of the schemes, / The lies are disgusting, / So what does it mean?' And that's his words. 'You're kicking me down, / I've got to get up, / As jacked as it sounds, / The whole system sucks.' That's the verse that he wrote. He was angry.. He was mad.. [...] So, he - he was upset, he was angry, he was - he was mad, all the - at all the allegations at that time... I was his little sister who - who was there, who had his back, who was there to go to a toe (?) [laughs] supporting him, and - and that's what the song is about. [...] Well, that's - that's what family is for, that's what you do. [...]”

“Actually, since [his passing], I finally was able to [grieve about him]. I was in Paris… [sighs] And, it was one of those - one of those moments. At some point you have to - you have to move on. And, trying to do that, and it being really difficult. And, there's still not a day that goes by where I don't think about him. Not one day… Not one day. And - kind of pushing myself, forcing myself, to a certain degree, to get over this, ‘cause it's - it's not the healthiest. […] And, I just spent the night just watching all his videos, listening to his music. And, there were moments when I - I felt to cry, and moments that made me laugh. And, it was good for me. I needed it. I guess out of everyone in my family, I never had that moment to cry about his death. […] I don't know if it was trying to shield the pain, or just trying to hold it all together, because I saw that everyone else around me was falling apart. And, never - never taking that moment to really grieve. Really grieve, even at the (memorial) service. […] There's more to come. I know there's more to come. But for now, yeah, I did. A year had passed and I haven’t. […] [It’s almost, in its own way, reminiscent of me as a kid, holding everything in and] eventually releasing it.”

“[…] [I last saw him] two days before my birthday. […] Oh, the last thing we said to one another [was ‘I love you’] […] Yeah. I said, "I love you." He says, "I love you too, Dunk." […] My nickname, Dunk. [smiles] Dunkey fried chicken. Go figure. [laughs] I don't know, it makes no sense, Michael was always - he was always silly like that.”

"Uh-hum. [I still feel as strongly about Dr. Murray's culpability now as I did then.] And that's all I am going to say. I do. I really do. That's tough -  that's tough to say it in the courtroom. [...] I mean, it's my - it's my brother.. It's my blood. He's no longer here because of X, Y and Z. I think it's important to every family who's lost someone. And you - you wanna see justice. [...] I was YouTube-ing the other day and I came across a YouTube [video, his Home Videos special,] [I said], 'What is this?' I just pushed 'play', and [Michael is] - is talking about me.. And I'm just sitting there watching it, and he's talking about how we're the most alike in the family and.. [...] there will always be a connection there. [...] You know what's most important in life and you understand that family will always come first for myself. But still, when something like that happens, [like what happened with my brother,] you really cherish each and every moment, 'cause you never know what tomorrow will bring."

[Janet Damita Jo Jackson, American recording artist, dancer and actress, talking to Dateline NBC; source: www.msnbc.msn.com]


“[…] He felt parents were neglecting their children, because they didn`t understand how much they get from their children. Michael believed that he was a star and successful because he retained his child-like qualities. Adults lose their imagination, their creativity, they become rigid, set in their ways. But kids are very open and he felt he got that openness from being around his kids. […] I mean, for him there was a formal confrontation. He felt that he had been robbed of a childhood. That it was an essential step of life. […] He loves his father but he was afraid of his father. […] In terms of prioritizing his kids -- I mean, he had every excuse to say ‘I`m doing concerts’, ‘I`m flying around the world’. He never left them. He always read to them. He would often call me from Neverland and wake me up in the middle of the night to say, ‘Prince asked me a very difficult question’ .. He doesn`t want to just dismiss it with the answer, ‘I wouldn`t know the answer.’ I would have to look it up.”

“You know, he says -- I asked him once. I said, ‘Do you think you made your father proud?’ He says, ‘Oh, I hope I did. [My father] once said to me, ‘Good show’, and that`s all I ever got.’ I think Michael`s father came from the school of if I say too much, you won`t be motivated, so I`ll say little. […] And I think now, we`ve changed. I think we understand the importance of affirmation with our kids.”

“I mean Conrad Murray, [Michael’s doctor,] unless I hear something drastically different to what I know about prescription drug medication, the truckload that he gave to Michael.. With all due respect, the man belongs in jail. […] And if we don`t hold them (doctors) accountable, God forbid, some of the others are following.”

“What I`m saying is this, […] when I say that I don`t believe certain things, I think I have a certain credibility on it. Michael saw himself as a giant kid. […] Having said that, I don`t believe for a moment Michael was a pedophile. […] He was utterly exonerated. I knew that family [that accused him of child molestation in 2003]. I was there in Neverland when the family arrived. […] He was completely exonerated. […]. In 1993, from what I understand, because I wasn`t there, Johnny Cochran was his lawyer, comes in late and says, ‘You know, this is destroying your career, pay it off’. Michael always said to me that was a mistake. [That] he shouldn`t have done it, [but he did stand trial in 2005 and was exonerated]. […]”

[Shmuley Boteach, American relationship expert, value and spirituality exponent, TV and radio host, author; sources: http://archives.cnn.com, http://joybehar.blogs.cnn.com]

 

Losing one of the world’s greatest entertainers is sad — while we didn’t get the opportunity to see him perform here [at the o2 in London], let’s pay tribute to him. Michael, we will never forget you – we will always remember."

[Usher Raymond IV, best known as Usher, American recording artist, dancer, and actor; source: www.showbizspy.com, www.examiner.com]


“[…] When [Quincy Jones] was doing the Michael Jackson project, they had the “Man In The Mirror” song, so we listened to the lyrics and we said that was a good theme, and Michael said, ‘Andrae, would you arrange that for me?’, so I said ‘Yes.’. And so we did that, […]. The last time we worked with Michael Jackson on his last album, we did two songs, and we were sort of singing this song like this, and the Holy Spirit came in, we had an alter call, you know, for people that were there that had made a commitment with the Lord, and as for after we finished the recording session for an hour and a half, it was nothing but ‘Praise the Lord’. And Michael Jackson – I hadn’t seen anything like that - , but he was right in the middle of it, and we were singing, ‘I Surrender All’, and I was, ‘Everybody, lift your hands’, and he was lifting his hands, too, he was just trembling, and he videotaped everything, and he said, ‘Andrae, that was really phenomenal…’ But we knew that God has allowed us to be in places, because I asked the Lord - you know, we worked with Diana Ross recently and different ones - and I said, ‘Lord, what is this for?’, and He says, ‘I want you to invade that territory and claim them for Me’. So when we go in, we say, ‘Lord, save Diana Ross.’, ‘Lord, let her receive you’, and we say, ‘Lord, take away all the strong holds that are holding her’, ‘Lord, someday, bring her to You.’ That’s the same what we did with Michael, […], we know that if we are not there, somebody is gonna be there, so those few moments with us, we pray those demons down… you know? And the Lord will somehow save them. […]”

[Andrae Crouch, American gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, recording artist, record producer, and pastor; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“The world is seized by Michael Jackson and there is every reason to be. He was one of a kind, it is not every generation that gets to be blessed as our generation, Michael was that rare breed of people that are born once every century, a godsend — who had a mission to accomplish.

He was a global phenomenon, and it can tell by how the world media is obsessed by his death — celebrating a life well lived.

There are so many positives to take out of Michael Jackson’s life, not least that he did not see black or white, probably the reason why he did the song of the same title. Michael Jackson was big in China, when China was still China, he was big in Russia, in spite of the language barriers.

Michael Jackson was big in Indonesia, big in India, in Pakistan (even if he had said as part of This Is It he was to perform in Swat Valley, he was going to pack them in), he was big in Brazil — you could just go anywhere in the world and the Jackson fever was on.

He came here in 1998 as a guest of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, and I was asked by Colonel Tshinga Dube to drive him around. I had just bought my BMW 750i and it was like the car of the moment then. So when Michael Jackson got a ride in my car, he was mesmerised, I remember him arguing with his manager why he did not have that kind of car. It was back in the day — 1998 it was — and the car had video monitors at the back seats and I had videos of him playing and he was very impressed.

The car also had phones and I remember some DJ phoned from Radio 3 wanting to talk to him and his manager refused as they were not taking any interviews. The car just blew him out of this world and he demanded that when they got back, one should be bought for him — that was Michael for you.

What I also found touching was his personality, he was a down-to-earth character, true, he would not hurt a fly. The softness in his voice was the same softness as his personality, but he was as shrewd as any businessman would come.

He came to Zimbabwe to explore business opportunities, at the time he was thinking of relocating to South Africa, he said he had fallen in love with that country, particularly Nelson Mandela.

So as he wanted to make South African his second home, he was looking at the areas to invest his money, so he was looking for direction, he needed business help.

We hosted a cocktail reception for him and his management where they exchanged contact details with some of the gathered businesspeople. I have always had enemies, and soon after Michael left the country some of the people who were at the reception were busy sending emails, attacking my person.

As well, Michael Jackson’s visit did not receive the blessings of the international media, remember it was 1998 and we were engaged in the DRC war and the international propaganda machinery got into over-drive. They alleged that Michael had come to give President Mugabe a cheque to the war. That’s how absurd the situation was.

Michael is one person who did not want that kind of controversy and he did not pursue his investment ideas in Zimbabwe anymore. We kept on communicating, though, until around 2004 and he was impressing upon me that once the situation in this country improved, he would consider his options.

So when he announced in March that he was embarking on the This Is It tour, which had an option to go international, we were already making plans to approach him, with a view to having just one show in this country.

You never know, we might have got him, after all, the politics of the country have largely improved.

But on reflection, you wonder about the lengths that some people have to go to undermine someone. In their myopic view, these people thought they were stabbing me in the back, yet in essence, they were stabbing the country. You cannot over-emphasise the value that Michael Jackson would have added to our country if he had invested in this country.

I have met different personalities in my life, from politicians, athletes, musicians to soccer stars but none has had a more profound meaning in my life than Michael Jackson, he was the embodiment of a person misunderstood.

In a way, I think his life mirrors mine – people just talk about Michael Jackson, yet they don’t even know what will be going on in his life. Similarly, how many tales about Phillip Chiyangwa have you heard, just because I am Phillip Chiyangwa.

From South Africa he flew into Victoria Falls, and then I picked him at Harare International Airport to Meikles Hotel, where he was to stay. My first impression of him was he was someone who needed companionship, someone who was yearning for friendship. He was open to exploring new avenues and badly needed ideas on how to handle his business ideas.

I also discovered that besides being a talented musician, he had a lot of business ideas, he was full of life when it came to discussing ventures, investment vehicles and opportunities. But because of the PHD (Pull Him Down) syndrome within us Zimbabweans, we never got to know how much value he would give to our country.

What he told me, though, was that he had fallen in love with Victoria Falls, that he had loved every bit of it. "I think it was created by God even before a human being, it’s so majestic," he remarked.

He also never made it a secret that Mandela was a personal inspiration, reason why he was seeking to settle in that country. Probably away from the prying media as well.

[…] When we had lined up an appointment with President Mugabe, he changed his plans, just minutes before going to State House. He claimed that he had a toothache and was not feeling well, so he could not see the Head of State. So I had to rush to his hotel room and persuade him to go and see the President.

"What am I going to say, Phillip?" he protested. "What kind of person is he? What should I do when I get to him?" I assured him that when he gets there, say his greetings and then wait for the President to say anything, if there was anything to be said. It is thus we went to State House and he met the President.

He was a well-read person and quite up-to-date with happenings on the world scene. In one discussion, I remember, he was asking his manager who was handling Tiger Woods. That was the time that Tiger Woods was coming onto the scene, very strong black personality, and Michael Jackson was worried about who his handlers were. He knew of the pitfalls that awaited black personalities. It also showed he was human, he cared about other people.

So when I heard the news that Friday morning that Michael Jackson had been pronounced dead, I counted the loss, not only to the Jackson family and the world, but more particularly to us as Zimbabweans. We did not realise the potential that he had in 1998, but we were hoping that one day, our politics allowing, he would come back and be part of us. As the world mourns the passing of an icon, we all wish Michael Jackson, M.J. to many, peace — peace that he never enjoyed on this earth.

Rest well, the King of Pop. (Sunday Mail)”

[Phillip Chiyangwa, South African founder of Affirmative Action Group, a chair of Native Africa Investments Ltd., former MP for ZANU-PF party; source: www.thezimbabwemail.com]

 

“22 years ago on today's date, January 17, a deranged man opened fire on Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, killing 5 children. Patrick Purdy, the lone gunman, pulled his station wagon into the back of the school, lit his car on fire, put earplugs in his ears, and sprayed at least 106 bullets into a schoolyard full of mostly kindergarten to third graders. The assault lasted 4 minutes, and when it was over, one teacher and 29 children were wounded, and 5 children were dead. Purdy then shot himself in the head with a pistol.

I have a family member who lived in Stockton at the time of the shootings. When asked, she said that there is no way to accurately describe the atmosphere in Stockon on that day. Every single elementary, middle and high school in the Stockton area was locked down for hours. Every single student who attended Stockton Unified School District was ordered to get under their desk, and stay there for over an hour. Parents were understandably terrified; most parents wanted to pull their children out of school. Yet, SUSD would not allow it for fear of any other type of shootings that might occur at another school site.

In the days after the shooting, kids were afraid to go to school. Likewise, parents were afraid to send their children to school. While Patrick Purdy was pegged as a loner with no affiliation to any group in particular, the fear in the air was still palpable. And although the Cleveland School shootings made the national news, Stockton saw no help from any entertainer who might provide relief. That is, until Michael Jackson came to Stockton.

A few weeks after the shootings, Diane Batres, head the of Victim Witness program in Stockton, received a phone call from MJJ Productions. At the time, Batres did not associate MJJ Productions with Michael Jackson. After learning that Michael Jackson was interested in visiting the school and the surviving children, Batres and Jackson set up a day when Michael could visit the school.

"It was very kind of him to do this. He brought truckloads of gifts and held children in his arms. He was genuinely concerned and expressed his sorrow." Michael also distributed videotapes of his latest recordings to the children and staff at the school. One of the songs distributed was Man in the Mirror.

"One of the mothers called after the experience and said, 'I am so glad I saw that', because she realized for the first time that there were yellow tears, white tears, brown tears and black tears. Every tear was the same color. They all felt the same sadness."

[…]

The above picture was taken in Stockton while visiting Cleveland Elementary School. This is the Michael Jackson we all know and love. Like Martin Luther King, Michael Jackson had a dream, too.

Michael Jackson was there for us when it mattered most. He didn't have to, but that was the side of him that many people did not know.

On a day when the City of Stockton was down for the count, Michael Jackson showed up out of the blue and resuscitated us back into existence. We could not do the same for him.

After a madman with a rifle killed and injured dozens of schoolchildren at Cleveland Elementary in Stockton, California, nobody would expect the world's biggest musical superstar to take notice and make the effort to show up in person in January of 1989.

Patrick Purdy may have destroyed many lives that day, but Michael Jackson's presence helped bring more attention and compassion to the victims than anybody else on planet Earth could have done in a hundred years.

I certainly remember the panic in the air around Stockton, the calamity and desperation of parents stopping everything they were doing and racing to get their kids out of school immediately. I clearly recall hoping desperately that the police got there fast and ended it in a hurry.

The incident in Stockton led to a quick assault rifle ban in California and was the beginning of national campaigns and activism against these types of deadly guns, according to an analysis by Reuters. Michael Jackson played a major role by his presence there that day.

Michael Jackson's Support

Michael Jackson, coolest pop singer on the planet, showed up in Stockton with "truckloads of gifts to the children" and helped comfort survivors of the attack, according to Diane Batres who worked for the district attorney's victim witness department.

The Record newspaper of Stockton has reported that Michael Jackson went far beyond the call of duty when he visited the classrooms of Cleveland Elementary School and met with the injured survivors of the shooting.

This is true. The residents of Stockton suffered a huge psychological blow that cannot be described, one where one minute all is normal and the next minute a crazed maniac with an assault rifle is shooting and killing innocent children at an elementary school. The rage, madness and intensity of this cannot be compared.

The Future

It has been a little more than twenty years since the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton, but I get chills every time I think about it, because I lived in Stockton at the time, was a high school student then, and it easily could have been my school that Purdy attacked.

Michael Jackson was exceptionally different and he had more than his share of troubles. But I don't remember any of that stuff.

My most powerful and long-lasting memory of Michael Jackson was after that school shooting in my hometown when he showed up and brought doses of mesmerizing happiness and cool comfort that nobody else in the world could bring.

At the height of his fame, he reached out to a community that needed help in the worst way. The king of pop is dead. Long live the king. Long live the king. Again I say, long live the king.”

[Michael Jackson: And Justice for Some, sources: http://mjandjustice4some.blogspot.com, www.associatedcontent.com]

 

“They finally killed Michael Jackson.

The music industry giants of America with their racist press collaborators took away the life of the greatest entertainer, the world has witnessed in recording history.

Michael Jackson was on a slow death since several years now. Most notably ever since he raised his voice against Sony Corporation and the exploitative music industries. Ever since he, more than anyone else as influentially, highlighted the plights of black artists as victims of racism: “The record companies really, really do conspire against the artists. They steal, they cheat, they do whatever they can. Especially against the black artists.” Unable to accept how Sony’s chairman Tommy Mottola referred to one African-American artist as a “fat black nigger”, Jackson condemned him as “mean, a racist, very, very, very devilish” person. Michael Jackson had taken a stand against racism within music industry in a manner no musician had dared to take before. Nor after.

But that was not all.

Michael Jackson had also emerged as the most widely recognized human being in the world.

Unlike anyone else in human history - way more than any icon of the western world, more than any president of modern times or emperor of the ancient age - it was Michael Jackson who was recognized and respected by people all across the globe. The most “popular” American was increasingly transcending the limits of fame set by the power structure. He was rising taller than the Washington Monument in nation’s capital, and World Trade Center in New York City. Micheal (sic) Jackson was a bigger ambassador of American love than Kennedy or Lincoln ever were. He was a bigger American poet than Walt Whitman was. A greater performer than Frank Sinatra. A better dancer than Fred Astaire. A grander legend during his lifetime than Elvis was following his death.

And yet, as his good friend Elizabeth Taylor often remarked, inside America, Michael Jackson was “treated as dirt”. Why would he be not? He had surpassed every limits ever set forth: by America for the black peoples.

Michael Jackson was the black man who steadfastly refused to walk the ropes, to plead with the press, to sell his musical soul to the corporate copyrighters. He was the black man who took over the Elvis and the Beatles and shattered every myth revolving cultural purities. He was the black man who challenged the white hegemony over recording business and historiography. The musical pundits had to be forced to rewrite the list of greatest entertainers. Through “Thriller”, he won the world and then a record number of records. From the greatest music video the world had ever witnessed, to the Moonwalking steps the world had never known so gracefully existed, to the songwriting of “Man in the Mirror” that no one knew millions would cry to - Michael Jackson redefined everything that the world of music had hitherto known and did not.

They could not categorize him. In fact, he would not allow that to happen. His creations were not merely rock or pop, soul or blues, dance or music. But they were all soul-lifting. They were breathtaking. Mesmerizing. His “Beat It” red jacket was as much revolutionary as his “Heal the World” pleas to make the children smile. Everything he did, he did with a sense of dedication that shook the foundation of the common knowledge. And this violated the principles of status quo in the western world that could “allow” him to exist, but not “emulate” him now that he had vanquished the protected heritage masters to oblivion.

Thus, Michael Jackson, the de facto cultural ambassador of the United States of America emerged more popular worldwide than he was back home. He made friends with the Islamic nations that America despised. He was crowned by the African tribes that America ignored. He befriended more people and gave rise to more dreamers than America as a nation did. The more America became isolated in the map of the world, the more acceptable became Michael Jackson to the world. Michael Jackson became the internationalist - the singer more powerful than the recording industries, the man more acceptable than the press reports, the heart more profound than all the charities. Little surprising that as Jackson went on winning hearts of the world majority, the elite press minority of America unleashed their fury back home.

How do you stifle a legend while he is alive? Especially, if the person is the greatest philanthropist - more consistent than Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates put together. Charity in the modern age began with Michael Jackson. Whereas every billionaire would squander away token money in order to evade taxes and earn immortality, Jackson would give away the entire proceeds of his shows to cause of black children in America and for the dispossessed in Africa - without a mention in the press. If charity meant not blowing the trumpets on celebrity TV shows, if charity meant giving without expecting, perhaps charity in its grandest term has ended as well with Michael Jackson.

It is not the legend and the myths of Michael Jackson that made him. It is in fact, the plain human being which he was that was exemplary. He loved children and he made no qualms about it. He did everything in spirit to address the needs of children. Heal the World Foundation is the single largest voluntary organization sponsoring the cause of the oppressed children worldwide. Greater than any country on this earth, greater than the United Nations’ duplicitous endeavors and certainly greater than the neoliberal rhetoric by the free market champions - are the contributions of Michael Jackson to making the world a better place - “for you and for me and the entire human race”.

How do you stifle such a man when he is alive? A man who defied the media conventions of masculinity. A man who refused to carry out the gender roles of prescribed American macho cowboy image. A man who played into no racial stereotypes. No black exploitation of his racial image. A refusal to be an essentialist. How does one stifle a man who defies national boundaries? Not a national hero, Michael Jackson would be. The singer poet of the “Earth Song” was a global crusader against neocolonial expansions, who amplified the cause sung in his crying voice:

“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?”


How do you stifle this environmentalist? The pacifist? Or the humanist, as exemplified by the immortal poetry of his in “Man in the Mirror”:


“I've Been A Victim Of A Selfish

Kind Of Love,

It's Time That I Realize.

That There Are Some With No

Home, Not A Nickel To Loan

Could It Be Really Me,

Pretending That They're Not

Alone?”

How do you stifle the political activist? The supporter of Roosevelt’s socialist policies? The fighter for social justice? In “They don’t really care about us”?


“Tell me what has become of my life?

I have a wife and two children who love me,

I am the victim of police brutality, now.

I'm tired of being the victim of hate,

You're raping me of my pride,

Oh, for God's sake,

I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy...

Set me free!


[…]


Tell me what has become of my rights?

Am I invisible because you ignore me?

Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now.

I'm tired of being the victim of shame,

They're throwing me in a class with a bad name,

I can't believe this is the land from which I came..


You know, I do really hate to say it,

The government don't wanna see.

But if Roosevelt was living,

He wouldn't let this be, no, no!”

They would do to Michael Jackson what they did to Paul Robeson. When Robeson had become more popular and rewarded abroad as an internationalist fighting for social justice, he was condemned back home in America. His passport was snatched away so he would not be able to perform. The only platform for an artist is an ability to express. Robeson’s expressions were taken out of contexts and the press vigorously mounted an ugly war against him, portrayed him as an enemy of freedom and democracy - the very ideals that Robeson held closest to his heart.

That is how the system kills an artist. The very core of their philosophies is scandalized. In instances of Michael Jackson, his philosophy of life did not revolve around political economy. He had no aspirations to mobilize the masses for revolutions. He was not a fighter against market capitalism. But he had a potent weapon in his hands nevertheless, to transform the world after his vision. Children. For him, children were the past, present and the future. If the world was in a mess, it was because of the grown-up militarists. The children were left out of the agendas set by the men. Children were neglected world over. Their rights trampled, their dreams refused to take shape, their imaginations murdered everyday.

Children, Michael Jackson theorized, needed the love and the attention. They were the center of the universe. It was the children for whom Michael Jackson acted in movies, made the music videos, wrote innumerable songs, danced to be imitated, and built the most beloved amusement park in the world. It was not merely about Michael Jackson’s lost childhood. It was about the childhoods that were yet to shape up. It was for the future that Jackson wrote in “Heal the World”:


“We could fly so high,

Let our spirits never die,

In my heart I feel

You are all my brothers.

Create a world with no fear,

Together we'll cry happy tears,

See the nations turn

Their swords into plowshares.

We could really get there

If you cared enough for the living,

Make a little space to make a better place.”

And it was the children they did abuse to get back at Michael Jackson. Trial after trial after trial. Months after months, Michael Jackson defended himself. The mainstream press which he refused to cooperate with, ridiculed him through cartoons and staged demonstrations and judicial overtures. King of Scandals, they called him. Even today, as he is no more, the press headlines Michael Jackson thus.

The scandals never really left him alone. Neither did the millions of loyal fans who despised the media as much as they loved Michael. I grew up learning about Jackson through the sensational press and just like any other admirer of his, I learnt soon to disregard the press reports as fabrications and targeted accusations. It was a constant refusal to believe in the press reports over what they projected democracy and liberty as just as they projected what a monster Michael Jackson was. Like millions of his devoted fans, I have deliberately and proudly refused to go beyond what the man stood for. I have every reason to believe Michael Jackson over the mainstream press reports. Every reason to trust Michael Jackson over the racist judicial system. Every reason to celebrate Michael Jackson over the monopolist music industry whims.

Jackson did not speak much to the press. Like Bob Dylan, he too did not trust them. But unlike Dylan, Jackson did not permit himself to be isolated. Unlike everyone else, Michael Jackson was a black artist owning the license to his own music, producing his own albums, refusing the media an entry into his life, controlling his gender roles, his paternal duties, his marital status, his appearances, (…), his imaginations and their cumulative expressions. Michael Jackson was the artist, everyone of us aspired to be like.

It was necessary that they had to let him die just when he was enthused over his return to the stage this summer. They could not have allowed the return of the legend in the age of the complacent. They could not have left him in peace any place in the world. The mendacious reports and mawkish bull**** manufactured by the press can continue no longer, now that Michael Jackson is no more.

What will remain now on are his immortal songs, his inspiring messages to save the trees and prevent the wars. And most of all, his immense love for the world’s children. A deeply personal love, only he could fathom in “Childhood”:

“People say I'm not okay,

'Cause I love such elementary things...

It's been my fate to compensate

For the Childhood

I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?

I'm searching for that wonder in my youth,

Like pirates in adventurous dreams,

Of conquest and kings on the throne...


Before you judge me, try hard to love me,

Look within your heart then ask,

Have you seen my Childhood?”


I shall miss you, my beloved childhood hero. In many ways, it’s good that you are no more amidst us. Because rest assured, before you are judged again, you shall be only loved now on.”

[Saswat Pattanayak, New-York based media research scholar and blogger; source: www.saswat.com]


“I'm nervous. Excited, but very nervous. It's a mild afternoon in New York City and I'm walking towards The Hit Factory studio to meet Mr. Michael Jackson. Today would be the first day recording his vocals on a song I wrote. A song called "Butterflies". Oblivious to pedestrians and loud traffic. Tuning out any sound interrupting my inner voice screaming "Calm down!!! You deserve this!!! You're worth this!!!".

I walk through the glass doors leading to a front desk. I was told to give my full name and ID was required. As expected, I was. A doorman walked me to the key operated elevator and was escorted to his floor. "Michael Jackson & Friends" was written on a white piece of A4 paper taped to the door. I was led inside.

My heart is literally beating out of my chest and I'm two breaths short of a panic attack. All I recall is the sound of a grand piano playing a harmonic scale, someone singing and seeing who that voice was coming from eye to eye.

It was him. The King of Pop. The Greatest Entertainer of All Time. From the live room, he smiled at me and threw up a peace sign. Continued to warm up his vocals as I stood in awe and then made his way to me. He said my first name and gave me a welcoming embrace. "Thank you," he said.

No, Michael! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I learned too much from Michael Jackson. Having the opportunity to be both observer and writer/vocal producer was too rich to put into so many words. Watching his breathing techniques, the vocal scales he would go over and over again before even stepping in the vocal booth at the studio every day we recorded. He was perfect. He was just so giving. He gave his all.

That would be the same thing that inspires me about him. He cared so much for everything and everyone. He gave his all in anything he did. His legacy is left for us to study. It’s evidence of how GREAT he was and always will be.

I wrote “I Want You To Stay” for Michael Jackson a few weeks before he passed away. I was going to be in London the week the tour started. A few weeks prior to the tour, I flew over to London and during my stay, I wrote it in my mother’s house on her piano.

I did a studio version which will be on Late Nights & Early Mornings – Michael Jackson’s influence can be seen and heard in not just the music I make, but in most artists. I can’t help it! No Pun. Why not strive for greatness?”

[Marsha Ambrosius; sources: www.soulculture.co.uk, http://neo-soul.net]

 

"[...] Yeah, [my father was a physical disciplinarian with my brothers]. When my brother, Randy, and I - when we came along, I think that my parents kinda got tired [laughs], having 9 kids and raising these children, I think they became - and everyone says, 'You guys (are) good, you guys have it so easy', my other brothers and sisters would say, and my parents were a lot more lenient with us, and I [still] though they were very strict. [...] He's very tough, (he says things like) 'Jacksons don't cry. Jacksons are tough'. [smiles] [...] We don't speak that much, [me and my father].  [...] It honestly is not often, not.. [...] It would have been nice [if my father had been different]. I would go over to a friend's house when Mother would let me go, and I'd see my friends, their relationship with their father, how they call him Dad and sit all in their lap. […] [We called him] Joseph. [...] One time I tried to call him Dad. […] He said ‘No’. He said ‘No. He says, 'I’m Joseph. You call me Joseph. I’m Joseph to you.' So, when a father tells you one time.. you don't do it again. So, I've always called him Joseph, [we all do.] [...] Yeah, it is (sad), I mean, I wish - I wish our relationship was different, but I know that he loves me. [...] He has his issue, his things, the way he was brought up and he's set in his ways, [...] I think he did a wonderful job with us, - I mean, the outcome - but the way he went about it then, I don't know if I agree with that. .. [...]"

“[...] A wonderful performer (Michael) was. [...] Yes, I [feel he's smiling down on me]. A day doesn't go by when I don't think about him.. Not one day. Like it is for the rest of my brothers and sisters. who have spoken about him. […] I feel like it's part of my job as a little sister, to have the back of my brothers and sisters. [...] As a kid? I heard he was bad [laughs]. As a little kid, ‘cause I mean, obviously, ‘cause I heard he used to do pranks, tease people all the time, but he was a good kid, though. […] We were very close. Mike and I were very close. We used to – we used to go to this restaurant called ‘Love's’ - I don’t think it’s in existence anymore - ... and we used to get these - a ton of dinners and we'd drive around in the car looking for homeless people to give them to. Uh-hum. [smiles] We did it, we used to do it all the time. We’d just give them food. And one guy threw it at us. [laughs] (He said) ‘I don’t need your stinkin’ food!’ [laughs]. I said, ‘Michael, let’s get out of here….’ [laughs] […] Well, no, (he wasn’t freaked with that), he (Michael) was driving, and I’m the one that’s passing out the food [laughs]. We got out of there, though. But yeah, that’s the only time that we were ever – (we ever got) any sort of rejection. […] [I’m now able to think about happy memories,] about passing out the dinners to the homeless, about taking care of the animals when we were kids, most of the talks that we had, things like that. […] He was very sweet, very gentle, incredibly smart… Always about love. [smiles] Always about love.. He knew who he was. […] Uh-hum. [I think most people misunderstood him.] […] He was (normal). […]”

“[…] [That’s] how my father raised us. Whatever’s aching you, whatever is going on in your personal life, don’t let it show. You have a job to do. They (the public) are not there to know your business. Get out there, they paid a lot of money to see you work, to see you perform, and you give them that. So, you don’t let them – you don’t show the pain that’s going on inside of you. .. [And Michael did that.] I got back to work right after my brother passed.. It was very difficult at times and there were moments that – when they helped me get through it. […]”

[Janet Jackson, talking to Piers Morgan Tonight; sources: www.cnn.com, http://piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com, www.youtube.com]


“When your brother, (Jermaine) did the Charlie Chaplin 'Smile' routine at the memorial for Michael […] It seemed completely appropriate to anyone that knew him, because what I remember about Michael is this amazing smile he had, apart from the genius talent. You know, I still say to people I saw him in Paris in the early '90s. I have never seen a concert like it in my life. […] I mean (he was an) incredible performer. But he had this amazing smile. […] I interviewed Michael. […] And I found it fascinating to actually talk one on one with him because, A, he seemed completely normal to me. And we had a great discussion about all sorts of things. Great sense of humor. But what was really interesting -- and I wanted to read you some of this -- was what he said about Princess Diana who had just died. He said to me, "I told her that no normal person could possibly understand the life that she led. I've had that attention since I was a kid. Diana had it only from only the age of 19. I had it all my life, so I knew how to handle it. I just said to her, rise above it all. I would tell her how I would go on stage sometimes and the worst pain, either emotionally or physically, was something like a toothache. And I would put whatever it was out of my mind and perform. And I said to her be strong, be determined. No one can hurt you. You can only hurt yourself. So, be defiant. I think she appreciated and got something from my words. I think I was able to comfort her." […]”

[Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan, known professionally as Piers Morgan, British journalist, TV presenter and host, former editor of tabloid newspapers News of the World and Daily Mirrortalking to Janet Jackson on Piers Morgan Tonight; source: http://archives.cnn.com]

 

“Michael Jackson — I was trying to reach out to Michael Jackson. I knew he had kids, and I was going to invite his kids down to a taping of Hannah (Montana) — I just felt it would be good for Michael. I don't know why. I met Michael one time at the Grammys. He sat in front of me, in the front row, and a dime rolled out from under and hit my boot — this very boot I've got on — and I reached down and picked up this dime, and looked, he was going through his pockets, and I said, 'Are you looking for this?' 'Thank you.' And he took that dime and put it back in his pocket. I looked at my manager, I just said, 'Why did Michael Jackson have a dime?...' Nobody could tell me."

[William "Billy" Ray Cyrus, American country music singer, songwriter and actor; source: http://content.usatoday.com]


"That statement [that I have knowledge of my client, Dr. David Adams, giving Michael Jackson Propofol] is false... if Doctor Murray actually said that, he is lying. I don't know what Dr. Murray may have told authorities... his relationship with Mr. Jackson goes back years. It's not six weeks before Mr. Jackson's passing. Not only do we believe that, we know it for a fact. [Dr. Adams had a relationship with Jackson that went back years too. In 2008, he reports administering Propofol to Jackson three or four times - each one for them during dental procedures, each one in a medical office, and never for insomnia.] This is a great drug. Just because somebody may have misused it doesn't make Propofol a bad drug. My client doesn't go to work any day without using Propofol. At the time my client administered - or actually performed whatever medical procedures he performed on Mr. Jackson, he did the normal history and check-ups. [My client never prescribed the drug to Jackson, only administered it].”

[Libo Agwara, American trial attorney, with specialty in the areas of Immigration, Personal Injury, Family Law, and Civil Litigation; source: www.ktnv.com]


“I heard about Michael Jackson for the first time back in the 70's. I even knew some of his songs, but I never was a fan. When I worked as a truck driver, I used to listen to Georgian music. Later, when I went to college, I grew to like Joe Dassin, Charles Aznavour, Tom Jones, and Engelbert Humperdinck. But I always knew about Jackson, and I knew that he was a good singer.

In the early 90's, my dream was to make a movie called "Run, Brother, Run". American filmmakers expressed some interest in the script, and in 1992 I went to Romania where we rented a foundation. As it happened, Michael Jackson was giving a show in Bucharest at that time, and I was introduced to his producer Marcel Avram by one of our mutual friends. Marcel asked me to help them tape Michael's concert, and I did what I could. It was a pleasure. The performance left me stunned. Jackson impressed me very much – he was a genius, that's no question. I was personally introduced to him, and I remember shaking his (…) hand. On the second day at dinner, I told Avram about my wish to make a movie in the USA and my need for money. I already had an offer for five movies and lodging in the US by then. "I like you", Avram said. "If you want, we can bring Michael to Moscow. Then you can organize a show and make some money." I thought it would be cool, but I honestly didn't believe it was possible. But soon after that, Avram sent his people to Moscow in order to check out Dessa, the company I headed at the time. It was one of the first Russian private companies created for the purpose of movie making, and I had some good folks on my team.

Suddenly, the project came to life. Money was pushed to the background in my mind. I was full of enthusiasm, I wanted to bring that joyful event to people – after all, it was the first time a big Star was going to visit Russia. Since the visit of Avram's delegation and till September 1993, we were busy with preparations. It was my first experience in show business, and I couldn't imagine that it would be that hard and unpredictable. I thought that all showbiz "sharks" would support me and help me with that project, but it turned out the other way round – they threw obstacles in my way and tried to prevent the show from happening. We felt that our efforts were not appreciated. We even got phone calls with threats. And we got attacked by the media: they wrote that I was the king of the liquor industry and the head of the Chechen mafia. They said I was organizing the show in order to sell vodka on the stadium. It was a nightmare! They also wrote garbage about Jackson – that he was a pedophile, and that I was going to bring not him, but his impersonator who would lip synch to his songs. But all this crap only turned us on. We decided that we would make the show happen no matter what.

Preparations were under way. We did our best to deliver things that the pop star's team had requested. For example, they had asked for black leather furniture, 45 bycicles, and a few computers. We had to veneer the whole field of the stadium, rent cars, book a president suit in Metropol Hotel for Jackson with his personal security and inner circle, and rooms in hotel Ukraine for the rest of the team… All the way, I had a bad feeling that somehow it wouldn't work out even before Michael arrived.

We met Jackson in Sheremetievo-2 airport and then worked with him closely during all 3 days till the show. You may be surprised, but I have no photos of us together. I remember – it was, I guess the day before the concert – I saw a long queue of American embassy employees in the stadium passage. Jackson was standing next to the wall, and those people approached him one by one in order to take a photo with him. With a forced smile, he accepted their hugs. I just didn't want to be in that queue. He was really nice to me and I could have used any other chance, but I just don't like that sort of thing. When everyone runs after you, it must be unbearable. I think Jackson liked it that I wasn't trying to "make friends" with him too hard. For example, I never strived to seat closer to him, or start a small talk. I communicated mostly through his producer, security manager and doctor.

Michael was generally reticent and didn't make any decisions. During our meetings, he sat in the corner and listened quietly. Negotiations were mainly conducted with Avram. It amazed me how this silent guy managed to drive the whole world crazy with his singing and dancing. (That's me included – I had been literally blown away by that concert in Romania.) So, when I asked questions to Jackson, he didn't answer me right away. He glanced at Avram if the question was about the show, or at the security manager if it was about a city trip, and only with their consent he answered "yes" or "no". He was surprisingly calm, unhurried […].

Once, at 1 a.m. he requested to be taken someplace where he could try a borsch [Russian national soup], so all of us had to drive to a restaurant near the Danilov monastery. They served splendid meals, but he only ate borsch and was very pleased with it. On another occasion, during a city tour, he liked the uniform of a police captain and asked where he could buy a set like that. We talked to the policeman and he kindly offered to present Michael with a set of the uniform. Indeed, the next morning the uniform was delivered to the hotel, and that made Jackson childishly happy. He found everything joyful just like a kid. He had a big dream to take a parade on the Red Square, standing on the Mausoleum. Of course it was an impossible thing to do, but we tried to meet his wishes and organized a parade of Taman division in Alabino [military garrison]. The authorities helped us to build a tribune where Michael would take the parade. After that, he marched together with the troops while his people were taping it on camera. That day, he was beaming with joy.

He was like a big kid, really. I saw him sitting in his room, wheeling toy cars on the floor… You should have seen him around children! He seemed to turn into a different person; he was always happy to give them autographs. My good friend asked me to invite Michael to the ballet school his daughter attended. I didn't think he would agree, because his days were planned ahead – he was supposed to see the sights, go shopping, and meet the politicians and cultural figures. (By the way, many Russian pop stars asked me to introduce them to Michael, but I usually turned them down.) Nevertheless, I conveyed my friend's request to Michael, and he agreed immediately. He canceled one of the city tours, and we went to the ballet school together. Children gave him a terrific reception; they danced for him and took photos. He was absolutely happy, and it seemed that he never wanted to leave. As to the president Yeltsin, Michael never had a chance to meet him, even though he wanted to, very much.

Ultimately, our "well-wishers" did a good job. Tickets sales were very poor. In fact, they were blocked in ticket offices: we made a few attempts to do a purchase ourselves, but every time we got "sold out" or "office closed" replies. On September 15, the day of the show, the stadium was almost empty. The rain had been pouring since morning. Near the subway station, someone was spreading rumors that the show had been canceled because of the rain, so people went back home instead of getting to the stadium. Jackson was prophesied that he would break his spine if he went on stage that day. Then there came a report that Michael's team brought drugs to the stadium. Police officers with dogs came running around the place searching for the drugs. Having found nothing, the police left, but as soon as they left a message about a bomb on the stadium popped up! So they came back now searching for the bomb… It was crazy. People who were trying to throw a monkey wrench into our plans, succeeded. I understood that it was the end of it. Meanwhile, the intelligence agents dragged a police officer who was found under the stage stairs. As it turned out, he sneaked under the stairs in order to tape footage of Jackson going on stage for a family archive. The intelligence agents are tough guys; they decided he was a hit man, so they tied him up, broke his camera and took away his service gun… Can you imagine the condition I was in?! It was one thing after another!

So, it was raining, 50-60 people were standing in front of the stage under umbrellas, waiting. The concert was already out of the question. There was dead silence. I was sitting in my office with my team, feeling like a bundle of nerves. The project had failed, I had lost. The money we had had before that venture were at least enough for a short movie, but that day we lost that money too. I said goodbye to my dream of making movies… As I mentioned earlier, Dessa was the first private cinema company in the country. It wasn't like nowadays when every other rich guy can own a film studio…

It was then one of my associates came to me and said that an old woman was waiting for me. I was in a state of shock, in some kind of prostration, and I didn't care whom to talk to. So I let her in. She came in from the rain, soaked through and crying. She was holding this huge drawing in her hand. It was a drawing of Michael Jackson made by her daughter. Actually it looked more like Che Guevara or Leo Tolstoy. The woman told me a horrible story about her daughter who was almost blind from birth – she could see only with one eye, and only 4% of vision. So she pleaded me to go to Jackson and take an autograph for her half-blind daughter.

I guess it was God who sent me that woman with the drawing… I took it and went to Michael. I swear I didn't think about the failed show then, or about the money I had lost. My only thought was, "What if this kid recovers her sight after she gets the Jackson's autograph, just from the sheer desire to see it?!" It happens, you know… I entered Jackson's office and saw Michael, who was sitting in his stage outfit, completely still, hands folded on his lap. Aside from him, there were his doctor, Marcel Avram, and chief bodyguard. They were surprised to see me with that sheet of paper and couldn't figure out what it was. I explained it to them through the interpreter. Marcel Avram exploded, "You must be crazy! You've just lost insane money! You've done such an enormous job, and it's all going to hell! Don't you have anything better to do?" I said, "Yes, I may have lost, but I need this signature. What if this kid gets her sight back? Think of it as if I paid all the lost money for the autograph!" Jackson, who was listening to our argument, suddenly said to Avram: "I didn't know my signature cost that much… I will perform. Just get people in there, please – I can't sing to an empty stadium. And we'll need a lot of towels to wipe the stage". Then he signed the drawing. I won't even tell you how that old lady greeted me…

I don't remember how I got to Vladimir Aleshin, the director of the stadium, with a plea for help. Thankfully, he understood the situation and ordered to open the gates of the arena. All the ticketless audience that had gathered around the stadium (thank God, there were enough people out there) rushed inside. Meanwhile, my people together with a police officer found a kiosk shop that was selling towels, broke inside (it was late night and everything was closed already) and took two packs of towels. We wrote an explanation note for the owners, and left the police officer there to guard the shop from thieves.

Today, many years later, it's hard to explain what I was feeling at the time. When we had lost heart, everything suddenly came into motion. Jackson was going onto the stage. He had to go through a passage and up the stairs (those very stairs under which we caught the police officer earlier). Michael's bodyguard was escorting him, and they went extremely slowly – Jackson with his head bowed, incredibly calm. I thought, "Boy, how is he even going?" It seemed to me that he was walking up there for ages... He jumped out of the trap in the floor and froze on the stage in puffs of smoke. The rain poured down. The audience forgot to breathe.'

Let's interrupt the Samvel Gasparov's story for a minute and read the recollections of Mr. Parker, a person from the audience:

"…I was standing in the first row of the fan zone. I'd been waiting there for several hours already, soaked through to my briefs, sick of the Beatles music that was playing on the empty stage. And suddenly, these huge black guys are coming out on stage (they were really huge, like a house or something) and beginning to wipe the stage with waffle towels. And so they wipe it for 20 minutes… 40 minutes… Someone from the audience shouts, 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DROP IT! IT'S RUSSIA!!!'

Nobody believes that the concert will happen. Everyone is POSITIVE that it's just another scam.

Then an exciting music starts and the huge screens on both sides of the stage show Jackson as he is going through passages with this very determined look on his face. Then something explodes, a man in the golden suit jumps out from the hole right in front of me (in 5 meters or so) and freezes still on the stage.

Silence follows. 'It's a doll!', someone beside me shouts.

And then we see the steam coming out of the doll's mouth. 'Jam' begins. Jackson darts off and starts dancing.

I have tears in my eyes as I'm writing it now – it was that cool. It was that unreal. The whole 2-hour show flashed by like a few seconds…"

“I think he knew how to preserve his energy somehow and then pour it all out at the audience… Michael exploded in the dance like thunder in the sky', [Samvel Gasparov confirms[. 'And as if following his cue, hundreds of speakers exploded around, the whole stadium exploded. I haven't seen anything like that in my entire life. Tears of joy ran down my face. My friend approached me and offered me a bottle of vodka. I didn't even feel the alcohol at first, it seemed like cold water to me. I finished the bottle, got in the car and went home. I couldn't even stay at the stadium – I was so drained. I don't remember how I got home. That night my wife told me, "You won, the concert is happening! You did your job well. Screw the money! We can sell the house and the cars if we need to pay debt. The important thing is that you've won. He is singing, people are hearing him!"

Of course we had no revenue from the show. I met with Avram the next day, and he only asked me to cover their flight expenses – Jackson didn't demand his fee, which was supposed to be more than $400,000. It was a generous and noble gesture. I guess they understood that we simply didn't get a chance to do our job.

We saw them off to the airport and said our goodbyes. I didn't see Michael or Avram ever since. In 1996, when Jackson visited Moscow for the second time, I was out of town. If I hadn't been away, I would probably have paid him a visit.

That show in 1993 was a turning point in my life. It feels like I lost myself for a while. Of course, I didn't dream of Hollywood anymore, and Dessa ceased to exist. I dismissed my team… It's a pity that it turned out like that. What did my then enemies achieve? Nothing. The show did happen.

Now everybody is talking about Jackson again. I think people should just leave him alone. I don't believe in all those dirty stories around him, I don't. He was a man who went up on that stage because of a blind girl, overcoming all the obstacles, and delivered perfection! The world has lost a genius. It's so sad… There's no doubt that Michael Jackson will be remembered in history for hundreds of years, alongside with names like The Beatles and Elvis.”

[Samvel Vladimirovich Gasparov, Soviet/Russian film director and short story writer; sources: www.myjackson.ru, www.mjjcommunity.com (translated article from Russian posted by morinen)

* [Additional note by The Silenced Truth: in line with this article’s mentionings, the resounding conclusive words of Reverend Al Sharpton (at Jackson’s memorial service), addressed to his children there in the audience come to mind. He said: “(It) wasn't (sic) nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with, but he dealt with it... he dealt with it anyway. He dealt with it for us. […] Thank you, because you never stopped. Thank you, because you never gave up. Thank you, because you never gave out. Thank you, because you tore down our divisions. Thank you, because you eradicated barriers. […]”]


“I am sitting at the burial services of Michael Jackson. I am talking to actress LisaRaye McCoy … and Tom Mesereau. Tom represented M.J. in the molestation case. We are all discussing his battles. This is a real moment for those who witnessed what he … (cuts off mid-sentence due to running out of characters). […] What M.J. went through was so unfair, yet he succeeded. In the end, he was the biggest artist ever. He faced the headwinds, but he made it.”

[Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr., American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and radio talk show host; sources: http://twitter.com/thereval, http://news.softpedia.com]


The relationship Michael Jackson had with his fans is something not many understand...

Loving Michael was not about the typical fan admiration one has for mainstream celebrities. This was about a man who would open his home to us, who would send us food when we waited long hours, who would give us handwritten notes and flowers and would invite us places he went to. He truly loved us, and in return we had an enduring loyalty to him.

This blog has been created for both the writers and the readers. It's been a year and a half since we lost Michael and we have discussed ways of documenting our experiences and we decided that this is the best way. While this will be a theraputic process for us, it will also be an opportunity to share our beautiful memories with others who loved Michael just the same.

We named this blog, "Coffee With Michael" because it was a playful term we would use when we would spend a more-than-usual amount of time with him. One minute with Michael was like one hour...and one hour was like a day...

None of us really ever had coffee with him, but we did have some amazing moments throughout the years and we've come here to share them with you.”

[Arus & Talin, Michael Jackson admirers; sources: http://coffeewithmichael.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“It’s now ten days until Christmas Day and it got me thinking of a very magical December back in 2008 when Michael first moved into his new home. I was at my local mall doing some light Christmas shopping for family at The Disney Store when I spotted an adorable snowglobe with all of Michael’s favorite characters. It was light brown, in a style of a jukebox with a snowglobe of Jiminy Cricket (from Pinocchio) in the center of it with other classic Disney characters all around it. I knew Michael would love it, it was so him….but it was over $100. I called some of my follower friends and asked if they wanted to chip in for a Christmas gift to Michael from all of us. I purchased it, wrapped it up beautifully and wrote a card from all of us. It was later delivered to him Christmas Eve.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve…we get a call saying, “Michael is on his way to Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore in Santa Monica”. Talin and I made it there just in time before it got crowded with people. There were not many people inside the store when we got there; only the few customers already inside the store before Michael and his security. We stayed far away and acted natural as he shopped…burying our faces in books and such. I think we are the only people in the world who would ignore Michael Jackson at a bookstore.

Well eventually he noticed us and started looking at books in front of us. I think it was getting awkward that we were ignoring him (he knew it was us) so he acknowledged us finally. He reached his hand over the books and said “Hey”.

We said our hellos and I wanted to engage in some brief conversation so I asked him about our Christmas gift and if he opened it yet as I’ve heard he kept a box of unopened gifts and letters at times.

“What was it?” he asked.

I was calm as usual, but the mixture of people’s stares and other fans overflowing in got me tongued-tied and I gave a horrible description of the gift.

“It was a Gheppetto thing. A snowglobe”, I mumbled.

First of all, Gheppetto from Pinnocchio is nowhere to be found on it. But of course he knew what I was talking about.

“Oohhhhh. The one that lights up and plays music?! I love it. It’s in my bedroom now…thank you, I love it.”

I didn’t even know it played music! Later we checked the website and saw that it played "When You Wish Upon A Star". How wonderful and appropriate, we thought. Michael had our Christmas gift sitting in his bedroom. It was a very beautiful feeling and it definitely made my holiday special that year. New Year’s Eve festivities felt especially magical that night.

I wonder where the snowglobe is now…I guess we will never know, at least for now.”

[Arus; sources: http://coffeewithmichael.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“So, as mentioned before, we were inside the bookstore browsing for books and completely ignoring Michael. At this point, there were no other fans inside the store (just a few random shoppers) and no one had bothered him yet. We came up to him at the end of one of the aisles. It was just us two, Michael, and his two security guys.

Having never asked Michael for a picture, a little voice in my head said “do it NOW”. For some odd reason, I had my camera in my back pocket. This was unusual, because when around Michael we never took out a camera. It was an unwritten rule. So I managed to spit the words out “Michael, can we take a picture with you?” He answered “Sure. Like this?”, referring to the fact that he didn’t feel presentable. […] But his amazing eyes were exposed through reading glasses. I’ll never forget looking into those eyes more than once that day.

Sensing his discomfort, Arus and I stood there being indecisive about whether to take the picture or not. And Michael and his two guards stood there confused. Arus finally said “No, it’s okay, next time”.

Needless to say, a few minutes later strangers and shoppers in the store had hovered around him taking pictures and asking for autographs.

Are we the only fans who’ve had this opportunity and turned it down? Probably so! The next day I saw the two guards and puzzled by our decision, they asked why we didn’t just take the picture.

Later that night, I went to a New Years Eve party and my camera fell and broke. I used to joke around and say that it broke because it got mad at me for not taking that picture. For 5 months I was without a camera. A week after, I finally got it fixed I got the rare opportunity (again) and I took my first and only picture with Michael.”

[Talin; sources: http://coffeewithmichael.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Every Michael Jackson fan used to dream about visiting Neverland one day. For me, this dream came true 7 years ago today…

As a child, I always wondered where Santa Ynez was located, and as an adult it never once occurred to me to look up the address and drive there. I assumed everything about Michael was top secret and confidential. Back then, I was kind of clueless and not very active online and the only fan friend I had was my good friend Paul who I had met in 1993 at the Super Bowl. After the horror of the allegations in 2003, Paul called me one day to tell me about a party at Neverland. Didn’t know any other fans or how to get on the list, but still decided to drive up there for the first time.

Early Saturday morning, December 20th, 2003, I picked up Karin, my friend’s sister who I had just learned was an MJ fan, and we headed up north on the 101. After a two hour drive, we reached the gates and saw a few parked cars and news vans. It was still early and no cars were going in yet. While waiting, we met a few other fans. None of us were “invited”, so we stood around for hours, while rows and rows of cars started showing up and driving inside. Traffic was backed up all the way down Figueroa Mountain Rd. with cars full of fans holding signs and banners and blasting MJ music. But of course not all of them were fans. Some friends, some locals and some miscellaneous people were there also to support Michael as he was getting ready to face some tough times.

[…]

We got our wristbands and passes and drove through the property for a little while then down the hill to the main gates. […] Shirts were being given out near the big tent looking thing that read “Welcome to Neverland Valley Ranch”. Then finally, we walked through the main gates and we were INSIDE Neverland! I wanted to scream and cry out of joy. I’d been dreaming about this moment for 15 years.

To the right of us, some people waited for the little train. To the left of us, some people were picking out ice cream from the ice cream cart which was placed outside of the little bungalow. We decided to walk instead of waiting for the train. I cannot even begin to explain the emotions that ran through me at that very moment. The view, the atmosphere, the air, the trees, the bronze statues of children, the “Caution: children at play” signs, were some of the things that immediately took my breath away.

It was a long walk before we could really see anything. We came up to the lake on our left and then walked to the main house. In front of the house were 3 llamas and a giant snake. Later, we also saw some elephants walking around.

Behind the main house and past the swimming pool is where the event set up was. The stage was facing the house and white chairs were placed in front of it in rows and sections.

We walked past the event set up and came up to the rides: carousel, spider, ferris wheel, zipper, swings, sea dragon, and some rides for younger kids. We wanted to get on the ferris wheel to see the view from up top, but it wasn’t running. So we asked the staff and one of the other ride operators came over and turned it on for us. Just as we expected, it was absolutely magical.

We didn’t want to waste too much time in one place, so that was the only ride we got on that day. We walked back and went up to the train station. I don’t even know if the big train was running that day, but we didn’t have a chance to get on it. The train station was probably my favorite thing at Neverland. After a quick walk through, we came back down towards the guest house by the lake. We saw Rebbie outside and Katherine, who was standing in the doorway, greeted us as we passed by.

We made our way to grab seats for the event that was scheduled to start at 3 pm. Tons of celebrities were there. The MC was Tommy Davidson, and he first brought up Tisha Cambell (sic) who read a poem called “Footsteps in the Sand”. Then an orchestra started to play during which Michael made his appearance. He walked from the main house towards the event set up.

The crowd went crazy and everyone was trying to get close to him. He walked down the aisle closest to us as he was getting mobbed by the guests. As he passed us, I managed to reach out and touch his hand. He was looking amazing in his light blue silk shirt (that he wore again for the Ed Bradley/60 minute interview).

Facing the stage, in the front were 3 beige leather couches. Michael finally made his way over and sat down on the middle couch. The orchestra at this point had left the stage, and the MC was back up there introducing the Jackson family. The parents, most of the brothers and sisters and some of their kids and grandkids walked through the aisle and joined Michael on the couches. Katherine sat on his right and Joseph on his left. Karen Faye was also there sitting on the ground near Michael, along with some of the nieces and nephews. People kept crowding around from behind to see Michael and security was trying to control the chaos.

Next on stage was the Andrae Crouch Choir and they sang “Will You Be There” and “I’ll be there”. The staff at Neverland came on stage and one of them gave a speech and the other recited the same poem as Tisha Cambell (sic) had, “Footsteps in the Sand”. This whole event was not meant to be entertaining, so not very well planned. It was actually drawn-out and boring, but in the presence of Michael it didn’t make a difference.

The emotional part of the night was when David Rothenberg gave a speech and talked about how Michael befriended him and employed him. He was the burn victim whose father had set him on fire at the age of 6. There was another guy that spoke who had a similar story but I don’t recall his name. Once they were done, they both walked over to Michael and gave him a hug.

The show continued with Jermaine singing a song he had written for Michael, called “The First Time”. Others gave speeches, including Robert Townsend, Eddie Griffith, MC Hammer, Rodney Jenkins, Darryl Strawberry with his two pastors Paula White and Rob Mallan, and a few others I didn’t recognize.

Debbie Allan (sic) was there too with her dance crew. She said a few words, then the kids went up on stage to dance. Michael absolutely loved this. Up until this point, he was sitting very still with very little reaction to what was going on. But seeing these talented kids on stage made him smile, snap his fingers, and tap his feet.

At some point toward the beginning of the event, we had left our seats and had ended up on the side of the stage facing Michael. He took a break halfway through the show during which we moved around and changed spots again so that we had a clear view of him and the stage.

At the very end, when everyone was done speaking and performing, the MC introduced Michael and he got up to head for the stage. The screams and cheers were louder than usual. As Michael approached the steps on the side, security let us run up to the stage. Needless to say, it was chaos and Karin and I were in the front, against the stage, being crushed. The choir started singing “You Are Not Alone”, and Michael waited on the side. Once the song was almost over, he made his way up the steps and grabbed the mic. He said “Thank you” and “I love you” and that was pretty much it. Everyone that was on stage with him wanted to shake his hand and give him a hug. Since there were a lot of people up there, security slowly moved him off the stage. We ran to the side of the stage where 3 black SUVs were parked. He climbed into one of them with his parents and they drove off.

After Michael had left, we left that area to enjoy Neverland some more. Back towards the main house, we played on the trampoline that was near the pool. Then we headed over to the arcade, which was also by the pool. Karin and I played the pinball machine for a few minutes, then went upstairs to the second floor. The arcade was too crowded, so we left and headed back up to the train station. TJ was there hanging out near the video game/couch area. We walked up the narrow winding staircase to the cozy game room. It was like a tiny family room with a fire place, a Christmas tree, and board games on the coffee table. The windows overlooked the train tracks. There was no one there, so we sat down for a moment and tried to take it all in.

After the train station, we walked back down past the main house and over to the bridge. We sat on the bridge for a little while and enjoyed the surroundings. The sun had set hours ago, sometime during the long event, so now it was dark and the gazebos and a few other areas were lit with white Christmas lights. My God, Neverland was so magical and breathtaking. So unbelievably beautiful and impossible to put into words.

We slowly made our way towards the gates and left Neverland around 8 pm. On our drive home, overwhelmed with everything that had just happened, we realized that we left voluntarily, without anyone asking us to leave.

This support event at Neverland was called “You Are Not Alone”. It was the start of difficult times, but they were still beautiful memories. […]”

[Talin; sources: http://coffeewithmichael.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“This party was my second time inside Neverland. I got a phonecall from a friend saying he put my name on the VIP guest list for a party at Neverland....tomorrow. I was in New Jersey!! I got on a plane and headed to LAX.

I can't recall specific details, but a news station that was trying to get us to record stuff inside Neverland and make phonecalls to them while we were inside actually sent a nice car to pick me up at the airport - and we never followed through with the "exclusives" for them, of course...but thanks for the ride, haha.

I clearly remember pulling up the the first gates, I saw the fans and media waiting outside. […]

As Violet walked up to our window, I still had this nervous feeling in my stomach that my name wouldn't really be on the list. She started to hand us our wristbands and then gave me and my friend a different color, then she was giving everyone else?? We really were somehow on the VIP list.

Drove down the long driveway to the parking area. I remember looking at my camera sitting in the backseat thinking... should I risk it and just bring it in? I didn't. We hopped on the small train and got off at the main house. My first time at Neverland earlier that year - I didn’t get to go anywhere near the main house, so I spent some time snooping around and looking in every window. I remember seeing alot of pictures of Michael and the kids that had never been seen before at that point. I saw the little "Parking Lot" for all the kids’ bikes, power wheels, tricycles. I said hi to MC Hammer, E`Cassanova, and Mark Geragos. Then I walked up to the Giving Tree, climbed a few steps and hopped down. And who was standing there, but Michu. The little guy from the Dangerous album cover.... in full Dangerous costume with top hat and all. I shook his tiny hand and moved on......[…]

We literally explored everything we could - Tee Pee village, water baloon fort, petting zoo, arcade, rides, movie theater. I wanted to see EVERYTHING - cause who knows if I would ever have this opportunity again.

Then me and my friend walked over to the guest house where I met Joe and Jermaine. Joe told us to go say hi to Katherine inside. So we walked into the guest house. This is still one of the most surreal moments... not involving Michael. I am sitting on a bed with Katherine. Randy and Tito are in the room discussing old Motown stuff - and I am sitting there just thinking to myself how the hell did I get here. Little white boy from New Jersey sitting in a beautiful bedroom with the Jackson family. I needed to call my mom - so I was trying to use the phone, but you have to dial a code to make any outgoing calls - so Latoya comes over and helps me do that. I walked into the bathroom of the guest house and just looked in the mirror still asking myself if I was dreaming. I was so tempted to take a towel, or toilet paper, or soap... all with the golden "Neverland Valley" logo on them. But I didn't.

Alot (sic) of the fans and celebs were starting to take their place by the stage out on the lawn - but I knew I was sticking around the Jackson family for as long as I could. […] I played on the trampoline a little bit. I walked over to the train station which nobody else was in at the time. I walked up the spiral staircase and was up in the cozy little room all by myself - surrounded by the things Michael had collected from around the world. I was in heaven.

I walked back by the main house where a huge tour bus was now parked. […] He was whispering to a few people, but was being very over protective and guarded, as he started to walk towards the couches to sit. I just calmly walked with him and the security guards as if I was part of the entourage. […]

Like Talin said, the "show" was a disorganized mess - but I was just watching Michael. He sat little Michu on his lap. […] When he got up to run to the house - I followed. It was only a few of us running with Michael as he jumped over the little streams. Security trying to keep up with him. He came back out with a black velvet jacket with red armband. After he got in the SUV by the stage - we went back by the main house where he stopped and opened the window. We all started singing D.S., but clearly saying TOM SNEDDON IS A COLD MAN, and he was getting so into it, and bouncing and dancing in the SUV.

At that point, it was getting late and everyone was clearing out - but we were trying to find a way to spend the night. Talking to Michael's cousins and stuff. We gave up around 11 pm and finally left. And as I looked at that sign lit up in the darkness "Goodbye For Now", I hoped I would be back very soon and see that sign many times again. Unfortunately, the next time I would see all of that stuff would be at the auction in Beverly Hills in 2009.

No one could ever explain or put into words how magical Neverland was. When I tell people these stories, I think some people might think I'm crazy and making it all up cause it sounds SO unbelievable. I am so thankful that some of us got to live inside his dream world for a few moments.”

[Pete Carter, Michael Jackson admirer and impersonator; http://coffeewithmichael.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“People always find it hard to believe when I say that I became a fan in 2003 (when I was 18 years old) and have been one for only 7 years. I was never exposed to Michael as a child and didn’t know much about him until the Living With MJ documentary. I know it was a bad documentary that portrayed him in a very bad light, but during one March afternoon with nothing else to watch on TV, I tuned in and became instantly hooked. Something about him during that interview really enticed me and I had never seen a more interesting person in my life. Where was this magical place he lived in? Was it possible to meet him? Did he have many fans left? I needed to know more about him and in that week, I joined various MJ forums, found fan websites and participated in MJ fan chatrooms. I bought all of his music and while he quickly became my favorite musical artist, I did and always will love him more as a person…as simply just Michael.

Over the summer, I looked up the address to Neverland and made several visits outside the gates to just hang out. I had heard of magical stories of Michael letting fans into Neverland and dreamed that someday it would be me. I felt that as long as I tried and put my mind to it, it would eventually happen. This was the advantage of living in Los Angeles… that we could drive to Los Olivos on weekends and make nice trips out of it. Nothing happened all summer long and I missed out on all the days (i.e. his birthday) that he let fans inside the gates. I was disappointed.

On September 9, 2003, I read a post at the old MJJFORUM (now MJJC), saying that they were giving away free tickets at 102.7 KIIS FM to go to Neverland for a charity after-party on September 13, 2003. I immediately got a hold of all the phones I could find in my house and began dialing. After trying for about an hour, I finally got through. When I got through, they told me that they already had a winner. I told them that it was my dream to visit Neverland and started talking about what Michael meant to me and I believe the operator truly heard the sincerity in my voice and put me on hold. I was put on hold for about a half hour and was told that I might soon be getting some good news. The next thing I knew I was on air being granted 4 free tickets to Neverland. In my mind, I thought this day was the luckiest day of my life. Little did I know that the luckiest day was yet to come…

September 13 came, and we were told to meet at the KIIS FM studios in Burbank and we were driven to Los Olivos in a huge bus. When we got there, we had to sign several contracts, and then we were finally let into those big, beautiful, golden, stunning gates of Neverland that I had only dreamt of seeing. We then sat in the little train, grabbed some ice cream and were on our way to the amusement park. On our way there, we encountered some beautiful scenery. There was a huge lake in the middle of everything, with fields of large trees and vibrant flowers at every angle. There were little sculptures of children...and even classic Disney theme songs playing in the background of every corner. It was like I entered a sweet fairytale.

We then arrived to the amusement park area and realized everything was free. Popcorn, cotton candy, ice cream, soda and drinks, snow cones, cookies and baked desserts, candy and chocolate, games and prizes to win, caricature drawings and rides. I was in awe and couldn’t believe I was actually there. We walked over to the movie theatre and found ourselves in front of a concession stand filled with every type of candy and popcorn. Inside were beautiful red velvet seats and a good sized movie screen. We stayed for just a few minutes and left to explore more of Neverland.

We made our way to the dance club tent, and just as we got there the host announced that Michael would shortly be coming out. […] He finally came out and he had never looked so good. He was wearing a black button down shirt and black sparkly pants. He made a very brief speech in which he said:

"Thank you all for coming tonight. For in my opinion, in my opinion, this is a very special cause and the cause is our future and the future is our children. I will continue to fight for them for the rest of my life.”

Since his birthday was two weeks ago (sic), they bought out a cake and we sung Happy Birthday to him. A few celebrities jumped up on the stage and had a little cake fight with Michael. It was adorable, but before we knew it he got off stage and was escorted to his black Bentley. I managed to slip a little letter I had prepared inside his window before they drove off. I didn’t go to Neverland expecting to see Michael ,but seeing him and knowing he was there made me want to get closer. As I stood there watching, the Bentley speed down the dirt road I wondered what we should do next... […]”

“We walked passed his large beautiful pool and finally came upon his "main residence", which was guarded by security. It didn't look like what I expected it to be. It was no modern mansion... even though it was quite big; it resembled a cozy cottage. We walked a bit more, trying to discover the special parts of Neverland (at this particular visit, we had full access to almost everything). We came upon a beautiful little Train Station in which I like to call "the Bakery.”

I automatically recognized the Peter Pan and Captain Hook mannequins up in the ceiling from the "Living With Michael Jackson" special. It was unbelievable to actually see them in person finally. Especially when you have seen this stuff before on TV...finding yourself standing in front of it staring at it with your own two bare eyes is simply magical. I also noticed a very narrow flight of stairs, which we did not climb yet. There were other various mannequins, as well a huge Christmas tree. Someone told me that Michael loves to keep the whole Christmas theme year round. Being a Christmas lover myself, I just loved the idea. After being treated to a few sweets, we walked to the amusement park by foot since the little train wasn’t working at the moment. While walking…we came upon a cute little playhouse. We walked up to it and read a sign saying something along the lines of, “Paris and Prince's House: Daddy loves you very much." Inside the playhouse were several bins of toys. I was surprised at how unguarded it all was, the entire ranch was a free-for-all. We continued walking towards the rides and started to enjoy some of them. One of the best feelings is riding the rides at Neverland while Michael’s songs are being blasted in your ears. That was truly memorable and my favorite ride was the Sea Dragon. We rode all of them except for the little kiddy ones.

After a good hour of fun, we walked around some more and found the Giving Tree. It was absolutely amazing to see it especially knowing all of the history behind. Yet again, another magical experience being right in front of something so special that Michael keeps close to his heart. We also spent a few minutes sitting on the same bridge that Michael has featured in his “Gone Too Soon” video. While we sat there, we talked about how much we loved him and tried to take the whole experience in. We got in the mood for snacks so we went back to the Train Station/Bakery. This time we did go up the little swirly stairs. Up there, we found boxes of brownies, a TV, a comfy couch, a sculpture of Michael and some children in a glass case, and several board games and video games lying around. The whole experience seemed surreal as we found a comfortable couch and made ourselves at home while enjoying some milk and cookies.

After a while, we noticed that we had better get going, so we wouldn’t miss our buses, which were scheduled to leave at 2:00 am. We started to get going…but just before we made our way out, my friend found a small white teddy bear sitting on the train all alone and gave it to me. By then, it had already become the most special stuffed animal to me. Little did I know that in a matter of minutes, the bear would be in my arms, as I would be hugging Michael...

As we were walking across the dark road back our buses, we noticed the same black Bentley pass us by with something very sparkly inside. It had to be Michael. We started following it as it went to the Main Residence Garage. We stood around waiting…staring at the black car. After a few minutes of waiting, Michael finally came out, but we kept our distance. It all seemed to be so surreal…all of it in slow motion. As Michael walked away, we heard him say, “I love you…” As we continued walking, we came upon Michael opening a door (to what we found out later was his office). He saw us and stepped away from his door and…gestured for us to follow him. I stood there staring at him and not believing my eyes. I noticed he had no shoes on; only white socks. I thought it was adorable. I had seen Michael a week earlier at the Celebration of Love, but I had yet to see him up close and meet him. He began making more “come here" hand motions for me to come closer. I was finally going to meet Michael.

I walked up the little steps to his porch, he came closer, reached his hand over to me…grabbed my head and pressed it against his shoulder. He then gave me the most beautiful, strongest, tightest, most loving hug I ever received in my whole life. Resting my head on his shoulder was true bliss. Nothing that came out of my mouth was making any sense, but I managed to tell him that I loved him and thanked him. He was so adorable and so SHY…giggling. He was so unbelievably shy; he was just mumbling, “I love you”. A few of my friends took turns hugging Michael […]

We slowly walked away from the porch and said our goodbye's to him and went back to our bus and gave one final look at the beautiful, golden, stunning gates of Neverland…in hopes of one day seeing it again and experiencing all of the magic again. That night...I held the little white teddy bear tightly in my arms as I laid in bed and thanked God for the wonderful experience he had given me.”

[Arus; http://coffeewithmichael.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“In April of 2009, you might have seen Michael coming out of a building with a photo of a girl in his hand. It was on fan message boards for a while…and the question of who the girl is came up a lot. Well, that girl was me and at the time I found it VERY embarrassing… but of course now I cherish it. People on the internet came up with different things like “It’s his girlfriend”, “It’s Blanket’s mother” […].

Just to give a little background, followers often gave photos of themselves to Michael. We gave Michael a lot of photos of us all posing together, alone, with him, etc. The more Michael saw you, the more he remembered who you were and your name and things you told him about yourself. I remember one of his bodyguards telling me, “Always include a photo with your letters. He likes photos and he remembers you that way.” I always carried stationary, pens, markers, stickers, gifts and photos in my trunk to always be prepared with something to give to him.

On this particular day, I had emptied my stuff out for some reason and only had a few developed photos inside my car. I just really wanted to always give him something, so I quickly wrote a note on the back of one of the photos and gave it to him when we saw him inside. We said our hello’s and parted different ways, so I didn’t see him exit out the building.

After that, he went shopping to a few stores, including Off the Wall on Melrose and the Ed Hardy store. I don’t remember if it was during the drive to the Ed Hardy store or when I was done and going home but I got a call.

“Oh my God! There are photos of Michael holding your photo!”

I quickly went online to try and find it, and sure enough it was all over the internet already. I got red in the face and was so embarrassed… and I got made fun of for it by my friends for MONTHS. But of course, now it is something I treasure. <3 So there it is, there is no real “story” behind the photo. Fans have fantasized some really weird theories about the incident. LOL. I wanted to tell Michael about the photos and how funny it looked, but I never got the chance to because I started seeing him less and less… I’m sure at some point I wrote about it in my letters, but it wasn’t ever discussed. And I’m okay with it being that way…”

[Arus; http://coffeewithmichael.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Is there a light at the end of Michael’s tunnel?

Many people remember Michael Jackson as a disconnected, reclusive and perverted character who was strung out on drugs. In truth, the people who knew him throughout his life, recognized him as possessing the opposite qualities.

We, humans, are neurologically wired for connection. Michael spent his entire life connecting. We see this in his music, in his on-stage and film performances, and in his compassionate humanitarian endeavors.

The researcher/storyteller, in the video below, discusses the relevance of shame in our ability to be authentically connected to each other. “The only people who don’t experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or compassion.” says Dr. Brené Brown at the University of Houston.

Michael repeatedly showed himself to be a master of human empathy, compassion and connectedness. As a child he was a willing, obedient and dedicated student in the performing arts; he was an avid and encouraging mentor to budding writers, dancers, musicians and painters; he was a fun-loving, Patch Adams type of humanitarian to countless underprivileged and ailing children; and Michael was an exceptionally empathetic and loving father to his own three children, and to numerous other children upon whom he bestowed fatherly attention.

Michael Jackson was “a victim of a selfish kind of love.” He courageously faced a life filled with shame. From the insensitive abuses by his own father, to the money-mongering leaches who took advantage of, and preyed off his wealth, to the blatantly disrespectful media journalists who twisted his reputation with lies, as they chewed him up and spit him out, Michael continually faced shame. He struggled to find meaning in his shame. He valiantly wore shame on his collar. Much of Michael’s shame was thrown at him by hecklers and bullies who find sick satisfaction in throwing rotten apples at innocent targets.

Each of us secretly protects our feelings of shame by hiding them in the recesses of our personal tunnels. We often fail to recognize that we are not alone in them. Michael assured us that “You Are Not Alone.” Everybody feels shame to some degree or another.

Like the Man in the Mirror, who Michael introduced us to, let’s turn up the collar of our favorite winter coat, and honestly recognize our own shame and vulnerability with each other. Let’s realize that the shame in and around our dark, hidden, cavernous, secret tunnels not need blind us into bitter apathy, or physical and mental disease. Let us look, like Michael did, for the light at the end of our tunnel! We, humans, were intended to spread love and good will. As Michael liked to say, “It’s all for love. L.O.V.E.” Michael Jackson’s legacy is rich. By merit of his loving, steadfast and forgiving attitude, with a child’s heart, he marvelously turned the rotten apples thrown at him into gifts of gold.”

[Article by http://michaeljacksonrememberedwithlove.com]

 

“The Amusement Park, along with the rest of Neverland, was built to bring a magical day; a joy filled memory into the lives of all those sick and less fortunate kids who visited Neverland. 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 onto was a blessing.
I am sorry to say that even with all the pictures and movies of the ranch, there is no way a person can describe what a day at Neverland was like. It is something that has to be experienced.”

[Allan ‘Big Al’ Scanlan, Neverland Ranch former employee; sources: www.mjfanclub.net, www.michaeljacksontributeportrait.com]


“[…] My father was very very strict. He wasn’t always so pleasant to be around […] I won’t speak about, you know, the rest of my brothers, I’ll let them tell their own story when they’re ready to. [Michael did that.] But for me, sometimes he wasn’t in the greatest mood. And that happens with people. And sometimes I feel like he took, […] took it out on us, on the – on the kids. […]”

“There were certain things that I would talk to Mike about and he’d teach me about, and certain questions that I would have, and he would give me answers to them, and there were other things that I just wouldn’t speak about […] to anyone. […] I remember he and I were in – we were in his car – we had just gotten to – we had just gone to - we were young, and that was his first car. And I was only, you know, 13-14, we had just gone to this restaurant at the time called, Love’s, and bought a ton of dinners and driving around looking for homeless people to give the dinners to. And we would have talks, we would do this all the time. I mean, we’d have, like, serious talks and he would teach me about getting older and that was the thing in our family - I know you mentioned the Rolls (Royce) - it was one of the things - it was, when you turn 18, you have to buy your own car, you pay for your own school tuition, and you buy your own car. So, I was already paying for my own school tuition, so it was about, okay, having to buy my own car. So, he said, ‘You know, you’re gonna want a car when you turn 18, you’re gonna wanna learn how to drive and you have to start preparing for this and saving up’, and this and that, and we’d have talks like that. [smiles] Which was very very… very sweet. It will always stay with me - those heart to heart talks. Or, another one that I actually mentioned in the book, was talking about when the world would end. He would talk to me about that. […] ‘Someday, he said, the world is going to come to an end’, and I thought, ‘Well, what’s the point of living? Why should I want to be an actress? Why should I want to go with my life?’ And he says, ‘Well, no one says it’s gonna happen tomorrow. At some point it’s going to happen. You keep moving forward. You keep reaching your goals and living your life…’ And we would have all life talks. Lot of heart to heart talks.”

“No, I haven’t [been able to watch This Is It…] I still haven’t… […] Since - since I’ve written the book (‘True You’), I have been able to listen to his music, I have been able to watch his videos.. And I took a night out and did that and got through that. I needed that. But I – I’m - I can’t - not yet (watch) ‘This Is It’, I can’t see that just yet. But someday, I’m - I know I will be able to, and it wasn’t healthy not to - a year has passed and I still haven’t.. Just to hear – just to hear his voice.. yeah. And a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about him. Not one single day. […] [There are memories which make me smile], yes. Which is important. Now that I’m there, I’m finally there. Yeah, they do make me smile… for sure. And how silly – he was so silly. [smiles] Soo silly. Very beautiful. […] I’m okay with it now [with paying homage on stage to my brother with Together Again] – then, it was pretty tough, and I did feel the energy from the people. Those are the times, the moments that I love, that we shared the most, so I shared a couple of photographs from home with the – with the world. And they – they probably didn’t see it coming either, they probably didn’t expect it. […] Exactly, (we are) human… human beings. Uh-hum. […] [He is] my brother. […] I don’t know (if I’ll tour with my brothers in the future). I really really do not know. There was a moment when we all talked about it when Michael was still here. You know, we talked about doing something together. […] I don’t know – I really really don’t know. And that’s the honest truth. […]”


“I was close to Mike then [growing up], and I was also very close and still am very close to my brother Randy. […] Yeah, I was very close to Mike. […] Of course, of course it hurts [to see how he was treated by the media]… [sighs] It hurts me to read or see, hear.. [pauses]. Yeah. It can hurt.. for sure. You’re misunderstood. You really are. And one thing you may say or the way something is written, or they just put a little bit of different twist about it, it’s like, ‘No, that’s not what I meant.’ ‘I wish they would’ve asked.’ Then, I really would’ve explained myself. ‘It’s not what I meant, that’s not how I meant it’. So, it becomes difficult. It really does. […]”


[Janet Jackson, interviewed by HLN’s news anchor and correspondent, Richelle Carey; sources: www.cnn.com, www.janetmedia.com, www.youtube.com]


“[Michael's children] are around their father 24 hours a day. They have pictures in the bedroom. They talk about him all the time. They ask me stories about him. They want to know more about him. […] They are doing really well. [Interested in the entertainment business.] I told the kids, 'You better get busy, because when we were your age, we were selling out concerts. [jokes] [We have this new Jackson 5 clothing line coming up: shirts, tank tops and jackets.] Michael’s children especially love the shirts. They like to see us as little kids. We were the same age they are and we were doing our thing.”

[Jackie Jackson, American singer and musician, a member of The Jackson 5; source: http://www.people.com]

 

“Michael was either 21 or about to turn 21 when I met him and he had never had his own (legal) team. ‘Off The Wall’ had come out and it was a big hit. He said, ‘Do I know you?’ It was one of those things you have in life where you feel so comfortable with a person, you actually feel you do know them. The conversation is easy and the connection is effortless. […] Michael called me up (one day) and he said, ‘Branca, I want to buy copyrights.’ I said, ‘Great.’ He bought copyrights to such songs as “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer,” and the work of Sly and the Family Stone. I actually have a great note he wrote me. It said: ‘Branca, the catalog is mine. Don’t lose it by over-negotiating.’ I framed that note. [Before bidding on the Beatles catalogue, Michael checked with Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and McCartney’s lawyer and brother-in-law John Eastman to see if they were interested. They were not. It took a year of bidding against others - including British industrialist Richard Branson - before I closed the deal. In 1995, I merged it with Sony to create one of the largest such collections in the world.] But life with Michael was not all about money. At first, we were friends, traveling to Disney World together, socializing at my home. Jackson was the best man at my first wedding, bringing with him his pet chimp Bubbles, who was clad in a tiny tuxedo. […] (Michael’s) personality was just infectious.”

“Later on in his career, he really had a line between his business and personal life. As people get older, that’s not uncommon. [My connections to Elvis Presley would extend when I introduced Michael to his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.] […]”

[John Branca, American entertainment lawyer; sources: http://today.msnbc.msn.com, http://im4mj.blogspot.com]


"He changed my life. I saw him on TV and I wanted to sing in English because he was, so and I went to learn English and met with him and I (sang) with him and he came to see the show and he had a big impact on my life."

[Céline Marie Claudette Dion, commonly known as Céline Dion, French Canadian singer; source: www.contactmusic.com, http://themjplace.com]

 

“A lot of singers today try to sound like Michael Jackson. But Michael was unique, he was number one in making everyone feel childlike, in making us feel the innocence and purity. He gives everybody supreme entertainment, and he gives everybody hope. To me, he’s number one in making people feel happy.”

[Carlos Augusto Alves Santana, simply known as Carlos Santana, Mexican American rock guitarist; source: www.bangkokpost.com]

 

“When I first met Michael Jackson, I was working at the Helmsley Palace Hotel, I used to manage all the suits and the apartments, and that’s where he normally stayed. Michael asked me if I was married, if I had any kids, and that one day, he would love to meet them. […] He always called us ‘the family of love’, ‘my second family’. […] Absolutely not. Never [did we think that our children are not safe with him.] Never, never a doubt.”

“Michael – he loved books. Liked to buy books and art. He loved (all the Disney stuff), he loved Michelangelo, he would truly love – always talk to me about Michelangelo. […] [We spoke to him 3 days before he died.] He called us at home, at (sic) Father’s Day, to wish us Happy Father’s Day. And he wished it coincidental (sic), we were all at my house. So, he got to talk to all of us [chokes up], (inaudible) sometime (sic) when we think about that. […] We didn’t see the signs (of any drug addiction), when he was at home, he was a normal person. […] We still do (miss him). We still do.”

[Dominique Cascio, patriarch of the Cascio family, Michael Jackson’s long-time friends – on the Oprah Show; source: www.youtube.com]


“He was wonderful, and we treated him as part of our family and that he wasn’t the King of Pop, but just a human being. […] I used to cook all his favorite food, I knew I had – I knew exactly what he loved and I would make it for him. I even would make him home-made pizza, or, you know – he loved it! And turkey dinners, (mashed potatoes, stuffing, Thanksgiving dinner). […] He took my garbage out one night.. […] Yeah, he would do (normal) things like that. […] He would try to clean up the house - his way of cleaning up the house [laughter]. […] You know, Michael never made an announcement when he was coming, he would just show up at the door, and we were like – in the middle of the night, sometimes, he’d just knock at the door and I would wake up the kids, if you notice, they’re all in their pajamas [in the photos we’re showing you] [laughs], they were playing and half-asleep. […] We wanted to give Michael that opportunity to know that we weren’t there to – for who he was as a celebrity, that we were really there to be a family for him and to get him through all his bad times that he’s been through, ‘cause we – we knew him before the bad times, and when the bad times came, we - [like the child molestations charges], we weren’t gonna turn our backs on him and we stood there and we said, ‘We’re with you all the way’, and I – and he appreciated it and we did it. […] We had to explain it to him - the kids – what was going on, they didn’t understand it (at the time). […] Never [did we think that our children are not safe with him.] […] He celebrated Christmas, he always loved Christmas, receiving gifts and giving gifts, and that’s what he did.”

“We were there when (Michael’s) kids were born, and we were there, I mean – and he was so happy and we, you know, like […] yeah, physically there. […] [He would bring them to our house], absolutely, he trusted no one but us to even, like, he wouldn’t leave the kids with no one but - other than the nanny and the – and we were the other family that he left the kids with.”

We knew that [he suffered from insomnia], but I’ll tell you, he slept at our house. Because he really did relax and sleep at my house. I mean, I - it’s just amazing, I guess he felt like he really just feels secure and separate from everything else. We did a lot of family things to get his mind off of, I guess, the superstar that he was. […] Oh.. it’ll never go away, [we’ll always miss him.] It’ll never – it’s an every-day battle that we all have and we all mention his name all day – at least once a day we’d mention it, ‘cause we actually can feel him in our home.”

[Connie Cascio, the Cascio family matriarch – on Oprah Show; source: www.youtube.com]


“We grew up with him, literally, since he (Eddie) was three and I was five, so being around him was just normal. […] [There were never any improprieties between Michael and us, the kids]. Never. […] He wore the pajamas in the house, walking around.”

[Francesco ‘Frank’ Cascio, Michael Jackson’s long-time friend – on Oprah Show; source: www.youtube.com]


He really was just so humble and never really played on the fact that he was, you know, this.. Michael Jackson, you know, he was just Michael, he was just our friend. […] Well, he had the Candy Counter he kinda introduced us to, you know, at Neverland, he always had the Candy Counter. One of the first times he came here (to our home), he was like, ‘Where’s your candy counter?’ [laughter] And he made us go out and get it. And my father went out and got boxes and boxes of all different types of candy that Michael loved and we’d actually place it, you know, over there, and then he was like, ‘Okay, we got the candy counter, we’re good.’ He’d hang out just like this, you know, just standing around the counter and talking, you know, when there was… […] He would just come up and join family dinners and – and just be part of the family. He would always make sure that, before every meal, that we’d always – we say our prayers and say grace and, you know, even afterwards, we’d have sit-downs and we’d all go through and, you know, just talk about what we’re thankful for.. And, you know, this type of memories that we all have are just - they’re really priceless, you know, ‘cause that was Michael. […] Michael was very private and he felt that – he saw the warmth and how we respected Michael for who he was and how he just didn’t want us to be that family that goes out and, you know, talks about Michael Jackson. You know, and we(‘ve) never did that. […] [There were never any improprieties between Michael and us, the kids]. Never, never. Michael couldn’t, he couldn’t hurt – harm – he couldn’t harm a fly. I mean, he’s such a kind and gentle soul. […] You know, this is ridiculous, (we thought, when the charges came up both in 1993 and 2003), it’s ridiculous. You know, Michael was a target, and unfortunately, he was targeted.”

“I’ve been studying piano since the age of four, and my brother as well, and as we grew up, we’d play for Michael and I learned – we both learned pretty much all of Michael’s songs. […] This is the (recording) studio, and it didn’t always look like this. When Michael was here, there weren’t any drums or anything here, there was just a box-spring with a mattress, so he would sleep over here, then I had sectioned off this corner with curtains, black, darker and it’s all around it, with the flash-screen TV. So, he had, like, his little cave. Right here, we had – it wasn’t this dancefloor – but we had a regular wooden dancefloor put in just for him. He was training every morning, he’d dance, and I would be right here next to him dancing. Years later, fast forward to the, I would say, the beginning of ’07, he came ready to work, and that’s what we did. We’d spend the long hours working in the studio, recording. […]”

“[The most important thing that he taught me was] just to always be true to who you are. Be humble, be grateful for everything, and never stop seeking knowledge. […] [He was a perfectionist,] absolutely. […] He was always ahead of his time when it came to fashion in public. But […] – and the funny thing is that he wore the pajamas with, like, a T-shirt, and then he’d have like a nice blazer. [laughter] So, you’d always – he’d always have something – he would always have something that you saw and that (you knew) ‘Oh, yeah, that’s Michael’, with the blazer, you know, the iconic armband and everything. […] There was never any lavishry [with him], there was always crispy-celebrated holidays, Christmas together, there was (sic) always Christmas presents (he’d give to us, nothing lavish). But, we’d also give him Christmas presents and (he’d love them).”

[Edward ‘Eddie’ Cascio, Michael Jackson’s long-time friend – on Oprah Show; source: www.youtube.com]


“And he did love his sweets. […] He loved doing things like that, you know, what we’d normally do (around the house). […] He loved cleaning the house. […] [There were never any improprieties between Michael and us, the kids]. Never, never.”

[Marie Nicole Cascio, Frank and Eddie Cascio’s sister – on Oprah Show; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“Yes, I wanted to speak just a little bit of Michael, just a few minutes… Michael was – he was one of the – I mean, I heard Deepak (Chopra) that I’ve been talking (to) every day for about the half week or so, because of some health concerns that I have, and he was saying on CNN that Michael was probably the most spiritual man that he had ever met, and I can – I can attest to that as well. He called me up one day back in 1991, after I’d written a book called ‘Real Magic’, and asked me if I wanted to come out and bring my family (over), which is, you know a whole plain load [laughs], so all 8 of my children were with me and my wife. And we spent five days out there at Neverland with him. Just talking to him. We went up on a mountain up there and just the two of us talked, and his questions to me was (sic): ‘Is there such a thing as real magic?’ and ‘What is it?’, and ‘How do I get it?’, ‘I wanna know about it.’ He was just so filled with excitement about the - about this. And what I really – what concerns me when I see particularly a lot of the messages that are coming in on the Internet about people making accusations about – about this man… And that troubles me a great deal, because this was – this was the kindest, the sweetest, most beautiful human being, and I trusted my children with him, obviously. He - when he was out there at the Santa Maria County there, at Neverland, the prosecutor there had a real, real desire to do something, you know, to go after him. I think the statistics were that they had 75 cars – police cars – in that – in that county, and they sent 74 out of them for his ranch to go through and look for evidence to support these accusations that were being made by a woman who had made a career after going after celebrities and so on, and trying to make money. In the same county, there were many of the priests that were not only accused, but that they admitted to sexually molesting young boys, but they didn’t send any cars out for them. And then all of the evidence that they acquired was presented to a jury of - not of his peers, but of people who were, you know, not even that friendly toward him. And they voted 12 on nothing to acquit (him) of every single charge. So, I know for absolute certain that this is a man who could never have done anything that would be harmful to – to anyone, he was very much of a child himself, he was this kind and deep and spiritual human being as I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending any time with. I dedicated one of my books to him; when you look at his enormous talent and the commitment he had to ending world hunger, for example, he personally was responsible for cutting the people starving to death on this planet in half, back in the 1980’s and 1990’s with ‘We Are The World’, it was totally – and he took no money for it at all.”

When I spent the time out there at the ranch, the whole thing was organized around the children who were handicapped in one way, the theatre that they had out there, the entire amusement park, all of it was set up, so that children who were hospitalized and in beds and sick and on crutches or so could come there and experience the joy of what it meant to be a child. This was a beautiful, beautiful human being, someone who will go down in history as one of the greatest entertainers ever. But more than a great entertainer, this was a – this was a great man who had – who lived a very tortured life, particularly over the last several years of his life. I think being accused of those kinds of things when he – his heart was so pure, I think - I think it did a great – it took a huge toll, it took a huge toll on him. I was telling my children last night, I said.. you know, ‘Anybody can make up an accusation such as that, they could’ve made an accusation when my wife and I split up’. I mean, she, you know - and I’ve heard of people, I’ve talked to a friend of mine who – who’s in practice as a physician, and he got an affair and his wife got angry at him, and she went out and made accusations about him and children in that light, none of which was ever true. [He eventually died]. So, these kinds of accusations, these kinds of things that people say.. be very careful about that, and know in your hearts, for me, if you trust me, that my time with him in those 5 days back in 1991, solidified for me that this was a – this was a transcendent being who – who had not only enormous talent, but a heart as big as the sky.”

[Dr. Wayne Dyer, American psychologist, self-help advocate and author; sources: www.learnoutloud.com, www.mj-777.com, www.youtube.com]

 

“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.

Namaste,

Wayne”

[Dr. Wayne Dyer; source: www.drwaynedyer.com]


“[…] You know, when I last talked with Michael a few years ago [for the 2007 Ebony magazine interview], Blanket was there, his youngest son, Blanket, was there at the interview. He opened the door, introduced me. Stuck out his left hand to shake my hand, and Michael said, "No, Blanket. You shake with your right hand, not your left hand." It was a very real father and son moment. […] But even in that moment you could tell that there was both love and admiration in both ways with the father and the child. […] I have to tell you when I was with him -- we were with him across three days. And he was a consummate performer, but he was also very energetic. I didn`t see him tired or dragging at all. When he was on stage, we did a photo shoot at the Brooklyn Museum of Arts. He was fully engaged. Even sitting down next to him; I was about two feet from him for most of the interview. He had razor stubble on and reading glasses; remember he was 50 years old.”

[Bryan Monroe, editor of CNNPolitics.com, - on ISSUES with CNN anchor, Jane Velez Mitchell; source: www.cnnstudentnews.cnn.com]

 

People tend to forget this, but the album, (‘Thriller’) had been out a year, and had already been the number-one album of all time, had already sold more records than any other album in history. They had made “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” which were very, very successful films, and when Michael came to me, I thought, “Well, I don’t want to make a rock video.” Essentially, they were commercials to sell records, and I thought, “I don’t want to do that,” but then I met with Mike, and he was such an extraordinary, brilliant performer. You know, when I made “The Blues Brothers,” I’d made a decision I regretted later, which was, because John [Belushi] and Danny [Aykroyd] were not professional dancers, I had shot all the numbers with amateurs, except finally I shot the church scene with professional dancers; it was one of the last things we shot back in L.A. So, the opportunity of doing a really good musical number appealed to me, so I said to Mike, “Michael, instead of doing a video, can we make a theatrical short?” The intention was always meant to be that it would play in theaters. In fact, we had a deal with Disney, and it played with “Fantasia” before it was on TV. […] Sony and CBS said they wouldn’t give us any money – they thought the album was over. And Michael said he’d pay for it, and I said, “Absolutely not! I’m not going to take your money,” because it cost almost $500,000 to make – that’s very expensive. So we raised the money from a brand-new cable network called Showtime – we got half the money, and they got the exclusive right to show that and “The Making of ‘Thriller,’ which was an hour together. They used to call it “The Making of ‘Filler,’” because they had to come up with an hour. Then MTV went crazy and said, “How could you do that?!” We said, “OK, put up the second half of the money, and we’ll let you show it for a while.” And that’s what happened, but before they showed it, it played theatrically. In fact, I got kind of s****** by the record company, because Frank DiLeo, who was Mike’s manager at the time, told me many years later that he’s the one who did it, which is he did the right thing for the record, but he kind of s****** me. What he did was, they duped “Thriller” and they made many, many copies of it, and then gave it free to television stations all over the world. It was on TV constantly, which meant it wouldn’t be playing in theaters anymore – which upset me – but it did make the album triple its sales, and it did establish MTV. I mean, it’s responsible for a lot of things, but it was no one’s brilliant plan – it was just Mike wanting to turn into a monster. […] [Nothing made (Michael’s make-up and metamorphosis) necessary – it was my choice. It was just an aesthetic choice, that’s all. You’re asking me to make sense of it, the whole thing doesn’t make sense. It’s a fantasy! It does not make sense! If you’re trying to come up with some reasonable, rational explanation for the fact that he suddenly turns into a zombie and then back again, and then at the end he’s a zombie – I mean, it’s completely silly. It’s not meant to make sense – it’s meant to be entertaining.

[John David Landis, American film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer; source: http://allmediany.com]


“When all this stuff came out, allegations of pedophilia -- remember, he was exonerated -- I found that absolutely shocking based on the man I met. He was like a child himself. The whole amusement park was like a child's fantasy place, wasn't an adult fantasy. […] He was so sweet to all of my brothers and sisters. [My sister had just turned 10.] He had the entire amusement park and everything in the house decorated in this 'Little Mermaid' theme. It was the craziest thing you've ever seen. We woke up in the morning and ['Little Mermaid'] music was being pumped through the house. It was like, ‘Oh. my God! [My sister] just loved it. Then two days later, on the 26th, it was my sister Sommer's birthday; she turned 8. She was really into Barney at the time. They had taken down all the 'Little Mermaid' stuff and redecorated the whole park for Barney. It was Sommer's birthday now. He was so extravagant, but it was all about the kids. [Before watching movies, he told the us to take anything we liked from the concession stand.] It was like going to Southdale [to see a movie, except everything was free]. I looked at him and was like, 'Why do you have staff working a free concession stand?' He said it was about the whole experience. [The whole experience included any movie we could name.] […]”

“After everybody had gone to bed, he and I were the only two up. We were talking in his media room and he said, "Your dad probably thinks I'm a freak”. I said, 'No, he doesn't’, he says, "It's not that I'm a freak, it's that I don't know what normal is. I didn't have a normal childhood. I was famous at 5”. Then he said there was one freakish element of his personality. He was like, I have to show you. He took me down this hallway and into his bedroom and I was [thinking], 'Uh-oh, what's this?' [He opened his closet filled with a row of about 100 pairs of black pants, 100 white shirts and 100 red blazers -- all perfectly lined up -- his current look.] He turned to me and said, “A little obsessive, don't you think?"

“[When we left Neverland, we received lovely parting gifts, Neverland T-shirts, playing and note cards, but I can’t reminisce with any photos from this once-in-a-lifetime trip to Neverland.] When we got there, they were like, ‘If you have any cameras, we have to take them now. We can't let you take any pictures’.”

[Tracy Dyer, owner of Minneapolis based-Urban Junket, a maker of luxe carrying bags for computers and more, daughter of Dr. Wayne Dyer; sources: www.startribune.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael Jackson may have had a heavily criticized personal life, but that wasn’t what made him a star.  Instead of discussing the false allegations and court proceedings, I choose to focus on the stunning career of one of the most famous musicians of the past century.  The King of Pop indeed.  It is quite sad that, though Michael accomplished so much – rallying the adoration of an international fan base, he died at the young age of 50.”

[Frederic Germay, journalist; source: www.mediablvd.com]


“They’re good kids (Michael's children). […] They love it (the world). [...] You don’t even have to make them get up, they just get up, they’re ready for school. […] They’re almost two years, and the children are coming along just fine. […] There’s not an hour of day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about my son, it’s just – that’s hard. […] He’s always wanted to help them (children) since he was a little child. He just loved children and Michael had a very good heart. People misunderstood him. All the lies that were told, the way he suffered from what these people had done to him, these wicked people, I get upset when I think about it. Through all of that, he still kept his composure and he still – he didn’t - he wasn’t angry inside… But he still tried to help children. […]”

[Katherine Jackson – on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts; source: www.youtube.com]

 

 

“[…] He was an amazing individual, even more amazing as a person than an artist. We could sit at home for hours and just watch dance moves on TV and talk about dance. He introduced me to artists I wasn't familiar with, like Frankie Lymon and Fred Astaire. He taught me so much about dancing. […] Something I'm very proud of is that I introduced him to hip-hop. […] He liked hip-hop as far as the music (beats), but even though he liked several hip-hop songs, he hadn't really got into it. I thought it had to do with the violent lyrics and all the gangsta rap back then. He thought hip-hop music was just too violent.. but when I showed him a documentary about Tupac (Shakur’s) life, he changed his views and got a whole new outlook (on it). […] [He could trust] fewer and fewer friends. […] It's very difficult (to deal with him not being here anymore), I'm dealing with it every single day. I don't like to talk about it, ‘cause it's just too difficult. […] [I last talked to him] a few days before (he died).”

[Omer Jalal Bhatti, Norwegian rapper and dancer, Michael Jackson’s close friend; sources: www.nrk.no, www.lipstickalley.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]



“To me, he was like a normal uncle. I have a great relationship with all of my uncles, so, like, how anyone would have a relationship with their uncles, that’s, you know, that was my relationship with him. That’s all I know. […] That’s all I knew. Growing up, I went to Neverland… that’s all I knew. I grew up in that family. […]”

[Genevieve Jackson, American singer, Michael Jackson’s niece; source: www.nrk.no]

 

 

** The following few paragraphs will touch upon sensitive topics, such as Michael Jackson's death, the anesthetic propofol and the argumentation supporting its correct administration, as well as the motivation and circumstance behind Michael’s choice of the anesthetic, based on certified medical experts and/or friends who knew him up close. In light of Conrad Murray’s trial, the TST Team feel it is appropriate to, in a way, determine a better understanding of that Jackson is the victim of this tragic situation, that he did Not want to die and he did Not ask to die - hence his requesting for a doctor to take care of him during the preparations for his 'This Is It' concerts in London. That he died at the hands of another, a doctor hired to monitor his health and sleep. Instead, a doctor by the name of Conrad Murray failed to do so on June 25, waited for 25 minutes before calling the paramedics to rescue a dying Jackson, all the while Murray speaking on the phone with various people, including a girlfriend. And then asking precipitatedly for help to cover for his tracks. .. Again, during which time Jackson was supposed to be monitored by his doctor - the very motve for which he was hired. An innocent, hard working person solely wanted to be able to sleep at night  in order to be able to Wake up and function the following day for his 3 children, the performances he was set to honor, and the many other projects he was working on, including a new music album and film ventures, one of his life-long dreams. A person that loved and appreciate his life and the lives of others, regardless of how intricate and difficult it would have gotten. One who lived for his children and children in general. and to serve others, including his fans and supporters... And we are objectively asserting these. However, due to Dr. Murray’s gross negligence and incompetence, the lack of proper medical equipment for his insomniac patient, that will not happen anymore. … Other mentionings bordering on conspirational theories are being debated upon extensively by other media outlets. and therefore will not be brought up on TST in the near future. There is one person directly responsible for the entertainer's tragic death, and that person is Dr. Conrad Murray.  ... In the event the following content bellow is proving to be increasingly impactful for some of you, we advise you to reconsider perusing it. Thank you...**


“[…] Propofol is the last series of drugs Dr. Murray admitted to giving Jackson. Murray publicly admitted being “out of the room” shortly after giving Jackson the propofol. Propofol is the drug the LA coroner declared was the cause of Jackson’s death. Murray claims to be a cardiologist. He may have been qualified to intravenuously administrate members of the class of drugs known as benzodizepines or “benzos”, but was most assuredly out of his depth of knowledge, training, and experience when giving propofol. […] Let me empathically state that since its 1989 introduction to the North American market, tens, (if not hundreds of millions) of patients have safely received propofol (…). Why? Because someone was watching and monitoring them, two features apparently absent in Michael Jackson’s bedroom. Also, administering propofol in a person’s home is not altogether different from giving anesthesia in a surgeon’s office operating room. Both are remote locations and can be made safe with observation and appropriate monitoring. Although, I have never given propofol in a patient’s home, I have safely given it to patients for office-based elective cosmetic surgery for nearly two decades. Using propofol to help someone fight insomnia is most definitely not among the medically recognized uses of the drug. From 1992 to 1994, I put patients to sleep for cosmetic surgery in a gradual fashion to preserve their ability to breathe. What every patient told me through this two-year period was the best part of the anesthesia was the ‘going to sleep’ part. I had no frame of reference to understand what my patients told me. Finally, after hearing the same accounting from every patient, it occurred to me that propofol was a “happy” drug (i.e., patients enjoyed it). In 1998, one patient was so enthusiastic about his propofol experience that he suggested that he and I open a sleep clinic for patients wanting the great propofol sleep and wake up. I told him I was confident we could make a lot of money, but that the California Medical Board would not view our activities as legitimate. […] It was likely (Michael) became familiar with propofol as a result of the (…) cosmetic surgeries he had after his hair caught fire during the infamous Pepsi commercial. […]” – for more on propofol and its proper usage, as well as other relevant medical info, as per Dr. Barry L. Friedberg, in his book ‘Getting Over Going Under’, click here: http://www.mj-777.com/?p=7534

“[…] The action of propofol on Jackson’s brain would have been measured by a BIS (index measure drug effects) independently from the benzo effect. By using such a brain measurement, the overmedication with propofol could have been avoided. Jackson’s failure to breathe from the combined effects of the benzos and the propofol would also have been avoided. When midazolam was introduced to replace the longer-acting diazepam, the drug maker supplied midazolam in the same 5-miligram concentration as diazepam. After many patients had unintentional stoppage of breathing, midazolam was reformulated in a less potent concentration. For many years, midazolam has been well known for its potential to stop breathing. Propofol is not physically addictive (…). […] The third and lethal folly was giving Jackson two types of drugs well known to potentially stop breathing. (midazolam and propofol) In none of the published photographs of Jackson’s bedroom do any safety monitors appear. Murray reportedly told police he had been using a pulse oximeter. When the police searched for it, the pulse oximeter was discovered (…) in an adjoining room. If this account proves correct, it casts serious doubts on Conrad Murray’s credibility. […] It is more probable that Murray had no idea exactly how much drug he gave Jackson. In any case, the amount of propofol the LA coroner found (…) is incompatible with a 25 mg dose [that Murray claimed to have given Jackson].”

“[…] The only thing that matters is observing and monitoring one’s patient. Murray, by apparently failing to perform these two items, was truly reckless and inexcusable. In conclusion, giving multiple drugs with the well-known to stop breathing, failing to remain in observation, and failing to use a pulse oximeter are all clear predictors of a bad outcome. Although he may have not intended to kill Jackson, Murray clearly caused Jackson’s death involuntarily. The only thing more reckless that Murray could have done was taking Jackson up in an airplane and pushing him out without a parachute. What would have prevented Jackson’s death? A knowledgeable, conscientious physician who both watched and monitored his oxygen – at the very least – absolutely would have. A brain monitor would have measured the propofol effect, thereby preventing a dose that stopped Jackson’s breathing.”

[Barry L. Friedberg, M.D., American Board Certified Anestheseologist, author; sources: “Getting Over Going Under”, www.mj-777.com]


“Michael asked me if I can find someone for him. He said, "[...] If you can find me an anesthesiologist or another doctor, a nurse practitioner, physician assistant also." But he asked me, he said, "Can you find me a doctor? […] “I want this medication." He didn't say drug. He said, "I want this medication to sleep."

[Cherilyn Lee, American registered nurse and nurse practitioner in the state of California – on ‘House Call With Dr. Sanjay Gupta’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“Mr. Jackson did not present himself as a drug addict and from January to April, I didn’t see that in him. Even when it came to the Diprivan, he was looking for something that was going to help him sleep. He was not addicted to drugs. He only wanted to sleep. So, at his request, I sat in his bedroom with him and watched him as he tried to sleep. The night I stayed with him… He said, ‘I want to you to see how I sleep, ‘cause I want you to see that I don’t fall asleep. Or I fall asleep it takes awhile, but then I wake up after a couple hours.’ […] ‘Please find me someone.’ I would not. […] He also asked for my help with his diet. He wanted more energy for his comeback concerts. […] When I was drawing his blood, his veins were awfully, awfully small. And he said, ‘Oh, my goodness, I have these little squiggly veins,’ and he just started laughing about it. He said, ‘Doctors always have a hard time finding my veins.’ […]”

[Cherilyn Lee; source: www.accesshollywood.com]


“[…] His doctor told him that (propofol) was safe. […] He said ‘I just want to get some sleep. You don't understand' […] He just told me - because I asked him, what doctor gave him this drug, 'Oh it was a long time ago’. […] I met him in January (of 2009). And because someone called me and said his children had a runny nose and a little cough and could I come out to the house and see them. And because it was a referral person, he felt very comfortable. And so, when I arrived at the house I saw three children. And actually I love working with children and I kind of set something up for them, some vitamin C and, you know, as a practitioner, I listened to their lungs to make sure they were clear and went ahead and did the routine physical exam and everything. And after I finished with the children and had given them some vitamin C that they had, you know, the vitamin C powder and a couple of other things, it's a homeopathic; they told their dad they were feeling a lot better. So he looked at me and said, ‘What else do you do?’ And so I said, ‘Well, I help people, you know, when they want to have more energy. And he said, ‘Oh, well, okay, that's really good..’. And so we start taking it from there and I try to find out ‘Why is it you don't have any energy?’ And just went through the whole course of, you know, not that day. He asked me if I could come back the following day. So I went and drew some blood, maybe you're anemic or maybe it's this or that, but let's not second guess anything. I did full lab work. A full work-up on him. Then, I told him from there that, nutritionally, we could get you set up. […] I didn't see anybody [when I was there at his house]. I didn't see anybody (a doctor) in January. February, March, there was a time he did go to London, so - he was out. But I never heard of a doctor, I never did see anyone. […] I told him I prefer to do continuity of care with someone. And I didn't see anyone.”

[Cherilyn Lee – talking to CNN anchor, Anderson Cooper; source: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com]


“[…] It was April of 2009 that he asked me for the drug or the medication. And he said, ‘I need to have this medication, because it will help me sleep.’ […] But he tried to reassure me, to let me know that he had -- you know, basically, had had it before, and he had an experience where he was monitored. He said, ‘I`m going to be fine’. He could see I was really upset about this, but he was trying to reassure me that, ‘I will be fine, because I`m going to be monitored’. […] I`m also a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant. And also a -- Mr. Jackson felt very comfortable with me. He was (…) and I won`t say begging. He wanted sleep. He had insomnia. And he was asking for something to help him to sleep. […] What he said was, he really wanted to get a good night`s sleep. And that he had gone through everything in the past, really didn`t help him to sleep. […] No, he did not (fire me, after I refused him on this).”

[Cherilyn Lee; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


‘[…] He wasn’t looking to get high or feel good and sedated from drugs. This was a person who was not on drugs. This was a person who was seeking help, desperately, to get some sleep, to get some rest. […] He said, ‘I don’t like drugs. I don’t want any drugs. My doctor told me this is a safe medicine,’ […] He said, ‘No, my doctor said it’s safe. It works quick and it’s safe as long as somebody’s here to monitor me and wake me up. It’s going be OK. At one point, I spent the night with him to monitor him while he slept. Igave him herbal remedies and stayed in a corner chair in his vast bedroom. After he settled in bed, I told him to turn down the lights and music — he had classical music playing in the house. He also had a computer on the bed because he loved Walt Disney. He was watching Donald Duck and it was ongoing. I said, ‘Maybe if we put on softer music,’ and he said, ‘No, this is how I go to sleep.’” Three and a half hours later, he jumped up and looked at me, eyes wide open. “This is what happens to me”, he said. “All I want is to be able to sleep. I want to be able to sleep eight hours. I know I’ll feel better the next day.” I went to the house in January, the first of about 10 visits there through April, and treated the children with vitamins. Michael, intrigued, asked what else I did and took me up on my claim I could boost his energy. […] After running blood tests, I devised protein shakes for him and gave him an intravenous vitamin and mineral mixture — known as a “Myers cocktail,” after Dr. John Myers — which I uses routinely in my practice. It wasn’t that he felt sick. He just wanted more energy.”

“I think it’s so wrong for people to say these things about him. He was a wonderful, loving father who wanted the best for his children.”

[Cherilyn Lee; source: www.ap.org]


“I met Michael Jackson in January of 2009 at his home. […] [I happened to meet him] through a very dear friend, a very dear friend. He had a concern. His children had -- some of them were coughing, a little runny nose going on. And he's the type person, after meeting him, that's very concerned about his children and want to make sure they stay healthy. […] When I finished with the children, he said, ‘Well, you know, what do you do?’ And I said, ‘Well, you know, what's going on with you?’ And he said, ‘Well, I'm just feeling a little tired. You know, I'm getting ready for this concert that we're setting up, and the traveling. And he said, ‘I'm just a little tired, because I'm getting ready to start performing -- practicing and getting myself ready for that’. So he said, ‘I'm just tired’. So I said, ‘Well, you know, before, you know, giving you anything, let's just do some lab work, you know, see what's going on’, because there's many reasons why he could be tired. And so I did -- I said, ‘Well, I can't do it today’. So he said, ‘Well, can you come back tomorrow?’ And I said, ‘Well, sure. I mean, I find it an honor to come back, you know?’ And I went back the next day and did -- asked him, prior to, to fast for me and don't eat any food after 12:00 midnight and I'll see him the next morning. So I went back the next morning. I drew his blood. And has very small veins, so it took a little minute. So I drew his blood and told him that once I had the results back, then I'll set up a nutritional program for him. […] He kind of said, you know, he wanted -- he mentioned it, but it was kind of like "By the way" kind of thing. It wasn't, like, you know, I have just chronic insomnia and I just can't sleep. It was moreso toward April. That's when he asked me what – ‘Well, do you mind spending the night with me? I have to show you that I can't sleep, and I don't think you really believe me’. I said, I believe you. But he said, ‘Well, can you just come?’ That was around April when he started bringing this up. So he said, ‘Why don't you come watch me sleep?’ And I said, ‘OK, I'm going to bring you some tea’. And I had another homeopath, ‘I'm going to bring some other things’ -- actually this was more of an herbal supplement, which is very good for sleep. […] And it already mentioned, he said, ‘I can't take anything with melatonin, because it just doesn't work very well for me.’ I said ‘OK, I'll make sure it doesn't have that in it.’ And Michael is very smart, very smart man, very articulate, as you know. But very smart, and very well read. So he knew. And so I said well, Michael, I said, I'll come. And maybe team. I said why don't you get in bed? And he said, ‘Why don't you come check my room?’, and everything. […] He said he is done everything. He said ‘I've done meditation’, I've done this, I've done that. And he just went on the list, and he said nothing worked. […] And he said, ‘Well, it's a safe medicine’. I said I don't think it's safe. […] He said, ‘Can you find me an anesthesiologist then to put me to sleep? To put me to sleep so I can get at least eight hours of sleep.”

“He might physically, himself, or someone just called and said he's going to be calling you, but is calling from a blocked number. I said that's fine in a couple of minutes, and I was put to speak with him. This time someone else called. And another person, so he called, and I showed her my caller ID, I'm an ER myself in Florida. And so I picked up the phone and answered it. And he said -- he said, "You know, Michael needs you to come see him. We want to know if you could please come today, right away." I said I really can't. I'm in Florida. I said "What's going on?" And he said, and I could hear Michael in the background saying, "Please, just tell her, tell her what's going on with me. Just tell her." He said ‘one side of my body is hot and one side of my body is cold, and what should I do?’ […] I know it was very unusual. […] [He couldn’t have given himself an IV.] No. He was afraid of needles. And he never comes towards his body with anything like that. There's no way. […]No. I am certain about that. He didn't want anything that was going to cause him pain. I had a cream called shae (ph) butter. And I said, ‘Come on, Michael, let me just massage your hands, because they are really dry and cracked’. And let me just do that. And we started that back in February. And he was saying that it was a little painful, because it was so dry. And then after that, I said, ‘Come on, let me do your feet’. And he would (say) ‘No, you're not going to see my feet.’ As far as anything dealing with pain, no, never. I can't ever see him doing anything like that. […] Actually, he would close his eyes for me to give him the vitamin C. […] Yes. He would close his eyes. He didn't want to look and -- no. No. Because he said, "Please find a doctor to give me this medication, so they can monitor me." […] [He didn’t look like he was trying to avoid the concerts.] He was so happy the night that he received a lot of the awards for the "Thriller." It was either that night or later the night before, because a lot of things came in from Holland and all these different companies. He was so excited. He was so excited. He was so excited about during the concert. They were faxing him over the music they wanted to hear, or emailing one, but he had copies of it in his hand. He said, "Wow, this many people want to hear the song. This many people want to hear that song." Was really excited, really looking forward. And more so, because he said, "This is the first time my children" -- and they would sit there and just smile -- he said, "The first time my children are going to see me perform."

“I was really surprised when I arrived there (inaudible) to see his children. So I'm thinking, ‘OK, I'm going to see his children, and they probably have a nanny there or something’. But then he came downstairs. And I'm, like, ‘Wow, he's actually here’. So I was really shocked to see him, because I'd only seen him on television. […] When I saw him, he looked great. He looked healthy. He was very casual, and you know, just comfortable, and the most humble human being I've ever met. And he just said -- he was so gracious and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming out. Thank you for taking the time to come see my children’. […] Oh, it was absolutely gorgeous. It was just gorgeous. But it was a home that you walk in and you know this is a home of love. You know, you can walk into a home that could be beautiful, but you don't feel the love there. There was just a warm sense of love that was in that home, that permeated that home. It just was wonderful. […] The oldest child is very, very -- they're very intelligent, very intelligent, very knowledgeable children. He worked with them, even with their history. They were home schooled, but he -- they even knew black history, very good with black history. He would ask them questions back and forth. The oldest child was -- loved computers and was very involved with a lot of different things. But he was just -- he did a lot of things with his dad, too (INAUDIBLE), set up the DVD for him and different things. I mean, he was loving. I mean, he would come and ask for dinner, want to have dinner like he was a chef and read off the menu, memorize it and said, ‘Do you want to have this?’ And I said, ‘Oh, no, no, no. You guys go ahead and I'll just wait until you're finished’. But just his personality -- outgoing. Outgoing. […] These kids are very, very talented also, extremely talented. We had so much time we spent with each other. In February -- because I know I saw him a couple of times in February, because I know -- something came up about my birthday, which is February 21st. And I saw him the week after, and he and the children had purchased me a birthday gift. And they had it all wrapped up with a nice, beautiful bow on it, and they were all excited and helped me to unwrap it. And when I opened it up, his son -- you know, it was a computer. And his son – ‘Come on over here. I'll set it up for you. Let me show you’ how to do this and do that. And I said, ‘Thank you so much’. 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. […] Yes. Big on hugs, and matter of fact, he even mentioned to the children, ‘You know, 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’. And it kind of -- I took a step back when he said that. I mean, it's, like, ‘What type of people, you know, he's done (ph) for that wasn't? I just found him a very giving and loving person”.

[Cherilyn Lee, talking to “On The Record”; source: www.foxnews.com]


“[…] When I came in March, he said, 'Frank, make sure they get a doctor for us'. […] I said, why do you need a doctor? He said ‘Because after the shows I want to make sure that I get the right fluids, you know, and I eat right, and I want somebody to help my health.”

“[…] They all have some quirks. But Michael was great to manage. He would have a wild idea and I would have maybe a different idea. He would be like Steven Spielberg and I'm Martin Scorcesi. In some way we would blend and then it would work out. He used to laugh about that. He enjoyed that. […] I know that's not true [that he abused children]. I know it. I know Michael. I know what he felt about people. He was a kind soul that wouldn't touch or harm a child. In that first one, I told him to fight it. If he was alive today, he would tell you. He told – ‘Frank DiLeo told me to fight it. I should have listen to him’. When the second time came around, I knew he was innocent. I knew what happened. The people were moochers. […] But the one thing you have to remember, Michael liked to have his business separate from his family. He didn't like his family interfering in his business. […] Any of the family. Now, he did put Katherine as a trustee on certain things, because he trusted her. He didn't want them knowing what he was doing. […] They are close as brothers and sisters. That has nothing to do with business. You could be close with your brother. You don't want him to be looking at your contract.”

[Frank DiLeo, American music industry executive and actor; ources: http://transcripts.cnn.com, www.mjkit.forumotion.net]

--

-- For real-time news, mentionings, and investigative research on Michael Jackson's manslaughter case, follow "MJ H: IR", a FB page exploring the homicide, 'in a quest for justice and truth', a much needed media filter of information, - media that have time after time not surprisingly have proved lenient with Jackson's detractors.. to put it mildly:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Jackson-Homicide-Investigative-Research/296194732047 --


 

"I was in Deepak Chopra's house in Lincoln, Massachussetts, and we were told that Michael Jackson was going to be at the dinner. And so we showed up to this home in Massachussetts, I’m in the 8th grade, and after about 45 minutes, a man just runs in in a red military uniform and a black top hat and mirrored some glasses, and sits behind a book on the Beatles, like a spy in an old-timing movie. I thought, well, this has to be a Michael Jackson impersonator, because this isn't what Michael Jackson would ever wear on his day off [laughter]. […] Then we played Scattergories, he got the double-word score under fictional characters for Nicholas Nickelby, so he's a [Charles] Dickens reader, I was very impressed, I didn’t know who that was at the time, it was not my 8-grade list yet [laughter]. And then when he won, he sand twp a capella bars of 'We Are the Champions', an absolutely gorgeous (rendition). […] Who would’ve believed me the next day in school? ‘I had dinner last night with Michael Jackson, we played Scattergories and he won!’ [laughter]”

[Benjamin Joseph Manaly “B. J.” Novak, American actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, and director – on the Late Show; source: www.tvsquad.com

 

“One thing is for sure, growing up in a family that’s (this large) – and I’m sure anyone here can testify it - there’s never a dull moment. [smiles] There was always something going on, something happening. And, basically, it was a lot of fun, very close (we were) when we were growing up. Very close. (We) had to be in a small house like that [laughter]. […] There is a song I’m gonna be doing, possibly one that you may (have) never heard, it’s called ‘Fly Away’ [and was written by Michael], it was actually a song that Michael and I did together on my album, so no one knew about it. So, even though the album was released, the song didn’t get a lot of exposure, so I’m gonna re-release it. It’s a beautiful song, you know, that we’re both singing on. […]”

“We’re sort of putting our lives back together. You know, it’s like with anyone that loses a loved one, is very difficult, and then when it’s public, it’s very hard. I know, I was expressing myself in different ways, but when Michael passed, every time I walked into a store, and, you know, the media and the public, or, I should say, the merchants even, they just had a heyday. And everywhere I went, he was there, you know, and every – when I get on in an elevator – I even went into a lamp store to buy – to purchase a lamp, and they were constantly just playing all his music and you couldn’t get away from it. And at that time, I didn’t wanna hear anything, because it was so very difficult. And it was that way for a long time. Then one while I could deal with it listening, and then another time I couldn’t, but now I’m fine, I think… I – you know, it just hits you in different moments. […]”

[Rebbie Jackson, talking to “O” On The Go; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“[I’m doing a Michael Jackson tribute: “Happy: Robbie Fulks Plays the Music of Michael Jackson”] He was the Elvis of my generation and I think he was better than Elvis. Elvis was a great singer, but Michael was a more resourceful singer, especially when younger. Add to that the dancing, production, songwriting, videos, the image-making. It was half playful, half menacing, with a little bit of a 1920’s German horror movie thing, a weirdness and complexity. It was a way more inventive persona […]. All that celebrity pop music is so far from me now, but in the ‘60s through 1980, to be young and with my head halfway into radio, his music was part of my world. In thinking about it, listening to his music, getting more acquainted with it, it was amazing that he was always there for so long. He not only kept up with the times, he stayed a step ahead of them for 25 years. That in itself is culturally significant.”

[Robbie Fulks, American alternative country artist; source: http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com, www.robbiefulks.com]


“The ringing of a telephone cut sharply through my sleep. I fumbled for the receiver. ‘Hello?’ A soft, high pitched voice echoed down the line to me. ‘Hello,’ it repeated. ‘Is that Adam Ant?’ The voice had an American accent and sounded vaguely familiar, but my fuzzy brain reacted angrily. ‘Terry,’ I said, thinking it was one of the Ants’ drummers playing a prank. ‘Stop p****** about. It’s 4 a.m. and I’m trying to sleep.’ ‘No, it’s not Terry,’ said the voice. ‘It’s Michael. Is that Adam Ant?’ ‘Very funny, Terry, now f*** off.’ I slammed the phone down, rolled over and tried to get back to sleep. The phone went again. ‘Hello,’ I barked into the receiver. ‘Hi, no, really, it is me, Michael Jackson,’ said the funny voice, ‘and I just want to ask you…’ ‘Terry, if you don’t stop this, I’m going to come over there and f****** thump you.’ Bang. Again the phone went down. Again I rolled over. Again the phone rang. I grabbed the receiver and shouted: ‘Terry! That’s IT!’ ‘Er, hi, is that Adam Ant?’ This time, the voice was deep, sonorous, American and calm. It didn’t sound anything like Terry. ‘Oh, oh,’ I stammered. ‘Yes, this is Adam. Who are you?’ ‘I’m Quincy Jones, calling from LA. Sorry, we probably woke you, but I’m here with Michael Jackson and he’d like to speak with you. Is that OK?’ A pause, and then that same soft voice. ‘Hi, Adam, it’s Michael. Sorry if we woke you.’ ‘Oh, no, sorry to have been so rude,’ I apologized. He said he had just seen the video for our song, Kings Of The Wild Frontier. ‘It’s great,’ he said. ‘How did you get the tom-tom sound?’ ‘Oh, thanks. Well, we use two drum kits and then add loads of other percussion on top…’ ‘That’s great, Adam,’ Michael interrupted. ‘I really like your jacket. Where did you get it?’.‘Huh? My jacket?’ I tried to think. ‘Berman’s and Nathan’s in London’s Covent Garden. They supply costumes for movies.’ ‘Wow. That’s great,’ he replied. ‘How do you spell that? Bowman’s and who?’ ‘No, B-E-R-M-A-N-apostrophe-S and N-A-T-H-A-N-apostrophe-S.’ ‘Great, thanks. Let’s meet up next time you’re in America, huh? Bye.’

“He eventually invited me to his place near LA for the day. He was just a very charming and gracious host, but very shy. He showed me around his animals (…), and we watched the movie ‘WHITE HEAT’ in his private cinema. That was before it went all crazy for him...”

[Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard), English musician, lead singer of New Wave/post-punk group, Adam and the Ants; sources: www.irenekaoru.com, www.contactmusic.com]

 

“I have to say that working with Michael was amazing, absolutely amazing! That’s no overuse of the term and the word, because he was such a genius; beyond the word genius a lot of times. Michael was a true genius. His gifts and his talents, his dancing and singing just denoted that he was a genius, you know? Everybody all over the world was in love with him. His sound and his moves, his image, his nature, I mean, he was just truly, truly gifted and blessed. Working with him, and watching and learning from him, from a genius, lifts your abilities up, your vision, your view, your capabilities and possibilities. It was brilliant for me having the opportunity to work with Michael. I learned a tremendous amount from him; working with him on how to do things the right way, on perfection, on the meticulous, on dynamics and on being bigger than life. That was one term he always loved to use, “It’s gotta be bigger than life, and to make such an impression on people they will never forget it for the rest of their lives.” So working with Michael was just phenomenal. To watch him dance at each concert was like me looking for a new planet; a new galaxy and discovering it, because every time you think you know all of his moves, as I mentioned earlier, he does something that just dazzles you. And I’m back there; I’m supposed to be working, but I’m back there screaming and shouting, “Go, Michael!” I’m like the fan on the other side of stage, but it was so amazing when he did something so totally, totally stunning. Every night I looked forward to that. And his voice was just so remarkable and emotional and passionate, way beyond most people. There are very few singers who have such great passion and emotion, Stevie being one of them, but there’s a very, very limited amount of artists that can evoke such emotion. That, coupled with the dance, coupled with the imagery and his vision that he brings into concert, it’s just unparalleled. And the greatest of technology in his shows, his vision and creativity as you see in This Is It, how to put together a show and how to make things beyond belief so to speak, Michael had that. I learned a great deal from him and working with him was one of the greatest treasures. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and career to work with the absolute best in the world. It was just amazing. I learned a lot in putting together a show and performances and theatrics and stuff.

But, one of the special moments can be found on one DVD. I think it’s on You Tube. We were in Germany (during the HIStory tour) filming for a live broadcast, and during the middle of the show he’s talking a little bit in the middle of the stage between songs. This little bug comes on stage, a love bug or some kind (of) beetle bug. It’s on the floor and he sees it. He gets so concerned about this little bug and says, “Wait, wait, wait, there’s a bug on stage.” And people started laughing. He said, “Security, Security...Come get the bug.” So people started cracking up and laughing, but he wouldn’t let the show go on because, he was afraid he was going to step on the bug. And people started clapping, because he had that kind of concern. Something as simple as that, as caring and emotional as that was a great moment, and a glimpse into his life as to whom he was. He stops a big production, a big machine of a production to protect this little bug so it didn’t get hurt with the dancers all over the stage. So that was a very special moment, I think; something as simple as that, but very dynamic that he would have that much concern for the smallest life was very special. That’s one thing that stood out in mind as part of the show. His performance speaks for itself, but outside the performance, it shows the human being that he was. […] Yeah, it was a magic moment.

“Of course, yes, absolutely! [He did help me become a better musician]. Working with and observing from behind, I had the best seat in the house. Observing from behind the greatness and magnitude of the performance, and watching how he delivers dynamics and excitement in his performance, you learn a lot in the process of putting a show together. Like on This Is It, everybody could see how he puts it together, and I’ve been in behind the scenes watching that for thirty years and learning from him. So, now I have great confidence when I do my shows. I’m doing tribute shows for Michael now and people really enjoy it. They feel like it’s a “Michael” show. It’s a one man show; just me, slides and his voice and music from his tour and songs. A lot of comments were that they felt like it was a "Michael show." I didn’t have all the big production. It’s just my giant, giant drum set, and I perform just like we were on tour, as if it was a concert with Michael. That and learning how to put together the right slide at the right time, right moments, and from working with Michael, made that show work. If I had the budget that Michael had, I feel that I could carry on the legacy and the tradition and the class that Michael foresaw, because I learned a lot from him; watching how he does it and being around him. […] He knows his music. To direct everybody, to know when something is missing, one single note in a chord, he knows it. He points it out, “Something’s wrong with that chord. What’s wrong with that chord? There’s a note missing.” Then he will actually hum the note; sing it out aloud, “daaaaaaaaa”…“Where’s that note? That note’s supposed to be there.” I’ve seen him time and time and time again do that. The same thing with the guitar parts. He’ll describe it; he knows that, he knows everything. When we didn’t have percussions, we’d have the percussion parts in the computer that we would play to, and if a certain rhythm or pattern, (we had so many rhythms and patterns overlapping each other) if a certain element wasn’t there, he felt it. He feels everything, and his emotions tell him there’s something missing. He’ll think about this and he knows exactly what part is not there, what rhythm is not happening that doesn’t make the machine run smoothly. It’s like an engine. If one of the valves is out, it stutters, it splutters, you know, and he can feel that it’s not running smoothly. Michael knows all his music like that, and when all the valves are timed and running right and firing properly, Michael knows when it’s right, because he feels it emotionally. He has the knowledge of how the music was put together. So, I think that’s remarkable and it really answers that question. His band is so tight, because he knows when something is missing.

We do all the homework and learn it; we’re supposed to learn it and come to rehearsal. That’s what we are getting paid for, and I make sure, that’s why Michael likes me there, because he knows I do that with no excuses. He just trusts me totally, because I have the same mentality. It’s got to be perfect, it’s got to be right, it’s got to be what the artist wants, because that’s what I am getting paid to do. He never checked me once to make it right for him so he can get his best show. I gotta get my best show just so he can get his best show. He’s counting on me, and the whole show is counting on me. How can I let them down? I can’t. That’s my mentality, there’s no way. So he trusts that everybody will be that way, and that’s why he hires you; the people that are capable of delivering that. If you’re with him on stage or in rehearsals, it’s because he trusts that you’re on the same level for focus and concentration and desire to be your best. Now sometimes some people fall short, you know, get a little lazy or don’t learn anything right or don’t perform it right, that’s when, like in the movie, he got on the keyboard player. He was the Music Director and Michael had to kind of teach him again. So, sometimes that happens, unfortunately, but for the most part, we all get there and we do what we’re supposed to do. Michael refines it. He’s the chef, so he’s putting more seasoning in here and there, “Change this and change that. Play that with maybe a little more attitude right here.” He refines it and mixes all the ingredients together. It’s a recipe, and he makes sure it’s a good dish to serve to the public, so that they enjoy the meal of music.

“[…] Everything is emotion; everything is emotion and feelings. You know, to see things with emotions is just like having a different vision; an emotional vision. I’m that way, so that’s why I understand him. […] It was something that he felt, that’s why he wanted me there. I feel fortunate and blessed to have been able to function on that level and to please somebody like him. I’m all about wanting to please the person and make them want me back, and that second gig and the call backs are more important than the first one. The first one you’re trying to prove to yourself. The second one is proving that you did prove yourself and they want you. So, they mean more than the first time you work with somebody. […] I don’t take it for granted. I will always cherish it and I’m very grateful.

All the time, every time I am around him (I felt his energy). That’s why you know you are in the presence of greatness. That’s why you know you’re in the presence of somebody special. Just count the number of fans and people and the multitude that love him around the world. He’s one man loved by... CNN said that over one billion people mourned Michael from all the remote areas of the world, as well as all the known areas. […] Michael had something special, a radiance, and when you were in his presence, the whole room changed. People would say, "Michael’s coming," and everybody got nervous. As soon as you had the vision of him, even just knowing he was coming, you felt something, like a tingle happening. Just to watch him walk through the door, it’s like all the molecules in the air stop and you can pinch them with your finger; pick them up. It’s like you could see the smallest speck; you could see the molecules in the air when Michael walked in the room. He changed them; the molecular structure of the air. And that’s the equation of what happens when Michael enters, and everybody in the room felt it and knew it. Then their attitudes and personalities would change. They would perk up their attention, but they would always say, “There’s something with him. When he came in, I got nervous. I felt something!” And I would hear that over and over again and I would say, “I know, I know. I’ve been feeling it for thirty years.” And he was just so pleasant; just something with his imagery. Everybody radiates from a different frequency, and Michael had the highest level of energy, I think, without being from another world. His gift and his humanity of spirit were just so powerful and great and deep. He was a different human being from most of us; from all of us. He did affect everybody that came around him, from leaders of the world to normal folk, from children to people, grandmothers. Every single person that’s been around him said they felt something, that I remember seeing or talking to. And that’s why people cry. People absolutely cry. I would sit on stage and watch them pass bodies, like back in the medieval days when people died of the plague. You would see them lift bodies, arms dangling and legs, heads swinging, and there was like an ocean of people with their arms up passing bodies to the front, to the gate. There would be a line-up there of emergency vehicles... five, ten of them lined up. There were stretchers and triages back there. […] He made even men pass out; women and men. That’s a power and Michael knew it. He knew he was gifted with something special, a purpose; uniting the world and uniting people.

[What I learned from him that I remember each day is] that everybody’s a human being. Beyond the classification and categories, we are a human race. Michael treated everyone the same, no matter what race, religion, and creed. You would see him all over the world on television; with all nations, all people, friends, foe’s, enemies alike, he was always the same. He didn’t stop his love of people or children especially. He would go to one of our worst enemies, the Nation, and he would love the children there and visit them at the hospitals. And these are some of the kids that might grow up and decide to attack America, or whoever. Michael didn’t see that. He saw the child, the human being, the blessing of life from God. He would give them the gift of money and might even buy a kidney for the same people out of his hard earned money, and he wouldn’t think anything at all about it. Whatever it cost; buying machinery for the hospitals all over the world, people have benefited from Michael’s gift of life, from the machines that keep these people alive at the hospitals. The kidney for a child, the transplants that Michael paid for out of his own pocket and asking for nothing, most people didn’t know about it until after he passed away or how much he really did. He asked for no publicity. He wasn’t in the newspaper. A foreign newspaper the next day didn’t credit him. That was one of his criteria; nobody knew. He didn’t want it to get publicity, because he did it out of his heart. People say Michael was broke and he was in debt for 300-400 million, but now it’s come out that Michael was one of the greatest, if not the greatest philanthropist that ever lived, and he had given away over 300 something million dollars of his own money he worked for. If he had that 300 something million dollars, I guess he wouldn’t be broke would he? No, I doubt it. […] It’s the same amount as what they say he was in debt for. Out of his kindness and generosity and love for people that he didn’t even know and that didn’t really know him, he gave away to help, and then of course he had money problems? I’m that way; I was raised that way too. I see the transparency; people might as well have skin I can see through, because I see the heart, the spirit. That’s another way Michael and I were related also. We recognize the same things in each other. We both love children. They’re the closest we will ever get to God, especially in a newborn infant. That’s the closest we will get to seeing God and being with God. […] One of the things I learned is that I’m doing the right thing. I’m living the right way by being open-spirited. Michael proved that it does work, that it can work and it can make a difference. It can bring a multitude of people together, because he did it. He proved it unselfishly. So, I learned it’s possible, because Michael proved it.

[He used his music as a way to get his message out there]. Of course. It’s evident in his music and songs; a lot of his songs. I mean, he made some shake-your-booty music too, but a lot of his important music is his message music, and people appreciated it in such a way they didn’t feel like they were being preached too. They wanted to hear it; the music about concern, about love and togetherness. A lot of times, people shun away from that music, because we feel like we’re being preached too (…). We don’t want to hear that. Michael had such a way and such a nature that people wanted to hear it and loved hearing it. […] They were curious and they wanted to become that; they wanted to see that vision he put forth. He was a prophet in a way, you know, in his music; a modern day prophet. Like I said, he was sent by God to enlighten, much like the prophets of old times. A lot of people don’t recognize it, because he’s different in that he’s an entertainer, and he was sent in that form of being an entertainer, so a lot of people overlooked the prophecy he was teaching. His teachings of love and concern; you can hear about his concern with "Earth Song," and other songs he preached concern for the planet and people, for humanity, for one another. I think he’s a wonderful human being. I think he’s a lesson for everybody to learn and model after in that light; the light of concern and caring for one another. Sure would be a better world if everybody did. […] He was a man of power; of positive power, that brought people together in the time that he lived. He brought people from all walks of life, all nationalities and like I said, friends and foes alike. He was healing in the spirit, because he healed a lot of people with his music and with his spirit. Being in his presence when he visited the hospitals, (some) children would be miraculously healed, I was told. Michael should be remembered for being one of the most positive humans and unselfish human beings that ever lived. He just happened to be a singer and dancer too.

[…] I’m working with the group Cameo, the funk band. Cameo has been around since 1977-’78. I’ve been with them since ’82 off and on. They let me go for someone like Madonna or Michael; they let me go do that. They say they don’t want to stop me from making that big money, but my chair is always there. “When you come back, let us know. When you come back you’ll be right back in.” So, since Michael passed, I’ve been back with them. I left them to do This Is It with Michael, and then afterwards I needed a little time off, you know, because it was too much; I couldn’t work right away. So, when I was ready, I called them up and they took me right back in. I’ve been back with them since November of 2009, and still working with them. I’ve been working with Jermaine Jackson; he wanted to do a tribute show to Michael. I work on my own one-man tribute show, like I mentioned, and I work with promoters now who try to book me around the country and hopefully around the world you know, to continue the legacy and the music. I’m Michael’s drummer, so I want to continue playing with Michael, the music, the tracks and talking about him, and let people know the magic he and I had together; the caring he had and to keep sharing his music. It’s not like having him there, but with the images and playing to his voice, playing to his tracks, it’s almost like that. It’s the next best thing, you know, not like playing with a cover band or a look-a-like, I would never do that, and I wouldn’t want to do that. This is like playing with Michael; his image is there, his voice is there and all the fans say they felt Michael in the room. This is as close as I can get to that now, and I love doing it, because I always loved playing his songs, his music, and hearing his voice and playing with him. So I’m doing that as well as Cameo. […] It’s great talking about things. I want the world to remember him.”

[Jonathan Moffett, American musician, songwriter and producer – interviewed by Valmai Owens; sources: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Well, it was challenging. I think what they (were) most impressed with, with me; most of the artists I’ve ever worked with Rap or R&B, they like the fact that I can play Classical music and incorporate it into a Hip-Hop beat. That’s what got me in the door, because they had never heard a pianist being able to play Classical music in time and sync with a Hip-Hop track. That was just like two things that don’t go together, but I was able to merge them together and they were always impressed with me for doing that. And I would always play Michael Jackson. I worked with Jodeci who were huge fans of Michael. As a matter-of-fact, ironically, the day that I was working with them on a track, we were in the studio and I was playing on the piano, and I kept hearing this beat right next to us; POW, POW, POW, just hitting on the side of the wall. And Dalvin, who is the lead singer of the group and also one of the producers, he said, “Oh, that’s Michael Jackson next door.” I said, “WHAT!” And Dalvin said, “He’s working on this new album. I think it’s called Invincible something.” So I go, “Michael Jackson’s next door?” “Well,” he said, “You can’t go in there.” And I thought, ‘Oh, I can’t? So I just go walk up the stairs, and mind you, there are two security guards standing there outside the door, and everybody in the studio is a celebrity. Christina Aguilera had just finished working on Genie in the Bottle, Jennifer Lopez had left only five minutes before, and then we were working on the Jodeci album. So Michael was next door, and his music was so loud, it was ricocheting inside of our studio where we were, you know. So, I didn’t get to see him, but it was so cool to know that he was right next door to me working on Invincible. And I was trying to hear it, but the guy wouldn’t let me get close to the door. I said, “I just want to know one thing. Is Michael Jackson inside there?” And he said, “Yes, he’s working on his music. You can’t come in.” So I thought that’s okay, I’m working next door and put I can my ear to the wall. […]

I understand Hip-Hop; I like Hip-Hop, and so I mixed Hip-Hop and education together. Sort of like Schoolhouse Rock. I’m also a big fan of Schoolhouse Rock from the seventies TV show. I grew up on that, so I wanted to incorporate that style with Hip-Hop and have it still be educational for kids. When Michael passed, I had to put it on the back-burner, and only because I just needed time to breathe. I was so excited about putting this out for kids. I was definitely in talks with getting this to Michael Jackson for him to give me the thumbs-up, not necessarily an endorsement, I just wanted him to see this, you know. It’s for kids, it’s educational and when he passed, it was so difficult for me to continue at that point. I had lost people in my personal family too, so I was really not in a good place, but now I’m a lot stronger. I have been talking to the School Districts to get this out. I’m back trying to make this happen and I’m sure it’s going to take off. I’m really excited about it, and we’ve been getting wonderful revues in just our demo alone. So, I’m still going to push forward with that. […] I really wanted Michael to hear it and see it. As I was recording it, all I could think was that Michael was going to love this. It’s Hip-Hop, it’s kids, it’s clean, it’s Rap and it’s still danceable for the kids, and it’s not too commercial. I wanted it to be Jay Z meets Disney, you know? I knew Michael would have loved it.

The 30th Anniversary (show at the MSG) was the last time I saw Michael in person. That really was an incredible night. I had a chance to play and what I did in the video, Michael Jacksonology: Piano Tribute, is the same thing I did in front of Michael at the anniversary; right there with James Ingram standing over me, and quite a few people were impressed with my playing. I was able to play his songs as a medley, and he kept looking at me and giving me the thumbs-up. That was the last time I would see Michael, so at least I had a chance to play for him. I can take that and just run with that, you know? […] I had been friends with some of the family members, and in 2009, after Michael’s passing, I had lunch with Jermaine Jr. and also Berry Gordy’s grandson. We were talking about some things; we were talking about Hip-Hop, we were talking about my piano performance that I was getting ready to do, the Michael Jacksonology: Piano Tribute, so I do have their backing and they know I’m doing this. I just want to keep his music alive, that’s the main thing, and in a different way from most people wanting to impersonate Michael, and that’s still wonderful too, but I really want to showcase something different. Nobody really listens to his songwriting capability, you know, the “Earth Song!” I had a contest on my website for all those who are fans of Michael Jackson and of my website. I told them to pick a song for me to play. The song that gets the most hits; the song you think is the best I will perform it. It was a toss-up between “Earth Song” and “Speechless.” But “Earth Song” won out. So that’s why I performed “Earth Song” last on the video. It’s a very, very difficult song to play. Out of everything I played in that video, “Earth Song” was the toughest, because it’s simple, but it’s a detailed song; everything has got to be right in place.

[…] I want to share a story with you on how I first met Michael Jackson, and this is something so profound to me. I told you the last time I saw Michael, but the very first time I saw him I was about thirteen. And I hate to tell the truth, but… well I’ll say it like this, I left school early; I ditched. I left school early and went to Hollywood. They have these guys on street corners who sell these maps to the Star’s homes. So I bought one, because I was determined to find out where Michael lived. I was such a fan, and I had to know. I looked on the map and I saw 4641 Hayvenhurst Drive, so I asked the bus driver how to get to Hayvenhurst. He said, “Hayvenhurst is way out in Encino, that’s a two-hour ride.” So I said okay, I guess I ought to do it. So I get on the bus; it’s a two-hour ride all the way to Encino. I go down the street and see this large gate. Finally, I found 4641, and I thought this is it? I was expecting Neverland stuff. But it’s a nice big house and I’m sitting there doing my homework thinking, I don’t see Michael Jackson and it’s been thirty minutes… finally the gate opens. A black Mercedes Benz drives out the gate and the window rolls down, and it’s Michael. I’m by myself; this is a regular day and he looks at me and says, “Hey, why aren’t you in school?” And I thought oh no, that’s the worst thing he could say to me. I mean this is like ten o’clock in the morning on a school day, and I’m a 13 year-old. Anyway, I said, “Well, I wanted to meet you. That’s why I’m here.” And he said, “Well don’t ditch. Don’t ditch school; that’s not a good thing, but I got something for you. If you stay in school and do your work, and do all good things; if you meet me this Saturday at Balboa Park, I’m going to give you an autograph. I’m not going to give it (to) you now. I’m going to give it to you Saturday, so meet me there. My brothers will be there, because we play baseball every Saturday.” So I said, “Where is Balboa Park?” And he said, “Its right around the corner.” So, Saturday came along. I got up early, and went all the way back down and found Balboa Park. Sure enough, the Jacksons were warming up. I saw Jackie, Tito; all of them were there, and the 3T’s were little babies and Marlon Jr. was a little baby. I saw this guy on the other side; on the opposite team’s side with a hat and sunglasses waving at me. It was Michael. He was in disguise with a moustache and a hat on. So I walked up to him and he said, “Don’t tell anybody I’m here. My brothers are going to give you the jacket from the Victory Tour, and we’re going to give you the program.” So I asked for an extra one for my mother, and he said, “Okay, we’ll give you two.” Finally, after the game was over, Jackie and Marlon came up to me and gave me the Victory Tour book. They signed it and Michael signed it too, and then I got the Victory jacket. That was the first time I met Michael Jackson, and when I went back to school nobody believed me! I’m saying I met Michael Jackson and mind you, this is 1984-’85; this is the height of his career. I told my teacher and he said, ‘No way!’ I told him I was serious, that Michael lived in Hayvenhurst, I went to a baseball game, and they were like, ‘Yeah right!’ The night of the 30th Anniversary, I wondered in my mind if Michael knew I was the same little kid that was in front of his house doing his homework, who is now a professional musician. And I didn’t have a chance to tell him that. There was so much going on that night; he was very busy and his table was full, so I didn’t get a chance to have a one-on-one with him. […] Yes, (this story) is part of me forever.

[…] He was very out-spoken; he was very stern, because I was a 13 year-old sitting outside his house instead of being in school, so he wasn’t soft-spoken to me. He was very direct, and more concerned about me being outside of his house instead of in school. He was like a concerned parent. I’ve seen him on other occasions too, but one-on-one, I don’t think Michael was as shy; I think he was more business savvy than people see. His public persona is; of course he’s a nice guy and he’s very soft-spoken and wonderful, but I believe when it comes to something serious, Michael Jackson had no problem telling you exactly what he meant. Now, he was nice enough to invite me to his baseball game, but he didn’t have to do that. He could have called the police and said this kid is in front of my house; he needs to go to school. But he told me I could come to his house and he would give me an autograph, just not on school days, and I will never forget that. He could have done a whole bunch of things, I mean that’s trespassing, well not necessarily trespassing, but loitering. So, eventually I started taking pictures at some of the baseball games. He gave me an opportunity to go to those baseball games, and I used to go every weekend after that. I became very comfortable and I remember seeing Paula Abdul there; Janet Jackson was there all the time. […] It was so much fun during the ‘80’s, to be that kind of a fan where we could literally go to Michael’s house and just interact with his world. I remember one Saturday; normally when Michael comes in, he calls on his car phone from down the street and tells the guards to open the gate. This is like 5 minutes before he actually pulls in. This particular day, the gate was moving, but it wouldn’t open. And all the fans that were standing there, we knew that Michael was on his way. So, Michael pulled in and the gate wouldn’t open, so all the fans are screaming and wanting autographs. Michael gets out of the car and says, “Don’t do this at home,” and walks around the side of the gate and hopped the fence. Everybody cracked up. It was so hilarious, because we expected him to wait in the car. Finally, the security guard pulled the gate open and drove the car in. That was just a moment that I would see from just hanging around the house.

I remember when he did Captain EO. I was there that day he went to Disney. He was in the car with Bill Bray. Bill Bray was driving, and Michael waved and said ‘Stop the car’. So, I was there with a friend and we got up and walked to the car. Michael said, “I’m doing a movie. You got to check it out. It’s called Captain EO. It’s for Disney. Just remember I told you its Captain EO.” And sure enough, I finally saw Captain EO, which is one of my favorites. The day that it opened up, I think was 16 or 17, my school’s Drill Team was opening the Premiere day. So we got to see it ahead of everybody. I got to see it before the public got to see it. I mean, out of all the high schools in Los Angeles, my school was picked to perform at the opening, and I was there.

So many symbolic things are wrapped in my entire life from 5 years-old, all the way to being a 40 year-old man, which is centered around Michael. He has been a part of life since childhood; since before I knew music and when he passed, I had people who I hadn’t spoke to since Elementary School call my mother to pay their condolences to me. I had a teacher who remembered me trying to learn “Billie Jean” on the piano, and who found my mother’s number and called to say how sorry they felt for Mengesha, because they remembered that when I was 14, all I talked about was Michael Jackson. So, he has been like a family member more than a Pop superstar. I even got into fights at school over him. I have been expelled from school from having a fight over Michael Jackson, because people were saying mean things about him. I used (to) wear Michael’s clothes, like the “Beat It” jacket and glitter socks, and I would get in fights because people would say he was weird. They would take me in the office, and tell me I could no longer wear Michael Jackson paraphernalia anymore, because it was causing too much trouble. So Michael was like a family member, like an Uncle, and I was more than just a fan. […]

He was not afraid to step out of the box as an entertainer and a musician, and he was a perfectionist. When it’s 100% right, it’s still not right for him. Michael was a Virgo and they are very cerebral; very mental. The worst thing about perfection, and I understand it because of him, is that you are looking for perfection when there is none; when you don’t need it. Sometimes you overly try to perfect something when you should just leave it the way it is. For example, I don’t believe Michael would have wanted us to see This Is It, but there was perfection even in that. We got to see him make mistakes, we got to see him correct people; all of these things Michael would never have wanted us to see. Why? Because he is a perfectionist! So, perfection is the thing I see with Michael Jackson. Every little thing has to be where it needs to be. I mean, Michael reminds me of a Broadway musical. Everybody moves as one, everything is in line. All the musicians play a certain way, all of the dancers dance a certain way, the lighting has to be correct, the staging, the effects; everything has to be on cue. And that’s what Michael is to me; the epitome of a perfectionist. We don’t get to see that often; once in a lifetime. Michael was a gift; he was not a mistake but a gift, for everybody. There are people that don’t really like him; it took for his death for them to understand how great he was as a musician and entertainer. Michael stood above all other music. I mean, you get 8 Grammy’s for one album, that’s unheard of. He’s in the Guinness Book of Records as being the greatest entertainer that ever lived! He raised the bar so high that we’ll never see that again in our lifetime. We’ll see great entertainers, mind you, but not like Michael Jackson. […] It’s a sad thing, but a good thing. It’s a good thing that he left a legacy so high. […] What I try to do in my piano performance is push the limit of a piano player doing Michael Jackson’s music. I’ve seen a lot of people play online that play wonderfully, and they’ve done wonderful tributes to Michael, but I just kept hearing him in my mind saying, ‘Play harder, give me more, play the arpeggio all the way up there, sit straighter… All these things were going through my mind as I was playing my piano tribute to him. This is going to sound weird, but I remember playing “Earth Song” and I could have sworn I felt cold wind across my fingers. I don’t know where it came from, but I could feel a wind across my hands. I didn’t stop playing; I acted like I didn’t know, and I asked the engineer after the first cut if he had the air-conditioner on, and he said no. […] I know what I felt. As soon as I started playing the first chord, it was as if someone was blowing down on my fingers because it tickled a little bit. It startled me, but I kept playing. I think it’s a good thing I felt Michael’s presence while I was playing, because in my mind I was playing to him. […] I think his spirit is around all of us; those who are really his fans, in his corner and have been influenced by him. If he could come back, he would be overwhelmed with all the tributes that have happened since his passing. He would be ecstatic about this, I really believe that. Let me tell you another story. The night of the This Is It premiere, it was one of the windiest days that California has had in a long time. It was whirling back and forth, and as my friends and I are getting to the red carpet we see a whirlwind, like a tiny tornado that went all the way to the end of the red carpet. We looked at each other like we had literally seen a ghost. I mean this tiny tornado, maybe five feet tall, was just spinning and spinning all the way down the red carpet, and when it got to the end, it just vanished. […] I mean, we stopped; we saw it. As a matter of fact, there was somebody else who was a Star right in front of us, and we all just stopped at looked at it. Everybody just looked at each other; we didn’t say anything, but it was like, what was that? […] I believe Michael was sent here to Earth to entertain us, to bring us all together and bring awareness to healing the world, and to dazzle us with his dance moves; just to inspire everybody to be a better person. Like I said, I believe every fifty years, God sends down an angel and I believe Michael was that. People all over the world loved Michael, and then, of course, the world tried so hard; the negative people tried so hard to tear him down. […] I believe God said to Michael, ‘You don’t have to do This Is It, you’ve done enough already; your legacy is done. (…) […] All the years we have seen Michael, we didn’t know what it was like to be in the studio with him, now we know what it was like. When I watched that movie, I saw a whole different side to Michael I’ve never seen before.

[…] I’m working with The Jackson Family Foundation. Some subsidiaries associated with the Foundation want me to play ‘Michael Jacksonology: Piano Tribute’ live. They are working on preparing me to perform this piano piece in front of the family, so that is what I am sort of focused on now. I’m also preparing to make a CD of the Tribute, so I have a lot of labels that are looking at me at this point. This is an extension of Michael’s work, and this is why it’s so important to me. I mean, I’m a fan, but I’m a musician as well, so I incorporated both, because I really wanted to put my foot in with this. It’s Michael Jackson and it’s like giving a tribute to my favorite Uncle. Originally in 2009, when Michael passed away, somewhere in my mind I thought I could do it two weeks or two months later, and that didn’t work. When I tried to do the performance, I couldn’t play two notes of a song, and I thought, ‘Okay, well, you’re gonna have to wait.’ That’s when I created those Roller Coasters, because I thought I gotta do something creative. I didn’t just want to mourn his death and not do something creative. I don’t think Michael would have wanted that. At the same (time) I’m thinking it’s very sad, but Michael also wouldn’t want everyone to not move forward in their lives and so I thought, ‘No, I gotta do something’. […] I very seldom talk about that day. I’m still in shock. Its two years later and it feels like yesterday to me. I mourned the whole year, really, to be honest with you. Then I lost my Aunt too, a month before Michael, and my Uncle died in the earlier part of that year, which was devastating to me in itself. […] And I felt so sorry for Michael’s family and everything; I can only imagine. It was very tough. The world Premiere of This Is It was tough to watch too, to be honest with you. I could barely sit in the seat and watch the whole thing for the first time. That’s why I did the video, because I wanted to; I teach kids the piano all the time, I’m a music teacher as well, and I wanted them to understand his music. They know he can sing and dance, but I wanted them to understand some of the technique he uses, the melody lines, the bass lines in “Billie Jean.” Just his creative side. And that’s one of the main reasons I really wanted to do the video, to kind of educate the newer generation about Michael Jackson because our generation, well, we watched him as a kid, but there are ten and nine year-olds who really got more into Michael after his passing. One of my students told me, “Wow, now I see where Usher gets it.” I said, yeah, and Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown and even some of the Hip Hop artists have been influenced by Michael Jackson.

The Roller Coasters were first. That’s what got a lot people’s attention at the beginning. But that was an accident. Like I said, the original thing I was going to do in 2009 is the video that’s out now. It was too painful, though, and I knew it wasn’t going to work. So, I have a game called Roller Coaster Tycoon. This day I happened to be playing the game and I accidentaly pushed my MP3 player, and it starts playing Michael’s music. And I thought, ‘Ha, I could build Neverland with this game, and put Michael’s music to it and make a whole Roller Coaster theme to Michael Jackson’. So, I stayed up until 5 a.m. just creating this amusement park with Michael’s music and pictures, and got it out there. I met with Jermaine Jr. right after This Is It, and he said it was brilliant; that he wanted to show Michael’s kids and the whole family. He called me back and said they loved it, and asked if I could do another one, so I started creating a whole series of them. The last one I did was the hardest one. I used the “This Is It” song and I did a log ride where you are riding the log through his career. That was kind of tough for people to watch. But the only reason I did that, again, is because I couldn’t perform. When I had done enough of those, I was strong enough to do the piano tribute again. That’s when I shot the video; I was ready to do it. So this is what is coming up for me; getting this out to the fans, especially the kids. I want the new generation to be able to appreciate his music and love his videos, and know that he was a great artist.”

[Mengesha “Mystro” Francis, American classically trained pianist, music teacher – interviewed by Valmai Owens; sources: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[My family,] they’re doing well.. a lot better than before, of course… and you do the best you can at a time like that, but time, you know, goes on, and you try to believe that it heals, but […] I’m very proud and happy for [Michael’s children]. I – it was very difficult for me to – my mother is [their guardian], and then of course they have the help that’s with them as well. […]”

“[…] I want justice (for Michael), I really and truly want justice. […] The media is the eyes and the ears to the world. Whatever they feed us is what we hear. And that’s what we believe. And that’s what the media is doing. […] Michael told me, before he passed, he told me that he was afraid, that he was going to… die, that he was gonna be murdered, he said. […] Oh, yeah, he did, he said that to me. So, homicide, it’s a murder, as far as I’m concerned (…).”

[La Toya Yvonne Jackson, American singer-songwriter, musician, author, television personality, actress, businesswoman, Michael Jackson’s sister; source: http://joybehar.blogs.cnn.com]

 

“Today, I'll share a piece of autobiographical trivia about me and The Dancing Wonder. No, I never met him. But, between something I did and something MJ did to further that effort, together we helped to create the concerts called "Live Aid." If you want to know more about this strange but true story, read on.

I know that Wikipedia gives the creation of that event to Bob Geldof. I'm sure Bob has been content to leave well enough alone regarding credit for the event, even though he knows he didn't create the idea for that unique multi-concert event. He did make it happen in Great Britain after he was aware of the idea as set into motion up to that point.

From Wiki: "The concert was conceived as a follow-up to another Geldof/Ure project, the successful charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", performed by a collection of British and Irish music acts billed as 'Band Aid' and released the previous winter."

To his eternal credit, after seeing the BBC broadcasts of starving Africans in November 1984, he did mobilize the Brit musical community to record "Do They Know It's Christmas" in late November, released in December, which became the top selling song in the UK of all time. This in turn prodded MJ, Lionel Richie, and Quincy to create "We Are The World." But these songs are not the concert event, which was a separate creation.

The backstory: I had been working in the early 80’s with the US Committee for UNICEF to raise money and spread the word about African famine and childhood and infant death mass disasters. All throughout the mid to late 70’s and into the early 80’s, I had been a concert promoter, and also worked with other promoters on many events that attracted over 100,000 people and some major media attention.

By 1984, Africa had become a dying ground between drought and pandemic infant diarrheal diseases, to the degree that Time Magazine did a cover story that Summer on the problem. That got me to thinking, and in those days I was much bolder in what I would attempt on a flash of inspiration.

I realized that the usual concert format was inadequate to turn the world on to what was happening. I didn't want just another show where the people came, money was raised on a local level, and then everyone went home while the problem continued. So came the inspiration.

I got to thinking, what if we did multiple stadium concerts in different time zones, and arranged for a global broadcast? Since I was working directly with one of the top UNICEF people in the US in Houston, we could get the Astrodome easily. I figured we'd also want to do LA, since that was where the musical talent was. A third or even fourth venue could be had in Europe or Asia. We could enlist the media to do a rolling simulcast of the major events, and encourage local venues to stage their own concerts as well.

Phone in donations as well as the gate receipts would ensure major dollars for the effort. Along with the fund raising, I intended to try to coordinate an international effort in colleges and universities in the weeks before and after the event as consciousness raising events, so that the academic world and thousands of students might be mobilized by what they learned to further the African relief work beyond the event itself.

I pitched the idea to the UNICEF director who was my friend and colleague, and he became very excited. I did a draft in August, and in early September 1984, we put together a substantial package for the proposal in the Houston UNICEF office. Included were elements from the Time article, UNICEF information about what was going on in Africa, the logistics of the proposed events, and tentative performers to be contacted for the major concerts. This was many weeks before the BBC did the broadcast that mobilized Bob Geldof.

I then showed it to a friend and client of mine who was a major player in Hollywood at the time. He and I had worked together on the scripts of two of the biggest movies of the 80s ("Top Gun," "Beetlejuice"), and I trusted his judgment about what to leave in the proposal, what to take out, and so forth. He became very enthusiastic at the potential, and offered to put the proposal in the hands of his agent who was with one of the biggest firms in the world and just happened to know Michael Jackson's agent, also with the same firm. As MJ was still riding the crest of "Thriller," we knew if he came on board, the deal was done. We didn't have to wait long for a response!

I was told that MJ became very excited at the possibility of helping further a historical event that would do so much good for Africa, and that he would support the effort. With him on board, I then pitched the event to UNICEF in New York in September 1984. Without boring you about the details of the insanity of their response, they decided to take a pass.

When I passed along their decision to MJ, another major player in the worlds of television and music was dispatched from LA to NY to find out what their problem was. This was late September or early October. After several days of negotiations, they still passed on the idea. The producer/manager flew back to LA, and from there the preliminaries of the event began to take shape independent of UNICEF. (That's why the event was credited to the "Live Aid Foundation," with no mention of any relief org.) I've left out a few specifics about the process to spare the reputations of those who took a pass.


Several weeks later, in November, the BBC showed the Africa tapes, Bob Geldof mobilized to create "Do They Know It's Christmas," and the rest is history. But the concerts as originally conceived were NOT created in Great Britain after the BBC broadcast.

They were conceived on a round table in an office in Houston many months before that broadcast. MJ got the packet about two months before that broadcast, set his contacts into motion, and the promotional nuts and bolts of the concerts began to take shape in October 1984. "We Are the World" was his initial public response, and after that the concert lineups began to form, including Bob Geldof's participation in lining up the British talent.


So all good blessings upon Michael Jackson's soul. May he rest easy and find the peace he never could in this world. […] He helped precipitate a quarter-billion dollar relief effort for starving Africa. His death got me to remembering my strange experience back in 1984-85, and I figured it was time to tell the true story behind "Live Aid." (For skeptics who read this, most of it can still be verified, though two key players are now dead.) You just can't make this stuff up.....


And that's the way it was all those years ago. Just a fragment of an autobiographical snapshot of a long-closed chapter in the very strange life of yours truly.”

Well, UNICEF International still does good work, but the US Committee is so dysfunctional, it even had to change its name. Yes, the aid was given, but unfortunately much of it was mismanaged due to being given to governments rather than relief orgs. But at least some of us tried....

[…] I have never told this story publicly until now. However, my friend (no longer with UNICEF, but still raising millions for worthy causes) found out about Wikipedia's attribution, and began insisting I find a way to tell the true story a few months ago, but I let it slide since it's ancient history. With MJ's demise, though, I got to thinking that, regardless of whatever else the world says or thinks about him, his role in raising hundreds of millions needed to be told, since so many others took all kinds of credit for Live Aid, but he really didn't.

[…] I will say that I left the service of UNICEF after this (what else what (sic) there to do?), and tried one more major project to help bring clean water and quadruple food supplies to the third world. (I had more energy, inspiration, and faith back in the 80’s!) Went to NY, pitched the project to appropriate UN agencies, and was told it would take 10 years to implement something that could have been done in a week or less. So, I turned my energies to other things. I was an astrologer, metaphysician, writer and speaker long before these promotional efforts in the 80’s, and have been since, so it could be said this is my true home, and the rest was just an effort at trying to lessen suffering to whatever extent it is possible. Still, I'm glad I created this blog, since it seems a great global community of truth seeking souls hang out here - and that's a verrrrry good thang!

[…] He was truly a beautiful, if troubled, young man. But what else can one expect if a childhood is stolen, people all want a piece of you all the time, and you wonder if there's any YOU behind all the facades of performing.

[…] I don't think Bob Geldof ever claimed to do what Wiki says. That's usually inserted by fans or friends who want to believe the legend. Besides, he got knighted for "Do They Know It's Christmas" - what more "royal" recognition could a guy like him want? It beats endless Boomtown Rats reunion tours doing the same music no one remembers from so long ago. I know I did the right thing by setting it into motion, and I know that I've moved into other things that also benefited at least some of humanity, like writing "Love Dad" about twelve hundred days after Live Aid. And most definitely, blessings to the lovely Farrah Fawcett, who got the short end of the publicity thanx to MJ. She did some very powerful work in the second half of her life, and offered the world a major service by bringing the issue of domestic violence to the fore.

[…] Again, I don't believe BG deliberately misrepresented his part in the play. And he did mobilize to do "Do They Know It's Christmas," which if he did nothing else, earned him his wings in Heaven. No one else thought to mobilize and pull the Brits together but him, so all good blessings to him. And because of the lack of public US response up to that point, perhaps he is owed a debt of gratitude for getting MJ, Lionel, and Quincy in motion to do "We Are The World." Great effort by all concerned.

[…] As I hope I've made clear, I believe this was more of a passive situation where BG's friends did the wiki entry, and who is BG to contradict it? BG mobilized the Brits, which mobilized the Americans, and once everyone was mobilized, they kinda-sorta HAD to do some kind of show - and used the formula that I had given to MJ that already was circulating among producers and other heavyweights in the industry. Makes sense to me. As for people not thinking my life is weird, look, I think my life is very weird! Great in many ways, but very, very strange. And yes, it is in the variety of my experiences that I have learned many things about rich and poor, famous and obscure, powerful and invisible. It's all taught me a degree of detachment and dispassion toward fame, money, and all the other traps of ego.

[…] I've had the spotlight many times this life on national and international levels, and found it to be irrelevant to most efforts to do good. […] I agree that the media in many respects did MJ no good at all. Tabloid publicity is so lurid, and usually lies, destroying lives in the process of chasing the dragon. […]

[…] I agree that some are better off just doing what they do best, leaving the publicity to others. But I did want to acknowledge this "secret service" MJ did for Africa, even while he gave the publicity for the concerts to almost everyone else.

[…] While I believe the 80s and the Reagan-Bush machine destroyed much that was decent and innocent, it could not have been so without the participation of the mass consciousness. Too many people were willing to participate in the greed, lies, and demon imagery. At least some of us outlived the times, and are here to tell the story that despite the widespread decay, we have survived, we will survive, and know that every silver lining's got a touch of gray. While the times were truly a distortion of everything I hold as good, and set the stage for the equally ugly period since then, it's only the dying gasp of an antiquated mindset that would have no substance except that humanity still doesn't want to grow beyond its pain and suffering. But the new era approaches like an express train, and the beat goes on....

[…] As for the money that Live Aid raised, while a lot went to relief and created good results at the time, even more went to corrupt governments. We will not end poverty until we all awaken that we're all in this together, eschewing greed and profit as ultimate goals and promote the common good. However, to be honest, now only 30,000 die needlessly each day rather than 40,000, and that seems to imply we've made a little progress. […]

[…] Yes, MJ never took credit for being the one who originally saw the benefits of such a thing and set it in motion through his industry contacts. That would make for a worthy life regardless of anything else. When someone spends their whole life on stage, it robs them of certain personality strengths and creates a false reality that has nothing to do with the eternal state of being. […] I believe people want exemplars to imitate, or at the least a means of vicarious experience. Anyone who strives for excellence in the area of their gifts will certainly find themselves admired by others. Then the press releases begin, the lies and legend become real as the human is forgotten as they try to live us to the legend. […]

[…] His death precipitated me to remembering, and, given my friend and colleague encouraged me to find a way to tell the true story about two months ago, it seemed like the right thing at the right time. […]”

[Robert Wilkinson, concert promoter, astrologer, metaphysician, writer and speaker; sources: www.aquariuspapers.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael Jackson's Nurse in 1984 shares her stories of Michael in the hospital.

In photos: Michael Jackson in Brotman Medical Center with his nurse Kathy and other hospital staff. Kathy recalls MJ being too nice to give everyone his autograph and letting them take pictures of him despite his condition.

Kathy was a Intensive Care Nurse at Brothrotmen Medical Center, the Center where Michael Jackson was admitted when he suffered burn injuries to his head during the making the a Pepsi Commercial in 1984. Kathy, being a fan of Michael Jackson, did not expect that Michael Jackson was going to be one of her patients. Jackson was placed in a private room (…). As Kathy McGrath, 29 at the time, quoted in The February, 1984 issue of People’s Magazine about Michael Jackson when he suffered burn injuries to his head: “He was still pretty shaken up and cold, so we put about five blankets on him.”

“He was at the height of his career. Being his nurse was an awesome and honorable experience as his music touched me all my life”, said McGrath. Kathy also emphasized one important fact; “As awesome and honorable it was that Michael Jackson was my patient, regardless of him being a celebrity, I automatically went into Nurse Mode. It was important that he had a private room to allow me to care for him and his burn injuries appropriately without interruptions. It is a challenge when giving medical care to burn victims as burn victims can also have other complications related to burn injuries. My job was to make sure all my patients received immediate, top and best medical care, including Michael.”

Instead of a typical hospital gown, he had adorned himself in a turquoise scrub outfit. The nurses also fashioned a head bandage that could be camouflaged with a macramé hat. "You're going to start a new wave here in 1984 - the net look," nurse told Michael. "He laughed and said he wanted to look French."

Nurse Kathy recalled MJ visiting Keith Perry, a 23-year-old mechanic who had suffered third-degree burns on 95 percent of his body. Perry had just undergone his 14th operation when Michael arrived and was placed in an adjoining room. Another severely burned patient with whom he had been in frequent contact was 41-year-old seamstress Bessie Henderson. "Bessie had gone through many operations and was very depressed, When Michael started calling, she turned around and now she is doing a lot better."

Michael cared about Keith and Bessie and many others who were being treated for burns”, said McGrath.

Turning the photos over is where I read in Michael Jackson’s hand writing to Kathy McGrath:

“Thank You, I Love You – Michael Jackson”

There is a message Kathy McGrath wants to give to the Jackson family. That message is: “My heart and prayers goes out to the entire Jackson Family for the loss of Michael. No matter what, they are a family and family comes first.”

[Maggie Griffin, American blogger; sources: http://twitpic.com, www.mjj777.com]


“[…] When they (The Jackson 5) did this record, ‘Going Back To Indiana’, and they were giving this concert that was recorded for TV, and so I was there at the concert and I was, like, sitting in the back of the, you know, stage, it was there, and I was there in the back of the stage, so, I was barely – I could only see the back of his head, but when they walked in and everybody was screaming, it’s like the Beatles had walked in, it’s like – and they were just losing it, and then they got back on the stage, I was like, I was just in the 6th grade at the time, and I’m like, was just looking and I don’t know what happened, but I was sitting there, and the next thing you know, there were tears coming down (on my cheek), and I’m like, ‘What’s this up with that?’ And – but I was, like, so moved by it and I couldn’t believe that, you know, the Jackson 5 were there and Michael Jackson was live and in person. And, believe it or not, it wasn’t – it was just a couple of years later when I actually got to meet him, I mean, when I was in the 8th grade, I actually met the Jackson 5 and I did an interview with them. It’s true! I lied and said I was a reporter [laughter]. It’s a true story. And – and I actually sat there and talked to Michael Jackson and I was blown away about – from his talent from the get-go. And, we all know that he’s not with us anymore, but we know that he’s with us in his music and all the things that he did, and his music lives forever. [audience applauds] And the amazing thing is – the most amazing thing I find about Michael and his music is that I don’t know how many years it’s – it was 25 or 26 years ago when ‘Thriller’ was done, and to this day, if you put the videos on, (…) they’re trying to be Michael Jackson. It’s – it lives forever, you know. […]”

[Kenneth Brian "Babyface" Edmonds, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, record producer, film producer; sources: www.youtube.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“Motown founder, Berry Gordy, mentioned that Michael Jackson was not a performer who came around every few years. He was a performer who came only once in a lifetime. That sums up the effect Michael Jackson has had on the musical industry throughout his career.

To truly understand the effects of Michael Jackson, remember the last ten years of his life.

There has been a lot written about the Jacksons over the years. Some of them were complimentary. Most of them were pure attempts at character assassination. Many have labeled derogatory remarks about Jackson, while several others in the media no longer hold him as a “hot” property in the musical industry.

Sony Music Studios was reportedly ready to drop Jackson from the label. His personal life was in a mess. The performer’s finances was in shambles. His core assets, Neverland Ranch and ATV Music Publishing were leveraged to a hilt. Jackson was several hundred million dollars in debt. Many in the musical industry had labeled him “the forgotten man”. Jackson was considered by many on the decline. […] He may have been the greatest pop star in history to have blown away his fortune and fame with his eccentric behavior.


The media may have been harsh on Jackson, but the public still adored him. The first and clearest example was the sale of tickets for his comeback tour, This Is It. It was sold all within hours. Nearly a million fans had bought tickets to the show. This was despite the fact that Jackson had not performed live for more than a decade. Music does not have racial boundaries and is timeless. Despite the (…) flaws, Jackson was missed by his fans. This was demonstrated by the sold out concerts of his O2 London leg.


To understand the legacy of Michael Jackson is to understand his work.


Much has been written about his albums. In particular, the most popular album that is regarded as the biggest selling album of all time was Jackson’s Thriller.The sales of that album depends on who gives you the statistics, but what few knew was that Jackson very nearly did not want to release it. The pop star was on the verge of cancelling the whole album, because the initial recording was horrible. However, Jackson, guided by Quincy Jones, persevered and worked on the album again. The final work is a masterful album that appeals across several genres. Much acclaim has been given to the songs on this album. However, few knew the effort and inspiration that drove Michael Jackson. One of the album’s best known songs, “Billie Jean”, was written in an hour and was mixed 91 times by Bruce Swedien. The final work remains a classic on the dance floor to this day.


The rest of the albums have been written and reviewed countless times over the years. Many have tried to simplify what his music meant. Some have tried to copy his dance steps. However, the effect of Michael Jackson on the industry is seen everywhere. His accomplishments had made him the unofficial King Of Pop.


To explain what Michael Jackson meant to many is to understand that he was the last global megastar. He had saved the musical industry in the early eighties from its sales slump. By 1980, he had secured the highest royalty rate in the music industry. This was unheard of for someone who was only 22. By 1991, Michael Jackson signed one of the biggest music contracts with Sony records. It remains to this day one of the biggest contracts signed by any musical artiste (sic). Probably the only time anyone came close to breaking those numbers was Jackson himself when in death, his estate sealed one of the biggest deals with Sony record for $ 250 million dollars in 2010.


Jackson was a visionary when it came to his music videos. It was his highest art form that inspired many to copy his moves and style. The pop star was known for legendary work ethic and attention to detail when it came to his career. Several producers admired and jumped at the chance to work with him. This was highly evident during his History and Invincible albums.


It has been said that Jackson was someone who had an aura about him. If that was true, then the pop star was definitely magical, because the tours he performed were all the highest grossing tours of all time. Jackson’s legacy is seen in the movements and styles of the artiste (sic) of the generation today. All of them speak highly of him. Some like Beyonce Knowles have copied his work ethic and his philanthropic efforts.


[…] His death was mourned by millions. […] Jackson was the last musical icon. He left them behind a legacy of good music and groundbreaking music videos. Jackson had once mentioned that he wanted his life to be the greatest show on Earth. For the longest time in his career, he was truly the only show worth watching for any music fan. In life as well as in death, Michael Jackson’s music and career was the Greatest Show On Earth.”

[Shaun Jarmen, Yahoo! Contributor Network; source: www.associatedcontent.com]

 

 

“Hello!

This is Majestik Magnificent. I am writing to all of you about some things that are very disturbing. First of all, let me say there has been a video floating around stating that Michael Jackson is still alive and this video is being sold online. PLEASE, DO NOT support this video. It is very heartbreaking and very low for Michael’s three kids to have to hear someone say their father is still alive and yet he does not contact them. This is very hard on children and very hurtful for them to have to hear this.


Second, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother, has so much to worry about and so much to think about, she doesn’t need someone to say they have proof that her son is alive. Once again, it is very disrespectful and very unfair to the entire Jackson family. Unfortunately, it is not true. Michael Jackson has passed.
Michael Jackson is not here anymore. That is the truth. So I ask you NOT to support any video which makes someone money off of lying and saying that someone’s father, someone’s brother, and someone’s son who is dead is still alive. I know it is hard for some of you to let go and I am not asking you to let go. Keep Michael’s spirit and what he stood for within you. Carry him in your heart. Carry him in your memory. But please, do not spread rumors that he is alive. The children do not need to hear that.


I don’t quite understand why it is that there seems to be a division among you fans. I just do not understand that. If one fan is upset with another fan and another fan is upset with another fan and so on and so on, that has nothing to do with justice for Michael. That has to do with bickering amongst ourselves. Please, stop it. That is not what Michael Jackson was about. He was about love and wanted you all in unity. I keep getting calls and emails about fans fighting. […] I also want to say that the banner that is being flown all over the world is a wonderful thing. Mr. Jackson told me to tell you all that he endorses it 300%. LaToya Jackson told me to tell you that she supports it 300%, and make no mistake that the whole Jackson family loves you and respects you for your endurance, respect you for fighting for justice for their family member, and, above all, are in awe of the love you have shown for Michael Joseph Jackson. It is not important who thought of the banner, whose idea it was, or any of that. What is important is that there is a banner being flown all over the world simultaneously, demanding justice for Michael. I hate to have to waste the importance of this letter on petty arguments regarding the banner. Once again I ask you to let the whole world see that the fans are in unity and the banner will fly. That is what is important.


I want to say to Trisha Franklin, Antoinette Albert, and everyone else on the team of “A Million Trees for Michael” project, that the nearly 20,000 trees that have been donated for the Michael Jackson National Forest, is an amazing thing. Keep up the good work and keep fighting for that. Michael loved nature and cared about the planet. He would support this fully.


Please send this letter out to all your friends who are fans. […] Please, keep Michael’s kids and family in your prayers. Prayer is so important in times like these.


I thank you for listening, and may God bless you and keep you.


Majestik Magnificent”


[Majestik Magnificent, Jackson family friend, magician; source: www.facebook.com]




“On the day of the shoot [of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' cover], he came alone. No entourage. We had two racks of wardrobe, handpicked by one of the best stylists in LA. Michael didn't really care for anything on it. He said, "I'd like to be wearing something like what you have on." I was wearing my white suit that day. I said, "Well, we're about the same height." So, Michael is actually wearing my white suit on the cover. […] I auctioned it off at Sotheby's years ago. I was concerned with the safety of my wife and myself because, at the time, we had a very big house and I went out of town a lot. I didn't know if word would get around that I had the suit, and I didn't want to take a chance. I decided to just get rid of it. […] I believe I got $27,000 for it, and I'm guessing that was 10 years ago. Today, I could probably get a million bucks for it.”

“[…] We did the shoot [of exclusive wedding portrait of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley] at the Trump Tower in Donald Trump's suite. They actually closed down 5th Avenue in front of the building, because they didn't have enough room on the sidewalk for the photographers. The whole street was filled with photographers. […] They had to sneak me in through the service elevator. After we did it, I was worried about my life. These photographs were worth a lot of money. We closed down a whole photo lab so we could produce the images in secrecy. […] [After shooting the portraits, I went back to Trump’s suite.] Around midnight, the maid let me into Michael and Lisa Marie's suite and told me that Michael would be down in a few minutes. Thirty minutes go by and no sign of Michael. I'm walking around the suite -- it was kind of dark in there -- and I see this fellow across the room wearing a mustache and beard. I figured he was a security guard. I walked over to him asked if he had any idea when Michael was going to be here. I looked at him and all of a sudden I realized it was Michael. We both laughed as he pulled off his disguise. He had been waiting there the whole time, just watching me, waiting for me to notice him. […] He opened up a bottle of wine and sat down and looked over the photographs. We talked and talked until about 3 o'clock in the morning. He told me about all his frustrations. He had just done an interview with Diane Sawyer where he took her on a tour of his Neverland Ranch. He said he was as honest with her as anybody could possibly be, and the next day the press jumped on him. He had tears in his eyes. He said, "I don't know what to do anymore." […] He was very misunderstood. They talk about him being a pedophile. I can tell you that didn't happen. He was very childlike. I thought he was like a gentle butterfly. All he talked about was future generations of children, the environment, air quality. His problem was that he had too many bodyguards around him. Too many people pushing him in all different directions, and with ulterior motives.”

[Dick Zimmerman, American celebrity painter, photographer; source: www.popeater.com]

 

That's what makes greatness. You have to have that tragedy, that pain to pull from. That's what makes a clown great. You can see he's hurting behind the masquerade. He's something else externally. - Michael Jackson

"I know the creator will go. But his work survives. That is why to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work." - Michelangelo, quoted by Michael Jackson in a 2007 interview with Ebony

For the past few years, I have been working on a book exploring Michael Jackson the artist (entitled Man in the Music: An Album by Album Guide to Michael Jackson). As a cultural critic and music aficionado, it has been a fascinating process of discovery. Overshadowed by his (…) legal battles, even his fluctuating commercial success, few people have explored what made Michael Jackson a star in the first place: his staggering artistic talent. Just two days ago, in fact, I was up late polishing the chapter on his first solo album, Off the Wall (an oft-overlooked masterpiece that set the stage for Thriller). Like many others, I also anxiously looked forward to his sold-out concert series in London at the O2 Arena, which Coldplay singer Chris Martin described as "the biggest comeback since Lazarus," as well as his highly anticipated new album, which would have been his first new studio material since 2001's Invincible). […] Like millions of others from my generation, Michael Jackson has been a part of my life the way the Beatles were to a previous generation. I remember the first time I saw him dance on Motown 25, the hundreds of times I popped Thriller or Bad or Dangerous into my Sony Walkman, wearing out my VHS of "The Legend Continues," watching the worldwide premier of the "Black or White" video, practicing the moonwalk on my kitchen floor. So many of us growing up in the Eighties have memories like this. As I grew older, many of my musical interests changed. But Michael Jackson remained. Even as he hid behind walls and masks, even as he was reduced to a freakish caricature by the media, his complex mixture of joy, sadness, innocence, exhilaration, anger, paranoia, wonder, social concern, suffering, loneliness, and transcendence came through in his songs. They reminded us that, after all, he was a human being. Today, I grieve with millions of others around the world. The news of Michael Jackson's death is not just shocking, as many journalists are saying. It is devastating on so many levels. The "King of Pop" is, as he once sang, gone too soon. But he lives, as he always did, in his art.

Over the next few days, since I can't yet release the entire book, I will share excerpts from each album (chapter) of Man in the Music that hopefully opens new windows into his remarkable talent, career, and creative life.

[This is Part 2 of a series exploring Michael Jackson the artist through his albums and songs. The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 5 of Man in the Music: An Album by Album Guide to Michael Jackson]

People often struggle with allowing artists to grow and evolve. For Bob Dylan, it was considered sacrilege by many to pick up an electric guitar; for the Beatles, the shift from sentimental love songs to social statements and psychedelia caused them to lose, in some people's minds, their initial charm and mass appeal. For Michael Jackson, the conventional wisdom meant every album post-Thriller that didn't sound or sell like Thriller was considered a failure; this, in spite of the fact that some of his most significant and challenging work came later. Call it the curse of expectational stasis.

Still, for those who gave Blood on the Dancefloor: HIStory in the Mix a serious listen, it was an impressive record indeed. Containing just five new songs, the album is considered an artistic breakthrough by some. "His singing on the first five tracks of new material has never been so tormented, or audacious," wrote Armond White of Village Voice. “'Blood on the Dancefloor' has the vitality of an intelligence that refuses to be placated. . .[It] is a throwdown, a dare to the concept of innocuous Black pop." In a 1997 review, The New York Times' Neil Strauss concurred: "There is real pain and pathos in these new songs... Jackson's pain is often the world's merriment, and this is probably true of his new songs, which fret about painkillers, sexual promiscuity and public image. In many of them, Jackson seems like the elephant man, screaming that he is a human being... In keeping with Jackson's darker mood, the music has grown more angry and indignant. With beats crashing like metal sheets and synthesizer sounds hissing like pressurized gas, this is industrial funk... Creatively, Jackson has entered a new realm."

In the gritty, haunting "Morphine," Jackson tackles a subject he never had before: drug addiction. To a relentless, industrial funk beat, the singer lashes out in visceral bursts of anger, aggression, and pain. "Is truth a game daddy," he screams out at one point. "To win the fame baby/It's all the same baby/You're so reliable." The rage and disappointment, combined with its ear-assaulting sound (music critic Tom Sinclair described it as "alternating Trent Reznor-style sturm und clang with Bacharachian orchestral pomp"), make for a jarring listening experience, particularly for those accustomed to the breezier melodic pop of Off the Wall and Thriller (though it should be noted that songs like "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "Billie Jean" were already beginning to uncover the complexity, paranoia and pain represented in these later tracks). But "Morphine" is best viewed as an experiment -- both sonically and lyrically -- in representing the experience of physical/psychological pain […]. These verses are perhaps some of the most poignant (and tragic) Jackson has ever sung. […] In this brief interlude, he beautifully conveys the soothing, seductive, but temporary release from reality. There is a sense of pleading, of desperation, before the high abruptly ends, and the listener is slammed back into the harsh world of accusations and anguish. Sputnik Music described this musical sequence as a "moment of absolute genius." The song, written and composed entirely by Jackson, is one of his most experimental and brilliant creations. It is a confession, a personal intervention, a witness, and a warning. […]

[This is Part 3 of a series exploring Michael Jackson the artist through his albums and songs. The following excerpts are taken from Man in the Music: An Album by Album Guide to Michael Jackson]

I Can't Help It -- (from Off the Wall)

The emotional ending to "She's Out of My Life" sets the stage for the lush disco-jazz odyssey that is "I Can't Help It." Composed by friend and mentor Stevie Wonder, this ethereal gem is a critical favorite, though still largely unknown by the public. Some claim it is not only one of the best tracks from Off the Wall, but Jackson's entire catalog. "I just love the bass line and chords of that song," says singer Alicia Keys. "It just puts you in an immediate zone -- that yearning and that desire in his voice."

Stevie Wonder himself was blown away by Jackson's interpretation of the song: the flawlessly smooth delivery, brilliant harmonies, and variety of vocal twists, syncopation, and even scatting. The jazz-rooted Quincy Jones ensured the production was equal to Jackson's talent. From its bubbling opening chords, the song moves with the fluidity of a dream. "Floating just above a lush bed of organ and bass," writes Rolling Stone's J. Edward Keyes, ["Jackson] takes his time on this one, making its pleasures simple, but irresistible." "Looking in my mirror," he sings. "Took me by surprise/I cant help but see you/Running often through my mind." Jackson allows the endings of words to take off, as if soaring through the imagination.

The song is about a lover ("an angel in disguise") who has enchanted the singer. "Love to run my fingers/Softly while you sigh," Jackson tells her. The understated, but sensual lyrics float on the melody, rendering the weightless feel of being in love. Finally, towards the end of the song, the lyrical descriptions dissolve into wordless exultations, perhaps signifying the joy of intimacy that simply can't be expressed in language.

"I Can't Help It" is the result of two of the most talented musicians in history at the top of their games. […]

Human Nature -- (from Thriller)

"Human Nature" is synth-pop at its finest. "Simple, stark, quiet and beautiful," writes music critic J. Edward Keyes, " Jackson himself once described it as "music with wings," and, indeed, the singer's smooth voice seems to float effortlessly over its lush synthetic strings. An early version of the song was sent to Quincy Jones by the musical group Toto. Jones left the tape running until it reached an instrumental version of the track which he immediately fell in love with and brought to Jackson. "He and I both agreed that the song had the prettiest melody we'd heard in a long time," recalled Jones (197).

In its 1982 review, the New York Times called "Human Nature" Thriller's most "striking" song: "This is a haunting, brooding ballad by Steve Porcaro and John Bettis, with an irresistible chorus, and it should be an enormous hit." In its 2003 review Slant Magazine concurred, calling the track "probably the best musical composition on the album and surely one of the only A/C ballads of its era worth remembering." Rolling Stone called it "beautifully fragile...open and brave."

Easily one of Jackson's best vocal performances, the song is further enhanced by it's (sic) subtle, intriguing lyrics: "Looking out/ Across the nighttime," Jackson sings, "The city winks a sleepless eye/ Hear her voice/ Shake my window/ Sweet seducing sigh. . ." The imagery throughout conjures the magic of a city at night; a young man, as if walking in a dream, is both observed (by "electric eyes") and observes ("she likes the way I stare"). Everything is experienced in a sort of fascinated detachment, but he seems to yearn for something more intimate. “If this town is just an apple," he tells himself, "Then let me take a bite."

Jazz legend Miles Davis covered the song for his 1985 album You're Under Arrest; it has also been sampled or covered by numerous others including Boyz II Men, Ne-Yo, and SWV. "Human Nature" was the last song included on Thriller, replacing "Carousel."

Liberian Girl -- (from Bad)

Once Jackson has successfully sped the listener out of society's world of control, discrimination, hypocrisy and limitations [in "Speed Demon"], we are suddenly transported into the faraway, primal jungles of Africa. The juxtaposition is striking (and quite bold and artistic for an album accused of being commercially calculated). The sounds shift from mechanical to natural, as the noises of engines dissolve into the distant cries of birds and animals. For Jackson, this imagined Africa seems to represent a purer, simpler, richer world. It is as if he is returning to the birthplace of music's origins to explore what it can teach us, to recover some essence that has been lost. In this way, "Liberian Girl" seems to be as much a love song to Africa and what it signifies as it is to any one woman.

The song begins with the beautiful Swahili intro (spoken by Letta Mbulu), "Naku penda piya, naku taka piya—mpenziwe” (which translates: "I love you too, I want you too--my love”). The lush arrangements, including deep drum sounds and exotic instruments, beautifully support Jackson's passionate, yearning vocals, which are arguably his best since "Human Nature." Indeed, like "Human Nature" on Thriller (and "I Can't Help It" from Off the Wall) "Liberian Girl" is the hidden gem on Bad, often overlooked on an album of numerous well-known hits. The song is yet another "dream capsule," a cinematic fantasy in which Jackson transports the listener to a vivid paradise of possibility.

[This is Part 4 of a series exploring Michael Jackson the artist through his albums and songs. The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 5 of Man in the Music: An Album by Album Guide to Michael Jackson]

If Dangerous is Michael Jackson's most creative album, HIStory is his most personal. From the impassioned rage of "Scream" to the painful sincerity of "Childhood," HIStory is, in Jackson's words, "a musical book." It encompasses all that he had felt and held in over the difficult past few years: it was his diary, his canvas, his rebuttal. Rolling Stone described it as an "exhilarating... often heartbreaking package." In retrospect, it is also one of Jackson's most underrated albums...

...Following the pleading vulnerability of "Childhood" is the provocative "Tabloid Junkie": a full-fledged indictment of the news media's increasing penchant for sensationalism and misinformation. Critics have typically reviewed such songs as examples of Jackson's persecution complex and self-absorption (sic), but such a dismissal misses a more important fact: unlike most pop music content to dwell in shallow sentimentality and recycled clichés, Jackson, in this rather ambitious track, is singing truth to power on an issue with relevance far beyond his personal life.

The song begins with the authoritative voice of a newscaster mindlessly repeating tabloid fodder as fact. It is a sort of postmodern, Orwellian moment where the mainstream media becomes the "ministry of truth," the controller and manipulator of its audience's social reality. "Truth" simply doesn't matter. What matters is entertainment, ratings, and a drug-like addiction to endless spectacle. "Facts" are whatever is printed or broadcast on TV to a passive, un-critical audience. In the song, as the newscaster speaks, keyboards begin typing frantically, illustrating how quickly stories (whether true or false, important or unimportant) are consumed, copied and spread.

In this case, many of the stories involve the "strange and weird" Michael Jackson, who, to both the reporters and audience, is no longer a human being, but a consumable object. Jackson allows the breathless reporting to build, until it turns in to an all-out feeding frenzy with the sounds of wild animals representing so-called journalists.

"Speculate to break the one you hate," Jackson sings in a gritty opening rap, "Circulate the lie you confiscate/ Assassinate and mutilate/ As the hounding media in hysteria." Many people don't realize that Jackson, in this track and others, specifically uses the vehicle of hip-hop to deliver a political message. In this case, the verses are conveyed in short, biting rhymes, before the melody comes in the chorus, repeating the mantra: "Just because you read it in a magazine/ See it on the TV screen/ Don't make it factual, actual." Jackson, in essence is providing counter-programming to the "news"; between verses the newscaster continues to recite stories that Jackson pleads with his audience not to believe. "It's slander," he proclaims later in the song. "You say it's not a sword/But with your pen you torture men/You'd crucify the Lord." […]

Composed by Jackson along with R&B masterminds Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, "Tabloid Junkie" is a deftly constructed, sonically layered, four-and-a-half minute polemic that demands truth and accountability. Rolling Stone described the track as a "mammoth funk-rock construction" with "lush vocal harmonies" and "quick-voiced warnings about the failings of media truth." Indeed, in an age when the "mainstream media" and tabloid coverage are conflated more than ever, when celebrity obsession consistently trumps far more important news, and undiscerning viewers are frequently distracted or deceived from the truth, Jackson's song remains an all too relevant rebuttal and warning.

[Note: This excerpt was written before Michael Jackson's death. It rings more true than ever in the aftermath of the singer's passing as we have, once again, seen an irresponsible, reckless media frenzy in which numerous "respectable" media outlets have relied on tabloid sites like TMZ and the Daily Mail and dedicated hours to trivial and sourceless speculation.]”

[Joe Vogel, writer, cultural critic, author of Man in the Music: An Album by Album Guide to Michael Jackson; www.huffingtonpost.com]


“[Thriller Live], it’s a feel-good show, it’s like a concert, so if the audience can get behind it, then obviously the cast can respond to that and get energy from them. And it’s always a good crowd down at the Empire, very lively.”

“There were a lot of girls at (my) school who were crazy about him and I thought ‘nah’, I was a bit of a Prince fan. But then I saw him perform and he was unbelievable on stage. [One of the regular readers of the fanzine I started was Michael Jackson himself, and in 1990 he invited me to Los Angeles to meet him as he recorded his Dangerous album.] I didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as he walked into the studio, he was very welcoming, very down to earth, not at all like the press perceived him to be. He was just like a normal guy who was great at his job, singing and working hard in the studio, and then at the end of the day, he invited me to his ranch for lunch. That’s what I remember about him most, just being a very kind, generous person. [He took a keen interest in what I was up to, and in 2001 he even attended the 10th anniversary fan day tribute show in London, which featured more than 100 performers.] He came and watched it from the corner of the stage, we had to build him a little tent. He came on stage afterwards and spoke to the fans who went crazy and he said how much he loved the show. And it was then I realised that perhaps this could become a bigger type of production, and I saw We Will Rock You, the Queen show, which gave me the idea for Thriller Live. […] That was always my goal. To bring Michael’s music to the masses via a touring production. [Thriller Live is at the Empire from April 11-16].

[Adrian Grant, English executive creator of ‘Thriller Live’; source: www.liverpoolecho.co.uk]

 

“I admired Michael a lot. [I first took notice of him when he sang Ben on a TV show I watched. I reprise that song, as well as Man in the Mirror in my show, Celine.] I'll never forget the day he came to see my show (A New Day). He sat toward the back. Afterward, he came to talk to me. He wanted to know about doing the show, what it took. I think he was interested in maybe doing the same thing on the Strip. […] [My advice to him was:] go for it, so long as you can make sure that the theater's humidity level stays at a throat-friendly 55%. Caesars Palace's Colosseum achieves that through a vast network of humidity-generating ducting.”

[Celine Dion, Canadian singer, songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur; source: www.usatoday.com]

 

“Growing up, we always listened to all types of music. In one room, you would hear classical music, in another, jazz. As kids, we would sing while we were doing our chores. Writing music while doing cleaning the kitchen... [laughs]. […] [Some of the memories of Michael that I have and make me smile the most…] Those memories are very personal to me and I would like to keep them to myself. [The Motown performers, such as my brothers, (the Jackson 5) Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder,] they are all such amazing performers. They take such great care of their audience and give so much. I guess that would be the biggest influence (for me)... Appreciate your fans and let them have an amazing time with you.”

[Janet Jackson; source: www.masslive.com]

 

“Of all the mystery surrounding Michael Jackson, his genius has been unquestionable since the onset of his professional career at the age of five.

It also seems clear that most of the adults entrusted with the care of this rare child exploited him for their own fame and fortune. All the love (…) showered upon Michael Jackson from every corner of the earth thoughout (sic) his entire life never seemed to fill those unfathomed voids carved out during his unique childhood.

I remember watching the Bashir Living with Michael Jackson "documentary" several years ago and wondering why, with all the armchair psychologist opinions about Michael Jackson's childhood, no one seemed to be evaluating his childhood experiences as those of a profoundly gifted child. During the interview, Jackson spoke about his father's reluctance to listen to him sing, insisting that Jermaine was the lead singer of the group, and that he only entertained young Michael at the insistence of his wife. Once he saw his son's talent, Michael was the lead singer. It would certainly be nearly impossible for his older brothers, only children themselves, to feel no envy for their phenomenal little brother taking center stage as they rocketed to superstardom. In the interview, Jackson also spoke about his cousins, and even his father making fun of him during his teenage years, pointing out his greasy face and his large nose. Perhaps his father was trying to keep his young ego in check, never imagining that the ego of someone so brilliant and talented could be so desperately fragile.

Although Michael's giftedness was more profound than most, his story is an excellent example of the hardships all of these children face. First and foremost is the fact that these children are indeed fragile. They contemplate everything on a deeper level than their peers, often more deeply than can express in words. An image of a starving child on the other side of the world may haunt the dreams of a gifted seven-year-old for weeks. Gifted children tend to be hypersensitive, both physically and emotionally. They hear more, smell more, taste more and feel more. These heightened senses can be overwhelming and filtering out the physical and emotional noise can be exhausting. Michael spoke of fainting when his father entered the room. When Mozart was very young, loud sounds would cause him to vomit. Another thing Michael mentioned in the interview was that someone had referred to him as a "forty-two-year-old midget" when he was little. This is another prominent issue with gifted children; their development is asynchronous. They may seem many years older or younger than their chronological age depending on the situation they are in at any given moment.

Most importantly, gifted children are often ostracized by their peers and even the adults around them. They are made to feel weird or odd. Often, the people around them feel jealous of their talents, or simply can't understand why a gifted child acts the way she does, whatever her peculiarities may be. If their giftedness has escaped the notice of their parents and teachers, they may even be labeled slow.

The Gifted And Talented Education program at the San Diego Unified School District was founded with the intention of addressing the unique difficulties that gifted children present. Still, many of the GATE certified teachers in the district fail to recognize that gifted children aren't just smart, but challenged in many ways. Michael Jackson is an extreme example of extreme giftedness, but every adult who is parenting or teaching a gifted child can heed the lesson of how important it is to recognize a gifted child's failings, as well as his talents.”

[Heather Siladi, San Diego Public Education Examiner; sources: www.examiner.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“Michael is the most loving person,” (Jermaine, his brother) told me (in 2001). “If you want something, he’ll give it to you. Busloads go out to the (Neverland) ranch all the time. If someone is dying and their last wish is to meet him, they’ll go. I try to get my kids out there, but we can’t get out there because it’s booked for underprivileged this and that. That’s what he built it for.”

[Andrew Goldman, contributing editor at Elle and New York magazines; sources: www.thedailybeast.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

 

“[…] That was the season’s opener (for The Simpsons) and we had Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson was a fan of the show and wanted to do it (a cameo), and we had to figure a way - and they didn’t wanna do - and it wasn’t like your typical, like… ‘Michael Jackson!’, you know where he shows up and does the show for the charity or for the school – the fifth grade and concert or whatever. They really figured – they really figured out a way of having him on the show, so we had a big, like, 300-pound white guy who thinks he’s Michael Jackson and Homer meets him – and Homer gets committed, because he wore a pink shirt to work. It’s – it was such an odd – and then on top – odd show, and the story was great, because, you know, he was this crazy guy who thought he was Michael Jackson, he actually helped Bart write a song that – for Lisa’s birthday, so it really was a great – I mean, just it had warmth, it was absurd, it was – it hit on very level. And involved almost all the Simpsons family, ‘cause Bart was like, ‘Spread the word, Michael Jackson’s coming out’, Lisa’s worried about her birthday, Homer, you know, didn’t know who Michael Jackson was, but just started - he thought he was that (fat) guy, you know? […] What was funny was he was actually at his manager’s house (…), and I don’t – can’t remember why at the time I was – I got mixed up at the time, but I was supposed to be there (at a) certain time and I thought I had more time. And I was in Hollywood, sitting with a friend, you know, and I’m trying to kill time, because I would (stare at my watch), I still - but I just said, ‘I’ll go early’. ‘Cause I was afraid to go there early and nobody would be there. But I said ‘I’m just gonna go early, ‘cause I can’t kill any more time’; well, I turn out I was half an hour late. And I walk in there and – and I made a joke, I said ‘I’m sorry I’m late, it’s a good thing that I showed up early.’ And we did the thing, and they told me later that Michael Jackson had timed it, so that he could sit at the table and read [smiles], ‘cause he didn’t want to sit and talk with other people, he was that shy. And so he sat down at the specific time and I wasn’t there. And they said, ‘It was a whole half hour, nobody said anything, it was, like, really quiet’ [laughs]. And everybody was mad at me, because they had – ‘cause it was, like, a half hour of discomfort at the table. […] But anyway, that – it went off fine, it went off and he came into the studio and recorded with us. Then he’d wind up producing a few of the songs on the Simpsons album, ‘The Bartman’.

[Daniel Louis "Dan" Castellaneta, American film, theatre and television actor, comedian, voice artist, singer and television writer; sources: www.emmytvlegends.org, www.popculturepassionistas.com, www.youtube.com]


“[…] I met Mike in New York. Someone told me he was a fan of my music and wanted to talk to me about working on his forthcoming project. So we met at a friend’s house. He was a genuinely nice guy, not because he wanted something from me or wanted me to feel comfortable so I would write songs for him.
He was talking about music and the love of music. We parted ways after a few hours and I walked away able to say I had sat and had a conversation with a legend.”

[Shaffer Chimere Smith, Jr., better known by stage name Ne-Yo, American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor; source: www.dailyrecord.co.uk]


"Michael Jackson was truly a legend, a term used too often in this modern world saturated in the hyperbole surrounding celebrity. He was my friend, a man with whom I shared many happy memories and who died a tragic and untimely death. He left behind a legacy of music so vast, it takes one's breath away; from a precocious talent to an ingenuity and groundbreaking modernity that shall never be repeated. It shall often be imitated, but it will never be replicated. Michael Jackson was, and shall always remain, one of a kind. I hope that many fans of his will visit (Michael’s) statue at the Cottage from far and wide, and that Fulham fans will appreciate seeing the finest performer in the world in and amongst them, the finest fans in the world."

[Mohamed Abdel Moneim Al-Fayed, Egyptian businessman; sources: www.premierleague.com, http://www.rwdmag.com]


“[…] I am the oldest member of the Jackson 5, and we started back in Gary, Indiana, and we made, pretty much, history from that little small town. When we were performing in that little house in Gary, Indiana, we were making this music, and all the neighborhood kids would come and start looking; you saw these little heads trying to peek in and see this group, you know, making this loud music and singing and dancing. I’d know we’d had something special, that there was something going on, really. […] From the very very beginning, we started singing country and western – people doesn’t (sic) know that – my mom was a big country and western fan and we would harmonize with her while she was in the kitchen washing dishes and we would sing along with my mom. Then after we’d start, you know, gaining momentum, doing talent shows, we had started singing all of the great Motown’s songs. […] I have a song out, right now an item, We Know What’s Goin’ On, it’s about – a song talking about the world peace and people coming together and it fits great with what’s happening on – with what’s happening right now in the Egypt and all of those different places. […] Michael is saying a little speech down here (in England), a speech that he made at Oxford University (in 2001), and I incorporated that into my song and it just worked so perfect (sic), you know, and when you hear it, it just brings tears out of your eyes and Michael is saying bring the world - the world coming together, and we should just live in the harmony and things like that, you know? I tried to incorporate what has happened to the world into my lyrics a lot of times, and taught it to the younger generation, for the guy to be in the right place and teach it, and let them know they are the future. […]”

[Sigmund Esco "Jackie" Jackson, American singer and musician, a member of The Jackson 5; sources: www.cambio.com, www.jackiejackson.com, www.j5collection.com]

“[…] [His speech at the Oxford University,] every time I hear it, a lot of times there’d be tears in my eyes, ‘cause he talks about bringing people together around the world, and all these things that are happening (now) in Egypt and people living in these sort of, like, dictatorships and things like that, and that’s what this song (We Know What’s Goin’ On) is about and bringing people together, so it – Michael was always ahead of his time talking about things like this and he always wanted peace around the world, that’s what this song is about. […]”

“[…] All the time. I’m all the time helping my mom with the Estate, I’m always around at the house, with Michael’s kids and taking Michael’s – taking Prince to (the) Lakers’ basketball games, he’s playing on (…) (a) basketball team, I go watch him play, and I’ll go in a sort of a park and take him down to a park and teach him some slam work and stuff like that, and he’s a good learner, he likes basketball. And I work with the kids, I go visit them all – as a matter of fact, I go visit them every other week, I go over there with my mom. […]”

“My role was, pretty much, in the Jackson 5 days, I was the oldest brother (…) and I was overseeing all my brothers and making sure that everything was okay when my father wasn’t down the road (with us), I was taking his job and just making sure that everything was okay and overseeing my little brothers, that’s what I was doing, you know? And they were great, we had a great time back in those days, you know?”

[Jackie Jackson, on the phone at Tom Joyner Show http://rnbphilly.com]


“I'm making it my mission to ensure he's not forgotten; his truth, his humanness, his memory. It's fortifying to know every fan shares that mission. One voice. […] We (Michael’s family) think of Michael every day, too. It's important that, in the coming months, such remembrance is not lost. […]

[Jermaine LaJaune Jackson, American singer, bassist, composer, a member of The Jackson 5; source: http://twitter.com/jermjackson5]