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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, biography excerpts 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.


 

* Blast from the past:

{from Kenny Rogers’ 1987 book of collection of photographs, “Your Friends And Mine”}:

“The first person I shot for the book was Michael Jackson. In 1986, I hosted the Grammy Awards telecast in Los Angeles. That night, my son Christopher met Michael backstage. Christopher had always loved Michael. He would even dress like him at home […] As it happened, Marianne, [Roger’s wife] sent me some flowers with a little plastic Grammy attached. Unbeknownst to me or anyone else, Christopher took the plastic Grammy, walked into Michael Jackson’s press conference, and handed it to him. The next day, Michael called to tell Christopher how much he appreciated it. He also invited him out to his house to see his animals, so Marianne and Christopher went out to Encino. Michael knew I was a photographer, he mentioned that he’d like it if I took a picture of him and Christopher together. I called Michael the next day to set up an appointment, and he agreed to come down to my studio. I told Michael during our first session that I was thinking about doing a book of portraits and calling it Your Friends And Mine. I had heard about his chimpanzee, Bubbles, and we did a shot with the chimp. Later on, Michael and I did another session alone, at his request. That was the start. Michael Jackson’s agreeing to be part of the book was, in fact, the jumping off point for the whole project. Michael Jackson is unique, both as an individual and as a performer. Yet, while I’d been around him many times, I never honestly felt I knew him until we spent a day together in the photography studio. As I explained earlier, Michael had invited Christopher, my youngest son, to his home to see his zoo. They had such a good time that Michael, who heard I was a photographer, suggested I take a picture of him and Christopher in my studio. I told him of my ideas for this book and asked him to bring his chimp, Bubbles. There were maybe twenty-five people in the studio that day, and the chimp was the center of attention. That meant the focus was off Michael, and I think the relative anonymity gave him a chance to relax. And Bubbles was so human it was almost frightening. He would take Christopher by the hand, walk over to the refrigerator, open it, take out a banana, and hand it to him. Christopher was amazed – we all were. The session was the first time I’d had the chance to be one on one with Michael. It means a lot to me to be able to say that not only do I love his music, but I also like him very much as a person and consider him a friend.” –

[Kenneth Donald "Kenny" Rogers, American country music singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur ; source: "Michael Jackson: The King of Pop", by Lisa D. Campbell]

 

{from 1991 autobiography: “La Toya: Growing up in the Jackson Family”}:

“When Mother picked Michael’s shoes one day, she noticed gaping soles in the holes and brought him a new pair. He refused to wear them. I had to plead with him to discard the old shoes and, really tempting fate, to change his socks. Forget about it. “La Toya, these things are not important”, he said. “Why do people care about clothes? Music is what’s important to me, how it sounds, that I get it right. And why do we care about having new shoes? What about the man who has no shoes? Or the man who has no feet? […] These are great shoes […] and I’m going to keep wearing them.” […] At home, it was back to wrinkled jeans and old sweaters. […]”

[LaToya Jackson, American singer-songwriter, musician, author, television personality, actress, businesswoman, Michael Jackson's sister]

 

{from 1990 autobiography, ‘My Family, the Jacksons’}

I’ll never forget the lecture that LaToya, Janet, and I received from Michael one day as he happened upon us relaxing in front of the TV. “Don’t you know you’re just wasting precious time?” he scolded. “Get up and do something! Write a song. I feel guilty just sitting around when I know I can be doing something.” She also opens up about her son’s exemplary health and vegetarian diet: “The other key to his good health, I believe, had been his diet. Before Michael had left on the tour, his doctor had insisted that he go on a high-protein diet, including fish, so that he’d be able to keep his stamina up. Michael had reluctantly agreed.

[Katherine Jackson, matriarch of the Jackson family]

 

{from 2004 autobiography, ‘The Jacksons’}

“[…] One evening, when children still were small, the group was to perform in a concert in one of hotels in the main street of Gary, it was to last about an hour. Shortly before the concert I, with children, approached an entrance to the stage and every one of us carried a part of the equipment. I was about to open the door when five big guys came to us and asked whether they can help us. I felt that that was only a pretext; they wanted to see the performance without a ticket. When I refused they simply seized some equipment and microphones and tried to get to the door. I went to take the things away from them and the situation was heated, in an instant a fight erupted. I had to fight with five opponents at once. My boys were still too small and could not help me. Two of them I managed to knock down but the others started to beat me with the microphone racks and one of them kicked me in the head so hard that I fell to the ground. From the following impact I lost consciousness. When I regained consciousness, policemen were bending over me and shining a flashlight in my eyes. They asked whether I was wounded. "Yes", I murmured and thus blood rushed from the broken lip. I could barely stand up, when I touched my face I found out that one half of was numb and my nose was broken but I did not want to go to the hospital as we had a performance. We brought in the equipment and established it. When I asked my children what happened there they told that those guys had beaten me until the loss of consciousness and that Michael had called the police. A whole crowd of gapers looked at me but as soon as the police appeared these dudes run away. And if not for Michael, they for certain would have continued to beat me, though I already laid on the ground. The boy probably rescued my life. […]”

[Joseph Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family]

-----


“He was part of Jehovah’s Witnesses [when I met him], he invited this group of fellow followers to attend one of his concerts. […] I think he was in his mid-20’s at the time. Michael was serious about his religion and really wanted to teach people the Bible. His mother, Katherine Jackson, and an older sister, were also Jehovah’s Witnesses. As far as I know, they still are. Jehovah’s Witnesses take seriously the command by Jesus to teach and make disciples, and they follow the pattern that Jesus set with his disciples to go from house to house. Michael also followed this example, only for him it was a little more challenging. People would recognize him, so he would wear a disguise to make him appear on the plumper side and could, hopefully, knock on a few doors before someone recognized him. [Me, along with this small group with got invited to a party at the hotel where Michael was staying.] We got to meet Jermaine and Tito, Michael’s brothers, and his parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson. I was shy and overwhelmed and didn’t talk much. We all got into a limousine with darkened windows and they took us to the Mile High Stadium in Denver. It was an outdoor concert. As we were leaving the hotel, fans were hitting and pounding on the limo windows. But it was a decoy. Michael had been slipped into another car. We had many escorts. […] Michael was a live wire bouncing all over the stage. […] The limo took us back to the hotel and they took pictures. That’s when I got mine taken with Michael. At one point he kissed me on the cheek and they took a picture of that, but I don’t know what happened to that one. […]”

[Yvonne Myers, Journal-Standard co-worker; sources: www.journalstandard.com, www.mjj.community.com]

 

“[…] His legacy has traveled all over the world behind all borders. And, you know, behind all these borders there’s (sic) a lot of fans that he really cared a whole lot about – Michael cared a whole lot about his fans all over the world, don’t care what part of the world they came from. […] That, you know, I could never forget, because he’s been the type of soul that tried to help everybody all over the world, and he did. It’s just sad for me to think about all the things that he did, and he’s not here to realize that, how things aren’t coming so good for his legacy […]. Michael was in the Guiness Book of World Records, selling more records than anybody in show-business history, and that’s what makes it so special about this, no one has ever (beat that), and, well, I don’t think that anyone’s gonna beat that. […]”

[Joseph Walter Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family; source: www.youtube.com]


“[On my spare time,] actually, we do a custom motorcycles, play a lot with actual - I know it’s going to sound kind of childish, but I actually do remote control cars and airplanes and bikes. We actually built a dedication vehicle to my Uncle Michael, named Melody. It’s a 600 horsepower Mustang with completely custom interior. […] We’re actually doing that and we’re actually building another one, called Smooth Criminal. […] As far as the bikes and the cars and all that, that’s my main call. I guess I’m just stuck on my Uncle Michael’s word that I think a lot of people have forgotten how to live. They’ve forgotten how much self respect it takes and how it takes respect for other people. My music is for other people, it’s not for myself anymore, because as soon as I found out that someone was interested in my life, my ego gets shot out the door, I don’t have one anymore. I’ve always been kind of a rebel by myself riding bikes, so I’m happy to hear someone is interested in me. I’m like, ‘Someone is interested in me!? Oh, Jesus, thank you God, I’m a happy camper’.”

“Everybody can change, once they want to accept it. I think the hardest part of this whole thing we’re having is looking in the mirror to ourselves. We have a lot of problems. They say no great men of any stature or power is without his scars or wounds. Everybody is scared to take the lashing, so to say, but this is just a part of life. This is what defines us as a character, it’s not the money, it’s not the success, it’s about what you go through and how many times you can pick yourself up. That’s what’s going to define your character in life to say this is that man or this is that woman. I think anybody can change if they’re willing and open to accept it, I really do. I really hope people are really open to hear that saying, because we have nothing else but us, and I mean if we all fall in on each other, then that’s the end of the world. I really feel they can change, and my Uncle Michael said something to me that really hits a lot, which was, “There’s no such thing as a bad comment.” You just have to take the good from it. We’re only human beings and there’s nobody perfect. In short, you have to sift through shit to get your gold.”

“I guess, in short, was I really hope they remember the type of man that my uncle was and what he lived for in life. Which was peace, love, and all the rest. Do onto others as others do onto you, and I don’t know, in short, I miss the man […]”

[Siggy Jackson, better known by his stage name ‘DealZ’, American rapper, Jackie Jackson’s son; source: http://bandtraffic.wordpress.com]


“[…] My brothers and I had learned a lot of the songs on the radio, and we were all just singing in the room. […] We would basically just listen to the radio or whatever records were in the house that we liked - mainly Motown records and some of the Bee Gees’ stuff. We would learn these songs and sing the harmonies. I think what really got us into harmonies was The Three Stooges. We loved the “hello, hello, hello” thing they did. We learned just from that, you can do all kinds of changes. It was one of the things that helped us to start singing and feeling good about what we were doing. It didn’t sound that great to others, but it sounded okay to us!”

“Actually, when it was Jermaine, Jackie and myself, Michael and Marlon would beg and try to sing with us. We were the older brothers, feeling that Michael and Marlon were just our little brothers and needed to be playing in the sandbox and not bothering us - we were taking care of some serious business! Here we were: eight, 10 and 11, and they were only four and five. Prior to us even coming to Motown, we used to open up for a lot of artists, such as Jackie Wilson, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Dells, The Chi-Lites, and the Five Stairsteps. As they got wind of us, we didn’t only do the Apollo; we did the Regal in Chicago, the Uptown in Philly. We were known as an opening act that was exciting to the crowd. So that’s how we made it to the Apollo on talent night. […] I think that they all played a part. Just watching the professionals perform and how they did things, we would learn so much. They would talk to us and tell us to stay away from drugs, and, "You’re great, but don’t get the big head!" Basically, they helped to groom us, and to not fall into some of the pitfalls they had fallen into. The Jackson 5 learned how to work a crowd, seeing how they worked it. […] I think we were ready for (fame). It’s almost like any person that’s getting to the professional realm of their career. You look at an athlete who plays college or high school ball, and now all of a sudden he’s drafted for the White Sox. There’s so much that you know, and you’re ready for that draft, but there’s so much to learn still. At that time, we weren’t writing and producing. We were still in the development stage. So, Berry Gordy stepped into the project and basically took us to another, higher level. That’s where our professional training really started to take effect. […] Well, back then especially, they had what they called studio musicians, and then you had your live musicians. Motown had their own band, the Funk Brothers. Not only were they playing on the Jackson 5 stuff, but on a number of Supremes hits and on down the line. Motown wanted to go with their winning hand, from musicians all the way up to producers and writers. The brothers wanted to do some writing, but Motown didn’t think we were ready. I can understand that, because here we were: a brand-new group of children that they’re trying to develop. It takes a large amount of money to market this type of thing. So, they went with their sure thing. By 1975, with all the Epic stuff, we started writing, producing and playing our own instrumentation on our albums.”

“That whole album (Victory) was put together in a rush, because of the time frame we had to work within to get it out and go on tour. I just remember each brother presenting a composition to the album, and there were a few that we did together as a group.”

“[…] [Michael once said that I project “an inner calm that’s vital within a family unit.” Yes, that’s pretty much been my character, whether I tried to be that person or just am that person. I’ve noticed over the years of being a part of this family that I hear a lot of the problems, and I try to be the peacemaker. I do more listening than talking. […] [When we lost Michael,] it’s a really hard thing to deal with, and it still kills me every day. You never have the moments of not being reminded, because you see fans on the street who recognize you and give their condolences. Still, I hear it every day, two or three times a day. Or you’ll see Michael on a news clip or in the newspaper. Or you’ll hear one of his songs on the radio. So, it’s hard to just not remember him every day and remember what happened to him, more so than anything. […] It’s been the music [that’s helped me work through with it]. I know Michael would want me to do music. He had heard So Far So Good right before he had passed away, and he really liked it. My sons had played it for him, because they produced and wrote it. He was very proud of it and excited about the project. That’s how I came up with the title. He wanted me to finish this project. It hasn’t been very long since he passed away, but there’s been a little time in-between that and feeling that I have to continue my music. Now, I’m back doing what I do. […] "We Made It" was actually co-written by my son and a group called Satellite. The song was written for me, and I fell in love with it, because it says a lot of things to a lot of people. It can relate to a lot of things: after disaster, pulling through and coming together; weddings, basketball games, even graduating from school; or an anniversary. […] [My album]’s a mixed bag, but it probably leans more toward the mid-to-uptempo. There's also a reggae tune called "Home Is Where the Heart Is."

[Toriano Adaryll ‘Tito’ Jackson, American singer, guitarist and original member of The Jackson 5; source: www.titojackson.com]

 

“I have great fascination for Michael Jackson when it comes to his business side. Im glad you brought up this topic because very few people know that the debt you mentioned is actually a BUSINESS LOAN which he made ($300 million USD) in order to purchase a 2nd, much modern music catalog in 2006-2007. This is not extraordinary when you have assets worth 1 billion and above, Donald Trump has more loans than he does. Based on the terms of the loan with Bank of America, that loan is being paid for MONTHLY for a span of 6 years, and he did it by funnelling the earnings of the NEW catalog he bought to pay for the loan itself. If you realize what he is doing, that is another genius move he adopted from his great businessmen friends– taking advantage of LEVERAGE. Acquiring something without letting out a single centavo of your own money.

I believe that unlike MANY or probably the REST of the business people in the world, he is not driven by money. This is what made him successful in everything he ever did. Rather, he uses money to help others rather than to keep it for himself which explains why his entire $200+ Million earnings for the Dangerous Tour WENT TO CHARITY. Thats 70+ concerts in jampacked stadiums in the world which he performed with blood, sweat and tears absolutely FREE because all earnings went to charity. Same with his Victory Tour earnings- countless hours of hardwork he did for FREE to help others making up his total charitable contributions to $350 Million USD- the largest ever for an entertainer in History. I dont see anyone else doing that kind of hardwork for FREE, only Michael does that.

The ATV catalog is much more than Beatles songs, its thousands and thousands of songs that were popular in the 50s, 60s 70s and 80s. Add the 2nd modern catalog and you have virtually EVERYONE who is ANYONE in the music industry right now: Taylor Swift, Eminem, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber songs which his estate is profiting from right now. He doesn't even need to release new music, because he earns from virtually everyone in the TOP 10 of billboard artists year after year. He bought this 2nd catalog WAY BEFORE these names became famous which means he had perfect unbeatable foresight. No business tycoon can match when it comes to the music business, Michael Jackson KNOWS IT ALL when it comes to music and entertainment: What the public likes, what the public dont like, even what the public dont know they like which they eventually LOVE - HE KNOWS.

His shy demeanor is just a facade of a tiger businessman inside. He rarely speaks, but he ALWAYS listens and observes and absorbs. Many of us will be more successful in life if we study his life and his approach on things and how he did things, whether with his own art or in the business side of things. Its very easy to believe tabloid stuff about his finances but isnt it funny that tabloids have been reporting him bankrupt since 2000 YET you can never find Michael Jackson with an IRS issue–NONE. Think about all the other celebrities who went bankrupt and one common denominator is IRS debts they all had. Everyone has been reporting he will be selling his ATV share since 2000 but he died already and when billionaires and media moguls lined up to offer billions to purchase his 50% stake, his own Estate DECLINED them all.

Michael Jackson’s only weakness is not spending or shopping, its TREATING everyone better than they deserve. This is why he became a target for leeches and scums".

[VPB_MARIA; sources: http://blogs.forbes.com]

 

“The video (for song ‘Hold My Hand’) is a tribute to all that Michael stands for – life, in all its permutations…love, and its power…. A video of memory, healing and joy.”

[Mark Pellington American film director; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“My first personal encounter with Michael Jackson began early in my career. He actually was the first big star I had the opportunity to interview live in the studio on-air followed by a chance to MC the Jackson’s Concert while in Hartford at WKND in the late ‘70s. I also had a chance to work with him in the studio directing and recording his voiceover to be inserted into a Jackson’s (sic) Concert radio spot. During that session I witnessed first-hand Michael’s discipline for perfection. The collective time I was able to spend with him formed my initial respect and admiration for an artist who would soon become the King of Pop. I found him always to be a consummate professional, very cooperative, genuinely friendly, with a good sense of humor.

As his solo career ascended to superstardom, there have been special occasions that have led our paths to meet again along the way. I remember in the ‘80s having exclusive access to broadcast live from the sold out Victory Tour Concert at RFK stadium on the Top 40 station Q107 where I did evenings in DC, reporting all the onstage action and excitement to those unable to be there. It was there I really observed and felt the powerful force of Michael Jackson.

It was at rehearsal in the ‘90s the day before the Soul Train Music awards - the year Michael was to perform and to be honored - where Don Cornelius happened to introduce me to someone in Michael’s camp. Before I knew it, an impromptu private invitation had been extended to me and my family to join Mr. Jackson inside his personal luxury motor home parked backstage. We were greeted by a very cordial, jovial and mild mannered Michael Jackson. He seemed very relaxed, yet very professional. It was an enjoyable visit. He told me he invited me in to express his appreciation for the support I’d given him in the past and as Program Director in New York. He also said he was thankful to all of Black Radio for all the support provided to him and his brothers through the years.

You may recall, later that evening while practicing some moves in his hotel room, he broke his leg. However, the next day, his passion and strong tenacity earned even greater respect by all as he performed live in a wheel chair.

As a groundbreaker, passionate musicmaker, dance master and trendsetter… Michael Jackson changed the game worldwide and continues to do so (…).

As a fan from the days of the Jackson Five, it’s been a privilege to know the world’s greatest entertainer and humanitarian. I wholeheartedly salute BRE’s Man Of The Year, Michael Jackson!”

[Vinny Brown, Executive Vice President, Taxi Productions UAC KJLH-FM; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“Simply, Michael Jackson broke all the barriers: Radio, MTV and World appeal. He crossed over to mainstream white America like no artist ever did before him and hasn’t done since. Black radio was there from the beginning, starting with the Jackson 5 phenomenon and we have followed Michael all the way.”

[Phil Michaels-Trueba, American radio program director; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] I’ve been playing Michael’s music since 1972, and to this day WDIA is probably the one station in the country that plays at least three to four Michael Jackson/J5 songs a day. I know of no other performer who did it on record and on stage as good as Michael did it. My wife and I saw Michael Jackson in 1987 at Madison Square Garden. That was the first and only time I saw Michael perform live. Michael was the thriller……he was bad and you know it.”

[Bobby O’Jay, PD, radio morning show host; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I was press director for the Bad tour. Michael Jackson was simply the greatest performer ever. And as great as he was as a performer, he was an even better human being.”

[Michael Mitchell, Tour Press Director Bad Tour, currently Vice President Marketing and Strategic Partnerships New Product Development, TIME LIFE; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“The measure of a man is what he gives back. Through all of Michael Jackson’s endeavors, he was the ultimate humanitarian.”

[Joe Gorham, Music Director Howard University UAC; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“After seeing two of Prince’s incredible shows over the weekend, I couldn’t help thinking what life would be like had MJ been able to make the comeback we saw glimpses of in the rehearsal footage. Aside from Prince and a few others who live on, we’re quickly running low on the art of putting on a show. One only has to spend 10 minutes watching any TV/cable awards show these days to know this. All the explosions, nakedness and poorly choreographed steps we see today couldn’t replace ONE of Michael’s “moonwalks.” All I can say is, Michael, the WORLD misses you! Your time, dedication, sacrifice and financial support will never be forgotten. Your life itself was a gift to all of us!”

[Skip Dillard, PD radio Inner City Broadcasting UAC; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the best, from Frank Sinatra to Elton John, Dylan to Garth Brooks…and, then there was Michael. Mike was more fun than Barnum and Bailey, exciting, incredibly smart, with unbelievable and unequaled gifts. There is no doubt he was the greatest entertainer of all time.”

[Norman Winter, More Than the Norm; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


"On the occasions that I talked with Michael, I found him to be very attentive, a very good listener, and he was very much in control of that group, even though he was the youngest member. He knew his place on stage, and as quiet as he seemed to be with his soft-spoken voice, when he was on stage, he was in command…There was something about him that was attractive. He had two decades of greatness, and it’s easy to see that staying power was not going away. When he walked into a room, even CEO’s of major companies acted like groupies, running to the stage, doing everything they could to get autographs. His persona was gigantic, and his talent matched that. Michael’s music is his legacy…”

[“Super” Jay Johnson, ABC/Citadel Media, sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“When I first met Michael Jackson, he was 10 years old. A friend of mine, Mavis Staples, of the world-famous Staples Singers, introduced me and said, “You are not going to believe this.” She was right…I was knocked off my feet. Without a shadow of doubt, Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer ever to grace the face of this earth. The pop culture world is measured by this man - a man who had a good and kind soul. During one of the tours, he wanted to visit Haiti. When we arrived, it was a cultural shock for all of us, but to see the hurt on Michael’s face - at these poverty-stricken people - it was devastating to him. He was real (sic) quiet all the way back.

I have been very fortunate to be raised with James Brown, to work with Elvis Presley and to know Michael Jackson. […]”

[Lonnell “King Ro” Conley, Announcer and Blues Director Jazz City Radio; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Jackson a few years ago at BET CEO Debra Lee’s home. Down to earth. That sums him up, and he deserves every accolade bestowed upon him!”

[Rosalind R. Ray, Esq, Co-Manager The O’Jays; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael has always had a big heart. One time, he came to Atlanta at the request of me and then President Jimmy Carte,r and his appearance enabled us to immunize some 37,000 pre-school kids. He was phenomenal.”

[Andrew Young, former UN Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Some people spend their lives loving Michael as a fan.

Some people fulfill their life’s dream working with Michael as a colleague.

Some people were blessed to know Michael as a friend.

I have experienced all three and my life is enriched because of it.

There are a million beautiful and personal memories of Michael (…)”

I will cherish those memories forever.”

[Gregory Arthur Greg Phillinganes, American musician, artist; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“Michael was truly the greatest performer. When he hit that zone, no one could touch him. I remember him doing three shows in a row and Justin Timberlake was supposed to join him onstage, but when Justin came out, he just froze and Michael was poppin’! Awesome! He didn’t need the special effects or anything else; he was the real performer.

And you could see him going into that spiritual zone backstage when he was getting ready for a show. He was always calm, relaxed, smooth. He would do his own makeup and take a few minutes alone in his dressing room where he had a picture of The Three Stooges that he liked on the wall. Then he would very calmly emerge and just blow the audience away. Even in Japan on his comeback tour when he was a little nervous about how people felt about him then, he always had the utmost professionalism and was always on time, and again, just blew them away.

I’ve had the opportunity to talk with people like Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey, but the relationship with Michael was very special. Every time I left him, I’d be sad seeing him standing on the porch waving good-bye. He was always so welcoming, so hospitable. He was never about selfishness or harming anyone. He was always about trying to be closer to God, to be Christ-like. He loved more than he was loved and was always trying to get closer to God, to do the right thing, even though it wasn’t always what he wanted to do. And whenever he was tested, he looked for his strength within, from bringing God into his body and putting Him first in his life. Michael was really very spiritual and put God in control of his life.

He was truly blessed by God.

Japan has more orphanages than any place in the world and Michael wanted to do something for them while he was there, so we picked one to visit that just so happened to be supported by Bill and Melinda Gates. Michael would arrive with no publicity and with multiple toys for each child. His own kids would go with him and he would be educating them as to what was going on. The kids were delighted, but Michael would also take the time to personally shake the hands of each of the nuns at the orphanage thanking each of them for taking care of the children.

And people just melted around him. One time when he was taking his kids to Disneyland, word had gotten out that he was coming and everyone knew his favorite ride was Peter Pan, so there was gridlock by the time he arrived. But he just held his hands up and the crowd opened up like parting the Red Sea. Then he would watch the parade from the Main Street rooftop and eat hot dogs and French fries with his kids. I thank God everyday that I was graced by this angel and am reminded even moreso that we can’t take our time here for granted. There is no tomorrow promised and you’ve gotta let people know you love them. That’s what Michael was about.”

[Qadree El-Amin, Executive Producer, Southpaw Entertainment; sources: http://respeconize.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] I don’t know if people know, but he is the biggest donator that there has been ever in history. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for donating over 400 million dollars of his personal money to different charities and to people who need help. So yes, he would definitely want those to help the people in Japan. The Japanese are very, very, very devoted fans of the Jacksons and I just appreciate that very much. So we’re doing everything we can to help them out as well.”

“The charity that I’m representing (for The Apprentice) is Aids Project Los Angeles. Basically, Aids Project Los Angeles is in my backyard basically, because I’m in L.A. I tried to take over (Michael’s) charities that he had been working for, and this one was the closest and I said why not? I’ve been doing things for them ever since he’s passed, which makes you feel so wonderful inside. But what we’re doing is we’re looking for a cure for Aids, because there are people with HIV and people with Aids and we need a panacea for it. Basically, we’re doing testing and things of that nature to come up with the solution to help free these people. […]”

“It was a great time [when Michael and I lived together in New York]. We were always close to each other. We were always best friends and when we lived together, it just made the bond so much closer. He was working doing The Wiz at that particular time and we just had each other, the two of us, our first time being away from home from the rest of our family and we lived our life the best that we could and shared so many wonderful moments. We slept in the same bed. We did so many wonderful things and it was just a great, great bonding time.”

“[…] There are so many memories [I have with my brother]. Where do I start? There’s just so many that you could pick any. Let’s just say, you know what I liked about him? Whenever I’d get sick, he would always go out and he would buy me stacks of fashion magazines for me to read, ‘cause I would get sick every single month, monthly and he felt so bad because I was in such excruciating pain and he would get tapes of the Three Stooges and he would put them in my VCR, because that’s what we had back then. He would put the tapes of the Three Stooges in to make me laugh and forget about the pain. Then he would go out, he knew that my favorite artist at that time was Frank Sinatra. I just loved his music. He would go and try to find some kind of memorabilia of Frank Sinatra and get Frank Sinatra to sign it for me to make me feel better.”

“We did that song, (‘Night Time Lover’). I recall that so well in his bedroom on the floor. He was sitting on the floor and I was sitting on the bed and we just started writing Night Time Lover. He felt that this is a great song for me. We started writing for me actually and Michael produced it on me and he at one point told me, ‘I think I want to put that out again.’ This is much later on. He says, ‘I think I want to put that song out again and I sign on it’, and he’d sing it actually, but he never did it, he never did. That was just wonderful to know that.”

“[…] He never did spend the night at my house, but when we were living together, meaning at my family before we parted our separate ways, he would always camp out in my room. He would call it camping out and we would camp out in each other’s room and he would come to my room and camp out. Neverland was wonderful. It was just - it was what he wanted it to be. It was serenity. It was peace. It was his own world and you were a part of that world once you entered the gate, hearing all the music play and seeing all the animals grace the lawn. It was just wonderful. You felt like you were in paradise, a piece of paradise, a piece of serenity.”

“[…] First of all, as I’ve always said, my brother was murdered. That’s number one. Number two, you never ever, ever erase anything. I don’t care if it was the first four minutes or what. You don’t erase it. That’s a cover up and that’s a hide, because they know that people were in that house prior to anybody getting there. They were already in that house and they didn’t want us to see who was leaving. When I got on the scene, I asked the police officers, ‘Where are the surveillance tapes? I want you to pull them.’ They said, ‘Well.’ ‘I want to see everything on it. I want to see it.’ I asked them over and over and I haven’t seen it to this day and I just learned just the other day they erased it, so they say. [...]”

[LaToya Jackson – talking to celebrity interviewer, Chris Yandek; source: www.cyinterview.com]

 

“[…] (Elizabeth Taylor) was, of course, a great friend of Michael Jackson. He absolutely loved her. Michael once told me that the reason they got along so well was that she was a child star herself, so understood him completely. He said she understood what it was like to live your whole life in the glare of the public eye. He told me he felt "human" when he was around her, he could be himself. They would take trips together to New York or London. And Elizabeth loved lavish gifts. Michael would shower her with presents of jewellery and said she was like an excited little kid when he presented her with something new. […] She proved what a loyal friend she was when she stuck by Michael during his trial in 2006 (TST note: correct date is 2005)) - she stuck by him 100 per cent, believing he was innocent and she even went on TV to defend him.”

“I recall the time we were having dinner at La Scala restaurant in Beverly Hills. People flocked around her - it was funny, because for once Michael wasn't the centre of attention. I remember he leaned over and whispered to me: "Now that's what you call royalty." To Americans she was royalty, she was the closest thing they have to a queen and everywhere she went people fawned over her. People will remember the picture of myself, Elizabeth and Michael together at my wedding to Liza Minnelli in 2002. […]”

[David Alan Gest, American concert promoter and media personality; sources: The Sun, www.newstime.co.za]

 

“This is part of a 2 week series called People Worth Knowing. We will be featuring great people throughout history that have had a great impact and changed the course of history. These are all people worth knowing, and their examples will lead us into a greater future.

Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

You had Sinatra in the 40’s, Elvis in the 50’s, The Beatles in the 60s’, and in the 80’s and 90’s you had Michael Jackson. The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, may very well be the greatest entertainer of our lifetime. Entering the limelight in 1964, at the age of 6, Michael entertained millions from every corner of the globe for half a century. His contributions to pop culture and society are endless, ranging from changing the world of music and dance to starting the Heal the World Foundation. His album Thriller remains the most popular album in the world, having sold over 750,000,000 copies.

Not just an entertainer, Michael was a passionate humanitarian, and he often expressed his passion in his lyrics. In songs like “We are the World” and “Man in the Mirror”, Michael spoke to the hearts of people and made powerful statements of the need for unity, compassion, and peace among mankind. He founded the ‘Heal the World Foundation’ in 1992, through which he airlifted 46 tons of supplies to Sarajevo and donated millions of dollars to beneficial causes, released charity singles and supported 39 other charities. In 2000, he was cited with the world record for “Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star.”

Regardless of any and all allegations proposed against Michael, it cannot be disputed that he worked hard to improve the world he saw so many problems with. Unlike many of us, wishing things better wasn’t enough. Michael saw the world not just for what it was, but for what it could be, and because of this he spent his entire life using his gifts and skills to change the world. Michael is a testament to the amount of difference a man can make when he truly dedicates himself.

[…] As I grew I realized he was so much more than just a star, Michael was a hero. You could tell from everything he did the amount of work he must have put in day in and day out. He took it upon himself to make a difference, an idea that many of us forget as life gets in the way. Michael reminds us every day of the power we have to make a difference in the world.

“If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.”

[…]”

[Zen College Life; sources: www.zencollegelife.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[If I could tell Dr. Murray something, it would be:] ‘Tell us the truth, Dr. Murray. What happened?’ […] Absolutely. Absolutely (do I still believe Michael was murdered.) I don’t doubt that any second. […] It’s important [for me to be there during the court proceedings] to find out the truth and what happened, and (for) his kids, and we owe that to them. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to them. […] [Dealing with his loss] is one of the hardest things to get over, it’s the first time in your life that you are truly completely helpless, and you wanna cry and you’re all cried out, and you just – you just say why, why, why did this happen, why did it have to happen?.. It’s – I’m coping a lot better now thanks to Michael’s children, because they have taught me how to deal with this. I couldn’t listen to his music, I couldn’t look at his pictures, I couldn’t see anything on him, because it would hurt, it was excruciatingly painful for me. And the children is (sic) like: ‘Auntie LaToya, look at daddy here!’ ‘Do you like this picture?’ ‘Oh, look, I have this record down here playing’. It’s like he’s still there to them. And I said if they can do this and accept this, then, by golly, I should be able to do this as well. And that’s what I’m doing now. […]”

“I was on my way to the hospital and I asked to speak to my mother’s assistant, and I heard my mother in the background saying, ‘Who is it?’ And he said, ‘It’s LaToya’, and she has grabbed the phone and she goes, ‘He’s dead!..’ as loud as she could. And when she said that, I thought I was gonna crash the car and I couldn’t accelerate, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t do anything. She was so, just - it’s just it was a shock to her and she just – she couldn’t take the fact that that had happened; she was overwhelmed by - by sadness and that just blurted out of her mouth. […]”

“Oh yes, absolutely [do I see Michael in his children]… Yes. They have so many traits and ways, and just what he has taught them. […] [In Prince..] Just the fact that he wants to give. […] Paris is - well, anything her father she loves; her room is her father, everything is – her father is everywhere, she just adores him. […] Blanket is just adorable, he’s simply adorable (…) […]”

“[If I could say one thing to Michael, I would say] that he did an incredible job when he was here on this earth, and you have no idea how wonderful and beautiful you are, and the world loves you. He was truly god-like. And I wish he was here with us, but I think God wanted him with Him.”

[LaToya Jackson – interviewed by TV Guide Network; sources: www.youtube.com, www.tvguide.com]

 

“I was lucky enough to be on duty when MJ travelled. I was an Assistant Purser at the time. We were running a little late because of bad weather. I happened to have a hand held radio listening to the communications between the bridge and shore side. All that was being said was MJ is on his way, won’t be long now, we didn't know who it was at the time. We were standing by, when out of the lift came some 5 or 6 huge fellows and in the middle was MJ (Michael Jackson), he was taken to the Function Room as quickly as possible, but it soon got around the vessel and people were trying to get in to see him. I spent the whole crossing with him and watched him practice his dance routines, and listen to bird song through his fantastic stereo gear. I was lucky enough to get a signed photo, which I still have today.”

[Tony Finnis, former Assistant Purser for P&O ferry, Pride of Dover; sources: http://news.bbc.co.uk, www.mj-777.com]

“Michael travelled on the P&O Cruise from Dover to Calais during his Bad world tour after his Wembley concerts, due to bad weather conditions, he had to take the cruise instead of flying. He kept a low profile and the 2,000 passengers on board had no idea, he spent most the time in his Limo. He travelled on the Pride of Dover […]”

[Birchey, Michael Jackson fan; sources: http://news.bbc.co.uk, www.mj-777.com]


“It is wonderful to hear from those who knew, worked or spent time with Michael, and heartwarming to learn about Michael the person, artist, friend and humanitarian; a reaching back in time and pulling truth into the now through voices familiar with his.

Part of Michael’s voice is his gift of music, shared globally and treasured by many as it is newly discovered by today’s children. Please enjoy the sense of discovery and wonder of the following youngsters as they share their experiences, in their own special way, of the love vibe in Michael’s gift of music and dance.

[…] Layne is 4 years old. He met Michael and his music in June of 2009, and has been enthralled since that time. He has his own MP3 player that is chock full of songs like “Thriller”, “Beat It”, “Heal the World” and “Hold My Hand.” If he hears MJ's music, wherever he is, he will proudly sing and dance; he loves his book 'Ever After' and is mesmerized watching Michael dance.

He knows Michael is an angel in heaven.

Lauren: Layne, what is your favorite MJ song?

Layne: My first favorite Michael song is “Thriller.” My next favorite Michael song is “Hold My Hand.”

Lauren: Why do you like “Hold My Hand?”


Layne: Remember the part, (singing)...

"But together we can be alright,

Cause when it gets dark and when it gets cold,

We hold each other till we see the sunlight.”

(Still singing), "...so if you just hold my hand"


Lauren: And what about “Thriller?” Why is that your favorite?

Layne: The part where the monkey-dog (Michael in costume as werewolf) and then the part where they are laying there and get up and go (singing).... "Dun…ah, Dun...ah..... (Intro to Thriller) and the dancing; when he starts moving around.

Lauren: What would be something you would like to tell Michael if you could talk to him?

Layne: I'd say.....”That’s not a question, ‘cause I'm too shy. I can't talk to Michael on the phone.”

Lauren: What if he came to your house to play with you? What would you want to play with him?

Layne: I'd scream cause I'd be so happy. I'd start a song about 'I love you Michael.' (Singing)....'I love you Michael....'

Lauren: What would Michael do while you sang to him?

Layne: He would dance, and then after that he would start singing my song. And everybody would come to my house to see him. Michael would come and his friends would come, and we would all be singing.

Lauren: What color does Michael feel like?

Layne: Well, I would talk to him and say, what is your favorite color? Black, pink and red.

Lauren: What if Michael called you on the phone and asked what toy you would play with him?

Layne: My camera.

Lauren: What would you like to do with Michael if you could make a special day? Where would you take him and who would you like him to meet?

Layne: I'd do something special; I'd take a walk to all my friends and show him. The children would be excited and so would Michael. Michael would say, “OK, Layne, let's take a walk.” I'd take him to find treasures.

Lauren: When you listen to your Michael songs, how does it make your heart feel?

Layne: Aqua. And aqua is wanting to dance to his songs.

[…]

Lauren: How does Michael make you happy?

Layne: It would make me really happy if he was alive. I would be able to talk to him and sing to him. I would do this song (singing).... 'I love you Michael.'

Lauren: Michael liked to climb trees, did you know that?

Layne: (Eyes wide open), "WHAT? Why didn't you tell me that?"

Lauren: Would you like to do that with him?

Layne: Yes, Michael would help me.

Lauren: What is your favorite picture of Michael?

Layne: The picture of the Lord and MJ because "it touches my heart momma, and is love"

Lauren Trainor

[…]

I teach at a Preschool, and in my Pre-Kindergarten class I have a little boy named Eric.

He and I realized that we had something in common one day when my cell phone rang during Circle Time, and “The Way You Make Me Feel” played from the tiny speaker. All of the other children looked around, puzzled by the intruding music, but Eric’s eyes widened as he exclaimed, “That’s Michael Jackson!” From that day on, I have been happy to share my love for Michael with this 4 year old who I feel is very wise for his young age!

Debby: Hey Eric, let’s talk about Michael Jackson!

Eric: Okay!

Debby: Why do you like Michael Jackson?

Eric: Because he is COOL!

Debby: I think so too. What makes him so cool?

Eric: The way he sings and can dance and fight.

Debby: Fight? Did you see Michael fight somewhere?

Eric: Yeah, in a movie, and he took his sweater off. That’s cool!

Debby: Oh, so you thought it was cool when he took his jacket off in a video?

Eric: Yeah, he was gonna fight those bad guys.

Debby: It looked that way didn’t it? But he never really hit anyone did he?

Eric: (Shakes his head) Nope, he just danced.

Debby: What other songs do you really like?

Eric: Um, “ABC” and [Trees] (?) and “Beat It.” (I think he means Earth Song)

Debby: What about “Thriller?” Have you ever seen that video?

Eric: Yeah, at my Dad’s house. It was cool.

Debby: Did the wolf scare you?

Eric: Nah, I liked when he ate popcorn.

Debby: Me too. It would be fun to eat popcorn with Michael Jackson.

Eric: Me too.

Debby: So, does your Dad like Michael?

Eric: Mmmhmm, and Mommy and Jayda…..I liked when he played basketball with that guy.

Debby: Oh, you mean with Michael Jordan? Do you know the name of that song?

Eric: Nope.

At this point I asked Eric to come look at some pictures of Michael on the computer. When the album opened up and nearly 60 photos appeared, Eric got very excited. “What’s he doing there?” “Who’s he with?” “Hey, he has glasses on!” I asked him to pick out his favorite. This was not an easy task. After narrowing it down to 5, I asked him to pick again and he chose this one.

I told Eric that we could go back down to class, and he hopped down off of the stool where he had been sitting cross legged. He half walked, half danced down the hall, his little voice fading as he disappeared into the classroom….”Beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it……”

Debby Barker

[…]

Dede is 7 years old, and her birthday is June 17, 2004. She’s very bright and smart, and will one day make a great boss! Dede lives Philadelphia with both her parents who are in the medical field, and she has two sisters and one brother, and yes, they love Michael Jackson. Dede’s favorite video is "Smooth Criminal."

On a past family visit in 2010, while sitting in the family room waiting to leave, Dede asked me some questions about Michael. She wanted to know how he became so famous and dance so good. She was serious, and so I looked at her and said, “Well Dede, Michael started dancing and singing at a very young age, and he had to practice for long hours. He really didn't have time to have much fun. Dede looked at me, and tilted her head and said, “But why? He needed to play and have fun like me!” I answered, "Yes, I know, but Michael wanted to make his fans happy and give them the best he had.

Dede looked for a minute and then said, "Gramom, I love Michael! I like “Smooth Criminal." She looked for a long time, then went off with her siblings. I will never forget that day.

Linda Divon

[…]

My grandson Thomas, aged 8, is a new fan; he came to know Michael after he died. He would sit with me and watch videos, and listen to Michael’s songs on my computer asking a million questions at once. He would stare in wide-eyed wonder at Michael’s dance moves, (and try to emulate those moves) listened with rapt attention to the words of “Heal the World” and “Earth Song” among others, and hug me when I became sad over Michael’s passing asking, “Why did he die, Meema?”

Michael reached him, as he does all of us, with the messages in his songs and videos. Thomas connected to these messages instantly, but also recognized sadness around Michael. I don’t think he understood at first just what this sadness was, but he has now come to realize that Michael felt sad for the world and its suffering. I find it amazing that a child so young can see more clearly what most adults refuse to see; the heart of the man and his message.

Valmai: How did you learn about Michael Jackson?

Thomas: You told me about him and showed me his videos. I now listen to his songs on my MP3 player.

Valmai: What is your favorite video of Michael?

Thomas: That’s easy. All of them; I like all of them the best.

Valmai: Do you have a favorite song?

Thomas: Okay, I got three. “Earth Song,”  “Heal the World,”  “Man in the Mirror,”  “Black or White” and “They Don’t Care About Us.” Sorry, that’s five isn’t it? I got five favorite songs!

Valmai: Why do you like those songs?

Thomas: He was trying to heal the world from all the people who want to hurt it.

Valmai: How do you feel about Michael?

Thomas: I feel like I love him; I do! And I think he’s a really good singer and dancer. I miss him.

Valmai: Did he teach you anything important?

Thomas: Yes, he taught me in “Black or White” that color doesn’t matter. He taught me to love the world and people. I will never forget him.

Valmai: What is your favorite picture of Michael?

Thomas: This one because I feel like he’s sad and it makes me want to help him.

Thomas become a MJTP dot member last year. He told me he wanted to be a dot in a picture of Michael, so he could be close to him forever.

Valmai Owens

[…]

The year that I realized Michael Jackson was something amazing, I was 8 years old…so it was 1983, and the album Thriller had just been released. I was an only child living with my dad and stepmom in Boulder, Colorado. I didn’t really have very many friends since we had just recently moved to the area, but my cousins lived in a nearby town and our parents would sometimes get us all together.

I remember one Saturday that we all went to the roller skating rink. It was nearly empty; only a handful of kids there with my 2 cousins and I. The song “Beat It” came over the speakers, and we all raced around the rink on our skates, dancing and bumping along the best that 8 year olds can. When the song was over and the DJ put on a new one, all of us kids raced over to the DJ stand and begged that he play it again. He happily obliged, since there were only a few of us there and the parents didn’t seem to mind. We must have had him play it 5 times before we tired of skating our little hearts out to such a bold new sound. It’s a very fond memory.

The other memory I have was later that year. My dad was working part-time in a video rental shop, and I would often go there after school and do my homework till he was done. One day I came into the shop, and he was very excited about a new MJ video – the store had gotten an advanced copy and none of the public had seen it yet. He locked up the door, put the ‘Be back in 20 minutes’ sign up, dimmed the lights, and put the video in the VCR. At first I thought he was trying to tease and scare me with a horror flick, but then WOW!!  Michael Jackson’s Thriller blew me away!  (I just got goose bumps thinking about it!)  Again of course, I begged to see it again and again; the voice of Vincent Price was always my favorite, and at home I’d listen and rewind that part over and over on my dad’s tape cassette.

Kelly Gallagher

[…]

Both Hailey and Ashley are sisters, joining the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait, in 2010. They both took part in the Michael’s Angels + New Generation of MJ Fans = L.O.V.E. incentive, collecting school supplies for the Children’s First Academy of Phoenix, Arizona. Both young ladies are Michael Jackson fans, advocates for animals, the environment, and proud members of the MJTP Family.

Heather: What is your favorite Michael Jackson song or songs?

Hailey: My favorite songs are, “They Don’t Care About Us,”  “Dirty Diana,”  “Ghosts, Thriller,” “Earth Song” and “Scream.”

Heather: Why are these songs your favorites?

Hailey: The first time I heard the “Earth Song,” I felt like it was a slap in the face. Very powerful song talking about the environment.

Heather: Why do you say, “It was like a slap in the face”?

Hailey: It was like a wake-up call, letting us know we must do more for the environment before it’s too late. I realized that I must do my part to make this world a better place, not only for people, but for animals too.

Heather: If you could pick any song out of those you listed, what song would you pick and why?

Hailey: “Scream” and “Ghosts.” I think Michael was singing about injustice. People judge too quickly without getting their facts straight. When you have one person that spreads gossip about another, the next person tells the story and it can become twisted. When you get to know Michael, you come to an understanding of what he really stood for; everything good. In his songs you will find he only wanted to help the planet and to help people. He had to deal with rumors on so many different levels, but yet, he still was nice to everyone and wished them well. I admire Michael for that.

Heather: Do you have any other thoughts about Michael or his music?

Hailey: Michael understood many things that even grownups don’t understand. He didn’t judge you by the color of your skin or the way you looked. I think he stood up for those who were scared to speak for themselves, saying that it is okay to be the person you are, and not to change ‘You’ for anyone.

[…]

Heather: If you could choose a favorite Michael Jackson song, what would that be?

Ashley: “Dirty Diana” and “2000 Watts”

Heather: Why would you say those are your favorites?

Ashley: I love the beats! He was an amazing musician, singer and poet.

Heather: Michael Jackson is known as a singer to the general public, but you said you liked him as a poet. Could you tell me more about his poetry?

Ashley: He put his soul into his poetry. You could tell the emotions that flowed endlessly through him. His concern for the environment, people and animals was so sincere. I believe his purpose was helping others. I read this poem (which is my favorite) Michael wrote called, “So the Elephants March…” This is one example of Michael’s gift for helping others. Michael told the story about how elephants can’t fall down. They must stand even when they sleep. If they fall they will not be able to get back up, lying helplessly to die. Even though the herd may try to help, once an elephant falls, that’s it. I think Michael was stating that no matter what life has in store for us, we can learn from elephants that, “to live is to move on”, even when we hit the big pot holes of life. We must keep moving forward with a positive attitude, touching others as we go through our journey of life.

Heather: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Ashley: Michael was a unique person, a great humanitarian…I would say a gift from God.

Heather
Director of New Generation Outreach

[Lauren Trainor, Michael Jackson advocate; sources: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us, http://michaeljacksontributeportrait.com]

 

“[…] He would come in for his lesson and sit down and we would have a prayer and then read the Bible and then have another prayer and start to work. That’s the way he liked to begin his day. Can you imagine a performer as big as Michael Jackson turning around in a lesson and discussing how wonderful God has been to him and how much he loves God?”

[Seth Riggs, American vocal coach; source: www.reflectionsonthedance.com]


”[…]
A lot of his friends were mine, too. It’s our tragedy. As soon as I knew about his death, I grabbed my phone. I felt that I needed to call everybody who cared about him, who loved him as much as I do. […] Mike was killed! It was a real murder. Look, his doctor ran away. […] He shouldn’t have died!”

“[…] There was one moment. I was playing a piano, and he was standing next to me. All of a sudden, he stretched his hands, looking upwards. It seemed to me that it was very important to him. That’s why I left the room and switched the light off. After half an hour, I came back to the room. He was whispering: “Thank you for my talent. Thank you for everything I’ve got. Thank you for all the people who love me. Tell me what I should do, and I’ll do it.” It seemed to me that it was the moment of his communication with God.

[Seth Riggs: source: www.metro.us]


“I was (his) only physician that I am aware of [between July, 2006 and early 2007, and I also treated him shortly before his death], and I think I’d certainly be aware if he had either another physician or even if he had drugs in the house. But, certainly, he had no sleeping problems that I knew (of). […] [When he lived in Ireland], I’d never seen this. You know, and I never prescribed him any drugs for insomnia. I was in his house in many occasions, I’d never seen any drugs in his house. […] Absolutely nothing. […] Any time that Michael ever used propofol with us it was in the presence of the anesthesists, and he always requested that (an anesthesist be present for that). […] Absolutely. There was one time I had to go to Michael’s house, and (that) was a few days before he met the Queen at the opening of Casino Royale. Michael, after one of his other procedures, (…) he had a hypersensitivity (…), and I couldn’t get an anesthesist to go to the house that night, I myself could have get (sic) him Midazolam, (…), I could’ve reversed it with a (inaudible, most likely, a medical substitute), but he wouldn’t even do that; it would seem unusual to me that Michael would go for somebody who certainly did not use the drug that I knew, (…) to suddenly die of IV – ICU type of drug. I think it would be highly unusual for a doctor to use the combination of a benzodiazepan and propofol together outside the environment of an intensive care unit or without having some qualifications in anesthesiology. […]”

“I think it’s starting already [the smear campaign against Michael Jackson by the defense of Conrad Murray]… And that’s predictable. One of the reasons I’m making this interview now in New York is the fact that I think Michael’s legacy is tainted, and somebody that was a friend, I feel very saddened to think that nobody really knew the Michael Jackson that I knew. […] [I was not approached by Michael for any kind of narcotics.] Absolutely not. […] [I have not seen any signs of drug addiction in him,] absolutely not. I can only talk about the period that I knew him in Ireland, and, certainly, during that period he never asked me for any sort of control substances, he never had any in the house that I was aware of and he certainly never acted as if he had any - in my humble opinion, medical or otherwise. […] I think [my gut reaction when I realized Michael was really gone was] one of astonishment. That somebody so young, just 50 years of age, you know… sort of, had passed away. I knew that it had to be some reason for it. […] And certainly, during the period that I knew Michael, he was certainly in good physical health. So, for a 50 year old to die out of the blue, it would almost have to be something that it almost happened, the fact that he, sort of, got killed by a drug, in a way, made sense to me, I knew he was in a good enough health, he wasn’t gonna die of a heart attack out of the blue. […] I wasn’t in the room when Dr. Murray was in the room trying to perform CPR (to Michael), but normally, you would need two hands to do it, [not just one]. […] Then it would seem to me a bit unusual for a cardiologist to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in that manner. So, I’m sure we should prepare ourselves for rocky waters ahead. He’s gonna be (portrait as) ‘W**** J**** the drug freak’, and, you know, there is (sic) a lot of people that’s (sic) gonna believe that.”

[Dr. Patrick Treacy, Medical Director of Ailesburg Clinic in Ireland, renowned cosmetic surgeon – on True Crime with Aphrodite Jones; sources: www.mj-conspiracy.com, www.youtube.com]


“I wholeheartedly believe that God gave Michael a mission and that was to bring joy, heal the lonely and the broken-hearted and to provide for those less fortunate.  He certainly helped me through my traumatic childhood.

My parents both passed away when I was six years of age and I grew up without the love that most children in the Western world take for granted. I would spend hours alone in my room, with no friends and finding little joy in life. I believe that when I became a Christian, God placed Michael in my life to get me through each day, and he did.  But mine is not the only story like this. He did so much for so many people, often in secret and without recourse to attention or publicity.

I prayed after reading about him walking the streets at night looking for someone to talk to that I would one day become his friend, and God blessed me with many meetings which I will remember to this day.

He is the most humble, caring, sensitive, caring man you could ever imagine. What you hear about him from much of the media is either speculation or fabrication, but what you hear from those who have met him is absolutely the truth. Most will tell you, he has an aura that radiates warmth, love and tenderness, and most never ever forget such meetings.

When meeting or even around Michael, there was certainly an aura.  It was quite incredible. And it wasn't just when meeting him, it often continued afterwards too. I distinctly remember after a meeting with him in Tenerife, I just had this tremendous sense of love for everyone. I just wanted to love people. Michael hadn't spoken directly about this to me, but it was almost as if that aura around him had somehow rubbed off on me, if that makes sense?

When I went to the US for the Memorial, I just wept on seeing so many notes and cards outside each of places of significance. From the Hollywood Star to Neverland; from Carolwood Drive to the Staples Centre, people from all over the world had come to place their condolences.  And what an amazing impact he had on people's lives - every other note seemed to be thanking him for what he had done, how much he had inspired them to live their dreams, how much he had taught them.  And, in amongst the notes and cards, in every place were crucifixes and references to God.  I was on my knees in tears.  I had always, always known that this was a man of God, but I had never fully appreciated just how many ordinary lives he had changed.

Even those fans who never met Michael often felt a deep connection with him. He had that capacity to draw you close, to mesmerize you with his love and compassion, but also with his aura, which he always acknowledged was from God Almighty Himself.

Like Michael, I have vitiligo, although only small patches in unseen areas of the body.  I also had a traumatic childhood, and have also suffered from loneliness, persecution, and have been used and abused. I am also attracted to innocence and purity, and have that intense desire to remain a child and to never grow up or grow old.  Like Michael, I love music, animals and working to create a more positive world. The list of how much we had in common seems endless and I feel heartbroken because I have not just lost a superstar, but a friend, a soulmate, a twin soul. […]

[…] He was vilified and persecuted for simply trying to make the world a better place, for being honest, innocent and naïve.

I am devastated that he's gone, truly devastated, but I am so heartened by the thought that he is now in a much better place, free from all harm at last. Jesus said that unless we become like children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. How much more childlike can an adult be than the fun loving, eternally young, often mischievous Michael Jackson?  But whilst like a child, he also thought like an adult beyond his years, giving to causes and people without thinking twice and often imparting a wisdom far beyond his years.

Michael is alive in Heaven, probably singing with the angels, and he's alive here on earth, in the hearts of people like you and me and in the hearts of his beloved children. Let us continue to pray for them and to remember how blessed we are to have had the chance to live alongside this man of God, who sacrificed a normal comfortable life in order to bring joy and happiness to others."

[Dee Pfeiffer, friend of Michael Jackson; source: www.reflectionsonthedance.com]

 

“So here it is. [My story on how I met Michael at Neverland in 2003.] I got a call from Circa one day asking if they could give my number to somebody from Michael Jackson’s offices. I was like, “This is some bull****. I don’t believe this. But go ahead and give ‘em my number just in case.” About ten minutes later, I get a call from some lady and she’s like, “Hey, this is so-and-so from Michael Jackson’s office and we just wanted to see if you’d be willing to go (to) Neverland Ranch in two days?” I was like, “To be honest with you, I don’t believe this is real. But if it is, I would obviously love to come meet Michael at Neverland.” About a minute goes by and the phone rings again. I pick it up and it’s like (high pitched voice) “Hey Chad, its Michael.” (…) my heart just stopped for a second. He was like, “Yeah, listen, some other things have come up, so I’d be really excited if you guys could just come up tomorrow.” I was like, “Tomorrow?” He’s like, “Yeah. I think tomorrow would be a good day for you guys to come up.” Then he was like, “I was wondering if you know Stevie Williams too. We wanted Stevie to come.” I was like, “Okay. Sure. It would be sick if Stevie came. Whatever you say, man.”

I can’t remember exactly how it worked out, if they had called him separately, but, basically, Stevie was coming back from Vancouver the next day and he was like, “I’ll send a van down tomorrow morning for you, then we’ll pick Stevie up at the airport on the way.” The whole time in my head, I was thinking like, “We’re getting Punk’d by Ashton Kutcher.” Meanwhile, the whole time I’m having this conversation, Anthony Moseley, who rode for Shorty’s at the time, is sitting on my couch listening. So of course, I hang up the phone, and he’s like, “I’m going with you, man.” I don’t even believe it’s real, so I’m like, “Sure, you can come with me.” I figure at least if I get Punk’d, he’ll get Punk’d with me.” So Moseley stays the night on my couch, we wake up the next day and I call and ask if I can bring a friend. At first they were kind of hesitant, but I’m like, “He’s a pro skater”, so they’re like, “Ok, bring him too.” Like a half hour later, this black van pulls up at my house. It was like this black 80’s cruiser van with an old black and white TV playing old cartoons. It was driven by this 75-80 year old chauffer with the hat and the whole kit. We hop in and start driving to LAX and I’m looking for cameras in the van and just talking like, “I know I’m getting Punk’d, man. You can’t fool me.” Thinking they’re recording. So, we get to the airport and Stevie walks out with his mom. She had heard about it and I guess was a huge fan and had told Stevie, like, “I’m coming with you! No questions asked.” So we all hop in and this old guy never says a word to us other than that we’re going to Neverland Ranch. It’s a long a** drive out there from LAX. It’s deep up north in Lampoke, around there. So we’re driving and there’s traffic with this 90-year-old driver. And the whole time, I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind the seats. We finally get there, get to the gate and they tell us no cameras and all that. The gate opens up and we wind down this long driveway towards Neverland. Right as we roll up, a couple elephants come walking around the courtyard and they do like a little dance - poke their trunks in the air. A camel comes running around and does like a 360. Then the whole staff comes in a line and bows down to us. I’ve never seen anything like it. This guy came and greeted us, he was like some kind of groundskeeper or something. He brought us in and sat us on the couch and was like, “Michael will be with you shortly.” So we’re sitting on the couch for like three minutes, which felt like three hours, and all of a sudden, “Boom”, Michael walks in. I just remember Stevie’s mom stood up and grabbed her heart like, “Oh, my god. It’s Michael Jackson!” And we all just busted up laughing. He started laughing too and we all just got hyped. He was just instantly cool, and sat on the couch like, “It’s so nice to meet you.” He introduced us to his cousin or nephew who was into skating and he had shown Michael the videos, and I guess he’d been watching them for years. I guess. since me and Stevie had been coming up. he had been down with it, watching the videos. He knew who Stevie was and he knew who I was. And his cousin, or whatever, turned out to be super good at skating. It was crazy.

He started giving us his breakdown - we go to his living room and he has pictures hanging of him with everybody, just anybody you could think of. His cousin is getting a little ancy, and Moseley’s got ADD, so he’s getting ancy and next thing I know Moseley and the cousin just break out. Michael’s like, “Where are they going?” Me, Stevie and his mom are just like, “Oh well, we’re here. Let’s keep going.” So, Michael gives us the whole grand tour of the grounds. Just everything. It’s the museum. It’s the gloves. There’s the train ride. The water park. The roller coaster. There was so much. I couldn’t even believe it was happening. Like I remember thinking like, “I’m going to have to wait until this is over to even start figuring out what I just saw.” We just kept looking at each other in disbelief. When we drove to the zoo, Michael was like, “Watch this, the tigers don’t like this,” he had an umbrella, and kind of opened and closed the umbrella really quick in front of the tigers, and the tigers just went crazy, like roaring and jumping and going from side to side in the cage. I remember we watched the X-Men in his movie theater before it was released. Which at the time was rad.

Towards the end, we went down in his basement and he had this dance floor with an arcade next to a wine cellar. […] This was right when 50 Cent was hitting. We went down there and I watched Michael Jackson bust a moonwalk to In Da Club! It felt like we were in Charley in the Chocolate Factory and he was Willy Wonka. Everybody got some cool s*** too. Like Moseley got some glasses, like the gold Ray Bans with the ear wrap and a leather jacket. I was like, “Nah. I don’t want anything.” Like, if I did it right, I was going to get the golden ticket to stay in Neverland forever or something (Laughs.) I do remember thinking at the end though, “Damn, I wish I would’ve gotten a pair of those sunglasses.” For me, that guy was just an amazing individual – and people can say whatever they want about him: he was weird, he was different, this or that – but I mean, (…) yeah he was different than all of us, he was Michael Jackson. That day was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever lived. Straight up. RIP MJ.”

[Chad Muska, American professional skateboarder, Musician and DJ. Biography; source: http://skateboarding.transworld.net]


“[…] Michael was always very quiet. His older brothers were a lot more loose and outgoing, always joking and laughing. But Michael came alive onstage -- almost like he lived for those moments.

In the early '70s, I went to a small concert at a school for blind children in L.A. I was sitting cross-legged two feet away from Michael with all these kids in the front row. His voice had such a pure quality to it, that it just released something in you. I could see all the kids listening and moving, so enthralled by the music. He just sang so amazingly beautiful. It was so joyful and such an outpouring of angelic sound that it released something in me, and tears started rolling down my face.

At 'We Are the World,' he really isolated himself. Here was a whole room of the most famous singers in the world -- Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Ray Charles -- and they were all shaking hands laughing and talking. Some of them had never met each other before. It was like the most amazing party, like a dream where you're surrounded by all the hero singers in the pop and rock world. But Michael kind of stood off in the corner behind a potted palm tree. […] He didn't really come out and mix with everybody. He was off by himself, like it was overwhelming. That was the last time I saw him in person.

[…] He was obviously always troubled by something. He had this heavy thing on his shoulders. He was very internal, very introspective. […]

I'm sure that Michael is finally released from the torment that he had in this lifetime. He's free and he doesn't have to deal with that anymore. It's all of us who he left behind who are unhappy, because we don't have him here. But we certainly have all of his records and videos, which is fantastic.”

[Henry Stanford Diltz, American folk musician and renowned photographer; sources: www.spinner.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I first met Michael on a hillside in Colorado in 1984. He was on the famous Victory Tour with his brothers.

Michael was the first to come running over to help when I slipped going up a steep muddy hill. I was fine, but a couple of lenses got covered in mud. That was the first time Michael took a liking to one of my brown Scottish tweed sports jackets, so I took it off and gave it to him. He seemed pleased by my gesture and immediately put it on, put both arms out and twirled around in the bright sunlight while I photographed him running and jumping. On stage that night he glittered in sequins. I flew back to New York with the photographs.

The momentum of the Victory Tour kept building, so I joined Michael in Philadelphia for more photos. The same thing happened again. This time it was a gray Harris tweed jacket. I saw him looking closely at the colors in the tweed. They seemed to fascinate him, so again I gave him my jacket. Sometime later, I was amused to see a news clip of Michael actually wearing the jacket, running into a limo, mobbed by fans.

In 1985, I photographed Michael at the “We Are the World” all-night recording session in Los Angeles, conceived to raise money for the starving children of Africa. Quincy Jones posted a sign that said, “Leave your egos at the door,” and the 45 stars who participated did just that. […]

On first encounter, Michael seemed shy. He spoke in the very soft, high-pitched voice recognizable to the world, but, oddly enough, after about 10 minutes his tone deepened, although he still spoke very softly. I find that many powerful people, heads of state and such, speak very softly. They don’t have to shout to get your attention. Try to hear what they say the first time - they don’t like to repeat. Michael was like that. An hour later, when we met again, it was like starting over - again, the high-pitched, quiet voice, which morphed into something deeper after about 10 minutes.

When I saw Michael in 1995, again my tweed jacket was coveted, so again I gave it to him. He put it on for the photographs with new bride Lisa Marie Presley.

In 1997, I visited Neverland to photograph Michael with his firstborn, Prince Michael. While he was feeding Prince, the baby’s face became covered with food. Michael joked, “Oh, it’s Linda Blair time,” referring to the actress in the film The Exorcist. The baby was happy and laughing. Later, we took Prince upstairs to his room, where Michael gave him a bottle and held him until he went to sleep, singing little songs to him, something about Daddy’s baby. Michael told me Prince had inspired him to write more music than he had written at any other time in his life.

The following day, Michael took me into the rehearsal studio where he had refined the moonwalk. He told me he often brought Prince there to watch him practice in front of the mirrored wall and said they would dance together someday. I was convinced that was going to be the next act. Prince sat playing with a microphone and watching his father’s every move. Michael told me the moonwalk was very easy to do. “Just do this, Harry, and pull your foot back.” Needless to say, I wasn’t stupid enough to try.

[…]

Michael was easy to work with and delighted in showing me his home. All the photos were done quickly. That’s the thing people forget - you have to work quickly, so that your subject doesn’t become bored. When Michael asked what I wanted him to wear, I said, “Just be yourself. Wear what you feel comfortable in.”

One could see how Neverland could take Michael’s mind off all his worries and transport him from the reality of his stressful life. He had everything he wanted there. I got the impression that in no way was Michael a recluse. He read the papers and kept up with the news. Once, he asked me what I thought of the Reagans, who were in the White House at the time. He was also curious to know what the Russian author, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was like, as Michael had seen my photograph of him. Michael made a point of knowing who was who, while all the time those sad eyes were searching, looking closely at me. Occasionally, he would break into a laugh, but mostly he was just looking.

Although I wasn’t close to Michael, we were friendly and respectful of each other, and that’s really all you want, someone who allows you to do your job. I will miss him. We will all miss his immense talent.”

[Harry James Benson, Scottish photographer; sources: www.architecturaldigest.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I have always written. Actually, getting published took some time and figuring out -- I had my first book published in 2006 (ironically, I first submitted a very early version of my MJ book (Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson) that year, but no one would publish it). […]”

“I discovered Michael Jackson when I was about 7-8 years old. I wore out my VHS of The Legend Continues; I watched it so many times. The first time I saw the Motown 25 performance, I was absolutely floored. It had a huge impact on me. My musical interests evolved in all kinds of directions since then; Michael was about the only artist that stuck from childhood on, because I could continue to appreciate his work on new levels. […] To be honest, I had no clue of the scope of what I was taking on when I started [writing my book on him]. I began in the midst of his trial because I was frustrated with the degree to which people had forgotten -- or just never really understood -- his artistic genius. The plan was just to provide interpretations of his songs, and it evolved from there. […] People loved working with Michael; they loved his passion and joy, his desire to innovate and just create great work. Starting around the time of the BAD album, his collaborators could sense a newfound confidence and autonomy in carrying out his creative vision. […] Growing up, it was songs like "Billie Jean" and "Man in the Mirror” [that I liked]. Now, I tend to enjoy more of his obscure tracks. My favorite album currently is HIStory. I think it's a masterpiece and will be recognized as such down the line. […] Michael believed the best way people could understand him was through his art. I found that to be the case. Everything essential comes out in his work. […] There were many surprises. What happens is when you really focus on an individual song and album, layer after layer after layer reveals itself. I could have written entire books on each album. […] My students have really enjoyed learning about Michael. So many important issues/ideas come out of his work. We often compare "Black or White" to Blake's, Songs of Innocence and Experience. I think much of MJ's work can be interpreted fruitfully through that lens where there is a constant tension/interplay between these contrary states. […] [I have not had any resistance from my faculty, students or their parents to what I teach about Michael and his music.] Not at all.”

“[…] In short, I believe Michael's work is about liberation. He refused to accept the world as it is; he wanted it to be more aware, in tune, connected, fair, loving, creative, and free. […] Michael's fans are often depicted as mindless and crazy. And while there are certainly some live up to the stereotype, the vast majorities I have come in contact with are thoughtful, intelligent, and eager to get beyond the celebrity infatuation to the art and the human being. […] He obviously did a great deal and in a variety of ways. For all of his supposed narcissism, I can't think of another pop star who more consistently looked outward and genuinely tried to change the world. Has anyone from the entertainment world been a fiercer media critic; a stronger advocate for children? "Earth Song", in my opinion, is the most significant anthem of our age. Think of how prescient and powerful that song was (and continues to be). […]”

“Posthumous albums will never compare to the albums MJ completed while alive. I would personally like to see all of his unfinished work released exactly as he left it, then, I don't mind what happens from there in terms of new mixes, remixes, etc. I like hearing different takes. Transparency is the key, especially when dealing with someone of Michael's historical import.”

“[…] Michael was so different and unique as both an artist and a person, that many people couldn't wrap their minds around him. He didn't fit into the boxes we like people to fit into. So instead they reduced him, caricatured him, exploited him, and denied him of his complexity, depth, humanity, and artistry. […] I think there were certainly strains of racism (involved). Even though he broke barriers on MTV and radio, there was still a double standard in terms of how predominantly white music critics assessed him and his work. He was often dismissed as a "commercial" entertainer rather than an artist, which is a stereotype with a long racial history. Same with the perception that he was a singer, but not a songwriter. Same with "dance music/R&B" vs. rock. The assumption from some critics is that black artists aren't as cerebral or creative. Some people, including executives, were also threatened by his enormous success and power, particularly after his acquisition of the Beatles/ATV catalog. Of course, it's more complicated than just race, but there is no question for me that race played a part.”

“Michael has a very impressive and effective fan base when they put their minds to something. For those who think of Michael as a mere celebrity or pop star, it speaks volumes that his fans continue to fight for all the causes that were important to him, from social justice to peace to media fairness to environmental issues to children's rights.”

“[…] I want Michael to be recognized for what he was and is: one of the most significant artists of the past century. Hopefully, the book gives people an in-depth window into why.”

[Joseph Vogel, American author, teacher at University of Rochester – interviewed by Lauren Trainor from http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]

 

“[…] Michael embraced people from all faiths and from all cultures of the world. He saw the Divine in the transcendental and Divinity in the human. He saw this special unadulterated and undimmed light in the hearts of children. Unspoiled by the cynical and demanding world, he saw the innocence, unconditional love, unshakeable faith and endearing trust that children operate from as the keys to transforming the world. He loved them and resonated with them, because he was them and he saw the world through those transcendental eyes. He saw the world not as it was and is but as a blank canvas for what is possible. He loved "elementary things', because that is where God hides.

Michael is not the first person on this planet to see that "being like the little child" was an answer to the problems of mankind and the human condition. He identified with them. He was one of their ranks. He knew "a child will lead them." Despite the indoctrination, the urgings, admonishments, insults and attacks, Michael retained that vibrational frequency of love and innocence that the uncompromised child knows; he embodied it. […]”

[Reverend Barbara Kauffman; source: www.innermichael.com, http://clicks.aweber.com]


“When I first was asked to do the show (Celebrity Apprentice), I was a bit hesitant about doing it, but after evaluating it with my business partner, I thought this was wonderful, because my brother set up this charity with whom I had worked with (sic), ‘AIDS Project Los Angeles’, and I decided this will bring awareness to this charity, so why not do the show, which is why I got involved in it. […] And I think it’s so important to bring light to the different charities that are around the world that people aren’t familiar with, and that’s what we had done. Michael had given his personal money to charities and he was in the Guinness Book of Records for donating millions of dollars of his personal money. He did a lot of that work; a lot of people don’t know that. If he saw something like a tsunami or a starving child, he would say send them $2 million. He would just pick up the phone and say send them that. And that’s what he would do for the kids that were hurting all over the world, people in general, for that matter. […]”

[LaToya Jackson; source: www.vibe.com]

 

“There were many times we wouldn't have a television, because of the inclimate weather [in Gary, Indiana], and the television wouldn't work, and we would get together and the family would sing. Yeah, that did happen quite a bit. We'd entertain one another, and one thing is for sure, with that many kids there was never a dull moment. […] Everybody seems to be coping and doing O.K. It's been very difficult [coping with Michael’s death]. But people all over have problems. I don't want to paint the picture that our problem is so much worse than everybody else's. […] There was a book [that is close to me,] that [Michael] had and I have, and he wrote in the book. And also there was a ring that he gave me, and I have it with me right now; and his makeup case, I carry it with me. […] For a while, after my brother passed, I couldn't even stand to listen to a song of his. But it's gotten a lot better, and I think it's like closure.”

[Rebbie Jackson, American singer and dancer; source: www.citysbest.com]

 

“[…] With most radio stations and music television channels playing Jackson's body of work nonstop (sic) for the month following his death, something wonderful happened -- my youngest daughter, Jillian, who was 8 at the time, was heavily exposed to his great talent. Mesmerized, she fell in love with Michael Jackson, the artist.

Together, Jillian and I, watched a young Michael perform with his brothers in the Jackson 5, and reunite as an adult with his siblings in concert. We studied his videos, the storylines, choreography and the guest stars featured, including Macaulay Culkin, Michael Jordan, Eddie Murphy, Naomi Campbell and even Marlon Brando. My daughter was in heaven when we went to see This is It!, the movie featuring footage of the preparation for Jackson's 2010 tour that never came to be. Observing Jillian taking it all in was very moving -- her eyes lit up as she perched on the edge of her seat absorbing the King of Pop's raw performance footage. We left the theatre exhilarated, but sad that he wasn't alive to tour and perform the show featured in the documentary. Even sadder was the fact that we'd never see him perform in person.

Jillian is now the proud owner of two oversized MJ t-shirts that she rotates on a regular basis, so I, of course, must make sure a spare is always clean. She used her birthday iTunes gift cards not to buy current pop music, but, instead, to purchase (…) Michael Jackson songs. She loves to dance and sing along and when I watch her, I see such joy and happiness -- the same emotions my sister and I experienced listening to Michael.

Now 9, Jillian is still fascinated by Michael Jackson […]

On this first anniversary of Michael Jackson's death (in 2010), my sister plans on joining thousands of others at New York City's Apollo Theater tribute. Jillian and I will be happy to pop some corn, stay at home and watch the tributes, videos and movies all over again. After all, he created the music for us to share, enjoy and be entertained.”

[Brooke Bizzell Stachyra, American reporter at Time Inc; sources: www.ivillage.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“Many friends of mine have asked me to share this wonderful experience. I’ve tried my best to tell it somehow, but I think it’s impossible to describe such a deep, strong emotion. What Michael gave me on that day is beyond words.

Before I begin, I’d like to say that Michael was not only my favorite artist, he accompanied me through different times of my life; during the lightheartedness of my adolescence and also in my hardest times. His music was actually the sound track of my life. Thanks to him I met my husband, not to mention the wonderful friendships that I made.

[…] The first great emotion that I felt was on May 23rd, 1988, the first time I went to see him in concert (I was 17 years old.)  It was in Rome at the Flaminio Stadium, the first European stop on the BAD Tour.

Oh, my God, what a concert!

In 1990, I married Giuseppe, better known as “Peppe Michael Jackson.”  I’m not joking when I say that he was famous for his resemblance to Michael.

In 1991, my first child, Tania was born. Needless to say, she already knew Michael from her mother’s womb.  On July 4th, 1992, I attended another concert. It was during the Dangerous Tour, and only those who have seen this concert can understand how wonderful it really was.

In 1993, Vincenzo, my second child, was born. A great joy for me, but unfortunately that year, I had to face a very tough reality. Tania, my daughter, was diagnosed with Autism.

It’s not that easy for a 22-year-old girl to discover she had an Autistic daughter. I’m not referring only to the hurt of finding out, but it’s not easy to handle such trouble at that young age (it’s never easy; whatever age is it, honestly). Thanks to God, He gives us, besides all the pains and the sorrows in our life, also the strength and the dignity to face them.

Growing up and becoming a mother never reduced my love for Michael. On the contrary, it increased. Perhaps it was because I always identified myself with him. […] In 1996, I knew that Michael would have started his HIStory Tour in Prague. Some of my friends were getting ready for the tour, and I was feeling very bad because I knew that having two little children would keep me from ever going with them. As “fate” would have it, my neighbors were from Prague. They knew very well what I felt for Mike. I’ll never forget that night when they told my husband: “Come on, you! Michael Jackson will be in our town. Let Stefania go see him with her friends. Our house is midtown of Prague and is vacant, so she could stay there. We will help you here with the babies.”

When my husband said yes, I couldn’t believe it!  It seemed to me as I could fly!  Since that day my dreams started, and I said to myself: “This time I will not be satisfied only by watching him on stage. He must know that I exist. He’s got to know what he gave me and what he represents to me. I’ll have to do something to impress him.”

So I got a canvas, 2 x 3 meters, and I started painting on it. I just had such a strong inspiration. I knew so well what to do; Michael sitting under a tree with the Walt Disney characters all around him. Peter Pan sitting on his knees; a river, a lawn, many children and Topo GiGio (whom he really adored) waving the Italian flag. I had lots of time to do it since I would not see Michael for many months. 'I’ll make it.' I repeated to myself, and I kept on painting with all my love.

Finally, on September 5th, I landed at the Prague airport with my friend Vania and my canvas. Sonia and Patrizia who were also from Naples, were waiting for us. They had arrived two days before. We went to our friends’ house to drop off our suitcases, and then we rushed off right away to the Intercontinental Hotel where Michael was staying. On our way in the car, Sonia told me she was lucky enough to have hugged Michael the day before. Some fans were allowed to stand within the barriers placed in front of the hotel entrance. She was even allowed to enter with another group of fans into the restaurant where Michael was. I was happy for her, but at the same time I was regretting that I had not been there the day before. Maybe (who knows) Michael could have seen my canvas. Finally, we arrived near the hotel. We knew we were getting close, because we could hear hundreds of fans screaming all around. They were gathering under the canopy of the hotel. I began trembling like a leaf, especially when I looked up and saw beside his window an enormous tarpaulin, affixed with the MJ mark on it.

Suddenly, everyone started screaming louder and the crowd flocked together. “Michael! Michael!” Yeah, it was him! He was leaving to go to Letenska Park for rehearsal. We couldn’t see him; we were behind too many others. This is when I had my first hysterical breakdown and cried. We all went to the Park; his voice resounded everywhere. We could hear him clearly as he rehearsed, and each time the wind blew stronger and moved those tarpaulins that divided us, we could even see him. He was stunning!

[…] I wanted to see his eyes looking down on my canvas, and then hope that our glances would cross into one another’s. I had dreamed it for so many years. Finally, into the later part of the morning, the hotel door opened. Everybody started screaming “Michael! Michael!” I was paralyzed. I couldn’t believe it; he was just a few meters from me. He was gorgeous! […] At one point he looked down at the drawing. He even stopped to do his thumbs-up as if to say, “Okay!" He took a few steps forward to say hello to the crowd, and then he came back to sit in the car. He must have gone to the wrong vehicle, because he got out and went to another car. (There were 2 of the same looking cars parked in a row.) Wayne, his bodyguard, called Teddy Lakis (star promoter) and pointed to the drawing. He came over to us and said, “Michael likes this drawing very much, he‘d like to have it.” Since I had lost my tongue to speak, my friends answered, “Oh, yes! This was drawn just for him, but she would love to have the pleasure of giving it to him personally.”  He went back to Michael to report what he was told, and then returned to us and said, “Okay, Mr. Jackson is going to visit the President, but when he comes back he said you’re invited to go up in his room.” After those words, I couldn’t understand anything more. I laughed, I cried, I trembled, I stammered; I was totally out of my mind! He hadn’t much make-up on and he was gorgeous! […]

I went on staring at him; I did not want to miss anything. Suddenly, Wayne motioned to me to open the tube and I made a fool of myself once again. Since it was huge and very heavy, I made it crash into the chandelier with a terrible clatter. Luckily it didn’t break, and I only managed to say in a whisper, “Oh, sorry.” It was in that moment that his eye caught mine, and he smiled with the sweetest expression.

As the bodyguards rolled out the canvas, Michael stood up from the chair with an, “Oooohhh!” as if to say, “At last!” He began to observe it with the enthusiasm of a child. He was very sweet, because I was very nervous, and he tried to make me feel at ease by commenting on it aloud and smiling, “Oh, my God, it’s wonderful!” Then, without turning away from the picture, he came closer to look at it and he started shouting, “Oooohhh, Topo Gigìo!” dwelling on the final i of the name. Everyone was laughing at his childlike behavior but me. I was paralyzed.

His eyes lit up like those of a child in front of his favorite toy. Apart from Wayne and Yanik, there were some kids in his room and a woman whom I think was their mother: She had always been with Michael since his arrival in Prague, but I did not know who she was.

When Michael saw Topo Gigio with the Italian flag in his hand, he asked me, “Are you Italian?” I answered, “Yes”. The woman immediately began to speak to me in Italian and said, “Oh, how nice, I’m Italian too. Where are you from?” When I answered, “I’m from Naples,” Michael smiled at me and said, “Oh, I love Naples.”

He kept on analyzing the picture; concentrating on every single detail and saying, “Oh, boy, it’s wonderful, wonderful!” Luckily the woman helped me by acting as an interpreter. Michael asked me, “Why did you choose to portray us under a tree?” I answered, “I don’t know, it has been a sort if inspiration. I saw it in my mind before painting.” He said, “Oh, sure. You had a vision! That tree means a lot to me.”

Then, the woman smiled and said to me, “Wow, he said he will bring it home and put it in his room.” I couldn’t believe it and I just said, “Thank you.” He said, “No, thank you! You gave me such a beautiful present. It is full of love.” He went on saying, “Thank you, I love you.” […] I don’t know how I managed to stand on my feet, especially when I felt his hand holding my hip. I wore an openwork t-shirt, and I could feel his fingers touching my skin; he smelt of vanilla perfume. It was the hardest time of my life. My heart was beating so hard, that I’m sure he could hear it too. In the meantime, Yanik was fighting with the camera and couldn’t get the picture. Michael said something, but I couldn’t understand. He told Yanik something like he was the only one who could be a true bodyguard, and then he teased him by saying, “Hello, Yanik, you know that if you don’t push the button, you can’t take the picture, don’t you?” Everybody started laughing. I was still feeling Michael’s hand on my hip and I felt very dizzy. It seemed like the whole room was moving around me. I took a deep breath and smiled while Yanik finally took the picture. Michael exclaimed, “We did it!”

That was the most beautiful moment in my life; his beautiful eyes were staring at mine. He understood that I was much too excited and so he asked me, “Are you ok?” with such an incredible sweetness. That was the real moment that I did let myself go. I threw my arms around him sobbing, “Oh, Michael.” He hugged me too; he held me so tightly and I broke down and cried. That was the one thing I never wanted to do in front of him, crying just like every common fan, but I accumulated too much tension, so I could not hold it back. Michael, with all his sweetness, kept on caressing my head and my back. If I could have, I would have stopped the time and stayed in his arms and felt his warmth, heard his voice and smelled his perfume into eternity.

I couldn’t believe it. I dreamt of that moment since I was a child. I have imagined that scene a million times, and now I really was there in those arms. God, he smelled so good, and how tight he was holding me! I shall never be able to describe what I felt at that moment. Never!

Since I couldn’t stop crying, I told him, “I’m sorry,” and he said to me, smiling with such an indescribable kindness, “Oh-oh! It’s all right.” He stared at me with that particular glance that only he has and asked me again, “Are you ok?” It was incredible! Just a few moments earlier, he looked like a child to me, and now only a few minutes later he took the stature of a father figure. I told him, “I’m fine, thank you.” Then he smiled and asked me with some curiosity what I had in my bag.

I actually didn’t realize that I had been holding my bag since I entered the room, but I was so excited I didn’t think to put it down anywhere. Inside of it I had my children’s photos, and a letter that I wrote for him in which I had opened my heart; writing all that Michael meant to me, and giving him all my support for all that he had to endure. He put down the bag on the table and began to leaf through the photos. I told him, “These are my children.”  He replied, “Oh, congratulations, you already are a mother. But they’re such beautiful kids!” I said, “This is Vichi, he’s 3, and he has imitated you since he was only one.” He smiled, saying that Vichi was really a beautiful baby boy.

Then I showed him Tania’s photos, and I said to him that she’s Autistic. He said, “Oh no, I’m sorry! I do know Autism. They live in a world all on their own.” “Sure," I replied, "and you are part of her world too. Since she was a newborn baby, she always listened to your music when she breaks down and cries. She needs to listen to your songs to calm her. She does not play any kind of game, so most of the time she usually spends her hours watching your videos. When we were at the hospital, we had to take the video player and all of your VHS tapes with us to make her stay quiet.” He became serious, slowly taking a careful look at Tania’s pictures, visibly touched.

He said nothing at first, and then spoke. “She’s beautiful. Her glance; her smile is wonderful. Can I take her pics?” “Certainly you can," I replied. “How old is she?” He asked. “She’s five,” I said. “Can she speak?” “No, Michael. Unfortunately, I never heard the sound of her voice.” He said, “No! My God! She‘s so beautiful! Is there something I could do for her? Do you need my help? How can I help you?” I simply thanked him. I could have asked him to let Tania meet him, because he often gave hospitality to many disabled children in Neverland, but I did not have the courage to ask. I’m still regretting this decision. I’m sure that Tania would have been so happy there. She loves to see him singing and dancing.

Michael took my hand, and looking into my eyes he said, “Don’t ever lose your faith or your hope, and don’t stop fighting for her. Never! Don’t give up!” We embraced each other once again, and just as I was crying I said, “Thank you Michael, I love you!” and he answered, “I love you too; I love you more.” It was such an intense moment; so special, that I have real a difficulty telling it. I fear that it may go away somehow.

I always knew that he was a sensitive, kind of person, but at that moment he was sensitive only for me. He was really touched, and he made me feel all his support and all his love. What a wonderful man; so humble and special! (Here, I start crying again) Then he took my letter, and I said, “Michael, please, it’s so important to me that you’ll read my letter.” And he said, “I’ll do it tonight, I promise.”

Unfortunately, it came my time to say goodbye. Wayne was already waiting for me close to the door. I said to that woman, “Please, I have something more to tell him.” I would have told him that I felt so sorry for him; for everything he had to go through because of the charges and the wickedness he suffered. I wanted to say these things to him even if I had already written everything in my letter. I was only able to say, “How are you?” But I’m quite sure he knew what I was referring to. In fact, we looked into each other’s eyes and I felt really in tune with him. He thanked me and he told me he was fine, also thanking us for the gestures of love that he received from us in which he gained more and more strength. I told him, “Please, take care of you, and don’t forget you’ll always have our support; we will always be with you.” “Ooh, thank you, I love you so much. God bless you,” he said. We said goodbye, and while I was walking to the door, I reminded him to read my letter once again. He brought his hand to his lips and kissed the index and the middle finger, and then he placed them to his heart saying, “I swear it.”

I almost crossed the threshold, when I realized that I had forgotten to take the paper bag which had some gifts in it that my friends gave me to give to Michael. I turned back with confidence, took the bag and said, “Oh, I forgot to give Michael these things” Red faced, I went back over to Michael. He looked at me smiling. I threw this enormous bag of gifts into his hands, and instead of telling him that those were my friends’ gifts for him, I said: “These are my friends.” God, how embarrassing. Everyone there was laughing. Michael made fun of me, looking into the bag with his eyes open wide. We all were laughing; it was really a nice moment and Michael was so cute. He asked me to help him hold the bag while he took the items from inside. I don’t know how I contained myself because from that moment on, I can’t recall anything. I don’t remember how we said goodbye. I don’t remember who brought me downstairs. I don’t even remember if the girls who came up with me had left already or if they came down with me. I only know that I found myself sitting and crying on the sidewalk.

Separating myself from him was one of the most difficult moments of my life.

Thirteen years have gone by, and I still have not remembered what happened; my mind completely removed the moments after I left. He dedicated so much of his time to me making me feel loved….me, a perfect stranger! He was really a gift of God!

Thank you, Michael, you are really an angel….. You will always live in my heart. I love you!”

[Stefania Capasso, Italian Michael Jackson fan; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]

 

“I went to the [Jacksons' Destiny tour] show, and right at the beginning, a guy came up to me and asked if I was a photographer. He said his name was Steve Manning and said he was with CBS records. […] [Manning wanted photographs of the show for Epic Records, because the Jacksons were using a new stage that night.] The stage was elevating in the air and spinning around. [Steve said] Dayton was going to be [the Jacksons’] first time using the stage. [I photographed the show, but wasn't sure if Steve was serious about pictures being taken.] When I told him I had the pictures, [Steve] said, ‘I need some pictures of the guys in the dressing room. That's when I thought, ‘Wow, this guy's for real.' The guys were very kind and gracious. […]”

“[When the Jacksons returned to UD Arena a couple years later, I returned to photograph the group. While there, their road manager, Wanda Fields, who was in charge of the tour, approached me. At the time, I had a photography partner named Marsha Gebhardt. Fields asked me if Marsha and I would be the Jacksons’ photographer while in town and said they were staying at a hotel near the Dayton Mall. I agreed, but said I could only help when I wasn't working.] Being a Dayton firefighter had me on different work hours. We worked 24 hours on and 48 hours off. [My time with the Jacksons in Dayton created the opportunity for me to photograph the group in three other cities - Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio and Detroit. I appreciate my memories with the group, but one moment involving Michael motioning me on stage stands out. In the middle of their show in Columbus, Michael was dancing and waving at me to come on stage.] I kept looking at him, but wasn't sure if he was actually calling me out there. [The road crew] looked at me and said, ‘Vern, he wants you out there.' The roadies were always playing jokes, so I didn't believe them. [I wasn't going to walk on stage, but I changed my mind after Randy's tutor, Rose Fine, (who spent previous years traveling with the Jackson 5) told me to.] We always listened to Rose. We had this saying, ‘Whatever Rose says, goes.' I asked her, ‘Rose, is he talking to me?' She said, ‘Yes, honey, he is. He wants you out there.' [I ran on stage with my camera toward Michael.] He whispered in my ear and asked, ‘Can you keep up with me?' I said, ‘Yeah I can keep up with you.' [I began getting close-up photographs of Michael and the rest of the Jacksons. Michael wanted photographs of him dancing close to the edge of the stage.] When the show was over, I looked at Michael and said, ‘Man, don't you ever do that to me again’. Michael laughed and we both laughed together. [By the time the group and I reached Detroit, Michael and I created a signal. He would hold his hands a certain way and that would be my cue.] That's when I knew to run out on stage.”

“[When the Jacksons had free time, they did things individually.] Randy was always with Rose doing his school work. Tito stayed locked in his room, working on a model airplane, and Marlon and Jackie were [in relationships.] They would fly back and forth to their home a lot. [I spent a lot of his time with Michael. Michael would just stay in his room or on the tour bus. I would hangout (sic) on the bus with him. [I am grateful for my time spent with the Jacksons, and I remember them as gracious individuals. I appreciate the group, because working with them gave me future opportunities.] I was a stringer for Jet and Ebony magazine and got to travel to neat places like South American (sic), New Zealand and Paris. A guy named John Baker was my new photography partner and we got to spend two weeks in South America together. […] [After Michael died, I reflected on my memories of him.] He was just a great, caring guy. Michael was truly a great person. I want to thank him. [I’ll never forget my days with the Jacksons, they were priceless. I am grateful and I owe it all to God."

[Vernon Holman, firefighter, former chief photographer for Jet Stone News, photographer of the Jacksons for their Destiny tour; sources: www.articlesbase.com, www.thesilencedtruth.com]

 

“[…] This was just devastating. I mean, I just couldn't accept it at first.  I think about, you know, Michael was a young man, and time goes by so quickly.  I -- I thought about the fact that last year we started to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Motown Records, and when we were starting out with the record company, he was being born. And the 50 years seems like that they have gone by overnight, instantly. So that's how his life was. But, however, he has left such a legacy. He -- he was remarkable. He revolutionized the presentation of a song and he revolutionized the making of videos and like that. He's got so many young artists imitating him, today, or mimicking him or trying to. He was just a remarkable artist. […] I first met Michael when the kids (the Jackson 5) first came to Motown. And they did a show, actually, at Berry (Gordy)'s home in Detroit, they did a show for us there.  And they were so dynamic. To see a little guy like Michael was at that time, singing like he had been here forever, you know, just singing like an old man, was just an incredible experience. […] It was a no doubter. It was obvious. Because like I said, this guy is -- you know, he's like an old soul. He sang like he had lived it all before, when he was 10.  So -- yes, I knew he was going to be great. ”

“I was in London about a month (before his death), and that was where he was going to have the 50 initial concerts that he said would probably be his last (…) concerts. But I knew that probably he was going to go around the world with those concerts. And I was in London, and the promoter who was promoting those concerts, I was talking with him. And he said, "Well, we have to cancel the first five concerts, because Michael isn't feeling well." So I said, "OK, fine, everybody is entitled not to feel well."  And -- but the proof of him being Michael Jackson, who he will always be, is the fact that he was going to do 50 concerts. And the place he was playing is a big arena-type place over in London. OK?  Ten minutes or so after the tickets went on sale, they were all sold out.  […]”

[William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr., American singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive; sources: www.cnnasiapacific.com, Larry King Live]


“[…] I would dearly love to take credit for discovering the Jackson 5, but, really, what I was, was the conduit for them to get to Motown. I had just gone to work for Mr. Gordy in 1968. And he was a very imposing figure. And I was so happy to be at Motown and I was asked to come to see this group at Bobby Taylor's apartment. We lived in the same apartment building. And I walked in and I saw these kids. And they were unbelievable. And I called Mr. Gordy and I said, ‘Oh, I've just seen the most fantastic act.’ And he said, ‘Great’. And I said, ‘Yes, these kids’. He said, ‘Kids? I don't want any kids. Stevie Wonder is enough of a handful. Go find some talented adults’, basically. And, you know, I was terribly new and terribly green. And I didn't know what to do. And I just had been so profoundly affected by their talent that I went back one more time, mustered up all my courage. And I said, ‘Mr. Gordy, you just have to see these kids.’ And he finally relented and he agreed to audition them. And the rest is history. […] Having known Michael when he walked in the doors at Motown, and this dear, sweet spirit and mischievous little boy and sweet, you know, impish way that he had along with all of the talent. You know? And it just -- it breaks my heart. It just breaks my heart [that he’s no longer with us]. […] And as much as one can know anything in this business, I think that he had the charisma, the talent, the voice, the everything you take. When you think about (what) the it factor is, that's what he had at that age. He was phenomenal. And then when he wasn't performing, he was, like, this regular kid that was wanting to color and get candy and mess around. You know?  It was just an amazing combination of elements.”

“[…] But, of all the people in the world who recognized his talent, Berry Gordy was, you know -- I mean, what he mobilized from the time he saw Michael, I mean, and the group was signed and Michael and the Jackson 5 had three number one records in a row before they ever went out to perform. And I had the opportunity to take them out on their first tour and clearly didn't know what I was doing. But we all figured it out together and, I mean, it was so incredible to see what young kids, in particular, young African-American kids, how they embraced the Jackson 5. And, I mean, we went from being completely anonymous -- I should say the boys went from being completely anonymous to being absolutely on lockdown, not able to go anywhere in a period of a few months.  It was phenomenal.”

[Suzanne de Passe; American television, music and film producer; sources: www.cnnasiapacific.com, Larry King Live]


“I did a show (…) I found out (about his death) just before I went on the show. And I have to tell you, it impacted me so heavily in my show, because it's hard to go out and do what I do and know that this has happened. This is (…) (a) person (…) that I knew really well. And it is -- it just breaks your heart. And what troubles me the most is that, you know, the whole people jumping on the wrong things about Michael. This -- I agree. This is a chance to celebrate his life. […] I did a book called "Your Friends and Mine." It's a photography book. And I called him, I said, ‘Michael, I'm (sic) promise you you'll only be here 15 minutes.’ He said, ‘I'm coming, and I'm bringing Bubbles with me.’ And he was there for eight hours. He stayed there and wanted to chat and talk. And we took pictures. I think I took the first picture of him with his head off. Because he said, ‘I want to see what this looks like.’ So -- it's just -- he was just such a special guy. You know?  And you don't meet guys who have that kind of success that really are able to communicate at a different level. And that's a success I would not wish on anybody. […] First of all, you start off envying [his artistry], and then you're just thankful you don't have to go through what he went through. I mean, that would have been treacherous for anybody. And so I loved his music. ... There are very few people that represent certain eras of music. And he definitely was one of them. […] God knows Michael deserves everything he's getting.  […]”

[Kenneth Donald ‘Kenny’ Rogers, American singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur; sources: www.cmt.com, www.cnnasiapacific.com, Larry King Live]


“[…] You know, when I think of him, I think of this young boy, that teenager that I first met. This, like, adorable boy that I met who, you know, loved to look at my beaded socks, and, you know, said to me once, "Cher, do you think we could just go to the movies?" And we looked at each other and we went, "Nah, I don't think so." We talked about, well, ‘Let's rent the movie out, and we'll just bring all of our friends’. And you know, and then a young man that I remember, you know, dancing with all night and going to see "Dreamgirls" with. […] Michael was always adorable to me. He was always sweet. […] They (the Jacksons) were on ‘Cher’. They were on my show. […] I just remember that we laughed all the time, because I didn't know the dancing. And I kept going, ‘You guys, you do this all the time. Just do it one more time for the old woman, so I can not look like, you know, I don't know what I'm doing out here.’ And he just kept going, "OK, come on, Cher. You're going to get this. You're going to get this. Come on, let's do it; let's just do." And I thought, my God, you know, I'm going to dance with this boy that's, like, the best, you know, dancer in the world. But then I remember one night we were at a party.  I think it was on the Queen Mary. And we danced all night long. And I never even thought about -- that, you know, I wasn't his equal as a dancer. We were just having a blast. He was a great teenager. He was a great, optimistic, adorable, not very confident, though (, teenager). I mean, he was so beautiful and adorable, but he didn't have any confidence in that. […] He was a great singer. You know, it's like God gives you certain gifts. And some people He gives different gifts, and some people He gives more gifts. And this child was just an extraordinary child, touched by this ability to have people feel him and feel people. And he just had that sense that you get, and you don't get it from a living person. You get it from someplace else. He had it. And, yes, he was a great singer.  I mean, he was a great singer. He was one of the great singers. You can't write him off as just a pop thing, because he could sing like nobody else. He was genius, like Ray Charles. Like Stevie Wonder. Like people that, you know, like people that are -- have a gift. They just have this gift. You don't know where it comes (from). You don't know how long it stays. You don't know what the impact is going to be. But he was able to connect with people. You know, he was a really soft-spoken boy. Always. Always. I remember, once, we were at this party and it was -- I don't know if was a New Year's Eve party. I don't remember. But I was with Val Kilmer. And Bob Mackey had made me a pair of beaded socks for my Christmas present. Val was wearing them. Michael couldn't get over them. And he kept going, "Vanna, I just love those socks.  Cher, I just love those socks." I said, ‘Well, you know, they were a present from Bob for me for Christmas.’ And he said, "I just love beaded socks." You know, he just was so... […] He was just a kid.”

[Cherilyn Sarkisian, better known as Cher, American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer; sources: www.cnnasiapacific.com, Larry King Live]


“[…] This man, through his music, actually, like, made a change in the world. He was the only artist that you could say people knew of -- this man -- in every country, no matter (if) his song was in English. But no matter who country it was in, everybody knew the words to his song. And you know, when (…) I hear everybody talking about the controversy and the downs, everybody has downs in their life. This man had so much positivity and so much of a positive effect, especially on my generation. You know, I didn't grow up listening to Elvis of the Beatles. This guy was like my hero. And he gave birth to all the artists in my generation. And I just think it's so sad to watch everybody talk about things that weren't proven. […] He changed the world. Like, he made me believe in magic. He made me -- he made me actually visualize the music. He made me want to make music. And I just think it's important for all the artists out there to call in and for us to be heard and let the people know how much this man meant to us.”

[Sean John "P. Diddy" Combs, American rapper, singer, record producer, actor and men's fashion designer; sources: www.cnnasiapacific.com, Larry King Live]

 

“[…] He was, kind of like Diddy said before, he just -- he presented something for my generation to emulate, you know. And it was about the scope of things. He just wanted to do it bigger, more dynamic. And he did. He made you believe in magic. […] You know what? He was the nicest guy ever, you know? […] Professional, but you know what? Surprisingly, it was -- when you first meet somebody that you look up to, you're a little awestruck. Because you have an idea in your mind of what they are. And then you meet somebody backstage, and they're champing on a sandwich or something, and you're like, "Oh, OK, so you eat like me." Then, you know, he cracked a joke and made everybody comfortable right away.”

[Joshua Scott "JC" Chasez, American singer-songwriter, dancer, entertainer, record producer, and occasional actor, former member of boy group ‘N Sync; sources: www.cnnasiapacific.com, Larry King Live]


“I managed -- I was their (the Jackson 5’s) first manager when they joined Motown. It's interesting, because I only managed people that Barry Gordy was personally interested in. So I managed Smokey (Robinson). I managed the Supremes. I managed the Temptations. And one night I was getting off the road with the Supremes, and I got a telephone call from Barry Gordy and he said, ‘We just signed this new group and you're going to manage them.’ He said, ‘You have to come down to the studio right now.’ I said, ‘Why do I have to come down to the studio? You tell me I'm managing them, I'm managing them. I know what I have to do.’ ‘No, no, no, no. You have to come down to the studio.’ ‘OK.’ So I go down to the studio on Fairfax Avenue. There's (sic) five little kids. And he says, ‘This is Shelley Berger. He manages Diane Ross. He manages Smokey Robinson. He manages Temptations. Now he's your manager. Show them what you can do.’ And Michael just went into this James Brown thing. And I almost fell on the floor and I said, ‘Sammy Davis has been reincarnated.’ You know? It was the same kind of electricity. […] I was with him only for about a year and a half. […] He said to me, ‘Can we…’ -- we were doing meetings and the agency, like, ‘Oh, we're going to get him on the Joey Bishop Show. We're going to get him.’ After the meeting, Mr. Gordy said to me, ‘What do you think?’ And I said, ‘Let me ask you a question. Do you think you can get three No. 1 records on the Jackson 5?’ Now, only Barry (sic) Gordy can say this. He says, ‘I already have it in the can.’ And I believed it. So I said, ‘OK, if you can get three No. 1 records in a row, we will not put the Jacksons out until they're getting $ 25,000 a night.’ Now, understand this is 1968. So $ 25 -- I mean, that was top dollar. The Beatles got...[…] We didn't get it. First record came out. It was $ 5,000, $ 5,000, $ 7,500. Second record came out. It was $ 10,000, $ 12,005. And you could do this, you see, because it was the driven snow. There was no price on the Jacksons. The third record comes up. Now, it's up to $ 17,000, $ 17,500. Now my reputation is on the line, because I told Barry Gordy I'd get $ 25,000. So I went to a good, corrupt general manager of the forum. Because that was the time...[…] I said, ‘I will give you -- I will promote the concert. I will give you all the promoter's money for the concert, but you have to give me two contracts for $ 25,000: one for Oakland, one for L.A’. I said, ‘They're going to make more than $ 25,000. We'll sell the shows out.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ He said, ‘But let me ask you a question. Mr. Cooke owned the Lakers at the time. And he said he's having a problem renegotiating Elgin Baylor's contract. Do you think Elgin Baylor can be listed as the promoter?’ I said, ‘You've got it.’  I had the Jackson 5 do a thing with Elgin Baylor (…).”

[Shelley Berger, American music manager; sources: www.cnnasiapacific.com, Larry King Live]


“After 'We Are the World,' Michael wanted to do another song, (‘What More Can I Give’) and so he got a lot of the artists together. He asked me to come do a line in it. And so we met at a studio in Los Angeles. ... He produced my part of it there. He wore a shiny red satin shirt and black pants and was very nice. [I first met him in 2000, when I performed at London's Royal Albert Hall during a concert tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. As it turned out, he was also staying at the same hotel chosen by my husband (and manager, Narvel Blackstock) and I. There were so many fans outside that hotel, they circled it. And all 24 hours a day, you could hear [people yelling] 'Michael! Michael! Michael!' Really amazing. He's huge. In life and death, huge, and I do hope that everybody remembers the good times. […]”

[Reba McEntire, American country music artist and actress; sources: www.cmt.com, www.thesilencedtruth.com]


“[…] I remember meeting Michael and walking away thinking that he is one of the most unique artists of all time. I have always felt tenderness for him because of what he has had to endure. ... We have lost another legend. It hits close to home. He is my generation.”

[Wynonna Ellen Judd, American country music singer; source: www.cmt.com]


“I loved him since I was a kid. We all sang Thriller, the album itself, 'Man in the Mirror.' I can go on and on about the songs that he wrote and produced or whatever. But I do know that I could only wish to be as great musically as that guy.”

[William Matthew ‘Billy’ Currington, American country music artist; source: www.cmt.com]


"He was larger than life. He's an artist that has had an impact on every other artist, consciously or subconsciously. Musically, he helped to change the world, and his records will live on forever.”

[Miranda Lambert, American country music artist; source: www.cmt.com]


“I will remember Michael Jackson as the kid that overcame... as the mesmerizing, moonwalking worldwide artist. He was forced to fill shoes that must have been crippling to walk in, but yet he found a reason and a way to dance in them like no one (…).”

[Rodney Allan Atkins, American country music artist; source: www.cmt.com]


“Michael was a once-in-a-lifetime artist that not only influenced us, but changed the whole landscape of popular music. We were shocked to hear the news of his passing, and will always remember his creative genius and far-reaching impact on all music genres and the world. He was such an inspiration to us, and his special soul will be greatly missed.”

[Little Big Town, American country music vocal group; source: www.cmt.com]


“Richard Lecocq has released his newly published book, Michael Jackson KING, a detailed documentation of Michael Jackson’s historic solo career as the world’s number one entertainer from 1979 – 2009. Richard takes the reader through the exploration of how the albums, films, tours, TV appearances and collaborations with other artists were created and became a part of the legacy of this great entertainer.

Michael Jackson KING includes in-depth interviews with Steve Barron who directed the plate-shifting “Billie Jean” video; choreographer Vincent Paterson of “Beat It,” “Thriller,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Black or White,” “Jam,” “Blood on the Dance Floor” and several TV performances; “imagineer” Rick Rothschild, who worked on Captain EO; Matt Forger, the sound engineer from Thriller to HIStory; Buz Kohan, writer of the TV shows Disney 25, Motown 25, Sammy Davis, Jr.’s 60th Celebration, Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th Celebration, and Tom Bahler, writer and arranger of “We Are the World” and “She’s Out Of My Life.”

In addition to those interviews, Richard interviewed me regarding the creation of Michael Jackson’s image for the cover of his first hugely successful solo album, Off the Wall. The look Michael and I created together at that time was a graphic metaphor of his coming of age, of his stepping out as a man on his own. Those images, the black and white palette, the socks and glove and all the other trademark elements we came up with, were kept in some form as the symbol of Michael Jackson throughout his career. His branding.

Black and white. Simple. Dramatic.

Michel always used the look we created for Off the Wall as a logo. A brand icon.

Until The Wiz, I had only thought of Michael as the kid in The Jacksons and The Jackson Five. In The Wiz, he was grown up and a person of his own. He out-danced, out-sang and out-performed the rest of the cast and with a personality bigger than the screen. I was struck by lightning - I knew the look for Michael. I begged his agent to let me to create the cover for Off the Wall!

At that time, young Michael was a gangly kid with an Afro. Literally a kid. But I wanted to put that kid in a tuxedo - a tuxedo and white dress shirt, looking like Sinatra walking into the spotlight to the applause of a sold-out Vegas performance.

I was not only designing and creating a cover; I was branding a person.

We tried several times to get the shots for the cover. After a shoot at the Griffith Park Observatory under the Hollywood sign that didn’t work for me, we tried a re-shoot in photographer Steve Harvey’s Hollywood studio. Nothing was happening. The photograph in the theatrical tuxedo, with the Gene Kelley white sox and loafers, needed something more than just a white background.

I needed a background to support the metaphorical symbolism of the tuxedo and the young kid with the big talent.

In an urban alley against an old wall of real brick, I directed Michael to be more animated in his pose. And I told him to smile. Voila!…Off the Wall. Perhaps after the Great Wall and the Berlin Wall, one of the most famous walls in the world. A wall I picked to be our backstage alley door of a Broadway theatre.

I added the white glow to the socks for emphasis before the album cover was printed. Those, along with the black tuxedo pant cuffs and the black penny loafers, are the most iconic parts of the brand image and when the album was reduced to CD size, that was the most indelible visual, particularly in that smaller size.

The cover...

The printing of the original cover sucked. The glow of the white socks was not handled to be as soft and cloudlike as I intended. Michael’s likeness suffered. Worse, I was never asked to proof the printing.

And until an interview I did after Michael’s passing, one focused on my involvement in creating his look and the cover of Off the Wall, I never understood exactly what I didn’t like about the title lettering. Looking at the CD back cover, there was another -  newer - photo of Michael, still in a tux, but in front of a faux brick wall.  He is holding a pre-school style chalk holder with a big piece of chalk in it, as he affected a visibly awkward “Michael Jackson pose.”

Kindergarten chalk? Awkward pose?

Kindergarten chalk lettering on the original Off the Wall cover of mine? That’s what bothered me: another denial that Michael Jackson was not a child, but a major entertainer.

Discussing this with Richard Lecocq, I emphasized that I felt this lettering was as big a mistake as the printing quality of the original cover…and I wanted to redesign that title lettering in present time, for Michael Jackson KING.

So I decided I would. The kiddie school chalk was infantile and wrong, but what would work? Graffiti? Wrong message at the time.

I discovered Toril Bækmark, a Danish illustrator. She created new lettering for me and, as a place holder, created this wonderful drawing of Michael, in that same pose he made for me for Off the Wall.

Michael would like it.”

[Mike Salisbury, American brand design artist; source: www.onehellofaneye.com]

 

-----

“There are a thousand ways I could word this, but, frankly, I am tired of trying to find just the right words. I have been following this site for weeks. I have read each of these posts as well as those on other sites. I have remained silent and wonder if I should continue to be silent. However, I believe as long as I am protecting Michael’s privacy, even posthumously, God and even Michael would want me to share the following. I have never and will never do interviews, I will never divulge my identity as I have not for many years. Some will believe what I will say here, some will not, that is between you and God. It is not my responsibility to convince anyone of anything. I believe that you are all my sisters (and brothers) here in the faith and for that I am thankful. I am grateful that we all [who visit the Sisters of the Faith website] agree and acknowledge Jesus Christ, as Savior, as Lord, as the only hope for our lives, as the very reason we live and breathe and share this good news as He asks we do.

There is not other way to says this than to just say it straight to all of your here “my family” in the body of Christ.

Michael and I were friends for many years. I was involved in the trial. I have witnessed, like others, the loving and devoted father he was. I have shared many times with him and his family. We have had many private conversations.

Although I have been asked, I apologize, but I would not share the details of those conversations any more than I would (in) talks with any other friend, as that would be gossip and betray the designed, intended intrinsic trust of friendship.

Based on the aforementioned and other details, I can tell you all with absolute certainty that Michael had accepted Jesus Christ, understood who He is and had given His life to Him.

I will not disclose dates, words or reasons that it may or may not match what the world saw publicly.

Just after his passing, it mattered to me that the world knew, that the church was made aware. Somehow, after much prayer, it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. It mattered at first to show the world, to convince the skeptics in the church who “didn’t see fruit” or doubted that someone like Michael could be saved. (absurdly like “someone” like any of us deserves it more) I ask that not as Pharisees or Sadducees, but as people who have been saved by grace and not of ourselves. I ask that as redeemed people, each of us, respectively able to give unique testimony of how God reached to us in the mud and mire of our lives and never gave up on us, I ask that you accept this truth. If you want proof, you will have to wrestle with why you must have it and ask God why you must.

If someone told you that a neighbor you had known for years had died, but was saved and you had not known that, you would rejoice and not doubt. But truly God’s own people wrongly and self righteously judged Michael on numerous occasions.

I miss him terribly and our family is beyond saddened as we grieve primarily for his children, his family and other friends who were blessed… not to have known a well known individual, but to have shared this life with a beautiful, yet misunderstood human being.

I have peace in knowing that God in His mercy decided there would be no music ministry, no imminent public profession to be torn apart (by the church) and that God didn’t even deem it necessary that the world be notified of anything. God’s love for us is one on One. It is quintessentially personal and goes deeper than any love we can fathom. Glory only to God the Father that this unfathomable love took home a son, that Michael is now free from his chronic physical pain and emotional anguish. I thank God that I lived to witness his salvation, I am humbled beyond expression that God loves us as He does and asks that we do the same for each other. I praise Him for all of you that you faithfully continue to speak His words in a dark and dying world where the harvest is ripe and the workers are too few…… thanks for reading.

In All That Jesus Is.

Jess (pseudonym)”

[Sources: www.faithsisters.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

-------

 

“[…] The power of Jackson’s music to unite fans from around the globe — seemingly regardless of their political, religious, ethnic, or socio-economic differences — remains unparalleled. “My parents don’t know much American music,” said Rajneil Singh, a 23-year-old whose family immigrated to the United States from the Fiji Islands in the 1970s. “But they know all of Michael Jackson. He transcends not just cultures, but generations — the old people are just as sad as the young people. There aren’t many artists who can have that sort of impact.”

[…]

In 1999, Jackson met with Nelson Mandela (…) and donated profits from two shows to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

Jackson crafted a trademark musical style that earned him massive success. You could say that it was pop or that it was rhythm and blues, but it really was a unique-sounding hybrid,” said Geoff Grace, a California composer who worked for Jackson as an arranger and orchestrator in conjunction with Jackson’s longtime music director, Brad Buxer. “Michael would never imitate someone else’s style. He was always an original.” While maintaining his distinctive voice, Jackson exhibited a wide stylistic range. “There are a lot of acts known for hard-hitting dance music, or for tender ballads, but Michael was known for both,” added Grace. “People might have been interested in him for something sweet like ‘The Girl Is Mine,’ or a harder, driving song like ‘Jam.’ He had a breadth, as well as uniqueness, of style that captured a lot of people’s attention.”

[…] Whether recording pianos, drums, synthesizers or strings, Jackson and his production team took great care to produce tones and textures that were edgy and powerful. “The goal was more than just creating a wide, lush, stereo soundscape,” Grace continued. “It was, ‘What can we use to make an impact?’”

Perhaps more important than the music itself was Jackson’s total fearlessness on stage. The singer’s breakout television performance of the song “Billie Jean” for the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever special in 1983, for example, showcased Jackson’s fiery energy, explosively virtuosic dancing and total commitment to his performance. “Starting in the 1990’s, there would be moments when he would just stop and scream during his concerts and videos,” said Grace. “He didn’t hold anything back.”

Jackson grew up in the spotlight as the youngest member of the Jackson 5 singing group, performing with his four older brothers and achieving stardom as a child. And though this early experience can explain much of the appeal Jackson would later develop as a solo artist, other factors contributed as well. “Michael Jackson transcended boundaries,” said Jason Burwen, a world-music radio disc jockey and graduate student in international public policy. “Pop music is about being popular, and he appealed to people with different backgrounds. […] Grace echoed the sentiment. […]"

[Michael Gallant, musician, composer, producer author, senior editor at Keyboard magazine; sources: www.america.gov, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“As my radio alarm clock went off one morning in March of 1985, I was awakened by the pure voice of a child singing the words, "We are the world. We are the children." In my groggy state, I remember thinking to myself that I wish I had thought of that obvious idea: A children's version of the worldwide anthem - We Are The World.

Then, as I gained consciousness, I realized that the "child" I had heard was, in fact, Michael Jackson and what I was listening to was the original recording.

I sprang out of bed and called my producer. That afternoon, on my KMGG Radio show, I shared my vision of gathering the most talented children in Los Angeles and giving them the opportunity to do their part for the charity created to benefit those starving in Ethiopia - USA For Africa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=plvCJwXehn8

The response was overwhelming to say the least, with hundreds of parents and kids calling and wanting to be a part of the idea.

The Children of the World Project was born.

When Michael Jackson, who had penned the song with Lionel Ritchie, heard about the project, he immediately gave it his blessing and even suggested his talented nieces, Brittny (sic) and Valencia Jackson, audition as well. They did and appeared on the recording.

After several weeks and with the help of countless volunteers, including my friend and entertainment professional, Roger Neal, we had auditioned over 1500 children in various locations throughout Southern California. Every effort was made to make each child, ages 5 to 17, feel special about what and why they were auditioning. Everyone was presented a certificate and t-shirt commemorating their participation.

I contacted award winning producer, George Duke, and asked if he join us. He not only accepted, but brought in legendary musicians, Stanley Clarke, Phillip Bailey, and Journey's Steve Smith among to play on the track.

After personally calling every one of the 50 who were chosen (and you can imagine their enthusiastic reactions), under the direction of musical pro Martha Woodhull, the choir then spent several weeks rehearsing their parts.

In addition to these incredibly talented voices, we added another group of child stars with the understanding that everyone would be treated equally, regardless of their name or credits. This had been the same policy adopted by the original cast of We Are The World. This group included, Drew Barrymore, Danielle Brisebois, Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro, and others.

Then, on April 27, 1985, one of the finest children's choirs ever assembled walked into the Westlake Studios in Hollywood and recorded "the chlidren's version" of We Are The World.

Every note was also filmed for a video of the song. I couldn't stop thinking about the 1400+ kids who had not made the group and suggested that part of the video include them all. It was agreed we finished our filming at LA's Griffith Park where every child in the world imaginable was represented by hundreds of young singers, including those who where blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped. We wanted to show that when it comes to giving, there are no barriers. Everyone can participate.

Keep in mind that our production in the studio and on location, not to mention the countless of hours of planning, would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet, every need was filled by donations, equipment, and scores of industry production specialists.

The result can be seen below. It is, to this day, my proudest charitable and professional endeavor.

The following year we were notified that our version of the song had been nominated for a Grammy. Through the power of radio (before the Internet) and the effort thousands of caring, giving, and loving human beings, the words that Michael Jackson, gave to the world - "We are the one's who make a brighter day, so let's start giving" took on new life and meaning by The Children of the World.

They not only gave to help their starving brothers and sisters, they also paid a special tribute to "a child of the world" - Michael Jackson.

Sonny Melendrez.

*Note: If you or someone you know participated in this project, please let us know. Every effort is being made to find those who were touched by the experience for a special 25th Anniversary television project.


[…]”


[Sonny Melendrez, American actor, radio-TV personality, and keynote speaker; sources: www.ChildrenOfTheWorldProject.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“There is no end to the commentary concerning the death of Michael Jackson and mine certainly warrants no special attention: nevertheless, I am slightly embarrassed to say how much his death has affected me. I have been a great admirer of his talent since I was a child; as most of us, I grew up listening and watching him evolve as an artist and reach the heights of stardom that I believe will never be surpassed… we no longer have a culture (or an attention span) to allow even the most deserving of talents rise and remain at the top of their fields. Our standards in so many respects have declined to even expect mediocrity: we are relieved to see it, as most of the talent now falls so far below it…

I have taken it upon myself to observe the collection of interviews, appearances, photographs, and other media on Michael Jackson during the course of his forty-five year career. What has struck me most about his personality (if, indeed, it can serve as insight to his character) is the alarming consistency of it. I say alarming only because most of us grow out of our childlike wonder at the world and the idealism in helping those in need, and making the world and its future better and brighter for others, as well as ourselves. Mr. Jackson’s interviews as a child serve to show the influence of his family’s religion; as a Jehovah’s Witness, the strict beliefs that denied him holidays, birthdays, and the many forms of amusement such as television and movies and games that most children take for granted as their province. Being fully employed by the age of nine, Mr. Jackson had only his family, a large one, granted, but still a small cramped corner to grow up and cultivate a sense of self from: meanwhile, his exposure to the outside world of other people was distorted by fame, and the outrageous expectations that come with anxious and adoring crowds… how, indeed, does this shape the perspective of a child? I don’t wonder ever of his love for children and animals, undoubtedly the only company that never wanted or expected anything from him. I daresay it gave him a liberty from (…) a grueling work schedule, and a unruly mob of fans that held no end of comfort for him, even into his aging years…

Michael Jackson’s battle with vitiligo and lupus has been confirmed: suffering from gradual de-pigmentation and joint inflammation in front of the world must have taken a great deal of confidence from him as a performer: it made him a public spectacle in a way he never wished to be seen and shown. Why after thirty years of being born and raised into unprecedented stardom as a Black man, Mr. Jackson would decide to “become White,“ has been accused, but never explained. Alas, heavy makeup, ornate dress to completely cover his body took more than a physical toll; it took an emotional one, as his appearance was ridiculed even as he made desperate attempts to prevent it. Mr. Jackson directed our attention to his performance, more singing, dancing, fireworks, all the glitter and glamour and sparkle he could muster until we didn’t believe what we saw, but we loved it… therein lies the real magic of his talent, I believe, he convinced us he was beauty and grace even as his skin spotted and his limbs crippled behind the curtain…

Michael Jackson’s ordeal with accusations of child molestation are sad….I worked as a voluntary on three psych wards and have some indirect experience with pedophiles. He is certainly uncharacteristic of any I have spoken and dealt with outside of his love for children. A pedophile surrounded by children for four decades: two allegations surfaced with a nearly ten-year interval: the illogical sequence in the course of events should have been comical… should have been. The real argument is how many have allegations have not surfaced in the forty years…. What will strike you about any repeat offender of such sex-related crimes is cunning: building an amusement park for thousands of children to run and play in; to openly admit you share your bed with them, to spend no less than twenty years of your life expressing how much children motivate and inspire you is no show of cunning, I can tell you. A pedophile would immediately open himself to suspicion under such candor. I believe Michael Jackson’s lack of exposure to our socially accepted hypocrisy failed to learn the rules of the games we play with one another. There is something pathetic about Michael Jackson’s statements and arguments: he seems to be genuinely telling the truth and expecting it to matter… the rest of us in the real world know better.

You are not innocent before proven guilty; if acquitted, it doesn’t mean you cannot be condemned… individuality can only be expressed if it is in accordance to what everybody else would do and be… if you are a man, be “how all men are,” or you will be labeled a homosexual, and you know what that means: a freak of nature, which will open you up to all sorts of allegations and assumptions, particularly when it comes to your relations with children and the paternity of your own.

The biggest star the world was beaten by a windfall of public scorn, a far more powerful weapon than any military force could wield… we pride ourselves on being able to say and do what we want, live and believe how we want: we indulge our delusions, don’t we? Try living in this world and this society where your love for nature, animals, children, family and friends made you a suspect; where your abstinence from drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity made you a freak; where your compassion for the sick and the suffering, your aspirations for world peace and justice made you pathetic; where forgiving those who manipulated, exploited and wronged you made you deserving of being dragged through courts and drugged to keep the money-making machine oiled… in short, made you Michael Jackson.

I don’t pretend to know the truth of this man’s life… I can only seek to know it. I have sought it through his own words and the words of those who knew him. I have sought it in his art, his music and performances. I believe Michael Jackson’s life and death have much to say about what our society has become, clouded in delusions of freedom and liberty, in our aberrations of what it means to be good and decent.

Was Michael Jackson a good and decent man? I don’t know for certain; what I do know is, the qualities he was most ridiculed for are the ones we as a people are supposed to honor and celebrate in a human being, and his battles were something for which we are supposed to show compassion and understanding…

I believe Michael Jackson’s decade-span give a baleful testimony of American society.

We saw Michael Jackson through the years from our own eyes…

What we see is what we look like...

Thank you for taking the time to read.”

[Shondradawson, Michael Jackson admirer; source: www.democraticunderground.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“My sons have a huge involvement in the (new) album. They helped produce and write some of the songs and sang in the background with me. They kept me really focused on the project. After my brother passed away, it was very difficult to get back into a musical groove. I had to take time to just mourn for a moment. I felt Michael wanted me to continue my music. He had heard the title track, and he liked it and praised it very much. I started back on it about four months ago, and now I'm going to complete it and get it out. […] No, [there aren’t tributes to Michael on my album,] but I’m working on something. It's actually still very hard for me to listen to his music. Although, I hear it all the time, to actually listen to some of his later music when he wasn't a Jackson Five is difficult. I don't instantly think about Michael Jackson the superstar, I think that my brother is not here. […] (His death) brought us closer as a family, and we are there for one another. I truly understand the meaning when they say, 'You never get over it.' You don’t. […]”

[Tito Jackson, American singer and guitarist and original member of The Jackson 5; source: www.usmagazine.com]

 

“[…] I have worked closely with Michael for over 21 years, as his vocal coach and his friend. We have been through countless concerts, performances, rehearsals and tours… but nothing quite like his “This is it Tour”. We worked tirelessly, everyday, as Michael is indeed a true perfectionist. He took every measure to make sure he was prepared for the grueling tour, vocally and in all other aspects as well. It truly would have been a legendary tour.

The death of Michael Jackson had indeed come to me as a dramatic shock and I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of sadness. Not only for the late star, but also for all fans and friends, but most importantly, for his family. I not only loss an extraordinary pupil, I lost a great friend. He will be truly missed as one of the most inspirational, kind, and dedicated people to have graced us with his enormous talents.

[…] I do hope that (…) we as a people, can focus on the immense greatness that Michael shared with the world, and not diminish his name with any negative accusations. He was a beacon of light and harmonious genius, and he should be remembered for all the treasures he left us. […]”

[Seth Riggs, American vocal coach; source: www.sethriggs.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] "Michael studied the Bible, and adored and loved Jesus. […] Michael understood the fundamental laws of quantum physics, which say we are all interconnected in the Universe. Through many of his lyrics, Michael reminds us to see the magic of God in everything (…). Michael understood and conveyed to us that it is possible to direct this powerful energy with our thoughts and emotions. He used to say: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – “You become what you think.” […]
Michael had a holistic approach to human beings. He understood the human being is a whole, encompassing body, mind, emotions and spirit or soul. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul acknowledges the whole person as spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). […] The word “holistic” comes from the Greek “holos” which means Union, Whole. The human species is divided into races, nations, political ideas, social classes and religions. Holism emphasizes the need that every individual must make an inner change to achieve a global transformation. Michael knew this, and above all, he knew that the ultimate healing energy is Love.” © 2011 Liz Johnson

Below are a few remarks about Michael, made by some modern day writers and teachers of spiritual topics, who maintained a personal friendship with, and held a special admiration and respect for Michael.

NELSON MANDELA: “When you are behind bars with no hope of release, you need to find strength wherever you can… Personally, I found strength in Michael Jackson.”

DEEPAK CHOPRA: “If you really understood Michael, he was the most innocent, loving, compassionate human being that you could imagine. He was too gentle for this world. The trial really traumatized him, and hurt him (…) […].”

[Source: http://michaeljacksonrememberedwithlove.com]


“[…] This whole thing is so whacko with the way everybody’s you know, wanting to get their piece of the action. Look, Kenny Ortega, who was the director, choreographer of that show will tell you unequivocally that Michael was ready to do the O2 Arena shows. I think that off the record, a lot of people will tell you, that were very close to Michael at that time, that he was extremely frightened by the ambitious nature of what I call a long term residency run. […] But you know, when you haven’t performed for two, three, four years and when you worry about the minutia and micromanage something of this magnitude, this causes you sleepless nights. It causes you anxiety. It causes you worry way beyond the norm that would be understood by ordinary people, the pressures of carrying a show on your shoulders of that size, incredible.”

“[…] I think that what you had is what’s called the perfect storm of where you had an acquiescing doctor who desperately needed the job and the money he thought he was going to get paid with a patient who needed (…) supplies of prescribed drugs to solve the problems he was emotionally dealing with. […]”

“I remember right here in Vegas having dinner with [Michael] at the Wynn Hotel. It was a Chinese restaurant there that he was particularly fond of that he would be able to dive into almost totally unrecognized through the side entrances, and he was there one night having dinner with Kenny Ortega and Nigel [Lythgoe] who ran 19 Entertainment in London. They were, that was one of the first dinners where they discussed the beginning of Michael’s comeback as it were to live touring or live stage presentation. I was in the restaurant that night, totally by coincidence. But having been in this business for 50 odd years of doing what I do, I know all three of the people. I knew Michael. I knew Kenny. I’d met Nigel on a number of times. Remember, the company that I was a partner in was the company that created Star Search, which of course was the pre cursor of what everybody jumps up and down now to today is American Idol. So I was invited to join them for dinner and I did and Michael was in the best of spirits. He was anxious to go back to work. He was anxious to do a show. […]”

[Robin Leach, English celebrity writer - interviewed by Chris Yandek; source: www.cyinterview.com]


“[…] I happened to produce Peter Pan the Musical starring Cathy Rigby, in 1990. In fact, I introduced her as a professional performer to North America, and it was a very, very successful production that eventually went to Broadway, toured the United States and won a Tony award. Ronald Konitzer [one of Michael’s managers] became very excited about that, because Michael of course saw himself as Peter Pan, very much. Ronald asked my permission to talk to Michael about me coming onboard, and working with Michael to produce the musical with him in the lead role as Peter Pan. So that really started the ball rolling. Ronald called me in due course after our brief lunch, from Neverland, and told me that Michael very much wanted to pursue the Broadway show with me being involved. [This was in 2002.] Michael got on the phone and said that he was very excited about the possibility, and wanted me to come down to Neverland as quickly as I could to discuss the project and process. So, that’s what happened; that’s how we connected initially, with the thought that Michael would perform in a major Broadway production starring as Peter Pan.”

“You know, you meet a lot of people in your life, and when you are introduced to them for the first time, you get an initial impression of them. In the case of meeting Michael Jackson for the first time, there was just something very, very different about it. Obviously you don’t meet a star or celebrity or performer as great as Michael Jackson for no reason, but what I’m saying is that there is a presence about Michael. When you meet him it strikes you very, very quickly, and I really in a sense, was taken-aback by him being such a regular person. He was so empathetic and natural, and that automatically put me at ease. Of course, I’ve been very blessed and fortunate in my life to work with major politicians; the Premier of The Province of British Columbia, the Mayor of Vancouver and various other celebrities that I’ve worked with on theatrical projects, but like I said, Michael was natural and very accessible. I felt tremendously at ease; not-withstanding the fact I was meeting with another celebrity, because I was a little nervous at first. I was brought down to Neverland and just that experience alone was very impactful. So I guess I entered the meeting with a little bit of trepidation, but Michael made me feel very much at ease. It was a very positive and open meeting.”

“I saw MJ a number of times at Neverland in different situations, but I’ll never forget a particular time in September of 2003. Michael convinced his team, including myself, that he wanted to make Neverland more accessible. So we devised a plan to have a major fund-raising charity event. It was a couple of weeks after his official birthday which was celebrated in Los Angeles. And that’s an interesting side story that I won’t get into other than to say, Michael never celebrated his birthday because he was brought up a Jehovah’s Witness. We convinced him to celebrate his birthday in a very formidable way at the Orpheum Theater. Then, we also convinced him to carry that birthday feeling on at this charity event about two weeks later. This was done all on the basis that Michael wanted Neverland to be much more accessible to the public. He felt that Neverland was some sort of arcane place that very few people came to, except people he invited; his family and very close associates, but he wanted more people to be able to experience the beauty and peacefulness of Neverland. So, we had this incredible charity event; a lot of stars and celebrities showed up and Michael was so happy and so feeling the energy. That I remember very distinctly; that whole experience of seeing him at Neverland at that time kind of trumped all the other times I had seen him there, but all the other times had been mostly talking business. So, this time was different, because Michael was the instigator of the event, and he really played the role of host very, very well. […]”

“[…] I’d been married for 33 years at that time [when I met him], I have a family that is very important to me […] and I was not from Hollywood. […] It was kind of serendipitous not only because he liked Peter Pan, but he liked me because of my family background. So he asked me to become his global spokesman and we would do Peter Pan at a later date.”

“Off-camera, what Martin Bashir was saying to Michael and to all of us, was that Michael was the greatest person in the world, children loved him so much, and he was impressed with how Michael conducted himself. Then, of course, with our camera, that interview was packaged in a very different way. We took steps very, very quickly to locate this footage that showed him being very duplicitous. Then we put together what it is now called the rebuttal documentary on Fox which Maury Povich hosted, and put to rest Martin Bashir’s insinuations about Michael. From there, we were in a free position; a more open and flexible position to begin the strategy of segueing Michael from performing into business. That included him going back to Gary, Indiana, which was very successful in showing that he really cares about his roots; he cares about his family, he cares about where he came from, and we felt that that was a very important base point to show the public that he’s a sensitive, caring person. And he is, very, very much. Sometimes he cared too deeply about people and sacrificed himself; a lot of times got caught unawares by people he thought he could trust who in the end screwed him in a sense. […] Michael is not some kind of crazy hermit who is stranger or whatever. […]”

“He was particularly interested in animation. We connected with an animation company in Montreal, who had done an animated film called Pinocchio 5000. Michael met with the owner of the company called Cine Works. This company was very interested in helping Michael either purchase the firm and taking what was already in the works and pursuing them, or to work for them as sort of like a President of the company. He’d be involved in doing some of the voice-over work, some singing, some choreographic moves, be involved in some of the script writing, and have both a creative and managerial role in seeing major animated films come to Hollywood. That’s an example of the kind of thing he was beginning to look at beyond straight performing. It would have happened if it wasn’t for, of course, the raid at Neverland by Tom Sneddon. That ended everything at that time. It’s very unfortunate, because we were all close to signing a major deal with City Works when the raid occurred. So that sort of ended that very quickly. […] Michael, his family, myself and a few other aides, were going to go to Europe for about six or seven weeks, on to Africa to meet with Nelson Mandela, and then over to South America to do about a three month publicity tour for his Number Ones album, and to continue this process of making himself more accessible to his fans and the public. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. […] It was obviously very, very difficult for Michael. He felt that he had gotten passed the 1993 Jordy Chandler furor, and he was very, very, very upset. I happened to call Dieter, who was in Michael’s hotel suite at The Mirage, and he asked Michael whether or not he wanted me to do or say anything specific to the media. At that point, they were calling me from all over the world asking me for comments about the issue that had already been leaked about a child molestation situation. Obviously, it turned out to be the whole Gavin Arvizo charge. […] The co-conspirator charges against Michael etc. were absolutely laughable. The Arvizo family was hucksters from the beginning, and Michael paid the price for his generosity (…).”

“[…] He felt like that he was a father now; he had a responsibility to be with his family and that was a priority. He wanted to package his life very differently where he would be in a more executive or managerial role, creative nonetheless, but not performing all over the place and touring and the kind of lifestyle that incurs. Michael didn’t think that would be a wholesome way to raise his family. So, for anybody out there that doesn't believe Michael Jackson loved his family, and didn’t have them as his number one priority, even before his career; his family was more important than his so-called performing career, and he was willing to for emotional and family reasons, to change in his mid-forties from a performer to a business man. That’s what he really wanted.”

“[…] Michael’s propensity to give of himself taught me that giving, not so much in monetary terms, but giving of yourself as a person, is the most important thing you can do in your life. The way he treated me and treated the people around me with such dignity and respect, and given that he was such a huge celebrity; many celebrities treat their friends, hired help, colleagues and even family, terribly, but Michael was just the opposite. Michael gave of himself and treated people with respect and dignity because that was who he really was as a person, even though he had his share of issues. That helped me, because when you see a celebrity of such magnitude like him being a humble person with tremendous humility, and like I said, giving of himself and sometimes sacrificing himself to his own detriment (…) […]”

“He was (also) very, very funny.”

“His mission in life was to create peaceful love in this world. There were numerous examples of that including the song “Heal the World,” the Heal the World Foundation and various other things he did; quiet things he did in a charitable way. So, to have an opportunity for of all his fans to work together; to preserve his legacy and his image, would be something that he would be tremendously emotional about.”

[Stuart Backerman, Michael Jackson’s former publicist; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“[…] When it came to his fans, to you and me, he gave it his all.

I remember when I first heard Michael Jackson say, “This is the moment. This is it.” I had goose bumps. The Buddha within him had pushed through all the noise within the world and spoken directly to the very essence of my tender heart.

It’s now been a little while since Michael has been laid to rest which got me to thinking about what I’ve learned from this mountain of a man.

What We Can Learn From Michael Jackson The King Of Pop

* Create an experience, not just a song

* Be yourself, no matter what other people think

* Work with others and watch the magic happen

* Believe you can change the world, and use your talents to do just that

* This is the moment, so give it everything you’ve got

Create an experience, not just a song. […] Songs are a dime a dozen. Experiences are different. They last. They stay with us. Experiences become a part of who we are and what we’re about.

So, in anything that your (sic) doing remember that it’s more than a song, or product, or job, It’s an experience. One that can transform lives.

Be yourself, no matter what other people think.

Neverland ranch, Bubbles the monkey, a red leather jacket, a sequenced glove. Michael Jackson knew what he liked and wasn’t afraid of letting us know about it.

Some of his favourite things even became cultural phenomenon’s (sic). I wonder how many people dreamed and wished about owning the red leather jacket he wore in the Beat It video.

Michael taught us to be ourselves, even if the world doesn’t understand it. Find out what makes you happy and share that with others.

Work with others and watch the magic happen

Whether it was saving the world with Lionel Richie on the worldwide mega-smash-hit “We Are The World”, fighting over girls with Paul McCartney on the hit “Say, Say, Say”, or rocking out with Slash on “Black or White”, Michael Jackson seemed to really enjoy collaborations. […] Whatever the mix, Michael knew the power of working with others.

So, if your (sic) stuck in a rut, why not call up a friend and have a “jam” session. Bang out some ideas together. Get the creative juices flowing. You never know what kind of magic can happen.

Believe you can change the world, and use your talents to do just that

“We Are The World”, co-penned by Michael Jackon, as of 2009, has raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.

WOW!

So what talents and gifts are you secretly hiding from the world? Is there something that you love to do that you could share with others and make this world of ours a little better?

This is the moment, so give it everything you’ve got

Spike Lee was asked what he learned from Michael Jackson while working with him and he said that it was “Work ethic.”

“I’ve met a lot of great athletes, Michael Jordan recently made a documentary on Kobe Bryant, and these guys are known for their work ethic. And as great as Michael (Jordan) was, and as great as Kobe is, Michael (Jackson) could give those guys a run for their money when it comes to work ethic.”

It would seem that Michael Jackson would pour himself, heart and soul into any project that he was working on. Whether it was a personal project for him, a dance routine, or writing a piece of music for someone else, all his energies became focused like a laser.

[…] Michael was present to the miracle of the moment. And that’s why he reminded us, “This is the moment. This is it.”

Thanks for the many moments, Michael.”

[Ian Paul Marshall, Online Marketing – Webwizard for International Bestselling Author Robin Sharma, Certified Acupuncturist; sources: http://ianpaulmarshall.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] I was in what turned out to be a key position for CBS Records. What is now Sony Music Entertainment was the merged Sony BMG, and Sony BMG was Sony Music, and Sony Music was CBS Records. In all of these forms of the company there was the Epic & Associated Labels side of the company and the Columbia and affiliated labels, etc. side of the company. Most people who currently or formerly worked for this company, with the exception of the BMG labels, generally worked exclusively for either the Epic side of the company or the Columbia side of the company - not both. I was in an area of the company where at that time I worked on recordings by and/or directly with artists on both the Epic side of the company and the Columbia side of the company, and on recordings by and/or directly with artists on all labels promoted, marketed and/or distributed by CBS Records. This included many of the top names and superstars in music and entertainment then and now.

The position that I was in also encompassed working on recordings and/or directly with artists in pop and rock that had crossover potential (i.e. Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, etc.), and in various other genres including but not limited to blues, gospel, urban, jazz, latin (i.e. The Fania All Stars, etc.), etc.. So it was in this position that I worked on Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" album. Let me say now that the specific circumstances that I am about to convey should be viewed as just what happened in these scenarios and nothing less than a positive look back and reflection on any individuals and/or record companies (major labels, etc.) in general.

[…]

About my one on one experience with Michael Jackson. This scenario is related to the story that I just told you. It was a few weeks earlier than the aforementioned events while I was in the position with CBS Records, and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is burning up the airwaves and is a monster hit worldwide. Michael Jackson is on a major tour marking his first major solo release and his last appearances with The Jacksons. Michael Jackson was coming to New York City that day for events tied in to his major concert at Nassau Coliseum that night. The person who was responsible for moving Michael Jackson around town and taking him to radio was yours truly.

Michael Jackson is scheduled to arrive at one of New York City's largest hotels at around midday. I arrive an hour early in a limo to make sure the connection is smooth. For reasons out of Michael Jackson's control, his flight from Los Angeles is delayed and he runs into extra heavy midday traffic coming from Kennedy Airport to midtown Manhattan. So, Michael Jackson arrives an hour and a half late. He and The Jacksons look totally drained and exhausted. I knew that look from my own touring, but I gained a greater appreciation for that level of drained when I did more extensive world touring a few years later. So I met all of The Jacksons (which didn't include Jermaine at the time) in the lobby of the hotel, but there were no handshakes, because they were simply too drained. We all nodded at each other and Michael gave me the look that said - okay, let's go. Michael didn't check in or anything. The Jacksons just said that they all needed to and were going to get a little sleep which, of course, didn't make Michael feel any better about what he had to do. There was no sense of sibling rivalry or jealousy - only support for Michael's solo career.

It took about 15 minutes for me to escort Michael Jackson through the lobby of the hotel to the side entrance where I had the limo waiting. Yes, the hotel is that big and I took Michael on a route that had the least people leading to the side entrance. It is just me and Michael - no security or management, etc.. We get to the side entrance and the limo is not there. Why? Because the limodriver was making his 100th trip circling around the block. So I hide Michael near the doorway and then in a few minutes the limo arrives. We jump into the limo and proceed through extra heavily congested New York City weekday afternoon traffic. I ask Michael can I get him anything - food, drinks, etc.. Michael could have asked for and/or demanded anything - and he didn't even request a cup of water. So it's just Michael and I in the limo, and you want to know what we talked about. Well, the answer is everything and nothing. It was one of the easiest flowing conversations that I have ever had in my entire life. It is easier to say what we didn't talk about. We didn't talk about music, the music business, his album, politics, or sports, etc.. We did talk about life and specifically his observations of various aspects of life.

Some people, including Michael himself, have called him shy. I would call him observant. When you're observing and listening and taking things in, you are not talking as much - so people think that you're shy - when actually you are observing, learning, and selecting the optimum time to speak. Michael's conversation was not about stating his philosophies, but more about stating observations and how these observations could make one think and/or feel. I would say that Michael Jackson had a unique one-of-a-kind intellectual curiosity - he was curious about everything.

About an hour later, we picked up the professional photographer who was coming with us to radio. The photographer gets in the front seat of the limo, says hello and then starts to assemble his camera. Once his camera is assembled, he points it at me and Michael in the back seat of the limo. I instruct him not to shoot us so Michael can relax. Looking back, that would be a cool photo to have now, but I was looking out for Michael's well-being. Michael sees the camera and starts this deep photography discussion. I was in the discussion for about a minute, then it got so deep that I just dropped out and that's when the photographer looked at me and I looked at him with the looks saying check this out - Michael Jackson is knee deep in photography discourse. I asked Michael if he was a photographer and he said "No, I just like photography!!!".

My guess is that wherever Michael was living at any given time, he was privately photographing nature and things in his house, because one couldn't know what he knew from just listening to photographers. But some people just know things, and this is MJ we are talking about - so who knows!!!

So Michael continues engaging in this very deep photography conversation with the photographer where he mentions something that the photographer said he needed to look into further. This went on for about 5 minutes, and the only thing that stopped that topic was that the photographer said something that Michael didn't know and Michael got quiet.

Let me translate how deep Michael's photography discussion was: imagine if someone says in the middle of a general conversation - pataflaflas swiss 6 accented parafliddle lesson 25 around the set groove. You would not only have to be a drummer, but a drummer with not just a knowledge of rudiments, but an advanced knowledge of rudiments that one can apply and play around the drumset and make them groove to know what that person was talking about.

It is now 4 pm and we are headed towards WBLS FM to do an interview with Frankie "Hollywood" Crocker. Frankie and I agreed to not mention Michael Jackson's visit on the air until shortly before we would arrive. So we have WBLS on in the limo and at 4:10 pm Frankie says we have a superstar who will be stopping by the station within the next hour - stay tuned. At 4:20 pm, he says Michael Jackson will be here soon to say hello and discuss his new album. At 4:40 pm, only 20 minutes later, we are approaching the station and there's several hundred people at the entrance and the crowd is expanding by the second. So I tell the limo driver to go around the block and we will try to go in through the side entrance. Part of the crowd noticed a side entrance and gathered there, so we did a wide pass of the side entrance and then passed the main entrance for a 2nd time. I tell the limo driver to go around the block another way. Then as we are approaching the main entrance again it looks unmanageable, but I realized that it was only going to get worse and I had to get Michael back to his hotel in time for his 1 hour trip to Nassau Coliseum that night for his concert. So I tell the photographer to put his camera away, because I need him to help me get Michael through this crowd and into the radio station. So with the photographer on his right and me on his left we shield Michael going into the radio station. This should be the end of this part of the story, but this is Michael Jackson. We are walking into the station and the crowd seems calm until some people realize that they are a few feet away from Michael Jackson and maybe they could even touch him. This is when people of all races, ages, and lifestyles, etc. go into a frenzy. There's superstar frenzy and then there's Michael Jackson frenzy. As we are going into the radio station, Michael Jackson turns to his left, where I am, to wave at the crowd; then at that moment a young teenage girl and a grown man reach out at the same time to touch Michael's arm and - instead - they both ended up grabbing my arm and literally almost tore off my clothes. If I turned another way by a half an inch, my clothes would have been ripped for the rest of the night.

We get Michael into WBLS safely. He does a great, but brief interview with Frankie Crocker, and then I get him out of the station safely and into the limo and back to his hotel on time. I actually have a photo of the great Frankie Crocker and the great Michael Jackson together on that day.

I saw Michael Jackson again that night before the show, onstage, after the show, and at a special after party. I witnessed at least 3 gears of this über-superstar: one gear with me one on one in the hotel & in the limo; one gear going into and leaving WBLS & his character in the radio interview with Frankie Crocker; and thé Michael Jackson gear onstage where one had no idea how drained he was that day and where his dancing and stage movements set up his next fierce vocal & dance fireworks the way a great drummer's fills set up the next exciting element of a super show. More needs to be said about the inner drummer in Michael Jackson, and that it just doesn't manifest itself in his dancing, but is also very prominent in his vocal phrasing and percussive vocal attack. But this is something I might talk about at another time.

Michael Jackson was a very nice guy and a very down-to-earth guy (…). There is a lot more that I can say about every aspect of that day with Michael Jackson, but this is what I can offer at this time.

"Off The Wall" went on to do well and sell over 50 million units worldwide to date. There were 5 singles released from "Off The Wall" and their success paved the way for the release of a record number of 7 singles out of a total of 9 songs on Thriller - the greatest selling album of all time. I wrote a memo that was cc-ed to the President and all the senior management of CBS Records which discussed Michael Jackson, the events of that day, his album, and his future potential providing information that had broad & far reaching implications and ramifications, but this too is another discussion for another day and time.

Fast forward several years later and I run into Michael Jackson in New York City in a non-entertainment industry environment. I was surprised that he was not with any bodyguards, security, etc. because this was a few years after Thriller and just before Bad was released. I say to Michael "I don't know if you remember me, but we spent the day together in a limo when "Off The Wall" came out.’ So he gives me a look like he barely remembers me and I look him in the eye and smile, then laugh and say "With all the people you've had to deal with throughout the world especially since the release of Thriller, I am not even slightly offended if you barely remember me". Then he smiled and laughed with an expression that said this guy understands. So, we talked and he asked me if I was still with the record company, and I said ‘No I am out here doing "the drum thing" on world tours and recordings’, etc.. His response was a very positive one word that was the equivalent of saying "Cool !!!". The conversation went on briefly and I said that I recommended the release of "Rock With You" as a 2nd single from "Off The Wall". We talked a little bit more and then he shook my hand and turned to walk away. He took one step and just as I was about to walk away, he turned around and said "Thank You!!!!", then he smiled and left.

In this brief conversation that day, Michael was the same nice and down-to-earth guy he was with me in the limo several years earlier. This was very amazing considering the success and impact of Thriller worldwide with the young girls in a frenzy and fainting and having to be hospitalized, etc.. The nice and down-to-earth guy who said "Thank You!!!!" to me when he didn't have to say anything, the über-superstar, and what I can only call "the phenomenon known as Michael Jackson" - that's the Michael Jackson that I will always remember. Hopefully, the information in this feature will help others to remember him this way too.”

[Ray Newton, American multi-stylist drummer, percussionist, and performer; sources: www.vater.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“There would be no MTV if it wasn't for Michael Jackson. If you think about it, 'Billie Jean' and 'Thriller' - all those songs - it was right around the time the video, it boomed. It was the first internet, right?
The idea of a visual, coupled with audio, and it was the first time you would see your favorite artist who was played all over the radio that told you to go see the concert. So the video amplified concerts, it amplified the song on the radio, it created a business to where we were given MTV songs to play our video. It was a great business. 'Check this out: I'm going to play the stuff you pay to make'... That is the best thing in the world.”

[William James Adams Jr., better known as will.i.am, American rapper, musician, songwriter, singer, actor and producer; sources: www.mtv.com, www.digitalspy.com]


“I’m not looking forward to the trial, because I’ve been told many times by legal people that at the maximum, he can get 4 years. I don’t think that’s fair. My child is gone forever. And all [Murray] is gonna get for is 4 years?... He’s trying to fight to get off. Then how can he get off? He should get even more than 4 years, using that propofol in the wrong setting, in the wrong place. It should be only used in the hospitals and other places – other medical places and, at all times, when you use it, you should always have someone there… an anesthesiologist or someone. Michael died under his care. And he should – I think he should pay for what he did wrong. I want the world to know there’s (sic) a lot of lies out there, especially books that people had written, and the reason why I don’t get out there and say anything about it (is) because it makes the book sell more, and I don’t want to promote anything for people that are telling lies. […] Michael was misunderstood by a lot of people… and there’s - to me, he was one of the nicest… Well, he’s my son, quite naturally, but I’m not just thinking that, I know Michael’s one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. One of the nicest, loving people you would ever want to meet…”

[Katherine Esther Jackson, Jackson family matriarch; sources: www.ap.org, www.youtube.com]

“I have mixed emotions [about this trial.] Sometimes I think why have a trial if... the maximum sentence is only four years. I'll be there [in court at the trial], but it just hurts me because my son is gone and for forever and this man is trying to get away and get off. He needs to be punished. […] Flowers make me feel happy. […] [My son would send me flowers at least once a month, including a large arrangement after his acquittal on the child molestation charges in 2005]. [I went to Michael's home after his death to clean up. There, I found several reminders he had scribbled to himself.] He had notes around. ‘Discipline with love.'" (was one of them). [The outpouring of grief and support from my son’s fans after he died also meant a lot to me.] They felt my pain. It meant a lot to me. And at that time, I needed all of that to know the world was with me, the world felt my pain.”

[Katherine Jackson; sources: www.cnn.com, www.ap.org, http://news.yahoo.com]

 


“[CBS Epic Video] called and Michael Jackson wants to do a video for this song ‘Liberian Girl’ and I hadn’t heard this song yet. […] So I pitched the idea to Michael that we would have him shoot the video while all these are people waiting to begin the video, and they don’t realize it until the end is that he’s directing. He loved the idea. We started calling people, and we just called in favors from friends. I had just done a television special with Richard Dreyfuss, and Richard said he’d love to be in it. He said, ‘Can I call up Steven?’ and I said, ‘Steven who?’ and he said ‘Steve Spielberg and Amy [Irving],’ and I said, “Yeah!” So he called Spielberg and Amy, and then you start calling people saying you have these people, and I’d start naming names and it was easy. It was very easy to get people, because as soon as you get a couple of big names, everybody wants to be in it. […] So we just had two days, and we had the live audio with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John doing the scene when they sang together, and they hadn’t sang together onscreen since ‘Grease’, so it was something to do that, and we just shot this grand stuff of people talking, and the outtakes are incredible because it’s just people talking. […] It’s just great getting all these stars in a room and you’re just filming and they’re saying, ‘What are you supposed to do?’ and we’d say, ‘We’ll get back to you,’ and you’d just mike everybody and shoot stuff. [Steven Spielberg] was nervous. We did that push-pull move for that shot, and he was more nervous than I was, you know, being on camera. He wanted to try to do this favor for Michael, because he wanted Michael for a movie.”

“[Working with Michael was] incredible. I mean, at first, it was funny because he sent his handlers in first, and they check, and they said he is coming in 10 minutes. They go in all the different rooms to make sure that no bombs were there and there were no fans hanging out, and they kicked people out, and it was almost like going through airport security or something. They basically kicked people out there who weren’t supposed to be there, and they bring in a microwave oven with bananas for Bubbles the monkey and Max which was the baby monkey. […] And then when he showed up, you know, he was unbelievably nice. Such a pleasant person and a nice guy. […] He called me a couple of times after he saw the edit. He would make us do some things, like he took out David Spade. David Spade was in the original cut. He called me up and he said, ‘Jim, this is Michael,’ and you think somebody was fooling with you, basically. You would never know if it was really him until he started talking about specifics and you could say, okay, that is Michael. So he called us up and he on a walkie-talkie phone or something, or he’s up in Santa Barbara, and says, ‘You know, in 3 minutes and 20 seconds, there’s a guy blonde here. Who is that guy?’ I said his name is David Spade. ‘I don’t know who he is, take him out.’ So Spade was out, and I’m sure Spade was, like, pissed!” [Editor's note: The song was released in 1989, and Spade did not join the Saturday Night Live cast until 1990.] David Spade wasn’t the only future comedy start working on the video, either. […]”

“He released [the video] in Europe. I was really pissed, because I thought that after we shot it after we – I mean, Michael loved it. Those are pretty big stars in that day, and we thought we all did a pretty good job and it was great, it was funny, it was the kind of style and stuff that I’ve done for years, and for them to not release it was devastating, because the only people who saw were people who saw our demo reel, and they’d say ‘What happen to this?’ You know, you almost feel embarrassed, like it wasn’t a hit or something, but it was never released here. […]”

[Jim Yukich, music video and movie director; source: http://goldenageofmusicvideo.com]

 

“Michael whispered to you through his music and art while you were sleeping. "Awaken," Michael says. "Awaken and be who you truly are. Let the real you Sparkle and make this world brighter."

There will always be those who drink from a different fountain. Their fountain and its contents will not nourish. They may drink the Kool-Aid of materialism, gain, greed, sensation, titillation, excitement, stimulation, ego puffing, all kinds of physical, mental and emotional gratification and all the illusions that the world has to offer until they no longer do.

They will engage in theft, addiction, darkness, sexual deviancy, destruction, metaphorical cannibalism, and the endless search for the orgiastic state until they realize their mistake. They are in the desert and they thirst. They are spiritually parched, dry, shriveled. They will do anything to make themselves feel better. […]

So what did Michael (…) say about this? Did he say destroy them? Fear them? Kill them? Dispatch them? Disabuse them? No! He said love them. They deserve our pity for they are miserable. They don't have enough love. Would you want to be them? Have you forgotten that you once came from there? From that same illusion? Better to shine a light than to curse the dark. Heaping more darkness upon them is not going to help. Better to invite them to the light.

So I am not saying that you should take everything they are dishing out. I am saying to have compassion for the state they are in. Invite them to step beyond themselves. Hold space for their awakening. Understand that they do not love themselves enough and because they don't, others won't. It is all resonance, after all.

They don't like their own "music" and who they are being -- and they are living in that soup. I am not saying to live there with them or to allow them to darken your doorstep. I am saying invite them to be more. The only difference between them and you is that you have begun to awaken and they are still sleeping. […] Condemning them is not useful, for it will only serve to turn them away and back into the dark and it will dim your light.

I am also not saying that this is easy. It takes work to pull it off (…). But if we can do it more than not do it, we contribute to the light in the world instead of the shadow.

Appreciation is a form of love. […] Only the intensity is different. If we can find a way to appreciate who they are being, we open a space for them to evolve even more. Condemning them is an attack and will only help them contract more and shrivel more into their own darkness. Appreciation opens a space for them to let in the light. Even if it is just appreciating how truly creative they are with their darkness, it will change the vibe for us and for them.

Someone wise once said: "It is just as foolish to expect that people will not change as it is to expect they will." Can you feel that? It is important to hold space for them to try on something new. Change is hard for everyone. Old habits create an illusion of security. We cling because we are afraid. If we feel someone is loving us while inviting us to try it on, we feel that support and make feel safer stepping out into new territory.

When I say that this practice is not easy, I mean that. It is important to not hold yourself in contempt if you forget or if you contract into your own defensiveness. Because of our interactions with the world, we mistakenly think we must "protect" ourselves. This is an illusion. There is nothing to protect, no one to protect against and certainly no one to protect.

We are not our ego. We are not even an individual; we are one. And we are not who we think we are most of the time. Who you really are requires no protection.

Do we forget that? Yes. Is it important to work on it? Yes. Do we fail or forget sometimes? Yes. "But I'm only human!" And it's OK to be human. Just remember how far you've come. If you forget, square your shoulders, take a deep breath and try again. Everybody wants to be loved; everybody wants to feel L-O-V-E. Michael knew this. It hurt for him to love sometimes, but he did it anyway. […]”

[Reverend Barbara Kaufmann, writer Voices Education project, "One Wordsmith" at Inner Michael; source: www.innermichael.com]


“I was originally contacted by Lionel Richie’s manager, Ken Kragen, who told me that Lionel & Michael had written a song called “We Are The World” for a project they were doing together called U.S.A. For Africa. He wanted to know if I was interested in joining the choir with many other recording artists. I said, “Sure...that would be fantastic!” The next thing I knew, I was at A&M studios in Hollywood in a room full of so many artists that I grew up with and admired. After we had done the chorus choir of “We Are The World”, it was time to do the verses. They told everyone to look at the floor and if your name was there, you were selected for a verse step-out vocal. I glanced at the floor and written on gray duct tape I saw the names of Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Kenny Loggins and so many more that I was stunned. Then I glanced down and saw my own name on the floor and I got pretty nervous. Lionel Richie had called me earlier and discussed why he wanted me to be there and I believe he had a lot to do with me having a step-out moment. I wasn’t sure what they were going to have me sing, but from that point on, I was all ears – trust me!

For the longest period of time, I really wanted to meet Michael Jackson, but for whatever reason, it just never happened. During the recording session, I remember how barraged Michael was with so many artists trying to talk to him. Out of respect, I left him alone. Instead, I went into the catering room and hung out with Bette Midler and Paul Simon. Years later, during the live rehearsals for the "Bad" tour, I finally got to meet and talk to Michael. He was very gracious and made me feel very welcome. I felt so lucky to stand stage left while they ran the entire, full dress rehearsal of the show. What an experience to watch him perform that close up! […] Michael's total body of work is so beautiful and massive that it's really impossible to have any one favorite. I know that every single time he released new music, the quality was always amazing and cutting edge. No artists ever wanted to release their music at the same time that Michael’s was released, simply because the anticipation and subsequent sales from his records was (sic) too much for anyone to compete with. […] Michael was always reaching for great songs, great vocal performances, better recording and production values, better and better music videos with new dance moves, and great sing along hooks that are still to this day, truly timeless. I think everyone will remember the first time they saw Michael do the Moonwalk on television. I could not resist jumping up and trying it at least once or twice, because it was such an amazing move. After many failed attempts, needless-to-say, I never tried that again. Lastly, I'd like to add that the first time I ever heard Michael Jackson sing was on the Jackson 5 single "ABC." Immediately, I knew how truly talented and gifted he was.”

[Stephen Ray ‘Steve’ Perry, Portuguese-American singer and songwriter best known as the lead vocalist of the band Journey; sources: www.fanasylum.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“On June 17, 1988, Michael visited the Chaplin family in Switzerland. […] Twenty years later, circus man, Rolf Over’s feelings associated with this special day are always deep. The discovery of a simple and endearing Michael Jackson. The outrage at what has been said about him then… That day, the clown and now producer of the circus Salto Natale served as a guide in the famous mansion Ban inhabited by the Chaplin family, in Corsier-sur-Vevey.

I remember the extreme politeness of Michael, his calmness, his shyness. I remember the way he waited for Oona Chaplin to sit down to do the same. It is these details which reveal someone. Since then, I leap to his defense when attacked. The journalists have invented rumors about him. For fifteen years, they won’t have stopped the killing.

Originally in the meeting, there was Geraldine Chaplin, the eldest daughter of Oona and Charlie Chaplin. At a concert of Michael which she attended, the singer said he admires her father. Geraldine called Rolf Knie, an old family friend and regular at the Manor. ‘Michael would like to come to Corsier. Can you arrange something?’

[…] Rolf Knie starts to say: ‘He phoned his hotel and met his agent, Frank DiLeo. Some friends told me it was crazy and impossible… Half an hour later, however, (…) Michael was very happy. We agreed to an appointment for Friday at 15 hours.” (3:00 p.m.)

On that day, families are waiting for Knie, Chaplin, and the star. Around 15:30, the doorman came running and saying, Somebody just called, I did not catch his name. It was Michael. I took the phone. I was quite embarrassed, he apologized a thousand times. He had gotten lost and he was calling from a service station in Vevey … The porter is going to look there. The singer arrived without bodyguard, just accompanied by his assistant, a gentleman of a certain age. Then he played in the park with my son Gregory innocently. I think children take him as he is, he could finally be normal. It left a big impression (on me).’

Another aspect of the star was impressive: ‘He knew Chaplin’s life perfectly, a true lexicon. The dates of the films, the names of the actors, everything. The parallel between Jackson and Chaplin seemed natural to him. Even the poor children (parallel), even the lawsuits against them. They emit the same wave and they experienced similar problems with the world as well. […] They responded with their films or their music. Had they known each other, they would have spent all days together.

Two months later, Michael Jackson called Oona Chaplin and Rolf Knie to be at his concert in Lausanne. ‘Before the show, we visited him in his locker. There were long tables covered with caviar and salmon. Michael shrugged: “Oh, it’s not for me, but my team is hungry.

In the end, Rolf and Oona witnessed the hasty departure of the star: ‘The music was still up when he was quickly engulfed in a car behind the scenes. I realized that Michael lived like this every day. He was a prisoner of his success. The clown keeps (his) bitterness (locked inside). Today I am angry against those who did not have mercy on him. And glad he found peace.’ “

[Sources: Swiss magazine, L'Illustré, www.mjackson.fr, www.mj-777.com, www.thesilencedtruth.com]

 

“The first concert as a solo artist by Michael Jackson (in Europe) was made in Rome, because he wanted Rome, so he came to Rome and wanted to visit everything, he came days before (the concert), and this created many problems for us, because at the Lord Byron (hotel), for seven nights, there were thousands of screaming kids out at night, and I kept receiving phone calls from the neighbors in the hotel who were asking, ‘Please, come and tell Mr. Jackson not to show himself at the window, because people are screaming at 4 o’clock in the morning.’ My real first meeting with Michael Jackson was the evening before the show at the Studio Flaminio, when everything was to be installed. I was called by his personal manager who told me: ‘David, Michael wants to talk to you.’ I went to see him and he presented himself in a very shy way and told me with that soft voice of his: ‘Is it true that here in the sky I can’t use the laser?’ And I didn’t – why couldn’t we use the laser if I asked for all the permission and licences to be able to use it? And so I later discovered that the managers decided not to use the laser, not to take it on tour, because it was very expensive to transport it, so I naïvely said, ‘No, it is not true, because we have the permission (to use it)’, so he called the manager again and said: “I want my laser, my public have to have my laser. I don’t care, I don’t care how you will do it, tomorrow night the laser must be here.”

“He had all the flaws that shy people have, unfortunately, you can manipulate them… I’m wondering, since I’m hearing today that he had many many debts, I wonder, why a man who earned billions of dollars can have so many debts, he could not possibly have spended all of it, (…) he was surrounded by people that he wanted to help, and besides them being helped, they bled him dry. That suit he had for child molestation… I think that (the kid’s) lawyers didn’t present him regular bills, but real bounties, and this is a horrible thing. Michael Jackson was not a paedophile, I can put my hand in the fire (for this).”

“He arrived at a moment when music was falling so low with disco music, following the big rock era, the west coast, the big bands, the disco music arrived, this ‘toc toc toc’, those voices that were all the same for disco music, he arrived, took disco music and turned it into great music. Michael Jackson’s songs can be whistled, can be played as a symphony by big classic orchestras, and to hear those melodies played in a symphonic way, they are great melodies, they could be compared to some music by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky… […] He was against racism, if you take the lyrics of ‘Heal The World’, he says ‘for you and for me and the entire human race’. He was a… [becomes emotional] sorry, but.. I get emotional… He was a special person. …”

[David Zard, Italian music event producer; source: www.youtube.com, translation from Italian by isabella23121961, editing and subtitles: MARIANNASARTE, www.thesilencedtruth.com]

 

“There's not a day that passes I don't think about my child and he should be here right now. But it was negligence of a doctor and it's just hard, really hard. [To help me cope with the sadness, I recently moved into a new house above Calabasas, California, away from the Encino home where we lived since 1969.] […] Michael was 11 years old when we moved there and he stayed there until he was well into his 20’s before he moved (the end of his 20’s). It just brings back a lot of memories, but they're sad memories to me now, because he's not here. [Visitors to the ground floor see artwork collected by Michael, but they won't see his photographs. His three children treasure images of their father, but I avoid them.] […] [Blanket] doesn't want to cut (his hair), so I've talked to him about it. He likes it long, because his father wanted him to have long hair at the time (…). […] They're doing very well. They're going to school everyday. [They are shielded from news about the criminal case against the doctor accused of causing their father's death. But when the trial starts in September], I plan to be there everyday. If I'm able, I will be there. Worse comes to worse, I'll just step out. […] I'll leave and, you know, sit out in the hall or somewhere until it's over and then I'll come back in. But I just feel that I have to be there. [Six years ago, I sat in court for my son’s trial for five months.] Yes, I was there everyday. I wanted to be there for him, because I knew it was lies. I prayed for the truth to come, because I knew if the truth came out, that my son would walk away and he did. […] (But) I'm still here and I'm blessed and I thank God”.

[Katherine Jackson; source: www.cnn.com, www.thesilencedtruth.com]

“I just felt I had to be there [in court].. I was there with him every day when his last trial was and I just feel – I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t there. […] It is very difficult, very difficult listening to him [Murray] lying and very difficult just looking at him knowing that he was there to see after my son and he died under his care, and I thought that he was very negligent, so that – that makes me feel really bad, I can’t stand to look at him. […] I think if someone is under a doctor’s care, especially a doctor, and they die with him seeing over him, I think that 4 years is not enough for – it’s not enough for anyone losing their life under someone else. I think that they should pay just like they’ve taken the life away from my son. I think he should pay for it. […]”

“[Michael’s children] are doing off things that children should do. I don’t talk about (the trial) with them. I don’t want them – they’re young and I want them to be happy. And that would make ‘em very sad, so I don’t talk about it – about the case or Michael’s.. […] They’re doing fine. […] The children, they talk about Michael all the time, (…) they all have his pictures in their rooms. I have pictures of him hanging in the house, but I don’t have any in my room, it makes me sad to see him, so I just have them hanging around in my house. […] I like all of them, to tell you the truth.. (…) […]”

“The first thing that I’d like to tell [to all who misunderstand my son], as far as Michael being a child molester, that’s the biggest lie ever been told. Sometimes, we talked about it and sometimes we would sit around and he would say, ‘Mother, just think: the thing that I care about most is children.’ And he did, he loved children. And he said, ‘I’ve been accused of the worst thing in the world, and that’s molesting children. I’d rather slit my own wrist than to hurt a child.’ And it really hurt him and he had to live with this… These lies that people were telling. […] His lawyers told him that he should just pay the money, because Michael was out on tour at that time, and they thought that just paying the money and shut the people up would be the right thing to do. As soon as I heard it, I called him and I said, ‘Why did you do that? It makes you look guilty.’ And he said, ‘Well, the lawyers told me to do it.’ He said, ‘I didn’t want to do it either, Mother; I wanted to fight it, because I know it wasn’t the truth. But they wanted me to do that.’ Elizabeth – I remember Elizabeth Taylor told him after they accused him of (that), she said, ‘Michael, never’… I don’t know how she had it, but she meant that ‘Don’t give up being with children, ‘cause you love children, just because people are telling these lies.’ So… But he still loved children. And I remember after the first trial, they kept the case open about eight or nine years and they told the children, ‘If this is true to come and you can come down about it with the policemen.’ Nobody came down, because they knew it wasn’t the truth.”

“[Sighs] Well, I can’t say what I miss most [about him], but I just miss him, period. I just miss him for not being in here. I miss – I miss his voice, I miss his singing.. Sometimes, when we were around, he’d start to sing and he’d end the song and I’d want to ask him sometimes to sing – you know, to sing it again, because I just loved to hear his voice. […] Having (his) children around helps me a lot. And a lot of times, they’d always say, ‘Daddy used to do it like this’, daddy this, daddy that, and… and it brings a smile to my face because of I know they’re not forgetting him. […]”

[Katherine Jackson – on the Today Show with Matt Lauer; source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com]

 

“I hadn't wished to address this, because I find it hard to accept that people think this way, but... it saddens me to read tweets that believe Michael is still alive. He is not. Pls stop hurting yourselves with this false belief. I have compassion for those whose denial misinforms them, but this increasing hoax talk is wrong and helps no-one. Love you all. […] It is distressing how 'believers' interpret anything as a 'sign' & read between lines that do not exist. I can't give this any more attention. It is a false debate that forgets that Michael would never, ever so cruelly hoax the fans he loved. First and foremost, (…) nor would he torture his own children... [...] I don't judge. I just wish I could stop their pain. It breaks my heart to see them hold on to a fantasy."

[Jermaine LaJaune Jackson, American singer, bassist, composer, a member of The Jackson 5; source: http://twitter.com/#!/jermjackson5]

 

“I’ve been following [the Murray trial] in the media, but I’m not involved. […] I’m hoping he’s convicted; I admit I’m not objective. My opinion is that he acted very improperly; he should never have been administering propofol and certainly not allowing it to be in the home. That’s ridiculous! I didn’t know until the preliminary hearing that there was evidence that he had allegedly tried to clean up the crime scene. I didn’t know that there was evidence that he allegedly did not tell paramedics and police about the propofol, at least initially. I was very surprised to hear that. […] [About the defense strategy saying that Michael killed himself,] I think it’s ridiculous! I’ve already been on television saying it’s absurd. The Michael Jackson I knew was not suicidal. The Michael Jackson I knew had problems; you know, I met him during a very difficult period, his anxiety, his sleeplessness, his depression was very acute, you know, as he was on trial for his life for things he never did. Anyone in that position would probably have needed some sleep medication or some anti-depressants, and I don’t know what he was using because I never saw him use anything. Nevertheless, I met him during a very difficult period, a very stressful period, but the Michael Jackson I knew was not suicidal and would never have wanted to leave his children. So I think it’s absurd! […] Defense lawyers have an ethical and professional obligation to vigorously defend their client. From a strictly professional standpoint, the lawyers appear to be acting in a professional way consistent with their obligations. However, I disagree with what they’re doing and I think their client is guilty.”

“[…] I think they are on a fishing expedition; I think they are desperate to try and find some kind of defense theory that might seem plausible. I’m very happy the judge denied the request to pursue a fishing expedition into Michael’s finances. I think Michael’s finances have absolutely nothing to do with what Conrad Murray allegedly did. […] That’s absurd! It just shows how desperate they are to come up some kind of defense. […] Trials always have surprises. No matter how prepared you are, you always know that certain witnesses are going to come up with things that no one expected them to say or do. […] They didn’t televise the 2005 trial. I think there will be tremendous media interest in the case, particularly because it’s televised. It will give the public the opportunity to really look at these witnesses and see how they behave, and to really look at the evidence that the prosecution thinks should result in a conviction. So I think there will be tremendous interest around the world. Michael was the best-known celebrity on the planet, and much loved all over the world, on every continent. […] The media are not interested in justice or fairness, they are interested in business, and business to them is revenue and ratings. They love shock value, they love controversy and you have to look at the media with that in mind. To them this is entertainment. It’s not a quest for justice; it’s not a quest for fairness. In their mind it’s strictly entertainment, so they will focus on whatever they think entertains, and that makes themselves profitable. You have to be very wary of the reports you hear about trials when those reports come through the media. At least in this case people will be able to watch it, as opposed to listening at the end of the day to very shallow, short summaries from the media. Much of the reporting in the Michael Jackson trial in 2005 was dreadful. They simply weren’t being accurate. They were just trying to report what was sensational and shocking. They would sometimes report what a witness said under direct examination, without even waiting to hear the cross-examination from the defense. So I think they presented a very illegitimate, a very awkward and poor portrayal of what was happening in the courtroom.”

“I have no way of knowing [how this trial is going to end]; I’m not involved in the case and I haven’t seen the evidence. I’m hoping that it ends with a conviction. I’m hoping that he [Dr. Murray] is held accountable for what I think in my opinion, was a very unprofessional, very selfish and very foolish way in treating his patient.”

"Michael was one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever met, and my law firm partner Susan Yu, feels exactly as I do. He was nice. He was kind. He was well-meaning. He liked to see people do well, and he liked to use his reputation and resources to help disabled people, children from the inner city who grew up in poverty and violence. He liked to see people happy. He could have taken his wealth and prestige and just not dealt with children, not dealt with worthy causes. He could have been purely selfish if he wanted to, but that wasn’t what he chose to do. He truly wanted to make a difference. He wanted to bring people of all races, all religions and all nationalities together. You can see this in his music; you can see this in the way he lived. He had a great empathy for animals because he was such a kind person and he wanted to make a difference. He was somewhat naive when it came to the forces of evil circling around him and trying to destroy him. He didn’t quite believe that was going to happen and unfortunately, they put him through a nightmare. […] [After the trial, we stayed in touch] off and on for about 9 months after he moved to Bahrain. Susan Yu and I were helping him out, but he was talking to Susan much more than me. We did help out for about 9 months with the transition and then we moved on to other things. […] As I said before, what I remember most is a very, very kind, decent, sensitive person. One of his great gifts was to make a positive difference in the world. He could have been more selfish. He could have simply rented a home on the Riviera and party if he’d wanted. He could have been purely self-centered, but that wasn’t the way he wanted to live. He felt that God had given him wonderful gifts and wonderful success, and hoped to change the world in a positive way. I believe he did.”

“I’m honored and privileged to speak to you about all this and I wish everyone the best. He was a very special person, and I’ve always said repeatedly that he was one of the nicest, kindest people I ever met. I will always say that because it’s true.”

[Thomas Arthur ‘Tom’ Mesereau, Jr., American trial attorney and former amateur boxer; sources: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us, www.thesilencedtruth.com]

 

“IT was an American road trip like no other, with travelling companions like no others.

Cooped up together for 500 miles were three of the world’s biggest and most charismatic stars - Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson. The trio are said to have embarked on their journey to flee New York in a hire car the day after the 9/11 terror attack. Fearing a follow-up attack, the trio first sought refuge in New Jersey, according to one of Jackson’s former personal assistants. From there, they undertook a 500-mile odyssey across America - with Brando and Jackson behind the wheel and stopping only to fuel up on Burger King and KFC takeaways - until they finally reached (…) Ohio. […]

The US magazine (Vanity Fair) says that Hollywood actors, Brando and Taylor, were in the Big Apple to watch Jackson perform at Madison Square Garden on September 10. The following day, after hearing that the Twin Towers had collapsed, Jackson “hollered down the hallway of his hotel” for everyone in his entourage, including Brando, to leave immediately. However, Jackson and Brando had trouble leaving the hotel garage, because fans kept banging on the car windows, following them down the street, screaming”. Taylor, meanwhile, was said to be staying nearby at another hotel. The former employee of Jackson reveals that he “led his entourage to a temporary safe haven” in New Jersey before the three superstars took to the open road. “They got as far as Ohio – all three of them in a car they drove themselves!” he recalls in the magazine. […]

Another version of the story reports that Jackson attempted to get Taylor out of New York, but she was unable to fly out. Former teen (…) actor Corey Feldman, a [soon-to-be former] friend of Jackson, who also was at the Madison Square Garden show, tells the magazine: “I remember Michael was trying to get Elizabeth out. He was at first looking for a private jet.” However, one of Taylor’s closest friends and assistants disputes the tale. “Elizabeth stayed behind. She went to church to pray, and she went to an armoury where people were, who couldn’t get home or who’d stayed behind to look for the missing,” he says. “She also went down to Ground Zero. Eventually, the airports opened and she flew home.”

[Elisa Roche, journalist; source: www.express.co.uk]


“Authorities: There's Never Been Evidence Michael Jackson Was A Pedophile!

[…]

With Katherine Jackson ratcheting up the debate about her son Michael Jackson's relationship with children by saying he was no child molester, a well-placed government source tells RadarOnline she's right.

"The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services absolutely agrees with Katherine that her son never molested any child in cases the department investigated," a source told RadarOnline.

Michael Jackson was investigated by DCFS on and off for at least 10 years. The department undertook a first extensive investigation of allegations made by an underage accuser in 1993.

"Michael was fully cooperative during all of his interactions with DCFS," the source said. "Michael was interviewed for hours without his lawyer. He held nothing back. He couldn't understand why these allegations were being made against him. DCFS cleared him on any wrongdoing in ALL investigations.

"Did Michael put himself in precarious situations that most normal people wouldn't? Absolutely . . . The questioning was very, very hard on Michael, he just couldn't fathom that anyone could accuse him of being a child molester."

Another accuser, in 2005, "had absolutely no credibility," the source said. "There were differing accounts of what happened from the accuser and his family members."

[…]”

[Jen Heger, American journalist (?); source: www.radaronline.com]

 

“I am a private practice attorney in New York City, where I advise domestic and international clients from the entertainment, real estate and finance industries on a diverse range of legal matters, including strategic business transactions, compliance with government regulations, policies and investigations, as well as complex litigation. As an attorney, I have also provided pro-bono legal defense and advocacy representation to U.S. political asylum seekers, and economically marginalized clients through New York based human and victim rights organizations. As a legal analyst, I write and provide commentary on high-profile cases, trials and legal topics in the national media. My analysis is informed by my experiences as an attorney, as well as my work in the fields of entertainment, finance and public policy. I am fascinated by the frequent intersection of law with celebrity culture, as well as the tremendous power of media to shape public discourse on social, economic and political issues through popular legal stories. My interests in law, policy, entertainment and media were initially shaped through my earlier educational and work experiences both in the United States and abroad, and have developed further through my legal practice. I graduated from Columbia Law School and Cornell University, and studied at the London School of Economics. Prior to attending law school, I was a Fulbright Scholar in Southeast Asia. I gained exposure to the political and legislative system by working in Washington DC in the United States Senate for the late Senator Edward Kennedy, in the Justice Department under Attorney General Janet Reno, and in London in the British Parliament for parliamentarian Quentin Davies. My experience in the entertainment industry includes hands-on work with several film and television productions in New York and Los Angeles. […] In addition to my legal column on The Huffington Post, my commentary has been featured through such national media as FOX, CNBC, CBS, Forbes, Business Insider, Daily Candy and Bloomberg Online, among other domestic and international media outlets. I also contribute stories to the national news site Examiner, which are focused on entertainment, celebrity and society topics. […] I am excited about future opportunities to share my legal analysis and commentary, particularly on the Dr. Conrad Murray trial, through The Huffington Post, as well as other print media, radio and television sources.”

“[…] In terms of sheer pop classics, dancing and Michael Jackson iconography, the music and videos from the albums Thriller and Bad stand in the forefront of my mind as favorites. […] However, the somewhat darker, more emotional and political albums Dangerous and History, offer an authentic glimpse at what I believe was a deeply thoughtful, caring man and humanitarian. The music and videos from these albums are interesting to me, because of their nuanced artistic and psychological layers, as well as their socially conscious messages. Specifically, “Man in the Mirror,” “Heal the World,” “Black or White,” “Scream”, “They Don’t Care About Us” and “Earth Song” best capture for me Michael Jackson’s human complexity, his compassion for the world and his personal struggles. These works make you feel and think all at once, which, in my opinion, is the beauty of true art. […] Michael Jackson’s artistry, as well as his humanitarian efforts, unwavering commitment to social justice and generous contributions to charitable organizations throughout the world, have served as an inspiration to me to follow my dreams with the goal of having a positive impact on society. His example of always looking to assist those less fortunate and of using one’s given talents to improve the state of the world in any way, large or small, are examples that I strive to follow in my everyday life. When I was a child and young adult, Michael Jackson’s creative body of work and public service actions shined an even greater light for me on such difficult, but timely issues as homelessness, environmental degradation, AIDS, famine and racism, among other salient topics. Jackson demonstrated that if you want to create positive social change, it is entirely possible. Motivated in part by the philosophical underpinnings of his messages, I was drawn to the law, because I know it is a powerful tool that can be used for helping others and working toward solving some of the world’s most complex problems.”

“I believe the case People vs. Jackson and the 2005 trial involving Michael, represented the culmination of anti-Michael Jackson sentiment that had been building for years within certain segments of American society. Michael Jackson was tainted by the Chandler family’s accusations against him from the early 1990’s, and as his music and persona evolved over the decade, the once adoring public and media generally began to turn their back on him. Sorely misunderstood, a variety of actors in law enforcement, the legal system and the media seemed convinced that Michael Jackson’s actions, lifestyle and public image painted the picture of a guilty man. They wanted him to be put away for good and would not stop until that happened. The 2005 trial was a modern day witch hunt. Fortunately, the prosecution’s case against Jackson revealed that the accusations lacked any substance or element of truth. Sloppy investigative work, extremely weak and conflicting evidence, disastrous witness testimony, as well the accusing family’s history of attempting to extort celebrities, were all factors that contributed to the prosecution’s inability to convince a jury of Michael’s guilt. Yet, despite being found not guilty on all charges, Michael Jackson was still unfairly vilified by segments of the media in their hungry quest for ratings. This type of abysmal treatment by elements of the public and media, in my opinion, only led to further destruction of his image, career and soul. […] As a Michael Jackson supporter, I followed his artistic career, humanitarian endeavors and the various stages of his life since childhood. As an attorney, I have always been intrigued by Michael Jackson’s complicated legal and financial history, as well as his business dealings during the course of his adult life. Since his untimely death, I have studied and conducted extensive research on the events and circumstances leading up to that tragic moment, as well as the complex cultural legacy and impact Michael Jackson has had and will continue to have in modern society. More specifically, I have recently been focusing my attention on the criminal charges against Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, in connection with his death. Through each stage of the Dr. Murray case, I have been following and evaluating the hearings, evidence, witness and media accounts, the jury selection process and anticipated legal strategies of the prosecution and defense as it proceeds to trial. I have also been providing legal analysis and commentary on the case through a variety of media outlets, particularly on The Huffington Post.

“Michael Jackson was larger than life. He is arguably among one of the most famous individuals in modern popular culture. The intensity and magnitude of his celebrity, talent, wealth and notoriety, allowed him to touch and connect people across the world through a common creative language. Yet at the same time, the amalgamation of these characteristics built a complex man who, although loved and adored by millions, was an enigma to many. Sadly, the combination of his extreme power with his extreme vulnerability made Michael Jackson an easy target for the unscrupulous. While Michael Jackson’s enormous and positive impact on culture and humanity will be felt by future generations, his life story is ultimately a modern-day Greek tragedy. It was a tragedy, though, that did not have to happen.”

“The Dr. Conrad Murray case represents the potentially lethal power that celebrity, power and greed can have on the patient/physician relationship in Hollywood, and in communities beyond the exclusive enclaves of the stars. When accepted standards of professional practice and ethics are abandoned in the pursuit of fame and financial gain, the human toll is disastrous. In my piece, Dr. Conrad Murray Trial, a Bitter Pill to Swallow, that was recently published on The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-s..._b_814401.html, I examined what I believe are some of the most salient issues that this high-profile legal story touches upon. As this is a case about the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the death of Michael Jackson, one of the most famous figures in the world, it will no doubt set precedent. The outcome of the case will be particularly influential in connection with the medical establishment's future oversight of the private patient/physician relationship, and in the regulation of routine sales of potential addictive and lethal drugs to medical practitioners. Hopefully, some of the important legal and social questions that this trial will address include; (1) What are the permissible professional and ethical boundaries of the physician/patient relationship, particularly those of a private nature? (2) What are the expected standards of care that a physician owes to his patient, and how can these standards be better enforced by the medical establishment and legal system? (3) How can the sale of excessive amounts of harmful medications and drugs to physicians, be better regulated to prevent systemic abuse and ultimately harm to patients? (5) Does the power and allure of celebrity and the prospect of financial gain contribute to unethical professional practices in Hollywood and beyond? If so, what policy steps can be taken to prevent future tragedies? […] In order to convict Dr. Conrad Murray on the charges of involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution, through the presentation of its case, must convince a jury of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is a standard of proof used in criminal trials. In a criminal case such as that of Dr. Conrad Murray, if the jury has any reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, the jury should pronounce the defendant not guilty. Conversely, if the jurors have no doubt as to the defendant’s guilt or if their only doubts are unreasonable doubts, then the prosecution has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant should be pronounced guilty. The sole object of Dr. Murray’s defense team will be to present its case in any manner that it believes within permissible ethical and legal boundaries, will place reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors to ensure that their client is found not guilty. To the distress of many of Michael’s fans, accomplishing this will likely mean that the defense will dig up and play to past negative stereotypes and public perceptions of Jackson. The defense will also likely paint a picture of Michael Jackson as a demanding, drug dependent pop star who used the power of his celebrity to force Dr. Murray to obtain, and give him excessive amounts of propofol and other prescription drugs. It is also anticipated that the defense is planning to go as far to claim that Jackson injected himself with the lethal dose of propofol while Dr. Murray stepped out of his bedroom. While Dr. Murray’s legal team has every procedural right to present the strongest case possible, their arguments will no doubt be grounded in a classic ‘blame the victim’ defense.

It is inevitable that some segments of the media will cling to the defense’s less than favorable depiction of Michael Jackson. However, Jackson fans can take concrete actions in response. As the trial proceeds, fans can continue to petition and peacefully campaign against and/or boycott news programming and reporting that is perceived to support the distortion of facts, and that blurs the boundaries of ethical journalistic practice. The Michael Jackson fan base was highly successful in preventing the airing of a Discovery Channel show depicting a simulated autopsy on the star through these powerful means of collective action. Fans should continue to employ such tactics wherever they see factually false stories or inaccurate depictions of Jackson being presented to the public. The Michael Jackson fan base can also engage in its own form of citizen journalism and attempt to shape the news through their personal interpretations of events. With the explosion of online media and blogs, there are many new opportunities and outlets for individuals with a viewpoint to share their perspective with a global audience. Such venues can provide vocal and informed Michael Jackson fans with a platform to counter what they believe is tabloid journalism by some mainstream media outlets. Finally, the Michael Jackson fan base can seek to promote and place into the mainstream media those journalists, commentators and media personalities that they believe best exemplify integrity and ethical practice in their reporting, and who will provide balanced analysis of the issues at hand.”

“Many Michael Jackson supporters have expressed to me their anguish and disbelief that Dr. Conrad Murray was only charged with involuntary manslaughter, and not a higher charge such as second or even first-degree murder. They also believe that it is a slap in the face to Jackson, his family and his fans that he would only face a maximum of four years in prison if found guilty on the charges, particularly for a physician who acted so negligently in the care of his patient. I do understand and empathize with the thoughts of many of the fans on these issues. It all looks to be quite unjust on its face. However, when looking at these charges it is necessary to understand the legal distinctions between various degrees of criminality in the law of homicide. The reason Dr. Murray was only charged with involuntary manslaughter and not a higher charge boils down to what his likely state of mind was in the commission of the alleged crime, and what level of charge the existing evidence in the case will best support for the prosecution to ensure a conviction. The law generally differentiates between levels of criminal culpability based on the men’s rea or the state of mind of the accused. Within the law of homicide murder requires (i) either the intent to kill (with a state of mind called malice) or (ii) knowledge that one’s actions are likely to result in death (with a state of mind called malice aforethought). On the other hand, manslaughter requires a lack of any prior intention to kill or to create a deadly situation that may lead to death. Manslaughter is usually broken down into voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Dr. Murray’s charge of involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. Involuntary manslaughter is distinguished from voluntary manslaughter by the absence of intention. In my interpretation, the evidence that has been collected and presented so far in the Murray case indicates that Dr. Murray violated his Hippocratic Oath, deviated greatly from proper standards of medical practice and professional ethics, and acted in a manner that was so negligent that Michael Jackson died under his watch. However grossly negligent Dr. Murray was in his care of Jackson, that same body of evidence, though, does not seem to indicate that he actually had the intent to kill or the intent to cause serious harm to Michael Jackson, the necessary state of mind under the law to warrant a higher charge in this case. In order to increase their odds at a conviction, it is likely for this reason, the lack of demonstrated intent, that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office did not seek a higher charge against Dr. Murray.”

[…]

“From a legal standpoint, one of the most effective means for Michael Jackson fans to address any social, political or economic issues that are of importance to them or that effect them as a group now and into the future, is to directly address those issues through the legislative process. If the fan base perceives that greater media regulation and reform is needed in the United States, then they should continue to build advocacy organizations and lobbying groups that will vocalize the importance of these issues to their elected representatives in local, state and federal government. With effective leadership and strategic action by the Michael Jackson community, such organizations and groups may ultimately be able to influence the legislative process and have laws and policies enacted that can achieve the desired reforms. […] Michael Jackson fans across the world are passionate people. Rightly so, millions of them are emotionally connected to what he symbolized as an artist, a humanitarian and a man who faced his own personal struggles throughout life. People from all races, religions and nationalities feel that they can relate to Jackson on many different levels and for a diverse range of reasons. Ultimately, he connected humanity. Because Michael Jackson truly inspired and gave tremendous hope to so many people around the world, fans are angry that he was taken so soon by circumstances that could have easily been prevented. They are justified in their emotions. Michael’s fans have felt distressed for a number of years that a human being who they viewed was so talented, compassionate, kind and generous could be bullied in such a highly destructive manner by certain elements of society. Michael’s fans see injustice, and because they are highly vocal and visible they have been incorrectly labeled as ‘crazy.’ Since I began to write about Michael Jackson following his death, I have been contacted directly by legions of his fans from every corner of the earth. From Russia to Egypt, India to England and everywhere in between, the Michael Jackson fans that I have communicated with are some of the most sensitive, caring, thoughtful and eloquent people I have ever spoken with. Each has shared personal stories with me about how Michael Jackson touched their lives and how he gave them hope amidst their own personal challenges. They have also expressed to me highly intelligent thoughts and analysis on why they believe Michael’s rich life was cut short, and have offered their interpretations of the facts in the Dr. Conrad Murray case helping to shape my analysis along the way. One of the most impressive aspects of the Michael Jackson fan base has been their ability to peacefully organize through the establishment of a powerful online community and tangible advocacy groups, to further Michael Jackson’s cultural legacy and humanitarian efforts. They should continue these activities also through the establishment of nonprofit entities that will advance the causes Michael Jackson supported. Ultimately, Michael’s fans have the collective power to right what they view as wrongs in society whether it concerns Michael Jackson or other issues, by employing their strong voice and unified vision. Michael Jackson fans should never be discouraged by disparaging labels!”

“[…] Ironically, many of the media figures who maligned Michael Jackson in the past have achieved even greater financial success and professional notoriety through their biased and sensational reporting. If these media personalities continue to garner ratings and are rewarded by networks for doing so, there is no incentive for them to change their approach to "The Michael Jackson Story", no matter what the set of facts they have before them. At the end of the day, it is the responsibility of the viewing public to demand truthful reporting, ethical professional practices and accountability from journalists, media personalities and news organizations. As the media is primarily a profit making business, there will be no commercial advantage to story manipulation and the distortion of facts if the public refuses to buy it.”

“The relationship between a victim and a victimizer is typically characterized by an imbalance of power. It is usually the victimizer that holds, manipulates and then exerts their power over the victim, exploiting the victim’s weaknesses with dangerous effect. Although a victim may engage in behavior or place themselves into circumstances that contribute to them being exploited and ultimately victimized, it is the victimizer who should ultimately be held responsible for abusing their power in the relationship. As Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr. Murray, possessed a great deal of power over his patient even though he claims the opposite. He had the professional responsibility not to abuse that power for personal gain no matter what Michael Jackson, the victim, had done to find himself in a position of weakness. Yet, the ‘blame the victim’ defense that Dr. Murray’s legal team is expected to present at trial, serves as a very easy and convenient litigation strategy. Michael Jackson will be unable to refute any negative characterizations, whether true or false, that are made about him and the circumstances that caused his death, while Dr. Murray, on the other hand, will have the power to testify and state his interpretation of events. That seems quite unbalanced to me. The defense will likely play to the jury's emotions by perpetuating the popular, but not wholly accurate perception that Michael Jackson was an emotionally and physically weak pop star who was addicted to propofol, forced Dr. Murray to administer it to him regularly and ultimately caused his own death. It is difficult to image that justice can be fully served when the same imbalance of power that characterized the Dr. Conrad Murray/Michael Jackson relationship in Jackson’s home, will now rear its ugly head in the courtroom. […] I will be covering and providing legal commentary on significant aspects of the Dr. Conrad Murray trial and its verdict for The Huffington Post, as well as on national radio and television news shows as requested. I am looking forward to contributing my legal analysis of the evidence presented at trial, witness testimony, the strategies of the prosecution and defense, as well as the social and policy implications of the verdict. My overall objective is to provide a truthful and balanced perspective on the facts and issues presented by this monumental case through a diverse range of media outlets.”

“[…] I believe it is essential for those fortunate enough to have a platform to address issues of injustice, inequity and abuses of power to do so, whether it is concerning Michael Jackson or others. Though, with the power of such a platform comes the responsibility to speak with honesty, and to avoid the manipulation of news subjects and facts solely to serve ulterior commercial and/or personal interests. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past with reporting on Michael Jackson, not all who possess such a platform act with ethics and professional responsibility.”

“[The media focuses so fiercely on negative aspects regarding Michael Jackson for] ratings. Easy sound bites. Profit. As long as media can continue to draw viewers and advertisers through a certain type of reporting style or story angle, whether it is about Michael Jackson or any other public figure, it will continue to do so. Many people could not understand Michael Jackson’s appearance, lifestyle, interpersonal relationships, child-rearing choices and other aspects of his personal actions. It became popular to ridicule Jackson, viewing him as an eccentric who stood outside of society’s norms and was to be feared. Whether or not these perceptions were justified, the media found it easier and more profitable to play to and reinforce sensationalized accounts of Jackson, as opposed to digging deeper into his humanitarian or artistic contributions to society. After years of this fiercely derogatory reporting, and as Michael Jackson’s legal and financial problems continued to mount, it became ingrained in the public consciousness that any news about Michael Jackson was going to be negative news. […] Racial stereotypes played a significant role in the public and the media’s growing negativity toward Michael Jackson. As Jackson’s skin color and facial appearance changed over the years, many people became confused about why these changes were occurring. There was constant speculation about his race, and Jackson was consistently interrogated about whether he still identified himself as African American or was trying to be Caucasian or another race. In my opinion, this type of questioning and negative examination of Jackson’s surface appearance and racial identity were borne out of pre-conceived, and narrow societal constructs of what are the expected physical characteristics of different races. As Michael Jackson’s appearance changed, many people became uncomfortable with the fact that they could not place him squarely into a defined racial box. Very few sought to understand the physiological and psychological reasons that were driving the changes in his physical appearance. Instead, his skin color and facial characteristics became just another easy sound bite and eccentricity to point the finger at. I always thought there was an underlying element of racism that perpetuated this highly debated topic.”

“I want to thank the Michael Jackson community for providing me with the opportunity to share my thoughts and perspective on an individual who I believe was not only a tremendous artist, but a humanitarian of the highest order. Michael Jackson is responsible for improving the lives of so many people around the world, and has left an indelible mark on this earth. I commend the millions of passionate and compassionate Michael Jackson fans who continue to work so tirelessly to preserve his legacy in our culture and on humanity. Thank you!”

[Matt Semino, American Attorney and Legal Analyst – interviewed by Lauren Trainor from http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]

 

“How can a hoax video be "beautiful" when its inventions mislead so many and cause so much pain?? […] It astonishes me how people are side-tracked by fantasy fiction when the goal should be seeking justice for the death of Michael. […] It's more upsetting for them in the long-run, I fear. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson, http://twitter.com/#!/jermjackson5]

 

“After we had been dating for a little while, Janet told me that her brother Michael wanted to meet me. I was excited to be introduced to him. Like everyone else, I had grown up listening to the Jackson 5, so I was a fan. […] I was curious to see what he was like and if his experience of fame was the same as mine.

I went to pick Janet up at the house her family was building then. They were in the middle of construction, and there were all of these exposed pipes everywhere. This was before Michael’s album Thriller had come out, and Michael was going around the house singing ‘Thriller’ into all of these little pipes.

‘This is Thriller,’ he sang into one pipe.

And then he ran over to another pipe.

“Thriller,” he sang into that pipe.

He had this high-pitched giggle, and he was laughing like crazy about how the pipes made his voice sound all weird and distorted. He was basically this big kid, always finding the fun in everything.

I didn’t ever get to know the rest of the family that well, but Janet, Michael, LaToya, and I spent a lot of time together that year. Michael was always just silly and a lot of fun. Not that he ever really had the chance to be himself. We were both struggling with the challenges of growing up in the public eye, and that meant putting on a smile even when things were far from fine. He never got a break. […] Now that he’s gone from us, I hope he’s found some peace. I’ll always have a tremendous amount of admiration for him.”


[Todd Anthony Bridges, American actor; sources: his book, ‘Killing Willis’, www.mjjcommunity.com]



----

"To make it clear once and for all....since I work for the County of Los Angeles, I have privy to certain information....Michael Jackson was and IS INNOCENT OF CHILD MOLESTATION.

There was a case opened and closed (the) same day...

  • NO evidence to further investigate
  • NO proof
  • NO prior history
  • NO basis for an investigation to even be started for DCFS, child endangerment or inappropriate behavior with any child including his own.

Michael Jackson was/is, in EVERY sense of the word...INNOCENT...PERIOD!" ~ April Smith, Los Angeles County worker

The allegations were made by Tom Sneddon, who, according to Smith and many other article sources, would stop at nothing to destroy Michael Jackson and much of it was thought to be racially provoked.

"Michael was SET UP!" added Smith.

Official DCFS document which cleared Michael Jackson of any wrong-doing and had sworn statements from both Janet Arvizo (Gavin’s mother) and Gavin Himself. These papers were filed in 2003 BEFORE the Arvizo’s changed their story and set up Michael Jackson for EXTORTION.

Read more here: http://reflectionsonthedance.blogspot.com/2011/05/los-angeles-county-worker-vouches-for.html]

---

 

“The truth can hurt. I ask you to consider how hurtful it is for family to read tweets saying Michael is alive when he's not. If I help one, it's enough. […] Ok. I will continue until people stop believing in a fallacy based on semantics. It is more hurtful to perpetuate this myth. I appreciate the pain that truth causes. But loving fans are being misled and it must stop. I prefer for them to respect themselves & understand the reality that we've all had to deal with (…).Love binds us all, in purpose and spirit -- let's never forget that. […] Not entertaining it. Just trying to help fans who, in good faith but false hope, are being terribly misguided. Drawing a line under this nonsense now. I'm happy to have helped the few who listened & understood that I wouldn't lie to or mislead fans.”

[Jermaine Jackson; source: http://twitter.com/#!/jermjackson5]

 

“The evening of March 18th 2007 will be etched on my memory forever… I was playing my regular Sunday evening at The Dorchester Hotel, London when, around 9.30pm security arrived and moved the guests away from the Piano and proceeded to rope off the area.

I was asked to continue playing and to my astonishment, the “one and only” Michael Jackson approached and sat next to me at the piano accompanied by two friends.

It took me quite a while to get over the shock, by which time Michael had introduced himself and his two friends as The Sultan of Brunei’s son and daughter.

Michael asked my name and said he would like me to play some songs he requested. And so began the most memorable evening of my career.

Michael and his friends made around 25 song requests from a variety of artists including Elton John, Billy Joel, The Beatles, The Carpenters and Stevie Wonder, and to my amazement Michael sang throughout.

His voice was great and he complimented me many times during our jamming session, saying things like ‘You have a real gift’ and ‘Thank you for sharing your musical talent with me’.

Michael was softly spoken and extremely kind, saying how much he’d enjoyed his evening and hoped to see me again one day. For me it was an unbelievable experience - to spend an hour in the company of arguably the most famous person in the world - and one that I will never forget”.

[Daniel Mills, British singer, song-writer, musician; sources: www.danielmills.co.uk, www.mj-777.com]

 

“What do Michael Jackson and Neda Agha-Soltan, the beautiful young Iranian girl shot through the heart in Tehran (…) have in common? They are mirrors - or what I like to call “perception-givers.” Their lives and deaths reflect to us the tragic effects of our commonly accepted ways of seeing, being, and engaging.

My father, Ben Barrett, was in the music business and recorded a great deal of Michael Jackson’s music - from the early days with the Jackson Five right up to the “Dirty Diana” album (one of the last albums he recorded before his death in 1992). My brother Roman and I spent a lot of time in the studios when our dad was recording; he would even take us with him on the nightshifts. So the two of us spent time with Michael playing video games and consuming “studio snacks” (sugar cubes, Hershey’s Kisses, Melba Toast, and Coffee-mate). Michael was always kind and engaging - never once inappropriate with us, just for the record.

I imagine that just about everyone born prior to 1980 feels an emotional tug in response to the news of Michael’s death. He was, after all, probably the most famous person after Jesus and Elvis. I’m certainly not immune. But what I feel is a tremendous relief for him. I can’t help but feel like Grace released him from the torment of his existence.

For many years, Michael lived with his parents and siblings down the road from us in Encino, California, on a street called Havenhurst just off the main road of Ventura Blvd. (famously referenced in Tom Petty’s hit “Free Fallin” for you, music trivia buffs). When he was a kid, Michael and his brothers would ride their bikes up to our house and visit my dad. Just take a moment to imagine Michael as a ten-year-old - that gorgeous little boy singing “My Cherie Amour” - riding his bike around his neighborhood like any ordinary, innocent kid. He was beautiful and, by anyone’s standards, uncommonly talented. His father […] was dominating, violent, and abusive. Young Michael’s truth was usurped by his father’s soul-annihilating abuse. From his father’s behavior and words came the stories and lies (reinforced by those who neither challenged them, nor taught Michael to challenge them) that would imprison Michael for the rest of his life. To varying degrees, we have all accepted the stories and lies imposed upon us as children.

Yet, despite this, young Michael’s light shone so brightly. The brighter a light shines in the presence of a bully stuck in darkness, the more desperate that bully becomes to snuff out that light for fear of exposure. Many of us, in our defenseless innocence, have been at the mercy of such abuse. (Of course, these bullies, who have likely been abused themselves, need love more than most. But that is a separate issue.)

Young Michael was natural, innocent, exploding with creativity, and in enough possession of his own soul power to radiate his personal essence - making him and his music positively irresistible. Let’s all take a moment and acknowledge that what he expressed in 1970 in his recordings of “ABC” and “The Love You Save” was his true, irrepressible essence - inspiring, enchanting, and downright magical! That was the real Michael. That was before the world of UNTRUTH had at him. This, I believe, is what his spirit and soul are returning to as he sheds the cage of his physical body and the false stories it absorbed over the course of his life on earth.

Michael and Neda (whose name means “voice” in Farsi) are two innocent, pure souls who demonstrated the lies of our world and what we communally deem acceptable. The painful unfolding of Michael’s public life and the tragic, rapid-fire death of Neda in Iran have showed us the EFFECTS of the CAUSES supported by such a world. What happened to Michael and Neda could happen to any innocent, and indeed does - every second of every day. Dramatic displays of suffering and wasted life can sometimes jolt humans out of our programmed, blinkered ways of seeing, so that we can begin to discern the truth. But then most of us get distracted again and fall back into our old ways.

To varying degrees, we are all PERCEPTION-GIVERS: those who reflect through personal experience the truths and untruths of our humanity. We must also pay attention and be PERCEPTION-GETTERS. This is the way of the Peaceful Warrior, who does not draw a machine gun or send out a drone against injustice. The Peaceful Warrior knows there is more power in simply holding a mental posture of attentiveness and knows exactly what to watch for. An effective Peaceful Warrior is fluent in the language of Life - able to discern between that which is life-generating and that which is life-deteriorating - and from there is able to make swift life-generating choices.

How perceptive are you? How adept a Peaceful Warrior? How many of the lies, stories, and life-deteriorating, but commonly accepted ideas, can you see, though? What do you do with what you see? Do you passively pray that the world will change or do you change yourself based on what you discover?

Our world can change only if individuals truly perceive and understand the EFFECTS of every CAUSE, and can discern between life and death. How the term “life” is misused! That which is truly living is harmonious and beautiful. Can we stop going around saying “Well, that’s life!” when something undesirable happens? It would be more accurate to say, “Well, that’s death!”

[…] We must acknowledge that the personal and communal pain is real, neither a minor blip on the screen nor an acceptable part of normal life. Perception-getters know that pain is the alarm bell sounding off against the error of life-destroying causes and actions. Furthermore, error begets error, growing exponentially and multiplying human pain.

[…] To get really personal, for the first time in a long time I was so overcome with emotion today that I just wept. I didn’t resist the urge; I was grateful no one around to say, “Please, don’t cry.” It felt so good to shed my tears. The flood of tears came through me like a summer storm after a long, hot day - it drenched my face, neck and T-shirt. I was not lost in the emotion. Rather, I was able to observe it. I was delighted that what I was feeling (and for whatever length of time I had been holding onto it) was finding a release - an exit from my body. As I cried, all I could think of were the lies and the suffering those lies were causing. I wept for the beautiful boy, Michael, whose experience is a mirror for humanity. I wept in joy for all of our journeys, for despite how daunting it can be to truly perceive, it is a gift. It enables us to shed our old skins of untruth and renew ourselves. I wept for the gorgeous, young Neda and thanked her for her sacrifice, which has opened our eyes in invaluable ways.

One of my favorite songs is “The Nightshift” by the Commodores. It reminds me of my dad making music-magic in the studios on the nightshift - when most of the biggest R&B hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were recorded. The Commodores recorded this song as a tribute to two of their friends who both passed in 1984: one was the legendary perception-giver, Marvin Gaye; and the other, the great Jackie Wilson.

I’ve posted the lyrics below as a tribute to Michael’s legacy and the mirror he offered mankind. I suppose this gives new meaning to his 1988 hit, “Man in the Mirror.” His fifty years on this planet were not easy for him. This is for you, Michael, may your pain not be in vain, and may your harmonies bring about greater harmony here on earth.

The "Nightshift", by The Commodores

 

Marvin, he was a friend of mine

And he could sing a song.

His heart in every line.

Marvin sang of the joy and pain,

He opened up our minds

And I still can hear him say:

‘Talk to me,

So you can see

What’s goin’ on.’

Say you will sing your songs

Forever more,

ever more,

ever more.


Gonna be some sweet sounds comin’ down on the nightshift,

I bet you’re singin’ proud,

Oh, I bet you pull a crowd.

Gonna be a long night.

 

It's gonna be all right on the nightshift.

You found another home,

I know you’re not alone on the nightshift.

You found another home,

I know you're not alone on the nightshift.


Jackie, hey what you’re doin’ now? It seems like yesterday

When we were workin’ out.

Jackie, you set the world on fire,

You came and gifted us.

Your love, it lifted us higher and higher.

Keep it up and we’ll be there at your side.

Say you will sing your songs forever more,

ever more,

ever more.

Gonna be some sweet sounds comin’ down on the nightshift...

[…]”

[Natalia Rose, American author – from HarperCollins Publishers; sources: www.detoxtheworld.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“On June 25, 2009, the final chapter in one of the most controversial histories of present times ended: Michael Jackson died (…). Two years after (…), for many fans who’ve always believed in his innocence, perhaps not that unexpected, event, we have begun to clear the name of the King of Pop, as the untold truth comes out to light.

Late last week, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother, spoke to Matt Lauer about what it was like to stand so close in court to the man she believes is responsible for her son’s death, Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael’s personal physician who was with him on the tragic day.

She also said that the biggest misconception about Michael was that he was a molester.

This, in turn, led to more stories (but not nearly enough, given how much weight they bring to a case Michael himself had been making since 1993, when he was first accused of improper behavior with a minor) popping up online, uncovering documents dating back to the molestation trials which, in fact, confirmed what the general public and the media would never acknowledge: Michael Jackson was innocent.

Michael Jackson. Best selling artist of all times. The King of Pop. The Gloved One. J****. W**** J****. Freak. Pedophile. Monster.

We are often told true talent always shines through and genius never goes by unnoticed, which is why we should learn to make the difference between the artist and the person s/he is in real life.

Clearly, that never applied to Michael Jackson, arguably the most talented pop artist ever to come out, and undeniably the most popular and successful: for nearly two decades, his last years of life, the media and the public deliberately chose to ignore the truth, because scandal was a much more profitable business than actual fact.

We killed Michael Jackson.

Maybe it wasn’t you or me or the guy who lives next door, with who we cross paths occasionally when we come out to get the paper. Maybe it wasn’t X tabloid or Y celebrity magazine, or even Z journalist. But we did it together and we did it slowly and painfully, deliberately, by ignoring facts and focusing on the sensationalism of Michael’s life.

Facts

In 1993, when his personal life had already become tabloid fodder and not a day went by without at least one Jackson story, Michael Jackson was accused of molesting a child. 13-year-old Jordan Chandler and his father, Dr. Evan Chandler, went public with the story, prompting authorities to launch an investigation into the claims.

In December that same year, Neverland Ranch is raided by police: documents and other items are removed from the premises, and Michael is submitted to a 23-minute strip search that leaves him feeling so humiliated, he will never recover from it.

Because of inconclusive evidence, the jury is disbanded and Michael is never prosecuted.

At his lawyers’ recommendations, Michael settles with the Chandlers outside of court even though, as Katherine said just recently, he didn’t want to, because he knew that would make him feel guilty.

Facts

In May 2002, Michael decides to do something he’d never done before: very shy and fiercely protective of his personal life (not that anyone can blame him, though), he agrees to allow BBC journalist Martin Bashir and his cameras into his life for the chance to tell the world his story, unbiased, unedited and brutally honest.

Bashir had previously achieved international acclaim after a very revealing and groundbreaking interview with Princess Diana – it was Di who convinced Michael to do this because she trusted Bashir, which would explain why the singer never saw what happened next coming.

Living with Michael Jackson” aired in the UK in March 2003, 10 years after the first molestation allegation was made. One particular scene shows Michael holding hands with Gavin Arvizo (13), as Gavin leans his head on the singer’s shoulder, and they talk about their sleeping arrangements for when the boy spends the night in Michael’s bedroom.

In the footage that the public saw at the time, there was no doubting Bashir’s intentions, as he repeatedly tells Michael it’s not normal for a 44-year-old to sleep in the same bed with other people’s children, asking him if he at least understood why people may see something wrong with it.

Innuendoes are, at times, more efficient than the strongest poison.

Unaware of what is being implied, Michael smiles throughout the whole “interrogatory,” saying there’s nothing wrong with it, that children need “touching” and “hugging,” and that love can heal the world.

The public was shocked by what it saw: the apparent admission of a guilty man who, most importantly, laughed in their worried faces while admitting he did, indeed, sleep with children in the same bed.

Authorities acted accordingly, with Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon out to get the public their guilty man: Michael was indicted for four counts of molesting a minor, four counts of intoxicating a minor, one count of abduction, and one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive at Neverland.

On July 13, 2005, a jury finds Michael not guilty on all charges.

Also fact: Throughout the entire trial, the media deliberately reports only on the sensational claims made in court, ignoring testimonies and evidence that prove said claims are bogus, in what Charles Thomson of The Huffington Post aptly names “the most shameful episode in journalistic history.”

What We Were Told

It’s easy to dismiss the media plot to present the Michael Jackson trial in a skewed light as just another conspiracy theory, because, you know it, that’s one of the appeals of a good conspiracy theory: to have it dismissed.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying that there was an intentional attempt at covering only the salacious and revolting aspects of it, especially since most of the media had already settled for a guilty verdict even before the jury was presented with the case.

The fact that Michael denied all charges counted very little. The fact that most testimonies proved false and that countless witnesses for the prosecution either ended up testifying for the defense or were found guilty of perjury counted even less.

While witnesses took the stand in court to speak in Michael’s defense, the media chose to have the public looking at something else: his court outfit, did he wear a wig or was that his real hair, didn’t he appear whiter than before – that must confirm he’s bleaching his skin, would he ever make music again, how does he look at himself in the mirror!?

In their crazed dash for ratings, the media forgot that its duty was to report objectively. Of course, we’re not talking about tabloids here, but about representatives of the media that boast of their unbiased coverage of all events: CNN, BBC, ABC, THR, and so on and so forth.

With it, the public forgot that once, this was a man who had brought so much joy and hope into their lives with his music, his dancing, his charity work, his honesty – and gladly took part in his lynching.

What We Did

By the time the jury returned with the unanimous verdict that Michael Jackson was not guilty on all charges brought against him, it didn’t even matter anymore: we had already made up our mind.

For the remainder of his life, Michael Jackson was branded a child molester even though he’d been through hell and back to prove that he was the exact opposite of that. For the media and the public opinion, the mere fact that he’d been found not guilty was proof of just how good he was – at hiding his true nature, that of a monster.

“A poll conducted by Gallup in the hours after the verdict showed that 54% of White Americans and 48% of the overall population disagreed with the jury’s decision of ‘not guilty.’ The poll also found that 62% of people felt Jackson’s celebrity status was instrumental in the verdicts,” Charles Thomson writes in the aforementioned piece.

“34% said they were ‘saddened’ by the verdict and 24% said they were ‘outraged.’ In a Fox News poll 37% of voters said the verdict was ‘wrong’, while an additional 25% said ‘celebrities buy justice.’ A poll by People Weekly found that a staggering 88% of readers disagreed with the jury’s decision,” he further informs.

That Michael Jackson had been found not guilty was, most ironically of all, proof that he was, because that was the most profitable story to sell. Even more, it was proof that he could get away with it.

With this, we ended Michael Jackson’s career, broke his spirit and tainted his image for eternity. And, yes, we killed him.

Today, so many years after all of the above, documents about what really happened are starting to make the rounds online. Fans – the only ones who have never doubted Michael’s innocence – are lamenting that it’s a little too late to make any difference, but that’s not entirely true: Michael’s children can still grow up knowing that the entire world does not think their father a monster.

And there’s still hope that the truth will eventually prevail.


* We thank Thetis7, Maria M., VindicateMJ, Elizabeth, the CA Anti-Def Group and Charles Thomson for all their assistance and support in the writing of this editorial, as well as the entire Michael Jackson fanbase on Twitter.

or more details on the media conspiracy against Michael Jackson, please refer here, here and here.

Michael Jackson speaks of police brutality after 2003 arrest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zXXTWzi9vcg

[…]

[Elena Gorgan, sources: http://news.softpedia.com; edited by The Silenced Truth]

 

“My friend MD was working at the Louvre. One day, he received a phone call asking him: "Hey, could you please take charge of Michael Jackson for a private tour of the Louvre?". You bet he could! And this was an experience of a lifetime. When Michael arrived with two children and body guards, MD didn't know what to expect. He already had the experience of stars like Mick Jagger, Bruce Willis, and countless politicians requesting private tour. This one was very different. Different because Michael Jackson had the spirit of a child. He played in the escalators of the Louvre, trying to run opposite way, he had fun in the corridors, playing hide and seek. "He was a very smiley (person) and gentle with everyone”, MD said, "I've never met someone like him ever". "I couldn't believe how sensitive he was. When he liked a picture, he was so moved, he started crying. Like facing the Mona Lisa, we had to make a break for him to recover". Now that Michael Jackson has left us, it might be time for us to think of our collective share of responsibilities in the way he became. Little boy Michael never had the chance of leading a normal life. He hardly had to open a door, someone opening it before him. We are not even sure if he ever had a choice. He could have had the normal life of a little kid, being a singer and a dancer without this worldwide show business pressure upon him. Was he someone to be envied, or just an unlucky boy swallowed up by the system because of his incredible and unique talent? "He just had an amazing and immense charisma", MD recalls. "I can't believe I found myself waving my hand back at Michael Jackson, twisted on his taxi seat waving at me like I was his friend. I instantly became a fan, he was just an extraordinary human being". Now MD working in another museum, shared with us the image of the empty corridors of the Louvre where Michael Jackson would be to never come back again.”

[Audiobook; sources: http://meetingmichaeljackson.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“It was an extraordinary, completely exclusive experience that I had worked a long time on setting up. […] Somebody had come to me early on and said: ‘Michael watches ET every night. He loves you on the show. He’d love to do something.’ And so figuring out what that something could be came down to this. [An invitation in Florida as he was preparing for his BAD tour.] […] Michael was sweet, very private, very soft-spoken. […] He would lean over and he would whisper things into my ear, and it would be such nice things, like: ‘I’m so glad we’re doing this.’, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so shy.’, ‘ I can’t talk on camera, but I love you, Mary, I’m really glad you’re here.’ […] After that first concert in Kansas City, I had dinner with him up in his suite. And it was just Michael and me for two hours. He’d flown his private chef in with him, he loved Indian food. It was an extraordinary evening. We talked about everything. We talked about his family - he talked, he admitted that, at times, he could be very lonely. […] He was soft-spoken… He was a little shy, but he was much more comfortable, because it was just the two of us. And it was an absolutely delightful evening.”

[Mary Hart, American television personality; sources: www.youtube.com, ET HD]

 

“Research has made me read Randy Taraborrelli. I am speechless. He's been pulling words out of his a** with his dialogue & scenes. He writes scenes with dialogue like he was there, when he wasn't. I'm running out of yellow highlighter! Still speechless. […] Who's next? Anyone who says anything untrue.”

[Jermaine Jackson; source: http://twitter.com/#!/jermjackson5]

 

Michael was a perfectionist beyond your wildest imagination. Every time we would shoot, he would call me and we'd have a two-hour conversation to discuss what it was we were going to do and how we were going to go about it. He had pet tarantulas; they actually shed their skin. This is the casing of the tarantula that he brought with him. He never traveled with a big entourage. He was very genuine and really loved photography. I dearly miss him. He was a tragic individual, but an amazing human being.”


[Greg Norman, American photographer; source: http://houston.culturemap.com]

 

 

* Blast from the past:

{from the September 1972 issue of FaVE magazine}:

“I have a little yellow kitten named Charlie. He’s only about four months old and he’s full of fun and mischief every minute. Well, he and Michael took a liking to each other right away. All the while, Michael was waiting for the make-up man to get make-up on his brothers. Michael was out in the back yard playing with Charlie. And when Michael would have to go before Dad’s camera for pictures, Charlie just didn’t want to leave Michael alone! They became such good friends that Michael was hoping he could take Charlie home with him. But Tony reminded Michael that there were already two dogs at home, and they might not like Charlie, except as dessert. Michael agreed, and I was relieved too, ‘cause I didn’t want to give Charlie up, though I would have for Michael Jackson!”

[Desiree Johnson (13-year-old daughter of a photographer capturing the Jackson 5) – talks to Sherrie Bartlett FaVE reporter; source: www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com]

 

“When I heard the awful news, my mind jumped back in time. Back 40 years to a hot, summer Saturday afternoon in Harlem, New York. Back to when I was a five-year-old girl on a day out with my mother. Back to the day I met a rambunctious, smart-alec, 10-year-old boy who wanted to show me his new dance moves.

My mother danced at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. It was - still is - the spiritual home of black American music, and it was her second home too. She just couldn’t stay away. My father was different, he liked to stay home, so she always took me with her.

When we got there, we would do the rounds, first backstage, then the refreshment stand, and then front-row centre. That was our spot. It was there that I saw them all: the Chi-Lites, the Stylistics, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Delfonics, James Brown, and other stars that most people under 40 don’t know.

My mother knew nearly all the R&B stars of the Sixties and Seventies. It’s a tale involving impossibilities, love, and lots of unanswered questions.

My parents loved to tell stories, and this was one of theirs: one late night my mother was just getting off work at the Apollo when she met the handsomest man in the world - my father, who just happened to be out front, taking a break from driving his lorry.

Love at first sight made my mother trade in her dancing costume and her baby cobra for a life of love that lasted more than 30 years.

It’s funny how things start out one way and have a completely different ending. Our trip that day from our home in Newark, New Jersey, took two buses and two trains.

I was a little slow following my mother off the train, and got caught between the doors. “Grab my hand. I’ll pull you out,” my mother shouted. I really thought I was going to die, but she got me out before the train began to move.

It was one of the scariest days of my life, but that’s not the only reason I’ll never forget it.

Coming out of the subway, we met this guy who was walking alone, as we approached the Apollo on 125th in Harlem. “See you later,” he and my mother said to each other after speaking briefly, and we continued on our way. I didn’t think to ask who he was; my mother knew so many people.

I loved the Apollo too. Walking under the marquee, I loved to look at the Wall of Fame, a ground-to-ceiling panorama of all the performers who had performed there since the 1940’s.
The Jackson 5 were new then. Two years earlier, they had won the regular Amateur Night at the Apollo, but they had still to be “discovered” by Diana Ross.

That day, they were low down on the bill and performed in the early evening. When the curtain went up and this group of five boys stood there ready to dazzle the crowd, the audience seemed more curious than enthralled - even when they performed their soon-to-be hit, ABC. Who were they?

It wasn’t until later that evening, backstage, that I realised who that stranger on the street was: Joe Jackson, the family patriarch. In the spacious backstage lounge we met Mr. Joe again. Then it clicked. He was with those kids on stage.

“Hey, I want you to meet someone,” he said to me. Next, here comes this kid with a huge afro hairstyle. He had changed out of the white shirt with the long, pointy lapels into a loose, golden brown turtleneck, two shades lighter than his chestnut brown skin.

Taking a few hops before he landed on the steps where I was sitting, he spoke without looking directly at me, as boys often do with girls.

“Hi, how ya doin’?”

“Hi.”

“Look at this.” He jumped down three steps at a time.

I wasn’t impressed. “Is that all?”

“No, I can do more than that, you’ll see.”

And we did. Oh, didn’t we just. The greatest song-and-dance man of all time, maybe the greatest entertainer of all time.

But that day he smoked me. I guess that’s what I remember most about him. I was jealous of his wit. Not mad, just jealous.

Of all of the things Michael Jackson later became famous for, no one could imagine the kid that I met that day. But that’s the boy I can never forget.

The only proof that this other Michael ever existed is in the Jackson 5 TV cartoon, where he was always trying to get in on the action, and his big brothers were always kicking him out with: “This is not for you, small fry.” Can you see the irony of it?

[…] When I met him that day, he was more than just another talented kid, but he still seemed to know the difference between performing on stage and just being him.

When it was time to go that day backstage at the Apollo, we both said: “See ya later.” He waved, and he was gone. I never saw him again.”

[Maryam Ismail, columnist with The National; source: www.thenational.ae, www.mjjcommunity.com]



“Michael was in Sydney in 1996 to do some concerts. The hotel was full of Jackson fans, twenty four hours a day. On the final day that he was in Sydney, I went down to his hotel wearing a casual suit and holding a laptop computer. I walked into the hotel and up to the first floor. Once there, I sat down and worked on the computer. After thirty minutes or so, one of Michael’s security guards cleared the entire floor, he noticed that I was working on the computer and did not bother me. A few minutes later, Jackson walked out of the lifts and over to my direction, where there were a few children waiting with their parents to meet him.

Michael happily signed autographs for the children and posed for photos. After he had spent time with the children. I casually walked up to him and asked for a photo. Michael simply nodded his head and put out his arm so I could stand next to him. He walked down the stairs and signed as many autographs that he could for his devoted fans.”

[Richard Simpkin, American (?) photographer, artist, author; sources: www.richardsimpkin.com.au, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[On his birthday in 2007, Michael Jackson flew me to Neverland Ranch to meet his nephews and two of his children, Prince and Paris]. […] His 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. 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 basketball player (regarded as best streetball player in the world; sources: www.tambriapeeples.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“They had finished their first audition, and, of course, it was the talk of the entire studio about these kids, who were absolutely fantastic, Michael being the most talented out of all of them. […] [I was especially taken with 9-year-old Michael.] First of all, to see a young man with that much soul and the ability to sing a song as though he had experienced that part of life… because usually you’re coming from a point of reference when you’re singing, not always, but to get the true feelings from that song… for him to be able to sing like that with that much feeling, it was phenomenal.”

[Claudette Rogers Robinson, African-American soul singer, former member of The Miracles; sources: August 28, 2009 issue of ‘Goldmine’ magazine, www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com, www.goldminemag.com]


“[…] It was Jermaine who was being prepped for solo superstardom in the beginning, not Michael]. [Jermaine] was the right age. He was 13, which was more the age of our readers. It would have been odd for them to have a crush on a 10-year-old. […] All the [Jackson 5] boys were soft-spoken, very cooperative, but with not a lot of personality. They were not there for fun. It was just another obligation to fill. […] I always knew [Michael] as this poor kid, this puppet, who was being bullied and bossed around by the powers that be [which included father Joseph and Motown chief, Berry Gordy].”

“[As quite and unassuming as he was offstage, I saw the other side of Michael at a Jackson 5 concert.] You wouldn’t know it was the same kid. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts, and I think I’ve got a pretty good gut as far as being able to tell what is magic and what is not. He electrified the crowd. You really knew this was something different, something magical.”

[Randy Reisfeld, former junior editor at 16 magazine; sources: August 28, 2009 issue of ‘Goldmine’ magazine, www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com, www.goldminemag.com]


“[The only time I ever spoke to Michael was a time in the early or mid 1970’s, when we sat together and he told me he had been making his own clothes.] He said, ‘Would you like to see what I just made?’ [He went and got a big suitcase and picked up a studded leather vest.’ He waved it around and said, ‘Do you like it?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Do you think it looks too busy?’ That’s a word I hadn’t heard since my mother used it… busy. He was so eager for the approval of an older male. […] He certainly didn’t get it from his father – I can only surmise.”

[Danny Fields, American journalist, author, former music-industry executive, former editor of 16 magazine; sources: August 28, 2009 issue of ‘Goldmine’ magazine, www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com, www.goldminemag.com]


“[He watched as we (Gamble and Huff) wrote music and noted how we interacted with musicians.] We let him sit by the boards, so we could show him how uncomplicated that board was. […] We tried to share with him all our experiences and share with him whatever techniques we had in recording. And really, one of the things that he wanted to do was write songs that had a social comment to them. Which Huff and myself – we wrote quite a few songs that talked about love and unity and togetherness amongst all people. And Michael, he gravitated to that, and we also recorded a few songs that had the message and the music. So, later on, Michael started recording songs like ‘We Are The World’… I mean, he wrote some great songs. […] [For my part, I also watched him at work and he kept me on my toes.] I learned a lot from [Michael], because he was futuristic in his approach to recording. He knew quite a bit about what he wanted to do and how he wanted it to sound. One example is that he overdubbed his voice maybe about seven or eight times, which I had never done before, and I told him, I said, ‘Let’s try it’, because the studio is like a laboratory. You try everything. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, you don’t have to have it.”

[Kenneth Gamble, American songwriter and record producer; sources: August 28, 2009 issue of ‘Goldmine’ magazine, www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com, www.goldminemag.com]


“Quincy (Jones) called me one day and said, ‘We’re going to New York to do this musical movie, ‘The Wiz’… By the way, he told me, he said, ‘There’s a kid there who is really something else. His name is Michael Jackson.’ But that didn’t prepare me for the Michael Jackson I met. […] He was very shy, very quiet. He came in and recorded ‘Ease On Down The Road’ with no lyrics in front of him. And I thought to myself, (…) here’s some heavy duty, all right. And from that point on, every recording, every major record that I did with Michael, he never had the lyrics in front of him. He would stay up the night before all night and memorize the lyrics, and the reason he did that was he loved to sing with the lights out. […] Charlie Smalls wrote most of the music [for ‘The Wiz’]. Quincy revamped it all once we got into the recording process and orchestrated it and everything, but the songs were really strong. ‘Ease On Down The Road’… that’s a pretty powerful piece of R&B music, and it just fit Michael to a T. […] I think Quincy’s vision for Michael was, first of all, you know, if you listen to the Jackson 5 records, Michael is always this cute little kid who could really sing and everything, but Quincy wanted to make that cute little kid into a man, because Off The Wall – even ‘The Wiz’, even ‘Ease On Down The Road’ – was Michael’s coming-of-age statement. […] I didn’t really know what to expect [of Off The Wall’]. Although I had worked with Michael on The Wiz, if you look at the song list of Off The Wall, it’s kind of interesting. If you consider, from songs like ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ to ‘She’s Out Of My Life’, for instance. Think of the range of emotions. […] And I remember recording those vocals… after every vocal, Michael would be in tears. And we didn’t do that many… well, we never did do many takes with Michael, but after ‘She’s Out Of My Life’, the last take we did of that, he was sobbing and everything. He just left the studio, got in his car and went home.”

“Well, ‘Rock With You’ and ‘Don’t Stop…’ are quite different. ‘Don’t Stop…’ is a Michael song and ‘Rock With You’ is a Rod Temperton song. And they are very, very different. But they’re equally powerful. And if you think of ‘Rock With You’ and the harmonies… (…) and the background. Michael sang every one of those harmonies. Every one. There’s no other voice on those recordings. […] [With Thriller,] well, we knew we had something pretty good. But it’s hard to know… it was impossible to know it would be that good. […] I do remember being worried about the mastering a lot, because when we finished Thriller, it was actually quite long. And Michael is a nut about the song that comes off the disc. And you can’t… the release, the major release medium of the time was the LP. And you can’t have that volume and put it on at that length, or you’re going to… the length will control the amount of volume, and what we did was we ended up editing and cutting down the length of time on that first side, so that we could put more level on the record. […] I’d been to Bernie Grundman’s to master Thriller. And I brought it back to Westlake Studio, and we were all there, including some of the label people to listen to it. And oh, the label people were just salivating over this thing and everything. […] I remember the first side which had all the prime cuts on it, was 28 minutes. And you can’t do that, (it) just can’t done. You can’t have all that time on a record and still put the level on it to be competitive in the industry. And it was so noticeable… and this shows you how perceptive Michael is. While we were listening and the people from Epic were there and everything, by the time the first side was almost through, Michael snuck out of the studio and went across the hall to the other studio, which was empty at the time. And we didn’t know what was going on. So Quincy and I looked at each other, and we also snuck out and went over to the other studio, and there was Michael in the corner sobbing, in tears, because the sound was not right. And all I could think to say was, ‘Okay, you guys, Quincy and Michael, I told you so.’ I’d been fighting these edits all along, trying to get them to cut down on the songs. So, what happened was that Quincy said, ‘Okay, we’re going to go back in the studio for eight days. We’re going to cut these things down and get some level on this record. [And the rest is history. Thriller sold 40 million copies in its first run. […]”

“[I remember Michael] not only (as) a monumental talent, but he was such fun to be with and so polite and nice. The world doesn’t know the real Michael. That guy up on the screen there that they talk so bad about, I don’t know who that is. I’ve never met him.”

[Bruce Swedien, American audio engineer and music producer; sources: August 28, 2009 issue of ‘Goldmine’ magazine, www.the-michael-jackson-archives.com, www.goldminemag.com]

 

“My mention of Michael Jackson on my Facebook status startled many, especially as I invited them to pray for him. Within minutes, dozens of friends were commenting on my status, most of them were fans. More personal messages were dropped in my mailbox or emailed directly, and these were messages from my annoyed friends: "What have you got to do with Michael Jackson, a child molester, blah, blah, blah?"

This is a very big question, a huge question, since it can be rephrased in innumerable ways. What have I got to do with you? What have I got to do with the publisher of this paper? What have I got to do with President Obama?

Or, what have I, or you, got to do with this world? Perhaps the best answer is: "Because I live in this world." This is the point. The fact that you and I live in this world connects us to all other citizens in the world.

I remember the great Sufi mystic poet, Saadi: "Human beings are members of a whole, In creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain. If you have no sympathy for human pain, The name of human you cannot retain."

But human pain and suffering cannot connect me with my fellow human beings, if I do not have some kind of "feelings" for them. I have an emotional tie with my family members, so I can easily feel their pain. But, I may not have such a tie with you, and therefore I may not feel the same way about you, your pain and your suffering.

Not so with Michael Jackson, he could feel the pain of a suffering humanity. He raised and donated millions of dollars for humanitarian causes. He was not compelled to do what he did. Indeed, there are people much richer than him that did not do anything to alleviate suffering.

Michael Jackson differs from them because of his "feelings". We can still hear the echo of his compassion through his songs and writings, such as this passage from his album "Dangerous":

"Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye, but the dance lives on.

"On many an occasion, when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists.

"I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known.

"I keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and the creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing... until there is only... the dance."

Such feelings are indeed very "dangerous", for then you can no longer shut your eyes to what is happening around you. Michael was in a very vulnerable condition, even before penning such thoughts, he was already singing: "We are the world...the world must come together as one.. It's time to lend a hand to life."

He felt connected with the world not just physically, but also spiritually. He did not stop at recognizing and acknowledging the pain and suffering of people; he wanted to make a change.

In "Man in the Mirror", he actually saw the reflection of his soul and sang with an added fervor: "If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change." It was an advice given not to you or to me, but to himself: "I'm gonna make a change, for once in my life it's gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right..."

His realization that he had "been a victim of a selfish kind of love" made him all the more obsessed with the idea of spreading the right kind of love to heal himself and "Heal the World" to "make it a better place for you and for me". He dreamt of a world where "Black or White" either did not matter at all, or mattered equally.

In "The Earth Song" he wept together with Mother Earth: "What have we done to the world, look what we've done." Frustrated with all the happenings around him, he continued: "I used to dream, I used to glance beyond the stars; now I don't know where we are, although I know we've drifted far."

Back in the late 1970’s, I had the rare chance of meeting philosopher J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986). He suffered from a similar frustration too. Later, in a documentary made on his life, those who were close to him during his last days discussed his frustration.

Both, philosopher J. Krishnamurti and artist Michael Jackson spoke of change, of the ultimate freedom from bondage, from the old-rotten old paradigms. And, as rightly put by Mahatma Gandhi, both realized the necessity of "being the change" that they wanted to see in the world. Yet, both of them died frustrated, as did the Mahatma Gandhi, who could not accept the idea of India's division based on religion.

J. Krishnamurti let out his frustrations through his writings and discussions with people around him. Gandhi let out his frustrations by withdrawing from political life and going back to his commune in Gujarat. […] Yet, a man, a star like Michael Jackson is too big to die. Indeed, he is too bright a star to fall. He shall shine for many, many years. His legacy of songs, his unfulfilled dream of the world to come, and his obsession to change shall be remembered by generations to come. Michael's dream shall remain alive, for his dream is not a loner's dream, his dream is the dream of all those who are capable of dreaming something big.

[…]”

[Anand Krishna, Indonesian spiritual activist; sources: www.thejakartapost.com, www.aumkar.org, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“GENIUS

THE EXTRAORDINARY ARCHITECTURE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

When I walked the streets of Rome, I felt like bowing for the incredible universe; humble, grateful, and impressed smiling from within. Absolute amazement was written on my expression. I felt small at the feet of the vastness of life – of the masterpieces our predecessors have created in a fashion we cannot begin to fathom, despite the modern technology of today. Pure wonders of life stands strong through history.

THE BREATH-TAKING SERENITY OF HIMALAYAN NATURE

Hiking in the unspoiled deep of the Himalayan mountains, the same state of marvel once again surfaced. I recognized the feeling from that of walking the streets of Rome. The crisp and raw Himalayan forest surrounded by far-reaching mountains and patterned carefully with the most clear river streams, leaves you in awe. All colors of the palette would appear more profound and colorful than ever, as was it here the actual colors originated. Spending time in the remote Himalayan nature is, in my opinion, one of those experiences where you must bite yourself in the lib or pinch your arm, just to assure you are not dreaming. And its grandeur and rough serenity cannot but make you realize, that you have been flirted with by life and makes clear the overshadowing power and beauty of life in the now.

The Genius of Michael Jackson’s musical being

Then, the familiar feeling of sincere awe and marvel – of feeling small by the feet at something much larger – occurred again in a completely different and most surprising circumstance – not by extraordinary architecture, not by impressive nature, but by witnessing the strike of genius within a human being. When I watched the movie “This Is It” on the last months of music rehearsals by Michael Jackson before his passing; there it was again the marvel! “This Is It” was such a fitting title and, frankly, all I could stutter afterward. I am not particularly a Michael Jackson fan at all, so this experience truly took me by surprise. Intrigued by the experience, I went twice again to see it on the large screen in cinema. Sure enough, the awe and marvel was still there. I somehow found the movie portraying a glimpse into the creative work-process of Michael Jackson, held a similar power and energy to that of the historic architecture of the Roman Empire, and the impressive Himalaya mountains. In its core, these three phenomena are the same: pure genius.

Watching the movie, I was inclined to believe, that there was some shade of genius over Michael Jackson. He was an unbelievable gift (for) the world through the creation of novel music and showing to other mortals, how much ‘in-tune’ a human being actually can be. It seemed as if the music and he was (sic) one. The creation of nodes, the noticing of the most delicate nuances came to him almost intuitively before thought. It reminds me of Osho’s writing on creativity, when it comes from the truest place of all. It might be that Michael Jackson suffered in his earthly life as many geniuses often seem to do, but could it be that by his very nature, he also set others free? By being music, by being rhythm in his core, he mastered something beyond what is understandable. He created extraordinarily and gave in his music way above 100%. In this perspective, he might just have been a rare blessing to the world. I find that being so completely a character is an inspiration, and if it wasn’t for people like him, the world would be rather mundane.

Geniality in all its form touches us at our core. It might be that it awakens or pokes to that same essence which lies within all of us. Michael Jackson gave absolutely all he had to the world trough music; he dared and used it all. What he poured into this world is beyond measure, its brilliance and true power is (sic) a treasure. We – the people of the planet – need rare and special characters like his; (does) not matter whether we like to hate them, gossip about them, or cheer for them. It’s a flavor the world needs. True creativity is the deepest source if (sic) inspiration; it is divine; it sets us free and makes us dip our toes into our own true and vast potential.

Denmark 2009”

[A grain of all; sources: http://agrainofall.wordpress.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend time with Michael in 1988, during his Bad Tour, and in 1989 at his ranch, Neverland Valley. In 1988, Michael invited me to spend ten days with him during his Tour. He was performing in NJ at the time. As I lived in NJ, I told him I would be happy to drive back and forth to the city, but he insisted on getting me a suite at the Helmsley Palace. We spent many hours together and I went to every concert with him. It was truly a wonderful experience. What struck me from the first moment I met Michael was how intelligent he was. I, of course, knew his music and knew what an incredible performer he was, but I had no idea that he had deep passions for art and art history. He was especially passionate about American Illustrators. We spent many hours talking about Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Jesse Wilcox Smith and, of course, his favorite, Norman Rockwell. Michael sent an armored truck to my studio and they picked up over 150 of my paintings. They were leaning all around the suite and we spent quite a bit of time discussing my art and classic literature. Michael was also an avid book collector and I was surprised to find out that he had every book I had illustrated. But my greatest surprise was when he asked me to give him drawing lessons. I quickly learned that he had a natural talent for art. We would sit and sketch, chat and eat popcorn. It was casual and enjoyable.


Michael was also a great fan of animation and loved the Disney films. He very much wanted to get into making movies. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be. In 1989, Michael asked me to come to Neverland. I spent 9 days with him at the ranch. It was very clear that Michael was trying to create a childhood he never had. Again, it was a great experience. A very special moment in my life. Michael Jackson was the King of POP. This is, I hope, how the world will remember him. This is his legacy. But for those who had the opportunity to spend time with him, he was so much more. Michael was intelligent, funny, passionate, and caring. He had more energy than anyone I had ever known. He was a brilliant performer. He loved life. We will miss him. We wish him Gods (sic) speed.”


[Greg Hildebrandt, American fantasy and science fictions artist; sources: www.spiderwebart.com, www.mj-777.com]

 

“[…] Don't think for a second that Michael didn't know his father, flaws & strengths. He'd be rolling his eyes like everyone else now... But he would NOT subscribe to the hate & vitriol Joseph is being subjected to, whether he (would) be seen as right or wrong... those who spit hate & judgment towards this family misunderstand Michael and his core message of love & compassion. Jack5onWarriors (wrote): “I hope one day my family will be shown the same kindness and respect that we have, throughout our lives, shown to others." - MJ, 8/19/04”

[Jermaine Jackson; source: http://twitter.com/#!/jermjackson5]

 

“It's so tough [to pick an all-time favorite interview I did]! I mean, it comes down to the same handful of interviews, but I have to say my time with Michael Jackson was so special, it was so unique, because nobody got that time. Yes, Oprah did that sit-down interview at Neverland Ranch with him, but you know what? Years before that, I had been in Pensacola, Florida with Michael, watching him rehearse for his Bad Tour. I was there with him on stage for two days, watching him be the masterful leader of every move, every note, every intonation of what he did, and it was remarkable. And then when I was with him in Kansas City and walked him out on the stage, he held my hand through the tunnel, right out to the edge of the stage, then let go and transformed himself from this shy person that he was into this magnificent genius performer. It was the most remarkable thing I'd ever seen. It really was mind-blowing.”

[Mary Hart; source: www.tvsquad.com]


“I’m not gonna say – I’m not gonna formulate any opinions [on whether Michael’s death was foul play or not]... As I stated before, we have competent investigators and once they come back with their report, then I’ll formulate my opinion. But what I know right now is that I love my brother, I miss my brother, and I, as my family - you know, he did a lot of great things for the world, and peace is one of the things that we all are striving for.”

[Marlon David Jackson, American singer, dancer, a member of The Jackson 5 – interviewed in Nigeria by Queen Martins; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“[...] We have advanced much. With great pride, we continue to innovate new ways of creating commotion. Updates by the millisecond are at hand. Shared experiences are at the peak of their imagined potential. Michael Jackson has previously stopped the traffic in Times Square, but set another new precedent today by slowing down traffic and crashing many websites on the internet. The empirical potential of his absence is no doubt computed by interested experts. By dying, Michael Jackson has given rise to more money-making ventures for those in the business of not being silent. It will not be atypical if he is blamed for any fleecing of the grieved. The internet, the radio, the television and print media will be booming loud with new business. The air is already saturated by carrying the words announcing his death closely followed by reactions, expressions, speculations, opinions and, of course, the jokes.


I join the clamour now with my clattering keyboard, because somewhere in the commotion, I read something which reminded me of a long-gone thought of mine.. "I hope they tell his story right". He told his story enough, but it never was given due attention. MJ's Creator knows his story and that's the comfort.

There's something that surprises me, and something that does not surprise me. What does not surprise me is all the different expert theories on the tragedy of his life. What still surprises me is that this man's life is seen by so many as a tragedy. That, to me, is poignant. The tragic failing of the human spirit in so many of this world - the inability to celebrate the gifted among us. Michael Jackson never disappointed me, but it seems from most reports, that he disappointed many others who, to forgive their own hasty conclusions of his character, shamefully acknowledge his "talent" or rather - acknowledge his 13 minutes of talent - since 'Thriller' is the only thing that is ever mentioned from the fifty years of his life.


Been an unfazed fan since the days when rumours about the skin-bleaching and hormone-altered voice ruled the news after the liberalization of the Indian economy. (fan moment) "go down the liss oprah, go down the liss" (/fan moment). Went through the 1993 allegations hooked on the soulful Will You Be There, while catching up with the bunny in Speed Demon. Of course I was there. […] HIStory was my triumph and I loved how it started with a Scream to end with a Smile.


[…] Finally, as a result of the 2003 raid on Neverland and the - as MJ would say - 'ignorant' three million dollar bail amount, I produced an untitled 48 minute experimental documentary for my Master's Project that earned me less credit, respect and understanding than any other piece I have ever created. Months later, I took the opportunity to personally thank his lawyer and give him a copy of 'The Hindu', India's national newspaper with the acquittal news hogging the frontpage.


MJ got me listening to Gandhi, Beatles and Tchaikovsky. I learnt new words like 'paraphernalia' and 'catatonic' from hearing him talk. I celebrated his irreverant fashion sense and I really admired his way with the English language. He inspired me overnight to stop biting my nails. I learned his accent, 'Jacksonese' - a severely underrated dialect of American and I discovered a new strength in my falsetto while singing endlessly along with his songs. Of course I can Moonwalk. All MJ represented to me was creativity, simple joy and good values that I was raised with. Yet, I have received both curious acceptance and sharp rejection within different cultures because of my open appreciation for him and his lifework. A fact I find surprising to this day. […]


Before his 2005 trial, I saw MJ as someone who handled pain very well and shared that strength with many others. After his trial, actually since the day of the 'not guilty' verdict on all ten counts, I started to see him as someone who could not handle pain very well and needed strength. I never thought this was a tragic fact about him, I mistakenly believed this was part of the general human experience and wished him well in his endeavours to overcome his troubles since, which were definitely many (…). I didn't realize that common human vulnerability looked like a tragic failing to some.


It is not the death of MJ that is disturbing, its (sic) the fact that he candidly shared the rawest emotions in public and yet died leaving an undying curiosity in most who care more for information on his private matters, such as the mother of his children, his health, his finances, the shape of his nose, the texture of his hair and let's not forget, the colour of his skin. There is no one recognized person whose story will be believed. The clamour now will be to claim that spot as the person closest to MJ with the most intimate details to share.


I am sad for the little boy from Gary, Indiana whose dreams about making movies were thwarted. I think about the children MJ leaves behind who will forever live in the shadow of their father's presence as sadly many children in this world do. I am speechless for all the fans, who still look to MJ for needs ranging from a daily gossip fix to a remote parent to a messiah. I mostly grieve for the people who could never get themselves to see any beauty in his being here with us. How anyone could dismiss the good in Michael Jackson is and always has been a curiosity of mine.


I will not miss MJ, he is not a part of my life in that sense, but I will remember him when I see any performance stage. As a student of art, I can continue to learn from a genius who, through shared thoughts or demonstrated action provided enough lessons on, and access to, the most ready and refined appreciation for life and art. I regret that there is no photograph of the First African American President shaking hands with the Permanent President of Showbiz. MJ is deeply revered in the African American community and has shaken hands with many political leaders, including the beloved Madiba, and four American Presidents: Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton.


MJ is always high-level. If his expressed level of compassion did not hit the mark, distinguished intellectuals could probably attest to this by reducing him to a Mathematical formula - taking into consideration the worth of the staggering statistics related to his various seminal works as artist and philanthropist. There is something to be explored for the sheer recurrence of majority numbers and disproved probabilities in any impact measurement study. This, despite his place in society representing that of one who was marginalized even within a perceived minority group.


Throughout his criminal trial, MJ was never put on the stand, he never had to speak a word in his own defense. I'm thankful to Mr. Mesereau for his efforts towards this. I don't believe Truth abandoned MJ, not then, nor will it now. Through all the noise around his existence, MJ maintained a dignified silence for the dreaming, record-making, record-shattering force of nature that he IS.


If he was once called a one-man rescue team for showbiz, it is no credit to the title-giver, for such is the sustaining power of sincerity in his art and charity. A stage is the worshipped ground of performers all over the world. Now, with the key light gone, no stage anywhere in the world will ever sparkle as much as it could with MJ being around. The corner of darkness will always be present despite advances in technology, the talents of performers and skills of lighting experts in the times to come. And all he needed was one spotlight.


There is no need for clamour around a man's struggles. Yet there is no end to the ready discourses on the 'tragic life' of this man. MJ would have never had his say, because what's to be said can only be understood in silence. Michael Jackson will never have this undisputed moment of silence. Not from this world. Not in this lifetime. This much has been proved so far, only time can tell otherwise and I suspect he knew this very well.. "Lies run sprints. Truth runs marathons" - Michael Jackson.


Being a fan of MJ, I have very low tolerance for cynicism. Yet, my prayers in this world have been for strength, not peace - it's because I always thought MJ's prayers for peace had already reached the ear of God.”

[Satyameva Jayathey (Truth alone Triumphs); sources: www.sepiamutiny.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“[…] I was always so fascinated by Michael, but there was so little of substance available to read, particularly about his creative process and the meanings of his work. […] I feel like Michael really hasn't been given the respect he deserves among critics and journalists. When you read through assessments of his work, there is so much condescension and bias. I want to begin a major critical re-appraisal of his work, particularly his post-1980’s work, which is incredible, and deserves far more attention. In addition, I want the average book-buyer to be able to walk into their local bookstores and have an alternative to the tell-alls and tabloid sensationalism. […] [His albums] are all very good -- Michael didn't make mediocre records. But for me, DANGEROUS and HIStory are two of the strongest albums of the decade. I would love for more listeners to experience what they have to offer. I read an article in which music critic, Robert Hilburn, was talking to Michael in 1995 about how his work had declined according to many critics and executives. It must have been so frustrating for Michael, because here he was, really at his creative apex, doing some of his most impressive, challenging work, but critics didn't get it. Or they couldn't look past his "eccentricities." Or they expected a repeat of THRILLER, commercially and stylistically. It hurt Michael deeply -- but he believed the music, ultimately, would hold up, and it will. Songs like "Who Is It," "Stranger in Moscow," "They Don't Care About Us," and "Give In To Me," are among the best in his entire catalog.”

“It's exciting to really immerse yourself in great art and explore what is happening and what is being conveyed. It's exciting to go behind the scenes and see how a great artist operates. That's what made 'This Is It' so fascinating. I guess sometimes seeing behind the curtain can ruin the magic, but with Michael, it didn't feel that way. The more I learned about how he worked, the more impressed I became. […] I hope [my book] will serve as a gift to fans and an eye-opener to the broader public. It makes me very happy to see how excited fans are for the book -- they deserve to see Michael represented in this way. But I would like to see people that don't know much about him, or know him only as a phenomenon or a tabloid fixture, to see what made him such a brilliant artist. […] [In the courses I’m teaching this semester at the University of Rochester, I often use Michael as a tool for education.] There is so much to explore and learn. That's one of the reasons Michael will hold up over time, and what puts him in an entirely different league than his pretenders. Most pop musicians are one-dimensional. Michael's work is multi-dimensional; it's eclectic, nuanced, innovative and evocative. The more you bring to it, the more you get out of it. […] It was during his trial [that I began writing Man In The Music]. I remember watching the coverage and being absolutely disgusted. Even though he was acquitted, he was massacred by the media. I had researched enough about the case to know the allegations were false. I knew there would probably be a slew of books covering the trial; what I wanted to cover was his creative work. He had become such a caricature for so many people, I wanted the focus back on his music and humanity. So I began researching and writing that year.”

“[While researching for my book,] I was surprised by how patient he was and how restrained. Imagine holding on to songs like "In the Back," "Blue Gangsta," and "We've Had Enough." These are songs he really worked hard on. But he was such a perfectionist, and if a song wasn't ready or didn't fit an album, he held on to it. And in many cases that patience paid off. "Earth Song," for example, was left off of DANGEROUS. It was already incredible, but he made it better for HIStory. […] [For the book,] I spoke with people like Bruce Swedien, Matt Forger, Bill Bottrell, and Brad Buxer, among others. […] The depth of Michael's catalog is very impressive. In the book, I include about 5-15 extra songs per chapter that were recorded during each respective era. Some of these songs -- like "Streetwalker" or "Much Too Soon" -- really are incredible and deserve as much attention as the studio album songs.”

“I can understand the (fans’) concerns [about the ‘Michael’ album]. The vocals sound strange on the Cascio tracks and the Cascios haven't offered much in terms of explaining their origins and recording process. […] Hopefully the Cascios will be more forthcoming in addressing fan concerns.”

“[Why Michael is not given the proper respect for his songwriting skills?..] That's a very good question that I try to answer in the book. It involves a whole range of biases including race, persona, popularity, genres/styles, etc. In addition, Michael didn't write lyrics in the same way someone like Dylan or Springsteen did. His lyrics are not always inherently poetic (though they certainly can be -- see songs like "Stranger in Moscow" or "Scared of the Moon"). His vocalizing, however, was like an instrument, capable of conveying emotion beyond the strictures of language. So even his scatting, gasps, exclamations and cries convey very nuanced emotions. Even if he sang a cliché, he could somehow inject it with authenticity and depth. […] People, I believe, still aren't paying close enough attention to his music. All they think of is THRILLER and even with that, they tend to discuss it in a very superficial way. It requires openness and attention to really understand someone or something. And for many people, it is simply easier to view Michael Jackson as a caricature. […] Michael will hold up (though). His place in history is secure. Hampton Stevens from The Atlantic argues convincingly that he is the most influential artist of the 20th century. Will he ever be universally appreciated? I'm not sure. Often times, great artists can be polarizing. But we saw his enormous global influence when he died -- the response was unprecedented.”

“[Michael’s humanitarian legacy,] I think it's profound. He took activism to a whole different level. It was woven into the fabric of his music. He didn't simply want to sell records and be famous; he wanted to change people's consciousness. […] Michael took the baton and expanded the role. In many ways, he became the voice of the voiceless, whether for victims of AIDS, abuse, war, poverty or injustice.”

[Joseph Vogel, American writer and a teacher; source: www.mjfanclub.net]

 

“Whether you were a fan of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, or one who saw only his idiosyncrasies, there are many lessons for all of us in his trials and tribulations, turbulence, yet triumph. As a teacher and healer at heart, I was in awe with the connectedness he had with millions of people from all over the world. […] The tragedies of such a talent can be explained another time, but it is often the price paid for fame and fortune by creative, sensitive people living in an insensitive world.

As the author of a book on influence and persuasion, Forget Selling, I see Michael Jackson as the icon of influence. His charm and charisma was (sic) mesmerizing. But what was the magic? What are the secrets to his success so we can all optimize our potential for a future of unlimited possibilities. In fact, Michael disputed that the sky was the limit, as he saw NO limits. That is secret # 1.

Lessons from Michael

1. Possibility Thinking Only. There are no limits to what you may accomplish, except those self-imposed by limitations of the mind. All of the champions I had interviewed in my book,
Winning! had a flash of their greatness at an early age.

2. Be an Imitator. It was reported that Michael could watch the movement and maneuvers of the most accomplished and imitate their work. Whether it was singing, dancing, or even marketing, he would observe, integrate, and implement.

3. Be an Innovator. After he mastered imitating “the greats,” he would take it up a notch and become even greater. That kind of creation and innovation is what sets us apart from the masses as we transcend from being just good to great!

4. Be Different and Dimensional. Whether it was wearing just one glove when the rest of the world was wearing two, if you want to rise above you must stand out and be the purple cow.

5. Make Change a Habit. Change and change again, and again. Once people have you figured out, you become boring and they become disinterested. Change and newness renews excitement and keeps people engaged. This is true for personal relationships as well as a business strategy.

6. The Element of Surprise. Kids like to play peek-a-boo, but we never lose our love for the seduction of the surprise. Michael sang songs that if with your eyes closed, you would think the angels had descended upon you. But then he portrayed the “bad guy” with equal conviction of character. Be diverse in your thinking and be willing to risk new roles to avoid the ruts and routines that steal our excitement and passion for life.

7. God Is in the Details. Like his flawless memorial service, Michael always performed to perfection and made a personal commitment to always “top” himself in the next performance. He was perfection in motion. He studied, researched, and rehearsed endlessly. As a child, it was reported that he always had a pencil and paper in hand to write down quotes and words of wisdom, but he also wrote down new words and concepts as a personal assignment.

8. Be Curious. The desire to learn more with an undying inquisitiveness propels us to explore, discover, and grow. It is the spark of all innovation and fans the fires of brilliance.

9. Love Is the Way. Come always from a loving place within. Everyone who intimately knew the person, not just the personality, referred to his love and kindness. Love is the most positive, powerful force in the universe. If Emmet Fox is right, “If only you could love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.” Try it!

10. Commit to Never Quit. Know who you are (your unique gift), what you want (your vision), and have a plan or strategy of how to get there. Be the “come-back” kid. At age 50, Michael was about to come back one last time. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never quit.” It is also wise to know what you don’t want or to have a “NOT To Do” list as well. Eliminate the distractions in your life that derail you from your purpose, passion, and mission. […]

11. Dare to Dream… and Dream BIG. Michael grew up in Gary, Indiana, from very humble beginnings, but he dreamed big and was driven to manifest his desire to be the very best which is without dispute. Mission accomplished. He referred to Michelangelo’s wisdom in stating that the creator must die, but his works will live on. What belief do you have that moves you in the direction of your dreams? In my first motivational keynote, I also referred to Michelangelo. “In every rock of marble I see a statue, I merely chisel away so that others may see what I already know. How can your dream come true, if you have not first dreamed the dream?” Your journey to greatness begins with a dream.

12. Be True to Yourself. March to your own drummer. A singer must sing, a dancer must dance, and a writer must write. Know your God-given, unique gift and don’t die with the music in you. YOU’VE GOT TO SING YOUR SONG.

As I reflect on his life, it reminds me of the magnetism, influence, connectedness, and generosity of my own father. He only had thousands at his funeral, not millions, but he lived in a small town of just 3,000 in rural Wisconsin. He was much older, 80 at the time of his passing on, and he was not a celebrity. But, like Michael Jackson, he was a person of passion. When you have passion and purpose, you do become a person of power and influence. It is simple math and cannot be denied. He also loved music and danced as if he were a spirit without a body. Music is the universal language of love and thus breaks down all barriers and boundaries. It unifies people of all creeds, color, and cadences. It gives soul to the universe wings to the mind. If Emmet Fox was right, “A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all… If only you could love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.”

[Edie Raether, MS, CSP, American change manager expert, international speaker and author; sources: http://content-channel.com, http://michaelerz.tumblr.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“This issue of JMPS is being published on the eve of the second anniversary of Michael Jackson's premature passing. Since June 25, 2009, an astounding number of symposia have explored his legacy and importance to a wide variety of scholarly fields. And indeed, the complexities of Jackson's life and career make it unsurprising that people working on everything from celebrity studies to visual culture to gender and sexuality studies would all want to opine about his significance to their fields. However, a trend in this multidisciplinary embrace of Jackson is the relegation of his musical artistry to ancillary status. […] In light of these scholarly trends, we are honored to have helped develop this special issue, which will be among the first to offer sustained scholarly analysis of Michael Jackson's work that is squarely situated within the field of popular music studies.

By any measure, Jackson is one of the most popular musicians of the contemporary era, and therefore the analysis of his work is instructive not just about his particular professional trajectory, but also about the broader dynamics of the music industry. With a focus on the many dynamics embedded in the term “popular music,” this issue explores why and how Jackson functions as a lens through which to understand the greater narrative of popular music in/as U.S. culture. This focus does not exclude the aforementioned forces of celebrity, visuality, kinship, and social identity categories, for Jackson embodies the potent symbol of the crossroads: his body and music function as sites in which discourses of race, gender, and sexuality intersect. What does it mean for one's music to be “popular,” and how is popularity inflected by racialized understandings of gender? How does the popular music economy, with its current emphasis on celebrity, shape musical practice?

The essays in this issue attend to the entire trajectory of Jackson's career, from the Jackson 5 years, through the waxing and waning popularity of his solo career, to his untimely death and the multiple acts of remembrance that it spawned. Taken together, the authors help to position music as the primary vehicle through which Jackson and his audiences have negotiated his complicated place in the public sphere - and continue to do so. The interdisciplinary methods of the scholarship collected here demonstrate not only how contemporary tools of cultural theory and analysis help us to read Jackson's work, but also how Jackson's career complicates these very theories, at times exposing the limits of their utility, inspiring authors to advance and refine the interpretive frameworks of their fields. In the spirit of interdisciplinarity, we are pleased to have had the opportunity to play with form in this issue: in addition to traditionally formatted scholarly articles, we also include a collection of Musings, spaces where a variety of authors reflect on what Jackson and his music have meant in their own experiences and the lives of others, from US college classrooms to bars in Brazil and public spaces in the former Soviet Union. Original photography and poetry also supplement these expository musings, and as we conclude our work on this issue, we are struck by how the effort to analyze Michael Jackson's body of work as a musician (sonically, visually, and in its embodied manifestations) makes clear the vital, clarifying role that the field of popular music studies plays in articulating some of the most fundamental dynamics of our society.

The impetus for this special issue was the symposium “Michael Jackson: Critical Reflection on a Life and a Phenomenon,” sponsored by UC Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender on October 1, 2009, and we acknowledge all of the participants in that symposium, whose combined contributions gave us a sense of this project's potential. We are grateful to Alisa Bierria, CRG Associate Director, for her role in bringing this issue to life. Finally, we appreciate the generous time and attention of outgoing editor Kevin Dettmar and current editors Karen Tongson and Gustavus Stadler.”

[Sources: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael Jackson was the most influential artist of the 20th century. That might sound shocking to sophisticated ears. Jackson, after all, was only a pop star. What about the century's great writers like Fitzgerald and Faulkner? What about visual artists, like Picasso and Dali, or the masters of cinema from Chaplin to Kubrick? Even among influential musicians, did Michael really matter more than the Beatles? What about Louis Armstrong, who invented jazz, or Frank Sinatra, who reinvented it for white people? Or Elvis Presley, who did the same with blues and gospel, founding rock in the process? Michael Jackson is bigger than Elvis? By a country mile.

First, there is no question that musicians in the 20th century had far more cultural impact than any other sort of artist. There is no such thing, for instance, as a 20th-century painter that is more famous than an entertainer like Sinatra. There are no filmmakers or movie stars that had more cultural sway than The Beatles, and no 20th-century writers who touched more lives than Elvis. Consider that thousands of human beings, from Bangkok to Brazil, make their living by pretending to be Elvis Presley. When was the last time you saw a good impression of Picasso? Even Elvis, though, is overshadowed by Jackson's career.

First, with the possible exception of Prince and Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Jackson simply had more raw talent as a performer than any of his peers. But the King of Pop reigns as the century's signature artist not just because of his exceptional talent, but because he was able to package that talent in a whole new way. In both form and content, Jackson simply did what no one had done before.

Louis Armstrong, for instance, learned music as a live performer and adapted his art for records and radio. Sinatra and Elvis were also basically live acts who made records, ultimately expanding that on-stage persona into other media through sheer force of charisma. The Beatles were a hybrid; a once-great live band made popular by radio and TV, forced by their own fame to become rock's first great studio artists.

Jackson, though, was something else entirely. Something new. Obviously he made great records, usually with the help of Quincy Jones. Jackson's musical influence on subsequent artists is simply unavoidable, from his immediate followers like Madonna and Bobby Brown, to later stars like Usher and Justin Timberlake.

Certainly, Jackson could also electrify a live audience. His true canvas, though, was always the video screen. Above all, he was the first great televisual entertainer. From his Jackson 5 childhood, to his adult crossover on the Motown 25th anniversary special, to the last sad tabloid fodder, Jackson lived and died for on TV. He was born in 1958, part of the first generation of Americans who never knew a world without TV. And Jackson didn't just grow up with TV. He grew up on it. Child stardom, the great blessing and curse of his life, let him to internalize the medium's conventions and see its potential in a way that no earlier performer possibly could.

The result, (…) was more than just great art. It was a new art form. Jackson turned the low-budget, promotional clips record companies would make to promote a hit single into high art, a whole new genre that combined every form of 20th century mass media: the music video. It was cinematic, but not a movie. There were elements of live performance, but it was nothing like a concert. A seamless mix of song and dance that wasn't cheesy like Broadway, it was on TV, but wildly different from anything people had ever seen on a screen.

The oft-repeated conventional wisdom - that Jackson's videos made MTV and so "changed the music industry" is only half true. It's more like the music industry ballooned to encompass Jackson's talent and shrunk down again without him. Videos didn't matter before Michael, and they ceased to matter at almost the precise cultural moment he stopped producing great work. His (…) relevant clip, "Black or White," was essentially the genre's swan song. Led by Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the next wave of pop stars hated making videos, seeing the entire format, and the channel they aired on, as tools of corporate rock.

The greatest impact of the music video wasn't on music, but video. That is, on film and television. The generation that grew up watching '80’s videos started making movies and TV shows in the '90’s, using MTV's once-daring stylistic elements like quick cuts, vérité-style hand-helds, nonlinear (sic) narrative and heavy visual effects and turning them into mainstream TV and film movie conventions.

If Jackson had only been a great musician who also invented music video, he still wouldn't have mattered as much. Madonna (…) was almost as gifted at communicating an aesthetic on-screen. The aesthetic Jackson communicated, however, was much more powerful, liberating and globally resonant than hers. It was more powerful than what Elvis and Sinatra communicated, too. Hence, that whole "Most Influential Artist" thing.

American popular music has always been about challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers. Throughout the century, be it in Jazz, Rock or Hip-Hop, black and white artists mixed styles, implicitly, and often explicitly, advocating racial equality. […]

Jackson was clearly a tragic figure, and his well-documented childhood trauma didn't help. But his fatal flaw, and simultaneously the source of his immense power, was a truly revolutionary Romantic vision. Not Romantic in the sappy way greeting card companies and florists use the word, but in its older, Byronic sense of someone who commits their entire life to pursing (sic) a creative ideal in defiance of social order and even natural law. […]

He not only made art promoting pop's egalitarian ethos, but literally tried embody it. […] He was just a regular person, albeit a supremely talented one, and time makes dust of every person, no matter how well they sing. […] At his creative peak, though, it almost seemed possible. Michael could be absolutely anything he wanted. […] Every breathtaking high note, every impossible dance-step and crazy costume projected the same message. […]

As years pass and history sanitizes his memory, Jackson's legend will only grow. One day, in addition to being the most influential artist of the 20th century, he may well topple Elvis become the most-impersonated as well. […] Elvis has been gone since 1977. Another two or three decades, and Michael might have the most impersonators from Bangkok and Brazil. […]”

[Hampton Stevens, American journalist; source: www.theatlantic.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“It sounds strange to say this, but Michael Jackson is coming off one of the biggest years of his career. […] I think what happened in the past year is that people focused on Jackson's music for the first time in many years, and remembered how much they liked it. Sadly, it took Jackson's death for people to look past all the controversies (…).

As I noted last summer, this has a strong sense of déjà vu for me. I wrote a column for Billboard in 1983 and 1984, when Jackson was setting new records virtually every week. I never imagined that it would all happen again, and certainly not under these sad circumstances. In the week after he died, Jackson became the first artist to sell more than 1 million digital tracks in one week. […]

Michael Jackson carried so much hope and light for the world. Through his beautiful voice, amazing dance, and tireless devotion to others, God worked miracles through Michael Jackson.

However, his neglected childhood would become the catalyst to multi faceted complexities that would combust in a lifetime of struggle. Many never realized and do not take the time to understand that Michael was truly a child at heart. Michael never experienced a childhood. He never enjoyed the years that would teach him the many things he would later need in life. And by his own admission, he over compensated for it. While he was gifted, educated, intelligent, and well read, these lost formative years deprived him of insight into mature boundaries and the difference between intelligence and common sense.

When Michael was entering his 20’s, his Pop star was on the rise. While on one side, Michael Jackson stood as a "once in forever" genius entertainer and businessman, Michael stood on the other as a boy destitute of significant childhood experiences that would balance his life. Perhaps this was God's plan. Someone once said to me, "The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

To the "collective", to the "media" I ask, where was our love, our compassion, our justice?

Michael once pleaded in the autobiographical lyrics of "Childhood", "Before you judge me, try hard to love me." Jesus said, "Do not judge, lest ye be judged." The dichotomy of Michael Jackson was clearly a complex mix of brilliant superstardom that rose so high, you had to look down to see heaven and a journey so low, you were blinded by the depths of his despair. It is through his perfection and his flaws, his "perfect imperfection" that we have glimpsed ourselves; that we have witnessed the human condition.

The media brutalized a lovely human being. Often misunderstood, Michael would spend a lifetime facing unyielding pressures and scrutiny while he tried to live a balance between the professional and the personal, always attempting to overcome the boundaries between the surreal and the real. Until his death, he searched for truth, and through his inner child, I am convinced that God called him home.

He had the heart of a child, the patience of Job, and the drive of a warrior. Michael Jackson is worthy of our respect. He was on the front lines every day fighting for the sake of others who could not help themselves. He used his blessings to create a magical place for kids and the kid at heart to visit... to escape the torments of life, even if just for a short while. He used his musical influence to heal the planet and help special needs, at risk, and sick children across the globe. Throughout his life, he contributed $300 Million (some sources say $500 Million) to worldwide charities, forever relentless in his fight to help others.

I am sick and tired of hearing and reading that Michael Jackson should not be celebrated as a hero. Michael Jackson is EXACTLY the kind of hero we should be celebrating. We should celebrate the man who gave us everything he had to give, despite horrific abuse, a neglected childhood, lupus, skin disorders, chronic pain from relentless physical exertion, and unimaginable stress he would have to endure at the hands of those who would seek to destroy him.

Though he was an idiosyncratic, flawed man, this gentle soul could never cause harm. […] He deserves our respect; our love; our compassion. He made the world a better place.

God blessed Michael with inimitable gifts. His light shone because of Jesus. Those of us who know the truth, we hurt because we sense the loss of that light. But truly, Michael's spirit has finally discovered peace. The miracle is that Jesus continues to do His work through Michael even now, after his death. Many are now understanding what this man did for the world through God's gifts.

Evangelists Andrae and Sandra Crouch (brother and sister), worked with Michael on many projects. They were friends to the end. There has been a lot written about Michael's faith. Michael believed in God. Michael believed in Jesus. He met with Andrae and Sandra three weeks prior to his death, and while they both have clarified they did not pray what is called the "sinners prayer", they prayed together over the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

God knew Michael's heart. I like to think in his final moments, the Holy Spirit came upon him, and not only did Michael accept, he ran into the open arms of his Lord. At last, he has found rest.

Michael is asleep now. […]

The light will continue to shine, and Michael will continue to smile.

[Paul Grein, American journalist from Chart Watch; sources: http://new.music.yahoo.com, www.fanpop.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I first met him in 1990 and didn’t have any preconceptions of what he would be like. But from the moment I did meet him, he was kind, funny and had a big smile. He was very talkative about many different subjects, but mainly he liked to have a laugh and joke around. That’s not to say he wasn’t ever serious, because he was an absolute genius in the recording studio and when performing. […] There will never be another Michael Jackson. The music industry has changed and is far more instant then it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Michael grew up during the Motown era, and worked hard with his brothers touring and perfecting their craft. Furthermore, he learnt from greats such as Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson and James Brown. He always said he would “study the greats and aim to become better!”

You may find an individual who can sing better or dance better, but what made Michael the King of Pop was that he did everything, and he did it so very well and with his own style. As a songwriter, he was sometimes underrated, but hits such as Billie Jean, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Earth Song and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough are pure pop classics. As a singer, he had an incredible four-octave range, and as a dancer he created breakthrough videos such as Beat It and Thriller, and was complimented by none other than Fred Astaire.”

“My first thoughts [when I attended Michael’s memorial service alongside the Jackson family] were for his family, especially his mother Katherine and three children. They had lost a father and a son, and this became evident when I went to the family house after the service. I gave a copy of my book, Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary, to Paris, and when she looked at the cover and saw a picture of her dad, she just thanked me and gave me the biggest hug. She was a really nice girl, and she ran into the lounge to tell her grandmother Katherine about my book. Mrs. Jackson was also a lovely lady (…). […]”

“[The best piece of advice I have ever been given…] Michael told me that you needed rhinoceros skin to survive in the entertainment industry. He also taught me to really reach for the stars, follow your dreams and be the best you can. He was very much a perfectionist.”

[Adrian Grant, British creator and producer Thriller Live, UK journalist; source: www.northamptonchron.co.uk]

 

“It's very nice to meet you too," Michael Jackson said to me in his very soft, high voice, as I had the amazing experience of meeting him, unexpectedly, in Orlando, Florida in 2002 when, by chance, we were eating at the same restaurant. I was competing at the Miss America Jr. Teen pageant, and on the last night my family and I ate at a very popular Japanese steakhouse, the Benihana (which Michael told me was one of his favorites). My family got out of our seats when we heard a lot of commotion at a nearby table. When our cook told us that Michael Jackson was eating in the next room, we couldn't believe it. We left our chairs and our food to see if it was true. It was.

Michael was so gracious and generous, at times even shy. The owners closed the restaurant to additional customers, and Michael took pictures and talked with people for over two hours. Everyone was standing in line to meet him. He was very patient and sweet despite the numerous people and downright chaos. I particularly remember people outside the restaurant's locked glass doors banging and shouting to get in to see him. I saw poised beauty queens turn outright giddy in a matter of seconds of just seeing him. Everyone around him was talking loudly and screaming, not only for his attention, but because they were impressed. I felt a natural high and an excitement that rivaled Christmas and birthdays. Energy and excitement radiates from Michael! As he walked outside to a waiting car, hundreds of fans were gathered. As his car drove off, I saw two women pass out.

His kids, wearing spiderman masks, were with him along with an entourage of about 10 people. Michael talked with everyone and it took him hours to slowly walk out of the restaurant to the limo outside. He signed autographs and gave hugs. He was very relaxed and seemed genuinely happy.

I actually wasn't a huge Jackson fan, besides knowing him and appreciating his music, until I met him (my junior year in high school) and since then I defended him during the next years. When I met him, he was nothing like those reports you see on T.V. The literal pandemonium that surrounded him was unreal. It really put into perspective the good and bad of his amazing star power. And yet he still remained calm, composed and childlike.

It's been really tragic to hear of his passing. He is such a huge international star. I've been living in China for almost two years, and I've found that Chinese people universally know two people - Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson. Sometimes showing the picture of me and him, especially in China where it is hard for me to communicate, has been a great conversation starter.

I feel incredibly honored to have met him. There's just something about him and being in his presence that is hard to explain - it's simply... special.”

[Messick, American, living and working in Beijing, China; sources: www.china.org.cn, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[...] I picked up a barely known MJ charity, called "Go For Your Dreams".

The Go For Your Dreams Foundation has been established on October 10th, 2003. It was a part of MJ's then plans, that some of his close associates shared since then: restart his carrier and make him more accessible for the people.

His comeback, of course, had to include some charity, as it was a part of his likeness. However, Heal The World was already defunct at that time, and Heal The Kids failed also due to his relationship with Shmuley Boteach. So he had to pick up a new name and goals.

The charity has been announced on MJ's 45th public birthday in Los Angeles. Back then, he said that he will (sic) launch it before the end of the year, and he would mostly not to sponsor others by financially, but to help them to reach their goals. His expressed wish was to provide and support youth-oriented educational, charitable and health programs and activities.

It's barely known that MJ released branded bags and caps for the announcement of his new charity. Those items had been distributed amongst the fans whom appeared on the party.

While the charity was in the process of obtaining tax-exempt charitable status, the 2003 scandals broke off. This meant the end of the majority of MJ's plans from that time, including this foundation. It wouldn't have any good PR afterall, neither MJ had any time to take care of this.

The only public event we know of this charity after the allegations is that MJ's custom made Bently (sic), that has been signed by the stars participating in (the) "What More Can I Give" video, has been sold off to support this foundation. The auction has been (sic) cancelled once and held in early 2004.

Interesting that a foundation under the same name has been registered within Delaware in late 2006.

The foundation has been renewed early this year and now is managed by the Michael Jackson Estate. This either means some taxation issues or that the MJ Estate has plans with the charity. We will see it soon...”

[LeslieMjHu; source: http://lesliemjhu.blogspot.com]

 

[!] Warning: The following article contains information helping to absolve Michael Jackson yet again of any wrongdoings against minors. Jackson was a victim of certain groups of organized crimes, and even more details in this respect are pending. Due to some of its contents, the article may prove of great emotional impact.

 

“One of our readers has asked me to post her views on Michael Jackson’s detractors and a very specific kind of people who were playing a major role in Michael’s harassment. Since I had a couple of things to add to the original text, it turned it into a sort of a dialog between the two of us. The reader didn’t provide her full name and will go under the abbreviation “MOA”:

MOA: The Veritas project says, “Before the summer of 1993, Michael Jackson was sitting on top of the world of entertainment much like a king sits upon his throne”.

In fact, Michael Jackson’s march to the top began in the 1980’s. After several years of glory with his brothers in the J5 era, Jackson decided to work alone. As we know, his solo carrier was even more glorious and it brought him not only fame but also a huge amount of money. Again, we remember how he bought the ATV catalog and became the owner of Kings like Elvis and the Beatles. Neverland was born and Michael was more and more involved with philanthropic and civil rights works. It began as a fairy tale, but turned into the ugliest nightmare the mankind had ever seen. Why? For a very simple reason: a Black icon with so much wealth, power, popularity and true humanitarian goals was a danger to some people. While observing him in the 80’s, it was not difficult for these people to foresee that Jackson would reach many of his goals. Actually, several of Michael Jackson’s opinions and plans were not well-received; his messages of peace, brotherhood, his concern for the planet and the environment, but, most of all, his fight for children and youth were too scary. He compared children to the face of God. He described them as innocent little puppies that look at us so deeply. He encouraged all of us to do our duty towards youngsters because: “All the children are our children and our responsibility.“ In Oxford, UK, he asked all parents to be more involved with their children’s life, not to let them down, to guide and help them, because children are our future. Without them we are doomed and will extinguish:

“Friends, let me paint a picture for you. Here is a typical day in America – six youths under the age of 20 will commit suicide, 12 children under the age of 20 will die from firearms – remember this is a DAY, not a year – 399 kids will be arrested for drug abuse, 1,352 babies will be born to teen mothers. This is happening in one of the richest, most developed countries in the history of the world. Yes, in my country there is an epidemic of violence that parallels no other industrialized nation. These are the ways young people in America express their hurt and their anger. But don’t think that there is not the same pain and anguish among their counterparts in the United Kingdom. Studies in this country show that every single hour, three teenagers in the UK inflict harm upon themselves, often by cutting or burning their bodies or taking an overdose. This is how they have chosen to cope with the pain of neglect and emotional agony.

In Britain, as many as 20% of families will only sit down and have dinner together once a year. Once a year! And what about the time-honoured tradition of reading your kid a bedtime story? Research from the 1980’s showed that children who are read to, had far greater literacy and significantly outperformed their peers at school. And yet, less than 33% of British children ages two to eight have a regular bedtime story read to them. You may not think much of that until you take into account that 75% of their parents DID have that bedtime story when they were that age.”

VMJ: I would even say that from his very young age Michael Jackson was rather ‘old-fashioned’ in his views on children and family life. All he wanted was to promote traditional family values - which, frankly, is something totally unexpected from a pop idol and a young man who started getting to know life in night clubs with their striptease, lustful eyes and the drinking audience. If you read Michael’s speeches, you will be amazed to learn that he was aiming at nothing less than a global entertainment revolution based on family-oriented values, love, brotherhood of people and great appreciation for children as a treasure parents are blessed with. There were several projects he was about to launch, all of which were family-theme ones – a unique family theme park in Poland, educational programs, animation and feature films – and all of these under the umbrella of global family entertainment. He called his dreams a global multimedia explosion, but despite its revolutionary name, it was actually a return to an innocent way of life, reestablishing links between different generations and promoting simple, but pure and eternal values of family life:

“My earliest inspiration to be actively involved in all dimensions of the global multimedia explosion was derived from decades of concert tours throughout the world. During these travels, I heard the heartbeats of millions of fans who shared their hopes, their loves and their fears, and, most importantly, their desire for a better life. It was during this time that I began to appreciate that global family entertainment could bring peace, brotherhood and love to the world. Until recently, my hectic schedule and outstanding professional commitments left me little time to develop a specific strategy for a fully integrated entertainment company. All that began to change about eighteen months ago [middle of 1994], when I first met my friend and partner in the Kingdom Entertainment, HRH Prince Al-Walleed. In short order, it was clear we share the same goals and values, traditional family values. Through Kingdom Entertainment, the Prince and myself will combine human and financial resources to be successful in all phases of the global entertainment revolution. As an example, we intend to be active in theme parks, hotels, animation, feature films, interactive educational entertainment, and, of course, character licensing and merchandising. And, we are really looking forward to this incredible venture.” ["Kingdom Entertainment" Speech – 1996]

MOA: He used to be the voice of the poor, the hungry, the sick and the abandoned children and youth who live in every corner of this world; “the voice of the voiceless” as he said it himself.

On June 23, 1992, at a press conference in London, MJ made an announcement regarding the establishment of the “Heal The World Foundation” (“HTWF”) and its mission:

Our children are the most beautiful, most sweet, most treasured of our creations. And yet, every minute at least 28 children die. Today, our children are at risk of being killed by diseases and by the violence of war, guns, abuse and neglect. Children have few rights and no one to speak for them. They have no voice in our world. God and nature has blessed me with a voice. Now I want to use it to help children speak for themselves. I have founded the “Heal The World Foundation” to be the voice of the voiceless: the children. Please, join with me and the children to help heal the world together. Parents, communities, governments, all people of the world, we must put our children first. Finally and most importantly, I want to tell the children of the world, you are all our children, each one of you is my child and I love you all. Thank you very much.”

But not everyone was happy to hear these speeches. As we know, for some individuals, children are just cheap labor force who work 10-12 hours a day for a miserable salary; some of them are sex slaves or child soldiers. To bring Michael Jackson down, three different groups had to work together: the Los Angeles DA who was obsessed with him, the media and organized pedophilia. In fact, the latter group could have acted as the mastermind behind the other two and created and produced the most horrendous scenarios that were played by the so called “accusers”. At least three persons were the links between these three groups: Victor Gutierrez, Diane Dimond and Martin Bashir. We know about Gutierrez and his collaboration with Dimond; and through her with the DA […]. In fact, organized pedophilia saw in Michael Jackson their fierce enemy as they probably guessed that their views on children and childhood were complete opposite to Michael Jackson’s. They would not stand if, from the top of the world, the singer shouted words like these:

"She wrote that she is tired of stepdaddy using her,

Saying that he’ll buy her things, while sexually abusing her,

Just think that she’s all alone somewhere out on the street,

How will this girl survive?

She ain’t got nothing to eat!

Now she’s on the move, she’s off to Hollywood,

She says she wanna be a star, she heard the money’s good.

She gets off from the train station, the man is waiting there,

“I’ll show you where the money is, girl just let down your hair”,

He’s taking her on the streets, of Sunset Boulevard,

She’s selling her body hard, girl, that will take you far,

The police come ’round the corner, somebody there they (sic) told,

He’s arresting this little girl, that’s only twelve years old!!”

(From Do You Know Where Your Children Are? Jackson wrote the lyrics sometime before 1991)

Furthermore, Jackson was among those celebrities who were helping child protection organizations. In 1988, Sara O’Meara Sigholtz and Yvonne Fedderson who had launched Childhelp organization, established the Michael Jackson International Institute For Research on Child Abuse. Jackson was one of their ambassadors and supporters: “Jackson donated tickets to shows in is 1989 Bad Tour to underprivileged children. The proceeds from one of his shows in Los Angeles were donated to Childhelp USA, the biggest charity-organization against child abuse. Childhelp of Southern California then established the “Michael Jackson International Institute for Research On Child Abuse”.

http://www.looktothestars.org/charity/203-childhelp-usa

http://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/113-michael-jackson#ixzz1IvZTFR6N

VMJ: The establishment of the Michael Jackson Institute for Research on Child Abuse is a total surprise to all of us. Due to the never-ending smear media campaign, the general public has become so used to a distorted image of Michael Jackson, that the news of him supporting the anti-child-abuse effort must be a sort of a bucket of cold water spilled on the heads of his worst detractors…  However, if we come to think of it, why are we so surprised? It is well-known that Jackson was indeed extremely concerned about the scope of violence and sexual abuse of children, and was among those who drew attention to the problem and called for immediate action against it:

“We are behaving like people without compassion and love for the most vulnerable section of society. The children of the universe are without a spokesperson, they are voiceless… We are all touched by the atrocities committed against children: sexual, physical abuse, child slave labor, educational neglect. We feel ashamed. Angry. Appalled. But there is no action…. No action”. [Sun City, South Africa, July, 1996]

One might say that Jackson was praying to children’s innocence and was probably the only person in the world who called for a very rare right children should have. Driven by his own miserable childhood experience, he called for adults to give their children the right to a childhood and enjoy its wonders without being forced into the grown-up world earlier than they should. Stripping children of their childhood takes a heavy toll on the society in terms of hardening the little ones and exposing them to early crime and corruption, as well as ridding the world of innocent, creative and playful features inherent to children only:

“…My childhood was completely taken away from me. There was no Christmas, there were no birthdays, it was not a normal childhood, nor the normal pleasures of childhood – those were exchanged for hard work, struggle, and pain, and eventually material and professional success. But as an awful price, I cannot re-create that part of my life. … when you grow up as I did, in front of one hundred million people since the age of five, you’re automatically different. However, today, when I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God-given talents. The sound [..] of approval rolls across the universe, and the whole world abounds in magic. Wonder fills our hearts, for what we have glimpsed, for an instant, the playfulness of life. And that’s why I love children and learn so much from being around them. I realize that many of our world’s problems today – from the inner city crime, to large scale wars and terrorism, and our overcrowded prisons – are a result of the fact that children have had their childhood stolen from them. The magic, the wonder, the mystery, and the innocence of a child’s heart, are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world. I really believe that…. Today, I would like to thank all the children of the world, including the sick and deprived. I am so sensitive to your pain”.”

["Grammy Awards" Acceptance Speech – February 24, 1993]

MOA: This is where the antagonism between Michael Jackson and the so-called ‘boy-lovers’ really comes in. A NAMBLA member’s point of view on children and childhood is indeed totally antagonistic to Michael ideas. (Unfortunately, you will find some quotes from organized pedophilia in this article. We do not wish to promote their ideas and therefore refuse to give direct links to their sources. Those who wish to see the original can find them themselves).

The paragraph below was first written in 1983, but repeated a decade later as a sort of the NAMBLA program:

“My first statement is that I want to dispel the image that a child is an “innocent little puppy dog”. Children have plenty of knowledge about life, the universe and everything. But adults tend not to listen to their children. This “innocent puppy” syndrome represses the child’s social, sexual, political, economical, and emotional desires. Children are not taken seriously and are expected to conform to a society in which they can’t question its validity. This has got to stop! A child is a sexual being. Therefore, children should have the right to explore any aspect of sexuality they desire to engage in. Why do parents, politicians, and police (the 3 p’s) feed guilt into children that are sexually active?”

['The Unicorn (first column)' by a 11-year-old f*****; Boys speak out on man/boy love; NAMBLA; fourth edition; July 1996; published before in NAMBLA Bulletin vol. 4 no. 10; December 1983]

VMJ: If someone is wondering why we know for sure that Michael Jackson had nothing to do with these people (in addition to all the innumerable facts of his complete innocence we’ve found here) the above statement from NAMBLA is the answer. It is a vivid demonstration how dramatically different and poles apart these people and MJ are. On the surface the above text may seem to be similar to what Jackson was talking about – “give the voiceless a voice” and a right “to be heard and listened to” – but it is on the surface only. Oh, my God, they have probably quoted Michael’s words in their proclamations!

But a closer looks shows that the motive of these people is totally opposite to that of Jackson’s – they declare that children are sexual beings and have the right to “explore” their sexuality, engage in sex and prematurely lose their childhood this way – while such an idea was not only alien to Michael Jackson, but was totally abhorrent to him. From the way he spoke about children, it seems that it was easier for him to slit his wrists than mention the word “sexuality” in connection with a child. He could never utter the word “molestation” either and was known to paste with paper bits some too revealing pieces in pictures hanging on the walls of a friend’s house, so that his children didn’t see them… In short, he cherished the child’s innocence and drew from that crystal-clean source inspiration for his music – same as he did from the wonders of mother nature. It was children’s innocence which literally helped him survive in the stifling world of greed, betrayal and dishonesty which showed itself at its worst when it came into contact with a rich, but pure and trusting man like him. In fact, Michael prayed to children’s innocence as if to God and he indeed said so in his taped conversations with Rabbi Shmuley, which laid the basis for his new book about Jackson “Honoring the child spirit”, 2011 where Michael said: “Children are the quintessence of God”

What a marvelous way of saying it – children are the quintessence of God… If Michael felt that way, how can anyone dare say that his love of children may be even remotely close to NAMBLA’s views, who claim that even a small child is a sexual being who should be given the right to explore sex?! Can anyone seriously think that the religious-minded Michael, who said a prayer to God each time he marveled at a child, was able to abuse those who are the embodiment of His spirit? No way! The only thing Michael’s deification of children helps us realize is the reason why he found it so difficult to discipline children and why it was almost impossible for him to refuse their every single request including staying beside him day and night…

MOA: The members of organized pedophilia admit that they started following Jackson as early as at the beginning of the 1980’s. The sickness of their minds prompted them to adjust everything they observed about Jackson to their own means and goals:

Those of us in tune with such things had out first suspicions early on, from the time he [Michael Jackson] would show up at star-studded galas with the young Gary Coleman at his side. Then, there was that famous Pepsi commercial in which a very handsome 12-year-old blond boy enters Michael’s dressing room and begins putting on distinctive pieces of his wardrobe, imagining himself as Michael onstage. A moment later, Michael arrives at the door, leans against it, and says suggestively (to me, at least), “Looking for me?” Others may not have seen the same thing in it, but for me, it was merely icing on the cake”.

[Barry Casper, IPCE newsletter, published in 2009 after Jackson’s death]

In 1987, Anton Glanzelius, the actor of the film My Life As A Dog, met Michael Jackson in Neverland for one day. NAMBLA posted the newspapers reports about it in their bulletin as a “proof” that they were right about Jackson being one of them:

“While Anton Glanzelius was in Los Angeles, an admirer who had seen the movie twice tracked him down and invited him to his home at 11 on a Friday night. ”Michael Jackson’s house was so big and beautiful,” Anton says, still stunned that the singer extended the invitation. ”And he was very friendly. I liked him very much, but he was very shy.”

[''Dog'' Star Shines Brightly on U.S. Tour, by Rene Sanchez; Nambla Bulletin, vol. 8 n. 8; October 1987.]

VMJ: If boy lovers had to use as ‘proof’ their own sexual fantasies wrongly attributed to Jackson, it means that they were really desperate for real facts that could have proved their crazy point of view. If they are so keen on the issue of “Michael loving boys”, I suggest they use the example of Michael taking into his arms – in the literal meaning of the word – a six-year old boy Dave Rothenberg, with whom Michael sustained a life-long friendship until he died. This unfortunate six-year old child was doused with kerosene by his father, set on fire and was burned to 90 per cent of his body. Despite numerous operations, his mutilated body presents a painful sight even now, but if you look at the way Michael embraced this little cripple, you’ll be awe-struck by his genuine tenderness and a smile of sincere happiness on his face which simply cannot be affected. This is what real love is –  love displayed by Michael at a relatively young age when most teenagers think of parties only, love which was difficult to expect from a celebrity of Michael’s scale, love which wasn’t meant for a moment and for publicity only – no, it is real love which lasted for full 30 years…

Dave recalled Michael as a father figure for himself and a man who replaced the father he had never had:

“He heard about me and contacted me. He wanted to meet me. I was about 7 years old at the time (Michael was about 16 then). He befriended me. He took me into his life. He opened up his arms to me and accepted me as a very good friend of his. And throughout the years he never let me go. Michael was like a father to me. […] I turned around and there was Michael. At that moment, we embraced and that embrace never ended throughout our whole entire friendship. […] He was a great person. He never hurt a soul and I’m happy to have been his friend all these years. Michael offered a lot of emotional support for me. Michael was there for me whenever I needed to talk to him. He opened up Neverland to me as a means to get away. Metaphorically, he was always like a father that I never had”.

Another boy Michael Jackson embraced as if he were his son was Ryan White – a boy ill with hemophilia who contracted AIDS during a blood transfusion in 1984. Michael befriended him and publicly embraced him though the general fear of the unknown disease was so great, that people flattened themselves on the wall when Ryan was passing by. The boy was so heavily ostracized and persecuted by his schoolmates, their parents and residents of their town that the family had to move to another location. In order to boost the boy’s spirits, Michael beat his own (quite understandable) fear of the disease, and went together with him in a Jacuzzi, disregarding some doctors’ advice at that! Mind you that Michael didn’t have to do it – it wasn’t a publicity stunt or anything of the kind (he never mentioned it to anyone), and it was done solely for the benefit of one fatally ill boy and at a certain risk for his health, as no one could guarantee at the time that such a thing was safe… Dr. Klein’s was incredulous at the amount of care Michael displayed towards other people when he spoke to Larry King on July 11, 2009 (http://www.cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0907/11/lkl.01.htmll)

KING: “You wanted to tell me something about Michael and Ryan White, the young boy dying of AIDS.

KLEIN: That’s very important, yes. Michael wanted to bring Ryan White to Neverland. And his plastic surgeon, a brilliant surgeon, said you can’t bring him in the Jacuzzi, because you may catch AIDS.

KING: You’re kidding?

KLEIN: No, he said that. Honestly, honest to God. So Michael called me, and I had given Michael $1 million for AIDS, and check, and he said, “Will I catch AIDS if I go in the Jacuzzi with Ryan White?” I said, no way.

And he was very good friends with Ryan White until he died. And that’s what people don’t know.

KING: Did he go in the Jacuzzi with him?

KLEIN: Absolutely, because, you know what? He really cared. I want to tell you, this is a person who really cared about other people. He’s unlike anyone I ever met.”

Michael’s open friendship with Ryan White was one of the factors that helped to change public perception of the disease:

“This bold step by Michael must have given Ryan a serious confidence boost when he needed it most, since an open display of fearlessness by a high profile person was essential in helping the public overcome the stigma of AIDS. Michael risked his own health by taking to a Jacuzzi with Ryan at a time of great uncertainty about the disease and high public anxiety. His actions went a long way towards changing collective attitudes of people towards the disease. Michael’s powerful show of solidarity with Ryan White and his family, his graciousness and compassion was a generous gift that brought Ryan some much deserved happiness in the face of great sorrow. It helped change the public’s perception and understanding of AIDS and brought about greater acceptance of those suffering with it.”

http://mysticalamaven.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/dr-arnie-klien-tells-larry-king-about-the-late-great-king-of-pop-michael-jacksons-comapassion-towards-ryan-white-on-70909-show/

I wonder if those guys from NAMBLA are capable of anything like that?

Victor Gutierrez, who had somehow managed to attend a top secret NAMBLA conference and heard its members praise Michael as a hope for the promotion of their “values” and their possible future public acceptance, upon attending the conference ‘suddenly’ started making rounds of Michael’s numerous child friends – in order to collect (or rather spread) pedophilic lies about the man.

Isn’t it surprising that Michael’s life-long friendship with Dave Rothenberg and Ryan White never interested Victor Gutierrez? Instead, he focused on Michael and Jordan Chandler’s friendship and turned it into a “love story” described in the style and terms typical only of a NAMBLA member.

He alleged that his book of lies was based on Jordan’s diary, while Jordan’s own uncle said that Jordan never kept any – so what else could be the source of Victor Gutierrez’s inspiration then, I wonder?

MOA:

Author Victor Gutierrez, a journalist who said he’s been investigating Jackson’s attraction to boys for years, refused to name his source … The book claims to portray Jackson’s sex life, painting him not as a heartless predator, but as a highly manipulative lover who seduced the boy into consensual sex. Its credibility, however, is unclear. (The Advocate 26 November 1996.)

Why did organized pedophilia regard Michael Jackson as their enemy? Why did they consistently spread false rumors and allegations about the man? Why did they want to ‘get’ him so badly?

Firstly, their primary goal was most probably to ruin Michael, break his spirit and make him more compliant with whatever they prepared for the man. They knew that by spreading rumors, some money and fame-hungry people would buy their fabrications and would come forth. And they were right – Dimond, Feldman, Bashir, the Chandlers and Arvizos did come on board and helped them in this job. Second, they wanted to recruit new members and expand their activities in hope of legalizing their views and achieving their goals using the fame and attraction of Michael Jackson. A notorious pedophile, Tom O’Carroll, who served a sentence in prison for possessing child pornography the quantity of which exceeded 15 thousand copies (of really abused children!) admitted that his key attitude to Michael was that of expectation that he would help them in their “cause”:

“I speak of “Michael”, not of “Jackson”, which itself says something about my feelings. I am old enough to have thrilled to Michael’s pre-teen Jackson Five numbers when they were first released. But I lost track as he grew up. … Then, when the scandal of his close friendships with boys broke upon the world in 1993, I started paying attention again, as so many did. I have most assuredly become an avid and largely sympathetic Jackson watcher, even when his behavior has cried out for criticism or even outright condemnation. … When I started my own long journey into “Jacksonology” back in 1993, I had one key thought in mind: Michael’s fame would mean that his deeds, real and alleged, would inevitably play a major part in the public understanding of paedophilia for a generation or more.

[Tom O'Carroll, “Michael Jackson: Gone too soon”, published in IPCE newsletter in 2009 after Jackson’s death]

In fact it is customary for organized pedophilia to try and hide behind innocent individuals who were suspected and persecuted for non-existent “crimes” and by means of this dirty trick buy themselves the status of a “victim”, the right to protest and ask for legalization. Here is one of their pioneers:

Unfortunately, victimologists have been able to tap into the hate and prejudice that is all too common in mankind, the idea that anyone who is different or belongs to a different group or has a different belief is an enemy, and must therefore be destroyed, or at the very minimum, denigrated and subjugated. This has been the fate of Gypsies, Jews, Blacks, and just about every immigrant ethnic group in its turn. This hate was long deployed against homosexuals, still surfaces in discussions of gay civil rights, and manifested itself in the brutal murder of Matthew Sheppard in Wyoming in 1998. There is very little – if any – credible evidence that a sexually expressed relationship between a boy and an older male is harmful so long as it is consensual.”

['Could they all have been wrong?' by David L. Riegel; SafeHaven Foundation Press; Philadelphia; 2005]

And here is another one of them who has the cheek to pose himself as a victim, a member of a discriminated minority group and a civil rights activist:

“I AM SITTING IN JAIL! WHY? Could it be because there is a group of people who make their living through the prosecution of cases like this? Or could it be because of public pressures caused by the people being misinformed about the facts involved in a case like this? Or could it be because of religious fanaticism wherein vociferous bigots cry out because others do not believe the same as they do? Or could it be because of the ”mob psychology” syndrome that produces witch hunts such as this one? Or could it be, because of Civil Rights issues being resolved in the courts, certain authorities have fewer and fewer people to harass and they have to find someone to vent their feelings on … they can’t harass the Communists any more … they can’t harass the Blacks any more … they can’t harass the Gays any more … where do they turn? They turn to a minority group where they feel they have a change of success. Once they get a toe-hold there, they theorize that they can start up the ladder again … the Gays … the Blacks … the Communists … ISN’T THAT A PLEASANT THOUGHT? (Written the day after conviction, July 17, 1982, in Ulster County Jail, New York)

['Why?' by Karl Ahlers; Crosstalk no. 1; 1988]

When gays and lesbians groups separated themselves from pedophilia groups, these people became too isolated and tried to redefine themselves. Their author Riegel came up with a  theory of “consensual sex with the minors, especially boys “. Gutierrez has begun fabricating sick stories about Michael Jackson beginning with the late 80’s and telling them up till now trying to adjust Jackson to Riegel’s model,  and Thomas O’Carroll applauded Michael because his fame would be their “salvation”.

This list will not be complete without mentioning Hakim Bey aka Peter Lamborn Wilson, who is another opportunist pedophile hiding himself behind all kind of theories –  Sufism, anarchism, etc. This man is the mastermind of the ‘movement’ and has already published several books in different languages. Unfortunately, not every publisher knows the true worth of this author (for details please go to http://www.naderlibrary.com/lit.pedophiliahakimbey.htm and http://libcom.org/library/leaving-out-ugly-part-hakim-bey) We will make an interesting discovery if we go to the first of the quoted links. It is an article written by Robert P. Helms about Bey who says that this pedophilic author is actually recommended by many American media outlets:

“Hakim Bey has been recommended in many American media outlets, including “All Things Considered” in 2003, on National Public Radio. On 28 October 2004, Europe’s ARTE television network, on the show “Tracks,” broadcast an interview with Hakim Bey to tens of millions of viewers in both French and German. When I learned of the TV interview, I contacted ARTE and the small company that made the film. Both companies carefully acknowledged their error and regret. They intended no harm, but as a result of this sort of favorable exposure, Anarchist Pedophilia becomes more popular, its star philosopher more famous”.

Doesn’t the name of Europe’s ARTE ring a bell with you? It is the same company which made Peretti’s film about Michael Jackson and broadcast it twice (and will do it again). One cannot help noticing that ARTE has a certain weakness for Bey, Gutierrez and the like… The second of the above links mentions Bey’s book called “Temporary Autonomous Zone” (TAZ):

“Bey’s best-known book Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) describes spiritual zones in which anything goes, where the oppressive rules of the outside society need not interfere with what feels good to do. I realise that many honest people have read TAZ without taking any sleazy impression from it. I hope they’ll forgive me for pointing out that paedophiles say these same things to children.”

One cannot help wonder if the German media taz.de that did an interview with Victor Gutierrez, has called itself taz in honor of Bey? It was in that interview that Gutierrez was reckless enough to mention his attendance of a NAMBLA conference under the pretext of ”reporting for his paper” – which is an incredible lie as even FBI agents have trouble infiltrating this top secret organization, not to mention a mere stranger from the outside (look here for more details on that).

What does Bey aka Lamborn Wilson say about Michael Jackson? According to him, it is enough to look at Jackson’s dance and hear his music to understand that he is “one of them”! The same idea is used by O’Carroll in the book he has written recently (Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liasons). He mentions crotch-grabbing, lavishly quotes Latoya Jackson (all of them quote Latoya Jackson – obviously they have their weakness for her!) and tells us how Michael had to suppress his real personality, wear a mask and ‘hide behind homosexuality’. O’Carroll adds that all Michael’s artistry, his dance moves, his poetry, his environmental works … were the result of his suppressed personality and sexuality!

They have tried to use this trick to ruin Jackson’s work too – even the Black & White song and video which has clear a social and political message turns in their sick minds into a suspicious film featuring a young boy!

VMJ: The above is an eye-opening experience into the world of real pedophilia. What I would like to add is a specific feature I noticed while reading some of their materials – the fact that these people have a love and hate relationship with Michael Jackson. On the one hand, they regard him as their “hero” and poster boy who could help them break the wall of public resistance (if he was one of them and was willing to do so), but on the other hand, they are utterly disappointed with “lack of cooperation” on his part and the bloody struggle he waged for the two decades of his life against their effort to pull him into their ranks – though he could take an easier option of quietly joining them and being more or less safe there. This love and hate relationship explains the strange metamorphosis some of them undergo – they say that they used to be “Michael’s fans” but later on converted into his detractors. This change of attitude actually took place only recently when the long-awaited (by them) ‘breakthrough’ book by Thomas O’Carroll was flatly rejected by Michael’s supporters and it became clear that Michael’s fans – same as Michael Jackson himself – couldn’t be relied upon in promoting their cause. This is when their mood suddenly changed. Now they are desperately trying to prove with each new post, article or book that Michael loved children the way those guys love them. Following the steps of Diane Dimond, Tom Sneddon, the FBI and the media hordes who have already examined Michael inside out, they are once again going through tabloid archives and court documents examining every speck of dust and grasping for every straw which would give them a slight chance to throw Michael’s name into the nambla kind of people.

The search is rather useless, though, as Tom O’Carroll has already gone through all tabloids (while being in jail) and published an exhaustive 600-page detailed summary of their lies. Its only difference from earlier interpretations is that now these lies are turning in the direction of being “all for love” and “benefit” of the participating parties. Fortunately, Carl Toms’ (or Thomas O’Carroll’s) opus didn’t reach the desired effect with Michael’s supporters, as they flatly refused to accept this novel pedophile attitude towards a completely innocent man …

MOA: At least fans should be proud of themselves; several days before Carl Toms’ book would go to the publishers, the fans protested and informed the publishers of the true identity of its author. The pedophilic circles took the matter rather nervously:

In the meantime, shortly after the book was published, frenzied discussions began on Amazon and on internet forums about MJ. The book argued that MJ’s and his liaisons had a pedophilic character, which led to online protests by his fans and even his relatives. Those fans perceive Michael as a saint or an angel; sleeping with boys, but surely without any erotic feelings. The same fans campaign against ‘pedophiles’, some blogs even forbid that word and kick people with another view from their forum. Supposedly, the publisher will withdraw the book from publication, or will stop reprinting it. Prices rose sharply as a result of that announcement. In the course of these discussions, bloggers, thus the public, discovered and advertised the fact that ‘Carl Toms’ actually is a pen name for Tom O’Carroll. The bloggers portrayed him as a pervert, a distorted and dangerous man who, that is clear, isn’t it, never can tell any truth. Maybe someone will find a way to maintain the distribution of the book. The more the fans react, the more readers it will attract. The book is unique because of its unique approach.”

[the IPCE newsletters, June 2010]

VMJ: So “some blogs even forbid that word and kick people with another view from their forum”? It seems to be about us! Are they following us the way they followed Michael and check every word of what we are saying? If this is the case, then please be noticed, guys, that vindicating Michael is equivalent to fighting pedophilia and supporting the right of children to have an innocent childhood free from sex, corruption and predators like you.

P.S. I am thankful to MOA for starting this conversation. Fighting the ped-lia problem is a long and enduring road to take. However, as the saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

THIS MUST BE STOPPED.

[Vindicatemj; sources: http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]



“A source that wishes to remain anonymous stated that they feel that much of what came against Michael Jackson from Tom Sneddon, was racially-based, according to this source. This source disclosed that, some staff were treated unfairly under the leadership of Thomas Sneddon (many of them Hispanic and African American), and these staff members felt it necessary to find other positions and/or to seek employment elsewhere for their own peace of mind. This coincides with a lot of the information on the internet showing other cases that Sneddon was involved, in which appeared to also be false accusations against minorities.

"The stain that man put on him is so wrong... destroying another person out of simple pure hatred and nothing more." ~ Undisclosed source

Below are additional stories shared and archived online about DA Sneddon's going after other individuals:

Original blog source: http://mjjr.net/content/mjcase/santabarbara.html

[Read more: http://reflectionsonthedance.blogspot.com/2011/05/undisclosed-source-offers-up-further.html]

 

"Angle" - This is a journalistic term used to indicate what an editor, publisher, producer, television station manager, etc. wants a particular story to convey.

Who can forget this image [of Gavin Arvizo and Michael] and how it was twisted?  This image, shown on the Martin Bashir documentary "Living with Michael Jackson," disturbed many people and caused an uproar.

But, how many know the TRUE FACTS behind this and how Gavin Arvizo, the boy in this photo, was COACHED to put his head on Michael's shoulder and to hold Michael's hand? This was all a set-up to make it look as if Michael was guilty and to twist what was being said.  It is said that Martin Bashir himself coached Gavin to put his head on Michael's shoulder.  Many, including Aphrodite Jones, Attorney Tom Mesereau and others who are credible have testified to the fact that the Bashir documentary, "Living with Michael Jackson", was a setup.

"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... All of those things got thrown out of court, because once they got to court, they couldn't back it  up." -- David Nordahl, a friend of Michael's for 20 years

If you're interested in learning more how the media works and how what you see and hear is many times not 100% truth, and how that not only factors in to what you may or may not believe about Michael Jackson, but about all that you see and hear, including other celebrities, please read as I show you examples and explain the process. Doesn't matter if you're an MJ fan or not, you NEED to read this.

For instance, if you look into the 2005 child molestation case that came against Michael Jackson, you will be absolutely FLOORED at how ridiculous the case was. One only has to read the court transcripts to see that this was not only an abomination against Michael Jackson and a complete set-up filled with lies and a greedy, money-hungry family that couldn't keep the lies straight (and more despicably in that Michael had helped the family on an ongoing basis while one of the sons, Gavin, was battling terminal cancer), but also an incredible waste of money in California to take this to court.

Gavin Arvizo (is shown) at Neverland with Michael, after Michael invited he and his family there after learning that Gavin was suffering from a very rare and deadly form of cancer

Two examples of court testimony are linked below.

If you read Gavin's, you will see that he is rude and inconsistent and changes his story constantly and Tom Mesereau calls him out on this numerous times. In fact, after reading this testimony alone, you might wonder why the judge didn't pound his gavel down on the table, say "case closed, you're free to go Mr. Jackson" and send everyone on their way immediately.

In Debbie Rowe's testimony, you will see that there were so many people and so many different situations at play the entire time to set Michael up, so that others could benefit from his fame and money, including "plants" put in at the tabloids.  Michael, unfortunately, in his fame, was a constant victim to others trying to profit off of him and when you've reached that pinnacle level of celebrity and fame, it's hard to know for certain who is in your corner. This trickled down to every level, including those who worked for him.

If you can stomach reading just the 2 testimony accounts below, you will wonder how this case was ever brought to court and also how you ever allowed yourself to be led by the nose, gripped so tightly by the media's and tabloid's severe twisting of the truth and lies, and led to believe falsely and without any fact, that Michael Joseph Jackson was a pedophile and child molester.

Gavin Arvizo's testimony: http://deargavinarvizo.com/2009/11/gavin-arvizos-testimony

[Read full article here: http://reflectionsonthedance.blogspot.com/2011/05/understanding-medias-role-in-your.html]

 

“Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” is a stand out for me. Quincy Jones called me up and asked me to play on it. When I got there, it took me 15 minutes to rearrange the song and I played 2 solos and told them they could pick the one they liked best. Then Michael walked in and said, 'Wow! I really like that high fast stuff you do.' It was a lot of fun to do. Its (sic) crazy that something could take such a short amount of time and can grow into something beyond anything you could ever imagine.”

[Edward Lodewijk Eddie Van Halen, Dutch-born American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer; sources: www.smithsonianmag.com, www.mjfanclub.net]


“When I was dancing with Michael Jackson, during rehearsals I would always watch how the choreographers worked, how they created, how they listened to the music. I began to see how to phrase movement properly, how to use moments of subtlety and stillness, how to make dance that breathed, was present, and was honest. That's how I learned to choreograph. […] He was a perfectionist. When we were on tour with him, there were four dancers, and in rehearsal he would make each of us perform the entire two-hour-plus show, one at a time, in front of him. It's just you alone on the stage and him sitting there, arms crossed, watching you. And then he would give you some very precise correction, like exactly where your thumb and middle finger should be on your hat."

[Cristan Leenon "Cris" Judd, American choreographer, director, actor, and producer; sources: www.backstage.com, www.mjfanclub.net]

 

“[…] For two decades, I worked in various segments of the entertainment industry. What began as a part-time job as a bodyguard ended with a lifetime of memories of so many top-name performers; stars such as the Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Seger and Elton John and far too many to recall here and now.

As so many of the young men who came to this line of work, I was a returning veteran from Vietnam working his way through college, every night acting as a bodyguard for the world's biggest stars. We were the big fellows who wore the bright yellow shirts and stood in front of the stages at all the concerts in Cleveland and cities far away.

It was the 1980’s, and the Jackson Tour was coming to the Cleveland Stadium that summer. Little did I know, this week-long event would come to define and remain paramount in my memory, only to come back in a flood of tears as the world now mourns the loss of an icon. The Jackson tour was scheduled for the old Cleveland stadium. On Monday morning, all the trucks and equipment began arriving in preparation for the show that weekend. Several of my co-workers began our week's tour of duty at the stadium. Our schedule and duties were to work around the clock and keep on-lookers and the adventurous types out of the stadium. As for the remaining members of the work details such as stage hands, riggers, lighting people, sound and etc., well, Michael Jackson made it clear that he wanted those men and women to have a balanced meal cooked on scene three times per day plus a snack at the end of their shifts at night - with no shortcomings. As for the security crew, we were forbidden to enter the dining hall per strict orders of the local promoter. Every morning, we would indulge in a cup of day old coffee and a pinch of salt to take away the harsh and bitter taste.

That is until one of Jackson's personal managers inquired to why I was not eating breakfast with the rest of the crew. When I told her of the standing order, she said, ''I will be right back, please do not move from here.'' Shortly thereafter, she returned and informed me that I was now ordered to gather all my men working security and, starting this morning, we were to sit down and enjoy three meals and the final snack just as all the rest of the working crew. When questioned by our superiors, Michael's personal manager stated, ''This order comes from the top, Michael himself. I called him this morning and told him of this blatant act of discrimination and he was furious. He then told me to make sure those men were fed and fed well or else he would cancel the show.''

The man's music and style has eluded me over the decades. However, his kindness and humanitarian gestures remain etched in my memory. He was a bright star, the brightest in my lifetime. He was a super-nova burning far brighter than most humans and yet he still took the time to reach out to six young security guards to make sure even the lowest of his employees/staff were cared for with the same considerations as his closest managers were. For that simple act of compassion and understanding, Michael Jackson holds a special place in my heart and now my memories.

Rick Steele

Braceville”

[Sources: www.tribtoday.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“In the mid 60’s or thereabouts, I heard a group of pop singers who went by the name of ‘The Jackson 5’. Many years later when I had the facility of a video player, I saw them in action live. The youngest among them, was this chubby cute little fellow with an extraordinary voice and a body that for his age and countenance, moved exceptionally well. I found out his name was Michael - Michael Jackson. For several years thereafter, we did not hear him or of him; the Beatles had invaded the music scene and the entire universe had adopted them as their own.

It was around the mid 70’s that lightening struck and from it emerged this grown up version of Michael Jackson, singing, moving, dancing like he was from some other planet! Mesmerized by his brilliance in each and every department of music and performance, he changed the very psyche, of not just the kind of music he was making, but also the psyche of the listening audience. […] His body moved like a wound up toy machine. Every conceivable action of rhythm and style was incorporated inside his diminutive form, without any blemish. The exhilaration that he provided became synonymous with the ultimate. […] With the greater advent of modern technology and its rather slow percolation into the developing world, we would only get to see or hear him, through great effort made by those that had the privilege of travel. These, purveyors and bringers of good tidings, would carry with them his music and his videos from across the seven seas into our lives. […] Time passed by. Our own travels became more frequent and we started becoming proud owners of his CD’s and Video. They became our most prized possessions. Those who did not get an opportunity to be in similar circumstance, looked upon us with awe and gratitude when we would play for them, somewhat reluctantly, MJ music and video. Everyone wanted to dance like him, dress like him, BE him. But no one came anywhere near.

Soon after my accident in 1982, I went to the United States of America for recuperation and consultations with the medical fraternity there on my post - operative condition. It was while I was in New York that we came to learn of Michael Jackson on tour with one of his many concerts that he was performing in. The next one was to be in a city called, oddly, Jacksonville Florida. The show we discovered was on the next day. It was an opportunity we just could not miss. So we boarded a flight and landed up in the morning at Jacksonville, without knowing a soul, without any hotel reservation and without a ticket to the concert. Moving from one location to the other with a friendly helpful cabbie, we landed up in the same hotel that MJ was in, only to be shown the door, because the entire hotel, and all the floors had been taken up by Mr. Jackson and his massive entourage. Begging and pleading with the management for some space, the kitchen, parking lot, a bench in the lobby, we finally managed a small discard in the corner somewhere, where my brother and I, he accompanying me on this escapade, rested our bodies before we undertook the other more important ordeal - tickets for the show!! By the afternoon, we discovered ourselves loitering around this massive football stadium, with no clue whatsoever where and how we could get inside this cavernous enclosure to see (…) MJ perform.


The walk about seemed endless. After consuming tons of ice sticks and the fizzies in the hot and humid atmosphere, and witnessing countless groups of fans in ecstatic gear and temperament; one particular individual standing out in his peculiarity by trying desperately to warn visitors NOT to go inside, because MJ was the devil incarnate, we finally, minutes before it was gearing up to start, met our savior - the ever reliable tout !! An exorbitant bargain was struck and we were racing up the galleries even as the first strains of the colossal audio system started up. Our seats were.. well.. comfortable. They were made of cement and were not individual in nature, just a long endless strip that ran around the stadium in uniform fashion. The air was fresh and I thought somewhat cooler than where we met Monsieur Tout and we soon realized why. We were in the last row of the tier at the very edge of this monstrous construction, looking down upon a mass of almost a 100,000 humanity, requiring most definitely, the assistance of a parachute in case we wanted to make an immediate exit!! With a bit of shoving and pushing, we finally were able to seek deliverance - the space to finally rest our posteriors. This unfortunately lasted just a few seconds, for, a huge bang of music almost immediately, tore our eardrums away and a blinding light from the stage on one end, accompanied by the most decibel led roar from 100,000, got everyone on their feet again!! And that is how we remained for the next three hours!! For almost 45 minutes, the build up kept us in hungry anticipation and then… almost by magic.. he was on stage… Nothing was heard thence, nothing was seen thereafter, nothing but utter… utter… halucigenic madness!! That was my first introduction to him in person. But it was not the last!!


In the early 90’s, on another private visit to New York, the door bell of my room in the Helmsley Palace Hotel rang, and I sauntered up to open it. There as I stood in the doorway, across me, was Michael Jackson! He looked a little surprised as he turned around to those he was accompanied with and in his now well known soft voice gently spoke up - “Oh! Excuse me! I think I have the wrong room!”. I have no recollection of what I said in return, whether I said anything at all, how long I remained in that state and when I closed the door to come back in. But that was him and he had come to the wrong room!! Later the next day, my friend Mohan Murjani, who was perhaps working with MJ on some project and staying in the same hotel, set up a meeting for me with Michael Jackson and we met and laughed at the previous days (sic) incident and exchanged pleasant conversation. He was soft spoken, very humble and most polite. (He) introduced me to his Mother who accompanied him and then I was out of there!!


I never saw him again, but when he came to perform in Mumbai at the Andheri Sports Complex, Prateeksha, where I live, shook the entire night with the vibrations of all his most popular numbers booming out from the venue. An exceptional artist has gone. Someone that created an almost outer world experience for all of us with his art. When I get back, I shall pull out an old birthday party recording of 7-8 year aged Abhhishek, dressed like Michael and dancing to ‘Thriller’.


[Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan Indian film actor and producer; sources: http://bigb.bigadda.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]



I met our beloved Michael in 1988 when I was 12 years old. I loved him even then. Oh, how I loved him!! I must have driven my family crazy, but I am the youngest and only daughter, so they indulge me.
My birthday is in Dec. and I got a combined Christmas/birthday present of tickets for the BAD tour shows in Kansas City and Chicago (we live on the southwest side). My parents took me to the show in KC and there are no words to adequately describe how I felt. Just absolutely magical. Anyway, after the show, my parents let me join up with a small group that would try to find Michael. And we did!!! To our delight, he stopped to talk with us and asked each of us our names and where we were from. My whole body was exploding with pride as this perfect gentleman, my hero, greeted my mother and father and shook both of their hands and thanked them for coming to the show. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed we all were with this lovely man who must have been so tired, but took the time to say hello and he seemed sincerely happy to do so. In the 23 years since I met Michael I can tell you I have never met anybody else whose mere presence could make me feel such joy and love all at the same time. […]


June 25, 2009. I am sitting alone in my car in a parking lot and I have just heard that Michael Jackson is dead. Just a short time later, my parents call to see if I am ok. I am hysterical. I keep saying I didn't even know him, why does this hurt so bad. My mom practically yells at me, "Oh, yes, you did know him" and I know I did... And I don't think you had to physically meet Michael Jackson to have known him. Like it said at the end of TII, "LOVE LIVES FOREVER" I just have to believe that.”


“Liz Taylor was right in her now famous Tweet about Michael Jackson’s This Is It. My Lincoln center program about MJ’s music videos (Keep Moving: Michael Jackson’s Video Art at the Walter Reade Theater, Nov. 22) was planned before This Is It, but it ought to confirm Dame Liz’s enthusiasm. It’s designed to show film enthusiasts who wonder: “What happened to the movie musical?” or “Why wasn’t Michael a film star?” Despite race, class and puritanical obstacles, Jackson advanced the movie-musical genre his own way - working with the best, trusting his instinct and raising the promo film to an art form every time out. MJ’s taken-for-granted cinematic passion was ahead of Hollywood in visualizing the complexities of sex (“In the Closet”) race (“Black or White”), ecology (“Earth Song”) and that aspect of our cultural heritage that wrestles with mankind’s aggressive instincts (“Smooth Criminal”). Put MJ in proper context with Singin’ in the Rain, Shall We Dance and The Band Wagon as serious expression, not trivial daydreaming. Too busy finger-sapping to consider “The Way You Make Me Feel” ’s exploration of courtship ritual? In This Is It, MJ turns masculine drive into iconography that studies eroticism and social custom - all of it beautifully sung and imaginatively choreographed.


MJ’s music video legacy shames contemporary Hollywood’s inability to sustain the music video as an expression of mankind’s dreams. He displayed rare understanding of how music and images can edify the human condition. That’s why Liz’s all-out defense and confirmation matters. She tweeted: “[This Is It] is the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen. It cements forever Michael’s genius in every aspect of creativity. To say he was a genius seems so little… I truly believe this film should be nominated in every category conceivable.” Liz, of course, is totally right. She challenges the Motion Picture Academy and the upcoming parade of Oscarheads to see past tabloid demonization to the significance of MJ’s art; to make right the mainstream’s neglect of a great artist.”


[Armond White, American film and music critic, author of Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles; source: www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“[…] I just heard the song “Man in the Mirror” a few nights ago while watching a rerun of CBS’s drama, “Cold Case.” As I listened to the lyrics, I said to myself, “What a powerful artist. What a divine message.” His message is what made him charismatic. His message was his charisma. His message of hope and being the miracle we all want in our lives is what made him magnetic. This magnetism brought light to many great causes such as homelessness, world hunger, HIV/AIDS awareness and more. He was one of the few celebrities of his time who lend his celebrity to charitable causes. Because of his dedication, many other celebrities now follow his example of giving.

Yes, Michael Jackson’s life is not without controversy and I will in no way lend attention to these matters. What I will say is this, he was a great artist. He was a musical genius. Future generations of lyricists, musicians, and artists can learn from him as an artist. They can learn the importance of having a message, a positive message that can impact the world. So before we cast stones, let us remember the good of the conscious creative artist and know that his creativity, art, and charitable giving has (sic) made this world a better place for many. As the song “Man in the Mirror” says, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” Let us remember to give and create consciously. Let us remember to use our gifts and talents to impart a message of hope, love, inspiration, and joy to others.

Until next time, be a giver, be a message of hope, and let the Creative Spirit move you.”

[Blue Lotus Living; sources: http://bluelotusliving.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]



“I was blown away, man, it was gnarly. [picking up up his iPhone and finding a gallery of Jackson photos before handing it to the reporter to flip through]. After an hour, Michael was constantly tugging on my arm, saying, 'Take pictures of me with the kids!' It’s like, this is freaking Michael Jackson grabbing me! [Every Jackson family member was there with him a month before his death.] I was in shock and I’ve photographed or been with every celebrity there is.”

[Kelly Fajack, American photographer; source: http://santamonica.patch.com]

 

“[…] I don't think [he knew about my book], and it makes me sad, because he expressed to people that were close to him that he always wanted a book like this to be written, that focused completely on his artistry. He took a lot of pride in his work and there was so much to it that never got written about. There were definitely a few books that explored different aspects of his life, but I think that this is a book he really would've like to see written and published. Michael always talked about how he'd go into bookstores and see right in the front, books about Elvis Presley and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and how frustrating it was that he never saw books about him or, frankly, about African-American artists. You know, there's not a lot written about Stevie Wonder and some of the other great black artists, as well. And that was frustrating to him.”

“This might change, from month to month, but the song that I would say is his strongest is 'Earth Song'. I'm [writing] a huge piece on 'Earth Song' this summer, so I'll spell out my case in a lot of detail in that. I think that's not only Michael's best song, but that it's the most powerful anthem of the century, by any artist. It's incredibly powerful. There's (a) kind of a reservoir that he's drawing on in that song. It's like I've said: the more you become aware of what Michael's tapping into, what he's drawing from, the more powerful and compelling his work becomes. And the climax of that song, the call and response of the choir, is just beyond epic. It's always tempting to say that Michael's best song is 'Billie Jean,' because 'Billie Jean' is incredible, or even songs like 'Stranger in Moscow' or 'Who Is It'. All those songs are incredible, but the message of 'Earth Song' is so important, and the delivery of that message is so powerful. I can't listen to that song without my whole body being sent into a different place. I think it's unparalleled in pop or rock music. I think you have to go into classical or gospel to find parallels to that song's power. And the music video that I'd say is his strongest, or his most interesting, is probably 'Black or White.' [...] You can experience the music video for what it is, or you can dig into some of the inspiration and realize he's pulling from everything from Spike Lee to Gene Kelly's 'Singing in the Rain.' He just brought so much to his work that critics haven't even touched. […] I've said before, Michael would be phenomenal if he just followed in the tradition of James Brown. Just in that soul, funk tradition, Michael would've been great, an incredible artist. But what takes him to that next level is that he fuses James Brown with Charlie Chaplin. Or, he fuses James Brown with Fred Astaire or Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. He makes these unusual connections. I mean, you look at an album like 'HIStory'. What other '90’s albums is anything like 'HIStory'? When I was writing my book, I was thinking, what album can I compare ['HIStory'] to, because I want critics to reassess it. And it's so difficult to find comparisons! Just look at 'Earth Song.' It's like a fusion of gospel, blues, opera, R&B, etc. So what I had to do for my book -- and I still don't feel like I measured up -- but I had to read around Michael. I had to read Chaplin's biography, I had to read P.T. Barnum's biography, I had to read Michelangelo, Beethoven… all these people, to try to get in [Michael's] head, really. To try to see what he was drawing from, what he was thinking when he made these songs. Obviously, there's no way I could read everything Michael read, but I tried! [laughs]”

“[…] What happened, really after 'Thriller,' Michael reached the commercial apex. He reached heights that had never been reached before, in terms of awards and sales. 'Thriller' was just a phenomenon, it was incredible. So what happened after that is he became a massive target, and a lot of people were uncomfortable with how much success he'd had. And there's a range of things going on… some of it has to do with race, some of it has to do with his persona and that people started to associate him with all these different controversies and scandals. But I'm of the camp that Michael's work evolved, it got better. I mean, 'Thriller' is incredible, there's no doubt, but I think he progressed in really interesting and provocative ways. […] There was just this growth and transformation in terms of the subjects he was tackling, sounds that he was exploring, arrangements of music. So people that don't pay attention or haven't given him credit for what he did after 'Thriller', especially after 'Bad', are missing out. And that's really one of the main things that I hope to accomplish with my book, to kind of call attention to the work that isn't called 'Thriller'.”

“[…] Obviously there are still people and critics who don't take Michael Jackson seriously, and you know, they give a lot of credibility to artists like Bob Dylan. … I think there's (sic) just a lot of misperceptions about Michael and how he was operating as an artist. For example, because his work is more theatrical, that turned a lot of critics off of him, because they didn't understand, aesthetically, where his work was coming from… or if they did understand, they just didn't respect those types of genres. So if he does a song that's more of a Broadway song, something like 'Smile,' a lot of rock critics were very dismissive of that, and similarly, a lot of academics have been critical because of the genres he was operating in. So there's still some of that, definitely. […] I really feel strongly that a lot of reviewers have not assessed Michael Jackson's work honestly, haven't assessed it fairly. So when I took five, six years to really go through his work, and to talk to people that worked on these songs, talked to people who are experts in their field, I know the value of his work, and it's substantial. Hopefully, when you read the book, you get a sense of what went into these songs, and what went into these albums. [...] I mean, anyone who thinks Michael was operating on the same level as, say, Usher or Justin Timberlake or some of the other pop stars… it's like comparing Mozart to Boyz II Men or something. And that's not to say… I mean, Justin Timberlake is a fine artist, a fine pop artist. He's great! But it's nowhere near what Michael Jackson was doing. It's a completely different category. So a lot of these reviews, when I read them... I'll just give you an example. I don't remember exactly who the reviewer was, but it was in regards to the 'Dangerous' album. The statement was made that Michael wasn't taking any risks on 'Dangerous,' which is just kind of absurd on its face, because here Michael went completely outside of what he was doing before, where his albums before that were produced by Quincy Jones. And with 'Dangerous', Michael was experimenting with new genres, he was experimenting with classical, with gospel, with hip-hop to a degree he never had before. He was taking all kind (sic) of risks! So you wonder why [the reviews are so dismissive]. Did people just have to get the reviews done quickly and didn't have the time to really pay attention to what was happening? Were there just biases that were ingrained in people's minds? Or you just wonder if people weren't up to the task. I know that sounds kind of arrogant… but you just wonder if people weren't up to the task of honestly, critically assessing Michael's work in just a fair way. Not like they have to think everything he did was so great. Just in a fair way.

[...] So many of the reviews [of Michael's music] also just focus on his persona, or the way people perceived him. So, in my book, I tried to break down what was happening there. Like, why is this music review spending three out of four paragraphs on him as a person, and doing so in such a reductive way that's it's almost pseudo psychoanalysis? I mean, the authors aren't even trained in those fields, so they really don't even know what they're talking about. They try to offer this really elementary psychoanalysis of Michael, which doesn't illuminate anything… and then spend a paragraph on his music. So, yeah, I criticize that.

[At the University of Rochester, where I teach...] this semester -- actually this whole year -- I taught a course called 'Romanticism in Rock,' which explored connections between Romantic poets like Blake and Wordsworth and Shelley, and then contemporary popular music. So we explored bands like the Beatles and Arcade Fire and, of course, Michael Jackson, and [we] explored parallels with their work. That was a really fun class to teach! I pulled some sections from my book to stimulate class discussions, occasionally. We looked at aspects of [Michael's] work in the class, like we looked at music videos like 'Black or White' and 'Thriller,' and we looked at some of his more obscure works like 'Morphine' and 'Scared of the Moon.' And the students respond really well to it and really enjoy it. A lot of them didn't think of Michael in that way before, they just thought of him as a phenomenon, but never really understood his art. So that's the kind of thing we explore.”

[Joseph Vogel; sources: www.blogtalkradio.com, http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com]

 

“When I arrived in Berlin in June 1988 for the start of what turned into the Particularly Bad Shoes and Brown Gravy Tour (more on the name later), I knew Michael Jackson also was making a tour stop there. Jackson, at the height of his fame, was in the middle of his 16-month "Bad" world tour, which at the time became the largest grossing and most attended tour in history. I was embarking on a dog-and-pony show tour staged for the benefit of Western media by sports authorities in East Germany, which then was at the height of its athletic fame (or infamy).

Our tour got its (unofficial) name after we were served brown gravy on everything -- including sliced pineapple in Leipzig -- and my colleague, Jere Longman of the New York Times, accurately observed there were two kinds of shoes in East Germany: bad shoes, and particularly bad shoes. Anyway, no sooner had I checked into my hotel in what then was West Berlin than I realized Jackson also was a guest in the hotel, because there were hundreds of fans on the street chanting his name. But I didn't think anything more of my relative proximity to the pop superstar until I was walking from my room to the elevators, so I could join some friends for dinner.

In a hallway stood two very large men, who tensed as I approached. They were outside the open door of a room I was passing. When I reached the open door, I looked inside the room, and there, unmistakably, was Jackson, looking right in my direction. I said, "Hello.'' He smiled and returned the greeting. The bodyguards, expecting me to ask for an autograph or something else that would bother their charge, seemed taken aback when I simply kept walking, satisfied with the exchange of pleasantries. As it turned out, Jackson would be inadvertently involved in some communist chest-thumping not unlike what I would see in East Germany. The Washington Post reported that Jackson and East German figure skating icon, Katarina Witt, "squared off on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall this evening in an East-West battle of the bands that delighted the city's music fans and gave headaches to East Germany's Communist authorities. Witt hosted a concert in East Berlin -- featuring Canadian singer Bryan Adams and the British group Big Country -- that clearly was designed to placate fans barred from traveling crosstown to hear Jackson performing in the western side of this divided city.'' The Post said East German authorities counted 120,000 fans at their open-air concert, exactly double the total given for Jackson's open-air performance.

Three months later, East Germany, a country of 16 million, would win more gold medals at the 1988 Olympics than the United States, nearly 20 times more populous. That was East Germany's final Olympics as an independent nation. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the two German countries re-unified in 1990. Then as now, his smile and "hello'' are indelible to me. They are my lasting memories of a 5-second encounter that was better than any autograph. […] Michael Jackson’s talent transcended language and culture differences. As a testament to this, the above graffiti portrait can be found in Berlin, Germany. Similar tributes can be seen and heard in cities around the world. The artist is MTO Graff.

Michael threw (a) pillow down to waiting fans from his hotel in Berlin.”

[Philip Hersh, American journalist; sources: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

[“Editor’s note: (…) Make-up artist Michael Thomas, and pop star Michael Jackson died within two months of each other (…). Here, Thomas, who was Jackson's make-up artist for ‘The Wiz’, recalls some memorable experiences with Jackson on and off the set. Thomas’ wife, Christine Domaniecki, shared Thomas’ memories with us.]

Wizardry Behind The Wiz

On The Wiz, we had Vac-u-Forms made from plaster life masks of each actor who appeared as a main character (including the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, played by Michael Jackson). They were made because every week or so, Stan Winston’s Los Angeles-based lab would ship a bunch of the actors’ freshly made foam-latex appliances to New York, where we shot the movie.

After I brought the Scarecrow appliances home, I would lightly attach the foam-latex pieces to the Vac-u-Form and pre-color them. It saved a lot of application time when we were in the make-up room at the Kaufman Astoria Studios. Keeping the foam-latex pieces on the form during pre-painting kept them in shape, the way a coat hanger keeps wrinkles out of a coat. On the inside of one of the forms, you can see a few color swatches. I duplicated the color of the Scarecrow's greasepaint in artists’ acrylic. I put acrylic on the neck ruffle he wore as well, because if I used greasepaint, it would rub off onto his costume.

We were allowed to keep the forms at the end of the movie. I have about five.

Every morning, I began Michael’s make-up by applying a bald cap to keep his hair, which was in very small braids, in place. Next, I would apply the foam-latex pieces: a forehead piece, two cheek pieces, a nose piece (which was supposed to look like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup wrapper), a chin piece and a neck ruffle. They went on in the morning and had to be maintained during the day.

Because the Scarecrow was a very cartoon-y character, Michael made lots of exaggerated facial expressions to bring the Scarecrow to life. The facial calisthenics looked great, but they also loosened the foam-latex pieces, so I would have to re-glue and re-paint the make-up (for more on this, see the Martini Shot in Issue 81 of Make-Up Artist magazine). To remove the make-up at the end of the day, I would stand behind Michael, lift the back of the bald cap and peel it up over his head. The cap and the foam-latex appliances would come off pretty much all in one piece.

But then I’d duck down behind his chair so he couldn't see my reflection in the mirror, put the make-up (which now looked like a spooky mask) on my hand, slowly raise it up behind his head and jiggle it, going, “OOODLE-OOODLE-DOOODLE-DE-OOOOHHH!” He would laugh like crazy, as if it were one of the funniest things he'd ever seen. I really enjoyed his childlike sense of humor; I could say or do any dumb thing and it would get a big laugh. I would then remove the remainder of his make-up, glue and adhesives and that would be it. We’d go home and get ready for the next day's shooting.

Fun and Games

When we were talking one day, I told Michael that when I was a little boy, I taught myself how to draw, which was pretty much the beginning of my becoming a make-up artist. He asked to see an example. I took a pen and drew a quick sketch of the Frankenstein monster. He liked it. He said that he and his brothers and sisters sometimes played a game to fight boredom: One of them would draw a few abstract lines on a piece of paper, give it to another sibling and say, “OK, now make a fire engine out of this, or a tree,” etcetera, and the other sibling had to complete the drawing in a certain amount of time. When I played the game with Michael, I tried to trick him by drawing a few curvy lines that I felt did not suggest a cat. As far as I was concerned, these curvy lines looked nothing like a cat. So I said, “Go ahead, make a cat out of these lines!” And within 30 seconds, he had drawn a cat. Not as I would have pictured one, standing on all fours, but a pussycat curled up asleep.Then he made a couple (of) new drawings on the spot, and I kept them with his blessing. One of the drawings was of a man’s face. It’s pretty sketchy and kind of impressionistic. […]

On the Outside

There's a phenomenon that frequently occurs when a make-up artist and an actor work together: instant intimacy. Make-up artists and hairstylists are kind of like psychiatrists or bartenders. You’re in the same room, physically close for hours at a time, sometimes for many days. Because people usually have the urge to talk, the subject matter often changes from chitchat to some very serious subjects. And though the two of us were only together to work on a movie, we got to know each other pretty well.

I asked Michael over for dinner one night. We had to keep quiet about it, because if anybody found out, word would spread like wildfire. It was 1978 and at age 19, Michael was already well-known around the world. So he came over to our apartment in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his armed bodyguard, Spence. Dinner was Cornish game hens and, by Michael’s request, Stove Top Stuffing, which he said the folks in his home town of Gary, Indiana referred to as “dressin’.” When he ate, he really dug in: He got food all over his face, all over the table, all over his clothes. He was very passionate about anything he did (…).

We had a great time that night. Because I play guitar a little, I showed him how to play some easy chords on my acoustic guitar. He had always admired people who could play musical instruments and had often fantasized about being the lead guitarist in a rock band.

At that time, the comedian Robert Klein had made an appearance on Saturday Night Live; he came out with a harmonica, gave the band the downbeat by stomping his foot, and cried, “Lemme hear some blues!” The band struck up the introduction to a blues number and he began playing the harmonica with them, stomping his feet, leg pumping in time. After the opening 16 bars, he pulled the harmonica from his lips and, foot still stomping, sang, “I can't stop my leg, little darlin’ ... I can't stop my leg, little guurrl!” Well, Michael got a big kick out of this. So while I played a blues chord progression on my guitar, Michael stomped his foot and sang, “I can’t stop my leg!” At one point, while he was singing, he said, "Now listen to me, people”, and I broke up, because he was really getting into it. From this visit, I got the sense that he was a very normal, healthy kid.

So I got to know the great Michael Jackson a little. He told me once that whatever he happened to be doing - working on a movie, cutting a record, appearing live on stage - it was the most important thing in his entire life while he was doing it. It really showed. No matter what he was doing, his talent spoke - and sang, and danced - for itself.

Michael was a very special person, whose life was a combination of extremes. He enjoyed normal, down-to-earth things, but he also earned lifetime membership to a very exclusive club. His talent, tempered by lifelong discipline, reached the hearts of countless admirers and reshaped music for all time. He was denied his childhood; I think he spent the rest of his adult life trying to live it for the first time. He was a big kid!”

[Michael R. Thomas, American make-up artist; sources: http://makeupmag.com, www.mj-777.com]

 

“Michael Jackson recorded loads of impressive material that didn’t make it onto his regular studio albums. The reasons for leaving tracks off were various: sometimes there just wasn’t enough space, sometimes they didn’t fit with the album as a whole, and sometimes he wanted to continue working on them. Many of these songs, however, were just as good as what ultimately made the cut. Unfortunately, that meant dozens of incredible tracks have gone almost completely overlooked by the average music listener.

Below, then, I have compiled a Top Ten list of what I feel are Michael Jackson’s best non studio-album songs. My rules were to only include songs that a) were never included on his original albums, and b) have been officially released in some capacity (therefore, tracks like “Blue Gangsta,” “Make or Break,” “A Place With No Name,” etc. aren’t included).

My apologies in advance for inevitably leaving off someone’s favorite hidden gem. But feel free to vote in the poll.

1. In the Back

This song is genius. Put on a good set of headphones and marvel at the layers of sound. Imagine what is being communicated with each instrument. Listen to the pain in his voice. “Dreams don’t last forever…”

2. Much Too Soon

I think this competes with “She’s Out of My Life” as Michael’s most poignant expression of regret and lost love. Beautiful lyrics. Authentic, tragic, human. One of my all-time favorites.

3. Streetwalker

How was this not on Bad? Well, we know why, but it’s a testament to Michael’s talent that amazing songs like this could be left off. Great energy, killer bass, rich harmonies, and some fantastic harmonica!

4. Behind the Mask

This song would have been a big hit on Thriller. Such a unique track with those sheets of synth, its strange, postmodern aura and cyborg mantras. Had Michael’s version been finished and released in 1982, it could have been just as big as “Beat It” (especially with a video). Hopefully, the original demo will come out at some point.

5. Scared of the Moon

A dark Blakean song about childhood trauma. Many revealing insights are packed into this haunting, lyrical masterpiece.

6. Fall Again

I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it. Gorgeous, melancholy ballad. (Bonus: the great uncut bit at the end of Michael appreciating an unusual sound.)

7. Cheater

Another outstanding Bad outtake. Raw, funky. Love the vocal on this one – the way he bites into the lyrics. And the signature finger snapping.

8. The Way You Love Me

Stevie Wonder loves it. What else needs to be said? Absolutely sublime vocal harmonies.

9. Beautiful Girl

Reminds me, in some ways, of “Liberian Girl.” Lush production, beautiful vocals. Just a wonderful piece of music.

10. We’ve Had Enough

Michael doesn’t get enough credit for his protest songs. This one’s a passionate plea that builds slowly and vividly, before exploding in desperate outrage at the climax. That pained ending, “Oh no, oh no…why did you do it?” speaks volumes. […]”

[Joseph Vogel, American doctoral candidate and instructor at University of Rochester; sources: http://joevogel.wordpress.com, www.mjjcommunity.com, http://www.thesilencedtruth.com/]

“Michael Jackson was so impressed with dancer, Sofia Boutella - star of the late icon’s new music video for “Hollywood Tonight” - he was ready to offer her the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to dance alongside him on his This Is It concert series at the O2 Arena in London. Unfortunately, she was still under contract for Madonna’s Confessions Tour at the time and couldn’t get out of it. Seeing how disappointed Boutella was, Jackson turned to a couple of his collaborators and said: “I used to date Madonna. I should call her.”

While Boutella ultimately missed out on This Is It, she pays admirable homage to the King of Pop in his most recent posthumous video, which paints the story of a young, ambitious girl trying to make it in Hollywood without being swallowed by its trappings and illusions. It’s a well-worn tale, but is carried out tastefully by director, Wayne Isham, and sparked by the infectious energy and talent of Boutella. The video also reminds - along with recent MJ tributes on American Idol and Glee - how profound Jackson’s influence continues to be on new generations (many of whom only “discovered” him after his tragic death in 2009).

[…]

“Hollywood Tonight” is the second single to be released from Jackson’s posthumous album, MICHAEL (“Behind the Mask” is the alternate single for several countries, including the United States).

The song has a long and winding history. Jackson first put down a sketch of the lyrics in 1999 while staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Soon after, he began working out the music with longtime friend and collaborator, Brad Buxer (who co-wrote the song). The song traveled with them from Los Angeles to New York, Miami to Neverland, during the early Invincible sessions. Jackson and Buxer were pumping out some outstanding material around this time, including songs like “Beautiful Girl,” “The Way You Love Me,“Speechless,” “The Lost Children,” “Shut Up and Dance” (a great dance track Jackson and Buxer worked on with Michael Prince and Eric Kirkland, with echoes of Stevie Wonder and MJ circa Bad which, unfortunately, doesn’t have complete vocals) and “I Was the Loser” (a nice, melodic mid-tempo tune about lost love that is mostly finished), among others. A couple of years earlier, Jackson and Buxer had also worked on artistic standouts like “Morphine” and “In the Back.”

Jackson loved parts of “Hollywood” – the opening Gregorian chant (his idea), the “westbound, greyhound” harmonies, the whistling in the outro – but stopped working on it once producer Rodney Jerkins came on board for Invincible.

Over the next ten years, however, he returned to the track numerous times. For the bass line, he was searching for something similar to “Billie Jean,” but distinct. “Do smooth muted bass on ‘Hollywood,’” he indicated in one note. His early demos feature two layered bass lines (Michael Prince added the “Billie Jean”-esque kick and snare in the last mix MJ requested). Jackson and Brad Buxer continued tinkering with it in Las Vegas in 2007. For a while, he liked the idea of ending with the sound of a bus leaving or arriving. Yet he ultimately decided to conclude with the whistling, since the juxtaposition was a bit awkward.

In October 2008, Jackson, now living in Los Angeles, asked recording engineer Michael Prince to put the latest mix of “Hollywood” on CD so he could listen to it and see what might be improved. Sadly, he never got around to working on it again. […] (Teddy) Riley’s production, which retained much of Michael and Brad’s demo (including the intro and outro), elements of Feemster’s mix (…), and added a bit more punch, became the album version.

After it was released, however, many fans voiced concerns about a) the over-processed vocals, and b) the lengthy spoken bridge. Jackson had, in fact, written lyrics for his own bridge, which were much darker than Riley’s. Jackson’s bridge reads:

“She doesn’t even have a ticket,

She doesn’t even have a way back home,

She’s lost and she’s alone,

There’s no place for her to go,

She is young and she is cold

Just like her father told her so.”

While Jackson’s version highlights the tragedy and uncertainty of a dream deferred, Teddy Riley’s bridge opted for a more positive and tidy resolution. “With the bridge we kind of made her succeed,” Riley explained. “[She] completed her mission.”

Riley would have undoubtedly used Jackson’s version had their been vocals for it. Unfortunately, they were never recorded. With the new single, however, Sony decided to cut the spoken part completely and showcase instead some of the heightening drama and tension Jackson intended for this section. They used his beatboxing, his idea of swelling horns and strings, and his operatic vocal (pulled from a tape left running during a recording session in a hotel room). […] “Hollywood Tonight,” then, has gone through many incarnations: the several different demos Jackson recorded with Brad Buxer and Michael Prince, from 1999 to 2008; the two versions Theron Feemster worked on following Jackson’s death (…); the polished album version completed by Teddy Riley; and, of course, the new single. All are necessarily approximations to what Jackson would have ultimately put out in finished form. That’s the nature of posthumous releases. They will always be imperfect and they will always generate fierce debate. […]

This article is crossposted at The Huffington Post.”

[Joseph Vogel; sources: http://joevogel.wordpress.com, www.mjjcommunity.com, http://www.thesilencedtruth.com/]


“Mike’s passion was definitely the thing about his voice that stood out for me. You know, on top of the fact that I had a similar timbre to his, you know, the pitch was kinda high, you know, kinda somewhat thin, but he took – there was something about when he sang, you felt what he was sayin’. That to this day, there are Michael Jackson songs where he does parts of the songs where you don’t know what (…) he’s saying. But it doesn’t even matter, because of the way that he’s singing it, there’s so much passion in it, you go, ‘Yeah, whatever (…) you said, yeah!’ [laughter] […] I sent a few – a few tracks to him [for his new, now unfinished album]. It worked like this: I would send about 3 or 4 tracks at a time, you know, every week – every other week, he would call me and tell me which ones he liked, which ones he didn’t like, which ones – ‘I think this hook could be a little stronger’, ‘If you took the first verse and shorten it..’ la-la-la-la-la, you know, just critiquing the records. But he had chosen about ten that he wanted to record and that he had planned – that we had planned on getting into the studio after the (This Is It) tour was over. Of course, at that time he passed and we never got the opportunity to do so (…). […]”

“[…] I didn’t know Michael Jackson personally, you know, I met him one time and we got to sit and talk about music, but I’ve felt like I know him personally through my relationship with his music. And what you know about Michael Jackson just from listening to his music is that he’s passionate about it. It means something to him, it’s not just ‘Oh, let’s put this song together, okay, right, then on to the next one’. No. He’ll – he takes time to make sure the song can be as good as it could possibly be. And I feel like (with) an album is exactly the same thing, he’s not gonna just put something out because of a deadline, or because of, you know – that’s not gonna be the reason he puts it out. He’s gonna make sure that it is as good as it can possibly be before it sees the light of day. […] The stuff that he was selecting from me - I had to take off the thought of ‘Okay, I’m writing a song for Michael Jackson’. I had to take that off and just write records, because you’re going to the studio and you’d go, ‘I’m writing a song for Michael Jackson’, and all of a sudden, everything you do sucks. [laughter] Nothing is good enough. Because it’s like, ‘Michael would never sing this crumble…’ […] I mean, if you listen to me, you can definitely hear Michael Jackson in what I do, so, you know, I feel like he appreciated my respect and appreciation for melody (…), I think that’s why he came to me, because of the fact that through listening to him and Stevie (Wonder) and the (other) people that I look up to, I have an absolute respect for melody, for a song lyric that’s actually saying something, as opposed to just words put together, you know what I mean? […]”

[Shaffer Chimere Smith, Jr., better known as Ne-Yo, American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor; sources: http://blogs.wsj.com, http://www.thesilencedtruth.com/]

 

“Michael Jackson's remarkable 30-year career scaled unparalleled musical, commercial and critical heights. His myriad achievements included being responsible for the best-selling album of all time, pioneering the music-video medium, and virtually redefining the concept of the modern pop star. As a songwriter, he penned more than 150 songs, with more than 20 reaching multi-million performance status on American radio and television.

Jackson came a long way since bursting onto the charts in 1969 as the Jackson Five's magnetic 10 year-old lead singer. The seventh in a family of nine children in Gary, Indiana, Michael began performing at the age of five when his father Joe, a musician turned steel mill worker, assembled the Jackson Five with Michael, and his older brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito. Thanks in large part to Michael's precocious talent, the Jackson Five quickly progressed from performing in local talent shows to landing a record deal with Motown. The group scored 13 Top 20 singles for Motown and continued to turn out hits through the 1970’s while Michael spun off into a parallel solo career.

Michael began to exercise an unprecedented level of control of his musical and business affairs following the Jacksons' departure from Motown in 1975. He achieved substantial solo success with his 1979 album Off the Wall, which marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration with producer Quincy Jones and spawned the hits “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You”. Those singles previewed the distinctive rock/soul fusion that Jackson would later explore more fully on his 1983 blockbuster album Thriller.

It was the 45 million-selling Thriller that marked Jackson’s ascendancy to superstar status, establishing him as pop’s preeminent presence, both on the radio and on the still-new MTV, where his innovative song and dance videos for “Billy Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Thriller” helped pioneer the rock video form. In 1984, Jackson temporarily re-teamed with his brothers for the successful Victory album and tour.

Jackson’s new status was underlined by his involvement with the all-star USA For Africa benefit single “We Are the World,” which he co-wrote with Lionel Richie. His subsequent solo albums, Bad and Dangerous, further expanded his musical legacy, as did the 1995 double CD HIStory: Past, Present and Future: Book One, which combined 15 previously released hits with 15 new songs. That collection was followed two years later by Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which combined new material with dance mixes of his hits. 2001’s Invincible, a collection of original songs, spawned multiple chart hits.

Michael Jackson spent four decades as a songwriter, performer, recording artist and public figure, and will be remembered as a consistent musical innovator.”

[Sources: http://songwritershalloffame.org, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“[What I would like to do is,] I guess, continue what our dad was doing, like helping children from across the world, and animals who couldn’t speak up for themselves.” [His sister echoes the said words: “Ditto.”]

[Prince Jackson, Michael Jackson’s son – on Good Morning, America; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“It was so special back in the mid 80’s, when he was setting up his BAD Tour. But I had the rare opportunity to watch him rehearse, to watch Michael Jackson in action with all of his singers, his dancers, his musicians, and to watch that for hours, you never had a doubt about who was the boss, who was the real genius there, the detail to the dancers, every little move, whether there was a guitar that was slightly out of tune, it was Michael who was in charge. Now, we didn’t do an interview at that point, but a month later, he said, ‘Come to Kansas City, I want you to be with me as I launch this tour.’ 40 thousand screaming fans in this arena, I was with Michael for the prayer that they did beforehand. Then he grabbed my hand, we walked out on the stage together, and this was the very shy, very meek Michael Jackson, almost frail, shaking! […] Harry and Maggie, it was the strangest thing. And the moment we got out on stage hand in hand, 40 thousand people [were there], he gently let my hand go and he turned into the magician. I mean, it was truly one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen in my life. I mean, he just – he was whispering, you know, he doesn’t look nervous there, but I could feel him shaking. […] He was so great, because I think we all have so many incredible memories (of him). After that concert, he invited me up to his suite in that hotel and we had dinner together, we spent two hours talking. And he gave me a gift at the end of the evening; we talked just like the 3 of us (here) would sit and talk over dinner. Just the two of us, his private chef at that time. You know, he always ate very healthy, but his private chef would prepare the Indian food and, you know, we talked about what he liked to do. But what Michael Jackson did and how he lived was so different and so isolated and lonely.”

[Mary Hart, American television personality; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“If you watch a video of the Jackson 5 performing “I Want You Back,” on the Ed Sullivan show, in 1969, you will see that the group’s lead vocalist - Michael, the youngest of the five brothers - was already an A-list dancer at the age of eleven. Here is this fat-cheeked boy, in a pink Super Fly hat that he is obviously proud of, doing tilts and dips and fanny rocks and finger snaps, and tucking in little extras - half steps, quarter steps - between them. Most amazing is his musicality, his ability to respond to the score faithfully and yet creatively, playing with the music, moving in before and after the beat. Musicality always comes off as spontaneity, and he was loved, early on, for that quality.

Now turn to “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” (1979). Ten years have passed. He has started recording his own songs. He does fancier steps. But at twenty-one, as at eleven, he is galvanizing above all because of his naturalness. He hops with joy; he wags his head; his shirt comes untucked.

Then come the landmark videos of the early nineteen-eighties: “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Thriller,” all of them for songs that appeared on the collection “Thriller” (1982), which is the best-selling album of all time. At this point, Jackson has just about everything you would want in a dancer. He is very fast, and, now that the adult musculature has come in, his whole body is “worked.” (This means that every muscle is stretched, and operating in the service of the dance. Nothing is blurred.) As a result, he has a sharp attack, and wonderful clarity. Watch him - as you can, for example, in “The Way You Make Me Feel” (1987) - dancing, silhouetted, alongside other men doing the same steps. You can’t see the faces, but you know which one he is. He dives into a step more intently, and shows it to us more precisely, than anyone else. Around this time, the videos are featuring some new moves - for example, multiple spins (which seem, at times, to have received technical assistance). And he’s now doing the famous moonwalk, which he picked up from break dancing. He has also started doing some rather dirty moves, notably the crotch-grab, which will endure, with striking embellishments, throughout his career.

The “Thriller”-period videos were instrumental in converting MTV from a backwater to a sensation. Jackson consciously aimed at doing that. “I wanted to be a pioneer in this relatively new medium,” he said in his 1988 memoir, “Moon Walk” (a book, incidentally, edited by Jacqueline Onassis). He spent a fortune on these projects. The 1995 “Scream” video cost seven million dollars - a record at that time. He didn’t like to call these works videos. They were “short films,” he claimed - and rightly, for he had them shot not on videotape, but on 35-mm. film. “We were serious,” he said.

Jackson took his choreography from a number of sources: hip-hop, sock hop, “Soul Train,” disco, and jazz dance, plus a little tap and Charleston. By his account, he constructed some of the movement himself. “Billie Jean,” he says in “Moon Walk,” still had no dance component the night before he was scheduled to perform it in honor of Motown’s twenty-fifth anniversary. He went down to the kitchen, turned on the music full blast, and, in his words, “let the dance create itself” on his body. His moonwalk had its début in that number.

But on most of his dances he did not work alone. Michael Peters, Vincent Paterson, and Jeffrey Daniel, all of them experienced stage and TV choreographers, collaborated with Jackson. On the PBS special “Everybody Dance Now” (1991), in answer to a question from the dance historian Sally Sommer, Peters said that Jackson’s method was to put together some steps and ideas and bring them to a choreographer, who would then organize them into a coherent dance.

But, whether he went it alone or got help, the result was much the same. He didn’t have a lot of moves. You can almost count them on your fingers: the gyrating hips, the bending knees (reversing from inward to outward), the pivoting feet (ditto), the one raised knee, the spins, and, above all, the rotated or raised heel, which is what he gets around on. These steps are generally done staccato. He finishes the phrase and freezes, then finishes the next phrase and freezes. He also has some moves so natural that one hesitates to call them steps: lovely, light-footed walks, struts, jumps, and runs. He made at least one important innovation in music-video choreography - the use of large ensembles dancing behind the soloist - but beyond that, he created very little dancing that was different from his own prior numbers, or anyone else’s. Yet many people were happy to see him, again and again, do the thing he did. Long after the critics soured on his music and his videos, they still liked his dancing.

Sometimes, they had to take the dancing on faith. Jackson, who had a thorough knowledge of the movie musical, revered Fred Astaire. He records in his memoir how thrilled he was when Astaire praised him. The old master even invited him over to his house, where Jackson taught the moonwalk to him and his choreographer, Hermes Pan. (Astaire told Jackson that both of them, he and Jackson, danced out of anger - an interesting remark, at least about Astaire.) […]”


[Joan Acocella, American journalist, dance critic for The New Yorker, author; sources: www.newyorker.com, www.joevogel.net]


“Michael Jackson made the best cinema of 1991 with the music video “Black or White,” which was easily superior to any short or feature-length film released to the public that year. To find a comparable example of visual montage, you have to go back to one of Alain Resnais’ time-shifting études, the marriage scherzo in Citizen Kane or the chase-trial fugue in D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance. I combine musical and filmic values, because “Black or White” ’s visionary approach to egalitarianism - ending with a still-miraculous sequence of genetic morphing and counter-balanced by a solo dance of frustration and rage - was a singular feat: Its constant rhythm was accompanied by a stacking-up of thrilling, provocative ideas.

The night “Black or White” premiered on FOX was one of those memorable moments when Michael Jackson brought the world together through his art. That unification is, of course, MJ’s legacy. But not merely in a lovey-dovey sense. MJ’s command of popular attention was always unexpected and challenging. Each cultural/historical marker demonstrated his unique sensibility, mostly superb taste (pardon his penchant for horror-film tropes), his simple, yet probing, agitating intellect and his seemingly boundless talents: a great singer, songwriter, dancer and, in movie terms, performer-as-auteur.

This career of milestones hasn’t ended with Jackson’s death (…) at age 50. Despite media vultures striking new lows in their ongoing scavenger hunt, Jackson’s loss started unprecedented Internet traffic that experts say diminished the cyberspace and twittering exchanges about Iran’s recent election (in 2009). His personal incarnation of modern cultural and political change began with 11-year-old Michael’s first national television appearance on ABC’s The Hollywood Palace, performing the still-astonishing “I Want You Back” with his brothers in The Jackson Five. Child prodigies and splashy debuts are commonplace in show business, so who could imagine what Jackson’s brash, playful introduction augured?

The extraordinary achievements that followed dwarfed the careers of stars who attained greater esteem in single pursuits; MJ epitomized for all the greater social benefits of liberated black American expression. As MJ pushed R&B forward, adding to the emotional definition of cultural consumers’ lives, it first seemed like showbiz as usual. The records “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There” exemplified youth culture’s new energy and power. Then, MJ confounded convention with the startlingly poignant “Ben.” It was a strategic movie tie-in theme (for the 1972 horror flick of the same name, a sequel to Willard) the same year Diana Ross sought to infiltrate Hollywood with the biopic Lady Sings the Blues. But MJ took his B-movie opportunity so seriously that it quietly permeated the zeitgeist. People who don’t appreciate “Ben” don’t really appreciate pop culture and remain clueless about MJ. His tender, profound emotionality taught teenagers everywhere that they could feel more deeply than they realized.   

Here’s the beauty part: “Ben” wasn’t just for black fans (such as those who identified with the Jackson Five’s “Mama’s Pearl”) but white listeners also responded (and I know many of them), recognizing and assenting to MJ’s heartfelt pledge. This is why, 25 years after “Ben,” (…) the tagline stuck. It had been denied him by the Elvis-worshipping racist media, but MJ snatched it from the selfish claws of industry bias. Some scoffed, but listeners and sharp observers knew it was true.

Going beyond hubris, MJ made the self-assertion that black artists were usually too modest (or underfinanced) to dare. Since childhood, MJ gained an understanding of how the record industry and the mainstream media work. He aimed for cultural domination, achieved it, then moonwalked across our consciousness - strutting and gliding as if the crown was no heavier than a bon vivant’s fedora. Little Michael started out singing about desire with a profound sense of urgency. Both “Ben” and “I Want You Back” offer the sense of immediacy special to great pop, holding witnesses in an intense private moment. It is not ironic that these records incarnate youth’s illusion of immortality. It’s a gift.

***
Most people have a favorite MJ song or performance that exemplifies the ways we come to understand and share joy and sadness, celebration and isolation. MJ mediated these things - as certified when the recent movies 13 Going On 30 and The Wackness paid tribute to MJ. Awareness of his art is a natural part of the modern experience. MJ was such a fact of life for the past 40 years, that the newsmedia’s disrespect - as in journos’ demeaning “J****” - deprives the world of appreciating the wonder and depth of Jackson’s art. Critics readily grant hero status to particular artists, but if Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, P.J. Harvey and Eminem are pop’s “geniuses”, what word can adequately describe the world-changing creativity, astounding craft and miraculous precision of Jackson’s output? His personal issues don’t justify denying it. Mainstream tastemakers find it difficult to accept the intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic progress of MJ absorbing Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Billy Eckstein, Sam Cooke, James Brown and Bob Fosse, continuing their work and matching it in his own style.

There’s much originality to reflect on: whether the race-defying polemic “Black or White” or many innovative music-videos like “Scream,” “Bad” (Scorsese’s best post-’70s film) and the redoubtable “Thriller,” which many people admire and first showed MJ’s unique flair for combining popular extravaganza with personal anxiety. Go back to 1971’s “I’ll Be There” (its essence appears even in MJ’s late work). This early classic was more than a love song: The youngster’s earnestness conveyed a cherubic purity in the uncanny lyric, “You and I must make a pact/ We must bring salvation back.” The religious evocation isn’t cloying; it recognizes spiritual need in romantic ardor. The innocence of Jackson’s voice confirms it as natural, basic. Jackson inherited the pop song tradition like catechism; as a devout, he grew into his own sincere articulation - as when echoing Billie Holiday in the “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” refrain of 1988’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” yet updating and owning it.

On the 1980 “Lovely One,” sung with his brothers, the paean to mother Katherine Jackson becomes an ode to womanhood - the romantic ideal. MJ doesn’t fatuously evade distinctions, but in pop’s great emotional imperative, social boundaries dissolve in the funk and ecstasy of singing, jamming. “Check out this feeling!” he exhorts to all who will listen. The fact of feeling in his music, singing and brotherly harmonies, proves the goodness of loving. Through the vivified funk of “Lovely One,” Jackson demonstrates that You-Must-Dance, rhythmic mastery that goes beyond intellectualizing. Maybe it will never make sense to tight-a****. Pity is, they often have tight souls.

Rev. Al Sharpton was right to remind people that, before Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama benefited from mass self-congratulation, Michael Jackson was a crucial figure contributing to – encouraging - the liberal world’s enlightenment. As a product of the Civil Rights Era, he was an invaluable inspirator of pop open-mindedness. Part of MJ’s social uplift comes from his determination to exceed the social and professional limits of the black social pioneers who preceded him. His funky, elegant stage and studio precision derives from the Northern industrial aspiration passed forward to the Great Migration’s later generations. This remains mysterious to many pop music scholars still stuck in the patronizing, sentimental perception that uneducated, earthy Negroes are “authentic” blacks. President Obama’s grudging condolence suggests that this snobbery still exists in high places. As a Motown artist, MJ defied that stereotype as a way of guaranteeing his own cultural achievement, but it also laid a spiritual and material foundation for success - acceptance and satisfaction - that lasts.

Inherent in all the MJ trailblazing is belief – proof - that the Civil Rights Era-promises of equality are realized in the open and creative expression of group and individual feelings. Artists confide a special faith in their public expression: that what they have to say will be heard and understood. (“Beat It” changed more hearts than the Iowa Caucus.) Through the audacity afforded by exceptional talent, this becomes more than a hope and you can grasp it personally - whether or not anyone else concurs - in “Ben,” “Billie Jean,” “You Are Not Alone” or, as in the challenge posed by “Black or White”: “Don’t tell me you agree with me/ When I saw you kicking dirt in my eye.”

MJ had the audacity to believe that he could also create that communication on a larger scale in sincere anthems like “We Are the World,” “Earth Song” and “Man in the Mirror.” It’s a wonder of pop art when you can’t really separate the gravitas of an anthem from a love lyric. That flash of emotional truth in MJ’s art makes it possible to set aside scandal. What genuine artist has avoided it? […]”

[Armond White, American film and music critic; sources: http://nypress.com, www.joevogel.net]


“[…] Indiana-born Jackson had his first #1 hit in 1969 at eleven years old. No young singer ever sang, or has ever sung to this day, the way Michael Jackson sang on record. It is not an exaggeration to say that he was the most advanced popular singer of his age in the history of recorded music. His untrained tenor was uncanny. By all rights, he shouldn’t have had as much vocal authority as he did at such a young age. Had Jackson sounded mature by simply being gruff or husky, he would have remained a precocious novelty. But his tones were full-bodied clarion calls; his pitch was immaculate, and his phrasing impeccable. He had a fluid lyricism and plenty of range, and he could find emotional nuance in challenging pop-soul material. Listen, for instance, to the way he skillfully maneuvers those tricky, Bacharach-esque harmonics on 1971’s “Got to Be There.”

[...] His muted, contained fervor, honed on the amateur night circuit rather than in the Pentecostal church, allowed him to handle precious ballads like 1970’s “I’ll Be There” with equal parts aplomb and sensitivity. It’s challenging for any singer to deliver authentic emotion without resorting to melisma or other vocal crutches. Singing the original melody as written, while also conveying the emotional subtext behind a lyric, requires great interpretive skill. Moving between tenor and falsetto, Jackson was a fantastic song essayist. Saccharine “Ben” and “Maybe Tomorrow” became sentimental opuses under Jackson’s feathery touch. Achingly slow jams like 1979’s “I Can’t Help It” and 1982’s “The Lady in My Life” were templates for 1990’s neo-soul. It’s easy to forget how minimalist a balladeer Jackson was until you hear other singers – even skilled ones - attempt to cover his songs and fall flat: Cassandra Wilson’s live cover of 1993 weeper “Gone Too Soon” comes to mind.

Jackson preserved his lithe tenor into adulthood. Critics claim he was trying to sound younger as he got older. But Jackson’s voice became more feminine as he got older. He and Patti Austin were often mistaken for each other on the crediting of Quincy Jones tracks. And it took me months before I realized that Jackson had a female duet partner, Siedah Garrett, on 1987’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” given their indistinguishable vocal registers and timbres. If Jackson deliberately cultivated vocal femininity, he could also sound aggressive, and even carnal, as on the opening of 1982’s explosive “P.Y.T.”

Jackson often draws comparison to Sammy Davis Jr.: both were preternaturally gifted pre-teens hawking song-and-dance routines. Other influences included Jackie Wilson and James Brown, dynamos for whom singing and dancing emerge from the same bodily impulse. Jackson’s trademark theatrical dancing bore traces of Jack Cole’s modernist angularity, The Nicholas Brothers’ sinewy virtuosity, Gene Kelly’s balletic grace and Fred Astaire’s rhythmic flow. By the early 70’s, Jackson had incorporated into his repertoire West Coast popping and locking; I wonder if he witnessed those moves firsthand when the family migrated to Los Angeles after signing with Motown.

But Jackson didn’t simply model his dancing after others. He somehow emulsified all his influences and created his own idiosyncratic movement vocabulary. Latter-day song and dance stars like Justin Timberlake, Usher, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo have skillfully followed in Jackson’s footsteps. But they often do so too literally. While I always felt Jackson had to dance out of the necessity of sheer ecstatic release, his younger counterparts, happy to imitate their idol, have yet to find their own original moves. Nor have any of them found a real sense of personal abandon in dance. It’s been said that Jackson did not pick up choreography easily (nor did Gene Kelly for that matter). But when he danced, he did so with fierceness, with creative risk. It was as if his life depended on it.



By the end of 1969, The Supremes had unraveled. Diana Ross’s solo career was set to launch. Motown CEO Berry Gordy identified his next entrepreneurial fixation in Jackson and his four talented brothers. To begin the artist development process, Gordy ratcheted up the funk missing from the brothers’ 1967 efforts on local Gary record label Steeltown. He concocted a production & songwriting dream team he cheekily called The Corporation (Freddie Perren, Fonce Mizell, Deke Richards and Gordy himself). Their job, drawing heavily on Frankie Lymon and probably The Cowsills, was to handcraft for The Jackson Five G-rated pop tunes like “I Want You Back”. Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five, their 1969 debut, was released a week before Christmas and only 12 days after the Stones’ ill-fated Altamont concert put a bottlecap on ‘60’s optimism. The Jackson Five’s day-glo ditties were miles away from the darker, socially conscious soul of producers like Norman Whitfield and Curtis Mayfield. But they were still more sophisticated than they’re given credit for under the misleading banner “bubblegum soul”. I can’t recall the Osmonds ever attempting anything half as transcendent or effervescent as “The Love You Save”.

Matriarch Katherine sewed gaudy costumes for her sons, drawing liberally from the look of Sly’s pre-Riot Bay Area boho hippie couture. Stage Dad Joe, projecting his failed musical ambitions on his boys, forced them to rehearse using methods that probably contravened child labor and human rights laws. And over at the label, Gordy had set in motion an unstoppable juggernaut of early branding, licensing the J5 image to anyone who would shell out green bucks. These collective efforts resulted in mass female hysteria not seen since Beatlemania. In 1970, unassuming “A.B.C” was so immensely popular, that it knocked the Beatles’ epochal “Let it Be” off the top chart spot. The Jackson Five scored three number one singles before they ever even made a live appearance. And in 1971, when Cynthia Horner jumpstarted her black teen magazine Right On!, it’s been reported that every single cover for the first two years was devoted to a Jackson.

The Jacksons marketed themselves as pop culture’s ultimate functional nuclear family. Their seemingly unimpeachable vision of black kinship as upwardly mobility flew in the face of The Moynihan Report and inner city turmoil that defined the 1970’s. The Jacksons helped spawn TV’s insufferable white Partridge Family and, years later, TV’s black middle-class Huxtables. Around 1987, a new cynicism crept in, and dysfunctional families became the representational norm. Satires like The Simpsons and Married with Children ruled. […]

Michael Jackson’s talents as a songwriter and producer wouldn’t come to light until he left Motown in 1975. He found a degree of artistic freedom several records into his tenure with CBS Records: “This Place Hotel” from The Jacksons’ 1980 Triumph remains a personal favorite. But Jackson truly reached creative nirvana on 1979’s Off the Wall, his fifth studio album, by collaborating with musical journeyman Quincy Jones. Jones’s production contributions to Jackson’s albums were sometimes exaggerated. But he did help Jackson develop the musical DNA that would define each of his successive albums. Deep-pocket grooves with polyrhythmic percussion (“Workin’ Day and Night”.) Wistful ballads (“She’s Out of My Life.”) Pop hooks that sear into your cerebellum (“Off the Wall)”). Jazzy chord progressions (“I Can’t Help It”). Swirling strings (Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”). State-of-the-art synthesizers (“Get on the Floor”). Michael’s vocal ticks, squeals, and yelps (inserted wherever possible). Savvy songwriters like Heatwave’s Rod Temperton (“Rock with You”) brought their A-game, and genius sidemen from George Duke to Greg Phillingaines delivered brilliant rhythm tracks. With Off the Wall, Jackson finally found a way to capture the visceral thrill of his live concerts on record.

Then, the game seriously changed.

Drawing on the monumental success of the 1979 Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, 1982’s Thriller redefined the pop album as a blockbuster mega-spectacle. It did for music what Jaws and Star Wars did for film, turning an art form into an event. Throughout his career, Michael Jackson had an aesthetic affinity for all things spectacular. I’d call him a spectacularist, if that were a legitimate word. He was the thriller he sang about; he wanted to leave you constantly enthralled by every aspect of the artistic experience. The music was no exception. Each song on Thriller was a self-contained, high concept deliberately directed toward to a desired demographic. Rockers like Paul McCartney and Eddie Van Halen made cameos; Jackson embraced Quiet Storm on “The Lady in My Life;” and the Toto-esque “Human Nature” delivered MOR soft rock. Record label Epic, under Walter Yetnikoff’s maniacal direction (or lack thereof), poured money into getting the word out about the album, leaving no marketing or promotional tool untried, including the then emerging music video format.

Jackson always harbored film star ambitions, but they would never materialize (save for his featured performance in Sidney Lumet’s 1978 The Wiz and (or) years later, a passing cameo in Men in Black II.) But Jackson transferred his celluloid ambitions into the music video arena, grabbing the baton from UK innovators Godley and Crème, and completely revolutionizing the artform. With Thriller, he turned video into mega-spectacle. At first, MTV refused to play Jackson’s videos, but as his popularity became undeniable, the network ultimately had to swallow crow, as it were. Video directors, Jon Landis and Bob Giraldi, and others deserve a good deal of the credit for the artistic successes of these works, but one of the unsung heroes in Jackson’s meteoric rise was Michael Peters, the late Dreamgirls choreographer, whose iconic moves in videos like “Beat It” and “Thriller” became a definitive part of Jackson’s iconography. In 2007, when the surreal YouTube clip of orange-cloaked inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Phillipines, restaging Peters’ moves from the "Thriller" video, became one of the top pass-around Internet videos, it served as a reminder of how deep Jackson’s presence had permeated global culture in the last 30 years.

In the mid 80’s, as Thriller’s sales skyrocketed and Grammys piled up, Jackson emerged as the most famous person on earth, instantly recognizable through his eccentric iconography: aviator sunglasses, royal jackets with epaulets, (…) white socks, and a single jewel-encrusted glove. Thriller exploded the concept of pop stardom, what was possible in the construction and maintenance of global celebrity. It also exploded the concept of racial crossover. In the edited collection Freakery, David Yuan mentions how Jackson surpassing Elvis’ sales records was as seminal a moment in black American history as previous breakthroughs by Joe Louis in boxing and Jackie Robinson in baseball. Long before Obama, Jackson raised the bar for black exceptionalism. He transformed how people around the world perceived blacks, and just as importantly, how black people began to perceive themselves.

I can vividly recall seeing Jackson perform the moonwalk on Motown’s 25th Anniversary TV Special when it first aired in 1983. Though Jackson did not invent the move, that breathtaking moment, in the context of his larger performance, started to change my entire sense of self. Back in the day, (…) we practiced moonwalking and kick-pushing our legs in our bedrooms. We tried to jheri-curl our hair, or at least make it look as slick and wet as his had become. We cut the fingers off our gloves in the effort to look cool. […]

Off the Wall and Thriller remain the greatest pop soul albums ever released. Some find Thriller too calculated and too shlocky, and it is. But I’ve always looked at it as a lovingly crafted, detail-obsessed, musically-rich work of authentic rhythm and blues. Not to mention, there are few albums more wildly fun and eminently danceable (“Wanna Be Startin’ Something” still electrifies.)

In pop music, nobody has ever duplicated the commercial or artistic success of those two successive albums. For this reason, Jackson’s death might be a symbol of the end of the recorded music era as we know it. At a time in which the Internet and peer-to-peer sharing programs have made it difficult for music aspirants to sustain careers selling records, it is unlikely that anyone will ever again top Thriller’s enormous fifty million, plus sales feat.



As the 1980’s wore on, Jackson could not compete with hip-hop’s street cred demands. But he found ways to match its machismo by amplifying his own sexual aggression. […] Bad, the 1988 follow-up to Thriller, introduced persecution and paranoia themes, like on guitar-heavy “Dirty Diana” and CD-only track “Leave Me Alone”. Critics like to say that Jackson’s career precipitously declined after Thriller, but I wonder if they remember Bad was some serious mega-spectacle itself. Plus, it had five number one singles and sold more than thirty million copies – hardly a paltry sum by any standard. Except, perhaps, Jackson’s own.

I get the sense when some critics bemoan Michael’s post-Thriller work, they really haven’t listened to much of it very closely. I always considered Bad, as well as 1991 Dangerous, and even 1995 greatest-hits-plus-more double album HIStory to be superb albums, characterized by the same care and attention to musical detail as Michael Jackson’s earlier solo efforts. Maybe you couldn’t stomach Bad’s silly title track, but you could certainly acknowledge the synth jazz-funk of “Another Part of Me” (Anita Baker even covered it in her live shows). […] You could certainly acknowledge sinuous groove masterpieces like “Remember the Time,” “Jam,” and “Keep it in the Closet.” Jackson’s last studio release, 2001’s Invincible, could summon neither the mega-spectacle, nor the artistic brilliance, of earlier releases. But it still has its share of prizes, like sleek lead single, “You Rock My World”, and tremblingly romantic “Butterflies.”

At the time of his death, Jackson had spent nearly 42 years making records; that’s a staggering sum considering he was only 50 years old. Jackson made plenty of artistic missteps on the way (especially 1997’s “Blood on the Dancefloor;” the remixes are off the hook, though) and he was clearly unable to reinvent his brand in ways that would keep him fresh in the commercial marketplace. But Jackson at his worst is still in better shape than much of what is currently on the radio. Propulsive “Sunset Driver,” an unreleased track originally recorded for 1979’s Off the Wall and available on 2004 box set Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection, stands superior to much of the musicianship in pop today. And gorgeous Babyface-penned ballad, “On the Line,” little known as the opening credit track from Spike Lee’s 1996 Get on the Bus, stands among Jackson’s best work.



[…] Jackson had entrepreneurial talent: he bought the lucrative Beatles catalog in the 1980’s and launched MJJ Records in the 1990’s, a Sony imprint in which he made some bold creative choices. […]

[…] Still, it’s comforting that someone as lonely as Michael Jackson brought together so many people through his work. One aspect that is often overlooked in American television coverage of his death, but frequently mentioned in other countries where Jackson’s stardom never dropped off the radar, is his long legacy of humanitarian and charitable work. […]

[…] It’s clear that throughout his career Michael Jackson held steadfast to a vision of one love-planetary humanism on par with the most heartfelt sentimentalists (of) our time. Like Princess Diana (she was also a controversial figure,) Jackson really did inspire people to believe that they could change the world, and that is not something to scoff at, nor take lightly. Michael Jackson used art to teach many of us how to care very deeply for other people. As a child, I can recall crying in my room as a child listening to 1987’s “Man in the Mirror,” so powerful was his performance of Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett’s vision for personal transformation and global communion. I can recall how moved I was by the music video in which Jackson takes a backseat to scenes of world conflict, not even appearing until a brief glimpse at the end. I was struck by his ability to take himself out of the equation in the service of a greater social cause. I suspect there are people all over the world who could share their stories of how that particular song moved them.

One Michael Jackson song stands out for me. 1993’s “Gone Too Soon,” produced by Jackson and written by Larry Grossman and Buzz Kohan, was dedicated to late Indiana AIDS patient Ryan White, a young student who had been kicked of his school because he carried the virus. One can never choose to forget how much vitriolic hate was spewed against AIDS patients at the height of the virus’ transmission. Jackson released his tribute at a time in the 1990’s, when I can’t recall many if any hip-hop artists willing to talk about or discuss AIDS publicly. “Gone Too Soon” may have been schmaltzy, but it was authentic, it was tender and terribly moving, a genuine expression of Jackson’s passion and care for a young person who had been victimized. As Carl Wilson discusses in his superb book on Celine Dion: Let’s Talk About Love, we need to rethink the politics of schmaltz, particularly in the way it generates community through emotional expression. […]”

[Jason King, American music journalist; sources: http://passedthecurve.blogspot.com, www.joevogel.net


“I grew up -- just my mom -- I remember -- one of the first memories I have of him was when my mom took us to the music video set of "Thriller." And we have the pictures still. I just always loved him. I used to go to his concerts and he'd bring my sister and I on stage and we'd sing up there. I just always loved him so much. He was such an amazing man.”

[Paris Whitney Hilton, American socialite, heiress, media personality, model, singer, author, fashion designer and actress – on Piers Morgan Tonight show; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“He said to me, Kathy, ‘I'd like to go see Paris (Hilton)’. I said, ‘Well, she's out of town’. ‘Well, I'd like to see her recording studio’. And I said, ‘OK, all right’. And I said ‘Just jump in the car’. It was like 8:30 at night. I said ‘We don't have to get any security right now. Let's just go. Rick will drive. You jump in the back.’ And so the kids came and we all went up and we were up there at Paris'. And he loves to look at everything. So he's looking at all the pictures on the walls. And he loves art. And in her closet and at all her collections of Pinocchio and Tinkerbell and all that. And he said ‘She reminds me…’ -- she -- she's -- what did he say? Something like, ‘She reminds me sometimes a little of the way certain things that I like’. And he loved the gold and the frames and – […] And he was an extraordinary talent, wasn't he? […]”

[Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan, professionally known as Piers Morgan, British journalist, television presenter, editorial director of First News; sources: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“We met when I was 13 and he was 14 and developed a friendship and a bond throughout the years. And we always kept in touch. And then when I moved to New York and he would come, and we'd always go to his concerts. And, you know, we started with -- we used to make prank phone calls together. And we were little kids. We had a really great time. And then he came and visited when Paris was born. […] She was just a few months old. […] He ended up moving into the Waldorf for six months when we were living there for eight years. And right before he died [actually, months before that], he was at the Bel Air Hotel, where we were living while we were renovating our home. So he was there about three or four months. So we got to spend, you know, great time. […] Well, there was not a kinder, more generous, loving, sweet, smart, smart -- I can't -- the most wonderful father. At the Bel Air, he did not have any nanny at all. And when I'd go to pick up the kids to take them somewhere, he'd be brushing their hair and buttoning up the sweater and (was) just so warm and wonderful. And I just -- I love him. His whole family, they're a really wonderful, beautiful family. […] And this is a father that was so with his children. He's dedicated since they were born to raising and being with them. […] I think if I hadn't (learn of hid death), I would never quite in my head believe. Because even though he's a friend, he was such a powerful person. […] And he was so fabulous at the hotel. Up early every morning, playing with the kids. Really shocking.”

“I saw (Michael’s children) a couple (of) weeks ago. We went out and had dinner. [...] We went over there about three weeks ago. […] They're in a new house and Mrs. Jackson is there. They have an incredible, beautiful home, great security. And we had a big family dinner. They went up and did their homework and came down and showed Grandma and had their bath and said ‘Good night, grandma, I love you’. And it was great to see them.”

“I can tell you that when he was at the Bel Air Hotel, there was none -- there was none of that [no sign of a drug addiction]. Because I had -- he was right underneath where I was. And we talked all the time. In fact, if we would be going somewhere in the daytime, he'd say (sic) 1:00 down at the fountain. And if I was five minutes late, he was very on top of it. And he was with his kids. I believe in my heart that as he got into the concert thing, it was hard for him to sleep probably. He was not a drug addict. He had a problem going to sleep. I mean, this is not somebody that recreationally would abuse something (…).”

“I think that now that he's gone, everybody realizes what a good person (he was), all the wonderful things that he's done for charity. And it's interesting that we don't hear -- well, I won't get into any of that, but he's left three beautiful children.”

[Kathleen Elizabeth "Kathy" Hilton, American television host and actress - on Piers Morgan Tonight show; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]

 

“[Michael’s children] are wonderful. They are so happy and Mrs. Jackson and the whole family, they – they are just incredible. His children are so well-behaved, loving, giving, they – they’re just a chip right off the old block. As Berry Gordy said at the memorial, (he was) the greatest entertainer that ever lived and just such a fun person, and I feel bad that people don’t know that funny side of him and the pranking side. You know, we grew up together and we would play Ding-Dong-Ditch and... [gets interrupted by one of the show's presenter, Joy Behar]”

[Kathy Hilton, - on The View; source: www.youtubce.com]


“The Jackson Five were fabulous, and of course, Michael just lit up the stage and seemed to be an incredible and riveting talent…unbelievable really. […] Though I was immersed in my own career as a young songwriter and modern folk act, one could not be unaware of MJ’s skyrocketing presence on the world music scene… his groundbreaking Thriller video was like nothing anybody had ever seen before and his dancing and choreography were astounding. […] Though the foundation of Michael’s music was very different than my own, I have to say in one  word: Fantastic! […] [A favorite song/short video of his] for me it’s “Billie Jean.” Besides the wonderful rhythm play, I’m a sucker for a good story, being basically a ballad man myself.”

“I could always feel Michael’s innocence even while he was being persecuted by the press and the public. I wouldn’t say that I understood Michael from his music necessarily; it’s just the way I perceived his being; his essence. […] I was surprised that “Sweet Michael” emerged as a song from me, because I was older than MJ’s fan base, and because I was immersed in a completely different genre of music and on an entirely different level of entertainment and performance. Suffice it to say, I am a blue collar, dedicated singer/songwriter and Michael was of course a certified international star…the biggest star in show business, on a level with Elvis Presley, from my era. […] I surely did feel that Michael was continually treated unfairly on many levels, and after his  passing, I was appalled to learn more of his abuse as a child and beyond. […] After seeing This Is It, I was reassured that my own work ethic and my compassion for my fellow musicians and fans were in alignment with this great talent. I wrote “Sweet Michael” months before This Is It was released and I was very moved watching the film to learn of the depth, talent, dedication and compassion of this incredibly misunderstood artist. […] I simply felt an undeniable sadness that Michael, this dear heart was gone and so desperate for rest in his final moments. I also felt a profound sadness that his beautiful children would feel the deep loss of their father whom they loved and adored.”

“His commitment to all the people of the world and to our planet earth only added to my respect for Michael and his decency. […] I feel blessed and privileged that “Sweet Michael”, my simple ballad about this great superstar and talent, is giving comfort and solace to so many of his fans who love him. I don’t know why I was given this small voice as an offering to Michael Jackson’s world and legacy, but I’m sure that even Michael is smiling approvingly at the brotherhood of God’s creativity.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Bu2WaK0JvY

[David Maloney, American professional songwriter and singer; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“D.S” allegedly depicts Santa Barbara County District Attorney, Thomas W. Sneddon Jr., in a defamatory light, suggesting Sneddon was determined to prosecute Michael Jackson when he was accused of child abuse in August, 1993. “D.S” concerns a fictional character called Dom Sheldon, who Michael cites in the lyrics of the song as being part of a larger conspiracy against the subject of the song. However, Michael allegedly pronounces the character's name in the song as 'Tom Sneddon,' although he never publicly confirmed who Dom Sheldon alluded to.

[…]

Origin of “D.S”

“D.S” was presumably written between August 1993 and early 1995, and despite the August 1993 civil-suit being settled out-of-court on January 24, 1994, Sneddon, in June 1995, would state the criminal investigation was "not closed" (Quote from Journal – In the Tank, by Frank Rich. The New York Times. June 22, 1995). The official FBI investigation of the 1993 allegations closed in 1994, but as Michael’s http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/december/jackson_122209 FBI dossier indicates, he continued to be investigated by the FBI for various alleged offenses for over a decade, yet still no evidence was found to substantiate the claims.

Michael’s biographer, Lisa D. Campbell, recalls in Michael Jackson: The King of Pop's Darkest Hour, that the 1993 allegations, according to Michael’s private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, were "the result of a failed extortion attempt" by Evan Chandler (171). Pellicano would also state approximately "30 such blackmail attempts were made against Mr. Jackson each year" ("Michael Jackson accused of child abuse' BBC.NEWS.CO.UK. On This Day. August 24, 2004).

During the 1993 investigation, Michael recalled in his televised December 22, 1993 statement, an event he described as "the most humiliating ordeal of my life" (Campbell 141). The event in question occurred in December, 1993, in which he was served a warrant for a strip-search in order for the prosecution and Los Angeles Police Department to verify Jordan Chandler's description of Michael’s body. In particular, Michael was examined, as he stated, for "any discoloration, spotting or other evidence of a skin color disorder called Vitiligo," a condition he had publicly spoken about on February 10, 1993, during his live television interview with Oprah Winfrey (Campbell 121, 141).

Michael also stated in the same address that the warrant stipulated that he had "no right to refuse the examination or photographs ... [and a] refusal to cooperate [would be cited] .... in any trial as an indication of my guilt" (Campbell 141). Campbell notes a source told Reuters News Service on January 29, 1993, (four days after the civil-suit settlement) that the photographs taken during the examination of Michael, did not match Jordan Chandler's description (173).

In Michael Jackson's Ghosts, (Dir. Stan Winston. MJJ Productions 1997) Michael portrayed a town mayor whose appearance seems to be based on Sneddon, although he never publicly acknowledged the similarity. (Margo Jefferson. On Michael Jackson: Pantheon Books, 2006. pg. 116)

Ghosts, alludes to the events of 1993/1994, as Michael also portrays the elusive 'maestro', a character who entertains the local children with magic, but the town mayor believes the maestro is a "freak". The townspeople agree with the mayor, despite the pleas of their children who insist the maestro has not done anything wrong. Taking a united stand, the mayor and the townspeople confront the maestro and demand he immediately leave their town, named 'Normal Valley'.

Sneddon would once again reappear in Michael’s life on November 19, 2003, in a press conference announcing an arrest warrant had been issued for Michael, who was facing 10 charges, including "seven counts of 288a, the violation of the California penal code commonly known as child molestation." This criminal case was directly linked to the moral panic caused by the controversial 2003, Martin Bashir documentary, Living with Michael Jackson.

The image of Sneddon, who referred to Michael as "W**** J****," the derogatory name the tabloids often used, while accusing Jackson of very serious crimes, was criticized by some sections of the media, and consequently Sneddon was at times depicted in the media as "... out for revenge on a man who humiliated him" through the song “D.S” (Charles Krinsky. Moral Panics Over Contemporary Children and Youth. Ashgate Publishing. 2008. pg. 118 and Jake Austen. TV a go-go. Chicago Review Press. 2005. pg. 292). Sneddon would however later apologize at the press conference (Austen pg. 292).

Superior Court Judge James Slater, who was involved in the 1993 case, stated in response to the 2003 arrest warrant that "[Sneddon] believed Michael to be guilty of the first offense' (Quote from 'Bitter Rivalry between DA, Michael Jackson reflected in latest case.' USATODAY.com, November 20, 2003). However, Sneddon would state that his "past history with Mr. Jackson had absolutely, unequivocally nothing to do" with the 2005 trial ('Prosecutor denies grudge against Jackson' Associated Press. June 13 2005).

The 2005 trial would give Michael the chance to be vindicated, as the action of Michael, (or rather his insurance company) settling the 1993 civil-suit for an undisclosed amount, was somewhat considered an admission of guilt by some sections of the media and public (Campbell 160, 170). However, Michael would always have his critics, as stated by Johnny L. Cochran, Michael’s attorney in 1993/1994 "If [Jackson] had gone to trial [in 1994] and was found not guilty, some would still say he was guilty" (Quote from Michael Jackson Settles Suit. JET magazine, February 14, 1994. pg. 60)

Nevertheless, on June 13, 2005, Michael was acquitted on all 10 charges. Fans were often heard singing “D.S” outside the courthouse during the four month trial (Dan Glaister. 'Driving force who was 'motivated by a grudge" The Guardian, June 13, 2005). “D.S” exhibits the raw anger and frustration Michael felt during the 1993/1994 investigations, and became a startling forewarning of what was to recur a decade later.

This article was originally published on Suite 101.”

[Vanessa Claire Appassamy, freelance writer and researcher; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“[…] I learned many things from working with these artists [I’ve worked with]. What I see consistently is that every artist I’ve worked with just wants to be loved. It sounds corny, but it’s true. The art they create is not necessarily the same as the human being who creates it. I learned from Herbie Hancock years ago that to be a great artist, you must first be a great human being and citizen of the world. Yes, even MJ and I talked about how he longed for a greater sense of normalcy in his life. It is true that many artists seek attention and some sort of validation. There is no debate about that, but at the end of the day, I go back to my original statement; we all just want to be loved.”

“I met MJ in Mexico, at his concert in 1993. I was working with Madonna at the time and we all went to see the show. He was having a difficult time breathing in that Mexico City altitude. I was having a hard time and I wasn’t even on stage performing. We went back stage and I was able to say hello and all of that. He’s always been one of the nicest artists you ever wanted to meet. He was just a really sweet human being. I first worked with him on stage in 2001 at his 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He wasn’t what I was told he would be. He was easy to talk to, engaging and not as shy as I had heard. His brothers were around, so maybe he was in his comfort zone. I found him to be extremely professional and very detailed (sic) oriented. He knew what he wanted and how to get it. His talent speaks for itself. […] Not every single year (did we keep contact), but I did see him a few times when he was recording. MJ always recorded a lot of music when he was working on a record and I was in the studio with him for a few of those recordings. A lot of stuff I played on never made the final record, but it was always great working in the studio with Michael.”

“When I found out I was on the short list of music director hopefuls for MJ's (This Is It) tour, surprisingly, I was somewhat reluctant. I had been the music director for so many big stars in my career and wanted to pursue other musical endeavors closer to home. However, when it's Michael Jackson calling, you have to at least explore the possibilities. I first met with the This Is It director, Kenny Ortega. We had a great meeting and he invited me back down that evening to meet with MJ. I asked that there be keyboards in the room when MJ and I met. When they finally brought MJ in to see me, I was already playing around on the keyboard. He walked in smiling broadly with pep in his step. Instantly, he started dancing and swaying to me playing "Workin Day and Night". We hugged and began talking about what he was looking for, and I told him what I was looking for. I interrupted him several times to have him sing songs as I played them. To his credit he did and we had a great bond immediately. We did a concert for about half an hour; just him and me. As I was leaving, I asked him for the set list and he just laughed. They were looking at a few more guys after me. He said, “God bless you,” and I left the room. I wasn't even home good before I got the call to be his musical director. I had a private gratitude moment and went right to work learning songs!”

“Many people seem to think me and MJ didn’t agree in that moment [during The Way You Make Me Feel]. Not true. We we’re (sic) having a “creative joust” as we called it. MJ had a strong opinion and so did I. We laughed and hugged at the end of it and you can see the mutual respect and love in the film. I have never been one to just be a sycophant and bow down to everything the artists say. Why else would you hire a musical director? Just hire a person to execute what you want to have happen and go with that? MJ was brilliant in that he always wanted to grow and push boundaries. He would always tell me to push him, so that’s what I did. I have no problem doing that with any artist I work with. That’s the way it was with MJ and me and that’s the way it is. We saw eye-to-eye and then pushed our vision even further. The results are always better with that approach. It was all done in love. […] Here I was working closely with a childhood hero. Not only working, but confiding in, hanging with and having the blessings of his trust and faith in me to deliver him to the next level of his professional life. What can be more memorable than that? Towards the end, MJ trusted me implicitly and told me as such while he was here. I’ve been eternally “validated”, if you will, by MJ, and that alone is memorable enough for me. […] Yes, actually I did (experience his aura). Everything they say about that is true. MJ just had a certain swagger with him nobody else could duplicate. That aura was real. The air would change, because he always made it a concerted effort to smell good. And he smelled amazing! I always knew when he was around even if I didn’t see him.”

“Yes, he was very happy (when I saw him that last rehearsal). Kenny Ortega and I were with him for the better part of the day taking care of tour business stuff. Travis was out working with the dancers. We got to the stage late that evening, but put in a full rehearsal. MJ looked great and he said he felt good. The band said he had a glow about him that night. They were right. I hugged him; he told me he loved me, talked about the next day and we got in our cars and left Staples Center. I have a very positive mental image of the last time we spoke. I’m at peace with it. […] Look, It’s difficult to say if MJ would have completed all 50 dates or not. He was never one to mark when he worked. […] A couple of his brothers did express surprise when they saw an early cut of This Is It. They couldn’t believe that was MJ going full out like that. They told me he always used to try and save it for the show. I guess MJ felt he had something to prove. In my opinion, he was well on his way to doing it too. There is no way to fake what he did in This Is It. […] He was working his way back up to being show ready and those last few nights he was on! And he knew it! […]”

“I know he would be very humble about [all the love that has been expressed about Michael since he pased]. He would embrace it and wallow in it. Even from the hypocrites. MJ only wanted to be loved for the art he created. I know he was hurt by all of the tabloid attention and paparazzi stalking him, but he understood it. He just wanted to be judged fairly and to have the attention he garnered to be more balanced. He was a giving and loving person and wanted that in return. As his friend, I will never try to deify him. He was only a man and not a deity, albeit an extraordinary man. […] There is not a day that I don’t think about MJ. Not one day since he passed. […] I don’t really like to live my life in hypothetical, but if he were here, the most important thing he would need to know is that his children are doing well and look as though they are going to be extraordinary world citizens. He would be most happy about that. All other issues would be secondary to him. I’d also let him know his true friends have never abandoned him and would back it up with actions and deeds, not just words. Then, we’d probably laugh a lot and go get something to eat from a place we liked to have lunch. I’d enjoy that immensely.”

“[…] I experienced [his spirit] when he was here. There is a moment in This Is It when we’re working on “Earth Song”. MJ is explaining what he wants and then he tells me when to “start that piano.” At the very moment he gives a thumb up to me, I felt something. I remembered it as I drove home from rehearsal that night. I forgot about it until we started making the film. As soon as I saw it, I got the exact same feeling I did the first night it happened. Transferring of energy is real amongst creative beings, but that was something else. […] I have many fond moments with MJ. He was just that way. One of my favorite moments is when he and I were working on the set list in the beginning of rehearsals, even before we had a band and dancers. We talked about how the show should flow and how we were like roller coaster designers. That’s what he wanted his show to feel like - a roller coaster ride. The warm moment for me was when he showed me his personal hand written notes about the set; he pulled out his reading glasses. I looked at him and smiled and he said, “What”? I said nothing and we just kept working. It was great to see his humanity on display. He was always so complete in public; it was cool to see him a little vulnerable. It was also cool to know that our relationship was changing to something more than just a music director/star relationship. He felt very comfortable around me and I appreciated that. He knew I didn’t want anything from him other than to see him back on top. Those glasses affirmed it to me.”

“[…] His art means different things to different people. For me, his legacy is probably his simplicity. Never in my career and probably in the history of music, has an artist affected so many human beings simultaneously. I can’t tell you how many times I hear from fans telling me that their 2, 3, 4 or 5 year-old children have discovered Michael’s music. This is just extraordinary to me. What is it about his music that appeals to so many people? He used to say to me, “When you’re coming up with new arrangements for the songs, make sure they’re simple.” He would say, “They gotta be able to hum it. If they can’t hum it’s too complicated.” He wanted his music to be sung by 8 to 80 year-olds. He succeeded!”

[Michael Bearden, American musical director, keyboardist, arranger, composer – talking to Valmai Owens from http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“[…] Some projects I do for free for different organizations. If it doesn’t take too much of my time, I’ll video them and put them on the community access channel or put it on You Tube, Vimeo or somewhere online. Some of that I have done for the Michael Jackson groups. When Michael died, I did various videos and posted online and during the Conrad Murray hearings I posted some also. […] I hadn’t followed Michael’s career very closely, though I had followed it like most people, and I always did enjoy following it. As I say in my documentary, often I felt where there’s smoke there’s fire, meaning, I saw in the press that after the ’93 settlement, again there was an accuser and apparently at the trial it seemed like there were other people coming out of the woodwork accusing Michael. So, I didn’t really know one way or another. […] That’s one of the reasons I was happy to (be) hired and be involved with the trial so I could get the inside information, and I happily learned that he is not a molester and never was. He was taken advantage of because of his kindness to people and also taken advantage of by the media. […] I came to that opinion after looking at documents during the trial, after talking to his attorneys, after talking to others and seeing the evidence. That’s when I came to that opinion and I became fully immersed in all the facts to do with the trial and past allegations. That’s when I came to the conclusion that he was innocent.”

“(Neverland Ranch,) well, it was certainly like being a kid in a candy store for me. When I got the call to do the job, I was just so happy. I’ve always enjoyed being around celebrities, particularly celebrities I admire like Michael Jackson, and I’ve always been fascinated with Neverland. I’d heard about it like most people and seen it on television. I remember thinking in the past that if I could ever go there, that would be great. In fact, I did go there one time before I was hired. I was just in the area of Neverland, and my wife and I drove by and then drove up to the gate. I buzzed it and said, ‘Hi, can we come in?’ And the guard said, ‘Well who are here to see?’, and I said, ‘Michael’. Then he wanted to know if we had an appointment. I said ‘No, of course’, so he just said ‘Well, I’m sorry’. I understood that. But, I’d always wanted to go and so when I had the opportunity, it was just fabulous. When I went, I initially met with Bob Sanger who was one of Michael’s attorneys, and then I met with Tom Mesereau. Bob and Tom gave me a tour around the area and in addition, introduced me to the ranch manager and other staff. They told the staff that it was basically up to me where I wanted to go. When I was given the tour, the attorneys and the ranch manager told me that this is what people would normally see at Neverland, and suggested that this is what I document, but it was kind of up to me as well. And what the defense team wanted to show was what Neverland was really like to a typical visitor; to a visitor that may not know Michael, as well as a visitor that gets to go into the private residence and so forth. So, basically I had free reign to go more or less wherever I wanted to go. Over a period of a month, I went on a number of occasions. Sometimes, Michael was on the property, but I never actually saw him. I saw him during the trial at the courthouse. At Neverland, he would be in one area and I would be in another and I was also encouraged not to disturb him while I was there. One of the buildings they wanted me to videotape was the guesthouse where the Arvizo’s stayed, because the family claimed they had been held hostage at Neverland; […] So, they wanted me to show that the guesthouse was like living in the lap of luxury. Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and others had also stayed there, but I couldn’t go in because it turned out that Michael was living in it. He didn’t want to go back into his bedroom at Neverland after it was defiled by the sheriff’s going through it. It was just a great place. Sometimes, people ask me what was it like and I tell them that is it kind of a cross between a Beverly Hills mansion, antique museum and Disneyland. It was very well maintained and Michael didn’t change too much of the structures from when he bought it. It was developed by a man named William Bone, who was a golf course entrepreneur. […] Michael redecorated it and added some other features to it like the amusement park, zoo, theater and his dance studio, but it wasn’t that different from the original property. […] In its heyday, a lot of people did visit it and I certainly think select groups could continue to. I think there is room for more people to visit it. […] There certainly were some unhappy times there, but there was a lot of happiness as well and also inspiration for Michael for his songwriting, dancing and developing his child-like nature. And I think just the message of what Neverland was about; the wonderful example to others. Neverland is about creating an oasis of wonderment and childlike beauty. Michael said he wanted to give break to the inner city, sick and disadvantaged kids and give them a place to go to that was fun to them. So, just the nature of why Michael built it the way he did, I think is a wonderful example to others to do charitable work. […]”

[During the trial], I was sitting in the waiting room (waiting to testify) and there was a little window where I could see people coming and going in the hallway. I saw, what I thought, was a boy scout. I went up to the window and, sure enough, it was Michael in one of his jackets with military style buttons on the side. So, I went out into the hallway and he came back in a moment. I just said ‘Hi’, and he said ‘Hi, how are you?’ He gave me a really lovely smile, but it also seemed like kind of a sad smile for what he was going through at the time. I can’t imagine how awful it was to face his accusers every day after he had helped this family so much. I testified on the stand for two days, because I didn’t finish first day. Each day as I sat down, Michael kind of gave me a Buddhist bow; putting his hands together in prayer and bowing with a sweet smile to me. I didn’t talk to him a lot, except for hi and thank you, but I could see the type of man he was and he must have had a lot of inner strength to be able to face all that negativity. He was taller than I thought and he walked like a dancer, like kind of light on his feet. […] I was really happy that I was able to help him in the way I did. I think the video of Neverland that I did, did help him. I had a few interesting assignments for the tour. One was to show his book collection in the house, because the prosecution tried to make out that Michael had an art book with some nudes in it of boys. Then, they also showed some statues on the property where there’s some nudity and that in Michael’s briefcase there was a girlie magazine. To me, that was all very innocuous; it wasn’t a big deal at all. For one thing, the girlie magazine showed he was a regular heterosexual man; it wasn’t child porn or anything. In terms of the books, Michael had something like 20,000 with 10,000 books on the property. To go through all those books and only find one art book that had some nudity in it, shows that Michael wasn’t focused on that. What I was able to show in his book collection was the range of books he had. Michael said himself that he was a voracious reader and loved studying different subject matters. So, the types of books Michael had were books on show business, magic, religion, Christianity; books on child-raising to teach himself on how to raise children and he also had a lot of the classics. He appreciated the authors from the past. So, it was nice to see that aspect of Michael. […] Luckily, the jurors saw through it and found him innocent. I was a little nervous after my documentary came out that the sheriffs might come after me, because, in a way, my documentary didn’t paint them and in particular the District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon, in a good light. But, they have acted professionally since then and haven’t bothered me.”

“The Untold Story of Neverland was relatively easy to make, because all the footage was just sitting here in my office. I shot additional footage; an interview with Tom Meserau and some dramatic re-creations, but it wasn’t that big of a deal, in a way, to put together. […]”

[Larry Nimmer, American filmmaker - talking to Valmai Owens from http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“With the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing coming up, I thought I’d dedicate this post in his memory.

I’m always curious as to what goes in to making a character a character. Like “Why does Donald Duck have a temper?” or “Why does Indiana Jones use a whip?” or “How come I loved Eliza Dushku on Buffy the Vampire Slayer but couldn’t love her in Dollhouse?” There’s a certain chemistry that creators and writers and actors and environments concoct that is such a wonder. Even when creative folks are fortunate enough to concoct the “lightning in a bottle,” it’s a struggle to maintain it. One can only hope to ride the wave the best they can and tap the bottle as often as possible before it escapes.

By no means can I lay claim to have created an amazing character or even have the answers on how to do it. My angle is my own individual “how and why?” How does a character come about? How do you make him believable? Why do you choose these traits or this design style? Where are you in this character?

People often say, “Write what you know.” When I created Johnny Bravo, I tapped my 24 years of existence to create a character that I liked and made me laugh. Like all the other directors in the “What A Cartoon!” program at Hanna-Barbera, I was encouraged to tell my story using my own unique point of view. And my own unique point of view involved doing a mash-up of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Arthur Fonzarelli, Luke (Dylan McKay) Perry, The Dover Boys, my friends obsessed with working out, my friends who had an active social life, and my own frustrations with popularity, insecurities, and relationships.

Which is a nice segueway into Michael Jackson’s influence on Johnny Bravo. It’s no secret that I pretty much used Michael Jackson as the impetus for using whip snaps and cracks whenever Johnny strikes a pose. As you can see in the excerpt from Captain Eo (…), it’s done to make a point, or rather, an exclamation mark so that each movement has a purpose…

Michael made strong silhouettes and powerful lines whenever he hit a pose. Often times when I draw Johnny Bravo, I use pictures of Michael Jackson (along with body builders and fashion models) as inspiration. He was a huge part of my life growing up and I’ll always be grateful for his influence on the creation of Johnny Bravo. […]

FUN FACT: Michael Jackson and Joe Barbera were good friends and developed a show together which was loosely based on The Prince and The Pauper. Mr. Barbera showed me the designs that were done by Iwao Takamoto back in the early nineties. Unfortunately, it never got past the development stage.”

[Van Partible, American Studio Arts graduate, creator of Cartoon Network series, Johnny Bravo; sources: http://vanpartible.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“I read the AV Club article on MJ's Bad. Hyden starts out with a compelling question: Why the insanely vitriolic response to this album? But then proceeds to offer most of the same reductive, petty, predictable nonsense that's been written about MJ for decades. As usual, most of this is mythology, speculation, and pseudo-pscyhoanalysis (sic). I actually interviewed people who worked on this album. They speak of an artist and person who is multi-dimensional: passionate, kind, funny, shy and HUMAN, not a caricature or corporation. Did MJ want to sell 100 million copies? Yes. But why? That's the question critics never really consider. The assumption is that he was this vain, calculating, materialistic "entertainer" targeting demographics. The truth is that since he was young, he was told black artists couldn't be the best. He wanted to prove them wrong. He wanted to be the best: commercially AND artistically. He believed in his music and wanted it to reach as many people as possible. I address all this in my book. Bottom line: the MJ media caricature is nothing like the artist who worked tirelessly on Bad for 3 years.”

[Joseph Vogel, American author, freelance journalist, instructor; source: http://twitter.com/#!/JoeVogel1]


“Michael was like a shaman capable of penetrating into your dreams. A unique human being in this world. […] I remember the first time he arrived on the set (of Captain Eo), at five o’clock in the morning, he was already dressed up, beautiful (…) I was amazed. […] [I didn’t know him.] I had only seen him in newspapers or on TV. But in person, he was different. He was making an impression, in the positive meaning of the word, I mean. The way he worked, his professionalism, the perfectionism with which he studied and performed every song and choreography was admirable. After two hours of make-up, I began to get impatient, but he did not even blink. He took my hand and calmed me immediately. […] Here I was on the set, he had a huge trailer and was escorted by a lawyer, the managers and bodyguards. He had his personal chef, he was like a sheik. Every day, he was visited by stars; the first day, Sofia Loren came to see him, then Elisabeth Taylor and, practically, all the biggest divas of that time […] (We became friends,) he was very sweet and shy. He invited me over to lunch in his trailer, where he enjoyed watching cartoons on TV. In some ways, he was, in fact, like a child, he grew only physically, he was a real Peter Pan, introverted, but also eccentric, electrifying, (…). […] (In Captain Eo,) at first, he found it hard to express feelings such as anger, as though his DNA lacked that gene. He could instead express pain and tenderness. […] Yet, when he climbed onto the platform and began to sing and dance, my heart started pounding, I was shivering. A spell, a force of nature (was he). A performance of pure talent that I had never seen before. […]”

“After Captain Eo, we would rarely see each other... But, ironically, I saw him about a month (before his death), by chance (…). We hugged and we were locked in a study room and we chatted for a couple of hours. We talked about how he had felt humiliated by the accusations of sexual molestation against him. And of his sorrow for the loss of Neverland, where he had lived for so many years. […] I remember his words: 'They ruined my dream. I had this dream, perhaps childish and foolish, of a place designed to celebrate the innocence of the childhood that I never had, and they took it from me. I love children, I could never do them harm. I spent all my life loving them and trying to do good things for them. A defamation of character, that of (being accused of) harming a child, it breaks my heart. An unbearable pain, the accusations are unjust and terrible ...'. As he said these things, he began to cry. I squeezed him in my arms. He was so thin and fragile.”

“He told me he was preparing for the concerts in London. I told him, ‘I advise you to cancel not even one show, or else they’ll slaughter you’. He said, “I know, this is why I'm preparing for the better, because, otherwise, I will have no more hope of coming back and for people to love me’. […] One thing I can say: you could feel so much pain in him about the past and so much anxiety and uncertainty about the future. […] Michael had a broken heart. […] The truth is that they broke his heart. […] Michael has changed the world. He changed everything in the lives of African Americans, proving that there is no barrier between black and white. He really was both black and white. There were others such as Elvis Presley, but never like Michael Jackson. He had something (…) that no one else had, and no one else will ever have.”

[Anjelica Houston, American actress; source: www.repubblica.it, (translation from Italian by) http://www.thesilencedtruth.com/]

 

“On a personal note, I have to mention, several years ago, during Michael’s legal woes at that particular time, (the 2005 trial), I was out covering the story in Santa Maria… Michael Jackson was in a SUV. I was walking across the courthouse at that particular time. On that day, he opened the door to his SUV, called me over, and I walked over and I said, ‘Yes, sir?’, and he said ‘I’m Michael Jackson, would you, please, like to come in for a few minutes?’, and I said, ‘Okay…’. And so I stepped inside of the SUV, shut the door and he simply told me, ‘I want to talk to a reporter and I just want to keep it off the cuff, and I want you to know that I’m human’, and he started to tell me about his life story. We didn’t get into any details about his legal troubles, but he just wanted to talk and I said ‘Fine’, so we talked; we talked about life. We talked about our generation, I mean, I – he was much older than me, but I remember his music, and he talked about life when he was young and I told him about my life when I was young and all that… And at the end of it, he shook my hand and he said, ‘Good luck with your life’, I said, ‘Michael, good luck with your life’; and I must add, at that particular time, (from) my personal experience with Michael Jackson, he was indeed human. He was compassionate, he was humble and it was a good conversation. […]”

“Michael Jackson indicated to me that his youth was sad, most of his youth was sad, he wanted me to know that, ‘Hey, when you were a kid, I’m sure you got to go outside and play with other children, you got to jump around, you got to be free.’ He said, ‘I want you to understand I didn’t have those opportunities, I didn’t get to do a whole lot of that.’ His career kind of swarmed him and enveloped him and he wanted me to understand, ‘Hey, look: I desperately missed what you got a chance to cherish.’ And he wanted me to know that’s one of the reasons he was a kid at heart. So, yes, there was a lot of pressure in Michael Jackson’s life, a lot of sadness in his life, but he also wanted me to know that he felt that he was blessed even despite everything that he had gone through. I mean, he made a lot of money, he lived a – he lived a good life in terms of wealth, he was surrounded by family who loved him dearly and he knew that, but he just said, ‘Hey, the missing factor for me in my life was that I did not get to live that cherished childhood.’

[Leo Stallworth, American member of ABC7 Eyewitness News/HD team; sources: http://abclocal.go.com, www.youtube.com]

 

“I only say this because to the casual music fan, it might not be apparent. Whether it was because so much about him - his dance moves, his style, his swagger - was so dynamic, or because he rarely spoke above a whisper, or even because he frequently peppered his verses with vocal ticks (like those oft-imitated “Hee-hee’s”), Jackson remains one of the most underrated vocal artists in music history.

And that’s a shame, because his voice was a wondrous thing, capable of reaching both towering heights (the final verse of “Rock With You”) and depths (“Childhood”). It was technical, but it was also decidedly human, too, full of pump-priming rage (“Man in the Mirror”) one minute, tethered tenderness the next (“She’s Out of My Life”). It was a finely tuned instrument that, when unfurled, revealed all the pain and frustration and joy of Jackson’s life … a window inside the man’s soul. It could stop you in your tracks and raise the hair on the back of your neck. It was something to behold.

But don’t take my word for it. Just listen to “This Is It,” the title track to Jackson’s posthumous concert-film/double album (…). Because, if anything, it’s reinforcement of my original point: Jackson was a powerhouse vocalist.

The origins of the song may remain cloudy - it was reportedly written in 1980, in the fertile period between Jackson’s Off the Wall and Thriller albums, (…) but really, none of that really matters: “This Is It” is a prime showcase for Jackson’s prodigious pipes, which means that the best way to experience it - indeed, the best way to pay tribute to the man and his music - is to turn the volume up, sit back, and just listen.

Ignore the trilling strings, and the soft-jazz/light-funk backing track (which sort of make the song sound like Off the Wall’s “I Can’t Help It.”) Block out the hype surrounding the song’s release and the drama surrounding Jackson’s death. Focus on those vocals - the way Jackson counts it in with a boyish “one, two, three, four,” the way he glides from verse to verse with breathless, effortless phrasing, the lean-yet-heavy falsetto, the hint of gravel (and gravitas) is the verses, the soaring choruses - it’s all there, untarnished by time or tabloids. And it’s all wonderful.

(…) “This Is It” […] is a mixture of his yearning early years and his (…) later period, and it shines a light on the best aspects of both: his voice.

Because, just in case you weren’t aware, Michael Jackson was a hell of a singer.”

[James Montgomery, MTV.com staff writer; sources: www.mtv.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“The year is 1983. My friends and I are in Buffalo, New York. We are there to see the poets Amiri Baraka and Jayne Cortez at the Tralfamadore Café (aka “The Traf”). Colonized Afro America’s poet, laureate Baraka, is on a pay phone talking to his wife Amina Baraka. Baraka comes off the phone and announces “whatever you may think about Michael Jackson, Amina says he stole the show tonight.” He was talking about Jackson’s performance at Motown’s 25th Anniversary.

Motown brought out all of its guns that night – Marvin (Gaye), the Temptations, the Four Tops, Levi Stubbs and Dennis Edwards’ who delighted millions of viewers around the globe as they did vocal battle. The Boss, Diana Ross and Stevie (Wonder) shined. However, the night belonged to Michael Joseph Jackson.

On this night, MJ moonwalked into history as the greatest all round entertainer alive. He earned the titled, “The King of Pop”. I had seen all the greats myself growing up in Los Angeles. James Brown, Jackie Wilson and my personal favorite, David Ruffin, as one of the lead vocalist with the Temptations. They all performed in the City of Angels and I saw them all. Jackson had studied all of them and more.

He once confessed, “I would sit on stage at shows and watch James Brown and Jackie Wilson perform. I would watch and really feel it, particularly the crowd and the way they reacted. That’s what I wanted to do.” When Ruffin passed, Michael covered some of the expenses for Ruffin’s funeral and acknowledged his debt to “King David.” Michael was also influenced by Joe Tex, who later joined the Nation of Islam, became a minister and changed his name to Yusef Hazziez. When the group would do Joe Tex hit, “Skinny Legs And All”, Michael used to go in the audience and lift all the girls’ legs up. He would later say, “God, I’m so embarrassed about that, I would never dream of doing that now.” Jackson was about to embark on a massive “comeback” tour with 50 sold right out shows in London. The world will not see Jackson in this life again. The King of Pop joined the ancestors on June 25, 2009. He was born in Gary, Indiana on Aug. 29, 1958. […]

I have met and interviewed Jermaine and Tito on separate occasions. I never met Michael. While I worked for a time at Third World Books & Crafts, I was not there when Michael visited. I was there however, when Randy and Marlon dropped by and was pleasantly surprised to discover they were not your everyday “deaf, dumb & blind” rhythm and blues stars. I recall Randy being visually upset at me when I asked him about Nova Scotia. Yes, he knew about Nova Scotia and had been there, thank-you-very-much!

I had not been there and have yet to visit. I later learned that the Jacksons’ mother, Katherine, was a frequent visitor to the Aquarian Spiritual Center in South Central, Los Angeles. She used to come to the store and buy Michael and the rest of the Jackson clan books. The co-owner of this bookstore, Bernice Ligon, told me that she was interested in the Pan African experience. I did see the Jacksons’ Victory Tour, which was promoted by Don King. I saw it in Toronto, Buffalo and Washington D.C. in 1984. While I am a huge Jermaine fan, the Victory Tour turned into the Michael Jackson show. While Jermaine created a little excitement when he performed the Stevie Wonder written and produced “Let’s Get Serious”, Michael was clearly the fan favorite. […]

My Mississippi-born Great Grand Father, George Glover, had what Michael (…) had - vitiligo, a condition in which a loss of cells that give color to the skin (melanocytes) results in smooth, white patches in the midst of normally pigmented skin. The Jackson family fell victim of the same complex, that many Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora, experience. They, nevertheless, still have a relationship with Africa & the Caribbean. Michael and his brothers went to Senegal in 1973. Kwame Braithwaite, the brother of Elombe Brath, chair of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition, accompanied the group as a coordinator and photographer. Later, in 1979, the Jacksons were booked to perform in South Africa. According to Nelson George, Mamadu Seeka, the person who took them to Senegal, was being treated for terminal cancer in New York. He called Michael’s father, Joe Jackson, to explain the need to boycott South Africa because of its apartheid system. Even though the contracts had been signed, Joe was convinced to cancel the date; it was an event that garnered tremendous international respect for the Jacksons. This was under reported in the corporate press at the time. One of the memorable moments of the series of shows in Trinidad & Tobago is Michael Jackson singing "Sugar Bum Bum" by Lord Kitchener. Wayne Bowman wrote in the Trinidad Express that Michael’s rendition was “so spot on in his rendition of the song, people believed he had known the song before coming here”, which he didn’t.

[…] Many question his relationship to youth. Many others (and this is not discussed on a major level) question his relationship to reactionary heads of states including the former president of Gabon, Omar Bongo. It is my view that Michael’s relationship to Africa and Africans and oppressed humanity was a positive one. I personally think Michael Joseph Jackson will be welcomed by the ancestors.”

[Norman Richmond, Canadian-based radio producer and journalist; sources: http://uhurunews.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“[In 1972, Tom (my brother) and I joined Motown Records as a team of arrangers. We worked with multiple groups at Motown, and among our musical list was the Jackson 5, [Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael].] The Jacksons were the sweetest, quietest, humblest people I have ever met in my entire life. The boys in the group were all quiet, but once they hit the stage, it was like flipping on a switch. [Despite their quiet personalities, they were a group of professionals, but I remember a time when they struggled to master a song arrangement.] I can't remember what song we were doing, but the arrangement wasn't easy to sing. When it came time to record the song, the producer said I can't sing on the track with the group. So, I went into the back and turned on a figure-8 microphone. Only the boys, engineer and myself knew I was singing on the record. [I treasure my time with the group and always looked forward to working with them, I had great side-conversations with them. One of my memories involves a conversation with Michael around the age of 13. Michael approached me and asked me, "[Do] you know who the best dancer of the group is? Jackie. Jackie's the best dancer." When I asked him why Jackie doesn't move toward the front to dance, Michael said, "He's shy, so he makes me do it." Michael then told me that Jackie choreographed a lot of the group's dance routines while living in Gary, Indiana.]”

“[Despite the Jackson 5 ending their Motown career in 1975, Michael, Tom and I remained close. A solid factor to our friendship was the fact that Tom and I treated Michael like a normal human being. Throughout our years of working together, I was able to see a side of Michael that many knew of, but had never experienced first-hand. I was able to witness Michael create a melody and watch it evolve into a song over time.] I nicknamed Michael the "Groove King," because he came up with the most incredible grooves. He'd call me and we would go into the studio and do songs. He'd play one and it would walk you out of the room. [Michael enjoyed creating infectious rhythms, but loved writing a wide variety of songs. Michael noted "Heal the World" as one of his favorite tracks. Knowing how highly he thought of the song, I take pride in the fact that I wrote the vocal arrangement and directed the choir. Michael's song, "Heal the World" – the seventh song off his 1991 album, Dangerous – was originally titled "Feed the World." Keyboardist David Paich first presented the song idea to me over the phone. I then went to Paich's home and recorded the chart arrangement. Though the song wasn't finished, Michael heard some of it and called me saying, "I did it again. I fell on my knees and wept." When finalizing the arrangement and choir of the song, Michael was suppose (sic) to be present, but was sick with a cold and unavailable. We recorded the finished piece to play to Michael over the phone. He flipped. [Michael] was in tears. Without working on it every day, writing, arranging and finalizing, the song took 6-7 months. From the time the song was originally titled "Feed the World," and then later changed to "Heal the World," several demos were recorded. While thinking back through the years I spent in recording studios with him, Michael always looked up to me and saw me as a great singer and arranger. However, one of my favorite humorous times in the studio is when Michael heard me make a mistake.] I never put two headphones on when recording, because the professionals have to hear themselves sing live. While [recording] parts of a song with Michael, I put both of my headphones on. All of the sudden, we heard this ugly vocal part. I took my headphones off and Michael yelled while laughing, ‘It was you. I can't believe it was you.' He couldn't believe he had actually heard me sounding rotten. [I consider my time spent with Michael as years I will never forget. Michael and I were always close. I remember him calling me and Tom a lot while the Jackson 5 were touring.] He'd be so quiet on the phone, but loved talking. Tom and I miss him and our friendship, but I hold on to the qualities that made him unique. His sense of humor and quality of love stayed in him throughout the years. […] He had a great sense of humor. He was a kidder who loved being kidded. He was the epitome of love. I don't know of anyone I have ever met who has loved more than Michael. [The one aspect I will never forget is, when Michael said ‘I love you,' you felt it. He was that way his entire life.]”

[John Bähler, American vocalist, arranger, conductor, songwriter, composer and producer; source: www.articlesbase.com, edited by http://www.thesilencedtruth.com/]


“Michael's performances give me strength, tide me over my difficulties and take me back to the happiness I felt before my life turned bad. [At the beginning of 1990’s, I divorced (my husband) and developed tuberculosis in my kidneys (…). I soon withdrew from society. In 1991, on advice from my relatives, I came to Beijing to get better treatment and find a better place to live. […] ] I couldn't walk and often spat blood at that time and I thought I had a short time left. In my early years in the city, I was always complaining about my life and carrying a grudge against my ex-husband. [One day in 1997, I wandered into a shop and saw a man singing and dancing on a video screen.] The man's fabulous dancing fascinated me and I stood in front of the screen for a long time. I didn't know who the man was and (I) asked a saleswoman. She told me it was Michael Jackson. [I immediately paid 42.5 yuan, nearly a sixth of my monthly salary at the time, for a video of a Jackson concert and (I) started to learn his dance steps. However, I did not have a video player at home and my daughter did not encourage my dancing. I did not give up my fondness for him despite the many disapproving comments. I decided to do just what I wanted.] I had to secretly watch the disk at a colleague's home and was crazy about following Michael's performances. Sometimes I even got hurt as I imitated the star's difficult and dangerous dance steps. But I never told my daughter and hoped she would support me one day. [Gradually, the dancing helped to improve my physical condition and I began to become involved in society again. I danced on the square at the Workers' Gymnasium and most senior citizens who saw me there became interested in my special exercises.] Nearly half of the people who did morning exercises stood behind me to follow my dance steps, which gave me great confidence and made me proud. […] It had been a long time since someone had approved of my behavior. [With that encouragement, I put Jackson's best-known steps into ordinary exercise routines and created my own dances. During the creative process, I forgot my past sorrows and was not afraid of other people misunderstanding me. Meanwhile, my daughter also changed her mind, because she realized I was enjoying a new life and had a great passion for learning Jackson's dances. Out of love for the superstar, I collected every piece of news about him and swapped cooking magazines with a colleague in exchange for a book that showed his most famous dance move: the moonwalk.] I took that book as my teacher and cherished it. Many fans of Michael's borrowed the book from me, but I preferred to write out the dance steps for them rather than give them the book."

“[After I heard the news of his death, I was too depressed to accept it. However, I soon started doing exercises in front of a mirror in the hope that I could perform his dances in memory of him. Meanwhile, many young Jackson fans noticed me, swapped dance steps with me and helped me make steady progress. Earlier this year, I stood on the stage of Shanghai Dragon TV to show off my talent for imitating his dancing.] I was so nervous before my performance, my weak legs could barely move. But as I thought of my friends' encouragement and support, I quickly concentrated on doing the dance."

[Bai Shuying's, elderly Chinese Michael Jackson fan; sources: www.huffingtonpost.com, www.chinadaily.com, www.mjjcommunity.com; edited by http://www.thesilencedtruth.com/]

 

“Michael Jackson starts work on Off the Wall


December 1978: Number 23 in our series of the 50 key events in the history of pop music

Michael Jackson's life and career were so extraordinary, that it's tempting to comb each chapter for clues and pointers to the next. You can find flashes of his solo superstardom in his thrilling contributions to the Jackson 5's pop. […] In 1978, he was an ex-solo star, modestly successful in his day, but now re-absorbed into the Jacksons machine, where he played his part in creating marvellous platform-heeled stompers such as Can You Feel It?. This wasn't the only string to his bow, mind you: that year, he could also be seen in Motown's grand filmic folly, The Wiz, playing the Scarecrow. The critics were kind to his role in this reimagining of The Wizard of Oz (…). And speaking of clues and pointers, Jackson first appeared in the film lashed to a metal cross, struggling for freedom as wisea** (sic) crows make him sing inanities for their entertainment.

The man who helped him down in real life was veteran musician and producer Quincy Jones, working as an arranger on the film. Jones got on well enough with Jackson to put his name forward when the younger man asked who ought to produce his next solo record. Demand for the record was far from certain: Jackson's previous solo album Forever, Michael, had come out four years earlier and had hit a dizzying No. 101 on the US charts. The collaboration with Jones managed rather better, of course. Off the Wall sold 20m copies, impressive enough even before you remember that was only one-fifth of the business its follow-up, Thriller, did. In an industry shifting away from individual sales, we can say with more certainty that Thriller will keep its position as the highest-selling LP ever - but it's Off the Wall that critics routinely hail as Jackson's masterpiece.

Why? What's impressive more than 30 years later is how tight and self-disciplined the album is. It was a disco record released at disco's overripe peak (…). But Off the Wall is joyously compact - shot after shot of lean grooves that never get a chance to wear out their welcome.

This sense of restraint is a vital part of all Jones's collaborations with Jackson. The singer's vocal tics - the gasps and shudders that punctuate almost every song - play a big role in this, creating the impression of a singer desperate to cut loose and express himself in movement. But there's never any excess in the music to undermine Jackson's hunger. On Thriller and Bad, the restraint starts to curdle into tension on songs such as Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal, and Jackson sounds compellingly trapped. After Jones suggested Jackson find newer, more modern collaborators, this sense of musical restraint began to vanish: epics such as Stranger in Moscow or Earth Song were more grandiose than anything Jackson had tried before, but also somehow more private, too.

Off the Wall […] announces itself - and Jackson's arrival as a solo songwriter - with Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, whose spoken intro finds him struggling like a Marvel comics character with the power inside him, then giving it glorious release. At this stage, he's not the Peter Pan of pop so much as its Peter Parker, a troubled young man learning how to use his staggering abilities, and every emotion on Off the Wall seems like it's being felt and expressed for the first time. By the time Jackson's voice cracks on centrepiece ballad She's Out of My Life, the record is already a triumph.

Oddly, since Jackson's death in 2009, Off the Wall has been one of his less influential albums. Perhaps it's too innocent. The Jackson tracks that resonate with today's stars are later ones, where Jackson treated his fame as vocation and millstone simultaneously (…). […] With this record, Jackson and his mentor Jones made pop's great coming-of-age album.”

[Tom Ewing, pop writer, market researcher; source: www.guardian.co.uk]

 

“Really, it was just their command (that I learned from). The biggest thing is the command they both have on stage... how they can control the crowd and the band. […] The confidence Elvis (Presley) and Michael exuded from stage, I’m a fan of. […] There will never be another Michael Jackson, a huge pop star since (the age of) 7. […] I was nominated with Michael Jackson (at the Grammy Awards this year)! He was nominated for ‘This Is It,’ the song that came out of the movie (of the same name). In a way, I owe it to him. I feel like, if it wasn’t for his music and my upbringing listening to him...I don't know what kid didn’t listen to him at my age. You aspire to be as great as he is as an artist. I don’t think any artist in pop, rock or hip-hop has ever done it any bigger than him. You know what I mean? He’s the man.

[Peter Gene Hernandez, better known by stage name Bruno Mars, American singer-songwriter and record producer; source: http://m.signonsandiego.com]

 

“Hey, guys, these last couple of months have been a strange one (sic) for me. Lately, I have found myself being both extremely happy and sad at the same time.

What's the happy part?

I received my "Epic" camera last month and it's absolutely incredible. What is an Epic camera? It's an innovative digital cinema camera by the "Red" company. In fact, Red was a company that my uncle Michael was very fond of. We would talk about them over the phone and especially their upcoming cameras. He felt that Jim and his company were trailblazers and that one day they would overcome the big guys. I don't have to tell you that he was right, like always.

[…]

Knowing my uncle, he probably loved every minute behind the camera.

Which brings me to the sad part. Ever since I got my Epic camera, I've been finding myself depressed. Why? Because my uncle would have been the first person I would have called on the phone to tell about my new "Epic". He would have been so happy for me, .... for us. I can hear him now, asking "When are we gonna shoot something together with it?". The hard reality is, now I never will be able to.

Anyway, in honor of my uncle, I have decided to name my Epic camera, "MJ".

That way, everytime (sic) I turn on the camera to shoot something or press the record button, I will be thinking of my uncle Michael, and the way he inspired me and will continue to inspire me.

In a way, I will be shooting with "MJ".“

[Toriano Adaryll ‘Taj’ Jackson II, member of American R&B group 3T; source: www.tajjackson.com]

 

“I will never forget the 19th of July 1997. I went to see my hero, Michael Jackson, in concert. It was my second MJ concert and I was so excited and happy that he had come back to Dublin.

During Michael’s show, he has his security people find fans to come up on stage for a particular song. I have Morquio syndrome and security were looking for somebody small. My sister pointed me out and said, “You won’t get anybody smaller!” For once in my life, I was so thankful to be small! I will be forever grateful to my sister. When the security man picked me, my whole body started shaking, not because I was going to be in front of 35,000 screaming fans, but because I was about to come face to face with my all-time hero!

While I was waiting just offstage, Michael ran past me, and I let out such a scream that I thought he must have heard me. Thankfully, with all of the noise on stage, he didn’t! The music for “Heal the World” came on and I was wheeled onto the stage. Michael held my hand. Normally, I wouldn’t feel anything in my right hand, as I had lost feeling in it a few years before, but that night I could actually feel Michael’s hand. He turned to me as we headed off of the stage. He told me that he loved me and I knew that he really meant it!

Being so close to him was amazing. The only way to describe it is like a spiritual experience. I felt so much love on that stage; love and happiness. When I got offstage, I burst into tears. My friends’ young children who were also at the concert kept asking if I was I ok, and my mother told them, “She is fine. She’s only crying because she is happy.” The memories of that day will stay with me forever and they help me whenever I am sad or upset.

A few hours after the concert, I could feel a burning sensation up and down my right arm. The next day, I had feeling back in my right hand. I truly believe I got my feeling back from simply holding Michael’s hand. My Ma said, “With 35,000 people singing such a positive song as “Heal the World,” you were bound to get a miracle.”

I thought I would share this with you, as only true MJ fans would truly understand what happened to me that night. Even though I am in a wheelchair, that night I felt like I was walking on air. I was 18 then, and now, thirteen years later, I can still honestly say that meeting Michael was the best day of my life, and I am so blessed and thankful that my dream came true.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: When Michael passed on, I felt as though I had lost a member of my family; he had been a major part of my entire life. Way before we had met, he had been the biggest influence on me for as long as I can remember, getting me through so many bad experiences that I had as a child. I took his death badly and I felt so lost and confused that I needed to do something for him. I took it upon myself to organize a tree planting for him. I felt that wasn’t enough though, so on the 8th of August, 2009, alongside the tree planting, I organized a Michael Jackson Memorial / Fun day, with all proceeds going to a children’s hospital that I myself had attended throughout my childhood. I also did the same this June, the day after his first anniversary, and I will continue to do so every single year for as long as I can. It’s my way of giving back and saying “Thank you!” to Michael for all that he has done for me and millions of others worldwide. Michael’s tree stands proudly in a park in Dublin, surrounded by a children’s play-area. I think he would have liked it.”

[Christine Dowling, Irish Michael Jackson admirer; sources: Angela Yim Ngan Ian (http://www.facebook.com/yimnganian), www.mj-777.com]

 

“Michael was very childlike and was delighted by the little vessel Snagov 1 which I took him in. He played with the wheel, but lucky we had a double command, thus his steering it had no effect. […] I also took him to the Snagov Monastery.] He arrived there and almost got kicked out by Father Bartolomeu, because he wouldn’t take off his fedora when he entered the church [TST note: most likely due to his shyness and self-consciousness] He relented in the end, but also donated 100,000 dollars to the monastery. [I’m keeping a framed autograph at home that he signed for me.]”

[Ştefan ‘Cici’ Trifulescu, Romanian boat captain; source: www.libertatea.ro, translated from Romanian by http://www.thesilencedtruth.com]

 

“Of course it is very sad [that he died] and, mostly, I felt sad for his kids, ‘cause he loved them so much and they’re so young. But in a sense, I felt a relief for him … ‘cause he was so dogged by the media so unfairly and I just can’t imagine having to live like that. […] Oh, people were evil… He had so much evil headed at him. […] Why WAS that? I think because of his energy. Everybody wanted a piece of him. Eerybody wanted his money.. people that were able to get a certain closeness to him ended up using him and stabbing him in the back, I mean, there are countless stories of that. […] [The sexual abuse accusations,] I think it was all extortion. Once again, people trying to get at his money. Especially it was so transparent with the second case that came about, the woman spent her life making money from lawsuits. […] And ya know there’s a lot people that do that, workin’ the American legal system where they’re very sue-happy.”

[Jennifer Batten, American guitarist – interviewed by Steve Kraske on 89.3 FM; sources: http://mjjjusticeproject.wordpress.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

 

“To clarify @Tatum_Oneal, Michael wasn't "addicted" as you said on @piersmorgan. propofol was administered for him to sleep #factsplease. Bad enough contending with what Murray's defense is likely to claim without more misinformation. […] This myth is upsetting. […] Remember, Farrah Fawcett passed the same time as Michael. She lost 'family' too. I'm just correcting a myth. […] I didn't intend for ugliness either. I intended to clarify. So ur RTs of Chinese Whispers from the media educated hardly help. […] @Tatum_Oneal Pls RT this: Michael was fit & well, ready to rock the world again. Then his life was taken. "Addiction" (had) nothing to do with it. […] Reminder all: this aint (sic) a debate about Michael's fitness. It's about justice for a life taken. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson, http://twitter.com/#!/jermjackson5]


“I saw Michael shortly before he passed on. He was in rehearsal for his concert and wasn’t pleased with how things were going. […] Michael’s always been thin; he’d eat to live. He’d just move food around. But now he was neglecting himself and working too hard. […] Authorities should look into this more deeply. I believe it was a conspiracy. Michael told me repeatedly, ‘They’re going to murder me, you don’t understand. They’re trying to murder me.’ He’d tell me again and again. He had the world’s largest catalogue – 750,000 songs. People knew how important it was. He’d say, ‘They’re after it… you’ve got to listen to me… they plan to get me… they’re trying to break me… I wanted them out of my life… now they’re back in… (…) […] Our mother knew Michael was troubled. He told her, too. (…) He told her, ‘Bad people keep resurfacing. I want them out of my house, but they won’t leave.’ He didn’t even like that doctor around him. […] I was in his bedroom right after it happened. That room had been ransacked. Whoever ‘they’ are had gone through everything.”

[LaToya Jackson; source: http://starlounge.ie.msn.com]


“He was in the midst of the second leg of his Bad World Tour, an exhausting, 123-concert spectacular that stretched over nearly two years. The tour would become the largest-grossing and most-attended concert series in history.

Just days earlier, Jackson had performed in Rome at Flaminio Stadium to an ecstatic sold-out crowd of over 30,000. In his downtime, he visited the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Cathedral at the Vatican with Quincy Jones and legendary composer, Leonard Bernstein. Later, they drove to Florence where Jackson stood beneath Michelangelo’s masterful sculpture, David, gazing up in awe.

Now he was in Vienna, Austria, music capital of the Western world. It was here where Mozart’s brilliant Symphony No. 25 and haunting Requiem were composed; where Beethoven studied under Haydn and played his first symphony. And it was here, at the Hotel Imperial, on June 1, 1988, that Michael Jackson’s magnum opus, “Earth Song,” was born.

The six-and-a-half-minute piece that materialized over the next seven years was unlike anything heard before in popular music. Social anthems and protest songs had long been part of the heritage of rock. But not like this. “Earth Song” was something more epic, dramatic, and primal. Its roots were deeper; its vision more panoramic. It was a lamentation torn from the pages of Job and Jeremiah, an apocalyptic prophecy that recalled the works of Blake, Yeats, and Eliot.

It conveyed musically what Picasso’s masterful aesthetic protest, Guernica, conveyed in art. Inside its swirling scenes of destruction and suffering were voices - crying, pleading, shouting to be heard (“What about us?”).

“Earth Song” would become the most successful environmental anthem ever recorded, topping the charts in over fifteen countries and selling over five million copies. Yet critics never quite knew what to make of it. Its unusual fusion of opera, rock, gospel, and blues sounded like nothing on the radio. It defied almost every expectation of a traditional anthem. In place of nationalism, it envisioned a world without division or hierarchy. In place of (…) humanism, it yearned for a broader vision of ecological balance and harmony. In place of simplistic propaganda for a cause, it was a genuine artistic expression. In place of a jingly chorus that could be plastered on a T-shirt or billboard, it offered a wordless, universal cry.

Jackson remembered the exact moment the melody came…

Copyright © 2011 Joseph Vogel

The full version of “Earth Song – Inside Michael Jackson’s Magnum Opus” will be available June 25th on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), iPad, Android, Blackberry, and other digital platforms.”

[Joseph Vogel; source: www.joevogel.net]


Yesterday, I was guest of Sébastien Brassard Simard at Neverland Ranch for a tour and lunch. Sebastien is a MJ fan from Quebec and he (along with his guest, me) was invited by Tom Barrack, the (half) owner of the Ranch. Barrack reached out to Sebastian, after receiving communications from him. […] I found the estate to be well maintained with some things restored to their old glory. Part of the interior decorative gate has been reinstalled, many of the statues are back on the grounds, the train station is beautiful, and there were some animlas (sic) in the zoo. Apparently, the staff are giving some sick animals a home. I have a few more photos posted on the "Being Mike-like" group page.

I offer my thanks to Tom Barrack, and the kind staff at Neverland Ranch. Some of the staff have worked their (best) for years and had fond memories of Michael... they were very Mike-like... gracious, modest, effective and kind. And thanks to Sebastien, it was fun seeing Neverland through his eyes and hangin(’) with him. His parents left him when he was a year old and he was raised on Michael Jackson music and stories. He learned English to understand Michael's words and he has made a study of Neverland. In fact, the ranch manager said that he should give tours of Neverland, as he knew about everything, and it's (sic) exact location.

Best wishes to Michael's fans. I truly felt the spirit of Michael at Neverland and he has you in his heart.”

[Larry Nimmer, American film producer/director, author of "Michael Jackson The Untold Story of Neverland" documentary; source: www.facebook.com]

 

“The Annual Michael Jackson Celebration started in 1991 and ran every year for 10 years. In 2001, Michael personally attended the show in London and watched over 100 performers pay tribute to him. Afterwards, he came on stage and told the 3,000 fans in attendance that he thought the Celebration had been “beautiful and incredible”. There were a few more tributes organised - specifically when Michael was acquitted of child abuse allegations in 2005. Thereafter, I began planning Thriller Live, which first premiered in August 2006 in London, before touring the UK in 2007. […] From the outset, his management were fully aware of the show, and in 2007 Michael wished me luck with the production. He had always been fully supportive of the Annual Michael Jackson Celebration, even sending over his own video crew to film the event and fans. It’s a great shame that he never got to see Thriller Live, but Kenny Ortega recently told us that he was planning on coming to watch the show during his This Is It stay in London (…).”

“I think it’s a great shame that it took Michael’s passing for him to get the full respect that he deserved as an artist whilst he was alive. There has been so much coverage on the radio, TV and Press, that people are now seeing what a genuine and wonderful human being he was. The Estate, of course, are doing what they feel best to protect his image, and maximise its income for the family, children and charities and this is what Michael wanted. […]”

“Casting the show is the most difficult aspect in Thriller Live, because Michael Jackson was such a unique talent. I decided from day one that I didn’t want the show to be a straight tribute performance with one impersonator. I wanted to take the audience on a journey and display all of Michael Jackson’s different personas and talent on stage. Therefore, we have five lead principal singers sharing the songs throughout – including a child for the early Jackson 5 hits, a soulful singer, the pop singer, a rock singer and a female singer which surprises many people – but she brings a lot of balance to many of the songs. Then, there is (sic) also the dancers. We have one lead ‘MJ’ dancer, who fronts songs such as Smooth Criminal, Thriller and Billie Jean. On top of this, we have 10 male and female dancers who bring the stage to life with fantastic choreography from director Gary Lloyd. […]”

“I believe the This Is It concerts would have reaffirmed Michael Jackson as the world’s greatest entertainer and would have taken concert production to a whole new level. He was a perfectionist and was always looking to better his previous work. He was the ultimate showman, and he still had so much more to give. […] There will never be another Michael Jackson. The music industry has changed and is far more instant than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Michael grew up during the Motown era, and worked hard with his brothers touring and perfecting their craft. Furthermore, he learned from greats such as Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson and James Brown. He always said he would “study the greats and aim to become better”. You may find an individual who can sing better, or dance better – but what made Michael the King of Pop was that he did everything, and he did it so very well and with his own style.”

Thriller Live is at Sunderland Empire from July 11 to 16.”

[Adrian Grant, British author, creator of Thriller Live; source: www.chroniclelive.co.uk]

 

“For Michael Jackson fans - This is an untold story of my almost encounter with the King and how M.J inspired me.

Fans of my music will be familiar with my song 'Insatiable'. It was co-written and produced with Walter Afanasieff. What many people don't know is that I wrote my song as a reaction to and after having been inspired by a song that Walter and Alan Thicke wrote for Michael back in '99 called 'Fall Again'.

Here is Michael's demo version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz7u8ZJsxiI

The story goes like this.

When I was recording the Savage Garden album 'Affirmation' with Walter in 1999 at his studio in San Francisco, he played me a demo of the song 'Fall Again', which at that time had Robin Thicke's vocals on it. Walter and Robin had intended to submit the song to M.J for his 'Invincible' album project. I was completely in awe and all I could hear was Michael. At the time, Walter told me he wasn't sure if Michael would be interested, but as a fan I had a feeling that when M.J heard it he'd respond like I had. It reminded me of the lushness of classic Michael songs like 'Human Nature'. I knew M.J would kill it. Sure enough, the song got to Michael and he loved it and agreed to cut a demo of it. Slight hitch? The only time M.J had available was when Walter was booked in with me to finish the vocals for the Savage Garden album 'Affirmation'. Walter decided he could record both sessions and so we flew to New York and I recorded in the mornings with Walter at Sony Studios and he then left in the afternoon to record Michael Jackson at The Hit Factory in the afternoon literally across the street. The version in this post is the one and only time Michael ever sang the song. One take. He hadn't even had a chance to learn the song properly (and what an amazing job he did!). The day he recorded Michael, Walter came back to my session at Sony Studios about 2 hours later beaming. He spoke in glowing terms about Michael, about his voice, about his politeness and talent. And what touched me the most was he told me that Michael's children (Prince and Paris) were at the session and M.J had set up a T.V. monitor in his recording booth so he could see the children playing with the Nanny in another room while he was singing. The session was cut short, because the children were poorly (tended to) and Michael wanted to be a good Dad and tend to them. He apparently apologised and left the session after only one take. I never heard Michael's version until it was released many years later (even though Walter knew I was a massive fan, he respected M.J's privacy and never played it to me). But I had remembered the feeling and the magic of the song from the first time I heard Robin Thicke's vocal, and so when it came time for me to record my first solo album, I asked Walter to try and write a song with the same energy with me. That's how we wrote 'Insatiable'.

It's amazing to hear Michael's demo version of 'Fall Again' so many years later and be in awe of his artistry. Michael is the reason I became a performer (having seen his 'Bad' tour in 1987 and knowing in an instant that performing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life). Listening to his records taught me how to sing. I'm proud that years later in my own career there are pieces of him in my work. And although he is not with us anymore, I like to think that little spark he ignited in me as an artist is part of his legacy.

Sorry if this was long and sappy - but I know there are M.J fans out there who would appreciate this story. I'd always wanted to tell it. And today I did.

As a funny epilogue to this story - here's the bit where I almost met Michael.

At the time of the recording, Tommy Motolla was president of Sony Music. He came in to the studio the same day Walter was recording M.J, and he said to me 'Darren, there's someone very special that I'd like to bring in to the studio to introduce you to. Is it o.k if I bring another artist in here to say hello?" he said. Of course I thought he meant Michael. Of course he meant Michael, right? Michael was across the street working with the same producer I was with! Bring it on! Tommy left the room and said he'd be right back. So I sat there in the studio with the engineer (…). Tommy knocks on the door. My heart stops. And then it sinks. In walks Tommy with a very tall later 40's white male with blond hair. NOT MICHAEL JACKSON. 'Darren, this is Darryl', Tommy says. "Hi', I say with mock enthusiasm. Tommy proceeds to play this man 'Two Beds and a Coffee' machine, the song that we'd been working on that day. Darryl sits back in his chair and with the most sincere tone tells me that I'm an incredible song writer and that he loves my voice. 'Thanks!' I say, still devastated this man is not Michael Jackson. When Tommy and Darryl leave, the engineer turns to me and says, 'Do you know who that was?'. 'Nope', I say. 'That was Darryl Hall, of Hall and Oates'. Now let the record show, I was and remain a MASSIVE fan of Hall and Oates. And I felt incredibly rude for being oblivious to this fact. In my defence, Darryl had a beard at the time and my memory of him was clean shaven and much younger of course. So I died a little twice that day. But there you have it.”

[Darren Stanley Hayes, UK based Australian singer-songwriter; source: http://twitter.com/darrenhayes]

 

“Fifty three years ago, a young black boy was born in a small town in Indiana. This was a different time, a time when the African-American Civil Rights Movement tried to gain freedom from oppression by white Americans. It was also a time when the next generation of post-war Americans were growing up, the sons of soldiers who had freed prisoners from the tyranny of prison camps like Auswitch (sic) and Buchenwald, a time when all of Europe was filled with a profound and abiding gratitude to the American people. As Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust said in a speech to an important gathering of White House dignitaries in 1999, 'Gratitude is what defines the humanity of the human being'.

And gratitude is what we should now have today for that young American black boy. His name was Michael Jackson, someone I am privileged to call my friend, somebody who often stood alone to fend for the children in the world, for the destitute, for the victims of disease and injustice. Michael was very troubled by the suffering he saw in the world and even more to the indifference to it. His first words to me when we met were 'Thank you so much for helping the people of Africa'.

There were no airs and graces, no pomp and circumstance and his only concern was for the lives of other people who lived on a different continent than the one in which either of us were born. I had been to Africa and seen the devastation of the plague of HIV at first hand and when we discussed it, there was (sic) tears in his eyes and he said we had to do something together for the people of Africa. He planned to hold a great concert in Rwanda and we would fly there together in his private plane and then down to see his great friend, Nelson Mandela. Sadly, these events were not to happen and the world lost one of its great humanitarians.

In that speech, Elie Wiesel had also some words to say about indifference. He said, ‘To be indifferent to the suffering in the world is what makes the human being inhuman’. For the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbour is of no consequence. Their lives are meaningless as indifference reduces the other to an abstraction. Indifference always benefits the aggressor -- never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten.

Michael Jackson felt that pain, not just for the hungry children, but for himself when the people of America remained indifferent to the injustice that was perpetrated upon him making him a virtual prisoner in his own land, causing him to flee to the Middle East and eventually find solitude in Ireland, my home. What an irony that someone who cared so much about the rest of humanity was rejected by his own. It was a pain he felt deeply and one that on occasion he discussed with me, …but mostly he did not want to talk about it and I never opened those painful memories, …being like him exiles beyond the norm.

Michael Jackson was never indifferent. He brought light where there was darkness, hope where there was despair; he never turned away from cruelty when he could give compassion. We have just started a new century, a new millennium. The first ten years have been some of the most brutal the planet has ever encountered. The century started with terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. These actions dragged this great nation into conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been wars in over twenty countries, which cast a dark shadow over humanity: So much violence, so much pain…..

If there is one thing to do today, to preserve Michael Jackson's memory and that is not be remain indifferent to the suffering we see all around us in the World. […] …The terrible earthquake in Haiti where bodies were cut from building (sic) by hacksaw, ….the funeral undertakers in Zambia where the coffin-makers work banging nails in wood late into the night, ….the streets of Northern Ireland where throats are cut for pronouncing a word on a beer bottle with the wrong accent. I have lived in Baghdad, I have been a prisoner of Saddam Hussein, I carry the war wounds of Northern Ireland and I say to you here today that there is a God who looks down on all of this wrong (…)…

Over seventy years ago a ship with a human cargo of one thousand Jews -- was turned away from the port of St. Louis back to Nazi Germany. The ship, which was already on the shores of the United States, was sent back and the people left to the fate of the dictator. This happened in America, a country (…) most generous of all new nations in modern history. It is happening again today, with the bombing and terrorization of innocent children on foreign shores. Don’t let it happen, stand up for the things Michael stood for, to wipe out injustice, to combat disease and try and save the planet we live in.

What will the legacy of Michael Jackson? How will he be remembered by generations as yet unborn?

(…) Let us not be indifferent to the wrongs we see around us. If Michael ever wanted us to do one thing that would make him happy as he looks down over us today it would be not to turn away from the victims of oppression and aggression (…).”

[Dr. Patrick Treacy, Chairman of the Irish Association of Cosmetic Doctors, founder and medical director at Ailesbury Clinics Ltd in Ireland – holding a speech at Gardner Street Elementary School, where Michael Jackson studied for his 6th grade ; source: www.facebook.com/patrick.treacy]

 

 

“[…] That's -- that's what hurts me more than anything else, because he could have started over. And now, he's not able to start over. It's so important for everyone who -- who's going through anything in their life to start over. And, yes, Michael could have started over. […]

“[…] When you grow up in the spotlight, (…) everything is magnetized and everything is totally actually blown out of proportion. And in the Jacksons' case, it has been that throughout the entire careers of everyone and there's always this misconception of what people think the family is or the way the family should be or -- but the fact of the matter is, everybody's quiet, everybody's shy and jovial and just love to have fun. And people mention the word dysfunctional. I don't really see that. I know that every family had their problems and I'm sure the Jacksons have their share of problems -- we all do. However, no, it's nothing compared to what I've been seeing in reality TV. It's like, people really act this way? Because, we were nothing like that. We're so quiet and shy and it's like, gee. […] I would love to say, yes, we're closer than we've ever been, but it's really interesting, Piers, because when -- when a loved one in your family (dies), and Michael was the first that we've lost. And it hurt so badly and everybody wants to be on the same page and it's not always that way. I think it was very difficult when it came to the plans of what we were going to do with him and the burial. Everybody had different opinions and we would have to vote on which way we were going with it. So, you want that togetherness, you want people to come closer, yes, it's closer in a sense. But, at the same time, no, it isn't, which is really sad. […]”

“When I look back on (our life in the Jackson family) now, it was (sic) fun times, it was (sic) wonderful times. I wish that I had known a little bit more about the world, because then you can control your life a little bit better because you know what -- what you're about to face. However, no, I have no regrets when it comes to that. I think that, when I look at those brothers and it's just amazing to me, because I used to watch the girls just faint over them and I couldn't understand to save my life, ‘What are you guys fainting over?’ And the screaming and the paramedics running in and the whole bit. It's like, ‘Come on, they're just guys’. I couldn't understand that because, you grew up with this music and you grew up with them, and to me, they were nothing special. They weren't special at all. But for outsiders, they were just like screaming and, "Oh, you're so wonderful and look, Jermaine, waved at me," and I was just like, ‘So, he waved at you’. […] It's so funny though. But, I'm not taking it for granted, but it's so funny when you think about how people look at you when you see yourself totally differently. We see ourselves as very normal, and people -- like, ‘Oh, I can't believe I touched you’ and things of that nature.”

“[…] I learned that my father was a loner. His mother wasn't there for him. He was the one who raised his brothers and sisters. He's the one who took care of them. He's the one who walked five miles to school every day. […] He never had love himself and so, how -- if you don't – […] You can't give away what you don't have. If you don't have love in here to give away, how can you give it away? But, he did have love in there. He just didn't know how to express it. And, now he does. […] Michael (too) has (told Joseph that he loved him), he did say that to him, yes, absolutely. Absolutely. It was something that we always said. We shared that with our mother all the time. With my father, it was probably in the past 10, 12 years. […]”

“My family was there [during my fake marriage with Jack Gordon]. My family was there. They would call and see how I was doing. He monitored the calls. He wouldn't let me speak or say certain things. It became a very, very complicated relationship, very, very difficult. […] [He forced me to marry him.] […] Then I tried to get away. I tried desperately to get away at that point and I wasn't able to. […] I walked out many, many times. […] It was shortly after we were together (that he started physically abusing me]. It was shortly -- it started, Piers, little terrible things, just answering the phone. You don't answer the phone, squeezing my hand and then twisting and turning. […] It put me in the hospital. […] He was beating me. He took -- I think the worst beating that I -- well, there were so many, I'm trying to -- one of the worst beatings that I endured was probably when we were in Italy and I asked for an annulment. I said, "It's been six months, please, can I get an annulment, you told me I could." And he said, ‘Listen, I own you. Don't you understand that? I own you.’ He took my head and he started beating it on the corner of the desk in the hotel room, the table and the desk. And I remember falling back and coming back and I said -- I go, ‘Please, please, please, don't.’ He kept beating my head on the table. I recall trying to get over to the telephone to call downstairs to the operator. And I managed to do that. […] [He made me do that press conference about Michael, when I went along with all of the allegations against my own brother at a time when Michael most needed support of his family.] […] It was just the lowest of all. It was the lowest. […] You have to. You have to take responsibility. And I do take responsibility for it, I must tell you. But at the same time, I have to tell you that if I didn't do what he asked me to do, he blatantly told me -- not just me, but others -- my other loved ones -- that he would kill Michael. And I believed him, because I believed the actions. So, when he says, ‘You get up there, you read this and you say this’ -- prior to this allegation about Michael, there I was on television saying ‘Oh, my brother is wonderful; he would never, ever, ever do a thing like this.’ This is despicable, the whole bit. Then Gordon gets this idea, ‘OK, is that what you're saying? No, you're going to change that story.’ It was like no, no. […] I don't know how (Michael) reacted at the time. I know how he reacted later, when I talked to him about it. He and I had a conversation. And I told him, I said, ‘I need to talk to you, Michael. I want to tell you what exactly happened, what went on.’ He says, ‘Latoya, you don't have to.’ I said, ‘No, I want to.’ He said, ‘Latoya, I know you. You're my sister. I know you. I love you. I know you would never, ever, ever in your heart do a thing like that.’ Piers, when my brother said that, that made me feel so good. […] I decided that I was going to leave (Gordon). […] I said this is it. I have to leave. He promised me if I left, he would kill me and he would kill Michael. I called my brother on the phone. I picked up the phone when he got in the shower. […] It happened to be my brother Randy. Randy told me, ‘You're lucky, I never answered the phone’. And he did. And immediately he got my mother and father on the phone. My father said, ‘Randy, just go get her right now.’ I was in New York. They were in L.A. They were just so happy to hear from me, and the whole bit. And I was so nervous, Piers, the entire time, because we were in a hotel. He was in the shower. They had the red lights on to know that somebody is using a phone line. I kept thinking, I can't talk. If he looks at the phone and sees the red light on, he is going to kill me. I waited for Randy to come, which seemed like forever. Finally, Randy knocked on the door, and he and my cousin came. And Piers, I just left with nothing. I had on my pajamas before that. […]”

“[Michael and I] shared that same life, where people come into your life, wiggle their way in, control you, manipulate, control your funds, your finances, everything that you have. And you must do what they tell you to do. That's what Michael was going through. And he knew that everything that was happening to him was not kosher. It wasn't right. And it disturbed him greatly. They controlled Michael. They controlled everything that he did, the people that were around him. This whole show, the whole bit going from 10 to 50 shows that he didn't agree with. […] But yet, they said he was fine, yet they took out insurance on him, yet it was time to go to Lloyds of London for another insurance. […] The coroners, I will tell you -- this was not an O.D. The coroners told me immediately that the only drug that was in Michael's body was the drug that was administered to him that night. And that was it. He was totally clean.

“[If I had the chance to talk to Michael again,] I would tell him that I'm sorry that I wasn't there to help him to start over. I wasn't there to prevent this from happening to him, what took place and what happened, this control. […] I'm -- there's so many things that I could say, that I'm sorry that he's no longer with us, that these people took control of him, took advantage of him, because he was a kind, meek person, a very loving person. And people preyed on that. […] As long as I live, as long as you live, your children, your grandchildren, your great great grandchildren, you will never, ever, ever find an entertainer as special, as talented, as loving and as caring as Michael Jackson. I promise you that. Michael is a gift from God.”

[LaToya Jackson – on Piers Morgan Tonight; source: http://edition.cnn.tv]


 

“[…] No, no, no, Michael was not delusional, Michael was not on heavy drugs when he passed, the only drugs – now, the coroner told me this himself - the only drugs that were in Michael’s body was (sic) the drugs that they (Conrad Murray) had administered to him that night. […] They were after his publishing. He had - his catalogue, his music were just worth over – billions of dollars, over that. […] And he told me that people that surround him were going to do this. I would very much – you keep asking me who was it. Listen, the people that Michael got out of his life, a few days before he passed, they came back into his life, […] they wanted… […] What basically took place here is that during this time, they came into his life asking questions about the catalogue and what they wanted, Michael didn’t even want them in his house, he said, ‘Get them out of my house, I don’t want them here. I don’t want them here.’ These people kept coming around. I will tell you one thing: I would love to have a one-on-one talk with Randy Philips of AEG […] I would love to have a talk with him, because he knows exactly what happened and what went on. Let me tell you something right now. When Michael passed, what’s the first thing you do? Anybody that’s in that house, you want to question and find out what happened. What they did was they went there and they fired everybody and made them sign confidentialities that they can’t say anything. […] You would want to talk to everybody that’s there to find out. […] And they asked them not to speak to us, not to tell anything. […] I’m gonna find out what happened to my brother, ‘cause that’s my brother, I love him and he deserves to be here right now if it wasn’t (sic) for those people. […] They knew he was worth more dead than alive and that’s why they did what they did. These people are controlling his Estate. Michael worked all his life for his children.”

[LaToya Jackson – on Good Day New York; source: www.myfoxny.com]