Some More Quotes PDF Print E-mail

 

TST note: All quoted paragraphs below are filtered by The Silenced Truth Team, a part of them being transcribed from video form by our team. The content of all quoted interviews, articles, statements and tweets has been reviewed, at times, truncated, to benefit speech and reading flow. Unrelated comments, negative, inaccurate and highly speculative interpretations about Michael Jackson in certain very few excerpts available below have been omitted. Alteration of original semantics, tonality, discourse intent (bar grammar error corrections in the sentence/phrasing construction, as well as certain aesthetic touches), have not been performed.

 

“Mick (Jagger) didn't hesitate when Michael told him to warm up his vocal cords before recording their duet "State of Shock" in 1983. It was a classic recording session a year after "Thriller" had cemented Michael’s reputation as the King of Pop.] By then, everyone knew how good Michael was. If Michael Jackson says, 'Warm up', you warm up - even if you are Mick Jagger. […] [I normally record a singer about a dozen times before getting enough to mix together a perfect vocal track for an album. With Michael, it only took two to four takes. And one of those takes would be perfect on its own. But hours of preparation preceded recording. We would change lyrics, tempo and pitch, working for days and hours on getting the song just right before finalizing the track. Thriller was recorded and completed in six months.] […] “Off the Wall' and 'Thriller' showed Quincy Jones kaleidoscopic approach. […] But it was Michael’s talent and drive for perfection that kept the singer practicing all night before a recording. That's why a typical recording session started late.] We were up at the crack of noon.] Michael never started singing until after he warmed up his voice thoroughly for a typical 10-hour day. He was a perfect gentleman and a consummate professional throughout all meetings. He never drank coffee. He never drank alcohol. He was a fussy eater. I guess he was what you would call a health nut. [I will remember him as one of the best prepared artists he ever worked with.] He never came in half-stepping. Michael was always prepared. I never recorded Michael when he had the lyrics in front of him. [His dedication to his craft was unique. During album recordings, which would sometimes last more than six months, he rarely rested.] He would work on the lyrics all of the time. […]”

[Bruce Swedien, American audio engineer and music producer, author of 2009 book, ‘In The Studio With Michael Jackson’; sources: www.gainesville.com, www.mj-777.com]

 

“The first concert I ever went to was Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium, as I was a massive fan. Most people's first gigs are really embarrassing. But I've got a really cool one. I absolutely loved him and I thought it was a massive loss when he died. No one will ever come close to what he achieved. He was one in a million. When I get emotional, I get out my guitar, and when he died, that song (“My Only One”) just came pouring out.”

[Amy Macdonald, Scottish singer and songwriter; sources: www.dailystar.co.uk, www.songfacts.com]

 

“Not a day goes by where I don’t think about you. I love and miss you more than one could believe. Your heart epitomized perfection. – Meho”

[Tito Joseph ‘T.J.’ Jackson, member of American music group, 3T, Michael Jackson’s nephew; sources: http://twitter.com/#!/tjjackson, www.rap-up.com]


“[…] I want EVERYONE TO CELEBRATE MICHAEL'S LIFE (…)!! That's what he would want. […] A lot of you are so sad, Michael would want you to rejoice his life! Please do so! Rejoice the kings (sic) music!”

[LaToya Jackson, http://twitter.com/#!/latoyajackson]


“Let's carry out Michael's dream of healing our planet: you can help by making eco-friendly choices everyday. "Make that change!" #MJ”

[Sigmund Esco "Jackie" Jackson, American singer and musician, a member of The Jackson 5; sources: http://twitter.com/#!/jackiejackson5, www.rap-up.com]


“MJ….REST THE DEAD!! You live on through what you blessed us all with. Your compassion and dedication compels us to be our greatest…URIV”

[Usher Raymond IV, commonly known as Usher, American recording artist, dancer, actor; sources: http://twitter.com/#!/USHERRAYMONDIV, www.rap-up.com]


"If only EVERYONE was this Loving to Michael Jackson when he was alive. He made this cruel world a better place & there will never be another.... Ok, my MJ tweet was pretty emo. I'm just sayin’ the entire media world S*** on MJ when he was here. While he brought so much good to the world... MJ, you are the man. RIP”

[Benjamin ‘Benji Madden’ Levi Combs, American guitarist and backup vocalist for the band Good Charlotte; sources: http://twitter.com/#!/benjaminmadden, www.rap-up.com]


“I think it affected the world. The most amazing thing about Michael and the power of music is he’s not gone. For us it’s like, 'What? He’s been gone for over a year?' It goes to show that he’s gonna live on, so I’m just happy that I witnessed it. I was here. Being born in 85 and to witness some of Michael’s best work, I was just happy to be a part of it.”

[Asher Roth, American rapper; sources: www.bet.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“To tell you the truth, man, for that man to be gone it don’t (sic) feel right, but at the same time it feels like he’s not gone because of the presence of his music. When I do a party and play Michael Jackson, it's like it just came out and the crowd goes crazy. He’s going to always be around. His music is always going be around. It's unfortunate that we lost a young king as soon as we did, but he gave us so much to live with and he’s going to always live on. […]”

[David Anthony Love, Jr., also known by stage name Kid Capri, American musician; sources: www.bet.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]



“Michael Jackson is the king of pop. That’s the king of entertainment, period. Not just pop, but entertainment. He was a trendsetter. I used to just follow his marketing schemes more than anything. Everybody loved the music, but I just loved the fact that how they marketed it when he would come out with an album. Before the album would come out, it would be in McDonald's or Burger King. He had cross promotion when nobody had cross promotion, so I enjoyed his marketing of his product.”

[Luther R. Campbell, also known by stage name Uncle Luke, American record label owner, rap performer and actor; sources: www.bet.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] He was so great. It’s reminding me of how impactful he was on my own career. No one has the focus and drive that he had. Do you understand the amount of hours he put in? A lot of it is natural, but the amount of hours since he was a kid that he put in just let me know that this industry is survival of the fittest and, wow, was he able to survive.”

[Keri Lynn Hilson, American recording artist and songwriter; sources: www.bet.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]



"Well, you know, it affected the industry. It was a tragedy, so… there’s not anybody in music or entertainment that wasn’t influenced at all by him. It’s incredible to see how the record sales just went through the roof after he passed. It shows that there are still true music fans out there and it’s not just always about a gimmick. […] It’s good to see that he gets that support."

[Paul Michael Slayton, better known by stage name Paul Wall, American rapper; sources: www.bet.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Aww, man, you already know just to lose a legend such as Mike at such an early age, it most definitely makes you reflect just as a person. It makes you appreciate every day that you’re here. Every day you get to accomplish what we set out here to do, it means that much more to you. He was a young dude, but he made the biggest impact in music history of all time. It’s a lesson to be learned and some great music that will live on forever.”

[William Leonard Roberts II, better known by stage name Rick Ross, American rapper; sources: www.bet.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


"When I found out what happened when he passed, I was still incarcerated, so that definitely added insult to injury. It was a rough moment, so it really inspired my career as a rapper. He inspired everybody."

[Michael Lawrence Tyler, better known by stage name Mystikal, American rapper; sources: www.bet.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[I was good friends with Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.] The first time they came to Soul Train, they invited me and Gary Keys (another popular Soul Train dancer) to their dressing room, because they loved our dancing on the show. After that, they invited Gary and me to their house and we taught them things like the Robot, locking steps and certain neck movements. We would even go to the movies with them, but they had to wear disguises so that no one would recognize them.” […] I remember one time I was at (Michael’s) house and we had just finished dancing and we went outside and I playfully grabbed Michael and we were playing and running back and forth between parked cars in the Jacksons driveway. Suddenly, a big mafia type (of) guy grabbed me and said, “Don’t hurt him (Michael), he’s worth a lot of money. Be careful of how you are playing.” I didn’t know who that man was, whether he was a security guard or someone doing business with Joe Jackson (…). […] I got a sense of (Michael’s) shyness. I understood Michael so much. He just wanted to dance and perform. But when he came off the stage, he was introverted. It was hard to get away from the camera and the stage. I was the same way. On the set of Soul Train, when the cameras were off, I ran away from them, because I was very shy. But Michael could be a prankster also. Once, when Lisa Jones (another Soul Train dancer) and I were at his house, he asked Lisa, “Do you want some potato chips?”, Lisa said, “Yeah, I like potato chips!” So Michael gave Lisa the bag of chips and she reached into the bag and there was a snake in it! (Laughs) […] I got to see his playful side. I even had a nickname for him. Dodo Bird! (Laughs)”

[Patricia Davis, American Soul Train dancer, sources: http://soultrain.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


Before Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth”, before “Avatar” and “Wall-E”, before "going green" became a catchphrase, came Michael Jackson's "Earth Song," one of the most unusual, audacious protest songs in popular music history. A massive hit globally (reaching #1 in over fifteen countries), it wasn't even released as a single in the United States. Yet nearly sixteen years later, its admirers continue to grow. The song's desperate plea on behalf of the planet and its inhabitants (particularly the most vulnerable) remains as relevant and important as ever. "Earth Song" mattered deeply to Jackson, who rightfully considered it one of his greatest artistic achievements. He planned for it to be the climax of his ill-fated This Is It concert series in London. It was the last song he rehearsed before he died.

The following excerpt is from a 50-page piece entitled "Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus," which details the song's evolution from its inception in Vienna to Jackson's final live performance in Munich:

"Michael Jackson was alone in his hotel room, pacing.

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 Vienna Marriott, 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. (…) 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.

It was his second night in Vienna. Outside his hotel, beyond Ring Strasse Boulevard and the sprawling Stadtpark, he could see the majestically lit museums, cathedrals, and opera houses. It was a world of culture and privilege far removed from his boyhood home in Gary, Indiana. Jackson was staying in spacious conjoining suites lined with large windows and a breathtaking view. Yet for all the surrounding opulence, mentally and emotionally he was somewhere else. It wasn't mere loneliness (though he definitely felt that). It was something deeper -- an overwhelming despair about the condition of the world.

[…] While Jackson enjoyed the attention in certain ways, he also felt a profound responsibility to use his celebrity for more than fame and fortune (in 2000, The Guinness Book of World Records cited him as the most philanthropic pop star in history). "When you have seen the things I have seen and traveled all over the world, you would not be honest to yourself and the world to [look away]," Jackson explained.

At nearly every stop on his Bad World Tour, he would visit orphanages and hospitals. Just days earlier, while in Rome, he stopped by the Bambin (sic) Gesu Children's Hospital, handing out gifts, taking pictures, and signing autographs. Before leaving, he pledged a donation of over $100,000 dollars.

While performing or helping children, he felt strong and happy, but when he returned to his hotel room, a combination of anxiety, sadness, and desperation sometimes seized him.

Jackson had always been sensitive to suffering and injustice. But in recent years, his feeling of moral responsibility grew. The stereotype of his naiveté ignored his natural curiosity and sponge-like mind. While he wasn't a policy wonk (Jackson unquestionably preferred the realm of art to politics), he also wasn't oblivious to the world around him. He read widely, watched films, talked to experts, and studied issues passionately. He was deeply invested in trying to understand and change the world.

In 1988, he certainly had reason for concern. The news read like chapters from ancient scripture: there were heat waves and droughts, massive wildfires and earthquakes, genocide and famine. Violence escalated in the Holy Land as forests were ravaged in the Amazon and garbage, oil and sewage swept up on shores. In place of Time's Person of the Year, 1988's cover story was dedicated to the "endangered earth." It suddenly occurred to many that we were literally destroying our own home.

Most people read or watch the news casually, passively. They become numb to the horrifying images and stories projected on the screen. Yet such stories frequently moved Jackson to tears. He internalized them and felt physical pain. When people told him to simply enjoy his own good fortune, he got angry. He believed completely in John Donne's philosophy that "no man is an island." For Jackson, the idea extended to all life. The whole planet was connected and intrinsically valuable.

"[For the average person]," he explained, "he sees problems 'out there' to be solved... But I don't feel that way -- those problems aren't 'out there,' really. I feel them inside me. A child crying in Ethiopia, a seagull struggling pathetically in an oil spill... a teenage soldier trembling with terror when he hears the planes fly over: Aren't these happening in me when I see and hear about them?"

Once, during a dance rehearsal, he had to stop, because an image of a dolphin trapped in a net made him so emotionally distraught. "From the way its body was tangled in the lines," he explained, "you could read so much agony. Its eyes were vacant, yet there was still that smile, the ones dolphins never lose... So there I was, in the middle of rehearsal, and I thought, 'They're killing a dance.'"

When Jackson performed, he could feel these turbulent emotions surging through him. With his dancing and singing, he tried to transfuse the suffering, give it expression, meaning, and strength. It was liberating. For a brief moment, he could take his audience to an alternative world of harmony and ecstasy. But inevitably, he was thrown back into the "real world" of fear and alienation.

So much of this pain and despair circulated inside Jackson as he stood in his hotel room, brooding.

Then suddenly it "dropped in [his] lap": Earth's song. A song from her perspective, her voice. A lamentation and a plea.

The chorus came to him first -- a wordless cry. He grabbed his tape player and pressed record. Aaaaaaaaah, Oooooooooh.

The chords were simple, but powerful: A-flat minor to C-sharp triad; A-flat minor seventh to C-sharp triad; then modulating up, B-flat minor to E-flat triad. That's it! Jackson thought. He then worked out the introduction and some of the verses. He imagined its scope in his head. […]”

Copyright © 2011 Joseph Vogel

The full version of "Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus" can be downloaded at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore (iTunes).

For more information, visit www.joevogel.net/earthsong.”

[Source: www.huffingtonpost.com]


“Michael Jackson: We Are The World

One of the most generous humanitarians to ever have graced this planet with their physical presence returned to the essence 2 years ago, today. Although much mention is not made of it - while still physically alive, the generous Michael Jackson donated millions of dollars, as well as countless hours, to numerous charities and other organizations which assisted many others in need. While the main-stream media tends to focus on stories regarding the Pop-icon primarily based upon pure speculation, slanderous lies and/or unsubstantiated allegations; they rarely shed light on his unselfish hospitality and genuine love to help others who are in dire need, regardless of ethnicity.

Michael Jackson & AIDS victim Ryan White

According to the 2000 Guinness Book Of World Records, Jackson supported more charities (39) that year, via money donations and sponsorships, than any other entertainer. Jackson's financial contributions have helped in relief efforts in dilapidated regions throughout the world – mainly providing clean drinking water, food and medical supplies. Jackson applied immense amounts of currency and time towards relief assistance for A.I.D.S. and cancer research, as well as to combat world hunger. Also, he often visited hospital patients, raising their morale with his presence. In 1984, Michael provided New York City's Mt. Sinai Medical Center with a 19(-)bed unit for cancer and leukemia patients. Later that year, he then revisited the Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he was previously treated after being badly burned during the production of a commercial for Pepsi. Jackson donated the entire $1.5 million from the azsoda's sponsorship to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children.

Michael, along with Lionel Richie, co-wrote the biggest selling single of all time, 1985's ‘We Are The World', in an effort to raise money for Afrika (sic - Africa) and awareness of the imperialistic powers that are raping the Motherland. The ‘Michael Jackson United Negro College Fund/Endowed Scholarship Fund' was established in 1986. This $1.5 million fund is aimed towards college students majoring in communications or the performing arts, with money given annually. Proceeds from his 1988 single, ‘The Man In The Mirror', he donated to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a retreat for cancer-stricken children. The following year, Jackson donated tickets to shows in his ‘Bad Tour' to underprivileged children. The proceeds from a Los Angeles show 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'.

Three years later, he set up a burn-unit for children and established the ‘Heal The World Foundation', whose work has included: airlifting 6 tons of supplies to Sarajevo, instituting drug and alcohol abuse education/prevention and donating millions of dollars to less fortunate children. Jackson then helped to organize the ‘United We Stand: What More Can I Give' benefit concert in the wake of the tragic events which occurred on September 11, 2001. Jackson also (would have) donated the proceeds from another song to surviving victims of Hurricane Katrina.

As is usually done by the powers-that-be, Michael Jackson's character was assassinated when allegations of inappropriate behavior with young boys arose, but many people say the main-stream media chose to pursue those stories, rather than the more positive ones, in an attempt to take away from his credibility and his humanitarian efforts. “How can people call him a child molester? What a great humanitarian. He was a very generous man who truly made a difference. Michael saw the world through the visual eyes of an artist, therefore he wanted to make a change – which he did! Just a shame the media rarely or never highlighted all of this. They chose negative trash over decent news. It's very disheartening to read this and think back at the way he was mistreated during his time here,” determined La Mea Nua.”

[Michael "Ice-Blue" Harris, hournalist; sources: http://hiphopwired.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Death always seems to bring out the best and the worst in people.

Whether it be within the close confines of the family circle who loses a loved one or the large populace of a nation who loses their leader, death can either draw hearts together or rip bonds apart. Most assuredly, this past week has brought to light a broad spectrum of emotions from virtually millions of fans, non-fans, and observers alike who have an opinion about Michael Jackson. I have read every sort of comment ranging from a proclamation that he was led to Jesus 3 weeks (before) (“saved”) by Andrae’ & Sandra Crouch, to someone literally stating that they knew he was suffering today in the flames of Hell.

Then there are the smug remarks by some who can’t understand why so many would have such strong feelings about someone they’ve never met, or why more emphasis isn’t put on the true heroes who have really given to others. Gosh, it seems that nobody can win, doesn’t it? What comes to mind is that you can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. That’s just human nature, isn’t it? In a perfect world, each and every person who deserves recognition based on their amount of sacrifice would get it pound for pound… but then again, the ones who are giving for the right reasons usually don’t really care about being praised anyway, so it’s a moot point. However, what really concerns me - once again - is the attitude I continue to witness time and time again from my very vocal Christian brothers and sisters who loudly proclaim their righteous involvement in their churchiness week after week, and yet when the first occasion shows itself for them to judge another person’s worthiness, they will be ALL over it like white on rice.

God knows that I am so far from righteous, that for me to even try to sit here and attempt to type a rebuke is a joke… and yet, I feel very strongly compelled to at least call things out as I see them. My intent is in a spirit of love - to encourage us all to reach higher, to choose better - even if I may fail at expressing it in that way at times.

Here’s the real deal:

The love of God is greater far

than tongue or pen can ever tell;

It goes beyond the highest star,

and reaches to the lowest hell.

Perhaps I am idealistic - you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one - and yeah, my capacity for hope almost knows no bounds… there have been times in my life that hope was ALL I had… maybe that’s why I see somebody with such a childlike idealism like Michael Jackson had and I do feel sad that the world has lost that light. Read the lyrics to “Heal The World” wherein he urges us to be God’s glow–brilliant.

Do not misunderstand me, I am fully aware of the man’s frailties. I know he made poor decisions… don’t we all? His were shouted from the rooftops and magnified by his millions of dollars. There but for the grace of God go I! However, I do not believe he was a child molester.

Here’s why:

When I was a peon in the music business, I had people trying to befriend me, just because of the other peons I knew to try and get to higher up peons to try to get to possible higher ups, and maybe - just maybe - on down the line, get to an artist. That was just my case, a total and complete nobody.

Do you not think the biggest star this planet has ever known had hundreds of leeches trying to latch onto him every single day… extortionists trying to constantly get money or whatever else they could out of him? Those leeches would use whatever they could to get to him – even their children. Those leeches finally sucked the spirit of Michael Jackson dry. Those around him said he was never the same after the child molestation trial. I watched a defense attorney being interviewed - who had no vested interest to do so - in tears as he talked about what a broken man Michael Jackson became as he was falsely accused, misinterpreted, and maligned.

You may ask why I feel the need to defend a man I never met. I can only answer that the passion I feel about loving the “unlovable” in the eyes of the mainstream church runs so deep within my veins, that I can’t help but speak out. I cannot be silent when I watch people who are not your typical white, Protestant, evangelical, straight, American be maligned just because they are different. There is still an arrogance present that is as filthy rags. It stinks. It’s disgusting.

Just like our own righteousness without the love of God - remember?

“The hardest people to reach with the love of God are not the bad people. They know they are bad. They have no defense. The hardest ones to win for God are the self-righteous people.” – Charles L. Allen

I had breakfast this morning with one of my closest friends. Something we talked about was how when we were growing up in the church, we were taught how broken as people we are. Condemnation, restrictions, and everything we were not allowed to do or be. Just like I said above, our righteousness is as filthy rags… without the love of God.

So, shouldn’t we be striving everyday (sic) to live out the balance of knowing we are nothing without the love of God and yet everything because of the love of God - and so is that hooker down on the street corner downtown? And the person sitting in the pew who hasn’t had a shower in 3 days? And that pastor of the mega-church on the hill? And the guy at the prison sitting on death row? And the President? And Britney Spears? And that homeless guy at the McDonalds on Broadway? And me? And you? And Michael Jackson?”

[Ginger Snaps; sources: http://gingersnaps.wordpress.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I was on the Rhythm Nation tour and Mike actually asked me to do a song with him and I told him no. I didn't want to do it. I felt I hadn't come into my own and I hadn't fully made a name for myself ... and I didn't want to ride anyone's coattails. And I remember being in the Janet Tour a few good years later and he asked me again if I would do a song with him. And I felt, at that point, I'd carved my own little niche in this world of music and I felt okay, I can do this now and that's how it came about. […] It feels great (performing ‘Scream” with my brother again) -- just listening to and hearing his voice. On stage, I find myself remembering the experience of recording it.”

[Janet Damita Jo Jackson, American recording artist, dancer and actress; sources: www.cnn.com, edited by TST Team]


“Within a week of his death, people he had eradicated from his life completely, came in lurking, asking questions about the catalog, speaking to the attorney who controls the catalog. My brother Michael was clean (when he died), he had no drugs in his system, he was leading a good life. He was unhappy with the way people were treating him. The coroner said there was nothing in him except for the propofol which was pumped in his body and it was enough to kill an elephant. […] I want to have a one-on-one with Dr. Murray. I would love to sit down and talk with him. […] He finally agreed to ten shows, which he didn't want to do, but he agreed and he wakes up overnight and there's (sic) 50 shows and they told him he had to do them. […]. They knew what they were doing. […]”

“[…] I understand why Michael did it (masked his children). He wanted his kids to have the freedom to go out and not be recognized when they weren't with him.”

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


He was not (a drug addict). […] Michael wouldn’t. It’s funny, because Michael would be so sick and he would never take an aspirin or anything and one day, he accidentally took an aspirin and he didn’t know, and my mother said it was a vitamin or things of that nature, and then when he found out it was an aspirin, we had to rush him to the hospital, he was hyperventilating, he thought he was dying because it was an aspirin. That’s the kind of person he was. But then, of course, the tragedy happened with the fire and the burning and the whole bit, I don’t know if it stemmed from there or not, but no, he was not a drug addict, but he did have a problem with the sleeping pattern, but when Michael passed, in all fairness I must tell you that Michael had no drugs in his body, he was very clean and the only drugs they had found in his body was (sic) the drugs that they put in his body that night.

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


“[…] I think they postponed the trial, of course, once again. However, I think it’s very, very important, now they’re involuntary manslaughters. I always thought that’s what they would probably say, and now Dr. Murray is saying that Michael injected himself and I am here to tell you that I have spoken to many doctors prior to this and asked them and they said, ‘It’s totally impossible. You can’t do this.’ When Michael (…) passed, the coroner came and said that, ‘Geez, all the drugs that were in Michael’s body were the drugs that were administered to him that night and there was enough propofol in Michael to have killed an elephant.’ And he said, ‘Whoever did this, did this intentionally and they murdered him, they wanted him dead.’ And those are the words and that’s what happened to my brother. You cannot do this. They’re trying to say he did it himself. That’s totally untrue. Michael was very clean. He was very happy. As far as with his health is concerned, meaning that, his life, he was happy that he was able to do the things he wanted to do as far as sleeping is concerned and things of that nature, and he had gone to rehab with that (in 1993). […]”

“I’m asking and urging anybody that knows anything about anything, please help and speak out and please tell what you know. If it’s a paralegal who were working with these people, if it’s a secretary, please, by all means, do tell. Because I do believe, ‘cause I know the truth, I know this is what they did. It was a conspiracy, but I do believe that there are people out there, that the best is gonna get to them and they’re gonna say, ‘You know what? I can’t take this anymore. […] This is what’s happening.’ Michael did know this is gonna happen to him. So fans, if you do anything, please, by all means, do speak out. […] The opportunists are the people that are controlling his estate. The opportunists are the people who controlled Michael, who are now people that Michael wanted out of his life that are in his life. Those are the people. Money-trail people. Follow the money trail and you will know what happened to my brother. Who stood to gain the most.”

[LaToya Jackson – interviewed by Chris Yandek; source: www.cyinterview.com]


“Michael Jackson (prompted me to move to the United States). My family was against me moving to a different country, but I made a promise to go to college and get an education while in America. […] Getting Janet's (Jackson) audition was a crazy dream come true, and she and her camp kindly helped me get my extended work visa, so without them, I wouldn’t be here in the US. […] (Michael) really taught me how to perform. When I dance, I think of him and put in my own expression. He is the reason why I am where I am today, and I am so thankful for it. […] It was the Dangerous Tour in Fukuoka (when I saw him in concert), when I was 14-years-old. That really changed my life, and motivated me to learn English and go to America. […] (I see Michael’s influence) everywhere! (…) Because he is the best and everybody wants to be like him. I have seen so many people do jumping entrances, just like Michael did on the Dangerous Tour! […] I was calm (when I auditioned for his This Is It concerts), which surprised me, even when I saw him in the audience. My partner, Maryss, was more nervous. I truly thanked God for this moment, because Michael hadn't held auditions in 10 years, and for me and Maryss to be there together, dancing in front of Michael, was unreal. We auditioned as men and women. We really wanted to do it as a guy, because we would rather dance next to him, just like him. (Girl roles are more sexy, classy, and don’t really get to dance.) We made call backs for both ways (as men and women), but Kenny told us to show up as a girl for last call back, so we did. When I found out we did not get it, I cried like a baby, and I never cry over auditions. It just felt like that was it, and there will be no more chance for some weird reason. However, our good friends (Sofia and Kento), who also love Michael, got it! That just made me so happy! (But, they ended up not being on the tour.) I will never forget this experience in my life, and that was one of the best moments in my life too. I was sad, but honored to perform on his tribute for the MTV award with Janet. I got to dance like Michael. His choreography is true legacy. I love dancing his choreography. It’s just..... The best! […] He looked healthy, so I felt relieved, because I was worried about his health.”

“[…] We went to his mother's house (when we learned he had died), because we couldn't just stay still after hearing such news. […] He is the reason why we came to the US to pursue entertainment, and because of him, dancers today have jobs. We just wanted to show and celebrate his life and legacy through dance. We were happy that so many of our friends, who also love Michael, came (to pay tribute to him). We miss him so much.”

[Rino Nakasone, Japanese-born dancer and choreographer; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“It was Friday morning. I had been impatiently waiting for this day for weeks. The moment I saw the advertisement, without a moment’s hesitation I called Channel Islands Helicopters and reserved my spot. In speaking with very friendly Sean Casey, the brother of the owner, Dan Casey, I learned I was one of the first to book, so a prime time was available… no marine layer expected at that time of day and still plenty of time for traveling by land to visit the gates afterward. Sean was so easily accessible to make plans with, as well as fun and easy to talk to. He assured me it would be a smooth flight. I have a fear of heights, but even that did not deter me from making this reservation. Over and over I tried to picture in my mind what it would be like to be so close to Neverland… there was just simply no way of knowing what to expect. I had visited the gates of Neverland many times and each time wishing upon a star that one day… just maybe... one day when I had the nerve and accessibility I’d somehow fly by helicopter over Michael’s beloved Neverland and see it with my own eyes. Other than physically walking on to the property, here was a dream come true. Moreover, if we could turn back time 10 years, that of course would be my ideal, ultimate, perfect dream… but then I wish that everyday since Michael’s passing.

[…] Michael Jackson was so huge, bigger than life in all he did, so LOVED around the world. He had the ability to personally touch each person’s heart and soul. He was our Peter Pan never meant to leave us so soon and in such a horrific, shocking way, that the normal grieving process did not take effect around the world, but was sidelined. As a result and with the aid of the internet, the MJ community has drawn together to comfort and heal together in a way never seen before on this planet.

For me, the grief has gotten better, because I am able to visit so many places where Michael spent time and then channel my experiences in my writing. It is very cathartic for me. Somehow I need to be where he was, meet people he knew or even shopped with, it is healing for me, yet there is never enough and always, no matter where I go or who I meet, there is emptiness because he is not there. He will never be there. He is gone… only his LOVE lives on, a giant, global LOVE that surrounds this planet touching people on every single continent.

I am one who believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Michael Jackson was murdered and the man on trial for his murder, Conrad Murray, although culpable for his actions in Michael’s death, (…) did not act alone. Michael was always different when he walked this earth. He thought outside the box and never followed the normal societal boundaries in his artistic way of thinking. He was a genius motivated by the music planted in his soul while he was still in the womb. An artistic genius elevated to a spiritual level seen in only a handful of humans over the centuries. This world will never see the likes of this amazing man again. I feel so blessed to have lived in his lifetime. He was motivated by LOVE pure and simple and held on to the child like (sic) quality that most adults loose (sic) early in their tweens. Michael kept it because it was there that he felt most LOVED, most free to be himself and where the source of his creativity dwelled. Michael said, “In children I see the face of God.” This LOVE that Michael shared with the world still LIVES. It lives in the MJ fan community. (…) […]

Like a little child at Christmas, I felt that June 24th was never going to arrive. I could hardly contain myself. I had not realized how nervous and excited I truly was until my friend, Kathy, just in from Cabo, sported us off in her little, bright lime green, rent a car. Taking no chances of missing my flight, she obliged arriving extra early, so we would have maximum drive time in case of hold ups. My plan was to take a single red rose to drop from the helicopter over the far hills of Neverland and say a prayer for Michael. We weren’t long on our journey when I felt something missing and suddenly realized what that was, as I blurted out as if the world had ended, “Oh my God! I forgot my red rose!!” She quickly veered the lime green bullet into a grocery store so I could obtain another red rose… I simply had to have my red rose. Instantaneously, my cell phone rang and my dear friend on the other end of the line said, “Betty, I have two UK MJ fans here who are taking the 1:00p.m. Channel Islands Helicopter flight. Isn’t that your flight?” Amazed, I answered “YES! They must be my co-passengers, since there is only room for 3 passengers on each flight.” Thinking to myself how that is SO God and SO Michael to introduce me to my fellow helicopter co-passengers on a dream come true flight even before I get there! I just sat there dumb founded as she continued to tell me their names saying, “They are bringing you four red roses.” Suddenly, Nicky from the UK was on the line and I was talking to someone I had never met before who had traveled from the other side of the planet. We mutually shared our uncontainable exuberance over our upcoming flight together and for one more time in this amazing Michael journey I felt truly… I was Not Alone.

In my life, there have been meager and hard felt times when as a struggling single mother, living off one sparse income, I fed and clothed my children on a wing and a prayer, so I am not unaccustomed to miracles like food on my door step or a check I never knew I was owed arriving in the mail or $50 in my purse seemingly from no where (sic). This was just a little thing… a needed single red rose for Michael that I could easily afford; […] Astoundingly reassured, God proved to me one more time that He knows the smallest desires of our hearts and gladly and freely blesses us with them when we are in His perfect will. I so love those affirmations from God. So… having pulled into the market place to buy a single red rose and with never stepping out of the car, I put my purse down and felt blessed abundantly with not one red rose, but four red roses instead. As the Bible says “My cup runneth over.” My Christian friend smiled and supportively said, “See, God is in charge” as she directed her bright, lime green car away from the grocery store, and on down the road to Neverland we flew as we both said “Thank you, Lord!”

We quickly traveled along the now very familiar, beautiful road which runs through my neighboring valley, emerging with the Pacific on our left, as we veered right in pursuit of our destination, the Santa Ynez Airport. However, my mind and heart were racing so that I was not able to drink in the landscape as I normally do. The usually soothing journey, even the beautiful Pacific seemed dull and dark with the heavy marine layer surrounding us like a cumbersome thick blanket. The normally comforting feeling I get from the low lying clouds only seemed instead to be holding me back from all the day had in store. I couldn’t wait to break free from it. I noticed little, but took great comfort in Michael’s beautiful voice serenading us as we traveled. All was a blur to me, until we made the turn up into the Santa Ynez Valley and broke through the marine layer. There, the sudden brilliance of the azure blue sky glistened and the wild flowers greeted us as if to say, ‘This day was made especially for your Neverland flight.’

Excitement continued to spill over in my heart as we flew down the road to seek out the airport. We arrived with time to spare to find the cutest, quaintest airport located just moments away from Solvang. There was a wonderful cool breeze, an amazing beautifully well cared for flower garden, complete with luscious grape vines, which of course the gardener in me noticed and took comfort in immediately. A giant shade tree set in the middle of emerald green grass with an inviting row of wooden Victorian lawn chairs looked out over the small airstrip. There was a group of MJ fans gathered at a picnic table and I smiled and greeted them as I walked toward the airport office to seek out my pilot. I met and introduced myself to the pilot, Dan Casey, a very nice man who seemed eager to learn information about Neverland from the fans, and, without prompting, I immediately began to regal him with stories I had read. One in particular about Michael’s award house on the Neverland property. He was attentive and very accommodating while he answered my questions about where we would fly and what we would see. The staff was welcoming and ready for excited and exuberant Michael Jackson fans and were very open, reassuring and friendly.

In my anxiety and need to leave early, we had arrived over an hour early, so we decided to travel on into Solvang for a quick look at Michael’s favorite Solvang antique store. I wanted to show my friend the wonderful Violina Virtuoso music box. To my delight, Dorothy was working and I was able to talk to her again about Michael, and, as always, the love that fills her face at the mention of his name glowed forth. She quickly offered to play the music box for us and proceeded to turn it on. My friend was amazed. I love to see the look on the faces of those who have never heard it before. The gasp as the sound greets their ears and travels to their heart. A Face Book friend, Siren from Canada, who also visited the antique store over the week of June 25th, described this music as “A heavenly sound, like angels weeping, touching the depth of your soul.” I was thrilled to learn this week as well that this beautiful and unique piece may still be on the premises at Neverland.

After our visit to the antique store, we scurried on back to the airport, but stopped briefly as my eye caught sight of the most amazing sign posted in front of the local school, which I found so fitting for this journey. I could not resist jumping out and to snap a pic of, “An Invitation To Dance” (…). Hopping back in the bullet, we sped off to the airport where I physically met my co-passengers, Nicky and Rachael, from the UK. We immediately bonded and they gave me my roses for the flight. Also, each of us were given sunflowers for Michael. It had been a concern for me that tossing out anything from the helicopter, including biodegradable flowers may be considered rude and inconsiderate. Then I learned that the flowers would be thrown out at Zaca Lake, which is on the border to Michael’s Neverland property, it will always’ (sic) be Michael’s Neverland to me. I had learned on previous visits to Neverland that Michael had planned on buying this Zaca Lake property because of the Indian spiritual history behind it, but cancelled his plans when in 2004 and 2005 he had to turn his attention to surviving living hell. So it was with deep sorrow that on our flight I tossed the flowers out the helicopter door over Zaca Lake and Neverland and said a prayer for Justice for Michael Jackson and safety and protection for his beautiful children. It seemed the most appropriate place to say such a prayer, for that is where one of Michael Jackson’s dreams died, and in opposition to what was done to Michael, I wanted to be a teeny part in the process to reignite hope and healing over Michael’s legacy.

The three of us, the 1:00 o’clock passengers, met and immediately began enthusiastic conversation. There was an instantaneous bond in LOVE for Michael and our excitement was almost uncontainable. We laughed, hugged and shared about how we met ahead of time through my beautiful friend, Robyn. I looked at each and felt I’d known them all my life. They were my sisters immediately. These two lovely ladies traveled from the other side of the globe for just this moment in time to stand with me, for the three of us to fly together, our hearts connected by Michael's LOVE. Only God can do this… create this divine appointment.

Travis Olson approached us, in a smiling and reassuring way stating he needed to take us aside for a safety meeting. I perked up and immediately pushed to the back of my mind any past conversations and warnings from well meaning people about how dangerous helicopters are, refusing to allow negativity in. Turns out he just wanted to give us a very simple explanation of how to approach the helicopter, where to step and how to handle the seat belts. As he talked, I was so excited I could barely retain what he was saying, so I just prayed, “Dear Lord, please don’t let anything happen. Give us a smooth safe ride”, and then as soon as he finished, I turned back to talking to my new friends about Neverland and their journey to this moment in time.

We made our way out on to the tarmac and waited for our bird to arrive. Just like in the movies, we heard it before we saw it, then there it was the blades whirring loudly above. Somehow, it looked very small in the air, but when it landed, it looked so much bigger and sturdier. We stood back at a safe distance while three fans with smiles big as the sun hopped out and walked toward us, Speechless, thumbs up. That was all I needed to see I was ready to jump on board. All fear of heights waylaid for the moment. I was wondering how I would react since I was sitting in the front and don't do well with heights, but mentally reassured myself that I’d be strapped in and the pilot was experienced. Travis escorted us out to the helicopter. The sight, sound and wind of the blades whooshing way over head like a giant wind machine. I found myself wondering why everyone always ducks when around a helicopter; the blades were so high, there was no danger. Then Travis helped us in with a little step stool and we were careful to step only where he had instructed us to do so. Dan Casey, the owner and pilot, sat inside and greeted each of us with a big smile while handing us individual head sets with microphones to wear. It is very loud in the helicopter and speaking into the microphone headset made it very easy to communicate. Dan turned on the helicopter IPOD and Michael’s beautiful voice filled our headsets as we lifted off up, up, up into the air. He whisked us away from the airport... destination: Neverland. Literally… the GPS was set for NVRLND. I felt like Tinkerbell… if you only believe! “I do believe! I do believe!” My stomach was absolutely fine and it was such a smooth ride, I had no fear of heights at all; only the most amazing view of Michael’s beautiful neighboring countryside. I was amazed to learn as we flew that we were traveling at 120 mph… it seemed like only about 4 mph. It was such a smooth and comfortable ride, I quickly settled in and all qualms and nervousness about the flight itself vanished. Dan was fun, friendly and accommodating and confirmed we would look for Michael’s awards house on the property and have a very close up view of Neverland. I was happy to realize he was very interested in new information about the property and was happy to help find this house for us.

Before you know it, rising up out of the seemingly never ending dry, scrub brush an emerald island of green appeared, there it was… Michael’s beloved Neverland! It took my breath away. We flew over the main gates which are now re-installed; however, are missing the incredible gold filigree arch and adornments, apparently all sold at auction. It was very sad to me, as they do not look like Michael’s gates, although I am happy they are back in some form. What struck me the most were the trees, so many trees around Michael’s main house. The trees made it difficult to see the house and I immediately thought of Michael saying how much he loved trees and made a mental note to search for The Giving Tree. Everything went so quickly as we circled lower and lower. I was torn between just looking and taking pics. Dan must have noticed my anxiety and reassured me saying, “Remember to take time to just look and take it in and don’t worry about the pictures.” So, yes I did… I tried to snap pics and was able to get some, but my UK friends obtained many more. We later made a pact to share all of them with each other. The pictures you see in this story are from all three of us.

The grounds are very well kept up, like a beautiful sanctuary. Clearly you can see why Michael loved living there so much. The rides are gone now; however, the grounds around each area where a ride was placed is maintained and restored to just as it was when Michael lived there and the rides were present. I got the feeling of, “If you build it, they will come.” The lake is just beautiful with its gushing towers of spraying water. Then I noticed right there before us lay the bridge. The same bridge Michael and his good friend, Ryan White, walked on and happily talked and laughed. The flower beds are gorgeous, filled with brilliant glowing flowers, and the train station and Neverland logo are simply beautiful, restored on the outside just as Michael would have had it, albeit the statues are still missing. Seeing the crystal blue pool brought a huge smile, as memories flooded my mind of Michael’s home movies when his nephews kept pushing him in the pool. Also, the rolling grass triggered pictures of Michael on an Easter egg hunt. What great times Michael had living in this oasis, his retreat from all the evil that stalked him. I felt such pain for him as I thought about how he was forced to leave this incredible place because of greed and lies. Like all things Michael, the heartache never leaves; however the beauty and joy always seems to over ride (sic) it, creating the most bittersweet of experiences. I don’t think I stopped smiling once the entire trip, even when I welled up with tears. I thought I would cry, I mean loose (sic) it, but I didn’t, because it was simply just too amazing and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

I told the pilot a group of friends would be on a bus at the gates, so he circled back around to the front gate. They had not arrived yet, so he circled back to show us the view from the other side of the gates looking out. Something I thought I’d never see, but yearn to see each time I visit. To be on the other side of those front gates was simply amazing. He decided to look for the bus as we circled around again and there along Figueroa Mtn.Rd. we spotted it running a bit late moving on down the road to Neverland. I couldn’t believe it when Dan said ‘Lets (sic) just fly along next to them for a while, so you can wave at them.’ I laughed a big belly laugh and waved and waved as we did indeed fly along next to the bus, and then he jokingly said, “They can’t see you.” Later I was told they did see us… well, the helicopter, anyway, flying along next to them. Like a big kid, I happily said, “That was ME!!”

He flew us over to Zaca Lake at this point where he hovered, as each of us dropped our flowers saying a silent prayer for Michael. Dan was so kind, considerate and understanding as he said, “Did you each have time to say your prayer?”, as we nodded and said yes into our headsets in response, then I was astonished as he maneuvered the helicopter back and dropped the nose so we could get a good look at our flowers laying on the Neverland hillside. It was the most considerate and kind thing he could have done at that moment. “God bless your sweet soul, Michael, and your children” is all I could think of at that moment as tears filled my eyes.

Dan then asked the question he already knew the answer to, “Would you like to go take another look at Neverland?” A huge unanimous “YES! OMG Are you kidding? YES!” echoed through the microphones and he spun us around and we flew back over Neverland for another closer look. I had wanted to get another pic of both the butterflies at the base of where the ferris wheel once stood and also of the train station. This time we also looked for the house, the three bedroom house on the Neverland property which held all of Michael’s awards. He did not keep them in his main home. As the most incredible and loving father, he wanted his children to have the most normal childhood he could give them, so he did not want his children to know him as anything but “Daddy.” Dan had said there were a couple of places it might be, so he zoomed us over to the Zoo area. I didn’t see any animals, but we all now know, with thanks to Larry Nimmer, that the staff are housing animals there today, tending to sick animals that some how (sic) have come by way of Neverland. Somehow, I believe Michael would approve wholeheartedly of this wonderful kindness. We found a large building near the barn, but it didn’t coincide with the story I had read. So he flew over to another area and there up and away from the house back on a dirt road and up a hill was a small house. Yes, this one fit the description completely. I looked down on this humble, unassuming, certainly less than glorious house thinking about how in the rolling hills of Neverland for many years this simple house stored such incredibly, priceless, one of a kind items all in one place belonging to our King of Pop, Rock, Soul and LOVE. According to the story, there were so many awards that even the bathroom and kitchen held MJ’s awards. They weren’t just on a wall or in a room, but every room in the house was filled with his awards. How many people on this planet could claim that? I sat riveted in my seat staring at the roof of this unassuming home and wondered where they all were now and sadness creeped in yet again. Then smiled, as I couldn’t help but picture Michael pulling up to that simple house in his Bentley and jumping out like he was going to a neighbor’s to borrow sugar, but instead dropping off another MTV award. Hee hee! Yes, this was the place. It has been there along (sic) time now and the roof looks as if it needs replacing. This house was the only other possible large structure that lined up with the details of the story I had read. Once again I thought, “God bless your precious soul, Michael.”

Again we took a closer look at the grounds, and this time I noticed the Arcade. This was not far from the house and I laughed as I thought of Michael running over to play the games anytime of the day or night, his child like (sic) spirit free to be who he was in this wonderland. I remembered an interview where he said he loaded up some of his favorite pin ball games and flew them with him on tour. We flew over the railroad tracks and saw how they connected to the Railroad Station, Michael’s own Disneyland train station. A Neverland logo of the little boy sitting on the crescent moon was there just to the side of the train station beautifully maintained on the hillside. The barn where the trains were stored is there, as well as all the Zoo structures, all beautifully maintained. Circling again, we took another look at the lake and front house area, then flew on back to the front gates where we checked out the visiting fans. It was around about this time I thought the ride would be ending and we’d be on our way… then Dan shocked me by saying, “Well, did you see enough?” I responded with, “Oh, I really wanted to see The Giving Tree. It all went so fast, I forgot to look for it.” So he said, “Ok! Well let’s take a look”, and turned the helicopter around and went BACK to Neverland!! We passed by a couple more times and I looked and looked, but I could not figure out of all the trees there which was The Giving Tree, and then suddenly I blinked and looked again and there it was in all it’s (sic) glory with the platform and all before my very eyes. Then it was gone. If you asked me to point out where I couldn’t, as it all happened so fast. Oh, Dear Lord, how much comfort and inspiration that blessed tree brought to Michael. Thank you, God for a glimpse of that beautiful tree. The Giving Tree a monument For All Time to Michael’s incredible, spiritually inspired genius and artistic gift of music and LOVE. My trip was complete. My dream come true.

Dan turned the helicopter back toward the quaint little airport in the Santa Ynez hills, and as we flew off over and beyond the Neverland gates, I felt Neverland tugging at my heart, pulling me back, beckoning me not to leave. I so did not want this flight to end. I thought about how incredibly painful and deeply heart wrenching it must have been for Michael to turn his back on his beloved Neverland and walk away. He had said in his home movies, “Neverland is the totality of me, the culmination of all that I am.” Then they robbed him of his beautiful home. I could see the sadness in Michael’s eyes as we flew towards the airport. It was mostly silent now in the cockpit, just the sound of the blades whirring above. I took in the incredibly beautiful horse ranches below and tried to assimilate all that I had just seen. Somehow, though, I will never be able to assimilate all the torture Michael Jackson was put through. For me, this place, this oasis, this land of wonder should never have been taken from Michael and it will For All Time be Michael’s home, Michael’s Never-Neverland, a very spiritual place where so much joy, healing and good took place.

Before we knew it, we had arrived back at the tidy, picturesque airport, and Dan skillfully landed the helicopter smooth as butter. We were all smiles as we profusely thanked him for an amazing journey. What an awesome job you have, Dan! Travis came and graciously helped us out while the next set of passengers eagerly waited to take our place.

Nicky and Rachael will always have a special place in my heart because of this once in a lifetime mutually shared experience. We decided to drive on to the Neverland gates together. They followed along behind the lime green bullet for a visit at the gates by land. Then later in the week, we met several more times and shared some amazingly touching moments, including visiting Michael at Holly Terrace, Forest Lawn until closing… we will always Remember The Time.

Thank you Dan, Sean and Travis from Channel Islands Helicopters for the most unforgettable, magnificent day of flight over Neverland…. just there, the second star to the right and on till morning!!!

[…]

Side note:

** After writing this story I realized the sequence of flight returns over Neverland may not be in the precise order they took place; however, the feeling and sights seen are as written and captured. It all happened so quickly.

* If you intend to ever take this flight, be sure to take a video camera for best results on pics. It has been rumored that Channel Islands Helicopters will possibly be doing flights over Neverland on Michael’s birthday in August, 2011.

A sign posted on the tree by an MJ fan at the Neverland front gates on June 25, 2011.

"Now to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us... Unto Him be the glory." Ephesians 3: 20-21”

[Betty, Michael Jackson admirer; sources: http://mjbliss.blogspot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“We had the good fortune of knowing (Michael) between October 1984 until Mar 1988. A great human being, who always spoke well of other celebrities whenever we spoke on phone during the years he kept in touch. It was Oct. 1984 when he called us at The Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto in response to a fan letter I wrote on behalf of our daughter, Andrea, aged 3, and a letter that I was able to get through his father whom I met outside the hotel walking on the street. Thereafter, he invited us to his Victory Tour concert as VIP guests. And started a friendship that would have him call many times. In Nov 87, he dedicated a single, The Way You Make Me Feel, to our daughter Andrea, 7, and then invited us to a Bad concert reception in New York in March 1988. Thereafter, I received a large size photo of me with him in April. Unfortunately, we never heard from him once he fired his manager at the time, Frank Dileo. However, fond memories will always remain with us. We never used our friendship for any personal gains, although we had offers for our story which we always refused. Until to (sic) this day, I never gave up trying to get in touch with him. But his new managers were of no help and my mail probably never reached him. I was still hoping to hear from him even just a day prior to his passing away. The last card, Thinking of You, I sent to an address in L.A belonging to Michael that was provided by a friendly source has not returned to me undelivered. Perhaps, the people around him may have not been delivering my mail to him. I would just like to express my condolences to his family members (…). To us and to the world, he will always be remembered as the King of Pop. We will miss him.

Michael autographed the cover of the Thriller album to Andrea , autographed the cover of the Bad album and also wrote a whole page in his handwriting to our son, as well (as) autographed many other photos to each one of us. And I took many photos of him with my family members when he had invited us to his hotel suite in Four Seasons. We have shared those memories with friends, relatives and coworkers.”

[Nazir Patel; source: http://blogs.bigadda.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“My favorite moment with him would have to be when we were hunting for Easter eggs! One of the memorable times was him taking me to spend the day with Elizabeth Taylor. She’s (…) reminded me so much of my mother. As kids, we would make prank phone calls and do silly things. He taught Kyle how to do the moonwalk when she was 4 years old. He was completely misunderstood. When he was at the Waldorf [hotel in NYC, where we lived], there were fans waiting outside in the rain with photos and I told him about them. He had a big meeting to attend, but he signed pictures for them and even sent out an umbrella. That’s what he was like – so lovely. He raised beautiful, sweet children too. I will truly miss him.”

[Kathy Hilton, American television host and actress; sources: www.celebuzz.com, www.mjfanclub.net]

 

"I met Michael years and years ago in the early 90’s, like 1993. And one day he was working at a studio and he was about to block the studio for a couiple (sic) (of) weeks. I was running over and he and Teddy Riley were trying to kick me out, bc I was working all night. At that time, he would have a bunch of video games to create the vibe and he caught me playing one of his pacman games, and he was like, ‘You know, you’re playing my game, right?’ (laughs). There’s no mistaking that voice. I turn around and there he was. He was just kidding though, real cool. It was just amazing to be in his presence, it was a dream come true. Everyone who’s ever done music has wanted to do something with Michael Jackson. I believe he was the numnber one call in all of music for pretty much all of his career. It was quick. I was just in awe. He might have said other things, but at that point you don’t hear much (laughs). You’ll never know you’ll react until he’s right behind. I thought I was cool around every star, but there’s (sic) the ones that still shake you up. I worked on three songs for MJ, one of them which definietyely (sic) made it and two for other projects. […] Michael Jackson is a national treasure. He was big for our country. […]”

[Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, American songwriter, music producer, music publisher, executive producer, recording industry executive; sources: www.vibe.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] [I was 13 years old when I met him.] Having heard (Michael) was on island in June 1991, I persuaded my neighbour, Kentoine Jennings, to take me to the Hamilton Princess hotel, where he was staying with actor Macaulay Culkin. I was walked up to the front desk and said: “Hi. I’m here to see Michael Jackson.” However, I was told there was no-one of that name staying at the hotel. But not one to give up easily, I went out to the hotel’s swimming pool area to try to get his attention by screaming at the top of my lungs. I noticed the balcony door to the hotel’s penthouse was slightly ajar and Michael Jackson was standing inside waving to me.] I can remember it like it was yesterday, I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. There were no other fans there, just me. The people in the pool were just looking at me, I was screaming so loudly, I just didn’t shut up. [A member of kitchen staff and a security guard eventually went over to me and I was convinced I’d be thrown off the premises. […] But I was actually taken to the hotel entrance where he was getting into a taxi.] He shook my hand and gave me a big hug. [I was then invited to get into the taxi with him where we had a conversation for about five minutes. I was the happiest child in the world. He was on his own, he was wearing a red shirt, black trousers and his usual hat. He was very softly spoken, he asked my name and my age, he was like any normal person. I told him I’d been his fan forever, then I told him I thought he was gorgeous and he blushed. I was smitten with him and I still am. [And I didn’t stop there, as I persuaded my neighbour to follow his taxi, as he was taken on a tour of Bermuda. I was on the back of the bike waving at him in the taxi as he waved back. I told everyone at school about the day I met Michael and even today, I retell the tale whenever I get the chance. I love him since I was a child, plastering my bedroom walls with everything Michael. Having lost my own mom at an early age, my heart went out to Michael, as I felt as I could relate to his difficult childhood. I remember seeing him on TV and thinking we both had had to grow up fast and learn to cope on our own. Then I got into his music, he was a musical genius. The Girl Is Mine is my favourite song of his, as I believe (fancy) he’s singing to me. I cried my eyes out when listeners called into my radio show on Thursday to tell me he had died.] I just can’t believe he’s gone. I cried when I found out and I’ve bawled crocodile tears ever since. I’ve been a total basket case. But at least I got to meet him, I’m so thankful for that, not that many fans can say they came face-to-face with their hero.”

[Kristy ‘Miss Thang’ Burgess, HOTT 107.5 radio personality; sources: www.bermuda.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“In these times of constant stress and chaos in the world, one has to find ways to relax and feel alright in the midst of constant reports of darkness in the world. Music distresses me, and if you have not guessed yet my artist of choice, is Mr. Michael Jackson. If someone is feeling heavy-hearted, all one has to do is put on "Off the Wall" or "Thriller" and your trouble seems to melt or be danced away.

There were many controversies surrounding Michael, that I personally feel were unjust, but one thing that did remain constant in Michael’s world was the positive messages in his music. He touched countless lives around the world, through his talent and through his many songs of peace. While many artists’ greatest claims to fame are songs about one night stands or getting high, Michael’s music was about trying to heal the world, and his short films were strong artistic illustrations of people of all races trying to make the world better with each passing day.

Michael Jackson will live on through his music, his art, and his three children. When an artist is no longer on the world’s stage, people around the world take stock of what their careers meant as an artist, as well as a human being. Hundreds of years from now, listeners will hear this man’s music and understand the word(s) peace and harmony. This was Michael Jackson’s main artistic vision. This is the ongoing thread through out (sic) all his albums. Yes, he indeed made the world dance, but I believe he also made us think.

People often wonder if one person can make a difference in this world. I think that a pop star who could have used his art simply to promote selfish themes, but chose to try and unite the world needs to be celebrated and appreciated, not berated or cut down anymore. During his life here, all the focus became Michael’s private life, when we should have been looking at ourselves asking how can I also help children in Africa or orphans in Romania? It is not just celebrities who need to be magnified, but it is every single person on this planet we call Earth.

For the fans of Michael Jackson, his legacy will be his messages. As the world is experiencing so much pain, we need to send out positive messages through out (sic) the greater landscape, because that is what this man ultimately tried to do.”

[Theresa Shirley, Factoidz staff writer; sources: http://factoidz.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Looking back on it, June 25, 2009, will forever be an indelible chapter in the history of Los Angeles. The announcement of Michael Jackson’s death was a moment eternally suspended in time – a moment when the whole world would simultaneously feel a loss, so sudden and so keen, it was like losing a family member. In Los Angeles, where Jackson passed away, the emotional blow was especially visceral. Disbelief was overcome by sorrow, as reality began to set in. In a city built on fame, Jackson crafted a legacy that was closer to mythology than it was to mere stardom. In both life – and now, two years after his death – Michael Jackson casts multiple reflections. To some, he is the “King of Pop,” a magnanimous philanthropist, an icon and a superstar of the highest caliber. To others, he was a criminal and a monster.

Attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., got to know Jackson well. Mesereau defended Jackson in the pop star’s 2005 child molestation case. He is thoroughly familiar with the allegations against his former client, but also spent a lot of time with Jackson and got to know the real man in the mirror.

LA Canvas interviewed Mesereau because his track record as an attorney, coupled with his reputation as a man of uncompromising integrity, speaks (sic) volumes about his credibility. Dozens of people utilized the coverage of Jackson’s death to get in on as much airtime as they could; Mesereau was not one of them. The Michael Jackson he knew was a kind and gentle man, trapped by distorted public perceptions of his reclusive personal life. Mesereau opened up about his memories of the case, meeting Jackson and his thoughts on how the media handled the whole thing.

“Michael just might be the nicest client I’ve ever represented,” said Mesereau without hesitation. He added, “The biggest surprise about Michael was how down to earth he was to deal with.” As Michael’s fame grew, so, too, did the target on his back. And with every accusation against him, members of the media constantly had him in their sights. “People took what they thought was unusual about him and tried to magnify it into criminal conduct,” noted Mesereau. “The way he was tortured by people that wanted to profit off of his eccentricity was one of the great tragedies of our time.” If the public thought his life was a media circus, his death provided an even more blatant example of just how selfish and abhorrent people could be. The coverage was a Who’s Who of pundits, and Michael Jackson “associates,” presenting a twisted display of unfounded thoughts on why he died, presented as fact. “There were people, including lawyers, saying they were close to him and to the family, and making all sorts of representations that were not true,” recalled Mesereau about the coverage surrounding Jackson’s death. He continued, “It was absolutely disgusting. I was hearing outside the hospital, there were people claiming they were close to him that were running from media booth to media booth trying to capitalize on his passing.”

It is impossible to overstate what Michael Jackson meant to the world. The effect of his death, much like the effect of his life, superseded race, ignored socioeconomic status, and required no cultural translation. From the hardest of criminals to the most innocent of children (some of whom were not even born when Jackson last recorded an album), Jackson’s impact was and still is universal. As both an artist and a humanitarian, Michael Jackson has humbly set world records that will probably never be broken.

While he did have serious criminal accusations lodged against him, it is often overlooked that his accusers always stood to profit from these alleged transgressions, none of which he was ever convicted.

“The biggest misconception is that he was a criminal and a child molester,” said Mesereau. “Nothing could be further from the truth. And unfortunately, because he was so famous, and because he was an eclectic artist and an artistic genius, people took what they thought was unusual about him and tried to magnify it into criminal conduct.” Mesereau added, “He was not a pedophile. He was not a criminal. He was not a child molester. And the way he was tortured by people that wanted to make him controversial and profit off of his eccentricity was one of the great tragedies of our time.”

Above all else, Jackson leaves behind an uncanny ability to unify people through his music. Like Michael Jackson the man, Michael Jackson the musician promoted peace, love and equality. Though he is no longer with us, his music and his permanent effect on humanity will forever be frozen in time.”

[Jacob (Jakob) Rohn, American freelance journalist interviewing Attorney Thomas Mesereau; sources: www.lacanvas.com, www.reflectionsonthedance.com]


“He was a very delightful client to work with. He was very cooperative, he listened, he was very respectful of me, and attorney Susan Yu and our staff. The worst thing I can say about him is that sometimes he was inaccessible. Sometimes he was difficult to find, and I think part of it was he was so terrified and fearful of this process, but he was a delightful person to work with. […] I think (the stress) was very difficult for him. You know, I used to talk to him often, early in the morning, because my schedule was that I would get to bed, usually at 7:30, sometimes latest 8 o clock and I was up at 3, with no fail every day.  Michael is a person who would often be up early in the morning and walking through Neverland to relax and get close to nature and look at the sky and the moon and stars and he would call me often at 3 or 4. He was suffering from anxiety, clearly he was at times very depressed, and he was having sleep problems. This is all normal for someone who was facing serious criminal charges like he was.”

“(Having to listen to the prosecution witnesses during his 2005 trial) was a dreadful experience. It was painful, it was horrifying, he couldn’t believe that he was listening to some of the statements that were made. He couldn’t believe anybody would accuse him of harming children. He couldn’t believe that they would ever accuse him of masterminding a conspiracy to falsely imprison a family, to abduct children, to extort. These are things that Michael was not capable of even imagining, and to formally charge him with this and then to call witnesses who clearly were not telling the truth, to try and build a case against him, was frightening and very disheartening for him. […] It was almost 5 months. (The trial) started January 31st and ended mid June. (We would go to trial 5 days a week. […] [On the day the verdict was reached], (…) (he was) walking very weakly. He looked horrible. He didn’t say a word until the last “not guilty.”  There were 14 “not guilty’s”. 10 felonies and 4 lesser-included misdemeanors. Then we hugged and he said “Thank you.” […] I had a very strong feeling that this jury was not going to convict him. First of all, you have to understand California law and procedure regarding criminal trials. In California, twelve people sit as jurors in a criminal trial. California law requires a unanimous jury verdict to convict or acquit someone of a crime. This means that all twelve jurors must agree to convict one of anything. It also means that all twelve jurors must agree to acquit someone of a charge. If the jurors cannot unanimously agree to convict or acquit, the jury is set to have “hung” on that particular count. This means that the prosecutors can retry that count before an entirely different jury. Obviously, if the jury convicts a defendant of a single count, or more than one count, this is usually considered a prosecution victory. If the jury acquits on all counts, this is a defense victory. If the jury were to convict on some counts and acquit on others, it would usually be a prosecution victory. If the jury were to acquit on some counts and “hang” on others, this would be considered a defense victory. Michael Jackson was originally indicted on ten felony counts. At the end of the trial, the judge added four misdemeanor charges. For the last four felony counts against Michael, the jury had two options. If they acquitted Michael on any of the last four felony counts, they had the option of convicting him of a misdemeanor. In other words, the jury was asked to either convict, acquit, or disagree (“hang”) on fourteen charges. I never expected Michael Jackson to be convicted on any count, felony or misdemeanor. I believed, and still do, that he was completely innocent of these false charges. However, one never really knows what a jury will do. The jury was composed of twelve people whom I did not know. Because the trial lasted five months, I was able to observe their movements, demeanor and reactions to the testimony and evidence. I was firmly convinced that the prosecution could not get twelve people to convict him of anything. I did not know if the jurors would unanimously acquit him of each of the fourteen charges. Nobody could possibly know this. However, when I heard that the jury had unanimously reached an agreement on each of the fourteen charges, I knew in my “heart of hearts” that he had been acquitted of everything. This prosecution was a travesty of justice and one of the most mean-spirited attacks on an innocent person in legal history. […] (And) there is no difference between being acquitted, and being found "not guilty."

Editor’s Note: To acquit, according to dictionary.com is to relieve from a charge of fault or crime, to declare not guilty. When Michael was acquitted of the charges, it means he was found not guilty by the jury. Michael was acquitted of all 14 charges, meaning he was found “not guilty” on all counts. The jury could either have convicted him on each charge, or acquitted him (found him “not guilty”). If the jury could not unanimously decide on a particular charge, the jury may be hung and they may have retried him on that particular charge.

Ac.quit–verb (used with object), -quitted, -quitting.

1. to relieve from a charge of fault or crime; declare not guilty: They acquitted him of the crime.

“Michael Jackson was one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever met.  He really wanted to do more than just be a musical genius. He wanted to heal and change the world through love, through kindness, through art and through music and I do believe the world’s a better place because he was with us. He was very gentle, very kind. There was, I sort of describe it as a universal Michael and Michael the individual. There was the universalist Michael who wanted to change the globe. Wanted to see the entire world focus on children and he felt that if children were properly loved and cared for, that we would significantly reduce the violence in the world, significantly reduce the meanness in the world, significantly reduce poverty, and all of the world’s most important problems. He felt that the way to do that was to focus on the world’s children. So that’s the universalist Michael who thought he could heal the world through music, through love, through humanitarian measures. He was one of the greatest humanitarians in world history. He actually is in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the largest donors to children’s causes, which the media doesn’t like to focus on. There also is the individual Michael, who I dealt with, who was a person, and he loved to see a child smile. He built Neverland to see children happy. He was one of the wealthiest men in the world. He could have spent all of that money selfishly. Instead, he had a zoo, he had an amusement park, a theatre, he had statues devoted to the world’s children. If you looked at the artwork in his house, a lot of it centered on children and seeing them happy and respecting them for who they were. Their race, their religion, what part of the world they were from, what kind of native traditions they had. This was someone who, as a person, loved to see a child smile. Loved to see a child from the inner city who was growing up in poverty and violence come to Neverland and look at a giraffe and smile and look at an elephant and smile. Get some free ice cream and just be happy. It just meant a lot to Michael, because he was a very good person. But, unfortunately, when you’re that much of a genius, and you’re that wealthy, all of the sharks are going to come forward, and when you combine with that a certain level of naivety, a person who just didn’t want to be wrapped up in money matters all of the time or legal matters. He wanted to do creative things, he wanted to do humanitarian things. That makes him even more of a target for frivolous lawsuits and frivolous claims. […] Of course, because the media wants shock value and they want to see people go down in flames and they were desperately hoping he would be convicted, because it would mean stories for years about what he looked like and how he was doing in prison and was he going to kill himself. Believe me, they were salivating over his conviction and they were trying to skew all of the reporting in a way they hoped would influence the jury to convict him. Even a lot of cheap shots at me throughout that time. […] Everybody was hoping to profit off his destruction. It was terrible. It’s one of my proudest moments in my lifetime… just acquitting him, vindicating him. In retrospect now, he only had approximately 4 more years to live, at least he was there to be with his kids and just to be vindicated. The trial was so unjust. The case was so unjust and lacking in credibility. At his burial, which I attended, a young man who in the 80’s was a rather high profile case in southern California, a father doused his son with gasoline and set him on fire and burned most of his body, including all of his face (this man is now known as Dave Dave, formerly David Rothenberg). Michael took care of him. He (Dave Dave) got up to speak (at Michael's funeral) about what a kind, decent, generous, wonderful person Michael Jackson was. I happen to know there were kids all over the world he did this for. Disabled kids, children with illnesses and disabilities. Michael would write checks for them and nobody publicized it. He didn’t do it to become well known for doing it. He did it because that’s what his heart wanted him to do. You know? I think one of the cruelest things that ever happened was to take his love for children, his desire to help kids, and turn it against him and try and call him a monster as they did in that trial. It was just horrible. […] It was just heart wrenching to be there and watch him and to see it, you know, what toll it took on him. […]”

[Thomas Arthur Mesereau, Jr., American attorney – interviewed by Deborah Kunesh from www.reflectionsonthedance.com]


“He only wanted to be let in . . .

When he first shook hands with Oprah and opened his heart for the first time to a closed world, Michael Jackson only wanted to be let in - when he showed her, lovingly around his ranch, the amusements, the movie theatre, the beds for sick children, he only wanted to be let in.

When he clutched hold of a small teddy given to him by a member of staff, a gift bought in the spirit of fun, and frivolity was transposed into a blessing. He held on tight to that small gesture of compassion and love. He only wanted to be let in.

When he clapped encouragingly, radiating humility and grace as he taught Martin Bashir to moonwalk, he only wanted to be let in. When he shook Bashir’s hand in gentle and loving trust at the end of the interview, filled with hope at his closing words, “I see the truth, I understand, I won’t deceive you,” and innocently unaware of the heartbreak, the pain, the betrayal that would ensue, he only wanted to be let in.

When he was driven into giving a final set of shows by those more concerned with protecting their own profits than protecting the rights, health and happiness of a fellow being, he still smiled with compassion and humility - there was no hatred for the decades of gross treatment, of mockery and judgement that had come before. A lesser person would have collapsed inward in bitterness and anger, relinquishing support for a world so cruel, but Michael’s humanity never faded - he just wanted to be let in.

Alas, tragically, one so gentle, so loving, so kind, so compassionate was never allowed entry to the human race. Preserved as we are in our own world of avarice, hatred and bigotry, so many kept him locked out -their defense against him - a lifetime of rumors, lies and innuendos built to form an impenetrable wall around the minds of a public no longer willing to think sideways. But, don’t you see that the greatness and the beauty in the world can only be seen from that altered perspective? Those that carry the most glorious gifts almost always stand on the outside looking in - they laughed at ridiculed and mocked Da Vinci because he had a great affinity and respect for the natural world, an affinity which ran counter to a society conditioned to think along narrowed lines of barbarism. But, what were Da Vinci’s views, if not a precursor of the modern world? Forebears of the environmental activists and supporters of the modern day? Here was a person standing in the full warmth of the light, whilst thee rest of the public shuffled around in the darkness. The same is true of many geniuses - Mozart, Michael, they just want to be let in.

We must stop annihilating souls that we should treasure. Have you ever considered that the common view may not be the correct one? Whoever said it was “normal” to engage in promiscuity, to drink yourself beyond rational understanding, to routinely fight wars and commit acts of genocide, to hate each other and to carelessly destroy the planet - the only home we have and, perhaps, are ever likely to have. When did that become “normal?”

When did we begin to stop dear Michael getting in? When did it become “weird”, “bizarre” or “crazy,” to choose to shine your humanity in life as brightly as you possibly can, to travel the world bringing comfort, reassurance, guidance and financial and emotional support to families who have nothing, whose lands have been left ruthlessly raped by the avaricious aims of others. When did it become “strange,” to choose to climb a tree or sit atop a roof and gaze in awed reverence at the stars, held as they are in the vastness of a universe which cradles us in its infinity? To watch the swallows dance in extended flight as they fish for insects in the night air, or to revel in the cumbersome journey of the bee from flower to flower?

Michael Jackson lived and breathed these sentiments, these beliefs, which, when you glance beyond the superficiality of man-made gadgets, electronics and concrete, are what truly colour the experience of humanity - it is these elements which form humanity. The official definition of humanity is the condition of being human - to be human, one must acknowledge their individual place in the beauty, grandeur and splendour of the natural world and humble themselves before its divine qualities. To be engaged in humanity is, also, by definition, to be kind and benevolent. What form of humanity exists at present then? If we are none of these things, can we still define ourselves as humanity? And dear Michael - one of several came - he tried to remind us what that word means - he tried to illuminate the darkness by embracing what it is to be human - by revering and respecting natural wonders, not as a means to an end, but as glorious ends in themselves. He tried to illuminate the darkness with benevolence, with love, with kindness.

We wouldn’t let him in.”

[Tori Tomkins, employee at 6th Camberwell North Scout Group for youth members with disabilities; sources: www.facebook.com, www.mj-777.com]


“March 1975, Michael Jackson in Jamaica.

Fan remembers seeing Michael Jackson in March 1975 in Jamaica:

It was 1975; I was 13 years old and in third form at St. Andrew High School for Girls, when I heard the news that Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 were coming to Kingston to perform. My mother, a strict Pentecostal Christian, forbade my sisters and I to play secular music or to dance. Yet, I could not help watching Michael Jackson while she was at church, which was several nights per week. And I could see pictures of him in the American teen magazines I would browse with my friends in York Pharmacy after school. I thought he was the cutest boy I had ever seen in my life. I loved his voice, clear as a bell, reaching high notes in songs like "I'll be there" or giving unconditional love in the beautiful song dedicated to his pet Ben. For all I knew, he was singing to me when he declared to Ben:

“If you ever look behind
And don’t like what you find,
There’s something you should know:
You’ve got a place to go.”

[…] St Andrew High was full of Jackson 5 adulation. I thought the most enthusiastic, if unregistered Jackson 5 fan club was filled with my classmates, a clique of six girls. They loved the Jacksons, talked about them incessantly and formed a dance group that started for the sole purpose of performing Jackson 5 hits. And they practiced hard, performing with gusto at school barbecues and other events. They spent hours planning and scheming how to host their own show at Carib Theater in Crossroads, imitating the Jackson 5. Of course, they all went to the concert, while I had to spend another Saturday night watching “Little House on the Prairie”, a morally sound television show approved by my mother. My friend Michelle had obtained tickets through her mother’s connections for seats right up front of the stage at the National Stadium. Michelle and the entire group of girls lucky to attend the Saturday night concert arrived at school on Monday morning dazed and ecstatic. They had discovered that the Jackson 5 were staying at the Sheraton Hotel in New Kingston. We headed over the there right after school, walking in the sun from St. Andrew. If my mother only knew! Apparently, the other high school girls in Kingston had obtained the ‘Lets go see Michael’ memo. There were scores of girls scattered all over the hotel lobby and in the pool area, hoping for a glimpse of Michael or any of his handsome brothers. The Jacksons emerged in about half hour after we arrived, dressed for a basketball game against Kingston’s finest high school players. I remember first seeing Marlon’s head on the top of the stairs, then Jermaine, Jackie and finally Michael. The girls screamed as in mass frenzy, they rushed up the short flight of stairs. I saw the look of panic on Michael’s face before he ran back and we never saw him again. I wonder now how many of those frightening encounters set back his childhood development and created the recluse he became out of necessity.

I do not recall how long it took to quieten the crowd and bring order to the Sheraton lobby or how the Jacksons got out. […] I recognized only two boys from Kingston College and if they played like NBA stars, I could not tell you. I had eyes only for the Jacksons, mesmerized by their billowing Afros, their sparkling smiles (…); it was my dream come true. I may have missed the concert, but I had seen Michael (…) and his gorgeous brothers in the flesh, and now I have my friend Michelle to thank for the memories.”

[Michael Jackson - Remembering the Times, Michael Jackson admirer; sources: www.facebook.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael Jackson Fans Love Like No Other.

As long as there are appreciators of great music, Michael Jackson will continue to live on. He has grown to become larger than a phenomenon and more like myth. I’m a huge fan (…). (He was) the man who, thanks to Elizabeth Taylor, became known to the world as The King of Pop. […] What stood out to me is the amount of love that his fans showed to him, these are real fans. In (…) photo galleries (from sites devoted to him), are hand drawn and computer rendered pieces of art that are inspired by Michael, one of his songs, or recreations of him. They are crafted with the love that he tried to show everyone in the world through music that often contained messages of hope and inspirations to fight a struggle. Through most of Michael’s career, he fought a struggle. A struggle deep from within that manifested itself in (…) a retreat into his inner child. That lifestyle garnered national attention, everyone raised an eyebrow… Except for a Michael Jackson fan. Quincy Jones once said that the one thing that every one of Michael’s songs were autobiographical. If there was any truth to this, (I personally believe that there is) then the fans knew Michael through his music. The fans knew that there was no way possible Michael would ever do the things that he was accused of. This was the beginning of Michael’s fall from grace in the United States in the eyes of everyone… Except for a Michael Jackson fan. A fan will view this as justice; I view it as a tragic irony; Evan Chandler committed suicide shortly after Michael’s death. Evan is the father of Jordan Chandler; the two of them together accused Michael of child molestation in 1993. It has been rumored a multitude of times that Jordan has openly admitted to people close to him that he was forced to go along with it and that nothing improper had ever actually taken place.

Michael Jackson fans believe this.

Michael was the type of artist that thrived off of being able to make others happy, once he fell (…) hard from fame, he felt he had lost everything, so he retreated. So did the nation, and, again, that excludes Michael Jackson fans. Since the release of the first posthumous album called Michael, there have been three new videos, oddly enough without Michael in them. The first was from the duet song, Hold My Hand, with Akon. The video featured Akon with historical clips of Michael. The second was from the song Hollywood Tonight and told an interesting story about a girl much like the one described in the song, and the last just released is from the song Behind the Mask (the best song on this album). The thing that these videos share in common is that they are feature either largely or completely consist of fans.

Michael never truly knew how loved he was (…). Now in death, he walks water. Why? It’s just Human Nature.”

[Bryan Cain-Jackson, American writer and actor; sources: http://technorati.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“I adored Mike, and I know he adored me. We were extremely close. Whether it was because I was the baby of the family, or because we were kindred souls, Mike and I understood each other on a deep and loving level. He had a beautiful heart. From the very beginning of my life, I was inspired by his talent. That continues to this day. […] For example, he called me “Dunk”. I think that came from “donkey”. I actually cherish the name today, because it was his gift to me. […] Teasing was part of Mike’s humor. He meant no harm. […]”

“[…] We all fooled around in the kitchen. My father liked to roast peanuts, and Mike, Randy and I made caramel apples and ice cream. […]”

“At the memorial service for Michael, my brother Jermaine sang “Smile”, a song written by Charlie Chaplin and beloved the world over. […] Mike loved the song, too, and recorded an exquisite version of it. “Smile” resonates with all the Jackson children, because it captures not only the sweetness of music – and music’s power to heal – but also the obligation we have always felt as entertainers, from the earliest age, to place the audience’s need to be entertained above whatever pain we might be experiencing. I can’t describe our pain in losing our brother, or the pain of his children in losing their father, or the pain of my parents in losing their son. I still have not seen the film This Is It. I still can’t watch any of his videos or listen to his music. I’m certain that one day I’ll again be able to enjoy the miraculous sound of his voice and the marvelous sight of his dancing, but that day has not yet arrived. The mourning continues. As Jermaine sang “Smile”, I thought it was the perfect anthem to remember our brother by. Michael made us smile, even when his heart was breaking. I, too, was taught to always smile, and yet, ironically, most of my life I never liked my smile. It felt fraudulent. I smiled not because I was happy, but because I adopted the message of the song that said, “Light up your face with gladness, / Hide every trace of sadness.” […] My siblings and I grew up with the belief that you don’t let people know what’s going on inside. We didn’t carry our problems on stage. Fans paid hard-earned money to watch us perform, and our job was to make them happy. End of story. [..] Naturally, I entered into the family business, where my brothers had succeeded on a spectacular level. My brother Mike helped me prepare with my lines, my singing, and my little dance routine. My brother Randy was my partner. We were part of the show at the MGM is Las Vegas. […] Randy was Sonny (Bono) and I was dressed up like Cher. […] To be close to one’s siblings is a beautiful thing. It’s comfort, it’s reassurance, it’s security. I have great memories of that togetherness (…). […] For example, Mike and I loved to re-create dance steps that we watched from the golden age of Hollywood – moves perfected by Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. By the side of our pool, we’d also mimic the moves of fabulous tap dancers such as the Nicholas Brothers. […]”

“We lived on an estate that covered three acres, but that only meant we, kids, had to do our part to take care of it all. Mike, Randy and I raked leaves every Saturday morning. […] We fed and bathed our animals. In the case of some of the more exotic animals, we bottle-fed them when they were small. We cleaned their cages and kept them groomed. Inside the house, Mike, Randy and I cleaned the windows with newspapers - no streaks allowed. When we washed dishes, we used scalding hot water. We made our own beds. We didn’t mind these tasks and, in fact, sang to one another as we worked. […] It was always difficult talking to my father, who made us call him Joseph, not Dad. He was a man of action, not words. And the truth is that we feared him. I was the last of nine children, and I believe that by the time I was born, my parents had grown tired of disciplining. They were more lenient with me and Randy, the next to youngest, than with our older siblings. There was one time, however, when my father hit me. […] (My father’s) way of communicating his love was a result of his upbringing. […] Fear can also be overwhelming. Many nights, my siblings and I put on our pajamas and go to Mother’s room. We would tell jokes, read stories, and watch TV. We felt safe there. In between our laughter, we’d sometimes hear the crunching sound of tires rolling up the gravel driweway. It was Joseph in his car, headlights turned off, windows rolled down, trying to sneak up on us, trying to hear what we were talking about. The sound of his car stopped us cold. We’d scatter like roaches, off to our rooms, ducking down low so (as) not to be visible through the windows. We didn’t know what mood Joseph was bringing home. […] I’m certain I received less of his wrath than my other siblings did, but there were times when Joseph began screaming at me for reasons I didn’t comprehend. […] I wish I had understood then what I understand today. But as children, when we face anger - anger that strikes us unexpectedly, like a lightning bolt - we have no real protection. We presume either that we did wrong or simply are wrong, through and through.”

“I was still a preteen when Mike introduced us to vegetarianism. I believe that came out of his love for animals, a love that I share deeply. It seemed to make sense, and the majority of the family went along with the program. […] For many years, our family adopted those measures. […] Because I loved Mike and cherished the times he and I spent together, I was more than willing to embrace this diet. That became another bond between us. Before he recorded Off The Wall, he could go out in public without security. People recognized him and asked for photographs, but it was still manageable and not intrusive. We’d go out alone. He’d drive us from the San Fernando Valley to a vegetarian restaurant run by Sikhs on Third Street in Los Angeles, called the Golden Temple. We’d eat salads and drink Yogi tea. The meals were delicious and we stuffed ourselves. […] I still worried, however, that, healthy or not, I was too fat and that my eating was out of control. But these were private worries; I didn’t mention them to Mike. At the same time, Mike, who had problems with acne, never discussed that with me. All of us in our family – brothers, sisters, mother, and father – kept such thoughts to ourselves. There were also wonderful spontaneous trips that Mike and I would make to give food to the homeless. We’d buy a bunch of takeout meals and drive around the city, stopping whenever we saw someone holding a sign asking for help. That was Mike’s idea of a good time - simply give to the poor on a personal basis. All this happened when I was still a preteen and Mike was not yet twenty. Our closeness meant the world to me. […] Mike named me “Dunk” and we shared every dream, every confidence. I was his little sister; he always knew that I had his back.”

“I remember driving with my brother Mike in his first car, a Rolls-Royce. Mike reminded me of the family rule [to have a car at 18 and buy your own] and said I would want my own car and independence when I turned eighteen, so I should make sure I saved my money. My brother and I had a deep talk that day about a lot of serious subjects, and he gave me some advice. I wondered about when the world might end. Mike said we will never know when that day is coming and we should go ahead with our dreams and life goals. After that conversation with my brother, I knew that at some point I had to take control of my own life. […]”

“In dedicating this book to my brother Mike, I want to pay tribute to his beautiful spirit. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, his smile, his laugh, those little private jokes between us. He taught me so much. We were as close as close can be. It’s still difficult to speak of him, still difficult to realize that he’s gone. I can only look at his photos when we were kids. I turn off the TV or radio when anything about him is discussed. […] I focused on him on July 2, 2010, when, for the first time in two years, I gave a full concert. It was at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, a city that has been the scene of so much bravery in the face of tragic loss. I dedicated my closing song, “Together Again”, to Mike. Friends said that there wasn’t a dry eye among the more than thirty thousand folks in the audience. I know my eyes were wet with tears when I sang these words, thinking of the joy my brother brought into my life and the lives of millions…

Everywhere I go,

Every smile I see,

I know you are there,

Smiling back at me,

Dancing in the moonlight,

I know you are free,

Cause I can see your star

Shining down on me.”

[Janet Jackson; sources: True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself; http://jetzi-mjvideo.com]


“I had danced with MJ in two videos. I was the gang leader in Beat It, and a zombie dancer in Thriller, as well as being the assistant choreographer for Michael Peters. I was at home one night and got a phone call. A very soft voice asked for Vincent Paterson. I thought it was someone playing a joke on me, using a voice like Michael Jackson. “Who’s calling? “ I asked. “It’s Michael Jackson,” was the reply. “Who the hell is this?”, I asked. Same response. “I’m gonna hang the f*** phone up if you don’t tell me who is calling,” I said. It really was Michael Jackson. I profusely apologized. MJ was working on his latest CD at a recording studio in Hollywood and asked if I could stop by. I rushed over hoping he wanted to ask me to dance in another video. We went into the studio and he played the music to “Smooth Criminal” for me, and asked me what I thought. I loved it. He then asked me if I could come up with an idea for the video and would I choreograph and direct it. I was floored and honored and excited beyond belief. MJ suggested a swanky club with 10 men in long tails and top hats. But he wanted me to conceive my own ideas and he also gave me advice I have used ever since, “Don’t try to impose an idea on the music. Let the music tell you what it wants to be. […] I knew Michael liked the movies of Fred Astaire, so I researched movement from Astaire’s musicals, usually choreographed by Hermes Pan. Michael was in the recording studio during much of my initial creative process with the dancers. He gave me a soundstage on which he had had a wooden floor constructed for the safety of the dancers. The bottom floor of the set that we had discussed was on the soundstage. He also gave me an incredible sound system, a video camera and 10 dancers with whom to begin choreography. Every morning, we would have a dance class, then I would begin to choreograph movement on the dance floor and then move the dancers into the set. At the end of the day, I would video what I had done. I would go to Michael’s house and we would watch the work. MJ usually said, “That is really great. I think you need 10 more dancers.” I would hire more dancers and the daily routine would begin again. This happened until I had a second floor built on the set and had hired about 50 or so dancers to be in the video. […] I don’t remember exactly how long the process went on, but I would say for about a month or 6 weeks. What began as a music video became part of the film, Moonwalker. I worked with Michael to extend the song and it became a 10 minute piece in the movie. After creating the piece, I worked with MJ alone. His rehearsal technique was mind-boggling. I would teach him a section I had choreographed, he would play with some of the rhythms and we would adjust the movement. Then Michael would stand in front of a mirror and perform one section of dance over and over and over until it was not only perfect, but also looked as if he was improvising the work at that moment. He had ceaseless energy and focus.”

“I adored Michael as an artist and as a collaborator. He trusted me. I would create the movement for him and the dancers - every dancer is moving on every beat throughout this entire song. I would leave space for MJ to create his own movement and do his thing. He worked hard to come up with his own specific way of moving and I wanted to always afford him the opportunity to highlight his dancing. In all the years I worked with Mike - over 16 years, I never heard him say anything cruel or unkind to anyone. In the collaborative process, he would always say to someone, “This is very good, but I was thinking we could try something a little more like this…” Whether this was about costumes, sets, lights, whatever. He was a unique and brilliant man and he will always be missed. He was gone too soon.”

[Vincent Paterson, American director and choreographer; source: http://boomitude.com]


“I know reports about Michael's art concerns you all. I will reserve judgment ‘til we know FACTS, but here's what I can say... Michael spent many years painting & sketching in an airport hangar with Brett Livingstone Strong. This was never 'lost' art. Michael sketched Martin Luther King and Charlie Chaplin many times... […] ps: Michael personally chose to keep this art at the airport hangar since the mid nineties. These are the basic facts as I know them (…). The airport hangar's anonymity is why Michael chose it. Much of Michael's work was, to best of my knowledge, mainly furniture pieces. I went to the hangar only once. He did - it was the one secret place the world never found out about it. Until now. He always sketched as a child, from the moment we arrived in Hollywood. The full breadth of Michael's talents were never fully appreciated. His art was his modesty. […] I know nothing of Tohme-Tohme involvement. But remember, he was the one who went into an unpermitted dismantling of Neverland. […] I just know that Michael had a debt of gratitude to Brett for everything he'd taught him. I thought they were hidden until today. Michael's arrangement with Brett was very private.”

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


“First of all, that’s not true (that my brother self-administered), and I’ve spoken to several different doctors. You cannot inject yourself with propofol like that alone, the minute you put it in, it goes into your system, you fall asleep immediately. Immediately, doctors will tell you, and then you wake up after that, so somebody had to be standing there administering this to him. […] No, not immediately (do you wake up), within 9 minutes or so, unless they’re continuously doing it or something of that nature, yes. It is impossible… […] He would not be able to overdose had he done this to himself, and I knew that that would be a subject, I knew it would come back, because I was the – I was over (to see) Michael’s body (…), and when they came back, they said they wanted palm prints and things that they had already gotten, and the way and the angles that they were doing everything, (inaudible) you’ll (?) find this to be quite interesting. What you must also keep in mind is that when Michael (…) passed, right after that, the following morning, I was told - the coroner came in and said that whoever did this, did this intentionally. Michael had enough propofol in him, he said, to kill an elephant. […] (I believe) a lot of people were involved in this, (his death) and they know who they are and they’re very afraid of what I might say, of what my brother has told me. […] Even when Michael said, ‘I don’t want the doctor around me’, this is what it was being said the last days, but no, you had to have this person with you. […] I will say this: I would love to have a one-on-one with several people, one person I would love to have [gets interrupted], I would love to have a one-on-one with probably… [gets interrupted by Whoopi Goldberg]. […] You can – let’s – okay, you say ‘Leave it to the law to deal with this’, yes, of course the law is dealing with this, but however, you must think about it this way. Joy, if you had a brother or a sister that passed and you knew that your sister or brother were telling you that they were gonna do this to him, that it was a group of people, and this is what is gonna happen to me, step by step, the way he said not only to me, but to my mother as well, wouldn’t you be concerned or wouldn’t you be involved to find out who did it? […] What you have to look out and think about, look at it this way: these were the guys that knew Michael was worth more dead than alive, and what are they doing? All of his things that you see are being sold and thrown and, just so many different mixes, and the movie came right away. As a matter of fact, by the time Michael passed, right away, everything was being collected, again I was told, all of footage from the movie was collected, everybody, the doors were locked, as it’s known… [gets interrupted]. […] This is a part of a premeditation, everything was premeditated.”

[La Toya Jackson on The View; source: www.youtube.com]


“[…] The world has been exposed to many images of Michael often being harsh and unfair. I personally have had a chance to know Michael over a two year period and I have seen an image of an individual that I wish more people had known. Most have a defined view of such an iconic figure as his media image can't be escaped. When I met him, I was facing serious life challenges and transitions, way insecure. It truely (sic) was not a time I felt confident to meet such a notable public figure. In my personal struggle I found a gracious (sic), compassionate, and honoring (sic) man. He is a gentle person that loves people. He loves to laugh and his joy, his big huge smile can light up a room. My moments with him over this period of time are filled with life as he belived (sic) in living life to its fullest. He forever has touched my heart in deep ways that have impacted my life. The expressions of Michael throughout this site (Reflectionsofthedance) are consistent to the man I knew. His faith is true and he was a humble expression of Christ's love. As he walks in heaven this day, his life can give testiment to many things, but I know he'd like most of all to underscore his faith in Jesus Christ. It opens ones (sic) eyes to see the impact we have on others, to truly (sic) make a difference, this is the greatest part of his legacy. He would encorage (sic) everyone to reach out and make a difference to make the most of the short years God graceously (sic) grants (us). The world is a bit sadder without his presence, but his life still speaks. (…)”

[Jbwills; sources: www.reflectionsonthedance.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


"Shortly after I embarked on the sound designer phase of my career, I received a call to work on an LA Gear advert for a Michael Jackson shoe. This job, it turned out, was going to be a little out of the ordinary! Instead of people coming to me, I was required to appear at a film mixing sound stage in the valley, Todd-AO, as I recall. I hefted my hundred pound Fairlight computer and various other gadgets into the car and headed over for a brisk nine am start. This was back in the day of video tape. At that point, film sound stages were still very much film-based, so deploying a 3/4 video deck caused quite a kafuffle, let alone a sound computer. Doughnuts were dropping everywhere. An hour or so later, with video and smpte time code flowing freely, I was ready to roll, waiting nervously for Michael Jackson. I had spent many hours in the studio with Michael in a previous incarnation of myself, as a sound programmer, working on the "Bad" album. So I had a general idea of what to expect. Soon enough, a slender, quiet, but massively charismatic presence entered the room, uttering quiet, but cheerful hellos. A little time was spent chatting with Sandy, the owner of LA Gear, who was there to observe proceedings. We began work by viewing the cut, spotting, identifying what sort of sounds would go where. Since the spot featured a solo Michael dancing in a lamp lit deserted alley, I was going to have little use for my library of sounds. I knew that Michael would like to act out the sounds himself, and sure enough, ever the performer, he was delighted when I told him of my plan. The stage wasn't a foley stage, it was purely a mix room, so there was not much there, other than the sofas, a giant console, some floor space and the screen! We improvised a lot. For Michael's foot sounds, we ran a long mic cable out of the back of the studio lounge and into the parking lot, where he performed a variety of spins, jumps, skids, and stomps. Following that, we came back in the studio and set up the mic in front of the screen. While playing the film, Michael replicated the moves and I captured the sound of his clothing, his breaths, body hits and various shouts. When we had finished with that, I began to sort through the sounds we had so far and create a track to match action. This he enjoyed immensely, and as I worked, Michael chatted away, swapping anecdotes and generally being the playful joking person that he was. Very polite and always respectful, he was fun to be with. Having established the Michael portion of the track, I then added in the additional sounds to complete the track. We were approaching the end of the afternoon, as we moved from a building phase to the mixing phase, adjusting the relative volume of the sounds until, a few hours later, we had a finished piece. I was tired, but it was fun. Although Michael was perfectly pleasant, I was still creating - on the spot - an entire soundtrack from scratch with one of the most enigmatic and notorious people on the planet. No pressure!! It was with great satisfaction that I loaded the computer back in the car and headed home."

[Stephen Dewey, sound designer of Machine Head; source: www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael used to call people to ask them to participate on albums. It was interesting knowing that nearly anyone on the planet would come to the phone if it were Michael calling. Anyway, I heard rumors that B.I.G. was going to come, and I was excited about that! I knew that I would be the one to record that, as I had recorded nearly all of that tune, “This Time Around” (from the HIStory album). So, Dallas (Austin) and I were expecting him any minute, and pretty much on time, Notorious strolls in. He was quite an imposing figure when he walked in, as he was quite popular at the time. I had no idea what to expect from him in terms of attitude, but he seemed nice when he walked in. No problem. But almost immediately, he blurted out, “Yo, Dallas, can I meet Mike?” To which, Dallas replied that he thought so. Biggie went on to talk about how much this opportunity meant to him, as Michael was his hero. Anyway, Dallas tells him that we’re going to lay down the rap first, so Biggie heads in the booth, we get some headphone levels and get ready to start recording. So, we hit the big red button (on a Sony 3348 machine), and away we go. During his first take, Dallas and I looked at each other, because it was spot on. Wow. I was impressed, and so was Dallas. We listened back, and Dallas was like, “Wow, I think we got it”. As I recall, we took another take for good measure, but I’m fairly certain that we ended up using the first take. So, Notorious comes in, and asks if he can meet Michael now. We sent word to the back room where Michael was working that Biggie was finished and wanted to meet him. Simply for security, Michael’s security would enter and make sure that no one was in the room that shouldn’t be, and once that was confirmed (it was just me, Biggie and Dallas), Michael came in. Biggie nearly broke out in tears… I could tell how much this meant to him. Well, Michael could have this effect on anyone, even the most hardcore rappers! Biggie was tripping up on his words, bowing down and telling Michael how much his music had meant to him in his life. Michael was, as always, very humble and kept smiling while Biggie just went on and on how much he loved Michael. I watched Biggie just become this big butterball of a man, and it was really very sweet to witness. After all, we are all just people. Michael finally asked to hear what we had done, and we popped it up on the big speakers and let her go. Michael LOVED it and was excited to tell Biggie that! “Oh, let’s hear it again”, I recall Michael saying, and we listened again. Michael just loved it… and thanked Biggie for coming all the way from Philadelphia. Biggie asked rather sheepishly whether he could get a photo, and Michael agreed. A shot was taken, we listened again, and Michael thanked Biggie. Michael said goodbye and stepped out, leaving Biggie standing there looking completely stunned. It will always remain a great, great memory.”

[John Van Nest, sound engineer; sources: http://mjjnews.tumblr.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“In the late 90's, I was an International Manager for United Airlines and was working onboard a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo. I was notified approximately 45 minutes before departure that Michael Jackson and 3 body guards would be traveling on our flight. He is one of the only people in the world that was allowed to travel under a false name due to the significant security risk of releasing a passenger manifest with his name. This is something the US government has to approve. He did not have to go through customs, nor come through the airport. He was brought by police escort directly planeside immediately before takeoff with 3 bodyguards. He was in first class with one bodyguard next to him and two behind him. I found him to be one of the most kind, funny and gentle people I had ever met. During the 12 hour flight, he came to the galley while his bodyguards were sleeping to talk with the flight attendants and myself. He was facinated (sic) to hear the crews (sic) stories of what they did on layovers and expressed how very much he wished he could just go see tourist attractions or simply walk on a beach without having to wear a disguise of some kind. He said he was sincerely jealous of our "normality". He was kind enough to sign autographs for the crew and spent a good 40 minutes talking with us. Interestingly, he asked for a small amount of wine and requested that it be put in a paper coffee cup. He explained that if people saw him with a wine glass, someone would write that he was drinking and possibly had a drinking problem. It was sad to see the lenghts he had to go to for a shot glass size amount of wine. He is still one of the most soft spoken, and kind people I have ever met. He took a sincere interest in the crews (sic) lives and their freedom to live them the way the chose. I pray Michael rests in peace. He deserves so much more from us and the world for his countless contributions! He is as close to American Royalty that we have.”

[posted by ‘Michael Jackson: What About The Man’ on www.facebook.com; www.mjjcommunity.com]


“It was back in March 1992, yet I remember it like it was yesterday. They were premiering his new clip then, ‘Remember The Time’, here in Australia, like they would have been all over the world, and with the premiere and the promotion of his upcoming ‘Dangerous’ tour there was also a competition, where the winner and their partner would be flown to America to have dinner with Michael. The anticipation for this video was huge and I remember watching the video clip in awe, over and over again, amazed at how just when you think you have seen all there is to see from Michael, he brings out something even more brilliant then before. The next night, while still at the dinner table with my family, and while writing out the last of my entries for the competition of a life time, a competition that nothing could stop me from entering, I remember turning to my somewhat skeptical family to say the least and saying; “Just you all wait and see, I am going to win this!” The funny thing is that I did win and I didn’t even know it.

The following Monday, I called work not feeling well and to advise that I wouldn’t be in. My supervisor did mumble something about Michael, but as I was not feeling well, I didn’t take much notice and hung up. Within a couple of minutes, I had a call back from work from one of the other girls hysterical on the phone shouting, “Paula, you won! Paula, you won!” It took about two more calls from work and another two from MTV before I actually believed it. I swear that when I hung up from that last call, the whole neighborhood must have heard me scream. They had drawn the Australian winner the previous Saturday, but we were at a wedding and didn’t even see it. I mean you don’t really think that you are going to win. Anyway, about a week or two later, my husband and I were on our way to America to have dinner with Michael. We were greeted at the airport by a Starlite Limo and driven to the La Belage hotel in Hollywood where we caught up with our MTV representatives and the other winners. There were thirty winners all together and their partners. They held a party for us to all meet that night, and the next morning we were driven by bus to the Marriott Palm Desert hotel in Palm Springs where we had time to get ready before they came and picked us up to take us to the dinner to meet Michael that night. We were driven to a secret location where they had been filming Michael’s ‘In The Closet’ during the day. The feeling was surreal when they took us to take photos on the actual set, before Michael arrived. I look at the photos even now, then look at the film clip with Michael and Naomi and it is still hard to believe that we are actually standing on the same set.

Us with one of Michael’s animals

A big Marquee had been set up for the dinner with a real tropical carnival theme going on. There was lots of entertainment organized for us that night, from animals, like an elephant, a cheetah, a camel, a llama, a chimpanzee, as well as a puma who you felt was going to rise up and change into Michael at any moment, like it does in ‘Black or White,’ to a magician, people on stilts, fire eaters, and Rio dancers. The atmosphere was amazing and Michael had spared no expense. The place had been set up like a restaurant with small round dinner tables. We had been seated right up the front and next to our table was an empty reserved one. Much to our delight, we were told that this was Michael’s table. By this time we were overwhelmed by excitement as at any minute Michael was going to walk through the door and come and sit right next to us. We could barely contain ourselves and the agony of the wait was killing us. I remember us going outside and waiting to see Michael arrive by helicopter, but we were soon told we had to go back inside and sit down before he would come out of the helicopter and walk in. We did go back inside and finally Michael walked in. It was like the Earth just stood still. The media had been cruel, even back then, by claiming Michael was strange and weird, but let me tell you, I saw nothing strange or weird. I saw this beautiful, well dressed man walk through the door that was polite, well spoken, and gracious like he always is, and I will never forget that smile, that mesmerizing smile of his that just took your breath away. He truly looked amazing! The only thing strange I remember is how everything he walked past just seemed to light up and of how you just couldn’t take your eyes of him. Michael greeted people as he walked past and then came and sat down. I remember going over to him with my husband, giving him a hug and a koala (not real of course), that he placed on his lap and started patting. The picture at that moment was priceless. We thanked him for the dinner and asked him whether he was coming to Australia soon and he replied “yes” and said that he would be touring. He was referring to the upcoming ‘Dangerous’ tour. (The Australian tour was later cancelled and we had to wait till the ‘History’ tour to see Michael again.) I had gone over in my head all the things that I was going to say to him and here I was up close and the words just wouldn’t come out. He literally left me speechless.

I remember Michael getting up and dancing the Conga. He and Naomi were both pulled up by one of the Rio Dancers and everyone else joined in a line behind. Here we were dancing the Conga with Michael… Not something you do everyday. I also remember how they called us and Michael over for our photo shoot together and of how my husband who was positioned directly behind him for the photos, placed both his hands on Michael’s shoulders and kept them there, even after being told to take them off by the photographer and of how Michael just turned his head around and gave this adorable smile. I also remember Michael turning around once the photos had finished and shaking our hands and bowing his head to us as we bowed to him. Here is this huge superstar, the world’s biggest Entertainer ever, that still has this humble nature about him. The only thing that night that I don’t seem to remember, even though it was a dinner, was eating any food. I know that there was plenty of food there, all personally prepared by Michael’s chef, and I remember Michael taking the first mouth full to start the dinner, but I don’t remember eating a single thing. Believe me that with Michael being so close to me, food was the last thing on my mind that night. Michael was supposed to stay for only half an hour that night, but he ended up staying for about two and a half hours. These were the best two and a half hours of my life and they will be remembered and treasured along with Michael for the rest of my life. We weren’t allowed to take any photos of Michael ourselves, and had been told that if we did, Michael would probably just get up and leave and no one wanted that. I guess this way he could relax a little more and enjoy the night without it feeling like a media attack with cameras constantly in his face. We were, however, sent a few photos and a short video of Michael with us by MTV. I frequently look at the photos and play the video to remind myself that it did really happen, that it wasn’t just a dream. Michael may have been taken away from us physically, but he is embedded so deep in both mine and my husband’s heart that no one can ever take him away from there without taking our hearts out as well. Thank you, Michael, for this beautiful memory - Thank you, Michael, for all you have given us and for all that you were. You will always be loved and you will never ever be forgotten!”

[Paula Katsikas, Michael Jackson fan, winner of MTV’s Dinner With Michael competition; sources: www.mjworld.net, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“He was very smart, very astute. He went into a whole explanation why he bought all the Beatles songs. He was really a genius, knew the value of things, and was very astute and drove a hard bargain. [I also didn’t believe any of the rumors that swirled around him later in his career.] He was like a beloved uncle to them (his minor accusers), he didn’t do anything inappropriate. In fact, they were picking out DVDs and some of them were violent. He said, ‘No, these aren’t the kind of DVDs I want you bringing home.’ “

[Rachelle Friedman, American CEO of J&R retail store; sources: CBS2, http://blog.jr.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


Growing up in Gary, Ind., my mom would be washing dishes, and we'd be harmonizing with her. And when we'd go on vacations to East Chicago to visit our grandparents, we're singing all the way there and back and harmony. Just as brothers, sometimes while we're walking to the park to play basketball, we'll discuss a song we heard on the radio and start singing the hook to it. So there was a lot of singing and music going on, like walking down the street and playing the guitar and those types of things. We still do it today. […] Janet has a lot of personality. She's a hard worker, and that's why when she was a little girl I gave her the nickname, Dunky [a play on donkey]. Michael and I used to call her that, because she worked so hard. She came onstage with us when she was a little bitty baby when we were doing a Las Vegas act, the brothers and I. […]”

“[Are any of the songs on my new album inspired by my family or dedicated to Michael?] Well, just the whole title of the album, 'So Far So Good,' says it all, because it lets me know that what it says in the song, that we have choices. You either have to pick up with life and go on with your life or sink. And when you just move on, you realize that so far everything is really good. The title relates to all of that -- whether it's for music or for love or getting over a horrible situation such as Michael. I got to continue the life he would want me to live and the music he would want me to present to keep the legacy alive. That's the way I look at it, and I just feel this is something he would want me to do. [Michael] got to hear the song, 'So Far So Good,' and gave me great credit on it. He really liked it and encouraged me to keep going with it. […] We're still very shocked about the situation, and he's still dearly missed. And every day, you ask the question, "Why?" But we're a strong family, and our mom is doing OK. We're there for her. […]”

[Toriano Adaryll "Tito" Jackson, American singer, lead guitarist and member of The Jackson 5; source: www.spinner.com]


“I believe in respect and love, and discipline that support a child. I believe in showing him every day that I love him and all the reasons why he is so special and wonderful. I want him to always know how loved he is and that he is uniquely amazing. I want him to be a kind, humble, soul, and I try to parent in a way that will foster that. As a parent, my wishes, prayers, hopes and dreams are timeless, and echo mothers from the beginning of time. Happiness, success, love, humility, a strong character; to remember there is Someone up above, to grow old and be trustworthy and honest, with a kind and giving nature, gentle and respectful. To play, learn, laugh, pray, talk, cuddle and read every day are my goals with my young child. I want him to have a life better than mine. I parent according to that, and I never falter in those basic desires that drive me as a mom. […] I can remember being on the phone with my father, separated by 3000 miles, and sharing in that moment of amazement as the world watched and held its breath, as Michael Jackson moonwalked for the first time. My mom always loved his music and it is through her that this book came to me. […] Michael has been with me my whole life! Even if I was not conscious of him or his music, I cannot remember a time that his music or his image has not been in my life. If life is a book, then Michael’s music is the page that my life is written on. My son has brought him into my life in a way that Michael never was before. When my son was first exposed to Michael and his music and dancing, he was enraptured and lifted in every way. He talks about him, prays for him, sings his songs, and dances with such joy and wild abandon that it stops me in my tracks, and I have to join him. It’s that amazing! […] I knew of it (Michael’s dedication to children), but I was not fully aware of what an ambassador for children he truly was. I always knew that he loved children, but to be fully aware is different. Now, after his death, my son’s reaction to him and with what I’ve read and heard, I am beginning to understand more of who Michael really was and what he cared about. […] I didn’t know how intelligent he was and how deep his understanding was about so many phases of childhood. After finishing the book, in one evening, it became apparent how wonderfully brilliant his parental philosophies were. […]”

“The simple, overlooked truth about what an amazing gift children are - not just our own. […] It was not just his own children Michael loved, he truly loved all children. Of course, his children are special to him in a way no other child could ever be. I’ve never heard or read anyone speak of all children, universally, the way Michael does. That deeply affected me. He doesn’t just speak of his own kids and fathering, but he speaks about all children in the way people usually do about their own. I felt that I had to do better to measure up to what he was talking about. I consider myself a lover of children, innocence and being a guardian of that, but not like Michael. What made it so much more amazing is that he speaks about his own father and his own damaged childhood with so much love… in everything he speaks about… even the people that attacked him. His love is just amazing and I can’t even… there was a time I questioned his behavior, but after reading this book there’s no way. He was so misunderstood and so… his love… this world was just not ready for it. God had to take him back. I would trust him with my child. He would be welcome in my home. […] [(He) changed my parenting goals and day-to-day child raising.] Absolutely! In every possible way! With discipline I’m softer, slower and more purposeful. I find myself thinking… "What is he going to walk away with… is he going to be encouraged, built up?" I’m more thoughtful in my discipline in regards to how it will shape and affect who he is. Michael said children are already what we want them to be, and all they need is to be encouraged and nurtured. They come to us kind, giving, thoughtful and loving. He talked about parenting to who the child is, not who the parent wants the child to be. My son has a loud voice and my reaction is now different. I tell him that he has a natural excited voice that God gave him. He’s not loud, he’s jubilant. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "What would Michael do?" "How would he handle this?" I listen more. Michael said, “Listen to your children”. He also asked, “In everything that you do every day, how are you making the world a better place for children?" (…) I want to continue his work with children. Who is going to be that person on this planet, who will fight for children now? Michael’s soul was crushed and we took so much from him. Who is going to do what Michael did? And, I want more of his roadmap to being a better parent. I want more enlightenment in Michael’s words. […] How could I not (see his differently after learning about him deeper)? […]”

[Kim, mother of one – talking to Lauren Trainor from http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“The highlight of my career was touring with Michael Jackson in 1981. It was a great opportunity for me to be the opening act. Those were the fun times for me..... […] I was devastated like everyone else (when he passed). It was so sudden and unbelievable. I was never as big as Michael Jackson, but I was a child star, so I can relate to that stress he was under. You have to come out of school and be tutored, and you can’t play with your friends because you have to be on the road. I never went to my high school prom. I never went to the high school games. Sometimes when I take my son, I tear up because I missed all that, and once you’re an adult, you can’t go back. I reached out to Jermaine and I sent him a message. All you could do is offer prayer and condolences. It was like a bad dream. […] I was 15 when I toured with (Michael), and my brother and I would go to the show after I performed. We would go backstage, and we would talk to him. He was quite shy, and I was extremely shy, too! When I turned 16, he called me and wished me a happy birthday. When he called me, he had this soft voice, and he said, ‘Hello, this is Michael,’ and I said, ‘Who?’, and I just dropped the phone and yelled. That was so kind of him to remember, and I’ll never forget that. That was phenomenal to me. Michael Jackson was the ultimate superstar. To be able to tour with him and talk to him ... he was a phenomenal person. Of course, he was one of the greatest entertainers of all time, but the person, Michael Jackson, was great.”

[Stacy Lattisaw, American singer; sources: www.blackamericaweb.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“It was amazing (to hang out with Michael). […] Yeah, man, it was amazing. For me to grow up to be, you know, just idolize Michael, then meet him, then I was in his videos and stuff and become friends with him was an honor. You know, I just loved to going to Neverland. We just go up there and we just be sitting in Michael’s living room and talking. All of a sudden, a giraffe would just walk by the window [laughter]. I said, “Michael, what was that"?” (mimicks him) “It’s my giraffe. [laughter and applause] Do you want to meet him?” I said, “Yeah, I want to meet him. Man, I didn’t know you had a giraffe.”

[Chris Tucker, American actor and comedian – on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; sources: www.youtube.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Oh, yeah, man (we were pretty good friends). I was blessed, man. You know, to grow up and to meet somebody I (…) admired so much and become his friend. I was in one of his videos and stuff. Just love Michael. We became friends and I hang out with him a lot. Michael was just so nice. You'll be around him, you'll just get happy. He would give you anything if you liked something. I was just complimenting a flat TV screen and he gave it to me. [laughter] I was like, "Michael, I didn't want the TV.!" [laughter] But then the black came out of me and I started liking everything there. [laughter] I said, "Michael, I like that Rolls Royce. That's a bad Rolls Royce. Not the old one, the new Rolls Royce, right there." [more laughter] He was like (mimicks Michael), "You like it, Chris?" I said, "Yeah, I like it". He said (mimicks Michael) " You sure you like it?" I said, "Yeah, I like it." He said, (mimicking him again) "You better go buy one, because I ain't giving you no (sic) Rolls Royce. I gave you a TV, damn." [laughter].”

[Chris Tucker – on Lopez Tonight; sources: www.youtube.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] The antenna that is the human body takes in and processes a magnitude of information that is barely discernable to the brain or mind. In fact, it often bypasses the intellect. For some of it, there is no name, no language. A wealth of information impacts the human biological system unconsciously, but is processed nonetheless to become part of the feedback loop - the interaction between a human and their environment. Intuition is a very real and valuable human sense. It is often dismissed as illegitimate by those who reject it in favor of “scientific method.” That preference for hard scientific proof fails to take into account that the human body is itself, a laboratory. The human laboratory apparently recognizes truth when it is encountered, and the body does not know how to lie. The human body knows and tells the truth even when the mind and mouth are lying. The flesh knows. When there is a dissonance between the non-verbal communication of the body, and its motion and its verbal communication, the receiver of that communication knows that something doesn’t match. A silent systemic alarm that goes off, and says something isn’t quite right here, because the words and body language don’t match. It is a gentle alarm most of the time, hardly perceptible to some, but in an amplified situation the response is “loud” and often accompanied by an intense flood of adrenalin. When you are walking down a dark street at night and hear footsteps, your body has a reaction. And this “radar” is deployed in all directions - and especially turns up its volume in the space behind you groping for more information. Because we don’t work at developing it, that radar is almost imperceptible as is the feedback it “pings” back. We are actually able to tell “friend” or “foe” without a word being spoken and from a distance. We just don’t deliberately hone that ability, because we culturally don’t value it; in fact, our culture often ridicules that radar as “unscientific.” The aboriginals, indigenous peoples, medicine men, shamans and some artists deliberately develop those abilities, because they have learned their accuracy, and value of auxiliary information when available after being honed through discipline.

Empaths feel with their whole body and whole system. They literally feel other people’s feelings and they experience them as real energy in their own bodies. They know how others feel because they feel it themselves - acutely. And it takes one to know one. I know Michael Jackson was an empath. I know it because I see it in his work, hear it in his music, sense it in his persona, read it in his writing, experience it in his lyrics, and know it in who he was being in the world, but mostly I feel it. […] We have all had that feeling that makes the hair stand up on the back of our necks as we “sense” that something is terribly, terribly wrong. Or we may find ourselves puzzled by a sense of impending doom that confuses, because there is no evidence that anything is wrong. Or we may think of a loved one in a moment that intrudes out of nowhere, and we feel a sense of danger or alarm. Only to find out later that what we were feeling is borne out as accurate - because something tragic has indeed occurred. How many mothers have known instantly when their sons died in a war? How many twins know that something has happened to the other sibling? How many woke up on 9/11 of 2001, or 6/25 of 2009, with a sense of impending doom or heaviness even before the event? And some felt a sense of anxiety, confusion or loss after the event, but before they learned about it. And some still later when they did know. I know there are many, because they wrote to me. Some of you felt it. Some of you still acutely feel the vacuum Michael left behind. You sense that Michael stood for something that is no longer present in the world, and his leaving has left behind a big empty space. I think he left that space for us to fill. Especially for the children to fill.

I think the biggest favor we can do for the world, is to introduce our children to the real truth about who Michael Jackson was and to his work. Children “get” that vibe. They know Michael. They know what Michael means. They feel him and they feel his message. Children have that kind of empathy and radar at birth. They have an inherent ability to pick up on “vibes” and an uncanny means of interpreting those vibes. Children are brutally honest and do not censor themselves or their thinking. They often blurt out staggering truths. Their body language tells the story of magic and joy, and unencumbered and shimmering being-ness. They feel no need to weigh what they say on the cultural scale of what is acceptable or politically correct. They just scan the environment, glean the requisite information and act on it. . There is a natural exuberance and magic in children. There is an innocent belief in the world being a safe place, as well as the creatures that inhabit it. Why would it be otherwise? It is not in our true nature to do or be other than divinely created humans. Isn’t it obvious that the world is a treasure as are the people in it? Isn’t it a given that we are all part of the same human family? That our feelings are a synchrony and symphony - what happens to one happens to all. Isn’t it self evident that humans live in an interconnected web of life? Children know this. Michael knew it. Not only did he know it in the child part of himself that he preserved and protected from contamination, but he felt it as an empath. Michael Jackson wanted to heal the world because he felt the world. Michael was an empath. When he spoke of saving the children and saving the earth, it was from a place of acute familiarity; he felt the sting of the other pole of that - of not acting out of our humanity - of not saving, of doing nothing, of apathy, of indifference. He felt all the “isms” of the world that adults set into motion when they forget who they are during the mission of growing up. He felt the absence of expressed human glory. And he knew we were capable. He reminded us and he believed in us. His life itself was an act of faith - in us. He kept singing that very song.

Children know truth, beauty and purity of intention, because they know nothing else. They know love - they spend nine months in an embrace within a rich and nurturing environment that cradles, nourishes and rocks them while they grow and develop. They feel vibes. They feel people’s vibes and their auras. They intercept intentions with their antenna. They know who is friend or foe. They know instinctively who to trust and they know who to avoid. They know what feels good and what feels creepy and they naturally gravitate toward or avoid. And they trust themselves until they are taught not to. They look at the world through the eyes of awe and wonder. And they think everybody must see it that way. Does it sound like Neverland? Do you remember that Neverland? As children age and grow up, something happens. They become acclimatized to the culture. They begin to develop a protective skin - the more unfriendly the environment, the thicker the skin. The world is not a good or nurturing medium for the future beings who will take charge of the planet and its ecosystems - physical, material, financial, psychological, emotional and spiritual… Children are an accurate barometer and prediction for the future of the planet and for the race. Children are the future. That is what Michael knew to be true. That is what he was saying - over and over. Michael was right. And Neverland was more than a playground for Michael or for children; Neverland is a metaphor for something else and for much, much more. That may be why we find ourselves gathering now in his absence; we may be filling the void he left behind. Perhaps we are meant to set something in motion - a rediscovering of that metaphorical Neverland? Together.”

[Reverend Barbara Kaufmann, American writer, poet and author; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“I opened for him during his Bad tour in Europe. It was 1988. I just had the #1 single throughout Europe - Tell It To My Heart - and Prove Your Love was climbing the charts in Europe and just breaking in the States. I played a month of dates at stadiums from Nice to Barcelona to Wertzberg, Germany. This was at the absolute height of Michael Mania. Michael was gracious to me. And extraordinary to watch as an entertainer, the mesmerizing effect his show and aura had on people. From his huge entourage and entire crew, his band who on backup was Sheryl Crow, to the dancers and production … it was a traveling circus and fun. I was the new sensation and [Michael’s manager] Frank DiLeo two years later began managing my career from meeting during that tour.”


[Taylor Dayne, born Leslie Wunderman, Jewish American pop vocalist, songwriter, dance artist; source: www.okmagazine.com]


 

“We did a show in NYC for Z100, and it was us [98 Degrees] and Beyonce, and they came back in the green room and said ‘Rumor has it, Michael Jackson’s gonna be there, and they want you, guys, to sing a cover of Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”. We all got up onstage and sang it, and then he came out and introduced himself to the crowd, and, obviously, the place erupted. The energy that came in with him when he stepped on the stage was unbelievable. […] He was a very nice guy, and polite. He was not a bit weird, like we had heard and seen him depicted as on television. He was just a nice guy. He was just really quiet. [I also performed for Michael during VH1’s Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special, The Solo Years filmed at NYC’s Madison Square Garden on September 10, 2001 – the last time 98 Degrees performed together.]”


[Jeffrey Brandon ‘Jeff’ Timmons, American pop singer, producer and founding member of pop group 98 Degrees; source: www.okmagazine.com]


“I met Michael and he told me he had just watched a Disney special I did. I was blown away by the thought of the Michael Jackson sitting there watching me on TV. He then invited me to be in his Liberian Girl video. I actually was one of the few who got to sing a little snippet live over his vocal. To say it was an honor is an understatement. […] At 14, I had the red jacket and glove. I was a huge fan. He was a sweet person and lived up to everything you wanted him to be when you met him. He had a receiving line an hour long before his concert at the Forum. To personally meet so many people and then put into his show the energy he put in was astounding. […] I don’t think it’s about the time someone is on earth, but the impact they leave. He did more for humanity and for music in 50 years than anyone could. It’s a shock and I’m most saddened by the fact that, a) I believe there was more music in him, and b) he leaves behind three young children. Everyone feels this immeasurable loss. He was an American treasure.”

[Deborah Ann “Debbie” Gibson, American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress; source: www.okmagazine.com]


Michael came to the set of the Mickey Mouse Club when he was over at Disney (in 1990). They brought him over to say ‘hello’ to us, and we all got an autographed, personalized picture. […] [His security was tight.] It was very controlled. They built up a barrier – a wall – around our soundstage to where there was no way no one (sic) was going to enter. […] It was one of those weird things where you didn’t really think he existed, because he was such an unbelievable performer. You didn’t think he was human, and to see him was just like, ‘Oh my God, he exists.’ [laughs] It’s surreal. As a young kid, you think ‘Maybe he’s not real.’ You think of him as a superhero. His skin was flawless. He looked exactly how you would see him on posters. The hat, the hair, the whole nine. It was a trip. […] [Although we didn’t get a photo with him, we did get autographs. The photos weren’t signed in front of us. They took him somewhere, did it, and gave everybody one after the fact. I have a framed autograph here in my possession. It was the same for everybody. It says, ‘To the Mouseketeers, my favorite club in the whole world, you all really inspire me. I love your wonderful show. All my love. I love you all. Michael Jackson.’” […] We got to shake his hand, that was it. He said ‘Great to meet all you, guys.’ I was pretty starstruck at the time. I certainly didn’t say anything. […] [I caught Michael performing on the 1984 Victory Tour and the 1987-1989 Bad Tour. There is absolutely no other performer on earth who can touch his magnetism, energy and danceability. But his showmanship live – if you haven’t seen it, I don’t know if it will ever exist again. And I’m not taking anything away from other artists – I’m a huge Prince fan, I’m a huge Beyonce fan, but as far as showmanship and the magnetism that he holds on that stage, it’ll never be touched. I don’t see it in our human lifetime – I don’t think it will ever be touched again. There’ll never be another Elvis. There will never be another Michael.”

[Damon Pampolina, former Mousketeer on The All New Mickey Mouse Club; source: www.okmagazine.com]


“[For me, who I grew up in Michael’s hometown of Gary, Indiana, the interaction was more personal. I got 1:1 time with him backstage for about ten minutes.] That was the first thing we touched on – ‘Hey, I’m from Gary, too,’. It was amazing, because he influenced me and everybody else, especially for me being where I’m from and my family witnessing him as a kid and going to school with his brothers and sisters. It was incredible, and he was cool, like, ‘I enjoyed the show, I watch the show, and it’s cool to be here.’ Because he wanted to come and see us filming it. He said he loved the show and he liked what we did on there. The singing, dancing, acting. He said, ‘You guys are triple threats.’ It was crazy. That was the conversation – ‘I’m your homeboy’ type thing.’ He did have something that was absolutely mesmerizing, even standing there – the sound of his voice. Everything about him was insane. It was a big thing to meet him and look him in the face. I’m not going to lie to you – it was a little weird. It was easy to get lost in his eyes and dream of puppies and rainbows. [chuckles] We all know that he was a fan of Disney and Peter Pan, so I think Michael Eisner or Jeffrey Katzenberg were with him at the time. They’re the ones who brought him over. And [Disney-] MGM Studios was new, so the Mickey Mouse Club was an attraction he wanted to see, seeing that the show was being filmed there. […] He was taller than I expected […]. He shook my hand very soft(ly). […] I was in awe. But he was cool, because he was down-to-earth. He was having a conversation that was genuinely happy. It was genuine when he was saying ‘I like what you do.’ It was happy.  And it wasn’t a creepy thing. He just had an aura like a vacuum that sucks you in, and you go ‘Ahh! Wait a minute.’ […] I never thought that he was a molester or pedophile or any of that craziness. He was a weird, eccentric cat because he never had a childhood. I thought people were trying to take advantage of him. What no one can take away from Michael is the “It” factor. “He was literally kissed by God to have that talent. […] He had that gift that most people don’t get. He was a very special person in that way. And he helped the world. That’s why everyone’s so impacted by his death. That’s very special.”

[Albert Fields, American actor, pop singer, former Mousketeer on The All New Mickey Mouse Club; source: www.okmagazine.com]


“He was larger than life. […] He loved our show, and said he used to watch it every day he could. That alone made me bust at the seams with excitement. He was telling us that he was our fan. What power onstage, and such a beautiful man offstage. He was never scared to say what most of us won’t. [I now serve as music director for Rock Nation, an all-ages music school, and I teach many aspiring young musicians.] His autographed picture he gave me that day hangs above me there. He is an inspiration to every kid walking in that school. I’m sure that would make him happy. Michael, thanks for my career in music, and for raising the bar in music and performance. Thank you for inspiring us not only in music, but in kindness and giving.”

[Chasen Hampton, American actor, performer, singer, songwriter, musician, former Mousketeer on The All New Mickey Mouse Club; source: www.okmagazine.com]


“In the wake of the word itself was brought up countless times since June 25th, fans or nonfans alike commenting that their childhood is gone now that he's gone, it's become almost obligatory to question the concept of "childhood". Even though subjects like what childhood exactly means, what era of life it represents and what its consisted (sic) of seem to be generally agreed upon, it's usually ignored that the concept itself is a very new one in historical view, that it completely belongs to modern times. Maybe it's because it's almost impossible to accept that a concept like this - which is surely a source of inspiration and an anchor to remember and to hold on to during bad times in an individual's life - might be only a structure of economics and fiction. Sesame street, the mother putting a tissue to the back of your neck your when you sweat, scabs on knee caps, hard line honesty, free time to provide a limitless imagination... When you put it all aside, "childhood" is a new concept. In historical point of view, there has always been a childhood era. It was a physical reality and was impossible to change. But this concept which is announced by the governments that is comes to an end when you turn 18, is not as universal and protected through history as we might think.

Once upon a time, the thing called "child" was someone short and would grow tall eventually. When they turned 5, they were expected to act like an adult, and historical sources agree that during any periods of time before the 20th century, the individuals who were in their early teens were as mature as today's grown ups and had the intellectual independency of an adult. There are serious evidence that 30.000 children were sent from France and Germany to fight the Holy War in the 13th century and ended up as slaves in Alexandria. And today's mothers bite their nails when they watch a movie where a child character has to take a short journey by themselves. We said governments and 18, right? According to the Roman Catholic Church, the age was 7. And it was called "the age of discretion". There is no expression of innocence of childhood or the need of protection up until the 17th century. And even then, the acceptance of childhood was only an exception, exclusive to the nobles. It was going to take many years for this reality to be accepted by all social classes of society. The modern concept of childhood - like many others - was born as a result of Industrial Revolution. The images of kids running down the streets, shouting the headlines with newspapers in their hands, visuals like Oliver Twist are all from this era. At a time when workers did not have any serious rights and when the working hours could extend to 16 hours a day, children were not an exception. The government had no say about a child's rights and the children were sold to the factories to help the family budget. The children without a family were completely exposed, and soon in big cities a serious new concept, "children crimes" emerged. The developing mechanization revealed the physical insufficiency of child workers, and around the end of the century, the children's place in labour market along with working conditions were reformed. The children under 16 were prohibited to work except for apprenticeship, and the fear of unattended children who were unemployed leaning towards crimes introduced the concept of "obligatory education". Peter Pan made his first appereance in the book called "The Little White Bird" in 1902. And this was how the modern concept of childhood was born. The world was finally reaching the 1950’s immediate family portrait which was consisted of mother, father and two children.

Let's get back to 25th of June... This article is actually about Michael Jackson, even though I know it may not look like it to this point. But what is surprising is that the man who took away our childhood with him when he died might be ironically the last representative of the times when a child was not a child. He was expected to grow up immediately and work relentlessly since he was 5, was beaten and abused by his father to be a good worker, and just like his peers from before the 20th century, had no childhood memories like we do. Being famous and rich didn't make his life any more (sic: less) sufferable. Thesis about the effects of a lost childhood on an individual by criminologists and sociologists brought MJ closer to the saying of George Orwell about rich people: "Another poor person with money". His mistakes were not considered to be relevant to his lost childhood, after all he was the most famous, most talented person who was on top of the world and he had to stay there. He was a blind spot to the governmental child supervision, because, after all, he was too rich to be a statistical data in employment numbers and he was outside of the usual labour market. A background like no one else. […] When he wanted to put a stop to endless urban legends and false accusations about himself, he didn't rage and roar like his peers and, as a result, his naïve, childish and shy responses were ignored by the press. He made the best known dream of a child when asked what to do if they were rich come true and built his own amusement park. The world insisted on judging him based on the perception of what a 40 years (sic) old man should be and used his differences, which can be automatically observed on someone who worked since he was 5 and became the most famous person in the world, as a source for their false accusations.

The most famous of the children whom the world failed to do justice closed his eyes to this life, right before he could give many answers to the world one right after the other, on June 25, 2009. Since that day, (…) we started seeing different angles for the first time. We started to think and discuss about what kind of desease (sic) this vitiligo was, the nonsense of the story about him sleeping in an oxygen tank, the psychological effects of being seriously burned while filming a TV ad. We realised how much of a big impact he left in our lives, and that his signature was the biggest mark in our childhoods. Undoubtedly, bringing the feeling of guilt alongside.

Now I can more clearly remember the times when I bought and wore that very similar jacket to the one he wore in the video of Bad and tried to recreate the video with 8 or 10 of my friends, because it was the route to school, the moment I saw his car in front of the hotel he stayed in Istanbul, dangling out of the window of the school bus excitedly with my friends, watching his concert for free from the hill with a view to the stadium, until the last moment a cop came and chased me out of there. With his death, it feels like a shield before my eyes has left. Admittedly with a guilty conscience. When his responses to accusations were this apparent, when the pain he was in was this obvious, to feel like it's the first time you come to a realisation, even for someone who is far from a perfectionist like me, is devastating. The unconditional surrender of subconscious to the mass media... no matter how old you are. It's obvious that urban legends about Michael Jackson will not die after his death. Even in the autopsy report that was printed (…) had undertones that ordered our subconscious to see him as a weirdo and find him bizarre; "There was nothing but pills and one fruit in his stomach." Let's assume it's true... so? Take one man or woman of middle class to aristocracy two months before summer and tell them to lose that belly and then look into their stomachs. Anything different? […] "He was obviously addicted to antidepressants and painkillers." Let's assume it's true... so? Who isn't? [TST note: to add to this hypothesis, it was proved to be a false one, as Jackson was not addicted to any painkillers and antidepressants at the time of his death, but had trouble sleeping; the highly suspicious medication and anesthetic for that in his system were administered by none other than Dr. Murray]

Without a doubt, the media's role in portraying a person will be more vehemently discussed after MJ's death. The cliché of people fiercely wearing individuals with extraordinary talents out might seem like a process that was radicalised since the second half of the 20th century. But is it really so? "He's on stage since he was 5, he looks like a freak, he's pale like a dead person, he's too skinny and he's charged with molestation." That sounds like a description the media gave for years about MJ, but in fact, it was said for the probably first super star in history, Nicolo Paganini, in the 19th century. The violin virtuoso Paganini who was more talented than anyone to that point, had lived his life on tours, had achieved a fame that the class discrimination could not prevent, had his audience scream and faint with his stage performances. His interesting looks and costumes had created urban legends and the most famous one of them, the gossip of him selling his soul to the devil for his extraordinary talent, had followed him to his death and even after his death, the Archbishop had prohibited for him to be buried in a Christian funurel. No, I mean they really really seriously believed that he sold his soul to the devil! Thus, we can track back the ancestry of the likes of [* insert the name of your country's idiotic writer/journalist here] and [* and another one here].

The feast table around which the global media is gathered seems not to be cleaned up anytime soon after his death. His fan base is so huge and diverse around the globe it's impossible to sum up what we should do for his legacy... except to make his music known by many more generations and when it comes to the matters he was so sensitive about, to shout the facts to the faces of those who can not or will not break their will and judgment free of enslavement.

Thank you, MJ. Eternally.

This is dedicated to all child workers.”

[Avi Albohayre, Turkish copywriter at Marjinal Porter Novelli, former editor at MPG&RDM – article translated in English by wapiti_baris, edited by TST Team; sources: http://shamone-mj.livejournal.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“[…] (What I find most challenging in my work is) trying to keep up with what’s new, and discovering new and old artists. Also, bringing honesty to a culture corrupted by greed and dishonesty, and racism. […] The Resistance (book I wrote) collects writing from 1984 to 1994 when pop culture underwent major changes, due to the advent of Hip-Hop and the impact of artists like MJ, Public Enemy, Morrissey, Steven Spielberg, Pedro Almodovar, and August Wilson. Rebel for the Hell of It was a chance to assess Tupac’s cultural significance -- a theme I will also pursue in an upcoming monograph on MJ titled, Souvenirs. […] MJ was a phenomenal artist. I knew it from the moment the Jackson 5 appeared on the Hollywood Palace in 1969. Since then, his career has been one astonishment after another. He has been the foremost challenge to art and politics for more than the past quarter century. Since Thriller, he’s also been the greatest musical and music video inspiration.”

“[My review of Michael's short film, Black or White, written in 1991, The Gloved One is Not a Chump, won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Movie Criticism in 1992]. […] I hope the essay itself does justice to Black or White, and lays out its importance as an artistic watershed and a great political proposition. It’s full of history, anger, beauty, and faith in humanity’s potential. […] Black or White is a great example of what a principled artist can accomplish. MJ had the world’s attention, and used the moment to its fullest. But then, he did that again and again -- with "Bad", "Scream", and This Is It. […] An artist is moved to express himself, and can’t be concerned about backlash. Black or White was MJ’s brilliant and fearless message to the world. He always recoiled from backlash, but then would comeback (sic) stronger every time. "Scream" carries forward the courage and anger and vision of Black or White’s coda. […] Since MJ was also concerned to speak Truth to Power, his vision will always need to be protected by his admirers, from the assault and denial perpetrated by powerful media folk who want to maintain the status quo. […] [He was singled out for the treatment he received because,] again, MJ spoke Truth to Power in a voice that could not, would not be ignored, and the media fought back -- viciously. […] The simple and profound answer (for the marginalization of his work even after his death) is racism. There are few folks in the mainstream today who will admit it, but James Brown, James Baldwin, Dr. King, Malcolm X, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, and Ralph Ellison knew it. […] We’re dealing with an artist, but we’re also talking about politics. A black artist in America always faces an uphill battle from a still-prejudiced power structure that operates from deeply instilled biases. This goes unspoken, and is often disguised as “morality” and “taste”, but in the end it’s simply white supremacy.”

“MJ’s musical and cinematic (music video) achievements place him in the rare company of artists who have mastered various media. […] The political content -- the messages -- of MJ’s work remain to be discovered and appreciated, but it’s a crucial aspect of his artistic project. I hope Keep Moving will help to illustrate the development of his political voice and vision. […] MJ created music that many, many people lived their lives to. He made some of the most unifying songs ever. That impact can’t be stopped, no matter how many so-called experts wish to deny it. […] [I have] no single personal favorite (song and short film of his). MJ’s music and videos enrich so many different moods. “The Love You Save”, “Ben”, “Billie Jean”, “Bad”, “Jam”, “You Are Not Alone”, the Tony Moran mix of “History.” It depends on what you feel at any moment -- although I feel that the Black or White film is a towering achievement. […] (For this book,) it’s been inspiring to go back over those songs and videos I had at first taken for granted; to feel revived by them.”

“[The primary messages that ordinary people can learn and take away from his body of work I believe are] what Jesus Christ commanded, “Love One Another”. Plus, “You Are Not Alone”.

[Armond White, American music and film critic, author of Moving On: The Chronicles of Michael Jackson.”; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]


“I don't tell this story too often, in fact, growing up, I kinda learned to just keep it to myself.

Whenever people would find out I knew him, a gang of silly, dumb questions would follow, and I would always end up having to defend someone I loved so much.

When I was 5, my cousin Brian and I where OBSESSED with Micheal (sic) Jackson. We had dolls, sleeping bags, lunch boxes, and, OF COURSE, the gloves. […] Brian was older then me, and found out at school MJ actually lived in the Valley we lived in. Anyone from LA pretty much knew the house. So we wrote him letters and enclosed a bunch of pics, you remember the ones from school you'd write on the bk, yeah, well, lucky Micheal (sic) got about 25 of me!! Basically, we told him we LOVED him & I told him I was a singer and dancer!!! We also asked him to come to our house & visit!! Our loca tia Carol (RIP) took us to his house and we rang the gaurd (sic) gate. His gaurd (sic) came out to us & took our letters. WE WERE SOOOOOOO HAPPY, we KNEW he would get (‘)em!! I honestly can say we were just happy enough to see his gate & meet his guard (sic), NEVER did we really expect what happened next.

About 4 days later, at 10:30 pm, my mom got the call from Carol, Michael Jackson was HERE, in our APT building, on her couch. I was 5 & anybody who knows a 5 year old also knows that it's damn near impossible to wake (‘)em up!! The pic you see of us is him holding me, cause I wouldn't wake up, he insisted my parents take da pic, so I would truly know he came!! A few days later, I was going into the hospital for sugery (sic) & he called me. I couldn't BELIEVE I was talking to Micheal (sic) Jackson & that he actually had my number!! Over the next few years, he would invite Brian & I to his house, to watch him shot (sic) his videos & to his shows.

It's weird, when I was lil(“), I didn't really grasp FAME, especially his FAME. All I knew was he was my friend & I think thats (sic) why he liked me. My friendship with him changed my life. It was a HUGE influence, it made me believe having a singer career was in arms (sic) reach. My neighborhood didn't support BIG DREAMS, but his freindship (sic) gave me confidence & assurance that ANYTHING & EVERYTHING is possible, if you work hard & aren't scared to try. His generousity & kindness inspires (sic) me daily. Here was the biggest super star in the world taking time out to come to a broken down apt building in Van Nuys CA to see his fans. He was ALWAYS about his fans & his community, and I really always knew that if I got my chance, I would strive to be just like that!!

Even as a tiny lil girl I could see his saddness & his lonely (sic). It was a part of him, I think his childhood, fame & money alienated him from most of the world. Thats (sic) why he loved US, cause we didnt (sic) care about the BS!! We just had fun!! He was so goofy & silly, we would jump on his trampoline and raid his candy shop. Micheal (sic) was like Edward Scissorhands & Willy Wonka to me, SOOOOO AMAZING in the HEART, but so misunderstood by most! I love him always for touching my life & showing me a different world then (sic) the one I grew up in.I hope those babies of his really grow up understanding that they did have the best daddy in the world. His heart & sprirt (sic) are what made him the GREATEST and so RARE.

Oneday (sic) I'll post more pics, and tell ya specific stories!! All the good things ya heard about him were ALL TRUE!! I promise!!

R.I.P., M.J. YOU WILL BE MISSED AND ALWAYS LOVED!”

[LaLa Romero, Latin-American singer, dancer; sources: http://lalaromero.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“This photo was taken on one of the VERY BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!!! Michael called me, after a sugery (sic) I had & invited me to the set of his video for "The Way You Make Me Feel". Here's what stood out about the day, the biggest super-star in the world made me feel like the super-star. In the middle of all his hectic-ness, he would come see me, take pics with me & make sure I was good between takes!! At 5 yrs old I sat & watched him shoot, take after take in this warehouse in San Pedro CA. He introduced me to everyone, his sister Latoya was there, his co-star, that beautiful girl he was SO shy to kiss (Tatianna). Even at that young age, I was very aware of how gracious & kind he was with EVERYONE on set. Looking back now, I remember he was sooooo excited that all of the extras were real ex bloods, crips, gang members from LA. I remember him being so excited about giving them a chance to shine & a new opportunity. We sat in his trailor (sic), I remember telling him I wanted to be a singer when I grew up & gave him pics of me from my dance recital. I remember eating w(ith) him & him being the very first vegetarian I had ever met! I was like, ‘U don't eat meat???’ I was so confused!! Lol. Man, writing this, thinking about this day & all the rest of the times I spent w(ith) him makes me smile!! As a lil girl, I never really grasped how famous he was, honestly I think that's why he loved hanging out w(ith) me! To me & all the other kids, he was just a fun, crazy, silly guy, who sang our most favorite songs. I love him for being the most honest, pure heart I have ever known for showin(‘) me video shoots, recording studios, & concerts, up close and personal, making my dream seem possible. I was there in it, seeing it happen, he brought me into a world I would have never known existed without him. A lil girl from Van Nuys, CA. I can't even begin to count the ways he changed my life. He helped create my dream. Records like Homegirlz & Sadgirl I know he would be proud of, he was always, ALWAYS about giving back!! I miss him everyday & can't believe he is gone. […]”

[LaLa Romero; sources: http://lalaromero.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]



“Reflections on Light and Darkness

“There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” (Leonard Cohen)

There are no doubt millions of fans of Michael Jackson’s music who remain baffled by what little they have known of his behavior, character and appearance. There are millions more who are totally indifferent to the music and, if anything, repulsed by what they perceive as an offensive eccentric at best, or dangerous deviant at worst. In the days immediately following his tragic death, almost all commentators chose to emphasize this ostensible polarity of Michael’s legacy: “a genius in his art, but a disturbed human being.” It seems like there was always a “but.”

If mainstream gurus are good at anything, it is turning truth on its head and, in the process, eviscerating all that is pure. It is not in Michael Jackson’s musical artistry that his foremost greatness consists, but it is in fact in his wonderful humanity. His music is only just one expression – just one manifestation – of that humanity. These misguided eulogies, therefore, have it all backwards. Michael’s legacy is not limited to an artistry that is somehow soiled by a troubled and troubling life. Michael’s greatest legacy is his loving character and the lessons it teaches us, through his ultimately tragic life, about the true face of an often brutal and ugly world.

In Michael Jackson, we see an innocence and purity rarely seen in an adult. Jackson’s “childlikeness” is perplexing to many people, but it is precisely this trait that sets him apart from an adult world that has learned so effectively to be cold and calculated, smart and shrewd, proper and professional. Adults seeking to better themselves ought to become more childlike. If Michael was guilty, his sin (borrowing Dylan’s prophetic words) was that he knew and felt too much within. Unfortunately, it is typical for those who feel deeply to seem to others utterly odd and insane. Hence the proverbial Pierrot, buffoon or idiot, whose superficial lunacy conceals a deep understanding of the human heart. Michael’s intense capacity to feel allowed him to be a loving, caring and responsive human being. He was far more capable of love than are most adults. Because of this acute sensitivity, what we also see in Michael is an utterly vulnerable, susceptible man.

Michael’s bizarre appearance and eccentric behavior were, paradoxically, far more sensible than the “normal” behavior of most “normal” people within the confounding context world that is itself upside down. All of Michael’s strange gestures and attitudes make perfect sense given one profound premise – that the world is pure, innocent and harmless. Of course those of us who have “grown up” have learned that the world is not “pure, innocent and harmless.” Hence the tragedy of Michael Jackson. His actions, whether holding his baby over the balcony or jumping on top of a car to wave to adoring fans or spending millions of dollars on a single shopping spree, seem irresponsible and disturbing when seen and interpreted through the categories of a deranged world. In fact, his actions were selfless and harmless.

The truth is, Michael had the eyes and heart of a child who saw in one dimension – that of pure love. When he saw that someone desired something from him, he gave selflessly, paying no heed to logical consequences or reasonable caution. The dictates of propriety and convention were, as they ought always to be, totally subordinated to the dictates of love. It made perfect sense to him to give joy to others, even if this exposed him and his own actions to spiteful or selfish manipulation by others.

Michael was not willing to assume, as most adults are conditioned to do, that someone he approached could have a tarnished nature. He gave others the benefit of doubt, approaching them as if approaching angels and children. When he met demons, thus, he was utterly exposed and likely devastated. This, no doubt, brought him much suffering, i.e., not so much the suffering that was inflicted upon him by the malice of others, but only just the sudden realization (played over and over again anew) that the person he had hoped was an angel could in fact be so malevolent. Michael never allowed himself, it seems, to draw the seemingly rational and sensible conclusion that most adults have drawn from repeated experience: the world is generally just this way. In other words, Michael’s purity was such that if he met nine people, all of whom turned out to be vile, he would still greet the tenth as an angel. This defies reasonable human “logic,” but it remains steadfast in an adherence to the greater logic of divine love.

Michael surrounded himself with children not because he was perverted, but because he saw in them the hope for a world which had grown to be far too mature. What he loved in children was the proof and justification of the “purity of heart” of which we hear in the Beatitudes. He tried desperately – in only seemingly irrational ways – to protect this adolescent purity from a world whose hideous cruelty he felt in his very own flesh. If the fact that he saw nothing wrong in expressing love toward children in emotionally intimate ways attests only to his purity, our inclination to assume that he was a pedophile and our willingness to assume that love is a pathological deviation can only attest to our essential impurity. In a world that has fallen to pieces, it only makes sense that (to quote Dylan once again) what’s bad is good, what’s good is bad. Thus, love is a pathological disturbance, whereas cold, rational remoteness defines the new “humanity.”

Michael created and surrounded himself with a world fit for a child, because he felt that this is the ideal the entire world should aspire to - an ideal that the world so woefully fails to live up to. It was also, incidentally, a way for him to compensate for the pain that was so ever-present to him – the pain of his past and present, the pain of his visceral, personal experience. Michael was sensitive – perhaps hyper-sensitive – and in so being, he felt the pang of every brutal truth far more directly and deeply than most others would. The harm that was inflicted upon him and others was so real to Michael, that it induced in him an absolute and immediate moral response. This response - this Neverland world that eradicated the pain of reality through one sweeping contradiction - however unrealistic and idealistic it might seem to a practically minded adult, was totally reasonable for Michael. Michael was the perfect mixture of a child’s innocence and an old-man’s sagacity. He saw both much less and much more. Quincy Jones was therefore profoundly astute and when he famously described Michael as both the oldest and youngest man he knew.

Michael’s innocence is strangely evident in his infamous shopping spree that evoked such a furor when shown in Martin Bashir’s exposé. My own socially and environmentally conscious logic is tempted to condemn and rebuke such wanton excess. And yet, I can only smile when I see Michael in the store. Why? Perhaps because what I really see is an innocent child grasping for an ideal utopia – pleasantly oblivious to the ugliness of a consumptive and destructive society concealed behind a façade of harmless, pretty, enjoyable products. Michael sees only what is immediately there – the potential for a beautiful world wherein children and adults alike have what they need – the joy and inspiration, the peace and beauty. There is really no concern here for stuff. What allows me to smile rather than to cringe is that Michael’s thoughts and actions flow so naturally and effortlessly along these ideal and pure categories, which seem so improbable to my rational mind. He does not see the horror and the ugliness. These do not factor into his thinking. His urge to buy is not inspired by an egoistic urge to amass stuff for his own gratification. Nor does it arise from being manipulated by an insidious system that wants you to buy for its own impure interest.

The Bashir Interview: Casting Pearls before Swine

When I first (only recently) watched the notorious Martin Bashir special, which was shamelessly aired again and again on MSNBC after Michael’s passing, I could not help but cry. At times I felt as though I was witnessing the public humiliation, flogging and crucifixion of an utterly helpless and harmless child. My first thought was, “Why did Michael agree to do this? He should have refused!” Upon some reflection, however, I realized that Michael was willing to expose himself (repeatedly) to Bashir’s sadistic onslaught precisely because of who he was. Michael thought that Bashir’s intentions were pure. He wanted to believe that Bashir would not manipulate what had been said and that the journalist’s quest was simply to share the truth with the world. Why not believe this to be the case? Why assume that the interviewer’s instincts could be self-interested and impure? Would that not be admitting that the world is ugly – that the world is not and will never be Neverland?

The contrast between Bashir and Michael really could not be greater. Bashir went out of his way to appear reasonable and measured. Michael, on the other hand, had little regard for how he appeared. His main concern was the truth of how he felt and what he believed. To many people he appeared “crazy.” The truth, of course, was just the opposite. Bashir was consistently cynical, sardonic, judgmental (sic), and seemed to exhibit a pathological indifference when, again and again, he picked at Michael’s raw, open wounds. He showed no regard for the human heart and its anguish. If he had any concern for Michael’s torment, perhaps he was too proud to show it. Bashir concealed his cruelty behind a façade of intelligent, reasonable and intellectual professionalism, as if he were just a skilled journalist in the disinterested pursuit of truth. But it is when things sound perfectly civilized and appear so prim and proper that we should be most wary and suspicious. If we pay close attention, we see that Michael possesses the genuine and good heart and is quite reasonable in all he stands for, whereas Bashir is the true sociopath.

Bashir conducts his hurtful interviews all the meanwhile adhering to the highest professional protocol and journalistic etiquette. At one point in the broadcast, Bashir reflects: “Confronting Michael wasn’t going to be easy, but now it had to happen,” as if this shift to difficult personal subject matter were the result of some inescapable logic, perhaps some imagined standard of journalistic professionalism, which dictates that the truth must be uncovered, whatever the human toll. It is not relevant or important to Bashir how personal the truth may be, whether it has any important humane or useful significance to the audience, or what the consequences of the pursuit of that truth might be. The single thing that matters is the successful exposure of facts, which will secure for Bashir pride among his peers. Are we to admire this journalist’s professional ardor, persistence, and his supreme objectivity in the pursuit of his goal? Is it of no importance that a human being must be sacrificed on the altar of this professional ideal?

In yet another disingenuous attempt to establish his superior ethical and professional credentials, Bashir explains to his audience that his line of questioning is inspired by a “worry” for Michael’s children. Meanwhile, Michael sits and writhes in obvious pain and discomfort. Seeing this, Bashir, ever the objective scientist in hot pursuit, does not desist, but rather intensifies his inquest. Michael, the victim, is increasingly desperate and begins to crack. His humanity is bared for all to see. Michael’s legs tremble with anxiety. Under duress, Michael opens up and his emotions spill over. Defenseless because of his innocence, and so pure that he cannot even fathom the foul logic of reason, Michael describes the act of sharing one(‘s) bed with a child as an expression of care and love. How fair-minded propriety dictates that care and love are in fact deviant behavior is rightly incomprehensible to him. Desperation ringing in his voice, he explains that he cannot abide a crazy world wherein guns and computers have, for children, replaced human contact and compassion. “Why does it mean so much to you?” asks Bashir. The question seems to embody concern, but there is a just barely palpable accusatory tone: Wouldn’t a normal, rational person care less…? Perhaps you care so much because you are demented or perverted…?

The proper question, of course, is how anyone could ever be indifferent to the plight of children in an alienating world? How could anyone care less? Bashir’s rationality has itself become a pathological deviation. Bashir stands in judgment over a phenomenon he cannot understand, because he has grown up beyond where he could ever comprehend the simplicity of a pure heart. His logic is far too sophisticated and proud. When we have grown up to the point where we are actually capable of dispassionately analyzing a tragedy without breaking down and crying about it, we have then truly lost our humanity. Erecting ideals like Neverland in an effort to cope with dismal reality is not a moral failure. Properly seen, it is just a symptom of or testament to the pathological state of the world. The moral failure is the dismal reality in itself.

Bashir is the sort of person who could stab a person and, with cool and calm demeanor, go on to ask why the victim is in pain. He is “disturbed” by Jackson’s ostensibly eccentric behavior and “concerned” for the children, all the meanwhile inflicting psychological torture on the father of these children. Perhaps Bashir even understands that Michael’s sensitivity will make him susceptible to manipulation. He throws Michael off balance and then points to his angst as evidence of character flaws. Bashir is especially interested in the personal and largely irrelevant matter of plastic surgeries, and here his interrogation borders on sadism. Knowing the topic will open painful wounds, he pries into Michael’s demons. Bashir’s interrogation can only bring to mind an SS officer with his cool and scientific method. Perhaps what Bashir was really looking for in his ideal subject was a cold hard rock rather than a human being. What he found instead was an angel."

[filipek7; sources: http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com, www.mj-777.com]

 

“In 1998, I was fortunate enough to engineer for Michael Jackson after he asked me to record several of his vocal sessions and track a few of his producers. His passing is some pretty sad news and my memories of those studio sessions has (sic) compelled me to share a few of my experiences and observations about Michael, so here’s one of a few I’ll post.

Several days after Michael’s passing, a friend of mine came across a (…) news exclusive of an unreleased Michael Jackson song and sent me a link to a short mp3 clip (…). To my surprise, it was a song I worked on as a recording engineer and bass player as well in 1998 at the “Record Plant” in Los Angeles. The song was called “A Place With No Name”, which was a re-make or more like a flip of “America”, the 70′s rock band’s timeless hit “A Horse With No Name”. It was a muse track for Michael and producer Dr. Freeze, writer/producer for “Bell Biv DeVoe” and “Color Me Bad” hits. I’m not certain if it was Freeze or Michael who kicked off the idea first, but I know Michael loved the “America” song, though he did work out lots of other music explorations for the fun of it, or at least with no specific outcome in mind other than finding a surprise in the process.

An observation.

Actually, Michael has hundreds of songs worked up on that premise and I’m certain what I saw was only the tip of that iceberg! That sound clip is definitely a session rough mix, since it doesn’t have a mix and master polished sound on it. For those unfamiliar with what a session rough mix is, it’s from the session multitrack tape that was up on the recording console that day for whatever work was being done to it, which was quickly or “roughly” mixed and recorded to a recordable CD or DAT tape as Michael liked it. Also, my bass track sounds raw and loosely compressed, so it just may be from that very bass session, but I can’t be certain.

Anyway, of course I had a lot of fun recording Michael and Freeze, but what was most fun was playing bass on the track and how it showed me Michael’s relentless musical energy so vividly. A few days before my bass session, Dr. Freeze expressed that he and Michael wanted to have a “bass guitar” sound on the track. I told Freeze I can play and would be happy to lay something down for him. I brought my bass down to the studio, and a few days later Freeze was ready to record it. The problem was I was a bit concerned to play on MJ’s tracks while MJ was around. I just didn’t want to jeopardize my position as an “Engineer” goofing around on Michael’s music, but in the end it was unfounded paranoia on my part. Regardless, we waited till late in the eve when Michael usually slipped out for home long before that, at least based on his MO from the previous few weeks.

When I was certain Michael had left the studio, I plugged in my bass and started to play around with the track with Freeze. But the very second I plugged in, I saw Michael emerge from his studio lounge through the vocal booth glass and into the control room, so I was like; ‘Uh oh!’, since I kind of felt busted in a way. Michael immediately said; “What are you, guys, doing”? I replied sheepishly; ‘Laying down some bass, Mike.’ He said; ‘Let’s hear it’. So I played a few bass licks and he immediately got excited and said; ‘Are you recording!!?’ ‘Umm, no, Mike, I’m just trying to find a vibe. Mike said; ‘Play and record it all!’ So I dropped in (hit record) and jammed on the song. Well, Michael turned up the big main speakers LOUD! And was loving what I was playing.

After several seconds, Michael was in my face rockin(‘) out like we were on-stage at a live gig while I pulled off all kinds of bass ideas. At the end of that pass, he said to do another and off we went again. Michael was poppin(’) and lockin(’), playing air guitar while we pulled out our rock poses in front of the console. He would say; ‘Oh, yeah, CJ, that was stinky!, Sooo stinky. (a good thing for Mike) Lets (sic) do another!’ Ok, Mike, I dropped in a total of five or six times with the last one being a solid groove track, so we didn’t have to comp a bunch of bass ideas to make the song listenable right away. Which sounds like that bass pass in the “A Place With No Name” mp3 clip, if my memory serves me. After more than a half-hour of rockin(‘) with Michael and a few more loud playbacks, I put together a quick rough mix and made him a dat tape to listen to. He graciously thanked me again and then went home for the day.”

[CJ deVillar, producer, mix engineer, bassist; sources: http://songworx.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

"[I remember a 1981 meeting I had with The Jacksons at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.] The Jacksons were on the top of their game that night. They were incredible singers and dancers. Michael had an exceptional talent that shone the brightest. Backstage, I was able to meet them all. They were very gracious. At that time, 'Elvira' was at the top of the pop charts, and to my surprise they sang 'Elvira' to me and my sons. It was an evening we will never forget. [My sons and I also performed that night, singing 'Happy Birthday' to Michael, who'd just turned 23 years old.] I was amazed to watch him over the years as he accomplished even higher achievements and became one of the world's greatest entertainers. Michael stood out as a fantastic talent. He had the whole ball of wax -- not only a great voice, but the ability, flexible ability, and dancing."

[William Lee Golden, American country music singer, member of country music group The Oak Ridge Boys; sources: http://www.theboot.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] I made this video and I'm borrowing my friend's account in order to post it.. This is NOT my account. I hope you, guys, like it and decide to stand up for what you believe in. Just speak out! Someone will hear you. Let's make a difference and heal the world!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nahi0ZI8ag

“Hundreds of children die every year of cancer, AIDS, HIV, tumors, viruses and more. We should be thankful for what we have. Children are born blind, deaf and slow. We all need (to) stand together and make a difference. See what you can do, find support, and do it. Appreciate what you have before you lose it. Love Each Day.”

“[…] I really hope you like this most recent vid I made. I hope you, guys, take it to heart, and try to help get rid of pollution and try to save as many animals as you can.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkqCEW6lZFE&feature=related

“Please do what you can to stop pollution and rescue animals. Thank you. <3”

“May the very special memory of my beautiful loving father be always in our world forever, especially through his wonderful and magical art, bringing endless happiness to children everywhere. With all my love and blessings to the kids at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I love you, Daddy. – PARIS"

“[…] Stop spreading rumors!!!! It gets on my nerves how jealous ppl & haters start rumors about talented ppl 4 no reason. They did this 2 my dad. We ARE ppl, y'know. (…)! […] It was ‘cuz of his race there were haters.. they were racist and jealous.”

"[I want my father to be remembered] as one of the greatest and nicest guys ever."

[Paris Jackson, Michael’s daughter…]


“To the wonderful children and families who are loved and cared for by Children’s Hospital L.A. . On behalf of our dear and greatly missed father, Michael. We love you all and wish you all to be in the best of health and have a very happy life. With love from Our family. (…)”

“[Seeing how loved my dad is,] it’s something that is amazing to me every time I come to places like this [Gary, Indiana] and all these fans gather for him, and it’s amazing how much he was respected and, like, loved.”

[Prince Jackson, Michael’s son…]


“A tribute to Michael Jackson, a man who created so much delight and happiness, though his music to so many people throughout the world – God Bless!

Farewell, and goodbye, Michael, thank you America, what a superb send off you have organised for a man who gave all he had to give, physically, emotionally and as I have learnt today, his contribution to so many, many charities, financially. Here in my home today in Sydney, Australia, there were no dry eyes and without a doubt the whole world is breaking their hearts which are filled with sadness.

The farewell tribute concert commenced in Sydney at 2.50 am and as I watched with bitter sweetness, I realized that indeed this was a wonderful tribute to a man who had nothing to give the world but his whole soul.

What can you write about a man who gave so much and contributed completely and wholeheartedly to the happiness of millions of people throughout the world, through his music, not to mention the many sick and infirmed children which he visited in hospitals throughout the many countries of the world where he so generously gave from his heart, gifts and tickets to his shows, and lifted their spirits which would, I have no doubt, would (sic) have aided in their recovery.

I am the mother of one such child, where my son and I had the opportunity of meeting Michael at the Sydney Childrens (sic) Hospital in Randwick when he visited Sydney on the 18 November, 1987. I will never forget that day as long as I live, when Michael came to the hospital with an abundance of stuffed animal toys, so generously given, to all the children in the children’s ward. He went around the ward and visited each child personally and quietly spoke words of comfort to them, and I will never forget the delight of these children, the medical staff and the parents who visited on that day.

My son now is a grown man and I wish to share this photograph with the whole world, because it shows Michael’s selfless and generous nature.  My son, unfortunately, lost his eye in a school accident that week and, as you can imagine, it was a real tragedy for the whole family, but that day he gave us all some joy,  great pleasure and (…) an abundance of happiness.

Michael, I know that you are with the angels and may God Bless your soul and, rest assured, you will live in our hearts forever. Thank you for the music.

Natasha Lang”

[Sources: http://authspot.com, www.mj-777.com]


“François Glorieux is currently 78 years old. Having been personally commissioned by Michael to compose classical renditions of his greatest hits, the death of Michael Jackson is still very emotional for him.

François is a Belgian musician, pianist, composer and conductor who has toured Europe, the USA, Latin America, Canada, Japan, China, Middle East and Africa with his music. He gave many concerts in Spain in the beginning of his career 50 years ago, especially in Zamora, Leon, Burgos, Palencia, Valladolid, La Coruña, Vigo, Santander, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Logroño, Mieres, Sabadell, Granada, Malaga, Cartagena, Lorca, Palma de Mallorca, Madrid and San Javier – always with good reviews from the press. His specialty is classical music in a style with which the public can identify. He is Honorary Professor of Chamber Music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Ghent, Belgium, Visiting Professor at Yale University, USA, among others. He has worked with musicians like Paul McCartney.

François met Michael on 2nd of May 1989, because Michael requested they meet privately to talk about classical music. Michael asked François to make classical arrangements of his biggest hits.

A year later, they met again and Michael was delighted with the three compositions François’ had done: Bad, Smooth Criminal and Liberian Girl. Michael said: “His band is wonderful. François is an exceptional musician and his orchestral arrangements of my songs are fascinating. I have him asked to continue working along these lines.”

Less than a year later, both artists met once again. They listened to ‘Liberian Girl‘ together and discussed his orchestral arrangement. Michael immediately organized a photo shoot for the next day and over 100 photos were taken. Through the years, the plans changed, but the friendship remained.

[…]

Two of the first three songs FG arranged classically, ‘Bad‘ and ‘Smooth Criminal‘, were successfully performed three times by the National Symphony Orchestra of London between 1992 and 1993 with 85 musicians, and once in the BBC Radio Orchestra with François himself conducting the orchestra. François generously shared with us the following via email to Marisa (”Blues Away“). Translation may not be exact, but is as accurate as possible:

“That was Michael’s wish and his intention that I arrange 12 of his most important hits, but done in the classical way and only for acoustic instruments. In fact, his wish was to be performed between great composers as Beethoven, Brahms, and so on. His idea was also to organize a great concert in the Hollywood Bowl with me as conductor of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra for a Unicef gala. The versions I did obtained a real triumph by the audience! Unfortunately, they are not recorded, but completely finished.”

Subsequently, FG also shared that he is still trying to find a sponsor to record the three songs (Bad, Liberian Girl and Smooth Criminal), but it is very difficult, because these are songs written for an orchestra of 85 musicians. He also shared some touching moments between he and Michael when he played “She’s Out of My Life” and when he discussed his mother with Michael. Michael seemed to have a message for François from his deceased mum:

“There are also other versions I did for symphonic band and brassbands. I must tell you that Michael told me that he had a real passion for classical music and that he appreciated that I was improvising on the Beatles revisited in the classical style. His 3 favorite composers were Mozart, Prokofiev and Debussy. Do you know that he danced with me in his studio? It was crazy, because we had so many common points of view: peace and freedom, a great passion for animals and last, but not least, “humanity”. I can tell you that Michael and I became the best friends of the world and that he was crying on my shoulder when I was playing “She’s Out of My Life”. He kissed me many times, and when I left after 3 hours we spent together he said: “François, it’s a pity you are not my brother.” The contact was unique and we did more than 200 photos together! “Still Hoping for Peace” is a part of the suite called “Tribute to Michael Jackson” consisting of 8 pieces about him. When I heard about the death of Michael, I had to leave Belgium to fly to Vienna for a TV recital and 2 weeks later in Prague, which is my favourite city and where I did a special “Homage Michael Jackson” with some Czech artists. Between those 2 great cities I composed the piece “In Memoriam MJ”, first for piano and later for string quartet, because Michael loved strings so much. You will find all those versions on the CD. I am stll trying to find a sponsor to record “Bad”, Liberian Girl” and “Smooth Criminal”, but this is not easy actually and those pieces are written for a large symphony orchestra of 85 musicians. My 3 meetings with Michael are the most emotional memories of my life. The contrast between the King of Pop on stage and the same person in full intimity was enormous. The press described him as an untouchable and impossible man, but I discovered a complete other guy, extremely sensitive, emotional and even shy and timid. Michael gave me the impression not to be lucky and needing a deep affection he missed. The first hour I met him, he asked me to describe the period when I was young. He didn’t interrupt me and was listening to the story of my youth when 3 bombs destroyed my house and killed 3 members of my family. At a certain moment, he asked me if my mother was still alive. When I answered that she died several years ago, he said: “François, she is so happy now, because from heaven she can see that we are together“. I will never forget this sentence, believe me. And each time when I perform “She’s Out Of My Life”, I feel tears in my eyes and need the greatest concentration to end the piece on the piano. […] The five hours I spent with Michael Jackson in Los Angeles will certainly be the most emotional of my musical career. It was fantastic to discover so many common points: passion for music (without limits), for peace and freedom, love for animals and nature. In one word: for humanity!”  - François Glorieux.

[by “Blues Away”, a.k.a. Marisa; sources: http://mjhideout.com, www.francoisglorieux.com, www.mj-777.com]


“[I last saw Michael a few weeks before he died.] Michael was attending a party that was put on by Janet. It was a surprise party at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. And, I was in charge of running the security for that particular party. Shutting it down, make sure all the video cameras were off, and everything. So, we knew that Michael was going to show up to the restaurant, so I had done my job as far as getting a private room. Michael showed up with the three children and was standing off at another room. He sees me, and we hadn`t seen each other in a couple years, I guess. So, he saw me standing in the room. He yells out ‘Mike!’, and he comes running over to me and gives me a big hug, asks me to come over and sit down with him, because I had a private room for him. There was great -- you know, we talked about how good it was to see each other. And, then, I had asked him about him going off to Europe. He says, ‘Yes, I`m going to go to London for the shows.’ […] I knew he was strong. […] And we talked about a little bit later about the children and how they were doing. […]”

“I started with him at the end of 2000, and I worked for him through 2004. And then, he asked me to come back to work for him in 2007 through 2008. […] He was an excellent father. You would not believe the extent that he would go to just to make sure that he provided a very normal life for his children. […] No [they weren’t spoiled and weren’t sent away to nannies]. […] The children never expressed like, ‘My daddy is Michael Jackson.’ It was just ‘My daddy is daddy.’ […] I think that was the role for him. I mean, his role as a father was probably more natural than his dancing and that was a God- given talent. So, I think that, you know, his raising the children and trying to just give them that unconditional love and gave that unconditional love back. […] [They are] great kids. I mean, they just, you know, -- they love their father. […] [When their father was here, they did have normal peer relationships with other kids,] oh, yes. There were always other kids around [and their confidentiality was carefully maintained], of course. […] As a protection agent, you always want to take care of your principals, but then his children as well. And, you want to protect the children and protect the man himself. So, as part of that is that you`re always aware of the potential possible kidnapping. Michael wanted the children to be raised at that tender -- during those tender ages without the cameras in front of them, without any kind of publicity. […] It was instructed to us to make sure that whenever they went out publicly with Michael around, that they would have some kind of a mask which wrapped (ph) over their face. […] [But when they were with him privately, they didn’t wear it,] yes. […]”

“I had total access. I was -- whenever he was leaving Neverland Ranch, that`s basically when I went into action. I was in charge of his travel team and then provided the protection dealing with whatever the event was, whether it was a public event or something along those lines. […] [I saw him with this family that accused him of child abuse.] Yes. In fact, they came down to Florida, Miami, Florida, and spent two weeks with Michael just prior to him going back to Neverland Ranch. […] [I haven’t seen any inappropriate things going on.] […] Not even a hint.”

“[…] He did not like taking the medications. And, he was strongly against any kind of illegal narcotics.”

“(And) yes, (he did have Vitiligo).”

[Michael La Perruque, former head of security for and confidant of Michael Jackson – interviewed by Dr. Drew; source: www.lctv.com]


“There’s (sic) a lot of memories that stand out in my mind from when we were here (in Gary, Indiana), like when the boys used to practice all the time. I remember Michael was so happy when he was young, and he used to take all his money and buy candy for all the kids in the neighborhood.”

[Katherine Jackson, Michael J.’s mother; source: http://posttrib.suntimes.com]

“Since Michael passed… you know how it is, being a mother and it just – well.. […] Anything that anybody speak (sic) to me about Michael today is emotional. There’s not a day that pass (sic) that I don’t get emotional about him going. [becomes emotional] But.. you have to excuse me.. [voice trails off] […] It’s very hard, it’s hard to talk about him. […]”

[Katherine Jackson – on HLN’s Showbiz Tonight; source: www.youtube.com]


“MEMORIES OF MJ: On this very special day, the day our Michael made his appearance on this earth, we all celebrate his genius and the joy he brought to our lives. I was blessed to be in his presence. In honor of his birthday, I'd like to share with you the lyrics of first verse and chorus of the song I've recently recorded as my answer to our duet "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", dedicated to MJ.

KEEP ON LOVIN' YOU

I know I was nervous,
If you were feeling nervous too,
I didn't have a clue.
But you were the real thing
And I found it so refreshing you
Turned out to be so cool.
I remember like yesterday
All the things you taught me,
All the things you used to say.
I loved you then, and I love you still,
I guess I always have and always will,
For the rest of my life.
Everything else may change, but
No matter what I do,
I'm gonna keep on loving' you,
For the rest of my life.
I'll smile when I hear your name, and
No matter what I do,
I'm gonna keep on loving' you
For the rest of my life. […]”

(Copyright 2011 Siedah Garrett/Dapo Torimiro)

[Source: www.facebook.com]


“His smile lit up the world, his laughter reminded us of our innocence, his music inspired us to believe we could be better. […]”

[Kenneth John “Kenny” Ortega, American producer, director, and choreographer ; source: http://kennyortega.com/blog/]

 

“[…] I gotta tell you we did lose in fact, I believe the world, in fact lost, a very, very special talent. And I think that’s something we need to keep in mind when all of the lies and baloney and all the speculation and all the gossiping and all of that is come and gone, the bottom line is that we lost somebody that will really never be replaced. […] [We spent two weeks up at the Neverland Ranch with Michael.] Well, you know what… it was a pretty special deal and I have to give you a little background, a friend of ours that I know both Bartender Bruce and yourself both met, went back in the old Ascot days, Sandy Seamen who went onto L.A. Gear tennis shoe company that hired Michael to work for him, and that’s how I got to know Michael. So… really, that was my entrée and I have three kids, J.C. the Third, and David, J.C. is his middle name, of course, and Amy, and they were doing a commercial for L.A. Gear and they were on set when Michael was there to do a commercial. Frankly, the kids and Michael got along, there were a lot of other kids there that were going to be in the commercial. Of course, L.A. Gear makes adult and children’s shoes, so it was a natural set up. Michael was there… My wife Francie was the one who went to this commercial shoot (for L.A. Gear) and I was with you, guys, that night and we were working and they were working too, you might say. Michael said that sometime (sic) we had to come out to Neverland Valley… […] And that’s another thing that my wife Francie has reminded me of, it was a ranch, it was beautiful and it was… he had horses and it had reindeers and he really liked horses and that’s really something that I think everyone in the Haunted Saloon that’s listening maybe didn’t know about Michael… He  appreciated wild life, he appreciated, of course, all the exotics that were there. They had wild horses walking around, they had giraffes, when we were there a little baby giraffe was born. But we were invited up to, and I won’t stretch this enough, we were invited up to Neverland, which we thought he was saying just to be nice and we spent quite a bit of time up there and he wanted us up there as parents and he really enjoyed, really, having the kids up there as well. Right, you know, as soon as I say that I know there’s (sic) gonna be eyebrows going up, but it wasn’t like that, and I have to tell you, his honesty in these interviews, is what I think got him in trouble. And him just saying stuff from his heart, stuff that was just how he felt honestly, adults would look at it and raise an eyebrow, twist what he says and make it not his intention. So, the place was just gorgeous, it was Disneyland, it was 2500 acres and most of it was manicured. It was really just a fun place to be. He was a very generous, generous person. The kids would run around, they’d have their jackets on or they’d throw them on the ground, or tennis shoes, throw them off and go get on the big giant trampoline that was on the same ground as the big giant swimming pool. That evening, whatever was taken off was washed and magically folded and put back in their rooms. The staff there was just unbelievable. Water balloon fights, he had an Indian village that we were welcome to stay in overnight. We had dinner brought up to the Indian village, we ate in the teepees, there were heaters in there, it was just everything you could think of. […]”

“In fact, Michael’s lawyers had called and asked if my kids would be interested in testifying on behalf of Michael (in court for his 2005 trial) and they were ready to fly – J.C.3 and David up from San Diego and Amy here from Hermosa Beach and fly them up, but at the last minute, they didn’t need any more character witnesses. But let me tell you something that came up about his bedroom, and the “secret room” and all this stuff that went on. Francie and I were in his bedroom, my kids were in his bedroom, his bedroom was a playland, it had Disney things in there, it was like a living room. […] First of all, any kids that wanted to have a slumber party there, the “secret room” that they referred to that was locked up and so on, that was where he went to sleep. When he said, “I’d be happy to give my bed to kids”… what he meant by that was, when he grew up, he didn’t have a bed. All the Jackson kids slept in one room. To be able to sleep in the bed was a big deal! And the people just didn’t understand that what he was saying was, when you give someone where you sleep and you leave and you go to another room to sleep, you’re giving them the bed, you’re sharing the most you have. It’s like sitting at the table and going, “Yeah, you could have this steak and go eat, I’ll eat the beans over here.” They just didn’t understand and his honesty in saying that got him in trouble.”

“You know what, Ike, when you called last night and asked if I’d share some of my memories and thoughts about Michael after he passed, of course, because you called me and because you and Bruce called me and asked me to come on the show, I said ‘Okay’, but I’ve been asked to do other interviews that I’ve turned down. One night, when we were sitting at Michael’s  dinner table and it was a beautiful dinner table, it was a beautiful Tudor house that he had and it was (sic) four stories and he had a wonderful cook that cooked whatever, and, in fact, before we got up to Neverland they were asking, what did the kids like to eat? They wanted to have whatever they liked on him. But we were sitting there at the dinner table and, of course, we – I made a point of saying a prayer before dinner, Michael was a spiritual guy, nobody’s ever said anything like that, they don’t let you know, but we had a prayer at the dinner table before we started to eat dinner, and as we were eating, we were talking about various things. And believe me, Michael insisted that we ask any question that we have, if we saw something in the news, if we heard something about elephant man bones or if we heard sleeping in chambers, any of that – ask me, ask me whatever you want, and believe me, my wife Francie (…) did ask plenty of questions, but Michael looked at the kids that night at dinner, we were about two thirds of the way through and he said “Listen, kids, I don’t necessarily want you to tell anyone about our friendship when you get back to your schools.” And they looked at each other puzzled and looked at Michael puzzled and said, “But Michael, why not?” And Michael looked at them and said, “There’s a lot of mean people out there and there’s a lot people who say mean things about me and I don’t want you to have to be put in a position to defend me.” So, I think so much of your kids that I don’t want them to have to defend me and get in fights and say, “No, Michael’s really a good guy and don’t say bad (things) about him.” He was so thoughtful that he was asking the kids to keep our happy time and our friendship private and not share it and he was always selfless like that, Ike. […] It really was, he never had a chance to (have) any time to himself, he grew up, as everybody knows, without a childhood, you and Bruce know that he worked since he was a little kid. And don’t forget that there were many facets to Michael, what a lot of the people saw on television that was the celebrity factor; there was also a loving father, and that is NOT a joke, he was a VERY loving father; and there was also the kind, generous friend, he was without question that. And he was very shy, when we first got up to Neverland, he had his sunglasses on, he had on  his hat, he was shy just seeing us again, but eventually he warmed up to you. But you’re right, when we first got up there, he put us in a golf kart, a special golf cart, that was a long one, and took us all around the ranch, which was just … When we went up there, we thought we were coming to a ranch that was kind of like a cowboy ranch. Like the Haunted Saloon, like what would be just outside your doors there. Dirt, horses, and so on.  But it was actually what we see on television now, rides and (a) movie theatre, he took us all around, to see all of his records. But I just thought of something, if I can just continue, you know me, I’m really short on words but… [laughter] (…) He had a movie theatre that was set up for children that were sick, that were terminally ill, it was a movie theatre, lovely seats, rocking type of upholstered chairs, there were about 35-45 seats, a full-size movie theatre, screen, behind us a regular projection, that you would see in a regular large movie theatre, the projection room was above us, but at the back of the movie theatre behind the seats, were two bedrooms. Those bedrooms had full floor to ceiling glass, those rooms were supplied with oxygen, and a hospital bed, a large hospital bed like a double bed that could tilt up. And any kids that came out to the ranch, whether they were from Make-a-Wish Foundation or any of them, they were welcome to come in and see these first-run movies, to see things that maybe they couldn’t go see in the theatre because they don’t have oxygen in a movie theatre, and Michael went through a lot of expense and a lot of trouble to have these two rooms for kids that were terminally ill to come and be at the ranch and see movies and so on… Gosh, there’s (sic) just so many stories that never make the newspapers, never report about Michael, his generosity and how much he truly loves children, and like we were talking about earlier, his inability to have a childhood, so part of him was childlike because he never had that childhood, he envied the children that were outside playing in the park while he was rehearsing, while he was singing, while he was practicing his dance moves. […]”

“We knew Michael some years ago. I know that he had a problem with painkillers from when he had gotten burned doing the Pepsi ad that was some years ago – and he had … really a lot of pain that followed that. And I believe that he was in a lot of emotional pain as well. He carried a lot of things, he internalized a lot of things, he didn’t have many people that he can, he could confide in, and he really… I don’t want to say ‘admired’, because that might be the wrong word – but really enjoyed being around a family like the Agajanian family were, where there was just a mom and dad and kids that liked to mess around and meddle.. and say “sit down” and “don’t make so much noise” and just correct them and.. and he’d laugh. He just really enjoyed being around real people, because he was surrounded with people who were either “yes” men or interested in what they could get from him. And we were neither. Yeah, you know… the kids loved to ride horses. The kids would go to a cowboy camp, down near Oceanside, inland. […] California, that’s where this cowboy camp was. They go every year there. They loved i!. Everything was period, everything… there were gun fights in the streets when we brought the kids – and it was just… it was perfect. It was like Tombstone, but a smaller version. The kids learned how to ride properly, they learned roping, they learned everything in that area. When they got to Neverland, Michael, who had horses and wranglers that were full-time there, asked the kids if they wanted to go riding, and of course they said “Yes!”, and, in fact, it was at the dinner table and he said, “Well, just call the person in charge, call the head wrangler, tell him what time you want to go out on the horses, and he’ll have them ready for you.” So, the kids said “Let’s go tomorrow morning”, and they did that. Of course I didn’t get up (laughs), Francie was the one who got up with the kids, got them situated with the wranglers and went to breakfast in the main house. Our living quarters were just outside the main Tudor house that Michael lived in, and we lived on a little lake when we were there. A very beautiful setting. So, I went back to sleep, and about an hour or two later, I get a knock on the door… Michael had a full security setup, he had officers there, he had security cameras everywhere, he could watch, if children who were invited there, if they were getting in trouble, or near a pool, full security.  Security guards that were mobile, security guards in full uniform, the entire property was secured and safe. He had his own fire department. He had his own helicopter, paramedics. Everything was on site. It couldn’t have been a safer place to go, no matter what. And a lot of this stuff, the gossip that goes on, it couldn’t have happened because I went into the security room, which was a secret area, a private area, and there were cameras, and there were screens that could see everywhere at Neverland. They were never not watched, no matter where. So the kids got on the horse with the wrangler, wrangler up front, a wrangler in the back, my three kids in between, as they went up into hills, Francie was with them. […] And as they’re going up into the hills, there are bears, deer, and so on and so on in the hills around that area. They were going up a trail, and, evidently, the horse smelled bear, they can smell bear, it frightened them, and there was some movement in the bushes, and all the horses reared, and spun around, and started running full speed down the hill, back towards the barn, and safety. They were out of control, literally. As they got to the bottom, J.C. was able to whoa his horse, because he was a bigger kid at the time, and all the kids knew riding, but the horses were running out of control. David, who is our middle son and is a gymnast, jumped off and rolled and he got banged up a little bit but was OK, but our youngest Amy was thrown off the horse, hit the ground, and her head hit the ground terribly, and she was knocked out.  Francie was also thrown from the horse, and was unconscious on the ground. Within minutes, paramedics were there, ambulance was there, and I had a security guard – as I told you earlier, come to my door, because I had gone back to bed.  And I got dressed right away. “Mr. Agajanian, we have a situation, we need to take you away immediately.” I scrambled and jumped in the cart, rode straight to where they were, and there were fire engines and lights going and everything. It was immediately taken care of, and I rode into town with Amy. And in the ambulance she was beginning to convulse. I was so frightened, I was worried that we were gonna lose her. Francie was in the same ambulance, and she was out of it, she didn’t know where she was. She thought she did, but she certainly didn’t. We got to the emergency room, and they said, “You’re gonna have to go into town!”, they took us in another ambulance immediately to Cottage Hospital, which is down near Santa Barbara, I think. All I have to say is Michael’s people were at that hospital from the time we were in there, I was praying in that hospital, I was very worried that we were gonna lose Amy, and she had the brain scan, there was some swelling, but she was OK.  And Michael’s people were there the whole time. […] Oh, she had a fractured skull! But we were guests there, and Michael’s people were worried that we were going to sue Neverland, and sue Michael, and so on, and one of his attorneys called and asked how we were doing, and asked if there was going to be any litigation, and, of course, we said, “Friends don’t sue friends over accidents!”. Amy was OK after that, but Michael had a limo at the hospital for us, and he would have come to the hospital himself, but it would have created too much craziness. So, he would take us back and forth to dinner back to the house, and run Francie and I back and forth to the hospital, Francie stayed with Amy, and Michael, that morning, had left to do a recording session in town, and when he heard that Amy was hurt, he sent all of the musicians home, and got in a helicopter, which he didn’t like to do, he didn’t really like flying at all, he would have rather a limo or taken his transportation, but he flew out there, and even though he couldn’t go to the hospital, he stayed at Neverland, and stayed on duty until he found out that Amy was OK, and it just showed the kind of guy he was. He stopped his work, and sent, it was probably close to 100 people and musicians recording and all that home, so he could come out there because he had heard that my daughter had hurt herself at Neverland. I know it’s a long-winded story, and I apologize to the guests, and you and Bruce, but this stuff just comes out of me, guys, when I hear… when I hear things said about a guy who was really an innocent, honest, loving, and caring guy, I just need to tell my side of the story.”

“[My impression of the way the media have treated him…] Tragedy. Tragedy, Bruce. The way they treated him is the way they treated him his whole life; like a freak show! I’m asking everyone, I’m begging everyone to just reserve your comments, I’m begging you to NOT listen to the gossip, to NOT listen to the sensationalism. Yes, Michael had many facets to him, many sides, (…) but he wasn’t a monster, he was NOT a child molester. […] The first kid (Jordan Chandler) said, 'I can't go up there and lie about Michael' and this is when their case fell apart. I have a ton of stories guys, next time I see you, guys, I’ll tell you stories about why and how those lawsuits “just went away”, and why the first kid refused to go on the stand as his father wanted to, to tell lies about Michael, and he told his father, “I can’t go on the stand! I don’t care how much money you’re gonna get, I don’t care about the future of doing a recording company”, like his dad wanted to, I can’t go up there and lie about Michael”, and that’s when their case fell apart. And the $25 million dollars to their family, never happened. It went into a trust fund, and it was not that much money, it was a much smaller amount, it was all blown up out of proportion. And just wait until you try and get a handle on the truth, everyone, because right now I just watched “Extra” before I called your show, and they were showing things like I just told you about, “There’s some mysterious hidden room, and it’s lined with children’s toys…”, and it’s just a bunch of baloney! It was a room with toys for kids that were sick that came over, and there were tables with toys to play with, and there was an arts and crafts room, and all of this was there, and it was a room that you can just walk into, on the second floor of the Tudor house! And only this room that I just told you about –  it was his private bedroom, where he would go when the kids would want to have a slumber party – he left and slept in his other room by himself. He gave his bed. […] He wasn’t in it! He made a point of that. But it’s just been twisted, and I’m just asking everyone to please, DON’T listen to the lies, DON’T listen to the gossip, DON’T listen to the stuff that’s just made up, although I know you don’t know how to figure out what has sensationalism and what has  little chunks of truth, but like I said, Francie and I were just watching not only Access Hollywood, but all the rest of them, and they take these things that I just told you about, and  they twist them, and make them sound weird and strange, and it’s just not so. Everything had a reason for it.”

“He was never a big guy. He was a little guy to start with. He was always thin. And I really think a couple of things, you know. First of all, he was (generally) a vegetarian, he was very conscious of his health. He would meditate. He would exercise. He did a lot of work and he tried to keep his weight down so he could dance, he did a lot of things to try and be as fit as possible. […] He would have anything the kids wanted, from hot dogs to hamburgers to steaks, and so on. He didn’t have any booze at Neverland while I was there.  I know someone said there was no alcohol. I know someone said that underneath the game room that there was a wine cellar with some very, very wonderful wines and stuff. He may have had that for special guests. But there was not booze available to anyone while you were at Neverland. And it didn’t matter if it was us, or the kids, or anybody. No booze, no alcohol was available. And he would have, now don’t forget he had a fabulous (staff), he had 2 chefs in this wonderful kitchen there, and they would make Michael’s food for him, that they knew that he liked, and so he ate Indian food, he ate a lot of vegetarian meals, and Francie just reminded me that when we had hot dogs, he’d have a tofu hot dog, or something that appeared to be a hot dog, and tasted like a hot dog, but was something in his diet. And that’s why it’s hard to fathom a guy who was so self-conscious about his shape. Now, don’t forget he was 50 years old! He was very young looking, but he was 50 years old, and he still danced like a 20 year old.  And that’s coming out when you’re hearing about the rehearsals for the London tour that was right here in Staples Center in Los Angeles. […] I’ll tell you what, this is the only show that’s gonna hear any of this from me. I’ve already turned down other interviews, and I wanted you and Bruce and your listeners worldwide to hear this information and know from somebody that was firsthand there, and will call BOLONEY on the people that are saying stuff. Yeah, he had a hard time other parts of his life, but he was a kind, generous gentleman, and that’s how he should be remembered. […] That’s the truth, and let that not be lost with all the craziness.”

[J.C. Agajanian Jr., member of famous racing Agajanian family – on the Haunted Saloon radio show; source: vindicatemj from http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com]


“Amy (Agajanian, J.C. Agajanian Jr.’s daughter,) was a very close little pal to Michael in the early 90’s, kept up with him a little over the years, is a young woman now who, along with her family, is utterly devastated by Michael’s death. I talked to her on the phone for over an hour a few months ago. She doesn’t remember or know much legal stuff, other than the whole family was at the airport waiting to testify on MJ’s behalf, when they were disappointed to get called by the lawyer and told they wouldn’t be testifying. She also was at a Neverland celebration afterward and said it was so joyous! Everyone singing! Her older brothers were allowed to sleep over at the house, but even though she was MJ’s closest pal and spent far more time with him than the boys, she was relegated to a guesthouse with her mother. She was pissed! Michael explained to her it wasn’t proper for little girls to be in his house overnight unchaperoned. Michael’s feelings about this explain completely why it was always boys overnight. But you hear nothing about his little girl pals.

She said she thinks she was MJ’s best friend (but of course she wouldn’t really know for sure) until Lisa Marie came along. […] She was the one on Oprah, and who walked with him hand-in-hand at the Superbowl. She described the thrill of it to me. She said she had no idea it was that big a deal or that Michael was that big a deal, and was utterly stunned and overwhelmed. Michael just told her they were going to a concert, so she had no idea what to expect. She hadn’t known Michael was famous until that moment. Can you imagine?”

[Rockforevenron, team member of http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com]

 

“[…] My name is Talitha and I grew up in Ireland. I went to Michael Jackson as a fan but, as he did with so many others, he treated me as a friend. I have created this web site to share some of what I observed and experienced over the years, as a tribute to the angel that he is and for all of those who love him - for those who spent time with him and have their own special memories and those who didn’t so you know that if you’d gone to him, he would have welcomed you into his world and loved you too. Because that’s all he knows how to do… is love. I began traveling to see Michael in 1996, spent a day with him at Neverland in 2003, was around him on a daily basis for months at a time, and visited him and his children inside their L.A. home in 2009. […] Whenever I was with him, I felt like I was inside a fairytale, being swept up in a cloud of magic and joy and love. I will never forget the silvery quality of his voice and the light of his presence, floating me to heaven again and again. Everything Michael did, he did for all of us, for children, for animals, and for the future of the planet. […]”

* Copyright 2011MJ The Last Angel.com

[Talitha, long-time Michael Jackson fan and follower; source: www.michaeljacksonthelastangel.com]

 

“In 2007, and especially in 2008, Michael often talked to me about touring. He always said the same kind of thing – that he didn’t want to do a big tour, but rather a series of major concerts in major cities around the world, such as London, Tokyo, Sydney, and New York.

His announcement of the This Is It tour in London on 5 March 2009 came as a huge surprise to everyone, myself included. Over the following weeks, the number of concerts swelled from an initial ten to an astounding 50. 50 concerts in one city. That was very different to what he’d spoken about over the previous two years. Many of us worried that there were too many concerts, that the tour would be too grueling and demanding, even for him. But he seemed positive and enthusiastic from the get-go. When he returned from London on 8 March, he asked us: “Was it a surprise? Were you surprised?!”

And over the following months, he often talked to us about the rehearsals and asked us what songs we would like him to perform. He even talked about continuing the tour to other cities, including New York and Tokyo. When I visited him inside CenterStaging Studios on 16 April, he told me he was very excited because he’d just come up with the closing sequence for the show.

When Michael wasn't rehearsing, he was often working on new music in the studio behind his house. On the evening of 22 May, we stood captivated as he played part of a song over and over at top volume. It had a base like Smooth Criminal and built up to a dramatic chorus. It sounded soooo amazing. Michael came over to talk to us five times that evening and he was smiling so much.

Everything seemed fine. For months, everything seemed fine.

The first indication I got that he wasn’t entirely happy with the tour was on 29 May, which was his last day of rehearsal at CenterStaging. He spoke with a European fan who told him that we were unable to buy tickets to all the This Is It shows, firstly because everyone was limited to buying only four tickets per credit card and also because all the best tickets had been sold to a secondary ticketing site called Viagogo, which was selling them for hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

Normally, the biggest fans are at the front because they arrive first and wait the longest, not because they fork out the most money. But the only tickets we could buy at face value, of £50 to £75, were for seats that were the furthest from the stage. (Note that artists usually get a percentage of the FACE VALUE of tickets sold so Michael might have gotten £20 for a ticket that sold for £1,000!)

After speaking with this fan about the tickets, Michael called the other nine of us into the studio. This is the conversation that took place, as I wrote it down that evening:

"MJ: I love you, I love you, I love you. I wanted to tell you that I didn’t know that the concerts were seated. I didn’t know about that and I’m going to do something about it. They did that without my consent. They just did it for obvious reasons.”

All of us: To make money, we know. We know it’s not your fault.

Jill: We know how complex this is and how many people are involved.

MJ: They did the schedule wrong too. It was supposed to be show, day off, show, day off, show, day off.

Jill: We are worried we won’t be able to keep up with you.

MJ: (laughs) I put everything I have into the shows. I work so hard. But I’m only one person. There is only so much I can do. (sounding emotional)

Me: Michael, please don’t push yourself too hard. Please, look after your health. You are more important than anything. You don’t have to do all 50 shows. If it’s too much, just cancel them. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do. Only do what you want to do. It’s YOU who we love.

MJ: Oh, thank you, you’re so sweet, thank you. Bless you all. I also wanted to say that I’m sorry that we don’t put the window down sometimes, but it’s for security reasons. I know you all wait for me and I love you so much.

All of us: Don’t worry, we understand Michael. We love you. We love you more.

MJ: Thank you for your love and thank you for your loyalty.

He clasped his hands together, bowed his head, and stood there in silence for a while. We could feel his energy reaching out towards us, filling the room.

Unfortunately, someone betrayed Michael by selling him out to a British tabloid, which reported some of the things he had said to us (and I believe to this other fan) the next day. AEG were quick to issue a statement denying the validity of the story.

The same day that Michael called us into CenterStaging studios, on 29 May, he went to another building, a postproduction studio, I think. When he left, we all got to pose for photos with him (…) I slid into the car beside him and we held each other for a long time. This is my last truly fairytale-esque memory. After that, things started to change.

Firstly, my friends and I no longer had the same access to him that we’d had over the previous months. There are several possible reasons for this. One is that he was preparing to go on tour in July and was therefore busier than ever. Another was that things around him were becoming more hectic, with the number of paparazzi, autograph hunters and fans increasing. Yet another is that the powers that be didn’t want people around Michael who cared about him more than the tour and would encourage him to postpone or cancel if necessary.

We still got to see him, of course, but our interactions were often cut short and our conversations reduced to a few words here and there. Still, we were very grateful for every moment and used every opportunity to express our love, give him gifts and letters and ask him if he was OK – he always assured us that he was. When things were chaotic, we would stand on the street holding up placards with messages of love.

On 12 June, the security had us line up outside the Forum, where he was rehearsing for This Is It, and approach his car one-by-one to speak with him. Here is the conversation I had with him that night:

Me: Hi, Michael.

MJ: Hiii!

Me: How are you?

MJ: I’m fine, thank you. How are you?

Me: I’m good, thanks. How are the rehearsals going?

MJ: Oh, they’re going great. I’m getting a lot of things done now.

Me: You’re working really hard these days. Please, take care of yourself.

MJ: Oh, you’re so sweet. I’m taking care. I promise.

Me: I love you, Michael.

MJ: I love you too. God bless you.

[…] We never had the chance to talk to him properly anymore, which was very frustrating considering all the times we’d spoken to him at length (in previous months). Instead, we put our words into letters, which we handed to him whenever we could.

His main security guards assured us that he was fine, just busy and focusing on the tour. We didn’t know what to believe. It was a very confusing time. We trusted our own observations and yet we questioned them too. Because surely if we could see something was wrong, with our very limited access, all those around him could too and would do something about it.

If he wasn’t happy with the number of concerts or the tour schedule, he just had to say the word and it would be changed. Right? There was no way anyone would have the audacity to refuse him, or worse, to pressure him into doing something he didn’t want to do. Right? And if he wasn’t feeling well, the tour would be postponed until he was better, or cancelled if necessary, no questions asked. Right? RIGHT??!!

[…]

On Wednesday, 24 June, the entrance to Michael’s home was crowded with onlookers and autograph hunters. Jill and I knew we would have no chance to speak with him there. So we devised a plan.

The previous evening, he had gone to the Staples Center to rehearse there for the first time – having finished up at The Forum the previous week. We decided to act on the assumption that he would go there again, at approximately the same time.

We drove to the Staples Center and went to the entrance. Two security guards from the Staples were standing by and on Jill’s (brilliant) suggestion, we told them we were there to greet Michael as he arrived and had letters to give him, but assured them that we wouldn’t approach him unless he called us over. This seemed to satisfy them and they allowed us to wait with them.

Our friends called us as soon as Michael left the house and kept us updated every step of the way. Normally, when he arrived, everyone would jump out to see him. But that night they stayed away, to give Jill and I a chance to speak with him alone. As much as they wanted to see him - as we all did all the time - their love for him is pure and selfless. Because of their enormous sacrifice, we all got to reach out to Michael collectively one last time.

At 6.50pm, Jill and I saw Michael’s car turn onto Chick Hearn Court and drive towards us. We waved and I held up the letters, which we had put in a clear plastic bag. Michael leaned forward between the two front seats and the sun lit up his face, making him glow.

The cars turned into the entrance and then rolled to a stop. One of the main security guards, Faheem, was driving and waved us over. We leaned in the front window and saw Michael sitting at the back with his personal assistant, Michael Amir, beside him.

I put the letters directly into Michael’s hands and told him that they were from fans all over the world and that it was REALLY important that he read them. I repeated this several times as he turned them over, and he assured us that he would.

I then asked that we be given 30 seconds to read him a statement – one we had prepared for Jill to read that basically summed up the same concerns expressed in our letters. Michael agreed, but Amir intervened and said we could do it on the phone instead. Jill handed Michael a photo she had taken, one of many she’d shared with him and that he always loved.

As the car dipped into the garage, my phone rang. But when I picked it up, all I could hear was static. This happened several times, much to our frustration. Still, we felt elated that we had at least succeeded in handing over the letters on behalf of ourselves and all the other loving fans anxiously awaiting news from LA. It was a huge weight off our shoulders.

We had all agreed to wait for a response from Michael before taking any further action. If he said he was fine and happy with the tour, we would leave it at that - and continue to support him and believe in him, as we always had. If he said he wasn’t happy and needed help, we would do whatever we could to make things right, including contacting family and friends if necessary and asking them to intervene. We would never do this without Michael's approval. We respect his privacy first and foresome and answer only to him.

At one point, Jill and I were strolling around the Staples with a friend when we came to a window that gave us a direct view onto the stage. Michael was there performing Dangerous and wearing a shirt that one of our friends – a lovely girl from NYC - had given him that said “Curls for my girls”, a reference to his recently curled hair.

We couldn’t believe our eyes. We had heard songs from the tour, first at CenterStaging and then at the Forum, but none of us had seen him perform. He appeared to be walking through the routine rather than giving it his all, but it was still AMAZING. At the end of the performance, an angel appeared, wrapped a pair of golden wings around him and carried him down through the stage.

When Michael left the Staples Center, at around 12.30 am, he rolled his window down all the way and leaned out, wearing a HUGE smile. And when he returned to his house, we lined up on each side of the entrance as usual to greet him. He cracked the window just a few inches and stuck out his hand. I squeezed his fingers as his car rolled by and slipped him a note, reminding him of the statement. Then we all waved him goodnight.

When Amir left a short while later, I asked him what had happened with the phone call. He told me the reception at the Staples was poor, then added that Michael had asked him to remind him to call me the next morning. I woke up on 25 June awaiting Michael's call. [The call would never come….]”

“Here's an extract from a conversation I had with Michael in Las Vegas, in September 2008:

“[…] My father was very into discipline, but he wasn’t very nurturing. He wasn’t very affectionate. So I try to give that to my children. I take them out. I take them to the movies. I take them to games arcades. I want them to have fun. I want them to have the childhood I never had."

Michael wanted to give his children a normal childhood – what he gave them was beyond normal. He created for them a wholesome and nurturing environment, a haven of innocence and love.

While other kids were hooked up to the Internet 24/7, Michael’s children spent much of their time reading and being creative - drawing, painting, building model ships… They told me they weren’t allowed on the Internet, except on children’s sites while supervised, and always watched family movies together, taking turns choosing the title. Michael protected his children from the harshness of the world. He didn't allow them access to news media because he didn't want them reading about him in the tabloids. And he kept them hidden from public view, because he didn't want them to be subjected to the same scrutiny that he'd had to endure all his life.

One of the greatest compliments Michael ever paid me was when he told me he wanted his children to learn who he is to the world through me. I understood that he meant not only me but all the people who see through the distortions propagated by the media to the truth of who he really is, a beautiful brilliant dazzling soul.

Michael’s children are a reflection of their father’s character, each one shining with the same light that he brought into this world. I will love them forever.”

"Michael has a special relationship with his fans based on mutual love and understanding. He expressed this to us collectively by dedicating so much to his fans and individually by showering those of us fortunate to meet him with attention and love.

No matter where he went or what he was doing, he would take the time to stop and talk to us, accept gifts and letters for which he was always so grateful and do everything he could to make us feel special and loved.

We were there simply to show him how much we love him and he returned all we did and more. The result was a beautiful and heartfelt exchange, all this love and admiration sweeping back and forth in a continual outpouring. It was SO much more than any of us could have dreamed of or expected or imagined.

Like many people, I would have been grateful for the opportunity merely to express to him how much I love him and to thank him for all the magic and joy he had brought into my life. I never needed or expected anything in return. Every moment with him, every word he spoke to me, every part of him that he shared was a gift that I will cherish forever.

Michael couldn’t say no. That’s why I, like many of my friends, never asked him for anything. When he did sweet things for us, it meant so much more. And he did so much - inviting us to accompany him on shopping trips, in limousine rides and to theme parks, writing us sweet little notes and letters, giving us hugs and making us feel special… He made all of our dreams come true again and again and again.

Michael had many dear friends who had the access to him that we could only dream of, people like Elizabeth Taylor (RIP) and Diana Ross, who have spoken about him so lovingly. But sadly, there were many who entered his life with selfish motives, in order to use him to further their careers and line their pockets. Many of them deceived him and then betrayed him, selling him out to the media or conspiring against him out of jealousy and greed.

I believe the fans as a whole represented a powerful and essential force in Michael’s life. We reflected back to him the light and love he conveyed through his art. We were an affirmation that what he was doing was being received in a pure and untainted way. We were a constant reminder of how he transforms lives, moving people through his music to live in the spirit of love and peace and tolerance and to embrace his message to heal the world.

[…] Michael has a childlike presence that is very disarming. When people are around him, they put aside their cynicism and connect to that part of them that is pure. They remember with perfect clarity the first time they heard his voice and knew that it was the voice of an angel, before the world hardened them and made them doubt and ridicule and judge.

In all the years that I was around Michael, I can happily say that I never saw anyone respond to him with anything other than fascination, adulation and love. I met many people who worked for him, including his house staff at Neverland and some of the This Is It dancers, as well as casual acquaintances, who spoke about him with a sense of awe.

In March 2002, I remember chatting to one of the bellhops who worked at the Palace Hotel in New York, where Michael was staying at the time (and had often stayed in the past). He told me, "I don't care what people say about him. When you see him, you know that he's beautiful. He has a beautiful aura." Beautiful. Aura. They're the words people use to describe Michael.

One of the greatest evils in Michael’s life was the tabloid press and even more so, the vultures who posed as ethical and balanced journalists, only to stab him in the back.

When Michael did the first of two Madison Square Garden concerts in NYC in September 2001, my bff at the time (who was the same girl who I went on the HIStory tour with – she stopped following in 2003 to pursue her studies) and I made it into the press area by the red carpet. We waited for hours as photographers and reporters crowded in around us. Finally celebrity guests and performers began arriving, each stopping to pose for photographs and answer questions.

As the concert start-time grew closer, the press members began to speculate about whether Michael would walk the red carpet. (We had gone there in the hopes that he would, of course, but nobody knew for sure.) Many of them spoke with an air of cynicism and some made snide remarks, which we countered with positive comments. I remember worrying that if he did come, they would behave apathetically towards him because that’s certainly how they were acting now.

Well, he turned up. And it was total chaos. The same people who’d been so arrogant a few moments ago were now clawing each other aside, scrambling to get to him, screaming his name and pleading for his attention. He, of course, responded as he always did with politeness, humility and respect, so much more than they deserved.

This was my first taste of the media hypocrisy that I would experience firsthand again at the trial in 2005.”

“I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin. It's something that I cannot help. OK. But when people make up stories that I don't want to be who I am it hurts me.” Michael Jackson, in an interview he did with Oprah Winfrey at Neverland Valley in February 1993.

After years of being accused of bleaching his skin and being ashamed of his race, he finally (and very painfully) revealed that he had a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of his skin. I remember feeling such relief that finally the media would have to stop fixating on his skin color and apologize for their groundless accusations. Of course that didn’t happen.

He faced ridicule again in the early 2000’s for covering the faces of his children while in public. Here’s what he said about that in an interview with Martin Bashir – which Bashir omitted from his attempt at a sleazy documentary but was included in the rebuttal video, called Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See:

“I don’t want people seeing them. The press can be very mean. I don’t want them to grow up psychologically crazy because of the evil things they can say to them. I want them to be normal. That makes sense, doesn’t it?”

Michael later came close to tears as he admitted that he was terrified that if people could recognize his children, they would be kidnapped and tortured. Surely any parent in the world – any person in the world – can understand that.

Again, nothing changed. Whenever Michael explained the reason behind (this) behavior, that had been labeled as bizarre, the media just ignored his explanation and went on printing their harsh criticisms and groundless lies. Every celebrity faces some level of scrutiny, but in Michael’s case it seemed particularly harsh and cruel. No matter what he did or said, it would be reported in a negative way.

Speaking about the media one time, Michael asked me why they say such horrible things about him. I told him it was because he was beyond their understanding, that his light shines too brightly for some to see. While I stand by this statement, I have learned since then that even some who do see – who is truly is at heart - will still sell him out for the right price.

Lies may have tainted Michael’s name and tarnished his image. But nothing in this world could dim the light that shines from his soul. The truth of who he is will always remain perceptible to those with open minds and open hearts.”

* Copyright 2011MJ The Last Angel.com

[Talitha, (to peruse the rest of her touching accounts, go to www.michaeljacksonthelastangel.com]

 

“The American system of justice provides for the presumption of innocence until guilt is found.

By PUBLICLY stating, "I gave Michael Jackson propofol," and "I left the room," Murray has confessed to the most egregious of anesthesia errors: patient abandonment.

For more than 20 years, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of patients have safely received propofol for 2 fundamental reasons: 1) someone was watching, & 2) someone was monitoring them.

When a patient is abandoned, it is not possible to provide the safe environment for propofol described above. Murray unequivocally created the unsafe conditions that led to Jackson's avoidable death.

Because of his public statements, Murray can no longer be afforded the customary presumption of innocence.

However, in a state that could not convict an obviously guilty OJ Simpson, do not make book on a manslaughter conviction for the equally culpable Murray.”

[drfriedberg (Dr. Barry Friedberg), American anesthesia expert; sources: www.upi.com, www.mj-777.com]


“In a California that could not convict the clearly guilty OJ Simpson, it is not clear that a conviction can be obtained for the equally guilty Conrad Murray. That being said, no amount of defense attorney posturing or attempts to create reasonable doubt can ever relieve Murray of his responsibility to have watched and monitored Jackson.

I was interviewed by Michael Flanagan, one of Murray’s defense attorneys, as the first anesthesiologist chosen to be a witness on behalf of Murray’s defense. Prior to this interview, when I had written the Michael Jackson chapter in ‘Getting Over Going Under,’ I assumed Murray was over his clinical training and expertise giving propofol. Flanagan dispelled that impression when he described how Murray gave propofol for cardioversions (electrical activity delivered to a heart with atrial rhythm disturbance). Flanagan said, ‘Murray did not even start an intravenous. He simply ‘mainlined’ the propofol directly into a vein.’ I told Flanagan that he impressed me, but not at all in the manner in which he had hoped. There is no word in the English language to describe the recklessness of Murray ‘mainlining’ propofol for cardioversion. Not even a day-one intern right our (sic) of medical school would be so reckless and cavalier. The only thing more reckless than Murray’s conduct at Jackson’s home would have been to have taken Jackson up in a plane and pushed him out without a parachute. ‘Mainlining’ propofol along with Murray’s failure to provide child support for the multiple illegitimate children he has fathered with multiple women & his long history of failure to honor other financial obligations leads me to reassess my diagnosis of Murray’s personality. Murray is the ‘poster child’ for Sociopaths of America. He is not an ignorant fool, but a person who does not think the norms of behavior apply to him. When he disclaims responsibility for the death of Michael Jackson, it is the sociopath speaking who is convinced of his own words and clearly believes he will convince a jury as well. Another attempt to rehabilitate Murray’s image to the public included a release saying he had never been sued for malpractice. As if never being sued would be to give testimony to his wonderful doctoring. […] Do not believe a single Murray utterance that cannot be independently confirmed. Sadly, even if convicted and deprived of a license to practice medicine, Murray is unlikely to stop practicing. The rules just don’t apply to him, at least, in his mind anyway.”

[Dr. Barry Friedberg; sources: www.prerogativechambers.com, www.mj-777.com]


“I am a 52 year old white woman, and when I say white, I mean white like new fallen snow! I have Vitiligo. Vitiligo is a disease that can compromise your immune system and distort your whole appearance.

The summer before I was getting ready for college, I noticed some strange looking chalky patches that suddenly appeared on my hands. I was an olive skinned girl who never worried about sunburn and who tanned every summer to a golden mocha. Of course, in those days of the early seventies we were slathering ourselves with baby oil never giving a thought to sunscreen. It never occurred to me to worry about my skin or the sun or my appearance beyond the occasional pimple and getting the latest fad in fashion and makeup. I thought the spots were from the French fry grease at the fast food restaurant where I worked that summer to save up money for college. I was sure they were small burns from the fryer and would go away when the burns healed. But at college that fall, I noticed the spots not only had not disappeared, but had grown larger, while new ones were forming on my elbows. I knew then that they could no longer be ignored.


I had never even heard of the word: “Vitiligo”, but after my doctor visit, I soon became intimate with it as it became a huge feature in my world. An autoimmune disorder, I learned that Vitiligo can be genetically passed down in families, but not always. My family has no history of Vitiligo. And it was autoimmune - what a heart-stopping betrayal! Everybody wants to be “comfortable in their own skin”, but my own skin was damaging itself and damaging me! How can your own skin turn on you?


I began to read everything I could find on the disease. Vitiligo is an antibody that is in your genes when you are born and, for some reason, it gets stimulated to start destroying your melanoctyes, which are the cells in your skin and hair that produce melanin. Melanin is what gives your skin pigment or color. There is lots of research being explored to discover what triggers Vitiligo and what determines how fast it spreads. It may be environmental factors, stress, physical factors like hormones and blood loss, or, most likely, a combination of all of these. The medical community has established that the antibodies in Vitiligo completely destroy the melanocyte. That means that my body sees my own cells as something foreign that needs to be attacked, destroyed and removed! There are some treatments that may help restore pigment in some cases, but those treatments are not a cure. As of now, there is no cure. The treatments are very time-consuming and involve taking a drug that can cause liver damage. I tried a few of these therapies early on when my white spots were not so widespread, but it was not very successful. I decided that I would rather have white spots which were not painful or really hurting me in any way, (other than sunburn, and strange glances and remarks from people) than risk damaging my liver and turning yellow from the resulting jaundice! Did I want to turn white or turn yellow? Were those my only choices? Nursing was my college major and that influenced my decision to forego the drugs because I understood, medically, the reality of the side effects. I later tried the depigmentation therapy on my face to bleach out the remaining dark areas, but it did not work very well for me. It affects everyone differently and it takes a lot of diligence and repeated treatments.


The National Vitiligo Foundation (NVF) is a lifesaving resource for people afflicted with this disease. They spearhead the research and search for a cure, while providing education and resources for sufferers of this disease. Vitiligo is in the same category as other autoimmune disorders like Lupus, Reynaud’s, Diabetes, and some Thyroid disorders. Most people who acquire an autoimmune disorder develop more than one. I recently discovered that my Thyroid is also involved and I have mild Reynaud’s, which is a disorder that affects the circulation in extremities like hands and feet. It makes one’s fingers and toes cold and discolored from poor circulation. I learned at an NVF conference I attended that, because melanocytes are completely destroyed by Vitiligo, there is zero chance of getting Melanoma in the areas that are white. Researchers are looking at a possible treatment for Melanoma using antibodies taken from the blood of people with Vitiligo. The thought is that maybe those melanoctye-destroying antibodies might provide a treatment or cure for cancer is a thought I like to hang onto, because it would mean that something good could come out of this disorder.


There are emotional valleys for the person adjusting to the diagnosis of Vitiligo. Over time, Vitiligo spreads and is not easy to hide in those stages. My face, hands, arms, and legs became covered with white patches and were a source of embarrassment for me. But the day came when I decided that I was not going to wear long sleeves and pants for the rest of my life! I did need to protect my skin however, because the depigmented skin has no protection from the sun. I found out the hard way how badly burned one can get from the sun if not extra careful. I sometimes think I alone keep the sunscreen industry in business. There are days I wish for a vat to dip myself into to decrease the time it takes to apply sunscreen and protect my skin, because it’s necessary if I am going to continue the outdoor activities I love and enjoy. The evening is a better time for me to do things when the sun is not so intense and I forego things scheduled for daytime when the sun is bright. It does require lifestyle adjustments.


I often think how fortunate I was that I didn’t have to deal with this during my junior high and high school years. Being a teenager dealing with all of the hormonal changes, peer pressure and confusion is tough enough without harsh comments about one’s strange and changing appearance. I am sure I would have had to endure cutting remarks regarding my strange appearance. I did need to learn to deal with people staring and making comments, especially during the summer months when my pigmented skin was darker in color and I was more exposed wearing summer clothes. I have heard some very bizarre, sometimes funny and occasionally hurtful comments. I don’t think people intend to be mean, but are surprised by someone’s (mine) appearance and don’t think before they speak. I imagine that I did look odd with white spots all over my skin. Children wanted to know if I was “like a leopard” or was I “part zebra?” Adults thought I had been burned and would ask “Is it painful” or “Is it contagious?” I think I actually liked it better when someone would actually speak to me about their curiosity and ask questions rather than just staring, or worse yet, snickering or whispering to their friends. Explanations had to be necessarily lengthy and that took up my time when I might have preferred to spend it in some other way.


I will never forget one of the saddest encounters I can remember with a woman who was from India who stopped me one day in a parking lot:


“I noticed the patches on your skin. Do you have Vitiligo?”


“Yes, I do. Are you familiar with it?”


“Yes. My sister who lives in India will never be able to marry because she has Vitiligo. There is a taboo surrounding it in that culture and no man would consider marrying a woman with the disease and whose appearance is marred and undesirable. When it comes to women, India places a lot of emphasis on beauty.”


I could not fathom that attitude, nor imagine it to be true. I thought about how lucky I was to have met a man who looked at me and loved me without seeing a “spotted person”, but saw a human being. Actually, he was more offended by people staring and snickering at me than I was. I was once stopped in a store by a woman who wanted to know how I had gotten such a bad case of poison ivy. I was baffled by that one until she added that she couldn’t believe how much calamine lotion I had on! There was one incident where I noticed a lady staring at me which happened all the time, but this time she began following me in the grocery store and when it got a little creepy, I turned to face her. She remarked that I “must be an amazing volleyball player to have so many brush burns on my knees and elbows from diving for balls.” I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn’t burst out laughing! I always feel bad for most of the people who make comments, because they are so embarrassed when I tell them the facts. The most hurtful encounters are with people who don’t take the time to stop and ask, but just stare, point or even laugh. There were times I would actually forget that I did look “odd” until I noticed someone staring or pointing and that would launch me right back into feeling self-conscious and awkward.


I realized too, that I was fortunate to be a white person with Vitiligo. I met several black people with Vitiligo at the NVF conferences I attended and learned how much more devastating it is for them. I was a white person who was turning whiter. They were black people who were becoming white. Not only did they have to deal with the physical changes, but they had to deal with feeling a loss of their race and identity. I cannot speak to this, but I can certainly empathize with how much more difficult that must be to lose your ethnic roots, identity or race and to not only question your own identity, but have all that questioned by others.

The Famous Face of Vitilgo

That brings me to the most famous person to have Vitiligo: Michael Jackson. I was a big Michael fan from his early days with the Jackson Five and all through his solo career. He and I were the same age, so I grew up on his music and dancing. I remember hearing for the first time the rumors that he was bleaching himself white; I thought that was crazy. I knew personally how difficult it was to try to use depigmentation as a treatment for Vitiligo, so I couldn’t imagine how someone could actually bleach their entire body. I asked my dermatologist at one of my yearly visits in the late eighties if she knew anything about Michael Jackson’s skin color and she told me that it was known by most in the dermatology community that he had Vitiligo. At first I was excited to think that I shared something in common with Michael Jackson. Then as the reality set in, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how horrible it must have been for him. Not only was he a black man, he was probably the most well known person in the world and someone who performed in front of millions of people. It was easy for me to just ignore the stares and go on with my life, but how do you do that when you are in the spotlight all the time and subjected to ridicule and tabloid trash talk? I can understand why he tried to cover his Vitiligo up the best he could with makeup and clothes. Michael was known to be a very private person who didn’t want to divulge his medical condition to the world. I have a feeling he may not have received a lot of support from those around him, his professional contacts, and certainly not from the media. And when he did admit to having Vitiligo, so many hateful people in the media refused to believe it using ridicule and writing he “claims to have a skin condition.” Claims to? They accused him of trying to bleach his skin and become a white person. They called him a traitor to his race thinking he had betrayed the African American community of his roots. Who would chose a disease that betrays your own body, challenges your very identity and continually changes your appearance requiring medical treatment and makeup? How does someone who makes their living with their famous face and who faces a debilitating disease deal with that kind of ridicule and mocking from the press? There were those in both the black and the white communities who turned against him simply because of his changing appearance. Hurtful words can be more painful than a physical attack. Michael endured far too many hateful, hurtful words. Many in the “media” claim that even with Vitiligo, Michael would not have naturally turned so completely white. Well, I can verify that it is very possible. My Vitiligo started with me being mostly tan colored with white patches and spots, and gradually progressed to my appearing mostly white with tan spots, to now being almost completely white, except for a very few tiny tan spots. Not only is a morphing appearance unavoidable with Vitiligo, but it is inevitable. Now that the antibodies have finished with my skin, they are starting on my hair. I have huge white patches in my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. It is a cruel joke that the hair on my legs remains as dark as ever, which looks even worse against the stark white skin! I can’t throw out that razor yet. And I now get stares and lots of questions about my hair.


Most people actually think I just have beautiful white skin now. I am sure Michael could have experienced a similar evolution of his appearance. He reportedly used the depigmentation therapy to help even out his skin color so he would not have to wear so much makeup. It is all so easy to understand if people were only not so quick to make hateful judgments or believe everything the tabloid media spews about celebrities.


I wish I could have understood better what Michael Jackson went through while he was still with us. I regret not letting Michael know in some way that I understood at least in part what he went through dealing with this disease. I regret not speaking up more then. I have now become a major defender of Michael Jackson, promising myself that I will not let hateful words stand! I think too and I sincerely hope, that I have become more accepting of people’s differences because of my own personal struggles with appearance and acceptance. I try really hard to not make judgments about people without learning more about them. Without the challenge of Vitiligo in my life and my connection to Michael Jackson I might not have that understanding; I might be a different person. Vitiligo and Michael Jackson taught me about compassion.”


[case Study written by: Joyce Frame, American retired nurse; source: www.voiceseducation.org]



“Bullying is not just for playgrounds anymore. An alarm has been ringing across the cultures of an entire globe catching the attention of leaders and educators who desperately search for its cure in programs that teach sensitivity and empathy to youth. All of the educational materials define bullying and tell how to recognize its many forms -- verbal taunting, physical harm, racial and sexual prejudice, cyberbullying and more. Bullying is defined as "persistent unwelcome behavior." How do we know when a behavior is unwelcome? We feel it; it deeply rattles our sensibilities -- sometimes to the bone, or in a new discovery -- to the bones of an icon.


Bullying can intrude anywhere -- at home, at work, online, on the highway, on the playground... and now it appears to reach even into the afterlife. Bullying almost rose to new heights to take an even more sinister turn recently when Discovery Channel announced its plans to air Michael Jackson's Autopsy: What really killed Michael Jackson? There was such a backlash of outrage by the family, Jackson's estate, fans and the general public, that Discovery was forced to "postpone indefinitely" the crossing of that line. So for now, that human indignity was avoided and humanity is safe; or is it?


Is something really important being missed in the campaign against bullying? Is the subject of bullying being viewed through a lens that is too narrow? We might need to back up a bit, widen the focus and adjust the scope to a broader fisheye view. Has bullying permeated an entire ecosystem? A worldwide ecosystem? What makes bullying possible is a culture that blurs the lines of humanity and human dignity. Bullying survives when an ecosystem supports it. When that ecosystem accepts the dehumanization and inhumane treatment of its constituents, an "anything goes" climate renders its narrative as empty of humanity. People are irreversibly harmed in such a climate.


Parents, educators and clergy are wringing their hands in shock and outrage at the behavior of youth asking: "Where do they get these ideas?" and "Where does this kind of aggression and indifference in our youth come from?" They seem genuinely perplexed. They only need look to the culture. What kind of culture would consider, even momentarily, that an invasion into one's mortuary is entertaining? Or acceptable? Discovery's program was advertised as presenting a graphic synthetic cadaver with a real and currently practicing physician conducting the autopsy with voiceover commentary by one of Jackson's (…) personal physicians. What kind of ecosystem made Discovery think that an international audience would have an appetite for viewing the re-enactment of an actual autopsy -- of the most well known icon of the twentieth century? Of someone who is still a beloved figure to millions around the world? What made physicians sign on to such a violation of the sanctity of human remains, virtual or otherwise? More celebrity medicine? All cultures have recognized the sanctity of burial and respect for the mourning of those who were loved, those who loved them -- and who love them still. Discovery's cynical promotional photo for the program featured a shrouded body on a gurney with Jackson's signature sequined glove protruding from under the sheet. Does this represent the standards of humanity that we want to continue into this new millennium?


In the wake of Discovery Channel's major faux pas, some hard and uncomfortable questions have been thrown up about the culture and its ecosystem. The very same culture that can't seem to get its youth to behave civilly toward one another -- in institutions built to nurture and grow young minds. Discovery and its board of directors are to be congratulated for their change of heart and eventual good sense in pulling the program, but one wonders what would make them, or anyone else for that matter, think that a mock autopsy of Michael Jackson for our viewing pleasure, would be acceptable? Is it because Jackson was bullied most of his life and apparently some at Discovery thought it acceptable to take that agenda beyond his grave? Does the Discovery debacle mark yet another seminal moment in our culture? A culture where sadistic behavior toward others is epidemic, a deeper look finds a whole system trending toward cynicism, human indifference and lack of empathy for others. Why are the fundamental principles of tolerance, compassion and human dignity missing? Why are special programs necessary for children to make human and humane connections? Why isn't compassion and empathy already hard wired into human consciousness? And as we evolve into the twenty first century shall we leave our humanity behind? How does this humane disconnect become possible? When the natural world is ignored or avoided, children never interact with the place where life's beginnings take form and the value of life and alive and breathing sentient beings is learned. Our connections with nature and animals are what help us to develop heart and compassion for all beings. Statistics about animal cruelty and torture punctuate this alienation from the sanctity of life. Where is it being taught that life is precious and valuable and who is responsible for teaching it? Where do kids get the idea that bullying is permissible and that callously exposing someone's private life, secret struggles and woundedness publicly is somehow acceptable? Where indeed? It is hardwired into our culture and it begins with words and images. They are the symbols and language that form a culture's narrative. They illuminate the culture's dominant pastimes and preoccupations. It is how those words and images are used -- their nuances, meanings, semantics, semiotics, linguistics and sometimes their archetypal and evocative nature -- that forms and informs -- the foundation of the cultural ecosystem. What is culturally acceptable in communication and behavior among and between humans is determined by its architecture and memes -- a kind of cultural lexiconography arises. Images and words have punch. They comfort, evoke, challenge, inform, expel, motivate, embrace, alienate, destroy, uplift and so on. They can objectify or humanize. When people are dehumanized with images and words, all sentient beings inhabiting that ecosystem are affected. Words and images harm; and they can heal.


The Journals of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, of Family Psychology, and the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, tell us that bullying creates children who suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness, and PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are at risk for suicide, peer rejection, conduct problems, anxiety, behavioral difficulties, hyperactivity, academic difficulties, rule-breaking behavior, reactive aggression and are also at risk for problems in young adulthood -- psychiatric disorders and criminal offenses. The question then becomes, what kinds of adults does this produce? Those same experts say that sibling aggression when not mitigated and aggression at home, can migrate to schools. Most homes, of course, don't feature violence as the dominant means of navigating life as an acceptable cultural norm -- or do they? The experts also say that the average 4 to 6 hours of television per day that children and teens watch, serves up 4 ½ violent incidents per hour. In the last 7 years, TV violence has increased by 75% with a 45% of that increase during the 8 P.M. "family hour" and a 92% increase an hour later. The Pew Research Center says 75% of respondents to their survey would like to see tighter enforcement of government rules on broadcast content with 69% of those in favor of higher fines for media companies who violate code. Journalistic codes abound, but are rarely followed or enforced. There are no real consequences for code violations with media often citing the first amendment as the reason. How is it that the cultural ecosystem on the one hand intervenes in child-on-child violence with campaigns like 'It Gets Better', while supporting a cultural ecosystem of inhumane treatment of people and violence as a means of conciliation and problem solving? Given the current cultural undertones we might ask: does it really get better? Does that premise work? And do our children believe it?


Remember Columbine? Columbine crossed a cultural line. With the causal theories swirling around that painful event in the collective psyche -- the guns, violence, video games, medications, "Gothic culture," or psychological pathology, experts have speculated about the whys. Harris and Klebold told us why in their words via journals left behind, that tell how they lived in a culture of exclusion, superiority, homophobia and ridicule by the jocks. And they also told us they could find nothing redeeming about society in general. While that is no excuse for their violence, it was their reason. They cited feeling disenfranchised, bullied, disillusioned and powerless. Columbine was retaliation against an ecosystem that they felt didn't support them and tolerated a climate of dehumanization, violence, tribalism and exclusion.


[…] In order to believe that the future 'gets better' children need hope. They need evidence. They have to be able to imagine a brighter tomorrow. Hope is emotive and conveyed through images and words and. their reinforcement. Cooley's Looking Glass Theory cites the reflection of self in others as informing the opinion of self. Most visual references and reflections in children's lives come from television and film. What human characteristics, and inspirations do they witness that tells them there is a bright tomorrow? Desperate Housewives is rated number one in viewership, and sensual vampirism linking blood and sexuality dominates the screen in theaters. There are cops shows, bounty hunters, forensic investigators that illustrate the darkness in human nature, while reality TV gives us a slice of life few of us experience, and that invokes and rewards tactical treachery -- then admires that treachery as laudable strategy. Nightly news is never good news and altruism is highlighted rarely. Television in prime time around the dinner hour features the famous and showcases them solely to make sensational mischief and contemptuous commentary about their missteps. Nowhere is bullying more evident than in the cult of celebrity. That genre sexualizes and dehumanizes early -- reducing even young adults to non-human objects. Tabloidization of television and press brings us the daily and nightly ritual of impaling the famous or nailing them to the cross of public scrutiny solely for entertainment purposes. Celebrities, sports figures and politicians' private lives are picked over like the bones of last night's dinner during tonight's dinner hour. That's not journalism; it's cannibalism. And it's well known among those A-listers, that whoever criticizes a jaundiced journalist or TV outlet becomes fodder for the next day's tabloid headline. Vocal dissenters are moved on deck to be the next one bullied in print and images. Youth are enamored of celebrities, watch their foibles daily exposed with glee and we wonder why our children bully?


When a culture dehumanizes its constituents, its heroic, iconic or beloved figures and devalues them, the rules change. Devaluing humans with repetitive desensitizing eventually make the outrageous possible -- genocide, racism, classism, sexism, Nazism and all manner of other ugly isms that humans can impose on one another. The relaxing or devaluing of what it means to be human is a dangerous and slippery slope as Discovery Channel has (…) reminded us. An ecosystem supporting disdain, exclusion, isolation, discrimination, humiliation, latitude for making humans the butt of cruel jokes, banishment, and bullying in the extreme provides a rationale for terrorism and eventually, war. Aggression, cynicism and tribalism unchecked leaches into the soil of a growing and advancing culture, placing it precariously on shaky ground. […] The trend of insensitivity toward other humans feeds and encourages an ecosystem with severe consequences yet to be imagined, as we move forward in the new millennium. As respect for the uniqueness of life and each life diminishes, dignity and our humanity erodes in the collective consciousness in step with the cultural foundation. Indifference is a slippery slope that can become a grand slide of humanity toward the bottom of a trajectory that allows abominations to become the norm -- poisonous gas released in a subway in Japan, an attack on New York's World Trade Center. That too is bullying; the only difference is the scale. Where does this war against human dignity (…) begin? It begins at home. It may be friendly fire.


What is supposed to be a sanctuary, the family living room, plays host to fear, political fodder, bad news, the insider who betrays, the outsider with the inside story, and a kind of domestic terrorism that ridicules the famous or momentarily famous. Government, politics and leadership features adults-behaving-badly with name calling and bullying on TV as those we would like to look up to, deride and condemn each other in uncivil debates while breaking ethics codes behind the scenes. […] Reality shows reward underhanded schemers in rival groups, while pseudo tribal overseers ostracize the throw-away individuals voted out of the game and off the program. With our current twenty-four-hour news cycle, the major outlets must fill dead time while competing with each other for viewers. The end game is commanding attention while global markets drive the networks. Newshound journalists are taught "if it bleeds, it leads" and are encouraged to sniff out the blood in the big story. Interviewers are coached to "ask the tough questions" that are frequently crude, rude and invasive designed not to get information or truth, but to lead the interviewee where the host thinks the most viewers will follow. Cable news outlets begin broadcasts with the requisite "breaking news" scrolling at the bottom of the screen, and if something is not particularly sensational before the broadcast -- it will be by its end. The pressures of competition and dead time does not allow for proper scrutiny or fact checking. The lead story is then repeated, speculated about by pundits, reviewed in voiceover clips with "experts weighing in." The constant repetition of that imagined truth in sound bites today converts it to "truth" by tomorrow. Accusations become fact, guilt is assumed, and the court of public opinion lowers its gavel.


The cultural "isms" that define humanity are uploaded to YouTube. Both amateur and real shock-jocks circle in the cesspools of human foibles like sharks. The humiliation of real people, begun by showcasing the famous, is now considered good copy and no one is exempt -- now apparently not even the dead. No, bullying isn't just for kids. We are far removed from Walter Cronkite standards and the investigative journalism that defined the culture of the twentieth century. "Gotcha" journalism and exploitive film sells -- or so they tell us.


What are we role modeling to our children? What ancient gladiator sport do we mimic when we publicly dismember those who stand on the public stage? What ancient form of torture and death do we parody when we repeat yet unexamined or unproven, salacious "allegations" each news cycle? When we neglect equal air time to the exonerated? And even when a falsehood is proven, we revisit the accusation with each subsequent sound bite? When we continue it even after death? People's lives are ruined in record time -- during their 15 minutes of fame. And we gleefully high five those first out with the scoop, scandal or expose`. Does that cultural ecosystem support the meme that life, as it advances, will improve? Does the investigations and desperations of housewives and others, the bad news, the shaming and blaming of "reality" and real celebrities reflect to our youth 'it gets better?' Does the cultural fare highlight the lofty side, the dignity and integrity of human nature? Does it inspire? Does it provide a healthy ecosystem for the little people who have to grow up in it?


Has the fact that a dangerous line was almost crossed escaped our attention? Does the image manufactured to take us subliminally across a line or its meaning have an iconic message? It may well be so. There was another image introduced into our culture that became the iconic opposite of human devaluation -- it came from NASA and showed us the reality that we are all humans sharing a precious and finite ecosystem. It was the "Blue Marble Earth" photo from Apollo 17 introduced into our culture in 1972. Forty years and a generation or two later, the hope for collective human dignity still doesn't have a clear picture. That is why words and images are so important. Have we just witnessed an ecosystem already trending toward dangerous turf narrowly miss trespassing into its own mortuary? Discovery Channel may have brought us to a significant crossroads. Or maybe Michael Jackson has. Maybe it was his fans who as one voice, spoke loudly and clearly. Many children loved Jackson and his body of work; many children today are discovering him for the first time. And the real human being buried under all the unkind dark tabloid caricatures living in the cultural lexicon of the twentieth century, may be slowly coming to light in the twenty first. […] Never before in the history of media has a culture witnessed one human being so bullied. On a global scale. Michael Jackson is the poster boy for bullying. It wouldn't be the first time Jackson gave us an image that reflected ourselves back to us. Discovery almost crossed a line that we might want to ponder a bit further.

It may have sounded an urgent alarm at the beginning of a new year and new decade. Perhaps there is yet another toxic ecosystem caused by humans that needs cleaning up in order to save its' (sic) mammals? Will we hear the call just made by multiple thousands of voices stunned into speaking out for a renewed integrity? For a re-examination of what human dignity means? For the return of reason and respect? For a more humane narrative on this planet? Where do today's children and tomorrow's global leaders get the idea that bullying is acceptable? Good question. 'The tribe has spoken.' And the children are listening.”


[Barbara Kaufmann, American writer, peacemaker minister; source: www.voiceseducation.org]



“"Shocking Secrets Revealed: Illegal Means Used to Carve Up Live Humans for Human Consumption".


Get your attention? That is a tabloid headline. It's also true. The last few weeks revealed a shocking story that has uncovered widespread treachery. We witnessed dramatic shutdowns of newspapers, arrests of key figures, seizure of records, metro police and Scotland Yard officials stepping down, heads of governments accused of courting corruption, illegal phone and email hacking, planted listening devices, grieving families stalked, celebrities hacked in retaliation or in effigy, verbal wars, transatlantic Twitter fights, convoluted liaisons and incestuous abuses of power. These "black ops" are not machinations of national security, but of contemporary media and how its' (sic) business is conducted. The Murdoch scandal shines a light on something so out of control for so long but hardly noticeable, because it's so tightly woven into the fabric of modern culture as to be invisible. Does nobody remember when reporter Walter Cronkite was "the most trusted man in America?" People intuit that this story and investigation has only scratched the surface and is far from over, while those in the glare of its scrutiny hope the storm of indignation has subsided from a public's notoriously short attention span. But a still deeper revelation awaits yet unexamined, under the surface dirt being swept away. "We can't see the forest, because the trees are so loud!" There's another headline designed to startle and grab attention but for a different purpose; it's a koan. A koan, instead of telling you what to think, provokes you to -- think. Here's another: As the underhand is reveale, does the underbelly go unnoticed? Maybe the real story is that the real story is buried beneath the real story. What exactly is noble about using electronic eavesdropping for: invading personal lives; ambushing people in interviews; celebrity surveillance; breaking into confidential medical records; exposing private family conversations; herding public opinion, all the while shouting "this is in the public interest" to conceal the real agenda -- power and bullying? In fact, what is noble about it without the electronics? What is admirable about: paying private detectives to dig up information; paying off law enforcement for confidential material; checkbook journalism that pays gobs of money for sensational stories -- the more sensational the teller can make the story, the bigger the payout dangled?


What social value is there in 7 inch headlines designed to bypass the brain and critical thinking, screaming labels like "freak," "naked," "evil," fat," "bizarre," "gay," "scandal" with an accompanying photo of someone now dragged to a public platform for dismemberment and humiliation? It both numbs and dumbs. What is heroic about clever linguistics and innuendo that plant (sic) labels or suggestions in people's minds with "sources tell me" when there are no "sources"? What is honest about printing half truths or lies front page and later, a retraction in small print on the back page? Sensationalism doesn't sell you news; it sells newspapers. Nick Cohen, columnist for the British Observer calls tabloid journalism "a theatre of cruelty" and says the current crisis is "a chance to pull ourselves out of the gutter." What is the gutter? Remember those funny signs, "You are here?" Perhaps we are and the only way out is up. What social value does the gutter press provide? Well, they do nothing to elevate the human condition, nor celebrate it. They don't improve an ecosystem, but make it even more toxic. They breed cynicism and devalue humans. Their stock-in-trade is to dehumanize, humiliate and relegate human beings to caricatures. They don't evolve humanity, they devolve it. So what is noble or entertaining about carving up other humans for human consumption or peddling human flesh for cash? There are names for both those "nobilities" and neither is pretty.

Tabloids and even mainstream media have engineered "spectacle," something akin to circus sideshows where carnival barkers shouted "Step right up, see the freak human!" Those were the humans with missing limbs, deformities, or hair, skin or growth maladies -- actual medical conditions or diseases. Come on in, folks, and make fun of the handicapped! Engineered "spectacle" also ruled the ancient amphitheaters where humans were devoured by animals or slain by other humans -- for sport. More modern versions of spectacle for sport arose at particularly shameful intervals in history -- not enlightened ones: witch burnings, hangings, racial lynchings and the most recent version -- public executions of "wayward" women by misogynist terrorists.


The tabloid's front page is a curtain drawn on the theater of cruelty for exposing, dismembering or performing pseudo or psychological autopsies on live human beings. It even violates the cultural taboo of deriding the dead. Attacking the humanity of real people on stage is most apparent in the cult of celebrity with its implied ownership of the private lives and troubles of the famous. Celebrities are hunted, attacked by reporters who taunt to provoke them and paparazzi who stalk them for the "money shot" even unto death -- and after. Remember the people's Queen of Hearts -- Diana?


[…] A talented or gifted person, driven by the creative impulse must create. The talented genius or luminary cannot hide their gift, nor should they; art belongs to the world, not an individual. Artists cannot suppress inspiration or the creative impulse. Sharing art-as-gift requires they take a courageous leap of faith in offering it to the world. And how do we often repay them? With envy, scorn and Schadenfreude -- the dark side of human nature that finds glee in another's misfortune. Tabloid journalism is only too happy to help us, humans, express our darkest impulses while extracting our cash. The systematic humiliation and vilification of celebrity provides an effigy and illusory "public enemy" become mirror for the dark projections heaped upon that stranger cleverly made to feel familiar -- the projections cover what we can't bear to acknowledge in ourselves. Instead of seeing woundedness and feeling compassion, we are encouraged to feed our own shadow. That promotes division among humans, not unity; it precludes self esteem and love by a compassion for woundedness -- others and our own. People who love themselves have no need to harm other people. […]


Websites with those same tabloid agendas encourage "hits" or clicks from consumers so that they can prove high traffic to sponsors who support the sale of more of the same theater of cruelty that abuses and dehumanizes not just gifted celebrities, but by proxy -- us. Ambush journalism proffers that same abuse by drawing subjects and putting them at ease with a ruse promising to: feature positive attributes, enhance image, garner support for a favorite charity, convert an untruth, or help distraught families find a missing child -- as we recently saw News Corp doing in the U.K. The ambush journalist, a practiced sycophant, promises fair depiction in an interview or documentary and delivers instead a cleverly edited sensationalized "hit piece" that fails the promise and profits only its producers. It cleverly dupes not just the human it features, but its audience -- again for a profit.


Is the tabloid culture healthy for humans? Does a steady diet of human misery and shadow nourish the mind and human spirit? What are the long term cultural effects of systematic and public dehumanizing of other humans? How did a decades-long Murdochian ecosystem impact the popular mood? Did it foster hope or despair? Is the result now playing out on the streets of London? In America, how has entertainment at the expense of others molded culture? Has the devaluing of human beings infected and mutated business or politics? Is there a hidden cost to the constant focus on bad news and human misery? Does it have worldwide or even humanity-wide implications? What is harmless entertainment? What happens to a society with a vacuum where compassion is supposed to live? What kind of world is created by a constant stream of shadow, cynicism and hopelessness; what is the projected return on that investment?


Do you really welcome and enjoy the emotional, metaphorical or actual wounding and bleeding of a fellow human as they claim you do? Did you see it coming or did it sneak up on you? When and how did it become commonplace and acceptable to support and consume public humiliation, devaluing, bullying and dismemberment of real human beings? In some places they call that "crimes against humanity." Sometimes we forget to revisit and evaluate if a systemic practice or enterprise in our world is death dealing or life affirming before we invite or allow more of the same. How might it change our personal world and our collective world if we insisted on writing a new headline? How about: "Humanity Wins!" Something important is coming to light in this pivotal moment in history. Pay close attention; humanity, and Humanity, is at stake.”


[Barbara Kaufmann; source: www.voiceseducation.org]

 


“I was exposed to all the Jackson 5 records when I was young, but I actually know Michael's solo music more intimately. I have re-discovered the J5 on my solo guitar journey. I followed Michael's music pretty closely up through Thriller, and at that age I became interested in jazz & classical, so I didn't keep up with BAD, Smooth Criminal, and all of what followed. I am catching up now! […] I am very inspired by Michael's work. I can remember three, New Years Eve's ago, "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" coming on the stereo, and all of us sprung up and danced - it was the party's "wake up call"! Of course, I love his voice and his groove. He had a perfect musical instinct. He took a big influence from James Brown, but did his own thing with it. Also, let's not forget the incredible production work by Quincy Jones, and the writing of Rod Temperton. I was amazed to listen to “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” through headphones, and hear an entire big band quietly sitting in the mix. That may sound like "musician speak", but I have listened closely to all the aspects of what makes the music magical for me.”


“To start with one of Michael's songs on the guitar, I need to have the intuitive "click" of how to play the melody notes, and groove them the way Michael does. This is where a deep feeling for the pocket of the rhythm really matters. I have to be able to dance with my guitar, playing the same way that I would dance to his actual recording. If the "body rhythm" is not in the foundation of the music, it will never sound right. From there, I have to reduce a full production down to a single guitar, which is akin to going out in nature with a sketchpad and pencil. You don't have a palette of many colors, but you can outline things, show depth, show shadow. So that's what I do. I listen for the most important "parts" - usually the melody, bass line, some type of middle part, and the drums. From there, I fudge and fudge until it starts sounding and feeling good! […] For example, on "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough", I believe there are two guitars playing a very similar part. The way they "rub" adds to the experience. If you don't listen closely, you may think there's one guitar only or, the verse, vocal layering on "Man in the Mirror". So yes, there are many intricacies that one finds! [I have also explored Michael’s use of his voice as a musical instrument in his art.] Of course! Particularly on "Rock With You". I tried to fully realize the rhythms that he was singing, and the closer you listen, you realize it can't be written. That reminds me of Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet work - it gets to such a high spiritual place, that the only way to sing or play it just like them, is to let go, and go to a higher spiritual zone. "Ineffable" is the word that comes to mind.”


“[…] When Michael discovered his spark, his magic, his joy, he lit me up, and lit many, many people up as well! I just hope to pass some of the joy he gave me along to others. He really took musical and theatrical excellence to the absolute limit.”

[Adam Rafferty, solo, finger-style guitarist, also released CD: I Remember Michael: A Michael Jackson Solo Guitar Tribute’; source: http://mjtpmagazine.presspublisher.us]

 

“The presumption of innocence normally accorded the accused has been lost because of Conrad Murray's publicly uttered statements ("I gave Michael Jackson propofol," & "I left the room.") Any prospective juror must (/) would likely be aware of these comments. With those statements, Murray has publicly incriminated himself for patient abandonment.

Since 1989, hundreds of millions of patients have safely received propofol in various doses because someone was watching and monitoring them. So it is not the dose of propofol, or who may have given it that is at question, but the flagrant absence of well-established propofol safety protocols that is the cause of involuntary manslaughter. Murray having left the room without any remote monitoring devices subjected Jackson to a patently unsafe propofol practice that directly led to the predictable, avoidable death of Michael Jackson. […]”


[Barry Friedberg; source: www.usatoday.com, www.mj-777.com]


“I don’t believe personally that there is any way Michael died from swallowing the propofol. Likely, the propofol would be inactivated in the stomach, this theory doesn’t make any sense. (It’s) quite easy for the propofol to get into the stomach retrograde from the blood.”

[Dr. Nancy Strand, expert anesthesiologist; sources: http://edition.cnn.com, www.mj-777.com]


“The rapid hepatic metabolism of propofol makes it impossible for Michael Jackson to have received a fatal overdose by drinking propofol. There is zero possibility that the propofol was orally ingested. There is almost nothing in Murray’s care of Michael Jackson that reflected the actions of a trained physician. Extreme and unconscionable violations of the standard of care.”

[Dr Steven Schaefer MD, otolaryngology practicioner; sources: www.boston.com, www.mj-777.com]


“About 10 years ago, I had the privilege of having dinner with the "king of pop", Michael Jackson. The dinner took place at the home of our close friend's (sic) Al and Nancy Malnik. Michael was such a sweet guy, and, for some reason, fell in love with the Dolce and Gabbana pants I was wearing. He asked me if he can try them on. Of course I was not going to deny the king of pop, so I immediately went to the bathroom and exchanged pants. Michael was so happy and excited about the pants that he kept them! […]”

[Loren Ridinger, Senior Vice President of Marketamerica.com and SHOP.COM, Creator of cosmetic lines, Motives® by Loren Ridinger, Founder of Loren Jewels® collection; source: www.lorensworld.com]


“[…] My parents didn’t know what to do with me, an only child who had more energy than a shaken can of Red Bull. “Sesame Street” did the trick for a little while, but I outgrew that by age 3. That’s when, in addition to cartoons and “Goodnight, Moon,” they showed me MTV and handed me Rolling Stone magazine. I suppose, looking back, they were desperate.

Soon, my entire focus became fixated on one performer who dominated TV, magazines and every other form of entertainment. His name was Michael Jackson. The first video of Michael’s I remember watching was “We Are the World,” his 1985 mega-anthem written with Lionel Richie and sung with 400 other people. I still credit my musical ear to that song. I used to sing it in full, imitating each performer’s unique voice, entertaining guests at my mother’s parties. I became a total Michael nerd. I didn’t just own a copy of “Thriller” and watch the “Motown 25” TV special over and over again. By the time I was 14 years old, I had enough Michael Jackson memorabilia, that the Village Voice did a feature on me for the paper’s “Money” column.

My love of everything Michael led me to discover a universe of music. His inspirations became mine. I studied Jackie Wilson and James Brown, and by age 7 I knew the entire Motown catalog. Instead of an allowance, I got a new CD each week, and my musical world kept expanding. But I always came back to Michael. What sparked this obsession with the King of Pop? I think it was his energy. It was the way I felt when I watched him perform. It made me want to get up and do it myself, and for years, I swore I came pretty close. I wasn’t just casually copying the leg kick, or the moonwalk. I would watch these videos with a mental note pad, studying each moment as if I were about to play the man in a biopic.

I remained fascinated even through Michael’s dark days. And while eventually the posters came off the wall, and the memorabilia collection was put in boxes, I never stopped listening, never stopped watching and never stopped dancing. At the newsstand today, I was confronted by Time magazine’s special edition commemorating Michael’s death, with Herb Ritts’ beautiful photo from the cover of the “Remember the Time” single, and the words “Michael Jackson 1958-2009.” It’s an important piece of Michael memorabilia, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. It seemed so final. While I’m not in denial that my hero is gone, the constant reminder is too much.

An audience member who watches my performance in “Jersey Boys” on any given night would never know it, but inside, I’m just imitating Michael. From Day One I’ve been chasing his energy, hoping to somehow affect one person the way he affected me from afar. I’d like to think that in my own way, I can carry it on.

Hey, Mike, thanks for everything.”

[Erich Bergen, actor, songwriter, TV host; source: www.lasvegassun.com]


“[…] [Michael and I formed an incorporated business partnership in 1989, known as the Jackson-Strong alliance.] […] [on tour of the hangar, this is the Michael Jackson monument that Michael and I co-designed several years ago.] He wanted his fans to be able to get married at a monument that would have all of his music [in an archive, and playing on speakers], to inspire some of his fans. [The current design is still in the works, but it's conceived as an interactive monument -- fans who buy a print by Jackson will receive a card in the mail. They can scan this card at the monument, and then have a computer organize a personal greeting for them, or allow them to book it for weddings. Michael initially thought it would be perfect for Las Vegas, but I said Los Angeles might have the honor of hosting it] […]”

“[As for Michael’s art, the contents of the hangar barely scratched the surface of the collection, I’m estimating a total output at 150 to 160 pieces. A few large pieces hanging on the walls had been donated as reproductions to the L.A. Children's Hospital (…), along with other sketches and poems. In all of his art, certain motifs kept cropping up: chairs (usually quite baroque), gates, keys and the number 7. His portrait of Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee, shows a monkey-like face vanishing into a cushy, ornate lounge chair.] He loved chairs. He thought chairs were the thrones of most men, women and children, where they made their decisions for their daily activity. He was inspired by chairs. Rather than just do a portrait of the monkey, he put it in the chair. And you see, there are a few sevens -- because he's the seventh child. […] [Michael was a technically talented artist -- and completely self-taught. […] Sketchbooks are completely filled with studies of his favorite objects, in endless permutations. But he also created portraits: a small sketch of Paul McCartney, and a large drawing of George Washington, created as I was working with the White House to commemorate the bicentennial of the Constitution back in 1987. He also sketched self-portraits -- one as a humorous four-panel drawing charting his growing-up process, and a darker one that depicts him as a child cowering in a corner, inscribed with a sentence reflecting on his fragility. As an artist, he preferred using wax pencils.] He did do a lot of watercolors, but he gave them away. He was a little intimidated by mixing colors.] Some surviving pencils are archived in the hangar. […] He turned to art as times got hard for him.] His interest in art, in drawing it, was just another level of his creativity that went on over a long period of time. It was quite private to him. I think he retreated into it when he was being attacked by those accusations against him. […] [The sketches and drawings certainly reveal an extremely sensitive creator, though it's clear that he also had a sense of humor.]”

“[His art was kept under wraps for such a long time simply because of the pedophilia scandal (allegedly), which erupted right around the time that he was looking for a way to publicize the works]. A lot of his art was going to be exhibited 18 years ago. Here's one of his tour books (a leaflet from the 1992 dangerous World Tour), where he talks about exhibiting art. He didn't want it to be a secret. [claims Strong] […] [Notably, the alliance birthed the $2 million portrait of Michael Jackson entitled The Book, the only known portrait Michael ever sat for. In 1993, everything blew up. At the time, Michael and I were both on the board of Big Brothers of Los Angeles (now known as Big Brothers Big Sisters), a chapter of the national youth mentoring organization established in L.A. by Walt Disney and Meredith Willson. We had planned out a fundraising campaign involving Michael’s art.] We thought that if we would market [his art] in limited edition prints to his fans, he could support the charities that he wanted to, rather than have everybody think that he was so wealthy, he could afford to finance everybody.] When the pedophilia scandal erupted, Disney put a freeze on the project. The artwork stayed put, packed away from public eyes in storage crates.]”

“He was in a very light and happy mood most of the time [when we shared a studio in a house in Pacific Palisades]. He would have the oldies on, and sometimes he'd hear some of his Jackson Five songs. He'd kind of move along to that, but, most of the time, he would change it and listen to a variety of songs. He liked classical music. His inspiration to create was that he loved life, and wanted to express his love of life in some of these simple compositions. I came to the studio one day, and we had a Malamute. I came into the house, and I heard this dog barking and thought, ‘Wow, I wonder what that is.’ I go into the kitchen, and I couldn't help but laugh when I see Michael up in the pots and pans in the middle of the center island. He's holding a pen and paper and the dog is running around the island and barking at him, and he says, “He wants to play! He wants to play!” He's laughing, and I'm laughing about it as I'm thinking to myself, “I'm wondering how long he's been up there.”

[Brett-Livingstone Strong, Australian architect, sculptor and painter – interviewed by

I discovered Michael Jackson at the tender age of 13. I grew up with his music. And now, 28 years later, I am still in awe of the man, his art and his message. Michael’s music makes me dance. It energises me to do the housework and to exercise! I can sing every song and I do loudly and out of key. Michael's  touches something inside of me. I listen to him and I feel as though I am being transported to a different world. His voice makes me laugh, cry, gives me the shivers. It fills me with this incredible joy that makes me want to hug everyone I see and squeeze them tight! He has been a mentor for me, I look at his work ethic, how he never gives up until it is right, but does not devalue others in the process. He was (a) man who led with vision and compassion. I love that Michael never dis-respected me as a woman or as a fan. He always treated his fans with respect and humility. His message was always of love, tolerance and personal responsibility. As a man, Michael remained true to himself, no matter what was said about him.  He was not afraid to be vulnerable. He was always gracious in the face of any vitriol. He was committed to being the best, to fulfilling  his purpose. I try to follow his example and I know that I will love and miss (him) every day for the rest of my life.”

[Nancii Yearwood, Barbadian Michael Jackson admirer; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]


Michael Joseph Jackson, born to the world in abject poverty in Gary Indiana, rose above the fray to become a man that captured the hearts and minds of an unprecedented amount of human beings on this earth. One such heart and mind being my own and at the age of 12 I was hooked. His music will carry on into multiple millenniums to come. His offerings to the world were just that poignant. If I where asked what Michael Jackson meant in my life, my answer would undoubtedly be a sense of peace and love. Love you, Michael!”

[Kephera Designs, US Michael Jackson admirer; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]


“Most people see Michael Jackson as the ‘King of Pop’. However, he was much more! Those who were able to see beyond the music and the dance, beyond the lies propagated by the media and the slander perpetuated by the detractors and gold-diggers, were blessed to know the real Michael Jackson. And as they did, their lives were changed forever. For they realized that Michael Joseph Jackson was a poet-prophet of the modern age, whose entire life was dedicated to helping and healing the world, inspiring and uniting people and uplifting their consciousness with his extraordinary art, philanthropy and life. With his beautiful, compassionate and courageous heart, he stood for all that was good in a world gone bad. He was a messenger of love, hope and peace in a world filled with hatred, hopelessness and violence. He was a spiritual guide whose wisdom awakened and continues to awaken many around the world. He was the epitome of artistic perfection and also an inspiring example of how we as human beings should be. With his remarkable faith, resilience and integrity, he taught us how to carry on being the light despite the darkness around, to hold on to the highest ideals and to never ever give up. And though their hearts and minds feel broken and shattered with the immeasurable loss, it is these admirers to whom Michael Jackson was more than the King of Pop, that are now carrying on his mission of healing the world for us and for our future generations.”


[Ankita Srivastava, Indian Michael Jackson admirer; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]



I am an eighties child. Born during a time when 13 year olds were still considered to be children and the 13 year olds themselves didn’t want it any differently. Those were the days. We climbed trees, played in the mud, watched Loon(e)y Tunes at the most only once a week and weren’t inundated with tuition classes and extra curricular activities our parents made us attend in order to be better than the rest. We were children. And even though we had the misfortune of being born into our country’s civil conflict that plagued our lives through our adolescence and youth well into our adulthood – there still was optimism in the air.


The constant bombardment of negativity, existentialism and loss of faith in the system hadn’t pervaded our lives like they have the children of today. We had the good fortune of being born into an era when the vast majority of the powers that be seemed determined to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors (albeit unsuccessfully) and people still had time to meet and chat with each other face to face and build real relationships. We had the good fortune of hearing music that spoke of such things as – love (not sex and getting it on in a night club), of hope, of making a difference, of coming together as one, of enjoying life. We had the good fortune of growing up listening to Michael Jackson: “Man in the Mirror”, “We Are The World”, “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”


I first got the news of the sudden demise of the late great when I discretely snuck in some “internet time” at work that day. There, on the Yahoo home page was a huge picture of the man himself with the words “Michael Jackson 1958 – 2009”. What!?!?!?!?!? All the fond memories of growing up - watching in wonderment how each tile on the sidewalk would light up when he stepped on it; seeing for the first time a man defying the laws of physics by sliding along the stage with a spaceman’s ease; bending towards the floor with his feet firmly fixed to the ground and body magically diagonal to it; gazing with dropped jaw at a galaxy of stars collaborating to give us a song that raised millions of dollars for the hungry children in Africa; and enjoying music videos that told a story – an enthralling one; just flooded my mind.


[…] With the sudden surge in the time now devoted by the media to his music and his story, (probably no less than when he was alive) it’s difficult not to remember. And somehow I find myself grieving for this man – a man I never knew. I had to ask myself why his death had shaken me this much. It was time for some reflection. The truth is – for us – Michael Jackson symbolized a bygone era. An era we knew. It was a time when our dreams - just like our personalities - were only just taking shape. The world hadn’t got us jaded yet. We were young, impressionable and the world was our playground – anything was possible and an icon like Michael Jackson, who defied racial, cultural, economic realities while rising to stardom, bore testimony to this fact.


However, today, we may find most of what we believed in back then have betrayed us and we have had to exchange our dreams for things more viable and “more within our reach”. The optimism of our youth has been replaced by the cynicism of adulthood – forced upon us by the rude realities that politicians philander, the wealthy get wealthier, the poor get poorer and injustice is the rule and not the exception. That is why I grieve. It seems like his death marks the end of that era. So, what now? Do I roll up and die? Oh (sic) contraire. Life goes on. The world keeps turning. Life happens. And in time, my children will hear me snapping my fingers to “Bad” from several decades earlier and ask me who Michael Jackson was. And I’d tell them. I’d tell them he was a man who was famous, whose music was nothing like the music they listen to now – it had meaning and rhythm and soul. He was a man who was forced into the spotlight before he had the right to choose it himself, who tried to make a difference with his music, who created heart wrenching tunes, whose lyrics were a window to his soul, who danced like a man possessed, who merged jazz, rock, pop, disco, soul and R&B into his tracks and created masterpieces, who inspired the aspiring stars of the present day – “stars” who would never compete with the kind of genius he was. He was a man before his time, but his music will be for all time.


I never knew Michael Jackson, but I know HIStory. I will never know the background to his turbulent personal life and the reason for some of the strange decisions he made. But then again, I never knew that it was like to be under constant public scrutiny from the tender age of 5. But I will always be grateful to him for the cool memories I have of my childhood and the music I enjoy to this day. Michael Jackson may not have seen the world change as he’d hoped during his lifetime, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of such change in the horizon, but I, for one, am going to try  and live my life in such a way that my children will never be able to identify with the lyrics of “Childhood”, that my friends would matter as much to me as “Ben” did to Michael, that giving of myself to help “Heal the World” would become my lifestyle and not be restricted to the few coins I’d indulge a street urchin with, that I’d never be able to have the same regrets as the man who wrote “She’s Out Of My Life”, that I’d never be too old to rock to “Beat it” or “Dirty Diana” and that I’d always be able to play “I Wanna Rock With You” to my spouse and mean it. I want to try and live my life in such a way that I’d always be humble enough to look myself in the mirror and say:


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


[Mokshini Jayamanne, Michael Jackson admirer from Sri Lanka; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]


I still cannot, at times, think about him without tearing up. If I were to sum him up in one word, I’d call him ‘Magic.’ […] The memories I have of Michael go far back. I was fortunate enough to live at a time when Michael breathed, danced and sang his genius. Some of my fondest memories include singing Heal the World at a charity concert, popping in the Bad cassette every day after school, staying glued to MTV for his music videos, looking forward to long road trips thanks to my trusty walkman, and, of course, Michael tapes, and a very special day back in the 90’s, which I want to describe a little more in detail.

It was a crisp December morning just before the school holidays, and I was making my way to class through a desolate school backyard. To the side, on my far right, stood the hostel, and music was being played. It was, ‘Will You Be There’, and the song just drifted with the wind, and came to me. I was simply elated. I wish I could go back to that day, and relive that moment. It was simply magic!”

[Candy, Michael Jackson admirer; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]


”He did the THRILLER album and went on the BAD tour to create HISTORY. He looked DANGEROUS in his black outfit with the hat and diamond studded glove on. He was THE MAN IN THE MIRROR who sang the EARTH SONG, to let people know that his only message was WE ARE THE WORLD, so lets (sic) HEAL THE WORLD, even though he knew that THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US.
He cared so much for THE LOST CHILDREN and did not care whether they were BLACK OR WHITE. If anyone asked him, WILL U BE THERE, his only reply was, I'LL BE THERE, so that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. He was THE dancing machine who danced till he shed BLOOD ON DA DANCE FLOOR. He made people cry, faint and go crazy with his MOONWALK. But now everything has changed and you are GONE TOO SOON, SMOOTH CRIMINAL. The last three words he whispered were THIS IS IT. All I want to say is that YOU ROCK MY WORLD and I JUST CANT STOP LOVING YOU for THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL. The world misses you so much and never will forget what you offered to the world. Your music will live forever. LOVE YOU ALWAYS AND FOREVER, KING OF POP..”


[Dishan Goonetilleke, Michael Jackson fan; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]

 


“Paying tribute to a remarkable human being, Michael Jackson was not only the greatest entertainer that ever lived; he was also the most unappreciated humanitarian of our time. Since his childhood, he showed astonishing maturity as an artist and performer. He knew he was incredibly gifted with a unique voice, captivating dance moves, creating enthralling beats and tunes; an inventive filmmaker, choreographer, songwriter, poet and even a fashion icon. Whatever he put his heart into, he excelled. […] He broke down barriers as a black artist to reach the top in his art. As a shy and humble person, he had difficulty dealing with the mass attention, but he was blessed with what he saw as a duty to use his fame and artistry to raise awareness about injustices and to aid the helpless and voiceless worldwide. He gave his earnings from almost every concert performance to charity. With hits and music videos such as “Beat It”, “Black or White” and “Earth Song”, he sought to condemn gang culture, racism, police brutality, war, poverty, animal cruelty, media lies, the neglect of children and our planet. He wore an arm band to protest against war and child starvation. With songs like “Man in the Mirror” and “Heal the World”, he sought to show the way, that universal love for all living beings is the way to peace.


As a black man who had become the most popular and influential man on the planet, corruption, jealousy and racism reared their ugly heads as the Western media and even American law enforcement personnel bullied, crucified and demonised an innocent man to subdue his power, like bullying a timid child in the school playground. But no amount of insults can tarnish the legacy of this great man. While those who wish to tarnish his image still remain, Michael is the only artist who is loved in every corner of the Earth. His legion of devoted fans – tens of millions strong – are one of his greatest accomplishments as they continue to educate the public with his message while aiding charitable causes in his memory.


I will always look back on his life with sadness due to the torment he had to endure so unnecessarily, but I am also grateful that I grew up witnessing one of the most talented men to have graced our planet. So, let’s remember one of his most poignant messages: “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change”. There will never be anyone like him again, he is simply irreplaceable. […] We will always love you!!”

[Anusha Seneviratne, Michael Jackson fan from London, U.K.; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]


“A loving son, a caring brother, a father who would protect his children on the wings of his love….


A philanthropist, a businessman, an incredible entertainer, a book writer, The King of Pop…


This is how the legendary Michael Jackson will always be remembered. On the day of Michael’s 53rd birthday, though it’s been more than two years since Michael passed away, I know his fans miss him now more than ever...


Michael was an immensely gifted man and a self devoted person for the human sake. Unfortunately, most of the people were ignorant about it. With his amazing talent and highly publicized life, Michael was opened to public criticism; he was subjected to many rumors and accusations, especially during the child molestation trial. But I would like to remind you that “never criticize a person until you have walked a mile in his/her shoes”.


Michael made us care about world hunger and poverty. From his contributions, he taught us that we must “change ourselves” and then “change the world”. […]


[Kalpani Senanayake, Michael Jackson fan; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]


“Growing up in Ethiopia, there were not a lot of artists that influenced me. When I was five years old, (1993) was my first exposure to Michael Jackson, the artist. I watched his BAD short film and I just fell in love with it. Trying to imitate him, wearing black cut out plastic bag and wearing it like a glove, and trying to do his moves (failing miserably). I drifted from him and his music for a few years, but never forgot that he wrote and dedicated a song *We Are The World* for my country and all over Africa, and also raised money over $60 million. After moving (to) the United States, I started to research him and his work & what I found was a remarkably kind, generous, loving, peaceful and caring person, who was a genius in more ways than one.


When the trial started in 2004, I was adamant in supporting him through and through, because I believed in him. If it were not for Michael, I would not have been who I am today. I am a Social worker whose aim is to help people in need. Michael showed me through his philanthropy work that we are all humans and if we cant (sic) help other fellow human beings, then what is our purpose(?). I Love Michael like a father, brother, and a friend. His passing made me realize that the life I have is precious and I must make the most of it by being there for others.


I Love You, Michael, I Miss you.”


[A Michael Jackson fan in Ethiopia; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]


“Michael Jackson has inspired me to be a better person. His humanitarian efforts and zest for healing the world and "making it a better place" only reinforces the fact that he was kind and gentle beyond words. As an amateur artist, I only need to listen to his music or see him perform to feel the need to get out my paints and create.


Michael was crucified here on earth and his heart and home (Neverland) were destroyed by the negative publicity he received. He was accused of an unspeakable crime because of greed and literally left the country for peace of mind.


He was beginning a new venture, one that would help him regain what he lost and show his children why their lives were so private. Through it all, Michael Jackson never gave up loving and believing the world would be a better place.


Who can forget him... not this fan or anyone who truly knew what he was about!”


[BJ/Maggie" Noreault, Michael Jackson fan from Malone, New York; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]



The 25th June, 2009, seems like yesterday! The most difficult thing for me to imagine is that, the legendary celebrity, The King of Pop, MICHAEL JACKSON, has passed away.


Though that terrible event took place, leaving only loving memories for us, the dancing spell, which he spread all over the world, has not yet broken. And so, any person, a Michael Jackson fan or not, will definitely have to agree that, he was really dedicated towards the contribution of modern music. He is surely worth to be called the King of not only pop music, but of  music in general. I just cannot stop humming a song of Michael Jacksons (sic). Though I am not very good at dancing, he, THE KING OF POP, makes me dance and jump around, when I hear one of his songs. Though there were instances where he was subjected to physical and mental abuse, during his childhood, by his own father,  he did not give up. He achieved greatness through much sacrifice. I will never be tired of him, and he will forever be my hero. And also, his charity for the poor, can never be forgotten. The 29th of August is a very special day for me, because it brings back the memory of the birth of a small, poor child, who grew to be a legendary king. What a great personality! If anyone comes and asks me, "Is Michael Jackson dead? “ I would say, “Of course not! He is alive in my blood!” From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate his dedication and commitment, and would like to say thank you for being the superstar that you - the star who literally entertained the world.”


[Nadeena Ranwarini, Michael Jackson fan; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]

 


“I think what is so amazing about Michael Jackson is that his appeal went beyond the bounds of a stage, a screen and crossed over and spread out to the whole world.


Even in Sri Lanka, if you were to go out of Colombo and mention his name, anyone would know whom your (sic) talking about. That's what you call a star – to be recognized for your talents. Today, our stars come in packages or go to extremities like Lady Gaga and her meat dress to draw attention. How many artists of today will produce original songs instead of doing covers? Michael would have none of that. What he did possess was pure talent and a dedication to his music and his craft. […] When MTV was just starting out, Michael was perhaps one of the few artists who took the potential of music videos seriously. If you could look back, everyone (sic) of his videos has been made like a mini movie with a story behind it. […]


Watching his memorial service in July 2009 - what saddened me the most – was the fact that it almost felt like I was bidding good bye to my childhood. He was so much a part of it and of growing up. My brother and I were completely fascinated by him. As a tomboy and just a years (sic) gap in age between us, I would watch for hours as my brother paused and replayed that old VHS player, studying every move of the moon walk, trying to figure out just how he did that. Our admiration for him was from a far (sic). And although we never had the opportunity of being able to see him perform live, we lived through that madness that phase of awe and wonder which only a super star can achieve.


And now, many years later, us having grown up and in different countries, we still recall those days. The only difference now is that the man who was the inspiration behind those times is not around. I guess that's what Michael Jackson did best, he brought people together, he brought communities together.


This thank you is long over due - so thank you, MJ, for the memories and the music.


You will never change for me, nor grow older in my memory, but remain just as you were then and always – a star.”

[Sabine Perera, Michael Jackson fan; source: www.sundaytimes.lk]

 

“I think what they’re going to do [on this trial against Dr. Murray] is paint him up to be the most horrible person. [The defense will call Michael a drug addict. They will claim he was suicidal, anxious and depressed about his comeback tour (…).] […] He was not a child molester. He wasn’t a drug addict. He wasn’t this person who wanted to hurt children. He was none of that. […]”

“We all know that Michael was on prescription painkillers for his excruciating pain [after his hair caught fire during the filming of the Pepsi commercial in ‘84], and had prescription drugs [at times] to sleep, but that doesn’t equal ‘drug addict’. A drug addict takes drugs for recreational uses. A drug addict is not trustworthy. A drug addict is a person who is irresponsible, a person who just doesn’t care. Michael was responsible. […] [When I saw him last in May, 2009 at our parents’ 60th wedding anniversary, he looked] skinny, but athletic.] […] That’s not going to work. [He wasn’t suicidal.] You know why? Because Michael loved life. He loved life too much. He was the type that saw life in a bug, an ant, a fly. He wouldn’t even kill a fly, he’d let it out. So, why would he take his own life? [Michael was excited about buying a new house in Las Vegas, he knew he could always make money.] [And he had three children] that he loved. I was over at his house one time and I had my two sons with me, Jaafar and Jermajesty. Prince, Paris and Blanket were acting up. They were just being kids (…). […] He was always wanting them to be good human beings. He cared. [He wouldn’t leave them.] No, not at all. […]”

“I think he was (happy), but he was being disappointed in the system. […] [Long before Al Gore’s jeremiads on global warming, Michael was being used by God to bring about environmental awareness. Songs such as “Man In The Mirror” and “They Don’t Care About Us” stepped on government toes. Big business and/or big government conspired to destroy my brother, first, by prosecuting him for child molestation and, when he was exonerated, by pushing him too hard in the run-up to ‘This Is It.’] This whole thing was designed around greed, power and money. […]”

“[I’m also interested in the evidence in the tapes recording Michael on the day of his death. Suspiciously, they have been wiped. Others, besides Murray, were involved in administering the propofol.] […] If, from cross-examination, everything is brought out, if they find these tapes that the police lost, and then it will go beyond just Murray. Because I don’t think he was courageous enough to do this by himself. […] When you think about the way he (Michael) looked at the world and the way Christ looked at the world, they both had so many good intentions taken the wrong way. In the end, they nail you up against the cross and they crucify you. They put across the headlines ‘Child Molester’. The most horrible things were said in the opening statements of the trial (note: not mentioned in the opening statements, but the prosecution lawyers attempted to show the jury photographs of his genitals, but were prevented by the judge), the most horrible things they could think of about his privates and his genitals...” […] [The testimony of Gavin Arvizo in 2005 was wildly inconsistent. His mother had earlier won money from a department store for being inappropriately touched by security guards. The boy at the centre of the previous scandal in 1993, Jordan Chandler, never testified against Jackson and the authorities found no case to answer. Jordan later became estranged from his parents.] […] Michael gave them $15 million not to shut them, but to leave him alone. ‘This is what you want? Take it.’ It goes both ways. If someone had molested your child, why would you take money from them? Only because that’s what you wanted from the first. It was all a lie. […] We would have warned him about that boy [Arvizo] and his mother, but I would not have counseled against allowing children to share his bed. You know why? Because our whole family did that, growing up (…). And there’s an innocence about it and a joy, to get in the bed and have popcorn. Michael said something very profound, he said, ‘Why does (sic) people equate sex with the bed? Why does (sic) people look at the bed and see sex? […].” […] If they were going to sit and crucify my brother for something that he didn’t do, America deserves us not to come back here. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be the land of the brave, home of the free, democracy, freedom of speech. The way they were treating him, none of that existed. […]”

“He lived his life through them (his children) too. They would be at theme parks and on the floor colouring and playing hide-and-go-seek with him and balloon fights, water balloon fights. […] Do you know what? That was Michael. He was a big kid, in a grown-up’s body. If you listen to the song “Childhood”, it says it all. He even says, “People say I’m strange that way, because I love such elementary things.” He loved elementary things. […] [My conviction is that Michael was a heterosexual of the romantic, rather predatory, sort (…)].”

“[Michael’s life,] it was tragic, designed by others, not by him. Not by his actions (…). I lost a brother, my little brother, and my mother lost a son, and so did my father. We have not been the same since his passing. We’ll never be the same. […] We are family and now the family is broken.”

[Jermaine La Jaune Jackson, American singer, bassist, member of The Jackson 5 – interviewed by The Times Magazine; source: www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“[Working on “Another Day”,) it was probably the most incredible collaboration I have ever done. I was so inspired by him as a child... working with him was fantastic. Here's a guy who's been doing it for all these years and he's not jaded, still a perfectionist, still driven, still comes into the studio and spends all day and all night until he gets it right and come in the next day and the next day. He's a very funny gentleman, we laughed the entire time we did it. He's really fun.”

[Leonard Albert "Lenny" Kravitz(ovich), American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and arranger; source: http://news.sky.com]

 

“[…] Well, I think that, first of all, being a cardiologist and not an anesthesiologist, there's a big difference. Conrad Murray (INAUDIBLE) had no business giving my brother Propofol. […] In terms of them trying to say my brother was an addict or addicted, Michael, we know my brother was on prescription drugs [at times]. (…) Because of pains, excruciating pain, and also him wanting to have sleep. […] Well, just coming off the stage and there's (sic) like 180,000 people out there, and your adrenaline is going so high, and you're doing so much and it's hard to just put your head on the pillow and sleep, because it just goes on and on, even after you're off the stage. He always said that he didn't want to tour because he didn't want to have the problems of not sleeping (…) and things like that, but he wasn't addicted to (Demerol), because his behavior wasn't to the point that he was an addict. He was looking for this, too, for sleep. And he trusted whoever administered these things to him. He trusted them. […] But the key to this is, when you're a proven anesthesiologist and you're in the proper settings, and the right medical field, you know how much to administer to the patient to keep him above the line, but not so above where he'll feel the pain. And keep them from going below the line. […]”

“I saw Conrad (Murray) when I first went to the hospital. And then, when I came back from seeing Michael, I went back to the room where my mother was. I was sitting on the other side of the table, like I'm here, the table is between us, my mother is here and you're Conrad. We weren't this close, though. I didn't know who he was. But I said something strange about this guy. He's acting strange. I had formed that opinion before I found out who he was. […] His behavior. […] His behavior, how he was acting. […] Everything. All of the above. And it was just something that just wasn't right. It just wasn't normal. […] He wanted to come in, I guess, and say his -- something to my mother and his condolences or something, but I felt uneasy with him. […] I found out, yes, that he was with Michael. He was there. But, see, this is a strange case, because this is treated as a homicide and the LAPD who did their investigation, and then there's (sic) the whereabouts of who came in and out of the house. The tapes are erased. And so, we really don't know. There's (sic) a lot of questions. That's – […] The surveillance tapes were erased. […] Well, some of the tapes were erased to the whereabouts who would come in and out during the time, at the house. […] They were in the hands of the police department. […] [Do I think there may be some kind of cover-up?] What do you think? I would think, as a family member, yes. […]”

“[…] The defense is going to try to paint my brother out to be a drug addict and (that) he was very dependent on drugs, and it's not true. Because, how could someone be dependent on drugs since 2008, he was dancing four hours a day and he had a five-year plan of starting a new life. […] He had just arranged a $15 million payment on a house. So that's saying that he had plans of going beyond "This Is It." […] Being a doctor, you take an oath. To care for your patient, not to kill them. You take an oath to do things that are proper in the medical world. Not to administer something outside of a hospital setting that's not even your area. You're a cardiologist, not an anesthesiologist. […] But the fact that these symptoms went on around everybody there (at the rehearsals) who weren't concerned about how he felt. They were only concerned about the show. Moving the show forward. […] These are people working for AEG, working for him, working for the show. […] Because they wanted the show to go on. Because they knew -- it's the same thing of knowing that it wasn't his voice 100 percent on those songs that were released [on posthumous album ‘Michael’]. It's all about -- see, this is a story about greed and power and money. And not looking at the person in Michael. […] [It's not in their interest to raise any alarm bells about his health, is it?] No, because the fact that, still, if you have tens of billions of dollars, you still want more, but this was an event that was going to put money in everybody's pockets, but at the same time, his health was ignored. […] What were they concerned? What were they concerned about? Money, their jobs, or my brother's health? […] The defense is going to try to paint my brother out to be even most horrible person and he wasn't. He was most concerned about the world and healing the world and children who are starving. And he just didn't sing about it. He did it. He showed the action. That's not the behavior of a drug addict. That's not the behavior of a person who is irresponsible, who just want (sic) to be high all day. He was never the type of person that took drugs for recreation, who was just irresponsible or didn't care. So my -- to answer your question, we're not going to get Michael back. If Conrad Murray goes to jail, whatever happens, I really don't know. We lost an incredible human being, a brother who -- my little brother, who just really cared about the world. […]”

“[..] What I want for this whole thing (Murray’s trial) is for Michael's death not to be a question of murder. And people's hearts and their minds. There's (sic) too many people who loved him. Do you know, Michael, he was -- he touched the hearts of many people around the world. That's important. That's why the world cried when he passed, because they understood him.”

“Michael was a very joyful kid. He was very fast on his feet. He was always into things. He was a bit nosey at times. He was a kid who always had dreams and he wanted to play store. And he -- I'd tell a story of how we were looking out (of) the window and singing the Christmas songs and watching the snow fall, and looking at our neighbor's (sic) homes, because we were not allowed to have Christmas being Jehovah Witnesses. So, these are things that he missed. That if you know the song "Childhood”, it says a lot about his life. […] Michael was loved by so many people. And during the (2005) trial, the whole world was accusing him of child molestation and saying the most horrible things. And all this stuff (false accusations) happened. And at the end of the day, what has true value is seeing his family there and supporting him. All this material stuff has no value at all. I mean, he's gone. He can't take Neverland with him, the catalog, nothing. It's just he left a lot of good deeds and […] There's -- there's no question he loved enjoying his -- his life. But at the same time, he became a victim of his success. And it -- he became withdrawn. And then, when the "Thriller" offer came, you know, for major success, and that's when all the Wacko Jackos and the craziness and ‘He's eccentric’ – ‘He's lost his mind’, all these things they started calling him. This was someone who never forgot how we were taught. You care about people. People have feelings. He had a lot of feelings. You don't think it hurt him when people called him Wacko Jacko, or when they called him crazy and this and that? […] Michael wasn't -- he was very, very much normal. How could someone write the songs that he wrote, you know, (…) “Heal The World," "Earth Song," (etc.) and not be concerned about the most important things in life, about preserving this -- this world and making this place a better place to live for one another? These are the most important things. See, these are things that we don't look at. At the same time, he's a human being. […]”

“We didn't want color to hold us (the family) back. We were taught -- we knew there was racism, but we wasn't (sic) going to use that as a card. But we knew that it existed. But at the same time, we wanted to go beyond color. We wanted to have a music and a message that transformed color. So we -- we knew that it existed, but it didn't stop us. We wanted to go beyond that. We -- we wanted to bring -- that's why we loved the peacock, because of the different colors coming together. And our whole thing is everything (…) coming together. […] Michael was happy with [his race] -- Michael suffered from a disease called Vitiligo. It is the pigmentation of the skin on his body, (…) -- there was -- one morning, he had slipped and fell. And he went to the hospital. And so I came over. And my mother was there and my father was there. And he was very sad, because he said that he is the most misunderstood person in the world. And (he) pulled off his shirt and just patches of his -- his brown skin. That's why he wore the umbrella, because the sun would just make it worse. And there was a stage of Lupus that he had, too. And it was just one of those things. […]”

“Well, I do know that he wanted that (success). He wanted to sell the most albums ever. And he wrote it on his mirror in his bathroom at the -- at the Havenhurst house. He would look at it, see it, live it, believe it. That's -- that's what we were taught where we were young. And he would visualize it and he -- he wrote that on his mirror and also to sell out stadiums.”

“Well, look what they did in the -- in -- in the child molestation case. They painted him out to be the most horrible person and saying the most horrible things. And I'm sitting there. And just imagine you being Michael and you're sitting there and you, all your life, want to do nothing but good. And you're hearing these things that you've done and people who you trusted to come into your home is (sic) now sitting on the stand lying and saying the most hurting things. It's hard. It's been tough for -- for him. […] It's only the demented mind that thinks something different. […] And during those times when he was sharing his bed, he was on the floor. But at the same time, these are people/'s minds who were demented. Like they were saying Neverland was used to bring in kids and to molest them. And when you go to Neverland, the wheelchair ramp (is) going up to the rides. He was concerned about bringing the joy to kids who were terminally ill, who were dying of all types of diseases. This is -- this is a man who lived his life according to God's will. This is a man who really cared about people. And it's so sad, because this world didn't look at that until after he was dead. And he was trying to say this all along while he was alive. […] Martin Bashir needs to be slapped and he never should have been around Michael. And there again, Michael trusted. And -- and see, why this -- there's a question for us, why does (sic) people in the media want to say the most horrible things about someone, knowing that they have all the right intentions to do good? […] He was from the era that -- that we were from. […] But at the same time, he saw the good in people, the good.”

“Michael's done so much good and so many good deeds that he's well protected (in Heaven). We know where he is. It -- it hurts every day. It hurts my mother. It hurts my brothers, my sisters. It hurts the fans. But the life that he lived on this -- on this earth, it was a good life, but it was also a bad life, because they were after him. They were after him because they didn't believe the good -- the good in him.”

[Jermaine Jackson – interviewed on Piers Morgan Tonight; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]

 

“With great anticipation and a mix of emotions, Karen boarded a plane bound for New York on the morning of May 1, 1979. Production meetings commenced the following day with Phil Ramone asking, "Ideally, what would you like to do?"

"Well, I love Donna Summer," Karen replied, explaining how Summer's latest single "Hot Stuff" was her current favorite. "I'd give anything if we could do a song like that!" This certainly surprised Ramone. Disregarding her brother's plea, she went on to explain that, in addition to singers like Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand, she loved just about anything of the disco genre.

Karen took up residence in a posh suite at the Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue. She was fascinated by the panoramic views of the New York skyline and the idea that there were butlers assigned to every floor, but within weeks, the novelty of the revered Central Park address wore thin. "We were talking about stupid expenses and the hotel," Ramone recalls. "I said to Karen, 'Why would you want to do that? If we're going to work together, why don't you come live at my house? We've got plenty of room.'"

Ramone proceeded to move Karen into the master suite of the relaxing estate he shared with girlfriend Karen Ichiuji in Pound Ridge, a small town on the New York and Connecticut border. The quaint surroundings of this rural community were much like Hall Street from Karen's childhood. The two Karens quickly became close friends. Ichiuji was a singer herself who recorded under the name Karen Kamon and would later contribute the song "Manhunt" to the popular motion picture soundtrack for Flashdance. Phil called her K.K., but Karen preferred her own silly nickname of Itchie. Living together allowed producer and artist to discuss plans for the solo project around the clock. "She was a workaholic," Ramone says. "That house was a very creative house for me, and it was for her, too."

Karen and Phil set out to establish a common vision. Their hour-long commute from Pound Ridge to Manhattan's A&R Studios, located at 322 West Forty-Eighth, allowed the two to peruse demos for the project. "The laughs and silliness we shared on those trips forever made us friends," Ramone recalled in his book, Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music. "While we were driving, Karen would be the DJ, playing all the songs that had been submitted for her consideration. She'd sit with a legal pad, listen intently and rate them. 'Should this be on the A list, or the B?' she'd ask."

During these initial stages, Ramone extended an invitation to friend Rod Temperton to come to New York to write for Karen. The former keyboardist for the funk/disco band Heatwave accepted and moved into Ramone's guest house with only a keyboard and a set of headphones in tow. "All you had to do was make coffee and give him cigarettes," says Itchie. "Our house became this big musical commune." Temperton offered Karen several of his own compositions, including "Off the Wall" and "Rock with You," but, at that point, the songs were just grooves at the piano, still in their most raw form. She declined both charts, saying they were too funky. According to Itchie, "Everyone else loved the idea," but the project was young and lacked direction. Within a few months, Ramone introduced Temperton to Quincy Jones when the two attended a barbecue held at the home of the pop music titan, and the songs were soon pitched to Michael Jackson.

Karen visited Jackson in the studio during his 1979 solo sessions while he laid down tracks for "Get On The Floor," a song he had co-written with bassist Louis Johnson. "Phil wanted to show her what Michael's album was like," recalls Itchie. "He was so upset that Karen didn't want to do any of Rod's material at first." Ultimately, she chose two Temperton originals for her project, "Lovelines" and "If We Try," the latter being a particularly satisfying match for her smooth and flirtatious vocals. "Once Rod started arranging for her, they got along so well," Itchie adds. "She loved the harmonies they created, and they were so right for each other musically. She felt comfortable working with him, and it was kind of like being with Richard in a sense, artistically."

The two Temperton songs Karen passed on became huge hits for Michael Jackson on his Off the Wall solo album. Also featured on the album was his recording of "She's Out of My Life," a song by Tom Bähler, long rumored to have been written in response to the end of the composer's own brief relationship with Karen Carpenter in 1978. "Some believe that I had written that as a result of mine and Karen's breakup," Bähler says. "The fact is, I had already written that song by the time Karen and I became romantic. That song was written more about Rhonda Rivera, who later married my friend John Davidson. Rhonda and I had been together for two years, and it was after we broke up that I started dating Karen."

[Excerpt from “Little Girl Blue. The Life Of Karen Carpenter” biography, by Randy Schmidt; source: www.karencarpenterbiography.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“There have been various explanations (for why “Earth Song” was never released in the US], including that the album was underperforming in the U.S. But I personally find that hard to believe, when the previous two singles were Top 5 hits. In fact, "You Are Not Alone" was the first single in the history of the Billboard chart to debut at #1. "Earth Song" was next in line and went #1 all over the world, but it wasn't released in the U.S. Hit singles increase album sales, so there are really only two explanations: 1) it was blocked in some way, or 2) it wasn't seen as viable in the U.S. because of its content. The people I spoke with mentioned both of these as possibilities. Either way is disturbing. […] The foundation (for "Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus") was already there, since I had written about it for Man in the Music. I did research and interviewed about ten people over a period of 2-3 months. It was like putting a puzzle together. I started with a lot of questions and tried to recover, as best (as) I could, the song's evolution and what Michael wanted to achieve with it. I tried to include all the interesting stories in the piece (or the footnotes). I personally love the story of him knowing he would "kill his voice" doing the ad libs at the end of "Earth Song" and saving them until the final day of recording. […]”

“Well, first of all, I don't agree that he "had no choice" but to keep performing (at the “bridge collapse” “MJ and Friends” concert). He absolutely had a choice and it is pretty remarkable that the show went on (including an encore performance). As for the vocals, in my book, I also don't point out that Michael is lip syncing during the Motown 25 performance. I don't feel this is "misleading." I just feel it would distract from what is important about the performance. Bottom line is, whether Michael was singing live or not, he could still convey the emotions and energy of the song, and he poured his soul into that rendition.”

[Joseph Vogel, author of "Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson" and "Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus" – excerpts from his Q&A with MJJCommunity; source: www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“That makes the doctor -- he was the one that administered (propofol) to him outside of the hospital setting, which was wrong, because you need the proper people. He took an oath to take care of his client, not to kill him. […] At the same time, you have to be licensed to inject Propofol into anyone. You have to be an anesthesiologist. He`s a cardiologist, he knew not what he was doing. […] Michael had problems sleeping because of coming offstage and all the excitement. And whether or not he asked for it, the fact that it should have been in a proper setting, should have been administered with the proper person. And it wasn`t. He had a job to keep Michael -- keep Michael healthy, keep him alive. […] [Murray] should have known better, because you have to -- you have to have the right medical equipment to administer this stuff. It wasn`t in a hospital setting. […] We knew he had problems with sleeping. We knew there was a thing that he was taking Demerol for pain. But none of this had – […] The pain was from the Pepsi burn and the pain was also for when he – [..] Also when he performed in Munich and he fell. He fell on his back because the hydraulics gave way. But the symptoms I write about in the book, the symptoms we never heard he`s never experienced before in his entire life of being on stage. That adds up to what were they doing? How much were they giving him? And it was in an improper setting. […] The family? There was supposed to have been an intervention (for him) in 2001, but there wasn`t, because there was not one. But when you have these symptoms that we`ve never heard or he has never experienced before, that`s what brings questions to our minds as to what was the doctor doing? What was (sic) his intentions? We would never know if he acted alone, because a lot of the surveillance tapes were erased from the house. […] The doctor has given an oath, all doctors do. Their oath is to do their job, according to their law, the medical laws. And Dr. Murray`s job was to keep Michael healthy, to keep him alive. And the fact that he went from being healthy beyond mid-June for this tour and then, all of a sudden, these things happened (…). […] I blame the doctor because of his negligence. I blame the doctor because of just irresponsible -- the sad whole situation. […] Yes (there was a conspiracy to finish him), he wore a bullet proof vest here in New York. He was always threatened. We were threatened quite a bit on the "Victory Tour" when we were going to the concerts. […] There were people -- there were just series of random threats from sick people. […] But you take all threats seriously because you never know. See, Michael was such a great star, there was like so much coming at him, and he didn`t trust. Later, he did not trust. […] If you`re a doctor, I can`t say whether it was an accident, because he should have known, whether he should have been putting this in him (…). […] (…) all the events and all the things that took place even from when he put out "Thriller" and was a major success, and all of a sudden he`d become all these crazy names and all this stuff, all the way to the point of his death. […] Michael says (...) to “walk in my shoes”, to walk in his moccasins, then you can judge him as to who he really was. […]”

“Michael`s health was incredible (before he died). He was in shape. […] He was in very good shape. It started out with 10 (concerts). He was in very good health. He was dancing four hours a day (…). He was cut, he was ripped, he (was) excited about just all the creative aspects of the show and what he wanted to do when he got there to make changes. Not only that, he was looking forward to doing that and going beyond that by putting a down payment on a home that he wanted in Vegas and he had plans. He had plans to move on beyond "This Is It". […] They (AEG Live) were pushing him. They were -- I state in the book, there was one time he didn`t show up for one of the rehearsals at a certain time and they -- from our eyes and ears that were at the rehearsals, they tore into him, they went to his house and they read him the riot act. And it was very tough, it was very tough for him.”

“Michael was a lot of fun. What I put in the book was pretty much the brotherhood, and the love we had for one another when we were growing up. And so many wonderful moments – wonderful, meaning funny times of us just acting like the Three Stooges and having fun. Food fights on tour. […] The Jackson 5 days, of just putting pranks and -- and because, at the end of the day, this is to show the human side, as well as to address all the things that has -- that has happened. That there`s a beautiful story here, because Michael comes from a family - we were raised to respect people, to respect one another, to have love for life and love for God`s creations. And he never lost that all through his life. […]”

“First of all, he – Michael did not just shared (sic) his bed with children, he slept on the floor, they slept in the bed… [gets interrupted by the host].. And there were – we would have sleepovers in Indiana with the neighborhood’s kids and everybody, and, see, Michael growing up, knowing that this was okay then, and there were never the words of abuse and all that kind of stuff, and all those parents that came to his house with those children, nobody had any complaints, and there were many many many more people that were sleeping there, (who) never said anything, ‘cause nothing ever happened, it was just the ones who (…) want to just create something, because they wanted something from him. Even with the first case.. Let’s talk about the first case. Michael – Michael took care of the [Chandler] family. It was the mother, the kids, the sister, they would all get gifts and this and that.. […] But no one ever said that Michael was seducing the mother. The mother was there all the time with the kids and [gets interrupted by Joy Behar: “Well, maybe he was never interested in the mother..”] No, no, no, you can’t say that to me. But wait [he addresses host], have you ever called my brother a paedophile before?] [to which she replies: “No.”] You haven’t, ever, no? […] Never.. Listen, that first case – the system knew, the media knew, they knew the extortion attempt the father (Evan Chandler) wanted to do… [gets interrupted again] Michael, growing up, we grew up in a room with bunk-beds and all the brothers, psychologically, that’s never left him, it was the “children together”, “the family together” .. [is interrupted] I’m still around kids all the time. […] Absolutely, there’s nothing wrong with it, if I’m responsible for kids and that their parents leave them with me, what’s wrong with it, because that’s never gonna cross my mind of doing (sic) anything like that, but, see, the world today is so demented and so sick, that they look at these things the wrong way. My brother never touched anyone, and they knew this and the media knew this too, but they figured, ‘Oh, let’s say Michael did this’, why, ‘because it’s gonna create ratings’, is gonna create newspapers, and they knew the difference, they knew the truth. […] Because, when you talk about him, you talk about all of us. […] He did nothing wrong, he has a wonderful love for children… See, but you gotta realize, Michael is a kid himself. You’re looking at Michael through grown-up eyes, he’s looking at kids through child’s eyes because he didn’t have a childhood, but there was never none (sic) of that. […] Watching my brother in handcuffs for no reason, on counts of what? What!? At the same time, child services, even before these counts, cleared him, investigated him, (it) is nothing that he did and he knew this too. At the same time, all this is going, I’m watching this and worry that […] he will not get a fair trial. And when the judge said, when he had fallen and he went to the hospital, he came back in the pajamas, the judge said, “If he’s not back in 45 minutes, we’re sending him to jail’, ‘cause that is what they wanted to do. Now, so, me – I’m saying to myself, ‘Is he gonna get a fair trial?’ Because I know what the system can be… at times. And this, at the same time - me, praying and praying and praying and speaking to (attorney) Tom Mesereau who said, ‘We’re gonna be fine.’ So, then, I trusted the system before a verdict. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson – on the Joy Behar Show; sources: http://joybehar.blogs.cnn.com, http://transcripts.cnn.com]

 

“One time, I was on the roof of his (Michael’s) house. I was going to jump and everyone was losing it. He was the only one not freaking out! He seemed to be familiar with my pain... He knew I needed someone to talk to, so he was that ear. So we just talked all night and I forgot that I was even on the roof and that I was going to jump.”

[James DeBarge, American singer, Janet Jackson’s former husband – on Lifechangers show; source: http://uk.eonline.com]

 

“He was a very good son. People tried to poison the world against him. All this molestation stuff was just a lie. Oprah Winfrey says if a child tells you something, believe it. It’s just the opposite! That first boy came out and admitted (to his friends) he lied, because his father made him and the father wanted the money. […] It makes me feel good that people all over the world can love him even after his death and it made me feel good to know that, perhaps, they didn’t believe those bad things after all. I know he didn’t do it. People are mixed up. They don’t know. These people who did it, they know who they are. They know what they did. […] He never talked about that, but he always felt that someone was after him, trying to kill him. He would ask: “Why are they after me? I haven’t done anything. What are they accusing me of?” […] I don’t think he was panicking. He would say it just like that if he were here with us today. He felt something was going to happen. […] Wherever he was, he would visit orphans and hospitals and babies and children in need. He would always give. Since he was that high. [gestures to knee level] He would look at African children with big bellies and flies all over them on TV and he would cry. He’d say: ‘I’m going to help them one day.’ “

“The happiest time for me and my family was when everybody was at home, nobody was married, my children were young and they could go out and play. That was before they were signed to any record companies. They were just in talent shows. And we were all there sitting around the table eating and talking and having fun. I used to cook soul food. In the wintertime, we would buy a big piece of beef and put it in the freezer and I would freeze peaches so we would have steaks and gravy and rice and peach cobbler. We would always have a dessert. Maybe fried apple turnovers. […]”

“I don’t have Michael’s pictures out all the time, but I have got some of his things. I’m never going to forget him. Every time I see something of his, it just makes me feel bad.”

[Katherine Jackson, Jackson family matriarch – interviewed by Chrissy Iley from The Daily Mail (tabloid); source: www.dailymail.co.uk]

 

“There’s a lot of memories (about the Hayvenhurst home). We used to run up and down the driveway and (…) we would drive our mini-bikes and bycicles, everything. […] (We have a memory room created by Michael in the house.). This is where we all came up to look at the display and we were just in awe, because this was a surprise. First thing we saw was (the) “(Just) Kids With A Dream” (photo of us 5) and just different pictures of our childhood. We can come in here and take a sort of walk back in memory lane and, pretty much, see what we’ve done. From meeting the Queen (…), and (our) school teacher (…) and our first – when we were on the JET magazine, it’s just a lot of things. When we got all our platinum records… It’s a great room. […] The Jackson 5 days… They were – they were just so much fun (when we were) recording, (like) the ‘ABC’ album and meeting Diana Ross the first time on our mini-bikes, it was just fun and joy and excitement. […]”

“Do I have faith in it (in the American system)? I want to, but I just know that the different side of the defense (of Dr. Murray) is going to paint my brother out to be this most horrible person. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson – interviewed by Peter Bowes, BBC News; source: www.bbc.co.uk]


“[…] (The child molestation allegations were) false allegations, false allegations from the very beginning. The media knew the truth, they didn’t want to report the truth. Michael didn’t want to settle (in 1993), he wanted to go to trial, (…) and, all along, […] the system – they did not want him to go to trial, he was so confident, (…), he did not want to settle. […] Then, they played the tapes from the father (Evan Chandler), who said he wanted money, he wanted to extort him, but (…) you’ll find that it just wasn’t (sic) little boys, it was the boy’s sister, the mother, he even bought the mother jewelry, he even gave her his credit card, but they never said Michael seduced the mother. This was all planned. […] He wasn’t sleeping in bed with boys, the whole idea was (that) we grew up as a family in Indiana, and everybody (would) come up, they’d sleep on the floor, having sleepovers and popcorn, the word “abuse” never came to anyone’s mind, ‘cause no one was doing that. So, why should Michael change something that he – Michael looked at children through a kid’s eyes, we – adults looked at Michael through adult eyes, but the bottom line (is) he loved children. […] That’s the demented thinking of people, (it) is something beautiful, we have lost the ways that we should be as being people and caring about one another, and we’d look at so many ugly things. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson – on “The View”; source: http://theview.abc.go.com]


“[…] “This Is It” was not going to be it. Michael had a 5-year plan after that, he had just purchased a home, he was looking forward to doing a lot of things (…), and also his kids, taking them to see Charlie Chaplin’s home in Switzerland, all sorts of things… But for him to say This Is It was really the beginning of a lot of other things that he wanted to do. He wanted to do film. We both designed hotel resorts together that we were gonna get into and construct in different parts of the world. […] [My favorite song of his] would have to be ‘Earth Song’. […] Because of what he’s saying and the way he had sung in it, and just the lyrical content, it’s a beautiful song. Michael was always talking about the rain forest(s), he was always concerned about the planet, even before the global warming days and all that stuff, he really cared. And for someone to have the blessings from God, the talent that He have him, God knew that He could use him to be the mouth and the voice for children, for the planet. And his last days – if you saw the ‘This Is It’ (film), he was saying we don’t have long to get it right, we have to be concerned about what’s going on. […] He wasn’t sick, it was what they (Dr. Murray) put in him, and those are the questions that we have (…). Michael was (…) healthy, he was looking forward to come here (in London) to the o2, he was dancing four hours a day. […] Yes, he was dancing 4 hours, of course… Of course, they started with 10 (concerts), (…), but something happened between the first part of June and mid June, (…), he’s reaching out to people around him and they were ignoring him, because they weren’t concerned about his health, they were concerned about doing the show. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson – interviewed on ‘Loose Women’; source: www.youtube.com]


“[…] We slept in bunk-beds, triple bunk-beds, Tito lying at the top, Michael and Marlon in the middle, Jackie at the bottom, so, psychologically, that never left Michael’s mind, it’s like when children are having fun. […] There were hundreds of families that went in and out of Neverland, not only they trusted Michael with their kids and no one said anything, and even when the media knew the facts, that they would never report the facts. Because (…) they have all to gain to lie, because of ratings, because of tabloids. […] They knew the difference, even in the first case, in the second case, they would not report it. Because Michael’s the biggest star in the world, so these producers that have these shows, they say, ‘Say this, ‘Say that’; having the facts, they don’t want to give the truth. […] I have nothing to gain by telling the truth, they have all to gain by lying. […] The facts that they knew these two cases were all about money, they knew that even when Michael was with the Chandler kid, he was with his mother and his sister. […] This was all planned. This was all planned. […] All of them were in the room, he was on the floor, and he shared his bed because he’s thinking, psychologically, there’s nothing wrong with this. You are looking at someone who has been around children, who have (sic) an incredible love for kids. […]”

First of all, propofol is (an anesthetic that is) okay if it’s in the right hands. If it’s in the wrong hands, it’s lethal, it’s like a gun. I’ll give you an example. Doctor Murray is a cardiologist, he’s not an anesthesiologist. Even if Michael asked for propofol, he only asked for it to sleep, not to die! Doctor Conrad Murray has given – every doctor gives an oath. Their oath to the medical system is to take care of their patient or their client. […] So, it’s the doctor’s fault. […] Michael was having symptoms that he has never experienced before (in his last days). […] Toxic poisoning. Toxic poisoning from propofol (was the cause of his death). […] (The doctor’s defense,) they can say what they want to say, the bottom line (is): we know in 2002, Michael had problems with pain, so Demerol - there was no intervention (on behalf of the family), but Demerol did not kill my brother. Propofol did. […] Michael was fine. He was fine, he was looking forward to these shows. There was nothing – there were no signs, no symptoms, even the autopsy report said that there was no (sign of) self-administration, and even before the ‘This Is It’ shows, he was healthy, we saw him in May 14, he was ready, he was ripped, he was excited, he had a 5-year plan after ‘This Is It’. […] [I did not see his death coming.] It came from the doctor. Demerol didn’t give him those symptoms. […] That was in 2002. Michael asked for Demerol because of excruciating pain from the Pepsi burn and a fall that he had in Germany. […] Excruciating pain. Since then, Michael has been fine, he’s been healthy. And for them to try to paint him out to be a drug addict, that ain’t gonna work. […] We want to trust the system, at the same time, I have a problem with (the) involuntary manslaughter (charge) (Dr. Murray got). I’ve watched these shows… All is not enough. It is not gonna bring my brother back. Even if you did lie for whatever. We lost a brother. Put aside Michael Jackson, we lost a brother. It hurts. It hurts. […] We knew he was strong, we knew his upbringing from the beginning. […]”

“[Michael and our mother,] they were always close. We knew everything that was going on with Michael through my mother, ‘cause she stayed in contact with him. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson – on “Good Day LA”; source: www.myfoxla.com]

 

“Not Many People Would Guess That This Tiny Town-Population 592 Was a Place Michael Jackson Visited Often.

While most people are aware of Michael’s roots in Gary, Indiana, not as much is known about Michael’s ties to Alabama. As a native and lifelong resident of Alabama, this is a subject that has fascinated me = largely because, like many Alabamians, I was totally unaware of Michael’s Alabama ties until after his death. After all, it was never something that was widely publicized. His mother Katherine was born here, and her family then moved to Indiana when she was a small child. In fact, to the end of his own life, Michael Jackson retained a slight Alabama inflection, obvious in his speech (but one that, for the most part, only a discerning Alabmaian (sic) ear would pick up on). I do remember that it was a huge deal in 1984 when The Jacksons came to Birmingham to rehearse for the Victory tour - a huge deal, because it meant, at least for those few weeks, we in Alabama had Michael Jackson all to ourselves for just a little while.

But what most of us Alabamians did not know was just how often Michael was in the state, usually lowkey (sic) and even incognitio (sic), of course, to visit his mother’s relatives in Russell County and the small city of Hurtsboro (Katherine was actually born in nearby Barbour County, but her mother and stepfather later resettled in Hurtsboro). In LaToya’s autobiography, she states that Hurtsboro’s population is around 1,000. But a more recent census listed on Wikipedia gives the town’s population as 592.

[…]

The name of the town may be more than a bit appropriate, considering that Michael Jackson and my home state, unfortunately, did not always have the most cordial relationship. While I’m sure Michael may have had some happy memories of the state, it seemed later in life that coming to Alabama often spelled disaster for him. His string of bad luck in the state included everything from a racially motivated beating that landed him in an Alabama hospital, to a severe case of stomach cramps that nearly put an end to the Victory tour in ‘84. Of all the things I have learned about Michael’s comings and goings in Alabama, the beating remains for me the most disturbing - disturbing for two reasons, one being the fact that it occurred AFTER he was already famous (in fact, the incident occurred post-Thriller) and, 2: Why was it kept out of the local media and never reported? What were they afraid of? Or did Michael himself choose not to go public with it?

But before getting into all of that, let’s back up for a minute to get some more background on Michael’s Alabama roots.

Michael Stayed in Birmingam For Several Weeks During the Victory Tour Rehearsals. After June 25th, a rash of local Alabama writers took an avid interest in educating the public about Michael’s maternal ties to the state. One of the more in-depth and interesting articles came from a colleague of mine, Joseph Margetanski. Margetanski and I both do freelance articles for the same local Alabama paper, The Valley Planet. Margetanski had spent a considerable amount of time tracing Michael’s family roots in the state. In his article that appeared in the July 23rd issue, Margetanski wrote:

‘Michael Jackson’s family ties to Alabama date back to the beginning of the 20th century. His grandfather, Prince Albert Screws, was born October 16, 1907 in Jernigan in Russell County, Alabama, just across the state line from Columbus, Georgia. He saw service in the First World War, but his main occupations were railroad work and cotton farming. He later moved to neighboring Barbour County. He married Martha Upshaw (from whose mother, Josephine, Michael received his middle name Joseph). Like her husband, Martha was also an Alabama native. And on May 4, 1930, Martha gave birth to Kattie B. Screws. Kattie’s life was a challenge almost from the moment she was born. Shortly after her birth, the Screws family left Barbour County and their name behind. Prince changed their last name to Scruse, and changed Kattie’s name to Katherine Esther Scruse. As if getting three names wasn’t traumatic enough, young Katherine developed polio - all before she was four. Katherine beat the deadly disease, but it left its mark on her. To this day, she walks with a limp. After her bout with polio, at the age of four, the Scruse family moved north, as did many African-American families. They settled in East Chicago, Indiana, not far from where her famous son would be born. It was there that Katherine met Joseph Jackson, a former boxer… As brief as they were, Katherine’s Alabama roots tugged at the souls of her children as well. Michael Jackson sang backup vocals for Kenny Rogers in the country singer’s 1980 hit “Goin’ Home To Alabama.” Four years later, The Jackson 5-brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael-rehearsed in Birmingham for their “Victory” tour. They greeted fans from their hotel balcony, after a heartfelt request from the city’s mayor, Richard Arrington. At least two Alabama residents became intimately involved with the youngest, and most famous, member of the pop group. John Ray of Birmingham, founder of Just In Time Music, Inc., promoted three Michael Jackson concerts in Dallas. David Rowland of Summerdale was Jackson’s pilot for six months, while the rising star was touring North America. Rowland flew Jackson as far as Niagara Falls and Vancouver…

Click here for full article: http://www.valleyplanet.com/view_art...=120&pageno=14

Not only were the Jacksons in and out of the state many times througout the years, I also find it interesting that often, in times of her greatest troubles, Michael’s mother Katherine would return here (often on her own) simply to seek solace and to regroup spiritually. Of course, that would make sense. Often, in dark times, one can find the greatest comfort in getting back to their roots. In the early 80’s, when Joseph’s adultery had finally gotten the best of her, Katherine escaped for several weeks to the refuge of tiny Hurstsboro. Later, she would return on a search for her family roots. This was when she looked up a young local man, Larry Screws, who had no idea until that visit that he was actually Michael Jackson’s distant cousin! But in a county as small and rural as Russell County, Alabama, it doesn’t take much asking around for anyone named “Screws” for one thing to lead to another. Eventually, Katherine was directed to Larry Screws, who, of course, was delighted to learn he was actually related to the King of Pop. He says it was the “glitz and glamour” of Michael’s life that kept them apart.

http://dothanfirst.com/content/fulltext/?cid=68542

Of course, given the frequency of Michael’s visits here, it was probably much more likely that Michael simply did not know of his cousin’s existence. The Screws/Scruse are a large, extended family, scattered throughout the neighboring counties of Russell and Barbour. And every day, it is almost impossible to not find someone claiming to be kin to Michael, claims that are nearly impossible to either verify or disprove with any certainty. But given the proliferation of Scruse/Screws in the area, it’s usually far more logical to assume they are probably being truthful than not.

Downtown Hurtsboro

Michael’s family ties to the state have for sure been played up more since his death. Even in 1984, when The Jacksons spent several weeks in Birmingam rehearsing for Victory, I didn’t recall hearing that much about his family ties. However, as I said, I do recall that it was a HUGE deal. The biggest superstar in the world was right here in Alabama, rehearsing for a tour, and you’d better believe, the local media made the most of it. If he ventured out of the hotel to go to the park, we heard all about it. If he went shopping at a local mall (which he did, in disguise, of course) it made the local papers even as far north as where I live, approximately eighty-two miles away. When he went Witnessing, it was all the talk on the local radio, though, of course, they did not reveal that he had gone Witnessing door-to-door in the Birmingham suburbs until the next day. I remember, at the time the reaction of many locals was that they thought it was a little bizarre. Back then, a lot of people weren’t aware that Michael was a Jehovah’s Witness, so it kind of struck people as odd - the idea of this mega-celebrity going door-to-door, in disguise, to talk to locals about Jehovah and to pass out copies of The Watchtower. We didn’t know back then that Witnessing played a huge role in Michael’s faith; it was something he had done for years, even after he was famous, and something he would continue to do for several years thereafter.

I’m sure there were more than a few very surprised Birmingam residents who, after the story broke, were thinking back to that “nice, but rather nervous acting, young man with the afro and mustache” who knocked on their door, and thinking, “Was it… could it have been….?” In interviews, Michael always said that one of the things he enjoyed about Witnessing door-to-door was the rare glimpses it gave him into normalcy; an excuse to see how average, ordinary people lived their lives. Usually, his disguises worked well enough, but he said that while it was easy enough to fool the men of the household, the women were much more challenging - and the kids even worse. They would see right through the disguises. “Mommy, it’s Michael Jackson!”

Here’s a little bit on Michael’s time in Birmingham and his experience Witnessing, from the limo driver whose job it was to chauffeur him about the town:

http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnew...570.xml&coll=2

Judging by the local media, it was, however, almost a relief when the rehearsals were over and the last vestige of The Jacksons had finally packed up and moved on. The presence of Michael Jackson in a town the size of Birmingham (even if, granted, it IS our largest city) had practically brought the city to a standstill, with traffic jams, crowd control and security issues a constant problem. Although it was an exciting few weeks, I think most of the town’s more conservative citizens (i.e, “the old fogies”) were heaving a big sigh of relief when the madness was over (but of course, it would only be a few more weeks until the tour brought them into town again, this time for the actual performance).

But oddly enough, in a time when my entire home state of Alabama was caught up in Michaelmania and reporting his every move, his every coming and going, it seems rather bizarre that the most horrific thing that could have possibly happened to him - or to anyone - went unreported and ignored in the media.

A Severe, Racially Motivated Beating Landed Michael In an Alabama Hospital... Something The Papers Never Told Us

In LaToya’s (1991) autobiography, she gives a brief, but horrific, account of how things went down. The incident apparently occurred during one of Michael’s many routine visits to his mother’s relatives in Russell County. During a drive with Bill Bray, an associate who had made the trip with Michael and Katherine, Bray decided to stop for gas and to use the restroom. Michael, who loved nothing better than a chance to browse and putter around in small shops where no one would know who he was, couldn’t resist the temptation to go into the shop next door. When Bray came out of the gas station, he noticed Michael was gone. Then, according to LaToya’s account, he heard this “Help! Help” coming from the shop. He ran inside to find Michael on the floor and a white man standing over him, kicking him viciously in the stomach and head, over and over, while shouting, “I hate all you, niggers!” It took Bray several minutes of struggling to get the guy off of Michael. The incident reportedly left him with several severe cuts and bodily injuries, resulting in a hospital stay. As it turned out, the reputed “cause” of the attack was that, according to the shopowner (the guy who was beating Michael), Michael had put a “candy bar in his pocket.” Bray argued and said that was ridiculous…” He doesn’t steal, and he doesn’t even like candy!” Michael continued to protest his innocence, but the man kept insisting that Michael was trying to steal from him. Well, actually, I think Bill Bray may have been trying at least in part to cover for his friend -Michael certainly DID love candy - but I highly doubt he was trying to steal; this was Michael Jackson, who had the #1 selling album in the world, why in heck would he need to steal a fifty-cent candy bar! (Though, the way he liked to pull pranks, it’s entirely possible he could have been “messing” with the guy as a joke, but if that was the case, it was a prank that backfired on him horribly). But whatever the case, the fact was that the guy never gave him the benefit of the doubt, and for one reason only - because he was black. Reportedly, the man never even recognized who he was; as LaToya put it, Michael to him was “just another n***** he could abuse.” So, during the time that was supposed to have been a fun and pleasant visit with relatives ended up being, for Michael, a very painful time laid up in an Alabama hospital, being treated for his severe cuts and bruises. As the story went, Katherine called from Alabama to report what had happened. The family was horrified and outraged; according to LaToya, Jermaine was ready to fly down here and whoop some Alabama booty. But cooler reasoning prevailed, and instead, a lawsuit was filed against the store owner. However, nothing came of it.

“Two girls standing outside had witnessed the beating, and one offered to testify on Michael’s behalf. We felt very strongly that racial violence must be stopped, but unfortunately, justice did not prevail in this case. The racist harbored no regrets. In fact, discovering that the black man he’d assaulted was a celebrity only inflamed his hatred. Now he threatened to kill Michael. Bill convinced us that this person was mad, that the threat was quite serious, and that it was better for everyone to drop the action. None of us was happy about this, but there was really no choice.”

http://jetzi-mjvideo.com/books2/toya/toya145.html

As I said before, my big question - since this incident reportedly occurred at or close to the same time as when Michael was here for the Victory tour and rehearsals – was, why it was never reported in the local media? Or for that matter, why Michael Jackson being the victim of a racist beating never made it into the news at all (amazing, considering how his every sneeze or fart was usually fodder for the tabloids)? However, given that the lawsuit was dropped out of concern for what action this guy might have taken, perhaps it’s understandable why the incident was kept lowkey. But I also have to wonder if Alabama didn’t feel some sense of shame that something like this could happen to the biggest star in the world right here in our own backyard… and was that part of the reason why it never made it into the papers? Through the years, it seemed that Michael continued to have bad luck whenever he crossed paths with my home state. A Brazilian chef, Rema Vila Real, who had worked for Michael, and whose talents for healthy dishes was one he keenly appreciated, recalled in an interview the time she was mysteriously, but urgently, summoned to drop everything she was doing and get on a plane-immediatly.

“… I was living in West Los Angeles in a small apartment when I got a phone call. The person on the phone asked me to look outside. He said: “See the limousine? Get in it, now!” I told him I could not, because I was taking care of a person off the street and could not leave him. They said that they would send someone to look after the person right away and for me to get into the car. I told them I had to change my clothes, because I (am) all dirty from cleaning. They didn’t care. Finally, I agreed when the man arrived to take care of my guest and I was taken to a big building in Beverly Hills and up to the very top penthouse. It was very luxurious. The man on the other side of the desk handed me a ticket and said ‘You are going to the airport right now. Here is your ticket.” I asked him why. He explained to me that Michael Jackson was having stomach aches and specifically requested me to be his “nutritionist” on the “Thriller” tour. He was feeling sick to his stomach and refused to go on stage until they sent me to be his private cook. They were all very nervous. They said they were losing millions of dollars in canceled shows and I had to go right then. I told them I could not and could only go in the morning. After a lot of arguing, they agreed to let me go home and they picked me up early in the morning and I was off to Birmingham, Alabama…”

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu…%3D42%26um%3D1

So… it looks like the stomach ailment from unhealthy eating that was costing the tour millions reached its crisis point in… where else, Alabama! (Maybe too many stops at those Birmingham barbecue joints, hmmm?).

But it wasn’t all bad. In fact, one of the funniest segments of the special Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies is when he talks about going “down home” to Alabama, and we see the clip of Michael, his brothers and relatives having a good, old-fashioned hootenanny. Even though bad luck sometimes seemed to dog his steps in Alabama, I think he also enjoyed the bit of anonymity of just getting back to the country, traveling the backroads, shopping at The Salvation Army and being able, for a little while, to just drop the mask of stardom and see how us ol’ regular folks down here live. I can’t travel I-65 (Alabama’s main north-south interstate) without thinking how many times Michael and his family must have traveled this road; probably more times than any of us, everyday Alabamians, will ever know. To this day, I still don’t think most people around here realize the extent of Michael’s Alabama connection. But maybe that’s not a bad thing. At least it ensures that tiny Hurtsboro, Alabama and rural County Road 12 in Russell County are not apt to become mega tourist attractions anytime soon.

Michael and Family Visit Alabama In This Hilarious Clip From The Private Home Movies (Warning: Don’t Watch While Eating Or Drinking; You’ll Choke or Spew You Keyboard!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8IgmAtXLlw&feature=related

[Sources: http://allforloveblog.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Once Michael was just surrounded by his family and friends, he became the playful, trickster and jokester. Sometimes he'd call me up, disguise his voice, make up a name and ask me to do something foolish. He could mimic a variety of voices and played many pranks on me. One time, I took pictures of him while he was in bed, because he was late for a meeting I'd set up and wouldn't get up. He was like, "Todd, I'm gonna get you for that!" And he did. I'd forgotten all about what happened while he was performing one night and he'd told me to stand in a specific spot to take photos of him when he began singing that song. I did as I was instructed. So, right before I go to take my position, Michael drops to his back and starts saying, "Help me, help me! I need some woman to touch me!" and every woman in that place collapsed on me. I was between them and Michael and I couldn't even get one shot in and he gave me this look like, ‘I got you’. Afterwards, I said, ‘You think you're so cute’, and he says, "What do you mean, Todd?" I'm like, ‘Mike, that hurt; those people were crushing me’, and all he said: "Todd, the spirit just takes me sometimes and the spirit just took me." That's when I knew that was payback and that was the last time I stepped out of line with him (Laughs)”

[Todd Gray, photographer; sources: www.positivelymichael.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“[…] Michael took my mother and me on a tour of his home. We saw his elaborate costumes encased in glass, his bedroom, all of his knickknacks, and his stunning recording studio ... We watched 'Willy Wonka', and Michael and I sat next to each other. He had a way of speaking as if he were a child, too. […] I remember him talking about the fact that he related more to kids than adults and that grown-ups never completely understood him. He sat across from me and we had a dialogue as if we were peers – a true heart-to-heart. He never made me feel like this was a bizarre situation. It just seemed as if he really wanted someone to talk to, someone who would make no judgments about him.”

[Soleil Moon Frye, American actress, director and screenwriter; source: http://blog.zap2it.com]


“It all started in 2003. I had wanted to move to Los Angeles (L.A.), California, for a very long time. I finally got enough courage to do it, and pursue a career in the film industry. Film is my passion.

Living in L.A. was a struggle. L. A. has its difficulties, and it was very hard to find work. I found work, but it was never enough. I rented a room in Glendale, California, for US$400 a month, which really is not bad for L.A.

Michael Jackson is always on my mind, and I play his music all of the time, I always have. MY first near encounter I had with him came in June of 2003. I had heard about the BET Awards, and I had always wanted to go to one of those award shows to hang out by the red carpet. They have gates set up on Hollywood Boulevard, so you can get pretty close to the stars as they go inside. The BET Awards were at the Kodak Theater that year. I had never done this before, and I just wanted to see what it was all about. I saw many stars arrive, including Michael's sister, LaToya. There were scalpers outside selling tickets, but I just could not afford to buy one. I did not have much money that summer. The limos were done arriving and all the stars had entered the building; so, figuring that there was nothing left to see, I went home. I did not have cable, so I couldn’t even watch the show on television. I simply forgot all about it.

I always had my clock radio set to 100.3 FM, which used to be a R&B station back then. Steve Harvey had his morning show on that station before he moved to New York. The next morning, when my alarm went off, I heard Michael’s voice. Steve kept playing an excerpt from the Awards show the previous evening. I kept asking myself, “What the heck is that? What did I miss?” Finally, Steve told us about the surprise appearance on the BET Awards by Michael Jackson during the show's tribute to James Brown. By the time I figured out what had happened, I wanted to kick myself for not getting a ticket from one of the scalpers. I really regretted it. I could have at least been close to Michael Jackson, the person whom I had been following my entire life.

I tried not to let it bother me for too long, because I figured that if I could have gotten that close one time, then maybe I could find him again at some other time during my stay in L.A. Michael was not the recluse that so many people made him out to be, so after the BET Awards, I told myself that I was going to find him! When I was (…) driving around, I would actually say these words aloud, “I am going to find you, Michael Jackson. Where are you?” This became my catch phrase for the entire summer.

I also used to check the MJ websites and fan pages each day. I always wanted to know where he was and what he was working on. Even if there was a simple sighting somewhere, it made me happy and hopeful. The news stations in L.A. would always report an MJ sightings if they got a tip on one. I remember one time it being reported that he was supposedly spotted at a Taco Bell wearing a Spider Man costume. Michael also attended an event in Las Vegas where he received the key to the city. One day, while looking at the websites, I came across an invitation to all fans to attend a birthday party in Michael’s honor at the Orpheum Theater in L.A. It was confirmed that Michael would be there. If I remember correctly, the invitation went out in July, and all anyone had to do to go was purchase a ticket, available at Ticketmaster. I was low on cash back then, but there was no way that I was going to miss this. Ticket prices were between $30 and $100, so I found an outlet in Santa Monica, California, and purchased the least expensive ticket. I cherished it. The event was weeks away, but I was so excited!

I recall talking to my mom the night before, and telling her how thrilled I was to be going to the party. I had not seen Michael in person since the Victory tour in 1984. That was nineteen years ago. Can you believe it?

August 30, the day of the party, finally arrived and I got to the theater early. It was turning into an amazing event even before the doors opened. There was a parade of nations; people from all over the world had come to participate. They were holding banners of the countries from which they came. And there were Michael Jackson impersonators everywhere. Look-a-likes from every MJ era attended. I was totally blown away. There were men and women there who looked just like Michael. I had my video camera rolling the whole time, forgetting that I only had one blank video. The doors opened and we all went inside. There was still time before the show was to start, so I hung out in the lobby looking at the merchandise that was for sale. It was here that I met a very friendly woman who shared some of her MJ experiences with me. One thing is to be said about true MJ fans: they are all very friendly. This woman was very pretty, and she had her daughter with her. We began to talk about our shared love for Michael and the magic we feel through his music. She told me that she had been to Neverland Ranch not once, but several times. I wasn’t sure if I should believe her at first, because I was always under the impression that it was nearly impossible to get into Neverland, but there was something in this woman’s spirit that told me she was telling the truth.

It was announced on the radio that Michael was hosting a party at the Ranch on Sunday, the next day, and even though it was a private event, the whole city was talking about it. The woman I had been talking to told me about how she got inside the gates of Neverland. She said, “Whenever there was any type of event going on, I would just go and hang around at the gate. If you hang around long enough, they'll eventually open the gate and let everyone in.” She also told me, “The first thing you will see is other fans. There are fans hanging out at the gate constantly. They bring flowers and posters, and some bring gifts. They just hang out!” It seemed like she was really trying to persuade me to go. She told me that the only reason she was not going was that she had another engagement. We found our seats and the party started. MJ walked in, took his seat in the balcony, and the crowd went wild!

Editors note: The event, which was lovingly created and coordinated by the MJ Fan Club (MJFC), boasted participation from Michael Jackson fan clubs from around the world, making it a truly special evening -one based on love, unity, and the spirit of gratitude for this amazing man and all that he has given to the world for so many years!

Many stars came to celebrate Michael - among them, Brian McNight, who sang "Happy Birthday." Steve Harvey was the emcee for the evening. I spotted Debbie Rowe in another part of the balcony, but noticed that she was not sitting with Michael. My video camera continued to roll. The chanting is a sound that I will never forget. I still cannot get it out of my head… MICHAEL! MICHAEL! MICHAEL! You could hear his name being chanted during the parade outside, you could hear it being chanted before we walked in, we chanted his name between acts, and we chanted his name after the show ended. He would always respond with a wave or the peace sign. This would make the crowd go even crazier. The chanting never stopped. I always wondered how he dealt with this kind of fame, but it seems that he simply responds with love.

The acts were wrapping up, and suddenly Michael disappeared. We all could guess what was about to happen, but we were not positive. Steve Harvey did his best to keep the crowd somewhat calm, but we were antsy and super excited… then… He appeared! Michael Jackson walked onto the stage at the Orpheum Theatre in that cool way that only he can do. Steve Harvey greeted him. Michael had an entire crew of bodyguards with him. The crowd went berserk at this point. I took my camera and ran to the front of the stage. Everyone was standing, and I found an empty seat up in front. I didn’t just stand on the seat to try to get a good shot; I stood on the arms of the chair so I could be higher than everyone else. It wasn’t too long after that, that Michael started his speech, and to my horror, my video tape ran out. I had a huge decision to make. Either I could skip taping the speech, or I could rewind it and tape over what I had already recorded. I figured that getting a Michael Jackson speech on tape was more important than impersonators dancing, so I rewound all the way back to the beginning of the tape and hit "record."

[…] During the speech, he mentioned that he was going to make Neverland more accessible to the fans. He told us that he would love to see us up there more often. He was inviting the whole world, in my estimation. He ended his speech, and they rolled out a giant birthday cake for him. All of the performers who were there came on stage with him, and we all sang “We Are the World.” The very last thing that Michael said to us was, “I’ll see you at Neverland”. He walked out to his right, and the entire crowd came down to the stage and walked in the same direction as he did. I found myself outside at the back of the Orpheum. There was a huge crowd out there. I was standing by a gated staircase. After several minutes, a door at the top of the staircase flew open. It was Steve Harvey and Michael. Michael had this look on his face like, “Whoa, where did all these people come from?” He looked very surprised. He started to go back in the door, but quickly turned around and then slowly came down the stairs. I was standing next to the stairs and he was walking directly toward me. My only thoughts were, “Oh my God, he’s coming right to me!” By this time, it was pure chaos. People were pushing, shoving and screaming. Some were being crushed, as it turned into a wild mob scene. I was somehow able to stick my hand up toward him and, after a while, he grabbed it! It was a very light, friendly squeeze. His hands are big and soft. Two words crossed my mind as we shook hands: gentle and peace. I can’t tell you why, but this is what I got from his spirit and his handshake.

The crowd calmed down, and Michael and Steve walked back up the stairs and went inside. The crowd broke up and I made my way to the after-party a few blocks away. I met up with the same woman I had spoken to at the Orpheum there, and she was still trying to get me to go to Neverland. She said something to me that has stuck with me all these years: “Michael always means what he says, and when he said, 'I’ll see you at Neverland,' that was a sign that you need to go… and you need to go tomorrow!” I wish that I had gotten that woman’s name. I never saw her again.

All of us danced the night away, and we got to eat Michael’s birthday cake. We were even encouraged to take some home if we wanted. I couldn’t believe it, I was able to take home some of Michael Jackson’s birthday cake! I know, it sounds silly, but I was so excited.

I left the party and went back to my home in Glendale. I just laid there on the floor looking at the ceiling, and thinking about the night and what had happened. I debated all night long whether I should make that drive up north the next day. I could not sleep. I was in another world. When I woke up, I had made the decision to just do it.

I filled up the gas tank, and the next thing I knew, I was on the 101 heading north from L.A. The drive up the coast is beautiful. You can see the ocean almost the whole way. It takes just a little over two hours to get to the Ranch. I found exact directions on MapQuest, and drove directly to Michael's house. My Orpheum friend was right - there were fans hanging out at the gate just as she said there would be. I parked my car and began to mingle. Everyone was so friendly. I even saw some of the people who were at the party the night before. I asked someone at random if anyone had been let in yet, and this person told me, “Not yet!” I was also told that Michael was not there that day, at least he wasn't at that moment. I walked around some more, and then after only ten minutes, someone came out and said, “Ok, we’re going to let you in." I could not believe it. I was like, "Are you serious?" Yes, they were serious. We all gathered around and had to sign releases before we could go in. I was the first to have to sign, and if you know me, you know that I have to read everything before I sign it. I was holding up the line, and someone behind me yelled, “Hey, buddy, just sign it!” We all laughed. It wasn’t like I was NOT going to go in because of what the paper said, right? We then were told to get in our cars and pull up to the gate. We were not allowed to take any cameras inside the gates (Michael’s rules), so I left both my video camera and my still camera with security.

I drove in, not knowing what to expect. I was told to follow the road and park my car in the lot. You cannot see it from the front gate. I drove down a long road and then curved back up to a small hill. This is where the parking lot was. There were two huge buses parked there already. On the other side of the parking lot was the real Neverland Gate, the one with the huge crown on the top and the words "Michael Jackson’s Neverland" written across it. The gate was connected to two long brick walls. Just inside of the gate was a small building and the train. For some reason, seeing that train made me feel so welcome. I didn’t know it yet, but that train was for us. The small building was a lounge with one of those small portable ice cream freezers just outside. People were helping themselves, but I didn’t feel right about doing this, so I asked one of the workers if it was okay to have some. He said, “Of course, it’s for you, guys. Help yourself”.

Inside the little freezer I found a supply of Haagen Dazs, not the inexpensive stuff that I was used to, and it was all free. I went inside the small building, and there was one of those big refrigerators like you would see at a QuikTrip. It contained all of the “good” soda pop like Coke, Sunkist and Welch’s. I was going nuts over all of the different flavors; again, it was all free for the taking. There was quite a lot of artwork on the wall. I had remembered seeing the photo of the butler statue with the tray. I grabbed a drink and an ice cream, and waited for the train. It took a little while to check everyone in, so I tried to strike up conversation with the guy sitting next to me. I asked him if this was his first trip to Neverland. He told me, ‘No, this is my third trip; I've come a couple of years before this.’ I asked another girl who looked to be about 20 years old if this was her first visit, and she told me that this was her seventh time! I began to think that perhaps getting inside Neverland was not as hard as I had always believed, and that Michael really must be one extremely cool dude who wanted to share his generosity with his fans. I recalled watching old interviews where MJ had always been consistent when speaking of his love for his fans. This just confirmed what I had heard about him that he always meant what he said.

Finally, everyone was on the train and it began to move. Neverland is absolutely beautiful! There were small ponds at the Ranch, and they had real birds in them. All of the trees were surrounded by flowerbeds, and the grass was freshly cut. It was about a four-minute ride from the train station to the area where the rides were. I remember seeing a teepee set up with Native American statues outside of them. The train came to a stop, and I waited for someone to tell us some kind of instructions or rules. I quickly learned that there weren’t any. The only rule was to have fun. One of the first things to catch my eye upon disembarking the train was the popcorn maker. I asked one of the workers if it was okay to have some and, once again, I was told to help myself. I got behind the maker and started serving popcorn to people. It made me feel like I worked there for a short time. There were plenty of rides: bumper cars, one of those circular swings and octopus ride to name a few. There were even go-karts, but I was told that they were not working that day. I rode a few of the rides, then decided to walk around and explore. There was poetry everywhere the eye could see, and there was music blaring all around the place. It was really loud! I didn’t hear any of Michael's music, although I did hear a song by Janet. The speakers were all hidden in the plants, or disguised as rocks. I found a full basketball court with a working scoreboard and bleachers; I shot a few baskets. Unfortunately, the zoo was also closed that day, so I didn’t get to see any of Michael’s animals.

I went inside a building and discovered that it was a movie theater. It had a lobby with a candy counter, just as you would see at the movies. It was stocked with all of my favorites: Snickers, Reese’s and Kit Kat bars. Behind the counter was a soda pop refrigerator full of the best brands. I had my wallet out, expecting to pay for the items I chose, but the two ladies working there handed me my items and told me, “No pay, no pay”. They giggled when they saw me take my wallet out, because everything was on the house. In the lobby was a huge glass box that contained a statue of Mickey Mouse. The engraved plate on the box read, “To Michael Jackson from the cast of Disney World”. Another glass box had a statue of E.T. wearing a bathrobe and holding a flowerpot. That one was from Universal Studios. I decided to go have a seat in the theater. They were showing all of Michael’s videos. They also showed all of the Pepsi commercials back to back, and Michael's Super Bowl performance. The last video that I watched was a short film, the full version of BAD. One of the things that I took note of while I was in the theater, was that it seemed that everyone who was there was in a group of two or more. I never saw a child unaccompanied by an adult. The bathroom that I went into was very nice. […] Jermaine once said that there are no stairs at Neverland, and I noticed this. Everything was wheelchair accessible.

When I left the theater, just about everyone was getting loaded back onto the train, so I joined them and we headed back to the parking lot. I stopped by the security hut to get my cameras; all the employees were so friendly. Reluctantly, I drove my car outside the gates and saw the next group of fans waiting. As I drove past them, some of them waved at me. I felt like one of the Jacksons.

Love to all MJ fans.”

[Brian Rainey, Michael Jackson admirer; source: www.michaeljacksontributeportrait.com]


"INVINCIBLE GOOSEBUMPS

Have been soaking in the waters of Invincible again, such a wonderful place to be – and so many new things pop into my ears when I leave an album for a while and return to it again, the moth after the flame… I’m actually going to go against the Maestro Michael Jackson on something in reference to this album though…

I know there’s good science behind the order of the tracks on any album, and that issue is decided after lengthy consideration and taken very seriously. Indeed, it’s more art than science. Curiously, I find that I prefer listening to Invincible on “random” or “shuffle”, if you will, rather than in the order it was originally released in.

The first three tracks (Unbreakable/Heartbreaker/Invincible), all co-produced by Rodney Jerkins and co-written by MJ and members of the Jerkins team, are all very strong songs – not much time gap in between – sympathetic rhythms/tempos – sharing an almost monotonic sound in the verses not heard since In The Closet – sometimes it feels like they can be strung together as a unit, a megamix, experienced as all one song. It works.

But – I find them to be even more interesting individually. So I now break them up whenever I listen to this album and I like it better. Hope the Master doesn’t mind. Look at how many people co-wrote songs with MJ on this album! The order of the names indicates the importance in the contribution to the song. Some of the lyrics that give me goosepimples from Invincible: (italics mine)

‘You can try to stop me, but it won’t do a thing,

No matter what you do, I’m still gonna be here,

hrough all your lies and silly games

I’m a still remain the same, I’m unbreakable

(Unbreakable)’


‘Now many times I’ve told you of all the things I would do,

But I can’t seem to get through no matter how I try to,

So tell me how does it seem that you ain’t checking for me

When I know that I could be more than you could ever dream

(Invincible)

The entire song of “Heaven Can Wait” gives me goosepimples. Extraordinary song. Starts out like an R&B(-) ish love song, then goes so much deeper, can’t box it in genres, MJ is shoutin’ the blues on the chorus, getting into spirit, from that point on (“You’re beautiful”) it is a song that ONLY Michael Jackson could do and his delivery and personal vocal touches are – well – heavenly. He just owns it. I’d hate to see anyone else try this song.

“You Rock My World” – probably the most potential of wide appeal chart-topper on this album – I don’t recall its highest chart position, but I bet somebody does – wonderful hoppin’ song, irresistible really, can’t understand why the fans didn’t choose it for TII

I caress you, let you taste us, just so blissful… listen,

I would give you anything, baby, just to make my dreams come true,

Oh, baby, you give me butterflies.’

(Butterflies)

I know he didn’t write those lyrics, but his delivery of them is so intense (let you taste us, an unusual lyric in the first place, becomes palpable) that, as usual, he just owns it…

‘You gave me hope when all hope is lost.

You opened my eyes when I couldn’t see

Love was always here waiting for me.’

(You Are My Life)

That last line a triumphant release vocally – this one’s for his kids – great significance here in the discovery of where he could concentrate all that love he’d been carrying around for so long, without worrying about the agendas of others…

“Don’t Walk Away” – oh my – could anyone else do better at verbalizing the end of a deep love? This may be my favorite MJ ballad. The agonizing conflict here between “When there’s nothing left to do but walk away” and “Can’t you see, I don’t wanna walk away”, which are rendered differently in musical terms too, perhaps hinting that his strongest emotion lay in the latter sentiment. This one seems straight from his heart. The final phrase “Don’t walk away”, unembellished, echoing, abruptly ending the song… You hang there as he does. Nothing left to say. Done. Nothing in the liner notes about the band or orchestration on this track, but the guitar work is excellent. But again he had co-writers. Teddy Riley, your contributions to MJ’s art probably can’t be quantified or diminished.

Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand.’

(Whatever Happens)

Again collaboration with Teddy Riley and several others, and again a feeling I get that this came straight out of MJ’s life and I get a vivid mental picture of the time period and person involved. To suddenly drop the listener immediately into his story, literally mid-conversation, and vividly share a moment in time, just a small moment that made a big impact on him and triggered a song… that’s the mark of a great storyteller. One of his many cinematic songs. With goosepimples… and premonitions.

Every time your lady speaks, she speaks to ME, threatened,

Half of me you’ll never be, so you should be threatened by me.’

(Threatened)

A more delightful bit of musical testosterone and bravado, I have yet to hear! “Threatened”! Oh, my gosh. Sardonic, sarcastic, caustic, powerful. Unique and breathtaking. This, the most unusual in the “Michael as Monster” series, begun with “Is It Scary”. Every line is satiric and MJ almost spits them out, he feels the truth behind what he says and yet he makes it art instead of insult and delight wrapped inside defiance. He flings his omnipresent/outcast status in your face, firing in staccato bursts. It thrills me to hear what he can create out of the irony of his life and the ignorance embedded in human nature. His personal torture becomes an inside joke, an intimate moment he can share with you, the listener, who is privy to the point he’s making because you’ve read the headlines… The concept is amazing – and to top it off, who else would invest in a “rapped” intro and outro by Rod Serling?? What other performer had more time spent in the Twilight Zone and knew it? (Remember the infamous Twilight Zone episode where a woman is having her face surgically altered to fit into the general population, who find her horrifying to gaze upon? The denouement that shows you that the crowd of doctors around her, unwrapping their latest attempt and again failing to change her to their satisfaction, are themselves incredibly ugly and she is beautiful? I’m certain that its message about being different and what constitutes beauty to the mass mind was not missed by the ravenous mind of Michael Jackson.)

Goosebumps in that song from the first note to the last.

The other Invincible tracks I don’t quote here are also top-notch and cover an interesting emotional and creative spectrum:

“Break of Dawn”, a gorgeous song brought to MJ by Dr. Freeze and, I suspect, totally Michaelized and energized by the singer, will make the sweat run down your body in anticipation…

“Speechless” has the courage and simplicity of acapella bookends to balance the artist as he takes a broad brush to some complex emotional lyrics…

“2000 Watts” has cheeky symbolism that may be an ode to electronics, a “guy song” like “Speed Demon” – or a hidden user’s manual for sexual satisfaction! Was that a wink between Jackson and Riley? Was that synthesized MJ or his real voice? (I think the latter)

“Privacy”, with a sinister whisper perhaps belying the scream of frustration the artist truly felt at his lifelong disrespectful treatment and intrusion by media, a continuation of the wonderful and sassy “Tabloid Junkie”, but now quietly more angry…

•“Cry” and “The Lost Children”: every Jackson album needs an anthem and these are them. Both are lovely. R. Kelly at his most obtuse, perhaps deliberately, but touching lightly upon the artist’s controversial hot buttons (“You can change the world…” “You’re the chosen one…”) I visualize MJ reading a “Have You Seen Me” advert at his breakfast table, on a milk carton or cereal box, trying to explain the concept to one of his little ones and comfort them that children get lost.

What does Invincible feel like compared to its siblings? Off the Wall was the “coming-of-age” album. Bright sunlight, springtime colors, hormones, first loves… I’m here, pay attention! Thriller was the “In case you somehow missed Off The Wall, helloww, I really mean it this time, POW!” album. Think I’m just R&B? Think again. Bad was the “Flexing my muscles, warming up the legs, testing the bars of my cell…” album. Revving the engine. The buckles and belts are tight, the ‘tude is ready. Is the world? Dangerous was the “Get-out-of-jail-free” album. The clutch pops. BAM – I’m jet-propelled. Pick a single, any single, it’s all good. I can drive you wild just by standing here. History was the “up yours, there’s a lot more to me, catch it if you’re capable of it” album. Think I’m just Top 40? Think yet again! I have shades and hues! Blood On The Dance Floor was the down-shift, somewhat distracted album. Life was getting in the way of art. More art to give you, though, and in ways you may not have heard me before. Remixes make the big-time – and the Ghosts soundtrack (almost invisible to American audiences, unfortunately) casts a small spell. Was it as scary as “Morphine”?

But then, in 2001, a quiet miracle emerges, in confident stride and five different collectible colors. Invincible is the goosebumps album. The colors of the artist’s palette become so much more complex, the images less distinct, but more meaningful. Shadows appear and are embraced. Life has cuts and bruises and broken bones. It might have been subtitled “Irresistible”, because in it the artist once again showed his innate ability to combine joy and sorrow, fear and courage, humor and truth, passion and loathing - all the emotion and pain of his life into something that we can all share with him, at whatever level we choose.

Invincible, I love you so dearly. You are the brilliant last child who somehow went wrong but oh… so right.

Happy Tenth Anniversary, Invincible!”

[Chris Kohler, video game journalist and editor - recommended by Joseph Vogel; source: www.joevogel.net]

 

“Bernard Allen as Lord Mayor of Cork met Michael Jackson back stage in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in 1988. I was the lucky photographer there to capture the moment. I brought a selection of shots taken earlier of Michael arriving at Cork Airport and sugested (sic) to the Lord Mayor to have Michael autograph them. When Michael saw the photos, he looked through them with excitement, laughing and jumping around. He had no problem in autographing them, but he asked to keep a few of the shots for himself.”

[John Sheehans, photographer; source: www.positivelymichael.com]


“I can still remember every single detail about the first time I met Michael Jackson (in the UK, 2006). The lavender smell of his skin, his soft-spoken voice, the way he spontaneously hugged me, to him - even though he had never met me before. […] We first met at Harrods, 3 years ago, when he was visiting his friend Mohammed Al Fayed and he agreed to grant me a private audience. I have met a lot of celebrities over the years, but none quite enjoyed the legendary status of (Michael), probably "The Most Famous Man in the World." […] I was very nervous, I didn't know what to expect. […] So it was something of a surprise to be greeted surprisingly with a firm handshake, a smile, and a pleasing lack of artifice. In fact, he wore barely a trace of make-up and exuded warmth, flinging his muscular arms around me in a welcoming hug. We chatted for several minutes and he was alert and interested and interesting. I knew, even then, that when he finally returned to the stage, it would be to give the performance of a lifetime. Michael was never afraid of hard work and when he committed to something, he gave it his all. […]”

[Fiona Cummins, journalist for ‘The Mirror’ tabloid; sources: www.mirror.co.uk, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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"February 1976 (Manila, Philippines) - Michael Jackson and his brother's (sic) second trip to the Philippines was for a 6 night Valentines (sic) Day Concert titled "Love Jive". These faded photos were taken when The Jacksons guested for the second time in the top rated noontime show Student Canteen. The show had a Michael Jackson sing-a-like contest and Michael himself was the judge and the one to award the winner. Apparently, Michael looked very uncomfortable with the idea of having to select one winner and when the time came, Michael raised BOTH finalists hands. […] Edddie Ilarde, the host of the show describes Michael as the friendliest among the brothers. "He was just the sweetest. Michael told me, 'Hi, Ed! This is our second time in your show and it's an honor to be invited again.' He was polite and nice. Very humble!" said Eddie. As you can see, the studio was jam packed that day. The hosts didn't even have space to step away from the set. Meanwhile, it was pandemonium outside as fans waited to get a glimpse of Michael and his brothers.”

[Edgar U. ‘Eddie’ Ilarde, Filipino radio and television host; sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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1988 (Sweden) - In 1988, Michael Jackson contacted the then 14-year old star of "My Life As A Dog", Anton Glanzelius. He remembers the day they spent together at Liseberg, the largest amusement park in Scandinavia. The park was closed to the general public for the sake of Jackson and his friends' privacy. Anton Glanzelius met Michael Jackson for the first time when he was 13. Jackson had seen the movie "My Life As A Dog", directed by Lasse Hallström and with Glanzelius as the leading star, and had enjoyed it so much, he invited the boy to his home Neverland. Michael had seen the movie twice, the second time with his mother. The movie was very special to him, but Jackson' never revealed why or what the movie meant to him, to Anton. As a 13 year old growing up in Southern Gothenburg, he had no idea who Michael Jackson was. "I ran to the neighbors' house and asked them if they had any records with Michael Jackson. I wanted to see what he looked like." Anton arrived in Neverland along with his mother. They spent a couple of hours in Jackson's company, but they did not get to know each other that well that time. Anton remembers that Jackson was very polite. Glanzelius explains that he was probably too young to realize the greatness of his friendship with the popstar. "As a child, you have a different perspective," he says. Anton Glanzelius describes his friend as "very kind-hearted and humble". On stage he was an artist who influenced the world. In private, he was very shy. "He was a very ordinary guy who lived an extreme life from early on." When Jackson came to Gothenburg in 1989, he contacted Glanzelius. "It was such an amazing and fun experience as a 14-year old to have the entire Liseberg to ourselves." Glanzelius remembers that they rode the rollercoaster "Loopen", Michael's favourite ride in the park, a dozen times. "He was laughing constantly, we had so much fun." The marketing director of Liseberg, Pelle Johansson, had been working the first half of ‘89 to bring Jackson to the amusement park. Jackson was going to hold a concert at Erikberg, Gothenburg, and the owners of Liseberg saw their chance to put the amusement park on the map. They made hundreds of phonecalls and sent letters to Jackson and his managers, but it was still uncertain whether he was going to show up. "We didn't think it would actually work. The huge media coverage made it hard for him to even leave the hotel and get here," Johansson says. Jackson arrived with his friend Glanzelius and a company of approximately 100 people. "We closed the park and they were able to move as they pleased in the park without any photographers or journalists. The only thing we asked in return was his handprint. "The roofs were filled with photographers trying to get a picture of the smiling Jackson. The visit lasted 3-4 hours. Jackson and Glanzelius also rode the bumper cars, which he really enjoyed, Glanzelius tells Göteborgsposten. "He was fooling around and laughing and we were chasing each other trying to get a hit. He was such a sweet, humble, warm and lovely person." Glanzelius now works as a TV-producer and is no longer acting. (credits: @thereseryde)"

[Sources: Swedish daily newspaper Göteborgs-Posten’; sources: www.gp.se, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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December 1983 at Disney World - Michael Jackson and Stephanie Mazzuca: "I was 10. At Disney with my parents and uncle waiting in line for the Dumbo ride, when all of a sudden a huge crowd surrounded us. A lady in a big white hat asked me if I wanted to cut the line. I, of course, said yes. Within seconds, I was in the elephant waiting to "take off", when all of a sudden Michael Jackson appeared. It was a dream come true. One that was so overwhelming, I still remember so clearly today my struggle to find words to speak. A lot of "uh hu(h)'s" and head nodding. Michael asked me my name, how old I was, where I lived, etc, etc.. Told me he loved Disney. I asked him questions about his video's (sic) and I think Madonna. That (sic) 3 minutes seemed like an eternity, but, at the same time, flew by. One of MJ's assistant(s) took this photo and mailed to me with a Thank You Card. I cherish my pictures and memories from my "3 minutes with Michael Jackson". It was, and still is, my best trip to Disney World ever.”

[Stephanie Mazzuca, sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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In February, 1988, Alan Light met and photographed Michael Jackson in Kahala Hilton Hotel, on Oahu, Hawaii. "I asked Michael if I could take a picture and he said, ‘Sure’, but wanted to move away from the main part of the hotel so that it did not attract attention. He said, "I snuck out on my bodyguards; they don't know I'm out here." He posed for a picture with my friends Jack and Don, then posed for a photo with me. After the flash went off, I thanked Michael, and he said, "Let's do it again, I had my eyes closed." So we took a second picture. When I later got the film developed, sure enough, he had his eyes closed in the first picture. It was nice of him to tell me that.”

[Sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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1987, California: In this photo, Michael Jackson, Natalia Barrett and her brother Roman. Natalia Barret on spending time with MJ: "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. 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.”

[Sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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1978 - Trinidad and Tobago: In this photo, Michael Jackson meets the new Miss Universe Penny Commissiong at the Hilton Hotel. Mark Lyndersay on this photo: “Michael was the quietest of the group, prone to gently bowing his head as if the weight of his enormous afro was just a little too much for him, speaking a pitch and tone lower than his brothers and responding to direct looks with a shy smile. The head of Press liaison arranged the meeting of the First Black Miss Universe and the future King of Pop with his brothers. And I was the only photographer in the room. Armed with a beginner’s Pentax, the K1000 and a little flash, I shot the encounter, prompting a bemused Penny to ask my colleague, Joan Christopher, in an aside she later took some glee in reporting to me, “Does he normally shake so much?” The resulting photo of Penny and Michael greatly pleased the Epic representatives, who requested prints that were promptly circulated to the international press.”

[Sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


“[My brother, Claude, and I brought the Jackson brothers to Trinidad and Tobago in 1978.] Michael was very shy, introverted and very protected. […] The brothers were sitting around the pool and a member of our security team pulled up a chair to sit with them and the brothers were like ’Excuse me’ and he had to leave them to talk. We used to laugh about that a long time after. [Their father did not accompany them], but there was a big, red, man [with them who people mistook for Joe Jackson.] [Several activities were organised for the brothers. We had a committee comprising myself, Claude, Bunny Cummerbatch and Earl Patterson and we discussed everything. I think the man who took them to John John, which I actually don’t remember, was John Cupid. The Jacksons came to Trinidad in February 1978, they stayed at the then Hilton Hotel. They had a wish fulfilled when they were introduced to T& -born Miss Universe Janelle ’Penny’ Commissiong. While here they performed three shows, two at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain and one at Skinner Park, San Fernando. […]”

[Frank Martineau, Spektakula Promotions; source: http://bestofmichaeljackson.jclondon.com]


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After cooking for Michael a number of times, I was asked by family and friends to take a picture with Michael as a keepsake. Never the autograph-seeker, I did not want to impose upon him to ask for a photo or an autograph. But I finally succumbed, realizing that I should that I should somehow document my experiences with Michael. So, during a visit, I got up enough courage to bring a camera to his suite. I kept taking the camera out of my pocket every time I thought the opportunity was right, only to return it due to my own shyness. I realized that Michael would soon be leaving the hotel and this was my chance or I may have to wait until his next visit. As Michael walked toward me in the hallway, he saw me fumbling to get the camera out and again a testament to his kindness, he took all the pressure off by saying, "Let's take a picture!" as he handed the camera to one of his assistants who snapped the photo.

[Chef Larry (Chef at Disney Anaheim); sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]

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"It was an unbelievable experience that was surreal. I spent a day with Michael that has always been special and memorable, but now is sacred. It was 2004 and Michael was in need of dental care. He introduced himself as if he was an ordinary guy that I had never heard of. Soft spoken, gentle, and kind, talked highly of his family and had the utmost appreciation for what I was doing for him. He signed autographs, took pictures with us, and even sang. A private concert that I get to replay in my mind selfishly. The effect he had on everyone in the room was intense, and even more meaningful now. It was a privilege to have met him and I only hope he knew the way he touched our lives forever. There will never be another person as gifted as Michael in both music and life.”

[Dr. Randy Goldfarb, Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology; sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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March 1986 - Bubbles, Michael Jackson and Donna Ashlock in Encino: Donna then 14 years old needed a heart transplant to live. One that retrieved Donna from the verge of death and ennobled the death of her donor, his boyfriend 15-year-old Felipe Garza Jr. Felipe, who'd been experiencing severe headaches, collapsed with a brain hemorrhage that proved fatal. Some days earlier, he told his family he had had a premonition. He was going to die and he would like the girl he loved, Donna Ashlock, who he had heard needed a donor, to have his heart. After the transplant, Donna gets a phone call from Michael Jackson. He had heard that she is a big fan of his. Michael invites her to his home in Encino as soon as she is feeling better. This visit takes place on March 8th. Donna stays for dinner and watches a movie together with Michael. Donna's body rejects the heart transplant and needed another. On March 7, 1989, Donna died at the age of 17.”

[Sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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February 1984 - Michael Jackson while recovering from his own burn injury (from Pepsi Incident), decided to make a rounds, visiting other 8 burn patients at the Brotman Medical Center. In photo: Michel visit sic) Keith Perry, a 23 year old mechanic who suffer third degree burns on 95 percent of his body. Perry had just undergone his 14th operation when Michael arrived. Perry could not believe that he had actually been visited by Michael Jackson. According to Perry's relative after Michael visited him, Perry was no longer depressed and doing a lot better. Another patient wanted to know why Jackson wore the glove. "This way," he explained, "I am never offstage." With the consent of his doctor, Michael decided after less than a day to check out of the hospital and continue treatment as an outpatient. Michael Jackson donated the $1.5 million settlement from Pepsi to Brotman Burn Center. Using the money donated by Jackson, Brotman was able to get the best available technology for treating burn victims. The burn ward at the hospital was later named the "Michael Jackson Burn Center" to honor Jackson and his generous contribution.”

[Sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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“Michael Jackson and Richard Branson are the two men whose inspiration made me who I am today. Michael is innovative, a perfectionist, hard working, passionate, creative and is a consummate humanitarian. At this time where so many people are reflecting on his career and life, I wanted to share my story of meeting him in 2007 to give another perspective of the legend.

Christmas Day, 2006, 8:30 a.m., and I'm on the phone to the Tokyo number half an hour before tickets are due to go on sale. 200 opportunities to meet the King of Pop at the 25th Anniversary of Thriller Party in Tokyo, I wasn't going to miss this for the world. The only way to get tickets was by phone and I was determined to get through. I rang, hung up, rang again, hung up.. after hours message, after hours message, after hours message, engaged, engaged, engaged.. My house mates at the time pulled out their mobile phones and joined in, all dialing the same number over and over again for about 15 minutes. By this stage, my heart is in my stomach, concerts sell out quicker than this, I've missed out, how could this happen?' I started thinking, trying to stay positive, I kept dialing.

Suddenly, it started ringing. I could almost hear my own heart beating, as soon as the lady answered, I blurted out 'Are there any left? Please tell me there's one left!' And the answer I got wasn't what I was hoping for; 'Soorwy, nor inglish'. What? Surely fans from all over the world were trying to get these tickets? Sure - maybe they weren't advertised outside of Japan, but any fan with their finger on the pulse would know about the Party. I couldn't be the only English speaking fan trying to get through? 'Michael Jackson... ticket for Michael Jackson' I said, she disappeared. I stayed on the phone trying to hear what was going on, there was no way in heaven I was going to hang up. Another lady picked up the phone, she struggled with English, but the name Michael Jackson is the same in any language. I spelled out my email address very carefully and she sent through the payment instructions, in broken English it was explained that I had secured a ticket and I had a week to pay. Needless to say, it was the best Christmas ever, in a little under 3 months time, I was going to meet one of my heros (sic) face to face.

As I was President of a Michael Jackson fan club at the time, I spent the 3 months leading up to the event telling all the fans I could that they had an opportunity to get a letter hand delivered to Michael. If I couldn't take them all with me, I was going to give them something that is very hard to come across as a Michael Jackson fan - and that is a guaranteed way of getting fan mail to him. I collected hundreds of letters by mail from all over the world, the fans plastered the envelopes with stamps which I kept and gave to a charity that washed them and sold them. All of the letters went into a big white folder, this was going to make his day.

March, Tokyo, 10 a.m. - I'm here for 3 days all up, on my own in a big city and I'm meeting Michael Jackson tomorrow night. Still a bit tired from my flight, I go straight to my hotel and study the subway map I picked up when I landed. I could start exploring the city, but the only thing on my mind is taking a train to the venue and back today, so if I am going to get lost on the way to the Venue, it's on a day that doesn't matter. After successfully getting to the venue and back and meeting loads of cool people along the way, I get a super early night, so I'm fresh for the exciting day ahead. The big day - I get breakfast at McDonalds because I can literally see it from my hotel and there is no chance of getting lost and running late. A bit paranoid maybe, as the event didn't start till 5 p.m., but when it's a once in a lifetime chance to meet your hero - you don't want anything going wrong. I got ready and followed the same path that got me to the venue the day before, I hardly recognized the place when I arrived. A sleepy little part of out-of-town Tokyo had become a pandemonium of fans, press, security and photographers. I started walking to the venue where I was stopped by security about 50 m away, they looked through my folder of letters, my bag, my pockets, just to make sure I wasn't taking anything dangerous or sharp into the venue. It was a pleasure to meet a couple of people who spoke English, so I told them all about the fan letters, where I was from and how excited I was, they had seen this all before and wished me luck inside.

After waiting outside on the red carpet for about 40 minutes everyone went inside and found a seat, there were round tables and chairs downstairs in front of a huge stage. Upstairs, there was a grandstand looking over us with a corporate box looking room at one end, we enjoyed Michael Jackson music videos and got to know each other, everyone who spoke English stuck together and we were all excited for Michael to arrive. Everyone was nice, they all had different stories about why they had came, maybe one or two of 'those' fans who make us all look crazy, but for the most part, lovely people. Then Michael arrived. Light conversation amongst the guests turned to screaming, crying, excited, almost panic amongst the crowd. Michael was upstairs, doing nothing more than waving and blowing kisses, but the crowd was acting like he was moon walking across the ceiling. The next think I know, I'm upstairs queuing in ticket order number (I was 11!) to meet Michael. The atmosphere was electric, like being at the football, you couldn't help but to be carried away by everyone around getting so excited and nervous. Some people were already in tears, some others were just watching the reactions of people going in and coming out again. Laughing, crying, fainting, screaming and kicking to go back in and being dragged away by security, and everything in between. The(re) were stairs near the door to the room Michael was in, we were lined up on the top level, and, as people came out from meeting him, they went down the stairs to join the crowd below and collect a goody bag. At the bottom of the stairs was an area to lie down if you fainted (and people did!) and there was security posted inside and outside Michaels (sic) door. They were prepared. The girl in front in me went into the room and I was standing there, outside the door, my turn next. Oh, my goodness, ever been bungee jumping? Standing right there on the edge and your body just realizes what you've got it into and starts to turn to jelly? I was full of adrenalin, but also just incredibly happy that I had this rare chance.

The girl came out and went down the stairs, 'Are you ready?' I looked at the Security guard and just nodded, he took my arm and walked me into the room. There was Michael Jackson, only 2 m away from me with open arms and a big smile. I walked into his hug and put my head on his shoulder and my arm around his petite waist. He smelled fresh and clean and his hair was straight out of a shampoo commercial. He let go, stood back and took a look at me, then asked me my name, then where I was from. I hardly remember answering the questions, he said that he's done shows in Australia and asked if I had been. I told him that I was only 12 during the HIStory tour and made a joke about having a job since he was little and I had no excuse. His guards started laughing and so did I and an unexpected wave of calm came over me, this was a real guy who was having a great night at a party. One of the guys in the room asked for my camera and Michael and I posed for a couple of photos, I remember the moment when the photo had been taken, we were still standing very close and I looked up at him, I tried to soak in every detail. He let me admire his smiling face for a moment and then put his other arm around me and gave me another hug. When he let go, I showed him the present I had for him, all of the letters from the fans. Then I asked if I could read my letter to him and he said 'Sure, of course' in his unmistakable speaking voice, I'm not sure why, but I vividly remember him saying those words, even though he said plenty more while we were together. My letter was short and sweet, he stood smiling at me while I read it to him. I told him that he's inspired me a great deal and that he and Richard Branson were my heroes, which made him giggle. I finished by saying that he'll never know the impact he's had on me and countless others and that he's appreciated and loved more than he could possibly realize. With that, he threw his arms around me and thanked me. He took the folder and said 'Don't put this with the others' and put it on a stool with a drink and a sunglasses case. He thanked me again, hugged me again and it hit me that my short time was over. One of his guards took my arm and put my camera in my hand, I said, 'You're the best, Michael' and he said 'Thank you, I love you' and I walked out of the room. Once the door was shut behind me, I threw myself at the nearest security guard and hugged him. 'Did he like it?' he asked me, 'I think so, he said not to put it with the others!' I said. I looked at the photo on my phone and showed him. All his guards were sweethearts, they probably get so many fans get so excited, but he still took the time to look at my photo and tell me it's wonderful.

What a high, I went downstairs where I met the small group who had met him before me and we showed each other photos and shared stories of what happened in there. Everyone said that Michael said he loved them, they all reported loads of hugs and we all had his autograph and bottle of bubbly in our goodie bag. It was over, but I wasn't sad at all - I had been given something special that could never be taken away, a moment with a man who inspired me to dance, give, work hard, love and overcome obstacles. I partied the night away with my new friends and came back to Australia with a little Michael Jackson magic in my heart. To see him perform live on stage was going to be the next dream come true, my flights were all paid for to London and I had a ticket each to 3 separate shows on the 30th July, 1st August & 3rd August. It's such a tragedy that he was taken away from us before he had the chance to grace the stage again, with 50 shows selling out in a heart beat, the world was welcoming him back into the spotlight. He'll be missed, by countless millions of fans like me. He's the greatest.”

[Renee-Lea Thackham, former president of a Michael Jackson fanclub; sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


"I went to the (1971) concert and the man told me they would be in Winston-Salem the next morning. [When the group came back to Greensboro for its '72 concert, I got an unbelievable opportunity to deliver a cake to the Jacksons at their Winston-Salem hotel room.] I went to deliver the cake and the guard said, 'Just go on up, there's nobody there.' So I went up and I stayed. [And I took pictures. Lots of them. Michael Jackson performed in Greensboro at least six times in the 1970’s: four times with The Jackson 5 and twice with The Jacksons. Over the years, I had several additional meetings with Michael Jackson: in Greensboro, Knoxville and elsewhere. I went to every Michael Jackson concert within reasonable distance.] Over a hundred, maybe more. I would do three or four a year. [I even went on a trip to Los Angeles, where Michael Jackson gave me a tour of his parents' home.] I was standing outside and Michael came up and recognized me, and he invited me and another lady came in and gave me a tour of the house. People would say he's just an entertainer. He was more than an entertainer; he was a person. I will miss him. I will miss the fun times we did have, even though they were rare times that we had a chance to see him. It was nice.”

[Carlene Allen, Michael Jackson fan; sources: www.myfox8.com, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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Michael Jackson was not a child molester. He was mostly misunderstood. [I stayed with him for six weeks in 1988 when I was 11. I met him while following his Bad tour in Australia.] He's got a child-like personality. From a young age, he was a performer. He didn't have a childhood. Michael was never allowed to grow up. When you miss out on something in your life, you want to recapture it later on. But having an adult hanging around with children is not acceptable nowadays. […] [He was never anything more than friendly and generous.[ All the allegations against him distressed me. When you met Michael, he was just a nice bloke. […] I used to write to him, but I haven't for a while." [He invited my two sisters and me to his hotel room after reading how we had spent every cent we had to follow his concert circuit around Australia.]”

[Billy Ramirez, Australian pharmacist; sources: www.ntnews.com.au, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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"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.”

[Tabitha Messick, Michael Jackson supporter; sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


"[…] Michael and George

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Michael and Bodyguard

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Diana Dawn DiAngeleo at Skywalker Ranch

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The day I met Michael Jackson was such a Thrill for me... It was at one of Luasfilms Annual Picnics, in the late 80's, which took place every year around the 4th of July, out at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. It was during the time Michael Jackson was working with George Lucas on his Captain EO 3D project. My sister was working for Lucasfilm at the time and invited me to the party. It was also around the same time I had been hired by Lucasfilm to be their Tiger-Woman Double for The Morph to Morphing scene in the film Willow. Which can be seen on The Special Edition DVD of Willow. Soon after arriving at the picnic at Skywalker Ranch, I spotted Michael Jackson and went over to say hello. He was talking to George Lucas and a handful of kids were surrounding him, so I didn't get the chance to say hello up close and personal until later that day. However, I was able to take some great photos of Michael in those first few moments. Michael was wearing his trademark shades, black slacks, black shirt and black hat (…) And when I pulled out my camera and held it up to take some photos of Michael, he kindly took off his hat (..) and smiled for the camera. […] He had a presence that was truly magical. Later that day, I ran into Michael under a covered shaded area where he was sitting at a picnic table all alone, well, with his bodyguard and a big German Shepherd Dog standing close by, so I approached slowly and asked his bodyguard if I could say hello to Michael and get an autograph, his bodyguard said "Ask Michael yourself", so I did and I slipped right into the seat next to him and said HI! very shyly, and he said "HI!" back just as shy and his voice was as soft and sweet as you would imagine Marilyn Monroe's being. I told Michael that I loved his music and said that his lyrics really move me and touch me. Michael replied by saying, "Thank you, that really means a lot to me, really it does! Thank You!" I felt like I was floating on air in that moment and knew that his words were genuine and that he really appreciated his fans and I could tell that he truly loved being a performer and making a difference in peoples (sic) lives. I also asked if he would mind signing The Lucasfilm yearbook I had and he graciously agreed to do so, as did George Lucas earlier that day. A little later, I was walking down the dirt road to my car, and a fire truck they had on the property was driving down the road in the same direction, and it was ringing it's bells and tooting it's horn, so I thought they wanted me to move off the road to give them more room to pass, but even after I moved over into a ditch, they were still ringing their bells and tootin’ their horn, so I looked back again, and to my surprise, I saw Michael Jackson hanging out of the passenger side window of the fire truck and he was waving and ringing the bell like an exited 5 year old kid would be. It seemed as though he was starring (sic) at me, but I couldn't image that, so I looked over my shoulder to see who he was waving at and no one was there, it was just the parking lot filled with cars behind me, so when I looked back at him, he was still waving, and it suddenly dawned on me that he was trying to get my attention all along and waving at me. In that very moment, I saw his true child-like spirit shining thru (sic) and it felt so pure and innocent. It was a really special moment for me and I will always cherish those moments with Michael. I feel very lucky to have met him that day. He had a beautiful spirit, a precious soul, and an angelic smile, and I am so grateful to have witnessed his playful side. Michael Jackson was Magical On Stage and Off and was Gone Too Soon!”

[Diana Dawn DiAngeleo, film double; sources: www.sftalent.com, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


“[…] There’s not a day when I don’t think of Michael. […] He was a supremely gifted human being, but he didn’t survive, in my opinion, because he’d never been taught the rules of the game. He and his brothers and sisters were forced to rehearse round the clock while other kids were playing basketball. Michael’s life was precisely the one dictated by his father. The family’s religion [the mother is a Jehovah’s Witness] means the children weren’t even meant to be in show business. But, when they started making money for their father, that was it. Michael was used and abused almost from the time he was born. Eventually, he distanced himself from his family (bar his mother), created this wonderful place - Neverland - for kids and supported different families. Then, one day, the father in one of those families called up Michael and said, “Unless you give me $30,000, I’m going to tell everyone you made a pass at my son.” And that’s when Michael called me. When he’d finished his story, I remember pausing and then saying: “Michael, maybe you should tell your lawyer about this.” He said: “But it’s insane.” So I repeated my advice. “It’s blackmail, though,” he said. “It is,” I replied, “and that’s why you need to involve your lawyer.” But he wouldn’t. What everyone forgets is that, when kids stayed at Neverland, their parents came, too. And they were treated grandly. But then other people jumped on the bandwagon. [sighs] […] I remember he was going with this girl and he was so in love with her. He came to show me the ring he’d bought for her. I asked him what he was going to say and he didn’t know. So I said: “Let’s rehearse,” and that’s what we did. But the girl turned him down. She said she wasn’t ready to commit right now. She told him to ask again in six months. And it all but killed him. He was heartbroken. I knew all his girlfriends (…).”

“In the end, the scorn, the cruelty, the vicious meanness - these are the things that took his life. He was one of the best performers we’ve ever had. He changed everything. But he was only a king when he was on stage. […] Elizabeth (Taylor, Michael’s longtime friend) was just a regular girl. The glitter and the glamour and the gutter were all in the photographs and the way stars like her were presented. The reality was that she was part of an era when movie stars were working actors. […]”

[Liza May Minnelli, American actress and singer; source: www.dailymail.co.uk]


“I never doubted (Michael’s innocence). Michael was very innocent, a thousand percent innocent, and because I knew his upbringing and how all these things came about and his love - love for children. […] He was not a paedophile.”

“One time, he didn’t show up at rehearsal (for This Is It), and they (AEG Live representatives - not Kenny Ortega) went to his home and they read to him the riot act, said the most horrible things to him. […] So, we’re trying to figure out what happened from that point on, that my brother’d come from being this excited about a show to just deteriorating to becoming dead. […] They weren’t nice (to him), they weren’t nice. […] Some of the complaints he had? (…) Just give him a blanket (when he was cold), or just give him a bucket of chicken and things like this, and I’m saying, what about the person, the human being? If you see these signs, call someone, call a doctor. […] Geraldo, (this trial against Murray), it’s a good start, but is never a good finish in a situation like this, because we’re not gonna get closure, Michael is gone, none of this is gonna bring him back. I think it will be great for us to know, as well as (for) the public and the fans, to get a better understanding as to what happened. […]”

No way (was he gay)! […] Never! […] Never, never. […] Yes, they are. (Michael’s 3 children are his biological children). […] This is (sic) his kids. I knew that, we knew that. […] Michael (did not bleach his skin,] (he) had this coloration, (that) he had to even out his skin. But when he fell (at home), in the hospital – and he went to the hospital (during the trial), there was a moment there when I walked in, and my mother is there and my father is there, and he was just fed up with the court and going every day and he said, ‘They say all these things about me’, and he pulls his shirt and says, ‘Look at me.. I’m the most misunderstood person in the world.’ .. (He looked) like somebody had splashed coffee all over his body. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson – on ‘Geraldo At Large’; source: www.foxnews.com]

 

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I had the opportunity to meet Michael Jackson in person on several occasions, one of those occasions was the night of the Oscar awards, after the ceremony, we were at Liza Minneli's father's house at a party which I had gone to along with some friends. We took some photos there and had a chance to talk to Michael for a while, afterwards we said good bye and left, later on that same night, we were at another celebrity event and Michael went by in his red limo. We decided to follow him, my mother was accompanying me that evening, we arrived to another house in the Hollywood Hills, I got closer to him and when he saw that it was the same Photographer that he had met earlier, he relaxed a bit. Liza was with him and the Chaufer/body guard..... Michael entered the house and Liza waited outside in the car, she invited me to sit inside while he came out. About 10 minutes later, he came out and we chatted a little more, I told him that I would like a few autographs, one for my Mom, and he happily signed several photos, a couple of Thriller albums. After chatting some more, he took off his dark shades and was going to let me have them, I thanked him, but told him that I would prefer the glove he was wearing, which was his trade mark. He smiled and thought about it for a second and proceeded to take his glove off and give it to me. We left very happy and excited, his white glove has a seal stamped on it, which was the invitation used for the famous ¨Thriller¨ party. When we arrived back to Spago, the famous celebrity restaurant in Beverly Hills, we told all the other paparazzis about our adventure and meeting with Michael Jackson.”

[Gregory Kearney Lawson, Attorney at Law in Costa Rica; sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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Michael and Rick

Monday, 3 October, 1988

Meadowlands Arena

East Rutherford, New Jersey

The drawing we are holding was one that Michael commissioned from me. He wanted me to draw him from his six videos, at that time. Unfortunately, the flash from the camera reflected on the drawing. The other drawing, behind, is another one I did of him, which he autographed for me. Michael had hired me to do a children's coloring book based on his video "Moonwalker." This was during his "BAD" tour, and the height of his career. The project took about a year, because it took time for him to see what I was doing and get back with his comments on my drawings. After he came back from the European leg of the tour, he was going to be in New Jersey. My wife and I got VIP tickets for the concert. At the arena, I was brought back to his large dressing room, with a smaller private dressing room for him. There were a lot of people milling around. All of a sudden, Michael came out of his dressing room, in his "BAD" outfit, buckles and belts. He shut the door and just stood there. When Michael Jackson said he was very shy, he wasn't kidding. The look on his face, to me, was pure fear. I felt he was just looking around the room to find someone, anyone, he knew. After a couple of seconds, he walked into the crowd. This would be the only time I would meet him, and I figured I better do it. So, I walked up to him and tapped him on his shoulder. I thought to myself, "I am tapping Michael Jackson on his shoulder!" He turned to me, and since it was quite noisy I leaned to whisper in his ear, thinking "I am whispering into Michael Jackson's ear!!" I introduced myself and told him that I was the guy doing his coloring book. The second he knew who I was, you would have thought we had known each other for years. He was gracious and extremely friendly. He told me that he was really liking the coloring book drawings that I was doing for him. I brought him over to my drawings and he burst out laughing when he saw them. We chatted for a little bit and he couldn't have been nicer. Needless to say, it was one of the most exciting celebrity meetings I ever had.”

[Rick Tulka, French caricature, portrait, book and MAD magazine illustrator; sources: http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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I first met Michael in 1981 when I was in Shalamar. I used to write him fan letters in 5th grade, and had his photo taped on my wall and school locker. I have so many thoughts right now of his impact on my life and my dreams as a child – seeing another child be so famous. I was in awe of Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five. When I won the Grammy Award for ‘Best New Artist’, Michael Jackson was the first person to greet me, he ran to me out of the darkness of the stage. He’d performed ‘Man in The Mirror’ and ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ – he grabbed me and kissed me on the cheek saying softly, “I’m so happy for you” – already emotional from my own triumph – it was momentarily eclipsed by that moment with him – I couldn’t believe it. Michael Jackson had kissed me! I’ll never forget him. His incredible legacy in music will never be diminished and will remain forever influential. Al Sharpton was right: “Michael did with music what they later did in sports, politics and television and no controversy will erase the historic impact…”

[Jody Vanessa Watley, American, singer, songwriter, record producer, and founder of Avitone Records; sources: http://rnbdirt.com, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


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(Loretta dances with Michael Jackson at the SCG and Loretta with husband Eduardo and son Miguel.)

SHE was the girl in the white pants and shirt picked from the audience to dance with Michael Jackson. He was the porter who carried Michael Jackson's bags to his hotel room at the Sheraton on the Park. When asked, the now-married couple say they met "through a mutual friend". Little did Loretta Tolnay, then single and 23, know that her future husband, Eduardo Bolton, was sitting in the audience at the SCG in 1996 watching her dance with Michael Jackson. But Mr Bolton knew exactly who she was when she visited the Sheraton a year later, asking to have a "sneak peek" at the presidential suite where Jackson married nurse Debbie Rowe. "He said to me, 'Your (sic) that girl in the white who got up on stage and danced with Michael Jackson'," Mrs Bolton recalled (…). They married six years later and danced the bridal waltz to Jackson's ballad I Can't Help It’. When their son Miguel was born, they didn't name him Michael, only because he would have had the name of another famous singer - Michael Bolton.”

[Kate Sikora (‘The Daily Telegraph’); sources; www.dailytelegraph.com.au, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]


“[During the Martial law years, radio was predominantly dedicated to music and the arts, and it was very difficult for artists of color to break in, because audiences were a mental colony and preferred white artists.] They didn't know black artists until we, in Motown in Manila, promoted "One Day In Your Life." [It was then that Manila had its first taste of Michael Jackson, and I became professionally and personally acquainted with the performer.] I was with him everyday, treated him to sapin-sapin. He asked me where I lived and I took him and his brothers to my place in Manila. He had adobo. […] [Tasked with promotions, artists and their repertoire, I became a constant presence for the singer on the Jackson 5's eight-day visit to Manila to promote their songs during Valentine shows at the newly-built Folk Arts Theater and the Araneta Coliseum.] I was driving, and as soon as he saw the horse accent on the Sarao jeep, he said: ‘Stop, I want that.’ I cut the jeep, and offered to buy it for P75, a lot of money back then. He unhinged it and gave it to me. [The 17-year old Michael embraced the horse. Since then, it has found a home in Neverland.]”

“[Back then, "One Day In Your Life" was a monster hit in Manila.] We asked the agent to include the song 'One Day In Your Life' in the repertoire because that's what the Philippines wanted. But Michael could not be prevailed upon, refusing to sing it, saying it wasn't in the charts. They were staying at the Manila Hilton. I woke him up and he said, `Hey, VJ, whats (sic) going on?" I had shown Michael a list of songs for the performance, including "One Day In Your Life" and asked him to sing it for the Filipino audience since Filipinos could relate to the song. After the first performance at the Folk Arts Theater, the show didn't do well and people were frustrated. Persistent, I convinced Michael to sing by producing the musical arrangement in a matter of hours. Michael rehearsed it and we were back in business.]”


“During that time, he couldn’t sleep. He was saying: ‘Could we do the rehearsals earlier?" […] He was kind to his brothers. He was a happy boy, and fun to be with. He didn't understand Tagalog, but when we laughed, he laughed, too, then asked what was funny. When we told him, he said, "See, I told you it was funny." That's how he is. I want to remember him the way he was at the Folk Arts Theater, the way I listen to his records, the way he says, ‘I like your adobo, please buy me that Sarao’. I want to remember him as a happy person. He really loved to dance and his voice is terrific -- one note higher than a falsetto when he sings. […] Michael dances, sings, composes. I think his music, his memory will be bigger than Elvis Presley and the Beatles.”

[Vic Jose, former Motown Label Manager in the Philippines; sources: www.abs-cbnnews.com, http://twitpic.com, www.positivelymichael.com]

 

“[…] I would also like to remind some in the media that the voice recording of Michael does not show/prove he was "an addict" -- and this leap to agree with the defense is unfair and inaccurate. The prosecution said my brother "was under the influence of UNKNOWN agents" at the time of that recording by Murray. That some people, Jane Valez Mitchell HLN and Ted Rwlands CNN, make statements saying this shows my brother to be "a drug addict" is not what was said in court re that recording. Events are upsetting enough without correspondents adding their own interpretation (or back-dating events to 1993). No-one can rule out the prospect that Michael was groggy because of something administered to make him relax/sleep. That does noke (sic) him an addict. I would also add that Murray was by his side "observing", as well as recording, so it can have nothing to do with drug dependency, because Murra(y’)s case is that he was unaware of any drug dependency. One more reason why "addict" is a leap to assumption in these circumstances. Some networks need to make this distinction clear and correct this imbalance. Bottom line: Michael did not kill Michael.”

[Jermaine Jackson; source: www.twitlonger.com]

 

“I thought (Dr. Murray taping Michael) was very suspicious, I thought it was very strange, I mean, not normal. […] I could just say that I have spent time with him (Michael), up until four or five months leading up to all of this on June 25th, and let me just say one thing: I want to make it very clear that I was very apprehensive, you know, Piers, about doing this interview, and I did speak to Mrs. Jackson and I got her blessing. Michael was a very very private person and - but I wanted to share with the public the Michael that I know and that I love. And I can tell you that, when he was living at the Bel Air Hotel for, I’d say, a good three months, and he had visited before and then he went back to Las Vegas, then he came into L.A., never ever exhibited any of that kind of behavior. (He was) the most attentive, wonderful father, there was no nanny there, I mean he was in charge and taking care of three children. (Inaudible) running here, making sure that they had their coat, that they – those children loved him, they were his life and he was their life. The most beautiful, well-behaved, lovely little angels, and I think that everybody can see that (…). […] People have been doing this to him (assassinate his character) for many years and it pained him so much and his entire family. This is a family that I’ve known since I was 13 years old. […]”

[Kathleen Elizabeth "Kathy" Hilton, American television host and actress – on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’; source: http://piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com]

 

“First of all, propofol is a powerful, dangerous anesthetic, it’s a liquid. It’s not a sleeping pill, it’s not an anti-anxiety pill, it’s not an anti-depressive pill. […] It doesn’t belong in a home, and even if it’s in the home, you had to have a proper equipment, a proper training personnel. (Dr. Murray) violated every ethical obligation he had as a doctor. Additionally, when your patient is near death, perhaps has passed away, and you’re talking to paramedics and police who are trying to save his life, you don’t withhold the fact that you gave propofol (like Dr Murray did.). And then when you go to the hospital, and people at the hospital are trying to revive him and save his life, and sometimes people are revived, you don’t withhold the fact that you gave propofol. Okay? It’s an outrage from A to Z. I am on the side of the prosecution. I am outraged at what he did to Michael Jackson. I don’t think any of this was necessary. I think he was greedy and selfish and foolish. He tried to cover his tracks and he got caught! ”

[Thomas Mesereau, Jr., attorney for Michael Jackson at his 2005 trial – on Inside Edition; source: www.legendarymichaeljackson.nl]


“What he gave Michael in terms of medical treatment was a disgrace, how he tried to cover it up was a disgrace, how he didn’t come clean with the paramedics and the cops and the doctors at the hospital is a disgrace, the whole thing is just absurd. […] This is a physician, he is a professional, he has ethical obligations, he has training and education, he should have looked at Michael and said, ‘(…) (Propofol) doesn’t belong in the home, we don’t have proper equipment, we don’t have proper personnel, I’m not gonna do it.’ That’s what a professional should’ve done. […] This is a horrible tragedy, this is a kind, special, generous, compassionate, artistic genius, who was taken from us by a doctor who violated his oath, didn’t do what he should’ve done and then tried to cover it up to save his skin and I hope he is convicted.”

[Thomas Mesereau, Jr., - sources: www.cnn.com, www.legendarymichaeljackson.nl]


“Michael Jackson's stage presence was undoubtedly incomparable. […] But I now (sic) ponder, were we just too enamored with the performer and his image, to realize the profoundness of the spiritual and life lessons he was teaching us all along - contained in the lyrics of his songs? Michael Jackson's passion, purpose and message was for peace, harmony, and equality in the world. He longed for simple experiences that we, today, continue to take for granted. He wanted normality. He wanted to be accepted as he was. Most importantly, he wanted to experience a childhood. Was his behavior as a "childlike man" a bit strange for some? Yes.... Maybe. However, if you have never experienced NOT having a childhood, you have no grounds for judgment. According to the Bible Scriptures - Luke 18: 16-17 states "I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it."

He said in an interview once, "If you really want to know about me, listen to the lyrics in my song – (Have You Seen My Childhood)." The lyrics are as follow: "Have You Seen My Childhood? / I'm searching for the world that I come from. / Cause I've been looking around, in the lost and found of my heart. / No one understands me, / They view it as such strange eccentricities... / Cause I keep kidding around. Like a child, but pardon me... / People say I'm not okay, / Cause I love such elementary things... / It's been my fate to compensate, for the Childhood I've never known... […] / Before you judge me, try hard to love me."

Michael Jackson suffered greatly internally. The only place he felt free was on stage. When he performed, he was "being" and in alignment with his divine purpose. He knew he wasn't being judged by his fans... we loved and still love him. He utilized his God-given talents and abilities with every fiber and cell in his body. He poured his heart and soul into each performance, with fans at every corner and stretch of the world receiving him. Michael Jackson sincerely loved us. He suffered even more at the condemnation and crude perceptions of those who have no conscience. Those individuals who use such cowardly covers stating: "I'm Just A Reporter Reporting The News," or "I Just Want To Sell My Tabloids." These vicious people sought fame and fortune, out of their own envious ways, destroying those to whom the stories are written about. They are so blinded by having the "exclusive story", that they are not stopping to even think about the detrimental effects of their actions. […] This, along with his personal issues, had kept Michael Jackson in constant emotional pain, mental pain and lifelong turmoil for most of his life.

Lyrics from his song "Tabloid Junkie" can best describe how he felt: "Speculate to break the one you hate./Circulate the lie you confiscate. / Assassinate and mutilate / As the hounding media in hysteria, / Who's the next for you to resurrect.. It's slander. / With the words you use. / You're a parasite in black and white. / Do anything for news. / And you don't go and buy it. / To read it sanctifies it."

Michael Jackson did not allow the public scrutiny to keep him from entertaining his fans. He remained persistent in his message and mission of bringing love unto the world, with such lyrics from his song "Another Part of Me" - "We're sending out A major love, / And this is our message to you. / The planets are lining up, / We're bringing brighter days. / They're all in line / Waiting for you. / Can't you see?..... You're just Another Part of Me."

We are all a part of each other. When you tear one down, we all suffer. Including those who are responsible for the act itself; they just don't know it yet. When one is in turmoil, we all are. When one is crying out for help, we need to answer. Michael Jackson cried and cried and cried. Not with tears streaming down his face; but rather with all the ways he changed the look of his appearance. The way we truly feel on the inside, will definitely reflect those same feelings on the outside. I think that because his childhood was so tumultuous, he maybe set out to take away any signs of how he looked. As this would be a permanent constant reminder. The public also contributed with negative reports of his prominent "African American" features and so on and so forth. What he didn't understand, I believe, was that his fans never complained. We loved Michael Jackson just as he was. I think he expected that changing his appearance on the outside, would also create new emotional and mental feelings for him on the inside. […]. Let's remember this Scripture from Matthew 7:2 - "Others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged."

Michael Jackson has served his purpose, has carried out his mission, and has delivered his message. […]

In Conclusion....... Lyrics To Michael Jackson's Song: "Gone Too Soon."

“Like A Comet, Blazing Cross The Evening Sky...Gone Too Soon.

Like A Rainbow, Fading In The Twinkling of an Eye......Gone Too Soon.

Shiny and Sparkly, and Splendidly Bright.

Here One Day.....Gone One Night.

Like A Castle, Built Upon A Sandy Beach......Gone Too Soon.

Like A Perfect Flower, That Is Beyond Your Reach...Gone Too Soon.

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight,

Here One Day....Gone One Night.

Like A Sunset, Dying With The Rising of The Moon,

Gone Too Soon.

Gone Too Soon.”

[Dr. Monica Burns-Capers, Ph.D; source: http://mj.vivomi.com]


“It's hard to believe that it's been over two years since the world first mourned the loss of the King of Pop. While some of his fans expressed remorse on June 25, 2009, many knew that the cost of Michael Jackson's death went far beyond his impeccable music. Although entertainment remains severely devoid of Michael's unmatched talent, perhaps even more profoundly, many charities and innocents around the planet no longer have the ability to benefit from his overwhelming generosity. And for his children and family, Michael's departure was and is felt on the deepest level as the daily battle to carry on without him continues. This week (of September, 2011), as the involuntary manslaughter trial for Dr. Conrad Murray (his doctor at the time) gets underway, it's important to keep in mind precisely who the accused criminal is -- and who the victim was.

During my teenage years, I had the pleasure of first being introduced to Michael. Both blessed to have received mentorship and guidance from the late great Godfather of soul, James Brown, we quickly formed a kinship and bond that was virtually like family. Even though I focused on advocacy/activism and he on creating incredible music, we were on the same social and political page and worked through our respective fields to bring light to inequality wherever and whenever we viewed it. Our friendship lasted through the decades, through all of the ridiculous false accusations and through a media frenzy that tried its hardest to paint him as somehow odd or peculiar, when he was only highlighting our own abnormality as a society.

In 1984, during Michael's Victory Tour, I took on the role of his community relations director. Working in such a capacity, I again witnessed the unprecedented reaction people from all walks of life had towards this man, his music and impact in the world. And whether it was openly reminding all of us to 'heal the world' or quietly giving away hundreds of millions of his own wealth to the impoverished, Michael's imprint everywhere was remarkable. And yet, many still attempted to portray him as somehow peculiar.

[…] Accused of violating standards of medical care by leaving Michael unattended and failing to call 911, (Dr. Murray’s) defense will do whatever they can to keep him from serving jail time. They'll argue his innocence, his years of service and most importantly, they will attempt to put Michael on trial yet again. (…) We heard the defense argue that Michael died from a combination of tranquilizers and a surgical anesthetic he took without Murray's knowledge. Defense attorney Ed Chernoff even stated that Michael took enough prescription drugs to 'put six of you to sleep', and then somehow he self-administered Propofol (anesthetic usually used in hospitals). It is an outrageous statement compounded by the fact that it is Dr. Murray himself that stands accused of administering Propofol in excessive quantities and then leaving Michael unattended.

Great talent comes with great consequences. As an artist, when you are so intricately in touch with emotions, and think and feel on a deeper level than most, you are often viewed as an outsider when you don't conform to conventional norms. That is the double-edged sword Michael dealt with throughout his lifetime. I had the unique pleasure of getting to know him for years and working with him on a host of issues. In 2002, Michael came to our National Action Network headquarters in Harlem as we marched together to Sony Music along with hundreds of supporters to demand his right to ownership of the very masterpieces he created. And I watched as many often tried -- and of course failed -- to vilify him over and over again. As I told Michael's children during his funeral in '09, ‘There was nothing strange about your daddy, it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.’

[…]”

[Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr., American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and television/radio talk show host; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]


“Please pray with me for justice, everyone. Michael was all about love, honestly, & changing the world! We all can learn from him!! I know he's my brother, but I've never met anyone as sweet and gentle as he was.”

[La Toya Yvonne Jackson; source: http://twitter.com/#!/latoyajackson]

 

“[…] (Dr. Murray) looks unprofessional. He looks mediocre. He looks narcissistic and selfish. At a time when he should be caring about his patient, he seems to be always caring about himself. […] He`s talking to them (his girlfriends) while he should be monitoring Michael Jackson. (…) He`s talking to them and concerned about them while Michael Jackson is basically dying. And -- and it just seems like everything he does is about ‘me, me, me’ and not about the patient, patient, patient. It`s a real problem. Even when Michael perhaps could have been saved, all he seems to think about is himself and his future and how he`s going to squirm out of this. […]”

[Thomas Mesereau, Jr. – interviewed on ‘Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“Well, we (Michael and I) started in January of 1980. And I'll never forget the first meeting. Michael had his sunglasses on. And in the middle of the interview, he leaned over and he said, ‘Branca, do I know you?’ I said, ‘I don't think so, Michael. I think this is the first time we've met.’ And he said, ‘Are you sure?’ And I said, ‘Michael, I think I would remember.’ [laughter] So we went for about a decade, and then on and off for pretty close to three decades. I was his principle business adviser through much of that period. And we had developed a friendship as well.”

“Michael was multifaceted. He was misunderstood in some ways, but we think that the movie "This Is It" gave fans a pretty good glimpse at the real Michael. He was a perfectionist and, at the same time, he was a humanitarian who respected the work of his fellow artists. […] Yes, Michael had great instincts, particularly with regard to marketing and promotion. He was always connected with his fans. And he's had a loyal fan base to this day.”

Michael was good friends with Paul McCartney. And after "Thriller," Michael had a lot of money, a lot of cash. So Michael asked me to call Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono, his good friends. He did not want to bid (the Beatles catalog) against them. And I spoke with Yoko. And I said, ‘Yoko, are you bidding on this catalog?’ And she said, ‘No.’ ‘We'd be thrilled if Michael could get it rather than some big corporation.’ I spoke to Paul McCartney's lawyer who said they were not bidding. So we went out. It took us a year to close that deal. It wasn't easy. There was a lot of competition. But Michael was passionate. He wanted to invest in things that he was passionate about. So we did buy the Beatles catalog. We later brought some Elvis Presley copyrights. And that publishing company now forms the cornerstone for his net worth. [The Beatles catalog is still a part of Michael’s estate.] Absolutely, yes. […] We bought the catalog in 1985. We spent $47.5 million, which is well known. We sold off a background music library. So his net investment was about $41 million. And while I can't give out confidential details, it's been reported that Sony ATV is worth upwards of $2 billion and Michael owns half. […] And I would say, in addition to Sony ATV, Michael has his own publishing company which is called ‘MiJac’, which owns all of his own songs, as well as many other songs we bought over the years. So when you add the two companies together, it's even more valuable. […] I'd like to comment on speculation about Michael's debt. Net worth, you know, one doesn't want to have to sell those assets. So you know, those are cornerstone assets that we keep on -- we plan on keeping for Michael's children and keeping those in the family.”

“My co-executor John Maclain and I -- let's face it, Piers, we're fortunate to represent Michael Jackson. Which makes our job an easy one in some senses. But I think the first thing we did is we made a decision to greenlight "This Is It," the motion picture. And I will say at the time we were criticized. People -- you know, some family members said Michael wouldn't want these rehearsal tapes out there. But John and I felt that you really saw Michael as a great artist and a great humanitarian. That was our first big decision. And it went on to become the biggest documentary and the biggest concert film of all time. And I think we converted even new followers for Michael.”

“I'm glad you mentioned (my) first wedding, because I have fond memories of Michael being the best man and Bubbles (being) in the tuxedo. It was priceless. It was priceless. In terms of coming back into Michael's life, we separated amicably in 2006. And I got a call from Michael's manager, Frank Dileo, about a month before we met. And Michael was excited and Frank was excited about the tour. And they wanted me to give some thought about some ideas of what we could do around the tour. Frank Dileo and I met several times. Then finally I met again with Michael about a week before he passed away. We met at the forum where he was rehearsing. And I'm so glad that we got that chance to see each other again. […] It wasn't a long meeting. You know, I was there for perhaps an hour. And Michael seemed fine. He seemed -- you know, there were different Michaels. I've seen Michael at times where he's been very introverted and very quiet, and other times where he's very extroverted. I think that night he was really preparing for the show. He was leaving for England soon. So it was hard to draw any conclusions from that meeting. […]”

“[…] Michael made a lot of money. And I probably believe it's true that he spent a lot of money. But he left a lot behind. He had a lot to show for it.”

Elvis came up in a different era, in the '50’s. I was a big Elvis fan. That's one of the reasons I got in the music industry. But Michael, you know, went to the Berry Gordy Motown school of the music business, and then learned from great teachers. One of the things I have found representing various members of the hall of fame is, as the generations have gone by, musicians have become very much smarter. And so Michael, I think, learned from his predecessors, as did I. And so he was able to control his assets in a way that previous entertainers had not. […] I think John Maclain and I have had the advantage of having a decades long relationship with Michael. John went to school with Michael and his brothers, managed Michael at one point. I was a principle business adviser since 1980. So we kind of knew how Michael thought, what kind of choices he would make. I was familiar with the assets. So we've been able to make decisions that we think were true to Michael. So therefore, we hope we're adding value to Michael's estate in that regard.”

“I did (read Michael’s will), to Mrs. Jackson and several of Michael's siblings. […] (It was) very emotional. Mrs. Jackson had lost her son. Michael's brothers and sisters have lost a beloved brother. And we gathered at Jermaine's house and read the will. And I left her with a copy of the will. I think we were all in a state of shock. No one could have anticipated Michael's passing. […] Michael's brother Jackie is a consultant to the estate, as is Michael's nephew, Taj. And of course, Mrs. Jackson and Michael's three children are the sole beneficiaries of the estate other than, of course, the contribution we will make to charity.”

“I remember a night, I believe it was in 1989, where Michael and I went to the first ever Cirque Du Soleil tent show, which was at the Santa Monica Pier. What I remember about that night, we were in a van. I was driving. And why we were in a van, I cannot remember. Michael had a nice car, I had a nice car. Here was Michael, the biggest star in the world. And we went with no security. And I was so nervous driving Michael, I got lost on the 405 freeway. So we ended up getting to the Cirque show. Michael was clearly captivated. He said to me, ‘Branca, we have to go backstage after the show.’ ‘Of course, Michael.’ So we go backstage and he wanted to meet the cast. I will never forget. I can't tell who was more excited, Michael to meet the cast or the cast to meet Michael. It was one of those magical nights. And subsequently, Michael visited Montreal on more than one occasion to meet with the Cirque owner, Gilles la Liberté. Michael was a big fan of Cirque. So John Maclain and I knew we had to create a live show. Berry Gordy called Michael the greatest entertainer who ever lived. So to do a live show properly, we knew it had to be something really special. You certainly couldn't put somebody up on stage to try to impersonate Michael. That would be absurd. So we considered the various alternatives. And lo and behold, we got a call from Gilles la Liberté, who said Cirque was interested in doing a Michael Jackson show. […] We figured this might be the perfect marriage. If you saw "This Is It," Piers, you see what a perfectionist Michael was. And we see the same level of detail in Cirque du Soleil. […] But we wanted to make sure this was a Michael Jackson show. Michael's fans want a Michael Jackson show. And Cirque was on board for that. We have hired many people who collaborated with Michael. The director, Jamie King, danced with Michael. Two of the choreographers, Travis Payne, (the) Tallajuega brothers, worked with Michael. There's a live band in the show, run by Greg Phillinganes, who played on all of Michael's albums and toured with Michael. So what you see, this is a traveling rock show that will travel to arenas throughout the world, live band, Michael's vocals, incredible visuals and incredible choreography. And you'll come away seeing something that I don't think has ever been done before, a Michael Jackson show done by Cirque du Soleil. […] There will be another show that's created permanently and specifically for a theater in Las Vegas in 2013.”

“I think (his status as a performer) was unparalleled. It's very rare you can see someone who can write the songs like Michael did, sing them with his vocal ability, choreograph them, produce them, and then go out and perform them. Anyone who could do any one of those things can be a star. Then you add in Michael's fashion sense and you have a one of a kind superstar. […]”

[John Branca, co-executor of Michael Jackson's Estate – interviewed on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’; source: www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael truly was one of a kind. There are very few legitimate icons in the entertainment business. A lot of people try to get to that level or are looked at in different ways, but Michael was really one of a kind. He had the ability to generate millions and millions of fans worldwide. That converted to huge numbers. And we see that, unfortunately, post-death, as well as when he was alive. An extraordinary individual. […] What differentiates Michael from others, in my opinion, the "This Is It" record -- or the "This Is It" film, (…) now the Cirque (du Soleil) shows. He was able to create additional businesses well beyond the music. And that's unusual.”

“I think (Michael’s family) were ill advised and the challenge (they made) was ill conceived. Michael clearly appointed John Maclain, John Branca to be the executors of his will, the trustees of his trusts. Ultimately, the court rejected the challenge. The court of appeals rejected the challenge. And John Maclain and John Branca are, in fact, the executors and the trustees. […] It's something we had planned on a year ago (to distribute $30 million to the will’s beneficiaries - his immediate family and children). It's only a preliminary distribution. You know, the court has a certain process we have to go through. You deal with IRS issues, state of California estate issues. But, ultimately, the executors, John Branca and John Maclain, decided that it was time for a preliminary distribution. Thirty million dollars went into Michael Jackson's family trust.”

“[I represented Michael over the child abuse allegations in 1993.] […] I think the pressures of any allegations, even though they're false and even though it turns out you're acquitted, put tremendous pressure on you. And I also think the demands of one's business can put pressures on you. I really am not privy to Michael's drug use. Again, only what I've read about and heard about. Either way, someone else pointing the finger at him as being responsible for his own death is a concept that I reject.”

“For me, when people ask me to describe Michael Jackson, I say push the play button on the video or on your iPod and that says it all.”

[Howard Weitzman, attorney for Michael Jackson’s Estate - interviewed on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’; source: www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael Jackson, Dangerous, and the Reinvention of Pop


As the traditional narrative has it, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album represented the end of an era: the death of pop and the rise, in its wake, of grunge, alt-rock, and hip-hop. Most critics point to the moment Nirvana’s Nevermind knocked Dangerous out of the #1 spot on the Billboard Charts as the symbolic turning point. Within months, muted flannel had smothered all trace of ‘80’s excess and flamboyance.


[…] Michael Jackson, meanwhile, the defining pop icon of the ‘80’s, created an album in Dangerous that had as much - or little - to do with pop as Nevermind did. The stylistic differences are obvious enough. Nevermind was rooted in punk rock and grunge, while Dangerous was primarily grounded in R&B/New Jack Swing. Yet both expressed a strikingly similar sense of alienation, with many songs functioning as a kind of confessional poetry. Compare Cobain’s lyrics from “Lithium”—“I’m so happy / Cause today I found my friends / They’re in my head”—to Jackson’s on “Who Is It”—“It doesn’t seem to matter / And it doesn’t seem right / ‘Cause the will has brought no fortune / Still I cry alone at night.” Both albums also contained their share of catchy pop hooks and choruses while introducing more underground sounds to mainstream audiences, and both albums were sung by wounded, sensitive souls who happened to be brilliant marketers/mythmakers. Sonically, Dangerous shared little in common with the work of fellow pop stars like Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey. Its tone was much more ominous, gritty, urban, and industrial. In short films like “Black or White”, Jackson was likewise exploring darker territory, shocking middle-class audiences with his raw expression of pain and indignation at racism. Ironically, it was the “establishment pop star,” not the outsider grunge band, whose music video was censored following public outcry over its controversial coda. “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, meanwhile, was in such heavy rotation it had one MTV executive gushing that they had “a whole new generation to sell to.”

[…]

The point is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, by the end of 1991, Nirvana was as much “pop” as Michael Jackson - and Michael Jackson was as much “alternative” as Nirvana. Both artists’ albums were released by major labels and had similar commercial and chart successes, though they were measured against much different expectations. Each produced hit singles. Each elicited memorable videos and performances that played side-by-side on MTV. And each has now sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide. Nevermind (…) has received far greater critical acclaim, both for its cultural import and artistic substance. Yet 20 years later, Dangerous is gaining admirers as more people move beyond the extraneous nonsense that was so prominent in contemporaneous reviews and pay attention to its content: its prescient themes, its vast inventory of sounds, its panoramic survey of musical styles. The bottom line is this: If indeed it is considered a pop album, Dangerous redefined the parameters of pop. How else to explain an album that mixes R&B, funk, gospel, hip-hop, rock, industrial, and classical; an album that introduces one song (“Will You Be There”) with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and another (“Dangerous”) with what sounds like the heart of a steel-city factory; an album that can alternately be paranoid, cryptic, sensual, vulnerable, idealistic, bleak, transcendent, and fearful? Even the album cover - an acrylic painting by pop surrealist Mark Ryden, featuring a circus-like mask through which Jackson gazes back at his audience - signifies a new depth and awareness.

[…]

Jackson sets the tone from the opening track. In place of the pristine, cinematic grooves of Bad, is something more attuned to the real world, something more edgy and urgent. The shattering glass at the beginning of “Jam” fittingly symbolizes the breakthrough. Dangerous was Jackson’s first album without legendary producer Quincy Jones. Many thought he was crazy to part ways with Jones, given the pair’s unprecedented success together. Yet Jackson liked challenges and was invigorated by the idea of acting as executive producer and working with a fresh canvas. He began experimenting with a group of talented producers and engineers he had developed relationships with in the previous years, including Bill Bottrell, Matt Forger, and Bryan Loren; later in the process, he also brought back longtime engineer, Bruce Swedien. What resulted from the recording sessions - which spanned from 1989-1991 - was his most socially conscious and personally revealing album to date. Perhaps the most significant addition to the new creative team, however, wasn’t made until the final year. Jackson remained dissatisfied with many of the rhythm tracks. He wanted them to hit harder, to feel edgier. With this in mind, he reached out to then-23-year-old New Jack Swing innovator, Teddy Riley. Since the release of Bad in 1987, R&B and hip-hop had evolved in a variety of directions, from the provocative rap of Public Enemy, to the sexual bluntness of L.L. Cool J., to the aggressive New Jack Swing of Bobby Brown and Guy. Jackson wanted to take elements from all of the latest innovations and sounds, and bend, contort, and meld them with his own creative vision. While Dangerous is often characterized as New Jack Swing - because of Riley’s presence, no doubt - Jackson’s appropriation of the style is clear. The beats are often more dynamic and crisp, the rhythms more syncopated, the sound more visceral and industrial. Found sounds are used as percussion everywhere: honking horns, sliding chains, swinging gates, breaking glass, crashing metal. Jackson also frequently implements beatboxing, scatting, and finger-snapping.

Take a song like “In the Closet” and compare it to other late ‘80’s/early ‘90’s New Jack Swing. The differences are striking. Listen to the way the elegant piano intro gives way to the erotic, gyrating beat. Listen to how the song builds tension and releases, builds tension and releases, before the climax explodes at the 4:30 mark. Listen to the agile vocal performance, from the hushed, confessional narration, to the tight falsetto harmonies, to the passionate sighs, gasps and exclamations. It is one of Jackson’s most sexually charged songs, yet it still manages a certain subtlety and intrigue (…). Unlike most R&B and pop songwriters, Jackson’s “love songs” almost always contain a certain (…) dramatic tension, and mystery. See, also, “Dangerous”, which contains the lyric: “Deep in the darkness of passion’s insanity / I felt taken by lust’s strange inhumanity.”

It is the second half of the Dangerous album, however, that really showcases Jackson’s artistic range. Following the declarative blockbuster, “Black or White”, Jackson unveils one of the most impressive songs in his entire catalog, the haunting masterpiece, “Who Is It”. For those who still believe the myth that Jackson’s work declined after the ‘80’s, this track alone should dispel the notion. Not only is it expertly crafted (rivaling “Billie Jean”), it is Jackson at his most emotionally raw: “I can’t take it ‘cause I’m lonely!” “Give in to Me” continues the dark tone, as Jackson unleashes pent-up angst over Slash’s blistering guitar stabs. It is a song that would be right at home alongside the contrasting quiet/loud song dynamics on Nevermind or the rough, metallic textures of U2’s Achtung Baby.


What comes next? A prelude taken from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, naturally, followed by two songs - “Will You Be There” and “Keep the Faith” - rooted in black gospel. Jackson then closes the album with a tender expression on the transience of life (“Gone Too Soon”), inspired by AIDS victim, Ryan White, before returning full circle to the industrial New Jack Swing of the title track.


For some, this kind of eclectic, maximalist approach to an album was viewed scornfully. Dangerous was criticized for being too long, over-the-top, and unfocused. What in the world, skeptics asked, was a song like “Heal the World” doing on an album with “Jam” and “Dangerous”? Certainly, it fell in contrast to the sustained sound and theme of an album like Nevermind. Jackson, of course, could have easily gone this route by adding a few more songs to the seven rhythm tracks he created with Teddy Riley. Yet ultimately, it was an aesthetic choice. Jackson valued diversity and contrast, both sonically and thematically. He loved the idea of surprising an audience with an unusual song sequence, or an unanticipated shift in mood. If traditional R&B couldn’t express a certain emotion, he found a style that could (thus, the epic, Biblically-rooted pathos of “Will You Be There” turns to classical and gospel). Albums, he believed, were journeys - and as he would later explain in reference to his This Is It concert series, he wanted to take people places they’d never been before. (TST addition: he wanted to be helped heal an increasingly dangerous, thus wounded planet.)

[…]

Yet regardless of stylistic preferences, one must at least acknowledge the sheer audacity and talent of an artist who was able to draw from such disparate sources and create in such a variety of genres. Could Axl Rose do New Jack Swing? Could Kurt Cobain do hip hop? Could Chuck D do gospel? Yet Michael Jackson worked as comfortably with Slash as he did the Andrae Crouch Singers Choir or Heavy D. What, then, is the legacy of Dangerous twenty years later? It was an artistic turning point for Jackson, shifting his focus to more socially conscious material, ambitious concepts, and a broader palette of sounds and styles. It is also the culminating expression of the New Jack Swing sound, contributing to late ‘80’s/early ‘90’s R&B what albums like Nevermind and Ten did for rock. His R&B-rap fusions set the blueprint for years to come (…). In terms of the overall music scene in 1991 - which truly was a remarkable year for music – (…) it does stand alongside it (and a handful of other records) as one of the early decade’s most impressive artistic achievements. In the end, Nirvana and company may have killed off ‘80’s rock. But if pop was dead, its “king” had successfully created alternatives.


[Joseph Vogel, author of three books, including forthcoming ‘Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson’, journalist for The Huffington Post and PopMatters, instructor at the University of Rochester in N.Y.; source: www.popmatters.com]

 

 

“It’s the strangest feeling being on this stage (at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium in Wales -- for the ‘Michael Forever’ tribute concert). I’ve done hundreds of shows over the years with Mike, and I’m so used to looking to my left and there he is. When I hear the music, I always hear him. […] This is our last hoorah with Mike. […] It was always like that with Slim (his nickname for Michael). You never knew what was true or what was gossip, and for me I didn’t care. I used to ask him, 'Doesn’t it hurt?’ and he said, 'If they’re talking about you, that means they’re thinking about you.’ So I approach it the way my friend would have wanted me to, which is no matter what happens, his music will be right.”

“[There won’t be any video footage or musical excerpts featuring Jackson himself at the Cardiff concert, for copyright reasons.] In our opening, we thought about having different people say 'Michael’, 'Michael’, 'Michael’, but I put a stop to it, because I felt it was such downer to do all that and then him not appear. Usually when you hear that, what you see popping out of a toaster or space shuttle is Mike. But this time you’d see Ne-Yo or Leona Lewis. No disrespect to all the artists, but in my personal opinion, there was no one better, and I don’t see anyone being better than Slim.”

[Kevin Dorsey, musical director, backing vocalist; source: www.telegraph.co.uk]

 

 

“Michael was not a musician, but he had the ears of a musician, there was nothing that he didn’t hear. Always in the show, if someone made a mistake, he’d turn around and smile and point at them. He could hear through everything. [I recall my first rehearsals with him, for the Bad tour in 1988.] We were two hours and twenty minutes into the show, and there was a lighting error, and Michael said, ‘All right, let’s go to the top.’ I thought, ‘OK, go to the top of the song, get it over with and take a break’. I thought I had six minutes left. And the other guys looked at me, they laughed, and said, ‘Wait and watch.’ He didn’t mean the top of the song, he meant the top of the show. I had to do another two hours and 26 minutes. I said right there, this is going to be quite a run.”

“He was not one of the guys, who’d go out with us to the Hard Rock and kick back with a beer. But we would have fun. He laughed a lot, (was) quite a joker, he loved what he did. His work was his play. [He didn’t tour more often because of what it took out of him.] When he comes off that stage, there’s nothing left. Nothing left. Then he goes back to the hotel, he showers, eats, looks at the performance that we had that night, and then rehearses until four or five in the morning. I’ve never seen anyone with that work ethic, that just refuses to be nothing less than perfect. A big thing was him being able to do things on his own terms. He was always comfortable when we worked twice a week, when we pushed him to three and four shows a week, it just wouldn’t work. I’m not saying he was not in the physical condition, but when you put out like that, you just don’t have that three and four times a week, it’s virtually impossible… He gave so much, but you can only spread yourself so thin. How much does anyone have to give? […] I’m so used to hearing (indications) from him (when we perform his songs), I know there’s (sic) certain parts to the song where he would dig in, and you need that, ‘cause it takes us to the next gear, and then as he gets to the vamp, he digs in one more time, and we go up to the next gear. And an artist can be performing, and I’m waiting for that to kick in, and in their own way they do it, but no one can do it like him. This band is pushing all the vocalists. Either you get down like you live, or the band is going to take it over. With other artists, I don’t know the intensity of their performance. With Slim, you always know what you’re gonna get… and that’s everything.”

[Kevin Dorsey; source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk]


“(…) He was the most alive person you could ever meet. […] To me he was the epitome of excellence. This guy was totally involved in everything, more involved than I have seen any musician in my thirty years of career. In rehearsals, when musicians go through a run through, you might sing a wrong note or play a wrong chord and make a face like, ‘Oops, hope they didn’t hear that’. Sometimes the artist will catch you, sometimes they won’t. Michael would go through three or four songs in a row, and he’d be so into entertainment mode, he would rehearse as if there were thirty or forty thousand people in front of him. Then he’d stop and go, ‘Now in the first song, second verse, there should have been this part, and in the second song, first verse, you did this, then on the beginning of the third verse …’ Like, how did he hear it, first of all, and how did he retain it when he was doing his performance to even come back and correct us? That was amazing to me.”

[Romeo Johnson, American singer, songwriter, composer, and vocal coach; source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk]


“All I know is when I was with him, he was the sweetest person in the world. When he came on stage, he was always happy, always trying to help. When he heard anything that was out of key or wasn’t the right part, he would hum the exact notes he wanted and then he would end it with, ‘I’m telling you with love.’ It was never, ‘Hey, what are you doing over there!’, it was always ‘Maybe you should try this, with love’. You wanna play for a person like that.”

[Tommy Organ, American guitarist; source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk]


“[…] (I’ve been very close to Michael’s mother, Katherine). It`s got to be tough. She`s a, you know, really sweet lady who loves her children, loves her grandchildren, and of course, you know, just had a great love and affection for Michael. So just so you know, any mother, to be part of something like this (the trial of Conrad Murray), to have to continue to live it over and over again, to hear, you know, nasty details and rumors and speculations - it`s got to be tough. […] And so you know, it`s just tough to see that she has to go through something like this, you know, especially trying to dig and get the truth to see what`s going on and what happened there. […] But, you know, from early on since Michael`s death, I think her preparation is really trying to - I would say is to make sure that those grandkids, that those kids are, you know, being well taken care of, kind of protected, away from this circumstance as much as possible, you know. Michael and the rest of the Jackson family have been celebrities for a long time. And so she has kind of grown up with them in the spotlight. But now having to, you know, really kind of keep Michael`s kids away from (the trial) and away from the news and away from some of those gory details is probably, you know, again, where she will focus the most as a grandmother, just protecting the family. […] We spoke - you know, I just called to send my condolences and spoke to her and shared my love for her once Michael passed. But you know, I think that we all have medical professionals and we trust them. And if you have someone as your doctor around you, you trust them for their advice and their expertise. And I think that`s where she`s looking at for him to be a doctor inside the house, that he should have had a responsibility to make sure Michael was OK. […] I mean, again, you know, (the) loss of a child is going to be one of those things that you will never be able to replace -- that feeling, that emptiness. But if indeed you find that someone is, you know, the culprit, someone who actually contributed to that, then that brings a little bit of closure to the situation. So I`m sure that that would be very helpful. It could also be disheartening if, indeed, you know, the case didn`t turn out that way (and Murray walks away free). So I would love for her to have some closure, you know, to Michael`s death at this stage and be able to start to mend and start to heal to whatever degree that, you know, she could find comfort in that, you know, as a mother, you know.”

“[…] I mean, of course, there are many great (memories that I have of Michael). But I`m sure - well, one that was very personal was that Michael called me at my house one day. And I mean, I didn`t have his number or anything, and it was just like getting a call from the White House or something. It was, like, my phone rang and I picked up. And he was like, "Is this Cedric?" And I said, "Yes." He was like, "You have a call from Michael Jackson." And I thought it was a joke. He was like, "Hey, man, it`s Michael." And he was really - he loved the movie "Johnson Family Vacation." And he thought it was a great family film. And he wanted to personally call me and thank me. That was probably one of my biggest memories of Michael Jackson. […] But that was kind of his personality, man. If he wanted to say something to you, he`d track you down.”

[Cedric Antonio Kyles, better known as ‘Cedric the Entertainer’, American actor and comedian – on HLN’s ‘Showbiz Tonight’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]

 

“I’ve always told people – they’ve asked me questions like, ‘What do you think Michael really represented when he was here on earth?’ And my first answer is not music, it’s his heart, what he did for people, how he tried to change the world and make the world a better place, and cared about the sick and needy, and those are very important, and he put that actually before his music. And what he brought from the music is to help others, to help build children’s hospitals, to help people who need an education, or anything that a family would need, Michael provided. If there was a family that needed Christmas, he would send over 5,000 dollars to that family so they’ll have a beautiful Christmas… And that was the true Michael Jackson. The things that you don’t hear about, that we know he did, is what makes him a very beautiful person. He never wanted publicity or (to) brag about it, or we’d just look at him like he’s – he just did it out of the heart.”

“Michael was 8 years old when he did his first – 8 or 9 when he did his first recording, and we’re just children having fun on the road and we had to do something, ‘cause you usually, when you’re around that age, you want to be running around on a playground or whatever kids do at that age. But we were on stage. So when we’d run on the stage, we made our own activities and fun and that’s some of the things we did.”

[Toriano Adaryll "Tito" Jackson, American singer and lead guitarist and original member of The Jackson 5, elder brother of Michael Jackson; source: www.walesonline.co.uk]


“I think that – I think that this family has been very fortunate. Meaning God has blessed with a musical gift. And God just don’t (sic) bless you with something for no reason, I mean without a reason being behind it. I think the reason being is that the international power that the family has as a whole, and Michael took it to another level, what are you gonna do with that? I think our mission was to go out and bring people together as one through our music and have them to just enjoy themselves, and that started from the Jackson 5 days. When we used to do concerts, we’d go visit the hospitals and the sick kids and things of that nature, and bring joy into their lives. To try to unite people as one and unify the planet, unify the world as one, and that’s what the world needs: a peaceful front, a peaceful environment.”

“[…] I want to enjoy the other side of my brother’s life, the joyful side. […] It’s just every-day things (we would do), ‘cause it’s our brother and this is what we did. And it wasn’t something (like), ‘Oh, what is it that he’s going to do behind the scene, or what is Jackie (going to do)?’ It’s just that’s what we did, I mean we just played tricks, we had fun, we had water-balloon (fights), we used to go on the road and have water-balloon fights and throw water balloons out the window, I mean we did the craziest stuffs (sic).. You know, just having fun. Just being brothers.”

[Marlon David Jackson, American entertainer, singer, dancer, original member of the Jackson 5, elder brother of Michael Jackson; source: www.walesonline.co.uk]

 

* (!) [The following several interviews and articles of sensitive content – and, as you might have noticed, the likes of them have sporadically been included in our Remember.. section – are solely being reproduced here in accordance with The Silenced Truth’s mission: that of shedding light and a better understanding on the truth that is being often deliberately withheld and charicaturized from the public with respect to Michael Jackson. TST does not seek to violate his much cherished private life or anyone’s, for that matter. Michael Jackson’s private life, however, has been continuously violated - dissected, distorted and misrepresented – on too many an occasion to the media – albeit not excepting the media, and presently, as the “People vs Conrad Murray” trial (in 2011) is unfolding and being broadcast live through various media outlets.

We also wish to emphasize on that we do not support any book, documentary or biography being released that tackles Jackson’s private life, which all too often includes massive speculation, sensationalized details and either white or gross deceptions for ratings, money or an infamous renown. A truth ca be expressed in one or few (unpaid, if possible) interviews only, and without cheaply delving into intimate aspects which not any normal, rational human being would appreciate being aired or written and speculated about. TST’s aim is not to make use and abuse of Michael Jackson’s personal life, but to try to correct, in certain aspects, and as tastefully as possible, some myths and untruths grossly disseminated by the media, and make known/underline traits of his character and ethics through the words of the people who knew him or interpret him accurately based on the genuineness and positive impact he continues to have on many others.]


“I hope the "rent-a-pundits" on TV were listening to this week's lab results that prove there was no Demerol in Michael's body when he died. Finally, the truth comes out to nail the speculative bull**** that has filled air-time by people who prefer to fill in the blanks rather than stick to facts from court: that there is NO evidence of what my brother was 'under' at the time of Murray's audio recording; there is NO evidence that Michael was "addicted" to Propofol as some, like Dr Drew, have guessed; there is NO evidence that Michael's insomnia was linked to Demerol usage (a defense theory). I have grown tired of the assumptions attached to the audio recording of Michael - the 2+2=5=slurred speech=addict argument that follows some kind of ESPN-style analysis that is not only a travesty to the truth, but to the memory of a man who is not here to speak up for himself. This week, the EXPERT evidence shuts up those pundits, ex-friends and attorneys who have seemed determined to paint Michael out to be something he was not in the years before his death. I'll say it again: events in 1993 and 2001/02 have nothing to do with my brother's death in 2009. Michael was not an addict. He was an insomniac desperate for sleep. We endure this evidence, because we want answers -- and this vindication from the lab results is one of those irrefutable answers.]

[Jermaine Jackson; source: www.twitlonger.com]


“The answer is yes. (My client, Dr. Adams, gave Michael propofol) 4 times. […] When Michael Jackson had these dental surgeries in 2008. And we - I actually did give a press conference on that particular issue. Now, those are documented, we have the medical records, there were 4 times in 2008, and those are properly documented procedures. And, by the way, just so you know, (…) my client doesn’t run around giving people propofol in their homes. No, he does them in medical settings and for appropriate procedures. […] First of all, Dr. Murray is lying. And I believe he can – I think he has proven himself to be a good liar, because – actually, a bad one at that – let me explain to you: my client has only met Dr. Murray once. And he met Dr. Murray the first week of April, 2009, (…) asking him to come to his house for a meeting with Michael Jackson and himself, my client said, ‘No, I don’t know who you are. I’m not gonna meet you at your house.’ So, they agreed to meet at Dr. Murray’s office. Okay? Now, at that office meeting, Mr. Jackson asked my client to join (him) in the tour in Europe. And then my client gave him a list of his requirements, from licensing to the possible association of his sleep specialist and told him what he wanted. Now, a few days after that meeting, Dr. Murray called my client back and said, ‘Well, look, you know, we think that what you’re asking is too much, but we’re gonna take care of it, but tell us how much money you want.’ Now, my client said, ‘Look, if you, guys, want me to be gone a year, that means I have to close my practice down. Well, this is how much I need. The total is gonna be about 1.3 million (dollars).’ Now, Murray says, ‘I can get somebody to do it for 600,000!’ Okay? Now, my client says, ‘Look, you can get somebody to do it for 200,000, but you’re gonna be giving Michael Jackson the 200,000 (for) a funeral.’ Now, Murray never called my client back… [gets interrupted by host] […] He said, basically, for 600,000 he could do whatever it is and hire whatever other doctor that he needed to hire to do the work. […] [Dr. Adams never told Dr. Murray, ‘Oh, (Michael) loves that drug, he does so well under propofol’,] absolutely not. […] Now, what happened, okay, to Michael Jackson was the result of Dr. Murray’s greed. He – not only did he not hire another specialist, okay, he decided to hire himself and he didn’t know what he was doing. And let me tell you something: if Michael Jackson had hired who he wanted to hire, he would still be alive today. Dr. Murray overruled Michael Jackson and hired himself. Because if my client had been hired, Dr. Murray would not have been given the 200,000 dollars a month. Because there would be no need for him. Now, my client would have hired the necessary sleep specialists to work with him, (…). Murray did not want anybody else close to Michael Jackson. He had absolute control over that man. Okay? So I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing or why he’s trying to drag my client (into) this mess. He killed that man… by himself. […] We’re gonna be looking at the possibility of instituting civil action against Dr. Murray. […] My client will sue. […] I can’t even begin to tell you how angry (my client) is. I mean, for Murray to – first of all, what happened to Michael Jackson happened in June (of 2009). Okay? My client only met Murray one time. I mean, for Murray to think that he could lie his way out of it – (these) are the words of a desperate man. So, he wants to take down whoever he can with him. […] My client has put over six thousand people to sleep. They all woke up. That’s what Dr. Murray needs to remember. […]”

[Libo Agwara, attorney for Dr. and anesthesiologist David Adams – on ‘Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell’; source: http://site2.mjeol.com]


“[In those final weeks,] Michael was a very – he was in good spirits, in good shape and everything when I trained him (for the ‘This Is It’ shows), apparently he was very careful, he trusted me, because he knew that I knew his body, you know, with the cardio and weight trainings, and he was determined to make the greatest comeback in history. […] I’ve known him for 20 years, he always said he had a sleeping problem, he said, ‘I wish I could sleep’, and that’s always been a problem with him. But he says, sometimes he won’t sleep for two days at a time, he told me this, like, 15 years ago, it’s always been a factor of Michael (…).”

[Louis Jude "Lou" Ferrigno, American actor, fitness trainer/consultant, and retired professional bodybuilder – on ‘Showbiz Tonight’; source: www.cnn.com]


“[After the recording of Michael’s voice was heard in court on Wednesday, I want to say this:] NOW will you understand? Those of you who doubted… Those of you who accused… Those of you who were so insensitive? Those who didn’t and couldn’t understand? You ridiculed, judged, persecuted and hounded… Drove him into the ground! Now, do you see? After hearing the recordings yesterday - The recordings from the heart of his soul? Even when and while he was in the control of and under the influence of (Murray,) who aided, abetted and supplied his impairment of state of being, he was focused on caring - caring for others. Dedicating his future, his life, his heart, his mind and his soul to the needs of those, who are left to suffer. Even in the face of what he was dealing with, 9it) was evident on the betrayal taped recording. From a genuine loving man… these sentiments flowed. “My babies!” “My children!” “I must help them.” “They need help.” “I want to help them.” “I love them all!” Angelic indeed! A loving man who walked and labored among us. Bore compassion for and with others in mind - Can you finally see the beautiful man? Wonderful human being?  Truly, honestly wonderful! (…) doing God’s Work. God’s will. Behind the scenes, un-publicized. Hopes and dreams recorded in private… though by betrayal.


Those who doubted…You NOW have compassion for the one who showed, had and bore compassion for and towards SO many others in dire need(?) All those who now will never come to know, the benefits of his hearts (sic) desire to help them. Help that because of what has been done, will and shall never come. Help, now never to arrive for all those he spoke and hurt for. Children all over the world who needed him. All those with no hope - his help and caring was forthcoming. Now, never to be realized. […]”

[Jonathan Moffett, drum solo artist; source: MJWN, www.mjworld.net (with special thanks to Jonathan Moffett & Paula)]


“[…] During the time I was working with him (during the child abuse trial), which was a very difficult, stressful time, he was always articulate, always conversational, always cooperative. A delightful client to work with (…). […] The other thing I want to say is, that I consider Michael to have been one of the nicest, kindest human beings ever created. He had a mission to try and help the world. Even when he`s intoxicated (under the influence of medication), if he is, and slurring his words and it`s very sad to listen to, he still was talking about building a children`s hospital. That`s the Michael I knew -- caring, decent, honorable, and wanting to use his greatest talents to help the world. […] Unfortunately, Michael Jackson attracted one profiteer after another. I don`t think Michael really trusted any adult. He was just -- felt that everyone who got near him eventually, you know, showed their true colors and wanted to get something out of him. Unfortunately, I think this doctor recorded him, so he could sell that recording and make some money. It sounds horrible, but I believe it`s true, because many other people tried it throughout his lifetime. […] People were always trying to get something from Michael, record Michael, get a photo of Michael, and try and profit from it. […]”

“(…) My job in defending him was not to learn about his medical history. My job was to defend him against conspiracy charges and child molestation charges. […] I wanted an acquittal. […] [In 2005, he showed up in pajamas for the trial] because he was at the hospital with a back injury. The judge got very upset and gave him 45 minutes to get to court or he was going to yank his bail and put him in jail for the rest of the trial. And I told him ‘Don`t go home and change, come to the courthouse.’ It really was my doing, my fault, my responsibility. I still think I did the right thing, because I did not want him remanded to jail. It would have been awful for him to do that. […] I`m a great believer in my profession. I love being a criminal defense lawyer. And I think we do more to preserve freedom and civil liberties than any other group I know. And we`re not always understood and we`re often attacked. (Although) I`m on the prosecution`s side in this case, because I think what this doctor did was outrageous and caused Michael`s death (…). […] My understanding, as the medical evidence shows, (is) that Propofol killed him, nothing else. If that`s true, this doctor is completely responsible. He was the professional, he was the one who was supposed to look at Michael and say, ‘Michael, (…) we don`t have proper trained personnel. I`m not an anesthesiologist, I don`t have a nurse anesthetist. I don`t have the proper breathing equipment, heart monitoring equipment, we`re not going to use it.’ That was his obligation to say that. […] He didn`t die before he got in this doctor`s hands. If another doctor gave him Propofol, apparently they did it according to medical standards from everything I know. This guy (didn’t even know how to do CPR). It`s unbelievable. […] It`s unbelievable. […] I`m biased, because I`m appalled by what this man did, and I`m appalled at what he took from all of us in taking Michael Jackson`s life. […]”

[Thomas Mesereau, Jr. – on ‘Joy Behar Show’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“So many people were trying to exploit Michael Jackson... get mementos from him. Michael had trouble getting close to people, because he would think he had a friend and he would try to be a good human being to someone, and the next thing he knew, they were suing him, they'd recorded him without him knowing it. And I think that is was one of the reasons he felt so comfortable with the world's children [whom he tried to help] and with animals. He was a sensitive, kind, decent, creative genius... even during the [2005] trial, I can't tell you how many celebrities who he thought were his friends, in his darkest hour, didn't want to help out. And it was very, very painful and crushing to him. Now the exception to that are Chris Tucker and Macaulay Culkin. Two people I will always have respect for. Both of those guys said to me in no uncertain terms, "When Michael needs us, we're going to be there. Just tell us when.”

[Thomas Mesereau, Jr.; source: www.facebook.com]

 

“(…) I think, ‘Come on, everybody is making money’, they’re just making money off him again… You know? That kid really never had a life without somebody saying, ‘You know what, we can make money off of this, Michael’... I think. […] No, I didn’t (experience people making money off of me). No, I was so lucky! Because I didn’t – in Hollywood, I didn’t care, or anything, about it. I wanted to go to New York, somewhere by myself .. you know? And no, I was lucky enough to not have anybody, you know, on me like that. I didn’t know – I made furniture for shows, I did anything. But with Michael, it’s - when I first met Michael, he was a kid, you know, and as he grew up, he was so funny, he was really funny. And he was interested in everything. He loved my dad, you know, so I used to take him to visit my dad, and he’d have dinner with, you know, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and the Gregory Pecks and all these people, I mean, he was like a sponge for information and a wonderful conversationalist. Really. […]”

“See, he worked like nobody else. We’d go to Martha Graham, because I knew Martha Graham, you know, and I danced in one of her ballets. So, we’d go over there and he’d sit in the corner - there were (the) two us (in the corner), you know, we’d watch, and then everybody would break in, we’d go running into the other room and try to remember what we’d seen and do it. It was fun.”

[Liza May Minnelli, American actress, singer – on the ‘Ellen (Degeneres Show)’; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“I met the legendary Michael Jackson back in February, 1978 when I lived in Trinidad, West Indies. He came there with his brothers, The Jacksons, for a concert. It was a chance meeting that I will never forget that lasted for almost one whole week! When I talk about that time, it sounds so far fetched. If I didn't have the pictures and autographs to prove it, I wouldn't believe it either. One of the pictures (…) is of Michael and I at Las Cuevas Beach in Trinidad. He was such a gentle, humble, and truly special person. Even back then I could tell he was a perfectionist, a musical genius who loved to entertain people. Can you name one performer out there today who can truly entertain people the way Michael did and command an audience?”

[Vanessa Lee-Fook, Michael Jackson fan; source: http://www.fanpop.com]


“I just felt he was a phenomenal singer. Yeah, very unusual. And he had such a charisma, you know? Singing like that just doesn't come along every day. There's just something special about him. [I last saw him years ago when he was touring with the Jackson Five. But, I followed his career and count myself as a fan.] All of them are my favorite. Anything he sang. ‘Billy (sic) Jean’. All of them. They are all my favorites. […] He was a perfectionist, you know? He had to have everything just perfect and I think that put him under a lot of stress.”

“I think you should remember the good things that he did in life. The songs that he did and how he tried to pull people together. Because I feel that Michael was a person that really loved the world. And even in a lot of his music, he expresses that. And, I think that is a legacy that we can all look on with beautiful memories of him.”

[Maurice Jackson, Michael Jackson’s second cousin (whose father was Michael’s great uncle); sources: www.newson6.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Michael heard A. R. Rahman's Vande Mataram’ -- which we had produced -- and wanted to work with Rahman and us. He was good friends with S. P. Hinduja, Chairman of The Hinduja Group, and got in touch with us through him. He wanted to dance on an Indian song. So we recorded the song ‘Ekam Satyam’ and took it to to him. I met him for the first time in Paris. It was a great honour to meet and produce a song for him. He was very humble and creative. When he heard the song, he was very thrilled. In fact, when he put on the headphones to listen to the song, he started tapping his feet and tapping his band on his thigh in rhythm with the beats. He was enjoying himself. It was nice to see the way he heard the song. He wanted us to take this song to Munich where a fundraiser concert (‘Michael Jackson and Friends’) was organised for the Red Cross by Nelson Mandela in 1999. Michael Jackson asked us to bring Indian dancers for the concert. So we took Indian dancers, as well as Prabhu Deva and Shobhana. Before the concert, we met again to get his costume measurements. We wanted him to wear Indian costumes and he readily agreed. On the day of the concert, I wanted to take a video of him backstage. He was very cool and not nervous at all. He was very passionate about what he was doing. He loved music so much. One interesting thing about Michael Jackson was that he was vegetarian, and loved Indian food. He took an Indian chef to Munich. He loved Indian culture, Indian food and the song and dance in our films. I love his songs, but my favourite is (…) You are not alone, They don't care about us, Heal the world, Childhood, Thriller and Man in the Mirror. I miss him a lot. I cannot forget my first meeting with him till date.”

[Kanika Myer Bharat, film and music producer; sources: http://movies.rediff.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“In 1999, Satya devi dasi, of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir in Brooklyn, New York, twice catered prasadam for the late Michael Jackson at private dinners for two with a man we know in New York City. When she offered the singer a copy of the Bhagavad-gita, he said he already had the book. The host then asked if the book Jackson had was Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is; Jackson confirmed that it was. When presented with a first-edition (of) Krishna Art book, he looked through the illustrations and said he liked the paintings. He took that Krishna Art book home. He was one of the fortunate persons in this world to honor Sri Sri Radha Govindadeva's Maha-prasdam, enjoying Radha Govinda Temple's world famous Burfi and other Mangal-arati sweets. He got Satya's gourmet prasadam cooking for dinner on two consecutive evenings, discussing reincarnation and karma at the dinner table with the host. Satya reported that Jackson was very nice, soft-spoken and friendly. At that time, he was staying in a luxury suite at the Waldorf Astoria with his daughter Paris Katherine and first son Prince Michael; his third child was not yet born. Jackson had been in New York to receive the Bollywood ‘Outstanding Humanitarian Award’.”

[Ramabhadra das, Indian journalist; sources: www.chakra.org, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“[…] (His selfless purpose/wish is) a window of truth to the global humanitarian that Michael Jackson truly was. Would a man with these grand hopes and dreams actually risk taking his own life for a few hours of sleep? […] It is becoming clearer that a once strong man was gradually rendered powerless in the hands of a greedy, unethical and highly unprepared (doctor). (…) Murray repeatedly acted with gross negligence through multiple and extreme deviations from the proper standards of medical care. As the audio recording so vividly reveals, Murray had knowledge of Jackson's career motivations, as well as his mental and physical states in the months prior to his death. Even while heavily sedated, Jackson revealed his underlying rationale for pursuing what may have been the most grueling professional endeavor of his life. Michael Jackson's words indicated that he wanted to make history for the sole purpose of helping children. Even with this knowledge, Conrad Murray continued to deceptively stockpile and feed his patient excessive and ultimately deadly amounts of sedatives and propofol. As a medical professional, did Murray truly believe giving Michael Jackson all of these drugs would help him be "the greatest entertainer in the world?" It is highly unlikely. Did he really think that Michael Jackson would ever be able to create the children's hospital of his dreams if he continually plied (sic) him with debilitating substances? Probably not. […] Depicted as seemingly forward thinking, it is clear that Michael Jackson had too many goals he wanted to accomplish and too much that he wanted to give back to the world. […] Through a close examination of Jackson's cultural legacy, it is clear that he always strove to serve a humanitarian purpose through his work. He gave millions of dollars to charity throughout his life. Therefore, it is not a stretch to believe that all he wanted to do was accomplish that objective again, but now on the largest scale possible. As his voice reveals, the intentions were grand, yet also singular in their focus. Jackson likely believed that the "This Is It" concert series would help him travel to the furthest possible point on the road of his lifelong humanitarian dream. He trusted Dr. Conrad Murray, as his personal physician, to help him arrive at his destination safely. As the evidence presented so far in the trial indicates, Murray failed miserably in that task.

Whatever the verdict in this case will be, perhaps the world will eventually notice how much potential good was cut short by this avoidable tragedy. (This is the case ) of a doctor intoxicated by celebrity and lured by money who all but abandoned acceptable standards of medical practice and professional ethics to serve his personal needs. As prosecutor David Walgren argued, it was the "acts and omissions" of Dr. Conrad Murray that led Michael Jackson, his only patient, to a "premature death at age 50." […] Finally, the voices of justice are saying that this should have never happened to such a man.”

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


“(…) Dr. Metzger confirmed what I've said all along: Michael's insomnia was historic & tour/pressure induced. Nothing to do w/Demerol... Many artists, unable to turn off mind, will empathize with this insomnia. Michael slept ok when not performing. In bed around 9p.m.... and slept. (He started having) trouble sleeping in Feb 2009, because he'd been preparing for TII since Fall 2008. That's when pressure started to grow.”

“[...] It is normal for someone to be groggy after dermatological treatments. Same way I was 'doped up' and out of it after my dental treatment at weekend. These treatments for Michael, over a period of weeks, prove NOTHING but two facts: a) he visited Dr Klein for established dermatological reasons and b) most of us are not fit to speak with anyone after invasive medical procedures. […] Jane Velez-Mitchell needs to stop projecting HER addiction onto Michael & listen to evidence: no addiction, no Demerol in body/house.”

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


“I can remember doing our chores as kids. We would be cleaning the kitchen, and while we were all working, we would be writing songs. I miss his laughter. Music has always been a part of our lives. I love Mike very much.”

[Janet Jackson; source: http://gulfnews.com]

 

“[…] There's (sic) so many images that comes (sic) to my mind, because when I saw him in the Olympic Stadium, in Montreal, I was nearly dressed like him, I was excited, I was happy to be there. He came to see my show in Las Vegas, we hang out after the show, he was sitting in my dressing room, he had questions. […] Michael Jackson will never die. […] It’s such a stress to live like that, like an open book in front of a public that loves you. To live like that with this huge pressure, it’s beyond heartbeats (sic). He was preparing this show that we will never see. […]”

“I'm not the only one who understands him, but Michael tried in many ways to have a normal life (…). […] Of course, when it comes to my career, I think, I was lucky to date, to attain the age I have, to have a career who took (to) great scales and to have my family with me. Because I think it was hard for Michael to have a stability with his family. I don't want to get into details. […] But I feel a lot for his family today. It’s a loss for all of us. […] It’s a huge loss and we have to accept this the best we can, but it’s a person who will live forever. […] And through his music, Michael will live forever. And I felt privileged to meet him.”

[Céline Marie Claudette Dion, Canadian singer; sources: TVA, www.youtube.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“When I first met him, I didn't feel nervous, because I kind of felt all my life was leading up to that moment. As a fan, he was always in my life. I was 15 years when I went to the Grammy Awards and saw him win all his Grammys at the Shrine (Auditorium). He asked me, "What songs do you like?" and if I wanted to do a video. And I said, "O.K., well, can we put black people in the video?" [Laughs] I was challenging him. And he said, "Whatever you want." He was cool with me, because I was straightforward with him, and I felt that everybody was always goose-stepping around him and never telling him the real deal. And this was from the perspective of a young black kid growing up admiring Michael Jackson, being inspired by the vision that he had not only in music, but in his life. To be able to hang out with him and call him a friend was an honor for me.


On the set [of the "Remember the Time" video], he was mischievous. My choreographer in that video was Fatima Robinson, and the three of us got together and she did the routine with him. It was really a great vibe. Just seeing how he would get every little move, bit by bit by bit, the whole routine, like we were putting on a Broadway show. He said, "Whatever you want to make this as cool as possible, let's do it. Let's get Eddie Murphy. Let's get Magic Johnson." Magic Johnson was going through his thing where he'd just revealed he had HIV. Michael said, "We have to put Magic in this video." I'll always remember that. He was a very visual guy. They weren't videos to him. They were short films - visualizing the funkiness of what he was trying to accomplish in the music. He was always trying to set the bar higher.


I was hoping he was going to finish his album. He's got umpteen tracks that he's done over the six or seven years. He was so meticulous about what he did. He had hit songs on reserve that he would never even let out, and he'd work with all these different producers. If you were somebody of any repute in the music business, Michael Jackson would call and ask to work with you. People would come. But he would never release any of the stuff. I've eaten the Jackson 5 cereal, I've played the 45 records, I watched the cartoon when I was a little kid, I went to the concerts, I was at the Victory (tour) concert. I had a glitter tie, which I hate to admit. [Laughs] I will love him forever.”


[John Daniel Singleton, American film director, screenwriter, and producer; sources: www.rollingstone.com, www.mj-777.com]


Michael Jackson left behind the indelible footprint of a giant talent whose artistry changed the course of music history. He is mourned by millions in every country on earth, and he shall be sorely missed. And now that is silenced. We are left with his memory and, fortunately, with his music.

Throughout the years of 1982-1994, I had the unique privilege of having three exclusive portrait sittings with Michael. The first was the Thriller Album, the second was his narration the E.T. Album for Steven Spielberg. The third were the exclusive wedding portraits with he and Lisa Marie, that were eventually distributed world wide. During these years, I was very fortunate to have had some very personal conversations and came to know him on a level of intimacy that gave me insights into his character that impressed me deeply. Michael Jackson was a brilliant, creative performing artist. We spent many private hours together creating and conversing during the years I worked with him. I am sharing these thoughts.

The First Meeting

When I first met Michael Jackson at a recording studio on Beverly Blvd. in Hollywood, he was three quarters through completing what would become the largest selling album in history. CBS Records told me that there was another photographer in the running to do the project. Michael wanted to personally meet both candidates before deciding who he wanted to work with on the album cover package. I now know, after having worked a substantial amount of time with Michael on other projects, that he needed someone who was at the top of his profession, wasn't egotistical, and was trustworthy and creative. Most importantly, he needed someone who would treat him with delicacy and consideration, who wasn't threatening or offending. My first impression of Michael, as he slowly and carefully moved through the studio doors where our meeting would take place, was that he was taller and thinner than I had expected. His hand shake was very delicate with hardly a squeeze, and I was very conscious to return the same. As we talked, Michael would ask me questions in his gentle voice about my likes and dislikes. I could tell from the way that he posed his questions that I was being evaluated. That's when I first realized how important it was to Michael to work with the exact kind of person that would make him feel comfortable. Our meeting lasted about forty five minutes and we parted with a cordial good-bye.

The Call Back

Three days later, I received a phone call from CBS Records saying that phase one was over and now Michael wanted to come to see my studio and look at the quality of my photographs. My studio entrance has a loud buzzer, but instead there was a very gentle knock at the door. Rather than have my secretary answer the door, I wanted to answer it myself. I wanted Michael to know that I was real and approachable and also wanted to avoid anything that may have had the potential of creating an uncomfortable situation for him.. Evidently I passed the test, as I received confirmation two days later from CBS that Michael had selected me to do the honors, and the album shoot was scheduled to take place in two weeks. My fee from CBS was to be $4,000.00 - which was very good back in 1982 (and just about top dollar for an album cover). During the next two weeks, I had meetings with the creative heads from CBS and Freddie Demann, Michael's manager at that time. The purpose was to create a visual direction for the album that everyone agreed on. I presented various ideas that I wanted to execute which were all agreed upon.

Shoot Day

The day of the shoot arrive. I hired one of the best fashion stylists in LA to gather a large variety of wardrobe, and we began the arduous process of selecting attire for the cover and inside spread. After about an hour of weeding through the wardrobe, Michael couldn't find anything he was crazy about. I started to panic. His eyes lit up when he noticed the white suit that I was wearing. He said, "That's the look I like, do we have anything like that?" We didn't. Time was fleeting. I was concerned about having enough time to execute my cover ideas. I indicated that we were about the same height and build and if he would like to wear mine. That was exactly what he wanted. Fortunately for the session and the time involved, the suit fit like it was tailored for him. We had decided prior to the session that Michael would have a tiger cub in the photograph, so we had a selection for him to choose from. He loved a six week old cub, but was very squeamish about letting it get to close to his face because of possible scratches. Throughout the session, I had to get Michael to forget about getting scratched, and to focus his attention on me and my direction. During breaks, Michael would stand in front of a full length mirror and practice continual spins. I was privileged to get a personal preview of those legendary ones that are now so familiar to us all. He just would come alive in front of that mirror. It was fascinating, because he had such a shy and subdued manner throughout the photo session, but in front of that mirror, dancing, he was electric and that was the first time that I realized that I was witnessing something very special. For lunch, he ordered a special meal brought in from a vegetarian restaurant on 3rd Avenue, which was his favorite in town. In fact, a few months later, Michael hired that chef as (t)he personal cook for his home and his touring. The photo session lasted about 6 hours with three different set-ups and no particular problems out of the ordinary. I was very impressed with Michael's diligence, as had someone from his production company using a counter to count every click of the camera to make sure that he saw that every frame was presented to him once finished. This spoke elegantly as to his constant and detailed professionalism. At the days end, we said good-bye, and arranged to meet in a few days to go over the results. About four days later, the photos were ready and we met at the recording studio on Beverly Boulevard. Michael was in the middle of finishing up one of the tracts (sic), so I set up my light table and spread out the transparencies, so he could see them all at one time.

The Album Cover

Michael walked out of the studio into the reception area where my presentation was set up. He was in a very good mood. He looked over the transparencies and was very excited and pleased with what he saw. He said "There are so many good ones here, how can I ever make a decision?" He told me to hold on a minute, and then ran back into the studio. After a moment, he came back out with Quincy Jones, who was producing the album and was evidently very respected by Michael. Quincy took one look at the transparencies and with a confident smile, without any hesitation, pointed to one, and said "That's your cover, Michael!" I was totally impressed by that decision, as that was the fastest I have ever seen anyone select a final transparency for anything, and it was a good choice. Michael was extremely happy. Quincy was happy. CBS was happy. I was ecstatic, and judging by the fact that it is still the highest selling album in history, I can say without doubt that it was the correct choice and the world was happy. […] Who would have suspected that the click of the camera, 1/60th of a second, would create the unforgettable image it has become in history.

The following are a few of my personal thoughts and observations I would like to share. As having had the opportunity to be close to Michael during some very private discussions as we worked and conversed together off and on for those 12 years. I do feel that I have a sense of who he really was.

AT A RESTAURANT

Two or three months after the Thriller Album was released, it was number one on the charts and Michael was the number one celebrity in the music world. My wife, Patty, and I were in a restaurant in Hollywood having dinner. This particular restaurant is popular with celebrities and was Michael's favorite restaurant as it was mostly vegetarian.. Hollywood personalities are more aloof and very rarely go out of their way to issue a personal goodbye when leaving a restaurant. We noticed Michael was sitting far across this packed restaurant in a corner. I wanted to say hello, but I didn't want to bother him while he was eating. About an hour into dinner, I felt a gentle little tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw it was Michael. Rather than exit through the door which was near his table across the room, he had wound his way through the packed tables to come to say hello! We shook hands and very sincerely, in his quiet, shy way, said, "Thank you for creating my very beautiful album cover." I was impressed that this man, the top celebrity of the period, had gone out of his way to cross that crowded room to personally thank me. All the eyes of the restaurant were on us, but I didn't care.

Wedding Portrait

Later on in the evening, (…), I went back to Donald Trump's suite at the Trump towers, where Michael and Lisa were staying. The purpose was to go over the photographs with Michael. It was about midnight, and the maid who let me in asked if I could wait a few minutes for Michael. About a half hour went by. I was walking around the dimly lit suite and waiting, and happened to notice that there was a man leaning on a column in the main living room. He had a moustache and a beard. He had been watching me the entire time. I figured that he was a security guard, and that I would ask him where Michael was and how long it would be. When I got about two feet from him, a slight smile came to his face followed by a huge laugh. It was Michael, wearing a disguise. He was enjoying just watching me. This gives you an idea of his practical joke and playful side.

E.T.

As Michael was hired by Steven Spielberg to narrate the E.T. story (in 1982), Michael insisted that Steven also hire me to create the album cover and the inside poster. That evening, after the session was over and the film developed, I went over to meet with Michael to show him the results of our co-create. It was about one in the morning. Michael opened up a bottle of wine for him and I. After going over the film and after he relaxed and we got comfortable, he proceeded to be very candid with me with regards to the media and their ongoing negativity regarding himself. He had just completed an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on a tour of his Neverland complex, and felt he was extremely candid with her. He indicated even after that was aired, they found ways to degrade him. With tears in his eyes he said, "I really don't know what to do any more. I don't know how to handle the media any more. Everything I say they twist and make me look bad. I don't know what to say or do any more." What impressed me most about this meeting and our in(-)depth conversation was his most important statement to me, that he was extremely concerned about the welfare of the children and their future existence on this planet... That statement was how I will always remember him!”

[Dick Zimmerman, renowned portrait artist; source: www.dickzimmerman.com, www.mj-777.com]

 

“(I went to Michael’s suite.) Well, it was a funny story [laughs]. You know, I got there really late, it was about midnight, and he and the maid let me in and I hung around – it was kind of dark in there – and I asked when Michael was coming down. And I waited, it was a good half hour and no Michael, so I’m wondering what’s going on. I noticed there was a fellow standing next to a pole not too far away and I went over just to see, I thought maybe it was a bodyguard or something, and I’ve said, ‘You have any idea ..’, and I went closer and closer, and I said, ‘Do you have any idea when Michael is coming down?’, you know, it was late, and all of a sudden I get closer and he starts laughing and it’s Michael. [laughs] He was wearing a moustache and a beard, and so, you know, he was very – very playful, very surprising, we laughed, it was really fun. […] That particular night was a very very good night. We spent quite a bit of time, you know – he had opened up a bottle of wine and he’d, you know - we just talked, we talked about life, we went over the photographs that I’ve created for him and Lisa, and he basically - I got to know him more than ever that evening, because he actually had tears in his eyes and he would - he had just finished an interview with Diane Sawyer (…), and he took them around Neverland, and he said ‘I poured my heart out and I told the truth, I told them everything about me and they twisted it around’, you know, and he says ‘I don’t know what to do anymore. I tell the truth and it doesn’t work.’ You know? So that’s what happened that night. […]”

“I wrote something down here regarding Michael and the trial and what he was like, and, if you don’t mind, I’d like to read it to you: […] ‘Michael Jackson was an incredible artist, probably the most talented and dynamic entertainer in history. You know, it’s tough enough for an average entertainer to maintain a successful career. But then imagine maintaining the enormous magnitude of Michael’s, having to continue to create perfection, but having the obstacle of the media looking for ways, out of jealousy or whatever, with criticalness, in order to fill up blank pages and newspapers. To suppress, rather than to validate his talents, or find ways to inspire. Suppression, unfortunately in this country, usually leads to drugs. Sure, Dr. Murray is guilty of negligence and should be punished and take responsibility for his negligence. […] But Michael sought it to die years ago from trying to handle the suppression from his media attackers. They were constantly looking for ways to bring him down. […] Michael was highly misunderstood, he’d loved children, was totally concerned for their future on this environmentally strained planet. But compassionate, very compassionate. The media couldn’t have it any other way. Okay? Michael is compassionate. “No one could be that compassionate, so let’s see how he can twist that into a negative.” “Oh, how about turning it into child molestation?” “Oh, yeah, that works.” […]” So, thank you for letting me get that in there. [cross talk] I have many many stories about Michael. […]”

[Dick Zimmerman – on ‘Dr. Drew’; sources: http://drdrew.blogs.cnn.com, www.youtube.com]


“[…] I can't thank him enough for allowing me to be in his productions as I’m sure are the many musicians, dancers, directors, singers and anyone who were blessed enough to have worked with or known him as the sweet and kind human he was.

Please, listen to his songs and reflect on his influence on your life and this world. He played a huge part in trying to heal us all with his art and love. Let's pray for the strength of his parents and family members as they mourn the loss of their dear Michael who they raised and shared with the world.

[…] God Bless the soul of our Beloved Michael Joseph Jackson. Please pray for him and his family and especially his children.

Love, Jeffrey Daniel”

[Jeffrey Daniel(s), American dancer, singer-songwriter and choreographer; sources: www.jeffreydaniel.com, www.mj-777.com]


“(What I remember most about him is) his energy, his eveready, bunny, hummingbird, never-stop energy. He was always on fire, always a perfectionist, always tremendously professional. Very silly, in private moments. Yes, very silly. Had a very silly sophomoric sense of humor. Loved to jump out from behind doors and scare me. He loved me because I scare very easily. And he would -- whenever I would (be) heading for the studio and he knew I was coming in the door, he`d always be behind the door a little bit further down the hall and he`d jump out literally and do, you know, like, ‘Boo’. And I would always jump and it just made his day. […] (He was a practical joker), very much so, absolutely.”

“When I knew Michael, the relationship (between his family and him) was not great. He got along great with his sisters, but did not speak fondly of the guys in the family. […] There was - he always - the conversations that we had, he always felt kind of put upon, because at the time that I met Michael, it was right when he was doing "The Wiz" and he wasn`t even speaking at that time. Michael used to literally sit in the studio with a pad and paper -- I mean with a pad and pen. If he`d hear somebody say something remotely intelligent, he would write it down. He was always trying to learn and absorb anything that he thought was intelligent. So he was very, very quiet; very, very shy, frighteningly shy (around that time). We didn`t really start working together until "The Dude", until Quincy Jones` album, "The Dude". That`s when I started talking to him. And a lot of our conversations were about his relationship with his family. He adored his mother. He adored his sisters. But at that particular time, he didn`t have the greatest relationship with his brothers or with his dad because he was -- he was really trying to branch out on his own. He was trying to break away from the Jackson 5 and break away from what that was. So he kind of felt that that was holding him back from being all that he ultimately became and wanted to be. He worked very hard to become that.”

“Michael didn`t really -- I don`t think he really talked that much about all of the pain that he felt to that many people. He would talk to me about it because we were working. And I think when you have a working relationship with somebody, it`s almost closer than if you`re having a sexual relationship with them, if that makes any sense. You have a tendency, you become -- when you`re working on an album or you`re touring together, you have a tendency to become like a family. And you spend a lot of time on buses and a lot of times waiting in a studio to get back in and actually do your work, so you talk about things. […] Just his childhood really troubled him. He felt that he lost his childhood (…). You know, he wanted to be forever young and (…) he acted out in a child-like way a lot, because he didn`t get to have that when he was a kid. He felt -- I mean, these are the discussions I had with him. I don`t know what he said to anybody else. But he told me many times that he felt that he had been robbed of his childhood. He loved the fact he was able to become a great entertainer, but he also, at the same time, it was a love-hate thing. He hated the fact that he lost his childhood in the process. And I started in the business when I was a kid, so this is a conversation we used to have a lot. I started when I was four.”

[Patti Austin, American R&B and jazz music singer – on ‘Joy Behar Show’; sources: http://transcripts.cnn.com, http://insession.blogs.cnn.com]



“(I met him at Disney World), yes, in the late `70’s. It was actually Mike, Latoya, Janet and Randy and their bodyguard, Bill Bray. […] You know, Patti is right. You know, Michael was a prankster, (had an) infectious smile, sweet, wonderful personality all the time.”

“When he was a kid, I don`t think he (Michael) was ever as afraid of Mr. Jackson as the other boys were. They would stand there and take punishment. I`m a kid born in the `50’s. We got punished; we really did with a belt, my mother (would) say, ‘Go get the switch.’ […] Michael would run from him. He really kind of, you know, was a little more daring than the rest of the guys. […] If he caught him, (Michael would get hit), but he would actually run from him (at times) and stand up and say smart things and tell him no. […] (As an adult,) he loved his father very much. […]"

“(The molestation trial he had,) it totally broke his spirit, Joy. Especially the second accusation where he was actually arrested and he was in court and on trial and he faced going to prison. It totally broke his spirit (at that time). And when the district attorney`s office came in, they totally wrecked his house, they tore paintings off the wall, threw around gold coins. He never actually lived in the main house again after that. He`d stay in one of the guesthouse, because it was too painful for him to go into the house. And I just wanted to add, with his childhood aside, from (what) I know, having to perform and wanting to play was one thing. But I think he also, even though he was a devout Jehovah`s Witness and believed in his religion, he really always talked about the no Christmas and the no birthdays and would even sneak over to his brother Jackie(‘s) house, because his wife, Ynes (ph), put a Christmas tree up. Those are some of the things he missed about having a childhood, also.”

“Vitiligo. Yes, he did (have it). […] Vitiligo is when your skin starts turning white. And so, he was just – (…), well, he used creams to even it out, so he would still be able to perform (…).”

[Flo Anthony, long-time friend of Michael Jackson; sources: http://transcripts.cnn.com, http://insession.blogs.cnn.com]


This is the culture in which we live. Everything is instant and everything is swiftly forgotten, all that applies to this moment about Michael. What will be remembered about Michael is ‘We Are The World’, ‘Thriller’… All the myriad of songs and performances he did that inspired so many. That he was the icon of the moment and in his time and the legacy he left will be long remembered for his music and not for the encounters and false moments he may have had in some deviant moment in the path of life. Michael was a sweet kid and had a very bad time growing up, family, pressures on them. I`m surprised any of them turned out to be in any way articulate. But they really handled it well and they gave us a great gift is what they`ve given us artistically. And pretty soon, people will just linger on that. This other stuff (will go away). (It) has to.”

[Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist – on ‘Joy behar Show’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“[My ‘Calypso’ album was the first to sell a million copies, until Michael’s ‘Thriller’ album broke this record. […] Yes. I will never forget when I was called and told that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" stayed longer on the charts. […] (I felt) happy (about it). […] Happy. Well, not furious. […] Unless you are smitten with extreme greed, to be on the charts for over 137 weeks.. […] Yes, 137 weeks.”

Like many, I was certainly in awe of his great gift and his talent. I always looked at him with a great sense of sadness, because I knew a lot about his background, his family. And for those children to have been manipulated in the way in which they were manipulated, not only by the family and their father, and what had happened to them, but the way in which they were exploited by all of those who earned livings off of their lives, I think led them to a path that -- I don't know (if) celebrity is worth all of that.”

[Harry Belafonte – on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“I'm starting to believe that's a destination; the next step in life once you get that title. It seems we're living in a world where people build you up just so they can break you down. No one has ever really come back to the level that got them there in the first place.

So I ask you, was there a stage left big enough for Mike to moonwalk on, that would have satisfied the hunger of someone who is beyond great? Honestly, I don't think so. I said it plenty of times to every artist I've worked with: if I were to produce a record that sold over 40 million, you, people, would never see me again in that light. ‘Cause, after all the applause, award winning and love comes the hate, in all forms, sizes and shapes, and you can only ignore it for so long before the competitor in you is awakened. After a while, that hate starts making you think it's possible to outdo what's already been done. Mike had already achieved something that no one else could. That was his destiny.

When the media first started reporting on his death, I was in New York. The minute I heard the news, I was on the plane LA. As soon as I touched down, the coverage started blowing up, and in all those reports they talked about "Thriller" being the biggest-selling album ever, then jumped right to, "But after that, he could never seem to top that and his legal problems, etc, etc." First off, no one; I repeat, NO ONE, has topped that and never will!!! Even in death he's done something no other artist has done before: He broke records by being the first artist eva to sell 2.5 million downloaded songs, and counting! As of today, he owns the entire top nine positions on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. No artist living today can match that.

But back to my original point: This being a world-stopping moment, I got a chance to view this world I live in for what it really is. I've felt that pressure cooker that the public puts you through when you've achieved a certain level of success, and no one gives you props for what you've already done. Instead, they say, "So, whatchu got for us now? What's next?"

Don't let that small mindset take away from what a great artist has already given us. No one can touch what he did. We were blessed to have someone with his incredible talent living among us. God put Mike here to do what he did and wasn't gonna allow the devil and his helpers to destroy something so beautiful. He put him on the biggest stage of all. The whole world loved Mike, and Mike gave that love for his fans back tenfold. No one, not even President Obama, can top that.

Quincy Jones said it all the other day in his tribute to Mike on a blog post for the Los Angeles Times:

“This blessed artist commanded the stage with the grace of an antelope, shattered recording industry records and broke down cultural boundaries around the world, yet remained the gentlest of souls. Michael Jackson was a different kind of entertainer. A man-child in many ways, he was beyond professional and dedicated. Evoking Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jr. and James Brown all at once, he'd work for hours, perfecting every kick, gesture and movement so that they came together precisely the way they were intended to. Together we shared the '80’s, achieving heights that I can humbly say may never be reached again and reshaped the music business forever.”

[…]”

[Jermaine Dupri Mauldin, American record producer, songwriter and rapper; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]


“Michael basically grew up with us, so I have a million memories of him. We were at each other’s houses all the time. (…) And when I was young, it felt as if he was my age, not 18 years older, but with just a little bit more pep. Later, we’d go out on the town together. […]. Once, my sister, Michael, Emmanuel Lewis and I got in a car with Super Soakers and went by a movie theater and supersoaked the hell out of people waiting in line. They had no idea they’d just been supersoaked by the King of Pop.”


[Rashida Leah Jones, American film and television actress, comic book author, screenwriter and occasional singer; sources: www.okmagazine.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]


“Now that MJ is gone, some gave the go(-)ahead to put slot machines in Vegas casinos. M.J. never wanted this due to his religious beliefs.”

[MJBODYGUARDS B&J, Michael Jackson’s former bodyguards; source: www.facebook.com]

 

“(…) Those kind of people, they’re stealing rhythm and blues and turning it into something really vile. And the whole thing of, you know, (…) they’ve stolen so much out of Michael Jackson, black music has too, it’s not just, you know, white idiots. Michael Jackson was really, really, really put down in all the wrong ways and I’m not sure any of that hate campaign against him was actually true. I stand up for Michael Jackson as one of the truly most influential, brilliant people in modern pop music.”

[John Joseph Lydon, also known by former stage name Johnny Rotten, British singer-songwriter and television presenter; source: www.youtube.com]

 

“[…] The last time I called myself a fan of Michael Jackson was 1984, when I was in 4th grade. Between then and last month, I only peripherally observed Jackson while I was in line at the grocery store, in the same disengaged way I follow any other popular figure. I never even paid enough attention to form an opinion. But I have an opinion now. Here are the conclusions about Michael Jackson that I have drawn as a result of this case (the 2011 People vs Conrad Murray trial):

[…] With one prominent exception, the members of Michael Jackson’s professional and domestic staff who took part in this trial were genuine people who had a veritable commitment to Jackson’s personal well-being and professional success. Jackson’s fans include some extraordinarily faithful, compassionate, and intelligent individuals. “Intelligent” is an adjective I use with due caution and circumspection.

He was a family man. Michael Jackson wanted his children to see him perform at his best. It was this motivation that drove the 50-year-old man to perform on the night before his death with the fitness and skill of a 25-year-old pop star.

He had a kind heart. In his most uninhibited and vulnerable state of sedation, Michael Jackson described his deep-rooted desire to help children in need by establishing the ‘Michael Jackson Children’s Hospital’.

[…] Michael Jackson lamented that he did not have a typical, carefree childhood. Jackson’s desire to help children feel the joy of youth that he missed out on made him exceptionally susceptible to misconstruals of his intentions. He protected himself with complex privacy and security measures.

Michael Jackson had severe (…) anxiety and insomnia (…).

He was exploited. Dr. Conrad Murray took advantage of Michael Jackson’s vulnerabilities. In exchange for the opportunity to introduce himself to women as Michael Jackson’s personal physician, and a fee of $150,000 per month, Murray threw caution to the wind (…). […]

While analyzing this trial, I have spoken with and debated a number of individuals, including some of the most visible reporters and high-profile attorneys working in criminal law. No one has summarized this case more simply and clearly than my mom – the only person I know who is more disengaged from pop culture than I:

It is not fair to blame Michael Jackson for his own death.

[…] No matter what the trial’s ultimate outcome may be, this case has helped me and others learn more about Michael Jackson, his strengths, and challenges, and I now hold an opinion of his life and legacy based on facts sworn to be the truth. In that regard, justice has been served.”

[Michael Barnes, commentator on HLN; source: http://psbar.wordpress.com]

 

“This is my first book. It’s about Michael’s conflict with his record label, Sony Music America, i.e. with a former president, Tommy Mottola. The record label has sabotaged his latest studio album, there was no promotion, nothing has been done in order to get this album promoted. […] When I was writing King of Pop’s biography, I did a chapter on the 2002 situation, and I thought that this topic should be widened, because nobody has written on this earlier. […] (I studied Michael’s character and work,) I’m writing a big biography that I hope will be published next year.] […] (“Invincible Sabotage: Inside Michael Jackson’s Case”) will not be a sensational tabloid book like some authors wrote. Of course that it will be innovative, with some new information, information that I have gathered over the past three years. I have done many interviews with his friends, with people who are not in the public life, people who were around him, with his team, associates… It will be an ultimate biography. His life and creative work will be included. […]”

[Luka Neskovic, author of “Invincible Sabotage: Inside Michael Jackson’s Case”, on Montenegrin national television, RTCG2; source: www.youtube.com]


“(Since his death, there has been) sadness (for us). Sadness, but I do feel really blessed, because the happiness that he left with me was all the work we did together. You know? That won't go away. But the sadness that we don't get to create anymore with him. That's sad. [I was dancing with him since 1987.] Yes. "Smooth Criminal" was actually the first video. The first tour was "Bad," and then "Dangerous," and then "HIStory." And then we started working on "This Is It." When he called that in 2008 in Vegas, and that was going to be -- he was excited. You know? We were both bringing out costumes, picking props. You know, thinking about what that show could be. Had no name. And just had a great time for six months in Vegas working like crazy. He was excited. I was excited. You know, whenever he gets excited, I get excited.”

I remember him saying 'There's (sic) ten (‘This Is It’) shows. It's going to be fantastic.' And I do remember a day when the ten shows turned to 34. He said, ‘LaVelle, you know, there's (sic) 34 shows, I got to do them.’ That seemed to be a little bit like, you know, wow, this is a lot. And then I remember it kept growing. What I remember is that he was really honored that that many people wanted to see him. […] Man, he was just honored that people wanted to see so as much as maybe 34 or the 50 shows were like, oh, man, this is going to be crazy. The smile on his face showed me that he felt so honored that people really wanted to see him.

“But one thing I know is important is that, what Michael taught me, all the dance and all that stuff will live on because his -- his goal was to take dance and continue to take dance to higher and higher levels. […] We were going to do short films. You know, Michael loved the short film. We were working on a cowboy film. ‘Legs Diamond’.

“[Dance-wise, he was) top. Just top of the line, you know. (Have I seen) a better natural dancer? Not in my life so far ever. I mean, I was trained ballet dancer and we would share, he would teach me, because his stuff was always so strange to me, but once we started sharing, I shared ballet moves or technical things, and he would share his stuff. And that's where our bond came from, just a sharing of dance and a love of dance.”

“I think he would like to be remembered as someone that was always, you know, making sure that what he delivered to his fans and to his audience was original. It was innovative. And he didn't mind if people copy it, but he (…) always wanted to be the one that did it first. […] Cameras. Everything had 'choreography'. I love it when he use that word. The cameras have choreography. The light(s) have choreography. And that's kind of stuff he taught me.”

[LaVelle Smith Jnr., American choreographer – on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]



“(I’ve seen him) all of 2008, I was in Vegas along with LaVelle. He'd show up on dance days. I showed up on music days. And I just had the feeling, Michael is getting ready for his close(-)up. He just started looking better. You could tell he was -- his energy was going up. And then in 2009, (he was) extremely excited. You know? He gave us a speech about how important this was to him. That he could spend the rest of his life doing his greatest hits, but that's not what he wanted to do. He said, ‘I want to write new songs. I want to have better songs than I ever had. We're going to add those to the show’. And I really have never seen him that energized before. That in the moment before, right up until the last night when I gave him a hug and he gave me a hug, you know. And he felt strong. He said, ‘Tomorrow we're going to discuss all the vocals for the tour’, you know. And that was the last time I spoke to him. […]”

“Remember his pace – (…) his pace was going to be two - two and a half shows a week. His family was going to be there. He was going to have a house in London, outside of London. And we had a good chat. He and I about that. How this was the hard part, rehearsing is the hard part. You know, four, five, six nights a week. Doing videos during the day. Once we got to the U.K., once we started the shows, that was going to be almost a vacation. Truly, you know. I don't want to say that because they were going to pay me, but I mean, honestly, it would have been. And he knew that. [So, originally it was ten shows.] Yes. [Then he got made in to 50.] […].”

“(I) never (saw him take drugs). […] Did not see. And honestly, most of the time, when we were with him, I don't think that night time Michael Jackson was around, because he had the kids around. We were at the ranch. We were at a hotel almost like a vacation and we're working on new songs. And there was no pressure on him. He didn't have to get up the next day if he didn't want to. He didn't have to perform the next day. I think that pressure comes in to play when there's a show. You know? When there's a huge tour.”

“I was at the Staples Center (when I learned about his death). I was getting ready for that day's rehearsal. I had a list of changes to do from the night before, instructions from Michael. And when they said that, the first thing I thought was he wants two more weeks to rehearse, you know. And then when they finally announced that he was dead, I still -- I went back to my computer. I made all the changes from the night before, because I was stunned. I said, ‘Well, no, he might come back, you know’. And later that day, I just -- I finally had to ask somebody what to do? And he said, ‘Pack your stuff up’, you know? And that was -- it was dreadful. For anything, I feel for his children, you know? He was the greatest dad in the world. Those were the loves of his life. You know? […] They were brought up so well. So much love. They read a lot. […] A lot. […] Well-spoken, beautiful children. And I just want them to know how much he loved them. And I saw the love that they had for him. And he and I talked about that in his dressing room, you know, about when we get to the UK, and when this seven-day week thing is done, you are going to be with your family, you know, again and have a lot more quality time with them.”

He wanted to do like a modern musical on "Legs Diamond." Because Michael already had some gangster-ish, sounds like "Smooth Criminal." […] [He also wanted to release singles every few months. And at the end of that have an amazing album.] (…) And that way you don't get compared to "Thriller" every time you put out an album. So he was going to do it while we were on tour, maybe a single every eight weeks. And then once you had ten out, you add two new songs and you have a record. He also wanted to do a children's album. Because he loved to write these, you know, beautiful, innocent songs for children. He wanted to do a classical album, because he had a lot of melodies that he didn't want to write words to.”

“(He was an) amazing (singer). I mean, he could go from a ballad, a soft song, to -- he had one of the best rock voices. I mean, I would compare it to, you know, somebody like in -- not like Led Zeppelin, but, I mean, he could sing rock 'n' roll like you wouldn't believe, you know. I always wanted to, like, get him on some really hard rock stuff.”

“(…) Anything he wanted to do, he wanted it to be the best. He wanted himself to be the best, every dancer behind him, every musician, down to the lighting, down to whoever was running what piece of equipment, they had to be the best.”

[Michael Durham Prince, supervising music editor, "This Is It’ - on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“[…] @RealLaVelleJr (LaVelle Smith Jnr.) got Michael fit for TII in 2008. When (the) world saw him in wheelchair, he was actually dancing hard w/ LaVelle.”

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

 

“Michael Jackson loved books. Travelling inside them, he inhabited the worlds they imagined, immersing in the wisdom they contained. In more or less full time education up until the age of 11, from that point on, touring and the kind of itinerary white hot success at Motown demanded, meant private tutoring and yet more retraction from a ‘normal’ childhood. A deep desire to learn, however, stayed with Michael and years later in 1987, when he bought Sycamore Valley Ranch in Santa Ynez valley, deep in Santa Barbara County, California; his passion for books and art was lovingly expressed in the 20, 000 books and counting, custom-built, wood library at his new sanctuary from public life – Neverland. Surrounded by mountains, rivers, exotic animals and acres of rolling land, this would be the place where “Dancing the Dream” was conceived, in itself an indication of how nurturing Michael found his cherished home. From Man in the Music”:


“Secluded in Neverland, Jackson, now thirty-one, felt free to explore regions of his identity, worldview, and purpose that he never had before. When he wasn’t creating, he was reading voraciously: everything from the verses of Emerson and Wordsworth, to the biographies of Michelangelo and Beethoven, from the psychology of Freud and Jung, to Sufi poetry; (Jackson’s personal library grew to more than twenty thousand titles, including numerous first editions of his favorite classics).”


Receiving the Frederick D. Patterson Award, UNCF’s highest honor, at the 1988 New York anniversary celebration, Michael Jackson was awarded an honorary degree from UNCF-member institution Fisk University. Marking the death of not only a cultural icon, but a generous benefactor, in 2009, the last sentence of statement released by the ‘United Negro College Fund’, could almost have been the mission statement of ‘Pay Michael Forward’. Somewhere along the way, that basic human right we all share – the right to be treated with dignity and decency and recognized as a thinking, feeling individual – was taken away from Michael Jackson. And while it was happening, the only people raising the alarm were Michael’s family, friends (the ones that stayed) and the fans. Amongst the multitude of ‘What if’s’ that surround the life and death of Michael Jackson, perhaps this too could be asked: Throughout the over 20(-)year ‘monstering’ Michael Jackson was subjected to, what if those numbers of the public that uncriti(c)ally consumed a hystericized media’s escalation of baseless accusations into evidence of an innocent’s man’s ‘guilt’ had actually felt empowered enough to say: - ‘This is not news, we recognize this to be revenue and ratings at the expense of a human being.’


UNCF statement in full, 2009.


“Michael Jackson left behind a legacy of generosity via his gifts to the UNCF. In 1986, he donated $1.5 million to UNCF to establish a scholarship endowment - a fund whose interest funds scholarships each year, while the original gift continues to earn interest so that future students can receive scholarships. During the past two decades, more than 500 students at UNCF’s 39 member colleges and universities have been able to attend college thanks to Jackson’s generous gift. Two years later, Michael Jackson headlined a sold-out UNCF benefit performance at Madison Square Garden in New York and donated the proceeds, $600,000, to UNCF. He also received the ‘Frederick D. Patterson Award’, UNCF’s highest honor, at the 1988 New York anniversary celebration and was awarded an honorary degree from UNCF-member institution Fisk University. It has been almost a quarter-century since Michael Jackson endowed the UNCF scholarship program that bears his name. Many of the young men and women who received Michael Jackson Endowed Scholarships over the years have moved on from college to start careers, raise families and support their communities. But thanks not only to his generosity, but to his foresight in creating a scholarship that renews itself every year, 34 more students will study at UNCF-member colleges and universities next September, because the King of Pop understood that, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”


[Guest contributors: Michael Jackson archivist, writer, graphic artist and poet: Seven Bowie & writer, Deborah Ffrench.]


A Living Thing


“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” C.S Lewis

On our weekly, Sunday visit to my grandmother’s house many, many years ago, she called my parents and me to the table for lunch. Laid out upon the table was her usual fare of cold-cuts and salad, along with scrumptious hot scones, butter, jam and whipped cream. Normally, I would race to the table in anticipation of feasting on the hot treats, but that day I was immersed in a new book my mother had just bought me. It was full of colorful pictures and fantastical tales of knights, dragons and castles. I was too young at the time to understand most of the words in the book, but the illustrations had certainly captured my attention and imagination. Food paled in comparison to the feast I held in my hands. Reluctantly, I folded the page corner down to mark my place and put the book on the coffee table. Rising, I found my passage to the table blocked by the diminutive form of my grandmother. “Never, ever show disrespect for a book again by creasing its pages. Don’t you understand that books are living things?” She chastised. No, I didn’t. I was confused by her meaning and not able to understand or see in my child-like mind, the hidden metaphor in her words. Her tone of voice stung - her disapproval was something I had never incurred before - but it served its purpose well, for I did look upon my books from that day on with newfound eyes.


As I grew, I came to understand my grandmother’s words: I began to understand the expressions found within books, were a personal and emotive collection of thoughts and feelings belonging to another human being. And as I began to write myself - first as a diarist, and then as a short-story writer and hopeful poet - I found liberation through my own expressionistic prose that had ultimately been inspired by others, and through my personal experiences in life. […] My first, real experience with this connection occurred while reading “Dancing the Dream”, written by Michael Jackson. First published in 1992, the book was not rated as being a commercial success by hardcore critic’s (sic), and received both mixed and negative reviews. But to the open mind - one that is not afraid to explore outside the confines of self-imposed and societal rigidity and constrictive programming - it is a window into the heart and soul of a man often maligned and certainly misunderstood. Inspirational and passionate, the book offers a glimpse into his humanity and beyond to his connection with the universe and creation.


“ ‘So, what does a star do after it quits shining?’ I ask myself. ‘Maybe it dies.’ ‘Oh, no,’ a voice in head says. ‘A star can never die. It just turns into a smile, and melts back into the cosmic music, the dance of life.’ I like that thought, the last one I have before my eyes close. With a smile, I melt back into the music myself.”.


[Excerpt from “Dance of Life,” from the book ‘Dancing the Dream’, Michael Jackson, 1992.]


Sublime revelations aside, Michael was able to forge a path with the quality and expressions contained in his words, enabling the reader to journey to that place where his inspiration was born. His prose is not only eloquent, but also life-changing, bringing awareness to our often disjointed approach to how we view life, and our true desire to find the same link to the spirit that he had found. Michael breathed life into the pages of his book by penning words that reached deep into our sub-conscious, and once we had met with him on the same level from which he wrote, it was impossible to let go - we were captured there in the same place and time (…); touched irrevocably by this rare insight into the man in the music.

It is clear that Michael himself found this same connection not only to authors, but to artists, renowned and unknown, and their work. He had vast library filled with thousands of books and he read voraciously, absorbing each word and image until they became enmeshed in both the spiritual and intellectual parts of him. Howard Bloom describes this best in his poignant narrative, written one year after Michael died.


When the art director arrived, she bore the portfolios of five artists, portfolios she stacked at one end of the pool table’s green felt playing surface. These were not just the black vinyl portfolios most commercial artists use to display their work. Every one of these was a custom-made presentation case made of hand-tooled leather or rich cherry wood. And every one was from a legendary artist, an artist at the very top of his field. We were all bunched together on the opposite side of the pool table from the art director. Michael was in the center. I stood next to him on his left. And the brothers were crowded around us on either side. The CBS art director slid the first of the portfolios toward Michael. He opened the first page, slowly … just enough to see perhaps an inch of the image. As he took in the artwork his knees began to buckle, his elbows bent, and all he could say was “Oooohhh.” A soft, orgasmic “Oooohhh.” In that one syllable and in his body language, you could feel what he was seeing. Do you know the poem by William Blake – “To see a World in a grain of sand, And a Heaven in a wild flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, And Eternity in an hour  . . .” The intense ambition of that poem, the intense desire for wonder, was alive in Michael. More alive than anything of the sort I’d ever seen.  Michael saw the infinite in an inch. As Michael opened the page further, inch by inch, his knees and elbows bent even more and his “Oooohhhs” (…) grew even more intense. Standing elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder with him, you could feel him discovering things in the brush and ink strokes that even the artist never saw. By the time he’d opened the full page, his body and voice expressed an ecstasy. An aesthetic epiphany. I’d never encountered anything like it. Michael felt the beauty of the page with every cell of his being.”


To me, an author or artist’s ability to produce a feeling of connectivity within the reader is very profound, and likens to my personal opinion of a collective conscious existing, on some level, among human beings: If we share a common response to what we read or see, then our thoughts and emotions are more interwoven than what may first appear. […]


“With his death, then, came a profound sense of loss and sadness about what might have been. Yet, as Jackson presciently put it just two years earlier (quoting one of his own artistic heroes, Michelangelo): ‘I know the creator will go, but his work survives. That is why to escape death, I attempt to bind my soul to my work.’ It was perhaps the most revealing comment he ever made about what he hoped for his legacy.” [Joe Vogel]


[…]


A book is the landscape and heartbeat of its author; a canvas on which to paint the color of their minds, and a melody of words forever immortalized on paper, bound, and laid lovingly in a place of importance by its reader. This is what makes a book a living entity. This is what draws us to hold a book in our hands and to hold it close to our hearts—to inhale the aroma of ink and paper—because we feel the life-force contained within its covers. It is why we linger in bookstores and libraries—in the hushed silence, we listen to the heartbeats emanating from shelves. And, it is why we delight in feelings of anticipation when we turn that first page—we are eager to meet, connect, and be lead on another journey inside an author’s mind, heart and beyond. Books are indeed, gifts to be treasured. […]”


[Valmai Owen, Director of Publications/Tribute Book Editor, Editor-in-Chief of the Official MJTP E-magazine, Patchwork Project Organizer, MJTP; sources: www.MichaelJacksonTributePortrait.com, www.paymichaelforward.com]

 

 

“[…] He is, as he always was, the main event, the tantalizing spectacle. It is Michael Jackson who is under the microscope as we pry, one more time, through his home, his medical records, his body. And while the public at large is much more sympathetic now that Jackson has passed, he remains the subject of endless scrutiny and judgment. Does any of it matter now that the man himself can’t feel the abuse? Should the average person even care whether a “celebrity” like Jackson is treated with callousness or disregard? Projects like ‘Voices’, whose “Words and Violence” series highlights the disturbing trajectory of our social discourse, says yes. Words matter. No matter the target. Words, as we have witnessed with the recent attention on youth bullying and suicides, can lead to devastatingly tragic ends.

They can also be used to inspire and heal.

Michael Jackson knew this. In 1988, he befriended AIDS victim Ryan White, a young boy forced out of his school in Kokomo, Indiana because of relentless verbal assaults and threats of violence. Jackson, White said, made him feel normal. “[Michael] didn't care what race you were, what color you were, what was your handicap, what was your disease," recalled Ryan White’s mother, Jeanne. “[He] just loved all children.”

White is one of thousands of “outsiders” to whom Jackson reached out, befriended and treated with kindness. He identified with them. He understood their pain and loneliness. He felt empathy for their struggle to live in a world that refused to accept them for who they were, whether because of illness, physical appearance, race, sexual orientation or some other reason. Even as a young boy, Jackson possessed this sensitivity. Listen to the song, “Ben.” There is genuine pain and compassion in Jackson’s delivery (“They don’t see you as I do/ I wish they would try to”). The song can be seen as one of the first artistic statements Jackson made on behalf of the marginalized and misunderstood. Many more would follow.

Jackson’s outsider role may have begun in childhood (…). Yet the intensity and hostility caused by his difference grew over time. In his 1996 essay, “The Celebrity Freak: Michael Jackson’s Grotesque Glory,” David Yuan argued that Michael Jackson was the defining “freak” of our time. No other public figure in the world evoked the same level of ridicule, scrutiny and hyper-interrogation. As early as 1985, Jackson was being labeled “Wacko Jacko” by the tabloids, a term he despised. In the press, he was frequently described as “bizarre,” “weird,” and “eccentric.” Indeed, there was very little he said or did from the mid-1980s forward that wasn’t described in these terms by the media.

Jackson was mocked incessantly for his skin disorder, Vitiligo, which most people didn’t believe was real until it was confirmed definitively in his autopsy. He was mocked for his love of animals; for his love of children; for his love of the planet. He was mocked for his marriages, for his three kids, for his Neverland home. He was mocked for his sexuality (TST note: regardless of being heterosexual), his voice, his childlike behavior. Even reviews of his music couldn’t resist filling up the majority of the space with pseudo-psychoanalysis and personal assaults. Can there be any doubt that this treatment by the media and culture at large was abusive? Certainly the victim of these dehumanizing attacks felt that way. Listen to the lyrics of his songs. In “Tabloid Junkie”, he describes the mass media as “parasites” sucking the life out of him, while drugging/distracting the general public with a steady dose of sensationalism. In “Stranger in Moscow”, he is an artist in exile, used up and spit out by his native country. “I was wanderin’ in the rain,” he sings from the lonely role of vagabond, “Mask of life/ Feeling insane.”

In “Scream”, he is so weary of being bullied, he pleads, “Oh, brother, please have mercy, ‘cause I just can’t take it.” The song, however, also serves as a vehicle of strength and resolve (“Kickin’ me down/ I got to get up”). Michael and sister Janet deliver a fierce counterblow to a system they rightfully see as corrupt and unjust. “You’re sellin’ out souls,” Janet sings in one verse, “but I care about mine.” It is a defiant song about standing up to cruelty, even when the pain and indignation is so deep, it can only be expressed in a guttural scream.

In numerous songs, Jackson uses his music as a rallying call for others who have been mistreated. In “They Don’t Care About Us,” he witnesses for the disenfranchised and demeaned. “Tell me what has become of my rights,” he sings, “Am I invisible, because you ignore me?” “Little Susie” draws attention to the plight of the neglected and abandoned, telling the story of a young girl whose gifts go unnoticed until she is found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her home (“Lift her with care,” Jackson sings, “Oh, the blood in her hair”); “Earth Song” offers an epic lamentation on behalf of the planet and its most vulnerable inhabitants (represented by the choir’s passionate shouts, “What about us!”). Through such songs (as well as through his life and persona), Jackson became a sort of global representative of the “Other.” The mass media, however, never held much regard for Jackson’s other-ness, just as they held little regard for the “others” he spoke of in his songs. Rather, they found a narrative that was simple and profitable - Jackson as eccentric “freak” - and stuck with it for nearly three decades, gradually upping the stakes.

Perhaps Jackson’s most compelling response to the public perception of him that resulted comes in his trio of late Gothic songs: “Ghosts,” “Is It Scary,” and “Threatened.” It is here that Jackson holds a mirror up to the society that scorns him and asks it to look at its own grotesque reflection. “Is it scary for you!” he demands. The songs, and their accompanying visual representations, are not only keenly self-aware, they demonstrate a shrewd understanding of the toxic forces that surround and haunt him. In the short film, ‘Ghosts’, the Mayor of ‘Normal Valley’ (a conservative figure of authority inspired, in part, by Santa Barbara District Attorney, Tom Sneddon) taunts Jackson’s character: “Freaky boy! Freak! Circus freak.” Interestingly, it is Jackson himself (disguised as the Mayor) that delivers these words, and one can feel the way they have been internalized. They are slurs intended to mark, marginalize and humiliate (which was ultimately the purpose of the witch hunts of 1993 and 2005). For the Mayor, Jackson’s presence in the community is intolerable. It is not that Jackson has done any harm; it is simply that he is different and that difference is threatening. In such artistic expressions, Jackson clearly recognizes what is being done to him. He is being defined by outside forces. He is a phantom they have constructed in their own minds. As he sings in “Is It Scary,” “If you wanna see/ Eccentric oddities, / I’ll be grotesque before your eyes.” He will be grotesque, in other words, because that is what the public “wants to see.” It is how they have been conditioned to see. Later in the song, he anticipates his audience’s reactions, asking: “Am I amusing you/ Or just confusing you(?)/ Am I the beast you visualized?” Has he become something less than human? Why is this? Is it his physical appearance? (…) His unusual life story? There is no question Michael Jackson was different. The question is why this “difference” incited such fervent disparagement and abuse.

One of the remarkable qualities of Jackson’s life and work, however, is that he refuses to compromise his “difference.” He never becomes “normal,” as the term is represented by, say, the Mayor of ‘Normal Valley’. He doesn’t conform to expectations. Rather, he is true to himself and flaunts his unique, multi-faceted identity, to the frustration of those who would like him to fit in more predictable boxes. His differences, as Susan Fast notes, were “impenetrable, uncontainable, and they created enormous anxiety. Please be black, Michael, or white, or gay or straight, father or mother, father to children, not a child yourself, so we at least know how to direct our liberal (in)tolerance. And try not to confuse all the codes simultaneously.”

Even over two years after his tragic passing, it seems, many people don’t know what to make of Michael Jackson. He is reduced, therefore, to easy labels like “drug addict.” A picture of his lifeless body is callously plastered on news sites. It is cruel, abusive behavior masquerading as “normal.” Perhaps this is why Jackson chose the medium of the Gothic to fight back. It was a way to turn the tables, to symbolically represent the world as it often felt to him: monstrous and grotesque. His “horror stories” certainly weren’t intended merely to entertain.

“Freaks are called freaks,” observed author James Baldwin, “and are treated as they are treated – in the main, abominably – because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.” Yet as much as Jackson became the symbolic magnet onto which many of these cultural anxieties were projected, he was also an actual person trying to live his life. Toward the end of “Is It Scary”, he explains, “I’m just not what you seek of me,” before revealing to the compassionate listener: “But if you came to see/ The truth, the purity,/ It’s here inside a lonely heart,/ So let the performance start!” Ironically, it is in the “performance” of his art that we find “the truth, the purity.” This is where he exorcizes his demons, where his anguish is transfused into creative energy. This is where the walls come down and the mask comes off. To the outside world, he may be a spectacle, a caricature, a freak; but here, finally, inside his music, he bares his soul. He is a human being.

The question is: What do we see?”

[Article by Joe Vogel, author of “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson”; with discussion questions and teacher notes by Barbara Kaufmann; sources: http://voiceseducation.org, “Ryan White’s Mother Remembers Michael Jackson.”, “Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood,” Playboy, “Difference That Exceeded Understanding: Remembering Michael Jackson. Popular Music and Society. Vol. 33, no. 2.”, “The Celebrity Freak: Michael Jackson’s ‘Grotesque Glory,’ ” “Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body.”]

 

“[…] Conrad Murray left Prince, Paris and Blanket without a father. For them, this case doesn't end today, or tomorrow. For Michael's children, this case will go on forever, because they do not have a father, they do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray. […]”

“A doctor has a… solemn obligation to first do no harm… Conrad Murray violated that sacred trust each and every day. […] [Murray had a legal duty to look after Michael Jackson.] The failure to perform that legal duty is criminally negligent. This is bizarre behavior - from anyone, let alone a doctor. It's extreme criminal negligence.”

Michael Jackson was not reckless. Michael Jackson had a life ahead of him. Michael Jackson had three children that he loved dearly. He wanted propofol to help him sleep. He wanted a doctor with eyes on him to make sure he was safe. […] Conrad Murray did not call 911, because he had other things on his mind -- to protect Conrad Murray. He knew his acts killed Michael Jackson. He knew what he had done. He knew his axe killed Michael Jackson. Maybe he's panicked. Maybe he's still cleaning up. Maybe he's hoping some miracle befalls him and Michael Jackson is revived and no one will need to know about this… But he’s putting Conrad Murray first. He is putting Conrad Murray first, and he's intentionally not calling 911. He’s intentionally delaying help that could have saved Michael Jackson’s life. […] We know he's capable of making a phone call. That is Conrad Murray knowing full well what caused Michael Jackson’s death. That is consciousness of guilt, showing the defendant knew what had transpired, he knew of his guilt, and he was intentionally giving false and misleading statements. […] What was so pressing that he just couldn’t care for Michael Jackson? […] (Murray's medical treatment of Michael Jackson was) unethical, unconscionable, and an extreme deviation from the standard of care. Michael Jackson trusted Conrad Murray. He trusted him with his life. He trusted him with his own individual life and the future lives of his children… And for that, Michael Jackson paid with his life. Conrad Murray in multiple instances deceived, lied [and] obscured, but more importantly, Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence… Conrad Murray looked out for himself and himself alone; he wanted this employment. [Murray directly caused Jackson's death, but jurors only have to find him a substantial factor in Jackson’s death to find him guilty of involuntary manslaughter.] Justice demands a guilty verdict.”

[David Walgren, Deputy District Attorney for Michael Jackson – in his closing statements during the “People versus Conrad Murray” trial; sources: http://edition.cnn.com, www.washingtonpost.com, www.reuters.com, www.leaderpost.com, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.nydailynews.com, http://movies.yahoo.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

“Michael’s celebrity turned many people into eager, greedy stargazers who only wanted something from him above and beyond what a normal human is willing or expected to give. They were there for the anecdote. It’s what I call the “shine.” People want to rub up against it, and in so doing, their own value is increased. But I’d like to propose a reason why Michael might’ve preferred the company of children to what I’ve heard referred to as adults. Kids of a certain age, being too young to understand the peculiar phenomenon of fame, are potentially easier to trust and hang out with than a certain kind of adult, who, as I said earlier, more often than not, have a tendency to start acting completely disorganized around someone as outrageously famous as Michael. And children are far less likely to act this way, because they don’t exactly know what fame is yet. To them, famous is cartoon characters, or Muppets, or Barney. It’s too abstract a concept for kids.

* * *

On Christmas Eve 2008, (…) I went over to his house, which is located just down the hill from me and a few blocks over. He was giving his children the childhood that he never had. A childhood outside of celebrity with people who didn’t objectify them. Because normally, for Michael, life was like being an animal at the zoo. An endangered species forever behind bars. I could get in the cage with Michael and not get freaked out, and there weren’t that many people who would’ve known how to, or known that it was even something they might actually be required to do when with him. But I did. So I joined Michael after hours at his zoo. We took pictures and ate cookies and decorated the tree. And then, to change it up, Michael asked me to do the Star Wars hologram speech for his kids. I didn’t mind. Someone actually had to remind me what a big Star Wars fan Michael was. While I was there, though, we weren’t really experiencing the situation for the most part, we were taking pictures of it. Arnie took pictures of me and Michael and the kids, and I took pictures of Arnie and his friends and the Michael family package. My favorite was taking a picture of Michael reading my book "Wishful Drinking."

I will always cherish that weird Christmas configuration of ours. Looking back, it was as if Michael didn’t know how to just be in a situation without recording it on a camera. The thing is, he was just so used to being documented. But the main reason the documentation came up this time was mostly for Arnie’s friends, who wanted to take pictures of their meeting with Michael, so they could carry his shine around. The encounter elevated them. It became, “Oh, I had Christmas Eve dinner with Michael Jackson. What did you do?” Anyway, we all f***** around holiday style and having fun, and it was fun. We took pictures, we acted childish (at least I think that’s what it was). At some point, Michael said, “Okay, I’m letting you take my kids’ pictures, because I know that you won’t show them to anyone, because you know I don’t want anyone to see my children.”

He wanted his children to be as unrecorded as possible. If the Africans believe that you lose a piece of your soul each time you have your picture taken, then Michael hadn’t had one for a very long time. But he was trying to arrange things so that his kids could keep theirs. And his children are very sweet, good children. And that’s because whatever else he was or wasn’t, I think Michael was a really good father. I mean, his children are kind, really polite, even-tempered, and essentially unspoiled kids. And that can’t come from a nanny. You can’t fake that stuff. It has to come from the parent. And that parent was Michael.”

* Copyright © 2011 by Deliquesce Inc. Reprinted with permission from Simon & Schuster, Inc.

[Excerpts from "Shockaholic" by Carrie Frances Fisher, American actress, novelist, screenwriter, and lecturer; source: www.huffingtonpost.com]

 

“On a chilly autumn night, gaffers rig motion-picture lights around the entrance to the Palace Theatre, which bears the title “Thriller” on its marquee. […] Although everyone involved in the production has been sworn to secrecy, word of tonight’s shoot has leaked and been broadcast on local radio. Security guards patrol the set.


Michael Jackson, a shy pixie in a red leather jacket and jeans, stands in shadow in the theater’s entryway, talking with actress Ola Ray and director John Landis. The camera crew is making final preparations for a crane shot that will pan down from the marquee, as Jackson and Ray, playing a couple on a date, emerge from the theater. […] I am on set covering the shoot for Life magazine. Landis says that he needs a “ticket girl” in the background and orders me to sit in the booth - a prime spot from which to watch the performances. Just before calling “Action,” Landis fortifies his actors with boisterous encouragement. “How are you going to be in this shot?” he shouts. “Wonderful,” Jackson chirps, barely audibly. Seconds later, Jackson steps into his nimbus of light, and it is as if he flips on an internal switch: he smiles, he glows, he mesmerizes. Landis executes the long crane shot, then moves in for close-ups and dialogue. “It’s only a movie,” Jackson reassures his date. “You were scared, weren’t you?” Landis calls for another take and coaxes: “Make it sexy this time.” “How?” asks Jackson. “You know, as if you want to **** her.” The star flinches and licks his lips uncomfortably, then gazes earnestly into Ray’s eyes. Landis gets the shot he wants and calls for the next set(-)up, satisfied. He whispers to me, “I bet it will be sexy.” […] Unlike forgotten favorites from MTV’s heyday (Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf,” anyone?), “Thriller” is thriving on YouTube, where one can view, along with the original, scores of “Thriller” dance tutorials and re-enactments by Bollywood actors and Bar Mitzvah celebrants. The dance has become an annual tribal ritual in major cities around the world, with initiates in ghoul makeup aping Michael’s moves en masse; the current record for largest dance of the undead is 12,937, held by Mexico City. A YouTube 41-million-hit sensation features more than 1,500 inmates in a Philippines prison yard executing the funky footwork as part of a rehab program designed to “turn dregs into human beings”; the prison, in the city of Cebu, has become a T-shirt-selling tourist attraction.


None of this was imaginable back at the Palace Theatre 27 years ago. Jackson then was a (…) preternaturally gifted 25-year-old “who wanted to be turned into a monster, just for fun,” as Landis recently told me - and had the money to make it happen. “Thriller” marked the most incandescent moment in Jackson’s life, his apex creatively as well as commercially. He would spend the rest of his career trying to surpass it. “In the Off the Wall/Thriller era, Michael was in a constant state of becoming,” says Glen Brunman, then Jackson’s publicist at his record company Epic. “It was all about the music, until it also became about the sales and the awards, and something changed forever.” It was the “Thriller” video that pushed Jackson over the top, consolidating his position as the King of Pop, a royal title he encouraged and Elizabeth Taylor helped popularize. “Thriller” was the seventh and last single and third video (after “Billie Jean” and “Beat It”) to be released from the album of the same name, which had already been on the charts for almost a year since its release, in November 1982. The video’s frenzied reception, whipped up by round-the-clock showings on MTV, would more than double album sales, driving Thriller into the record books as the No. 1 LP of all time, a distinction it maintains today. […]


Jackson would dominate pop culture for the remainder of the decade, owning the 80’s as Elvis had owned the 50’s and the Beatles the 60’s. To rule the entertainment universe had been his dream since he belted out “I Want You Back” on The Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1969 as the precocious lead singer of the Jackson 5. Under the strict, physically and psychologically abusive tutelage of his father, Joseph, he had sacrificed his childhood to make money for the family and Motown Records. He would later describe his boyhood as a blur of tour buses and tutors, and rehearsals that his father supervised with a belt in his hand, ready to whip any son who stepped out of line. Joe reserved especially harsh treatment for his most gifted and defiant son; although extremely sensitive by nature, Michael was also quietly stubborn and frequently clashed with his father. The brief moments Michael spent onstage were when he felt happiest. “I remember singing at the top of my voice and dancing with real joy and working too hard for a child,” he recalled in his autobiography, Moonwalk”. His mother, Katherine, whom he adored, called him “the special one.” A musical savant, young Michael hungrily devoured show-business knowledge and studied favorite entertainers from Fred Astaire to James Brown to the Beatles. Ron Weisner, hired by Joe Jackson in ’76 to co-manage the Jacksons, recalls that on tour Michael - exhibiting the insomnia that plagued him throughout his life (…) stayed up late after each show. “We’d be on the bus and we had a little TV and VHS player. He would watch tapes of James Brown and Jackie Wilson over and over until his brothers were screaming and cursing him and throwing things at the TV. The next day, they would hide the tape, and Michael would be crying. He would never, never, never stop.”


[…] As he grew older, he pulled away from his family to venture into solo projects, notably the 1979 funk-disco smash Off the Wall”, which he layered with lush grooves and falsetto vocals with the help of producing partner Quincy Jones. The pair teamed up again three years later for Thriller”. This time, Jackson’s aim was nothing less than a Beatles-like domination of the charts that would lay waste to the divisions between rock, soul, and pop. The strategy was to compile a succession of hit singles that would offer something for everyone: the first release was the ballad “The Girl Is Mine,” a duet with Paul McCartney. Second up was the funky anthem “Billie Jean.” Third was the rocker “Beat It,” which featured a blistering Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. Executives at Epic pushed the LP tirelessly, pressuring a range of radio formats to play it and marketing it as a mainstream disc. Most serendipitously, Jackson was the ideal video star. Not only did he radiate an epicene glamour that was at once innocent and intensely erotic, but he was also conceptually inventive, a great dancer, and a sartorial trendsetter. He judged the quality of what the fledgling rock network MTV was airing to be poor, and felt he could do better. He hired the best directors and choreographers and applied everything he had soaked up from watching Gene Kelly and Astaire movies. In a black jacket and pink shirt, he slid and spun his way down a surreal city street in the “Billie Jean” video - an electrifying, transformative performance. Although the song’s thumping bass line and synthesizers excluded it from MTV’s definition of a rock song, the network knew a hit when it saw one and put the clip into heavy rotation. The “Beat It” video was grittier, an homage to West Side Story, with Jackson strutting and spinning in a red-orange leather jacket in the midst of 20 dancers and genuine recruited gang members.


More than any other artist, Jackson ushered in the heyday of the music video, demonstrating its promotional power, raising the bar creatively, and paving the way for greater acceptance of black musicians on MTV. But the Thriller campaign, concocted by the album’s brain trust - Jackson; his lawyer and closest adviser, John Branca; CBS Records chief Walter Yetnikoff; and Epic head of promotion Frank DiLeo - did not include plans for a third video, and certainly not a video of the title track, which wasn’t even going to be released as a single. “Who wants a single about monsters?” says Yetnikoff, summing up how the group felt at the time about the song’s potential. But in June of 1983, the album, after four months as No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, was bumped from the top slot by the Flashdance” soundtrack. It briefly regained the top position in July, then was toppled again, this time by Synchronicity”, by the Police. The three remaining planned singles - “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” just released in May, “Human Nature,” scheduled for July, and “P.Y.T.” for September - were not expected to drive album sales as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” had, nor were they suitable for videos.


Jackson was upset. […] “He enjoyed being on top,” says Larry Stessel, Epic’s West Coast marketing executive, who worked closely with the star. “He reveled in it. He didn’t like it when it ended.” With his own album making history, Jackson yearned to shatter records held by the Fab Four. “It was all about the Beatles,” says Stessel. “(…) He had such tremendous respect for them (the Beatles), and he certainly wanted to come as close as he could.” In the summer of ’83, Yetnikoff and Stessel answered calls at all hours of the night from Jackson. “Walter, the record isn’t No. 1 anymore,” Yetnikoff remembers Jackson saying. “What are we going to do about it?” “We’re going to go to sleep and deal with it tomorrow,” Yetnikoff told him. It was DiLeo who first mentioned the idea of making a third video, and pressed Jackson to consider the album’s title track. “It’s simple - all you’ve got to do is dance, sing, and make it scary,” DiLeo recalls telling Jackson. Jackson had known episodes of real-life terror. His father once put on a fright mask and crawled into Michael’s bedroom, screaming.


In some ways, “Thriller,” written by Rod Temperton, is the album’s sore thumb, a semi-novelty song with sound effects of creaking doors and eerie footsteps and bwah-ha-ha narration by Vincent Price. Horror was a genre with which Jackson had an ambivalent relationship. As a child, he had known episodes of real-life terror. […] Joe Jackson had once put on a fright mask and crawled into Michael’s bedroom through a window at night, screaming; Joe Jackson said his purpose was to teach his son to keep the window closed when he slept. For years afterward, Michael suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his room, and said that whenever he saw his father, he felt nauseated. Jackson had reason to be fascinated by scary disguises and things that go bump in the night, but he didn’t want them to seem too real. His tastes generally ran to benign Disney-esque fantasies where people were nice and children were safe. “I never was a horror fan,” he said. “I was too scared.” He would make sure that the tone of his “Thriller” film was creepy-comical, not genuinely terrifying.


In early August, John Landis, whose most successful films had been National Lampoon’s Animal House and Trading Places, picked up the phone and heard Jackson’s wee voice on the line. The star told Landis how much he had enjoyed the director’s horror spoof An American Werewolf in London”.. Would he be willing to direct Jackson in a music video with a spooky story line that had him transform into a werewolf? At the time, making music videos was not something feature directors did. But Landis was intrigued enough by Jackson’s entreaty to take a meeting. On the afternoon of August 20, Landis and his producing partner, George Folsey Jr., drove through the gates of Hayvenhurst, the high-walled mock-Tudor estate in Encino, where the family had moved when Jackson was 13, and where he still lived with his parents and sisters LaToya and Janet. In 1981, Jackson had purchased the house from his parents and rebuilt it, installing such diversions as an exotic-animal farm stocked with llamas, a “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” diorama, and a 32-seat screening room with a popcorn machine. In the corner of his second-story bedroom suite stood his “friends,” five life-size, fully dressed female mannequins. At the time, Jackson was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness who obeyed his religion’s mandate to spread the faith by knocking on doors in his neighborhood, wearing a crude disguise of mustache and glasses. He attended services at the local Kingdom Hall and abstained from drinking, swearing, sex before marriage, and, supposedly, R-rated movies. The gregarious Landis teased Jackson about having watched the R-rated An American Werewolf in London”. “I said, ‘Michael, what about the sex?’ He said, ‘I closed my eyes.’”


Landis told Jackson that he would not direct “Thriller” as a music video, proposing instead that they collaborate on a short narrative film that could be released in theaters - reviving that endangered species, the short subject - before it went to video. Landis would write a story line, inspired by the song, about a cute young guy on a date who turns into a monster. The short would be shot on 35-mm. film with feature-film production values, including great locations and an impressive dance number. Landis would call in a favor from Rick Baker, the Oscar-winning makeup wizard who had created the title creature for An American Werewolf in London, and get him to design Jackson’s transformation makeup. Jackson was enthusiastic about Landis’s vision and immediately said, “Let’s do it.” Although CBS/Epic had ponied up $250,000 for the “Billie Jean” video, Yetnikoff had refused to underwrite “Beat It,” so Jackson had paid $150,000 out of his own pocket. When Folsey and Landis worked up the budget for “Thriller,” they put it at an estimated $900,000. Landis and Jackson placed a call to “Uncle Walter,” as Jackson referred to him, to explain the “Thriller” concept and what it would cost. Landis says that Yetnikoff screamed so loudly, that the director had to hold the phone away from his ear. “I’ve only heard three or four people swear like that in my life,” he says. When Landis hung up the phone, Jackson said calmly, “It’s O.K. I’ll pay for it.” Eventually, Yetnikoff agreed that the record company would contribute $100,000 to pay for the video, but that left a long way to go and Jackson’s collaborators didn’t want the star to be on the hook.


It was Folsey and John Branca, Jackson’s lawyer, who put their heads together to solve the budget shortfall. Although cable TV was a new phenomenon and the home-video market had yet to explode, they decided to film behind the scenes on 16-mm. for a nearly 45-minute documentary, Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller”, which, bundled with the “Thriller” video, could be sold to cable. MTV agreed to pay $250,000 and Showtime $300,000 for the one-hour package; Jackson would cover some up-front production costs and be reimbursed. Then Vestron came in and offered to distribute Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller as a $29.95 “sell-through” video on VHS and Betamax, a pioneering deal of its kind. (Most videos were then sold for far higher prices to rental stores, rather than directly to consumers.) “You have to remember, back in those days none of us realized quite what home video was going to become,” says Folsey. “The studios treated it pretty much the way they treated television in the 50’s and 60’s, with total disdain. They had no idea that the home-video business was going to save Hollywood - it never crossed their minds.” With the financing in place and only six weeks before the first shooting day, October 11, the team moved swiftly into an accelerated pre-production. Landis hired his director of photography from Trading Places, Robert Paynter, and drafted his own wife, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, best known for putting Harrison Ford in a fedora and leather jacket for Raiders of the Lost Ark, as costume designer. “Beat It” choreographer Michael Peters was brought in and began auditioning dancers and developing street-hip dance phrases for the zombie choreography. Folsey crewed up, securing locations and equipment. Jackson was driven by the pop star’s occupational affliction: the desire to be a movie star. He had met and befriended Steven Spielberg when he narrated the soundtrack album and audiobook for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial”. (Jackson cried when recording the part where E.T. dies.) He and Spielberg were in discussions about Jackson’s playing the lead in a filmed musical version of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. But Landis had precisely the opposite of “I won’t grow up” in mind: he wanted Jackson to satisfy his young female fans by showing some virility. He wrote a script that loosely spoofed I Was a Teenage Werewolf”. Michael would go on a date with a sexy girl in two separate time periods, the 50’s and 80’s. There would be dialogue interspersed with music. As the 50’s guy, Michael would ask his girl to go steady, tell her, “I’m not like other guys,” then transform into a werewolf and terrorize her. As the 80’s guy, he would woo her with seductive dance moves before turning into a ghoul. “The big thing was to give him a girl,” says Landis, pointing out that Jackson hadn’t interacted with females in the videos for “Billie Jean” or “Beat It.” “That was the big breakthrough.”


After Jennifer Beals of Flashdance turned down an offer to co-star, Landis cast an unknown 23-year-old former Playboy Playmate named Ola Ray. “I auditioned a lot of girls and this girl Ola Ray - first of all, she was crazy for Michael,” Landis says. “She had such a great smile. I didn’t know she was a Playmate.” Jackson signed off on Ray, then reconsidered the seemliness of cavorting with an ex-Playmate and came close to derailing the casting. According to Landis, “I said, ‘Michael, she’s a Playmate, but so what? She’s not a Playmate in this.’ He went, ‘O.K., whatever you want.’ I have to tell you, I got along great with Michael.” It was Deborah Landis’s job to play up Jackson’s masculinity while dressing him in hip, casual clothes that were comfortable for dancing. Since the video would be shot at night in a mostly somber palette, she says, “I felt that red would really pop in front of the ghouls.” She chose the same color for both his jacket and jeans to emphasize a vertical line, making his five-foot-seven-inch, 100-pound frame appear taller. “The socks and the shoes were his own,” she says. “He took that directly from Fred Astaire, who always wore soft leather loafers to dance in, and socks. And Michael was elegant. I worked with David Bowie, who was also that same body frame, again very, very slim. Fred Astaire was a 36 regular; Michael was a 36 regular. David and Michael and Fred Astaire - you could literally put them in anything, and they would carry themselves with a distinction and with confidence and with sexuality.”


OCTOBER 13, 1983; 10:30 p.m. Downtown Los Angeles.


On a desolate city street, Jackson lipsynchs to a playback of “Thriller” as he dances and skitters playfully around Ray. Landis has barely rehearsed the scene, because he is hoping for some spontaneous sexual energy between his actors and has asked Jackson to improvise. Ray, who looks deliriously smitten, is supposed to keep the beat with each footstep. Landis puts his hand over his eyes and quietly shakes his head as she repeatedly messes up the tempo, necessitating many takes. Jackson remains charmingly frisky in every one, hugging her as he sings, “Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together … ” Ray has made it clear to Jackson and everyone else that she wants the cuddling to continue after the “Cut!” “Michael is very special, not like any other guy I’ve met,” she says, kicking off her high heels and settling into her set chair after the scene wraps. “Since we’ve been working together, we’ve been getting closer. He was a very shy person, but he’s opened up. I think he’s lived a sheltered life. He knows a lot of entertainers, but he needs friends that he can go out and relax and enjoy himself with (…).” The congenial atmosphere on “Thriller” seemed to have a salutary effect on Jackson. He delighted the crew by hanging out on the set between shots, and although he didn’t say much, he responded graciously to anyone who approached. Landis frequently got him giggling with horseplay, once lifting him up by the ankles and shaking him upside down while Jackson shrieked, “Put me down, you punk!” […] “I dealt with Michael as I would have a really gifted child,” says Landis. […]


[…] Ray watched Jackson switch seamlessly from silly to sober for business meetings. When Jacqueline Onassis’s (sic) white limousine pulled up, he greeted the Doubleday Books editor, who had flown out from New York to discuss publishing Jackson’s memoir (which eventually became Moonwalk”), with courtly professionalism. Landis says that he barged unknowingly into Jackson’s trailer, and the star coolly said, “John, have you met Mrs. Onassis?” An eclectic assortment of luminaries appeared on the set to see Jackson. Fred Astaire and Rock Hudson both dropped by. Quincy Jones, watching the filming of the zombie dance, mused about Jackson’s ability to maintain his child-like quality: “It takes a lot of maturity to control all that innocence.” Perhaps the most unlikely visitor to appear was Marlon Brando, who, Landis learned, was slipping acting advice to Jackson. One day when Landis admonished him for not knowing his lines, Jackson said, “Marlon told me to always go for the truth, not the words.” When MTV executive Les Garland arrived for a scheduled visit, he waited in the living room of Jackson’s trailer, chatting with a couple of female assistants. Then “a pair of socks came bouncing out from the bedroom and landed by me,” says Garland. “One of the ladies said, ‘That means Michael is up and ready to see you now.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s unique.’”


If his spirit on the set seemed carefree, behind the scenes Jackson was emotionally stressed by long-simmering family and business pressures. As he grew to trust some of his “Thriller” collaborators, including Landis, Baker, and Stessel, he opened up about his loneliness, his perception that he had been robbed of his childhood, and his troubled relationship with his father. Jackson faced a critical moment in his personal development: would his new mega-success and wealth spur him to grow, becoming more confident and independent, or to withdraw further into his gilded fantasy world? His “Thriller” friends marveled at his paradoxical qualities: simultaneously sophisticated as an artist, canny to the point of ruthlessness in business dealings, and breathtakingly immature about relationships. […] More than once Landis found himself caught up in the twisted dynamics of the Jackson family. One night when Joseph and Katherine Jackson visited the set, the director recalls, “Michael asked me to have Joe removed. He said, ‘Would you please ask my father to leave?’ So I go over to Mr. Jackson. ‘Mr. Jackson, I’m sorry, but can you please … ?’ ‘Who are you?’ ‘I’m John Landis. I’m directing this.’ ‘Well, I’m Joe Jackson. I do what I please.’ I said, ‘I’ll have to ask security to remove you if you don’t leave now.’ ” Landis says he had a policeman escort Joe Jackson off the set, which Jackson, through his lawyer, denies. Distancing himself from his father was a theme in Michael Jackson’s life. He had to approve the reams of promotional materials that Epic generated to support “Thriller” (…). Although he was no longer Michael’s manager, Joe Jackson remained an intimidating and powerful presence in his life. In the summer of ’83, Jackson relied on his close adviser John Branca to communicate with his father about business matters, avoiding direct confrontation with Joe whenever possible. “Michael was scared to death of Joseph,” says Larry Stessel, who vividly recalls an evening when Joe walked into the room at the Encino house and Michael literally moved behind Stessel to hide, cowering. (Not until a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey would Michael publicly acknowledge how his father had brutalized him as a child.)


Michael was the Jackson family’s golden goose, and ever since he emancipated himself, at the age of 21, Joe had been hostile to his solo endeavors. Now, with millions of Thriller dollars flowing in Michael’s direction, Joe and Katherine and the brothers - all of whom needed money, thanks partly to extravagant spending habits - felt entitled to cash in. They set about organizing a Jacksons “Victory” reunion tour to take place the following summer, railroading Michael into serving as the star attraction. Joseph sent his secret weapon, Katherine, to implore her “special one” to do right by the family, knowing that Michael could not say no to his mother. Michael did not want to tour,” says Stessel. “He said to them, ‘I will do this for you this once, but don’t come and ask me for money again. After this I have to do my own projects.’ ”


At Hayvenhurst, Jackson led a strange, cocooned existence. A round-the-clock security team kept the ever increasing swarms of fans outside from breaching the walls. Inside, the family’s interactions were gothic and tense. While Katherine had filed for divorce the previous year following revelations of her husband’s infidelity (…), Joe had simply moved into a bedroom down the hall rather than move out. Michael tried to make his mother’s life more pleasant and avoid colliding with his father. “Michael would lock his bedroom door,” remembers Branca, “and Joe would threaten to bang it in.” (Joe Jackson, through his lawyer, denies this account.) Michael transcended the oppressive atmosphere with bursts of musical creativity. He once described his songwriting process as “a gestation, almost like a pregnancy or something. It’s an explosion of something so beautiful, you go, Wow!” When a song was ready to be birthed, he drafted siblings to help him record demos in his home studio; Janet sang backup on the first version of “Billie Jean.” The night before his now legendary appearance on the Motown 25th-anniversary TV special on NBC, where he introduced the Moonwalk, he had choreographed and rehearsed his performance in the kitchen. On Sundays, Jackson observed the Sabbath with fasting and hours of cathartic ritual dancing. “It was the most sacred way I could spend my time: developing the talents that God gave me,” he later said. Sometimes he invited young street dancers to come show him the latest moves; that was how he learned the Moonwalk. […]


Jackson also reveled in the company of children at Hayvenhurst, which was like a warm-up for Neverland, a kids’ paradise, which he loved sharing. He had struck up a friendship with the four-foot-three-inch television star Emmanuel Lewis, 12, with whom he would invent games and roll around on the grass, laughing. When George Folsey’s son, Ryan, 13, accompanied his father to meetings at the Jackson home, Michael behaved like a kid who was bored hanging out with the adults, jumping up to show Ryan around. They would feed the llamas, play the video game Frogger, and drive toy Model T’s around the grounds. “Michael was 25, but I’d say that he was 13,” says Ryan. “Mentally, he was 12 to 15 years behind. He could relate to me because he was my age.” Ryan hung out with Michael in his bedroom, which had a mattress on the floor, toys everywhere, and illustrations of Peter Pan on the walls. They talked about music - “I was amazed that Michael didn’t know who U2 was” - and the girls they had crushes on. Jackson revealed how discombobulated he had been by Ola Ray’s sexual allure after a dance rehearsal with her. “He started getting all nervous and stuff,” says Ryan. “He said, ‘She’s adorable, she’s adorable. She’s so hot!’ It was just so funny seeing him that way.” […] Paterson remembers Jackson asked him once after a dance rehearsal, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘I’m just going to a party with some friends. Do you want to come?’ ‘No, I’ve never been to a party. If I ever went to a party, I would just want to go stand behind the curtain and be able to peek out and watch what people do.’ Friendship is a thing I am just beginning to learn about,” Jackson told Ebony magazine in 1982. “I was raised on the stage and that is where I am comfortable. And everything else is, like, foreign to me.” Jackson had high-profile showbiz buddies such as Brooke Shields, Elizabeth Taylor, and Diana Ross, whom he could gossip with on the phone or invite to be his date for a public function. […] He frequently hung out at John and Deborah Landis’s house. “I liked Mike,” says John. “He used to come over to our house all the time and just stay there. I think he was so lonely. He and I got along fine, watching television until three or four in the morning, or looking at books. […]


Jackson was scheduled to arrive 45 minutes ago to be made up for his grisly metamorphosis sequence. Finally, the star’s black Rolls pulls up outside. Jackson trots in and plunks himself down in the chair. He is wearing a yellow T-shirt, black pants short enough to show his argyle socks, and black loafers with one sole flapping loose. He is carrying the book How to Be a Jewish Mother with a copy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses magazine, The Watchtower, inside. As Baker hovers over him, working meticulously, Jackson sits silently with his hands folded in his lap. An assistant arrives carrying a yellow pillowcase with something lumpy inside and puts it down in the outer room. “Say Say Say” comes on the radio, the latest Jackson hit single, another duet with Paul McCartney, this one appearing on McCartney’s album “Pipes of Peace”. Jackson yawns. […] He returns carrying an eight-foot boa constrictor - retrieved from that yellow pillowcase - which he has named Muscles. He wraps the snake around my neck. “Don’t be afraid - Muscles won’t hurt you,” he says in a feathery voice. When shooting was finished, Landis and Folsey worked every night in an editing room on the Universal Studios lot; after the original editor departed for another project, Folsey took over cutting. Jackson liked to hang out with Landis and Folsey while they worked, driving himself and arriving in the editing room at about nine P.M. They’d bring in his preferred dinner of salad and brown rice and vegetables. “We’d look at cut footage and talk about things, and it was always fun,” says Folsey. “He was very appreciative and had good ideas.” All three were pleased with the way the short film was shaping up, and looked forward to the premiere at the Crest Theatre, in Westwood, on November 14. When Jackson departed at one or two in the morning, he’d find mash notes on the windshield of his Rolls (Royce).


About two weeks before the premiere, Jackson called Branca and, hyperventilating and speaking in a halting voice, ordered him to destroy the negative of “Thriller.” After much cajoling, he revealed the reason for his decision. “He said the Jehovah’s Witnesses heard he was doing a werewolf video,” Branca recalls. “They told him that it promoted demonology and they were going to excommunicate him.” Branca conferred with Folsey and Landis, and all agreed that the “Thriller” negative had to be safeguarded. Landis immediately removed the film canisters from the lab and delivered them to Branca’s office, where they were locked up. Next, according to Landis, he got a call from Jackson’s security chief, Bill Bray, who reported that the singer had been in his room with the door locked for three days, refusing to come out. Landis drove to the Encino estate. “Bill and I kicked in the door, knocked it down, and Michael was lying there. He said, ‘I feel so bad.’ I said, ‘Michael, have you eaten?’ He hadn’t eaten. It was weird. I just said, ‘Look, I want you to see a doctor right now.’ ” Landis returned to see Jackson the next day and found him at Frank DiLeo’s house, a few blocks from the Encino estate, in a more cheerful state. He apologized for issuing the order to destroy “Thriller”: “I’m sorry, John. I’m embarrassed.” Landis then informed the star that his directive had been ignored. “I said, ‘Michael, I wouldn’t let it be destroyed.’ He went, ‘Really? Because I think it’s really good.’ I go, ‘Michael, it’s great and you’re great.’ ” Still, Jackson was concerned about the video’s content. Branca, desperate to mollify his client, invented a ruse. “I said, ‘Mike, did you ever watch Bela Lugosi in Dracula ?’ He goes, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Do you know that he was a devout Christian?’ I was just making it up. And I said, ‘Did you ever notice there were, like, disclaimers on those movies?’ He goes, ‘No.’ ‘So, Michael, before we destroy this film, let’s put a disclaimer on it saying that this does not reflect the personal convictions of Michael Jackson.’ ‘Oh!’ He liked it.” Problem solved. Says Landis, “You know, what’s wonderful about Michael - this is where genius comes in. No matter how wacky something was, it always had some amazing benefit. That disclaimer caused a lot of talk, and it generated a lot of interest.”


The A-list turned out for the premiere at the 500-seat historic Crest Theatre: Diana Ross, Warren Beatty, Prince, Eddie Murphy. “I’ve been to the Oscars, the BAFTAs, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes, and I had never seen anything like this,” remembers Landis. Ola Ray looked for Jackson before the lights went down and found him in the projection booth. He told her that she looked beautiful, but refused her entreaty to come sit in the audience. “This is your night,” he told her. “You go enjoy yourself.” Landis warmed up the audience with a new print of the Mickey Mouse cartoon “The Band Concert.” Then came “Thriller,” with its sound mix cranked up to top volume. Fourteen minutes later, the crowd was on its feet, applauding and crying, “Encore! Encore!” Eddie Murphy shouted, “Show the (…) thing again!” And they did. As the December 2 MTV debut of “Thriller” approached, there was massive audience anticipation. Former MTV executive Les Garland says the network settled on a saturation strategy he describes as “Every time we play “Thriller,” let’s tell them when we are going to play it again. We played it three to five times a day. We were getting audience ratings 10 times the usual when we popped ‘Thriller.’ ” Showtime aired Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller six times in February. Within months, the Vestron release had sold a million copies, making it at the time the biggest-selling home-video release ever. Landis’s dream for “Thriller” to have an international theatrical run, like the short films from Hollywood’s golden age, would not be fulfilled. In a sense, he became a victim of his own success: Yetnikoff and DiLeo killed any chance of that when they realized that the video was a spectacular marketing tool. “Epic gave away the video free all over the world, to every television station that wanted it,” says Landis. “There was a month when you couldn’t turn the television on and not see ‘Thriller.’ ” Since Landis and Folsey together owned 50 percent of both “Thriller” and Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller, they had the legal right to be consulted. “I don’t think it was very kosher,” says Landis, “but it was the right thing for CBS Records to do.”


Having transformed a fun but marginal song into a heroic and historic video, Michael Jackson rode “Thriller” to the mountaintop. The video sent the album’s sales back into the stratosphere, with Epic shipping a million copies a week; by the end of 1984, the album had sold 33 million copies in the U.S. Since then, Thriller has remained unchallenged as the No. 1 album of all time (current sales worldwide: an estimated 110 million). Jackson grew accustomed to shattering records, collecting spoils and statuettes. On February 28, 1984, he dressed like American royalty in a spangled military jacket to escort Brooke Shields to the Grammy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, where he picked up an unprecedented eight trophies for Thriller. By this time, he was a fabulously wealthy man, thanks to the industry’s highest royalty rate, more than $2 per record, which Branca had negotiated for him. Thriller had profound consequences on Jackson’s life and subsequent career: it was both a source of his greatest pride, and his curse. Like most entertainers, he was happiest during the heady days of the upward trajectory, and hated the downward journey; […] “Michael didn’t see Thriller as a phenomenon,” says Brunman. “He saw it as a stepping-stone to even greater things. We were ecstatic when [his next album] Bad” shot past the 20 million mark. Michael was disappointed.” […]”

[Article by Nancy Griffin; sources: www.vanityfair.com, www.mj-777.com]

 

“He was offered a lot of money (for the Beatles catalogue) to - he kept seven songs out of the catalogue that weren`t publicly available, and he got a call one day. […] Seven Beatles songs he kept out. He told me after had he taken a call that this Canadian company had wanted to buy - or use one of the songs in a commercial, and they offered him $8 million. He said to use it for the national commercial and he turned them down. I asked him why. He said, ‘I`m not ready to use them yet’.

He told me - he always kept their faces hidden because, you know, he said people will take the pictures and sell them. And he was offered $4 million for a photo session of the kids, and he turned that down, and he just was not interested. […] [He was an excellent father.] Oh, my goodness. Yes. Very good. (…) (He) said he had never spanked his kids, was always very good to them. You know, he just reprimanded in a kind way.”

[William Barnarht “Barney” Van Valin, American internist and general practitioner – on “Issues With Jane Velez Mitchell”; source: www.hlntv.com]

 

“Michael had this ritual every time we said goodbye. All of us brothers would hug and tell each other we loved each other, but Michael's favourite thing was to say, 'I love you more' and that night (, at the 60th wedding anniversary of our parents) was no different. The entire family was there. We just talked and took pictures and shared ideas and caught up with what we'd all been doing. It was a very happy night. Michael was full of life and full of spirit, and he was just getting ready to start enjoying his life again. He was going to buy another place, as he was sick of Neverland. He wanted to start doing movies and just take it easy and be with his children. […]”

“[…] Divide and conquer. That's what happened to Michael. Purely in the interests of financial greed, people in the business – and we're talking lawyers, managers, all kinds of people (…). When he got into trouble a few times (like with the false allegations made against him), they all ran – and when he was exonerated, they all came back. […] But although Michael knew who these people were, and tried to keep them at arm's length, he didn't see everything because he was too close to it. […]"

“[…] His personality was different too. He was like a grown man in a little man's body. My brothers and I, we'd go to a city and were more interested in seeing the stadium where the New York Giants played – Michael would want to meet the politicians or see the local history. He was always a heavy reader and always interested in other countries' cultures. We laughed to keep our sanity, and Marlon and Michael, my two little diddy brothers, when they were nine or 10, used to love to go to New York and fill balloons with water, then drop them on people from above. We were just normal boys having fun."

“Everyone has their perception of who my brother was and he was just a person that loved life, loved seeing people happy and loved making a difference through his music. It's not for me to say how much of a difference he made, but I don't think I could have asked for a better brother."

[Tito Jackson; source: www.guardian.co.uk (tabloid)]

 

“For the Jackson family, particularly his mother and children that have gone (through) this horrific ordeal, to hear a verdict that buried Michael again would have been devastating. I am happy that they didn’t have to suffer that indignity. Certainly I feel that more punishment could and should have been served, but I am pleased that this jury didn't blame Michael for his own death. ... I feel that Dr. Murray and others who benefited from Michael, but didn't protect him, got off relatively lightly. Michael lost his life and we lost one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived. I lost a friend and will never forget him.”

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


“The Estate of Michael Jackson and Michael himself has always believed the jury system works, and, despite the tragedy that brought about this trial, we are in agreement with the jury's verdict. In this casem justice has been served. Michael is missed on a daily basis, but his genius and his music will be with us forever.”

[Statement by Michael Jackson's Estate co-executors; source: http://news.yahoo.com]


“[…] His intentions were always good, pure and clean about children. […] We saw him in May (2009), before he passed, we had a big celebration (…), it was really for my mother and father, but the whole family brought their kids, and he was very excited, he was very excited about the o2 shows and we were laughing, and Janet and us were making jokes and things, and then he said – we started singing the song called “Fly Away” which I loved, by him, and we started singing and I complimented him on it, and he said, “I’ll see you, guys, at the o2, you all are coming, right?”, and I said ‘Yes’, and he was perfectly fine, he was healthy, he was – he was just excited about the show, and we said ‘We’ll be there’. And that’s the last time we saw him.”

“[…] No, he wasn't addicted. There was an addiction to Demerol in 2001 in ... the early 2000’s, but that was because of pain. But even during the autopsy report, there was no addiction to any of that. Michael just wanted to sleep. He did not want to die. He trusted – he trusted the doctor, and the negligence and everything is really sad, ‘cause we lost an incredible person. So, to see and hear the verdict, it’s ... My mother cried and we consoled her and the fans were cheering and everything, but it's not bringing Michael back. We lost a brother. […] I think the sentencing was very soft. I mean, you would probably do more time if you stole. If you went into the hospital and stole cases of Propofol, you would probably do more time then. And to give him two years for taking a life? I mean, forget about Michael Jackson, but just taking anyone's life. But it happens to be my brother who loved the world and loved people and did so much for the world and cared about people - human beings, children. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson – interviewed on "The Ellen (DeGeneres) Show"; sources: http://news.yahoo.com, www.youtube.com]


“[…] We're angry [that Murray talks about Michael and his death in a documentary,] because Dr. Murray is a liar and he had his chance in court, he was tried by 12 jurors and they found him guilty. So anything he says is really irrelevant. He had his chance to stand up. He is a coward. He's a liar. He didn't stand up in court. And plus, this had to be for money, because that's -- he must have been paid big to do this. […]”

“(…) I want people to remember Michael, the human being, and not all the negative things about his death. But for Conrad Murray to -- I can't believe -- we're going to court, waiting for a verdict, he was doing a documentary. That is ridiculous. […] What's coming out of Conrad Murray's mouth is lies. He had his chance in court. He should have stood up. He's a coward. He's a liar. And the fans shouldn't even worry about this, because 12 jurors unanimously found him guilty. So whatever he says is irrelevant. We don't care. We want to move on and focus on the person, the beautiful person that Michael was. […] The money (that they paid Murray to appear in this documentary) is not important. What's going to come out of his mouth is lies. […] I think Conrad Murray got what he deserved. I don't like the charge. If you ask me the question ‘How do I feel after the verdict?’, I feel the same way before the verdict. I just -- because I feel that Conrad Murray is the finger to a bigger hand. And the fact that he did not care for my brother. He got what he deserved. But the charges should have been much greater. The charges were weak. I mean, you can go into a hospital and steal propofol and probably get more time than he got. […] Here's a guy who's a liar. The jury, the system has found him guilty. Why would they want to -- says a lot about the networks. This is MSNBC. I'm sorry. This is trash. This is bull crap. He should not -- listen, I really don't want to give that much light to it, because it's not important what he says. It's irrelevant. It's irrelevant. He's found guilty. These 12 jurors unanimously found him guilty. […] How do you -- how do you order four gallons of propofol and say you're trying to wean my brother off of it? How do you say, well, maybe it was an accident? Why didn't you call 911? […] Because it's wrong. It's wrong. And we shouldn't -- I really don't want to bring that much light to it because that's not what's important. What's important is that we celebrate Michael's life and we remember the good things, the good things that he's contributed to the world. […] Put it like this, if they gave him all the (prison) time in the world, it's not going to bring my brother back. It's not. […] So why are they interested in hearing what he has to say in a documentary? I'm just livid, because I can't believe that while we were going home during the trial, he was filming a documentary and it had to be for money. But to -- I think the jurors are right. They made the right decision. His negligence, his inability to take care of my brother. At the same time, he's the finger to a bigger hand. And there are lot of questions that we need answers to. […] What was he thinking to take Michael during the time when he was sedated and for people to think, well, ‘He's an addict’, because of the way he's talking. Michael was sedated. And still he's thinking about children, building a children's hospital, and for those who had questions whether he was this child molester, which is so ridiculous to think that, his intentions were to take care of children. […] What was his intention to tape this? What are they going to do? […] He was probably going to use (this tape recording). […] Because he's a liar. He's a -- why? Look at what he's done.”

[Jermaine Jackson – interviewed on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’; sources: http://transcripts.cnn.com, http://edition.cnn.com, www.mjjcommunity.com]

 

 

“I was happy for my mother, for his kids, for the fans who - because this was built up to focus on Conrad Murray. But I always say he`s the finger to a bigger hand. […] But I just feel like the charge is nothing. It`s nothing. You took my brother. And four years for involuntary manslaughter - he`ll do two. […] Justice wasn`t served as far as I`m concerned. He`s the finger to a bigger hand. We need to find where this hand, this finger belongs to. […] I felt sympathy for his mother. My mother did as well, so did my sister, Rebbie, because at the end of the day, we`re really human beings. And that`s her son, but still, he put money first. […] (And) they tried to slur Michael`s name during the trial. […]”

[Jermaine Jackson; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“[...] Put yourself in our shoes and appreciate our suffering for the past two years. I feel it is morally reprehensible to cloak a murderer and convicted felon with celebrity status, which the airing of Dr. Murray's views will undoubtedly accomplish. I find it equally disgusting to permit this criminal to profit from homicidal acts that left my family without a brother, my niece and nephews without a father, my parents without a son - and deprived the world of an irreplaceable artist.”

[LaToya Jackson, (in a letter to MSNBC President, Phil Griffin); source: www.nydailynews.com]


“Conrad Murray is famous for one thing and one thing only, killing Michael Jackson. That`s what he did, that`s why we know him, that`s why we`re talking about him, and that`s why someone is following him around with a camera for two years, putting together a documentary that I think, really, is more of a reality show. […] I`m all for people talking, but this is -- to me, this is the production of a reality show, a reality show based on one man`s fame for killing the world`s most famous man. […] I didn`t say murder. I said kill. […] Right. Maybe he didn`t get paid for it. [gets sarcastic] Maybe he just said ‘OK, follow me around for two years behind the scenes with my defense team, and I`ll tell you my whole story for nothing.’ […] He could come on here for free. He can speak to me, Dr. Drew, for free. I`ll give him two hours with me for free. […] You know what, he`d have to answer some questions, because he`d be cross-examined by a former prosecutor which is what he`s scared of. […] I don`t want people killing other people and then pitching it, and say ‘Hey, you want to do a documentary on me?’ ‘Hey, you want to strike a deal? Follow me around.’ […] Doesn`t matter (that the documentary had been made before he was convicted). He knew what he did, which is kill Michael Jackson. We heard his interview with police, right? Did you hear it? You heard it, right? That (…) the foundation of the prosecution`s case was Dr. Conrad Murray`s own words. […] The first amendment is the right to speak, not the right to make money off of someone else`s death that you caused. Homicide for profit? […] This is why he should be thinking about his children. When he`s on the phone while his patient is dying, talking to the cocktail waitress while his girlfriend is at home with his baby. […]”

[Vinnie Politan, American anchorman for HLN; source: http://transcripts.cnn.com]


“Michael was a very caring and trusting human being and it is horrible how Conrad Murray took advantage of Michael for his own gain, and did not care enough about him to help him through his pain. And now NBC is giving Murray a reward by focusing a show on his opinions and views and having him further tarnish the image of a great talent, human being and humanitarian.”

[Jack Wishna, Founder and CEO of rockcityclub.com; source: www.prnewswire.com]


“[…] [In the spring of 1988, Michael gave me the hat off his head, after a concert at the Civic Center. [I also have hung onto several photographs I took with him at LaGuardia Airport in New York.] [I served as his personal chauffeur during his week's stay in the city.] It was quite an experience for me just being with him. [Though I wasn't really a fan of his at the time, I was thrilled when, as a dispatcher for Cotter Limousine Service in Bloomfield, I received an urgent call. Michael’s road crew needed to be picked up at Bradley Airport. I took the assignment myself. I established a rapport with the crew, which led to them suggesting I be the exclusive driver for Michael and them when he arrived. […] I would soon be headed upstairs to a suite in the old Hilton Hotel on Asylum Street where he awaited.] What struck me was he was in a good mood. He was very nice. Just a regular guy. Super nice. I was surprised. I just figured with him being that famous, there was no way he'd be this nice. [He stayed in his suite for most of his stay - and never wanted to be bothered the day of a performance. A valet, who served as chef, was part of the entourage. […] I took the crew out to the mall and at KFC on Albany Avenue in North Hartford. At the KFC, one of the crew members surprised the girls behind the counter by giving them four tickets to the concert. They squealed. I also took Jackson and a security guy on a brief tour of the city. […] He didn't talk much, but he talked. He called me 'sir.' ‘How're doin', sir?’ ‘Everything all right, sir?’ Very, very friendly. [When I drove him to the Civic Center with his security people, I was allowed to stay backstage. Crew members hooked my family up with front row seats and they granted my request that my niece (…) be selected as one of the kids to be called up to dance on stage with Michael. I told one of his aides how impressed I was that he was so friendly. I am a fan now. The aide asked me to tell that to Michael directly.] So, I told him, ‘Listen, I never realized you were such a nice guy.’ I said ‘I wasn't a fan of yours before, but I'm a fan of yours now’. And he was thanking me, laughing, smiling, and said, 'I'm glad you are.'" [Feeling emboldened, I had a favor to ask.] I said 'I'd like to have a souvenir of yours.' And he said, 'OK, what do you want?' I said, 'Can I have that hat of yours?' And he gave it to me. [When I drove him and his crew back to LaGuardia, I had yet another request – ‘Could I get a picture or two, because no one is going to believe that I chauffeured you?’ Done. And my tip was $1,000.] [Not bad for a week's work - and the memories and mementos that will last a lifetime.”

[Robert Farmer, Michael Jackson’s former chauffeur, retired firefighter and chief; sources: www.courant.com, www.mj-777.com, UKlovesMJ (www.facebook.com)]


"My experience with Michael and the other Jackson brothers, while admittedly brief, was different from what I've been reading in the papers or seeing on TV broadcasts. My recollection of Michael was as an articulate, considerate, soft-spoken man, generous with his time and his compliments. His music has the power to unite us in sound, and I was fortunate to have had a part in the Victory album. I've held onto the painting he commissioned from me as a memento of those days, and for many years it has been hanging over the doorway to my studio. […]”

[Michael Whelan, American artist; source: www.metrolyrics.com]


“[…] He treated us warmly and generously and without a bit of phoniness. He talked to Alexa about her Cabbage Patch doll. We were all vegetarians, and I remember talking about how hard it is to go to some banquet and get a huge slab of prime rib on your plate.”

[Michael Wheelan, http://harryallen.info]