“I believe in us and the people. I know we can make a difference. I love you all with all my heart.”
June 25, 2009 defined for me the ancient legend “Once in your lifetime something big happens that changes your whole life forever. After this turning point, your life will never be the same.” Standing before me, in film and word, music and dance, was a man whose artistry provided metaphor for our human spirit, our common struggles, our shared victories. Within that metaphor, powerful and infectious, a dazzling blueprint for living unfolded. It took very little time before I felt an inner knowing…that sixth sense that ignites those very senses, lighting a perpetual fuse. I was reborn. Granted, I was captivated, mesmerized by Michael Jackson decades before. June 25th created my search engine, powerful in its call to action, the very definition of Eugene O’Neill’s words, “Happiness hates the timid.” For anyone who spends time with Michael Jackson is changed, uplifted. Put another way, WE ARE BETTER PEOPLE BECAUSE OF TIME SPENT WITH MICHAEL JACKSON. The landscape of Michael’s life is painted brilliantly by his creation and devotion to Neverland. It is both representative of the totality of who he was and the Utopia of his dreams for the world and its people. His artistry revealed itself in his storytelling. The genius and creativity he applied to the layers of his work brought with it life lessons…Michael is a master teacher. Beyond that role, his artistry and his life represented every human value that I hold dear. Through his suffering and pain, I felt inspiration and hope for a braver me. Through his civil disobedience, I was given a path toward bravery. Through his inexhaustible humanitarian efforts, the greatest lobbyist for change I have ever known, I stepped into an increased effort of giving. I understood that Michael Jackson was chosen to bring a message of love and healing to the planet with his artistry and activism, and we, his community of love, educated and empowered, were chosen to do the same. Storytelling for me manifested itself in the forms of CHOSEN VOICES, INNOCENT VOICES and THE IMMERSION PROJECT, living out the Chinese Proverb: If someone shares something of value and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others. I have been reborn over and over again, gathering power from thousands of hours of research which continue to prove the relevance of a man who bound his soul to his work, each day rededicating himself to the wonder and innocence of childhood. Michael has been and is my constant…my touchstone. I came across a quote from Spencer Curtis Brown which offered a glimpse into the pain and suffering that grips all of us who travel with Michael. For Paris: “What she saw was an Eden in the seconds after the apple had been eaten, when evil was known, imminent and unavoidable, but where there was still awareness of what innocence had been.” There have been days, weeks when the tears would not stop, feeling gutted and frantic, angry and beaten. When overtaken by defeat, I turn to Michael for strength. His music, his artistry, his performance, his poetry and prose, his character, his choices…all provide me with a measure of bravery to hold onto Michael’s reimagined world. With his eye still in love, Michael channeled on behalf of humanity…I turn to my energy, hopeful of giving birth to a new reality. Children were my life’s career. That, as with so many things, allows me to walk alongside Michael and all who carry on his messages for the voiceless. My entry point each day resides with kindred spirits around this planet who speak as one voice, who join together in a common purpose for change to this wounded world. It is a pilgrimage that I am privileged to share…“My fans are activists. They will defend me.” Michael Jackson Michael’s dreams help create my future…“all hidden in the drawer of innocence, wrapped in a scarf of wonder.” MJ Michael was his artistry, lived his artistry, embraced an artful life…layered and paradoxical, just as a brilliant life should be. He entertained us, challenged us to think, provided a role model, standing up each and every time he was hurled to the ground. He walked the talk. He was and is real. I am inspired by him every day. He offers hope when I am suffering from life’s challenges. He has strengthened my faith with his unbreakable faith. Studying Michael Jackson’s life has given me mine…for I am discovering who I am and who I want to be.
“LOVE IS THE ANSWER TO ALL THAT I AM.”
The strength of Michael’s love inhabits my days…his life, his artistry, his choices, his visions reveal a love both pure and unconditional. It is a love on a scale I have never seen before. His visions provide solutions, inspiring each of us to our own song. Once empowered, we join together, singing in unison and harmony, with beautiful diversity… crying out as one. Michael Jackson’s life changed the face of popular music forever, elevating the status of Black artists, opening doors for Black artists that followed, showing the Black Tradition of Soul and seeing music as colorblind. His musical genius was out of the box, embracing all manner of genre refusing to label music, embracing cultures around the world while accepting no boundaries or borders. His short films provided the Rosetta stone for music videos to this day. He brought theatre to performance and a unique style copied yet into the millennium. He was, and remains, an ambassador to the world. His humanitarian efforts continue to inspire masses of people. His career is unparalleled. He remains the greatest and most awarded entertainer in the history of popular music. The cruel and vicious myths and lies delivered by an unprofessional, sensationalizing, unethical and unaccountable media have brainwashed with the force of repetition and volume. Unjustly accused and prosecuted, greed and illegality were only thwarted by jury verdict. Found innocent on every count, the refusal of the media to accept truth revealed the very definition of bullying cruelty. Believing as Martin Luther King did that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Education is the answer to erasing untruths, a repository of facts brings light to the legacy. We are the change for truth…WE ARE THE NEW MEDIA. Actively PAYING MICHAEL FORWARD brings justice where none has been. “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” MLK Together, we do. And so, I will continue to greet each dawn, determined to enlighten with the scope of genius in Michael Jackson’s high art, delight in the gifts he gave us, and feel the energies of a world community seeking justice and actively continuing his work. Understanding that his gifts and talents were God-given, to enjoy and have fun with, and, more importantly, to share…Michael believed it was just a loan…He worked and created to make a better world for our children and the ecology. This privilege of writing each day is also on loan. I will attempt to show my gratitude by delivering Michael Jackson truths…singing it loud enough for Michael to hear!
“KEEP ON REACHING…DO IT FOR ME.”
With all my love,
THE IMMERSION PROJECT Michael Jackson’s Tapestry
THANK YOU, ELIZABETH MICHELLE BILLEAUDEAUX! It is an honor and privilege to be a part of your beautiful book…MICHAEL IN MY LIFE.
I love you, Jude