“…The courage to be intimate. Expressing your feelings is not the same as falling apart in front of someone else-it’s being accepting and true to your heart, whatever it may say. When you have the courage to be intimate, you know who you are, and you’re willing to let others see that. It’s scary, because you feel so vulnerable, so open to rejection. But without self-acceptance, the other kind of courage, the kind heroes show in movies, seems hollow. In spite of the risks, the courage to be honest and intimate opens the way to self-discovery. It offers what we all want, the promise of love.”
DANCING THE DREAM
It is raining this morning. It has been raining all night. There is a beautiful isolation in it. Darkness captures dawn’s light, holding it at bay, while I allow the quiet to relax my mind. Cleansing and urging me to the page, the rains encourage thought. There is an intimacy felt when wrapped in a blanket devoid of color. I am alone in a silent house, thinking of umbrellas and people caught in the rain, and Michael. “Stranger in Moscow” is an artistic masterpiece in every sense of the word. For me, it is a true representation of intimacy, for while capturing it, self-discovery leads to the promise of love.
Michael’s journey has given me a clear picture of courage. Bravery accompanied every choice, every challenge, every part of his artistry. Not only did life demand Michael face all manner of struggle, he also internalized the pain of others. In turn, he then presented it to the world in naked vulnerability. Prose, poetry, music, dance, performance…all invited a closeness that revealed the depths of Michael’s soul. “The Black Tradition is a tradition of soul. Soul is the most precious thing you can share because you’re sharing yourself and the world needs that gift now more than ever.” Michael Jackson We completely relate to Michael’s vulnerability because he gave completely. His was real pain felt, experienced, shared. Alone on giant stages, before millions of people, Michael emptied his soul into waiting vessels, which in turn emptied across the entire planet.
STRANGER IN MOSCOW, a tale of “out-of-step, but soul-deep anguish, is eloquent enough to mythify alienation in pop terms and elicit a reconsideration of post-cold war, post-civil rights angst. It captures a detached, empty feeling of a man estranged from the world around him. The track begins with the sound of rain, then a slow beat built on Jackson’s beatboxing, and a soft-strumming guitar. Jackson sings in exquisite call-and-response, the echoing effect perfectly captures his feeling of isolation.” J. Vogel Coming after “THEY DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT US,” on Michael’s HISTORY Album, it marks a sharp contrast from social justice outcry to vulnerable ache outcry. Michael said he was feeling so lonely in his hotel room when the song came to him. To be sure, back home, the frenzied media and false accusers were gearing up with their destruction plans. It was 1993.
The short film that Michael created for the song is an exquisite piece of fine art in black and white, understated and bleak: “a visual narrative in which the lives of six isolated strangers play out as the world moves around them in slow motion. Jackson is identified with these regular people, he too is alone, and wanders the streets in a black trench coat like a ghost, unacknowledged. About midway through the short film, he and the other characters step out into the pouring rain. As they are individually baptized by the water, something changes. It is as if the aching alienation they each feel is temporarily washed away…they are cleansed and connected by a common experience, their suffering.” J. Vogel
I feel a renewed faith as Michael sings with great emotion, his head turned toward the heavens. The collective vulnerability and shared pain bring with them…empowerment. When we openly share who we are and what we are feeling, we form a bond, and with that bond comes strength…POWER.
“HOW DOES IT FEEL WHEN YOU’RE ALONE AND COLD INSIDE.”
Reaching out to one another, being vulnerable, honesty with ourselves and others…self-acceptance and unconditional love…Michael’s messages for a world more in need of them now than ever before. When people wonder why I continue to do what I do, I reply, “Michael’s life and legacy are needed to save a dying world.” He is no longer walking the planet…but, his legacy remains to be shared. We are his voice now. It is up to us. “IT OFFERS WHAT WE ALL WANT, THE PROMISE OF LOVE.”
I love you, Michael.
I love you, Dear Friends.