REMEMBER THE TIME…an immersion into racial identity

“I’m a Black American, I am proud of my race.  I am proud of who I am.  I have a lot of pride and dignity.”king

“I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of my skin;  it’s something that I cannot help.  OK?  But when people make up stories that I don’t want to be what I am, it hurts me.”

“It’s a problem for me that I can’t control…but what about all the millions of people who sit out in the sun, to become darker, to become other than what they are?  No one says anything about that.”

It is in my family; my father said it’s on his side.  I can’t control it, I don’t understand.  I mean it makes me very sad.  I don’t want to go into my medical  humanitarian twohistory because that is private, but that’s the situation here.”

We tried to control it and using make-up evens it out because it makes blotches on my skin.  I have to even out my skin.  But you know what’s funny, why is that so important?  That’s not important to me.  I’m a great fan of art.  I love Michelangelo.  If I had a chance to talk to him or read about him I would want to know what inspired him to become who he is, the anatomy of his craftsmanship, not who he went out with last night…what’s wrong with…I mean that’s what is important to me.”

Michael Jackson Talks to Oprah 1992ankle

Vitiligo (a common skin disorder of skin pigmentation in which patches of skin lose their color.  Depigmentation white patches are particularly obvious in dark-skinned people, occurring most commonly on the face, hands, armpits and groin.  Affected skin is particularly sensitive to sunlight.  Vitiligo is thought to be an autoimmune disorder that causes an absence of melanocytes, the specialized cells responsible for secreting the skin pigmentation melanin.  The condition may occur at any age but usually develops in early adulthood.  It affects about one in 200 people.  Make-up may be used to disguise areas of vitiligo.  Creams containing corticosteroid drugs may also help.  If areas of vitiligo are extensive, chemicals may be used to remove pigment from remaining areas of normal skin.  THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION ENCYCLOPEDIArtt

Just the other day, I came across the words honest media.  My initial reaction was to say, “Now there’s a contradiction in terms…oxymoron at its finest!”  For me, the media has long since earned my distrust, repeatedly validating loss of confidence in whatever it is they are selling.  Some would argue that there sometimes is a grain of truth hidden in their reporting…doesn’t that make it worth our while to listen and read…aren’t they, after all, professionals, experts?  Picture this:  You stop by your local pharmacy to pick up a prescription when the pharmacist on duty tells you that there is a slight change…their new policy requires only one or two actual ingredients in prescriptions to be the real deal…and, what about the rest…well, they will be simply made up…borrowed from another pharmacy, not checked, thrown in.  Oh,  ACCOUNTABILITY?  PROFESSIONALISM?  EXPERTISE?  NOT NEEDED…We have  the power.  Absurd?  Of course.  But, if this new practice is all there is…if  we are madeadorable man five to believe that this is what is required, even WANTED…precedent is set into motion.

Among the avalanche of lies perpetrated by the media in their massive Michael Jackson myth-making efforts, was the reason behind Michael’s skin color change…selling to the public that Michael was ashamed of his race, wanting to be white.  In addition to media distortions and lies, there exists constant double standards.  Upon learning of Michael J. Fox’s battle, of Robin William’s battle, attention was brought to their respective diseases, efforts made to understand, great sympathies shown.  When Michael Jackson shared his disease, the media scoffed, ridiculed, made a joke of, or completely discounted and disbelieved.  DOUBLE STANDARD?  You tell me.  The double standard also had a more sinister agenda…turning Black America against Michael.  Racism.  Is it because Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams are not black that their stories were accepted and bravery attached to their struggles.  All THREE of these men deserve our STUNNING MAN FOURrespect and admiration for bravery in the face of adversity.

“All around us are people of different cultures, different religions, and different nationalities.  And yet, the music of Michael Jackson brings us together.”

Pastor Lucious Smith

“Michael kept going.  He did not accept  limitations.  Michael broke down the color curtain.  He brought together Black, White, Asian, Latino.  He outperformed the pessimists.  Michael  never stopped.  Michael never stopped.  MICHAEL NEVER STOPPED. He brought changes to your eyes, your biases, your fears.”

Rev Al Sharpton

Unimpeded by attempts to diminish who he was, Michael Jackson’s revolutionary actions turned trouble into opportunity, chaos into astounding music.  His answer to those specializing in putting CON into controversy, was in his powers of perseverance, as he inhabited the present in life-cherished moments.  REMEMBER THE TIME is one of those astounding pieces of artistry on the DANGEROUS ALBUM, a work of art described as a MASTERPIECE by Quincy Jones.  He was absolutely right.  Dangerous redefined the parameters of pop.  Michael sings in his lower register on REMEMBER THE TIME…once again, background vocals are exquisite…Teddy Riley recalls, “So we humanitarian like no other twowent back and started the song from the beginning and I watched  Michael sing each note and harmony, double it, triple it and then maybe quadruple…each time singing it perfectly, vibratos perfectly matched, perfectly in tune, rhythmically dead on, knowing exactly what he wanted to do the whole time.  We were done with all the hooks faster than if I’d flown them in.  Flawless.  That was day one.”  REMEMBER THE TIME is a smooth, meticulously crafted R&B, built on a punchy backbeat with soulful vocals. J. Vogel

“HAPPINESS HATES THE TIMID.”

Eugene O’Neill

It was 1992.  Racial tensions high, the brutal beating of Rodney King and ensuing riots in Los Angeles, the AIDS epidemic loomed larger than ever, war in the Gulf, a material world advancing.  Michael explicitly would confront racism for the first time.

“I think I haven’t scratched the surface yet of what my real purpose is for beingforever beauty here.  I’m committed to my art.  I believe that all art has as its ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine.  And I believe that that is the very reason for the existence of art and what I do.  And I feel fortunate in being that instrument through which music flows.”

Michael Jackson Ebony Interview 1992

Never allowing the threat of censorship to keep his art small, Michael refused media condemnation or oppression.  Accepting a sense of artistic power and choosing to do the next right thing, Michael forged ahead with the REMEMBER THE TIME short film.  Seeing a need, not being one who had to be asked to act, Michael boldly chose the setting placed in ancient Egypt with an all Black cast.  “REMEMBER THE TIME adopts an African heritage as a gesture of pride and a search for fulfillment…asking viewers to recall a past when Black folks were not estranged from the African continent or their ancestral culture.  Of course, Jackson aims his fantasy nostalgia toward a broad audience to make sense for non-blacks who can relate to Africa as the cradle of all civilization: DO YOU REMEMBER HOW IT ALL BEGAN.”  Armond Whitepanther two

Throughout the storytelling, the connection between matriarch and exile is played out…even though Michael’s character portrays someone different, it turns out he is still one of them.  “The implicit message to viewers is that racial identity is much more than skin pigmentation: it is about shared dances, songs, narratives, and histories.”  J. Vogel

A strong show of support for Magic Johnson was shone by Michael.  Choosing the athlete as a member of the cast, a year after it was reported that he had the AIDS virus, was a bold move at the time.  With inaccurate information about the disease and scare tactics delivered by a sensationalistic media, fears ran rampant.  As a rescuer, Michael’s practice was to ask two questions:  “What do you need?  How can I help?” AFRICA TWO Never being a person affected by fear tactics, in addition to befriending and supporting Ryan White’s journey with AIDS,  Michael’s message was clear.

BELIEF IS CONTAGIOUS

Julia Cameron

Michael’s telling of truths created avenues of truth from others.  Undaunted by the size of the task, fate conceded to Michael.  Ever vigilant, without self-doubt, Michael’s divine sparks of genius created the messages of REMEMBER THE TIME…as ever, multilayered and bravely addressing AN IMMERSION INTO RACIAL IDENTITY.

PREJUDICE IS IGNORANCEa wave for the fans

Thank you, Michael, for husbanding truthful optimism.  Your emotional courage spreads  beyond all boundaries.  We REMEMBER THE TIME.  I love you, Michael.

I love you all.

Jude

 

6 thoughts on “REMEMBER THE TIME…an immersion into racial identity

  1. My how timely and important this post is my friend. Just last week a few articles circulated about the “news” that Prince Jackson could possibly have vitiligo like his famous father because it’s hereditary. OH, shock and surprise- NOT ..

    The articles attempted to lay it on the fans saying they were concerned, which of course, is hogwash. No one in Michael’s fanbase was ever concerned, it was noted that Prince had signs of vitiligo years ago and we knew it was hereditary. The articles are quite ridiculous but did activate alarm bells. Actually, it wasn’t so much the articles themselves but much more the comments that have boggled the mind.

    It has been indeed hard to fathom which group was more upset over the idea of Prince being Michael’s child, the illiterate redneck buffoons or the angry blacks who believed Michael should have married and or procreated with only black women. Which is more surprising or shocking can be debated but the undercurrent of unacceptability of these children by either race was very disturbing.

    Are children of mixed ancestory to be denied by blacks, simply because their physical characteristcs do not confirm to the accepted notion of what black beauty is? Are “white” people really this much afraid of visualizing a child of Michael Jackson looking no different than their own children?

    The comments are staggeringly ignorant as they attempt to degrade his children, their identity and the physical appearances. It has heightened my understanding of racism on a different level, and demonstrated the limited knowledge of people and how they refuse to consider the possibility that people are never just black or white.

    With bi-racial and multi-ethnic marraiges more and more on the rise it would behoove society to take classes in tolerance as well as genetics, so that they might understand that “black people come in all colors” as Michael told Bashir in interview.

    Remember it was Michael who sang “don’t have to live my life being a color” -“It don’t matter if you’re black or white” – “the blood inside of me is inside of you” and “you’re just another part of me” For a REASON… … through his art he attempted to teach that skin tone is not an indication of the essence of a man but his character and through his children he does the same.

  2. Yes! Black people come in all colors…people come in all colors! Thank the good Lord for that. As Michael said…PREJUDICE IS IGNORANCE! Did anyone ever think that he had the opportunity to live as a black man (in his younger days) and later when his vitiligo became obvious–as white. Amazing! So he knew what he was talking about. Personally I never cared what color he was….he was just Michael to me! A formidable and strong man who never NEVER gave up!

  3. Michael paid a high price for being the most famous person on the planet…during his time…and for his huge gifts in the music and dance arenas. He couldn’t be topped …not then and not now. I don’t believe anyone will even come close to what he accomplished, who he was, and what he did. I am so grateful to have known him…and been his friend. He was truly a shining light in the world…and I so wish he were still here with me and all of us. Thank you Michael, for all you have done, and accomplished. Bless you!!!!

  4. When I think of all that Michael accomplished in his life…and the sort of wonderful acts of kindness he performed, I am once again overwhelmed. Sometimes when I think about him, I get very teary. He should still be here…and I so wish he were…however, things are as they are. This man was the epitome of goodness, exquisite talent in music. He was a singer, composer, dancer, choreographer, writer, and so much more. His athleticism was beyond belief…and his stamina in performing those shows of his, which were so magnificent…how did he do it? Determination, for sure. But he also trained for these grueling performances. Every Sunday he danced all day..and fasted. And when on the road with his shows, he insisted that the ENTIRE company run the shows at least twice on the days they were not performing. And no one did all that less ‘full out’ than he. Knowing the value of conscious repetition, and practice….he put himself and everyone else through their paces. He was raised in an atmosphere of work, work, work!!!! by his father and Berry Gordy. And as a child, he worked all the time. (That would not be legal today…but then, it was possible). Michael loved working…and he loved composing. When he was quiet sometimes a song would come to him….this process was rather astonishing to watch. He would just get up and go to the tape machine and sing the melody, words, all the musical accompaniment, AND the rhythms. He didn’t write things down….would have taken too long. Sometimes I did that for him…but his method was the best. I think about all this and marvel that such an individual was here on this earth…and was my good friend. The fact that hs WAS here, is magical. I love him…which am sure he knows.. His fans are in the millions. No one had more devoted fans than Mike. If only…..if only….

  5. YES!!! If only….if only! So many of them! If only I had made the decision to go with him on his BAD TOUR! If only he had not invited that Chandler family to Neverland, to help their son! And so on. But there is no changing the past, no matter who it is!!! I love you, dear Michael, and always will. If only you were here! Bless you!

  6. And now we are in 2017…in the midst of an unlawful and terrible new regime. Where are you, Michael? We need you! I need you! Please send some advice! Love you so much!

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