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


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.


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.



What do you miss most? “EVERYTHING!” Paris Jackson



Yesterday, I thought of Michael’s words, “I CLOSE MY EYES, JUST TO TRY AND SEE YOUR SMILE ONE MORE TIME, BUT IT’S BEEN SO LONG NOW ALL I DO IS CRY.”  Tears happen so quickly and I get this feeling in my stomach…an ache so deep that I think it will never go away.  But, yesterday, the tears tracked down my cheeks for another reason.  I was hearing Michael’s angelic voice as he created a new world anthem.  Salty tears licked my smiling lips.  For a moment, I forgot he was gone.  Michael was back, in the studio, the genius at work creating, playing, stacking layers of beautiful sound just as he has done thousands of time.  “PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD”  is Michael Jackson sound, Michael Jackson message, Michael Jackson genius.  I have played it dozens of times, my body swaying, my arms lifted to the heavens…and, I am truly happy.  There is a need inside my soul that craves Michael’s voice, his creativity, things we have yet to experience.  I remembered Michael so many times asking Fans what they wanted.  He was surprised when many said they wanted more behind the scenes footage.  He answered with the Dangerous Short Films, tii fouroffering Fans that peek behind the curtain.  For me, I CANNOT GET ENOUGH.  I adore being that little mouse in the corner.

In my present mood, I decided to look around in the lost and found of hearts, feeling so strongly what Paris said…WE MISS EVERYTHING.  Memories are often both sweet and painful.  They are a history of events and lives and paint pictures from the past.  Today’s paint brush will reveal many colors, shapes and textures.  When we step away, we will begin to see Michael…but, although dense with stokes, the picture will never be complete.  There will always be more love to paint and our yearning will go on.stunning


There is a reason we’ve been trying so hard to tell the truth.  At times, some have seemed defensive, even frenzied.  It is because of this fierce sense of urgency and the constant barrage of injustice that comes at Michael Jackson…his work, his image, his legacy.


Washington, D.C. March, 2004

Sheila Jackson Lee Representative US Congress

African Ambassadors Discussion HIV Aids

“Watching Michael Jackson hold on to the issue he cared so deeply about was a miraculous experience.  He was the Good Samaritan.  Michael never stopped giving.”


“I’d say he was the best cook ever.  Everyone’s surprised to hear it.  He was just a normal Dad, except, I would say he was the BEST DAD.  He made the best French toast in the world.”  Paris Jackson Oprah Interview 2010paris

“For we have all been someone’s child and we know that despite the very best plans and efforts, mistakes will always occur.  That’s just being human.  And when I think about this, how I hope that my children will not judge me unkindly and will forgive me, forgive my shortcomings, I am forced to think of my own father and despite my earlier denial, I am forced to admit that he must have loved. me.  He did love me and I know that.  There were little things that showed that…I was a kid and I had a real sweet tooth.  We all did.  My father…he did try…but, my favorite food to satisfy my sweet tooth was glazed donuts.  My father knew that, so every few weeks, I would come downstairs in the morning and there on the kitchen counter was a bag of glazed donuts.  No note, no explanation…just the donuts.  It was like Santa Claus.  Sometimes, I would think about staying up late at night so I could see him leave them there, but just like with Santa Claus, I didn’t want to ruin the magic for fear he would never do it again.  My father had to leave them secretly at night so no one would catch him with his guard down.  He was scared of human emotion.  He didn’t understand it or know how to deal with it.  BUT, HE DID KNOW GLAZED DONUTS.”  Taken from Michael Jackson’s Oxford Address 2000Daddy

“Michael started a wonderful tradition during the recording of BAD.  Every Friday evening about 5:00 p.m., Michael’s cooks from the ranch, Catherine Ballard and Laura Raynor, would come to the studio and cook an absolutely delicious evening meal for the entire studio crew.  Eventually, it became ‘Family Night.’  Family members and friends of the crew, along with their assorted pets, were included in this happy event.  Michael’s cooks were absolutely top-notch culinary experts.  Quincy nicknamed them ‘THE SLAM DUNK SISTERS’ because every dinner they did for us was a winner!  We had incredible delicious homemade tomato soup every dinner every Friday evening!  Ten-course turkey dinner one Friday!  Ten-course meatloaf dinner next Friday!  It was incredible.  That tradition that Michael started made us feel like a real family.”  Bruce Swedien IN THE STUDIO WITH MICHAEL JACKSON 2009father and son

“Michael had a generous nature about him.  And even at a young age, he had an entrepreneurial spirit, too.  Every time he received his weekly allowance, Michael spent it on candy.  He set up a little candy shop around the back of our house, so he could give his treats away to the neighborhood kids.”  Katherine Jackson NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE The Katherine Jackson Story 2010

“Though Michael had been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, he told me once that he never liked the part about no Christmas and no birthdays, so he just decided one day to throw those two rules away along with a few others.  He had someone get all of my family’s birthdays on a calendar and let him know when they were coming so he could NEVERLAND TWOplan a party, his favorite thing.  He’d set up a white tent by the theater with lunch and cake and all kinds of presents.  He would send Kato, all dressed up in a chauffer’s black suit and white gloves, to the house, in a beautiful deep blue, well-polished old Bentley, to pick up one of the kids and their friends.  Then, it was off to Neverland for a birthday party.  Bianca had a birthday all set up and on their daily walk down to the house, the elephants trashed the whole thing.  The tents were knocked down and they ate the cakecake.  She remembers it all being great fun.  I remember Mason getting two birthdays in one year.  Michael just called one afternoon and said they were ready for Mason.  ‘What for, Michael?’  He replied, ‘For his birthday, of course!’  I said, ‘But it isn’t his birthday.  You gave him a birthday party back in April.’  He responded in typical fashion without a pause, ‘Who cares, we’re gonna have another one.  I BELIEVE IN UN-BIRTHDAYS, YOU KNOW!'” William B. Van Valin II  PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS IN NEVERLAND WITH MICHAEL JACKSON 2013handsome three

“At our window, we viewed everything from a cold, gray world, looking into a shop where everything was alive, vibrant and sparkling with color, where children played in the street with their new toys, rode new bikes or pulled new sleds in the snow.  We could only imagine what it was to know the joy we saw on their faces.  Michael and I played our own game at that window: pick a snowflake under the streetlight, track its descent and see which one was the first to stick.  We observed the flakes tumble, separated in the air, united on the ground, dissolved into one.  That night we must have watched and counted dozens of them before we fell quiet.  Michael looked sad…and I can see myself now, looking down at him from an 8-year-old height, feeling the same sadness.  Then he started to sing, ‘Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.  Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.’  It was my first memory of hearing his voice, an angelic sound.  He sang softly so that Mother wouldn’t hear.  I joined in and we started making harmony.  We sang verses from ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Little Drummer Boy.’  Two boys carol-singing on the doorstep of our exclusion, songs we’d heard in school, not knowing that singing would be our profession.”  Jermaine Jacksoneleven

Looking around for the lost and found of our hearts.  Stories about life and childhood, some happy, some not.  All a part of who we are.  I find comfort in REMEMBERING THE TIMES.  The portrait of Michael Jackson becomes clearer…richer…with these sneak peeks.  I recall my own childhood…


The picture shows a little girl standing on a stool, holding a dish towel big enough to touch the kitchen floor…her mother’s hands in soapy water in the kitchen sink, both laughing, while singing songs.  Or, sometimes it would be reciting poetry.  For some, clean-up after meals is dreaded drudgery…not so in this photograph.  Instead, these cherished times of mother and daughter were times to giggle and learn and enjoy.  This may even have been home schooling, for the little girl was me and clean-up times were when I learned all my nursery rhymes and Christmas carols and even, The Star Spangled Banner.  Home schooling, maybe.  Clean- up, absolutely.  Mother and daughter love…WITHOUT A DOUBT.Jude 001

The lost and found of hearts.  Celebrating our lives.  Storytelling.  Love.  When touched by Michael Jackson, we become a part of his spirit for caring and loving, forgiving and holding onto each other.  I am profoundly grateful.


HIS story