“One day, Michael and I watched a film about the less fortunate children in Africa. The state of their lives brought us both to tears. Michael, sympathetic at the age of 14, turned to me and said, ‘One day, Mother, I’m going to do something about this.”
NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE
“He sees problems ‘out there’ to be solved. Maybe they will be, maybe they won’t. He’ll get along. But I don’t feel that way-those problems aren’t ‘out there,’ not really. I feel them inside me. A child crying in Ethiopia, a seagull struggling pathetically in an oil spill, a mountain gorilla being mercilessly hunted, 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?”
“THAT ONE IN THE MIRROR”
It is the time of year when thoughts of giving and receiving take up residence in our minds and hearts. Michael talked of the two categories: Givers and Receivers. He desired to be in the latter of the two, reiterating in his Christmas Message of 1992: “Today of all days, we focus on loving one another and giving. Let’s do that not just one day of the year, but 365 days. Let’s love one another. Forget hatred and turn to those that are suffering; not just today, but every day.”
When we untie the gifts Michael gave to us, we find treasures that reach far beyond the time each gift was given. Liz Johnson calls it…a legacy of love and assistance. In his book, THE ART OF LOVING, Erich Fromm offers this: “Love is primarily giving, not receiving.” The giving is the gift to the giver…expecting nothing in return, in fact, not even needing it. “Michael has always only seen with his heart.” Brooke Shields.
“WITH JUST A LITTLE LOVE AND CARING, I HAVE SEEN KIDS TOTALLY TURN AROUND, WHERE YOU CAN’T FIND ANY CANCER AT ALL ANYMORE IN THEIR BODY. WE SHOULD JUST GIVE A LITTLE MORE ATTENTION TO THE POWER OF LOVE AND CARING AND FAITH AND PRAYER.”
“When you come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to fly.
Michael has offered to the world a solid foundation with his unconditional love and his tireless efforts to find solutions to end injustice and suffering. He has given us the gift of CHANGING THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.
The bad news hit Brazil: Michael Jackson has passed away! The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro himself announced the news to his people without realizing that the city would go on to erect a statue of the King of Pop in Dona Marta, the Brazilian favela. The favela was previously notorious for drug dealing and a high crime rate, yet now it forms a model city and a great example for social change. The change was due to a little video known simply as…”They Don’t Care About Us.” When Michael arrived in Brazil to shoot the footage, Rio’s local government became concerned that Michael’s cameras would show the world a picture of poverty and decline in the country, that they felt would damage its reputation. Michael had done two concerts for 200,000 people there in 1993…where the media, of course, failed to report that Michael had booked an entire amusement park and invited children from the poorest schools to come and enjoy a day out…(displaying great concern for everything in the country, with poverty, with street children.) Michael chose Rio for his short film to show people that had been forgotten by society, by the legal system (the Prison short film) and by the rest of the world. Michael’s coming to favela was life changing for the residents. The people were so proud that they got up early to clean the area, and even took out the trash just for him. People were very surprised to see Michael walking the streets of Dona Marta, shaking hands and distributing candy to the children. The process to make Dona Marta better started with Michael Jackson. Now it’s a safe favela. There are no drug dealers and there’s a massive social project…all the attention started with Michael Jackson.
Musically, Michael Jackson had a huge impact on the South African nation. People would stop what they were doing to watch either Michael Jackson or Nelson Mandela on TV. South Africa’s biggest Urban Station said, “Michael Jackson’s rich lyrics changed the complexion of black radio…he forced black families to debate issues surrounding individualism and race, so his cultural impact here extended beyond simply the music.” His impact was most notable when his History tour came to town, boasting 5 nights of sell-out crowds of 230,000 people, a record for the country that has still not been beaten. It was a huge cross-over audience…mixing blacks and whites, young and old…not often seen there. Duncan Gibbon, Sony Music, said Michael was a unifying force in a society that was gravely wounded. Michael was the one artist played on both black and white stations…a potent thing when you think back to how apartheid attempted to keep black and white society separate. No surprise then to see Nelson Mandela and Michael Jackson working together on behalf of children.
1979 was the year that China and the US re-established relations after 30 years of cold war. Anything American up until such a point had been rejected including records by the Jacksons. Despite state-controlled radios and barely no distribution from record companies, Michael made his way to the radio waves. Now, with China being known for its large piracy market, it’s a miracle if artists managed to sell records in the thousands…Sony music reports…Michael has sold 1.2 million albums in Hong Kong and Taiwan alone since 1994…selling 300,000 since 2002 with a huge Pepsi campaign for Bad 25. The country opened up the worldwide web, memories of testimonies flooded in from people telling how they felt FREE listening to Michael Jackson, especially after the dramatic Tiananmen Square in June 1989
International music represents only 5% of physical music sales in India, but everyone knows Michael Jackson. The Moonwalk made Michael Jackson reach from the classes to the masses in India. 15,000 copies of Thriller 25 were sold, having sold 200,000 of the original. His solo date during his History Tour sold out Mumbai’s Andheri Sports Complex with 70,000 in the crowd making it possible to raise funds to provide jobs for young people in the state of Maharashtra. Fans still remember the tag-line: GO TO ANY VILLAGE, ANY CORNER IN INDIA AND YOU’LL FIND EVERYONE IS FAMILIAR WITH THE NAME MICHAEL JACKSON…there is no musician who can replace MJ.
There’s big in Japan, and then there’s Michael Jackson. Few artists from the west have entered into Japan and made a bold impact, but then again, few artists are Michael Jackson. Blossoming with OFF THE WALL…and, then came BAD. Michael kicked off his world tour in Japan playing 14 concerts to half a million people. The earnings in the tour were in the region of 5 billion yen…a figure that’s not been beaten. ‘No other performer had Michael’s star-power in Japan…he was so loved for his talent, his music, his dance, and his gentle soul.’ Sony Music Japan International VP.
“Fans report that they got to know the feeling of emotional security and being accepted, what they had searched for in vain with their parents, the first time they met Michael Jackson. Acceptance, and to transmit the feeling of being seen, is the basis for stability in life, and the development of self-confidence. A complete stranger like Michael Jackson gives people what they searched for in vain in their family and in their immediate environment. (Margott Schuerings)
We have untied only a handful of the ribbons and wrappings on the gifts that magically enrobe Michael’s generosity to us. Each has imbued us with confidence and foundation. He illuminates our forward movement, strengthening us when darkness from the unknown comes. But, beyond that, his gift of light empowers our faith and teaches us how to fly. We travel across the planet in all directions, arm in arm, every color, every race, every age, every culture. MICHAEL WAS CHOSEN TO CHANGE THE WORLD…he has given us our footing and our wings to DO THE SAME.
Thank you, Dear Michael…you are a priceless gift to us and to the world.
My forever love and dedication to YOU.
Thank you, Dear Friends…I treasure YOU.