Interview w Vincent Paterson – Lighthouse Mag (Japanese)

Interview【Vincent Paterson】

テーマ:

I can’t forget that impact that I first got when I watched Michael Jackson’s short film “Thriller”. There was enough impact to change the world. I felt “Something is going to happen. Something that I have never seen before.” In the same era, Madonna, the absolute queen who conquered the world with a pair of high heels, debuted into stardom. One after another never before seen music revolutions were constantly occurring in the world which led to people having a lot of iconic moves engraved into their minds. It was Vincent Paterson, that I was able to interview, who was responsible for many of the iconic Michael Jackson and Madonna’s enthusiastic movements as he created behind the scenes as a director and choreographer. As if they met Vincent like fate, the world started to go to an unpredictable future. Vincent, when you worked with Michael Jackson and Madonna, there must have been some kind of magic going on in their performances to move my heart the way it did. I haven’t been able to have my heart be moved as much since then. What kind of spell did you cast on us?

You joined “Thriller” as an assistant choreographer. What do you think are the reasons why it is loved all over the world, even now?

“First of all, it’s a crazy, fantasy zombie dance. It was a unique dance that anyone can feel like dancing to and it was easy enough for people to remember the moves. So, it is still loved all around the world. Also, the fact that it wasn’t just a music video but also a short film where we can enjoy the story was another reason. Michael loved films and ‘Thriller’ was inspired by the film ‘An American Werewolf in London’. Because a music video channel called MTV was born at that time, people around the world were surprised to see ‘Thriller’. They thought ‘What is this? What is happening?’ when they saw the unpredictable story and the overwhelming performance.”

–Your style of choreography is very iconic and never stops attracting viewers. For example, I liked the Zero Gravity movement from “Smooth Criminal”. How on Earth do you create them?

“Sometimes, it just comes out of my crazy brain (laughs). Let me tell you the story of when Michael gave me a cassette that had ‘Smooth Criminal’ in it. He said ‘Listen to the music and let the music tell you what it wants to be.’ I put a headset on and listened to it many, many, many times. I began to see movement in shapes, such as a rectangle, a circle, or a spiral, and then I started to move to the music. That’s how the choreography was born. On the other hand, for Zero Gravity, I got inspired from a dance performance piece I had seen years before. The dancers came out with skis on and started leaning. This visual came into my head when I was creating the choreography for Smooth Criminal and I knew Michael would love it. Sometimes, I get inspirations from a play, a novel, or art, like the example I just cited. And other times, choreography comes out of my brain just by listening to the music. There are various ways to create choreography but the important thing is how I can be honest to the music.”

–The dance where Madonna grabbed her crotch in “Express Yourself” was especially surprising (laughs).

“This is how that happened. When we were filming ’Express Yourself’, Madonna asked me ‘What should I do with my hand on this last part?’ I answered ‘Why don’t you grab your balls because you have bigger balls than most men?’ (laughs). I taught her many ways to appear stronger, be more beautiful, and act more sophisticated. I even taught her how to smoke a cigarette and how to crawl on the floor. Interestingly, superstars don’t always know how to make themselves move a certain way for the public. Even Michael needed guidance. That’s why smart performers hire a choreographer. When we filmed ‘Black or White’, the director had an idea of having Michael stand in front of gray walls. Michael didn’t really like the idea. So, he asked me ‘Vincent, what do you think?’ and I said ‘Let’s express the inclusion of race, which is the theme of this song, by using dances from around the world.’ And I created the choreography which included Balinese, Cossack, and African dances. Michael’s dance vocabulary was mostly what he knew from his Motown days, including tap. When he began making his short films, he opened himself up to learning a variety of styles. From this education, as well as his working out with street dancers in LA, he evolved his own style.”

–You directed Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour, one of your many renowned pieces of work. That was the first time Madonna or any other woman in the media dared to be overtly sexual on stage. At that time, Madonna’s sexual performances were the newest popular topic to talk about. Was it a message trying to convey “Women, be strong!”?

“Perhaps that was part of it. Madonna likes to shock people. She likes to keep people on their toes, never knowing what her next incarnation will be. During the Blond Ambition Tour, she wanted to say that men and women should be equal. In this tour, I tried to stage “Like A Virgin” on a big bed. I said to her, ‘I want you to lie on the bed. And wouldn’t it be interesting if two men were there as part of the headboard of the bed?’ Then, she said ‘I also have come up with a great idea!’ and brought out cone bras. Jean-Paul Gaultier had made for her, but she never used them for anything yet. I thought that I would have the male dancers wear them, too. In this show, I had women wear men’s clothing and sometimes dressed men with a feminine tip. That’s because sometimes women have men’s feelings or attributes and vice versa. The Blond Ambition Tour was making a statement that sometimes there is a thin line that separates male and female attributes, making the classification of sex ambiguous. Also, it was important for us not to force people to watch the scene by shouting ‘Look at this!’ but to make people smile in spite of themselves by using humor especially when expressing sexuality. Madonna bloomed as a woman who incorporated sexuality into her artistry. At that point in time, women weren’t as open as men in expressing their sexuality in public and still taken seriously as artists. But Madonna could and did.”

–It is said that you put theater, fashion, and art to the direction for this tour and after the world realized this is how a pop concert should be, it changed the pop concert formula. How did you come up with those ideas?

“I was trained as an actor and a director. I was involved in theatrical productions from when I was in college. When Madonna asked me to direct the Blond Ambition Tour, she said she wanted to create something totally different from concerts that had been done before. We decided to create a show that was more than just singing and dancing. Our stage had large, elaborate sets, many costume changes and expressed various characters. Madonna appeared as a girl with curlers in her hair, a repentant sinner, and a mysterious mermaid. For me, ‘change’ and ‘contrast’ is important when creating work. In short, it means creating a completely different emotion right next to a proceeding one. For example, laughter after sadness or happiness after anger. By creating this roller coaster of emotions, we can keep moving people’s hearts or giving surprises. I wanted to make the Blond Ambition Tour not just a pop concert to watch but a theatrical event that impresses people. It’s no exaggeration to say that this tour was the beginning of theatrical type rock/pop concerts, which are now the norm. Humbly, it was a historical moment that changed the definition of concerts.”

–What do you think Michael Jackson and Madonna brought to their era?

“I think they were playing important roles as influencers who made changes in society’s movements, not only in America but on a world scale. For example, Madonna and I took the dance moves of Voguing, that was known only in gay clubs in New York, and used it for her song ‘Vogue’. At first, she didn’t think that “Vogue” would become that big of a success. She had placed the song in the middle of the concert, but I said ‘No! No! No! Vogue comes at the end of the show. This is going to be huge! This is going to blow their minds!’ When it comes to Michael, he often invited street dancers to the studios and danced with them. Michael learned a dance called the Back Slide from them, evolved it, and completed his own dance move called the Moonwalk. When he executed the Moonwalk in the TV special Motown 25, people were blown away thinking ‘What in the world is that?’ The credit of bringing movement from various cultures, which few people knew about, and making them world-class movements goes to Michael Jackson and Madonna. Also, they always said to me ‘Let’s make something that is totally new that the world has never seen before.’ We brought a lot of ideas out and played around with them. Especially, because Madonna was well versed in the visual arts and Michael in films and musicals, they created innovative modern rock and modern pop music by combining their strengths of classical elements to their works. For example, the monochrome music video of ‘Vogue’ was inspired by the black and white pictures by an American photographer named Horst from the 40s, and ‘Thriller’ was inspired by ‘An American Werewolf in London’. Through Michael Jackson and Madonna’s works, people not only renewed their understanding of how wonderful classical works were, but also were able to get new values and broaden their field of perspective by touching the most essential feature of art beyond the frame of pop music. That was exactly what we wanted to do.”

–I think that Michael Jackson and Madonna are one of a kind in the history of humankind.

“I agree. They had unique talents. In addition, they gave their best effort to make the best use of their potential. For example, when Michael didn’t know how to do a certain dance step, he would stand in front of the mirror and repeat the same movement thousands of times until he knew how to perform it perfectly. If you were close enough to see the amount of energy, concentration, and their incredible attitude that they put into their work, you would understand why Michael was able to become ‘Michael Jackson’ and why Madonna was able to become ‘Madonna’. They believed in and accepted their unique talents, and they wanted to bring out the best that they would be able to become. Also, they were blessed with wonderful creators such as directors and choreographers who brought out their talents to the best of their ability. All of their success had the perfect bond of creators where not one element could be excluded. But timing was the most important thing for their success. Thanks to the birth of MTV, their work was given an opportunity to be seen by billions of people at the same time. Remember, there was no Internet or social media back then. People all around the world were starving and were thirsty to see their icons, thinking ‘I want to see more! Give me more!’ That’s why fans listened to the records on repeat and watched the videos over and over. It warmed our hearts and made spectacular memories that we can never forget. Today, we are flooded with never ending information and people’s tastes are so diverse. The feeling of having your heart moved doesn’t last for a long time. It is interesting to think if Michael Jackson and Madonna could still become as famous as they were back then, if they debuted today. So, one important element that led them to become as successful as they were was the perfect timing of everything– talent, human resources, and the era they were born in. There could have been people who had almost the same talent and made almost the same effort but couldn’t become superstars. Probably, a little spell was cast on Michael Jackson and Madonna. And so, they were meant to be the unsurpassable ‘Only Ones in the World’.”

–I heard that you might plan to hold some workshops for Michael’s dances in the future.

“I was given a chance that nobody else can experience and was blessed with working with many talented artists and wonderful masterpieces. I hope that the happy circle of giving these irreplaceable gifts, such as the love and grace that I felt, to others keeps on going like an endless merry go round. Particularly, memories with Michael were special. He was a person who was like a child who never said mean words. What he taught me was to love people, to be considerate to people and to do good for the world. I’m hoping to hold workshops for Michael’s dances all over the world. I still want to share the magic that he shared with the world and me. Don’t you feel the same way?”

Vincent Paterson ◎ He started his career as an actor and a director for a theatrical company and started learning dance when he was 24. He played the gang leader in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, and was an assistant choreographer for “Thriller”. He got an exceptional promotion as a choreographer for “Smooth Criminal”, causing his life thereon to change drastically. Later, he was involved in a number of M.J.’s legends. For example, he choreographed for “Black and White”, directed the Bad World Tour in 1987, and directed a Super Bowl Halftime Show in 1993. He is also known as a choreographer for Madonna. He directed and choreographed the Blond Ambition Tour, which made her an instant superstar. It is said that Madonna couldn’t be the person she is today if it wasn’t for him. What’s more, he also directed a Cirque du Soleil show and many other projects. He is active in various areas beyond the boundaries of industries.

——————————————————————————————————————

“Love people, be considerate to people.

Do good for the world.

That is what Michael taught me.”

“In Smooth Criminal,

inspiration for that lean

came from skiing.”

“Michael and Madonna

have always said to me

that they want to create something that’s completely new

that the world has never seen.”

Contact: 625mjforever@gmail.com

Thank you for reading!

Please share!

Japanese version:

http://bit.ly/June2019article

Source: https://ameblo.jp/625mjforever/entry-12486078150.html?fbclid=IwAR2ndHP1_rwEiI7nRRhd4rvqX8siTTfNCIbDVHL24CglIuR-6NeBWbFV7AQ 

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One Billion For Michael Jackson Campaign #1Billion4MJ

 

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We were recently approached on Twitter by a Michael Jackson fan  Tudo Pelo Michael  a Brazilian fan, who had a great idea for a World-Wide campaign to celebrate Michael’s birthday this year with a wonderful gift to our beloved.

MJJJP is ever ready to shake the pom poms for any wonderful campaign, but even more so since Michael’s community is in so desperate need of a spirtiual uplifting. It’s been almost a year and a half of dealing with the lies in Leaving Neverland. All of the MJAdvocates who’e been investigating, researching and debunking the over 66 lies in the one-sided biased film by Reed.  The sharing and rehashing of this evilness can really take a toll on Michael’s Global family, so we need this campaign.

The MJGlobal family needs this focus on JOY – we’ve earned it – 

The campaign has a simple goal to reach ONE BILLOIN views on the Billie Jean Youtube video by Miichael’s birthday – Aug 29th 2020.  Below is the link:

We humbly request everyone in Michael’s loving world wide community to use their Social Media platforms to share this video link and the goal of #1Billion4MJ

 We need everyont to engage in copious amounts of clicking on Michael Jacksn’s Bille Jean You Tube video.

We actually need more than a million views per day to achieve this goal and we believe with the ❤️ that circulates for the man the world over, it can be accomplished.

We appreciate that MJVibe has already posted an article about our campaign and hope that other MJ forums, clubs and groups all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram will do the same.

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To help promote the #1Billion4MJ – there is a TIK TOK challenge – 

If you’re a Tik Toker who loves Michael Jackson and enjoys dancing to his music. please respond to the challenge by @OfafKent on Twitter.

Be sure to use the #1Billion4MJ and the  Billie Jean audio for   Kent Olaf, Tik Tok Billie Jean Challenge 

If you’re a member of a dance troupe, group or know of anyone else who might enjoy this challenge and might paricipate, please do share the information with them.

The more attention and views we can draw to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean Video the better.

We know that this year and half has been highly stressful fot the Michael Jackson fan community in all parts of the world. We’ve been combating false stories and a media still determined to mischaracterize him and every turn.

We really need something joyful to focus our efforts on and this #1Billion4MJ is it.

Michael  created his  GLOBAL community without the  benefit of the intenet and the instant communications of social networking of Twitter, Facetime, YouTube, Instagram, Tik tok etc.  He stated repeatedly how much he loved his fans.

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NOW Michael Jackson’s loving Global Family has these netwrking capabilities at our fingertips and we can demonstrate our reciprocal love for Michael with just a click of a link.

We can use our collective voices to make this Birthday Gift for Michael a reality – and if we are diligent in this task, there are three other You Tube videos just ripe for obtaining the same Billion view status. If that occurs we will be able to gift Michael  Jackson another Guinness World Record.

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Things to Remember When Viewing YouTube Videos**

YouTube system is able to determine which views are legitimate or intentional. Do not try to use Automatic player softwares to cheat the system. YouTube WILL  NOT count the views IF:

multiple devices are using the same IP
multiple tabs are open watching the same video
refreshing the page BEFORE video is complete

Using the “loop” option, muted plays or multiple views of same video by a Youtube Account holder will count as only ONE view- Don’t waste your time watching the video more than 3 times consecutively.

To have your views counted successfully, while logged into your YouTube account, you MUST:

Click the video, then view it NO MORE than 3 times consecutively.

After 3 consecutive views, watch 2 other MJ videos in between and then go back and view Billie Jean 3 times again.

Repeat this process, several times a day.

OR

LOG OUT of your YouTube account and click the Billie Jean video, watch the video, refresh your page, Click, Watch, Refresh. Repeat this process several times a day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now is the time for the MJGlobal family to come to together in a great and sustained effort to gift Michael this wonderful gift on his birthday August 29, 2020. 

Will You Still Care?   🙏🏼

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@MJJJusticeProject 

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**suggestions from Professonal Youtubers

 

 

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Michael Jackson Dehumanized for Over Three Decades

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By Manu Bezamat
@manuelabezamat

“Does it get more bizarre than it’s been getting lately?” — asked journalist Maureen Orth in the opening lines of a 2003 Vanity Fair article, whose absurd jabs at Michael Jackson include accusing him of using voodoo to defeat his enemies and having a prosthetic nose tip.

Jackson, of course, neither used voodoo nor had a fake nose (the latter claim being a widespread gossip that was put to rest for good by his autopsy report). However, he had, at that point, been the victim of relentless bullying by the media for almost 20 years.

But how had Orth managed to make such ludicrous claims in a mainstream publication and get away with it? What were the set of circumstances that allowed a journalist to viciously attack the integrity of Jackson, once the most famous man in the planet, without any proof, and still be believed?

The birth of the image of “Michael Jackson, the child molester”

The attacks on Michael Jackson’s public image started decades before Orth’s article was published. As early as the 1970s, a young Jackson saw himself forced to address the never-ending rumors about his love life. Reporters wanted to know who/if he was dating; they speculated whether he was gay and even if he had a sex change.

As the years went by, the scrutiny of his personal life only grew worse. By the mid-1980s, the focus shifted from his love life to his alleged eccentricities. It was around that time that the tabloid media coined the term “Wacko Jacko”, one that Jackson hated and that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

From the mid-1980s onward, the stories spiraled out of control: he slept in an oxygen chamber, he’d bought the Elephant man’s bones, he’d bleached his skin. They were all proven lies, which had, nevertheless, found in the scandal-thirsty public a growing niche of consumers.

You see, Jackson was a complex figure, a man who was, in many ways, ahead of his time. His vision and his talents in song-writing, singing and dancing became the blueprint for generations to come; his use of his platform to promote social change made him one of the world’s biggest humanitarians.

But as larger than life as he appeared to be sometimes, he was only a man — a man who grew up under unique circumstances, that yearned to live a normal life, and who didn’t shy away from speaking publicly about his personal trials and tribulations. He owed the world nothing, yet, he spoke.

His critics weren’t having it. They were more invested in the freakish character created by the media; they longed for answers, just not the answers Jackson had gladly given them: that he’d never had a childhood, that his changing skin-tone was the product of an incurable disease. His words fell on deaf ears.

By 1993, the rumors had grown to such a proportion that they threatened to overshadow his work. Jackson and his team, realizing how successfully the media had dehumanized him, went on a PR offensive that included an interview to daytime TV host Oprah Winfrey, in which the singer spoke openly about various issues, including his vitiligo, for the first time.

Continue with this article at  MJBeats

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Source:

https://mjbeats.com.br/michael-jackson-has-been-dehumanized-for-over-three-decades-its-time-to-take-the-narrative-back-60fc929a79de

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Michael Jackson, Otherness And Diversity

Michael Jackson, Otherness & Diversity

by Manuela Bezamat

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During his lifetime and even in his death, Michael Jackson has been accused of voluntarily erasing his black features in an attempt at “becoming white”, and therefore gaining access to the exclusive world of the dominating elite.

His critics paint him out to be nothing short of a bigot, someone whose admiration for the standards of white America made him not only alter his own appearance but also see the world through these lenses. But is it possible that the man who wrote the diversity anthem Black or White was, in fact, a bigot?

In a previous thread (see below) we spoke about Michael’s race/ethnicity and how it was impossible for him to ever cease being black, shedding light on his internal perceptions of himself and his community. https://twitter.com/manuelabezamat/status/1186598490178240512?s=20

In this thread, which complements the other, we’ll focus on the outside world, on how Michael perceived other cultures – in summary, how he saw difference, proving that his personality and his beliefs are the opposite of what’s expected from a prejudiced and intolerant person.

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Before we dig into Michael’s relationship with other cultures/ethnicities, let’s take a quick look at some concepts that will be used in this thread, and that belong to the field of Anthropology: Otherness, Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism. When interacting with people from other ethnicities/cultures we’re faced with Otherness, defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the quality or state of being other or different”. In such situations, it becomes clear that our cultural habits and beliefs aren’t universal.

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Some see these encounters as an opportunity to learn, while others respond by judging people by the social/cultural standards of their own group, believing them to be superior. These people incur in Ethnocentrism (‘ethnos’ – nation, cultural group; ‘centric’ – center).

German anthropologist Franz Boas was one of the pioneers in fighting Ethnocentrism in his field. Going against the main anthropological current, which placed each culture in an evolutionary scale, he instead vouched for them to be analyzed within their own cultural standards.

Boas’ theory, called Cultural Relativism, was a product of his intense fieldwork in the late 19th century. Living with the Inuits of Baffin Island, he concluded that learning their habits/language was essential to understanding them and denaturalizing his own cultural standards.

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Polish-born anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski took the debate further. Spending years among the natives of the Trobriand Islands, he concluded that fieldwork was essential to grasp “the native’s point of view, (…) to realize his vision of his world”.

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Even though Boas’ and Malinowski’s works are complex, their message is simple – it’s only by having continuous/frequent contact with Otherness that we avoid the pitfalls of Ethnocentrism and realize that we’re all ethnic beings, none better than the other.

You may ask what any of this has to do with Michael Jackson. The answer is – everything.

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Michael Jackson was naturally empathic. His understanding and concern about others were summarized by an old proverb he often recited: “don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins”.

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His natural empathy was only matched by his intellectual curiosity. Bob Sanger, his longtime lawyer, said that his personal library had 10,000 books and that they’d often talk about “psychology, Freud and Jung, (…) black history and sociology dealing with race issues.”

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Michael also travelled from an early age for work, both inside and outside of the US. His tours allowed him to visit dozens of countries around the world – from China to Brazil, not to mention his personal trips, like the ones he took to Africa.

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His sense of empathy, his intellectual curiosity and his travels, when combined, gave Michael a rare perspective, one that can be found in trained anthropologists – that humankind is comprised of a myriad of ethnicities/cultures that should be appreciated in their uniqueness.

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Michael took it even further – he discovered that Otherness and diversity aren’t, as some would think, a source of weakness or conflict, but a source of strength and unity. From Otherness comes Oneness, a point of view that he expressed in his music and his humanitarian work.

In a 1979 interview to Jet Magazine, he stated: “I’m really not a prejudiced person at all (…) if you look at the many wonders inside the human bodies—the different colors of organs…and all these colors do different things in the human body – why can’t we do it as people?”

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The following year, Michael and Jackie Jackson co-wrote a song called “Can You Feel It”, the third single out of the Jacksons’ album Triumph (1980). The song speaks about unity and the world coming together.

The lyrics are poignant: “All the colors of the world should be lovin’ each other wholeheartedly (…)”; “Spread the word and try to teach the man who’s hating his brother, when hate won’t do, when we’re all the same, ’cause the blood inside me is inside you.”

In late 1980, Michael had the idea of making a film out of the song. The result was “The Triumph”, a 9 min+ visual masterpiece starring the Jackson brothers in outer space, delivering a message of love to people of multiple ethnic backgrounds.

Two moments in the film stand out. First, the prelude, composed by Michael, which speaks about the “beginning”, where “men and women of every color and shape (…) would ignore the beauty in each other”, but “never lose sight of the dream of a better world, that they could unite.”

Later, people of all ethnicities are shown staring at a black hole, where a single peacock feather appears. A native-American man emerges from the crowd and an African-American boy holds his hand. Soon everyone else does the same, and the single feather turns into a full plumage.

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The highly symbolic nature of this film can’t be ignored. In the peacock feather scene, the message is clear – while one feather/culture is beautiful by itself, it’s only when all feathers/cultures join together that the full beauty is unleashed. From Otherness comes Oneness.

The idea of Oneness shows up again in the 1985 charitable global hit “We are the World”, co-written by Michael and Lionel Richie. The song, which speaks about the world coming together for a good cause, managed to raise roughly $ 60 million for the famine in Ethiopia.

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Captain EO, a 17+ min 3D film made for Disney that came out in 1986, had Michael play the part of an intergalactic captain on a mission to save a planet from the ruling of its evil queen, played by Anjelica Houston.

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The two songs featured in the film, “We Are Here to Change the World” and “Another Part of Me” have EO bring the message of a new era, where love and unity overcome fear and hate.

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In “Another Part of Me”, which later featured in Michael’s 1987 Bad album, the lyrics follow the pattern of “Can You Feel It” – “The planets are linin’ up, we’re bringin’ brighter days. They’re all in line waitin’ for you, can’t you see? You’re just another part of me.”

Even if his previous work referenced diversity, the Dangerous album (1991) and its short films took Michael’s relationship with other cultures to a new level. It was then that his message about diversity became louder and more explicit than ever.

The first track, “Jam”, sets the tone for the album by bringing up Oneness again – “Nation to nation all the world must come together, face the problems that we see then maybe somehow we can work it out”. From Otherness comes Oneness.

“Heal the World”, the timeless humanitarian song that prompted many to look more kindly upon their neighbor for the first time, is fascinating in that it combines three elements that summarize Michael’s worldview: humanitarian work, diversity and children.

The Heal the World short film illustrates this by showing children from all over the world in distress. The message is clear – the children of the world shouldn’t have to suffer.

Michael took action by creating the Heal the World Foundation in 1992. In a HTW press conference, he announced the donation of tons of supplies to war-torn Sarajevo and actions aimed at inner-city children, also speaking against prejudice and ethnic hatred.

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The 1993 Super Bowl halftime show included what was possibly his most touching performance of “Heal the World”. The segment starts with the audience performing a card stunt, which creates the image of children of different ethnicities to the sound of “We Are the World”.

Then, as “Heal the World” starts playing, Michael is joined onstage by people from various cultures – many dressed in traditional garments – who sing together and hold hands as a balloon in the shape of planet Earth is inflated at center stage.

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The intersection of children and diversity would provide a lifelong fascination for Michael. In a 2003 documentary, he mentioned that he considered adopting two children from each continent, and one of his most prized personal possessions was this painting below.

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In all of Michael Jackson’s body of work there’s one song and accompanying short film that are considered not only the summary of his thoughts on race, Otherness and diversity, but one of the landmarks of pop culture: the unmistakable “Black or White”.

The first single out of Dangerous, “Black or White” was released in November 11, 1991, a turbulent year in terms of world history. That was the year that the Soviet Union collapsed, the Gulf war ended and the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia intensified.

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In this scenario of hopelessness and change, a young black entertainer brought about a message of hope and positivity, shifting the focus from the flaws of humanity to its beauty and ingenuity.

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“Black or White” stayed at number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, also reaching the top of the charts in various other countries around the world. The B or W short film debuted simultaneously in 27 countries on November 14, to an estimated audience of 500 million people.

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The B or W short film is at times symbolic and at other times explicit in its message. Michael and Vincent Patterson, his choreographer, had conceived it as a narrative in which the singer would visit different cultural settings around the world.

The film starts by showing a typical middle-class household in suburban USA. In the living room, dad watches sports on TV while mom reads a tabloid newspaper. They represent the intellectually divested/short-sighted mainstream society, which is blind in its Ethnocentrism.

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In true Michael Jackson fashion – the singer saw children as the bearers of endless curiosity, while also lacking the prejudices and restraints of the adults – it’s up to their son, played by Macaulay Culkin, to open their eyes to a world filled with endless possibilities.

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The power of the son’s message literally blows dad through the roof, landing him in a different reality, where people have different ways of life. He’s then introduced to a new character, Michael Jackson, who’s taking part in a dance ritual with native Africans.

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From that point forward, Michael, like an anthropologist, becomes an interpreter of cultures, seamlessly travelling from one to the other while either taking part in their dance or dancing to his own rhythm.

The sequence where he goes from dancing with the African natives to dancing in a studio with the traditional Thai dancers and then “breaking free” from the studio setting to join the Native-Americans in a ritual in the desert is particularly poignant.

In the making of B or W, Michael was unhappy with John Landis’ original idea of just having him dance in front of a gray background. He understood the symbolic importance of interacting with other cultures, and that by joining them, he showed that they were different, but equal.

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The scene of Michael with the Native-Americans has the natives wearing traditional garments and includes the original sounds of their chants. The power and the beauty of this culture can be felt as everyone’s surrounded by men storming in, riding horses – not a cowboy in sight.

From the desert we’re taken to an urban environment, where Michael interacts with an Indian native. What jumps out in this scene is the contrast between the “exoticness” and warmth of the woman and the soullessness of the industrial background.

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Two issues arise from this scene. 1) The meaning of “exoticness”, this ethnocentric category that stigmatizes Otherness 2) The erasure of traditional cultures by our capitalist society. By joining the dancer, Michael picks the side of diversity and understanding.

Travelling to Russia, Michael joins dancers in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, evoking feelings of brotherhood. The scene morphs into a glass globe, which is picked up by a white baby, sitting next to a black baby on top of planet Earth, suggesting a future of racial harmony.

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The next scene, the most racially-charged of them all, has Michael defiantly singing “I ain’t scared of your brother, I ain’t scared of no sheets, I ain’t scared of nobody, girl, when the going gets mean” to bigots and racists, against footage of a burning cross.

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From there we’re taken to the inner city, where Michael is seen among children of different ethnicities – the new generation – singing powerful lyrics “it’s not about races, just places, faces (…) I’m not going to spend my life being a color.”

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The next scene shows Michael atop the Statue of Liberty. As the camera zooms out, he’s surrounded by monuments from all over the world. It becomes clear that, while he sees the world from the viewpoint of his culture, he considers other cultures to be equal to his.

The end of the short film brings the iconic (then ground-breaking) morphing segment, where men and women of various ethnic backgrounds merge faces while singing repeatedly “it’s black, it’s white, it’s tough for you to get by.”

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The Black or White short film hit the world like a ton of bricks. People of every culture were mesmerized with what they’d seen – the biggest star in the planet showing, through astonishing visual effects, that he appreciated their way of life, and that it’s okay to be different.

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In the following years, the Dangerous and HIStory tours took the singer to countless cities in Europe, Asia and South America, helping cement his vocation as a spokesman for world cultures. Even those that didn’t speak English felt like they could relate to the man and his music.

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Michael Jackson’s message of tolerance, diversity and racial/cultural harmony helped shape the minds of generations of people around the world, that would continue to spread his values from that point forward. The singer had reached his goal: from Otherness came Oneness. //

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SOURCES:

LECOCQ, Richard (@richardjllecocq)

ALLARD, François “Michael Jackson: All the Songs – The Story Behind Every Track”

SMALLCOMBE, Mike (@mikesmallcombe1) “Making Michael: Inside the Career of Michael Jackson”

ROBERTS, Randall “Michael Jackson’s lawyer, Bob Sanger, talks to West Coast Sound about the pop star, his life and his reading habits” (LA Weekly)

KELLOGG, Carolyn “Michael Jackson, the bookworm” (Los Angeles Times)

HIRSHEY, Gerri “Michael Jackson: life as a man in the magical kingdom” (Rolling Stone) “Jackson interview seen by 14m” (BBC News)

FAILES, Ian “An oral history of morphing in Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’” (Cartoon Brew)

Michael Jackson official website

Oregon State University’s Anthropological Glossary

KING, Charles “ Genius at work: how Franz Boas created the field of Cultural
Anthropology” (Columbia Magazine)

“Bronislaw Malinowski – LSE pioneer of social anthropology” (LSE website)
Discover Anthropology website; the works of Franz Boas and Bronislaw Malinowski.

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Finding the Real Michael Jackson- A Personal Journey

“Three things cannot be long hidden; the Sun, the Moon and the Truth”                                              Buddha 

On January 10th, 2020,  MJJJP ran across a series of tweets from a Twitter account
“We Be illin’ “
   @human_nature_99, regarding their personal experience researching and getting to know Michael Jackson. We thought others might like to see that despite Dan Reed, Wade Robson, James Safechuck, Channel4 and HBO’s intention for Leaving Neverland to “cancel” Michael Jackson, the complete opposite has occurred. The tweet statement began:

 

 

 

 

 

 

MJJJP was granted permission by “We Be illin’ ” to recontruct their whole statement on our wordpress because we completely agree that there are many people out there who have experienced the same enlightenment regarding Michael Jackson. The reality of his life juxtaposed to the false narrative presented by Leaving Neverland, coupled with the 30 yr mischaracterization presented by the media at large, requires research and an open heart to find truth.

The Twitter statement: 

Apologies for the long thread, but I’m just going to put this out there because I know others may have had the same experience: I’m a little sad and embarrassed to admit that I didn’t appreciate Michael Jackson’s genius until after he passed away.

Often heard his music but for some reason, didn’t feel that compelled to actually listen to it. I wasn’t really into pop culture, so I mainly listened to classical anyway. I’ve always knew about the allegations but didn’t pay too much attention because I didn’t know all the facts.

For some reason, he became a huge topic this year and I came across a few music videos of him. I actually truly listened for the first time and thought the music and the dancing was extraordinary. At the same time, however, I also came across several negative videos, such as

the cut-out segment of Michael and Arvizo in Bashir’s documentary (which, taken out of context, seemed very strange to me) and L*aving N*verland videos. So, I kinda had an ambivalent feeling about him, like “His music’s good but he’s also kinda creepy?”

Then, dozens and dozens of MJ-related Youtube videos started popping up in my recommended – from videos about Michael’s childhood to his interactions with his fans to his humanitarian work. A lot of positive videos and as I watched them, I just saw such a GIGANTIC disconnect

in the way media portrayed him and the real, raw videos of him as a human being, as a real individual. And, just observing all the videos of him doing good work for the world. It also made me a little scared, thinking “So, could a person who gives off so much love and care

really be evil at heart?” If that’s the case, who can you really trust in this world if “good” people can actually be so evil?” Keep in mind, during this whole time, I still was VERY reluctant to like him because I didn’t want to risk giving my admiration to a possible pedo.

So, I dug into the research and as I saw more and more videos about his innocence, it just became so absolutely ridiculous to me how ALL THIS EVIDENCE can be right in front of your face and how people can still overlook it all. It almost became like insanely imbecilic to me

that people could believe that nonsense. I eventually went from 50/50 on his innocence to 60/40 to just over 1000% sure that he was innocent. I actually joined Twitter as kind of an anonymous observer but I actually made my first comment when I saw a well-known company

throw lowkey shade at him and it made me LIVID. Like, how can you guys just so willingly contribute to one of the biggest cases of injustice in history? It actually got a buncha likes and a lot of other people started calling them out as well. And, that’s basically my

first experience into being vocal on this platform. So, yeah, I wasn’t an MJ fan before, but I think my story does kinda provide a little bit of insight into how a non-MJ fan could evolve into such a staunch defender of MJ. Because one thing I’m DEAD tired of is when MJ-guilters

immediately dismiss your COLD-HARD FACTS because “You worship a pedo and you’re just a delusional fan.” No sir, I was someone who looked at the cold hard facts and arrived at my own conclusion.

Twitter Statement ends 

Source: https://twitter.com/human_nature_99/status/1215801300933177344

Note from MJJJP –

Unfortunately, the full account of how “We Be Illin’ ”  went from “non-fan” status; not really being aware of Michael Jackson’s life and the allegations against him to becoming a staunch supporter of his innocence was not constructed  on a Twitter Thread. These were all individual tweets and this is why We asked permission to reprint this on our wordpress. Without being in a thread we’d be required to copy each url from each tweet to present them each visually, so we asked permission to present them in one long statement,  for impact. The breaks in between the texts indicates the breaks between each tweet. We Be Illin has indicated to us that this was just ad-hoc, not encompassing all that they wanted to say and would like to someday edit it, to include other thoughts. We are more than willing to make that happen. 🙏🏼

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Blanca Francia’s Deposition Blasts the Wade Robson Story

No Train Station for Safechuck – No Shower for Wade – Funny how TIMELINES keep tripping up these two fiction writers-

Vindicating Michael

The name of Blanca Francia is now firmly associated with Wade Robson. She used to be a personal maid to Michael Jackson, who later made controversial statements about him, and Robson insisted on Michael’s innocence for the first 30 years of his life, but since making his U-turn in 2013 has told most horrible things about his former friend.

So previously Francia and Robson were on the opposite sides of the barrier, and now they are allies whose case against Jackson is based on each other stories – Blanca Francia thinks she saw the shadow of Robson in Michael Jackson’s shower at Neverland, and Robson, though recalling none of it himself, goes much further and claims she saw Michael Jackson “rubbing the Plaintiff” and “the Plaintiff’s head was pressed against Michael Jackson’s stomach area.”

The above Robson’s statements come from his Motion to amend his third amended complaint filed on…

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Regarding Michael Jackson by Christine Decroix

 

Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 1.19.34 PM.pngFrom “Getting to Know Michael Jackson” Facebook

Belgium singer Christine Decroix’s recorded music with Michael and here are some of her thoughts on the King of Pop.

“Together let’s stand up and denounce the “wolves who killed the little lamb”, the people like journalist Bashir who didn’t know him and abused of his trust for their profit. As a friend I spent a great amount of time in the recording studio with him, we always had children with us and were always laughing and playing between recording sessions. He brought a lot of joy in people lives.

I grew up in Belgium raised by my dad who, as a chief of police, taught me to always be suspicious and I can tell you that I couldn’t see anything wrong with Michael except maybe that it was a man who at a young age never had the time to be a kid. He told me once that children are pure and innocent and adults always want something from him. That’s the sole reason he felt more comfortable with children, they just loved him because he was magic for the kids, and made them feel like giants.

He loathed vulgarity and would have been upset at me laughing with a dirty joke in the studio. He built a movie theatre for disabled children in his house. People are sick to think he did that to attract them as a child molester. They judge without knowing and should be ashamed because they largely contributed to his downfall and his death. Michael Jackson was hypersensitive, maybe it was the key of his talent. He suffered tremendously of all these false accusations, and the slanders that were spread. These unscrupulous persons took everything away from him including his amazing career. He did not have a childhood, his dad still beat him after he was 30. People always criticized his look but when your own father keeps telling you your nose is too big, you finally believe it and you try to fix it.

Michael was a strange guy for a lot of people because of his look. So it was both an easy and profitable target for some media wanting to bring him down. He was a genius and an amazing talent already at a young age. Nobody can judge him without knowing him.

If one of you had spent only one hour with him, you would have fallen in love with his pure heart. He could make everybody around him feel special. He was even thanking you for working with him, and had definitely not a big star attitude, he was down to earth, lived on a healthy diet, never drank alcohol. The day of my birthday party in Tokyo he took my glass of champagne away from me and replaced it by a glass of water. He was not joking he just cared for people.

He already suffered from back problems in 1987 but I never saw him taking any drugs. It’s just a disgrace to compare his death with Anna Nicole Smith. Michael Jackson told me once “Coco (nickname he gave me), don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins ” so stop judging him, love him because he loved you all and that’s what he suffered from and why he was accused of committing such an horrible crime. He didn’t do it, he was found not guilty. They tried for years but couldn’t find any proof.

Once he also told me: animals kill to eat, humans kill by pleasure. He was like a child but a smart one. I tried a few years ago to gather people who knew him to speak out but nobody wanted to do it by fear of the media. Let’s unite to denounce the true murderers of Michael. I know today that his place belongs in paradise. Let’s get together, let’s get together and honour his life and legacy, simply because he was the greatest of all time.

Christine Decroix, a forever friend of Michael Jackson

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