Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 causing a shift inside of me. I have delayed reactions to my feelings and emotions and this event affected me no differently. I couldn’t quite process that he died and I was injured at work that same day.
I began to research who this loving, heart centered man really was not what the media tried to force-feed us. He was unique, filled with sensitivity and compassion and perfect instincts. He was filled with childlike innocence and a pure heart that loved. I learned that Michael Jackson received his inspiration from nature, children, animals and G-d. His faith was unwavering and he walked with God throughout his life. His childhood left him hungry to do for others namely children. This is common among abuse victims. It was part of his destiny. His genius for creativity gave him an amazing depth despite of or was it in part, because of the abuse. The masses judged him because he couldn’t be put into any box.
I always loved Michael Jackson from the time I was in grade school. I remember being in the bedroom my 3 brothers shared where the brown veneer wooden Zenith stereo player had a 33 rpm record going around. A friend of mine and I were listening to Going Back to Indiana on the Jackson Five Third Album while dancing around the tiny room and clapping our hands to the rhythm.I was driving around in my 1979 Volvo with white exterior and red leather interior blasting the music on a cassette of Off The Wall from my JBL speakers that I had added on to my little car. In 1982, I would watch Michael, mesmerized as he danced in his videos for Thriller and Billie Jean. I can still see him in that black suit with a pink shirt and red bow tie. He turned the video medium into an art form and owning the Thriller album seemed to be a household staple. Michael’s style was always his own. He was a trendsetter. “Mom,” Jermaine used to tease Michael. “Michael is wearing white socks again under his pants and he looks goofy.” The teasing didn’t matter to Michael. He knew exactly what he was doing. He said when he danced, he wanted the focus on his feet so he would add crystals or rhinestones to his socks for stage. He wore what he liked no matter what anyone thought. He deliberately mispronounced “come on” to “cha’mone” when he sang. From 1987’s Bad to 1991’s Dangerous, Michael’s music became the soundtrack to my life. I could escape from reality into a world of Michael’s falsetto singing; a voice with a touch of sadness.
Michael always said, “I love you.” “I love you more” when someone else said I love you first. Always. To his family, friends, and especially his fans. He wasn’t afraid to say I Love you. From everything I’ve read about him, this was a man who meant what he said.
Michael Jackson, in 2007 said, “music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in the world. Through it, my music, I know I will live forever.” He was a juggernaut that couldn’t be stopped in his desire to gift us with his music, his dance. Late at night alone at the dance studio he had built at Neverland, he would dance at all hours, eventually wearing grooves into the hard wood floor from where his worn black loafers would spin, twist and turn.
Here is a note he wrote to himself. ” By the talent given me by God, training cultivating it. Studying the greats in my field and becoming greater. Like as artist searching persistent confident to be the best. Study the greats and become greater. Reach the zenith of my ability as an actor singer dancer. MJ”
His music does live on. What lives on for me, and millions of fans all over the world, was his heart, a heart that gave right up to the end. Every night after rehearsals for This Is It, he would stop to speak to fans, sign an autograph or say I love you.
Julien’s Auctions is celebrating the anniversary of Michael’s passing with an auction of a collection of various Michael Jackson pictures, autographs, awards, fedoras, drawings, letters, notes, clothes, costumes even the wig he wore when he announced his final concerts in London, something I found macabre.
It’s obvious a lot of the items to be auctioned on the anniversary weekend of 2 years of his passing were gifts to people. Autographed photos, autographed cd’s or albums, a pillow case where he wrote, “Good night, I love you”. I’ve seen videos where he used to sign a pillowcase from a hotel room and throw it down to the fans. I can understand why these items are being sold. Someone decided not to hold onto it and to sell it.
What I don’t understand is selling is what certainly seems to be Michael’s personal effects. Michael was particularly sensitive about the bald spot he had after his scalp was burned in the Pepsi commercial in 1984. When he emerges from a pile of people trying to help him, the entire top of his head was burned, and bald as his hand went immediately to touch it. He would wear a wig to the American Music Awards that year to cover this spot. Wigs would become part of him after this event. It seems to me that selling one of his wigs is in poor taste given how tender this personal issue was for him.
It seems clear to me that many of these items were taken from his home in Neverland. When he left for Bahrain in 2005, he realized what he had known for some time. There was a witch-hunt to bring down Michael Jackson. Even thought district attorney Tom Sneddon gave it an earnest attempt by falsifying evidence, nothing could be proven because there was nothing to prove. Michael left his home of eighteen years at Neverland intact with all his possessions.
Here’s Michael’s hand written lyrics to some of Beat It:
Here’s some photos of drawings he made.
These photos are stamped “Nov 1972” and appear to be taken in a hotel room. They look like the type of photos that I have in my family photo album as a kid. They used to stamp the photos like this at Thrifty Drug Store. Looks like personal photos taken from a photo album or a drawer.
A pair of gold sunglasses Michael wore during the Victory Tour in 1984.
The gold record from Epic Records to commemorate the sales of Bad framed.
A holiday card that was obviously never sent.
A hand written note that Michael made on a single page of letterhead from Dr. Arnold Klein’s office.
There are items here so iconic that I’m puzzled why they are being sold. Okay, this is just my humble opinion but shouldn’t items like this be kept for his children? Or at Neverland, which I’ve heard rumors will eventually become a museum of Michael Jackson belongings.
The custom made black spandex shirt with large stones punched around the neck and across the front. MJ wore this shirt on the opening night of performance of the BAD world tour in Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Julien’s estimates this will sell for between $2000-3000.
The black synthetic blend avante garde shirt designed by Dexter Wong featuring elastic neck, waist and cuffs and covered with circular gathered puckers of fabric to create a three dimensional effect. Michael wore this shirt in the ground breaking video “Scream” made with sister Janet. Scream was the most expensive video ever made. Michael wrote Scream as a response to the backlash he received from the media after being falsely accused of child molestation by a dentist who was relentless in his blackmailing efforts against MJ.
Here is the shirt MJ wore on the Motown twenty-five special on March 23, 1983. Michael was a rising star when this was aired and after that show, he was legendary. A synthetic blend, black long-sleeved shirt with label reading “Mr. Alex Beverly Hills” and the name “Helnsen Michen” typed on the label. The shirt had been customized with punched rhinestones covering the collar, chest and rolled-up cuffs of the shirt. He wore this shirt first during his performance of the song “Ease On Down The Road” with Diana Ross for her February 2, 1981, CBS TV special. Diana wore a matching version of the shirt as they sang the single from their film The Wiz together.
The black sequined glove he wore on The American Music Awards show where he won 8 awards on January 16, 1984. Custom made for his right hand, with hand-sewn black Swarovski crystals with a single snap closure. There are photos of him with Brooke Shields, Lionel Richie, and Emmanuel Lewis wearing this unique glove. What makes this glove unusual is he typically wore white gloves during this period.
The black and red leather jacket Michael wore in the Thriller video is estimated to sell for between $200,000-400,000 nuts. Michael gave this jacket to his longtime costume designers Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush. It has a “Marc Laurent Paris” label, silver buckle, red silk lining, trapunto stitched collar, snap front closure and signature winged shoulders. Michael inscribed “To Bush and Dennis, All My Love, Michael Jackson” on the inside lining and the sleeve is also signed “Love Michael Jackson”. This jacket ignited a nineteen eighties fashion trend and was so much a part of Jackson’s persona that it was used as a reference for all of his subsequent concerts when he danced Thriller.
When I first viewed all these items at Julien’s Auctions I felt these items need to be preserved. They are part of musical history. My heart’s desire is that Tom Barrack, owner of Colony Capitol, who saved and is the steward of Neverland, will swoop in and purchase all of these pieces. I will have to let go of the idea of these pieces being on display at Neverland for all the world to see, instead of going into a private home, where perhaps 1 or a few people will enjoy these treasures. Look, I understand. It would be fun to have one of Michael’s gloves. I would like it more knowing many people could enjoy it. What is the purpose of my hanging onto this need?
Even though the likes of great talents such as James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly inspired Michael, he was a rare, indefinable mega talent onto himself. He didn’t need fifty back up dancers, special effects, and video screens all around. Give the boy a stage and a microphone and he was on fire. He grew up on stage. I grew up watching and listening to him. Even though he is no longer with us, he left us with a part of his soul forever. Michael Jackson is my hero because he channeled all his hurt, sadness and suffering into art. He is my hero because he understood that sweetness and innocence and compassion didn’t make you weak, they make you strong. On June 25, 2009, he left us but only physically. Michael truly embodied the adage of wherever you go in life; it should be a better place because you were there. Gone Too Soon.