Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

No More Nails in Michael Jackson’s coffin – He’s Already Dead.

 

When I think of Sundance, the first word that comes to mind is quality. After that, I think of Robert Redford, integrity, and honor. Integrity for his vision in creating the Sundance Institute to bring movies made with class and vision and honor for sticking with that vision. To hear that Sundance would be screening the “Leaving Neverland” documentary hit me like a punch in the stomach.

Did Sundance take any steps whatsoever to investigate the real criminals in the multiple Michael Jackson extortion attempts? In 1993 Evan Chandler, a dentist who wanted to be a full time screenwriter made an attempt to blackmail twenty million dollars from Michael. When his demands were not met, he was recorded saying, “Everything’s going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine … and if I go through with this, I win big time. There’s no way I lose. I’ve checked this inside and out. I will get everything I want, and they will be destroyed forever. June will lose custody of Jordy and Michael’s career will be over.” He did not go to social services, which is where one would go if there was any thought of child molestation. No, Evan Chandler went to the “meanest son of a bitch” (his words) attorney he could find.

Is Sundance aware that Thomas Sneddon, District Attorney of Santa Barbara County, in California, falsified evidence in a court of law in his vendetta against Michael Jackson? Why Sneddon wasn’t imprisoned is the bigger question. Sneddon is best known for his hunt against Michael Jackson even though Jackson was acquitted of all charges because simply, there was no evidence, only lies.

I am an award-winning documentary photographer who has spent nine years on various photo essays covering topics such as my father’s survival in eight concentration camps during the holocaust and my mother’s life in an aging facility for thirty-seven years after her second husband’s abuse left her with brain damage.

Another project I have been working on is “Searching for Michael Jackson,” a book project for which I spent eight years researching who Michael Jackson really was, apart from the image the media fed us. During my research, I found that Michael Jackson had lawsuits brought against him almost weekly for financial gain. After reading the court transcripts it became clear that the Arvizo Family was trying to get their slice of pie from Jackson’s hard work by making up lies that were so preposterous that laughs could be heard in the courtroom in 2005.

Now, with the tenth anniversary of Michael’s death around the corner, the media has begun bashing the man who was a proven victim of blackmail and extortion. First there was greedy Evan Chandler, who committed suicide four months after Michael died. Next the “Me Too” ( I want Michael’s money) Arvizos, proven extortionists and the biggest player of all, the media who loved to smear his name from Diane Diamond to Martin Bashirs.

When will the travesties against this man end? The media doesn’t reflect the facts and Sundance should. When it comes to Michael Jackson, it is about lies and profit and always has been. The Michael Jackson estate has issued a statement saying this film was “another rehash of dated and discredited allegations” and a “pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on” the singer.

Wade Robson applied for a job choreographing a Michael Jackson tribute show for Michael’s estate. And when he was not chosen, Robson filed fifty lawsuits, seeking money for abuse, even though he testified under oath, vehemently denying any abuse in a court of law in 2005 even going as far as saying it was silly to even suggest he was improperly touched by Michael. Wade’s actions since he accused Michael are simply not consistent with someone who was traumatized by him. There are videos where he was praising Michael. Wade Robson is bankrupt because his lawsuit was dropped due to a lack of evidence and he is seeking to get money because after all, why work if you can just sue the Michael Jackson estate? What is Robson’s motivation? In the immortal words of Michael Jackson, after the first allegations: “If you show me the cash then I will take it. If you tell me to cry then I will fake it. You do anything for money.”

I would look forward to and welcome Sundance to screen a legitimate documentary made about the lies by Evan Chandler, Thomas Sneddon planting fingerprints and falsifying evidence in a court of law, Harvey Weinstein peddling fake Michael Jackson stories to take the heat off his real sex abuse, the “Me Too” Arvizos and their false claims against JC Penney and all the other weekly, monthly, and yearly blackmails made against Michael Jackson, a victim of extortion attempts, who was humiliated over and over while the media crucified him. When are we going to see that documentary?

Bad move, Sundance film festival.

© hannah kozak

Hannah Kozak – Self Portrait with some of the books I’ve read on Michael Jackson over the course of eight years.

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Michael Jackson’s Love continues 9 Years Later

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Queenie – Hong Kong banner

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One Rose for MJ

June 25, 2009 – I was a stuntwoman hired to work on Iron Man 2. As I drove on the 101 Freeway in the late afternoon, heading to the location in downtown Los Angeles, I couldn’t stop thinking about Michael and wrap my head around the fact that he was gone.  The news of his death had been announced only a few hours prior, and a part of me refused to believe it. When I met the stunt coordinator, I casually mentioned it, not wanting to seem like a fanatic.  Boy, how I would let go of that need years later.  The scene called for three stuntwomen to be running away from gigantic robots. One of the stuntmen landed on me and, as I would find out days later, broke a few of my ribs. I couldn’t breathe but I got up and did the shot again.  For some reason, getting hurt always made me go inside and ponder.

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Angel of Light card “Smile” – Michael’s favorite song

After researching, writing, blogging and sharing my photos with Michael Jackson fans around the world for nine years, I grew to not care what people thought about my “obsession” with Michael. Actually, I began to believe that if you tell me what you think about Michael, I will tell you who you are.  Thus, began my search for the truth about who Michael Jackson was.

This year, like annual clockwork, the media has begun the totally baseless smear stories one month before the anniversary of Michael’s passing.  The medialoid  (mainstream media infected by tabloid journalism) loves to feed a constant diet of trash and lies about Michael. And his fans begin to defend him, as always, standing firmly for the truth and defending his legacy.  I look forward to the day when Michael’s volunteer work for children trends instead of the lies.  In the meantime, I continue my work on the anniversary of his passing to remind the world who he was, an innocent humanitarian.

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King of Pop – from Romania

Why did the media begin a witch hunt against Michael as soon as he started breaking every musical record? First of all, Michael was the archetypal misunderstood artist, committed to his art and his creative vision even though he was being judged.

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Banner from Queenie, Jessica and May – Hong Kong

Did you know that Michael Jackson was personally responsible for cutting the number of starving people on this planet in half back in the 1990’s? The media didn’t report that.

Michael Jackson was the personification of love.  What do we do with someone whose heart is that big?

Tall Poppy Syndrome is “a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.” That is what happened to Michael Jackson the moment he started to break every music record ever made. A simple walk through Twitter for example, will  show example after example of people who never even knew him or read anything valuable about him trashing him. Hence, my belief of “tell me what you think of Michael Jackson and I will tell you who you are”. Are you judgmental? Accepting of someone who did not fit in any of the neat little boxes that society loves to place on people? Do you see his giant, loving heart that gave to strangers and visited sick and dying children before and after his concerts? A man who would donate millions of dollars from touring to various children’s causes? Is that what you see?  Or do you believe the lies that the media feeds you?

A Jewish proverb says, Do not be wise in words, be wise in deeds.Michael Jackson was wise in deeds.  Other-centered does not even come close to describing his character.  Listed in the 2000 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records for “Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star”, he supported 39 charities and gave away $500 million in his lifetime.  Even in his death his earnings are still going to charity, as specified in his will.

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Marcela – Argentina

As I walk around Forest Lawn Glendale, I focus on the love that I see for Michael Jackson and I feel my heart chakra stirring. I see handmade cards so intricate, delicate and beautiful that my heart is moved to tears. I have been in actual relationships and not had such cards made for me.

Here is Robyn Starkland who tirelessly organizes One Rose for Michael Jackson, year after year. This year, there are 8,047 roses purchased by fans around the globe. On June 26, the roses are donated to various charities around Los Angeles.

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Robyn Starkland – Organizer of One Rose for Michael Jackson

I met Sarah, who flew 5 hours to Auckland and 12 hours to Los Angeles, from South Australia. This was her first visit to Forest Lawn. She said when Michael died “I was overwhelmed with tears and I didn’t know why. I had dreams where he smiled, picked me up and spun me around.

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Sarah – South Australia

Every year I see artwork by an artist named Siren. This year I actually met and spoke to her. Siren is from Canada and did not start painting until years after Michael died. Her drawing began two years after Michael passed but she did not paint until 2014. She said “I credit Michael with all of it, all my creativity. That’s my connection to him, the relationship, my spirituality.”

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Paintings by Siren from Canada.

Here are Rieko Ishii, Miyuki Amano, Yoko Abe and Yuki Otsuki, who came together from Japan. They brought this glorious angel winged, red rose tribute for Michael.

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Left to right: Rieko Ishii, Miyuki Amano, Yoko Abe, Yuki Otsuki from Japan with their winged angel rose arrangement.

Here are Queenie Las, May Cheng and Jessica Kwok from Hong Kong. They layed out pictures for hours on Saturday but everything was gone on Sunday.

Yasuyo Kaneko was sitting with an umbrella and her 2 little MJ dolls, complete with miniature flowers. I found a framed photo I loved, which turned out to be hand made by her.

People like Yasuyo are why I come to Forest Lawn Glendale every years on the anniversary of MJ’s passing.

Yasuyo is kind, gentle, soft-spoke and other centered. She created a delicate wooden frame with MJ’s favorite flowers, and was part of the team that arranged the giant arrangement of red roses, and angel wings in gold.

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i love the details of the miniature flowers on this hand made frame by Yasuyo Kaneko from Yokohama, Japan.

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Yasuyo Kaneko – Yokohama, Japan

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Queenie Lau, May Cheng, Jessica Kwok from Hong Kong.

 

Michael Jackson didn’t just love his own children: he loved all children.  Perhaps that’s why he was judged so harshly by people who did not know him.  In the end, it’s not just his music, dancing and videos that bring people from all corners of the world to Forest Lawn Glendale to deliver their sweet, homemade gifts. It’s because Michael Jackson was the personification of love and what we need now, more than ever, is love.

© hannah kozak

I love this delicate, hand made doll from one of the Japanese fans!

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Painting by Siren – Self Portrait

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I love the simplicity of the hands in glitter.

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Arrangement from fans in Iran.

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Letter from fan in Iran

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Banner from fans in Ireland

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Letter from fan in China – page 2

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Letter from fan in China

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Messages of Love

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Musical symbol arrangement

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We Love You, Michael arrangement.

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Emone Tsang from Hong Kong

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Miranda – Hong Kong

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Hong Kong banner

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Eliza and Pat

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May Cheng – Hong Kong


The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 8 Years Later

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 8 Years Later

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My three MJ dolls

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Entrance to Forest Lawn – 24 June 2017

Why do I return to Forest Lawn year after year on the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death? In a word, love.

Every year around June 25th, cards, letters, roses, flowers, gifts, balloons and sunflowers begin arriving at Forest Lawn Glendale and Neverland. I spend days meeting and talking to fans and creating photos of the love he continues to inspire. I show up because love is in my blood. It’s healing to be surrounded by these genuine expressions of love for Michael Jackson.

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I have always loved Hitomi Osani’s art work from Japan. She puts so much love into each piece of art she creates.

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Hand made, detailed card from Vania in Italy.

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Inside caption detail.

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Card from Romania

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The creativity that Michael Jackson fans pour into their cards is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

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I love the simplicity of this card.

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Card from Mary K all the way from Greece.

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Envelope of card from 16 Japanese fans.

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I found this card to be so beautiful. 16 fans from Japan, who met each other because of their shared love of Michael Jackson. Heal the World he sang…..

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“It has passed for eight years. However, you are still brilliant. I love you, Michael, forever. From Japan, Noriko.

Japanese fans work on their Michael Jackson tribute quilts throughout the entire year. The details of the quilt and what the fans write on their tiny sections of the quilt are creative and loving. I have always had a feeling that Michael can see all of the genuine heart-felt offerings that are left in his honor.

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Quilt from Japan.

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Insert from Japanese quilt from Risa.

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Quilt insert from Japan.

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Quilt insert.

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Quilt insert from Mayuko

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Quilt insert from 9 Japanese fans.

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Sanae Himarwari

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MJ’s eyes and eyebrows are finely embroidered by Akko.

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© hannah kozak

Yuko Katsumata

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Ikuko Ozawa from Japan.

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Wonderful drawing of MJ by Rita.

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“I am proud to be your fan.”

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Another stunning artwork.

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Yai Kojima from Japan.

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backside of card – Yae Kojima – Japan

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Haruyo from Japan.

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Tiziana Schelling from Italy.

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Marisa’s lovely card.

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Chris from U.K.

I am particularly moved and proud to be a part of the ‘One Rose for Michael Jackson,’ organization spearheaded by Robyn Starkland. This year, 8,527 long stem roses are delivered for Michael. We unload the boxes in the hot sun and set them up. Tomorrow, on June 26, I will join Robyn’s team and show even more love by delivering the roses to various charities across Los Angeles.

© hannah kozak

8,527 red, long stem roses line the way to Michael’s resting place.

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Robyn Starkland – Organizer of One Rose for Michael Jackson.

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The team that set up the roses from One Rose for Michael Jackson.

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The entire team!

After arranging the flowers, a woman carrying a handmade Michael Jackson doll catches my eye. I meet Miyuki Amano from Tokyo, Japan. The doll was intricate and well made. I have a fondness of MJ dolls, so I asked her how long it took her to make it. “It took me three weeks,” she answered. “One day I worked on it for six hours.” She told me she has loved Michael since the day she discovered The Jacksons in 1978. I thanked her, and without a moment’s hesitation she said, “I love you.”

That is a shining example of the power of Michael Jackson. He brings people from different cultures and continents together, who don’t even know each other, yet they have no problem expressing what can sometimes be hard for close friends to say to each other: “I love you.” The magnitude of such authentic kindness made me teary.

© hannah kozak

Miyuki Amano – Tokyo, Japan

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Left to Right:
Naoko Sekomune
Miyuki Amano
Hitomi Miura

I saw my friend Fanny Fung from Hong Kong. We were happy to see each other. She said she saw my recent photos on Instagram. “I would like to give you a thumbs up,” she said. More tears.

© hannah kozak

Hong Kong group
Left to right:
Miranda Yuen, Queenie Jackson, Fanny Fung,
Holy Leung, May Cheng
Jessica Kwok
Amy Chan

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Gorgeous art work from Hong Kong.

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Card from Cathay Cat Cat from Hong Kong

I liked the gentle nature of Jose Manuel and Sylvia Siles Rodriguez from Aran Valley, Spain. They are getting married at Forest Lawn on June 25, 2017.

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Jose Manuel and Sylvia Siles Rodriquez from Aran Valley, Spain.

I was taken by Raquel Jean-Joseph’s aura immediately. I asked her about her practice and she told me her mother told her to meditate and then it came to her in a dream, because she had severe anxiety, that she needed to meditate.

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Raquel Jean-Joseph was radiant in person.

And, here is Timmy Dolan, who is eleven years old. He said “I’ve been practicing Michael’s dances since I was eight. I discovered Michael by watching him on TV. I love his dance moves, he created a lot of dance moves.” When I asked him what he loved most about Michael he said “because he was kind.”

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Eleven year old Timmy Dolan.

Singer Leonard Cohen wrote that there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Michael’s light guided him throughout his life, through the good times and through the bad. He always gave credit to a higher power for his songs and ideas.

Michael was the soundtrack of my life. Driving in my 1979 white Volvo while listening to Off the Wall, and singing as loud as possible. Michael said he was here for a reason and that he loved being on stage because it made people happy. He felt it was his job. “As long as the people enjoy it, I’ll always be happy.”

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Flowers from fans in China.

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From fans in Japan.

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From Vicky in Japan.

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From Naoko in Japan.

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Sachiko, Takeshi Nakamura designed this arrangment for the 35th anniversary of Thriller.

He was a public figure from the time he could walk, talk and sing. He knew he was born to entertain and he never doubted his purpose. His commitment to his art was first and lifelong. Michael’s dedication to his craft and his discipline continue to inspire me. His message of heal the world, we are the world, and his messages of peace, love for nature, and love for each other have never been more important.

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“I will sing to achieve any purpose. I sing the only flower in the world! You look at me from heaven.
Love, Atsuko

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Dear Michael, I miss you so. I want to see you again.
Harumi Onuzuka from Japan.

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Quilt from fans in Ireland.

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The creativity is endless.

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Purple and white roses from France.

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 © hannah kozak

Aunque los años pasen la herida sigue. Abierta siempre estarás en mi corazón.
Te quiero, Michael.
Carmina (Spain)
As the years go by, the wound continues. My heart is always open.
I love you, Michael.

Whenever anyone said, “I love you” whether it was family, friend or fan, Michael was famous for saying “I love you more.”

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© hannah kozak

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Rest in peace.
Petra

Teddy Riley, producer of Michael’s Dangerous album and co writer of Blood on the Dance Floor and Ghosts said “I’ve never witnessed anything or anyone as powerful as Michael”.

Michael was a powerful, young boy from Gary, Indiana who loved the innocence of children and animals. He would cry not only when he saw starving children, but also if he missed seeing James Brown on television. He dreamt of being the greatest entertainer in the world, and he was. Michael lived for his music and died for it too. Now, the world has unrequited love for Michael.

From Michael Jackson fans all around the globe, to the mighty boy from Gary, Indiana:

“WE LOVE YOU MORE, MICHAEL.”

© hannah kozak

I really got a thing for these MJ dolls!!!

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Self Portrait with Michael Jackson

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 8 Years Later


The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial in Munich, Germany

The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial in Munich, Germany

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Michael Jackson memorial in Munich, Germany

One thing everyone should know about me is that I am a BIG fan of Michael Jackson. I’ve have been involved with the Michael Jackson community for more than eight years, and I had heard about the memorial dedicated to him in Munich years ago. I like to visit any Michael Jackson memorials and photograph them (with my MJ dolls, of course). On a recent journey to Germany, I made sure I gaive myself time to do just that. I was going to be in Munich anyway for a photographic series I was doing on my father, who survived eight Nazi forced labor camps. After hearing about Michael’s memorial, I had to make it part of the trip.

I was heading to the hotel that Michael Jackson stayed at many times: Hotel Bayerischer Hof, which was just one turn and 20 minutes from my motel in the Old Town of Munich. I made a left on Promenadeplatz and the grand hotel with its blue awnings came into view.

© hannah kozak

MJ doll in front of Hotel Bayerische Hof.

Michael stayed in suite 32 in 1997 for the History tour and a year later he returned to take his children Prince and Paris to Circus Krone. In 1999, he had a concert at the Olympic Station, “Michael Jackson and Friends” for the Nelson Mandela charity. Due to a technical problem with part of the set, the central section of ‘The Bridge Of No Return’ collapsed, forcing Michael to climb back on to the stage. Michael continued to perform as planned and was taken to the hospital – after collapsing backstage from the pain of the fall. Did I mention I like Michael jackson?

When I arrived at the hotel, I quickly found photos of Michael Jackson’s smiling face. I sat down on a bench adjacent to the monument and overheard two men speaking about Michael.

“Why did he like being with children” they asked one another.

“Do you want to know?” I answered. They were interested, and encouraged me to explain.

“Imagine everywhere you go in the world, from the time you are eight years old, everyone wants something from you: a hand-shake, a hug, a photo, a kiss, a job or for you to listen to their song. Michael was an innocent, soft-spoken, shy, humble man who loved children because they allowed him to be who he was: a child-like soul.” I said.

The men nodded their heads and understood why Michael connected with children. I’m happy I helped them understand why Michael connected with billions of souls across the globe. It is because he was a loving, gentle, humble and kind man.

© hannah kozak

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, no matter where I am in the world, I am never, ever alone. I’m always able to connect with people in another country about Michael.

I walked to Michael’s memorial each of the four nights I was in Munich. On the last afternoon, I had plans to meet my friend, Nena, whom I met four years ago at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where Michael is buried, on the anniversary of Michael’s birthday. Nena has been responsible for creating and running the memorial in Munich for the past eight years.

© hannah kozak

Nena Akhtar –

Nena received permission from the mayor of the city and the Bavarian Government to put up photos of Michael on a city monument. Every morning before she goes to work at the two coffee shops she owns she goes to the memorial to add fresh flowers. People send donations for the flowers, candles, pictures and laminating the photos people leave in his honor. It’s a non-profit association to remember Michael Jackson. Fans write to Nena from all over the world and come from France, Italy, from Japan, China, American, Australia, Canada. And many fans from Germany also go to meet Nena and see the memorial.

© hannah kozak

Alternate side of MJ Memorial

I was a Hollywood stuntwoman for twenty-five years, and though it might sound crazy, my life changed the day Michael Jackson died. I was working on Iron Man 2 at the time, and after MJ’s death, I endeavored to discover who Michael Jackson truly was. (Not what the media tried to force feed us.) Thus began my organic, eight-year ongoing series, Searching for Michael Jackson.

These photos are part of my journey to understand the man Michael Jackson was, and also functioned as an outlet for me to meet other MJ fans from around the world. My MJ dolls have been to Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Budapest, and now Munich, and it’s been a fulfilling, but more importantly, fun, experience to photograph the dolls with Michael Jackson memorials.

My favorite photographs of my MJ doll and photos of Michael are the ones I made in the rain with water drops on my jacket sleeve. I love all the colors from the photographs of Michael on the monument along with the candles, flowers and the backdrop of the hotel.

© hannah kozak

I have visited MJ memorials around the world including the one in Budapest, Hungary and I always find it comforting to visit a memorial dedicated to the King of Pop, clear across the Atlantic ocean, so far from my home in Los Angeles. As I travel alone, seeing all the love for Michael is a real comfort, and helps to soothe my soul.

The Magic of Michael Jackson’s Memorial in Munich, Germany


Finding my way around Berlin, Germany

Finding my way around Berlin, Germany

I traveled to Berlin for the opening of the Berlin Foto Biennial 2016, where I am part of the Second Generation Holocaust photographers exhibit with a triptych from my seven year, ongoing series called Survivor, a study on my father’s survival of eight Nazi forced labor camps.

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Another reason for Berlin’s appeal for me is its volatility, its traumatic history. I feel a Berlin traumatized by its historical suffering, its emotional past. There is almost a haunting aspect to the city. A city where Hitler came to power in 1933, the site of the infamous Olympic games in 1936, Kristallnacht – where Jewish properties were attacked and set on fire in 1938, Hitler’s headquarters–and the place where the Führer took his last breath & World War II from 1938 to 1945. A historic, reunited capital where a 96.2 miles long wall divided family and friends for 28 years, the only border fortification in history built to keep people from leaving rather than to protect them. Berlin is a capital that has been the most powerful and also fallen to the lowest of lows. Yet Berlin is also a city of tolerance, liberalism, a center of the arts and truly a cutting edge cultural center of Europe.

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The remains of the Wall. It was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protective Wall.” Built overnight starting 13 August 1961. The wall completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany until it was opened in November 1989. (The actual demolition did not begin until the summer of 1990 and was completed in 1992.)

I spent time years ago in Frankfurt, when I was working in the publishing world and attended the annual Frankfurt Book Fair but Frankfurt does not hold the appeal for me that Berlin does. Berlin is tucked away in the north-eastern area of Germany and is only 49.7 miles from another favorite place I love–Poland.

As I walk along Friedrichstrasse, I think about the great German artist Käthe Kollwitz, regarded as the most important German artist of the twentieth century who worked with drawing, etching, lithography, woodcuts, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Käthe Kollwitz captured the hardships suffered by the working class in drawings, paintings, and prints. She went to Munich to study at the Women’s Art School. She didn’t want to be controlled by her father and also wanted freedom as a married woman.

The death of her youngest son in battle in 1914 profoundly affected her, and she expressed her grief in another cycle of prints that treat the themes of a mother protecting her children and of a mother with a dead child. Kollwitz lost her husband in 1940, her grandson during WWII in 1942. She created timeless art works after suffering a life of great sorrow and heartache believing that art not only can but should change the world. Kollwitz created art that stirred emotions, incited action and served the people.For twelve years; from 1924 to 1932 Kollwitz also worked on a granite monument for her son, which depicted her husband and herself as grieving parents. In 1932 it was erected as a memorial in a cemetery near Ypres, Belgium. Her art did not serve the state thus Hitler hated what she created. In 1936 she was barred by the Nazis from exhibiting, her art classified as degenerate and was removed from galleries. Kollwitz said “All my work hides within in life itself, and it is with life that I contend through my work.”

Käthe Kollwitz-Woman w/dead child - 1903.

Käthe Kollwitz-Woman w/dead child – 1903.

I also think of The Berlin Trilogy–David Bowie’s creative apex where he wrote three consecutively released studio albums that Bowie referred to as his DNA: Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979). Bowie moved to Berlin to escape the drug scene in Los Angeles (yet fell back on his bad habits initially). Berlin became Bowie’s sanctuary because he could be more anonymous there than in Los Angeles. His genius was his constant desire to reinvent himself. Low and Heroes were both recorded at Hansa Studios, known then as “Hansa by the Wall” because the Berlin Wall could be seen from the control room. I loved Lodger, a concept album about a homeless traveler. I can still hear the lyrics from Breaking Glass on the Low album. “You’re such a wonderful person, but you got problems.” I always loved Bowie because he rejected conformity, truly he was out of the box.

David Bowie - Low

David Bowie – Low – Released 14 January 1977

David Bowie - Heroes

David Bowie – Heroes – Released 14 October 1977

David Bowie - Lodger

David Bowie – Lodger – Released 14 January 1979

The nights were cold and windy and often rainy yet I feel invigorated coming from the recent relentless heat and two hour daily commutes in Los Angeles. Instead of sitting in a car for hours of traffic, I am free to roam about walking from trains to trams to underground travel.

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Oranienburg Straße ( a street in central Berlin located in the borough of Mitte, north of the River Spree and runs south-east) & Friedrichstraße.) A major culture and shopping street in central Berlin, which forms the core of the Friedrichstraße neighborhood. It runs from the Northern part of the old Mitte district.

I chose the Melia Berlin Hotel for multiple reasons but mainly for the location along the river Spree, on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Am Weidendamn and only 100 meters from Friedrichstraße Station which provided me with great underground, city rail, and tram links to all parts of Berlin. Not to mention their restaurant with an extensive menu of Spanish tapas which is one of my favorite ways to eat in the world. I ended up never eating at the tapas bar because I was enjoying the German food so much.

© hannah kozak

Meliá Berlin Hotel adjacent to the River Spree on Friedrichstraße 103.

S-Bahnhof Friedrichstraße Station used to be the border station between East and West Berlin. Built in 1882 to a design by Johannes Vollmer, a roof was added in 1925 that covers the hall and & the platforms. The only remaining structure from the original station is the special pavilion once used as a waiting room by those waiting for emigration clearance. The nickname of “Palace of Tears” refers to Berliners from different sides of the city would say goodbye to each other after a visit.

© hannah kozak

Friedrichstrasse Main Station – It is located on the Friedrichstraße, a major north-south street in the Mitte district of Berlin, adjacent to the point where the street crosses the Spree river

I ventured out in the rain (it is a venture because of my cameras) to find the Brandenburg Gate, an 18th century neoclassical monument and symbol of European unity and peace. The site of major historical events, it is considered a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany. It is truly the quintessential symbol of Berlin and one of the few remaining historic city gates. I had the bonus of being there during Berlin’s Festival of Lights– famous landmarks beautifully lit up by lights.

© hannah kozak

Brandenburg Tor – Lit up for the Festival of Lights 2016

The gate is one block south to the Holocaust Memorial or Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; a truly radical concept for a memorial. The construction of this memorial for the Jews killed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945 began April 1, 2003 and was finished December 15, 2004. Designed by US architect Peter Eisenmann, it covers 205,000 square feet. It’s above ground, an undulating field of 2,711 visible, graffiti-resistant coating concrete slabs which you can enter from all sides and walk through. They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. The memorial leaves you to contemplate the meaning of the design. I returned multiple times during the day and the evening. Rain slowly flowing down the slabs looked like tears to me.

© hannah kozak

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

© hannah kozak

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (also known as the Holocaust Memorial) created by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. Building began 1 April 2003, and finished 15 December 2004. Designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere.
I made this photo with my Rolleiflex,and included the green tree to show that even though millions of Jews were murdered including all my father’s family, we always stand tall again.

Around the corner is the Hotel Adlon, which opened its doors in 1907. It was largely destroyed in 1945, in the closing days of World War II. The new building is a design largely inspired by the original, other sources say only loosely inspired by the original. Only a two minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate and three minutes from the Berlin Wall, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin stayed here but my real reason for wanting to view it was because Michael Jackson stayed in the presidential suite. On Tuesday, Nov 19, 2002, he was caught up in the moment and showed his baby nicknamed Blanket to the fans waving below his balcony.

Here are some photos I made my first day and night wandering the streets in Berlin.

© hannah kozak

En route to the Brandenburg Gate.

© hannah kozak

I love birds and their shadows.

© hannah kozak

Vaporetto Restaurant- A dear friend introduced me to this Italian restaurant on Albrechtstraße 12.

© hannah kozak

Heading back to my hotel from Vaporetto Restaurant.

© hannah kozak

Wandering the streets en route to the Spree River.

© hannah kozak

Rainy night in Berlin

© hannah kozak

The River Spree

“Berlin -The greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.”
David Bowie

Finding my way around Berlin, Germany


The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later

© hannah kozak

My MJ dolls

© hannah kozak

Homemade card at Forest Lawn 23 June 2016

Every year since Michael Jackson left us, I enter Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, on June 25. This year I am overwhelmed and amazed by the 10,547 roses thoughtfully placed for Michael like a big beautiful blanket surrounding all the other gifts for him from individuals near and far. The roses are a coordinated effort by Robyn Starkand’s group: One Rose for Michael Jackson. Robyn then undertakes more thought and work by paying the roses forward to various charities such as St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels sister Alice Marie, Ronald McDonald House, Veterans LA and the Jewish Home for the Aged.

© hannah kozak

The arrival of roses from One Rose for Michael Jackson – created and organized by Robyn Starkand.

© hannah kozak

A fan helping set up the roses.

© hannah kozak

Forest Lawn – 25 June 2016

@ hannah kozak

Hannah_Kozak_One_Rose_for_MJ_June_24__2016-5390

© hannah kozak

Robyn Starkand w/Sister Alice Marie of St. Vincent’s.

© hannah kozak

More roses off to charity.

Rumi wrote that the wound is where the light enters you. Michael’s light continues to light the way for his soldiers of love, on the seventh anniversary of his departure from this earthly plane. The media tore Michael apart with abusive allegations when he became a record-breaking force. Michael’s death triggered a deep genetic pain in me. The search for the truth about Michael became my obsession. It ignited a sense of tragic injustice that I felt as a child from being Jewish and having had my entire family on my father’s side killed in the Holocaust. Michael’s death also stirred the hurt and injustice I felt from having watched my mother’s abuse.

© hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Samira Landau from France – This is her 4th trip to California to pay respects to Michael

@ hannah kozak

Tonia Kelly – Atlanta, Georgia – This is her 7th trip, she began coming for the trial in 2005.

© hannah kozak

Beautiful, hand made card left at Forest Lawn on 23 June 2016

© hannah kozak

Joly, May, Queenie, Jessica travel from Hong Kong every year to bring Michael a flower board made with love.

© hannah kozak

From the fans in China.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Musical flowers

© hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

The Messenger of Love

© hannah kozak

The seventh child was not concerned about the expectations of others. He was listening to the music of life. His ideas and creativity were boundless. His joy came from expressing his connection to his soul, and sharing his gifts with others. His dream was to allow the magic and the wonder that he saw, to reveal the harmony and love in all of creation. If people could feel their connection to the oneness of life, the world could once again be a place of freedom and joy. The seventh joy demonstrated this truth, through his life and his art. He danced, sang, and spoke of peace, love, oneness and caring for the land and one another. Thank u Michael. You know u saved me.

The terrorist’s attacks in Orlando, Florida less than two weeks ago hardened my heart briefly. But, I am reminded of Michael’s pleas for a better future for our world. He kept his heart open and soft, even in the face of harsh media lies and public scorn – ever reminding me the importance of keeping your heart open because holding hatred in one’s heart only damages our souls. The media continues to publish totally baseless smear stories in an attempt to defame Michael. As true followers who understand his never-ending love and innocence for children, we continue to stand firmly and defend him against the recycled accusations. Someday the lies about Michael won’t trend, only his legacy. I personally will keep working tirelessly to remind the world who he was; an innocent humanitarian.

© hannah kozak

Roses from China

© hannah kozak

Left – Fumiyo from Tokyo, Japan.
Right – Biki Zennhoji from Osaka, Japan

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Joly – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

Miranda Yuen – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

May Cheng – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

Fanny – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

May Cheng – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

I love the artistry behind each and every card.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Desde Chile – From Chile With Love

© hannah kozak

Quote from Frank Cascio

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Quote from Diana Dawn DiAngelo

© hannah kozak

How cute is this from Mickey Mail?

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

I was happy to see the fans from Japan who make the trip every year to deliver this hand made quilt. They work as a team with each person working on one piece, on weekends over the year. Today, they took a taxi from Hollywood to deliver it to Forest Lawn. They delivered a message to me from June, who usually comes. “Thank you and I love you.”

© hannah kozak

Quilt from Japan
Left to Right:
1. Yoko Abe
2. Aki Ko Kanazawa – “Michael’s smile gives me power.”
3. Yuki Otsuki
4. Tomoe Tokuda.

Here’s are closeups of inserts of the truly beautiful quilt.

© hannah kozak

Asuka

 © hannah kozak

Chisato

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Ayako

 © hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Aki & Yukiko

© hannah kozak

Chisato

© hannah kozak

Yurika – I’m truly glad that I met you. To me, you are like the air. You are necessary for us. I love you.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Dolls from Japan.

 © hannah kozak

10 year old Timothy discovered Michael when he was 5. He said “I dance, I sing and I love him”. When I asked him why he loved Michael he said “Because he was kind.”

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Another quilt from Japan.

© hannah kozak

Quilt close up

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Flowers from France

© hannah kozak

“How could I lead my life so that every cell of living matter was also benefited?” – Michael Jackson

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

The ocean of cards, flowers, teddy bears and love from fans from around the world to honor him makes it clear that Michael is going to be remembered not for the lies that were told about him, but for the great artist and human being that he was. The media went to great lengths to hoodwink the general public, but the informed readers and fans know better. Michael Jackson asked hard questions of everyone, yet he didn’t preach. That is part of the reason why we loved him and continue to love him. He was a transcendent being, gentle as a butterfly, with boundless generosity. An example of a creative whose life was inspired by curiosity not fear. He saw the beauty in each and every leaf. Michael flew away too soon. We loved and continue to love him for his heart and his art.

I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don’t know where we are
Although I know we’ve drifted far

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later


Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday

Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday

Michael Jackson would have been fifty-seven years old today. The now familiar black wrought iron gates signal the entrance to Forest Lawn Glendale. As I wind up the entrance I see Aleppo pines, a single rose here and there, flower arrangements, pinwheels of red, orange and blue spinning softly in the wind as the birds sing their songs.

@ hannah kozak

Holly Terrace

Amidst the roses, handmade cards, balloons, and stuffed animals is the feeling of love that Michael Jackson spread around the world with his music and his heart.

© hannah kozak

With love from Russia

Eleanor Roosevelt said “to do what you feel in your heart for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Michael embodied this throughout his life. Watching television as a young boy with his mother, he was moved to tears when he saw images of starving children in Africa. “Mother”, he vowed, “I’m going to do something about this someday.” And, true to his word, he did.

My hope is these photos show how Michael was loved and even though he was subjected to immense injustice, the fans know the truth even though the media was trying to tarnish his reputation throughout his career.

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Marjorie from Scotland

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Alice in Hong Kong

I love the simplicity of this tiny bear with the note “Happy birthday to you in heavens.”

@ hannah kozak

Little bear from Iraa and Jude

Divina Baham organized “The Messenger of Love” Foundation back in 2011. They celebrate Michael’s birthday, his passing and bring bags of love out reach visiting homeless shelters, Shriner’s Hospital for Children and dedicated a tree to Michael at Lake Balboa. This year they brought a cake to Forest Lawn in honor of Michael.

Cake for Michael Jackson - 29 August 2015

Cake for Michael Jackson – 29 August 2015

Hitomi came from Japan for only 3 days. I was told by Hitomi’s friend that many Japanese visitors stay for such a short amount of days because they have to get back to work.

© hannah kozak

Hitomi – from Japan

Rieko from Japan on the other hand, came for 3 weeks to study English at a small school for her university back home. “My main purpose is Michael Jackson’s birthday” she told me. It was her first time in LA and in her own words, “a dream come true”. I thought it was so cute how she carried her MJ doll in the tiny bag with “I am King of Pop” on it.

© hannah kozak

Rieko – from Japan

I met Gloria Lopez. She told me she was 13 years old when her grandfather died. He was her father figure and her best friend, who took care of her since she was 3 months old. After he died, she became depressed and suicidal, as it was her first experience of death. She didn’t want to go to school, was getting “F” grades and was sent to a psychiatrist. She said “I heard “You Rock My World” in 2001 and it was the first time I smiled since my grandfather died. I started devoting myself to MJ research. I became an honor student and received a Masters In Art Education doing my thesis on Michael.” She told me she teaches art to children because of Michael’s influence on her.

@ hannah kozak

Gloria Lopez

I met Marguerite, who flew all the way from France. Her first time to the states was in 2012 for the Immortal World Tour. She saw the Immortal World Tour 2 times in France that same year. She returned to Forest Lawn in August, 2014 and saw the One show two times that year. This year she told me that she came to Los Angeles for Michael’s spiritual message.

© hannah kozak

Marguerite – France

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

I love you More – Maleah

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Nina from Poland

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Yumiko from Japan

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Yumiko from Japan

© hannah kozak

Roswitha Preib – Germany

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Clotide – France

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Rieko – L and Kaori – R
from Japan

Michael’s commitment to his art, no matter what was happening in his life, is a testament to the artist he was; always bearing his soul in his music. His ability to connect with his fans all around the globe is evident even six years after he has left his physical body. Even in the fierce California heat, people come from France, from Japan, from all around the world, to pay their respects to the Man in the Mirror, who built an army of love.

© hannah kozak

Roses from France

© hannah kozak

Flowers from Russia

© hannah kozak

I love this card!

© hannah kozak

Art work by Haruyo Sakuta

© hannah kozak

Backside of Michael on Eagle’s Back

 © hannah kozak

Yae Kojima – Japan

© hannah kozak

Yuka – Japan

© hannah kozak

Yuka Takahashi – Japan

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Maleah, Lorrie, Marilyn

© hannah kozak

Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

May Cheng – Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Captain Eo card – Japan

@ hannah kozak

2 Michael Bad dolls meet at Forest Lawn

 © hannah kozak

More gifts for Michael

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Russian fans

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

From Japan

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Japanese dolls

One of Michael’s greatest gifts was how he cared for humanity and spread love. His Army of Love is still going strong, carrying the message that Michael was sharing with us his entire life: Love one another, take care of each other and continue to give, share and breathe love every step of our journey here. Michael was a spiritual messenger who walked his walk. He held up a mirror to humanity and in the end, Michael’s message continues to light the way.

Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday


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