Was Michael Jackson a modern-day prophet?
Thanks to my friend Jacqui for telling me about this blog post.
By Chaz Harris
I find myself troubled as I sit here thinking about how it is one year today since Michael Jackson’s untimely, tragic and unexpected death. Last year, when the London concerts were announced, I made sure my brother was on the phone the day tickets went on sale and instead of trying for the July dates right off the mark, I told him to get tickets for one of the dates in September, which he managed to do.
I was really excited about going home for the show as I had always wanted to see Michael Jackson performing live and I was walking around in a weird state of disbelief during the days after it happened. I think most people were expecting it to be a huge publicity stunt to promote the tour and that MJ would reappear and reassure us that he was fine…but that moment never came.
Whatever you may think of him, it has to be acknowledged that he was considered and probably always will be one of the most influential figures in entertainment. Michael Jackson’s rise in popularity was an important part of the post civil-rights era in the US and opened up black entertainers to the mainstream markets like no other artist has. He also had the ability to own a stage like nobody else – just as he did with this performance at the 1993 Superbowl.
Even through the controversial court cases, I remember always dismissing them as gold-digging parents who just wanted to cash in on his generosity as he always came across as unassuming and someone who always saw the best in people. The guy grew up a child-star and missed out on having a childhood, but I don’t believe in him being a pedophile even if he appears to “fit the profile”. This was compounded by the countless comments and tributes that celebrity friends and his staff made after he died last year, including Donna Summer, who said of the alleged accusations, “I can’t even imagine he [Michael] would ever try to hurt a child. I felt more like it was exploitation, personally, from other people. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I just – you know, I just think he was a sitting duck at times.”
While I was back in the UK, it was announced that This is It was going to be made and released and I remember being slightly hesitant and cynical about what I was going to see. However, when I went in and saw the film on opening night, I was blown away and delighted to discover that Jackson retained the brilliance and showmanship at 50 that he did all those years before in ’93. It was as if no time had passed and it would have without doubt been one of the most eye-popping and spectacular concerts ever held.
On the DVD, there is a whole section on the various costumes and one of these was a suit complete with lights built into it so that it could light up and shoot colourful beams down the arms and legs. It was to be used when he performed Billie Jean. It would have been epic and I felt a mix of excitement and melancholy watching that film.
The odd thing to me is how consistent Michael Jackson’s message of peace, love and saving the planet for the children and our children’s children was. And yet, the man was persecuted, misunderstood and treated as an outcast by the very media spotlight that helped create this spectacle in the first place. Why do people turn on those who try to spread positive messages in the world? Do we think they have some kind of hidden agenda?
If I believed in God, then I would say Jackson was the closest thing we had in recent times to a modern-day prophet. His followers and fans outnumber any other modern religious or public figure and he always spread his message of healing, love, peace and acceptance. When it comes down to it, I know I definitely believe in MJ and his message because I have proof that he was real.
The tragic impact we’re seeing from the BP disaster has been bringing back chilling images of Earth Song. Whenever Jackson spoke about disasters it’s like he knew something worse was just around the corner. A quote from This is It says it all “I respect the secrets and magic of nature. That’s why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening in the world: that every second I hear the size of a football field is torn down in the Amazon. That kind of stuff really bothers me. That’s why I write these kinds of songs, you know, to get some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people.” Jackson then went on to say: “The planet is sick, like a fever. If we don’t fix it now it’s at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have or it’s like a runaway train…The time has come, This is It. It starts with us. US. or else it’ll never be done.”
The words his children said at the memorial last August were enough to obliterate any doubts (if any) that I had about Jackson’s innocence when his daughter Paris said “daddy was the best father you could ever imagine”. Some people disagreed with the kids being allowed to speak, but I could sense it was heartfelt and something she felt like she needed to say. After all, Jackson cut his father out of his will over the alleged abuse he suffered as a child because he never wanted to see his own children go through that. Why would anyone assume he’s guilty just because statistically there have been suggestions of child abuse victims repeating that behaviour? Are there no exceptions?
I’ll leave you with the parting poignant words of one of my favourite MJ songs. In fact, they almost sound like they could be someone’s wedding vows: “In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care? Will you be there? In my trials and my tribulations. Through our doubts and frustrations. In my violence, in my turbulence. Through my fear and my confessions. In my anguish and my pain. Through my joy and my sorrow. In the promise of another tomorrow, I’ll never let you part, for you’re always in my heart.”
Was Michael Jackson a modern-day prophet? Why does humankind have a tendency to attack or turn against those who try to spread a message of love, acceptance and healing?
R.I.P. Michael Jackson – The King of Pop