MC says he used King of Pop’s likeness to represent cult mentality.
By Mawuse Ziegbe
Around seven minutes into the movie, which centers on the ill-fated romance between West’s character, Griffin, and aphoenix played by Selita Ebanks, fireworks herald a parade of a crimson-clad marching band flanked by a mob of followers sporting pointed hoods reminiscent of the garb worn by the Ku Klux Klan. The band surrounds a larger-than-life illuminated bust of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, while Griffin and the phoenix excitedly look on.
When West sat down with MTV News’ Sway for a live Q&A session that followed the film’s premiere Saturday (October 23) on MTV, he explained that he juxtaposed Jackson’s likeness with the hooded marchers to make a comment about the potent pull of cult mentality.
“The hood, what it does represent to me … in relation to the Michael Jackson thing is not the KKK but the concept of cult, because it’s multiple people with this hood on,” West explained. “It’s me taking [the phoenix] to my world and saying, ‘Let me show you what my world is about.’ ”
West said he invoked the image of the late icon, whose expansive cultural reach was unparalleled, to demonstrate the energy of the pop realm.
“The greatest, biggest pop-cultural figure of all time, arguably bigger than Jesus Christ, is Michael Jackson. You have the band in front of him, marching … and you have the cult around it,” West said, before explaining the scene that precedes the procession, of a young boy in mid-sprint brandishing a flaming baton.
“If you saw the kid in the beginning, he’s running and running at top speed holding his torch, and his torch represents his thoughts and ideals. At the end, after he’s been cultivated, he has the hood on now and he’s walking extremely slow. That’s basically how people think,” West said. “It’s the way society has set people up to be able to control them, slave mentalities.”
Yeezy added that coaxing people into social conformity is an effective form of control — assuming the followers don’t decide to break away on their own trails.
“[By] just creating this mentality by cultivating the ideals … you could just make people just stand in their own mental jails,” he said. “What happens when someone isn’t in a mental jail?”
This was interesting! lol
Despite the seemingly routine tasks of the day—she went to work in the studio before coming home for dinner—Lisa Marie spent the entire day in tears and couldn’t understand why. “I was literally cutting my food, eating my dinner crying,” she recalls.
Later that evening, in an effort to stop crying, Lisa Marie went upstairs and crawled into bed to watch something mindless on television. An hour later, she got a text from her friend John Travolta that sent shock waves through her body.
Lisa Marie’s ex-husband Michael Jackson had died.
The tears stopped as shock set in. “I was floored,” she says. “Honestly floored.”
“[In] previous interviews, I’m barky, and I tend to want to skirt out of it,” Lisa Marie says. This time, she wants to speak candidly about the intimate, personal details that made her relationship with Michael as complicated and misunderstood as it was.
“You said on my show, ‘Yes, this was a real marriage,'” Oprah says, referring to her 2005 interview with Lisa Marie. “But the rest of the world thought it was a big, staged publicity [stunt].”
“A lot of that is what I wanted to clear up in this interview,” Lisa Marie says.
“He was brought up that way,” she says. “He was conditioned to get himself where he needed to go for his career, and he became very good at making and creating and puppeteering.”
These manipulations made Lisa Marie question Michael’s love for her at the time. “I always confused that manipulation thinking that it meant he didn’t love me,” she says. “But I understand it better now. The manipulation was a survival tactic for him.”
Lisa Marie says any bitterness she held onto after their relationship ended gave way to clarity and understanding upon Michael’s death—along with a flood of emotions.
The day after Michael died, Lisa Marie expressed how she felt about his death and her perceived role in it on her blog. She wrote: “The person failed to help is being transferred right now to the L.A. County Coroner’s office for his autopsy. All my indifference and detachment that I worked so hard to achieve over the years has just gone into the bowels of hell, and right now, I am gutted.”
While rehearsing in New York for an HBO special in December 1995, Michael collapsed onstage and was rushed to the hospital. “I couldn’t tell what was happening,” Lisa Marie says. “Dehydration. Low blood pressure. Exhaustion. A virus.”
“What did your gut tell you?” Oprah asks. “You thought there was some drug use?”
“Yes,” she says.
Lisa Marie also recalls times when she would pick Michael up from a certain doctor’s office, and he would not be coherent. Looking back, she says these behaviors were suspicious, but at the time, she didn’t push the issue.
“I loved taking care of him,” she says. “It was one of the highest points in my life when things were going really well, and he and I were united. It was a very profound time of my life.”
Lisa Marie: He had to make a decision. Was it the drugs and the vampires or me? And he pushed me away.
Lisa Marie: Meaning, people that are sort of …
Oprah: Sycophants sucking his blood?
Lisa Marie: Sycophants, yes.
Oprah: So you saw that all around him?
Lisa Marie: Oh, yes.
This is something Lisa Marie says her father, Elvis, faced in his life as well. “[My father and Michael] had the luxury of creating whatever reality around them they wanted to create. They would have the kinds of people who were going to go with their program … and if they weren’t, then they could be disposed of,” Lisa Marie says.
Photo: Keystone/Getty Images
Michael also seemed to recognize the connection. As Lisa Marie watched footage of the ambulance backing out of Michael’s driveway, she says she thought back to a particularly eerie conversation she and Michael had in the Neverland Ranch library one day.
“We were sitting by the fire, and he was telling me that he was afraid he was going to end up like my father,” she says. “[Michael] was always asking me about when he died, how it happened, when it happened and where. He said, ‘I feel like I’m going to end up the same way.‘”
“He was an incredible, dynamic person,” she says. “He had something so intoxicating about him, and when he was ready to share with you and be himself—I don’t know if I’ve ever been that intoxicated by anything. … He was like a drug for me.”
People could not get enough of Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson. Since Michael was promoting an album during their relationship, there were many public appearances to make—including an appearance on the 1994 MTV Movie Awards that became known for the couple’s famous onstage kiss.
“He knew I didn’t love that,” Lisa Marie says. “I would be there, uncomfortably. And his hand was blue after we got off that stage. … I had squeezed it so hard. … But as his wife, I needed to do some things like that.”
Photo: Associated Press
“I did want to, but I just wanted to make sure,” she says. “I was looking into the future and thinking, ‘I don’t ever want to get into a custody battle with him.'” Over time, she says her hesitation became a source of contention. Then, two months after their divorce was final, it was announced in October 1996 that Debbie Rowe was pregnant with Michael’s child—an act Lisa Marie calls “retaliatory.”
“She was there the whole time telling him that she would [have his child],” Lisa Marie says. “He would tell me, ‘Debbie said she’ll do it.’ That’s how he knew to handle it, ‘If you’re not going to do it, this person will.'”
“That’s what you mean by ‘disposable,'” Oprah says.
“Yes,” Lisa Marie says. “That’s exactly what I mean.”
Photo: Ron Galella
One of those things involved Danny Keough, her ex-husband and the father of her two older children. Lisa Marie says the fact that Danny was still in her life made Michael uncomfortable.
“We’d take a vacation and Danny would go, and Michael would get upset,” she says. “And then he’d disappear for a couple of weeks, and I couldn’t find him.” In addition to these disappearances, Michael would also push Lisa Marie away when he felt vulnerable—something she now recognizes as a coping mechanism.
“He honestly tried so hard and went through so much with me,” she says. “He’s never done that with any other female. … I didn’t appreciate it then, and I wish I did.”
Oprah: Did he have to die for you to recognize that he loved you?
Lisa Marie: I think so, sadly.
Oprah: Is that the first time you recognized or believed that he truly loved you—after he
Lisa Marie: The sweeping answer would be yes. When we were together, we were really in love, and then we had the rough patches. And I had to make a decision to walk because I saw the drugs and the doctors coming in, and they scared me. They put me right back into what I went through with my father. That ended it. But we still spent four more years [together] after we divorced.
Lisa Marie: Getting back together and breaking up. … At some point, I had to push it away.
Oprah: So you still loved him even when you left him?
Lisa Marie: Very much. I was trying to take a stand and say: ‘Come with me. Don’t do this.'”
“I was very distanced, and he was checking to get a read, you know?” she says. “He was trying to throw a line out to see if I would bite emotionally, and I wouldn’t.”
During that final conversation, Lisa Marie says Michael told her she had been right about certain people around him—the vampires. He also asked her if she still loved him.
“I told him I was indifferent,” she says. “He didn’t like that word. He cried.”
Before the conversation ended, Michael revealed something chilling to Lisa Marie. “He felt that someone was going to try to kill him to get ahold of his catalog and his estate,” she says.
“So he actually gave you names,” Oprah says.
“He did, and I would like not to say them,” Lisa Marie says. “But he expressed to me his concern over his life.”
Lisa Marie: I didn’t see the Michael I knew in that Martin Bashir interview. He was high as a kite from what I saw.
Oprah: He said some pretty shocking things in that interview. Particularly about how he felt it was okay to sleep with young children.
Lisa Marie: I think he said stuff sometimes to be defiant. He got so angry at having been accused. I think that sometimes he was such a little stubborn rebel and, like a child, he would just say what he felt everyone didn’t want him to say.
Oprah: So you never saw anything, and to this day, you don’t believe that any of those [molestation] charges were true.
Lisa Marie: No. … I was never in that room. I can tell you I never saw anything like that.
Photo: Harrison Funk/The Jackson Family/Getty Images
“As you stood over his casket,” Oprah asks, “Were you able to make peace?”
Lisa Marie pauses. “No, I don’t think I could make peace then,” she says. “It was more like I wanted to apologize for not being around.”
Lisa Marie admits it’s na??ve to think that she could have saved her ex-husband from his fate, but she wanted to more than anything. To this day, she wonders whether her efforts could have made a difference. “Had I just said, ‘How are you?’ Can I try to make a phone call? I really did regret that I didn’t,” she says.
It’s been more than a year since Michael’s death and 33 years since the death of her father, but Lisa Marie says their birthdays and anniversaries of their deaths are still extremely difficult days for her. Now, she looks back on those relationships with perspective that can only come as a result of time and healing… and she says she’s ready to move forward.
-by Forbes Everett Landis
–Do you think it is a good idea to keep silence about the attacks on one of the most visible achievers of the American Dream? Are we not forfeiting our children’s future into the hands of bullies? Is it not time for us to speak up about the damage opportunistic journalism is doing to our culture?–
Last year, the news of pop-superstar Michael Jackson’s premature death shocked the world. As I am a classical music fan, not a connoisseur of pop music or any of its stars, Jackson’s death did not immediately evoke any particular emotion in me. I just let it go.
But as the days went by, and as I passively soaked in more and more news reports on Jackson’s death, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable. A man had passed away: What need was there for the media to so eagerly show humiliating images of how Jackson would have looked on his death-bed? I was prompted to look into the case more thoroughly.
After more than a year, although I am not a Michael Jackson fan, and despite my sometimes skeptical view of the frenzied remarks often made by Jackson’s hard-core followers, I feel the need to say this:
To keep the American dream alive for our children, we should stop abusing our talented and creative spirits out of jealousy and misunderstanding.
Jackson had to deal with the media condemning him as strange, weird, and even labeling him a freak, both figuratively and literally. My opinion about this is clear: Though at times, to subjective eyes, Jackson might have looked ‘different,’ half of this eccentricity was due to the fact that he was born to be an artist inevitably different from others because of his imaginative and creative nature, and half because he was forced into being so unconventional by a degree of media pressure few, if any, have ever experienced. Being different from others does not equate being harmful to others. As long as one does not violate others’ human rights, one has the right to be him or herself. In a society that prioritizes human rights and freedom, I find no justification for attacks on people who are perceived to be ‘different.’ These kinds of attacks are especially sordid when they involve the spreading of knowingly false rumors for financial gain. After Jackson’s acquittal on alleged child related charges in 2005, several journalists, such as Aphrodite Jones, came forward to confess that most of the media in attendance intentionally put objectivity aside in covering the Michael Jackson case by fragmenting the facts divulged in court, reporting only anti-Jackson information.
The human race has quite often owed its scientific or artistic progress to the “weird” and the “eccentric.” Let us consider, for example, Galileo Galilei, who was charged for openly discussing Copernican theory, a concept seen as sinful and roundly condemned at that time; later, of course, this theory went on to become the accepted standard of scientific understanding of the universe. We might also stop to consider how treasonable the very idea of democracy once was, how dangerous the aristocracy felt it to be; later, democracy became the world’s prevailing political philosophy. We can also remember that the concept of equality between : women and men, different ethnicities, or diverse religions, was derided when it emerged. Also, had she not thought differently from others, might Mother Teresa not have been a stay-at-home mom instead of traveling to India and risking her life for humanity?
Keeping the history of these exceptional ideas and people in mind, I can almost guarantee that if one had killed all the “weirdoes” among our Australopithecine ancestors 3.5 million years ago, our species might not have made it to the 21st Century. We might very well have just remained a much more primitive species, one without the use of fire and the wheel, let alone an orchestra, democracy, or computers. Is it not, after all, diversity that allows for evolution?
In other words, “weirdness” is sometimes the inevitable result of an exceptional imaginative ability that sees no boundaries in search of all the creative possibilities. As long as such individuals do us no harm, we should let them be. It is our duty to be respectful of those who are different not only because every human being is entitled to freedom, but also because diversity is at the root of human survival.
To those who regard Jackson’s soft voice altered skin tone or facial appearance as weird, I would simply say this: You are revealing your own nature, at best : narrow-minded or obtuse ; at worst – unkind and bigoted. Nobody’s holy scripture deems it acceptable to criticize the physical appearance of people who have contributed so generously to the voiceless.
To those who think that the Jackson’s spoken voice was peculiar, I would say that I see no significance in it. The spoken voice cannot be uncoupled from the singing voice that so many lauded. It might also be helpful for you to consider this information in order to broaden your understanding of the global context: there are countries where people respect those who speak softly, in a calm, non-aggressive manner. The American standard, where a loud voice seems necessary to assertiveness, is not the only standard in the world.
To those who criticize the ‘King of Pop’ for purchasing Neverland, I pose this question: Would you have survived without buying a Neverland-sized residential property if you were in reality never able to explore any place alone without being horded by an ensuing media and public frenzy whenever you stepped out of your front door? A huge residence with a vast garden might have been the only possible way for this worldwide megastar to relax and enjoy some fresh air without constant intrusion from the public. After all, Jackson earned his money though incredible hard work and a perfectionist work-ethic. In light of his Guinness record-making support of no less than 39 charities, it may very well be hypocritical to criticize his spending habits.
Having demonstrated that there is nothing inherently wrong with living unconventionally, the question now turns to whether or not Jackson ever harmed anyone with his behaviors. Here I will discuss the child related allegations leveled against him. —
In discussing the two instances of allegations Jackson was faced with, I would like to focus my attention primarily on the 1993 case due to the fact that the more recent (2003-2005) accusations ended with Jackson receiving a full legal acquittal on all counts, the extremely low credibility of the accuser’s mother playing a significant factor in this exoneration. In other words, Jackson was found not-guilty so I believe we must discount this case.
Considering that the laws of most U.S. states set down one’s right to sue anyone without being counter-sued solely in retribution for one’s lawsuit, this means that one can safely sue anyone they wants to sue. Thus, the extortion of popular and wealthy persons is an increasingly attractive ploy for those seeking a quick buck. Fast and easy money may once have come at a personal price, that being distrust from one’s community. But, with cities growing ever larger and more impersonal, an individual’s local reputation is of gradually thinning importance, resulting in more room for thievery. To some mischief minded, the risk of exposure as an extortionist might thus seem lower when compared to the potentially enormous financial benefits of a scam. As a result, a millionaire, especially one whose professional value is greatly magnified by popularity, is more vulnerable than ever. According to the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect, in 1998, 71% of the abuse reports were revealed to be false or unfounded. The false accusation rate even rises to over 90% when a custody battle and money is involved (as was the case between the plaintiff’s parents in the 1993 allegations against Jackson, who was a friend of the child’s mother). In the 1993 case, the charges never went to trial but were settled out of court.
The record illustrates that the financially troubled accuser’s father had previously approached Jackson’s representatives with a monetary request well before he sued for the alleged molestation, demonstrating that he would have refrained from filing suit in exchange for money. Would any parent with real care for the well-being of his or her children make such a deal?
As evidence for my position, I present the recorded phone conversation in which the accuser’s father is heard to say that everything [is] going “according to a certain plan,” that he would win “big time” and that Jackson would be ruined forever. These words sounds far more like the words of a mercenary than those of a father concerned with justice for his son.
It should also be emphasized that Jackson was never indicted on the 1993 allegations, even after an intensive 13-month investigation including interviews with over 400 witnesses in and out of the country, extensive searches of his residential properties, and even a 25 minute full-body examination in which Jackson had every part of his body photographed, videotaped and examined. And in the six years before the statute of limitation had expired, no criminal charges were ever filed. After the District Attorney’s office spent millions of tax payer dollars in hot pursuit of the singer, had they found any evidence of molestation, they would have been certain to indict Jackson. Civil settlement does not prevent criminal indictment. The 13-year-old boy at the center of the allegations refused to testify criminally and his father, the main individual behind the allegations, committed suicide within months of Jackson’s death.
Having discussed the mischaracterization of what people might dismiss as “weird,” and having made plain the falsity of the allegations made against Jackson, accusations that in my view look suspiciously extortionate, I would now like to consider the moral impact that Jackson might have had on our society.
Regarding integrity, Jackson’s deeds and lifestyle, apart from the media’s fabricated stories, remained consistently appropriate. In fact, his decency made him look almost old-fashioned, even when he was young, when compared with many entertainers’ indulgences in sex, alcohol, and drugs. Interviews with Jackson indicated that he felt it highly inappropriate to remark publicly on his sexual life. This, as far as I am concerned, is an example of his dignity and modesty. However, this very reserve may ironically have fueled baseless speculation about Jackson’s sexual orientation. I wish to ask : is publicly questioning a person’s sexual life not way more inappropriate than that person’s choice of silence out of a desire for privacy regarding the same? The fact that Jackson was not involved in a multitude of sex scandals with women, a fact which should normally invite respect, seems unfairly to have been justification for the media to pathologize Jackson. It is beyond ridiculous to construct the lack of lasciviousness and scandal as itself scandalous and suspect.
Many people have also remarked that Jackson did not curse at all, especially when he was younger. Only after suffering numerous hate campaigns founded on falsehoods did he insert a very small amount of profanity into his songs, in response to a world which had betrayed him so deeply. Even then, his use of profanity stayed away from vitriolic attacks , but came across more as an artistic expression of deep anguish.
Jackson also faced many accusations regarding his appearance. But, turning this around, what might this suggest about those themselves who so scrutinized the way he looked? What does it say about their own biases ? And about the people who claimed to know details about every surgical procedure Jackson allegedly had, calling him a freak without even having seen him actually ?
After the 2003 allegations, the media repeatedly and mockingly displayed pictures of Jackson in an emaciated state, not out of concern for his well-being, but seemingly simply in order to label him a freak. It may very well be argued that Jackson was indeed beginning to look fairly thin, but doesn’t taking somebody’s tired physical appearance as direct evidence of inner abnormality only reveal our own superficiality ? Maybe , just maybe anyone else would have looked equally fatigued had they suffered the anguish of having to relentlessly fight vicious and false allegations.
On the topic of morality : Which is more admirable, giving people hope by regularly visiting and donating to hospitals and orphanages, or telling scandalous stories based on speculation or lies? Which is more despicable, pursuing an exceptionally rigorous dedication to artistic perfection, or giving in to jealousy and greed to bring down an artist? The tabloid press, of course, uses this strategy on most celebrities and public figures. One might argue that Michael Jackson had learned to use the press as cynically as it used him, that he , especially in the early days, once believed that “all publicity is good, even bad publicity,” because it keeps their names in people’s minds. One might even go so far as to say that Jackson purposely flaunted his eccentricities to generate press. He did, after all, have a fine artistic sense of the dramatic, with drama selling newspapers. And Jackson always managed to keep his fame burning bright, even when he was not producing any new songs. As elaborated below, my issue, however, is not with Jackson’s handling of the media. Rather it is about what the media’s handling of Jackson says about societal norms and ethics.
Critics have accused Jackson of not opposing false information adamantly enough. Pondering that charge, I suspect that having been abused by the media intrusiveness from his early days in the spotlight, Jackson might have come to feel vulnerable and victimized. Having been taught by his parent always to be nice to the media and to his fans, he might have felt he should not defend himself too vigorously for fear of losing his popularity. Furthermore, had Jackson taken the time to fight every rumor thrown his way, he would not have had time to be Michael Jackson, the artist as he did explain to a close friend. In the end ,we must ask ourselves, who is more faithful and true, a person who calls someone a freak without knowing him personally and without possessing any evidence of wrongdoing, or a person who shows patience and courage in the face of hostility and simply expresses who he really is by letting his work speak for itself?
Some might argue that the attacks Jackson had to suffer from the media and from consumers can be justified as a natural price to pay for the fame and fortune. No, I say. That is too high a price being charged from a human being. Those attacks had exceeded all justifiable limits, And I wish to note that he was not paid to endure pain, but for his relentless efforts and dedication to his craft.
We first explored “weirdness” as necessary and beneficial diversity, specifically addressing the fact that Jackson’s physical appearance and spoken pitch seem irrelevant to his achievements. We then found that allegations of unethical behavior on Jackson’s part were in truth baseless. Then we analyzed Jackson’s non-aggressive stance during TV interviews, not as demonstration of guilt but as a sign of decorum. Lastly, we found that the cost of fame seems an insufficient justification for the extraordinary personal attacks Jackson went through.
We will now consider the implications of the behavior of the media and the public during the course of Michael Jackson’s career. The American media have disgraced themselves by displaying to the world the schoolyard bullying of a talented and creative soul with great philanthropic achievements . Now consider how this public bullying of a legendary figure might present itself to a new generation of youth, how it might play out in their minds and affect their morale … Might this type of public bullying not discourage the youngsters of today from pursuing their own creativity, their own inner diversity, for fear that they themselves might incur such abuse ?
The coverage of Michael Jackson’s life poses among others, these questions to America: Does fulfilling the American Dream require that one subject oneself to unending media intrusion, to lies about oneself for the sake of selling newspapers, and where one unproven accusation is enough to be convicted in the court of national opinion ? Do you want your children to live in a world where pursuing the American Dream involves the risks of a nightmare of mistrust and abuse?
I refer again to the journalists who later admitted their purposely distorted biased reporting on the Michael Jackson child molestation cases. If we recall for a moment the enormous number of journalists who surrounded the Santa Barbara County courthouse, one can surmise that the handful of journalists who came clean about their deception make up only the tip of the iceberg.
I suspect that there were hundreds more who remained silent and who knowingly bent the truth to sell papers. I also suppose that there are thousands of people who, having received one-sided information, once believed Jackson to be a freakish criminal, but who, after his death and the revelation of new information, have come to see him just as one of us, a burdened human being and a caring parent, as well as a uniquely talented artist and a devoted philanthropist. Perhaps these now better-informed members of the public have come to doubt the veracity of the media itself, not just when it comes to Michael Jackson, but in general.
I speculate that there is a pervasive notion that it is safer to say nothing when it comes to Michael Jackson for fear of being promptly stigmatized. However, we need to address the implications of such silent behavior. What does our silence about the attacks on one of the most visible achievers of the American Dream say? If we play it safe, we are forfeiting our children’s future into the hands of bullies. It is time for us to speak up about the damage opportunistic journalism is doing to our culture. As Edmund Burke once penned, “all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
October 20, 2010 | Categories: Interviews/articles/videos (MJ related) | Tags: Aphrodite Jones, Business, Child abuse, Death of Michael Jackson, Galileo Galilei, Lawsuit, michael jackson, United States | 1 Comment
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<div style=”background:#000000;width:440px;height:272px”>http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/5356572/michael_jackson_death_hoax_part_14b.swf</div><div style=”font-size:12px;”><a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5356572/michael_jackson_death_hoax_part_14b/”>Michael Jackson Death Hoax Part 14B</a> – <a href=”http://www.metacafe.com/”>Click here for more free videos</a></div>
There’s an air of familiarity about this press conference… The clothes, glasses…
And just WHO is he welcoming to America?? lol
These series of events are to happen in December. Hopefully, nothing will happen to Prince in November,lol
I happen to love both MJ and Prince…
October 17, 2010 | Categories: Interesting News (variety of topics) | Tags: Apollo Theater, Cassandra Wilson, Janelle Monáe, Maceo Parker, New York, News conference, Prince, United States | Leave a comment
Thanks to my friends Whitesocks and Ann11 for their insights .
The answer is yes. Ghosts is a short film starring Michael Jackson and directed by film director and special effects guru Stan Winston which could also be classified as a long-form music video. Stephen King worked with Jackson on the story and concept. It was filmed and first screened in 1996 and released along with select prints of the film Stephen King’s Thinner. It was released a year later internationally on VHS but has since gone out of print and is unavailable today.
The film tells the story of a scary Maestro with supernatural powers, who is being forced out of a small town by its mayor (also played by Michael Jackson). The movie includes a series of dance routines performed by Michael Jackson and his “family” of ghouls. Every song from the film was taken from Michael Jackson’s HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor albums.
In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly – a special edition dedicated to Michael Jackson – Stephen King, who is a regular columnist for the magazine, remembers Michael:
Sixteen years ago, the King of Pop called the king of horror with an idea: What if they paired up to make the scariest music video ever?
“One day during preproduction, I was in on a conference call about the choreography, and Michael fell asleep. On another occasion, he called my wife, wanting the phone number for wherever I was that day. She gave it to him. Michael called back five minutes later, on the verge of tears. He hadn’t had a pencil, he said, so he’d tried to write the number on the carpet with his finger, and he couldn’t read it. My wife gave him the number again. Michael thanked her profusely…but never called me. The video contains some of the best, most inspired dancing of Jackson’s career. If you look at it, I think you’ll see why Fred Astaire called Jackson ‘a helluva mover.’ You’ll also see Jackson’s sadness and almost painful desire to please. Yes, I am strange, his eyes say, but I am doing the best I can, and I want to make you happy. Is that so bad? This is a sadness that’s all too common in people who possess talent in amounts so great it has become a burden instead of a blessing. Despite being extraordinarily beautiful (although he had probably already begun the elective surgeries that would ruin those amazing looks), Jackson was painfully shy, and difficult (sometimes impossible) to talk to, but watching that old video still makes me happy…and no, that’s not bad. It’s worth noting that he was never convicted of anything in criminal court, and when I asked Mick—who hung out with Michael occasionally— he was emphatic in his belief that Michael Jackson was indeed innocent of the abuse allegations. In the court of public opinion, however, he was found guilty of Weirdness in the First Degree, and ended up secluded in one haunted castle after another. Finally, he died in one. Strange man. Lost man. And not unique in his passing. Like James Dean, Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, and a dozen others we could name, he just left the building far too soon. Because, man oh man, that guy could dance.”