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Update: Joe Jackson has passed

The patriarch of the Jackson family has passed on at the age of 89 with Katherine and family at his side. Certainly a controversial figure, he leaves behind as his primary legacy, the Jackson 5, whose music punctuated a lot of our lives. He was their father, their manager, the “bad cop” head of the family  to Katherine Jackson’s good cop. He shaped their lives and their music and made them into stars, something he aimed for himself. The early reports are that he died of Pancreatic Cancer. Pancreatic Cancer is an extremely painful way to go. It could not have been an easy path to the Promised Land.

If you’ve ever been to Gary, Indiana, you’ll understand the blue collar heartland that Michael and his brothers grew up in. Joe worked in the local foundry– a demanding, hard, hot and sweaty job with no path to the top and no opportunities for advancement– not for a Black man. Black brothers were the first to get laid off and the last to be picked for promotions. The crumbling housing and infrastructure of parts of Gary make clear where the  priorities for prosperity lay for the city. The Jackson’ home is still there, now fenced in with a monument in the front but behind it is a wood frame house no bigger than a 2 car garage, where 9 people crowded into 2 bedrooms with only one bathroom– a  total space  of  about 600 square feet.

Joe Jackson shouldered that responsibility of providing a home for 9 people and during his time off from work, he shouldered the responsibility of 7 children and took it seriously. Gary isn’t pretty now, and life is still rough in that neighborhood. But back then there was way too much temptation for boys growing up in the hood. A strict disciplinarian, Joe kept them in line by putting music (not gangs, not drugs, not crime) in the center of their world. There are plenty of stories told about the way Joe Jackson raised his sons– some of those stories from Michael himself. He was a harsh taskmaster by all accounts and he demanded complete allegiance to developing the Jackson 5 while there were plenty of distractions.  Katherine tempered his iron hand somewhat but in those days discipline was corporeal and severe. That is how many fathers kept their children, particularly Black teens, in line. Nihilism ruled in the poor Black neighborhoods and when nothing matters including life itself, anarchy can arise. Joe Jackson kept his boys out of the school to prison pipeline.  He also can claim that all of his children and even his grandchildren  are talented and have been successful in their own right– Janet Jackson, Rebee, LaToya, and  Michael’s brothers Tito, Jackie, Jermain, Marlon and Randy, Tito’s sons who performed as  T3 and Michael’s 3 kids– Prince, Paris and Bigi. The name “Jackson” is synonymous with success and with music. Joe’s legacy will be long and colorful.

If you want to know Joe’s values, take a listen and look at the early work of the Jackson 5. And take a closer look at Michael’s “Beat It” for those reflect the values he was brought up with.  Joe Jackson was a flawed human being with character shortcomings but he was a father who saved 7 children from lives of despair or worse. No matter what you may think of his methods, the outcome for his family could not have been predicted by the look of that tiny house  at 2300 Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana. It’s a cautionary tale yes, but a fairy tale as well. Every one of his children carry his DNA. They can’t be beloved figures without remembering where and who they came from.

Some will find it easy to love the legacy but not the man. If his Maker can cut Joe some slack and love his humanity despite the human, those who admired his sons can be as generous.  I hope the fans and readers will keep this in mind when Joe Jackson comes up in conversation or is the subject of a memorial. May his soul rest in peace.




Michael Jackson: It’s Time to Explore the Tide of Truth

Time is elastic. It sometimes acts like binoculars trained on reality while looking through the lenses from the wrong end. We know nine years have passed since Michael Jackson left this world; we’re amazed it’s been that long. For some, it seems like forever. In another reality, it feels like yesterday. Time is fluid… like water.

There are children walking around this world who don’t know who Michael Jackson is and who may have never heard of him. There are other children who upon first encountering his work, are magnetically drawn to the Jackson magic. One child was really upset with parents who never told him about Michael Jackson and he angrily demanded an explanation.

I searched all day today for an unbiased article to post about MJ but couldn’t find a comprehensive one without some kind of editorial slur or put down. It’s hard to find one without editorials. Even the positive ones make reference to his “bizarre” life or lifestyle, and there’s very little written about his music and its timelessness. It’s everywhere. Every grocery store I frequent has Jackson on its playlist.

Why is it so hard to cut him some slack even when a lot of material about his philanthropy and generosity is available to the public? How is it that nobody has made an accurate biopic of this man? It seems the estate is planning to do just that. We’ll see if it gains the success of “This Is It” the film, or his posthumous albums and even the hologram—all of which many fans find offensive. The Circque du Soliel show, however, was brilliant.

But it seems the Jackson family just can’t catch a break—even now. The rivalry between Michael and Jermaine is judiciously resurrected with every milestone in Jermaine’s life. Jermaine grieved his brother’s passing as did all the brothers; many did long and guilt-ridden soul searching after his death. Families are complex structures with lots of tentacles. Dysfunction is part of every clan. But it’s as if the rules are different for the Jacksons than for anyone else. Randy and Jermaine are vilified, the brother’s tour is slammed by purist fans who don’t like the Jacksons using Michael’s music even in tribute to their brother. Artists who begin in groups can sometimes come to a place where they have enough recognition and talent to branch out and go solo, but they wouldn’t have that recognition without the original group. We tend to forget that our music icons weren’t always single artists: Diana Ross was first a Supreme; MJ was first a Jackson 5, Lionel Richie was first a Commodore, Beyonce was a Destiny’s Child…

Janet Jackson was vilified for the Super Bowl in 2004 and for a racy moment brought to you by Justin Timberlake who never suffered any consequences and actually became well known after his part in it. Time to show Janet some respect– how about next year’s Superbowl instead of the tabloid criticism of her weight (post pregnancy) and her very public divorce? Now people are reporting that La Toya is a virgin. And Joe Jackson is supposedly on his deathbed.*Jermaine has refuted that claim and tried to right the record but the Jackson family is rarely taken seriously or taken at their word.

And Paris, Michael’s daughter has become fair game for the tabloids who even used the term “wacko” in connection with her. People talk about Jackson’s children as being White (because they are the “wrong” color—still a reference to race and racism) when they clearly have stated their ethnic origins and have traits like their father. And now that his children are of a certain age, it seems they too, will be considered fair game for yellow journalism. The tabloids, and even some mainstream media, still refer to the crime for which Jackson was indicted on 14 counts and then acquitted on every count, citing his “criminal” background in biographical materials. And the meme is mindlessly repeated as fact although it’s historically incorrect and has been archived in the public domain for decades. One is innocent until proven guilty; Jackson’s innocence was proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court and through a jury trial. The 2 families that accused him were serial extortionists, having attempted to make or having made money from other deep pockets. But the press doesn’t print that truth.

Shameful Journalism

The Jackson family can’t catch a break… ever. Is it because the Jacksons are African American? Yes. That’s the simple, truthful answer. Racism is rampant today; think back to the seventies, eighties and nineties—when it festered underground without Trump to foment and push its rise to the surface. Music moguls and record companies were thieves, stealing Black Music from those who sweated and bled it through the musical lexicon. Black artists rarely owned their own music or were paid fairly even when they sold millions of copies. When Michael Jackson’s trajectory toward superstardom was obvious, MTV refused to feature his music or videos because of his race. Make no mistake—racism is alive and well almost a decade after his passing. How can we even begin to think it didn’t exist then, when Michael was serenading the world and healing people in the meantime. If men are guilty for “driving while Black” think of the penalties for singing while Black or being wealthy while Black or having power while Black—monetary power, editorial power, public power, platform power, the power of fame and fortune. How dare an uppity black man, who didn’t know his place, become so rich, so powerful, so beloved.

They used to lynch people for that kind of audacity. It was, in many ways– kinder. Now they aim guns and shoot with a kill shot, lock them up for non-violent crimes or three strikes, or hang them out to dry in a public forum and dismember them with tabloid words like “bizarre,” “unhinged,” “wacko,” “a peter pan,” (as if that’s a bad thing.) Words like “thug” or “gangsta” or the n-word still single mean people of color. They just don’t bother with a rope anymore.

Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood is revered and Barack Obama can have children following and clinging to him like the pied piper, but neither of them are vilified in the media for their “unusual relationships with children.” Children loved Michael. Even now they are unable to hold their bodies still when his music begins to play. Even babies smile at the vibe in his iconic music and voice. And many adults credit Michael Jackson with saving their lives because life at home or school was so painful, they contemplated suicide. His lyrics told them he believed. So they believed. And he was the symbolic icon for that belief. A believed, beloved icon.

While many of us have written biographic material about him based on industrious and meticulous research, there is  yet to be a best-selling author who takes on his story. Certainly it’s not Ta-Nehisi Coates because his recent article: I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye included false Jackson biographic material and was as poorly researched as I’ve ever seen—making reference to his “wanting to be White” while even his autopsy—available to anyone online who cares to simply google it—confirmed his Vitiligo, a disease where the skin pigment is destroyed by an autoimmune process, and his Lupus that attacks cartilage and joints. (Yes, including nasal cartilage.) A best-selling author should know better.

I remember writing a letter to Mark Fuhrman asking him to, as a detective,  investigate the most interesting and compelling criminal story of the 21st century. Fuhrman has a track record and the literary pedigree to pull it off. I never heard back.

Let’s see what the Estate comes up with. What they should do is include a Jackson biographer in the plans– someone old enough, seasoned enough and savvy enough to guide the screen play through the dark waters of innuendo and slander to the clear waters of truth.

Yes time, like water, flows, bends and stretches. But time doesn’t dissolve truth. When the high tide of fiction retreats, the real artifacts that point to truth can be seen clearly scattered around the exposed landscape. For Michael Jackson and his family, it’s been high tide for too long. Truth is there for the finding. It’s time to tell it.

** Joe Jackson passed away two days after this entry was written. He died in hospice of Pancreatic Cancer with his family there.
I suspect that Jermaine announced that the report of his father’s impending death was exaggerated in order to spare his family from paparazzi and to keep their grief private.
Fans have expressed divergent feelings about his passing, but the loyal fans understand families are complex and imperfect structures; they wish the Jacksons peace and healing in their father’s passing. May Joe Jackson rest in peace.












August 29 marks a birthday- 2017

A Life Celebrated, A King Remembered from Walking Moon Studios on Vimeo.

Some souls come to this planet to change the world. Or maybe they are sent. Michael Jackson was one of those souls. Some people are destined for greatness and in the case of Michael Jackson, that was evident very early on.

I truly believe that his life didn’t belong to him; maybe it wasn’t supposed to. He’s likely one of the rare people destined to experience a life that is not his own. I don’t think he could ever claim a singular life that belonged to him or allowed him to choose anything over most things being chosen for him. In so many ways, the man’s life belonged to everyone but him. He truly belonged to the world.

Imagine having no time that belonged to you, no childhood of your own, no privacy, no complete trust in anyone, no love that didn’t ask the question “what for?”—do you love me for me or the reflected light of privilege, stardom and wealth? And especially—a life that found no respite, no rest.

Michael Jackson was driven which raises the question: “what drove him?” There are many answers to that question. There is a quality that visits all true artists—the impulse and compulsiveness to create. Art that wants to come through you and express itself in the world while coming through your life, never lets you rest. An artist is literally a slave to the art itself. There is no way to stem the tide or—god  forbid—try to reverse it. A driven artist trying to ease up or slow down or even take a break will find it as impossible as trying to reverse the flow of a river or in some cases, dam up a fire hose.

The art, almost as if possessing a life of its own, expresses and the artist is dragged along by it. It is a form of possession. The art, in Michael’s case was a spigot that was always open. David Nordahl once told me: “You have to remember that Michael heard and saw all of his work in his mind before it was created. He only tried to duplicate in reality what he saw or heard in his own imagination. He would try to come as close as he could to the real creation that was coming through him. It always came up short of his ideal of perfection.” That kind of music cannot be duplicated exactly in this realm; it’s otherworldly. Mozart too, heard the “music of the spheres” which is what Michael was referring to when he said that his music lived in another realm and he just plucked it from where it was “created in space.” He identified the origin many times citing God as the First Creator.

I would argue that high art does originate in other realms and that art has influenced the world more than any other enterprise of human endeavor. Science is not far behind but it’s hard to love science or have it inspire great change in the world through passion. Unless you’re a scientist, that is.  Art though, by its very nature, is passionate.

Art has the capability of haunting an artist until it finds expression. The painter must paint; the musician must birth music into the world through instrument or voice; the poet or lyricist must find the concise and precise words that can tell a lifetime in a stanza; the writer must spill the essay onto paper; the actor must embody and breathe the character to life.

There is that something that lies behind the creative impulse that is hard to describe. Whatever it is, it insists on birthing an idea into reality that may have originated a moment ago as a fleeting thought. It circles back round to haunt until it has flesh on the bones and comes alive. It will not be denied. Similar to the onset of labor pains, there is no turning back—high art demands a birth.

For some, the compulsion is a “calling.” A calling is something that grabs hold, insists, intensifies, creates tension and results in a spiritual path or quest that mimics magnetism and pulls one into its orbit. It involves being “in service” to something greater than the self. Once in the grip of a spiritual magnet, there is no way but forward. A spiritual quest compels. It is accompanied by coincidences that propel one along a path, at times almost causing whiplash. It’s a place where you “know” and you know that you know. The spirituality of Michael’s work is easy to find if you know how to look beyond the secular. His book “Dancing the Dream” is full of spiritual references and to those trained or knowledgeable enough to recognize its subtlties, it’s replete with the musings of a spiritual seeker on the path to becoming an adept. Once on that path, nothing else will quench or satisfy.

It’s far beyond the little ego and the machinations and acquisitions of the ego for the sake of itself that most humans experience. It is the ego sublimated by the quest itself and the knowing of something far beyond the skin-encapsulated finite and small self”s ego. It is a touching of the Self (capital S) and once touched, sets off a longing for integrating the Self which eclipses the little human ego. Nothing less will do. It becomes its own haunting. It is sometimes characterized as “The Hound of Heaven” or the inner voice that will not be silenced or the soul’s longing for union with the Creator. The mystics, gurus and adepts have spoken of it often.

When an artist meets this aspect of himself or herself, little else has any meaning or attraction. And Providence begins to move and take over. Coincidences happen. The perfect book falls from the shelf, a gift appears in the form of an instrument that informs the journey. Spirit makes itself known and nothing short of that will give rest.  It will never be ignored again. Some literature calls that condition the “soul infused personality.” Rather than your brain, thinking, or deductive reasoning, the soul is in charge and is driving the human vehicle.

In Michael Jackson’s case, Spirit came in the form of music and demanded to be recognized and even obeyed. He was a student of sound and rhythm. In fact, as an artist, one could call him a slave to it. Sounds delighted him—all sounds.

And we, the audience watched the birthing process. We watched as soaring music and song was created, as new images and forms and concepts made their way onto a screen. We, the students watched the master in action—teaching, compelling, demanding our waking, coding our own spiritual journey—with a universal language called music that reached around the world and touched every continent, every heart that not just heard, but felt it and knew with another knowing that it was not usual or ego-based pop, rock or funk. It was something more.

Yes, some come to this world with a grand mission written on their souls. Too many times we mock, or scoff or illegitimize them in some spectacular ways. We test or demand they be tested. We can be jealous of their light. It’s unfortunate because when we are preoccupied with the container for whatever reason, we can mistake the contents and miss the master. And a master lays down his life in great sacrifice.

Michael and Enlightenment

June 25 comes round again, making it 8 years now since Michael Jackson died. A lot has happened since that fateful day Michael Jackson took his last breath on this planet. Some feel like it’s eons ago and some still mourn like it was yesterday. Some old fans have relegated him to memory and have moved on in and with their lives, new fans have come on board, countless old fans have given up on trying to teach new fans what Michael Jackson stood for, some new fans haven’t looked into the history of his becoming and ending or are ignorant of African American history, some fans have fallen out of favor with others and some still hold grudges against others for what they believe and whom they support or feel loyal too. A great deal of this is conduct unbecoming. Unbecoming of someone who claims to be a Jackson fan or supporter.

This space, Inner Michael, was born to comfort those deeply grieving the loss of, not just an icon, but someone who stood for the world vision they were born with. It was also designed as a meeting-up place for those who understood the real Michael Jackson and what he stood for and what he asked of his fans. Michael Jackson was the one person on this planet who held that vision and reminded us all that we were part of the Original Vision and we were the army of love that could, through our actions, bring that vision into reality.

Michael referenced that Grand Vision countless times and in everything he did. It was what he stood for. It was the hope that he held for the world and for us, as humanity. He said it over and over in all of his work, in all of his interviews, in all of his actions. In fact, from the time of he was a toddler, his mother tells stories of his incredible empathy and compassion. “Someday I will help them,” he said as he watched public service announcements of children starving in Africa whose sweaty faces and mouths attracted swarms of flies. And “someday” he did just that—he was involved in “Hands Across America” and in U.S.A. for Africa and countless other charitable works that he organized, led and performed in.

Did he know he was special? Well, some of us know our life missions and some are still searching for it and others have yet to discover they have one. Michael thought everybody was special and had the ability and power to change the world. He preached it often enough. Was his dream any different from ours? No. And here’s why…

Each of us is born into this world with that same Original Vision. It is the imagery of perfection, of brotherhood, of peace, of Heaven on Earth. Everyone is born with it but many forget it or don’t remember, or fail to re-remember, the “picture” they were born with. Everyone comes in with potential and from my wide reacing and esoteric religious studies, I understand that our souls are imprinted with a mission—the task we came here to do. It’s the thing that our souls long for, the impulse to make the world a better place by contributing to its advancement, and humanity’s advancement inbred in us. There is a unique contribution that we, alone, came to make. Yes, we come into this world with a mission melded into the architecture of our soul and it is our job to find out what that mission is and to accomplish it in this lifetime. This mission, once grasped and acted upon, expands the soul and the knowledge and in an instant, glimpses the greater plan for humanity. Once glimpsed, this plan can never be ignored. It haunts similar to a near-death experience. When one knows, one can never “unknow.” The understanding comes of what it means to accrue good karma, and to advance the enlightenment of ourselves and humanity. “Enlightenment” once glimpsed is never forgotten nor abandoned.

It is said that even the thought of “enlightenment,” should you stumble upon it in this lifetime, is a blessing that is rare and elusive to most humans. The idea of enlightenment, while it is the goal of every soul incarnated, is known to few and it can take many lifetimes to achieve even the knowledge of such a concept (Many religions include reincarnation in their teachings. Some will balk at the statement for they do not believe that humans live more than one life. Actually, reincarnation was once part of the Christian Doctrines but was taken out by the Emperor Justinian in 553 A.D.) It’s an ancient concept.

Enlightenment is one of those things, like the shard of the soul that holds the key to life mission, to Self,  and “God’s work” here (by whatever name you call that god or whatever way you worship.) There is a way to establish a communication portal to that internal knowledge. For example, mediation is one way; Shamanism is another.)

So what holds us (you!) back from discovering our (your) inner Divinity, our (your) purpose? The human ego. The ego is the false pride, the false identity, the false Self that resides within the human psyche and is formed, and becomes cumulative from the moment of birth.  We “unlearn” what we know at Birth. Birth, it is taught, is a forgetting process; your soul knows what you came for, the “mind” forgets. The personality believes itself to be “all there is” to human existence, and the identity considered the “self,” is but a sliver of the true Self.

Freud and others identified the Id, the Ego and the Superego and it serves adequately here and for this purpose, to describe the processes if the human mind and its functioning. We have all have these three components. Simplified, the Id is our infant self—the young, naive, immature and self-centered part of us that says: “me,me,me!” has tantrums and is selfish, demands, is insolent and jealous of others who get more attention than self. The Ego is the part of self that is identified as the self—it is the “me” that thinks, reacts, negotiates, manipulates, navigates, and believes itself to be all that exists of “me” and becomes the very definition of “me.” It is the “I” that lives and moves and has being.

The ego also has a dark side—the “shadow,” as it’s called. It is the part of self that forgets others in favor of self and gaining for self, and uses less-than-ethical means to get its needs met.

It’s the part of us that judges, shames others, excludes those who are “different,” banishes “them” from our tribe, hates, assumes ownership of something that is not ours or of another human being, demonstrates envy and jealousy, disrespects another, doesn’t respect sovereignty of other people and their decisions for themselves and their own lives, remains rigid in ones values, is unkind, forgets compassion and forgiveness, disdains someone else’s religion, abuses, bullies, gossips, throws shade… you get the picture. And then we’re likely to project our own shadow characteristics onto others because we can’t bear to acknowledge them in ourselves. “I hate her voice” may really mean “I wish I could sing that well.” We can’t find a negative trait in someone else unless we carry it within. If we don’t have it, we don’t recognize it in others.

Everybody has shadow in their Ego. When we resist our selfish desires because they may cause harm to self and others, we are said to “sublimate” (make sublime) the ego or in other more simplistic words, “keep it on a leash.”

The “Superego” is the self that is formed when the Id and the shadow side of the Ego is kept in check, is disciplined and is made to consider consequences for self and others from its affects. (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”) It is the mature self that emerges when impulses of the id and shadow are kept in check through practice and repetition. The Superego can be said to thoughtfully act instead of impulsively react. All this is greatly simplified for our purposes of discussion here.

Did Michael Jackson have this knowledge? Signs point to the fact that yes, indeed he did. His dialogue, his practice of gratitude and his faith, his work in music, lyrics and videos and especially his books indicate that he was indeed, very well aware of the components of self and that he was infinitely aware of the concept of enlightenment and the knowledge surrounding it. His work with Spiritual Adepts and Gurus punctuates it. He also knew how elusive this information was; he knew how rare it is in culture; he knew that some people would be turned off to it if he “preached” in the normal or religious sense of the term.  So he “preached” through his work as an artist.

How do we know he knew all this? The evidence is clear in all his work and words. One particularly clear time, he spoke of it being “out there” in the ethers and referred to himself as plucking it from where it already existed; in another clear moment, he referenced it with Kenny Ortega who asked him if he could rest a bit while working so hard in the studio to capture the music and lyrics for his work. “No, he answered, “God will give it to Prince!” It was clear that Michael believed that his work didn’t come from him but came thorough him. David Nordahl confirmed this to me in a conversation saying “You have to understand his music came from some other realm; he only took a kind of ‘dictation’ and he worked hard to approximate it as closely as he could to what he heard in his mind.” All of Michael’s music came from that same place. All of it came in a “download” to him from somewhere he recognized as a soul space or soul source. He acted quickly as he could so as to not to let the download slip away or so as not to “contaminate” it or confuse it with stuff in this realm.

Many great composers have said that same thing. And Thoreau once said “there was music in all sound;” whom does that sound like? Michael Jackson liked to wear corduroy because of the sound it made. He incorporated all sorts of sounds in his compositions.

The song “Can you feel it?” is the first evidence in Michael’s work that he was in touch with… let’s call it “the force” because that is a reference most all of us can identify with. The question then is… “Can you feel the force?” Jackson felt it his whole life. And he tried to convey the feel, the sound, the knowing, the existence, of the force to all of us. “May the force be with you” is not an idle or frivolous blessing or conveyance of Divinity. It is a real force of Force.

So why do I bring this all up on the eighth anniversary of his passing? Because, number one, it bears repeating and number two—something is coming. There are plans forming in the mysts of Avalon (check the reference) that will become clear as the path is discerned while it unveils itself. Something haunts and demands to be born that those in the know of this prompting by Spirit will recognize and understand.

To prepare for this new unveiling, we must necessarily examine Self for the characteristics of soul that a portal and emergence in to a new space or new work demands from a spiritual warrior—integrity, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, loyalty, steadfast humanity, maturity, generosity, magnanimity (not withholding from others or claiming territory—unearned or unentitled to you,) reverence, endurance, and Esprit de Corps. This state of mind and being must tolerate differences, eschew any kind of violence or bullying, and embrace diversity.

May I suggest that if you want to be part of this new birthing that is not a worshiping, but a paying homage to Michael Jackson, a recognition of what he taught and what we are—and know ourselves to be—including Michael Jackson, that you begin the work of self-reflection that it requires of you. May I also suggest that “may the force be with you” and that you watch this space for further instructions.

Remembering Cat: Rev. Dr. Catherine Gross

This is how I grieve– I spill the grief out with my fingers, onto paper or into key strokes. After I wrote this piece, I realized it’s not finished. Memories of things we spoke about and happenings we pondered are triggered by speaking to friends and acquaintances about this sudden loss of a friend. I will add things as they occur to me. You are invited to share your memories of Catherine in the comment section. I’ll save them for us. You’ll also find a link to a magazine by MJ Brookins dedicated to the memory of Catherine Gross here: Remembering Catherine


Remembering Cat


“Don’t you make me come down there!”

Catherine Gross and I exchanged that admonishment once in awhile. The phrase came up in conversation when one of us was caught being naughty– naughty in the sense that we weren’t taking good care of ourselves.

I met Catherine Gross in a virtual conversation about Michael Jackson when I held open forum conference calls for fans and advocates of Jackson who were grieving the loss of their favorite muse- Michael Joseph Jackson. I was putting together a program on bullying dedicated to him and to Lady Diana– the two most visible champions of humanity on our planet in the 20th century and its turn to the 21st. You see, many of us hung on to Michael’s every word in lyrics because he was the most visible champion of humanity in our world…

Some of us grew up poor, some abused or abandoned, some misunderstood, some sensitive to the world, some in unforgivable circumstances, some trapped in situations they couldn’t escape. For us, for them, Michael Jackson was the only steadfast anchor in a stormy life. We grew up not understanding the world and the nature of people that was so counter to what we were born with– a vision of a better world, a better humanity. Michael Jackson put it into words for us.

Catherine Gross grew up with Michael too. Catherine knew children. Catherine knew hardship. Catherine knew grieving. And Catherine knew God. Catherine was someone people also turned to when they were hurting inside. Michael Jackson’s death made people hurt inside. In the blink of an eye Michael was gone and people were left reeling.

I remember my daughter texting me and as I read the words “Michael Jackson died” I remember going numb. The sadness included a feeling of the ending of an era. We never believe icons can die until they do. Catherine had her own unique reaction when she heard the news. She told me almost as a confession, she had railed and screamed at God. She was so angry! She lambasted the heavens wailing and shaking her fists and demanding– “No. Noooo. NO! You can’t have him, GIVE HIM BACK!” The anger died down after a time but that feeling never left her.

Catherine Gross called me one day and asked if we might chat. She told me that Liz Taylor had sent her to me. What? Liz Taylor knew of my work? That Liz Taylor? Catherine assured me she did and Liz had pointed her in my direction because Catherine was grieving so deeply and Liz found my work and my words about Michael consoling. Liz send Catherine to my website. They had become friends when Cat wrote to her about Michael and talked about how devastated she was and they commiserated and bonded over their loss. I found out Catherine was planning a radio show for Michael Jackson and his fans to help them cope with his loss and wanted to know if I would consider being a guest.


So began our work together and our long conversations. As Theologians we didn’t always agree because I came at it from Cosmology and Catherine arrived to her faith tradition as a fundamentalist. “Wait awhile,” I told her. I shared with her that I’ve had many gurus and teachers over the years and that Michael Jackson was the latest teacher to show up in my life. She had been a fan since the beginning. I consoled her in her grief and she consoled me in my anger. His loss cut her painfully as if she had lost a personal friend. I explained that everyone who contacted me, and there were thousands, felt that same personal pain. It was as if he was family. Even a nun said that to me. So I assured Catherine she was not crazy but in the company of others who identified with Michael’s archetype and his message. For many, he had been the sane one in their world. Ironic that the world saw him exactly the opposite. That too, is archetypal, I told Catherine.

She consoled me in my anger. I didn’t have enough heartache in my life, now the Universe sent me the most controversial figure in recent history! Now at this stage of my life when I should be writing books of fancy and sipping a cocktail with an umbrella on a beach under an umbrella– but no, God had to send me the Fool/Savior Archetype to play with. The Fool appears as the Joker archetype yet is a wise, wise and deep soul. It was the parallel archetype of Coyote from the Native American tradition– the Trickster. I had people coming to me asking for answers about the most famous and most controversial figure in the world! Oh great. I knew Michael and “We are the World” played over and over in our home when I tried to teach my children about oneness and the brotherhood of man. They continued the MJ tradition in their teens.

Catherine saw Michael circling back into my life as a writer and viewed it as my calling as well as her own. She established “A Place in Your Heart” radio and off she went to use her gift of gab to bring healing to Michael’s minions while I used my gift of words with the Inner Michael website. I learned so much! Michael is ever the trickster! Hiding spiritual epiphanies in plain sight! Add Magician to the archetype list.

As fate would have it, I met Catherine in person in Los Angeles near Hollywood at Gardner Elementary School in the Michael Jackson auditorium. I began talking to Thomas Mesereau, Jackson’s defense attorney, whom I met while there and he indicated an open chair at his table and invited me to join. I had written to him about the “Words and Violence” program I had founded that examined bullying in all its incarnations and was dedicated to Michael and Lady Diana Spencer. I handed him some cards I had made about the program and we were discussing how “Words and Violence” was hosted by Voices Education Project and was the first educational program posthumously featuring Michael and suddenly I heard a familiar voice across the table asking if she might have one too. I knew that voice! It was Catherine Gross! We hugged and laughed and explained to Tom that we knew each other from our work and from radio but we had to go all the way across the country to L.A. to meet in person! We all chucked at that.

There have been two women in my life with such a presence that nobody ever said no to them. One was Sr. Virginia who founded a retreat center where I have a  piece of adjoining property– and the other was Catherine Gross. I suspect Catherine used that formidable nature to get what she wanted for her students. I watched her employ that in action with Tom Mesereau and others at Gardner School. She helped with a group getting Michael Jackson Auditorium reinstated to its original glory. Catherine was in her element in a school. With a Masters and her Doctorate in Education, Catherine was CEO of a Christian Girls School, a school principal and the perpetual educator. We shared an interest in propaganda and yellow journalism and she was a supporter and proprietor of “Words and Violence” and its articles about tabloid journalism and how words influence minds.

We talked hours about Black Music and civil rights and how African American musicians were treated so badly by record companies. She taught me about tap dance and the history of African experience in America. She became my muse and go-to editor about racial justice and racism in “Words and Violence.” I leaned on her to tell me when my White Privilege was getting in the way. We collaborated on projects where as the White girl I could say things she wouldn’t dare and she took me places I’ve never been with her stories about growing up Black and as a highly educated Black woman. She made me walk in her shoes and for that I will be forever grateful.

She told one story of driving her high end new car in the latest model, worthy of the her station in life, when it ran out of gas in an all White suburb. Of course the police thought it was stolen– she was after all, a Black woman with a shiny new expensive car. She told of how she had to strike just the right pose, keep her eyes cast downward and be solicitous of the residents in order to get her needs met. I was angry FOR her! How dare people treat a highly educated respectable woman in such a way! That was just the tip of the iceberg of what she experienced which is why, I think, she so identified with Michael.

I remember too, Cat telling me also about sitting in a room after she had finished an interview for a job and hearing the very White man casually talk about her to another White man in the next room while standing over her and beside her– already a very awkward, patriarchal and condescending act. But it was what he said that was unforgivable but (in those days) a common tactless vulgarity. He commented to his colleague that she was a “yellow gal” meaning that she was a light skinned African American. The closest I’ve ever come to that kind of insult is being subjected to comments about my body while I was definitely in the room, as if my anatomy was on display solely to invite commentary. All women have been disrespected in that way at one time or another. But when you’re White they certainly don’t comment on your shade of Whiteness as if pallor were a badge of honor.

We talked about how, as women acculturated to value beauty and to emphasize our “looks” to be considered beautiful for the male species of course, we understood our looks however, were a badge of honor. We’d both used it effectively as younger women. Apparently Catherine was quite the femme fatale in her day. While I can’t tell you the secrets shared between two women who used their femininity to their advantage, I can tell you that Cat was apparently quite the prize in her stilettos. While I was accustomed to turning heads and I knew it, Catherine snapped them around. Taraji P. Henson as “Cookie Lyon” of the TV show “Empire” comes to mind.

Cat told me stories about 47th street in Chicago, a kind of line of demarcation or demilitarized zone where the White and Black population bumped up against each other in the Windy City. If you were Black you stayed south of that artificial Mason-Dixon line and if you were White you never crossed its northern border.

Chicago’s 47th street was home to clubs where real Black Music could be heard long into the night by masters like

[caption id="attachment_2896" align="alignright" width="300"][/caption]

Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horn, Louis Armstrong and others. The Regal and Savoy Theaters saw their heyday as 47th Street began to grow and become home to upscale shops and elite businesses catering to Black culture and the African American vibe. The Cotton Club on Michigan Street was as lively as its namesake in Harlem and hosted the likes of Cab Calloway, R. Kelly and Bernie Mac and other R & B and jazz greats. Cosette Nazon Yisrael was the owner’s daughter serving drinks before she was old enough to drink them herself. Since the Cotton Club closed, Cosette has become a lifeline and mentor to girls in the same hood.

Cat told me stories of 47th Street and I told her about the North Side of Milwaukee where I often was the only White girl in the place. I went where the music called me and where people knew how to dance. I had no fear in those days while Catherine carried enough for both of us. Most of the residents on the south side of Chicago had migrated from the South to escape the lynchings and plantation slavery mentality of the South clinging long after the Civil War.

I encouraged her to write about 47th street and asked her numerous times to submit something for “Words and Violence.” She never got around to writing about 47th Street but she did begin to write for the Examiner and I was glad to see she was taking on subjects considered taboo by some. But 47th Street memoirs never saw print; I leaned later from Catherine that it was just too painful to write about. I’d written about Black Music at Inner Michael but my experience was nothing compared to Catherine’s.

Catherine was devoted to Michael Jackson and her “lovlies,” the devotees and fans who followed her. “I love you and there is nothing you can do about it,” she used to say. And at her “A Place in Your Heart Radio,” she loved all the people who loved Michael. Her guests were often Michael’s acquaintances and collaborators– people who actually knew him, not the tabloid hacks who disemboweled him with fake stories and innuendo. They told the truth of who he was and Cat gave them the forum.

Catherine championed a girl’s academy school in Gary Indiana near Michael Jackson’s childhood home with Cadeflaw and M.J Brookins, advocates for truth and law in legacies and she solicited donations for her “girls.” Catherine loved the arts and she especially loved Michael Jackson fan art. Her most recent project in Gary was to set up an art exhibition of Michael Jackson art by fans. Again, she was in her element– education and the arts.

Catherine kept up her ministry until the last with a Facebook Page as well as her other Facebook identities.

A few years ago Catherine went “off the grid” and I hunted her down through her daughters. She was in the hospital. She had an accident in her home and they didn’t find her immediately. I told her to never do that again and that’s where the ‘Don’t make me come down there!’ came from. Just lately I noticed she was posting on line lots of religious texts and late into the night. I was worried about her. I made a mental note to reach out to her.

I was too late.

She was an unforgettable character and Reverend Doctor Catherine Gross will be remembered by many who crossed paths with her as a school principal, minister, evangelist, writer, talk show host, and champion of art and the poor.

The world is a little dimmer today without her. I will miss her. What I will cherish, remember and take with me is that in her last years, Catherine began wearing a blonde wig. I loved it! Being blonde– well, it just suited her.

(c) B. Kaufmann 2017




Comments: Inner Michael Surveys & a Thought to Leave You With by Gerri Stone

Here are some more comments from the survey with my answers:

“Rev.B has a way with words that makes it easy for anyone to understand her posts (English isn’t my first language). I was (still am) able to reference her work from time to time when I needed to explain or clarify a point to someone or to read on Michael’s greatness. Her posts are very insightful, informative & give you a broader perspective on Michael Jackson and life in general. I’m so grateful for them & her.”

My Answer:
Thank you for saying those kind words. As a minister, one wishes to ease suffering in times of grief and Spiritual Emergency but as a writer, one works hard to hone the gift to a skill that will impact readers. This comment means so much to me. Heartfelt ‘Thank You.”

“I will never know what I would have done without you. You answered my emails straight away and gave me so much insight. I will always be eternally grateful.For you to tell me that MJ touched the hearts of people who would carry his message on as he left was something I’ll never forget and how a heart has to break to let the seed of love in, I’ll also never forget.”

My Answer:
Mystics like Rumi and Hafiz said it better than I ever could that sometimes heartbreak is a necessary thing. Gerri Stone said it in her lovely poem too. So yes, your heart has been tempered (like the steel sword tempered by fire) and pierced by sorrow so as to contain and amend with compassion. For self, for others and for the planet. So now carry on luv.

“Kept me sane when everything around me seemed to be falling apart.”

My Answer:
Me too.

“participation to: everyone on the globe,to send a picture, near a geographic recognizable point in my own country with the book Man in The Music; Joe VOGEL: Brussels near the Atomium.”

My Answer:
Hi again kiddo. What better place for a supernova superstar? It was our pleasure.  ~WMS

“For me the was(s)are still is(s). I’m still struggling with MJ’s death & I find comfort in the messages.”

My Answer:
I understand. Inner Michael is not going anywhere. Take a bit of joy in knowing MJ arrived here in your lifetime. He understood and embraced his life mission while here and hereafter. He wishes you no less than that as well. Ask in dreams to know as it will lift the melancholy a bit for a deeper breath and inching forward. See Gerri’s poem.


Gerri is responsible for the video tribute at Voices Education Project:
Take a look: THE
~by Gerri StoneEvery minute of every day somewhere
in this world someone is
watching a Michael Jackson video,
listening to one of his songs
on an I-pod, blasting it in a car.And whenever his music plays a grief
arises.Free floating grief searching for
a heart to nest in. Pain trapped in the
stomach, eyes, throat.

And we in our ignorance think this pain is
surely here to destroy us.

But it is not.

It is Michael at work, removing the
raggedy burned-out thing
we’ve been carrying around in our chest
all these years,
leaving in its place our real hearts.
Awakening us from our heartless trance.

(c) 2010 Gerri Stone






Thank You

How do I say thank you to companions in my global family? There is no way to properly do it for there really are no words. Come back anytime as I will periodically have messages for you. Please leave messages for me too or send an email at the address I sent you. We have a bond that will never be broken. May you be blessed.

This will never convey it but words are all we have….

English– Thank you

Spanish– Gracias

French– Merci  Beaucoup

Italian– Grazie

Japanese–  Arigato  ありがとう

Chinese– do jeh, daw-dyeh

German– Danke sehr

Thai– Khop Khun Mak Kha

Russian– Spasiba

Korean–  감사합니다 gamsahabnida

Icelandic– Takk

Hawaiian– Mahalo

Hebrew– Toda

Greek– Efharisto


~Rev. B. Kaufmann

Michael Jackson: Caught in a Perfect Storm

MJ grieving

MJ grievingI’ve been researching Michael Jackson and all the events of his life for about 7 years now. The average “Joe” has no idea not only about what happened to him but about what it is like to be a celebrity in a culture that is cynical, judgmental and sometimes even sinister.

And when you consider that Jackson was the most famous man on Earth, it amplifies not only the love that was thrown his way but the abominable shade. If social media is an indicator, then we are becoming a culture of not just cynicism but regretfully, sadism. Retribution, retaliation, anger, ridicule and all the things that make up the dark side of human nature including all the isms can be found on an ordinary day on social media. Racism, sexism, sadism, egoism, nihilism, nationalism, as well as misogyny, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, objectification, incivility… well, you get the idea.

This is actually counter to our real nature as human beings. We are actually hard-wired for compassion as science is proving from studies at major universities and scientific think tanks. So the shade, if not an innate behavior, has to be a learned behavior. We inherit basic goodness but must use volition and determination to go against our true nature to be offensive or the extreme—evil.

Where do we learn to marshal such magnitude of resistance to our true selves? How hard must we push against our own inner nature to be dark in our interactions with others? Where do we learn it? And how do we internalize the messages from outside enough to become an automatic response? We HAVE TO BE PROGRAMED to be awful humans. Where does that programming come from?

That is a question worth pondering.

In the case of Michael Jackson and the shade thrown at him in his lifetime, I think it was inevitable given the major forces at work during his lifetime. It occurred as the result of a perfect storm.

Let’s explore those times a bit…

Molestation of children wasn’t truly on the public radar until the nineties and after the McMartin case that caused a frenzy from 1987 to 1989 where it was fodder for the tabloid media. The McMartins were not guilty but the government spent $15 million trying to prove them guilty while ruining their lives and damaging countless children. The McMartins owned a family run daycare center. One child, coached by a mentally ill mother said he was inappropriately touched. The case, sensationalized with the help of tabloids, mushroomed into a child molestation ring run from inside the daycare center. All family members were implicated. Authorities knew at the time that the mother was schizophrenic but pursued the case aggressively anyway. It took 10 years to completely clear the charges but by then the stain on the family and the daycare was permanent. Lives were ruined and children suffered terror and nightmares from the investigation.

In the aftermath studies revealed incest to be endemic in rural America. This was about the same time that Satanic Ritual Cults’ alleged abuse of children surfaced and the field of psychology posited that Multiple Personality Disorder came out of perpetual ritual abuse. The Satanic Cult frenzy was a hysterical witch hunt similar to what happened in Salem. False memory syndrome was exposed because therapists interviewing children about sexual abuse were leading with their questions much as police interviews do. The media made spectacle of it all for a decade.Murdoch proud papa of the Sun

The repeated exposure in headline after headline ad nauseam caused monumental public outrage as the culture became sickened by all the sordid stories and hype prolonged by the media which was making huge profits. The media learned that scandal paid off. The tabloids learned that what really paid off was crime and scandal and celebrity in combination.

Around this same time, a jogger was attacked in Central Park in New York and 5 young males of color (4 Black and 1 Hispanic) were accused, tried and convicted of the crime sending outrage toward young men of color through the community and nation which became transfixed on the case. Again, the tabloids cashed in. The youth were not guilty and were exonerated and released from prison but not until more than a decade later. But the fear of black men resurrected from the historical and hysterical fear of black masculinity, stayed anchored in the public memory.

Prolonged stories and long awaited trials that stretch for months and sometimes years where the innocent are guilty in the public eye, can overwhelm those consuming them, causing people to turn away or lose interest. By the time a trial is completed, many will have lost interest or ignore the outcomes and may not know of the not-guilty verdict, or not care about it anymore. Even worse, because of the immediate presumption of guilt cemented by hype and the horrific and sensationalized nature of the alleged crime, the “guilty” verdict remains in the mind. It’s often reinforced by pundits and talking heads who pontificate with presumed guilt. Because of the repetition and reinforcement of the position of trial by public opinion, many will just assume the person guilty no matter the verdict and chalk it up to “money,” “celebrity,” notoriety, or a “good lawyer” who “got them off” because of their wealth or the talents of the defense attorney.

What has come of all this, is that it is impossible, and in some cases illegal, to allow children freedom to play unaccompanied or to interact with adult males unsupervised. Many innocent lives have been ruined by accusations alone because an accusation of harm to a child, particularly sexually, is an immediate public indictment and trial by public opinion where guilt is assumed instantly.

Beat it MJThe public sentiment and protectionism may have gone too far because of the fear and the exposure of a sub-culture of (mostly) men interested in children as sex objects. A kind of hysteria emerged from that period. This explains much of the rush to judgment about Michael Jackson as well as the submerged racism that couldn’t bear (consciously or not) to see a successful and “inferior” black man, especially one that challenged gender stereotypes and confused gender and race in a “macho-man” climate. (“Beat It”)

The nineties were rocky for race relations in the United States.

The famous Rodney King beating by Los Angeles Police becomes front page news and the L.A. riots ensue when the officers are found not guilty, by a city’s African Americans frustrated by racist and profiling cops who are never disciplined for outrageous violations of civil rights. Nobody listens. And when the officers are acquitted, all hell breaks loose in the hood. The riots are the single worst incident of urban unrest in history. Whites are not sympathetic.

Then comes the O.J. Simpson long and drawn-out “trial of the century” televised for all to see. More spectacle. And a wealthy, famous Black man and celebrity beloved by football fans and embraced by the public. People stared in disbelief; they didn’t want a pop culture hero to be guilty. When O.J. was acquitted, African Americans who believed he was set up and framed because it was a customary practice in their neighborhoods, celebrated. Whites, who never experienced life in the hood, were angry.

Michael w girls onstageNow comes the Michael Jackson accusations. They become part of a perfect storm.

Racism is not dead. It is not a post-racial America.Obama Pied Piper w children

The presidency of Barack Obama and the many racist jokes at the expense of the president and his family exposes the racism still bubbling just under the surface. The arguably ugliest one by a teacher who lamented on social media she was tired of seeing “an ape in heals” referencing the first lady who’s been a portrait of style and grace. The “White-lash” that followed Obama’s presidency in the succeeding election underscores that successful or powerful black men are still an angry taboo to much of the old White establishment.

The habit of focusing on shade in social and mainstream media has a consequence. It has made for a hyper-vigilant culture quick to judge and condemn. The fear of African American adult males persists and is evidenced in the militarized and too-quick-to-pull-the-trigger attitudes and actions of police. Not all African American males are violent. Not all police are trigger happy or racist. Not all men are sexually aroused by children. Not all accused of violence are violent. Not all accused are guilty.

Things that may have once been innocent have now become “creepy,” yet some things that should have been unacceptable were overlooked. This is an example of acceptable or overlooked creepiness:

Why was it acceptable enough to be on TV? Why was a White man allowed to behave openly the way a pedophile does? A Black man would not get such a pass. In fact, an African American would not have been a TV host back then. Nor would a woman of any color.

It’s certainly true that there were predators in Hollywood “back in the day” for women actors often speak of the “casting couch” where they earned their roles, not with their acting chops but by alternative means, at the hands of entitled pompous and powerful men. Hollywood was, and still is, male dominated. It’s also true that what was acceptable then may have been innocent– or not. Men of color still seem to be judged by a different standard than white men evidenced by a glance at the Roman Polanski case and Bill Cosby by comparison. The White Academy Awards a year ago are a loud testament to the continued lack of respect for diversity.

Is it all deliberate prejudice? Not likely. Some of it is White privilege, an unawareness of micro-aggressions, while some is embedded and unconscious and some is ignorance, particularly ignorance of history. Prejudice and violence are not inborn, they are inherited or developed over time. What is inborn, science is informing us, is that we are actually hard-wired for compassion. But like a muscle that goes unused, compassion and kindness atrophies without use and strengthening.sign awakening

Without compassion, or an awareness of it, we can become cynical. It’s become evident we are in need of adjusting our psyches. The cynical assignment of predatory instincts, immediate rush to judgment, knee-jerk reactionary responses, racism and pandemic cynicism of our times are damaging to the human psyche and toxic to the soul. A hyper-reactionary public assumes the worst in humanity which appears to be a runaway self-fulfilling prophesy playing itself out in the collective right now even into the Oval Office in America and the politics of Europe.

Tabloid journalism with its’ almost exclusive focus on the dark side of human nature has done us all a grand disservice. Archetypes and self-fulfilling prophesy are very powerful forces. What kind of world might we have inherited today if the media had focused more on the light? Would the light have been more believable and human nature considered more brilliant? One has to wonder…

Humanitarian and Philanthropist

Each hospital in every city of Jackson
[caption id="attachment_10914" align="alignleft" width="308"]Each hospital in every city of Jackson's tour received a piece of equipment. Each hospital in every city of Jackson’s tour received a piece of equipment.[/caption]

Michael Jackson was born an empath. Many of us are. In fact, it is argued by some spiritual teachers, that we all have pan-empathy (empathy for everyone and everything) and telepathy when we are born, but our culture “matures” it out of us. Some cultures like the Indigenous and tribal cultures do not “rationalize” or “correct” or discourage children out of their natural abilities. In the Amazon region, for example, the Medicine Men/Women and Shamans learned about the medicinal properties of plants from the plants themselves.  Indigenous and Native Peoples are often not talked out of their natural ability to communicate with the natural world which they consider a teacher. There are other forms of communication besides vocal and language or writing.

You have retained some of that ability in your intuition and it can be expressed particularly forcefully in the parent-child and twin-twin connections. A sudden feeling of dread or elation (usually accompanied by bodily sensations) is a message from your inner compass or intuition. But much of the ability to “feel into” another being or situation has been deadened by acculturation, especially in the Western World.

There are those infrequent sensitive beings, however, who retain much of their “feeling into” faculties into adulthood. They can be the healers, the poets, artists and dreamers of a society. They are the social activists, leaders and the charismatics who can inspire others to action. Michael Jackson was all of the above. These geniuses, however, are subject to their personalities with introvert or extrovert dominance, insecurities and social awkwardness or failings. With a teacher, guru or master an individual can begin to transcend the personality and the ego to become pure being with a thrust toward enlightenment– the embodiment of the Spiritual Self or a Soul-infused personality. Michael Jackson knew of this unusual path of the seeker and studied with teachers and learned discipline in meditation, Yoga, and prayer. His quest becomes evident to a fellow aspiring adept in his book and his short films (music videos.) Mudras (hand gestures) and spiritual messages are evident in his filmed concerts.

Some artists are extroverts and great orators; others express themselves through their art. Jackson was not an orator and he hated having to talk to large audiences. He also knew the curse of adulthood and its ability to strip a human of his or her innate innocence, charm, wonder and awe and the creative mind; he gravitated to children because they retained the magic of birth, creation and youth. His references to children include accolades to their purity and innocence– in other words, unfettered by the accumulated and internalized insults of adulthood that crush the spirit. Children don’t display the limitations of adults– the doubt, disbelief and cynicism that replace spontaneity, creativity, and uncensored imagination and awe experienced in childhood. The carefree spirit is tamped down in growing up and Jackson was determined to not let that happen. He preferred the company of children because of their energy and spirit, that part that is damaged in maturing to adulthood as the “practical” mind takes over and dreams are adjusted from fantastic to “realistic.”

He didn’t know how to articulate this philosophy about childhood vs. adulthood, his own childhood interrupted, and painfully traded for other things: “Have You Seen My Childhood?” He was also too insulated from reality in the surreal world of the Jacksons, to know that hanging out with children wasn’t just socially awkward, but some would see it as criminal. In his experience, in a two bedroom home the size of a 2 car garage in Gary, Indiana, 7 children and adults piled together on beds in family banter or to watch TV. He never slept in a bed or room alone. Even the living room in their tiny house became a bedroom at night.

The collective adult attitude toward children and the adult-child relationship changed after the McMartin Preschool Case horrified the public and brought to light the incidence of incest in rural America. At that same time, there was a kind of collective hysteria about Satanic Cult activity and repressed (later recovered or resurfaced) memories of children about ritual abuse. The characteristics of “ritual abuse” included repetitive rituals associated with malingering behavior toward children– for sexual or manipulative purposes.

Many “therapists” who assisted with “recovered memories” and “repressed memories” of Satanic Cult activity were later debunked. The McMartin Case horrified the public and was a sweeping hysteria similar to the Salem Witch Trials in the 1690s in Colonial Massachusetts or the “Communist” witch hunts of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. The attitude and behavior of adults toward children would forever change after the McMartin case dominated the frenzied media. The McMartin family defendants were all exonerated but it took ten years. Meanwhile, the public was inundated with sickening descriptions of what the adults in a daycare supposedly did to children.

This was the culture Michael Jackson, loved and elevated to cult hero status by kids, some of whom were dealing with their own nightmarish homelife of neglect or abuse– had to navigate in the 1990s. His rise to superstar was paralleled by the Mc Martin drama and aftermath where every breathing adult was under suspicion. Jackson represented hope to kids because of his lyrics, his runaway success and his meteoric rise to superstar. If they could “hang on” to Michael in some way, they could hang on until their eventual emancipation from whatever restricted their freedom.

Michael was raised a strict Jehovah Witness, to respect women, especially his mother. He saw children as the humans closest to God, only recently leaving the Divine realms to incarnate as a human baby. He revered children. For that he was mocked.

His philanthropy speaks for itself:

January 10, 1984: Michael visits the unit for burn victims at Brotman-Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles.


April 9, 1984: David Smithee, a 14-year-old boy who suffers from cystic fibroses is invited to Michael’s home. It was David’s last wish to meet Michael. He dies 7 weeks later.


April 14, 1984: Michael equips a 19-bed-unit at Mount Senai New York Medical Center. This center is part of the T.J. Martell-Foundation for leukemia and cancer research.


July 5, 1984: During the Jackson’s press conference at Tavern On The Green, Michael announces that his part of the earnings from the Victory Tour will be donated to three charitable organizations: The United Negro College Fund, Camp Good Times, and the T.J. Martell-Foundation.


July 14, 1984: After the first concert of the Victory Tour, Michael meets 8 terminally ill children backstage.


December 13, 1984: Michael visits the Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he had been treated when he was burned very badly during the producing of a Pepsi commercial. He donates all the money he receives from Pepsi, $1.5 million, to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children.


January 28, 1985: Michael and 44 other artists meet to record “We Are The World”, written by Michael and Lionel Ritchie. The proceeds of this record are donated to the starving people in Africa.


1986: Michael set up the “Michael Jackson UNCF Endowed Scholarship Fund”. This $1.5 million fund is aimed towards students majoring in performance art and communications, with money given each year to students attending a UNCF member college or university.


February 28, 1986: After having had a heart-transplant, 14-year-old Donna Ashlock from California gets a call from Michael Jackson. He had heard that she is a big fan of his. Michael invites her to his home as soon as she is feeling better. This visit takes place on March 8th. Donna stays for dinner and watches a movie together with Michael.


September 13, 1987: Michael supports a campaign against racism. He supports efforts of the NAACP, to fight prejudices against black artists.


October 1987: At the end of his Bad Tour, Michael donates some personal items to the UNESCO for a charitable auction. The proceeds will be for the education of children in developing countries.


February 1, 1988: The Song “Man In the Mirror” enters the charts. The proceeds from the sales of this record goes to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer.


March 1, 1988: At a press conference held by his sponsor Pepsi, Michael presents a $600,000 check to the United Negro College Fund.


April 1988: Free tickets are given away for three concerts in Atlanta, Georgia to the Make A Wish Foundation.


May 22, 1988: Michael visits children who suffer from cancer in the Bambini-Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome. He signs autographs and gives away sweets and records to the little patients. He promises a check of 100,000 pounds to the hospital.


July 16, 1988: Before a concert at Wembley Stadium Michael meets the Prince of Wales and his wife Diana. He hands over a check of 150,000 pounds for the Prince’s Trust, and a check of 100,000 pounds for the children’s hospital at Great Ormond Street.


July 20, 1988: Michael visits terminally ill children at Great Ormond Street Hospital. At a unit for less critical patients he stays a little bit longer and tells a story.


August 29, 1988: At his 30th birthday Michael performs a concert in Leeds, England for the English charity-organization “Give For Life”. The goal of this organization is the immunization of children. Michael presents a check for 65,000 pounds.


December 1988: Michael visits 12-year-old David Rothenburg. His father had 5 years earlier burned him very badly in an act of revenge against his former wife.


January 1989: The proceeds of one of Michael’s shows in Los Angeles are donated to Childhelp USA, the biggest charity-organization against child-abuse. In appreciation of the contributions of Michael, Childhelp of Southern California is founding the “Michael Jackson International Institute for Research On Child Abuse”.


January 10, 1989: The Bad Tour comes to an end. Under-privileged children are donated tickets for each concert and Michael donates money to hospitals, orphanages and charity-organizations.


February 7, 1989: Michael visits the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California. Some weeks earlier a 25-year-old man had fired at the school’s playground. 5 children had been killed and 39 had been wounded.


March 5, 1989: Michael invites 200 deprived children of the St. Vincent Institute for handicapped children and of the organization Big Brothers and Big Sisters to the Circus Vargas in Santa Barbara. After this event he invites them to his ranch to introduce his private zoo at his Neverland Ranch to them.


November 13, 1989: The organization “Wishes Granted” helps 4-year-old Darian Pagan, who suffers from leukemia to meet Michael. Michael invites the little boy to a performance of Canadian acrobats.


December 28, 1989: Young Ryan White, who suffers from hemophilia, spends his holidays on Michael’s ranch. Ryan had been infected with AIDS by contaminated blood transfusions in 1984. After he was excluded from his school in Kokomo, Ryan fought against the discrimination of AIDS victims.


January 6, 1990: Michael invites 82 abused and neglected children through Childhelp to his Neverland Ranch. There are games, a Barbeque and a movie show provided for them.


July 1990: 45 children from the Project Dream Street, Los Angeles, for children with life-threatening illness are invited to Neverland Valley.


August 18, 1990: Michael invites 130 children of the YMCA summer program of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to his Neverland Ranch.


May 6, 1991: Michael is invited to the Jane Goodall Charity event. Michael supports her, an advocate of behavioral research concerning chimpanzees in Gombe, Nigeria for more than 30 years.


July 26, 1991: Michael pays a visit to the Youth Sports & Art Foundation in Los Angeles. This Foundation supports families of gang members, and helps dealing with drug-abuse. Michael talks to the kids and presents them with a wide-screen TV set and a financial gift.


December 1991: Michael’s office MJJ Productions treats needy families in Los Angeles with more than 200 turkey dinners.


February 1992: Within 11 days Michael covers 30,000 miles in Africa, to visit hospitals, orphanages, schools, churches, and institutions for mentally handicapped children.


February 3, 1992: At a press conference at the New York Radio City Music Hall, Michael announces that he is planning a new world tour, to raise funds for his new “Heal The World” Foundation. This Foundation will support the fight against AIDS, Juvenile Diabetes and will support the Camp Ronald McDonald and the Make A Wish Foundation.


May 6, 1992: Michael defrays the funeral-expenses for Ramon Sanchez, who was killed during the Los Angeles riots.


June 23, 1992: At a press conference in London, Michael makes an announcement about his Heal The World Foundation.


June 26, 1992: Michael presents the Mayor of Munich, Mr. Kronawitter, with a 40,000 DM-check for the needy people of the city.


June 29, 1992: Michael visits the Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam and presents a check for 100,000 pounds.


July 1992: Michael donated L. 821,477,296 to La Partita del Cuore (The Heart Match) in Rome and donated 120,000 DM to children’s charities in Estonia and Latvia.


July 25, 1992: On the occasion of a concert in Dublin, Ireland, Michael announces that he will give 400,000 pounds of the tour earnings to various charities.


July 29, 1992: Michael visits the Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital in London. To the surprise the children, he brings Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Euro-Disney to the hospital.


July 31, 1992: On the Eve of his second concert at Wembley Stadium, Michael presents Prince Charles with a check of 200,000 pounds for the Prince’s Trust.


August 16, 1992: 6 year old Nicholas Killen, who lost his eyesight caused by a life aiding cancer surgery, meets Michael backstage in Leeds, England.


September 1992: Michael donated 1 million pesetas to charity headed by the Queen of Spain.


September 30, 1992: President Iliescu of Romania inaugurates a playground for 500 orphans which Michael has financed. Michael discusses his Heal The World Foundation.


October 1, 1992: Michael chooses a concert in Bucharest, Romania for worldwide television broadcast. Bucharest is a logical choice due to the numerous orphanages the country is known for.


November 24, 1992: At Kennedy Airport in New York, Michael supervises the loading of 43 tons of medication, blankets, and winter clothes destined for Sarajevo. The Heal The World Foundation collaborates with AmeriCares to bring resources totaling $2.1 million to Sarajevo. They will be allocated under the supervision of the United Nations.


December 10, 1992: During a press conference at the American Ambassy in Tokyo Michael is presented with a check for $100,000 for the Heal The World Foundation by Tour Sponsor Pepsi.


December 26, 1992: During a broadcast request for donations to the United Negro College Fund, Michael declares: “Black Colleges and Universities are breeding some of the leading personalities of our time. They are on top in business, justice, science and technologies, politics and religion. I am proud, that the Michael Jackson Scholarship Program enabled more than 200 young men and women to get a qualified education.”


January 19, 1993: Michael is one of the stars to perform at the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton. Before he sings “Gone Too Soon” he draws the attention to the plights of the victims of AIDS and mentions his friend Ryan White.


January 26, 1993: At a press conference held at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles, Michael is presented with a $200,000 donation from the National Football League and the Sponsors of the Super Bowl. He gets another $500,000 from the BEST Foundation for his Heal The World Foundation. At this occasion the foundation of “Heal L.A.” is officially announced.


February 1993: In association with Sega, launched an initiative to distribute more than $108,000 of computer games and equipment to children’s hospitals, children’s homes, and children’s charities throughout the U.K.


March 1993: The foundation of an independent film company is announced. They will produce family-oriented movies. A part of the earnings will go to the Heal The World Foundation.


March 27, 1993: At a meeting at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, Michael gives a 5-minute speech to 1200 teachers and politicians.


April 26, 1993: Within his “Heal LA” tour, Michael visits the Watta Health Foundation, and two schools in Los Angeles South Central.


May 5, 1993: Former President Jimmy Carter and Michael, who are chairmen of the “Heal Our Children/Heal The World” initiative, are in Atlanta to promote their “Atlanta Project Immunization Drive”.


June 1993: Michael has announced that he will donate $1.25 million for children who have suffered from the riots in Los Angeles.


June 1993: 100 children from the Challengers Boys and Girls Club visit Neverland.


June 10, 1993: Michael promotes the new DARE-program. The purpose of the program is to inform children about the dangers of drug abuse.


June 18, 1993: Michael pays a visit to a hospital in Washington. He spends several hours with the young patients and plays chess with some of them.


August 1993: With Pepsi-Cola Thailand, donated $40,000 to Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s charity, the Rural School Children and Youth Development Fund, in support of school lunch programs in rural villages in Thailand.


August 1993: In conjunction with Pepsi-Cola International, donated new ambulances to the Contacts One Independent Living Center for Children in Moscow, Russia and the Hospital de Ninos Dr. Ricardo Gutierrez in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


October 1993: Donated $100,000 to the Children’s Defense Fund, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, the Atlanta Project, and the Boys and Girl Clubs of Newark, New Jersey.


October 22, 1993: Michael visits a hospital in Santiago.


October 28, 1993: Michael makes it possible for 5000 underprivileged children to visit the Reino Aventura Park, where the whale Keiko (”Free Willy”) is living.


November 5, 1993: Michael is guest at a children’s party at the Hard Rock Cafe in Mexico City.


December 1993: With the Gorbachev Foundation, airlifted 60,000 doses of children’s vaccines to Tblisi, Georgia.


December 16, 1993: The Heal The World Foundation UK supports “Operation Christmas Child” delivering toys, sweets, gifts and food to children in former Yugoslavia.


1994: Michael donates $500,000 to Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation.


January 7, 1994: On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Michael gives a party for more than 100 underprivileged children at his Neverland Ranch.


February 22, 1994: “The Jackson Family Honors” is televised. The earnings of the show are given to their own newly formed charity, “Family Caring for Families”.


August 6, 1994: Michael and his wife Lisa Marie are visiting two children’s hospitals in Budapest. They distribute toys to the ill children.


1995: Michael wants to free dolphins who have been locked up for years. He believes there should be legal guidelines about the way dolphins have to live in zoos and parks.


March 1995: Little Bela Farkas received a new liver. Michael and Lisa Marie met this 4-year-old boy during their trip to Hungary in 1994. Michael did everything to help Bela, whose only chance to live was getting a new liver. The Heal The World Foundation covered the surgery and the cost for caring.


June 21, 1996: Michael donated a four-times platinum disc of “HIStory” in aid of the Dunblane appeal at the Royal Oak Hotel, Sevenoaks in England.


July 18, 1996: In Soweto, South Africa Michael is laying down a wreath of flowers for youngsters who have been killed during the fights involving Apartheid.


September 1996: The first Sports Festival “Hope” was held for orphans and disadvantaged children. 3000 children and 600 volunteers took part in the Sports Festival and Michael Jackson was a special guest.


September 6, 1996: Michael visits the children’s unit of a hospital in Prague.


October 1996: Michael visited a hospital for mentally challenged children in Kaoshiung, Taiwan and offered 2,000 free tickets to the sold out performance in Kaoshiung.


October 1, 1996: Michael donated the proceeds of his Tunisia concert to “The National Solidarity Fund”, a charity dedicated to fighting poverty.


October 3, 1996: Michael visits a children’s hospital and brings small gifts for the patients during a HIStory tour visit in Amsterdam. A room in the hospital (for parents who want to be with their children) is named after Michael.


November 1, 1996: Michael donates most of the earnings from a HIStory concert in Bombay, India to the poor people of the country.


November 7, 1996: Before his first concert in Auckland, New Zealand, Michael fulfills the wish of little Emely Smith, who is suffering from cancer, who wants to meet Michael.


November 25, 1996: Michael visited the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, delivering toys, signing autographs, and visiting with children.


December 9, 1996: During a HIStory tour visit in Manila, Michael visits a children’s hospital. He announces that a part of his concert earnings will be donated to the renovation of the hospital.


January 25, 1997: Michael waved his personal fee for his Bombay appearance and donated $1.1 million to a local charity helping to educate children living in slums.


April 4, 1997: British magazine “OK!” is publishing exclusive photos of Michael’s son Prince. The magazine pays about 1 million pounds for the photos. Michael donates the money to charity.


June 18, 1997: Michael signed the “Children in Need” book auctioned by the charity UNESCO.


September 1998: Michael meets 5 year old Aza Woods, who suffers from cancer, at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Michael introduces Aza to the attraction “Star Trek: The Experience” and spends the rest of the afternoon with the little boy. Finally Michael invites Aza to spend some time with him at his Neverland Ranch.


November 16, 1998: Michael arrives in Harare, Zimbabwe. He is a member of the American Delegation invited by the Minister of Defense. The delegation thanks the government of Zimbabwe for helping to keep the peace in this area.


September 4, 1999: Michael presented Nelson Mandela with a check for 1,000,000 South African rand for the “Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.”


January 22, 2000: During Christmas last year a violent storm ravaged the park of the Chateau de Versailles and destroyed 10,000 trees in the park. The estimated cost for rebuilding the park is around $20 million. Some celebrities are supporting the restoration of the park. French officials are reporting that Michael Jackson is one of them. He was one of the first people to donate money to this cause.


October 28, 2000:Michael painted a plate to be auctioned for the “Carousel of Hope Ball” benefiting childhood diabetes research.


March 6, 2001: Michael donated a black hat, a birthday phone-call and a jacket worn at the Monaco Music Awards in 2000 to the Movie Action for Children auction, an event being given by UNICEF with all proceeds will going to UNICEF’s efforts to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in Africa.


March 26, 2001: Michael handed out books to young people at a Newark, NJ theater. The event, which helped to launch the Michael Jackson International Book Club, part of his new Heal the Kids charity, aims to promote childhood reading and encourage parents to return to reading bedtime stories.


September 15, 2002: Michael donated 16 exclusively autographed items consisting of CD’s, videos and 2 cotton napkins to aid in the support of the victims of a severe flood in Germany. These items were auctioned off for charity and managed to raise 3935 Euro (US$ 3,814).


October 12, 2002: Michael Jackson invited more than 200 Team Vandenberg members, who recently returned from overseas deployments, and their families to his Neverland Ranch. This was to show his appreciation for the sacrifices the military in his community make.


November 19-29, 2002: Michael donated an autographed teddy bear dressed in his likeness to Siegfried & Roy’s celebrity teddy bear auction. This auction benefits Opportunity Village which is a non-profit organization based in Las Vegas (USA) that enhances the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. Michael’s autographed teddy bear raised $5,000 for the charity.


November 21, 2002: Michael donated a jacket to the The Bambi Charity Event in Berlin which raised $16,000.


April 25, 2002: Michael Jackson performed at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Apollo Theater in Harlem helping to raise nearly $3 million dollars towards voter registration.


June 2003: The Wolf family, who experienced serious damages to their belongings during the flood in Saxony, Germany last August, was invited to Berlin by Michael Jackson when he was at the Bambi Awards. On that occasion Michael invited them to Neverland. In June, they spent three days at Neverland, meeting Michael and his children.


Charity Awards


May 14, 1984: At a ceremony in the White House President Reagan presents Michael an award for special efforts; he is honored for his participation in a national ad campaign against drunk driving.


January 1989: The “Say Yes To A Youngsters Future” program honors Michael in recognition of his efforts to encourage children to natural sciences and award him with the “National Urban Coalition Artist/Humanitarian Of The Year Award”.


March 1989: At the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, California, Michael receives the Black Radio Special Award for his humanitarian efforts.


September 22, 1989: The Capital Children’s Museum awards Michael with the Best Of Washington 1989 Humanitarian Award in recognition of his efforts to raise money for the museum, and for his never-ending support of children.


February 3, 1990: From Japan Michael receives a Role Model Award.


April 5, 1990: During a ceremony, where Michael is awarded as “Entertainer Of The Decade”, Michael meets President George Bush, who honors him with the “Point Of Light” award. Michael receives this award for his philanthropic activities. President Bush explains Michael’s humanitarian commitments to the press.


September 14, 1990: The Council of the American Scouts honors Michael with the first “Good Scout Humanitarian Award”. Michael receives this award for his humanitarian activities by supporting the Make A Wish Foundation, the Prince’s Trust, the United Negro College Fund and Childhelp USA.


October 23, 1990: Michael Jackson and Elton John will be the first recipients of the award in memory of Ryan White, which will be handed over in 1991.


May 1, 1992: President George Bush presents Michael with the “Point of Light” award for his continuing support of deprived children. During his stay, Michael visits little Raynal Pope, who had been injured very badly by dogs.


June 3, 1992: The organization “One To One”, who is caring for better living conditions of young people, honors Michael with an award for his commitment to deprived youngsters.


July 1993: The American Friends of Hebrew University honors Michael with the Scopus Award 1993.


August 1993: The Jack The Rapper Awards are presented and Michael is honored with the “Our Children, Our Hope Of Tomorrow” award.


November 17, 1993: Michael rejects the Scopus Award. He was nominated for this award, which was planned to be given him on January 29th, 1994.


April 12, 1994: On occasion of the 2nd Children’s Choice Award ceremony at Cit Center in New York, Michael is presented with the “Caring For Kids” award. This award is to honor celebrities, who take time for young people. 100,000 children and young people from 8 to 18 years old gave Michael their vote of confidence. The Children’s Choice Awards are sponsored by Body Sculpt, a charity organization, that offers drug-prevention programs for young people.


November 2, 1995: Michael receives the award “Diamont of Africa”.


March, 30, 1996: The Ark Trust-Foundation, who wants to draw the attention of the public eye on animal’s problems, presents the 10th Genesis Award. Michael is presented with the 1995 Doris Day Award. He gets this award for the “Earth Song” video, which draws attention to the plight of the animals.


May 1, 1999: At the Bollywood awards in New York, Michael is presented with an award for his humanitarian activities. The award is signed: “Though he comes from the young American tradition, Michael is the embodiment of an old indian soul. His actions are an expression of the philosophy of Weda, which asked to work for the people – not for one’s own interests.”




The Millennium-Issue of the “Guinness Book Of Records” names Michael as the Pop Star who supports the most charity organizations. The following projects are supported by Michael Jackson:


AIDS Project L.A.

American Cancer Society

Angel Food

Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles

BMI Foundation

Brotherhood Crusade

Brothman Burn Center

Camp Ronald McDonald

Childhelp U.S.A.

Children’s Institute International

Cities and Schools Scholarship Fund

Community Youth Sports & Arts Foundation

Congressional Black Caucus

Dakar Foundation

Dreamstreet Kids

Dreams Come True Charity

Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation

Heal The World Foundation

Juvenile Diabetes Foundation

Love Match

Make A Wish Foundation

Minority Aids Project

Motown Museum


National Rainbow Coalition

Rotary Club of Australia

Society of Singers

Starlight Foundation

The Carter Center’s Atlanta Project

The Sickle Cell Research Foundation


United Negro College Fund

United Negro College Fund Ladder’s of Hope

Volunteers of America

Watts Summer Festival

Wish Granting

YMCA – 28th Street/Crenshaw

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America


This is the oldest mentoring organization serving youth in the USA.

BBBSA has provided one-to-one mentoring relationships between adult volunteers and children at risk since 1904. BBBSA currently serves over 100,000 children and youth in more than 500 agencies throughout all of the United States.


BMI Foundation


From jazz to musical theater, from music education for gifted youngsters to support for the work of accomplished concert music composers, the BMI Foundation seeks out the best and most promising of today’s and tomorrow’s musical creators and offers a platform of support that fosters their growth and ensures the continuation of the heritage of American musical ingenuity for generations to come.


Childhelp USA


Childhelp USA is dedicated to meeting the physical, emotional, educational, und spiritual needs of abused and neglected children focusing efforts and resources upon treatment, prevention.


Children’s Institute International


This is a private, non-profit organization specializing in the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Over the past 90 years, CII has evolved from a shelter for single mothers and their babies to an internationally recognized model of comprehensive care and assistance for at-risk children and their families.

CII assistance includes child and family assessment supported by 24-hour emergency residential shelter care, family treatment services, therapeutic day care, child health clinic, long-term foster family care, and substance abuse treatment and prevention services.


Make A Wish Foundation fulfills the favorite wish of any child between the age of 2 ½ and 18 who has a diagnosed life-threatening illness.


Camp Ronald McDonald

Camp for children with cancer.


With 750+ Million Records Sold

Michael Jackson Has Given More Than

$300+ Million to Charities!

Raven Woods Huffington Post Article Answer to Radar Online Sham about Michael Jackson’s Child Porn



This is old news from a decade ago, and there is absolutely nothing in those reports that hasn’t already had its day in court.


By Raven Woods, author, educator pop culture journalist and author of All For Love Blog.



Last week, as the world geared up to remember Michael Jackson on his seventh death anniversary, a deluge of negative publicity hit regarding allegations of “disturbing” child porn that was supposedly uncovered during the 2003 raid of Neverland, conducted prior to Jackson’s 2004 indictment on charges of molesting a minor. The highly publicized trial in 2005 resulted in Jackson’s acquittal on all fourteen counts. The problem is that the police documents in question and the list of items seized from Neverland are not “new” or “recently unearthed” documents, as some media outlets have mistakenly claimed in an effort to bolster salacious headlines.

These were all items that were entered in court back in 2005 ― items that were well known to both the prosecution and defense and were presented before both Judge Melville and the jury. None of the items seized from Neverland fit the legal definition of child pornography, and in fact many of the items that are currently creating the most media hysteria were not pornographic at all. They were legal art books; a few of them containing some examples of adult erotica, but again, these were not titles that could be in any way deemed as pornographic or even obscene. This isn’t to say that Jackson didn’t own any pornography at all. The truth was that a sizable amount of adult heterosexual pornography had been confiscated in the raid, but Jackson was a grown man and this type of pornography is not illegal to own. In the absence of any hardcore “smoking gun” evidence against Jackson, the prosecution tried desperately to make a case for several legal art books which Jackson owned as part of an extensive library, one that contained over ten thousand titles on art and photography (subjects that were of interest to him as inspiration for his own lyrics and films). These art books, as they were written up and described in the original police reports, were clearly stated as not being pornographic in nature but as items that could “possibly” be used as part of a “grooming” process (however, it is important to note that this was not a claim the prosecution was able to successfully prove in court). Secondly, it has been confirmed via a statement issued by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department that several pages of the document ― which originated with the publication Radar Online-appeared to have been falsified, with images that were never part of the original documents, claiming those images “appeared to have been taken from internet sources.” Since this story spread like proverbial wildfire through the tabloid media ― and even to legit mainstream media who apparently never bothered to fact check either the origin or contents of these documents ― we really must pause to consider how the media operates in spreading such hoax stories on celebrities. We also must ask some hard questions about why better laws are not in place to protect deceased persons-famous or not-from this kind of libel.


Court Document Showing The Admittance Of Jackson’s Art Books And Adult Erotica-Proof That All Of The Items Listed In The Report Had Their Day In Court. 

But first, let’s start by busting some of the distorted myths and outright lies that are circulating currently. I have been a dedicated Michael Jackson researcher for seven years. I have thoroughly studied the ins and outs of the 2005 case brought against him as well as the 1993 Jordan Chandler settlement.

The first thing we must address is that the information and descriptions in these reports are NOT new or “recently unearthed” reports ― this is all information that both the prosecution and defense were well aware of in 2004 when the indictment and grand jury process began. In fact, a lot of the current information being touted now was leaked then and circulated in the press after the grand jury hearings, prompting a statement to the media from Jackson’s attorney, which was signed off not only by Mesereau but also the prosecution and Judge Melville, fully acknowledging that no child pornography had been found. This was followed up by an official statement from Jackson himself, in which he specifically addressed the information that had been leaked to the media from the grand jury proceedings. It is worth keeping in mind that the grand jury hearings are a process in which the prosecution is able to present their case in its entirety without the benefit of cross examination, and includes the process of discovery whereby all potential evidentiary items are presented and discussed.


Both Thomas Mesereau’s sworn statement and Jackson’s 2004 press statement were in reaction to items leaked to the media from the grand jury hearings, in which the prosecution enters all confiscated and potentially evidentiary items. These “items” included the same art books that have become the source of the current media frenzy. 

Eventually, many of these books were discarded as inadmissible evidence because they were commercially available art books that anyone can purchase legally. Of the titles that were entered as admissible evidence, it was not because they were pornographic but, rather, because the prosecution felt that they might potentially bolster an argument that Jackson “could have” used the books as grooming material and in an attempt to prove some sort of predilection on Jackson’s part for males (since a few of the titles featured artsy photographs of nude males; however, these were generally titles that featured adult erotica of both sexes). The “sadomasochism” books were adult books featuring adult subjects ( Madonna’s “Sex,” for example, was a book that he was known to have shopped for in the early 1990s) and because none of these materials fit the legal definition of child pornography. This left the prosecution in the rather embarrassing situation of having to build a case on Jackson’s adult legal porn collection, which was-let’s just say-healthy, but not that unusual for a single guy. Let’s remember, these people invaded his private quarters, after all. The full list of Jackson’s adult porn that was confiscated in the Neverland raid has been widely available for many years, and consisted of over 1800 images of nude adult women. You can find the full list here. But essentially, this left the prosecution in the rather embarrassing position of trying to build a case of child molestation against a man for whom the only “evidence” they had was issues of HustlerPlayboyPenthouseBarely Legal, and the like ― along with, well, a lot  of art books. The thing you have to keep in mind is that the prosecution never had one shred of what we might call “smoking gun” evidence ― the kind that usually leads to an easy, “case closed” conviction in cases like this. There were no explicit love letters written to any child, no photos of himself or children engaged in sexual acts, no video tapes of himself with children in lewd acts, no taped phone conversations, no online “sex chats” ― in other words, none of the things that can usually lead to an easy conviction in such cases. You have to remember that Jackson was under constant FBI surveillance for over ten years. The reports eventually concluded nothing to be found. A search of over sixteen computer hard drives seized in the 2003 raid revealed nothing except that he occasionally visited a few adult legal porn sites where he liked to log in as “Dr. Black” and “Marcel Jackson.” Juicy gossip fodder, yes. Illegal; no.

In the lack of any such hard evidence, the case essentially boiled down to accuser Gavin Arvizo’s word against Jackson’s. From that point forward, the only hope that district attorneys Tom Sneddon and Ron Zonen had was to construct their prosecution as a character assassination. In their desperate attempt to make “evidence” out of no evidence, the art books were argued (unsuccessfully) as books that “could” fit the definition of what a casebook pedophile would own, and the legal porn was argued to be “grooming material” (an argument that likewise did not persuade the jury, especially after Star Arvizo, brother of Gavin Arvizo, admitted under cross examination that a magazine he had earlier claimed to have been shown by Jackson was an issue that, in fact, wasn’t even published until five months after the date of the alleged incident!).

The problem is that, in the absence of any truly hardcore evidence, it becomes increasingly difficult to try to convince a jury of what someone’s “intentions” are with a particular photo or art book. You can’t second guess what is in someone’s head, or if they are using certain materials ― legal or otherwise ― for sexual gratification. That is getting into the realm of “reasonable doubt” and is not something that can be proven. The only thing a judge and jury can do is to look at a certain piece of exhibited evidence and ask: Is this pornography or is it not? And if it is pornographic, is it legal? Keep in mind that anything that isn’t, strictly speaking, child pornography cannot be held as admissible evidence because it is not criminal ― at least certainly not in the United States ― to own art books or adult legal sex books, no matter how “graphic” the imagery (much of which, also, is being grossly exaggerated in the media reports, but one thing at a time).

The original Radar Online story that ran on June 20th did, in fact, acknowledge that these reports were from 2003 and are not new information, but they slanted their story in such a way that made it seem as though this was somehow “newly leaked” information or as if this was “newly discovered” evidence that somehow ― for whatever unearthly reason ― was never brought to light during the trial. This is simply not true, as all official court documents related to the 2005 case clearly show that these items were well known to both the prosecution and defense. Many of these items were discussed and exhibited before the jury in what came to be known as the infamous “Porn Day” at trial (a day for which Jackson’s very religious mother Katherine chose to sit out). What was left out was simply because it was deemed not pornographic in nature and therefore, inadmissible evidence. Let’s not forget, Michael Jackson was subjected to one of the most overzealous cases of prosecution that an individual could be put through. He had a district attorney who had made it his personal life’s ambition to put him behind bars ― or drive him permanently from Santa Barbara County, which he eventually succeeded in doing. This was a prosecution effort that combed the globe in search of “victims,” evidence, and any witnesses willing to come forth, regardless of credibility, and that spent millions in taxpayer dollars in the process. Granted, Sneddon and Zonen may have had their moments of ineptitude, but one thing they could never be accused of was being unthorough or of committing a half-assed investigation that would have left evidence of actual child pornography overlooked. Indeed, nothing in these reports was overlooked, nor was it withheld. It simply wasn’t child pornography, then or now.

This is an important fact to establish because I think the impression many are getting, from the slanted media reports, is that these items being discussed are some “shocking new bombshell” revelation that has just come to light. That simply isn’t true. This is all old news from a decade ago, and there is absolutely nothing in those reports that hasn’t already had its day in court ― that is, of the items that even made it past the discovery stage. The media is trying to slant the story that way because it makes for more salacious headlines and click bait, but if you read the fine print, most have to own up at some point that these are, in fact, old documents dating to 2003 when the discovery process for the trial was underway. So, nothing new here and nothing that the attorneys, as well as the judge and jury, were not well aware of when Jackson was tried and acquitted in 2005. So the salacious and “creepy kiddy porn” of Michael Jackson’s that is currently being touted all over the media actually consists of nothing more than a few art photography books (all of which can be legally purchased through Amazon). Some of them do fall into the category of adult erotica; however, they are not pornographic and certainly not illegal for an adult to own. They include titles by award winning photographers and authors like Anne Rice, who even wrote the introduction for one of the books (Underworld) that is currently the subject of much of the media fodder.

So the next question…why now? Well, that goes back to the close ties between Radar Online (formerly headed up by The National Enquirer’s Dylan Howard) and the attorneys of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, as well as a certain traitorous “friend” to the Jackson family, Stacy Brown, who has made a career off of peddling smut to the tabloids. Robson and Safechuck both have civil cases pending against the Michael Jackson estate, and Radar Online has become their ally and willing mouthpiece. We know from the statement released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department that the documents Radar Online obtained did not come from an official source. Here is the statement as it was released to Vanity Fair and reported in various news outlets, yet everyone who reported on this story seemed to ignore what was most damning in this statement:

Some of the documents appear to be copies of reports that were authored by Sheriff’s Office personnel as well as evidentiary photographs taken by Sheriff’s Office personnel interspersed with content that appears to be obtained off the Internet or through unknown sources. The Sheriff’s Office did not release any of the documents and/or photographs to the media. The Sheriff’s Office released all of its reports and the photographs as part of the required discovery process to the prosecution and the defense.

Many of the media outlets who copied the original story have now updated their information to include this statement. That is at least a step in the right direction, I suppose, but still doesn’t take into account their apparent willingness to run a story that has been blatantly identified by the very authorities who investigated the case as false information.

Let’s look again at that official statement released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department with the most crucial passages emphasized:

interspersed with content that appears to be obtained off the Internet or through unknown sources

The Sheriff’s Office released all of its reports and the photographs as part of the required discovery process to the prosecution and the defense

The statement also makes it clear that someone other than an official source is responsible for feeding this information to Radar Online ― someone (or someones) who timed this malicious smear campaign just in time to coincide with the remembrances and celebrations of Jackson’s death anniversary ― a time when the emotions of his family, friends, and fans are most vulnerable.

Most damaging to the hoax perpetrators has been the statement issued from Ron Zonen himself, one of the prosecuting attorneys who certainly would have moved heaven and earth to have the “evidence” against Michael Jackson he so desperately craved. Yet even Zonen released an official statement citing the lack of child pornography found in the investigation. As y People:


“People” Magazine

Prosecuting attorney Ron Zonen’s statement to “People Magazine” that no child pornography was found in Jackson’s possession. 

Let’s go back to the most important statements given in Zonen’s statement:

“There was no child pornography. There were no videos involving children.”

So what, then, is all the hoopla about? You might be shocked and surprised to know! If one truly examines and dissects the materials and images being discussed, it turns out that not only are all of them from legal sources (art books and such) but that most of the more erotic images are of adults! So…what’s the deal here? It actually seems that a huge media storm is being created over Michael Jackson’s tastes in art and adult erotica. Like I said before: Gossip fodder? Yes, maybe. Evidence of criminal behavior? No.

And Radar Online (or maybe we should say whoever was responsible for “leaking” those documents to them) also purposely tampered with many of those images to make them “appear” more explicit than they actually are, as per this example. On the right is the image as Radar online posted it. On the left is the original image from the book Bidgood by James Bidgood, which is a legal book of adult male photography. On the left is the original image in Bidgood’s book. On the right is the image as it was then “doctored” in the falsified documents. As you can see, Radar Online (or someone) purposely blocked out the crotches so as to make it appear as if the young men in Bidgood’s photo were naked, when in fact they were actually clothed in shorts. But it gets even better!


James Bidgood

One of the many ‘doctored” images Radar Online ran in their original 88 page Jackson report before deleting them. 

A few days later, Canadian artist Jonathan Hobin, author of In The Playroom, spoke out to both the Canadian Press and social media about how his work had been similarly used by Radar Online to help falsify the Jackson documents. Hobin’s “American Idol” photo, featured as part of his In The Playroom collection, was a photo featuring a JonBenet Ramsey lookalike dressed in beauty pageant regalia with a noose tied around her neck.


Jonathan Hobin

This photo, “American Idol,” featured as part of Jonathan Hobin’s In The Playroom collection, was one of the mistakenly identified photos for which the media had a field day touting as an example of Jackson’s “disturbing photos featuring child torture”-until it was revealed that Hobin’s book had not even been published in 2003

It was a photo that Radar Online ― as well as every other media outlet who picked up the story ― had a virtual field day with as “evidence” of Jackson’s “stockpile of “creepy” and “gory kiddie porn pictures featuring torture of children.” As it turned out, there were three major problems with this screaming headline: 1. The image is part of a legit art collection ― one that has been featured in many of the same media outlets that are now mocking Jackson, including The Huffington Post who ran a very positive feature on Hobbin’s work in 2013.

But it gets even better (or worse, depending on whether you are a “glass is half-full or half-empty” kind of person). 2: In The Playroom was a book published in 2008, which means even if it is legitimate art (and it is!) it is not a book that Jackson could have possibly owned in 2003 at the time Neverland was raided. Which leads us to 3: This image, then, was never part of the original 2003 police reports, and the fact that it was at first included within the original 88-page document released by Radar Online is evidence of the kind of tampering that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department was referring to.

But the forgery doesn’t end there. The original police reports contained no images at all but only verbal descriptions of the books’ contents.

This means that those images placed into the original 88-page report that Radar Online ran were either planted there by Radar Online or by the persons who submitted those documents. It appears that many of the images inserted, like Hobin’s photo among others, were not even from the titles being claimed in the report but, rather, from related titles of books Jackson did not even own. This would indicate that whoever submitted those reports conducted a sloppy Google search to acquire those images, without bothering to check if the images legitimately came from the titles in question. For example, it has since come to light that several of the more graphic photos that Radar Online claimed to have come from The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes (an art book Jackson did own) were, in fact, from a list of favorite books by art photographer and “Dazed” editor Isabella Burley, who included the book on a list of her five favorite books (the images, it turns out, were taken from those other titles on her list, none of which were books that Jackson owned). You can read more about how that forgery was framed here. This would indicate that  whoever was responsible for “leaking” these decade old documents to Radar Online not only were aware that no such images existed in the original documents but that, also, they were either extremely inept with use of the Google search engine or else were on a deliberate and malicious campaign to falsify those documents with purposely chosen salacious images that would then appear even more salacious when taken out of context.

Interestingly, the persons responsible for this “leak” left an intriguing clue to their identity, which many sharp-eyed Jackson fans were quick to note: Cryptic notes left on Page 25 (which also were not part of the original police report documents) stating that “Zonen is retired and will talk” and listing a current phone number for Gordon Auchincloss (Ron Zonen and Gordon Auchincloss were both prosecuting attorneys for the 2005 Jackson case). These are current notes that have obviously been recently added (Zonen is retired now, but obviously was not back in 2003-04 when these documents were first drawn up). For many Jackson fans, this lends credibility to the idea that this latest smear campaign must have originated with the attorneys of Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, two young men who both have civil cases pending against the Michael Jackson estate.


Handwritten notes like these-which were not included in the original police report-may provide a clue as to who leaked the forged documents to Radar Online, and why. 

It is also worth noting that as soon as Jonathan Hobin spoke out to the media, Radar Online’s original 88-page report shrunk by twenty-seven pages to a mere 61-page-report! Clearly, haste was made to scrub the documents clean of those faked photos. And it was only within days of the mysterious vanishing act of those twenty-seven missing pages that a new “distraction” story was planted by long time Jackson family “frenemy” Stacy Brown regarding false and slanderous allegations about Jackson’s nephews. That was an allegation first raised by the prosecution when some “questionable” photos were seized of Jackson and three of his nephews ― Taj, Terryl, and TJ Jackson of the pop group 3T.


However, as it turned out, those “photos” in question were actually part of a professional album shoot for 3T’s debut album, Brotherhood, an album Michael Jackson produced. More specifically, as stated, the photos in question were part of the photo shoot for the single “Why” which featured Michael Jackson in a “guest vocalist” capacity. This was a professional photo shoot that was conducted by celebrity photographer Jonathan Exley, and according to Jackson’s makeup artist Karen Faye, who was present for the shoot, was carried out in the full company of hundreds of witnesses who were also present for the shoot. The photos in question are sexy, and undeniably, the intent was to play up the “beefcake” appeal to the group’s mostly young female fanbase. In any case, the concept for the album photo shoot was not Jackson’s. And the fact that the prosecution tried so desperately to even construe an album photo shoot as “evidence” against Jackson should tell you something. It also should tell you a lot about what is happening now, with many of these same items that were so obviously twisted out of context a decade ago now being recycled to provide fresh media fodder.


Jonathan Exley

The “Why” Photo Shoot By Jonathan Exley Was Obviously Intended To Play Up The Group’s Beefcake Appeal To Their Female Fanbase


Jonathan Exley

This Was The Photo That Initially Raised A Red Flag For The Prosecution — But As It Turned Out, It Was Nothing But Another Still From The “Why” Album Photo Shoot. 

This was not the only incident in which the prosecution had attempted to misconstrue and misappropriate elements of Jackson’s art as “evidence.” On page 73 of the original Radar Online documents, a Polaroid photo depicting two boys from a Hollywood movie set is described as having the inscription “Are You Scared Yet?” and “Ha Ha!” across the bottom. A handwritten note scribbled between the lines of the official report (not present in the original report, and interestingly in what appears to be the same handwriting as the added note on Page 25 above) states that this is a “Code message equating safety to sex-frighten child and get them in bed.” Except there is a huge problem with this theory: As any diehard Jackson fan knows,  “Are you scared yet?” is the famous tagline from Jackson’s 1997 film Ghosts. To attempt to construe this as being anything “other” than a harmless reference to Ghosts is pure speculation. But it is typical of the manner in which the prosecution attempted to build its case against Jackson.

However, these additional notes which were obviously added to the original reports before they were handed over to Radar Online, as were the inserted internet images and several pages of inserted articles relating the drug Percocet to sex addiction. Percocet, a prescription painkiller that gained notoriety following the recent investigation into Prince’s death, was found on the premises during the 2003 raid; however, the original documents make no such claim as attempting to link the drug to sex addiction. Curiously, many of the added pages all bear one thing in common ― the date 1/10/16 ― which would appear to date the time of the forgery to approximately five months prior to the orchestrated timing of their “release” on June 20th.

Unfortunately, the media has become an all too willing participant, creating a skewered picture in which tabloid sensationalism and spotty fact checking are allowed to stand. What’s more, it seems even the words of the actual authorities involved in the 2003-2005 case against Jackson are being ignored beneath an onslaught of “click bait” headlines and grossly exaggerated reporting. Some unscrupulous reporters have even gone so far as to suggest Jackson could have molested his own children ― an utterly absurd and ridiculous claim that has no basis in actual fact, and what’s more, is a particularly cruel and malicious slander against a man for whom his children have never expressed anything other than loving adoration. It is also an inexcusable exercise in emotional cruelty towards Jackson’s children, one of whom is still a minor child and one who has already attempted suicide due to her emotionally fragile state since her father’s passing. I find it even more disturbing that no one has thought to raise the question of ethical media or moral responsibility in all of this. To accuse someone of the possession of child pornography is to accuse someone of a criminal offense ― one that, if the accused person were alive, would be an accusation worthy of a criminal conviction and the permanent label of a sex offender. But a living person can at least take action against such media libel. They can sue for defamation. They can refute the claims. They can defend themselves. The dead have no such redress, and there is something inherently wrong with the idea of bringing such serious accusations against a man who is not here to defend himself-one who had his day in court eleven years ago, and what’s worse, to attempt to retry him in the court of public opinion based on the same circumstantial “evidence” with which the prosecution tried-and failed-to convict him back in 2005.

Where does the insanity end?

Seven years ago, we lost an amazing artist, man, and humanitarian. Recently, in the wake of the tragic shooting in Orlando, people gathered en masse for a candlelight vigil and sang Jackson’s “Heal The World.” From Ferguson, Missouri and Black Lives Matter to recent events in Paris and Orlando, Jackson’s music remains our call to awakening, reminding us of the need to be brought together as a global family. No doubt, with even more recent tragic events that have ignited our nation’s racial divide this week, people will once again turn to Jackson’s music, as they always have, for its power to heal and unite.

Frankly, if the world spent a lot more time listening to the words Michael Jackson wrote, rather than obsessing over what he had in his bedroom, we would be the better off. Jackson’s personal life has already been well dissected. He was put through a grueling and publicly humiliating trial that left nothing to the imagination-his inner sanctity completely ransacked, his most private possessions put up for public inspection; even his own body violated.
Charles Thomson’s excellent 2013 article “One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History” is a harrowing account of that trial’s media coverage and the toll it took on Jackson. Sadly, nothing has changed. My point is that there is nothing new here to see. All of this “evidence” was hashed out in court a decade ago. So why is Radar Online so gleefully jumping on this fabricated smear campaign, regurgitating decades old information for which Michael Jackson has long been tried for, and acquitted? Why the need to bait a gullible public into believing that a list of items that was reviewed and dismissed as “evidence” twelve years ago is somehow front page burning news in 2016?

Strangely, perhaps, the first thing I thought of when this story hit was the recently renewed controversy over the Confederate flag. President Obama said that the Confederate flag needs to be retired permanently to a museum, where it can be remembered and viewed as a part of history, but should not be flown as an act of defiance for an ideal that no longer exists. I feel the same way about all of this regurgitated information from Michael Jackson’s trial. Those documents (the real ones, that is) have resided in the Santa Barbara County records’ department for over a decade. They are a part of history, but no longer relevant. The trial ended in acquittal on all fourteen counts on June 13th, 2005, and Michael Jackson died on June 25th, 2009.

But just as there are some individuals who will never accept that the Civil War ended in 1865, so, too, is a faction who will never accept that Michael Jackson was fully exonerated by a court of law in 2005. To this end, they will continue to lie, to rehash and sensationalize old stories, to distort truth and yes, even to fabricate new “evidence” where none exists. I can only see this as a thinly veiled attempt to keep an old battle going that has already long been fought ― and won.