Inner Michael » Out Loud

Out Loud

Someday I want to be able to tell you who it is. I want to be able to introduce you to an artist, anonymous for now, who has a rare appreciation for aesthetics, a rare sensitivity for art and flow and an intuitive feel for composition. She understands how things need to be said without saying.

Her work has not been recognized beyond the walls of the school and the kindergarten audience she plays to daily. Occasionally parents will recognize the genius amongst their children but not often. She is the kind of teacher you want for your child; she is the one they will remember and cite as the most influential in their lives. In a hundred subtle ways she does “make that change;” she does “heal the world” by her example and teaches without saying: “we are the world.”

She films the little people in her classes and makes videos for parents’ night; she allows each child to choose a color for the composition and together they color as one—no separations, no distinctions, no exclusions. Self esteem, inspiration and the power to make a difference in the world informs and infuses everything in her classroom. Every day she “heals the world and makes the world a better place” just by her presence and how she is present to little people.

The reason I can’t introduce you to her is because she is a Michael Jackson fan. She believes in all of those things that Michael taught in his lyrics. She loves his music. What she teaches the children in her classroom is straight out of Michael Jackson’s playbook of life. Much of it sounds like “Dancing the Dream” or it comes directly from the lyrics of his humanitarian songs. So why can’t I tell you who she is?

Because she lives in a conservative part of the county. Because in some perfect little towns in their perfect little worlds, people don’t know the real Michael Jackson. They only know the Michael Jackson of tabloid lore; they don’t know he didn’t harm children.

There is a very real concern that not only would eyebrows be raised but heads would role if the parents knew who informed this teacher’s philosophy. She was a student of Michael Jackson. She was one who, when she listened to “Jam” and “Heal the World” and “Cry” and more, she “got” the lyrics. She lives Michael’s message and she lives to spread it among those young enough to still be impressionable.

But she can’t play Michael’s music in her classroom—except occasionally and only in stealth. She can’t speak of what she is doing with the children or why. And she can’t talk about how much she hurts and misses Michael. It would not be wise to reveal what she does in her spare time. At least not yet. I want that day to come. I long for the day I can tell you not just what she has done, but who she is.

What she has done is collaborate on a stunning short film for Voices Education Project called “Words.” It is a montage of images we used to communicate a mood and to say without words what an impact words have on people and lives. It is a juxtaposition, a paradox and it is startling in its message. And it was a pleasure to work with another artist who senses the aesthetic and appreciates how the three neuro-pathways blend: sound (hearing) with images (visual) and movement with mood (kinesthetic.) The piece captures the precise feel of the message and reveals it in a way that makes your throat tighten.

While I can’t reveal who she is, I can reveal what she stands for. It’s in her work, in our collaboration. It’s awe-inspiring and this is the kind of Michael Jackson fan I believe will vindicate Michael and reveal who he really was. I salute these Michael Jackson fans who construct a positive reflection of him, and I want to see more of them. She represents the real Michael Jackson legacy—it is hidden in plain sight in this work, and in the people like this teacher become artist who share with others in his name—either out loud or silently. As the reclaiming of Michael Jackson’s real life and legacy continues, I will be the first to tell you who she is—when it becomes possible to do that. Out loud.


Some schools can and do celebrate Michael out loud:


Chicago Children’s Choir

PS 22 Staten Island New York


  1. Theresa B said . . .

    I think the days when we can securely and openly show our love and admiration for Michael Jackson, as a man and artist, are here for many of us. But, there is still a lot of ignorance and hate out there. Thanks for sharing the work of these amazing kids. They get Michael’s messages and will pass that on. Michael Jackson’s legacy is on its way to being secure. However, as you point out, there is still much to be done.

    Posted February 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  2. Sue Springer said . . .

    “The planets are linin’ up” and there is a wave of brightness coming, it shines in these beautiful young faces. We have work to do, but his legacy will be secure and live on. Love and peace all.

    Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
  3. Peggy Reißer said . . .

    Wow! Great! I have no words for this.. together we can ‘make that change;’ it’s so important to stop all the hate and war in this world especially for our children. LOVE

    Posted February 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  4. Laura said . . .

    I will look for her among us.

    Posted February 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
  5. Karmen Legazpi said . . .

    I’ve always said there are many Michael Jackson out there. Maybe not as famous, maybe not as rich, but their soul is full of Love and Peace and Unity. Mother Theresa used to say, if you can’t heal the entire world, just heal those who are close to you. We can all do it. Help our friends, family… try to make them see the real meaning of life. And I agree with you, few people know the truth but if they don’t start trying to change things… no one will. Thank you for this post.

    Posted February 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink
  6. Dalia said . . .

    I await that day! The day that her name could be mentioned as an example of what she does, is something that should be followed in all schools. That human values can be practiced in a classroom. The day that Michael Jackson’s name to be mentioned with pride in front of everyone as mentioned Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King. I consider bold and courageous what she does for its students and fans we must act that way. Michael was that kind of person and his example is moving the world. Many MJ’fans around the world are doing brave things inspired by his memory. When you say her name publicly, this will be a great day. Thanks for sharing Barbara.

    Posted February 8, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  7. Suvie said . . .

    Sitting here in India, its so hard to imagine how much MJ was so demonized in America. Good lord, his name can’t be taken without inviting disgust! I was working by 2001 and used to watch news and read papers; I never saw anything about the allegations although I heard about a “baby dangling” episode. Good, the filth did not reach here!

    This period for right reasons is called, “kali yuga” in hinduism. In this period, the righteous will be persecuted and the criminals rewarded so was predicted by the great saints and rightly so. According to Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Rama’s wife Goddess Sita (daughter of Mother earth) was kidnaped by Ravan (a demon king from Sri Lanka)…when Lord Rama defeated the Demon King and rescued mother Sita and returned to his kingdom, people gossiped about his pious wife. They said she had lived with another man while mother Sita had lived in a garden under a tree during her captivity. She also walked through fire to prove her piousness but yet people would call her bad names. So much so that Rama had to send Mother Sita to exile in order to placate his people and she was expecting at that time.

    People tried to tarnish Mother Sita’s good name and character and yet thousands of years since we worship her. I hope the same happens to the legacy of Michael Jackson… the lies created and spread by the vicious American media die down and Michael’s good name is restored for all time to come. Amen

    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  8. admin said . . .

    Indeed Kali’s hold is fierce; but Sita will prevail. Ram Ram Sita Ram. Namaste` Suvi. ~B

    Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  9. Kim said . . .

    The tributes we saw here were so beautiful and speak volumes for how much Michael has made an impact. For the people who still can not openly share Michael’s inspiration in their lives and how they carry that forward, their time will come. With all the work that many people are doing to carry on with Michael’s message of healing the world and the shift that is happening with our universe, all will one day be able to stand proudly and speak the name of Michael Jackson. I know many do now, but many more will be able to do so without ridicule. I have hope. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful tributes. I wish those who don’t understand will see and hear the words from the children who know what Michael was truly all about. They just know. Thank you.

    Posted February 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

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