Inner Michael » MJ Are fans being the legacy? Part I of III

MJ Are fans being the legacy? Part I of III

What are the qualities of a legacy fan? Well if you’re speaking of anyone else who’s left the planet, that might mean fans who continue to play his music, who watch her archived films made during her lifetime, who may have a photograph or two or an album of photographs, maye and autograph or it might mean a stroll down nostalgia lane for a celebrity, artist, actor or musician who markes one’s milestones of a lifetime.

For Michael Jackson fans, it means something much different. It means accepting or rejecting the request to accept his plea (yes! it was a plea) “you are my legacy.” 

He didn’t say “my music is my legacy.” He didn’t say “my films are my legacy.” He didn’t say “my art is my legacy.”  He didn’t even say “my children are my legacy.” He said he wished for immortality. When the last person who knew you dies, what happens to your memory? Your legacy? What is left behind as your legacy is what you pass forward in the contributions you made to the world that leave it a better place than you found it. Your contributions live on in how you paid “it” forward for the next generation. 

And he said to the fans “you are my legacy.” That means if you are a fan, you are drafted as an ambassador of the future. The best ambassadors represent what they represent with consummate diplomacy. Michael becomes truly “the immortal” when his fans live his legacy.

Michael Jackson chose only the best and the brightest to work with, to represent him, to be considered “an extension of the man himself.” Michael admired women in particular who were “classy,” who carried themselves with dignity; he admired people in general who were discreet, dignified, loyal, trustworthy and savvy in how they maturely applied their skill and talent.

All of Michael’s collaborators say that Michael was: “the consummate professional; on time; respectful; humble, generous; hard working.” They also say that he commanded excellence and was able to coax from people the highest form of art they held inside dormant and unexpressed. He apparently was able to bring out the best in everyone he worked with and he did it with such love and subtlety that they had no awareness of what he was really doing. He was coach and cheerleader to many. 

He also did that for his fans. And he did it with both devotion and love. Yes, big LOVE. The highest form of love is to reach within someone you are mentoring, grasp the finest of what they are capable of giving and becoming, and pull it out of them. It’s like a midwife assisting in the birth of what is best in you. Then a mentor who is a master, steps back and allows you to see your own brilliance and to take credit for it. Yes, great mentors, teachers, gurus feel pride in their students but do not take credit for their mastery. Great masters demand no attribution and they delight in the talents of their mentees in their brightest form. That is true star quality.

And it’s spiritual. It is the unheard song of the soul—the divine within, the spark of the creator, the holy chalice that is the human. It is the grail quest of the individual human—to touch the brilliance inside and share it unconditionally with the world. Michael’s message was: ‘be all you are capable of being and do it in your own way and as only you can; be the best at what you do, hone your craft and perfect it. Then gift it to the world.’ He coached and groomed everyone he worked with to “bring it!”

Michael chose to hang with star quality people capable of showing attention to detail, who admired quality, who exercised discretion and restraint, who were loyal, who gave all for all, and those who understood that by standing with Michael, they were standing with their best effort. When people gave him their best he asked for more. And then more.

Should these standards also apply also to those who consider themselves his fans? Well, if you’re going to stand with Michael, you know what is expected. And if you are going to represent Michael, then there are certain standards that apply. And restraint until all the facts are known, is one of those standards—the moccasin test, if you will. Have you walked in those moccasins? Or at least imagined yourself in them?

It is important to know who you are and what you stand for. That is the beginning. Greek philosopher Socrates said “Know thyself.” The Oracle at Delphi said something similar so this is not a new concept. The new physics and quantum theory is teaching us that we are, and reality is, what we believe. So knowing who you are, what you believe, and what meaning you find in your life is what greatly impacts the world and contributes to the world reality. Everything is a spectrum—sound, light, consciousness. At the extremes, the world and humanity: soars on one end and crashes and burns on the other. 

Who is piloting the world? Who IS the pilot?

You are here because you have some kind of relationship to “Michael Jackson.” The relationship you have with Michael Jackson comes from how you define yourself because what you see in Michael is a resonance of what lives inside you. The great teachers use parable when they inhabit a body and walk around in the world of matter. In other words, they speak in many layers of meaning.

What you focus on becomes who you are, what choices you make and how you walk in the world of matter. Who you are being at any given moment is the gift that you bring to the world. Is your gift kind? Does it hurt or harm those around you? Or does it support and lift up? Are there conditions or requirements for your fellow human to gain your love? Or do you give it unconditionally? Do you have that down or does that need some work? Do you know that the world is all magnetics and that what you give out is what comes back to you? Have you asked “What more can I give?”

Michael Jackson fans have been through a lot. I know, because I have been there with them from the beginning of this adventure. It has not been easy. In fact, it is arduous and exhausting. There are some whose confusion about what was happening threatened to overtake their sanity. The grief was deep, the anguish exquisite. And infinitely puzzling.

What happened was a mass spiritual emergency followed by an awakening. It was Michael’s promise and his greatest gift to the world—the tender compassionate and loving human being emerges after heartbreak. The Phoenix arises from ashes, not from serenity. To step into the fire is what tempers a human being. The Bible calls it the “refiner’s fire.” Mystics call it “the dark night of the soul.” Shamans call it “Initiation” and “dismemberment.” In magic circles it is “alchemy.” In folklore it is the hero’s journey.  “Crucible” is another word that describes it. And all those T-words-“ transition”,” transformation,” “ transfiguration.”

It is not easy to stand in there—in the fire of the crucible. It  means certain death to the ego. It means a birth process with all the pains of labor and birthing– to become a new you. It’s dark in there. Those who underwent that process and understood or chose vindication work suffered even more. It was and is never-ending because of the mythology that surrounds him—both negative and positive. Fans have been subjected to and had to witness the most vicious language, salacious untrue rumors, vile descriptions, contemptuous lies, constant attacks on character, abusive mocking, racially charged demonstrations of bullying this world has ever seen and perpetrated on someone whose heart they know and admire for his humanitarianism and philanthropy. And they are witness to what was done to him by a world steeped in cynicism, racism, homophobia, fear…

Michael Jackson challenged and rattled to the bone. He excavated people’s deepest fears. And he did it deliberately. Those who do that kind of work on this planet are usually ridiculed and vilified by their own kind. That’s not a new story. And fans recognize Michael’s dedication to social issues of the world: children’s welfare, his call to others to join in the stewardship of humans on this planet. Michael’s message was a consistent one of love and making the world a better place: through his work: music, voice, lyrics, dance, choreography, costuming, cinematography, musicality, sonography, film and personal attention to so many individuals over his lifetime…

He rattled cages as well as bones. He called out the world for its shadow and apathy. Michael Jackson was more worried about the next world than this one. The next one we invented could be better and he dared to ask us to invent it. How dare he!

It is important to see the bigger picture and recognize the archetypes of Michael Jackson—the wounded healer, fallen angel, the teacher, hero, the innocent, the wise man, trickster, shapeshifter… this is not about Michael Jackson alone—it is about the world and the world’s longing.

A sudden trauma elicits three typical responses:

That time is over. When doing the work of Michael’s legacy, it is important to understand that the FEAR and ANGER that is encountered is not “out there.” It is “in here.” All of life is comprised of movement and energy and emotions are no different. 

All matter is moving, all matter is at its core, energy. Emotions are energy. Those energies can be used to create. And they create harm or healing. Love or fear. And they lead to action– life affirming action or death dealing action. What is life affirming nourishes life and the human being. Death dealing behavior bullies, diminishes, attacks, destroys.

One can use fear or anger to impact for change or be consumed by it and succumb to cynicism– a world gone dark and unaware. Emotions are normal. Emotions are not wrong. How the emotions are used can be wrong because they can contribute like fertilizer to the fear and anger that already lives in the world or they can be used for healing. The time of the initial response of frozen shock and disbelief at his death is over.

The initial stages of grief are past. Anger is a natural part of grief but many were misguided in how their anger manifested—lashing out in all directions without awareness and without a strategy. It literally is “mindless.” It’s called flailing. A drowning person flails. In their panic, they flail and in their mindless panic, can lose their lives or take down with them, the rescuer person who’s trying to save them.

Many who began to channel their anger into vindication work found that the work of defending him was arduous, difficult and frought with unavoidable vitriolic anger because of the diametric contrast between “the fable that is Michael Jackson” and “Michael Jackson, the legend, the man, the legacy” as his fans, colleagues, acquaintances and family know him. The anger stems from the injustices in the treatment of this man. So many lashed out in anger while doing vindication. Some inadvertantly added to the problem and only reinforced the meme while giving themselves and other fans a bad reputation. While that behavior is understandable, an attack strategy does not make people listen (or even want to listen) and it does not win hearts.

And that’s the goal, isn’t it? To call people to their own hearts? Isn’t that what LOVE is? Isn’t that what it does?

There is an ancient story about a spiritual man who dared to challenge the culture of his own time and its ecosystem. There came seven avengers to silence him and end the audacious daring of this contemporary messenger and to dispatch him. Seven swords struck him at the same time cutting off body parts and slashing open his belly. As he lay on the ground bleeding and dying, he began to bequeath his belongings to his attackers, one by one– until all seven were benefactors of the generous heart of this dying man. They were so moved hearing his incredulous murmurings gifting his attackers and saw the magnitude of his heart, that they rushed him to a healer and saved his life. They became not just believers but protectors.

Cynical minds will see insanity; cynical minds will think the man foolhardy but his blanket compassion for all people, including his enemies, saved his life.

Michael Jackson, the most famous man on the planet showed that same kind of compassion while he championed endless causes. The most famous man on earth can be seen on a stage of thousands or on his knees with sick children. His talent from the time he was a child was so unusual and his rise to stardom so meteoric, that it gained a lot of attention. The world still wonders at the global popularity of this man and many still do not understand it, or him. Many remember only the media caricature. They need educating. How that is done leaves a lasting impression, a kind of “taste in the mouth.” The impression the messenger makes colors the message and how it is received.

Fans are the ones left behind to explain Michael to the world.

There are choices: 

1. Wonder at the target Michael became and spend time in anger and retaliation, lashing out at all within reach (fight)
2. Leave the MJ community behind. Close the computer, leave the forums, lick your wounds and carry on in a world that remains the way it was/is. (flee)
3. Stay mired in the anger, grief, sorrow and keep crying the tears, renting the cloth on your chest and wailing about the atrocity. (freeze)

Is there a 4th choice?

How about vowing to change the world? Not just curse it, blame it and wail about the carnage of Michael’s life, but actually embody the lesson and teach the world the lesson that can be gained from what happened. How about focusing on being the legacy as he requested by embodying the message, carrying it forward while working to live your best spiritual life? And while working on yourself, continuing the task of setting the record straight?

While none of us are likely to reach the stage of enlightenment of the spiritual man in the story, we are charged with the task to at the least begin the journey or continue the one we’re on. This is a wake up call. The time is now. The choice is here.

Without embodying the message, you are only doing the legacy lip service. Without being the legacy, Michael’s legacy and his life’s work fueled by his genius and creative imagination, counts for nothing but simple and fleeting entertainment. If you are not being the change, Michael’s dream goes unrealized and the world doesn’t change. If you are not talking the talk, walking the walk, dancing the dream, the dream does not come true. Get the picture? Good, let’s dance?

So.. if Michael himself were to put all his fans on stage (because this IS it) and took on the task of choosing his legacy team from all the contestants, what would Michael look for in a legacy “dancer?” If you were in the running to hang out with Michael the man in order to deliver his message, what kind of person would you have to be?

For example, would Michael approve of or tolerate rudeness, abusive language, or bullying? Fans know the answer to that. Michael Jackson performed the night before the most visible act of bullying in the U.S. occurred. He was in New York the morning of Nine Eleven. He was the most bullied man on earth. Do you think he approved of tactics that bully people?

 True ambassadors of Michael Jackson and his legacy would conduct themselves with diplomacy, class, savvy and dignity.

 Anything less would not represent Jackson. Michael would ask fans to put forth their best self.  And then he would ask for more. He would ask that those who claim to represent him—come from the heart and be wise. He would ask for conduct of class and dignity at all times. He would ask that you leave your ego at the door. For that is what a spiritually advanced person does.

Some of Michael’s ambassadors have already been chosen and others may be on the way or being prepared quietly in their hearts. They know who they are. Or they sense it. Michael may not be here to coach and to coax them and his fans and followers but he left behind a blueprint for the life of spiritual mastery…

That blueprint is about to appear here. If you feel the truth of that, sense the excitement, then let people know and get yourself in order for it. Get prepared. Do the assignment. We’ll leave the light on for you.



  1. Dalia said . . .

    “True ambassadors of Michael Jackson and his legacy would conduct themselves with diplomacy, class, savvy and dignity. Anything less would not represent Jackson.” How wrong some fans we are when we attack and hate those who have a different opinion from ours.

    Many times the haters are people who do not know Michael and instead of giving them the right information, to speak with love and forgiveness for their mistakes, we attack. We appear in front of everyone as agitators, as aggressive people and that’s not Michael. So we just dirtied his image and unfortunately this is very common. I am trying to be the kind of person Michael would be proud of. Thanks Barbara for this great article.

    Posted October 12, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink
  2. Anonymous said . . .

    Hi there, and thank you for this excellent website!

    I was really only a casual fan of Michael Jackson before (I really liked his music), but your website’s taught me a great deal about who he really was and what he was trying to offer the world.

    Anyway, on my part, I’ll try to become more of a Michael fan than I already am so I can “be the legacy” as well.

    I’m starting by reading a recently-released biography called “You Are Not Alone: Through a Brother’s Eyes” published by Jermaine Jackson. Have you read it yet?

    Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  3. Lynaire Williams said . . .

    Dear Barbara,
    Thank you once again for your continuing mentoring on Innermichael,despite the hardship and endless work we all know you face.
    At this moment I am buzzing (literally) I sense my revitalisation steaming, full speed ahead, just around the corner.
    Namaste to All,

    Posted October 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
  4. Janet - UK said . . .

    These tasks for life are not easy, I struggle with them (and myself quite a lot at times).

    I was so lucky to be at the 02 in London last night to witness The Immortal World Tour. The more you see into the interpretation of Michaels works through words and dance the more you see the message, and for some of us I don’t think we really got it until after 2009. Looking at the audience and their wide age range I was struck by the fact that no amount of ‘mud slinging’ can diminish his appeal and that gave me a sense of deep joy. The artists perfoming were stunningly talented, Michael would have been so proud of them.

    In the second half of the show the capacity audience of 20,000 people all of a sudden got to their feet at the same time and thats where we stayed until the final song. I went to see the show with a friend who thought it was brilliant but she has never been a huge MJ ‘fan’ as such. She asked me some questions about what happened in MJ’s life and I tried to answer them as best I could and then she kept saying: “Why did everyone stand up at the same time? How did they know to stand up all at the same time?”

    Well, I wasn’t quite sure how to answer that but I guess once you stand up there are maybe one or two ‘someones’ who are not about to let you sit down again until the show’s over.

    Posted October 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink
  5. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    “Inner Michael” is a metaphor. It has been from the beginning. Some “get it” and some don’t. One person even said it was a bit arrogant for me to presume to know the “inner Michael.” IT’S A METAPHOR silly! Geez. “Inner Michael” is something Michael pointed to his whole life and in all his work. Many. many fans “got it,” understand his message, and if they grasp what is at stake, were schooled to be his legacy– not for Michael but for the world.

    And thanks for the heads up. Addressing detractors will serve no purpose.Those who have eyes to see will. There will always be cynical people out there who cannot read and who prefer to hang onto an old tired and untrue meme created by a thorough and effective indoctrination that permeated a cultue and provided an effective scapegoat. Those you cite are “blissfully unaware” or maybe not? People don’t like being lied to but they like it pointed out even less. Sometimes they even kill the messenger. Or at the very least- ridicule them.

    It’s easier to perpetuate the denial than to consider that quite likely a very serious mistake was made that cost not just one human, but humanity. How unfortunate. I have read Jermaine’s book. It seems a sincere attempt to pay homage to a beloved brother. A family matrix is complex and in large families can be convoluted and ever-shifting. Jermaine and Michael were very close when they were young. It must be especially painful in light of their complex relationship and the many twists it took over the years; I believe Jermaine was sincere and missed his brother and “the things that were” or “could have been” with an exquisite pain.

    I think there is no “working to be a better fan.” The more you know about the real man and not the caricature, the more there is to admire. Sobering, hmmm? It is not Michael that is so important (he even said that himself;) it’s what he stood for and what he attempted to do with his life, and what he tried to awaken people to. He, himself had that awareness. Keep shining. ~B

    I guess there are worse things than being labeled a Michael Jackson apologist although that’s not what “Inner Michael” is– but as I said a metaphor for something Jackson tried to point us to it his whole life. I think it’s more accurate to call me an apologist for the human race. Enough said.

    Posted October 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  6. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I was impressed with most of the Immortal show but some parts made me cringe. I was going to write about it but had second thoughts. I think it’s the kind of thing everyone has to feel and assimilate for themselves. I am glad you got a chance to see it.

    Yes, the audience seems to “catch the spirit” and what you witnessed was a kind of critical mass– everyone reaching an emotional crescendo at the same time. I saw that same “standing ovation” and I upon leaving, saw many puzzled looks and knitted brows. I thought that was an entirely appropriate reaction. I wonder how many were moved to take another look at Jackson and his work? Brilliant!

    Posted October 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink
  7. gertrude said . . .

    I think Michael IS still here, coaching and coaxing – through those who choose to become his legacy. When enough of us have become his legacy, we will reach critical mass and there WILL BE a magnificent cataclysmic reversal from the downward path to toward the Light for all here. I absolutely believe that.

    I think what you have written here is so wonderful Rev. B. Thank-you for crystalizing what needs be. That question: “If you were in the running to hang out with Michael the man in order to deliver his message, what kind of person would you have to be?” is so perfectly crytalizing. And all of us who know the true Michael know the answer to it.

    Therefore when vindicating Michael, we must stop, and consider WHO indeed we are representing with our answers to the ongoing assaults againt him, and what response would make him proud, before formulating it. Just for openers of course. I can’t wait for your next entry.

    Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:35 am | Permalink
  8. Katie Weisz said . . .

    Dear Barbara,

    I chose to email the editor of Vanity Fair magazine regarding this month’s issue about the Jackson Fued. I wrote that for a reputable publication they took the route of tabloid journalism. What appalled me the most, Barbara, was that the article began with the description of MJ in death “emaciated, BALD, gray”. I wrote the editor how revolted I was because even in death MJ was being shredded and his dignity taken. That the magazine was unkind to him in life and now in death….

    We all know how concious MJ was of his physical image and it was sooo unnecessary for them to put that in the article. I also quoted to the editor a lyric from MJ’s song Tabloid Junkie:

    “It’s slander you say it’s not a sword
    But with your pen you torture men
    You’d crucify the Lord…”

    “Just because you read it in a magazine
    Or see it on the TV screen
    Don’t make it factual….”

    I know he read it because I received in my email a “READ” confirmation. I don’t know if it helped, but I had to write. It was respectful but I made my point clear.

    That is what every MJ fan should do. Write their newspapers, and the tabloids that we will not take it anymore if MJ or his children are being targeted with rumours, lies or innuendos. Not just about MJ but other celebrities who are being disrespected. Quite frankly, I don’t think it will help.

    In fact, good old Nancy Grace actually had the audacity to have on her program (via phone) one of the editors of the National Enquirer giving HIS point of view about the woman who is accused of killing her nephew (the very obese woman). Excuse me, the NATIONAL ENQUIRER AS A SOURCE?? This is what journalism has come to, Barbara.

    Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  9. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Vanity Fair accepts and publishes material from Maureen Orth. More doesn’t need to be said.

    The estate and Janet have both found it necessary to make statements and seek retractions from the publication. Vanity Fair has not been credible for a long time. Scandal and sensationalism sells. Add to that the tendency to stand behind the First Amendment (in America) in order to justify publishing tabloidesque trashy copy and you have a swamp instead of journalism.

    You are to be commended for keeping civil in dealing with those who peddle shadow for a living. It’s not easy to do. You impressed at least one person who can never quite go back to that same comfortable ignorance. The seed of awareness once planted can’t NOT grow. While the vibe may not change now, the future will find this swamp unnavigable. And this publication will fail in the light of human dignity. Critical mass will take care of it. Meanwhile, you have just stirred in one more glimmer of light into the swamp of darkness. Get it?

    If is NOT true however, that writing to the editors and publishers (and sponsors and boards of directors if not heard the first time) is ineffective. One of the reasons the narrative surrounding Jackson has changed since his death is the vindication work being done behind the scenes by fans and advocates. The scope of the deception and its impact has not been realized yet by the general public. But when it is, the outcry will be loud and incisive.

    In the case of Murdoch hacking into people’s private phone messages, the backlash was swrift and furious. The cries of “foul” multiplied by 10,000 in the space of an hour in the Discovery mock autopsy program protest. Headlines featuring “Jacko,” a racist term have been taken down or changed. Media reform has gained momentum as evidenced by actual conferences planned to address contemporaty issues. Reporters like Amber Lyon who outed CNN for nationalist propaganda for pay are in the news. She is gaining momentum in her fight to re-establish truth in journalism. “Americans Who Tell the Truth” has become a travelling art exhibit. Malala, the education freedom fighter girl from Afganistan who was shot in the head when the Taliban attempted to silence her, has glavanized the whole world while it, together, prays for her recovery. The policial campaigns in the U.S. are making people aware of the prevalence of lies that roll off the tongue so easily, and they are getting tired of being cynically manipulated and lied to. Katie Couric just did a show on the “mean girl” syndrome (that includes men.) So- there are signs that people everywhere are tiring of deception. The time is coming…

    The world is experiencing the “holy unrest” we spoke about here. People are tiring of the darkness and swimming in a swamp. So, keep doing what you are doing. Keep the pressure on– in a respectful but firm way. There will come a time, critical mass or tipping point when the old ways simply don’t work anymore. Don’t lament that the change is not here yet… it’s on its way. Celebrate instead that you are the change. So keep busy and keep shining. ~B

    Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
  10. Katie Weisz said . . .

    Thank you.

    Also, I want to add that I feel angry that MTV, VH1,BET (Black Entertainment Network) are not showing any of MJ short films or airing his music. The poor excuse of a tribute they did after MJ passed included the “2005 trial” and his “troubled life”. BET??? After all the work Michael did with the NAACP and BET? How soon they forget. MJ’s music deserves to be aired and brought to the next generation. His music is as relevant and exciting today as it was 20 or 30 years ago. The same cannot be said of Elvis or even the Beatles. MJ’s music, the beat i.e.Money, Cheater, Streetwalker, Blood on the Dance Floor, BAD, Dangerous, etc.

    How do I approach this? I don’t want his music to ever be forgotten. He gave so much to the world. Today’s artists are so mediocre and there is no passion behind the music. The lyrics are so trivial and uninspiring yet today’s generation should hear Michael’s inspirational music (God his ballads are sublime).

    What would you suggest, if anything, Barbara? I live in NYC.
    I would love your continued interpretations of Michael’s short films such as Smooth Criminal, etc.
    Thank you.

    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  11. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I was in the super market a day ago and stopped in my tracks hearing that signature growl and was amazed to hear “Man in the Mirror” on the speaker system. That is not the first time I have heard Jackson in a public place. And every year the YMCA here does “Thriller” dance for “Thrill the World.” I saw Cirque du Soleil’s “Immortal” that has crossed the continent and now is in Britain. The “Michael Jackson Experience” has introduced new people to his music, Pepsi has released a memorial can, BAD 25 made the top of the charts, and universities are featuring courses based on Michael’s work. More and more people are recognizing his relevance.

    Michael’s music will never die. A new generation was introduced to his music when he died and groups and prisoners perform flash mobs to Michael’s music. And the little kids are getting into the act. Maybe you haven’t seen this:
    A Life Celebrated, A King Remembered from Walking Moon Studios on Vimeo.

    So MTV, BET and VH1 are a minority. And there are people who might disagree wtih you and assert the Beatles and Elvis’ work is timeless as well. The Beatles anthems are everywhere and performed by symphonies now.

    If you think this issue is important, then perhaps a campaign to write to those venues might work providing it’s respectful. Petitions are not useful sometimes because people can resent feeling coerced. Petitions should be used sparingly and when used should be written and proofread by a professional in the public relations field.

    But if you seriously mean this, brainstorm with other fans for how to encourage these venues and come up with a proposal. Incorporate into your proposal how they will benefit from playing MJ’s videos. (The old WIFM? Or: ‘What’s in it for me?’) Maybe it’s a memorial for MJ or black performers, a new version of “Soul Train” or a nostalgia show or segment where they can make money or beat the competition. People listen when you point out a benefit: money, social capital, exposure, PR, a larger constituency, improved safety, more market share. etc. And when you come up with it– send the proposal to the estate or to one of the channels. When you present a win/win, or an advantage over competitors, people listen. And they like it even more when you allow them to believe it was their own genius that created something- so don’t be tied to getting credit for something you created. Sometimes you have to realize that getting something done is more important than getting credit for it. Often more gets done if you reliquish the need for recognition.

    Going after something with a strategy, having worked out the kinks or how to handle objections or opposition, and illustrating the advantages is better than going in flailing in every direction and looking unglued in the process. (If anyone out there takes this on, be sure to journal the method and results and let us know.)

    Thanks for letting me know you enjoy the deconstruction of Michael’s short films. That work is currently ongoing for me and you will be seeing more in the future. So stay tuned. ~B

    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  12. Poca said . . .

    Barbara, thank you for your wonderful insight on Michael. After the song, “abortion papers” was released there’s been a lot of comments whether Michael was pro life or pro choice. I personally think he was since he loved children so much, but just wanted to get your feedback on this. I know it’s controversial especially with the election coming up and why it was never released is another mystery. The good thing that I see coming out of this song is that people are appreciating Michael’s music and seeing how a great song writer he was. I also like the fact that he used biblical words to state his opinion on such a controversial topic. Finally, I noticed that many Christians and Catholics who never wrote about Michael are now using this song as a pro life messaged. This just proofs that his legacy is growing and being recognized. Even in death people are still talking about him.

    Posted November 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  13. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Pro-life? Or pro-choice? Michael was pro-children and that is all we need to know. That sentiment and his humanitarian actions stand on their own. He also advocated that the adults all over the whole world become stewards for all the earth’s children. Michael championed the causes of children all over the world. Michael was pro-children, pro-world and pro-humanity.

    I don’t know anyone who is pro-abortion. I worked in reproductive health for a couple of years. As a statewide nurse-educator I worked with the nurses at Planned Parenthood and they used to come into my office in tears because yet another young woman was going to get an abortion because she failed to use birth control. The nurses were especially devastated when it was the third or fourth abortion for the same woman who, despite all their efforts and education, used abortion as her method of birth control. So, I don’t know anyone who is pro-abortion; Planned Parenthood is not pro-abortion.

    Abortion is a very difficult decision for most women unless they are very young and flippant about their condition and that is usually a bravado front that covers terror underneath. Most often a sense of shame and sadness is what drives the decision to make that trip to the clinic. Nobody celebrates an abortion! Nobody.

    Patriarchy believes that men have power over women and that women are possessions or chattel. That looks an awful lot like pimping to me– or slavery– and is just plain wrong. If you think women have freedom in this world, watch the PBS documentaries series “Half the Sky.” Women have gotten a bad rap ever since Eve who was blamed for temping a man who supposedly couldn’t control himself. Really? Exactly who is responsible for a man’s urges and the decision whether or not to act on them. Don’t forget women are still forced to cover themselves because they are still blamed for men who supposedly can’t control their own urges; in Africa they are still performing female circumcisions mutilating women’s genetalia; in America and other supposedly “civilized” nations, victims of rape are blamed and in third world countries these women are killed by their own male relatives because a “deflowered” woman is an embarrassement to family. These issues and abortion are all a part of the spectrum of dominance by men and abuse of women. Women’s bodies are soverign and belong only to the person lliving inside them. Women’s bodies don’t belong to others nor are thay a baby factory for society. A woman’s reproductive health doesn’t belong in the public square- it is a private matter between the woman, her mind and conscience, and her doctor.

    The other side of this debate about when life begins is when does it end? You may remember a woman named “Karen Ann Quinlan” here in America who lived in a persistent vegitative state for years with no hope of recovery and when her family decided to let her die peacfully by withdrawing all life support, complete strangers stepped in and went to court to get an injunction to stop the family from carrying out their interpretation of Karen’s wishes. I can’t begin to imagine what the family in that case endured with death threats and their private lives playing out in a very public way.

    So it seems that Michael was right. As an advocate for children and for a world that– if it is going to bring children in, should become stewards of their care. He truly believed and lived “it takes a village to raise a child”– that village being the world and all the adults in it. He saved countless African children that the world forgot and improved the conditions of children around the globe.

    Does anyone miss the irony and hypocrisy in a Catholic Church using “Abortion Papers” as an anti-abortion crusade when they deliberately and for decades, covered up pedophilia by priests who regularly harmed thousands of children? And I wonder how many “good Catholics” or “good Christians” joined the cacophany of voices ridiculing and calling Michael vile names and assuming him guilty when the evidence pointed toward innocence and the court finally proved it?

    Does the irony escape anyone that those who mocked Michael for his views about children and cynically mocked him for his many anthems that encourage human compassion, unity and stewardship for people and the planet, are now using him as a champion for human rights? What about his human rights? His right to equality as a black man; to “innocent until proven guilty;” to have children by whatever leagal means he chose; his right to dignity; his right to fair and lawful treatment by the criminal justice system; his right to be free from illegal harassment; his right to free speach; his right to safety and security; his right to be treated equally under the law; his constituional rights to be free from search and seizure without probable cause; his right to soverignty as a human being; his right privacy; his right death with dignity? Where were all the good Catholics and Christians then?

    Michael told his collaborators that he held onto the song because he knew it would hurt young women who had already had abortions. He said he knew he would have to be careful with it. He agonized over it a long time because he didn’t want to condemn those young women who already chose a soul-wrenching decision to have an abortion. Apparently and never found the right time or means to release it. Michael couldn’t do anything right, so if he had released it the cynical would have said he was attempting to elevate his reputation or some other such ridiculous claim. They would have found a way to spin it to make him look “wacko.”

    So what do I think of them “using the song?” I think it’s more evidence of a world that continues to apply sound bites as solutions to deep and serious moral issues, continues to divide and continues to snooze.

    Posted November 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  14. Poca said . . .

    Your last statement is so true. The bible states if we love God, we must love our brother. If you say you hate your brother, or your neighbor but love God, you are a liar. Michael always said to be like Jesus and loving like Jesus. He loved God and he expressed it by saying, “I love you” to everyone, including strangers. He encourage people to find their God giving talents. He loved everyone, including his enemies and he never liked to speak ill of anyone. He saw God in every child’s face. To me, Michael was a great teacher and a True Christian. Where were all of the good Christians or Catholics when a brother needed some help? I personally think there were some, but they were just afraid to speak up. We must learn to speak up when we see our brothers and sisters in pain and we must love them. When we do, that’s when we know we truly love God.

    Posted November 5, 2012 at 2:48 am | Permalink
  15. Kim said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara.

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:06 am | Permalink
  16. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    My pleasure. ~B

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink
  17. judi said . . .

    Is the ‘abortion papers’ a song by Michael, where can it be heard? Once again thank you Rev. B for your insight and mentoring.

    Posted November 24, 2012 at 5:23 am | Permalink
  18. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Yes J, “Abortion Papers” is a song that Michael Jackson wrote in the 1980s which was never released because Michael struggled with how it might be interpreted as condemning some women for their choices. Michael’ s philosophy was that everyone should love everyone and he did not want to exclude those who had already ended a pregnancy in abortion. He took seriously his Christian principles from his upbringing as a Jehovah Witness. The lyrics and the fact that it was even written speaks to his views on abortion. He does use the lyric “against the word of God.” The song appears on the BAD 25 album. You can search online to hear it. But be prepared to meet some twisted comments about his “relationship with children” from those who have read too many tabloid stories and who don’t bother to fact check or question the motives of tabloid journalists. Some good “Christian” minds have him singing “Abortion Papers” in a place hot and south. So brace yourself.

    Posted November 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

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