Inner Michael » Beloved and Not Forgotten

Beloved and Not Forgotten

I marvel at the loyalty of Michael Jackson fans. Here it is more than four years after his passing and still devotees pay their respects to him on what would have been his 55th birthday.

They go to Neverland, to the sites of statues dedicated to Jackson in cities around the world where impromptu shrines are constructed annually on June 25, the anniversary of his death and August 29, the anniversary of his birth. Now they can go to “Michael Jackson One” the Cirque du Soleil permanent show in Las Vegas, the Michael Jackson Cirque Immortal world tour, In the Studio with MJ and other workshops, Spike Lee’s party for Jackson, or visit his gravesite at Forest Lawn.

How is it that this singular figure garners such long standing loyalty and attention? You can no longer attribute it to his charisma and his rock star performances; you can’t say it’s his status as the most famous man in the world; you can’t say it’s because he’s today’s most popular musical icon. You can’t say it’s because he is a “rock star.” He isn’t. He gave his last performance.

You can’t attribute it to his “private theme park in his own back yard” or his “bizarre,” “freaky” or “outrageous” behavior blown out of proportion or fictionalized in tabloid headlines; or to attracting the curious to witness a “train wreck life” or a spontaneous and scandalous “dangle.” He’s no longer with us.

So what is it about this man? What is it about his work? His art? What is it about the skinny little moonwalker that keeps people coming back or loyal or dedicated?

What keeps fans angry and fighting for his reputation and legacy? What sends them into a Twitter frenzy? And why in the world would they still care this much? Four years after his passing!

Not even the eternal flame for Jack Kennedy got this kind of allegiance and homage.

Well, they can’t ALL be crazy. And not one of them says he’s their IDOL as has been reported. He’s not.

So what is it?

Isn’t anyone the least bit curious about this phenomenon?

Why do you suppose that is?

So while you’re pondering that… here’s what’s happened August 29 at Forest Lawn in 2013:




And here’s what happened August 29 at Voices Compassionate Education (formerly Voices Education Project) now partner of the Charter for Compassion at Compassionate Action Network.

The 3rd edition of “Words and Violence” dedicated to Michael Jackson and Lady Diana was published with a brand new section:

Introduction to the 3rd edition:

The New Section on Performing Arts as a medium for communication and education:
(All the new entries are listed at the bottom.)

And… UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Terri Scwartz calls for responsibility in making art for the public:

We think it’s our best work yet.



  1. Nina Hamilton said . . .

    Quite simply it is because Michael loved the world and everyone in it, his caring messages and powerful magnetism captured millions of hearts and minds; his humanitarian giving has changed the world. His beauty, colour and light lit up the world and no-one wants to let it go.

    All those qualities you describe, dear Barbara, changed social consciousness on many levels as he gave us all of himself, and people still recognise the indelible impact of his selflessness, and want to continue his work, his legacy. A recent interpretation expressed in a comment: ‘When he died his spirit was set free and it flew around the world and into every heart and soul’, stopped me in my tracks, and my heart and breathing for a second!

    It’s not just me that feels like this, thousands of fans have donated money to build orphanages in Liberia and Haiti, and to buy an acre of bluebell woodland in Kent, England called Michael’s Acre. A bench has been placed alongside a path under an oak tree, with a plaque inscribed: ‘In Loving Memory of Michael Jackson, beloved icon and tireless humanitarian. Michael’s Acre has been made possible by fans worldwide whose lives his gentle spirit touched. ‘What about flowering fields. Is there a time?’ – ‘Earth Song’.

    A beautiful new statue reflecting Michael’s aura and his smile, has been put up in a theme park in Rome, called ‘Magic Land’, and he was magic! I think there are twenty statues and monuments now dotted around the planet.

    Of course, none of this is new, and someone recently said Michael is omnipresent. You can find his name in novels, his songs playing on the radio in out-of-the-way side street shops. Michael is part of history, part of us, and here to stay, I’m glad to say.

    Even President Obama used the expression ‘In Plain Sight’ during his speech on Syria; quite astounding that Michael may be changing the course of history if war is avoided due to presidents/prime ministers heeding his message of love, peace, democracy and equality. This is how I feel, anyway. We’ll see.

    I’ve done my best to give reasons for Michael’s enduring ‘presence, but in the end, it may all simply boil down to L.O.V.E.

    Posted September 4, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  2. Nina Hamilton said . . .

    The questionable facts surrounding Michael’s death have had a profound affect on how people view things. Not that it takes anything away from what Michael accomplished in his life, far from it; but all that he had to overcome to still reach such an unbelievable high level, plus his powerful presence that possibly caused fear among the powers that be; all this has created a different atmosphere. The outcome of the AEG civil trial will be riveting.

    Posted September 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  3. Poca said . . .

    Michael was love and love wins at the end, no matter what the media states about him. I remember watching an interview with Katherine Jackson where she stated that after Michael passed away, Paris Jackson had so many pictures of him in her room. She was later told to take down those pictures and she did.

    However, the family members did not know that she was still suffering and mourning her dad. She then became depressed and the world knows what happened next. If you take love away, you take away Michael. When Paris was told to take away those pictures, she was removing his love since those pictures were the ones things that reminded her of him. You cannot have love without Michael. Let’s pray for Paris and to all of our beloved children that have lost their parents.

    Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:49 am | Permalink
  4. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Love has not gone anywhere, P. It lives right here, right now. Want to know how to find it? Look for it. Start looking for it and you’ll find it everywhere.We can’t assume taking down the pictures was the cause of “what happened next.” We weren’t there and there is a great deal we do not know. It’s not ours to know. Nobody took her love away. Or Michael’s love for that matter. The parent-child kind is pretty intense. Love lives forever. And it survives life.

    Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:13 am | Permalink
  5. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Indeed. I have been saying for a long time that everything is happening for a reason– in service to the greater good; the world is receiving an important lesson. Now the grand question: Will the denial stand? (More about that later.)

    Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:20 am | Permalink
  6. Poca said . . .

    I completely agree with you when you said love is everywhere. My point was that you never know when you have something good until it’s gone. When you lose someone you’ll always feel that void. We must feel that void with good things. Love is God and God is everywhere. You cannot see him because he is a spirit, but he comes to you in many different forms. I feel Michael’s love in his music, his music videos and his beautiful smile. God bless you!

    Posted September 6, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink
  7. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Hi P! Yes, there is that lesson- that if Michael Jackson was misunderstood and unappreciated, what else in our lives is going unattended, misunderstood or what other unexamined assumptions are we carrying? And yes, loss leaves a void. You have said here we “must ‘feel’ that void with good things.” I almost corrected that because I think you mean “fill that void” but I’m not so sure you weren’t right in the statement as is. We can and should do both. “Love is God and God is everywhere” is a belief system and I don’t think you meant to leave out our non-Christian friends with that languaging and by using “him” as a personal pronoun, you have not intended to leave out the cosmologists, Pantheists, or those who do not view “god” as an anthropomorphic singular ruling being.

    Jackson was not a divider but a unifier. He embraced all people around the world from all faiths and his construct of his own view of god changed over the years and grew and expanded to a cosmological space. Language is tricky isn’t it? That’s one “why” for the “>Words and Violence project. “Love” is a universal construct and contextualization that is not polarizing and nobody has ever fought a war because their opponent believed in the wrong “Love.”

    Posted September 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  8. Poca said . . .

    Hi Barbara, please forgive my writing, as English is not my primary language but i do my best to express myself. I tend to write as I think and I don’t go back to check my errors. I meant to write “fill”. When there’s a a void, we have to be careful not to fill it with worldly things like harmful food, drugs, and other destructive things. I respect all faiths because we can all learn something positive from each other. Like Michael said, “we are all one”. Thanks for your input; I learn a lot from you.

    Posted September 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  9. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I know what you meant, P- but sometimes a “Freudian slip” like feel/fill has a deeper meaning, In this case we do need to “feel the void” left by this loss. And my comment about including all those of faith or even un-faith was not a criticism, but a clarification in service to inclusion for the readers who arrive here from all parts of the world. No need to apologize for your language. Your language is your heritage so be proud of it.

    The loss that was felt when Michael Jackson left the planet was significant and worldwide. His presence anchored something here that is no longer felt but is replaced by an emptiness. Many people wrote to say that as long as Michael Jackson was alive, hope was alive. And yes, you are wise in saying we must fill the void with good things (as opposed to destructive things) but only after we allow ourselves to first feel the pain of the emptiness. Broken hearts and spiritual emergencies change people on a deep and fundamentally human level. The human being that is soul-infused is different. THAT change is what was, and is still being felt. Some are forever changed.

    Thousands entered a space of spiritual emergency upon encountering this loss. Most didn’t realize the magnitude and they were confused by the depth and the very personal element of their feelings of grief. And many of those also were propelled into a “dark night of the soul” which is a spiritual or religious experience that is described by many of the faithful in many faiths. The purpose of all of this deep spiritual stirring and the exquisite pain of a dark night of the soul is to reconfigure the entire human into a heart-centered being living a soul-centered life. Deep shattering loss brings the existential questions and Truth (capital T) to the surface and people re-examine their priorities and their lives. What is not meaningful is cut away or falls away in the wake of such stirrings. Compassion grows in fertile darkness.

    Michael Jackson gave the world so much but his greatest gift may have been his passing. Grief like that cracks a heart open so authentic compassion and love can find a nesting place. Gerri’ poem tells the Truth of this sacrifice of Love…

    Here is the title poem from Gerri’s book, Freeing the Heart


    Michael tore a hole through the
    middle of our being, left us a raw
    quivering mass of pure hurt.

    We are seized up with
    grief, deep, intense.
    Can’t stop our tears.

    This is silenced grief that has
    finally been given voice.
    And these tears, these sobs
    aren’t just for you, Michael.

    They are for all the
    across time ungrieved.


    Every 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

    Posted September 7, 2013 at 2:13 am | Permalink
  10. gertrude said . . .

    Thanks Rev B

    Posted September 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

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