Inner Michael » Birthday 60 August 29, 2018

Birthday 60 August 29, 2018

It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that Michael Jackson would have been 60 years old today. What would he have looked like? Would the comeback have relieved him of some worry and stress? Would finding out how faithful the fans were and still are, have warmed his heart? Made him feel welcome in the world again? “This Is It” seemed destined for greatness. Would that have made a difference in his life? Would he have cheered up and come out of his protective shell?

  • Would his health have improved? Would he have gained some weight instead of being dangerously thin? Would he have become the filmmaker and movie director and producer he dreamed of being? Would a Blockbuster film now be part of the legacy? Would more acting? Speaking of the legacy, there were celebrations today to mark the icon’s would-be 60th year:
  • The estate held a Diamond Anniversary Party at the Daylight Beach Club
    at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
  • The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame hosted a party on its plaza
  • A mural in Hamburg, Germany was dedicated to Michael.
  • Jackson-inspired jeweled crown sculpture appeared in London’s Southbank.
  • Jackson’s children and brothers made appearances today in Las Vegas.
  • Michael received the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Legacy Award and was accepted by his children on behalf of their father.
  • Janet Jackson did her own tribute to her late brother.
  • And there’s this…

Listening to your music
Missing you
Can’t believe we’re not on the same planet any more as we always have been since I was a little girl
Heart ache
Angry at what they did to you
Fighting for justice
A heavy heart
Your music takes me back and lands me right where I am at the same time
There will never be anyone like you
It will never come back
It will never be the same
From now on always missing you
Listening to your music….
Happy birthday, Michael ❤

(c) 2018 Jolanda Van Der Grift

A Word about Fans and Entitlement:

Someone sent Prince Jackson this message:

“It’s your dad’s birth day. Expecting a post from you for him.”

This was Prince’s response:

“If you expect anything from me you will get nothing. I see a plethora of ignorant messages like this on a daily basis. This is my account that is public to everyone and I will use it as I see fit. If you’d like to see birthdays posts for my dad, look at what I’m tagged in. I chose to honor him in a different, intimate, and personal way. Also future ignorance like this will be posted and blocked. So think before you speak.” Many comments in support of Prince followed his message.

Let’s stop and think for a moment:

Imagine: you’re the kid of a giant mega-star who was the world’s most polarizing figure– beloved by millions and vilified by a similar faction. You know your father’s heart because you grew up with him and absorbed his teachings of compassion and care. You still sting with the loss of your closest human companion who was father, mother, teacher, friend, life navigation guide…

You learn of his monumental achievements and how well known he was around the world. You marvel at how this could have happened to someone who was your parent. You’ve also heard or read the stories about what some people accused him of and thought of him. You know that some of those people formed those opinions a decade or more ago and they still cling to their convictions. You know that if they could know the truth of who your father was, their convictions would be overturned. But you can’t reach those people; they will always be sour and toxic to your father’s memory. Some couldn’t bear to know that were wrong and they bullied an innocent man. There are other people out there who believe the stories simply because of their prominence and repetition in the media or because their personality gravitates toward the shadow side of human nature. You feel sorry for them because they have been swayed by someone else’s opinion and obviously don’t or can’t think for themselves. They deserve your pity but they will never deserve your time or attention.

You understand the power of media, photography, film, words… and you know that unscrupulous people only out to make a fortune off the backs of others– conscripting famous people and cultivating salacious and sensational stories– because they learned long ago that people have a bright side and a shadow side and the shadow, when driven by envy, loves to watch the rich and privileged topple from their lofty places. You know that this practice became an industry making billions off human misery. And you know your father was a target of the tabloid industry only to use him for money to fill the coffers and pockets of the unscrupulous. And you know that it almost killed your father, that it did kill him emotionally at times and that it was a factor in his early and premature death.

And you completely understand what others’ demands– for good or evil can do to a sensitive soul. You watched your father maybe unaware of what is was, but you knew deep down that something was terrible wrong and was causing him pain.

And then there are the fans. You are grateful that your father had so many fans because the fans made him a star and were always there for him in the depths of the despair and darkness that visited his life. But  you also know that unthinking fans who couldn’t contain their emotions or their excitement and who lost their common sense or restraint– you know they hunted, haunted, crowded, and attempted to consume him in some selfish way. (Yes, consume~ author’s note.)

You understand by now or will come to understand that when you are in the public eye, you are interesting to people whose lives appear dull by comparison. When you are a public figure, you are automatically subject to the opinions of other people, some of which are informed by jealousy or envy. They may feel inadequate by comparison so they may disrespect you to make themselves feel better. They don’t know that’s their own shadow or that projecting it onto others creates the illusion that they are absolved of their own shadow characteristics. They are delusional. It’s a desperate delusion designed to save them from their own fear. You can pity them but you can’t save them. Don’t try. Fame creates the illusion of familiarity. People think they are familiar, they are friends or even family when your image appears in their living rooms or in their magazines or computers. They hold the illusion that they somehow know you personally. They will act and speak out of ignorance because they don’t know what they don’t know– and that’s the definition of ignorance.  Although they may think they knew/know your father, they will never know him the way you did. It’s delusional to think so. You’re not their friend and allowing the delusion or ignorance to continue is not an act of kindness; it keeps people ignorant and it keeps them projecting onto other people instead of self-reflecting, growing and thoughtfully engineering their own lives. Forgive them privately but publicly hold up a mirror.

Those are the same people who acted immaturely or impulsively with your father– instead of politely waiting to be invited into his life, by going to concerts and being respectful in his presence, some of them pushed their way in uninvited (in large crowds, dangerous) while demanding to be acknowledged.

And there are the sycophants– people admittedly one time fans of Michael Jackson who actually were invited into his life and who, at some point or in some way, overstepped his boundaries– financially, emotionally, creatively– as a friend, employee, acquaintance, lover, collaborator… and it ended badly and those who once loved your father turned on him out of spite, envy, greed or revenge. And it continues yet today…

As his child, you have made note of all this. As a child you were helpless to change any of it and as an adult all you can do now is process, grieve and resolve for yourself all the feelings you have about how your father had to compartmentalize his life, how he lived his whole life in a fishbowl with the whole world watching and having an opinion- he’s right, he’s wrong, he’s spoiled, he’a hero, he’s a criminal, he’s an angel, he’s evil, he’s a genius, and the most toxic of all “he belongs to me” and therefore “he owes me.”

By now, having grown up in a famous family, you know the advantages and the dangers of your “audience” whoever that may be. You understand that because your face is known and your family is considered American Music Royalty, you will forever be in the spotlight yourself. You know now that your father hid your face, when you were little, for good reason.

You know the pitfalls of fame and fortune for you’ve been forced by your life’s circumstances to study it. While you likely wouldn’t change it, you understand well, that you did not choose it. Your father knew mostly how to navigate such a life but sometimes lacked the energy, savvy or political prowess to counter all the negativity. He was a sensitive soul whose sensibilities were easily shaken You are his DNA; you are his heart forever walking around outside his body.

Upon reflecting on all of this… in addition to the worldwide acclaim which makes you proud with admiration and love for the human he was, for his god-given talent (and yours) and how he used it, you know you can never duplicate and can only hope to live up to– who your father was in his life in addition to who he was to you. And accompanying all that, there is also a startling, sad conclusion: your father’s life was never his own.

Your father’s life was never his own.

As Michael Jackson’s child, all of this informs your life. You have to live it your way. You don’t have to live it for the tabloids, although they are likely to exploit you too. You don’t have to live it for your father’s fans, although they may want you to.

Like it or not, your father called upon his fans to be his legacy. He also held up a mirror to the world. Some of them see that; some don’t. No, it isn’t your job to remind them but it may be your fate.

Ignorance can be overcome. It is overcome by empathy, compassion and by seeking information and knowledge.  Are MJ Fans Being The Legacy

Yoda once said “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.'” He might have said “Do it your way, or do not. There is no lie.


  1. Roger Wauters said . . .

    Great compilation, some I’ve already seen, others not. This captures the true Legacy of Michael J Jackson the King Of Pop- pretty good 🙂

    Posted August 30, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Thanks Roger. It’s not a compilation though. Not sure where you would have seen it? It’s all original content- one author.

    Posted August 31, 2018 at 1:53 am | Permalink
  3. Lynaire Williams said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Kaufmann for the original portrait you have painted for us. Prince’s statement was perfectly voiced and deserving of a reflective and thoughtful answer from you.

    Michael 60 ? No. Cannot imagine that. But it would have so much nicer if he had the chance to ease into it gracefully. He will always be my No.1 musician and has my admiration and gratitude for using his majestic soul the way he did on Earth and beyond.

    His children are often in my thoughts. I believe he is proud of their maturity and decisions in life.

    Namaste, Lynaire.

    Posted September 2, 2018 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  4. Sue Simpson said . . .

    Hi Barbara. Just a quick thanks. I didn’t think you were still posting , so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do ! Great article. There seems to be an element of the fan community who want to micro manage Michael’s children , broadcasting their opinions far and wide, on Michael’s behalf of course !! So many of them are stuck in the past , especially those who back in the day attended concerts , and managed to meet him ( through whatever means. Either pushing and shoving their way, or just being lucky). So many of them are stuck in that time-warp , never allowing Michael to age either physically or emotionally, in the ways we all do as we grow older. (Heaven forbid I should still have the same thoughts, feelings and views of life in general as I did in my 20s or even my 60s).

    As I approach old age , I wish more and more that he could have had the opportunity to choose how his later life would have panned out. Nevertheless he made a great job of his life’s work, made a great job of raising his family, and continues to be loved so much. For me that is one of the most interesting things about him You don’t have to be a fan-girl (or boy) , or any particular age to be drawn to his “specialness”. For what it’s worth I think his children are doing a great job . Perhaps that is a reflection of more modern times , that without being rude they are able to be more outspoken, something Michael would never have been allowed to be at their ages.

    Posted September 3, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  5. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I post occasionally, Sue. Thanks for your comment. It seemed important to address the dynamic between the fan community and Michael’s children. This post is an attempt to present the opportunity for people to think beyond their own egos and the concrete beliefs because they are always formed without adequate information. While we can never know the exact content in someone’s mind, we can always use our power of empathy to expand any issue beyond our own limited personal viewpoint. Stepping into someone else’s shoes is empathy, which is a muscle like any other that needs to be exercised to become strong. While this post is an attempt to create another viewpoint, it is not going to be completely accurate because all we have to understand another whom we don’t know, is our imagination. But it’s better than having no tools to imagine another’s situation. Empathy is important. It’s part of being a compassionate being.

    When it comes to any kind of privacy, it wasn’t easy being Michael and certainly not easy being his child. Michael invited and initiated relationship with his fans; his children have not; it has been thrust upon them by virtue of their name and connection to a famous father. Fans who cling too tightly to Michael’s children are not helpful; it may be an attempt to hang on to him. It’s an illusion. His children are their own people. They have enough to live with, to live up to, and to shout down without giving them yet more hurdles. While parental feelings toward them may be real, they might be dysfunctional and unwittingly based on the “tragic life” meme perpetuated by pop culture. The Jackson family has no need to claim more tragedy nor to be “saved” as more tragedy is unconsciously projected.

    Posted September 3, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  6. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Thanks Lynaire. I too would have appreciated Michael’s accumulated wisdom. I think people would have come to see a side of him unfamiliar to most. It’s sad to know he was robbed of that. And his family as well.

    As for his children, it must get old to be on the receiving end of being pushed and pulled in millions of directions by strangers. Especially when you are in your formative years and trying to find, develop and establish your own identity. I applaud their independence and understand why and when it gets defiant.

    Posted September 3, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  7. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I encourage everyone to read Raven Woods’ thoughts about Michael Jackson 60th birtday.

    Posted September 3, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

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