Inner Michael » How Many Times Can You Kill Michael Jackson?

How Many Times Can You Kill Michael Jackson?

August 29, 2019

They killed him when he was alive. They killed him again when he died. They kill him one more time every year on his birthday. Now they’re killing him again by trying to kill his legacy.

They dig him up every year and kill him again. This year, on the 10th anniversary of his passing, they dug him up once again and lynched him.

It’s racist, you know.

Implicit or explicit, the prejudice is that black men with strength cannot be allowed to be.

They can’t be allowed to peddle cigarettes on the street (Eric Garner); they can’t be allowed to play in a park (Tamir Rice); they can’t be allowed to declare or explain their right to carry a firearm or reach for their wallet when asked to produce their license and registration (Philando Castile); they can’t be allowed to run or put their hands up during a confrontation with an officer (Michael Brown); they can’t be allowed to run away from a police officer who is being aggressive with them (Walter Scott); they can’t be allowed to be safely transported in the back of a police van (Freddie Gray)…

It’s dangerous– being while Black.

The mythology of the dangerous Black man brute or beast continues. White privilege persists.

And whatever you do, don’t be talented, a musical genius, attractive to women (especially white women,) or accumulate fame or wealth when you’re Black. It indicates you don’t know your place in society and you don’t honor or accept your deliberate exclusion from all industries except sports. Ad to that fame and wealth and you’re asking for a takedown.

The legacy of daring to be male and Black traces back through the DNA of a country’s enslavement of another race simply because of skin color. When Lincoln emancipated the American slaves in 1863, southern landowners lost their ticket to wealth and when the North won the Civil War, they lost their pride. The seething subterranean anger boiled under the surface for years until in 1915 when David Griffith released the film “Birth of a Nation.”

“Birth of a Nation” resurrected Southern pride, the antebellum South, White Supremacy and the Klu Klux Klan while depicting them as valiant savors of a South ravaged by Northern carpetbaggers and freed Blacks. Jim Crow and Black Codes kept segregation in place and were intended to vilify and marginalize Black citizens long after Lincoln freed them and beyond the 13th amendment.

No longer laws or legal, Black Codes exist still today. They just aren’t written. James Baldwin in his essay of 1985 “Here Be Dragons” wrote of Michael Jackson:

“The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.

All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair–to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on which to place the crown of Miss America.

Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated–in the main, abominably–because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.”

On the tenth anniversary of Jackson’s passing, we see the most heinous attempt yet to decontextualize, deconstruct and dismember a life and legacy. A couple of hangers-on from Michael’s life whom he befriended as boys have capitalized on the child molester claims from which he was exonerated in a court trial and have told their story to a witless filmmaker who gave them a  platform and believed every word of their accusations. That filmmaker is now forced to defend his film which has been thoroughly discredited by astute Jackson fans and supporters beginning with an account of one of the protagonists that he was molested in a room in a train station at Neverland Ranch which wasn’t built until years after the claim. The filmmaker claimed that not the account, but the dates of the molestation were wrong– making the claimant too old to fit the profile of child sexual deviant they’ve attributed to Jackson. Conveniently, the other protagonist who claims that Jackson spoiled him for relationships with women with homosexual behavior failed to mention that he dated Jackson’s niece for years and during the time he was supposedly groomed and accosted by Jackson. Neither of the men claiming that Jackson abused them revealed publicly that they are suing the Jackson Estate for billions of dollars. That was conveniently left out of the film while the filmmaker cynically declares that the subjects will not profit from the film. One of the men, a choreographer, proposed to the Estate that he produce a posthumous tribute to Michael Jackson for Cirque du Soleil, but they chose someone else because they found him untrustworthy. He also pitched a tribute to the television program “So You Think You Can Dance” the day after Jackson died.

Michael Jackson was a freedom-fighter. A great deal of his work features themes, including prolific pastiche, that takes on racism and prejudice in covert forms. Fans who have defended Jackson over the years have had to endure not just heartbreak from the loss of Jackson himself, but insult after insult hurled at them accompanied by name calling and threats for protecting a pedophile. Jackson was acquitted of all charges. There was no credible evidence found even after being stalked by a racist district attorney in an affluent white city for 10 years. Jim Crow was enforced in Santa Barbara, California; a cursory look at the surnames of most arrest records will convince anyone of racial and ethnic bias.

Lynching remains a tradition as well for Oprah Winfrey, pal of Harvey Weinstein, aired a program after the film “Leaving Neverland,” interviewing the protagonists for an audience of people with histories of sexual abuse. Oprah’s career skyrocketed after she landed the first major interview with Jackson for her new TV show and she interviewed his grieving family at their home after he passed. Oprah, a successful Black woman betraying the legacy of a kindred Black celebrity, is particularly egregious because it is based on personal psychological wounding and a vendetta. Winfrey has since become silent about her part in supporting a seriously questionable documentary. It’s been widely suggested that Oprah’s pal Harvey Weinstein is responsible for more than a few of the salacious tabloid stories about Jackson because he pitched them to his tabloid press buddies in order to divert the focus off himself and the allegations of his own sexual misconduct. There are emails in evidence that outline his use of Jackson as a decoy whenever he needed cover.

What is most unfortunate in this mess is that the #MeToo Movement is being hijacked by the unconscionable antics of proven liars and opportunists. Nobody wants to see women and children made victims of someone’s uncontrolled deviant sexual appetites and the movement is long overdue. But convicting someone in the court of public opinion without due process will eventually weaken the position of people trying to find healing from a traumatic wound inflicted by another. The movement needs to be taken seriously and if it is misused or abused it will loose its impact and more suffering is all that will result from that adulterating of its power.

Someday the Hollywood swamp will be revealed and the creatures will surface. The specter of bullying of Jackson (and others) for fun and profit will be nauseating. But the question then becomes will society have evolved enough to clearly see, acknowledge and enact some kind of reparations for real human beings who have been hurt by the runaway collective psyche seeking to marginalize and make “other” unsuspecting humans just trying to live their lives while avoiding harm and suffering. That is the day we will finally become responsible grownups with the ability to exercise inclusion and compassion.

Until then Black men will continue to lose their lives and the harassment of minorities will persist. And, just as James Baldwin predicted, Michael Jackson will always be guilty of being while Black.



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