Jan 03 2014

August 2012 Interview with Reverent June Juliet Gatlin (MJ’s spiritual advisor) for Vanity Fair

Category: Friends,VideosSeven @ 10:29 pm

Reverent June Gatlin (Michael’s spiritual advisor) has allowed me to share this interview, done with journalist Mark Seal of Vanity Fair in August 2012. I don’t read that magazine so am unaware whether any article resulting from this interview was ever published.

Rev. Gatlin describes how the title “This Is It” was given to her as a title of Michael’s “Book of Life” which she discussed with him before the shows / tour of the same name was ever conceived. She also talks about how exhausted Michael seemed to be and says that she didn’t believe he could do the 50 shows they signed him for. She discusses how he mistrusted Tohme Tohme along with many others around him and how he wanted everything new around him – that he was changing everything and in the process of taking complete charge of his life. Michael, she says, was puzzled as to why Jermaine would introduce him to Tohme and she expresses surprise (like many of us did) as to why Tohme jumped into the media spotlight after Michael’s death claiming to (still) be his manager even after he was clearly let go.

In Part II, she breaks down when talking about how she knew she needed to get to him on the morning of his death, but was unable to make it. I’ll write no more about the interview here except to say it’s worth a listen. Thank you Rev. June Gatlin for sharing this with us! As much as journalists tend to edit/twist/leave out facts, particularly where Michael Jackson is concerned, it was probably a good idea to record it!

Part I

Part II

I understand there may be a Part III coming as Part II cuts off rather abruptly. Of course if I receive a Part III, I will add it here.

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Nov 20 2012

Oh, Palestine on Universal Children’s Day

Category: Children,Humanitarian,Justice,Lyrics,Photos,VideosSeven @ 8:43 pm

I probably should not write when I’m upset. But I’m going to do it anyway. I warn that you won’t find this pleasant on this Universal Children’s Day. But I assure you, the World’s children find it even more unpleasant than you ever will. I’ve done my best on Twitter and Facebook to bring attention to these things for the past two days, but they’ve gone completely, utterly ignored. It’s all fallen on deaf ears and into blind eyes.

I’m stunned.

We all claim to care so much about the World’s children, but when they’re sitting there staring us in the face, charred to death in the latest airstrikes wherever, we really don’t.

We care so much about the celebrity who cared for these children, but we don’t care for them – the children themselves. In the end, what seems to matter to us is our own fantasies of having been somehow important to, or somehow being associated with said celebrity, even if only in spirit since he’s gone. It’s really just all about us, isn’t it? It certainly looks that way, from the lack of attention and response these things have gotten when I shared them.

But the kids MJ lived for and the world they live in? The innocents who ask: “why are we included in these adult fights? Why can’t we have a normal childhood without all this fighting and violence? What did we do to deserve this?

The ones who are charred to death by the airstrikes? The ones who are trafficked and sexually abused? What about them? Not a word. Not one comment. I’ve posted photos. Videos. Michael’s own handwritten words. News clippings. But not one response. Nothing. Not even on Universal Children’s Day. Their innocent voices remain ignored, it seems.

I wonder what MJ would say about all this? Would he be impressed with us? He’d be heartbroken about these kids, for sure. Do his fans pretend to care because he’d want them to care – or because they really care?  It appears to be more the former than the latter for far too many of them. Not all of course, but far too many. This is just something to think about as you gaze down this page at what I’m about to share with you.

First of all, Palestine (and by association what is currently going on in Gaza at the hands of Hamas and Israel). Below are some lyrics to a song that  Michael wrote but was apparently never released or published:

“Palestine” – written by Michael Jackson

Bomb shells are flying, bodies multiplying, see the children crying, what are they fighting for” is part of what Michael had written above.

A child in Gaza, the region that has been blown once again to smithereens in the past few days, asks a similar question in the following video – it’s at the very end and the video is unceremoniously cut off, as if the creator and/or the news media felt what this child had to say was unimportant. But the child’s question deserves an answer.

Can you answer the child’s question in the end of the video?

The child below was charred – possibly to death – by an airstrike in Gaza on Monday November 19th, 2012.

Child charred in Gaza airstrikes, November 2012

Is this “too difficult” for you to look at or respond to? Imagine how it felt for the child. Imagine how it feels for all of them. Whoever you might feel to be at fault in this latest conflict, this child knows nothing of adult conflicts, nor should (s)he have to. The height of immorality is that (s)he and so many others have been made to suffer (or die) for things they know nothing of and are not involved in.

And just a few moments ago, this story appeared on my twitter timeline:

Thousands of children sexually exploited each year, inquiry says

Study describes range of sexual crimes perpetrated mainly against girls by male teenage gang members and older men

Thousands of children are raped and abused each year, with many more cases going unreported by victims and unrecorded by the authorities, according to an official study presented as the most comprehensive inquiry to date of the scale and prevalence of child sexual exploitation in England.

The disturbing and at times horrific study, which describes a range of traumatic and violent sexual crimes perpetrated mainly against girls, by male teenage gang members and groups of older men, was described as a “wake-up call” for safeguarding professionals by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England (OCCE).

It draws an alarming picture of serious sexual crimes against children: girls groomed, then drugged and raped at seedy “parties” in private homes and warehouses organised by groups of men, for profit or pleasure; assaults in public parks, schools and alleyways by gang members influenced by violent pornography, and intent on threatening, punishing or controlling young women by means of forced oral sex, and anal and vaginal rape.”

. . .

“We need to ask why so many males, both young and old, think it is acceptable to treat both girls and boys as objects to be used and abused. We need to know why so many adults in positions of responsibility persist in not believing these children when they try to tell someone what they have endured.”

Oh I know these images and stories are very upsetting and may even be an emotional trigger for some readers. But just imagine what it’s like for these kids to have to live (or die) like this, all around the world.

Should we just ignore all this because it’s “too hard” for us to look at or acknowledge or because we just don’t know what to say? If we do that, then we can be assured that this suffering will only continue. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that one exists. And plenty of them exist where the children in this World are concerned. These awful stories and images are only a few of them. I know too that most people feel there’s nothing they can do about these issues. One thing we can all do is:

C A R E

Care enough to look at these horrific images, and listen to the kids asking “why” and to read the stories of the hideous abuse they suffer. Even if it is hard for you to look at or listen to or read. Forget yourself for just a moment or whose side you’re on. What about THEM? How is any of this ever going to be stopped if nobody CARES enough to even notice?

On this Universal Children’s Day, you can at least do that, can’t you?

Hello? Anybody out there?

while everyone is freaking out over twinkies, can we please take a moment to #pray for all the lives taken in the middle east ?” -Paris Jackson

While you live in your safe, warm home anticipating whatever holidays that may be upcoming in your part of the world, having plenty of food to eat, having clean water, and being able to educate and hug your children and keep them safe from the worst harm or neglect, can you at least take a moment to care about these other kids in the world that we alleged adults force them to live in?

If it matters to you, I’ll tell you that it might make Michael happy. But we should all care regardless what he’d feel about it. Because somebody still needs to.

You don’t have to say anything. You don’t have to do anything right now. But you can at least care enough to look, to see it. Even if it upsets you.

Because I guarantee you it upsets them even more, when it doesn’t kill them.

Thank you.

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Sep 30 2012

“Was Michael Jackson Framed?” – Original GQ Article Available on Amazon!

Category: Books,Justice,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 7:52 pm

I squawked about this on Twitter several days ago and posted it on my MJJ-777 Facebook page last Friday. Now, everyone in the MJ fan community is abuzz about it. Guess it took them a while to catch up with the news.

The GQ article “Was Michael Jackson Framed?” by Mary A. Fischer is now available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Was-Michael-Jackson-Framed-Superstar/dp/0786754133.

If you have a Kindle, it’s also available in that format for only $2.99:  http://www.amazon.com/Was-Michael-Jackson-Framed-ebook/dp/B009G1SX0S/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

From the Amazon writer bio:

Award-winning writer and journalist Mary A. Fischer has tracked down crime and corruption stories from around the world for national magazines including, GQ, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times magazine, New York, Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, O-Oprah, ELLE and AARP.

Twice she has been ranked as one of the top five print reporters in the U.S., when two of her GQ articles, including her cover story on Michael Jackson, were finalists for the National Magazine Award.

Known for pursuing under reported stories, Fischer is credited with breaking several high-profile criminal cases, among them, the ’93 Michael Jackson case originally published in GQ, and the McMartin Preschool child molestation scandal. She was the first print reporter to take the controversial position, backed up by her six-month investigation, that there was no credible evidence against the McMartin defendants and the allegations against them were not credible.

In her memoir Stealing Love, Fischer tells the personal story of why she is passionately drawn to stories, and life situations, of injustice.

She lives in Los Angeles and is at work on another eBook and a news-making journalist project, this time in Washington D.C.

Joe Vogel, author of “Man in the Music, the Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson” and the recent article “Studying Michael Jackson“, says this about the Mary Fischer piece (via Twitter):

Mary A. Fischer was one of few voices of reason and fairness during the first MJ extortion case. Highly recommend this.

-Joe Vogel

Well, I’ve got my copy. I think this was and is a very important voice in the sensational pro-guilt wilderness surrounding the allegations against Michael. There were and sadly still are few factual and objective voices on the subject. Among a few others, I’m happy to support this one, too.

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Sep 24 2012

Abortion Papers

Category: Humanitarian,Justice,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 4:31 pm

There has been a lot of understated chatter about this song since its release, with many people projecting their own personal beliefs about the controversial subject onto Michael.

I won’t project my own beliefs onto Michael no matter what song he has written or about what subject. For one thing, he isn’t here to speak for himself on the matter and unless he were, such projections are unfair and most likely, incorrect.

I do have my own beliefs though, and in regards to this subject I have a spiritual yet non-religious, common-sense take on the matter:

Such personal decisions are usually made by women/girls whose situations are often quite dire, even deadly. I have seen them made – but never have I seen them made lightly and I know that contrary to religious dogma-borne propaganda, they are rarely made lightly. Such choices belong primarily between the woman/girl herself and God, her family and her doctor. Not the government. Not the church. And certainly not the rest of us. Not even Michael Jackson (which may be another reason he never released the song). It’s her life. It’s her body. It’s her decision. People need to give up trying to control others according to their own personal beliefs when such deeply personal and difficult decisions are involved.

There is one person whose personal behavior and decisions we each have ultimate control over: our own. And that is all.

I do not think God would approve of allowing a girl or woman to die due to a pregnancy complication or an unsafe botched abortion. I also do not believe God would harshly judge a woman or girl who aborted her pregnancy due to rape or incest or frankly, for any reason. What is “pro-life” or “moral” about women dying preventable deaths? Many people seem perfectly OK with that idea as if women and their lives were somehow of less value than a fetus, zygote or baby in the womb. It’s very interesting.

Newsflash: Women are human. And just as much so as a fetus/baby. And they were human before they were women. And their lives have at least equal value to any other. Particularly if they are already mothers and wives. That women hold life in their bodies does give them a special responsibility and the duty and ability to make life or death decisions. It is not in the control of men. It is not in the control of any religion. It is not in the control of pressure groups or pop stars – including Michael Jackson, no matter what he thought of it – and we’ll never know what he thought.

I loathe the idea of anyone making an pro- or anti-abortion screed out of this song of Michael’s. That’s probably why he never released it. If I had a conversation with Michael Jackson about this subject I would tell him the same thing I am writing here, now. I don’t know if he’d agree or not and I never will. But it doesn’t matter. One thing I do know is that Michael obviously exerted control over the one and only person he knew he could and should control – himself. He did not enter into relationships, particularly sexual ones, lightly. He wasn’t raised that way.

Until and unless men can become pregnant, men have no say in this issue. Their choice both begins and ends at their pants zipper. If they dislike the consequence of whatever they chose at that time and location, they must realize they no longer control it – that they already made their choice and that it’s now beyond them. Their control began and ended with that zipper. Once they make a decision there, they’re done. They have no more to say. That is because it is women and God who bear primary responsibility for and decisions about the bringing forth of life into this world. Like Sojourner Truth told some men in her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech years ago: “Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Men ain’t had nothin to do with it.

I do not judge women who choose abortion – for any reason. They have to answer to God, not me. I do not judge women who chose not to have an abortion for the same reason. What is in their own hearts is known only to God and is none of my business.

I do know this: “pro-life” includes women’s lives. And no God of mine would approve of women dying due to botched, unsafe abortions or due to refusal of the procedure for “moral” reasons when the continuation or completion of the pregnancy would result in the death of the mother. Forcing women to their preventable deaths is not “pro-life“. And forced pregnancy is in my own opinion slavery, which is as immoral as death itself.

It is heartbreaking to me, just as it was to Michael, that once children are born, our society, our religious factions and our government do not care nearly so much about them as they claim to while they are in a woman’s womb. One has to wonder why that is. This vehement opposition to allowing women control over the bringing forth of life via their own bodies is very interesting. It appears that many people like to oppose abortion but that they have little interest in actually preventing it.

Typically the same factions that oppose abortion also oppose birth control (contraception) and laws that would force men to be responsible for children they father ie: paternity laws. They oppose sex education and they oppose educating men and boys to control themselves and to respect women and girls as human beings. If we put half the effort into telling boys and men to “be careful” with their sexual activities and to respect others, as we do telling women and girls that, perhaps there would be fewer unplanned pregnancies. There is a huge education problem in that regard, in at least American society.

What do people gain by these Taliban-like attitudes? One word: control. It’s the one thing too many men lack in themselves and to compensate, they deign to exercise the control over others (primarily women) that they ought to be exercising over themselves. So they punish women with and for their own weaknesses. And thus they punish their children too. There is nothing moral about pawning responsibility for one’s own behavior off onto the victims of it. It’s reprehensible, in fact.

So we have many seemingly fatherless children running around that most of society primarily blames women for as if they “got themselves” pregnant. Men don’t want to take responsibility, many of them, and evidently our society thinks they ought not have to. And at the same time, they also want to take from women any choice in the matter, pretty much relegating them to sexual and reproductive slavery. That is what this boils down to.

Men need to let women and God decide and stay out of decisions they are in no way qualified to make, obviously. I suggest that males should concentrate on controlling their own behavior and stop trying to control others and stop inserting themselves between women and God. This is a relationship that men have no business involving themselves in. That they do so is a problem with many established religions and why I refuse to subscribe to them.

As for Michael, it could be that trying to control (or judge) others is something he didn’t want to do (or appear to do) and I can guess this is why the song wasn’t released while he lived. In my opinion, it should never have been released lest people try to turn it in to an anti- or pro- abortion screed which is probably something Michael also did not want.

All we really know for sure about Michael’s own opinion on the subject is what Michael Jackson did while he was alive: he controlled himself and his own sexual behavior. And he did not release this song. Let others take note of that, regardless their beliefs about abortion or what they want his meaning or message to have been in writing a song about it.

The BAD25 CD liner notes contain the following:

This is a song that Michael knew could be controversial, and, as a result, he spent a lot of time thinking about the story for the song and the voice through which the song should be told. The song is about a girl whose father is a priest and was raised in the Church and on the Bible. She gets married in the church, but decides, against the Bible, to have an abortion and she wants “abortion papers.” As Michael indicated in his notes, “I have to do it in a way so I don’t offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully. I have to really think about it.

~~~

NOTE: Comments on this post are disabled due to the highly controversial nature of the subject. I doubt anyone will change anyone else’s mind or beliefs on the matter, so heated debate is pretty pointless here and would likely do more damage than good. Everyone has a right to and a responsibility for their own and actions and beliefs. But they do not have a right to control others, especially when the decision or choice in question is so difficult and deeply personal. 

 

Abortion Papers (lyrics, approximately)

Sister don’t read, she’ll never know
What about love, living a Christian soul
What do we get, she runs away
What about love, what about all I pray

Don’t know the worst, she knows a priest
What about God, living is all I see
What do you get, things she would say
What about love, that’s all I pray

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Sister’s confused, she went alone
What about love, what about all I saw
Biding a life, reading the words
Singing a song, citing a Bible verse

Father’s confused, mother despair
Brother’s in curse, what about all I’ve seen
You know the lie, you keep it low
What about heart, that’s all I’ve known

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Those abortion papers (whoo)
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Look at my words, what do they say
Look at my heart, burning is all heartbreak
What do you get, what do you say
What about love, I feel my sin

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Those abortion papers (whoo)
Think about life, I’d like to have my child (whoo)

Who have the grateful, where will she go
What will she do to see the world

Sister don’t know, where would she go
What about love, what about all I saw
What would you get, don’t get so confuse
Love all the things, it’s just the things I do

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Those abortion papers (abortion paper, this paper, hee-hee)
Those abortion papers (hee-hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)
I’d like to have my child (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)

Those abortion papers (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee, hee, hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)
Those abortion papers (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee
I’d like to have my child (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee, hee-hee, hee-hee)
Those abortion papers (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)

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Sep 01 2012

Through more intelligent focus, many will actually see Michael Jackson again for the first time

Category: Academia,Books,Friends,Justice,VideosSeven @ 12:20 am

Tonight is a full, blue moon. It’s also the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael’s ‘Bad‘ album, and Mr. Spike Lee’s “Bad 25” film is out at a Venice film festival to fabulous and well-deserved reviews. Of course no one else could have properly created this documentary than Mr. Lee himself and of course he has done a fantastic job.

Prestigious universities are teaching classes about the human being and the genius Michael Jackson was. Great authors are researching, examining and publishing positive books about  his craft and creative processes. Finally, more people will see Michael Jackson – many for the first time, though they certainly knew his music and his name from media and tabloid stories. They did not however know who or what he really was. Now, they’ll have the opportunity to properly learn.

Thank You Mr. Spike Lee for creating a window through which the world will take a second look at Michael Jackson in ‘Bad 25‘. In the video above, Spike Lee describes his documentary film as “a love letter to Michael Jackson” and says “it’s time to concentrate on Michael’s music and let the other stuff go“. I certainly agree with that.

Thank you Joe Vogel for writing serious, well-researched books about Michael’s creative processes and his music.  Thank you Dr. Mark Anthony Neal at Duke University and Joe Vogel at University of Rochester for bringing Michael Jackson’s human nature, his genius and work ethic, the important nuances in his poor working-class African American upbringing, his struggles with race as an artist, and his cultural influence as the worlds greatest entertainer into the classroom for what absolutely merits serious study.  Thank you also to Sylvia J. Martin, Ph.D whose “The Roots and Routes of Michael Jackson’s Global Identity” is required reading for Dr. Neal’s course along with Joe Vogel’s ‘Man in the Music‘.

If you haven’t see this yet, here is an hour-long interview with Dr. Neal (done in 2009) about The Legacy of Michael Jackson (thank you David Edwards for locating this):

Video streaming by Ustream
All of these people are bringing a more intelligent, accurate and appropriate focus on Michael Jackson, who he truthfully was and what he meant in our society and our world. The phenomenon that was Michael Jackson is an important part of our cultural history. It should not be ignored or buried under media and tabloid bullshit. Now, because of these more realistically focused efforts, many people can (if they choose) see Michael Jackson for the first time, even if they thought they already knew who he was.

These are very positive changes. I just wish this had all happened over three years ago. Michael worked his skinny butt off at his craft all his life so he could give the world the very best of himself. He was honest and hardworking. He was overly-generous and idealistic. He was a driven genius. He was the best entertainer the world has ever seen. He really cared about this world, and I dare say he cared more than it cares about itself. The way things are going, it may be a good thing he’s not here anymore because the human race is destroying itself though he tried to enlighten us to save ourselves and each other through messages in his music.

I miss Michael and just wish he could have seen some of this when he was alive. I hope beyond hope that somehow his sweet soul can see it now.

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