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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Aug 28 2012

Wherever You Are

Category: Angels,Photos,PoetrySeven @ 10:27 pm

I’m still here
in this tiny little world
while you’ve gone on to become part
of all that is: energy and light
rhythmic movement,
God-energy, the Universe.
It’s a much bigger, peaceful and
more electrified existence
— or so I sometimes imagine.

What are you reading and
Who have you seen lately and
What have you learned?
Many have joined you since
you left. Did you call them home?
Are you still somehow
pushing rose petals through my
window shades but
somehow I’m missing them?

You seem so far away
but sometimes I swear
I sense you in the room
and you make me laugh
for what to others
seems like no reason at all.
To myself I call you silly names
and hope you’re somewhere
laughing too.

In a way I’m happy for you
being gone from here,
while at the same time
this place without you
without your electricity
without your light
without your sound
without your life;
this cramped single realm
of crazy indifference
(as much as you tried to fight it)
isn’t really very alive.

It’s just heartlessly existing
waiting to find someone who
could possibly replace you
knowing there is no one to make
anyone stop and think anymore.

It’s your Birthday today and I know
you weren’t comfortable
celebrating those.
In spite of that and everything else
still I hope your soul
is finally somehow Happy.

Wherever You Are.

©2012 Seven Bowie

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Jul 23 2012

Photo: Mrs. Jackson Safe & Sound in Arizona

Category: Family,PhotosSeven @ 4:08 pm

X17online obtained a photo of Mrs. Jackson at an Arizona resort with her daughter Rebbie, her granddaughter Stacy and her great grandson, London.

. . .

The tabloid also reported that Michael’s mom did let the children know she was leaving town, contrary to various online reports which claim she “disappeared”.

Of course tabloids and media in general are often a very unreliable sources of information as this fiasco should have illustrated. However, there were those who demanded photographic evidence of Mrs. J’s safety so this will hopefully suffice, along with the caption, which contains comments from the Pima County Sheriff’s Dept. after he is said to have visited the location.

“When I got there, Katherine Jackson and her family were at the dinner table and had just finished a game of Uno. In fact, their dinner plates were still in front of them. She seemed like she was having a good time. She was happy, safe and healthy. Basically Mrs. Jackson was vacationing with her family here in Arizona.” -Pima County Sheriff’s Department

I had mentioned in a comment below my previous post on the matter that Mrs. Jackson does have relatives in Arizona. Seems she may be simply relaxing and having a good time with her family.

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Jul 15 2012

“Come back and see me, and don’t bring him.”

Category: Friends,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 12:06 pm

 

Michael with Hazel George, Walt Disney’s long-time nurse.

SOURCE: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2009389050_apusmichaeljacksondisney.html

(added emphasis mine)

“Hello, Bob, this is Michael.”

The wispy voice caused me to review the Michaels I knew. I was stymied until the voice asked, “Did you write a book about Walt Disney?”

I admitted I had authored “Walt Disney, An American Original.” I also recognized the voice by now – Michael Jackson – remembering he had a passion for all things Disney.

“I’d like to talk to you about Walt,” he said urgently, and I agreed. The date was set for the following evening at his family compound in the San Fernando Valley community of Encino, which is just a few blocks from my house.

I arrived at the property and announced myself to a receptionist on the other end of an intercom. A massive gate opened slowly and I drove down a narrow passageway and stopped in front of a building containing offices. I looked around and thought I saw a tall tree nearby. I looked again; it was a real-life giraffe.

An assistant said Jackson would be ready soon, and I spent 20 minutes inspecting a wall full of Jackson photographs with Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley and other celebrities.

Finally, Michael was ready. I was introduced to him in an elaborate dining room and then followed him upstairs to the library, which featured a life-sized studio portrait of Walt Disney.

“Do you mind if I record our talk?” he asked.

“Not if you don’t use it commercially,” I replied.

He started by asking a few questions and I explained how I approached an interview with Walt. When he ran out of queries, I provided some memories of Walt.

Toward the end of the conversation, Michael hesitantly asked whether Walt ever used a certain expletive. Without thinking, I replied I had never heard him utter it.

The interview was over and Michael escorted me to the photographs I had already perused.

He was busy in the mid-1980s and I didn’t expect to see him again. Yet a few months later he called. “Hello Bob, this is Michael,” he said. “Do you think Hazel George is still alive?”

I said I didn’t know but would find out. George was Disney’s longtime nurse who also exchanged studio gossip with him. I found out that Hazel was retired yet still living near the Disney lot in Burbank.

“I’d love to talk to her,” Jackson said. “Can you arrange it?”

I did, and a few days later, Jackson picked me up at my house in his chauffeured limo and I directed the driver to Hazel’s bungalow.

Hazel had aged since I interviewed her for the biography and I found that I would have to prompt her. I had recorded the stories she once gave me and had brought the tapes along, so I played them back and let her deliver the punchlines.

Jackson was fascinated but scarcely said a word. When we finished, Hazel said to Jackson, “Come back and see me, and don’t bring him.” She meant me.

A few months passed and then another call: “Hello Bob, this is Michael.”

He wanted to know more about Walt Disney and wanted me to join him at a San Fernando Valley recording studio. I arrived on time and waited an hour until he finished a session. We sat down in an office and he again asked questions about Walt, most of which he had asked in our first visit.

He also asked again whether Walt had ever used a certain expletive. This time I remembered that he had on at least one occasion and I proceeded to explain the humorous circumstance.

“Oh,” he said.

I never saw Michael after that.

Bob Thomas, Associated Press writer

UPDATE: I had a bit of a Twitter exchange about this with Joe Vogel. Joe said:

Great find, Seven. Buz Kohan spoke to me a bit about this but this fleshes it out much more. Fascinating.

I told Joe that I wondered what word it was that Michael had questioned Bob Thomas about, wanting to know if Walt Disney had ever used it. Joe’s response:

I think it was the N-word.

Don’t miss Joe’s latest book ‘Featuring Michael Jackson‘. It’s a must-have for fans and curious non-fans alike. Just like his other books, it’s extremely well-researched and well-written, giving readers a much better understanding of who Michael Jackson really was.

More about Buz Kohan:

To read more about Michael’s relationship with Buz Kohan or ‘Buzzie Wuzzie‘, as Michael called him, see Joe’s ‘Gone Too Soon’: The Many Lives of Michael Jackson’s Elegy in the Atlantic, written by Joe on the 3rd anniversary of Michael’s death. And don’t miss my  touching ‘Two Birds, A Remembrance‘ piece here on MJ-777.com from January 2012.

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Jul 09 2012

Michael Gave Whitney Houston a Monkey for Her Birthday

Category: Friends,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 10:51 pm

Michael with Whitney Houston

Does that sound strange? Well maybe it is. But before you judge such a gift too harshly, try to understand the life of the person it came from.

BeBe Winans wrote a book about Whitney Houston called ‘The Whitney I Knew‘. There are some exclusive excerpts of the book in an article on RollingStone.com. I want to share a few of them here in the interest of understanding what the Whitney Houstons and the Michael Jacksons of our society go through in order to share their gifts with us.  It’s heartwrenching that these people are so judged and crucified by our society and its tabloids and media as they  give our souls life through their gift of music or other talents. There truly must be a special place in Heaven for these people, monkeys and all.

Here are the excerpts, but please do read the entire article at RollingStone:

Hers was a tangible gift that audibly and even visibly set her apart. That’s what Whitney possessed. There was no gimmick to her, only giftedness. But with that giftedness came great promise and great responsibility, the weight of which can be too much for even the most pure in heart.

The world saw Whitney in the tabloids just like it sees Madonna or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Our mistake is that we make our assumptions about the kind of people they are based on the manipulative lenses of photographers scrambling to land their photo on the front page of TMZ. We watch Being Bobby Brown and think that the scenes caught on tape constitute Whitney as a person, a mom, and a wife. True, the reality show was not Whitney’s (or Bobby’s) shining moment. But are we really that eager to remember someone for their worst moments when they’ve given us so many of their best?

The truth is, those images never constituted Whitney’s reality. Her life was not lived at the reality-show/tabloid level. And yet, because that’s all so many people saw, it’s all they allowed themselves to believe. The public formed their opinion of her through writers and photographers who never met her. To me, that’s a tragedy.

Imagine yourself in this situation. You can’t escape the expectations of the mob. And it kills you.

• • •

To give you an idea of how the media twists reality, allow me to expound on the Mariah Carey situation. Now, this story would probably embarrass Whitney a little, but I have to tell it. I think she’d understand that it’s all in good fun.

When Mariah debuted, I’m sure people in the media couldn’t wait to compare her to Whitney. I had heard of Mariah early on because my good friend, Rhett Lawrence, produced her first big single. I was at his house in California when he was raving about this new singer.

Well, as we all know, when Mariah came on the scene, she hit hard. And instantly the media created a “hate” between Whitney and Mariah. They were both going to be at the American Music Awards, and people were expecting some kind of fireworks because supposedly there was this massive tension between them. Again, this was a fabrication. They didn’t hate each other; they didn’t even know each other.

I could convince Whitney to do anything – pranks or whatever. We’d be hanging out and I’d tell her to do something, and she’d say, “You are not my father. Why do you think you my father? You think I’ll just do whatever you tell me?” To which I’d reply, “Shut up, I am your father” – all in good fun, of course.

Well, we were at the American Music Awards, and I had persuaded Whitney that after her performance and her category were over, we would go to dinner. I’d also informed her that when we exited our seats, she would be the last one out, and that we were going to pass Mariah Carey on the way out.

“Here’s what you do,” I said. “You gonna stop and you gonna put out your hand and you gonna speak to her.”

“I’m not gonna speak to her,” Whitney replied.

“Yes, you are. You’re going to be bigger than this whole situation.” “I’m not . . .” “Yes, you are.”

Her category finished and our little foursome started marching out to go to dinner – CeCe in front of me, Whitney’s assistant, Robin, in front of her, and Whitney at the end of the line – just like I said. And Whitney did exactly as I told her to do. I didn’t stop to listen to or watch their interaction; I just kept moving. The three of us piled into the car, and then Whitney blew in like a storm and slammed the door behind her. She was clearly upset and embarrassed.

“I’m going to kick your tail!” she said to me. “What happened?” “I’ll never listen to you again.” “Tell me what happened!”

“I did everything you said: I stopped. I put out my hand and said, ‘Hi Mariah, I’m Whitney.’ And when I stuck out my hand, she turned her head like she didn’t hear anything I said and looked up at the sky.”

“Oh no,” I said. “Tell me that’s not true.”

“Oh, it’s true. I was so embarrassed. There I stood, looking like an idiot. I’m never going to do what you tell me to do again.” Thank God the media didn’t see this. If they had, Whitney’s and Mariah’s brief exchange (or lack of it) would have been blown into epic proportions. They would have hated each other and not even known why – and all because it may have been so chaotic in that moment that Mariah didn’t even hear Whitney. Unbelievable. Well, my idea didn’t go very well, but we laughed at that whole awkward affair years later. And this incident didn’t end up stopping those two from getting together in the future . . . after some further persuasion. When Whitney was approached with the opportunity to record a duet with Mariah, I encouraged her to do it. She wouldn’t hear of it. “You crazy,” she responded. “You know what happened last time I tried to do something nice. You don’t know what you’re saying, boy. You’ve lost your mind.”

It wasn’t that she disliked Mariah; she just didn’t want to be embarrassed again. We talked a little more about it, but she finally said, “That ain’t going to happen, BeBe.” Then, only a few months later, she called me and sheepishly informed me of her latest news.

“Well,” she began, dragging it out a bit, “you said it a few months ago – that I should do a duet with Mariah.”

“No,” I interrupted, “don’t tell me you’re doing it!”

“Yeah, Babyface wrote the song, and it’s on.”

I could tell she was very happy about the whole thing.

“Wow,” I replied, “ain’t that something! That’s going to be incredible! But wait, you said you were never going to do something like that.” We both laughed and laughed. Oh, how Whitney loved to laugh. Finally the two superstars met – two musical powerhouses who knew who they were outside of the pop world. And when they performed that Oscar-winning song together (“When You Believe” from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack), it was the catalyst for a great friendship between them. When I looked at Mariah at Whitney’s funeral, all those memories came flooding back.

I share that story for two reasons. First, as an example of the gross exaggerations the media likes to spin on celebrities and also to communicate Whitney’s honest love for her peers. She loved other singers and was always up on who was new and fresh. Second, I wanted to depict the scene within the church the day of her funeral. Each person sitting in that sanctuary represented both the good and the bad of Whitney’s life.

When I say good and bad, I simply mean the wonderful make-up of this life in general. That’s what makes life so beautiful: the fun and the boring, the misunderstandings and the epiphanies. All of it mixes together on the canvas of our lives. When I saw Mariah at Whitney’s homegoing, I saw a specific brushstroke of Whitney’s life. That brushstroke touched other brushstrokes. Together the strokes formed a masterpiece.

All masterpieces have certain tensions or contrasts on display – that’s what makes the painting dynamic and memorable. Whitney’s life told a dramatic story filled with contrast and beauty, a life truly lived.

The seclusion of fame damages people the most. Fame causes its inhabitants to live afraid – to fear their reputation being marred – which makes seclusion seem the only real alternative. Look at how Michael Jackson faded into eerie reclusiveness, buying a monkey and other exotic animals as pets. For me, that seems far removed from reality and true human connection. But he also endured a level of celebrity that few people on earth can relate to.

One year Whitney threw an exclusive party – a BIG party. You may ask, who throws a party for their 26th birthday – complete with a who’s who of attendees, loads of food, a beautifully decorated tent, and excellent music? Well, she did, because she was on the road during her 25th birthday.

The invitation had a spectacular picture of Whitney on the cover. You had to be on a list, and there were different security checkpoints. CeCe and I just stayed on the sidelines of the party, watching her enjoy the evening and all the love as she mingled with everyone.

That was also the night we discovered that Michael Jackson had given Whitney a monkey as her birthday present. Everyone seemed amused, but I’m sure they were all thinking the same thing I was – This is crazy! Who gives monkeys to people for their birthdays?

The thought is funny and ridiculous at the same time. Of course Whitney didn’t need a monkey! It was all she could do to take care of her cat! But perhaps Michael was so far removed from people that he thought Whitney could use the companionship of a monkey.

Whitney couldn’t believe it. She read Michael’s card, looked at me, and said, “What am I going to do with a monkey?”

We both laughed.

“As soon as this party’s over, that monkey is getting dropped off at the zoo!” Did this gift make sense to Michael? I don’t know. Perhaps. The amount of fame that Whitney had garnered already as a 26- year-old had propelled her into a lonely way of life. But can you imagine thinking that another person would be so lonely that they’d need a pet monkey? This was someone’s reality?

This is what seclusion does to a person. Whitney didn’t struggle with the inclination toward extreme reclusivenes like Michael did, though I can see now how that gift from Michael was a foreshadowing of darker days ahead for Whitney.

• • •

Rest in Peace Michael and Whitney. At long last, Rest in Peace. ♡

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