Apr 18 2012

A sad goodbye to the world’s oldest teenager

Category: Friends,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 11:35 pm

Michael and Dick Clark, both gone now.

What a sad day this is. Some people you somehow expect to live forever, even though logistically you know that’s impossible. Dick Clark was one of those people. He seemed ageless. Who would have ever thought he’d leave us? But alas, mortality has stricken another of this generation’s unforgettable icons.

When Michael died in June 2009, Dick Clark remarked: “Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was the most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched.

And Clark, whose own contributions to the music and television broadcasting world are also unmatched, would know. He was a key figure in helping to provide many black artists and black musical groups priceless exposure on American television. Exposure and airplay that most mainstream DJs and music programs would not give them due to racism. Here is a video of the Jackson 5 playing on American Bandstand for the first time, in 1970:

Below, Jack Cafferty on CNN talks more about how Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Little Richard, The Jacksons, The Supremes – so many black artists would not have been heard at all or have been as widely heard, had it not been for the exposure they received on American Bandstand. Had it not been for Dick Clark exposing these artists to white audiences, we all may have missed their incredible music – and they would have missed out on the level of professional success that could only be had by exposure to white audiences at the time. Who can imagine life without the music of these artists? Who can imagine life without Dick Clark – a man with whom Americans have welcomed the New Year for three decades (New Years Rockin’ Eve)?

Cafferty also talks about how white artists then in turn modeled some of their music after the music of the black artists. Their influence was remarkable and their exposure by Dick Clark certainly changed the musical landscape in America. I feel blessed to have been alive to witness all this and to be a part of it.

Jermaine and Janet Jackson shared their sadness today about Dick Clark’s passing:

Dick Clark always came to our dressing pre-show to make sure we were okay and catered for. Big hearted. One-of-a-kind. Will be missed… #DickClark played a very special role in our lives, involved in our first concerts as J5. He was like family. What a man. RIP my friend. Another sad day. This world is losing too many fine people. Live for the moment. Treasure your memories. Blessings to you all” -Jermaine Jackson

Dick Clark changed the face of musical television. He was wonderful to many artists including our family. We will miss him. God bless.” -Janet Jackson

Below you can enjoy an early American Bandstand interview with young Michael in 1972. This is one of more than a few interviews Dick Clark did with Michael and the Jacksons. You can find more on YouTube.

Here is the Jackson’s 1979 American Bandstand appearance:

And below, Michael performs on American Bandstand’s 50th Anniversary show in 2002:

He wasn’t only known for American Bandstand. In the 1980s Dick Clark Productions had shows on 3 networks. Among them were $25,000 Pyramid, TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes and the American Music Awards. His remarkable career spanned several decades. He was a savvy host, producer, and curator of music and television broadcasting who leaves an incredible history-changing legacy behind, along with the equally accomplished Don Cornelius of Soul Train, whom we also just lost a short while ago on February 1 of this year.

Music is the soundtrack of your life.” -Dick Clark

And Dick Clark brought us a whole lot of great music to live and remember the times of our lives by. It’s so sad to lose him now too. I hope he and Michael, Don, Elizabeth, Whitney, and Frank are all having a huge party up there. And I hope that Robin Gibb who has fallen very ill and is in a coma, doesn’t join them now. We’ve lost too many great people in the past 3 years.

Dick Clark and Michael Jackson, 2002

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Mar 28 2012

Albert Watson Photo Inspired Michael Jackson’s Invincible Cover

Category: Art,Friends,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 7:00 pm

Albert Watson photo that inspired the cover of 'Invincible'

According to Karen Faye, Michael’s make-up artist and hair stylist for several decades, this Albert Watson photo is what inspired the ‘Invincible‘ cover.

Karen says she had done Michael’s makeup and hair all in gold similar to the photo above for the photoshoot for the Invincible cover. But after Sony altered it, it looked nothing like they had intended. After someone located this photo, Karen tweeted:

Yes. That was the photo that inspired the shoot with Michael. You can see why MJ liked it.

What prompted the search for the photo was that she had shared previously, in response to another question:

The Invincible cover (the head shot) was retouched into something that was no where near the original photo shot by Albert Watson. I had painted Michael gold and he was wearing a hairpiece that was completely gold. I was very disappointed at what Sony did to the photo. The original photo was quite amazing.

She also added:

Photo shoots were always a collaboration by all the artists involved…all inspired by Michael. It was a magical event. The closest feeling I have had, to that “artistic happening”, since Michael has died, is when I work with David LaChapelle. You know you are a part of creating artistic history.

It must have been incredibly fascinating creating artistic history with Michael. I wonder where the original un-altered photo that Michael and Karen had worked on is located, and if we’ll ever see it. In my personal opinion, the cover of ‘Invincible‘ would have been much more interesting had Sony left the photo as intended. They should have left art to the artists, and simply done their bit to promote the work, instead.

As we know, below is what the cover instead ended up looking like. Not bad, but certainly not as rich and captivating as as it might have been if it had been left in its original, golden form.

 

Invincible Cover inspired by an Albert Watson photo, but altered by Sony such that it looked much different than intended.

Below, the uncropped Invincible cover. Imagine it golden like the first photo above.

Uncropped Invincible cover. Imagine it golden.

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{ Thanks as always to Karen Faye for generously sharing these priceless memories with us. -Seven }

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Mar 11 2012

“Be my eyes and show me everything that I cannot see”

Category: Books,Children,Friends,Interviews,MJ QuotesSeven @ 11:43 am

Michael with photographer John Isaac

This is an interview with photographer John Isaac who shares his memories of working and spending time with Michael. John remembers going to Neverland to photograph Michael and his son Prince, and he remembers a surprise Michael had for his fans at the concert in Milan.

John says he cannot watch the TII film yet because of the immense grief it causes, but says he sometimes sees Michael on a clear, starry night.

[Translated with slight edits to make sense of translation]

Q: When was the first time you saw Michael?

One day I received a phone call. The voice said: “Are you John Isaac?” I said, “Yes” and asked who he was. The voice said: “Michael.” I said “Michael,” The voice said: “Michael Jackson” I said, “Who?” and hung up. A few seconds later the phone rang again, and Bob Jones was wondering why I had hung up the phone on Michael Jackson! I replied: “It was really him?” and handed the phone to Michael. He said he was a fan of my photographs. He bought a poster I created for UNICEF on which featured many children because he loved the pictures and wanted to meet me. He asked if I could go to Neverland and sign the poster. I said I could sign one and send it to New York, but he insisted that I go to Los Angeles. Three days later, they came to the Big Apple to film “They Don’t Care About Us” (prison version) and he invited me and my wife Jeannette to go see the movie. So we went and we met. The next day he asked me to spend the afternoon with him at his hotel in Manhattan and studied my photographic work.

Q: What is the best advice he gave you?

He once told me that I had a knack for photography and should continue to use it to help children around the world. He knew how much I cared about children. I took him to Brazil when they were finishing the video “They Don’t Care About Us“, and he said something I’ll never forget. “John, be my eyes and show me everything that I cannot see.”  I was so excited that I made photos of children in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, while they were filming. I travelled in his private plane to Brazil. It was my first trip with him. Michael always supported me, he was aware of my provenance. One day he said we’ve both been to many different places and that is why we both love children. (John Isaac was born in India and spent 20 years working as a photographer of the United Nations, covering countries such as Vietnam, Rwanda, Sarajevo …).

Q: You’ve been to Neverland to take family photos of the first son of Prince Michael and Debbie Rowe. Please tell us more about this experience.

Debbie was not at Neverland, it was just Prince and Michael and I took pictures of father and son. I took the pictures with Debbie at a hotel in Los Angeles. I’ve been twice to Neverland. I drove an electric cart around the farm, saw movies in the theater, climbed on the train. I felt like a kid when I was there! One afternoon we saw a movie together. I was in the suite of Liz Taylor. Michael was very philosophical, often talked about philosophy and life. He asked me to tell him things about the children I had photographed around the world. When I worked for the United Nations, many stories of pain and suffering of all kinds of children. He was always very compassionate towards the less fortunate children.

Q: What is your favorite memory during HIStory World Tour?

At the beginning of the tour in Prague, I think he wanted me to photograph on the stage while he was singing “Heal the World.” I was scared up there in the spotlight with so many fans in front of me, my knees were shaking.  I enjoyed meeting fans around the world while traveling with him. I must say that I met many fine young men. Michael would not have been who he was, if not for all the wonderful fans who adored him so much. Being next to the King of Pop to visit hospitals and orphanages was something I especially appreciated.

Q: How many photographic sessions did you do with Michael Jackson?

I’m not sure how many, but I know there were many. Some special calendars for Sony and other announcements. He also wanted to take pictures with children before each concert.

Q: You told us that Michael had a surprise for fans at the concert in Milan on June 18, 1997: The photo of Michael’s hands and Prince on the screens near the stage. Michael decided to do this? What did he say?

He said it was one of the most special photos I had taken of him and Prince. I captured his hand taking Prince’s hand and he told me that he liked it so much he wanted to show the fans in Milan. It is one of my favorite toos. Michael does not even appear – only his hand protecting Prince.

Q: What picture of Michael do you feel most proud of?

There are many photos that I like, but one I took during a rehearsal in Los Angeles which was published in a special book: Laurent Hopman – Captain Eo Productions (program memory HIStory World Tour – Limited Edition). Michael is at center stage and all the dancers are around with different poses, rehearsing. It looks like a painting. Michael really liked this photo too. All dressed in casual clothes. I have no copy of this negative image because I gave them all to Michael.

Q: Why does it sometimes take three cameras at the same time? Did Michael wanted special pictures? It also seemed that he took more photos of fans than himself?

I remember that he wanted every moment of his life to be saved. Sometimes he wanted a black and white and the other two cameras were color photos. Today, with digital technology, you can convert the color to black and white with no problem, but with the old negatives it was more complicated. I also had three different types of lenses, so I could shoot quickly without having to change them. After a first selection on my part, Michael chose his favorite, and he had good taste selecting the photos! Michael was delighted to see the photos of his fans. They were very important to him.

Q: How did you hear of his sudden death, what was your reaction?

I saw it on TV. I was very, very sad. I felt so sorry that it happened so soon. However, I know he’s up there shining like a star. Every time I see a clear sky at night, I see Michael.

Q: Have you seen the movie Michael Jackson “This Is It“? can you comment on that?

My wife bought me the DVD. I’ve only seen parts of it and I grieved Michael’s death so much that I could not keep watching. Maybe one day I will see it to the end.

Q: What are your plans for the future, John Isaac?

I am finishing a documentary about myself as a photographer. In Japan I’ve been documenting on the survivors of the recent tsunami. While I was in Japan, I met some of Michael’s fans who were very friendly. In addition, Kodak House is preparing a permanent collection of my photographs in their museum. Unfortunately, I have no footage of what I did for Michael on tour or with Michael’s baby. I gave them all to his managers.

Edited and Translated from:
http://wwwyouaremylife-jaqueline.blogspot.com/2011/11/john-seja-meus-olhos-e-me-mostre-tudo-o.html

John’s life story and his wonderful photography:
http://askthephotographer.com/2008/12/31/photographer-profile-john-isaac/

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{ Thanks to our wonderful friends at UK Loves MJ for sharing this story! -Seven }

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Mar 10 2012

“Michael Loved to Fly”

Category: Friends,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 2:50 pm

Flying is an interest that had I ever met the man, I’d have shared with Michael Jackson. I used to fly small planes (a Cessna 150 prop plane) and have been up in an ultralight, as well as at least one aerobatic aircraft (biplane) as the pilot did barrel rolls, flew upside down and performed hammerhead, and knife-edge maneuvers.

It would seem obvious that Michael loved to fly since he apparently enjoyed being high up in a cherry-picker and had his own personal balloon pilot. Who wouldn’t enjoy a balloon ride with Michael? I know I would!  As for the cherry picker, I’m not so sure about that for myself but you’ve probably seen the video of the maniacal fan who no doubt scared the bejeesus out of Michael and compromised everyone’s safety by climbing onto the cherry picker with him during one of his performances.

‎”Michael loved to fly,” says choreographer Travis Payne. “He was fascinated with birds and things that could take flight. So when he’s on his cherry picker, it’s like he’s larger than life. Like a superhero.” While aboard the contraption, which was outfitted with fans, lights and a smoke machine, “He actually gets to be closer to the audience,” says Payne.

Michael on the cherry-picker, birds-eye view

Some interesting information on the crane used for Michael’s HISTORY tour from anthony-king.com:

Michael Jackson used the crane for his performances of “Beat it” and “Earth Song”, during his 1996/97 tour. The crane, for the first time, was protruding into the audience, straight out and flat. This caused a change in the dynamics between Michael and the audience. The distance between the fans and Michael was drastically increased which means that the atmosphere at the front was a lot less than his previous tours. Michael used the crane as a walkway during the first leg of the tour, during, “The way you make me feel” and rarely during “History”, where he would walk down and wave. The walkway was also used by the dancers in “Beat it

Michael Jackson’s safety on the crane

Michael Jackson certainly performed to the maximum of his capability and obviously wasn’t overtly concerned about risk. Michael would not only hang out of the crane with his feet hooking on to the edge but during the History tour would hand out fully, just hanging from his arms and then pull himself back onto the crane.

Technically, the crane had smoke machines and lighting on the crane which, when Michael hung down could easily get hooked on – this is very apparent in shows like the Burcharest concert and shows like New Zealand where he nearly lost his shoe. They reduced the lighting covers for the second leg so that no lights, covers or piping was outside the lip of the crane platform for him to get hooked onto accidentally when he was pulling himself back on to the crane. They also added a safety piece of material to prevent any more hooking of his legs on the lights or light covers.

Safety harness?

Michael would probably never hook himself into a safety harness if he could perform without one and if we look on the crane during the tour we can see no safety harness EXCEPT on one concert – It looks like if we take a closer look at the Bucharest concert on the History tour we have some kind of arm restraint to either a) hold onto or B) for Michael to put his arm through – to prevent him from falling – either way, it was not used and was removed from the crane on later dates.

Notable incident – “Earth Song” fan intruder!

If you haven’t seen the stage intruder during this song, go and watch it here (6.20m). The question is “How did a fan get so close to Michael?”. What happened is that Michael got into the crane as he usually did, which is about 15 – 20 metres off the crowd, just as it got to it’s full height, a fan jumped over the barriers, onto the crane and right to the top of it and grabbed Michael. He then stayed up at the top of the crane with Michael until the conclusion of the section (the crane couldn’t be brought down immediately) and then he refused to let go of Michael. He had to be ripped off by security. You can read more about this incident HERE .

History tour in Brunei – No crane!

The only concert on the History tour, without use of the crane was in Brunei. The reason for this is because it was such a small audience – almost a private show of a couple of thousand people, that the area that the crane takes up, with the barriers and everything included would probably be 50% of the total audience area – so it didn’t make any sense – This concert had the audience as close as anyone could get on this tour. The area was still there, including the barriers, as if the crane were there, just a little smaller and without the crane. Another reason is that the crane, when doing it’s 360 degree revolution would go beyond the audience.

Beat it entrance – Brunei

The stage illusion from Thriller into Beat it was obviously affected by the lack of a crane, as Michael usually disappears from the contraption and appears on the crane. For this concert Michael arrived on the right hand side of the stage but on a hydraulic platform from underneath the stage, that is usually used by the dancers for “They don’t care about us” and “Thriller” – The change worked well. Michael obviously had Michael Bush remove his big black coat a lot earlier than usual and Michael also had a significant amount of time standing on stage getting the crowd going with his “hooooos!”, which is all usually done at the top of the crane.

Earth Song ending – Brunei

As the crane was missing, also was a big part of “Earth Song”. For this concert Michael performed the ending of the song as he usually has on other occasions, without the crane, just performing on the stage.

Beat it in Prague – opening night

I think that this was a great use of the crane – opening of “Beat it” – Prague opening night of the History tour. Although the beginning of the song was plagued with technical problems (ie the band messing up!), the beginning of this song had a much longer use of the crane. Michael basically performed the whole first verse of the song UP on the crane instead of, as would go on to be, on the stage. I think that this makes sense and adds to the spectacle! If you’re gonna go to that much effort to get a crane and push the audience so far back, you might as well use it! It added a little bit of variety, which the tour lacked at times.

Crane Speed and controls

It would seem that the crane is on some kind of mechanism that once it starts is easier to do a full rotation than to put it in reverse. We see this in Korea. When the intruder came on the crane the logical thing to do would be to reverse it and take it down (as it had not started it’s 360 degree rotation yet). We also see that when Michael steps off the crane early sometimes that the crane really bounces when it is paused. We obviously have some kind of delay. So, it is not easily controlled. For Beat it it goes straight up and straight down. For Earth Song it goes straight up, rotates 360 degrees, then straight down. Michael changes the time he jumps on during Earth Song from show to show which means that he ends it and jumps back off the crane at different times, altering the ending of the song. This is obviously a big piece of hydraulic machinery, unlike the Bad tour which seemed to be powered by weight transfer and balanced precisely.

The crane getting in the way?

The crane doesn’t get in the way of the show but if you looked closely you will have seen the crane being set up and taken down. For example, we have the walkway which is added to the stage which connects the stage to the arm of the crane.This walkway is then removed whenever the crane is going to be used and THEN replaced with the crane’s platform and barrier. We see, if you look closely, the crane “Barrier” is moved and rotated to the left just after the start of “Beat it” when Michael has vacates it, on the tour. This is done by his stage manager who physically lifts the frame out of the crane arm and moves it out of the way, to the left, thus giving the audience a clear view without the obstruction of the crane AND the option for Michael to walk down the platform and use the crane as a kind of stage. If you were at the front row and took your eyes off MJ for 10 seconds, you may have noticed!

SOURCE: http://anthony-king.com/blog/michael-jackson-crane-the-cherry-picker-live-in-concert/

At the Wetten Dass performance, Michael seems to get to the crane late. He performs the rest of the song from the crane, and one wonders if the way he hung from the crane at 5.36 and 6.02 had his insurers ready to have kittens. At around 4:00, he seems to let the cameraperson know he doesn’t like the camera in his face. This performance was before a studio audience, but screens were erected outside so that 10 – 20,000 people could watch Michael perform outside the venue as well:

Up, Up, and Away in his beautiful balloon 

In 1962, Col. Joe Kittinger became the first man in space and he wasn’t there long. He jumped out of a high-altitude balloon at 102,800 feet to became the first human to break the speed of sound without a vehicle. In 1984, he became the first person to cross the Atlantic solo in a hot air balloon. But there was a chapter left out of his legendary ballooning career. For several years, Kittinger was Michael Jackson’s private pilot.

You can watch a video of Joe Kittinger telling his story of working as Michael’s personal hot air balloon pilot here:

SOURCE: http://growingbolder.com/media/entertainment/music/joe-kittinger-flies-michael-jackson-359100.html

Michael and friends on a balloon ride

There’s a reason God made the sunset red or purple or green. It’s beautiful to look at, it’s a minute of joy…Like when I’m 40,000 feet in the air in a Jumbo Jet at night and it’s dawn. Everybody on the plane is asleep, and here I am in the cockpit with the pilots…it’s just incredible seeing a sunrise and being up there with it. Pilots tell me, “I wish there was no such thing as having to go down and re-load with fuel. I wish I could stay up here forever”…And I totally understand what they mean.

-Michael Jackson in a 1980 interview he did with Melody Maker magazine

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Feb 26 2012

‘Meditations’ on the iconic women who fascinated Michael Jackson

Category: Art,Friends,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 8:53 pm

There was quite a discussion recently on my MJJ-777 Facebook page about a particular painting that Michael acquired as part of what is called the ‘Jackson Seven‘. At least one person insists this painting reminded Michael of  a brunette Marilyn Monroe in her ‘Norma Jean’ days, since Michael had a life-size statue of Monroe in his home, as well as the name ‘Monroe‘ emblazoned on at least one jacket he wore early on. Yet others, including the Whelan Gallery itself, believe that Michael found the painting fascinating because it reminded him of Lisa Marie Presley.

I purchased a print of the painting in question titled ‘Meditations‘, and inquired as to what the gallery thought may have been Michael’s interest in the painting. Their response was as follows:

Michael Jackson didn’t make any comments about the painting to Patrick Whelan at the time, but he did speak to his associates about the painting. He indicated to them that he thought the painting resembled Lisa Marie Presley. His statements were recorded in a book by Randy Taraborrelli called “Michael Jackson, The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story” The following is an excerpt from that book on the bottom of page #730:

“Michael was mesmerized by the painting and, according to someone very close to him, said, “This is how I imagine Lisa in my mind. In fact, when I dream about her, this is how she looks. I have to have this painting”

'Meditations' by Patrick Whelan

Marilyn Monroe statue Michael had at Neverland

Victory Tour Jacket with 'Monroe' on the sleeve

In my previous article about ‘The Jackson Seven‘, Patrick Whelan also had some comments about the likeness of the painting to LMP. When someone asked him about the resemblance, Patrick replied:

Thank-you for your lovely comments about the art. I do appreciate that. Meditations was one of my personal favorite paintings, so it was particularly gratifying for me when an artist of Michael’s stature was also drawn to it. I was very slow to see the connection to Lisa Marie because, of course, I know the model who actually posed for it. Nevertheless, I have heard this from so many people, including many who have come into the gallery and seen the print there, that it is finally becoming apparent to me.

But the clincher for me occurred a couple of weeks ago when I ran across an article that was published in a newspaper in Taiwan. They featured the Meditations painting alongside three photos of Lisa Marie which had been taken at the time she was with MJ. The resemblance was indeed striking. I am now convinced absolutely that this was the reason for his connection to it. He may have been planning to show it to her, or even to present it to her as a gift. But unfortunately, he passed so soon after it’s purchase that we can never know these things for sure.

I doubt very much if Lisa Marie is even aware of it’s existence. I think it would be a very wonderful thing though, if she did see this work, because then she would know that she was still in Michael’s heart even to the end.

Perhaps one day she will see it. I certainly hope so. I really think Michael would have liked that.

Best always,

Patrick

As for the jacket, a few people wondered if it had been given to Michael by someone else but according to Julien’s, it was part of his personal collection. And, Michael liked to put little symbols on his clothing such as the number ‘7’, ‘CTE’, etc. in order to keep people guessing, so it’s not certain that ‘Monroe‘ on this jacket necessarily referred to Marilyn.

In an interesting twist to this puzzle, Lisa Marie did a photoshoot (I believe in Vanity Fair but it could be another magazine) as Marylin Monroe. The pictures are quite amazing. Her hooded eyes and especially her mouth are a dead ringer for Marilyn. Some people have wondered if the picture Aphrodite Jones wrote that Michael had was actually a picture of Lisa Marie or a picture of Marilyn.

Many women have done magazine covers, photo shoots or films as Marilyn Monroe, among them Madonna, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Megan Fox, etc. Lisa Marie is yet another name on that list. I timeless icon, Marilyn Monroe is still imitated by many women and idolized by many men years after her death.

Lisa Marie Presley as Marilyn Monroe

Lisa Marie Presley as Marilyn Monroe

The photos above were shot by photographer Herb Ritts, director of ‘In The Closet‘.

It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if Michael was intriqued by the resemblance between Monroe and Lisa Marie Presley. A lot of men liked Marilyn Monroe so why wouldn’t Michael Jackson? He was of an age to have known and remembered her well. Michael seemed to be especially fascinated with many iconic women such as Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Jackie Onassis, Princess Diana, Diana Ross (whom many insist he was in love with), the late Whitney Houston, etc., so Marilyn Monroe would be a fitting fascination for him as well. As for Marilyn’s “Norma Jean” days, Michael swooned over an early photo of Elizabeth Taylor on a magazine when “shopping” in his home movies, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he also liked early Marilyn Monroe. On the other hand, he had an interest in Lisa Marie Presley from early on as well and Lisa Marie did have that same classic beauty.

It’s possible we may never know for sure what fascinated Michael about that ‘Meditations‘ painting, which he also called ‘The Blue Painting‘; and we may never know what ‘Monroe‘ really referred to on his early jackets. My personal takeaway from this discussion is that no matter what fascinated Michael about the ‘Meditations‘ painting, it’s a beautiful painting – winsome, charming, and innocent-looking. I’m not sure where I’ll put the print I purchased, but it will be lovely almost anywhere in my home.

Here are some photos of Michael with a few of the other female icons he seemed fascinated with and/or had relationships with during his lifetime:

Michael with Elizabeth Taylor - one of his very best friends

Michael with the lovely Sophia Loren

Michael with his dear friend Lady Diana

Michael with Diana Ross, his mother/sister/lover, he had said at one time.

Michael with the late Whitney Houston whom he has recently welcomed Home, sadly.

As a compliment to this discussion about Marilyn Monroe in particular, I ran across an article about what’s called ‘The Marilyn Meme‘  No doubt many women on Facebook have seen photos of Marilyn in a bathing suit with her thighs touching and insisting one can still be “adored by thousands of men” even if their thighs touch. In other words, it’s OK to be curvier because one can still be sexy or a ‘sex symbol‘ even when heavier set. Nothing wrong with that right? Women should have a healthy self-image.

The Marilyn Meme

But Marilyn Monroe didn’t have a healthy self-image, so holding her up as a poster-girl for a healthy self-image is very inappropriate if not downright ironic. It ignores a major problem in our society that simply should not go ignored. Once Norma Jean became Marilyn the sex symbol, her humanness and intelligence went altogether ignored no doubt causing her a great deal of emotional distress and likely contributing to her depression and ultimate death. The problem remains at epidemic levels: many girls and women today are anything but healthy because they work so hard trying to win men’s approval for their appearance and “sexiness“, while completely neglecting their own emotional, spiritual, and physical health as well as their intellectual and professional development – all so that men will approve of them and how they look and find them sexually attractive.

Here’s what the article says about this dangerous ‘Marilyn Meme‘:

here’s the thing: you are worth more than what men think of you. Marilyn Monroe was, to put it mildly, very sad, very often. She was a sex symbol, and thus, stopped existing as human being, a regular girl. Almost everything that f**ked up Marilyn’s later life had to do with being “adored” by men. Men used her, or deified her (and that’s a hard come-down for those dudes when they found a human being in their bed the morning after). Political brothers purportedly passed her around like a toy. Conventional wisdom, political conspiracy aside, has it that Monroe killed herself. Being “adored by thousands of men” didn’t stop her demons from consuming her. It angers me to no end that, again, in the name of self-esteem we’re going to make a poster girl (literally) out of a woman who was notoriously down on herself.

I want very much for us to stop thinking that there is only one body type that is acceptable. I would prefer the focus be on health, rather than appearance. The Monroe Meme seems about the furthest thing from healthy. This is a woman who abused alcohol and sleeping pills later in her life, this is a woman who (probably) died due to depression. But, hey, as long as someone thinks she looks good, I guess that’s what matters.

The last sentence of this quote is obviously sarcasm and serves to illustrate the point.

As a woman, do you really want to be “adored by thousands of men” (or any man) for your looks and little to nothing else? I think it’s a healthier attitude to respect one’s self, and insist that any man appreciate you for who you are and not (just) what you look like. Because if men can’t see you as anything other than what you look like, they can’t see you. You can’t have a meaningful relationship with someone who can’t (or doesn’t want to) see you. That’s what happened to Marilyn and she ended up devalued, lonely, depressed and finally dead.  And that’s not because she had good self-esteem! Norma Jean the human being was imprisoned inside the shell of Marilyn Monroe the sex symbol and she died in there. I have always felt sad for the ‘sex symbol‘ prison she ended up in, while her humanity and considerable intelligence went all but discounted and ignored by men and society until after she was gone. What a shame and what a terrible loss.

An MJ quote about this you might want to consider:

A young lady’s physical beauty can by no means outshine the inner beauty that radiates from her heart and spirit.” -Michael Jackson (1976)

With all due respect to poor Marilyn, if a guy wants a sex symbol or a Barbie, and a woman’s looks are primarily what’s important to him, let him more appropriately go to the toy store than chasing after an actual human. What a woman thinks of herself  is more important than what any man or men think of her, particularly if the male opinion is based solely on appearance. This is a huge problem in our society. More women need to work on loving and respecting themselves enough to separate their own self-image from what men think. Otherwise, you’re inviting a lifetime of abuse, sadness, and possibly emotional and physical illness. Forget being a sex symbol and forget worrying so much about what men think. Having their approval is obviously not all it’s cracked up to be. Work on being human and demand that others accept you as such, especially men.  If they can’t – lose ’em.

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NOTE:  Hateful or abusive comments about Lisa Marie Presley or other women mentioned in this piece will not be posted. Such comments are not relevant to the subject of this article.

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