Aug 08 2011

‘Once Upon a Time’ in a Neverland Far, Far Away…

Category: Children,Friends,Photos,Prose/Essays,Quotes About MJSeven @ 5:13 pm

A while back, I wrote about a friend of Michael’s named Joanelle Romero and her daughter Sage, who worked with Michael on the Black or White video. Joanelle (Sage’s mother) had been friends with Michael at Gardner St. Elementary. But Joanelle and Sage were not the only ‘Romeros‘ whom Michael befriended. There was another.

LaLa Romero is a singer who remembers meeting and spending time with Michael as a 5-year old child. She shared her memories of Michael on her website. LaLa wrote:

Michael with little LaLa Romero at 5

Michael with sleepy little LaLa Romero at 5

I don’t tell this story too often, in fact growing up I kinda learned to just keep it to myself.

Whenever people would find out I knew him, a gang of silly, dumb questions would follow, and I would always end up having to defend someone I loved so much.

When I was 5, my cousin Brian and I where OBSESSED with Micheal Jackson. We had dolls, sleeping bags, lunch boxes, and OF COURSE the gloves. I was pretty convinced I was goin to be him when I grew up, and nobody could tell me otherwise! Brian was older then me, and found out at school MJ actually lived in the Valley, we lived in. Anyone from LA pretty much knew the house. So we wrote him letters and enclosed a bunch of pics, you remember the ones from school you’d write on the bk, yeah well, lucky Micheal got about 25 of me!! Basically we told him we LOVED him & I told him I was a singer and dancer!!! We also asked him to come to our house & visit!! Our loca tia Carol (RIP) took us to his house and we rang the gaurd gate. His gaurd came out to us & took our letters. WE WERE SOOOOOOO HAPPY, we KNEW he would get em!! I honestly can say we were just happy enough to see his gate & meet his gaurd NEVER did we really expect what happened next.

About 4 days later, at 10:30 pm, my mom got the call from Carol, Michael Jackson was HERE, in our APT building, on her couch. I was 5 & anybody who knows a 5 year old also knows that it’s damn near impossible to wake em up!! The pic you see of us is him holding me, cause I wouldn’t wake up, he insisted my parents take da pic so I would truly know he came!! A few days later I was going into the hospital for sugery & he called me. I couldn’t BELIEVE I was talking to Micheal Jackson & that he actually had my number!! Over the next few years he would invite Brian & I to his house, to watch him shot his videos & to his shows.

It’s weird, when I was lil, I didn’t really grasp FAME, especially his FAME. All I knew was he was my friend & I think thats why he liked me. My friendship with him changed my life. It was a HUGE influence, it made me believe having a singer career was in arms reach. My neighborhood didn’t support BIG DREAMS but his freindship gave me confidence & assurance that ANYTHING & EVERYTHING is possible, if you work hard & aren’t scared to try. His generousity & kindness inspires me daily. Here was the biggest super star in the world taking time out to come to a broken down apt building in Van Nuys CA to see his fans. He was ALWAYS about his fans & his community, and I really always knew that if I got my chance I would strive to be just like that!!

Even as a tiny lil girl I could see his saddness & his lonely. It was a part of him, I think his childhood, fame & money alienated him from most of the world. Thats why he loved US cause we didnt care about the BS!! We just had fun!! He was so goofy & silly, we would jump on his trampoline and raid his candy shop.

Micheal was like Edward Scissorhands & Willy Wonka to me, SOOOOO AMAZING in the HEART but so misunderstood by most! I love him always for touching my life & showing me a different world then the one I grew up in.

I hope those babies of his really grow up understanding that they did have the best daddy in the world. His heart & sprirt are what made him the GREATEST and so RARE.

One day I’ll post more pics, and tell ya specific stories!! All the good things ya heard about him were ALL TRUE!! I promise!!

R.I.P M.J. YOU WILL BE MISSED AND ALWAYS LOVED!

LaLa Romero, Emmanuel Lewis, and Michael

LaLa Romero, Emmanuel Lewis, and Michael

Below is a video where LaLa Romero talks about friend and mentor Micheal Jackson:

LaLa Romero has a Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LaLa-Romero/407186915103?sk=wall and her website is http://www.lalaromero.com.

Thank you LaLa for sharing your memories of Michael with the world — and thanks to my friend Brigitte for finding the additional photos, video, and websites to accompany this amazing story.

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Aug 07 2011

Reflections on Light and Darkness

Category: Photos,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 8:27 pm

My Someone in the Light

My Someone in the Light

A reader of this blog brought this to my attention and I felt I had to share it because the person who wrote it obviously has a very profound understanding of Michael. In the aftermath of Michael’s death the reader, whose name is Ara, ran across a commentary on the Wall Street Journal blog by Michael’s friend, Deepak Chopra. Chopra’s piece was titled “Michael Jackson and the God Feeling

The 82 comments in response to the article revealed that many had misinterpreted Chopra’s point. After all, the blogosphere is accessible to anyone, and most are not only not towering intellectuals, they also bring their own personal baggage to the table.

The reactions were predictable: disparaging comments as well those in agreement with what Chopra wrote. Many were seemingly appalled at the sheer audacity of Chopra to infer that Michael inspired anything even close to a “God feeling”, and saw this as offensive and ludicrous.

But  —  buried among those 82 comments was a jewel titled ‘Reflections on Light and Darkness‘, written by someone who only called her/himself ”filipek7“. Here is what “filipek7” wrote (emphasis mine):

Reflections on Light and Darkness

There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen)

There are no doubt millions of fans of Michael Jackson’s music who remain baffled by what little they have known of his behavior, character and appearance. There are millions more who are totally indifferent to the music and, if anything, repulsed by what they perceive as an offensive eccentric at best or dangerous deviant at worst. In the days immediately following his tragic death, almost all commentators chose to emphasize this ostensible polarity of Michael’s legacy: “a genius in his art, but a disturbed human being.” It seems like there was always a “but.”

If mainstream gurus are good at anything, it is turning truth on its head and, in the process, eviscerating all that is pure. It is not in Michael Jackson’s musical artistry that his foremost greatness consists, but it is in fact in his wonderful humanity. His music is only just one expression – just one manifestation – of that humanity. These misguided eulogies, therefore, have it all backwards. Michael’s legacy is not limited to an artistry that is somehow soiled by a troubled and troubling life. Michael’s greatest legacy is his loving character and the lessons it teaches us, through his ultimately tragic life, about the true face of an often brutal and ugly world.

In Michael Jackson, we see an innocence and purity rarely seen in an adult. Jackson’s “childlikeness” is perplexing to many people, but it is precisely this trait that sets him apart from an adult world that has learned so effectively to be cold and calculated, smart and shrewd, proper and professional. Adults seeking to better themselves ought to become more childlike. If Michael was guilty, his sin (borrowing Dylan’s prophetic words) was that he knew and felt too much within. Unfortunately, it is typical for those who feel deeply to seem to others utterly odd and insane. Hence the proverbial Pierrot, buffoon or idiot, whose superficial lunacy conceals a deep understanding of the human heart. Michael’s intense capacity to feel allowed him to be a loving, caring and responsive human being. He was far more capable of love than are most adults. Because of this acute sensitivity, what we also see in Michael is an utterly vulnerable, susceptible man.

Michael’s bizarre appearance and eccentric behavior were, paradoxically, far more sensible than the “normal” behavior of most “normal” people within the confounding context world that is itself upside down. All of Michael’s strange gestures and attitudes make perfect sense given one profound premise – that the world is pure, innocent and harmless. Of course those of us who have “grown up” have learned that the world is not “pure, innocent and harmless.” Hence the tragedy of Michael Jackson. His actions, whether holding his baby over the balcony or jumping on top of a car to wave to adoring fans or spending millions of dollars on a single shopping spree, seem irresponsible and disturbing when seen and interpreted through the categories of a deranged world. In fact, his actions were selfless and harmless.

The truth is, Michael had the eyes and heart of a child who saw in one dimension – that of pure love. When he saw that someone desired something from him, he gave selflessly, paying no heed to logical consequences or reasonable caution. The dictates of propriety and convention were, as they ought always to be, totally subordinated to the dictates of love. It made perfect sense to him to give joy to others, even if this exposed him and his own actions to spiteful or selfish manipulation by others.

Michael was not willing to assume, as most adults are conditioned to do, that someone he approached could have a tarnished nature. He gave others the benefit of doubt, approaching them as if approaching angels and children. When he met demons, thus, he was utterly exposed and likely devastated. This, no doubt, brought him much suffering, i.e., not so much the suffering that was inflicted upon him by the malice of others but only just the sudden realization (played over and over again anew) that the person he had hoped was an angel could in fact be so malevolent. Michael never allowed himself, it seems, to draw the seemingly rational and sensible conclusion that most adults have drawn from repeated experience: the world is generally just this way. In other words, Michael’s purity was such that if he met nine people, all of whom turned out to be vile, he would still greet the tenth as an angel. This defies reasonable human “logic,” but it remains steadfast in an adherence to the greater logic of divine love.

Michael surrounded himself with children not because he was perverted, but because he saw in them the hope for a world which had grown to be far too mature. What he loved in children was the proof and justification of the “purity of heart” of which we hear in the Beatitudes. He tried desperately – in only seemingly irrational ways – to protect this adolescent purity from a world whose hideous cruelty he felt in his very own flesh. If the fact that he saw nothing wrong in expressing love toward children in emotionally intimate ways attests only to his purity, our inclination to assume that he was a pedophile and our willingness to assume that love is a pathological deviation can only attest to our essential impurity. In a world that has fallen to pieces, it only makes sense that (to quote Dylan once again) what’s bad is good, what’s good is bad. Thus, love is a pathological disturbance, whereas cold, rational remoteness defines the new “humanity.”

Michael created and surrounded himself with a world fit for a child because he felt that this is the ideal the entire world should aspire to – an ideal that the world so woefully fails to live up to. It was also, incidentally, a way for him to compensate for the pain that was so ever-present to him – the pain of his past and present, the pain of his visceral, personal experience. Michael was sensitive – perhaps hyper-sensitive – and in so being, he felt the pang of every brutal truth far more directly and deeply than most others would. The harm that was inflicted upon him and others was so real to Michael that it induced in him an absolute and immediate moral response. This response – this Neverland world that eradicated the pain of reality through one sweeping contradiction – however unrealistic and idealistic it might seem to a practically minded adult, was totally reasonable for Michael. Michael was the perfect mixture of a child’s innocence and an old-man’s sagacity. He saw both much less and much more. Quincy Jones was therefore profoundly astute and when he famously described Michael as both the oldest and youngest man he knew.

Michael’s innocence is strangely evident in his infamous shopping spree that evoked such a furor when shown in Martin Bashir’s exposé. My own socially and environmentally conscious logic is tempted to condemn and rebuke such wanton excess. And yet, I can only smile when I see Michael in the store. Why? Perhaps because what I really see is an innocent child grasping for an ideal utopia – pleasantly oblivious to the ugliness of a consumptive and destructive society concealed behind a façade of harmless, pretty, enjoyable products. Michael sees only what is immediately there – the potential for a beautiful world wherein children and adults alike have what they need – the joy and inspiration, the peace and beauty. There is really no concern here for stuff. What allows me to smile rather than to cringe is that Michael’s thoughts and actions flow so naturally and effortlessly along these ideal and pure categories, which seem so improbable to my rational mind. He does not see the horror and the ugliness. These do not factor into his thinking. His urge to buy is not inspired by an egoistic urge to amass stuff for his own gratification. Nor does it arise from being manipulated by an insidious system that wants you to buy for its own impure interest.

The Bashir Interview: Casting Pearls before Swine

When I first (only recently) watched the notorious Martin Bashir special, which was shamelessly aired again and again on MSNBC after Michael’s passing, I could not help but cry. At times I felt as though I was witnessing the public humiliation, flogging and crucifixion of an utterly helpless and harmless child. My first thought was, “why did Michael agree to do this? He should have refused!” Upon some reflection, however, I realized that Michael was willing to expose himself (repeatedly) to Bashir’s sadistic onslaught precisely because of who he was. Michael thought that Bashir’s intentions were pure. He wanted to believe that Bashir would not manipulate what had been said and that the journalist’s quest was simply to share the truth with the world. Why not believe this to be the case? Why assume that the interviewer’s instincts could be self-interested and impure? Would that not be admitting that the world is ugly – that the world is not and will never be Neverland?

The contrast between Bashir and Michael really could not be greater. Bashir went out of his way to appear reasonable and measured. Michael, on the other hand, had little regard for how he appeared. His main concern was the truth of how he felt and what he believed. To many people he appeared “crazy.” The truth, of course, was just the opposite. Bashir was consistently cynical, sardonic, judgmental, and seemed to exhibit a pathological indifference when, again and again, he picked at Michael’s raw, open wounds. He showed no regard for the human heart and its anguish. If he had any concern for Michael’s torment, perhaps he was too proud to show it. Bashir concealed his cruelty behind a façade of intelligent, reasonable and intellectual professionalism, as if he were just a skilled journalist in the disinterested pursuit of truth. But it is when things sound perfectly civilized and appear so prim and proper that we should be most wary and suspicious. If we pay close attention, we see that Michael possesses the genuine and good heart and is quite reasonable in all he stands for, whereas Bashir is the true sociopath.

Bashir conducts his hurtful interviews all the meanwhile adhering to the highest professional protocol and journalistic etiquette. At one point in the broadcast, Bashir reflects: “Confronting Michael wasn’t going to be easy, but now it had to happen,” as if this shift to difficult personal subject matter were the result of some inescapable logic, perhaps some imagined standard of journalistic professionalism, which dictates that the truth must be uncovered, whatever the human toll. It is not relevant or important to Bashir how personal the truth may be, whether it has any important humane or useful significance to the audience, or what the consequences of the pursuit of that truth might be. The single thing that matters is the successful exposure of facts, which will secure for Bashir pride among his peers. Are we to admire this journalist’s professional ardor, persistence, and his supreme objectivity in the pursuit of his goal? Is it of no importance that a human being must be sacrificed on the altar of this professional ideal?

In yet another disingenuous attempt to establish his superior ethical and professional credentials, Bashir explains to his audience that his line of questioning is inspired by a “worry” for Michael’s children. Meanwhile, Michael sits and writhes in obvious pain and discomfort. Seeing this, Bashir, ever the objective scientist in hot pursuit, does not desist but rather intensifies his inquest. Michael, the victim, is increasingly desperate and begins to crack. His humanity is bared for all to see. Michael’s legs tremble with anxiety. Under duress, Michael opens up and his emotions spill over. Defenseless because of his innocence, and so pure that he cannot even fathom the foul logic of reason, Michael describes the act of sharing one bed with a child as an expression of care and love. How fair-minded propriety dictates that care and love are in fact deviant behavior is rightly incomprehensible to him. Desperation ringing in his voice, he explains that he cannot abide a crazy world wherein guns and computers have, for children, replaced human contact and compassion. “Why does it mean so much to you?” asks Bashir. The question seems to embody concern, but there is a just barely palpable accusatory tone: Wouldn’t a normal, rational person care less…? Perhaps you care so much because you are demented or perverted…?

The proper question, of course, is how anyone could ever be indifferent to the plight of children in an alienating world? How could anyone care less? Bashir’s rationality has itself become a pathological deviation. Bashir stands in judgment over a phenomenon he cannot understand, because he has grown up beyond where he could ever comprehend the simplicity of a pure heart. His logic is far too sophisticated and proud. When we have grown up to the point where we are actually capable of dispassionately analyzing a tragedy without breaking down and crying about it, we have then truly lost our humanity. Erecting ideals like Neverland in an effort to cope with dismal reality is not a moral failure. Properly seen, it is just a symptom of or testament to the pathological state of the world. The moral failure is the dismal reality in itself.

Bashir is the sort of person who could stab a person and, with cool and calm demeanor, go on to ask why the victim is in pain. He is “disturbed” by Jackson’s ostensibly eccentric behavior and “concerned” for the children, all the meanwhile inflicting psychological torture on the father of these children. Perhaps Bashir even understands that Michael’s sensitivity will make him susceptible to manipulation. He throws Michael off balance and then points to his angst as evidence of character flaws. Bashir is especially interested in the personal and largely irrelevant matter of plastic surgeries, and here his interrogation borders on sadism. Knowing the topic will open painful wounds, he pries into Michael’s demons. Bashir’s interrogation can only bring to mind an SS officer with his cool and scientific method. Perhaps what Bashir was really looking for in his ideal subject was a cold hard rock rather than a human being. What he found instead was an angel.

Posted by: filipek7 | June 30, 2009 4:07 PM, in response to: Michael Jackson and the God Feeling

Michael

Michael

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Jul 25 2011

My Someone in the Light Was You

Category: Angels,Photos,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 3:05 pm

Michael, on this 25th day of the 25th month of your absence from this physical world, know that you will always be our someone in the light, our someone of the light, our someone from the light. We miss your loving brilliance in this world, but it shines on from our hearts. Love you Michael, always and all ways.  © 2011 Seven Bowie

My Someone in the Light Was You

My Someone in the Light Was You

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Jul 12 2011

“I don’t want to leave…please, all I want to do is be a kid.”

Category: Art,Children,Photos,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 3:35 am

"I don't want to leave ... I just want to be a kid."

"I don't want to leave...please, all I want to do is be a kid."

I often think of Michael in that big tree at Neverland, because he climbed up during the Bashir documentary…and was really savoring those peaceful moments with nature. Remember how sweet his profile was? Michael was all about communing with the spirit and had more going for him just in the richness of his soul. But the moment that really got to me was when I looked out my second floor office window in the spring of 2010. I was fixated on one of the trees below, and suddenly Michael “appeared” under the tree. He was about 11 and was wearing that famous purple brimmed hat that he wore on the Ed Sullivan Show. His big eyes looked up at me and without words he was saying, “look at me, I’m down here. I don’t want to leave…please, all I want to do is be a kid.” I ran to the rest room and just fell apart. It took me about ten minutes to recover. Now every time I see that tree I can’t help thinking of him. Our lives have changed forever.

Even though it was all in my imagination, my heart and mind were there…with Michael…in the moment. I saw him looking at me, pleading with those eyes and it felt so real. I was trying to tell him that I could hear him, as if we were communicating with our souls.

Micheline James

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{ I do not know who to credit for the artwork. It really is very whimsical and sweet. -Seven }

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Jul 05 2011

He only wanted to be let in

Category: Justice,Photos,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 12:27 pm

by Tori Tomkins

He only wanted to be let in . . .

He only wanted to be let in . . .

When he first shook hands with Oprah and opened his heart for the first time to a closed world, Michael Jackson only wanted to be let in-when he showed her, lovingly around his ranch, the amusements, the movie theatre, the beds for sick children, he only wanted to be let in.

When he clutched hold of a small teddy given to him by a member of staff, a gift bought in the spirit of fun and frivolity was transposed into a blessing. He held on tight to that small gesture of compassion and love. He only wanted to be let in.

When he clapped encouragingly, radiating humility and grace as he taught Martin Bashir to moonwalk, he only wanted to be let in. When he shook Bashir’s hand in gentle and loving trust at the end of the interview, filled with hope at his closing words, “I see the truth, I understand, I won’t deceive you,” and innocently unaware of the heartbreak, the pain, the betrayal that would ensue, he only wanted to be let in.

When he was driven into giving a final set of shows by those more concerned with protecting their own profits than protecting the rights, health and happiness of a fellow being, he still smiled with compassion and humility-there was no hatred for the decades of gross treatment, of mockery and judgement that had come before. A lesser person would have collapsed inward in bitterness and anger, relinquishing support for a world so cruel, but Michael’s humanity never faded-he just wanted to be let in.

Alas, tragically, one so gentle, so loving, so kind, so compassionate was never allowed entry to the human race. Preserved as we are in our own world of avarice, hatred and bigotry, so many kept him locked out-their defense against him-a lifetime of rumors, lies and innuendos built to form an impenetrable wall around the minds of a public no longer willing to think sideways. But, don’t you see that the greatness and the beauty in the world can only be seen from that altered perspective? Those that carry the most glorious gifts almost always stand on the outside looking in-they laughed at ridiculed and mocked Da Vinci because he had a great affinity and respect for the natural world, an affinity which ran counter to a society conditioned to think along narrowed lines of barbarism. But, what were Da Vinci’s views if not a precursor of the modern world? Forebears of the environmental activists and supporters of the modern day? Here was a person standing in the full warmth of the light whilst thee rest of the public shuffled around in the darkness. The same is true of many geniuses-Mozart, Michael, they just want to be let in.

We must stop annihilating souls that we should treasure. Have you ever considered that the common view may not be the correct one? Whoever said it was “normal” to engage in promiscuity, to drink yourself beyond rational understanding, to routinely fight wars and commit acts of genocide, to hate each other and to carelessly destroy the planet-the only home we have and, perhaps, are ever likely to have. When did that become “normal?”

When did we begin to stop dear Michael getting in? When did it become “weird” “bizarre” or “crazy,” to choose to shine your humanity in life as brightly as you possibly can, to travel the world bringing comfort, reassurance, guidance and financial and emotional support to families who have nothing, whose lands have been left ruthlessly raped by the avaricious aims of others. When did it become “strange,” to choose to climb a tree or sit atop a roof and gaze in awed reverence at the stars, held as they are in the vastness of a universe which cradles us in its infinity. To watch the swallows dance in extended flight as they fish for insects in the night air, or to revel in the cumbersome journey of the bee from flower to flower.

Michael Jackson lived and breathed these sentiments, these beliefs, which, when you glance beyond the superficiality of man-made gadgets, electronics and concrete, are what truly colour the experience of humanity-it is these elements which form humanity. The official definition of humanity is the condition of being human-to be human one must acknowledge their individual place in the beauty, grandeur and splendour of the natural world and humble themselves before its divine qualities. To be engaged in humanity is, also, by definition to be kind and benevolent. What form of humanity exists at present then? If we are none of these things, can we still define ourselves as humanity? And dear Michael-one of several came-he tried to remind us what that word means-he tried to illuminate the darkness by embracing what it is to be human-by revering and respecting natural wonders, not as a means to an end, but as glorious ends in themselves. He tried to illuminate the darkness with benevolence, with love, with kindness.

We wouldn’t let him in.

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