Michael's Christmas Story

Perhaps you have had read this story,
thought I want to re-post this to welcoming the special moment of the year, Christmas :))


My close encounter with Michael Jackson
By Gwen J. Cariño (The Philippine Star)

Handing out a loot bag to a boy during the Orphan‘s Christmas Party held at Manila Hotel on December 1996

MANILA, Philippines – When I was a PR officer at Manila Hotel, I was assigned to head the annual Orphan’s Christmas Party where 300 children from different orphanages around Metro Manila were treated to a day of fun and surprises. It was one of the biggest projects on my plate and it was such a challenge to focus on work the day before the big event, knowing Michael Jackson was billeted in the hotel.

Two nights before, I had been fortunate to be part of his welcome line at the hotel lobby together with the rest of the PR and sales staff but was content enough to see him walk by.

The day before, a guy claiming to be Michael Jackson’s aide from Mamarao Productions came to the office. I couldn’t recall his name but he looked for the “person in charge” and said his boss had read the announcement about the event in the Dear Guest flyers we had circulated to all the rooms a week before. Michael wanted to know how he could help. His aide went up to the Penthouse and down to the PR office several times after we gave our suggestions.

Michael offered to fill up the 300 loot bags with goodies and toys, candies and chocolates. But after getting close to 50 sponsors, it was actually a problem for us to dispose of everything.

So I thought hard…how can the King of Pop meaningfully join the affair? I couldn’t possibly have him be with the kids in the palayok game or the pabitin as he might end up being mobbed! And since the annual event was really all about giving, I mustered all my courage and told the Mamarao guy that the best thing I could think of was for Michael to literally be present to help distribute the loot bags, sign autographs and pose with the children for photos. “Wow, that may not be easy. You’re talking about handing goodie bags to 300 children and I can just imagine the chaos. We’ll see, Ms. Jacinto. I’ll get back to you,” he said.

Lunch break came and it was the most hurried one I ever took in my entire life. It wasn’t until after 5 p.m. that Michael‘s aide came back and said, “Michael is more than happy to do whatever you suggest. How do we go about it tomorrow?”

I wanted to scream. I had to calm myself and regain composure as the Lizzie Maguire in me said, “Get real, get back into focus.”

We agreed that Michael would join after the games, musical program and snacks, and at the last part to give out the loot bags. My colleague Annette Africano and boss Dulce Agnir requested for additional security around the garden and the stage area as this was where we decided to distribute the gifts. We made sure the children would form an orderly line.

Then the moment arrived. It was at the Champagne Gardens on Dec. 7, 1996. I was surprised to see him walking towards us, guided by his aide. Michael came up to me as I had to brief him.

Hi, how are you? Thanks so much for letting me in, I know I’m early ’coz I didn’t want to miss the program.

I said, “Are you kidding? Thanks so much for volunteering! Here’s what Michael, why don’t you just sit here and watch the musical numbers before we get into the gift giving. I will have to tweak the program a bit.

He replied, “Sure, anything you say… (pausing to look at my name tag) Gwen!

I was stunned at how incredibly sweet and modest he was. And in my mind it was, “Oh my God, this is really happening!”

Amazing how he patiently sat through the whole program. Carol Banawa, then an Ang TV mainstay couldn’t believe MJ was watching her perform. She had her red blouse signed by him right after her number. Then followed Stefano Mori’s dance number. Later, his back up singers and dancers came up on stage followed by select kids from different orphanages who danced to the beat of Billie Jean. Oh, the smile on Michael’s face was just amazing.

Then we announced that Michael will be distributing gifts onstage. I explained to him that there’s a loot bag for the younger kids and another for the older ones and he nodded. The thrill and excitement he gave those children was incredibly touching. It was in between the gift bag distribution that I caught a glimpse of MJ, not as a performer but as a person.

It was one in the afternoon. Santa Claus (David Endriga, a friend of fellow PR officer Francis Capistrano) was with us. The heat was scourging and I was worried that Michael felt so hot with his black long-sleeved signature attire and hat.

Are you alright Michael? We can let you take a break,” I asked.

He said, “I’m cool Gwen. Just imagine how Santa feels inside his velvet suit and beard. We’ll be fine.

I never heard him complain or say a word about how hot it was or how long the line was. He had the most beautiful manners. He didn’t even ask for a drink or a towel to wipe his sweat but one of our banquet staff made sure he got a glass of fresh orange juice.

An hour passed and we were halfway through gift-giving when we noticed that the garden was getting filled up. Suddenly, there were people from media, politicians, officials and hotel guests including those in a wedding reception at the nearby Champagne Room who deserted the newly-weds just to get a glimpse of the King of Pop.

Oh oh, this isn’t supposed to be, I’m so sorry,” I said.
"It’s all right, we’ll get through it,” Michael said smiling.

As we finished giving out the last loot bag to an 11-year-old orphan, a new line of more kids and adults formed. Michael’s bodyguard, Wayne, said. “We can leave now.

Michael replied calmly, “We can’t leave when there are still people in line. It’s Christmas, dude.

I felt my heart beat faster and the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. He wasn’t just the most electrifying performer, but the most generous person.

One of the most memorable moments was when a lady came up to him for an autograph. Laughing and holding his tummy, he said “Hey Gwen, you’ve gotta check this out. He whispered, “It’s a blank check. The lady is making me sign on a blank check.

We laughed hard and little did we know that it wasn’t even half of the comedy. He later showed me and Wayne other stuff people would use or pick up on the ground when they couldn’t find paper for him to sign on. One lady made him sign at the back of her elegant, designer Filipiniana gown. One teenager came up to him holding a dead leaf and another one, a popped balloon. Imagine how our laughter ballooned as well.

It was an amazing, genuine experience. At one point he asked if I was going to catch his History concert and I said “tomorrow night.”

Oh, you’ll have a blast!” Michael told me.

At this point he became concerned about the stage as adults outnumbered the kids. His face had nervousness written all over it but he still didn’t complain. He tapped the wooden floor with his foot several times making sure it was sturdy enough not to fall apart. “I’ve experienced the stage collapse and I just want to make sure we’re all safe here,” he explained.

Half of me wanted the line to finish because we were literally melting and worried about our safety, but half of me didn’t, knowing that once the line ended, Michael will leave.

At some point it did end. I managed to get an autograph for my sisters and me before our general manager, Clem Pablo, requested him to sing Give Love on Christmas Day.

Cesar Sarino, one of the hotel’s officials, addressed his thank you note to the King of Pop. Then I saw his guards and aides whisking Michael off stage.

I said in my mind, “Oh man, I didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye.

Suddenly, I saw Michael return on stage and say, “Thanks so much to you and your team, Gwen. This really means a lot.

Then he held me beside him and said, “I’ll see you at the concert.”

As Michael Jackson is laid to rest and returned to pristine condition in the afterlife, these two incredible acts of the King of Pop — volunteering for charity and unselfishly spending time with the less fortunate, will forever be the way I will remember this man.


Here's the video :)

Enjoy your Christmas season, everyone :))
Peace around the world and may the joy of Christmas spirit be inside of us - not only on Christmas seasons, but through the year of our life.

I love you, Michael
and I love you all ♥

For those who want to read/watch Michael's Christmas message, click here: Michael's Christmas Messages


Respecting Michael's own words, and others'

I've been on twitter for one and a half year with a dedicated account to share Michael's own words. I tweeted what I read, watched and listened, may it's from his songs, interviews, dialogues, speeches, and other sources that came out from his own, written or spoken.

I don't mind if anyone copied and tweeted the quote I just tweeted, because it's not mine, it's Michael's, and my goal on twitter is to share Michael's words around the world. (Yes, I see several times it happened, sometimes they 'favorited' my tweet to tweet it on their account... perhaps it's hard to click the RT button.)

BUT anyways,
What saddens me is, to see other quoted some words/statement/phrase and claimed it as Michael's when actually they're NOT.
For instance, I saw someone quoted: "Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know." and says that it's Michael's -- NOPE, it's not, it's Lao Tzu's.

And, read this:
"God knows the truth, and that's what really matters to me" ~ Michael Jackson -
Michael never literally said that.... (???)
"God will handle the situation" ~ Michael Jackson --tell me, when did he say this?

why changing his words to this -- "Before you know if you have red or brown hair, if your black or white, or what religion you are apart of, u must know that your loved" ~MJ
while the exact words from him:
"Before you know if you have red hair or brown, before you know if you are black or white, before you know of what religion you are a part, you have to know that you are loved." ~ Michael Jackson ~

I know the messages are alike, but it's still not his.

I just need to post this on my blog, I hope you guys who read this, Please...:
- Do not use other's words as if it's Michael's..
- Don't write your own words and put is as Michael's
- and please,... you do NOT need to change his words, as if you're revising his statements. His words are beautiful as the person he was.

If you don't like them how they are, leave them, dont' change anything.
If you have no time to check what's the real phrase? Leave it and let it up to others who lovingly quote the right words, there several others who are dedicating their accounts to spread MJ's quotes: @InDefenseofMJ, @MJJQuotes, @MJQuoteOfTheDay, @omgmjquotes

if you want to respect other,
start from the very single thing: RESPECT your own IDOL.
It may be simple, but every thing start from the simple thing.


Life is about Perception, through a camera

MJ: The tabloid press ... that kind of press .. Not the press ... the tabloids ... the paparazzi ... that type. I've been running for my life like that ... hiding, getting away. You can't go that way cause they're over there ... well let's go this way and pretend we're going that way ... and we'll go that way. Somebody should say, " Hold on! Stop! This person deserves their privacy. You are not allowed to go there!" I go around the world dealing with running and hiding. You can't ... I can't take a walk in the park ... I can't go to the store ... you can't ... I have to hide in the room. You feel like you're in prison.
BW: What's been the most intrusive thing? What's the worst?
MJ: They always have been ... they go as far as to hide things into places. They'll slide a machine up under the toilet ... tch, tch, tch, tch [Michael makes a sound effect like clicking a camera] ... and you go, "Oh, my God!" They've done that.
BW: When you came into this hotel, you had to come in ... or you felt you had to come in ... through the kitchen.
MJ: I've been doing it for years. In many lobbies, I have never seen the front door. Never.

Just want to share a story tale about Michael from Margena A. Christan, a EBONY senior writer -- @MargenaXan

When I visited Los Olivos, Calif., where MJ's Neverland Ranch was located, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice everyone in town appeared.

While staying at a little hotel there, I met a hotel worker. He was also a photographer.
He told me how MJ would often walk around town alone. Everyone knew him. Nobody bothered him. He LOVED nature and people.

The man also taught photography at a local college in Los Olivos. He recalled meeting MJ.
The man told me that MJ was very fascinated with his camera. He wanted to hold it and examine it. MJ asked him lots of questions.

Like most Virgos, he was inquisitive. The man said that MJ was a joy to speak with. He wanted to see the photographer's work.

A small detail though it may be, the man was delighted that MJ took an interest in photography.
The man said he asked how everything on the camera worked. He studied it closely. MJ was also pleased to learn the man was a professor.

What stood out most about meeting the man was how he held on to the fact that MJ was so "normal." How MJ was a "regular" guy.

At the front gate of Neverland, I met many of MJ's neighbors. One told me, "He'd come out and stand where you are and talk to us."
He had so much land that he'd rent space so the neighbors could allow their animals a place on Neverland.

Life is about perception. The world saw MJ as a "freak" and "strange" person. I never saw him that way. The people I met didn't either.
The glass really is half full. It's how you view things. MJ was a man full of questions. He was a man who enjoyed learning about a camera.
His fascination seems to make sense now. His entire life folks chased him around w/a camera hoping to get picture.

Little things in life mean so much. Understanding the enemy, in MJ's case the camera, might have been important for him. Who knows?

Story tale from @MargenaXan's tweets

"I can look at a painting and lose myself. It pulls you in, all the pathos and drama. It communicates with you. You can sense what the artist was feeling.
I feel the same way about photography.
A poignant or strong photograph can speak volumes."
~ Michael Jackson ~

Any picture can give you many perceptions on your mind, though most of the time it depends how the photographer captures the images. Sadly, the media/tabloids make pictures of Michael to earn money, get ratings and for their own fame without even try to touch the essence of the man himself.

"I just hope that one day that they will be fair and portray me the way I really am,
just a loving and peaceful guy wanting to make wonderful, unprecedented entertainment and songs and music and film for the world, you know that's all I wanna do,
I am no threat, I just wanna do that, that's all I wanna do.
I want to be a joy to the world."
~ Michael Jackson ~

What is it that so hard to see him fairly? He had gave his life for the world, and for the children!!


We Call Him Peter Pan

♫ What kind of man
Who gives so much
And we not understand..

When the first time I listened to the album of "Beats of Our Hearts" released by MJTP, this song left me in silence because of its lyrics. Michael always said that he's Peter Pan. and he always mentioned how he loved Neverland so much...
I said, that one day I should make something with this song. And so I did, I made this video:

"Peter Pan, to me, represents something that is very special in my heart.
It represents youth, childhood, never growing up, magic, flying, everything I think that children and wonderment and magic, what it's all about."
~ Michael Jackson ~

♫ A man who loves and cares for all children
And yet they all misunderstand
We call him Peter, Peter Pan
His spirit lives in Michael's Never Neverland ♫

Michael's words about Neverland:
"Neverland appeals to the child inside of every man, woman and child."

"[Neverland] It’s a place where I feel that you can return to your childhood."

"[Neverland] It’s just a fun place. I love it.
And … I will always love it and I will never, ever sell Neverland.
Neverland is me, you know.
It’s, it represents the… totality of who I am. It really does.
I love Neverland."

Thanks to Tony Wilson who wrote this song. He was inspired in 2004 because of the Granada Television documentary Living with Michael Jackson with journalist Martin Bashir. (source)
"I hope this song changes the mindset of people and stops the negativity around his life...and death," said Wilson.

Why Peter Pan?
In an interview with MJTP, he added:
"Peter Pan came to life in Michael Jackson. They connected as one, and the adult world wasn’t ready for a magical human being to be in existence here on Earth. Michael was being the real Peter Pan; the human form of him, and he was very serious about it emotionally, physically, and with mind, body and soul; not as a character, but as a natural human having that forever spirit of love, giving, sharing and believing."

"I'm Peter Pan."
"But I'm Peter Pan in my heart."
~ ♥ ~ Michael Jackson ~ ☀ ~

We Call Him Peter Pan, by Tony Wilson
Full lyrics:

Michael we will always believe in you and to us you are Peter Pan

What kind of man
Who gives so much
And we not understand

That he cares so much for the children
In this cold ,cold earthly land

He is hurt, betrayed and a father
A human being with a broken heart
When he was young, he sang with his brothers
And now you look, and turn away

We call him Peter, Peter Pan
His spirit lives in Michael's Never Neverland
We call him Peter, 'cause we're the fans
He will never grow up and become a man

Mum and Dad you both were children
So I know you'll understand
How I love to play with laughter
Or walk with just holding hands

You taught me never accuse somebody
Mistaken water just for sand
A man who loves and cares for all children
And yet they all misunderstand

We call him Peter, Peter Pan
His spirit lives in Michael's Never Neverland
We call him Peter, 'cause we're the fans
He will never grow up and become a man

What's the matter with you?
I've thought you knew me too
I didn't just arrive
You knew me since I was nine
I have a family too
I'm just as innocent as you
Oooh why?

We call him Peter, Peter Pan
His spirit lives in Michael's Never Neverland
We call him Peter, 'cause we're the fans
He will never grow up and become a man

What do you do when you're telling the truth?

We call him Peter, Peter Pan
His spirit lives in Michael's Never Neverland
We call him Peter, 'cause we're the fans
He will never grow up and become a man

He will never grow up and become a man
Never, never grow up and become a man

"I would love to come back as, as,
as a child that never grows old, like Peter Pan." ♥
~ Michael Jackson ~

(Pictures above are not mine, click on each pic will lead you to the source)


Watching from the Moon

I want to share a poem that is written by one of my favorite (local) poet from Indonesia, Sapardi Djoko Damono. This poem is called "The Day Will Come". Every time I read this poem, I always remember Michael, just in replacing the word 'poem' with 'song'...
and the song of "One Day in Your Life" keep playing in my mind.
So, here we go....

The Day Will Come

The day will come
When my body no longer exists
But in the lines of this poem [song]
I will never let you be alone

The day will come
When my voice is no longer heard
But within the words of this poem [song]
I will continue to watch over you

The day will come
When my dreams are no longer known
But in the spaces found in the letters of this poem [song]
I will never tired of looking for you

For the love that Michael had shared with us,
that we shall continue to spread his words and realize his dreams,
knowing he is watching from above, and he will never leave us...
Always remember: We are not alone, we never will

The Moonwalker is watching from the Moon

Artwork: copyright of @MyMjjTribute

♪♫ Would you ever even dream
To go to the extreme?
And would you ever wanna
Be the one to rescue me?

On the moon,
that's where you'll find me soon.. ♪♫

"A star can never die.
It just turns into a smile and melts back into the cosmic music, the dance of life"
~ Michael Jackson ~


You were there, and I'll never let you part

Video for Michael on his birthday 2011...

The song, "You Were There" where he sang it for Sammy Davis, Jr., also expresses my messages to him, that he were here with us, against the unfair life he had gone through..
and yet, he won the day because he had successfully surpassed it all..
That's not all, he had also open my heart for the better: "I'm here, because you were there.."

I added the clip of "Will You Be There" to let him know that
I'll never let him part of me, and that he will always in my heart, forever...


To Make My [His] Father Proud

The young kid who wanted to make his father proud, and his mother smile ♥

on 3:06 ~ his name, 'Michael' itself means 'who is like God'

To make my father proud
To make my mother smile
I need not conquer worlds or fame
Nor set the pace for style

If I can follow through
On what they gave me as my tools
I'll find a way to sail my course
Avoiding ships of fools

If I don't come up, number one
I'll stand not well apart
As one for numbered numbers
When knowing in my heart

I've done all to be done
To always do my best
By listening to me, myself
So he can do or else

For without compromise,
shall flower the fruit of constant care
In my eleventh hour,
I'll be a man when

To face whatever falls my way
Prepare that utter shame
To just be called a part of God
For which I have been named

A man and woman's youngest son
While growing, still a child
And that will make my father proud
And make my mother smile

I do not own all these clips, and all these clips are from the movie of "Motown on Showtime: Michael Jackson, the Legend Continues" (1988)


Africa: Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela

I made this video Africa: Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela,
the only thing that triggered me to make this video is knowing that Michael and Nelson Mandela has been a good friends for years,

and a good friends becomes a GREAT friends when they both are inspired by each other to do great things... "Great Friends inspire others to do Great Things."

Nelson Mandela has inspired Michael to write "What More Can I give"...
"In an earlier conversation I had this year with President Mandela," said Michael in 1999, "we discussed the concept of giving, and the words 'what more can I give' kept coming into my mind... we all have to do what we can, to help end the needless suffering in the world."

From Michael, Nelson Mandela found his strength...
MANDELA: MICHAEL JACKSON GIVES ME STRENGTH: King of Pop a Source of Inspiration, Former South African President Says
“When you are behind bars with no hope of release, you need to find strength wherever you can,” President Mandela said in an exclusive interview, “Personally, I found strength in Michael Jackson.” (2005)

The former South African president said that while imprisoned in the 1980’s, he drew emotional sustenance from following Michael Jackson’s recording career.

“It took great courage to leave the Jackson Five and go solo,” President Mandela said. “I thought to myself, if he had the courage to do that, I, too, must have the will to go on.”

Nelson Mandela's story has given Michael a lot of strength
Q: ....Because you go from being held so high and now your very character, your very integrity is under attack. How your handling it?
Michael: "I’m handling it by using other people in the past who have gone through this sort of thing. Mandela’s story is giving me a lot of strength, what he’s gone through..." (2005)

About them, from Michael's own words:
"He [Hitler] built that anger, so strong, while [Nelson] Mandela did the opposite. He became a lamb in prison. He had no bitterness, to this day saying even though he is eighty and his youth is gone—because he was in prison so long—he doesn't regret any of it."

"He [Nelson Mandela] is sweet, very childlike."
Q: Does he like to giggle?
"He [Nelson Mandela] loves children because when I went to see him I had some kids with me and people were saying the kids have to stay, but Michael Jackson can come. I said. "I'm sure Mr. Mandela wouldn't mind seeing children. I won't go in unless the children go too." I remember his representatives looked at me like this [makes stern and suspicious facial expression] and they went back and then they said, "Everybody come." The first thing Mandela did is run to the children and pick them up and hug them. I knew he was that kind of man and he loved them. He was talking to them and then he shook my hand. I knew I was right." ~ Michael Jackson ~

And, in September 4, 1999: Michael presented Nelson Mandela with a check for 1,000,000 South African rand for the “Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.”

For Michael, Wherever You Are...

it was some days when I didn't feel Michael around,
I thought, perhaps I've been abandoned him for so long since I've been so busy with my study and everything.. and plus, my excitement was for the new movie of Winnie The Pooh (Yes, that's my favorite Disney's character, lol)

But, then I found this video of Winnie the Pooh:

and its lyrics really express my feelings of Michael...

"I need you to come here and find me
Cause without you Im totally lost
I`ve hung a wish on every star
It hasnt done much good so far
I can only dream of you
Wherever you are..."

So, I decided to make a video of Michael with this song:

"I used to believe in forever
but forever's to good to be true
I've hung a wish on every star,
it hasn't done much good so far...."

I represent myself as Katie [Moonwalker],
which at the end, she said: "THANK YOU, Michael, Good bye..."

"I don't know what else to do,
except to try to dream of you.
I wonder if you're dreaming too,
wherever you are..."


Keep the Faith

Suffer from low self-esteem?
Don't believe in yourself?
Have lots of doubts in life?
BUT you still wanna succeed in life?
Still have dreams to reach?

Hey, KEEP your FAITH!
Here's what Michael taught us:

"You can't do your best when you're doubting yourself.
If you don't believe in yourself, who will?
Just doing as well as you did last time is not good enough.
I think of it as the "Try to get what you can" mentality."
~ Michael Jackson ~ [Moonwalk]

Dream: Greatest Actor, Singer, Dancer of all time and Entertainer, The Best.
Study the great of your field and become Greater.
Know the secrets of your endeavor "The Method"
Mind Target: Control and Influence the subconscious
Best in your field
Be Scientist know. The Great's Method
Try out and then perfect it.
Move Mountains

True Training: A never ending persistence to equal or exceed the performance in your minds eye

(In Photos: Michael Jackson wrote this in the early 80's in his home in Encino California. This really defines how Michael wanted to become the greatest by not only working so hard but also conditioning his mind. First thing that comes to my mind after seeing this is I want to share this amazing writing to everyone especially to young MJ Lovers out there that like Michael, every dream is possible as long as you are willing to put your heart and soul into it. Passionate Michael became THE GREATEST because of he is willing to work so hard (no short cut), to sacrifice and also condition his mind. He fights for his dream. No wonder, everyone looks up to Michael and wanted to be like him. Michael will continue to inspire... It's up to us now how we will fight for our dream like Mike. Or it can never be done :) FIGHT FOR YOUR DREAM #MJFAM! )

If you wanna be like Michael, on @MJJPhotos has said it all :)

"I believe we are powerful, but we don't use our minds to full capacity.
Your mind is powerful enough to help you attain whatever you want."
~ Michael Jackson ~ [Moonwalk]

Life is not easy, it never has and never will.
Problem is part of our life, and it will always be. In fact, I've learned that those who do not have problem are INDEED is having problem.
and how we deal and overcome the problem shall enrich our life-skills.
So, don't worry, problem exists to be solved anyway. :)

- do not copy or steal this artwork - respect the copyrights of ownership -

"No matter what, the most powerful thing in the world is
the human mind and prayer, and belief in your self and confidence and perseverance.
No matter how many times you do it, you do it again until it's right.
And always believe in your self.
And not matter who's around you that's being negative or thrusting negative energy at you, totally block it off.
Because whatever you believe, you become.
~ Michael Jackson, 2001 ~

I believe, Michael's fans, MJFam want to be mike-like,
and as Michael's ambassador, we should practice his words in our daily life.
If something or even someone bothers you, in every precedents of life, ask yourself, 'what would Michael do and/or say?'

"Even if you're sweeping floors or painting ceilings,
do it better than anybody in the world, no matter what it is that you do.
Be the best at it,
and have a respect for others, and be proud of yourself..
and to honor; be honorable,"
~ Michael Jackson, 2001 ~

I'm not always have confident on myself either, I have low self-esteem and many doubts, but yes, I still have many goals to reach.. and reading these words has made encouraged me to step forward realizing my dreams.

"If you enter this world knowing you are loved
and you leave this world knowing the same,
then everything that happens in between can he dealt with.
A professor may degrade you, but you will not feel degraded,
a boss may crush you, but you will not be crushed,
a corporate gladiator might vanquish you, but you will still triumph.
How could any of them truly prevail in pulling you down?
For you know that you are an object worthy of love.
The rest is just packaging."
~ Michael Jackson, 2001 ~

Here's my favorite quote of Michael that had triggered me moving out my comfort zone to reach my dreams and goals:

"And no matter what, no star is too far to reach and you never give up."
~ Michael Jackson, 2005 ~

Have a good day, everyone,
and remember: KEEP THE FAITH

If you call out loud
Will it get inside?
Through the heart of your surrender
To your alibis

And you can
Say the words
Like you understand
But the power's in believing
So give yourself a chance

Cuz you can
Climb the highest mountain
Swim the deepest sea-ee

All you need is the will to want it
And a Little self-esteem

So keep the faith
Don't let nobody turn you round
You got to know when it's good to go
To get your dreams up off the ground

So keep the faith, baby yeah
Because it's just a matter of time
Before your confidence will win out

Believe in yourself no matter what it's gonna take
You can be a winner but you gotta keep the faith
Gon' keep it brother
You got

And when you think of trust
Does it lead you home?
To a place that you only dream of
When you're all alone

And you can go by feel
'Stead of circumstance
But the power's in believing
So give yourself a chance

I know that you can
Sail across the water
Float across the sky-i
Any road that you take will get you there
If you only try

So keep the faith
Don't let nobody take you down brother
Just keep your eyes on the prize
Feet flat on the ground

So keep the faith
Baby yeah
Because it's just a matter of time
Before your confidence will win out

I told my brother how to do the thing right
Lift up your head and show the world you got pride
Go for what you want
Don't let them get in your way
You can be a winner but you gotta
Keep the faith
Gon' keep it brother
You got

I know that keepin the faith
Means never givin up on love
But the power that love has
Has to make it right
Makes it
Makes it right

So keep the faith
Don't let nobody turn you round brother
You got to know when it's good to go
Get your dreams up off of the ground

So keep the faith, baby yeah
Because it's just a matter of time
Before your confidence will win out

Better stand up and act like you wanna do it right
Don't play the fool for the rest of your life
Work on it brother and you'll make it someday
Go for what you want and don't forget the faith

Look at yourself and what your doin right now
Stand back a minute just to check yourself out
Straighten up your life and how your livin each day
Get yourself together cuz you gotta keep the faith

Don't let nobody take you down brother
Just keep your eyes on the prize
Your feet flat on the ground

So keep the faith, baby yeah
Because it's just a matter of time
Before your confidence will win out

Lift up your mind before your mind gets blown
Some things in life you're best just leave them alone
Go for what you want
Don't let it get in your way
You can make it happen but you gotta keep the faith Gon' keep it brother
You got to keep the faith
Yeah keep the faith
Gon' keep it sista
You got to keep the faith

I told my brother how to do the thing right
Lift up your head and show the world you got pride
Go for what you want
Don't let them get in your way
You can be a winner if you keep the faith

Straighten out yourself and get your mind on track
Dust off your butt and get your self-respect back
You've know me long enough to know that I don't play
Take it like you want it but you got to keep the faith


Vibe, March 2002

VIBE Magazine, 2002

After more than 30 years of creating music, Michael Jackson remains an enigma. Regina Jones sits down with the mysterious legend to discuss hip hop, life as a single parent, and the unexpected joys of an all-out water-balloon fight.

I first met Michael Jackson some 33 years ago when Diana Ross introduced the Jackson 5-then a brand-new Motown act-to 350 music and media folk at the Daisy Club in Beverly Hills. My husband, Ken, and I were then publishing Soul, one of the first national black-entertainment newsmagazines.

Ten-year-old Michael already knew how to charm a crowd. Acknowledging Diana's support, he said, "After singing for four years and not becoming a star, I thought I would never be discovered-that is, until Miss Ross came along to save my career."

Just four months later, the Jackson 5's first single, "I Want You Back," soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, followed two months later by "ABC." Thousands of letters from across the country poured into our mailbox. Responding to the Jackson's first tour, one reader wrote: "Those youngsters performed in a manner that could be harmful to one's health. The heart can only stand so much soul, and their performance was definitely an overdose."

Over the next decade, Soul kept up with the Jackson family as a guest at parties, weddings, and concerts. We were also regular visitors to the family home, where Michael-soft-spoken, polite, curious, and quiet-was usually off by himself, drawing or playing with his snakes and other pets, while his older brothers, cousins, and visitors played basketball. But when Soul stopped publishing in 1980, I lost touch with the family.

And then Michael became a pop-culture superstar, changing the face of music, dance, fashion, and music video with hit after hit. He was idolized and chased by fans and media wherever he went. He took an art form, refined and packaged it, and became an international icon. The American Music Awards recently named him the Artist of the Century. When it comes to the King of Pop, the world is insatiable.

You can tell a lot about someone by the people who work for him. Arriving at Michael's 2,700-acre Neverland Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., north of Santa Barbara, I'm greeted by some of the 70-odd members of Michael's exceedingly friendly staff, which helps the self-proclaimed King of Pop maintain the complex and welcomes busloads of visitors a year, mostly kids who suffer terminal illnesses.

Dressed in black slacks, white socks, black loafers, and a soft yellow shirt, Michael greets me with a warm hello and a big hug. He then excuses himself to see about his son, Prince, 5, and daughter, Paris, 3, who have just returned from a long walk and are excitedly chattering to their dad about their day. The governess, who closely resembles Michael's mother, Katherine, suggests I have a brief look around the ranch before dark. So I take off in a battery-powered golf cart, while Michael spends time with his babies.

I discover an amusement park, playground, train station, arcade, zoo, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, bumper-car tent, and various areas where animals roam free. I spot a llama, a parrot, a cheetah, a pony, and several deer.

Michael is ready to talk when I return 45 minutes later. I've brought along a bound volume of Soul, and he looks at the old photos and laughs at himself, his brothers, and a picture of Diana Ross. "Do you remember interviewing me when I was little?" he asks, reminding me of the time Soul talked to him through his "interpreter," Janet. "It wasn't a game, it was real," he says. "I felt afraid. I felt that if my sister was there, the person would go easier on me."

Often very animated, Michael goes from a whisper to raucous laughter in a split second. The only matter that he refuses to address is his plastic surgery. "That's a stupid question," he says. "That's one reason that I didn't do interviews for years."

At a time when stars routinely boast about their Bentleys and bling-bling, Michael is singularly modest. He brushes off a question about his financial health-there have been recent reports of trouble-saying only, "I'm taken care of fine." Michael makes money when he sleeps. He owns half of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which includes most of the Beatles catalog as well as songs by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Babyface, and Elvis.

At 43, Michael is indisputably back. Invincible, his first album in four years, was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. His two sold-out tribute shows at Madison Square Garden last September (just before the terrorist attacks) were later aired as a CBS special watched by more than 25.7 million viewers, making it that network's highest-rated music special of all time.

As we resume the conversation that began so many years ago, I discover that, in spite of all the flash and tumult of Michael's time in the spotlight, he's remarkably unchanged-still caring, inquisitive, and sensitive.


VIBE: How is it to be competing for sales with the likes of 'N Sync and Britney Spears, children who were basically born at the height of your fame?

MJ: It's a rarity. I had No. 1 records in 1969 and '70, and still entered the charts in 2001 at No. 1. I don't think any other artist has that range. It's a great honor. I'm happy; I don't know what else to say. I'm glad people accept what I do.

VIBE: What are your thoughts on the current state of R&B?

MJ: I don't categorize music. Music is music. They changed the word R&B to rock 'n' roll. It has always been, from Fats Domino to Little Richard to Chuck Berry. How can we discriminate? It is what it is-great music, you know.

VIBE: Are you feeling hip hop?

MJ: I like a lot of it, a lot of it. I like the music. I don't like the dancing that much. It looks like they're doing aerobics.

VIBE: How did you decide to feature Biggie Smalls on "Unbreakable," off Invincible?

MJ: It wasn't my idea, actually. It was Rodney Jerkins, one of the writer/ producers working on the album. It was my idea to put a rap part on the song, and he said, "I know just the perfect one-Biggie." He put it in, and it worked perfectly.

VIBE: Why did you choose Jay-Z for the remix of the first single," You Rock My World"?

MJ: He's hip, the new thing, and he's with the kids today. They like his work. He's tapped into the nerve of popular culture. It just made good sense.

VIBE: What was it like for you to appear at New York's Hot 97 Summer Jam concert as Jay-Z's guest?

MJ: I just showed up and gave him a hug. There was a tumultuous explosion of applause and stomping, a lovely, lovely welcome, and I was happy about that. It was a great feeling-the love, the love.

VIBE: Does it bother you to see people emulate you, such as Usher, Sisqo, Ginuwine, and even Destiny's Child?

MJ: I don't mind it at all. These are artists who grew up with my music. When you grow up listening to somebody you admire, you tend to become them. You want to look like them, to dress like them. When I was little, I was James Brown, I was Sammy Davis Jr., so I understand it. It's a compliment.

VIBE: Did you know that you were creating timeless classics when you were recording Thriller and Off The Wall?

MJ: Yes, not to be arrogant, but yes. Because I know great material when I hear it, and melodically and sonically and musically, it's so moving. They keep the promise.

VIBE: Do you feel there's greater acceptance of black artists these days?

MJ: I think people have always admired black music since the beginning of time, if you want to go back to Negro spirituals. Today, the market is just accepting the fact that that's the sound. From Britney to 'N Sync, they're all doing the R&B thing. Even Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, he always tells me [imitating a British accent], "Man, we do R&B." I say, Barry, I don't categorize it, but it's great music. I understand where he's coming from. I love great music-it has no color, it has no boundaries.

VIBE: You seem to be enjoying life as a single parent.

MJ: I never had so much fun in all my life. That's the truth. Because I'm this big kid, and now I get to see the world through the eyes of the really young ones. I learn more from them than they learn from me. I'm constantly trying things and testing things on them to see what works and what doesn't. Children are always the best judges to monitor something. If you can get the kids, you've got it. That's why Harry Potter is so successful-it's a family-oriented movie. You can't go wrong there. We want a wide demographic, and that's why I try not to say things in my lyrics that offend parents. I don't want to be like that. We weren't raised to be like that. Mother and Joseph [Michael's father] wouldn't say stuff like that.

VIBE: What do Prince and Paris listen to?

MJ: They listen to all of my music, and they love classical, which plays all around the ranch. They like any good dance music.

VIBE: How would you feel about your children becoming pop icons, based upon your experience?

MJ: I don't know how they would handle that. It would be tough. I really don't know. It's hard, since most children of celebrities end up becoming self-destructive because they can't live up to the talent of the parent. People always used to say to Fred Astaire Jr., "Can you dance?" And he couldn't. He didn't have any rhythm, but his father was this genius dancer. It doesn't mean that it has to be passed on. I always tell my children, You don't have to sing, you don't have to dance. Be who you want to be, as long as you're not hurting anybody. That's the main thing.

VIBE: Which artists-past and present-inspire you?

MJ: Stevie Wonder is a musical prophet. All of the early Motown. All the Beatles. I'm crazy about Sammy Davis Jr., Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson-the real entertainers, the real thing, not just gimmicks, showstoppers. When James Brown was with the Famous Flames, it was unbelievable. There are so many wonderful singers-Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis. Real stylists. You hear one line, and you know who it is. Nat "King" Cole, great stuff. Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke-they are all ridiculous.

VIBE: How involved were you in selecting the artists to perform in your 30th anniversary special?

MJ: I wasn't involved at all.

VIBE: How were you able to let go of something so big and so special?

MJ: Trust.

VIBE: What was your experience on September 11?

MJ: I was in New York [after performing at Madison Square Garden] on September 7 and 11, and I got a call from friends in Saudi Arabia that America was being attacked. I turned on the news and saw the Twin Towers coming down, and I said, Oh my God. I screamed down the hotel hallway to all our people, Everybody get out, let's leave now! Marlon Brando was on one end; our security was on the other end. We were all up there, but Elizabeth Taylor was at another hotel. We all got out of there as quickly as we could. We jumped in the car, but there were these girls who had been at the show the night before, and they were banging on the windows, running down the street screaming. Fans are so loyal. We hid in New Jersey. It was unbelievable; was scared to death.

VIBE: On another tip altogether, what do you do for recreation?

MJ: I like water-balloon fights. We have a water-balloon fort here, and we have a red team and a blue team. We have slings and cannons, and you are drenched by the time the game is over. There's a timer, and whoever gets the most points is the winner. If I'm going to do some kind of sport, I have to laugh. I don't do anything like basketball or golf. Basketball is very competitive, and so is tennis; they make you angry. I'm not into that. It should be therapeutic. I also like to go to amusement parks, hang with animals, things like that.

VIBE: Do you have a fantasy of something that you'd like to see in your lifetime?

MJ: I would like to see an international children's holiday to honor our children, because the family bond has been broken. There's a Mother's Day and there's a Father's Day, but there's no children's day. It would mean a lot. It really would. World peace. I hope that our next generation will get to see a peaceful world, not the way things are going now.

VIBE: Has singing ever stopped being fun and become work?

MJ: It's always been fun. Unless I get physically sick, it's always fun. I still love it.

VIBE: Many of us see you as a historic figure, an innovator who has set a standard that still exists in music. Where does Michael Jackson go from here?

MJ: Thank you, thank you. I have deep love for film, and I want to pioneer and innovate in the medium of film-to write and direct and produce movies, to bring incredible entertainment.

VIBE: What kinds of movies? Are you looking at scripts?

MJ: Yes, but nothing has been finalized yet.

VIBE: Are you ever lonely?

MJ: Of course. If I'm onstage, I'm fine there. But you can have a house full of people and still be lonely from within. I'm not complaining, because I think it's a good thing for my work.

VIBE: Tell me about the inspiration for "Speechless." It's very loving.

MJ: You'll be surprised. I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big water-balloon fight-I'm serious-and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote "Speechless." Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because it's such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in its entirety right there. I felt it would be good enough for the album. Out of the bliss comes magic, wonderment, and creativity.

VIBE: Do you collect anything?

MJ: I like anything having to do with Shirley Temple, the Little Rascals, and the Three Stooges. I love Curly. I love him so much that I did a book on him. I got hold of his daughter, and we wrote the book together.

VIBE: Is there anything that you would like to say to VIBE readers?

MJ: I love Quincy Jones. I really do. And also, I want to tell the readers not to judge a person by what they hear, or even what they read, unless they heard it from the person himself. There is so much tabloid sensationalism. Don't fall prey to it, it's ugly. I'd like to take all the tabloids and burn them. I want you to print that! Some of them try to disguise themselves, but they are still the tabloids.

VIBE: Finally, how do you channel your creativity?

MJ: I don't force it; I let nature take its course. I don't sit at the piano and think, I'm going to write the greatest song of all time. It doesn't happen. It has to be given to you. I believe it's already up there before you are born, and then it drops right into your lap. It's the most spiritual thing in the world. When it comes, it comes with all of the accompaniments, the strings, the bass, the drums, the lyrics, and you're just the medium through which it comes, the channel. Sometimes I feel guilty putting my name on the songs-"written by Michael Jackson"- because it's as if the heavens have done it already. Like Michelangelo would have this huge piece of marble from the quarries of Italy, and he'd say, "Inside is a sleeping form." He takes a hammer and chisel, and he's just freeing it. It's already in there. It's already there.