Michael Jackson: The Music and the Message Are Alive
By Jagpreet Luthra
Monday, June 25, was the ninth death anniversary of Michael Jackson, the musical genius, who held sway over millions of people across the boundaries of countries, colour, caste and creed. From Berlin to Bombay and from Moscow to San Diego, there are men, women and children who still swear by MJ. The interest in Jackson the person and artiste is unflagging. The count of views of the videos about the life and death of Jackson adds up to a billion.
Jackson's innocence and purity moved the masses; his dance electrified them; his singing energised them to a point of frenzy and his thoughts and philosophy stirred their own humanity.
Despite being reviled by a minority within his lifetime--and even now--over unproven charges of pedophilia against him, Jackson ' s intense and pure love for children defined him till the end. Six weeks before his tragic death from an overdose of drugs for insomnia prescribed by his doctor, in a half asleep and slurred telephonic talk, Jackson said about children of the world: "I feel their pain. I had no childhood. I feel their hurt. I hurt, you know, I hurt." These words have Jackson's fans crying till date.
Six years before his death, in a documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir, 'Living with Michael', he was unabashed in expressing his love for children he saw as "images of God". Bashir grilled him about his "inappropriate" "intimacy" with children amidst an orchestrated propaganda over the charges of pedophilia, but Jackson doggedly rejected the world's corrupt perception about his relationship with children. The words 'bed' and 'sleeping' did not have a sexual connotation for Jackson who sought to disarm his interrogator:
"When you say bed, you mean it as sexual, it is not sexual. We are going to sleep, put the music on, read a story, give them a hot cup of milk; we have some cookies. It is very sweet, very charming. That's what the whole world should be doing (for kids)."
Asked why it was important to him, he said: "Because I am sensitive to their pain, to the family ..to the human condition.. family bonds have broken, it's an outcry for help when kids start taking guns to school..They need love."
This was the visionary in the artiste whose childlike nature and love for children remained the core of his appeal to millions.
In the thick of unmatched stardom, Jackson still had time for his favourite games and it is delightful to see Jackson play super soaker, pool games and trampoline with his own children and those of his siblings and friends in a video, appropriately titled, "The Big Kid".
Jackson adored children and could not imagine a world without them.
"I have said it before and can say it a million times, I am not afraid to say it that if there are no children in the world, if somebody announces that all the kids are dead, I would jump off the balcony immediately, I am done, I am done."
It is Jackson ' s innocence combined with a rare sensitivity that made him an excellent father and single parent to his own three children. He got them through surrogacy and reared them with motherly care. He was fiercely protective of them, often putting masks and veils to hide their faces from the public.
Today, all the three are working on his legacy through the foundation set up their father, 'Heal the World'. In a recent television interview, the eldest son, Prince, 21, described Jackson as "the greatest parent and role model" who taught them not just to be a leader but "to lead by example" and "to help others, to put the others before self".
Prince, who is a music video producer, has also started a "Heal L.A. Foundation" whose goals are to address child abuse, child hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles. He is a volunteer for the Foundation and has won accolades for what he has done through it. His sister Paris, 20, is a model and an activist and the youngest sibling, brother Blanket, is still in high school.
The three of them, Prince said, had a very close bond and they were committed to carrying forward their father's legacy of helping others. The icon's children, say fans, are the best rejoinder to the negative propaganda Jackson faced over his love for children. It is through Jackson's ceaseless, unalloyed and unself-conscious love for children that millions of ordinary and extraordinary people recognised the empath in him. And it is through empathy that Jackson left a permanent mark on the emotional landscape of humanity.
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