One of the many things that Michael said which has stuck with me, was how he spoke of his admiration for people that used their talents to further the prospects of children. This is what I aspire to do.
Towards the end of the notorious Martin Bashir documentary Living With Michael Jackson, when asked why the welfare of children meant so much to him, Michael, choking back heartfelt tears, responded with the words, “I’m just very sensitive to their pain.” Given a platform to speak at Oxford University, Michael used the occasion to propose a Children’s Bill of Rights, with one of these being “the right to be loved without having to earn it”. Michael promoted these beliefs until his dying breath, as evidenced in the gut-wrenching recording that Conrad Murray made of Michael as he groaned in anaesthetised oblivion, where he is heard talking about his dream of building a children’s hospital. Indeed, the last performance Michael ever made was of ‘Earth Song’ – in a rehearsal the day before he died – meaning that some of his final utterances on stage were, “What about children dying? / Can’t you hear them cry?”
To promote a universal freedom of opportunity for children to fulfil their potential is surely a faultless philosophy, with perhaps the only drawback being its vulnerability to abuse by the laziness of cynicism.
Cynicism such as the absurdity contained with the charges made against Michael regarding denying his own race – he is one of the United College Negro College Funds all-time largest contributors. Michael made his reasons for supporting the cause very clear during a speech in 1988, when collecting his honorary doctorate degree of Humane Letters, from Fisk University in New York City. He said,
“There is nothing more important than ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to an education. To want to learn, to have the capacity to learn, but not to be able to, is a tragedy.”
Michael’s single-mindedness in being an advocate for children was his only vulnerability; a pressure point that was exploited with aplomb. As he lamented, “They try to use my love for children against me and it’s so unfair, I’m very upset about it you know?”
Michael’s artistic riposte to the 1993 extortion attempt is dedicated to all the children of the world, who he claims responsibility for. Michael loved all children the way any mother loves their own. When conspired against and confronted with the most expensive attempted character assassination in history, Michael remained dignified, before defending himself by utilising his art. The HIStory project was an uncharacteristically angry sting from Michael. Yet, as cathartic as the work must have been for him – like a normally peaceable bee stinging out of terror – it also commenced the process of ripping out his heart. The eventual trial of 2005 tore it out completely.
And his death orphaned us all.
Human nature is self-sabotaging. And of all the dichotomies involving Michael, perhaps the most poignant is how a man that strived so tirelessly through his creativity to make the world a better place, became the man the world strived so hard to destroy. But Michael was appealing to a consciousness beyond the current human state.
My ambition as a writer is to help enrich the lives of children. As well as my writings on Michael, I am also a children’s author. I have written a biography on Michael Jackson, and my hope is that I can utilise the success of the book to generate publicity for my children’s books. They are all written in the spirit of Michael, and as such, I will be donating a percentage of all sales to the non-profit organisation, Michael Jackson’s Legacy (http://www.michaeljacksonslegacy.org).
The First Book Of Michael by Syl Mortilla will be with you very soon.