We all deal with the week of the 25th June in our own way. In the past, the sheer injustice of Michael’s death has inspired such absolute rage in me that it has helped mask my despair. This year was different. I was overcome with an all-encompassing sorrow and sat depressed in the dark for days, unable to engage with the physical world, never mind the saturated sadness of social media as our community poured out heartbreaking, bereft tributes.
A couple of days ago, the fog began to lift and I managed to distil the devastation of the previous days into a poem for Michael (see below).
Due to holing myself up, I missed out on some incredible fan output, which I’m now trying to catch up with. And The MJCast interview with Darren Hayes has proven to be the highlight (see link below).
The total professionalism with which Q and J (or ‘The MJ Cats’, as I like to call them), conduct themselves means their show is a delight to behold. A factor that indubitably enables them to achieve such coups as acquiring Thomas Mesereau and Darren Hayes as special guests. The latter of whom was involved in their 25th June podcast.
And Darren doesn’t disappoint. He answers candidly, knowledgably and with tangible sincerity in his love for Michael. His recollections of being bullied at school and abused at home, before being rescued by finding a role model and escapism through Michael are profoundly recognisable. They cut deep.
I’m glad I didn’t listen to it on the day, as I’d have missed most of it through sobbing. I’m welling up now just writing about it. I had a cathartic cry with Q as he choked back tears. Although ten-thousand miles apart, it felt as if we were consoling each other in the same room.
But I’ve started getting angry again.
This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the release of the HIStory album. The first single from which was Scream. Jimmy Jam recently reminisced on how Michael’s pedantry in achieving the perfect handclap sound for Scream was nothing less than exasperating.
During the podcast, Darren touches on the subject of the Estate’s decision to profit off Michael’s unreleased music – revealing how this undermining of Michael’s work moved him enough to modify his will to ensure that similar atrocities can’t be carried out on his own art after his death.
The HIStory album was a multi-pronged protest against unjust treatment. Scream was an aggressive riposte. Childhood a search for empathy. Both the peaceable Martin Luther King and the militant Malcolm X are referenced on the record.
Images of peaceful protest become totemic – pictures such as the photograph of Jan Rose Kasmir during a 1967 anti-Vietnam war rally, in which she holds a flower to a bayonet. Michael incorporated the emblem during the denouement of HIStory tour performances of Earth song.
Yet Vietnamese children continued to be napalmed for a further eight years.
Brute force is wantonly executed by those in positions of power, in the belief that most people are so disengaged from the truth they will heedlessly buy into such placatory propaganda as the Kasmir image, rather than becoming enraged enough to utilise more aggressive methods of protest.
The ignored revolt because a sense of justice is intrinsic to the notion of humanity. It is patronising to dismiss disgruntled minorities as either alarmists or zealots when they feel impelled to utilise aggressive means. The Estate are in charge after fraudulently gaining control of Michael’s will. And they are now revelling in their avarice.
Protesting passively against the ruination of Michael’s artistic legacy is impotent in its capacity to change things. Yes, rage alone can only achieve so much. But in the multi-pronged efforts to demand quality from the Estate, it is a crucial element
Aggression can be catalytic. Change requires both flowers and fire.
As part of my catching up, I inevitably encountered the flipside to the loving tributes – the annual rearing of the BeLIEver monster’s head.
Not content with illegally hijacking Harrison Funk’s photographs of those who congregated at Michael’s grave on the 25th, this insidious group of twisted degenerates then used said images to promulgate their warped ideology.
The BeLIEver monster needs decapitating.
Aggression does have its place.
Listen to The MJCast here: The MJCast