michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 107)

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okay… there are two different things going on.  i feel like the title of these blog entries just don’t make sense anymore, because as long as certain people close to you are still here on this earth you will never be at peace.

people always speak of ghosts living in houses, and how they can be seen.  i don’t know about YOUR ghost, but i have a feeling, since how you left this earth was NOT peaceful, whoever lives in the house you were last in is going to have some interesting experiences.  in terms of the house you GREW UP in…  i don’t know if there will ever be peace there, since the people who reside there most likely are not.

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i was at work yesterday, and someone approached me, saying she saw an interview with your daughter.  the expression and look on her face read that she felt the children were being exploited.  even though i agree, i thought nothing of it since i don’t generally follow what happens to your kids, which is what i told the woman who approached me.  if i WERE to follow them i’d spend the rest of my life mad at the world, and in particular your relatives for contributing to the exploitation.

however, as my teacher i feel that i’d like to see if your children are in any way continuing the teachings, so i acknowledge my curiosity of their whereabouts takes hold occasionally.  when the woman told me of the interview with paris, i assumed she was speaking about a generic interview, as the kids are being pulled all over the place.  but no- she was LITERALLY interviewed YESTERDAY MORNING by ellen degeneres.

i still have yet to see the circus of the winfrey interview, done with your parents and children.  considering how exploitative winfrey is, it’s amazing your mother did not take the time out to do research on her interviewing style.  then again, she didn’t take the time to do research on gene simmons, when she stated you would be proud to have his band (kiss) to be part of some grand memorial concert for you.  simmons has been quite public in his negative view of your relationship with children.  i’m actually more perturbed by your mother’s ignorance of simmons’ (again very public) views, than by simmons.  for your mother to also consent to an interview by winfrey (who opted to exploit your personal life as well as the child abuse allegations in many ways) with your children i feel is a sign of disrespect.

but i digress…

i’m not sure who thought it was a wise idea for this child to be interviewed by ms. degeneres.  i’ve seen people say that you’d be proud of how she carried herself.  i have no doubts about that; however, would you be proud of the fact that she conducted such a major interview?  clearly, i, nor anyone else, will have the answer to that.  from my perspective though, as you spent so much of your life trying to protect your children from major exploitation, i find it disturbing that, since the ‘memorial/concert’ promoted by AEG last year, these children have been overexposed.  i fear the same cycle which happened to you and your brothers will happen to them- you know, that cycle of children who essentially become ‘cash cows’.

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i did watch the interview.  even though she carried herself with a lot of confidence, i also saw paris become clearly uncomfortable throughout the interview.  degeneres’ tone was sort of condescending, as if she was speaking to a 5-year old child.  the camera cut to a shot of her brothers.  my hunch appears to be correct in that, even though you can tell they are still grieving,  both prince and paris seemed to have adjusted to life without their father fairly well.  it’s blanket i am truly concerned about.  when the camera cut to an audience shot of prince and blanket, you saw prince trying to get blanket to respond in some way.  blanket sat in his chair, looking so heartbroken.  he pulled forced smiles and applause.  i see heavy signs of trauma on his face, and i wonder if he is able to express his grief to his siblings, or anyone else.  i see not one person is speaking about this.  all i see and hear is ‘their father, i know he is so proud of them.’

i don’t know what blanket is like in private (THANKFULLY); in public though, all i see is a little boy who is not ready to be pushed into the spotlight in the way he is being pushed.  his eyes look so vacant.  it’s as if people are conditioned to believe that a grieving period lasts for a brief amount of time, then you just ‘move on’.  it’s as if we forget that three CHILDREN LOST A FATHER.  and one of those children is still very small. to see pictures of them plastered everywhere- coming from school, prince with a girlfriend, paris at a chris brown concert writing on twitter- WHY EXACTLY DO WE CARE??!!  is there a point where people can live their lives free of cameras?  it’s bad enough we live under a system of surveillance…  how hypocritical is it of us to object to being watched by ‘big brother’, then advocate the images by the paparazzi of our ‘favourite celebrities’ (and their children)?

do we forget the possibility that, had you still been here on this earth, NONE of what we see would be happening?  could there be a possibility that prince would not have a girlfriend, or that paris would not yet star in movies- because you were protecting them?  COULD there be a possibility that all three kids would STILL be home schooled (yes!!!)?  is there a possibility that you would have arranged some special meeting in order for paris to not be mobbed by cameras when she went to see chris brown?  people may protest that the kids are growing older, and they need their individuality.  i acknowledge/understand this.  however, those kids are NEVER going to be seen as individuals by the masses or by media.  they are going to be judged/observed by the virtue of being the kids of ‘michael jackson ™’.  perhaps it’s idealistic to think that the less they were exposed as children; by the time they were old enough to go out in the world as mature young people/adults, no one would have known what they looked like so they could move around, free of media’s prying eyes.  they would also be able to move around in the world, not living in your shadow.

now, this will never be a possibility.

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the most telling aspect of the interview with ms. degeneres was when paris mentioned that neither she nor her brothers were aware of the level of fame you’d achieved.  she said that she knew you had “a few songs out” and that she “figured everyone did that.”  i took this statement initially to be a generational one, as paris is of the age where everyone produces a song on youtube, facebook, soundcloud, myspace, etc.  in order to be heard.  technologically, it’s so much easier to present your art to the world, as opposed to people of our generation, where you sat through long auditions, or produced demos at a studio.

i then thought about it, and realized her statement was a true testament to your parenting skills.  sometimes, yes, you did take your kids with you while you worked, or at an interview (most notably, the interviews you did with martin bashir); for the most part though, it appears as if you separated your role as a parent from your role as a celebrity.  from paris’ statement, it was as if you protected that part of yourself (and everything that came with it) from your children.  i commend you greatly for that, and it’s something i wish the rest of your siblings (and your parents, and many others in your profession) could learn from.

i actually love that, in so many cases, you just sat around with your kids in pajamas…  that you ate cake with them.  that you let yourself get dirty.  that you asserted your role as a parent and didn’t let them run you (THANK YOU!) but you also allowed them to have a voice, and made sure they were heard.

with that, i saw no point in ms. degeneres continuously asking paris about you.  if she was there to promote a film she starred in (something i’m not too happy about; all i can say is that i wish her the best, and that i hope she continues to have a head on her shoulders), let her promote the film as opposed to dozens of questions about her father.

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i don’t like talking about your kids at all, but the fact that this interview happened set me off.  while i was watching it, it almost brought tears to my eyes.  it made me wonder, if these kids were raised by anyone in the family BUT you, would they have a sense of empathy for others?  would they try to live off the jackson name, without trying to work?

the interview made me think as well- this is the first time we see the kids actually significantly separated in any way.  is this something they are worried about?  are they afraid that ‘fame’ is going to cause rifts between each other?  this is different- it’s not like when you ultimately decided to separate yourself from your brothers due to different value systems/work ethics- the final straw being the victory tour.  when you separated from your brothers, we saw it happening over the years; due to media speculation, or just by seeing your level of performance versus your brothers’…  but the actual ‘official announcement’  was not until a split would be seen as inevitable, through a tour rife with controversy.

we see the same cycle happening with you, through paris- she’s tagged as the one with ‘the talent’…  the one who is most like you.  to me, this whole experience is different, as we (or at leasy i) haven’t even seen any sort of moderate development of her talents even.  she’s just been propped up through paparazzi.  this is how we capture glimpses of her life.  i have no doubt that she is a talented young lady- my fear though, is that the overexposure will have her slipping away from the values you taught her.

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…which leads me to another thing she said to ms. degeneres:  she asked paris about something you said to her, and her brothers.  “if i die tomorrow, remember what i told you.”  so many things entered my mind when she said this.  i observed this from a cultural/survivalist angle…  when you come from a lineage of slaves, for better or for worse, you instill values in the future generations, in order to cope with/survive societal aspects which may clash with your indigenous values.  many of these values have been beaten out of us; there are still facets we remember, subconsciously.

being that you lived in an environment which is essentially counterintuitive to ANY indigenous culture, survival mode kicked in.  you saw it in performance, in interviews…  i think that most people who pay attention recognize how you spoke and acted, depending on the (cultural) situation.  i think there are aspects of this you instilled in your children.  i don’t know specifically what you told your children, but i have a feeling you were preparing them for what is NOW happening.  and again, paris and prince seem better able to adjust to this new world than blanket.

just from looking at paris though, it seems to me you instilled in them the values you didn’t learn when you were their age:  how to deal with people OUTSIDE of their environment.  i mean, you did the chitlin’ circuit, did tv shows, were on motown…  the only people you seemed to deal with outside of your profession were fans.  and let’s face it, that’s not outside of the confines of your profession.  they all know they are more than just ‘michael jackson’s ™’ kids, and they have more to give to the world than just living in the shadow of your name.

even though i KNOW this, i just wish they would be left alone and allowed to be KIDS.

hmmmmmm…  it sounds too much like a repeat of their father’s life.  this is what saddens me.  i TRULY hope this is not the case.

love, jamilah

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About jamilah

i am here to spread the teachings of michael (and the joy of cats) around the world. this blog is essentially a series of conversations with my teacher, and one form (out of many possibilities) of therapy through expression of words.
This entry was posted in africa, childhood, children, life, michael jackson, parenting, transcendence, trauma, universal law. Bookmark the permalink.

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