The media like to regularly claim that Michael Jackson had zero interest in girls or women, that he was some all consumed freak about “little boys”, and that if he befriended a family it was only to home in on any males. Many journalists wrote flippant stories about how Michael would be vacationing with male kids – for some reason neglecting to mention the sisters of these kids (as well as the mothers and fathers) who can be seen in all these same vacation snapshots (see: Michael with Jimmy Safechuck and his mother in Hawaii in 1989, Michael’s vacation with the Cascio family in Gstaad 1993 and with the Cascio’s, his own relatives and other families in August 1995).
To highlight this, here is a photo of Michael and Jordan Chandler which is regularly used in connection with the allegations against him:
Why is it that they specifically crop out Jordan’s sister, Lily Chandler, who Michael is carrying in his arms?
Because it suits a certain narrative?
It’s a complete media myth, just some stories from at least 60 girls who Michael befriended and spent time with:[EXPAND Stacee Brown ]
Rebbie Jackson’s daughter
From Jermaine Jackson’s book, “You Are Not Alone”
When we played the mid south Coliseum in Memphis (August 1971), we were excited because it meant that we’d not only be reunited with Rebbie, but we’d get to meet her daughter, our new niece, Stacee, then about 10 months old. As we flew in from another state, Rebbie drove from Kentucky to our hotel for the night and management arranged for a crib to be set up in a side room of one suite. No one was more excited than Michael when our eldest sister arrived and he was the perfect, doting uncle. He spent more time with Stacee, pulling faces to make her coo and laugh, then he did with anyone else. In fact, I don’t know who was entertaining whom as they crawled around on hands and knees. We left them alone, with Michael dangling a red, white and black transistor radio, shaped like a globe, over her crib. We must have been catching up with Rebbie in the adjoining room for about an hour when we wondered, “Is Michael still in there?”
Rebbie went to check. Seconds later, she popped her head around the door, waved us over, but put a finger to her lips. We all crept to the doorway and saw the funniest, cutest sight – Michael had climbed into the crib, cuddled up next to Stacee and fallen fast asleep. It was an angelic picture. Michael was 13 – a good two decades away from that horrible period in his life when some would suggest his pure love of children was sinister and perverted. And yet his empathy, gentleness and connection with children was always an intrinsic and innocent part of him.[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Tracee Ellis, Chudney and Rhonda Ross]
Diana Ross’ daughters
Michael in 1977: “One of the nicest things that happened on the movie set was when [Diana Ross] brought her daughter and all her school class onto the movie set.
“We had such a great time. Even though she spent almost the entire afternoon trying to bite off the huge false nose I had to wear for the part.”
Diana 1984: Once, when she was really concerned, she rented a yacht and took Michael and her daughters sailing in the Caribbean. On the boat he was like one of her children, running across the decks, playing hide-and-seek. Over dinner he was her friend and confidant.
Rhonda: Her feelings on growing up with Michael Jackson: “I’ve known Michael and the Jackson family my whole life. Jermaine was married to my sister Hazel Gordy and together they have 3 children — my niece and nephews. There was a time — up until my twenties [when Diana married Arne]— that Michael and I were especially close. He was a kind and loving soul, a brilliant artist and performer. It’s still hard to believe that he is gone. We will miss him forever. We’re all taking it one day at a time.”
Chudney Ross: I am deeply saddened by the death of MICHAEL JACKSON. I was shocked when I heard the news on the radio. I immediately called my brother, sister and then my mom to confirm the news. No one knew for sure, but we hoped it wasn’t true. As more and more news sources confirmed the report, my heart sank. How could MICHAEL JACKSON be gone so soon and so suddenly?
I was a fan, like all of you. MICHAEL JACKSON’S music was like a backdrop to my life. I remember excitedly sitting in front of the TV with my sisters to watch the THRILLER video air for the first time. I was frightened by the scary make up, but also in awe of the dance moves and the fact that it was more of a movie than any music video I had ever seen. I remember when PYT was my favorite, watching The Wiz for the first time, when my mom participated in WE ARE THE WORLD and when I SCREAMED along with Janet and Michael.
I’m lucky enough to also have wonderful memories of meeting MICHAEL JACKSON, which I will cherish in my heart forever. I remember gorging on candy in his “candy room” at the ranch. I remember Michael dancing with my mom on stage and even better dancing in my living room with my little brother. My favorite memory is singing to him on the phone. I was so proud that I knew the words. “Mama say, mama sa, mama kusa,” I sang as he giggled on the other end.
In my eyes, Michael was a kind, sweet, youthful man. I never believed any negative allegations and I will continue to defend him when people make jokes. I was shocked and saddened beyond belief that even in his death, people can continue to say negative, mean things. My heart goes out to the family and to the kids. This is so very sad[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Natalia Barrett] My father, Ben Barrett, was in the music business and recorded a great deal of Michael’s music, from the early days with the Jackson Five right up to the “Dirty Diana” album. My brother Roman and I spent a lot time in the studios, and I remember spending time with Michael–playing video games and consuming “studio snacks” (sugar cubes, Hershey’s Kisses, Melba Toast, etc.). For the record, he was always kind and engaging–never once inappropriate with us.
For many years, Michael lived with his parents and siblings down the road from us in Encino, California, on a street called Havenhurst, just off the main road of Ventura Blvd. As kids, Michael and his brothers would ride their bikes up to our house to visit my dad. Just take a moment to imagine Michael as a ten-year-old–that gorgeous little boy singing “My Cherie Amour”–riding his bike around the neighborhood like any ordinary, innocent kid. He was beautiful and, by anyone’s standards, astronomically talented [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Kidada and Rashida Jones]
Quincy Jones’ daughter, befriended her during recording of OTW, pictured sat as a guest next to his parents at the Soul Train Awards in 1989 and was his stylist for a Vibe fashion shoot in 1995
Quincy Jones on his daughter’s friendship with Michael: “Michael was like a member of my family, a surrogate son. He spent many hours with my daughter, Kidada who was a precocious child of eight at the time. They adored each other and totally communicated despite the age difference (he was twenty then). Her mother once found a phone bill showing Kidada made ninety-one long-distance calls to Michael in a single month. She played the telephone like Herbie Hancock plays the keyboards.”
“It’s mostly little things that excite him or stir his emotions,” says Jones. “Childlike things. He loves children a lot. He’s been friends with my daughters for years. When he comes to my house, they think they’re doing me a big favor by lending him to me so he can rehearse, because they think he’s their friend. He’s just got a very pure type of enthusiasm about simple things.” And as for the snakes Jackson occasionally carts to work? “Now to me, that’s the strange part,” Jones says laughing. “When the dude brings in a fifteen-foot python — that’s what I can’t take.”
Quincy: “He has the ability to go into a child’s world. I’ve seen him come and play with my two (pre-teen) daughters. He’ll come over at 11 at night and go into their room and talk and play for two hours.”
Q: Did you ever meet Bubbles?
Quincy: Are you kidding me? He bit a hole in my daughter’s hand! Rashida’s hand. Rashida Jones—did you see I Love You, Man? That’s my daughter. She was a little girl. And Bubbles bit her hand. Michael used to bring Muscles and Bubbles by the house all the time, you know.
Rashida: Michael Jackson used to hang out at her house Music producer Quincy Jones is her dad (mom is actress Peggy Lipton), so the gloved one was often over when Rashida was a kid. “He was fun and hilarious,” she says.
ME interview: Do you have any crazy stories about Michael Jackson?
Rashida: I remember Michael would take us to the mall to get toys, which was the most exciting thing ever. But he was always wearing a surgical mask, and I was so embarrassed to be seen with him! It just was not cool to be roaming around the mall with a dude wearing a surgical mask. But he was always so sweet to us, and so fun, just like a big kid, — like a really big kid. I feel so horrible for him. I feel so sad for his soul. He came into this world with so much talent, but he just didn’t know how to protect himself. Michael was exceedingly aware of the fact that he didn’t have a childhood, and he wanted to try to create a world in which he could try to make up for everything he had lost.
ME: So, taking you guys shopping for toys was something he would do to make him feel in touch with his own youth?
Rashida: Yes, exactly.
Rashida plays 20 questions with Playboy in the November issue (out Friday) and was asked about her memory of Michael.
“Michael basically grew up with us, so I have a million memories of him. We were at each other’s houses all the time,” the Parks and Recreation star shares. “He was definitely a little bit of an alien, for sure, and when I was young, it felt as if he was my age, not 18 years older, but with just a little bit more pep.”
“Later, we’d go out on the town together. He always wore those surgical masks. Once, my sister, Michael, Emmanuel Lewis and I got in a car with Super Soakers and went by a movie theater and supersoaked the hell out of people waiting in line. They had no idea they’d just been supersoaked by the King of Pop.”
We bet that memory has stuck with some and they’re thrilled now though!
MORGAN: Your house must have been like — like a daily walk of fame and notoriety and legends. I mean, everyone must have been coming through.
JONES: There was a lot of legendary personalities.
MORGAN: Start name-dropping. Biggest names that walked through that door?
JONES: Michael Jackson, Ray Charles.
MORGAN: Didn’t you go in a car with Michael Jackson once and spray gun complete strangers with a water pistol?
JONES: It was a childish prank, yeah.
MORGAN: You actually did that?
MORGAN: What was he like, Michael Jackson.
JONES: I’m not making any excuses. He was so wonderful. He was a big kid. He really was that. It wasn’t — he was so innocent and just a big kid. And to me, at that age, he just was like me but taller and very much more talented.
MORGAN: That guy just knew how to do it, didn’t he?
JONES: He did. But he was also had this like — this thing just bubbling over. He had no choice. I mean, when you sound like that and you dance like that, what choice do you have? You have to give it to everybody, you know.
[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Nicole Richie]
Nicole supported Jackson against the charges of improper sexual behavior with children. To that end, she offered tales of her own childhood romps at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, during which she often slept in Jackson’s bedroom. “You know, a group of us would all sleep in the same room,” she said. “It was like, absolutely nothing more than just… an adult kind of wanting to be a kid again. Just, you know, enjoying the company of children. I grew up with him. I have spent many evenings there and many days there. I can only speak for myself that absolutely nothing went on.”
Nicole also said that she wouldn’t have held her tongue had Jackson tried anything with her. “I’m not a quiet person,” she said. “If there was something going on, I’d be like, ‘Who are you?’… and I’d tell my parents. But my parents would never put me in hands that they thought were dangerous. I never had any complaints, and you know, I love him.”[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Nicky and Paris Hilton ]
“Extra” caught up with Paris Hilton at the screening of her documentary “Paris, Not France” in Los Angeles, where the heiress opened up to “Extra” about her family’s relationship with Michael Jackson — and revealed that Michael’s only daughter was named after her!
“My mom and Michael went to high school together and they were best friends since they were 13,” Paris explains. “So I grew up knowing Michael very well and when he had his daughter, he always loved the name Paris and grew up being an uncle to me. So he asked my mom if it was okay and of course she said yes and I think she’s such a beautiful little girl and I’m proud we have the same name.”
Kathy Hilton (29-6-2011): The mother of Paris Hilton, recently gave an interview to Celebuzz.com about her famous daughter’s new show, ‘The World According to Paris.’ But she was also asked about her friendship with Michael Jackson and when asked what some of her favorite moments with her friend were, Hilton answered:
My favorite moment with him would have to be when we were hunting for Easter eggs! One of the memorable times was him taking me to spend the day with Elizabeth Taylor. She’s my idol and reminded me so much of my mother. As kids, we would make prank phone calls and do silly things. He taught Kyle how to do the moonwalk when she was 4 years old. He was completely misunderstood. When he was at the Waldorf [hotel in NYC where the Hiltons lived], there were fans waiting outside in the rain with photos and I told him about them. He had a big meeting to attend but he signed pictures for them and even sent out an umbrella. That’s what he was like – so lovely. He raised beautiful, sweet children too. I will truly miss him.[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Lala Romero]
I don’t tell this story too often, in fact growing up I kinda learned to just keep it to myself.
Whenever people would find out I knew him, a gang of silly, dumb questions would follow, and I would always end up having to defend someone I loved so much.
When I was 5, my cousin Brian and I where OBSESSED with Micheal Jackson. We had dolls, sleeping bags, lunch boxes, and OF COURSE the gloves. I was pretty convinced I was goin to be him when I grew up, and nobody could tell me otherwise! Brian was older then me, and found out at school MJ actually lived in the Valley, we lived in. Anyone from LA pretty much knew the house. So we wrote him letters and enclosed a bunch of pics, you remember the ones from school you’d write on the bk, yeah well, lucky Micheal got about 25 of me!! Basically we told him we LOVED him & I told him I was a singer and dancer!!! We also asked him to come to our house & visit!! Our loca tia Carol (RIP) took us to his house and we rang the guard gate. His guard came out to us & took our letters. WE WERE SOOOOOOO HAPPY, we KNEW he would get em!! I honestly can say we were just happy enough to see his gate & meet his guard NEVER did we really expect what happened next.
About 4 days later, at 10:30 pm, my mom got the call from Carol, Michael Jackson was HERE, in our APT building, on her couch. I was 5 & anybody who knows a 5 year old also knows that it’s damn near impossible to wake em up!! The pic you see of us is him holding me, cause I wouldn’t wake up, he insisted my parents take da pic so I would truly know he came!! A few days later I was going into the hospital for surgery & he called me. I couldn’t BELIEVE I was talking to Micheal Jackson & that he actually had my number!! Over the next few years he would invite Brian & I to his house, to watch him shot his videos & to his shows.
It’s weird, when I was lil, I didn’t really grasp FAME, especially his FAME. All I knew was he was my friend & I think that’s why he liked me. My friendship with him changed my life. It was a HUGE influence, it made me believe having a singer career was in arms reach. My neighborhood didn’t support BIG DREAMS but his friendship gave me confidence & assurance that ANYTHING & EVERYTHING is possible, if you work hard & aren’t scared to try. His generosity & kindness inspires me daily. Here was the biggest super star in the world taking time out to come to a broken down apt building in Van Nuys CA to see his fans. He was ALWAYS about his fans & his community, and I really always knew that if I got my chance I would strive to be just like that!!
Even as a tiny lil girl I could see his sadness & his lonely. It was a part of him, I think his childhood, fame & money alienated him from most of the world. That’s why he loved US cause we didn’t care about the BS!! We just had fun!! He was so goofy & silly, we would jump on his trampoline and raid his candy shop.
Micheal was like Edward Scissorhands & Willy Wonka to me, SOOOOO AMAZING in the HEART but so misunderstood by most! I love him always for touching my life & showing me a different world then the one I grew up in.
I hope those babies of his really grow up understanding that they did have the best daddy in the world. His heart & spirit are what made him the GREATEST and so RARE.
One day I’ll post more pics, and tell ya specific stories!! All the good things ya heard about him were ALL TRUE!! I promise!!
R.I.P M.J. YOU WILL BE MISSED AND ALWAYS LOVED!
(her photo with Emmanuel Lewis on the set of The Way You Make Me Feel)
This photo was taken on one of the VERY BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!!! Michael called me, after a surgery I had & invited me to the set of his video for “The Way You Make Me Feel”. Here’s what stood out about the day, the biggest super-star in the world made me feel like the super-star. In the middle of all his hectic-ness he would come see me, take pics with me & make sure I was good between takes!! At 5 yrs old I sat & watched him shoot, take after take in this warehouse in San Pedro CA. He introduced me to everyone, his sister Latoya was there, his co-star, that beautiful girl he was SO shy to kiss Tatiana. Even at that young age I was very aware of how gracious & kind he was with EVERYONE on set. Looking back now I remember he was sooooo excited that all of the extras were real ex bloods, crips, gang members from LA. I remember him being so excited about giving them a chance to shine & a new opportunity. We sat in his trailer, I remember telling him I wanted to be a singer when I grew up & gave him pics of me from my dance recital. I remember eating w him & him being the very first vegetarian I had ever met! I was like u don’t eat meat??? I was so confused!! Lol. Man writing this, thinking about this day & all the rest of the times I spent w him makes me smile!! As a lil girl I never really grasped how famous he was, honestly I think that’s why he loved hanging out w me! To me & all the other kids, he was just a fun, crazy, silly guy, who sang our most favorite songs. I love him for being the most honest, pure heart I have ever known for showin me video shoots, recording studios, & concerts, up close and personal, making my dream seem possible. I was there in it, seeing it happen, he brought me into a world I would have never known existed without him. A lil girl from Van Nuys CA. I can’t even begin to count the ways he changed my life. He helped create my dream. Records like Homegirlz & Sadgirl I know he would be proud of, he was always ALWAYS about giving back!! I miss him everyday & can’t believe he is gone.
[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Soleil Moon Frye ]
In a new memoir, Frye recounts having visited Neverland and being “babysat” by Jackson:
She explains that she met Jackson through his close friend Quincy Jones, and shortly thereafter, Frye and her mother were invited to Jackson’s home.
Frye can still vividly remember the magical day she spent with Michael.
She tells Access Hollywood Live, “I had gone to this awesome concert with him, a Bruce Springsteen concert… and then he invited us over to the house and so my mum came over and then I stayed with the family there and then they wound up having to leave and I wound up staying. It was awesome.
“It was before Neverland, he had a place in the (California) Valley… We watched Willy Wonka (& The Chocolate Factory) and we did wind up in a jacuzzi… It was actually a really fun highlight in my life. Nothing weird happened; he was totally sweet.
“He had all these animals; he had, like, a llama.”
“Michael took my mother and me on a tour of his home. We saw his elaborate costumes encased in glass, his bedroom, all of his knickknacks, and his stunning recording studio … We watched ‘Willy Wonka,’ and Michael and I sat next to each other. He had a way of speaking as if he were a child, too.”
“We went outside on his stunning property and began walking over a bridge when a swan jumped out at me… Michael threw me to the ground in an effort to protect me. He explained that the female swan was pregnant and so the male swan was protecting her. Seemed normal, I guess.”
After the swan incident, Jackson invited Frye “to take a Jacuzzi” with him, and the two spent time “talking about life, love and the secrets of the world” while in the tub. But like many of Jackson’s child-friends who have since grown, Frye recalls a kind and insightful man that treated her with respect and regard:
“I remember him talking about the fact that he related more to kids than adults and that grown-ups never completely understood him. He sat across from me and we had a dialogue as if we were peers – a true heart-to-heart. He never made me feel like this was a bizarre situation. It just seemed as if he really wanted someone to talk to, someone who would make no judgments about him.”
In fact, the actress holds the memory fondly, and says:
“This story is not one I have shared often, but now I realize, if even for only one night, Michael Jackson was my babysitter.
As strange as it all sounds – and I know it sounds strange – it was a highlight in my young life.”
Frye said the encounter was her one and only with the King of Pop.
HuffPost: And you hung out with Michael Jackson.
Frye: I was friends with a family who was very close with him. I went to a Bruce Springsteen concert and he was there with Elizabeth Taylor and I gave him a gold yo-yo and he played with it. Then I got invited to his home with my mom and we had dinner there. I have very clear memories of eating tomato soup.
HuffPost: How old were you?
Frye: Nine years old. It’s so funny when people ask me, ‘Do you think you had a normal childhood?’ and I’m like, ‘What’s normal?’ For me, I was always able to be a kid and have a balance. It was certainly eccentric and in its way unique but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Daughter of Stephen Davis, first editor of Moonwalk
Stephen: “Michael had this monkey called Bubbles. And they brought in Bubbles one day after lunch when my daughter was with me – she was seven at the time, her name is Lilly. And there weren’t many kids around at that time. This was in the Encino house, before he moved out to Neverland. And the monkey comes in and takes one look at Lilly, my little seven year old girl, and grabs her by the arm – and then starts dragging her out of the room. And Michael Jackson grabs Lily’s other arm. And he says to the monkey, “Hey Bubbles – Where you goin’ with my girlfriend?”
Meanwhile, I notice that the hand that is being held by the monkey is turning blue, because he’s got this vice grip on it. So I said, Mike, this is getting a little old here, I’m a little worried about the hand turning blue. So he kind of intervened, sort of kicked the monkey with his foot. But it’s that moment – where the monkey is pulling one way, and Michael is pulling the other, and Lilly looks up at me, and Michael goes, “Hey Bubbles – where you going with my girlfriend?” And my heart just went out to him, it was such a sweet thing to do.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Donna Ashlock]
February 28, 1986: After having had a heart-transplant, 14-year-old Donna Ashlock from California gets a call from Michael Jackson. He had heard that she is a big fan of his. Michael invites her to his home in Encino as soon as she is feeling better. This visit takes place on March 8th. Donna stays for dinner and watches a movie together with Michael. Unfortunately Donna passed away three years later.
-The ninth-grader stepped into teen idol Michael Jackson’s limousine and then walked away with the dream of a lifetime. Donna Ashlock, 14, who got a new chance at life with the transplanted heart of her ex-boyfriend, Felipe Garza, 15, on Jan. 5, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday from Patterson, Calif., for her meeting at Jackson’s home in Encino. “I still don’t believe it,” said Donna, who’s already met with President Reagan in the Oval Office.
[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Nicole Grierson ]
Shared by her father, Don Grierson, music supervisor, former Senior VP, A&R, Epic Records
“During the marketing of the “Bad” album, Epic and MTV created a contest whereby the winners would visit a `set’ in the desert near Palm Springs which included many of Michael’s animals from Neverland [Ranch]. I took my daughter Nicole, then 4, to that wild, crazy set. Sitting in a big tent with many tables, Michael asked me to bring her over to him. He sat with her for some time, talked and laughed with her and then gave her a fluffy pink toy bunny rabbit. She loved that rabbit and was Michael’s great fan from there on in. Michael was so very kind to her.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Andrea Patel ]
Dedicated “The Way You Make Me Feel” to her.
Nazir Patel was one of the lucky ones to meet the late pop icon Michael Jackson and take his autograph.
Arif Patel puts on Michael Jackson’s sequined jacket before meeting the icon backstage at a concert
We had the good fortune of knowing between October 1984 until Mar 1988.
A great human being who always spoke well of other celebrities whenever we spoke on phone during the years he kept in touch.
It was Oct 1984 when he called us at The Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto in response to a fan letter I wrote on behalf of our daughter.
Andrea aged 3 and a letter that I was able to get through his father whom I met outside the hotel walking on the street. Thereafter he invited us to his Victory Tour concert as VIP guests. And started a friendship that would have him call many times. In Nov 87 he dedicated a single The Way You Make Me Feel to our daughter Andrea 7 and then invited us to a Bad concert reception in New York in March 1988. Thereafter I received a large size photo of me with him in April.
My name is Andrea Patel. When I was 6 years old I met Michael Jackson here in Toronto and he personally invited my family to his concert. Soon after he would phone us, and send us boxes of stickers/gum. Then to top it off he dedicated the single ‘The way you Make me Feel’ to me. Dedicated to Andrea Patel of Canada, I love you. It’s something I have never been able to live down, even if I try. People are always fascinated by this and refer to him as my best bud even though I don’t talk to him anymore. It truly was 15 minutes of fame!
Unfortunately we never heard from him once he fired his manager at the time Frank Dileo. However fond memories will always remain with us. We never used our friendship for any personal gains although we had offers for our story which we always refused. Until to this day I never gave up trying to get in touch with him. But his new managers were of no help and my mail probably never reached him. I was still hoping to hear from him even just a day prior to his passing away.
The last card Thinking of You I sent to an address in L.A belonging to Michael that was provided by a friendly source has not returned to me undelivered. Perhaps the people around him may have not been delivering my mail to him. I would just like to express my condolences to his family members and especially his dad who gave this great opportunity by passing on my fan letter to his son. To us and to the world he will always be remembered as the King of Pop. We will miss him.
Michael autographed the cover of the Thriller album to Andrea , autographed the cover of the Bad album and also wrote a whole page in his handwriting to our son as well autographed many other photos to each one of us. And I took many photos of him with my family members when he had invited us to his hotel suite in Four Seasons. We have shared those memories with friends , relatives and coworkers.
we had the good fortune of knowing between October 1984 until Mar 1988.
A great human being who always spoke well of other celebrities whenever we spoke on phone during the years he kept in touch.
It was Oct 1984 when he called us at The Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto in response to a fan letter I wrote on behalf of our daughter
My name is Andrea Patel. When I was 6 years old I met Michael Jackson here in Toronto and he personally invited my family to his concert. Soon after he would phone us, and send us boxes of stickers/gum. Then to top it off he dedicated the single ‘The way you Make me Feel’ to me. Dedicated to Andrea Patel of Canada, I love you. It’s something I have never been able to live down, even if I try. People are always fascinated by this and refer to him as my best bud even though I don’t talk to him anymore. It truly was 15 minutes of fame! [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Kellie Parker]
Kellie: “It’s hard… (losing composure, pauses) I’ll always feel that way. I’ll always be waiting for him.”
Steve Friess: “As I understand it you remained in contact with Michael up until very recently.”
Kellie: “Yeah. I remained very close with Michael for about ten years. Then after that I continued to stay in touch with him but not as regularly, every couple of years and then I did actually see him a couple of weeks before he passed away.”
Steve: “What was the occasion?”
Kellie: “I was working on a show he came to see, sort of randomly…”
Kellie: “I do know that in his life he would struggle with being so well known, that was sort of a constant struggle throughout his life. But I do have to say, I spent a lot of time with Michael alone on set, he and I had a lot of scenes together and he taught me so much. He was so dedicated. We would go through – before we even shot he and I would spend sometimes like half an hour together just improving, ’cause he was so committed to it.
Steve: “How was the audition process for something like this, how did that go?”
Kellie: “You know it’s funny, I auditioned for it, then didn’t hear anything for six months and thought somebody else must have gotten it. Well, originally it was caused Chicago Nights. And they weren’t quite sure what exactly it was going to be. And I actually found out a couple of years later, I was doing a press thing with Michael, and they’d asked how he’d chosen each of us. Apparently what got me the job was, they got me in to do a screen test and after the screen test they’d left the cameras rolling. And I was such a tomboy, that was me – I had braids in my hair, I was raggedy, ripped up jeans. I was just tough! I wanted to be a guy. And Brandon did the screen test with me and we had a ball or something and he was playing with it and I went up to him and was like, ‘You’re doing it wrong! God!’ But they’d left it rolling. So that’s what Michael saw and he was like, ‘Oh my god, I have to have her.’”
“Michael was magic, pure and simple. He was a man who believed in the goodness of mankind and embodied pure unconditional love for the world. I am so sad on so many levels. For the loss of an innovative genius and who was music and dance personified, for the loss of a man who loved the whole world and touched so many lives, but mostly, for me personally, the loss of a friend that I loved so dearly.
Most people don’t know about how close I was to Michael for many years following ‘Moonwalker/Smooth Criminal’ because I was never one to exploit that, even to this day I rarely talk about it, for that was a friendship that I honored and respected as private. I feel compelled at this time though, to speak of my amazing friend, as a witness to his life, and the gentleness of his soul.
He taught me so much, both as an actor and as a person, he continually inspired me to reach beyond my boundaries. He and I spent a great deal of time, one on one, while filming ‘Moonwalker.’
I remember that he told me once to never rush an emotion, that everything in life has a rhythm, and that it is the pauses and silences that speak the truth. He understood this better than anyone, he had a way of quietly inspiring everyone around him to be better than ever thought they could be. He helped so many, and inspired us all.
Michael believed in Magic, he believed that we could change the world, and he had such unconditional love that when you were around him, you couldn’t help but believe it too. He is intertwined in all of who I am, I became a dancer because of him, I became an artist because he inspired me to dream, and a writer because he taught me the power of moving people through words and actions. I love you my friend, and I know you are in a better place, we were blessed to have you for as long as we did.”
The video: “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson July 29, 2013
How old were you when you appeared in the “Smooth Criminal” video?
We filmed the “Smooth Criminal” video for over one month and then the rest of the film for about eight months. I was 10-11 years old when we shot the film, and 12 when it finally came out. We had such an extended time filming because we kept adding to the script. It was just going to be an extended video, and then it grew to be a full-length feature, and finally ended up somewhere in between at about 40 minutes.
Where were you living at the time?
I was living in Huntington Beach with my family.
What music videos, shows, or movies had you appeared in prior to that?
I was a working actress at the time. I had been on Highway to Heaven, Superior Court, multiple national commercials.
How were you cast?
I had auditioned and then heard nothing back for over six months, so I assumed that someone else had been cast. I found out later that they had done a nationwide casting and that was why it took so long before getting the call for the callback. After that, I had to come in for a screen test with some of the boy actors that were up for the Zeke role.
The look that I have in the video, tomboy with the messy braids, was exactly how I went in for the audition. I was never a girly-girl, and it was sort of my niche that set me apart from at the other girls. I was a toughie, always wanting to be one of the boys. I think that is maybe what caught Michael’s eye. I was fairly raw, not very polished. I remember being in hair and makeup and they were putting two other girls into braids and putting freckles on them. I remember being upset that they were all being made up to look like me! Now I see what a compliment that was.
Do you remember what your reaction was when you were cast?
I was not really all that excited about it. When Thriller came out I was only five years old. So [while I knew Michael’s music,] I was not a fan and really had no concept of who he was! Honestly that probably is part of the reason why I got [the part]—I was so instantly at ease around him because I did not seem him as the megastar that he was. I saw him just as a fellow actor. Gotta love kids!
Where was the video filmed?
We shot the video, which was originally called “Chicago Nights,” on the Culver soundstages. Then for the film we moved over to Universal backlot and soundstages. We shot all the outside field shots at a ranch north of Los Angeles called Disney Ranch.
How did you feel making the video?
It was the most incredible experience of my life! Without a doubt, it changed the course of my life. Michael and I became great friends. He was always pushing me to be better and teaching me about the artistic process. To have someone of his creative genius take the time to teach you at the age of 10 is like getting the winning lotto ticket, and I have always known how fortunate I was to have had that experience. Michael never once treated me as a kid, always as an equal, and as a professional. I imagine it was because he was in the business as a kid so he knew what it felt like to be on set with huge expectations for you to deliver a performance. The pressure is the same whether you are an adult or a kid, and Michael always respected that.
What was the hardest part of the shoot?
I don’t remember any hard parts of the shoot, but I was once sent to the emergency room for an accident that occurred. It was the scene in the caves when Mr. Big (Joe Pesci) pushes me to the ground. One time he pushed a bit harder and I tripped as I fell backwards and was not able to catch myself. I landed on the big mic pack on my spine. I went down hard! Michael was so concerned about me. It was really sweet.
How was it to work with Michael Jackson? What was he like?
Michael was the kindest man I have ever met. I was so lucky to have not just worked with him, but worked with him for months and [go on to be] friends with him for years. He took the time to really get to know me. He was lighting in a bottle; the air was different when he was around. It’s hard to explain, but you could feel him before you saw him.
He was also so much fun on set, pulling pranks and laughing with us. The best example was when we had been filming out at the ranch, and they had been long, hard days in the sun, and I was doing the last shot of the day. I had thought that we were done for the day, and the director said he needed another take. I could see something moving in the reflection of the camera lens; I looked back to see Michael, Sean, and Brandon running at me with water guns and water balloons. They soaked me!
Then there was the first time I walked on the set and saw Michael dancing. My jaw literally dropped. The power he had as a performer was truly one-of-a-kind, and the electricity in the room was overwhelming.
What did you think of the video?
I loved it, and still do. It really is one of the all-time best videos. It has absolutely stood the test of time.
What did your parents think of it?
My parents were proud of me.
What did your friends think of it?
I’m not sure how impressed my friends were at the time, but since then it has definitely given me cool factor points! When it first came out I was working a lot so many of my closest friends were also in the business, and thus they were probably less impressed than the average kids. It was actually many years later when I realized the affect that the film and video had on people.
“Smooth Criminal” and the longer film were part of Moonwalker. It was supposed to be released in theaters in the US, but for legal reasons, it never was. Many kids my age and younger had the Moonwalker DVD and would play it over and over. Since it was family-friendly, there is a whole generation that was raised on the DVD, kids who probably never saw the actual video on MTV until years later.
When you were of dating age, did the video ever affect your love life in any way?
It had no effect on my love life when I was younger, and as I got older I would not tell people until after they knew me fairly well. I always tried to keep my friendship with Michael private; I was never one to exploit that for my own personal gain. Once a guy would find out, it usually would gain me a few points; many of them had crushes on me growing up.
Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?
I did get a few letters. They are in some box at my parents’ house.
Did the video generate any controversy that you know of?
I was not aware of any controversy surrounding the video.
What were you paid?
I believe I was paid a SAG daily rate. Originally I was supposed to work for only about a month, but it ended up being so much more than that. They ended up making a lot of merchandise that I was also in: picture books, coloring books, video and arcade games, posters.
Did you watch the MTV World Premiere of the video, and if so, where and how did that feel?
We had a big screening for the film that I went to. It was really fun to see all the videos on the big screen. I did also watch the premiere on MTV. I remember being with my family at home and getting to stay up past my bedtime to watch it. It was surreal to see it, and it was great because then I had an excuse to watch MTV!
Were you ever recognized in public? How often and when last? Any stories about that?
I was never recognized in public except when I was with Michael. When I was in public with him, people would say “You’re the little girl from the video!” It was always fun to be recognized. When people find out today, it is always fun to watch their faces because I see them scan my face for a moment and then the usual response is “You look the same!”
Did you appear in other music videos after that?
Years later, as an adult, I did several videos as a dancer and actress.
If you went to college, where and what did you study?
I studied business and film in school, graduating from CSUN after many years of stopping and starting the process. It was hard for me to get through it in one four-year stretch because I was still working in the entertainment business and would book tours that would take me out of the country for extended periods of time. As I got older the teachers began to trust me more; as long as I was able to get things done and do well on tests, they were willing to work with my crazy schedule. I never gave up on it because it was something that I wanted to accomplish for myself.
What are you doing these days?
I am still in the entertainment business, though these days mostly behind the scenes. I am lucky—because of my varied background I get to work in both live and filmed entertainment. I am a producer for television, a choreographer, and an associate director for large-scale live shows. I love my life; it never feels like work because I love what I do. I started working on the creative behind-the-scenes side of things early in my twenties because I had already been performing for so long, and I was looking to express myself more fully as a creative mind. I owe a lot of that to Michael; the confidence in my own creative and artistic thought came from the time I spent with him.
I recently finished working with Kenny Ortega, who, of course, directed for Michael for many years, and he and I would have great conversations about Michael. It was nice to reminisce with someone else who knew Michael the person and friend, not just Michael the star.
Where do you live?
What did you think when you first heard from me?
I was excited to talk about this very special moment in my life. As I have mentioned, I have always stayed very quiet about times with Michael, but it is nice to have the opportunity to tell people what it was like to be there when this iconic video was made. So many incredible memories of the late-night shoots, hanging with the dancers on set, and watching the process and evolution of the work. I had been dancing since I was three years old and on the mornings I could I would [join] the dancers’ warm-up with the choreographer, Vincent Paterson. They were the most incredible dancers. That cast had such a strong bond and you can feel it when you watch the video; they were like family.
Has anyone else ever interviewed about this? If so, who, when, and for what publication?
A few years ago I did do a panel in Las Vegas for a screening of the film and video, and a few other interviews here and there over the years.
Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs? If not, would you?
I never have been asked; might consider it depending on the circumstances. There is so much love surrounding Michael and I know how much the video and film meant to so many people.
Did you stay in touch with Michael? If so, how often?
Michael and I remained friends for years.
When was the last time you were in touch with him, and what was that conversation about?
I saw Michael a couple weeks before he passed. [Before that,] I had not seen him in years. I am so happy that I was able to say hello to him and look in his eyes one last time.
How did that come about? Did he call you, you call him, someone email you? Where did you see him?
I work as a choreographer now and have done many shows and a couple films for Disney. He came to one of the shows a couple weeks before he died and I happened to be there that day. He did not know I would be there. It was brief, but I did get the opportunity to see him, and for that, I will be forever thankful.
How and where did you learn Michael died? How did the news affect you?
I was in a rehearsal when the news came that Michael had been rushed to the hospital. I found out in a text from my brother Eric, who had spent much time with me on the set when I was working with Michael.
When I heard he had passed, my mind went blank and my eyes filled with tears. The first person that put [a] hand on me, I collapsed in shock. It was surreal, to say the least, and I was just so sad because he still had so much to give. But thankfully his legacy will always live on, and there was such beauty, love, and outpouring following his death. I think he is looking down from somewhere else and smiling. We were so lucky to have had him here for the time that we did, and he accomplished what was so close to his heart—for people to love one another, to feel joy in their lives, and to believe in magic. And anywhere you go in the world, when his music comes on, that is exactly what happens…people dance, sing, smile, and their spirits are lifted. What a beautiful gift he gave us.
What is your take on the allegations made against Michael Jackson by families of children he befriended?
I can’t speak about nor judge anybody else’s relationship or experience with Michael because I was not there with them. All I can do is say that in all the time I spent with him, he was nothing but the most caring and gentle human being. He was always like a father looking out for me. I spent time with him at his ranch, Neverland, and always had so much fun with him.
I know that people don’t understand why Michael always had kids around, and as an adult I can see why that may look unusual. But all you have to do is look at any kids you know and the fact that they have no filter; they are just honest. Now put yourself in Michael’s shoes: surrounded all day by people who constantly filter what they say to you. How refreshing the honesty [of children] would be.
Michael was always questioning me so that I would grow in my reasoning. We would dream out loud together, make up stories together, and be creative in so many ways. I think he was maybe trying to be for me what he had hoped someone would have done for him as a kid in the industry.
He was the kindest man with the most generous heart. From my experience with him, I can’t imagine that he would harm anyone.
Lastly, were you Annie?
Nope, I was not Annie. I was just “Katy.” 🙂 We never knew who “Annie” was.
Tweet about this interview to @michaeljackson and @Kellie_Parker![/EXPAND] [EXPAND Kiera Chaplin ]
Charlie Chaplin’s grandaughter
Kiera: “I went for tea at my grandmother’s house and Michael Jackson was sitting there.
I was about seven years old and we lived next door to my grandmother, Oona. I went round one day and there was a helicopter in her garden. I went in to see her and Michael was sitting there. I was terrified because he was my absolute idol and I was actually holding my Michael Jackson doll. I couldn’t speak to him as I was such a fan. He was there because he was a fan of my grandfather Charlie Chaplin. He asked me to sit on his lap but I was too shy.”[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Shanice Wilson]
She was 14 here when she first met Michael,
Shanice Wilson,the bubbly recording star who stole our hearts in the 90s with her number one hit, “I Love Your Smile,” is joining the star-studded list of artists who will be on Michael Jackson’s newest album.
Epic Records, in conjunction with the Estate of Michael Jackson , will be releasing a series of songs on a new album simply entitled, “Michael”. Shanice sings with the King of Pop on the track entitled, “Behind the Mask.” In addition to Shanice, the album features Akon, 50 Cent, Lenny Kravitz and more.
The Grammy nominated artist worked with MJ previously, singing back up on the hook of his song, “Keep The Faith” on the “Dangerous” Album. Now, she reunites with the King on track No. 9. At age 14, Shanice released her debut album, “Discovery,” which produced two top ten R&B hits including “(Baby Tell Me) Can You Dance” and “No Half Steppin.”
Since childhood, it had always been Shanice’s dream to meet Michael Jackson in person, she told BSN. “Having the honor of being on his newest release is an amazing and sentimental experience for me.”
John McClain, the current executor of Michael Jackson’s estate, is also the man who discovered Shanice at age 11. Ultimately, McClain signed Shanice to her first record deal. Shanice vividly recalls during negotiations with A&M Records, the tween siren practically made meeting Jackson a term in the contract.
At age 14, Shanice’s dream became reality. She had just gotten home from school when she got a call from someone at A&M Records saying, “Somebody would like to meet you today.” Shortly after, a limo arrived outside her home, scooped her up and delivered her to the set of Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker” video. “It was incredible,” reminisced the star. “We sat in the trailer for about an hour. We talked about Bubbles, ( Jackson’s pet chimpanzee) and how Bubbles was doing commercials. We talked about how we shared the same vocal coach (Seth Riggs). Michael was so down to earth. I have been in the entertainment industry for a long time and have met a lot of people and I can honestly say that Michael Jackson is the biggest star that I have ever met, but he was also the most down to earth of all.”
While the album was still in the production stage, John McClain reached out to Shanice via John Nettlesby to be a part of the project. Naturally, she was thrilled. The call took her back to her early childhood, an 8-year-old child in a state of uncertainty riding a Greyhound bus, moving from Pittsburgh to California. She had no idea the future would hold such good fortune. “People kept telling me I was going to Hollywood where all the stars were! I was so excited because I thought there would be stars everywhere, just walking down the street. As soon as I stepped off of the bus I asked, ‘Where is Michael Jackson?’ But to my disappointment I found out that the stars on the streets of Hollywood that people were referring to was the Walk of Fame,” she giggled.
Working on “Behind the Mask” was poignant. Many of the songs on the new album were in their rough stages and had to be completed after the King’s untimely passing. Shanice had difficulty holding back tears in attempts to sing the song. “As soon as the music came on and I heard Michael’s voice, I would start to cry.” But the seasoned professional got it done with the support of others around her. John Nettlesby, for instance, who contributed to production of the vocals, eased the pain by chatting and sharing fun stories about Michael throughout the recording session. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Nayanna Holley ]
Maybe my childhood was a little charmed. I got to travel the world with Michael Jackson from age three to my pre-teens. From the BAD Tour in 1987, to HISTory in ‘96, my father was his background singer, and I was the road-baby.
Sitting on the hips of Greg Phillinganes (MD), Travis Payne (Choreographer), Sheryl Crow & Siedah Garrett (singers), and of course, the man himself; this was my introduction the the incredible world of entertainment. Tour busses, lights, dancers, make-up, pyro, and MICHAEL JACKSON. My heart has been influenced by music that will never leave my soul.
At 4pm this afternoon, I hope the “IMMORTAL Cirque de Soleil” show at Staples Center will draw up the fondest memories of the music and the man. I can’t wait to see how this show’s artistic expression will pay homage to the man that has touched and shaped the lives of many.
We miss you Michael.[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Smith Wordes’ Daughter ]
Documentary on Michael, “A Remarkable Life”
Dancer in the video for Smooth Criminal
She took her daughter with her while visiting the set of the Black or White shoot.
“She had such a good time with Michael and they watched The Little Mermaid and tried on a boxful of wigs, crazy wigs that he had and ate enough candy that by the time she was home she was sick to her stomach. He just kinda offered her a little fantasy land.”[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Lottie Rose’s Daughter ]
(Michael’s hairdresser’s daughter from 1981 to 1994, she is to the right of the photograph, the daughter is one of the girls and the others are relatives of Lottie’s)
Lottie Rose: He would allow me to bring my daughter with me. She would stay the nights and slept in Michael’s bed. I would be working on him. At Neverland, because the drive was so long, I would stay and we would have our own little room.
Her daughter: I met MJ when I was 11 years old… Just so happens, I was at my mom’s hair salon on a Saturday when she received a phone call from Bill Bray, MJ’s right hand man at the time. He told my mom that MJ liked her work (she did the hair for the soft sheen print advertisements) they called soft sheen and they referred them to her.
My mom thought it was a joke until the limousine pulled up in front of the salon. She told me about MJ at the very last minute… I couldn’t believe it and went crazy while Bill was pulling the limousine around to the back of the salon. Let me tell you… it was the best night ever for an 11 year old.
Really nice guy, very friendly and the best part was that I practically had MJ’s attention all to myself.
He was not shy at all. In fact, I was very shy and afraid to meet him at first because he was MJ. However, he was very friendly and helped me to warm up to him.
MJ and I talked mostly about me and my friends, what we did for fun, where we liked to go, what it was like to go to the mall, favorite stores, amusement parks, favorite rides, going to the beach, movies and more… He would also call me at home from time to time to chat on the phone.
Michael loved to play practical jokes. He would tell my mom that muscles or bubbles was around, and then would rub her leg to make her think it was one of the animals. She would hop around and scream sometimes… was really, really funny! [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Tamil and Lana Ramirez]
In photos: Tamil Ramirez (left), with brother Billy and sister Lana (right) and King of Pop Michael Jackson, who signed this photo. “All the allegations against him distressed me. When you met Michael, he was just a nice bloke.” Mr Ramirez met Jackson while following his Bad tour in Australia. Mr Ramirez, 32, who works at a Darwin pharmacy, said that he lost contact with Jackson a few years ago. “I used to write to him but I haven’t for a while.” Jackson invited Mr Ramirez and his two sisters, Tamil and Lana, to his hotel room after reading how they had spent every cent they had to follow his concert circuit around Australia. They then visited him at Hayvenhurst and stayed with him for a while, the whole family.[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Chantal Robson]
Wade Robson’s sister
On the witness stand, 2005
CHANTAL ROBSON: We just hung out. Watched cartoons. Watched videos. Played games. You know, what normal kids do. Hang out and have fun.
MESEREAU: Did you fall asleep on his bed?
CHANTAL ROBSON: Yes, we did.
MESEREAU: How many times do you think you’ve been in Michael Jackson’s room?
CHANTAL ROBSON: I’ve probably been there a lot of times, just sort of in and out. I’ve slept there four times.
When Mr. Mesereau’s asked Chantal Robson if she thought her brother had been molested, she answered: “No. Because he would have told me. I don’t think for one second anything happened… It’s a normal friendship.”
“Was Wade an Applehead?” the prosecutor asked. “Yes,” she replied. Mesereau had the last word. “When Michael Jackson called your brother DooDoohead, did you ever suspect something nefarious was going on?”
“No,” she said. “Michael called me and my brother Applehead and Doodoohead.”
Her brother Wade Robson on the stand, 2005
ZONEN, prosecutor: Was your sister there the entire time during that week as well?
WADE ROBSON: Yes.
ZONEN: Was she in that bed with you as well?
WADE ROBSON: Yes.
Chantal on June 27th: A MEMBER of a Slacks Creek family Michael Jackson took to America 17 years ago yesterday remembered her gentle friend.
Chantal Robson, who became friends with Jackson after younger brother Wade won a talent contest in 1986 impersonating the star, said she learned of his death the same way millions of others did – through the media.
“I got a text message from Wade saying ‘turn on the TV, I really hope this is a hoax’,” she said from Los Angeles.
“People kept sending texts and emails saying ‘I’m so sorry’ and I was feeling really mad because I didn’t want to believe it was real.”
Chantal last saw Jackson at his 2005 trial for child molestation – at which she, Wade and her mother testified for the defence.
Jackson was acquitted of all charges and they have kept in regular contact since.
“Wade spent time with him and his children in Vegas recently. He was healthy and happy. He was finally getting through everything,” she said.
She said if it was not for Jackson her family may not have moved to the US where Wade’s career has flourished.
“I’m also a choreographer and my mum’s an agent. Life in America has been very good to us and it’s all thanks to Michael,” Chantal said.
She said the private Michael Jackson was different to his public persona. “He’s shy but he’s so intelligent . . . the smartest person I’ve ever met and his kids are exactly the same. Incredibly intelligent,” she said.
Brother Wade had been devastated by Jackson’s death, Chantal said.
“He’s having some time alone with his wife to process everything in LA. We’ll get together soon and share memories.
Jackie Jackson’s daughter Brandi
(Snippet from the Glenda phone conversations taped without his knowledge and sold to Hansnews in 2005. Approx date of conversation: First day of his Dangerous World Tour, 27th of June 1992. Michael’s friend Glenda Stein is calling Michael and Brandi picks up the phone)
B: Brandi Jackson
G: Brandi? Oh, I don’t think I’ve talked to you before. Is Sherry there?
G: Can I speak to her?
B: Is this Glenda?
G: Yeah, this is Glenda
G: Yeah! Who are you Brandi?
G: Who are you?
B: Who am I?
B: BRANDI JACKSON!
G: Brandi Jackson?
G: Oh (laughing) which one, who do you belong to?
B: Sigmund (Jackie’s real name)
G: Sigmund, oh okay
B: My daddy owns (I)
G: (I)? Oh okay. It’s nice to meet you.
B: You too…Wait..hold on
Michael: (Laughing) Brandi comes to me and she says “There’s another lady on the phone and she’s the sweetest.” (Laughing) I think she (I)
G: (Laughing.) (I) she sounds (I) I’ve never talked to her before.
M: She’s a cutie pie. She’s Jackie’s little girl. (I) She was in my commercial, that LA Gear commercial.
G: Oh she was?
M: And she was in the video “Time to Remember.” She was a doll. She was soooo pretty.
M: She’s a good actress.
Wade Robson, testimony 2005
24 Q. Were there ever any girls, other than your
25 sister, at age seven, who actually spent the night
26 in Mr. Jackson’s room with you during the years that
27 you knew him and spent the night in his room?
28 A. Yes. 9122
1 Q. Who?
2 A. There was Brandi Jackson.
3 Q. I’m sorry?
4 A. Brandi Jackson, who is Michael’s niece.
5 Q. And she spent the night on how many
6 occasions with you?
7 A. Only one that I can remember.
8 Q. One night?
9 A. Yeah.
Background actor Peter Sagal on the set of Remember The Time, Nerve, 2007
What was your impression of Mr. Jackson?
He seemed very nice, although he did treat himself something like an Egyptian pharaoh. [In the video], Michael Jackson for some unexplained reason goes back in time to ancient Egypt, which is populated by all these African-American luminaries: Magic Johnson is there, Eddie Murphy is the pharaoh. [Michael] shows up, then runs away. There’s a chase scene, and he keeps singing and singing as he runs. They rehearsed it with this guy who looked, and was costumed, just like Michael Jackson, and was amazingly good at dancing like him. Finally, the doors to the set opened, and in came a royal procession of videographers, bodyguards, reporters, attendants, and in the middle of it was Michael Jackson, resplendent in his costume, holding the hand of the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen, and I say this as a father with three little girls. Someone explained to me it was his niece (Brandi Jackson).
“….That Michael Jackson’s Neverland was a child’s wildest fantasy is something Tracy Dyer can attest to from firsthand experience.
In 1991, Jackson invited self-help guru Dr. Wayne Dyer, his wife and eight children to visit Neverland for five days. Tracy, owner of Minneapolis based-Urban Junket, a maker of luxe carrying bags for computers and more, was in her 20s.
“When all this stuff came out, allegations of pedophilia — remember, he was exonerated — I found that absolutely shocking based on the man I met,” said Dyer.”
“…He was like a child himself. The whole amusement park was like a child’s fantasy place, wasn’t an adult fantasy,” added Dyer. The Dyer family’s stay with Jackson coincided with two birthdays for Tracy’s siblings Skye and Sommer. “He was so sweet to all of my brothers and sisters,” Dyer said. “August 24 was Skye’s birthday, and she was turning 10. He had the entire amusement park and everything in the house decorated in this ‘Little Mermaid’ theme. It was the craziest thing you’ve ever seen. We woke up in the morning and [‘Little Mermaid’] music was being pumped through the house. It was like, Oh My God! She just loved it.
“Then two days later, on the 26th, it was my sister Sommer’s birthday; she turned 8. She was really into Barney at the time. They had taken down all the ‘Little Mermaid’ stuff and redecorated the whole park for Barney. It was Sommer’s birthday now. He was so extravagant, but it was all about the kids.”
Before watching movies, Jackson told the Dyers to take anything they liked from the concession stand. “It was like going to Southdale [to see a movie, except everything was free]. I looked at him and was like, ‘Why do you have staff working a free concession stand?’ He said it was about the whole experience.” The whole experience included any movie they could name.
“After everybody had gone to bed, he and I were the only two up. We were talking in his media room and he said, “Your dad probably thinks I’m a freak. I said, ‘No, he doesn’t,'” said Dyer, who said Jackson went on to add, “It’s not that I’m a freak, it’s that I don’t know what normal is. I didn’t have a normal childhood. I was famous at 5. Then he said there was one freakish element of his personality. “He was like, I have to show you. He took he down this hallway and into his bedroom and I was [thinking], ‘Uh-oh, what’s this?'” Jackson opened his closet filled with a row of about 100 pairs of black pants, 100 white shirts and 100 red blazers — all perfectly lined up — his current look. “He turned to me and said, “A little obsessive, don’t you think?”
The family received lovely parting gifts, Neverland T-shirts, playing and note cards, but Tracy can’t reminisce with any photos from this once-in-a-lifetime trip to Neverland. “When we got there they were like, If you have any cameras, we have to take them now. We can’t let you take any pictures,” Tracy said.
Dr Wayne Dyer, their father on Michael: In 1992 when the time came to write a dedication for my book Real Magic, I decided to recognize three special people—my dear daughter Saje, my spiritual brother Deepak Chopra, and my friend pop superstar Michael Jackson. I wanted to recognize Michael “whose words, music, and love remind us that it is only through giving that we are saving our own lives.” Michael Jackson had a special relationship with the principles of Real Magic, the idea of “creating miracles in everyday life.” With his enormous musical talent, he created a body of work that brought joy to millions. My children and I spent five very happy days with him at Neverland in 1991. He wanted to talk to me about “real magic,” but the truth is, he already had the magic—the power he needed to dream and create and give. Michael was dedicated to ending world hunger and helped create the 1985 “We Are the World” celebrity sing-along that brought together some of the biggest names in popular music to raise funds for famine relief in Africa. I didn’t have to explain “real magic” to Michael because he was already a spiritual being, already kind, loving, and ready to use his musical gift to create miracles. Along with millions of people around the world, I say, thank you, Michael, for sharing your amazing talent to lift our spirits. I’ll remember you as a beautiful human being with a heart as big as the sky.[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Quinn and Dakota Culkin]
Kit Culkin describing Michael’s relationship with all his kids including his daughters Quinn and Dakota. I kind of want to emphasize that Kit Culkin really had a disliking for Michael, he was highly highly critical of him, pretty much blaming him for the reasons why Mac went on to emancipate himself from him later: which is why it’s important to note that he 100% does not believe MJ was an abuser or that he touched any kids, let alone his own. He actually breaks two myths by stating that Michael did not spend more time with his sons than his daughters and that his kids, including Mac, didn’t actually spend that much time with Michael:
Kit Culkin in his book “Lost Boys”: I should here say that Michael ever seemed to genuinely like all of my kids (as they did him) and quite equally so. I noticed, for I never found him in his visits or ours to be exclusionary or one to play favorites (holding one or some in higher esteem than the others: this sort of things). Indeed, he seemed ever to treat them all quite democratically and as though they were all of them (himself included) brothers and sisters of equal standing. I have heard it reported that Michael always wanted to play only with boys (just as boys usually only want to play with other boys, I suppose), but I never noticed this to be true. My six year old daughter Quinn (who, as her name would imply, was my fifth child) was always included in the activities that Michael would often plan and was always made to feel as though she was a part of the whole gang. As I say, Michael always treated my kids quite equally.
And lest one think that Neverland had attractions for only pre-adolescents, let me note that there were things about the place that gave my older children delight as well: and some of them quite unexpected. My ever enigmatic and inscrutable daughter Dakota, who was just then entering her teen years and was never one to get much excited about most anything, had something to tell me about one morning over breakfast:
“Dad, guess who woke me up this morning?”
“I dunno. Who woke you up this morning?”
(What could I possibly say to this?) [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Sage Romero]
Her mother Joanelle: In 1991, I launched my production company, it was 2 weeks old when I received a call from Michael’s casting office, asking if I had any American Indian dancers because everyone he had been interviewing wasn’t right. I told them “I have the best dancers in town” I really had no one, however I went to many Pow wows and gathered 30 dancers, one of them being my precious daughter Sage. She was 5 then. Michael’s casting office had no idea that Michael and I knew each other. To make a long story short. Director John Landis, cast 5 dancers, my daughter – who was the jingle dress dancer, and four other dancers from the native community here in Los Angeles that I brought in that day.
Michael shot 7 hours of photos of Sage while shooting his video and used her image for his painted angels in his Neverland ranch. We had so much fun while filming. Michael, Sage and I watched “Willie Wonka” 3 times while everybody had to wait on set. Michael took Sage and Nancy Reagan to lunch, he had asked if I wanted to go however I declined for obvious reasons. Many stories to remember. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Amy Agajanian]
The girl standing to his right, she walked in holding his hand
Appeared on the pre-Michael Jackson Oprah show special on February 1993,
Oprah: “Michael Jackson, as we’ve often heard is surrounded by children and through the years he’s befriended young actors like Emmanuel Lewis and Macauley Culkin. But you don’t have to be a child star to get Michael’s attention. I first met my next guest when I was visiting Michael’s ranch a few weeks ago to shoot the promos. Her best friend just happens to be the biggest superstar in the world and the whole universe saw her at Michael’s side during his Superbowl performance, please meet Amy. Amy, we’re glad to have you here. On the day we were there shooting our promo Amy wanted us to finish so we could go out and play with Michael, isn’t that right?”
Amy: (nods her head)
Oprah: “What’s he really like, Amy?”
Amy: “He’s just like a kid. He wants to stay a kid but he grew up.”
Oprah: “Do you spend a lot of time with him?”
Amy: “When I go up there I spend almost most of my time with him playing.”
Oprah: “What do you play?”
Amy: “I play on his rides and we play hide-and-go-seek.”
Oprah: “And how did you meet him? We want to know so we can do the same thing.”
Amy: “Well I was doing a commercial with him. I was four and I didn’t know anything about him. And I went into his trailer and sat right up on his lap and he said to himself that he was going to be friends for life.”
Oprah: “The two of you?”
She said she thinks she was MJ’s best friend (but of course she wouldn’t really know for sure) until Lisa Marie came along. She told me about accompanying the couple to a few outings, and she BURNED with jealousy, the poor little thing. She said it was obvious they were in love, always holding hands and kissing. So Michael started finding less and less time for her.
Oh, in the interest of fairness to LMP , she said LMP was as sweet as could be to her and she did come to like her.
And… she said she’d love to come on this forum and answer questions, loves to talk about MJ but no one ever asks her (???!!), but I never made it happen. I don’t want to expose her to the haters here, so never found the right venue for it. I was planning to write an article about her and the other little girls in MJ’s life, and the media’s unbalanced portrayal of his friendships with boys only. Life got in the way, but I still hope to…
She was the one on Oprah, and who walked with him hand-in-hand at the Superbowl. She described the thrill of it to me. She said she had no idea it was that big a deal or that Michael was that big a deal, and was utterly stunned and overwhelmed. Michael just told her they were going to a concert, so she had no idea what to expect. She hadn’t known Michael was famous until that moment. Can you imagine???
Her father JC Agajanian, Junior:
Ike: The gentleman on the phone is Mr JC Agajanian, Junior. JC is a dear friend of Michael’s, and you’ve spent many times with him and I thought, “Boy, we gotta have you on the Haunted Saloon tonight to talk about Michael Jackson. Welcome to the Haunted Saloon, JC. We lost another good one, didn’t we?
JC: And just to be serious for a moment, David, I gotta tell you we did lose in fact, I believe the world in fact lost, a very very special talent. And I think that’s something we need to keep in mind when all of the lies and baloney and all the speculation and all the gossiping and all of that is come and gone, the bottom line is that we lost somebody that will really never be replaced.
Ike: Yes, and you know Jay, tell us about some of your experiences, like that you’ve told me, tell us on the Haunted Saloon. Tell us about the time you spent two weeks up at the Neverland Ranch, with Michael.
JC: Well, you know what… it was a pretty special deal and I have to give you a little background, a friend of ours that I know both Bartender Bruce and yourself both met, went back in the old Ascot days, Sandy Seamen who went onto LA Gear tennis shoe company that hired Michael to work for him and that’s how I got to know Michael, so… really that was my entre and I have three kids, JC the Third, and David, JC is his middle name of course, and Amy, and they were doing a commercial for LA Gear and they were on set when Michael was there to do a commercial. Frankly, the kids and Michael got along, there were a lot of other kids there that were going to be in the commercial. Of course, LA Gear makes adult and children’s shoes, so it was a natural set up. Michael was there… wait, in fact, I’ll tell you what, my wife Francie was the one who went to this commercial shoot and I was with you guys at ??? that night and we were working and they were working too, you might say. Michael said that sometime we had to come out to Neverland Valley…
Wife, Francie: Ranch (inaudible, speaking to husband in background)
Ike: And that’s another thing that my wife Francie has reminded me of, it was a ranch, it was beautiful and it was… he had horses and it had reindeers and he really liked horses and that’s really something that I think everyone in the Haunted Saloon that’s listening maybe didn’t know about Michael… he appreciated wild life, he appreciated of course all the exotics that were there. They had wild horses walking around, they had giraffes, when we were there a little baby giraffe was born. But we were invited up to, and I won’t stretch this enough, we were invited up to Neverland, which we thought he was saying just to be nice and we spent quite a bit of time up there and he wanted us up there as parents and he really enjoyed, really, having the kids up there as well. Right, you know, as soon as I say that I know there’s gonna be eyebrows going up, but it wasn’t like that, and I have to tell you, his honesty in these interviews, is what I think got him in trouble. And him just saying stuff from his heart, stuff that was just how he felt honestly, adults would look at it and raise an eyebrow, twist what he says and make it not his intention. So the place was just gorgeous, it was Disneyland, it was 2500 acres and most of it was manicured. It was really just a fun place to be. He was a very generous, generous person. The kids would run around, they’d have their jackets on or they’d throw them on the ground, or tennis shoes, throw them off and go get on the big giant trampoline that was on the same ground as the big giant swimming pool. That evening whatever was taken off was washed and magically folded and put back in their rooms. The staff there was just unbelievable. Water balloon fights, he had an Indian village that we were welcome to stay in overnight. We had dinner brought up to the Indian village, we ate in the teepees, there were heaters in there, it was just everything you could think of. Let me entertain any questions you might have, Ike.
Ike: Is it not true that your own kids wanted to go to court and testify, because they’d been there many many times and never had a problem. Isn’t that true that they wanted to go to court?
JC: Well you’re absolutely right Ike and in fact Michael’s lawyers had called and asked if my kids would be interested in testifying on behalf of Michael and they were ready to fly JC3 and David up from San Diego and Amy here from Hermosa Beach and fly them up, but at the last minute they didn’t need any more character witnesses. But let me tell you something that came up about his bedroom, and the “secret room” and all this stuff that went on. Francie and I were in his bedroom, my kids were in his bedroom, his bedroom was a playland, it had Disney things in there, it was like a living room. And when he said, “I invited kids in my bed” it’s… first of all, any kids that wanted to have a slumber party there, the “secret room” that they referred to that was locked up and so on, that was where he went to sleep. When he said, “I’d be happy to give my bed to kids”… what he meant by that was, when he grew up, he didn’t have a bed. All the Jackson kids slept in one room. To be able to sleep in the bed was a big deal! And the people just didn’t understand that what he was saying was, when you give someone where you sleep and you leave and you go to another room to sleep, you’re giving them the bed, you’re sharing the most you have. It’s like sitting at the table and going, “Yeah, you could have this steak and go eat, I’ll eat the beans over here.” They just didn’t understand and his honesty in saying that got him in trouble.
Ike: Yeah, I know that, it’s just you know, you fascinated me before when we talked about this and you told me a lot of different stories. You told me one that when you first got there, he walked you around the garden and there was like, “zanes” and things around the garden, or something?
JC: Yeah, you know what Ike, when you called last night and asked if I’d share some of my memories and thoughts about Michael after he passed, of course because you called me and because you and Bruce called me and asked me to come on the show, I said okay, but I’ve been asked to do other interviews that I’ve turned down. One night when we were sitting at Michael’s dinner table and it was a beautiful dinner table, it was a beautiful Tudor house that he had and it was four stories and he had a wonderful cook that cooked whatever and in fact before we got up to Neverland they were asking, what did the kids like to eat? They wanted to have whatever they liked on him. But we were sitting there at the dinner table and of course we – I made a point of saying a prayer before dinner, Michael was a spiritual guy, nobody’s ever said anything like that, they don’t let you know, but we had a prayer at the dinner table before we started to eat dinner, and as we were eating we were talking about various things and believe me, Michael insisted that we ask any question that we have, if we saw something in the news, if we heard something about elephant man bones or if we heard sleeping in chambers, any of that – ask me, ask me whatever you want, and believe me, my wife Francie that both you guys know, did ask plenty of questions, but Michael looked at the kids that night at dinner, we were about two thirds of the way through and he said “Listen kids, I don’t necessarily want you to tell anyone about our friendship when you get back to your schools.” And they looked at each other puzzled and looked at Michael puzzled and said, “But Michael, why not?” And Michael looked at them and said, “There’s a lot of mean people out there and there’s a lot people who say mean things about me and I don’t want you to have to be put in a position to defend me.” So, I think so much of your kids that I don’t want them to have to defend me and get in fights and say, “No, Michael’s really a good guy and don’t say bad about him.” He was so thoughtful that he was asking the kids to keep our happy time and our friendship private and not share it and he was always selfless like that, Ike.
Ike: Yeah, that’s really something you know and it’s really very sad that he had to go through those extremes.
JC: It really was. He never had a chance of any time to himself. He grew up as everyone knows, without a childhood and you and Bruce both know that he worked since he was a little kid and don’t forget, there were many facets of Michael that not a lot of people get to see, on television it was the celebrity facet, there was also the loving father and that is not a joke, he was a very loving father and there was also the kind, generous friend, he was without question that. And he was very shy, when we first got up to Neverland he had his sunglasses on, he had on his hat and he was shy just seeing us again and eventually he warmed up to you, but you’re right when we first got up there, he put us in a golf cart, a special golf cart that was a long one and took us all around the ranch and when we up there we thought we were coming up to a ranch that was kind of like a cowboy ranch, like the Haunted Saloon, what would be right outside your doors there, dirt and corals and horses and so on. But it was, what we see on television now there were rides and a movie theatre and he took us all around, he took us to see all the records in his storage and I just thought of something Ike, and if I could just continue here and you know me, I’m rarely short on words, but he had a movie theatre that was set up for children that were sick. That were terminally ill. It was, very lovely seats, rocking type of upholstered chairs, there were about 35-40 seats, a full size movie theatre screen behind us, a regular projection just like in a regular large movie theatre, but at the back of the movie theatre, behind the seats, there were two bedrooms. Those bedrooms were floor to ceiling glass. Those rooms were supplied with oxygen and a large hospital bed, that could tilt up, and any kids that came out to the ranch, whether it was the Make A Wish foundation or any of them, they were welcome to come in and see these first run movie things that maybe they couldn’t see at a regular theatre because they don’t have oxygen in a movie theatre and Michael went through a lot of expense and a lot of trouble to have these two rooms that were for kids who were terminally ill to come and be at the ranch, and see movies and so on. Dare I say it Ike, there’s just so many stories that never make the newspapers, never report about Michael. His generosity, how much he truly loved children and like we were talking about earlier, his inability to have a childhood so part of him was child like because he never had that childhood. He envied the children who were outside playing in the park while he was outside rehearsing, while he was practicing his dance moves, while Joe was cracking the whip and I don’t mean that in a bad way but Joe worked at a steel mill in Indiana and he took these kids from nothing and right up to the top of the line. They were talented, but he bought instruments, he bought everything they needed and he gave of himself, he swatted the kids and I have to admit, JC and David have been swatted a couple of times too. It may not be politically correct but it was Armenian correct and that’s what we had to do.
Ike: So you as well as the whole world, were just so shocked to hear that too, it was so shocking.
JC: It was shocking and I tell you, we knew Michael some years ago. I know that he had a problem with painkillers that he had gotten from that Pepsi burn he had years ago. He really had a lot of pain that followed that and I believe that he was in a lot of emotional pain as well. He carried a lot of things, he internalized a lot of things, he didn’t have many people that he could confide in. He really admired – I don’t want to say admired because that might be the wrong word but, he really enjoyed being around a family like the Agajanian family where it was just a mom and a dad and kids that messed around and then we’d have to say, “Sit down” and “Don’t make so much noise” and correct them and he’d laugh, he just really enjoyed being around real people because he was surrounded by people who were either Yes Men or people who were seeking what they could get from him and we were neither.
Ike: You were just regular people and he liked that.
JC: Yeah, the kid loved to ride horses… When we went up to Neverland, Michael who had horses and wranglers who were full time there, asked the kids if they wanted to go riding. Of course they said yes and it was at the dinner table and he said, “Well, just call the person in charge, call the Head Wrangler, tell them what time you want to go out on the horses and they’ll have them ready for you,” and the kids said, “Let’s go tomorrow morning!” So they did that. Of course, I didn’t get up, Francie was the one who got them situated with the wranglers and the breakfast in the main house, our living quarters were just outside that main Tudor house that Michael lived in and we lived on a little lake when we were there. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Megan Stein]
Daughter to Glenda Stein
(Snippet from Megan and Michael Jackson speaking on the Glenda phone conversations taped without his knowledge and sold to Hansnews in 2005. Approx date: Dangerous World Tour, Monza Italy on July 6, 1992)
Michael: When I come to the states, your mother’s going to take you to my concert.
Megan: (excited) IS SHE?
Megan: (kid is talking to someone in the background again and comes back to the phone and says )….. she said “she didn’t know”
MJ: Of course she is.
Megan: Are you going to do it in the states?
MJ: Excuse me?
Megan: Are you going to do it here?
MJ: Yeah, hopefully, we’re gonna come to the states.
Megan: Good! Do you know where we can find Michael Jackson T-shirts at?
MJ: Um… they probably… I’ll get you a T-shirt, but I don’t think they are selling those in America right now.
MJ: But, you know what?
MJ: When you come to my concert in LA, they are going to sell T-shirts, and they are going to sell programs about the show with pictures in it, and they are going to sell buttons and posters and pictures…
Megan: I had a dream that you bought me a real (cut in tape), and it had like a tv and it had brown wallpaper. And it was scary because me and mom…. my mom sat by the, by the, um, by the closet… and we heard a noise coming from inside…
Megan:: and it would talk and said “to the beautiful” and inside the closet… it would say “room”
MJ: (loud laughing)
Megan: We opened it up…
Megan: You know Chucky? He always scared me, so I saw in the middle part. a body sitting in there. There’s no head, no arms, no feet, no butt…
Megan: Just a body. There’s nothing there… just a big square.
MJ: I’m not afraid of Chucky
Megan: It was moving and made like a liquid ..yuck..
MJ: Did you see those Chucky movies?
Megan: NO! I’m scared of them.
MJ: You know, that’s only pretend.
Megan: I know. But he SCARES me. My friend…you know Jill? She saw that and she said it was so scary, she had nightmares.
MJ: Yeah it is. It’s not for children. You know what? I’ll tell you something.
MJ: I’ll tell you something.
MJ: Chucky is make believe (I) Hollywood. It’s just for movies, it’s just make believe. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Stacy Solomon ]
Michael Jackson Behind Closed Doors, AP, July 6th 2009
After Michael Jackson’s death, I recalled seeing photos of him on the wall of Tina Solomon’s shop. One of them was signed to her daughter, “To Sarah Solomon with Love, Michael Jackson”. I wanted to know more, so Tina invited me to her home. When I arrived she showed me a large bag. Inside were photos, letters and all kinds of Michael Jackson stuff. I hit the jackpot!
Me: So you are a Michael Jackson fan.
Tina: I like Michael for the person he was, not so much as the superstar.
Me: I noticed the dates on the stuff in the box, was from 1989 to 1990. Is that when you met Michael?
Tina: No, it was back in 1970.
Me: That far back?
Tina: Yeah, I was one on the first people to get a job at the Riverfront stadium. That year the Reds were playing in the World Series. They had hired more people to work there for the series and the ones who been there the longest got to work the blue section. Frankie and I got to work the guest room.
The Jackson 5 was there to sing the Star Spangled Banner but did not know the words to the song.
Frankie and I had went into the room and found Michael sitting on the floor crying. I just could not stand seeing this little boy scared like that. He wanted me to go away, but I couldn’t. Frankie was all for leaving, but I could not just walk out on the kid.
Frankie tried singing the Star Spangled Banner, but he did know all the words. I knew the words but I made a mess of it too. Frankie started making fun of me and I took a pillow off the couch and threw it at him and missed. He picked up another pillow and smacked me good. Michael started laughing at us, so I smacked him with a pillow. Next thing I knew the three of us were having a pillow fight.
Soon these dudes came in and ran Frankie and me off. On the way out the door, Frankie told Michael if you don’t know the words, fake it. Well, the Jackson 5 did an OK job and Frankie and I lost our jobs.
Me: So how did you meet him at Record One?
Tina: My ex-husband was a sound tech at the studio. I was in and out of the place with my daughter and knew most of the people who worked there. By the time Michael booked the place, it was not a big thing to see Sarah and me hanging around. Me: Did Michael remember you?
Tina: No. Not until later.
Me: What happened?
Tina: Michael, Sarah and some other kids were in his office there, drawing and coloring. One of the staff kept coming in and trying to talk Michael into going into the studio and getting some work done. Michael wanted to stay with the kids. Someone else came and tried to talk Michael into going to work. Michael would not listen. After the person left, I took a pillow from the floor and hit Michael with it. If looks could kill, I would be dead. I asked him if he want to sing the Star Spangled Banner. And if he didn’t know the words, fake it. He was so cute when he smiled. I took a chance and he remembered. Then told the kids he’d be right back and went off to the studio. I packed up Sarah and went home. We were asked to come back the next day.
Me: Then what happened?
Tina: Then it was not time for Michael to be in the studio, we watched movies or cartoons. “Who framed Roger Rabbit” had just came out and we watched it.
Me: Tell me about those photos.
Tina: Those are rejects form photos that were taken in his office.
Me: And the photo of Michael in your shop?
Tina: Sarah use to have at least a haft of dozen of them. They were like thank you cards. I gave him a stuff toy of Roger Rabbit. He gave her a photo. I gave him a VCR tape. He gave her another photo and so on.
Me: He liked toys?
Tina: I never saw him play with toys. He did collect small action figures. He kept them in a large glass display case. In on of those photos you can see want I mean. Me: You said he like to draw and color with the kids.
Tina: Yes. He got my daughter interested art.
Tina showed me a web site called “michaekjacksonart.com” Go to the bottom of the page to “Select Category.” There was a long list of artist. Towards the bottom was “Drawings Created by Michael Jackson.” There is over a dozen drawing by Michael. Only one had a title, “Childhood.”
As I looked at the drawing my mind went back to what Tina said about the 1970 World Series and Michael. As I read the words Michael wrote on the drawing, I felt so sad. Go look for yourself.
Let peace be with you, Michael.
Date of Interview: June 29 2009
After talking to Tina Solomon I was hoping to interview Sarah Solomon, her daughter. Sarah was 3 years old went she met Michael Jackson. I didn’t know if she would remember much about the time they spent together but I still thought it would be a good idea. The day after I talked to Tina I was back at her home, waiting to talk to her daughter. Sarah is now 22, and a very pretty young lady. I was surprised at what she still recalled about her time with the King of Pop.
Me: So, Sarah, what did you think of Michael when you first meet him?
Sarah: When I was young, I didn’t know any men with long hair and lighter voices, so when I met Michael I thought he was a girl. He does have a vibrant personality too!
Me: What did he think about you thinking he was a girl?
Sarah: I roughly know because it was a long time ago, but mom said that he thought I was a really funny girl.
Tina: Most parents coached their children before they meet Michael. Sarah had been in and out of studios since she was born. When she was a baby, her father worked in the sound department at 20th Century Fox. We sent a lot of time there. In fact, the house we were renting, at the time was owned by Jack Wolf. He was the headman at the sound department.
Me: So, Sarah, you were used to bring around famous people.
Sarah: Ain’t it cool? I feel super special having that many famous people around me when I was a toddler.
Me: What did you and Michael do together?
Sarah: Like I said, it was a long time ago, I remember being with him and other people doing art and watching TV.
Me: What did you think about Michael?
Sarah: He was a fun person to be around with.
Me: In what way?
Sarah: One time he put a rabbit mask on and acted really hilarious towards us. One time he was at the studio sounding like Elmer Fudd because he had a flu bug.
Tina: The weekend before he had a group of children at the ranch and came back with a cold.
Me: What did you watch on TV?
Sarah: I roughly remember it was cartoons and some other shows.
Me: Do you remember which ones?
Sarah: Who Framed Rodger Rabbit, Duffy Duck, and all kinds of cartoons.
Me: Did you like spending time with him.
Sarah: Always! Being around him back then is the biggest memory of all!
Me: Are you a Michael Jackson fan?
Sarah: Yes indeed, ever since I was little.
Me: What’s your favorite CD.
Sarah: It’s ‘Bad’ ‘Thriller’, and ‘Dangerous’, mostly every album of his music made in the 80s and 90s. Also, my favorite video is and always Moonwalker. It inspired me into music, science fiction, and it also inspired me to help others.
Me: Did you miss him?
Sarah: Yes I do. I miss the Michael the way he was when I first saw him.
Me: How long did you know him?
Sarah: The way I remember it, he was at the studio for about 3 or 4 weeks.
Me: If you could see Michael today, what would you say to him?
Sarah: Thank you for your help and the inspiration you gave us with your awesome music. Hope your goals for world peace will come true one day soon.
Sarah knew Michael at such a young age, but it would seem he was a great influence on her. As I think of the song “We are the World”, and how Michael tried to bring out the child in all of us, I can’t help missing him too.
May Peace be with You, Michael. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Miss Bongo Ondimba]
“I met him in Africa when he came to my country and he spent 3 days in my family’s house when he visited our village. I was about 7/8yrs old. We met him because my uncle and my grandma, who is an African singer, was friends with his brother Jermaine. When he visited Gabon, my grandpa was President of the country so he invited him to do a show in Gabon. In my country he stayed at the “Okoumé Palace” when he was in Libreville (the capital) and in my family’s house when he stayed in my village. MJ wanted to see a village so my grandpa invited him to our family compound in Franceville (a Gabonese village).
I met him a couple of times in the US, mostly with my nephews/nieces and one time in Paris.
My best memory is when my cousins and I tried to teach him our African language (so hilarious). He really loved everything about Africa (except the food) and wanted to know everything about it. Michael Jackson loved his race and loved Africa, he was fond of the African arts, mostly the tribal mask and the pygmy, and he was obsessed with traditional African dance. He talked a lot to his kids about Africa.
About the food… it’s because in my country, and especially my ethnie, we eat a lot of meat like crocodile, “game animals”, porcupine, wild boar, snake, so if you’re not used to that then it’s kind of weird. But he loved the vegetables and the way we cook the chicken.
He tried a lot though, and he didn’t want the people cooking the food to tell him what meal he was trying to eat. I don’t have any funny stories about the food, but I will just forever remember his face when we were eating monkey! So hilarious.
The last time I saw him was a couple of months before his death, it was at one of my little cousin’s birthday. He came with his kids and the nanny Grace but only stayed for about 20 minutes, leaving his kids with us, and then came back at the end of the party to take them. I found Grace to be kind, she wasn’t very talkative or warm, except with Michael’s kid, but once you get to know her she is nice.
Then he called my family for the death of my grandpa a few days before his. Jermaine was at my grandpa’s funeral representing the Jackson family.
I wasn’t at his memorial. My grandpa died 2/3 weeks before him so my family and I were grieving at home in Gabon, but my uncle and his wife were at his memorial and the funeral, representing our family. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Alexandrea Martin]
Whoopi Goldberg’s daughter
Whoopi: “To answer Mr King’s question, “Would you leave your children with Michael Jackson?”
YES, I would. Yes, yes, I did in fact. I left my child with Michael, yes.
To him hurting a child – he’d rather hurt an adult if he was going to hurt somebody. He would never hurt a child, this is the last person in the world he would hurt, because to him they were the only people that understood him.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Karlee Barnes]
Testified with her brother Brett Barnes in 2005,
Karlee Barnes described her and Wade “skipping, jumping and doing silly dances” late at night with the singer in his bedroom.
“He’s just a normal human being, like everyone else.”
“Do you think it’s appropriate for a 10-year-old girl to sleep with a 35-year-old man she just met,” asked prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss in cross-examination. “I think it’s appropriate for a 10-year-old girl to sleep with a friend,” said Robson. “He’s my friend, and I love him.”
When Mr. Mesereau asked Karlee Barnes what she thought about the allegations concerning her brother, she responded, “Never… never… No! No!” the women replied when defense lawyer Tom Mesereau asked each of the Australians if they ever saw Jackson molest or improperly touch Wade, Brett or any child.
“I think they’re liars!” she said of the witnesses who suggested Jackson molested her brother.
“I love him with all my heart,” the young woman said. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Mallory Cyr ]
Michael Jackson sent a Maine 8-year-old girl suffering from a rare intestinal disease a check and a promise to call. Jackson responded to a letter-writing campaign organized by schoolchildren for Mallory Cyr. “I am sending you all my loving and caring, Mallory, along with the enclosed gift, which I hope will help nourish you and keep you strong,” the singer told the girl in his letter, sent along with a check for an undisclosed amount. Mallory suffers from microvillus inclusion, which limits her ability to eat. She receives intravenous feedings.
[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Marie Nicole Cascio]
Michael befriended the Cascio family in 1984 and they had been friends ever since, even flying to be with him after the allegations broke in 1993 and before he entered rehab and up to his death they would spend Christmases together,
Janet Arvizo, cross testimony in 2005
11 Q. Okay. Did you tell Aja Pryor about your
12 friendship with Marie Nicole?
13 A. Never.
14 Q. Ever tell Aja Pryor you liked the Cascio
16 A. No.
Oprah interview with the Cascio family, December 2010
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Bad times meaning charges of sexual molestation?
CONNIE CASCIO: Right. We weren’t going to turn our backs on him, and we stood there, and we said, “We’re with you all the way.” And he appreciated it and we did it.
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well, I have to ask the questions because obviously, there were bad times. Accused of sexual molestation. You had two young boys, a young daughter. Did you ever ask your children if any improprieties had occurred with them?
DOMINIC CASCIO: As a father, I did.
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): As a father, you did.
DOMINIC CASCIO: And they looked at me like, “Are you serious?” But I had to do it.
CONNIE CASCIO: We had to explain it to him, the kids, what was going on. They didn’tunderstand it.
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): At the time.
DOMINIC CASCIO: Right.
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So I have to ask you, Frank, Marie Nicole, were there ever any improprieties with you and Michael Jackson?
EDDIE CASCIO: Never.
FRANK CASCIO: Never.
MARIE NICOLE CASCIO: Never.
EDDIE CASCIO: Michael couldn’t–he couldn’t harm–he couldn’t harm a fly. I mean, he’s such a kind and gentle soul.
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So when you heard those charges and heard those charges then again, and he went on trial for those charges, what did you think?
EDDIE CASCIO: “This is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous.”
MARIE NICOLE CASCIO: Terrible.
EDDIE CASCIO: Michael was a target, and unfortunately, he was targeted.
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So at no time did you ever feel, during all of those charges against him, that your children were not safe with him.
DOMINIC CASCIO: Never.
OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Never.
CONNIE CASCIO: Never.
“My grandma worked with him for, like, 25 years and she became really close friends with him. I knew he was a singer and stuff but I think it was because he was always around that I never really thought much of it.”
Speaking to Newsbeat, she said: “We just became friends with him. When I was born I was raised around him, I always saw him. I had holidays with him and stuff like that. He helped me very much. I didn’t know how big he was. It never phased me until I was 13. then I realised how big he was.”
So with Michael Jackson counted amongst her childhood friends, is he a big influence on her music?
She replies: “Yeah. a lot of my music is a throwback to Prince and Vanity 6. I guess the 80s and 90s pop music – that’s my favourite era of pop.”
“I’ve known Michael since I was born and he supported me about my singing and has helped my family very very much. He was probably the nicest and most giving person I’ve ever known. There will never be another Michael Jackson. Ever. I was so fortunate to actually know him. He is one of the biggest inspirations of music. Rest in peace Michael. Thank you for everything you’ve ever done.”
People know so much about your modeling career. But the way you talk about it, music has always been a part of your life. I read that you grew up with Michael Jackson.
It never really fazed me when I was younger ‘cause he was just always Michael to me. I knew he was a big singer and all this stuff, but I never knew the extent of it. He kind of was the person who really supported my singing and writing at a young age. Not that I was a child prodigy who used to write great songs—I used to just write songs about fish or something. [Laughs.] I guess he always saw something in me, and he told my mom what to do with me. He told her, “You should put her in a gospel choir,” so she did. I loved singing. I’m not super into religion, but I loved the feeling of singing gospel music, and I still do. Then he told her that I should get classically trained when I was around 12, so I learned how to sing opera also.
Gospel music helped me learn how to sing with meaning, you know? I can’t sing a song if I don’t know what I’m singing about. If I don’t feel anything for it, then I can’t sing it. That was kind of the main issue with me doing dance music live. I felt a bit trapped.
How did you know him? Was it through your parents?
My mom worked for him for like thirty years and they became really close friends. She was his hairdresser. They hit it off and he was just kind of like my mentor in a way.
That’s very cool to say.
Yeah, “Michael Jackson was my mentor.” Yeah, that’s insane. I was around him my whole life. It was really weird because he actually died two days after I signed my record deal, and it was just a very strange thing. It still hasn’t hit me sometimes, it doesn’t faze me that he’s not alive.
Deja on the left, Genevieve Jackson on the right
Teddy Riley’s daughter was there the same time that Jordie Chandler was.
Teddy: “I can only say for myself that it’s not true (the allegations) because I have met this little boy and he’s been with Michael along with my daughter, and I’ve never seen anything occur, such as something stupid like that. I think it’s a money thing.”
“I’ve been a friend of his for over ten years and I’ve never… never witnessed… I mean he’s been with my daughter, my daughter was three years old, and we stayed with him and had so much fun. He’s just a fun guy. He took us to the Neverlands, and has us there, we spent nights there, we thought it was you know, very – we didn’t want to impose, you know, but he said, “You can stay. You guys stay here and…” (Teddy loses composure and can’t finish) [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Lily Chandler]
Sister of the first accuser Jordan Chandler
Testimony from June Chandler, her mother:
Q. Now, when you got to Las Vegas, did you have — obviously you had a room –
A. Correct… Well, there were approximately three bedrooms in that suite at the Mirage Hotel. Lily and I were staying in one bedroom, Jordie had another bedroom, and Michael had another bedroom.
Q. — in The Mirage. And who was in your room when you first got there? Who was staying in your room?
A. Jordan, myself, Lily and Michael.
Q. All in the same room?
Tom Mesereau cross-examining her:
Q. Do you remember telling Michael Jackson, You’re like Peter Pan. Everybody wants to be around you and spend 24 hours?
Q. You told him, Lily would too, except she’s not old enough?
A. Yes. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Amanda Porter ]
A letter Michael wrote to Amanda in 1989 and a photo of her from her appearance on America’s Next Top Model in Cycle 3, 2005
Participated in Geraldo’s mock TV trial for Michael in 1993
“A young female friend of Michael’s, Amanda Porter, appeared on the program to support her idol and friend. Amanda’s mother, Carole Norwicki, who also has a young son, said she would trust Michael with her son’s life.”
Transcript of her appearance on the show with her mother:
Rivera: (Voiceover) When last we spoke, the counselor for the defense of Michael Jackson called a Saint Louise housewife, Carol Nilwicki. Carol is here in court with Mandy, her daughter. Counselor?
Mr Felder: Carol, you’re Mandy’s mother, right?
Mrs Carol Nilwicki (Saint Louis, Missouri): Yes.
Mr Felder: Let me cast your mind back to six years ago, Saint Louis, a very cold day. Do you remember?
Mrs Nilwicki: I remember.
Mr Felder: Twenty two degrees below zero. What were doing on that day?
Mrs Nilwicki: I was standing in line waiting to get Michael Jackson tickets.
Mr Felder: And did you get any tickets?
Mrs Nilwicki: No.
Mr Felder: Okay. Now, let’s leave you right there and could we have Mandy come up? ‘Cause she comes into this story.
Rivera: Okay. Mandy Porter. Many, Carol’s teenage daughter is a young lady who suffers from a disease – don’t know the Latin name – but the net effect is that Mandy is losing her vision, I believe, in both eyes. It was a condition that Michael Jackson was made aware of. Counselor?
Mr Felder: Carol, so you couldn’t get the tickets. What happened after that?
Mrs Nilwicki: I came home and she was standing at the top of the stairs all excited. “Did you get my tickets?”
Mr Felder: Yes.
Mrs Nilwicki: And I was like, “No.” And she said, “Well, if Michael found out about this, he’d be really upset.”
Mr Felder: What – what did she do?
Mrs Nilwicki: I have a friend that was at the house at the time, and he made a video recording. Three days went by. I went ahead and went to church that evening. And came back home to find her standing at the top of the stairs going, “My friend Mikey called.” And I was like, “Well, that’s nice, honey.” And my husband was standing there. He said, “Michael Jackson was calling, leaving a message for us – for Amanda on the answering machine.” And they got to be friends. They started talking on the phone. He talked to my husband and myself to gain permission.
Mr Felder: He asked your permission whether to talk to your daughter?
Mrs Nilwicki: Michael is always respectful.
Mr Felder: Your daughter has some medical problems. Did Michael ever help out?
Mrs Nilwicki: Yes, Michael’s helped out with her medical bills.
Mr Felder: Okay. She’s still friendly with Michael?
Mrs Nilwicki: Oh, yeah.
Mr Felder: Before ask her a couple of questions, you have a little boy, too, don’t you?
Mrs Nilwicki: Yes, I do.
Mr Felder: How old is that boy?
Mrs Nilwicki: Seven.
Mr Felder: Would you have any problem about letting Michael take care of that boy or go out with that boy?
Mrs Nilwicki: I would trust Michael Jackson with my son’s life.
Mr Felder: Okay. Thank you. Mandy, can I ask you… (applause) Many, you’ve known Michael a long time now.
Ms. Mandy Porter (friend of Michael Jackson): Yeah.
Mr Felder: What sorts of things do you do with him?
Ms. Mandy Porter: Well, basically, anything else that anybody else would do with their child or their friends. As teenagers go out, and they like to go out shopping and looking around. That’s what me and Michael like to do. We like to talk about – and catch up on things that we haven’t caught up with from the previous time that we talked.
Mr Felder: Did he ever do anytrhing that upset you or…
Ms. Mandy Porter: No.
Mr Felder: … we’ll say was improper? Never, never, never?
Ms. Mandy Porter: Never.
Mr Felder: Okay, I have no further questions.
Hon. Becker: Ms. Walden, do you wish to inquire?
Ms. Walden:Please. It’s Mrs. Porter?
Mrs Nilwicki: Nilwicki. Mrs. Nilwicki.
Ms. Walden:Nilwicki, I’m sorry. Mrs. Nilwicki, how old is your daughter?
Mrs Nilwicki: She will be seventeen in December.
Ms. Walden:And she’s known Michael Jackson how long?
Mrs Nilwicki: Since she was about eleven.
Ms. Walden:Eleven. Would you, by any chance, know how old Mr Jackson is?
Mrs Nilwicki: Yes, ma’am, I’m well aware of his age.
Ms. Walden:Would you tell the jury and the audience?
Ms. Walden:He’s thirty five.
Mrs Nilwicki: Now if this was any other thirty five year old man, would you let your daughter go off with him?
Ms. Walden:You must realize something. We sought Michael Jackson out. He did not seek my daughter out.
Mrs Nilwicki: You have a seventeen year old daughter, Mrs. Nilwicki. If another thirty five year old man approached you and said he wanted a friendship with your daughter, would you allow it?
Ms. Walden:The situation would depend. I’ll be honest with you.
Ms. Walden:Elaborate for us.
Mrs Nilwicki: We have family friends. You have to understanding. You’re talking about going out. Are you talking about going out in a dating situation?
Ms. Walden:I’m talking about any thirty five year old man taking your seventeen year old daughter anywhere?
Mrs Nilwicki: Well, that leaves a lot of room for speculation. It really does.
Ms. Mandy Porter: Yes.
Ms. Walden:You an Michael Jackson are still very good friends?
Ms. Mandy Porter: Yes, we are.
Ms. Walden:He’s a special friend?
Ms. Mandy Porter: Yes, he is.
Ms. Walden:You love him very much?
Ms. Mandy Porter: Yes, I do.
Ms. Walden:You consider yourself lucky and privileged to have him as a friend.
Ms. Mandy Porter: Yes.
Ms. Walden:You would do nothing or say anything that would harm or hinder or perhaps sever that friendship, would you?
Ms. Mandy Porter: If it was the truth, yes, I would.
Ms. Walden:Do you have any other thirty five year old male friends?
Ms. Mandy Porter: Yes, I do. And I have some that are older than that.
Ms. Mandy Porter: It’s not the age. It is not the age that matters.
“The first time we met Michael Jackson was after he had seen Amanda Porter on Good Morning America, in Los Angeles in 1986. Amanda had gone to Los Angeles to appear at the first sign of the Midwest for Retinitis Pigmentosa International (Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of genetic eye conditions that result in incurable blindness). Michael had been watching television and had seen an interview with Amanda on “The Wonder of Sight Night” presented by Stevie Wonder.
The interviewer had asked: “You’ve met Stevie Wonder, Julio Iglesias, Charlton Heston and Ricardo Montes, but who else is someone you would really like to meet?” Amanda said without a doubt, Michael Jackson. “After that interview, we returned to our room at the Holiday Inn in Woodland Hills, California and a short while later the bell rang and I answered. It was Michael Jackson with his hands full of gifts to Amanda.
Amanda and Michael have been friends for 23 years until his death. Michael called Amanda Mandy and Mandy called him MJ…
When the allegations rose against Michael, his family asked us to be on the Geraldo Rivera Show. Amanda, and my son, Billy were there to defend Michael.
Michael continued to show kindness and devotion to Amanda over the years, exchanging gifts, even after they both had children. He will be sorely missed and we are grateful we had the opportunity to meet Michael the person and Michael the artist.”
After Michael’s death Carole put the letter that MJ had sent her daughter in 1989 up for sale.
[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Marielle Tourelle ]
TVN24 reached out to Marielle, who as a young girl greeted the singer at the Warsaw airport. “When I was with him I felt that this is my friend. He was a normal person with a beautiful soul.”
“Everyone waited for his arrival, among the people was such positive energy, great enthusiasm and a great adrenaline. All were excited, smiling. Older women are crying, kids going wild – they behaved very differently than usual,” says Marielle. Jackson landed in Poland 20 September 1996 and gave a concert at the Warsaw Bemowo that 120,000 people watched.
At this concert, Marielle, daughter of the Polish-French marriage, appeared on the scene. The girl accompanied the singer throughout the whole visit in Poland.
Their friendship didn’t stop there, Mirella was also at his concert in Paris. “I danced with him at a concert in front of 100 thousand people. Always a group of children entered the stage for the song “Heal the World”. Because he believed that children can improve the world. Well, the rest of the kids went, but I took the whole song. Then I felt a part of this mission. It’s one of my most beautiful memories.”
As a child, Marielle met with the singer several times. “It’s always been a great experience. Thanks to him my childhood was very colorful, he inspired me to look at the world differently. Always treated me like an adult, not talking in childish language, and always made sure I felt very important,” she says.
Marielle and her family lived in the same hotel with Jackson in the Paris suburb of Paris and Disneyland. According to her, despite the huge popularity of Jackson, he did not look down on people. “He was a normal man with a great sense of humor. He had a very soft voice – it was amazing that he was a delicate person, compared with what was on the scene. Very well guarded, to have time only for themselves, to be able to recover,” she recalls.
Marielle knew it from the private side. “When I was with him I felt that this is my friend. Once, I wanted to go with him to the museum. I suggested it to him, and he answered me: “how much I would give to be able to do it, but it’s impossible. I’d have to go with lots of bodyguards “- she adds.
According to her, Jackson was not only a “great hero”, but “person with a very beautiful soul.” “He wanted to inspire people, help them, happy. He looked at everything artistically and idealistic. They said it was naive, but I think he really believed that if you want you can change the world. He wrote all the lyrics to those songs and they show how he was. He was singing “Heal the World”, “No matter whether you’re white or black”.
Marielle does not believe in rumors about the singer, and believes the media destroyed Jackson. “He was not a pedophile. It’s a silly rumor. He did not change his color, just had a skin disease. I hope now everyone understands that these things were not true,” she concludes.
Marielle today lives in London, studying at the London School of Economics[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Prety and Morly, The Ma Twins]
A Taiwanese fan Mrs Ma not only met Michael with her family, but also she became a close friends of Michael for many years. Mrs Ma had always kept a low profile about their 17 years family friendship with Michael Jackson. It was until Michael’s sudden passing last June, did Mrs. Ma have spoken out for the first time about this in the media about her friendship with the King of Pop. She pays tribute on how kind, loving and approachable the King of Pop was. She shared her memories of an extraordinary friend and how she felt that Michael was misunderstood by many.
It was a fax message that leads to the friendship between Michael and the Ma Family. During the Dangerous Tour in Taiwan in Sept 1993, Mrs Ma and her husband had trouble of getting tickets for their nine month old twin daughters for the concert, as ticket will not be allowed to be sold to their 9 month old babies for safety concern. Ma wouldn’t settle for it, as it was going to be the last day of Michael’s concert in Taiwan. She decided to give it a try and send a fax message to the hotel that Michael was staying in. She directly addressed the fax message to him asking him to allow her twins to go to the concert. She didn’t really expect that Michael would see it, however next thing she knew was that Michael had read it and had responded to it. He immediately sent down VIP passes for the family to be able to come to the concert and to meet him personally in his hotel room after the concert.
When the family arrived at his Presidential Suite, Michael was already in his pajamas, ready to go to bed. They found the superstar very kind and approachable, Ma recalled that he was so fascinated by the twins, he wanted to know everything about bringing up babies. The twin babies were crawling around in his room, at one point, one of the twins grabbed his CD player and started to bite it, Michael immediately went to pick up the baby and softly he said to her “Don’t bite it, It’ll hurt you.” Ma recalled that Michael was not yet a parent during that time but was very protective of children.
When they said goodbye, Michael personally escorted them off to the elevator and promised to invite them to come and visit him when he returned to America in his home Neverland. Ma family never took his words seriously, but Michael meant it! During the 17 years friendship Michael had with the Ma Family, the family had been able to visit 6 times as guests at his Neverland home, and even travelled with him to other parts of world. Every time they said goodbye, he would cuddle them with words like “I’ll always love you.” He would seemed just simply wanted to be loved.
Michael adored the twins, when he returned to Taiwan for the History tour in 1996, he invited the twins for an appearance to “Heal the world” Song with him on stage. He even invited the family to follow History tour with him. The twins was also featured in “Heal the world” in Durban, South Africa and it was said to be his last concert ever.
Ma had seen the very sincere side of Michael, pure and innocent, like a big kid, loved surprises, magic, very compassionate, very trusting and very caring. She hoped that by sharing her story, the world would know the true nature of Michael. The world not only lose a musical genius but a beautiful soul.
Mrs. Ma’s heartfelt letter to Michael
Words can not even begin to describe how much we’ve missed you, ever since that moment that you magically gave us a big surprise, we know you love surprises! Remember that once we were all sitting together in your movie theatre in Neverland watching your MV “Ghost”. Just before the movie finished you suddenly disappeared in front of everyone, your love of magic always brought the kids lots of happiness, we’ll never forget your kindness and hospitality.
We will also never forget your performance in Durban South Africa on 15 October,1997, the last concert of your History tour. (Never thought that it would be your last ever performance!)
You were having your make up backstage getting ready for the show, as you looked up in the mirror, you saw the twins Prety and Morly that you had said goodbye to a few hours ago at the airport, reappear at your make-up room. You were so surprised, your expression was exactly like Macaulay Culkin in ‘Home Alone’, ” WOW! ” You jumped out of your chair, shy with your hands covering your face, you had only just applied the make up…
The last song “History”, you invited the lucky twins onstage with you to end the concert and said your farewell to hundred of thousands of the live audience, and all the fans around the world. No one knew this was going to be your final curtain call – The End. It became History.
Feeling particularly sad at this moment, looking at the concert photos that you sent us in the past. You led Prety and Morly’s on stage to end the show. A smile on your face, in your favourite white military jacket, waving goodbye to everyone, it turned out to be your last appearance on stage.
My Lord, we sincerely pray to you that our beloved King of Pop, Michael Jackson is in your safe hands. His purity, kindness, humbleness, love and his beautiful laughter will remain with him, with your blessing, he is forever free from worries and pain in this world, and is free to be the real Peter Pan in Neverland.
Dear Michael, we were planning to give you another surprise at the London O2 show before Father’s day and your 51st birthday. Remember our secret password for meeting you: “can you dancing?” you may be laughing out loud hearing it!
Rest now, everyone who loved you will pray for your family and your mother Katherine and especially your children Prince, Paris, Blanket. We sincerely thank you for your sincere love and all the wonderful memories you left us, despite our grief and pain of losing you, you will forever be in our hearts.
Forever missing you from your family friend in Taiwan.
Love from – Prety, Morly, Jocy(Ma Qi Zhen) and Hairess 17/07/2009
p.s While immunised with emotion writing this letter, felt a sudden tremor, sensing a very familiar scent in the air, it was your favourite perfume, was it really you…
We shouldn’t be sad, as you once said, you would never wanted anyone who cared for you to be sad. We hope you are truly free now. Rest in peace Michael!
Michael was a big kid
Michael loved magic he knew lots of magic tricks and used them to entertain children, even adults were amazed by his tricks. He also loved playing a disappearing game using a secret passage in Neverland Ranch to make himself disappear in an instant in front of everyone, and reappeared somewhere else.
Ma remembered once Michael was sitting among children watching the MV ‘Ghost’. When the movie finished the light came on, ‘Where’s Michael?’ the children puzzled, even the adults sitting in the back had no ideas how this had happened. Michael had simply disappeared from his seat! While everyone was trying to figure out why, Michael had already collapsed with laughters by the door.
But one thing that Ma particularly remembers was his dedication to sick children. Michael’s specially designed cinema enabled sick children to enjoy movies like everybody else. Beds were provided in many rooms with medical facilities and even the presence of medical staff.
One particular example of Michael’s childlike quality was the ‘Michael Jackson Money Bank’. Michael was planning another world tour in the year 2000, and the theme of the tour was to save the children and heal the world. Ma had an idea to use Michael’s portrait to help raise money for disadvantaged children all over the world. This was to be launched in Michael’s Millennium world tour, to encourage the fans to help. During the development stage meeting, Michael thought of a even better idea that the Michael Jackson money bank ‘Talks!’ Then right at there and then, Michael just grabbed the voice recorder and and quickly left the room, 3 minutes later he rushed back all excited, ” I’ve done the recording!’
Ma realised that Michael had just rushed into his bathroom to record his own voice, the message said ‘I love you very much! Let us all heal the world.’ So the message on the MJ money bank was in fact recorded in his bathroom!
But at the time Michael was surrounded by court cases dispute, in the end, he wasn’t able to fulfill his wish of a Millennium world tour, so after the first batch of 700 MJ money banks was produced, the production had to be cancelled. The original mould was also since destroyed, there are over 600 MJ money banks owned by fans round the world. The History tour turned out to be his last ever world tour. To remember and honour Michael, Ma had donated 17 MJ money banks in his name for auction to raise money for disadvantaged children in Taiwan.
Below video featured Mrs Ma and her twin daughters’ TV appearance in Taiwan, sharing their memories of Michael, photos and the MJ money bank. With Mandarin audio. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND A Female Child With Down’s Syndrome] Pete Townshend: “[Jackson] has unselfishly helped every cause, and individual child, I have sent his way. In one case he hired a circus for the Down’s Syndrome children of a special school of the daughter of a friend of mine, and showed up to happily, and – yes – in childlike enthusiasm – watch the show with them. This little girl believed she was Michael’s future wife, and he so kindly allowed her to sit next to him, as his future bride. His feathers may be badly burned, and he may be damaged in other ways too, but he is something of an angel.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Simone Jackson]
ZONEN: Did you ever spend the night in Michael Jackson’s room?
ZONEN: Okay. By yourself?
ZONEN: Did you ever spend a night in his room in his bed with him?
ZONEN: By yourself?
ZONEN: All right. How old were you when you did that?
SIMONE: I was about eight or nine. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Allison V Smith]
Allison with Quincy, she is the grand daughter of Neiman-Marcus
Ian Halperin’s biography on Michael,
During the course of my investigation, I found four of these girls [who Michael had befriended as a child]. One of them, Allison V. Smith, is now a world-renowned photographer who has shot photos for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New Yorker, among others. She is also an heiress to the Neiman Marcus luxury department store fortune as the granddaughter of the late retail legend, Stanley Marcus.
“During the trial, they kept talking about all the boys who slept in his bed. Well, I’m a girl and I slept in his bed when I was a kid. The prosecutor must know that there were girls around, but he never mentioned it,” she says, adding that her friendship with Jackson was “a lot of fun” but that she doesn’t like talking about it publicly.
“I was tempted to offer myself up as a defense witness,” she recalls, “but I didn’t relish the media circus.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Riley Keough]
Lisa Marie Presley’s daughter
With Michael on the HIStory tour after Michael’s divorce with Lisa; Riley with Michael’s nephew Austin Brown in 2008; Riley attending Michael’s funeral with Lisa Marie in 2009
Lisa Marie Presley’s daughter, for a time Michael’s step daughter
Shmuley: Did you want to be a father to her kids?
SB: Do you still stay in touch with the children?
MJ: Yes and with her.
SB: Did she want you to be a father to her kids?
MJ: Well that was once asked of her. She was asked that question on TV and she said, “No, they have a father. Their father is Keogh,” that other guy. But I was really good to her children. Every day I’d bring them home something and they’d be waiting by the window for me and hug me. I love them. I miss them so much.
SB: Did she get used to living at Neverland or was it too isolated?
MJ: Lisa didn’t live at Neverland. We visited Neverland the way…I lived at her house in the city and every once in a while we visited Neverland. It would be like our fun weekend.
SB: And her children liked it?
MJ: Are you kidding me? They were like in heaven.
SB: And you were happy to show it to them?
Riley Keough, Backstage at a modelling shoot, 2006
While in her dressing room getting ready for a photoshoot she was listening to the HIStory CD and the song “They Don’t Care About Us.” Someone made a comment about it and Riley said that Michael was cool and that “he was my step dad for like 5 minutes.”
Q: Have you recently seen your former stepfather, Michael Jackson?
Riley: No. I have no contact with him.
Q: What about bad memories?
Riley: No, no, oh no. All good.
Lisa Marie’s blog about visiting his tomb with Riley, 2010
While visiting him a few days ago at Forest Lawn, Riley and I couldn’t help but notice that, while there are a few bouquets, candles and gifts there is a very large empty space around him and in front of him that could use a whole lot more. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Franziska Schleiter]
Franziska on tour with Michael, and going out to meet fans after they crowded around the Schleiter house after news that Michael and his children were staying with them broke in 2006
Daughter to Sony Executive, Wolfgang Schleiter
Michael dedicates the song “Speechless” to Franziska and her brother Anton, 2001
MJ: 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”.
“He told us many times how much you, the fans, mean to him and we understand very well why, because everything you do comes out of love. Often, when some of you came to meet him, he would tell us to hug you so that we could feel the love you give. He was always so right.
Your personal stories and experiences with Michael are truly magical and will never be forgotten – it is something that stays in your heart where nobody can take it away from you. What makes us so unbelievably happy is knowing that all of you (the fans) will continue to live his love and his messages and pass it on to the coming generations. And this way, through all of us, Michael will forever live.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Rabbi Shmuley’s daughters]
And then there was the incident with my children fighting with the children of another family on the school bus. Michael heard about it. My eldest daughter felt bullied. Michael sprang into action. Enter the peacemaker. He called me, and over several days he planned a peace parley in earnest. Everything down to the name tags of the children. No detail was too miniscule. Kids should not fight. Adults were the corrupt ones. He wanted to see harmony among kids. And while he put hours into planning the summit (which never went ahead because the other family pulled out) he was supposed to be working on his album, Invincible. No matter. It would wait. Ending altercations between school children took precedence. [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Elissa Mingino]
Nov. 20, 2000: Michael Attends Birthday Party Of Rabbi S. Boteach
On Monday, Nov. 20, 2000 Michael Jackson attended the birthday party of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in Englewood, New Jersey, USA. Michael met Elissa Mingino, a a seven-year-old girl, who is suffering from leukaemia. A dream came true for the little girl as she met her favourite singer: Michael Jackson.
Shmuley’s book, 2000-2001
Shmuley: How do you feel when you’re around [a little girl with cancer whom Michael and I knew]?
MJ: I love her.
Shmuley: “For example, in another instance, a little girl with leukemia whose mother had gotten in touch with me, asked if she could bring her daughter to meet Michael. I invited them both to our home, where they met Michael over dinner. Later, whenever Michael would come to our home for Sabbath dinner, I would usually invite the little girl, her mother, and her three siblings. They subsequently became personal friends of my family, and our friendship has continued in Michael’s absence. For everyone who said that Michael was only interested in little boys, I can attest that he showed genuine and ongoing concern for this young girl, and called her mother several times to check on her condition.”
MJ: That’s why I was trying to reach any child I knew who had pain from [Michael mentions the little girl who was battling cancer and whose family he met at our home] to Gavin[Michael’s later accuser]. I was trying to like calling, dialing and I woke up the first thing, the first person I called was the little girl’s house and she had gone already. It hurts me.[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Prudence Brando ]
Marlon Brando’s granddaughter, daughter to Miko
Testified in court in 2005
6. Now, do you remember spending
7 some time at Neverland Ranch?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. How often do you go there?
10 A. A lot.
11 Q. Okay. Do you know the gentleman seated
12 right here?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And who’s that?
15 A. Michael.
16 Q. Okay. Is he a friend of yours?
17 A. Yes.
10 have you been in Michael’s private room in his
12 A. Yeah.
13 Q. And you know Prince and Paris, right?
14 A. Yeah.
15 Q. Who are Prince and Paris?
16 A. His kids.
17 Q. Michael’s kids?
18 A. Yeah.
19 Q. Okay. Have you gone in there with Prince
20 and Paris?
21 A. Yeah.
22 Q. And what do you do when you go into his
24 A. He just showed us around his room.
25 Q. Did you watch T.V. in there?
26 A. Yeah, for a couple minutes.
Mark Lester’s children, OK magazine, July 2009
Mark Lester: ‘We were on the phone for about an hour and all of the kids spoke to him,’ he recalled. ‘We were talking about the show. He said he’d been rehearsing and he’d just done a Pop Idol-type competition with the dancers.
‘We wanted to sit at the front and he said we could have the whole front row. He was supposed to be coming over next week for rehearsals.
‘He told Harriet he wanted her to come on stage with him when he sang his song Dirty Diana. He was really fired up. I asked him what was in the show but he didn’t want to tell us too much. He said, ‘I want it to be a surprise. You’re going to be amazed by it.’
OK: Mark, can we ask your daughter Lucy what kind of godparent Michael was?
Lucy: He never forgot Christmas or our birthdays. It’s my 18th birthday in two weeks’ time and, last time I spoke to Michael, a few days before he died, he had invited me and my friends to watch him perform and to meet him backstage afterwards.
OK: Did you feel self conscious around Michael because of his fame?
Lucy: No, Michael wasn’t like that, he was just a friend of my dad’s. He was an ordinary person to me – he’d sit down with us and watch cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants.
OK: Did you get on well with his children?
Lucy: We all adored them. His children are just like we are, into the same kind of music, TV and films and interested in fashion, especially Paris. You’d never hear one of them say, “Do you know who I am?” They’re not that type. We all love them and hope to see them soon. I can’t imagine my life without my dad and I’m certain they feel the same way.[/EXPAND] [EXPAND Nisha Kataria] Stayed at Neverland in 2003,
“Michael came up to me and gave me a big hug and I did the same and Prince and Paris put their hands out to shake my hand and Michael said “No, we don’t shake hands in this family, we give hugs.” So then the kids gave me a hug and it was so sweet and we all sat down and began talking.
That day he was just like, “Okay, I want you guys, you and your family, to go enjoy Neverland and we’ll see you soon.” So I remember right when we left the room, that’s when my heart started racing and I was like “Oh my gosh, mom, dad, I just met Michael Jackson!”
We went around the ranch and we went on rides and Dieter came with me and my family and he kind of showed us where to go and we all drove little ATV’s and we went on the swings and I just remember going on the swings with my brothers and sisters and you can request music so we always requested Thriller and we would listen to it while swinging.
Michael actually invited me and my mom to live with him in Neverland, where we stayed for a couple of months and I recorded with Michael.
It was an absolute dream, I mean on the days that we weren’t recording, we were going horse back riding, watching movies in the theatre, playing games all day long. It was just a lot of fun.
My mum and I and he and his family all lived there and it was all a great time. I think that after the police raided the ranch, it was just too hard for him to go back so he never went back either.
He was a really amazing down to Earth human being and I think everyone can learn something from him.” [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Yashi Brown]
A poem she wrote for Michael:
Genius is Love
Some things are right in front of us
But we laugh
Joke and argue
Making fun Finding humor and hilarity
Wanting an imposter in purity
Finding intrigue in the glossy metal of a barrel
Pow pow!! Pop! Pop!
Human beings just don?t know where to stop stop
Too jaded to believe in anything
Casting our gory realities
Yes if anything you were molested by society
Many claim a dark mystery
But you weren’t
With you it was always in your music
With you it was always in your words
Sometimes I cry at its simplicity
It was in your melody
Your perfect pitch
It was in your tone
It was your love of expression
It was your home
The only thing as a young boy
That you had ever known
You knew you were chosen and wanted to share
Maybe touch somebody’s life because you knew
How song, how much emotion really cares
You were truth You were real
You didn’t care to mar
Yes, one upon a time you lashed out with your art
Because you were so wounded by humanity
. . .
Genius – the elusive power
The most coveted spot
From all around and above
Is powered only by love
All force takes part
Love doesn?t discriminate but a divine cycle
These truths as a child were powered only by you
Uncle Michael [/EXPAND] [EXPAND Sarah Alexander ]
I knew Michael Jackson. I met him through the Make-A-Wish Foundation when I was eleven years old. My nine year old sister had leukemia which she died from. During the year she was sick we spent many weekends at his Neverland ranch. Sometimes he was there, sometimes he was not. We were always extremely disappointed when he wasn’t at home. Especially my sister who liked to cuddle up next to him whenever she could and my mother, who thought he was a saint. He sent flowers to Sarah’s funeral, small white roses in a pink vase, and a handwritten note which my mother still has. [/EXPAND]