1958 2009

4

Michael Jackson photographed by Jim McCrary, 1979.

By the late 1970s, McCrary was photographing a wider range of younger artists, including ones he was not overly familiar with. One of those was Michael Jackson, whom he was tasked with shooting for the cover of his “Off the Wall” album. As the session was about to start, McCrary changed the channel on a nearby radio, even though the song playing was Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.”

“Jim did not know Michael’s music and changed the radio station,” his niece Colleen Pollard, who was tasked with dancing with Jackson to loosen him up, told the LA Times. “I yelled, ‘No, that’s his song.’ The looks on Michael’s face and his manager’s were priceless.”

Jackson did not use any of the images and Pollard noted that this was one of the reasons McCrary left rock photography. “He said he just didn’t feel connected with the bands anymore,” she said.

10

Michael Jackson and then wife Lisa Marie Presley welcome 46 children from 17 countries for the World Summit of Children at Neverland Valley Ranch on April 18, 1995.

Michael Jackson | 1958 - 2009

“Michael Jackson’s one great and serious love affair was with his fans. A common exchange between Michael and a fan was: I love you Michael. I love you more.

Like any other celebrity, Michaels fans are steadfast and loyal but there is an element that goes beyond the worldly manifestation of fan clubs for other entertainers. The exchange between Michael and his fans is, well otherworldly. There is a tone surrounding Michaels fans that is hard to describe. Its as if each of them knows him personally, defends his reputation and his honor at any and every offence or assault, and they are kind and loving people. I began to read their postings as I began researching after his death and it became quickly evident that they all love him and believe implicitly in him and his character through everything that plagued this man throughout his lifetime. They have the facts; they have the evidence to back it all up. Because they follow everything about Michael, they have a context and a history that others are not privy to. Michael Jackson was and still is beloved. Agape? Of course. But he was and is beloved in the spiritual sense of the word. And it was not unrequited.

Michaels fans have followed every event of his life; they know every career turn; they know all the albums and lyrics; they have followed press reports about the superstar; they know all the data. But something else defines Michael Jackson fans and I am at a loss to convey in any understandable terms. There is an unusual almost ethereal communication among his fans and his relationship with them was highly unusual. It is hard to describe and even harder to understand. But there was an element of recognition—a love force or energy, an energetic exchange between Michael and his fans that transcends norms. It couldn’t be seen with the naked eye but it was there. Its as if they feel each other. Whatever it is or was, it is a new kind of language that the rest of us dont speak.

During the 2005 trial and at other times, Michael Jackson fans were described as rabid or in some way unreasonable. Often they were depicted as being a little or a lot loony but that is simply not the case. They also were thought to be so enamoured and blinded by the star that they abandoned all sense of propriety, reality or reason when it came to anything Michael. But that too, is simply not the case. MJ fans, as they call themselves know the man. They have a kind of advantage over the rest of society in understanding what non-fans and critics saw as eccentricities having simple and plausible explanations. To them it was Michael just being Michael. Because they know the history and have a fuller context of who Michael Jackson was. They have a mental timeline of who Michael was and what he did and there was a deeper understanding than the general public. They dont excuse his behavior or overlook it because there is no need to. They understood that Michael was different and they fully accept that and see it as a grand reason to love him even more. This historical knowledge and timeline does make a difference—it places events into a context unavailable to most.

Michael Jackson’s fans saw in Michael a light. A light, a love and a goodness that was a shroud that surrounded Michael’s being. He shone and his love was shimmering. Fans knew it because they could feel it. It was that real and that palpable. And it is because of Michael that they are committed to making the world a better place. Michael was the messenger. His fans now are the message. Watch. Listen. Learn. Meet a Force that means to change the world.

10

“Who wants mortality? Everybody wants immortality. You want what you create to live! Be it sculpture or a painting or music or a composition. Like Michelangelo said, ‘I know the creator will go. But his work survives. That is why to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work.’ That’s how I feel. I give my all in my work because I want it to just live and just give all that I have.”

- Michael Jackson

August 29 1958- June 25 2009

#MJforever