Posts Tagged Love
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” – Clarence (It’s A Wonderful Life”)
Today, on what would have been Michael Jackson’s 57th birthday, we would like to celebrate Michael’s life, his achievements, his philanthropic ways, and most of all his love. Michael’s Legacy will live long after all of us are gone and the impact he has left on the music industry and the hearts of so many is life-changing. Therefore let’s, just for a moment and for the purposes of this particular post, pretend that MJ was never born. Yes, a world without Michael Jackson. What a different world it would be.
There would be no baby born on this day in 1958 in Gary Indiana to Katherine and Joe Jackson, no child born with an innate talent/genius for singing and dancing, there would be no little boy who would lead the group called the “Jackson 5” into stardom. The Motown songs of the Jackson 5 that we all know and love today would never have been recorded. The “King of Pop” would be a title that we had never heard and Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Sammy Davis Jr would be the only entertainers who could sing, dance and perform simultaneously.
R&B would never have reached into pop culture, for Michael was the one that showed the world that a young African American boy could cross over into pop so seamlessly. He paved the way for young singers like Britney Spears, Justin Beiber and boy bands like N’Sync to, at young ages, to move into a music industry that was ruled by adults.
There would be no “moonwalk” Michael’s signature move. Michael Jackson’s “BIllie Jean” is that moment everyone remembers where they were and with whom while watching Motown 25, and it undeniably revived interest in the Motown back catalog, which would become as much a part of the soundtrack of the 1980s as it was in 1960s. Imagine, Motown’s revival at that very moment never happening. Barry Gordy, who called Michael Jackson “the greatest entertainer that ever lived” must thank God every day that MJ was able to sing and dance his way to the resurgence of his label.
There would never be an album that set the bar; a bar so high that no one has ever reached it. It has been said there will never be another “Thriller” and so far that has proven true. This album is still a phenomenon, seven singles were released from the album and approx 104 million copies have been sold world wide. The short film shot this album to fame and Michael was crowned the “King of Pop”. It won seven grammy awards, the most ever won for a single album and an album that remains near and dear to all of our hearts. It changed the music industry forever. A landmark album that I cannot imagine having in my collection.
Michael made dancing a requirement. He put on shows like no other, the back up dancers were just that, back up dancers, he was always the star of the show. His dancing was a major part of a 2 hour show, he worked so hard that he would lose 5 lbs every evening from the sweat that poured off him. No one worked as hard as Michael just so that he could give his fans a memorable show. Because of the bar he set, performers like Chris Brown, Usher, & Lady Gaga need to work extremely hard to keep their concerts fresh and new, not only with a stage show but dancing and singing as well. Without Michael’s talents and goals to lead the way there would be less extravagant performances.
Michael’s catalogue of songs, too many to name, most with ecological, political, and spiritual meaning would never have been written, and since many of his songs are used today when referring to upheaval or inequality in the world, they are important and the attraction to them is evident. Few songs today have that kind of impact on their listeners. Michael broke down racial barriers with his work and his strong belief and without these songs, I believe we would be in more precarious position racially and ecologically than ever.
Who could ever forget Michael’s Superbowl XXVII in 1993? The half-time performances up to then were nothing more than marching bands and baton twirlers. Michael changed all that with his performance of a medley of “Jam”, “Billie Jean” and “Black Or White” along with the finale of “Heal the World” where children performed along side of him. It was the first Super Bowl where the audience figures actually increased during the half-time show. This performance is still considered today as one of the most watched television broadcasts in American television history. Imagine if that performance never happened, there would still be those marching bands and baton twirlers boring the football fans out of the stadium.
There was never anyone that could make a video an “EVENT”. Michael was the first artist to realize the power of a medium that was very strong during this time. I remember being in my early twenties, waiting in front of the TV for the premiere of “Thriller” and realizing I was seeing history in the making and it is, and will be, for ever engrained in my head. Today a good video can make the power of a song soar. Had Michael never made this ground breaking short film there would be no rhyme or reason to visuals behind songs.
There has never been an entertainer like Michael who loved so much and gave so much to the impoverished, starving children and the less fortunate globally. The single “We Are The World” with the help of supergroup “USA For Africa” that he helped bring together raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US, millions were fed, clothed and given clean water. He donated more than 300 million dollars in his lifetime. This article shows in detail his donation and charitable acts which still is unbelievable. The Millennium-Issue of the “Guinness Book Of Records” names Michael as the Pop Star who supported the most charity organizations.
These are just a few people who, without Michael’s love and generosity. may have not lived or would have never fulfilled their dreams.
April 9, 1984: David Smithee, a 14-year-old boy who suffers from cystic fibrosis is invited to Michael’s home. It was David’s last wish to meet Michael. He dies 7 weeks later.
February 1, 1988: The Song “Man In the Mirror” enters the charts. The proceeds from the sales of this record goes to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer.
December 28, 1989: Young Ryan White, who suffers from hemophilia, spends his holidays on Michael’s ranch. Ryan had been infected with AIDS by contaminated blood transfusions in 1984. After he was excluded from his school in Kokomo, Ryan fought against the discrimination of AIDS victims. Ryan died and Michael dedicated his song “Gone too soon” when her performed it at Clinton Inaugural Gala where he urged President Clinton to help in the AIDS epidemic.
February 1992: Within 11 days Michael covers 30,000 miles in Africa, to visit hospitals, orphanages, schools, churches, and institutions for mentally handicapped children.
March 1995: Little Bela Farkas received a new liver. Michael and Lisa Marie met this 4-year-old boy during their trip to Hungary in 1994. Michael did everything to help Bela, whose only chance to live was getting a new liver. The Heal The World Foundation covered the surgery and the cost for caring. Bella is alive today and recently got married.
Last but not least he was the wonderful father of three beautiful children, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, Prince Michael Jackson II. He loved them more than life itself and a world without these children who will make their presence known to the world, would be one of the most tragic things of all. They are already showing their father’s love for humanity and his love of life.
What would the entire world be like had Michael never been born? We don’t have a crystal ball and will never know but from what we do know now of his generosity, genius and love, it would be a different, and perhaps more violent world than we are living in today. We are lucky that, in our lifetime, we walked the planet the same time he did. He forever lives in the hearts of his fans, his family and his friends. He was always there to sign autographs, give hugs, or take the banners that were so lovingly made for him. It has been said that Michael kept everything that he was given and wanted to make a museum of the love that was bestowed upon him. My feeling is that he didn’t need a museum to show us his adoration, we felt it every time he came on stage or walked among us.
Whenever I think of Michael, a Robert Frost poem comes to mind called “The Road Not Taken”. He has always taken the road less traveled which made him a very exceptional man.
Happy Birthday Michael, you are missed and love around the world. I can’t imagine a world without you but what a life you had. So “You see Michael, you’ve really had a wonderful life”
I would like to introduce everyone to Siren whose Michael inspired artwork is truly awe-inspiring. She is an exceptional human being who donates her time and effort to Michael and everything he stood for and I would like thank her for taking this time to answer some questions about her amazing Michael Jackson pieces and the amount of time she spends doing so many wonderful things to support his legacy, she is a paragon of love and one can see and feel that her talents exude all things Michael in every aspect.
SGAA: Siren, I have followed your beautiful artwork of Michael for some time now, and the essence, or shall I say the aura of Michael is in every piece you do, how did you begin drawing Michael and how are you able to achieve this inner peace he has in your drawings?
Siren: Thank you for your interest and for inviting me to do this interview. I appreciate it so much.
I have been a sketch artist my whole life. I became aware of my ability at a very young age… maybe 7 or 8 years old. My family encouraged me to do more with my art, but I had no passion for it… only sketching sporadically as the mood struck me… and not at all as I got older and got busy with life. Shortly after Michael passed, I tried sketching him a few times but they were really not good. Portraits were never my strength. It would be another two years (September 2011) before I would attempt to draw him again, but when I did it was almost like something took me over… I really had very little to do with it. He just came to life before me on the paper. After that I couldn’t get enough. I guess I discovered my passion…
How am I able to achieve Michael’s inner peace in my drawings? First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for that amazing compliment. For me personally, the greatest satisfaction in sharing my art is when someone tells me how it makes them FEEL. If there is any way in the world that my art can connect people with Michael’s energy, his Love… well, I couldn’t ask for any greater reward.
I think Michael said it best when he said: “I believe that all art has as it’s ultimate goal, the union between the material and the spiritual… the human and the divine”.
When one creates – not just visual art but any of the arts; dance, poetry, music, any way in which the soul expresses itself – it really is like a channeling of sorts. In order to capture emotion… the spirit of something… one must connect with it. If one opens themselves to the energy of what they are expressing, it will come through. You just have to surrender to it. Anyone can do it. I really believe that.
SGAA: When did you start drawing and/or painting?
Siren: Well as I mentioned, I began drawing as a child but I never really was the type to venture outside my comfort zone, so I stayed faithful to my pencil until about 5 months ago when I began to experiment with paint. I took about 4 classes in acrylic painting and learned some basics, which I really enjoyed. I work with acrylic and watercolors a fair bit now. It has opened a whole new world for me.
SGAA: How do you choose the work or does it choose you? Meaning the pictures of Michael, do you select them intentionally or do you just see a pose or a photo of MJ that draws you to it at the time?
Siren: Oh it’s definitely impulsive. I rarely sit down with the intent to draw. The images find me, usually when I am catching up with things online. They jump out at me… the beauty of their lines, and the emotion in them… they captivate me. I can’t say no. It makes it hard to get other things done sometimes. You basically have to drop everything and just let the moment have it’s way with you.
SGAA: You show us progress of each of your pieces of work, is that cathartic for you and does it make it easier to complete the work by sharing it step by step?
Siren: Yes, I usually take progress photos as I work. I find that I get so involved with the feeling of the piece, that it is sometimes hard for me to actually see what I am creating. Taking a photo helps to separate me from it for a moment so I can view it with a more critical eye. Sometimes I find the progress photos just as beautiful as the finished works, so I often will share them. Seeing artwork in a simpler form seems to reveal something pure about it. I feel like it offers the viewer an opportunity to see it in a whole different light.
SGAA: I totally agree with you. I have seen some of your work at the beginning stages and they are so lovely. I wanted to ask you why you have been drawn (excuse the pun) to paint Michael?
Siren: Michael was a remarkable human being and remains, in my opinion, the most influential, impeccable role model of all time. If one is looking for an example of how to live a life of selflessness, compassion, strength, integrity, authenticity, responsibility, generosity, perseverance, passion, and brilliance, one needs to look no further than Michael Joseph Jackson. It’s unfortunate that most people missed the genuinely beautiful person that Michael was, and all He did to impact humanity and our planet.
Personally, I see Michael as a modern-day prophet with a message of Universal Love which he carried to us in his music, dance, poetry, and in the way he lived his life. He is a phenomenal example of what the human spirit is capable of. There isn’t any situation that confronts me that I don’t consider what I have learned from him. He inspires everything I do. He has literally transformed me by his example… and continues to. So why do I focus my art on Michael Jackson? True art is an expression of the soul. I don’t really choose what I create… I just allow whatever is inside me to come out. So far it’s all Michael…
SGAA: I know that everything that you draw or paint are all on behalf of Michael and in his name. A portion and sometimes all the earnings you make on the sale of your pieces go to specific charities. We all know that a lot of people use Michael’s name for untoward causes yet you are giving your time and talent to causes you believe. What made you decide to do this rather than make a revenue for yourself personally?
Siren: What I have, he has given me. It’s the least I can do. As I said, he has literally transformed me. How one could witness someone like Michael and not be profoundly affected seems impossible. Michael genuinely loved humanity. He dedicated his entire life towards helping and healing others. There is so much beauty in that. I want to be that Love that he demonstrated. Michael believed our salvation lies in the hearts of our children… and I agree. Most of the charities I give to are orphanages and children’s hospitals. I think if we can teach our children that they matter, that they are Loved, and that Love expands beyond our own families to include all of mankind, then we really are only one generation away from achieving world peace. I want to contribute in any way I can to help heal our planet, but I also want to help preserve Michael’s legacy. They say actions speak louder than words. So many are so closed to hearing the truth about Michael… but what if someone’s heart could be opened to him by witnessing the work others do in his memory? I want to be a part of that in whatever way possible.
SGAA: Siren, one thing that I love that you did, is plant a tree for Michael near your home and decorate it with each season that passes with some beautiful ornaments and candles, etc. I love this idea and am planning to do it myself, what was your thought behind this?
Siren: Oh, I hope you do… I think there should be a tree for Michael in every city in the world! The idea of planting the tree came from my dear friend Brenda Jenkyns. We had returned home from a trip of visiting Michael’s places in California and began talking about how we wished we had somewhere in our own city where Michael was remembered. We decided that if there was going to be one, then we would have to create it, so we did some research and discovered that our city parks department has a “Tribute Tree” program where you can purchase a tree in memory of a loved one and have it planted in one of our public parks. We also had a plaque made which the city installed for us under Michael’s tree with his name and his quote “Let us dream of tomorrow where we can truly Love from the soul and know Love as the ultimate truth at the heart of all Creation”. We did a little ceremony when the plaque was placed and we were even able to bury some special items for Michael underneath it. It was really intimate and beautiful. That little tree means a lot to us. We love to think of people passing by reading Michael’s name and his message… it’s important to us.
SGAA: Brenda Jenkyns – is that the author of the beautiful children’s book Ever After?
Siren: Yes, Brenda is the author of two children’s books about Michael. Her first book, Ever After, is the story of Michael’s life which is intended to inspire children to follow their dreams. Brenda has recently released her second book entitled Forever Loved, which is a beautiful story about Michael’s purpose and continued impact on the world since his passing.
SGAA: I have ordered a few pieces from you Siren and in my orders I always receive some “Love cards” and each one of them has a picture of your many paintings and a quote of Michael’s, why do you send these out with every order at no charge?
Siren: Those cards are one way in which I attempt to help contribute to Michael’s legacy and share his truth. They are intended to be left in places for others to find in hopes that they will read Michael’s message and want to learn more. If even one person found one of my cards and were changed by Michael’s words it would be worthwhile. Whether His message triggers something in them that inspires them to make a positive change in their life, or opens them to the idea of Universal Love, or even if it just makes them reconsider who they think Michael Jackson was… imagine the impact of that! I love to think about the ripples that would result. It drives me to do more.
SGAA: You have your artwork of Michael but there are many other things that you do in Michael’s name, could you name a few?
Siren: That’s a hard question for me to answer. I don’t like to talk about the specifics of what I do, really. I think giving should be a humbling experience, free of any self-serving motivators. What I will say is that no matter how we choose to give back to the world, the most important and most powerful thing we can offer is Love. It is my ultimate goal to be mindful of Love in all my interactions with others and in everything I do… and that motivation comes from Michael. I really feel that is the most imperative way in which I can honor and preserve his memory, and how I can best contribute to making the world a better place.
SGAA: I recently purchased Craig J. Baxter’s book Behind the Mask: What Michael Jackson’s Body Language Told The World and I know that beautiful cover was done by none other than yourself. How does it feel to have a piece of your own as the cover of a bestselling book?
Siren: I am really grateful to Craig for allowing me to be a part of his book. It is so important to me that Michael’s truth be told. To be given the opportunity to contribute to that is a great honor. I really commend Craig for helping to educate people about the kind of human being Michael was, and for sharing his expertise to expose the facts and enlighten a public who have been intentionally mislead for decades. I appreciate him immensely. Craig is a wonderful person.
SGAA: Yes he is and I am glad you got that opportunity to have that beautiful piece of art on the cover. I would like to thank you so much Siren you are a true inspiration and you honor Michael’s legacy with every piece you paint/draw as well as every deed you do in his name. God bless you!
Siren: Thank you again for allowing me to share what Michael means to me, and how he has inspired, and continues to inspire my life in so many ways. Much Love and many Blessings xxx
You can purchase Siren’s artwork on her website
See Siren’s work on her Facebook page
Please Note: 100% of Siren’s proceeds from her print sales and 25% of her commissioned works are donated to charities in Michael’s name.
Siren has many beautiful pieces but I would like to add my personal favourite by Siren to this post. It is called “Angel of Mercy” and you can purchase this and many others on her website. I urge everyone to take a look at her work and I know you will be as impressed and inspired as I am.