It’s been a long couple of days. I’ve seen that Michael Jackson documentary, “Leaving Neverland”, as well as the Oprah interview with the men and a lot of the reactions. All have been on my mind, ever since.
Why Blog About Leaving Neverland?
I’ve long doubted about blogging about Michael Jackson and the whole “Leaving Neverland” documentary. I want to keep my blogs about music, as much as possible. And I want to write positive blogs without focus on any dirt and gossip of celebrity life. Besides, what on earth could I add that hasn’t already been said? What do I actually believe? Who cares about what I think? Do I even know what I think? Why do I even care?
My Heart Breaks For His Family And Fans
Well, I care because it touches a lot of people I care about or have cared about. Michael Jackson and his fans have had a lifetime of an ‘us against the world’-bond. I’ve always been blown away by the dedication his fans have shown. My paths crossed with them, on several occasions: While working on the MN8 website. While I was working on a Janet Jackson website and, much later, while I was a 3T fan.
I wish nothing more for them and the Jackson family than to have an untainted memory of their idol, father, brother, uncle or friend. My heart breaks for them as my social feeds fill up with their petitions, discussions, “the facts don’t lie”-campaign and personal stories.
During Michael’s life, I thought: “Where there’s smoke there could be fire”. After his death, I found out more details about the accusations, the settlement, the trial and the unsuccessful FBI investigation. I truly believed his innocence. After seeing the documentary, I’m back in doubt.
Now, after days of wondering whether to write about it and trying to force myself to pick a side, I have decided to stay in my place of limbo. In a neutral zone. I don’t have a clue who’s telling the truth, or who’s lying, and accepted the fact that I might never find out.
The Story Of Wade and Jimmy
These are the only things I am clear about: The documentary is the story of Wade Robson and James ‘Jimmy’ Safechuck. They’ve shown a lot of courage to share their story this way and it’s very convincing. I see no reason to doubt their experiences. I wasn’t there.
I agree with Oprah that this transcends Michael Jackson. I think she did a good job with her talk after the showing of the documentary. What she did included good journalism on the topic of child abuse.
One Sided Documentary
Though I agree with the Jackson Estate that the documentary is one sided, I think, it’s more the story of these two men than the story of Michael Jackson. I don’t consider this a journalistic piece on Michael. There are plenty more positive documentaries about Michael’s life and work to counter the negative tone of this one. Altogether, I feel there’s enough information available to get an impression of the good, bad and, potentially, ugly sides to Michael Jackson. Unfortunately, there’s enough craziness surrounding his persona to allow room for this.
It’s Sad For Everyone Affected
For me, the documentary made the accusations, that Michael was faced with in life, a lot less abstract. It was easy to believe that people were out for his money or downfall, when it was just a name on paper, or just a headline. One of the things that struck me most is that the men’s families are torn as well over this. There are no winners. Everyone suffers.
While allowing the families to speak, is one of the strengths of the documentary, I think it’s a weakness to know the men knew each other. The strength in the testimonies from the women in “Surviving R Kelly”, is that the women all tell a similar story without them ever having spoken, or perhaps even seen, each other.
Facts Don’t Lie. People Do.
I applaud Michael’s fans and estate for standing up for him when he can’t defend himself. I don’t think it’s right the accusations are made after his passing. But in life, no one was around Michael 24/7, nor were they around these two men 24/7. There’s no way, I think, they can prove that Michael did this. There’s no way to prove he couldn’t have. Those are facts, too. Besides the facts, there’s this story and for me, a great big question mark.
I’d Still Listen To His Music, But…
Various radio stations have put a ban on Michael’s music. A discussion started whether we should separate the art from the artists, as more and more artists seem to get in trouble. It’s really hard to draw the line, but I support the idea of the public not rewarding bad behavior. Personally, in this case, I have no problem listening to Michael’s hits like “Beat It” or “Thriller”, but I do have some issues with songs like “Childhood” or “Heal The World”, at the moment. Other than that, I understand why other people are more decisive on the topic. As for me, I’m still in limbo.