“I try to be kind and generous and to give to people and to do what I think God wants me to do. Sometimes I pray and say “where do you want me to go next, God? What do you want me to do from here?” – Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson – In His Own Words

You’ve heard his music. Now come with us and discover the man.

Acting

“Acting is the cream of the crop. It’s like becoming another person.”

Animals and living things

“Snakes are very misunderstood. Snakes, I suggest, may be the oldest victims of bad press.”

“I try to go the zoo in every city we visit. I go there to look at rare, exotic animals and birds. If you watch a cougar, for example, his movements are just fantastic. Watch a llama and see how he behaves, or a peacock or other beautiful bird.”

Art and painting

“I can look at a painting or a piece of sculpture and totally lose myself in it.”

Books, reading, studying

“I love to read. I like philosophy and short stories.” (1982)

“Philosophy is my favourite subject.”

Bringing joy and magic

“I love to create magic.”

“Magic is easy if you put your heart into it.”

“I like to make people happy.”

“Just let me share and give, put a smile on people’s faces and make their hearts feel happy.”- (April 1999)

“It’s terrific to see people smile, laugh or cry with joy. Music, peace and love: that’s what I’d wish for!”

“What can I do but bring forth the talent that God gave me? That’s all I want to do; to share the love and gift of entertainment. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to hurt anybody.”

“I love my children so much. They have changed me and my outlook on life. I just wish people would leave me alone to get on with my life. I’m just a person who wants to be honest and do good, make people happy and give them the greatest sense of escapism through the talent God has given me. That’s where my heart is, that’s all I want to do. Just let me share and give, put a smile on people’s faces and make their hearts feel happy.” (1999)

“Out of bliss comes magic, wonderment and creativity.

“To me, nothing is more important than making people happy, giving them a release from their problems and worries, helping to lighten their load.”

Children

“I wish the whole world could be full of children.”

“Love and help all the children all the days of your existence. They need us.”

“The innocence of children represents to me the source of infinite creativity. This is not any intellectual kind of intelligence, but an intelligence that is full of wonder, magic, mystery and adventure. In this intelligence there is love, there is trust, there is joy and there is beauty. It is the kind of intelligence that will heal the world.”

“Children show me in their playful smiles the divine in everyone. This simple goodness shines straight from their hearts and only asks to be lived.”

“The magic, the wonder, the mystery and the innocence of a child’s heart are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world. I really believe that.”

“When I begin to feel a little tired or burdened, children revive me.  I turn to them for new life, for new music.”

“If I were living for no other reason than to help and please children…that would be enough for me.”

“Children have no power to end wars directly or mend age-old differences.  All they can do is be themselves, to shine with gratitude and joy when love is turned their way.  Yet, isn’t that ultimately the greatest power.”

“Forever, continue to love, heal and educate the children, the future shines on them.”

“Nothing is more important than our children. They are the future. They can heal the world. It is our obligation to be there for them.”

“We must never forget that the children are our future and without them mankind would become extinct.”

“What we need to learn from children isn’t childish. Being with them connects us to the deeper wisdom of life, which is ever-present and only asks to be lived. They know the way to solutions that lie waiting to be recognized within our own hearts.”

“Today, I would like to thank all of the children of the world, including the sick and deprived. I am so sensitive to your pain.” (Grammy Legend Award speech, 35th Annual Grammy Awards, 1993)

“I want to tell the children of the world, you are all our children, each one of you is my child and I love you all.”

 “There are these two sweet little kids, a girl and a boy, and they’re so innocent; they’re the quintessential form of innocence, and just being in their presence I felt completely speechless, because I felt I was looking in the face of God whenever I saw them. They inspired me to write ‘Speechless’”.

“I feel guilty when I have dinner or breakfast because I realize how many people don’t have those simple things that we so much take for granted. And people, they sit at the table and they pray and all that, which is beautiful, but to do something is the thing – you have to act. So, I think it’s important to help out as much as you can. If one person just helps one child, just help one child, they’ve done so much. And if you can do that, it’d be beautiful. Just to help one person would be a lot, a big step forward, because there’s a lot to be done. Children all over the world are in such need.”

“One of my favourite pastimes is being with children – talking to them, playing with them. They’re one of the main reasons why I do what I do. Children are more than adults. They know everything that people are trying to find out. They know so many secrets, but it’s hard for them to get it out. I can recognize that and learn from it. They say some things that’ll astound you. They go through brilliant, genius stages, but when they become a certain age, they lose it. So many people think certain things are childlike, but grown-ups are really nothing but children who have lost all that real magic by not noticing and digging and finding out. I believe in that deeply.” (Melody Maker, 1980)

“There are so many things all around us to be thankful for. Wasn’t it Robert Frost who wrote about the world a person can see in a leaf? I think that’s true. That’s what I love about being with kids. They notice everything. They aren’t jaded. They get excited by things we’ve forgotten to get excited about any more. They are so natural too, so unselfconscious. I love being around them. There always seems to be a bunch of kids over at the house and they’re always welcome. They energize me, just being around them. They look at everything with such fresh eyes, such open minds. That’s part of what makes kids so creative. They don’t worry about the rules. The picture doesn’t have to be in the centre of the piece of paper. The sky doesn’t have to be blue. They are accepting people too. The only demand they make is to be treated fairly and to be loved. I think that’s what we all want. I would like to think that I’m an inspiration for the children I meet. I want kids to like my music. Their approval means more to me than anyone else’s. It’s always the kids who know which song is going to be a hit. You see kids who can’t even talk yet, but they’ve got a little rhythm going. It’s funny. But they’re a tough audience. In fact, they’re the toughest audience. There have been so many parents who have come to me and told me that their baby knows ‘Beat It’ or loves ‘Thriller’. George Lucas told me his daughter’s first words were ‘Michael Jackson’. I felt on top of the world when he told me that.” (Moonwalk, 1988)

“To a child, food is something special. It isn’t just a delicious taste or the vitamins that build a healthy body. Food is love and caring, security and hope — all the things that a food family can provide. Remember when you were little and your mother made a pie for you? When she cut a slice and put it on your plate, she was giving you a bit of herself, in the form of her love. She made your hunger go away, and when you were full and satisfied, everything seemed all right. Because that satisfied feeling was in the pie, you were nourished from a deep level. Food is something we all need physically, but so is love, the deeper nourishment, that turns into who we are.

Think about how necessary it is to nourish a child with a bit of yourself when you use this book. It is full of delicious things. Every recipe has an extra ingredient of caring, because the people who wrote them were thinking of the children. They were specially thinking of those who aren’t able to take nourishment for granted because they are poor, sick or disabled. These are the children who need food to heal. The theme of ‘Heal the World’, which has been close to my heart, is the central theme of this book, also. Here are recipes for the spirit. Please make them with that in mind. Your child is growing spirit that can be knit strong with love. When you break an egg and measure a cup of flour, you are magically mixing the gift of life. The food’s proteins and minerals will turn into bones and muscles, but your feeling as you cook will turn directly into a soul.

It makes me happy to think that the needs of children’s spirits are at last becoming important in this world. Children have no power to end wars directly or to mend age-old differences.

All they can do is be themselves, to shine with gratitude and joy when love is turned their way. Yet isn’t that ultimately the greatest power? In the eyes of a child you become the source of joy, which lifts you into the special category of caregiver and life-provider. You may think that your apple pie has only sugar and spice in it. A child is wiser — with the first bite, he knows that this special dish is the essence of your love.

Enjoy!”

(Michael’s introduction to a charity cookbook for families published by Neiman Marcus, entitled Pigtails and Frog Legs, 1993)

“I haven’t been betrayed or deceived by children. Adults have let me down. Adults have let the world down.”

“When I begin to feel a little tired or burdened, children revive me. I turn to them for new life, for new music.”

“It’s sad that people can’t be more like children. I don’t mean childish, but childlike.”

“When I die, all the money I have will go to my children and other children of the world.”

Creating

“I just love working hard on something, putting it together, sweating over it and sharing it with people and having them love it. And I always pray that they like it. And that’s what gives me great satisfaction as an artist.”

“Each song is like a child that I nourish and give my love to.  But even if you have never written a song, your life is a song.”

“I love to create. I love to make magic. I love to create the unexpected.”

“I feel it and I see it. I’m visionary. So, if I can give that, I do. And that’s what I love to do with music, with film, with dance.”

“See the thing is, artists seem to get in the way of the music. Get out of the way of the music. You know, don’t write the music. Let the music write itself.”

“I like to take sounds and put them on the microscope and just talk about the way you wanna manipulate the character of it.”

“When you have a special gift you don’t realize it because you think everyone else has the same gift.”

“I can’t take credit for it because its Gods work. He’s just using me as the messenger.”

“It’s hard to say how one creates music, because it’s hard for me to take credit. I feel it’s more spiritual or heavenly.”

“What one wishes is to be touched by truth and to be able to interpret that truth so that one may use what one is feeling and experiencing, be it despair or joy, in a way that will add meaning to one’s life and will hopefully touch others as well.  This is art in its highest form.  Those moments of enlightenment are what I continue to live for.”

“When I create my music I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God given talents.”

“The key to being a wonderful writer is not to write. You just get out of the way. Leave room for God to walk in the room. And when I write something that I know is right, I get on my knees and say thank you. Thank you, Jehovah!” (Ebony, 2007)

“I want to continue to grow. To me, the biggest sin of all sins is to be given a gift, a talent – because it’s actually a gift from God – to take that and not cultivate it and make it grow, that’s the biggest sin in the world.” (Ebony, October 1981)

“The songs just kind of create themselves. I just let them happen.”

“I wake up from dreams and go, ‘Wow, put this down on paper.’ The whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face. And you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry, I just didn’t write this. It’s there already.’ That’s why I hate to take credit for the songs I’ve written. I feel that somewhere, someplace, it’s been done and I’m just a courier bringing it into the world. I really believe that. I love what I do. I’m happy at what I do. It’s escapism.” (Michael Jackson – Life in the magical kingdom, Rolling Stone, 17 February 1983)

“I write when I want to get a message across. I don’t like simple stories and I get tired of love songs all the time. I like different things. I like to write about a tree or a dog or a horse.”

“I’ll just wake up from sleeping and there is the whole song coming into my head and then I put it down on paper”

“You want what you create to live and I give my all in my work because I want it to live.”

“If you are locked into a pattern of thinking and responding, your creativity gets blocked.  You miss the freshness and magic of the moment.  Learn to be innocent again, and that freshness never fades.”

Dancing

“I see dancing as the most wonderful thing of all time.”

“They say parenting is like dancing. You take one step, and your child takes another.”

“Dancing is really showing your emotions through bodily movement.”

“Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the Creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasion when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The Creator and the creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing until there is only … the dance.” (Dancing the Dream)

Death

“I will never be sad if I leave this world, because I know I will be in a better place. The only thing I care about is that people stop thinking that I did something wrong. I love the kids, and disgusting lies almost killed me. When I die, all [the] money I have will go to my children and other children of the world.” (telephone conversation with friend Frank Cascio, 2008)

“Who wants mortality? Everybody wants immortality. You want what you create to live! Be it sculpting, painting, music, composition. That is why to escape death I attempt to bind my soul to my work because I just want it to live forever and just give all that I have.”

Dreams, determination, dedication

“Never give up on your dreams. Don’t let anyone stand in the way. Just go straight ahead because nothing is impossible.”

“If you don’t aim for something you’ll never know whether you could have hit the mark.”

“The best dreams are when your eyes are wide open…go for you dreams.”

“Your mind is powerful enough to help you obtain whatever you want.” (Moonwalk, 1988)

“I always dreamed of making the biggest selling album ever.”

“In the end, the most important thing is to be true to yourself and those you love, and work hard. Work like there’s no tomorrow. Train. Strive. Really train and cultivate your talent to the highest degree. Be the best at what you do. Get to know more about your field than anybody alive. Use the tools of your trade; if it’s books or a floor to dance on, or a body of water to swim in. Whatever it is, it’s yours.

“Dream it.  See it.  Believe it.  Make it happen.”

“The more I believe, the more the dream will be mine.”

“I don’t care if the whole world is against you, teasing you or saying you’re not gonna make it. Believe in yourself.”

“It’s knowing what you want to do and having a will of iron. If the whole world says ‘No!’, you say YES!!”

“Everything I’ve achieved started with a dream.”

“I have always been kind of determined. I have always had a vision of things I have wanted to do and goals I have wanted to reach and nothing could stop me getting there. I am focused and I know what I want and what I want to achieve and I won’t get side-tracked. And even though I get down sometimes, I keep running the race of endurance to achieve those goals. It keeps me on track. I am dedicated.”

“Ever since I was a little boy, I would study composition. And it was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky that influenced me the most. If you take an album like Nutcracker Suite, every song is killer, every one. People used to do an album where you’d get one good song, and the rest were like B-sides, they’d call them ‘album songs’ — and I’d say to myself  ‘Why can’t every track be a hit song? Why can’t every song be so great that people would want to buy it if you could release it as a single?’ So I always tried to strive for that.”

“No matter what you do, give it everything you have. Be the best, not the second best.”

“I don’t care what you wanna be in life just make sure you’re happy with it and be the greatest at it.”

Faith and God

“Everything that has happened, from the largest star in the sky or the smallest atom, is written in the Bible.”

“I don’t care how many scientific explanations they give me, it isn’t enough for me.”

“I say little prayers throughout the day.”

“All is possible if God is on our side.”

“I will never stop helping and loving people the way Jesus said to.”

“I believe in God…..I gain strength from God. I believe in Jehovah God, very much…..I believe in God and love God.”

“I simply believe in it (the Bible) and I get down on my knees every night and thank God and ask Him to lead the way.”

“I’m trying to imitate Jesus in the fact that he said to be like children, to love children, to be as pure as children and to make yourself as innocent and to see the world through eyes of  wonderment and the whole magical quality of it  all.”

“Keep the faith. Don’t let nobody take you down. Just keep your eyes on the prize and get your feet back on the ground.” (‘Keep the Faith’, 1991)

“Karma is a theory like any other theory that some human made up.” (The Michael Jackson Tapes, Shmuley Boteach, 2009)

“God gave me a gift and I have to use it responsibly by giving back. I’ll do it until I have pennies left or God calls me home.”

“For me the sweetest contact with God has no form. I close my eyes, look within and the infinity of God’s creation embraces me”

“There have been times in my life when I wonder[ed] about God’s existence. When Prince smiles, when Paris giggles, I have no doubts.”

“I try to be kind and generous, and to give to people, and to do what I think God wants me to do.”

“I see God through my children. I speak to God through my children. I am humbled for the blessings He has given me.”

“I try to be kind and generous and to give to people and to do what I think God wants me to do. Sometimes I pray and say ‘where do you want me to go next, God? What do you want me to do from here?’”

Family

“I think that a brother and sister are gifts from God, and I love mine dearly.” (1987)

“Family is everything to us. It’s love. It’s what we were taught, and values. We’re friends at the end of the day, which is important. Other than what the public or press people say, we’re friends. We love each other very much.” (Geraldo interview before the 2005 trial)

Fans

“Loyalty is such a rare quality, but my fans are the most loyal in the world.”

“My main love for what I do is the fans.  I love the fans.  When I’m out there doing a show and I see the fans out there dancing and screaming, excited – and we’re bringing that joy to them – that’s what I love most.  And it’s just the greatest feeling in the world.” (Ebony, May 1984)

“My fans truly are a part of me.  We share something that most people never experience.” 

“I truly love my fans; truly, truly from the heart. That’s the real truth. I love them.”

“I promise to love and cherish each of my sweet-faced fans forever.” (1972)

 “Over the years we became a family. You are all my family. My children are your children.” (2003)

“I love my fans to pieces. They’re with me. They get it, you know? They get what I’m saying.”

“I have the greatest fans in the world. I love them, all of them, I really do.”

“My fans, they cry in all the same places. Become hysterical, faint in the same places. There’s a commonality. We are all the same.”

“I am speechless about the idea of putting music fans in jail for downloading music. It is wrong to illegally download, but the answer cannot be jail. Here in America we create new opportunities out of adversity, not punitive laws, and we should look to new technologies like Apple’s new Music Store for solutions. This way, innovation continues to be the hallmark of America. It is the fans that drive the success of the music business.  (Press statement, 21 July 2003)

To the fans: “Your love, your loyalty and support made it all possible.   You were there when I really needed you.  I will never forget you.  Your ever-present love held me, dried my tears and carried me through.  I will treasure your devotion and support forever.  You are my inspiration.”

“Without God, my children, my family, and you, my fαns, I could not have made it through. Your love, support and loyalty mαde it all possible. You were there when I really needed you. I will never forget you. Your ever-present love held me, dried my tears, and carried me through. I will treasure your devotion and support forever. You αre my inspiration.” (Michael: A Message for My Fans, 26 June 2005)

“I like all the fans, even the ones who keep calling me ‘cute.’ But I’m getting bigger everyday so they’ll have to call me something else.”

“My fans are activists; they will fight you to defend me.”

“Some friends are like shadows, you only see them when the sun shines.  But, my fans sustained me even in the dark days.  I owe them everything.”

“Some fans imagine you to be almost an illusion, this thing that doesn’t exist. When they see you, they feel it’s a miracle or something.”

“I just wanna say: fans in every corner of the Earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart. You know, thank you for your love and support and understanding (…). I would love your prayers, and your goodwill.” (Michael talking to Jesse Jackson at Keep Hope Alive, 2005)

“It was you who put your heart on the line. It was you who stepped forward to defend someone you love. It was you, on a worldwide basis who supported me as my army, my soldiers of love.”

Fashion

“Except for the things I wear on stage, clothes don’t interest me.”

“I don’t want anything that’s going to make me look cheap or trendy.”

Fear and insecurity

“Others can’t overcome fear for you; you have to do it on your own.  It’s hard because fear and doubt hold on tight.”

“Whenever I accept my own doubt and insecurity, I’m more open to other people.  The deeper I go into myself, the stronger I become because I realize that my real self is much bigger than any fear.”

“In accepting yourself completely, trust becomes complete.  There is no longer any separation between people because there is no longer separation inside.  In the space where fear used to live, love is allowed to grow.”

Food

“I fast every Sunday. I don’t eat anything, just juices. It flushes out the system; cleans out the colon.”

“If I didn’t have to eat to live, I don’t think I’d bother at all.”

“People should clean the toxins out of their systems. It helps keep you strong.”

Forgiveness

“I have begun to see that even my father’s harshness was a kind of love. An imperfect love, to be sure, but love nonetheless. He pushed me because he loved me, because he wanted no man to ever look down at his offspring. Now with time, rather than bitterness I feel blessing.… My initial fury has slowly given way to forgiveness.”  (Heal the Kids speech at the Oxford Union, 2001)

Halloween

“I missed out on Halloween for years and now I do it. It’s sweet to go door-to-door, and people give you candy.”

“I love to trick or treat… I love dressing up like some kind of monster and knocking on doors. Nobody knows it’s me and I get candy.” (2001)

“I always thought Halloween and Thriller fit each other like a glove.” (October 31, 2008)

“The essence of Halloween is for children to witness the kindness of strangers. It brings the world together.”

 [Q:Do you take Prince & Paris trick-or-treating?]  MJ: “Absolutely, we have a family that we go with in the area and we give them the candy.  I want [Prince and Paris] to see that people can be kind. We get it in a bag and then (whispering) I exchange their candy for candy eyeballs.”

“I love trick or treat. It’s one of my favourite [holidays].”

 “It’s sweet to go door-to-door and people give you candy. We need more of that in the world. It brings the world together.”

Hatred and anger

“When people’s minds are clouded by anger or hatred, no angel can reach them.”

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

Healing the World


“I realize that many of our world’s problems today, from the inner city crime, to large scale wars and terrorism, and our over-crowded prisons, are a result of the fact that children have had their childhood stolen from them. The magic, the wonder, the mystery and the innocence of a child’s heart are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world. I really believe that.”

“Let’s love one another. Let’s forget hatred and turn to those that are suffering, not just today, but every day. Join me in healing the world and making it a better place.”

“I’m saying heal the planet; heal the world, save our children, save the forest. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?”

“I have spent my entire life helping millions of children across the world.”

“I think it’s important to help out as much as you can. Just to help one person means a lot. It’s a big step forward.”

“The world we once believed in will shine again in grace. Then why do we keep strangling life? Wound this Earth, crucify its soul? Though it’s plain to see, this world is Heavenly, be God’s glow.” (‘Heal the World’)

“We have to heal our wounded world. The chaos, despair, and senseless destruction we see today are a result of the alienation that people feel from each other and their environment.”

“To honour the children of the world, I vow to keep my promise to help the sick and dying, the alone and homeless and hungry through the construction of children’s hospitals and orphanages in every needy corner of the world.”

“Feel humanity, don’t do it because I’m asking you to, do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

“I’ve travelled the world over eight times. I do as many hospitals and orphanages as I do concerts. But, of course, it’s not covered. That’s not why I do it, for coverage. I do it because it’s from my heart. And there are so many children in the city who haven’t seen the mountains, who haven’t been on a carousel, who haven’t pet a horse or a llama, never seen them, so if I can open my gates and see that bliss, an explosion of screaming laughter from the children and they run on the rides, I say ‘Thank you, God.’ I feel I’ve won God’s smile of approval, because I’m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people.”

“Who am I to be blind, pretending not to see their needs?” (‘Man In The Mirror’)

“There are people dying, if you care enough for the living, make a better place for you and for me.” (‘Heal the World’)

“My fondest memory [at Neverland] was one night when we had a houseful of bald-headed children. They all had cancer. And one little boy turned to me and said, ‘This is the best day of my life.’ You had to just hold back the tears.”

“The only reason I’m going on tour is to raise money for the newly formed, ‘Heal the World Foundation’, an international children’s charity that I’m spearheading to assist children and the ecology. My goal is to gross $100 million by Christmas, 1993. I urge every corporation and individual who cares about this planet and the future of the children, to help raise money for the Heal the World charity. The Heal the World Foundation will contribute funds to paediatric aids in honour of my friend, Ryan White. I’m looking forward to this tour, because it will allow me to devote time to visiting children all around the world, as well as to spread the message of the global love, in the hopes that others too will be moved to do their share to heal the world. Thank you for coming. I love you very much.”  Michael Jackson, 3 February 1992, announcing the Dangerous tour at the Pepsi press conference)

“I’m going to build a computer school on the grounds [of Neverland] with other children.” (TV Guide interview, November 2001)

Health

“Like any painter or sculptor, they paint… they do their best work when they’re in the 60s and their 70s. Fred Astaire did his best dancing when he was in his 70s. Angelo [Michelangelo] sculpted late into his 60s and 70s, doing brilliant ingenious work. But in the music business some of these great artists have become stumped because they self-abuse themselves at a young age, with all these crazy things they drink and pills and things, and uh, that’s just not good — just not a good thing. I hate to say that to hurt anybody, but we should take care of our bodies a little more.”

Humbleness

“Stay humble with the humbleness that a child like a new-born baby has. Even though you become powerful […] be as humble as a child, as a baby, and be as kind and as giving and loving. Don’t become puffed up with pride.”

“Be humble, believe in yourself, and have the love of the world in your heart.”

“I think being humble and believing in yourself and having love in your heart for world…and really trying to help people through lyrics and the love of music and dance, because I truly do love people very much.”

Injustice and the price of fame

“I want to heal the world, help our children and they hate me for it. They want to destroy everyone righteous.”

“No matter how good your intentions are, there’s always some jerk, some mean spirited person to try to bring you down. And all you wanted to do was bring a little joy, that’s all, that’s all.”

“Like the old Indian proverb says, do not judge a man until you’ve walked 2 moons in his moccasins. Most people don’t know me, that is why they write such things in which most is not true. I cry very, very often because it hurts and I worry about the children, all my children all over the world. I live for them. If a man could say nothing against a character but what he could prove, history could not be written. Animals strike not from malice, but because they want to live. It is the same with those who criticize. They desire our blood not our pain. But still I must achieve. I must seek truth in all things. I must endure for the power I was sent forth, for the world, for the children. But have mercy, for I’ve been bleeding a long time now.” (Handwritten note published in People magazine, 12 October 1987)

“Wacko Jacko, where did that come from? Some English tabloid. I have a heart and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me, it’s not nice. My name is Jackson, not Jacko.”

“I am bewildered at the length people will go to portray me negatively.”

“The minute I started breaking the all-time record in record sales—I broke Elvis’s records, I broke Beatles records—the minute it became the all-time best-selling album in the history of the Guinness Book of World Records, overnight they called me a freak. They called me a homosexual. They called me a child molester. They said I bleached my skin. They did everything to turn the public against me.  (Michael’s speech at National Action Network headquarters, 9 July 2002)

“I want to tell the readers not to judge a person by what they hear, or even what they read, unless they hear it from the person himself.”

“All I can do is to be myself and create from my soul… but the press takes that and manipulates it.”

“These people wanted to exploit my concern for children by threatening to destroy what I believe in and what I do.”

“Being mobbed hurts! You feel like you’re spaghetti among thousands of hands.”

“You can see it in their eyes. You’re being judged. People are looking through you. Not even at you, but through you.”

“I would like some kind of way to disappear where people don’t see me anymore at some point.”

“I’m not calling myself Jesus, but I’m comparing the stress and pressure.”

“I’m a strong person.  I’m a warrior and I know what is inside of me.  I’m a fighter, but, it’s very painful at the end of the day.”

“My level of trust will change. There’s a lot of conspiracy going on, I’ll say that much; a lot of it.”

I have suffered through many hurtful lies and references to me as ‘Wacko Jacko’… This is intolerable and must stop.” (2004)

“You have to deal with their jealousy. They’re all talking about you. When they stop talking, you have to worry.”

“Sometimes I think leave me alone. What have I done to you for you to attack me in such a way? It really hurts my heart”

“In my business you can’t trust anyone. Becoming successful means you become a prisoner.”

“I have been a vulnerable target for those who want money.”

Inner peace

“If I want to feel free in my mind, I’ll walk the beach, read a beautiful book, write a song or spend time with children.”

Innovating

“I’m interested in making a path instead of following a trail and that’s what I want to do in life, in everything I do.”

Judging others

“Don’t judge a person by what you hear or read….there is so much tabloid sensationalism. Don’t fall prey to it. It’s ugly. I’d like to take all of the tabloids and burn them. Some of them try to disguise themselves, but they are still tabloids.”

“It’s a complete lie, why do people buy these papers? It’s not the truth and I’m here to say, you know, don’t judge a person, do not pass judgement, unless you have talked to them one on one. I don’t care what the story is; do not judge them because it is a lie.”

“No one should judge what I’ve done with my life, not unless they’ve been in my shoes every horrible day and every sleepless night.”

“It doesn’t have to be true to be believed.  Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it.”

Justice

“I care about being paid fairly for what I do. The guy who works should eat. It’s as simple as that.”

“Lies run in sprints, the truth runs in marathons…in the end, the truth always triumphs.” (Press statement, November 2003)

Loneliness

“If I lived on my own I think I’d die of loneliness.”

“I don’t go many places. I don’t know many places.” (1982)

“There are times when I wish I could just be like everybody else.”

“Know what I also love? Mannequins. I guess I want to bring them to life. I like to imagine talking to them. You know what I think it is? Yeah, I think I’ll say it. I think I’m accompanying myself with friends I never had. I probably have two friends. And I just got them. Being an entertainer, you just can’t tell who’s your friend. And they see you so differently: a star instead of a next door neighbour. That’s what it is. I surround myself with people I want to be my friends. And I can do that with mannequins. I’ll talk to them.”

“I put a lot of mannequins in my room in the past, and I still have mannequins in my room, because I used to be very lonely, painfully lonely. You have no idea. I used to walk the streets looking for people to talk to. I’m talking about the height of one’s career…. I would walk up to them, strangers, and say, ‘will you be my friend?’ They’d go, ‘my god, it’s Michael Jackson!’ and that’s not what I wanted.” (The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See, 2002)

“Sometimes I walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home.”

“There were times when I had great times with my brothers, pillow fights and things, but I used to always cry from loneliness.”

Lost Childhood

“People wonder why I always have children around. It’s because I find the thing that I never had through them. Disneyland, amusement parks, arcade games — I adore all that stuff because when I was little, it was always work, work, work.” (interview with Oprah Winfrey, 1993)


“I would do my schooling which was three hours with a tutor and right after that I would go to the recording studio and record, and I’d record for hours and hours until it’s time to go to sleep.”

“Well, you don’t get to do things that other children get to do, having friends and slumber parties and buddies. There were none of that for me. I didn’t have friends when I was little. My brothers were my friends.”

“I remember one time we were getting ready to go to South America and everything was packed up and in the car ready to go and I hid and I was crying because I really did not want to go, I wanted to play. I did not want to go.”

“I remember going to the record studio and there was a park across the street and I’d see all the children playing and I would cry because it would make me sad that I would have to work instead.”

Love

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

“Be humble, believe in yourself, and have the love of the world in your heart.”

“Let us dream of tomorrow when we can truly love from the soul and know love as the ultimate truth at the heart of all creation.”

If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.” (Dancing the Dream, 1992)

“Make love your weapon to overcome any evil.”

“I will never stop helping and loving people the way Jesus said to. Jesus said continue to love. Always love.”

“It’s very important to be loved and to tell people that you love them and to look in their eyes and say it.”

“You never know how long you have with someone, so don’t forget to say I love you while you can

“I say, ‘You should blanket me’ or ‘you should blanket her’, meaning like a blanket is a blessing. It’s a way of showing love and caring.”

“Love is the human family’s most precious legacy, its richest bequest, its golden inheritance.”

“The courage to be honest and intimate opens the way to self-discovery. It offers what we all want, the promise of love.”

“For me, Love is something very pure.”

 “It’s all for love: L.O.V.E”

“The only thing that matters in life is having someone who understands you, who trusts you and who will be with you, no matter what.”

“To give someone a piece of your heart is worth more than all the wealth in the world.”

“Love is something that’s so easy to give, but not a lot of people are willing to offer that part of them.”

“Love is the juice and energy that motivate my music, my dancing, everything.  As long as love is in my heart, it’s everywhere.”

“The foundation of human knowledge, the beginning of human consciousness, must be that each and every one of us is an object of love.”

Mentors

“I love people who are phenomenally talented. I love people who’ve worked so hard and been so courageous and are the leaders in their fields. For me to meet somebody like that and learn from them and share words with them—to me that’s magic.” (Interview magazine, 1982)

“The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.”

“I’ve always loved to dance. When I was just real little I used to watch Sammy Davis, Fred Astaire, James Brown…and just dance around the house.”

“I have no problem with [N’Sync] imitating. It’s a compliment. Everybody has to start out looking up to someone. For me it was James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Wilson, Fred Astaire, and Gene Kelly.” (TV Guide, 1 November 2001)

Mind over matter

“I believe we are powerful, but we don’t use our minds to full capacity. Your mind is powerful enough to help you attain whatever you want.”

“No matter what, the most powerful thing in the world is the human mind, and prayer, and belief in yourself, and confidence, and perseverance. No matter how many times you do it, you do it again until it’s right. And always believe in yourself, and no matter who’s around you that’s being negative, or thrusting negative energy at you, totally block it off; because whatever you believe, you become.”

“Even if you’re sweeping floors or painting ceilings, do it better than anyone in the world. No matter what it is that you do, be the best at it. And have respect for others, and be proud of yourself.”

“I know who I am inside and outside, and I know what I want to do. And I will always go with my dreams.”

“Sometimes the heart is so heavy that we turn away from it and forget that its throbbing is the wisest message of life.”

“I don’t care if the whole world is against you, teasing you or saying you’re not gonna make it. Believe in yourself.”

“There are people out there who don’t actively hold you back as much as they quietly work on your insecurities so that you hold yourself back.”

“You can’t do your best when you are doubting yourself.  If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”

“I am the captain of my ship. I take suggestions and listen to what everyone has to say, but the final decision is mine.”

Music

“Great music and great melodies are immortal. I don’t care…you know, fashion changes, culture changes, customs change…great music is immortal. We still listen to Mozart today…any of the greats. Great music is like a great piece of sculpture or a great painting. It’s forever. You know, for generations upon generations to appreciate forever. And that’s…I know that’s a fact.”

“Music started with nature. Music is nature. Birds make music. Oceans make music. Wind makes music. Any natural sound is music. And that’s where it started. You see, we’re just making a replica of nature, which is the sounds we hear outside.”

“I love great music – it has no colour, it has no boundaries.”

“I’m married to my music and there has to be that closeness in order  to do the kind of work I want to do.”

“I never think about themes [for my music]. I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colours, something for everybody, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.” (USA Today, 2001)

“Music is the soundtrack to life. It plays the melody of our being.”

“To me, ballads are special, because you can have a pop song that’ll be known for three weeks and then you’ll hear nothing else about it.  Nobody else will record it and it’ll just be gone.  But if you do a good ballad, it’ll be in the world forever.”

“To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?”

 “Music is a very important and powerful substance, and all the planets in the universe make music. It’s called music of the spheres. They all make a different note; they make harmony. So there’s harmony even in the universe as we speak.”

“With my music, with what I do, I would like to bring a light into the world.”

 “Music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in this world. Through it, I know I will live forever.”

“I don’t really rap, but I could. I’ve written songs with rap verses in them for very famous rappers, but they’re much better at it than me.”

“When children listen to music they don’t just listen, they melt into the melody and flow into the rhythm.”

“I love all kinds of music. I see it all as music. I don’t like to label it. It’s like saying this child is white, this one’s black, this one’s Japanese, but they’re all children. It reminds me of prejudice. I hate labels, it’s so crazy. […] If somebody has a wonderful song that’s right for me, I’d love to do it. I wouldn’t pass up a good song just because I didn’t write it. […]” (interview excerpt from ‘The Jacksons Make Their Own Moves’ article, 1979)

Nature

“Whenever I saw a sunset, I would quietly make a secret wish right before the sun tucked under the western horizon and disappeared. It would seem as if the sun had taken my wish with it. I’d make it right before that last speck of light vanished. And a wish is more than a wish, it’s a goal. It’s something your conscious and subconscious can help make reality.”

“My favourite thing is to climb trees, go all the way up to the top of a tree and I look down on the branches.”

“I enjoy nature.  I know the tree feels it when the wind blows through it.  It probably goes, ‘Oh!  This is wonderful!’  And, that’s how I feel when I’m singing some songs.  It’s wonderful.”

“Nature…her magic is infinitely lavish and in return all we have to do is appreciate it.”

“I spend a lot of time in the forest. I like to go into the forest and I like to climb trees. My favourite thing is to climb trees, go all the way up to the top of a tree and I look down on the branches. Whenever I do that it inspires me for music.”

“The meaning of life is contained in every single expression of life. It is present in the infinity of forms and phenomena that exist in all of creation.”

‘There’s a reason why God made the sunset red or purple or green. It’s beautiful to look at – it’s a minute of joy. There’s a reason we see rainbows after rain, or a forest where the deer come out. That’s wonder, that’s escapism – it touches your heart and there’s no danger in that. Escapism and wonder is influence.”

“A star can never die. It just turns into a smile and melts back into the cosmic music, the dance of life.”

“I thought about how generations once lived in harmony with the earth, leaving no marks to scar the places they inhabited.”

Originality

“I don’t like to copy.  I like to be original.” (1978)

Perfectionism

“I just don’t want to make a mistake.”

“I’m never satisfied with what I do. I always think I can do it a lot better.”

Peter Pan

“I feel as if I’m Peter Pan as well as Methuselah, and a child!”

Purpose

“My real goal is to fulfil God’s purpose.”

“I just do what I do and I love doing it. I pray that I’m doing my job, what I’m here to do on Earth.”

“I feel like I’ve done what I’m supposed to do on Earth.. I’m compelled to do these things.”

“My mission is healing – plain and simple.”

“You give of your talent, of your ability, the talent that was given you by the Heavens. That’s why we’re here, to bring a sense of escapism in time of need. If you’re a painter you paint; if you’re a sculptor, you sculpt; if you’re a writer, you write; if you’re a songwriter, you give songs; if you’re a dancer, you give dance. You give people some love and some bliss and some escapism, and to show that you truly care from the heart, and be there for them. Not just from a distance, but show you really care. You be there for them. And that’s what I did. It’s an important thing.” (Oct. 2001)

Self-awareness and taking responsibility

“People don’t look at themselves honestly. They don’t look at themselves and point the finger; it’s always the other guy’s fault. You should change yourself. Look at yourself.” (Ebony/JET interview, 1987)

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” (‘Man in the Mirror’)

“Every day create your history. Every page you turn, you’re writing your legacy.  Every hero dreams of chivalry.  Every child should sing together in harmony.”  (‘History’)

“Oh, they, they’ll take care of it, the government will do it.  They who?  It starts with us or else it will never be done.”

“Start with the man in the mirror. Start with yourself. Don’t be looking at all the other things. Start with you.”

“Our life begins to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Racism

“Racism is not my motto. I happen to be colour-blind.”

“I don’t hire colour. I hire competence.”

“I don’t like our music to be labelled. Labels are like racism.”

“It is cruelty, it’s ugly and I hate it. You are my brother (points out to the children). They are my brothers. If you are black, white, Arab….we are all the same. I love all races equally…. I love all people of the world.” (Michael addresses children in Tunisia, 1996)

“The people told us ‘Just deal with it’ (racism), because that’s how the South is. That’s ignorance and it’s taught, because it’s not genetic at all. The little children in those (countries) aren’t prejudiced. I would like for you to put this in quotes, too. I’m really not a prejudiced person at all. I believe that people should think about God more and creation. Look at the many wonders inside the human bodies — the different colours of organs, colours of blood — and all these colours do different things in the human body. It’s the most incredible system in the world; it makes an incredible building, the human being. And if this can happen with the human body, why can’t we do it as people? And that’s how I feel. And that’s why I wish the world could do more. That (racism) is the only thing I hate. I really do. And that’s why I try to write, put it in songs, put it in dance, put it in my art – to teach the world. If politicians can’t do it, poets should put it in poetry and writers should put it in novels. That’s what we have to do and I think it’s so important to save the world. […] The main thing that I hate most is ignorance, like the prejudice problems of America. I know it is worse in some other countries. I wish I could borrow from other countries, say, like Venezuela or Trinidad, the real love and colour-blind people and bring it to America. When you travel, you realize how different America is. […] I’m prejudiced against ignorance. That’s what I’m mainly prejudiced against.” (JET magazine interview, 1979)

“That’s why I love Stevie Wonder’s biggest-selling album, called Songs in the Key of Life. He has a song on that album called ‘Black Man’. I just jumped up screaming when I heard that record, because he’s showing the world what the Black man has done and what other races have done, and he balanced it beautifully by putting other races in there, what they have done. Then he brings out what the Black man has done. Instead of naming it another thing, he named it ‘Black Man’. That’s what I loved about it. And that’s the best way to bring about the truth, through song. And that’s what I love about it.” (Ebony magazine, 1984)

“I don’t think in terms of colour or race. I don’t say when I write the song, ‘This is for the black and this is for the white’, I just write and it comes out and I’m influenced by what I hear… and it just comes out that way, I guess, since I was small up to now. It’s the total sum of music that I’ve been raised on. And I don’t think in terms of colour ‘cause I don’t believe in that. I really don’t. […] Music is colourless, for everybody. It’s for the world. It’s for… everybody to enjoy.” (Interview with Diane Collins, 1983)

“[Who is my audience?] I don’t know. I just try to write wonderful music; and if they love it, they love it. I don’t think about any demographic. [The record company] tries to get me to think that way, but I just do what I would enjoy hearing.” TV Guide magazine, 2001

“I love all races, I love all people, but sometimes there’s a devil in people, and they get jealous.” (Michael talking to Pharrell Williams (2003)

“I know my race. I just look in the mirror. I know I’m black.”  (Remarks at National Action Network headquarters, 9 July 2002)

Sex and sexuality

“I love women.”

“I wouldn’t say I was sexy, but I guess that’s fine if that’s what they say.”

“I’m sure I have plenty of fans who are gay, and that doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but I am not gay.”

Shyness

“I’m much better in conversation on the phone than I am in person.”

Stage

“Off stage, I don’t think I’m the star they want me to be.”

“If I could, I would sleep on stage.”

“Once I get on stage, something happens. The rhythm starts and the lights hit me and the problems disappear.” (1988)

“In a crowd, I’m afraid. On stage, I feel safe.”

“I sit there and say, ‘Please don’t call me up, I am too shy.’ But once I get up there, I take control of myself. Being onstage is magic. There’s nothing like it. You feel the energy of everybody who’s out there. You feel it all over your body. When the lights hit you, it’s all over, I swear it is.”

“There’ve been times right before a show when certain things were bothering me – business or personal problems. I would think, ‘I don’t know how to go through with this. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the show. I can’t perform like this’. But once I get to the side of the stage, something happens. The rhythm starts and the lights hit me and the problems disappear. This has happened so many times. The thrill of performing just takes me over. It’s like God saying, ‘Yes, you can. Yes, you can. Just wait. Wait till you hear this. Wait till you see this’.”

“I believe performers should try to be strong as an example to their audiences. It’s staggering what a person can do if they only try.”

“I want people to hear or watch something I’ve done and feel that I’ve given it everything I’ve got.  I feel I owe an audience that courtesy.”

Touring

“I like to go on tour, especially outside the States.” (1973)

“If it weren’t for the screaming, it wouldn’t be exciting.” (1971)

“My goal for the Victory tour was to give each performance everything I could. I hoped people might come to see me who didn’t even like me.”

Unity

“There’s nothing that can’t be done if we raise our voice as one.” (‘We’ve Had Enough’, 2004)

“It’s been my dream since I was a child to somehow unite people of the world through love and music.”

“Be with me and let us feel the power of life together as one creature here on earth.”

War and Suffering

“It’s like when a mother sends her child off to war, they don’t know if they’re ever gonna come back, you know? How can we look at such things happening, and not, you know, want to do something? How can we turn our heads and pretend as if we don’t see it, you know? I can’t see people in pain and pretend as if it’s not there.”

“People become addicted to the world and the violence. And they become subjected to other people’s thoughts and to the American system. Our way is not the only way.” (Blues & Soul magazine, 1979)

“We are black, we are white. We are a community of so many differences, so complex and yet so simple. We do not need to have war.”

“We all have to give and we all have to do what we can to help end the endless suffering in the world.”

“How many people will have to die before we will take a stand?  How many children will have to cry, before we do all we can?” (‘What More Can I Give’)

“How many people have to cry, the song of pain and grief across the land? And how many children have to die, before we stand to lend a healing hand?” (‘History’)

Women

“My favourite body part on a woman is her heart. Your heart is a body part, it’s just internal.”

“I’m a gentleman, call me old fashioned if you want.”

“I love her…I love her…I love her. We’re a lot alike. We kinda had the same childhood. Yeah, people are saying ‘what’s with Michael and Elizabeth Taylor?’ What do you mean what’s up? Does age make a difference? It’s about the spirit, the soul. She’s one of the sweetest people in the world, I adore her.”

“Just watching a girl can give me the best reason to smile. Girls are something very special and you got to treat them that way. That’s why I always say don’t stare right at a chick. She’ll begin to fidget, wondering if her hair’s messed up or if her make-up is smeared. It’s kind of like going to an art gallery to see beautiful paintings. If you look at a painting just the right way, you get the most out of it!”

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