12-14-05: US Fans Can Purchase "Visionary" Through UK Website
Many Michael Jackson fans have been wondering whether or not VISIONARY - THE SINGLES will be released in America, we can confirm that as of yet there are no plans for a U.S. release. However, fans can still purchase the box-set and singles via Amazon.co.uk. If you want your purchase to be eligible for a chart position remember to purchase through the U.K. website as Amazon.com sales will not count.
11-11-05: Michael Talks With MJNI Administrator Gloria
The below text has been approved for publication today, 11th November, 2005. As MJ News International announced on Tuesday, 8th November, 2005 - I received a phonecall that day, seemingly out of the blue, from Michael. This telecon will certainly go down in MY MJ calendar as a milestone and is definitely up there with MJNI’s Killer Thriller party in 2002, our 40th Birthday Tribute published in Billboard magazine in 1998, and my personal encounters with Michael since 1993.
From a selection of messages I’ve seen on the MJNI.COM Messageboard, some fans don’t understand why Michael would ring me. Because of this, I would first like to take a moment to explain the background to the phonecall.
As the trial approached we wanted to launch a campaign that would enable fans from around the world to show their support for Michael. So, on 13th November 2004, the MJNI team launched the MJNI.COM Support Michael pages.
These pages included - amongst other things - an ambitious new petition. We invited fans and website visitors from around the world to add their names to our Pledges of Support.
The idea was simple; anyone who wanted to show the world that they believed in Michael and wanted to show their loyalty and love for him could do so in the simplest manner possible - by just adding their name to the Pledges at http://www.mjni.com/support/pledge.aspx. This was especially important to the vast majority of fans who simply couldn't afford to travel to America to show their support in person.
It was an ambitious project because our goal was to achieve at least 10,000 pledges by the end of the trial, a target which - together with the support of dozens of fan clubs from many countries around the globe - we easily achieved.
The Pledges were just one of many features in the Support Michael pages of MJNI.COM. As well as articles, commentary and news bulletin round-ups, we also created a living Timeline of events that began in November 2003 and ended with Michael's vindication in June 2005. By the end of the trial, the Timeline had been updated more than four hundred times and viewed by many hundreds of thousands of visitors to the website.
In addition, we researched and published over 75 profiles on each of the main players in the case - something no other website had tried to do, but which was essential in bringing some clarity to the constant flood of news reports we were processing every day. Our specially-dedicated ‘Support Michael’ mailing list delivered daily news bulletins and updates to the tens of thousands of fans from around the world who were desperate to get unbiased, fair and sensitive coverage of the trial.
Although this is the immediate background to the recent conversation with Michael, it is not the first time he has acknowledged the work of MJNI. Back in 2002, when Michael needed a platform to speak to the fans, he accepted our invitation to visit the UK and we organised our Killer Thriller party and a March through London, resulting in a 2,000-strong show of fan support! Who can forget Michael’s fifteen minute speech at Killer Thriller? It was monumental!
MJNI has been running campaigns for many, many years, and Michael has been very generous in his gratitude for our work on behalf of his fans.
During his recent visit to London, Michael received a letter from me explaining our campaign during the trial, and it was on reading this that he called to express his thanks and gratitude to us, the fans, in his words, for our “support, love and loyalty.”
With Michael’s visit to London fast becoming a recent memory, I had almost forgotten about the package and didn’t expect to hear anything about it without doing some further work! But then the phone rang...
“Hold on for Mr. Jackson...” the voice on the telephone announced. Before I could collect my thoughts, there was a male voice on the line, and I heard myself saying, “Michael?”
“Nice to hear from you...” Michael replied in a warm and friendly manner which immediately made me feel comfortable and relaxed.
Michael was very gracious and complimentary about my letter and began expressing his appreciation and gratitude for the endeavours of all his supporters. He emphasised the point by saying to me, “Please understand my appreciation for everybody’s love and all the loving support... because I really appreciate it... appreciate everything... really I do.”
As Michael was speaking, I was immediately struck by his heartfelt sincerity. I remember how often in the past my friends and I had joked about what we would say to Michael if we ever had the chance. Friends of Michael often said to me things like, “Next time I’m with Michael, I’ll call you and put him on the phone...” I used to wonder what would I say, if that ever happened! I mean, what do you talk about when the King of Pop calls you... As it happens, the call came so unexpectedly that I had no time to stress about the details, because he was already on the line...
Fortunately, Michael was very fluent and did all the initial talking, which made it easy for me to join the conversation. My first response was to thank Michael sincerely for his call and express how honoured I was that he would take the time to acknowledge our work, especially as I was aware of the great demands on his time. Michael was very kind and reciprocated my sentiment.
Throughout the telephone call, Michael was extremely repetitive in the proclamation of his love and appreciation to his fans for everything that they have done for him over the years; their undying love and support. I suddenly realised just how important it is to Michael that we know that he cares about us. He seemed to want to make it very clear that he is aware of our efforts on his behalf. He wanted the message to go out to all of the fans and emphasised that I should let everyone know how he felt.
Later in the conversation, Michael wanted me specifically to thank the fans who came to see him recently in London. He explained how he had wanted to greet the fans personally but that the restrictions imposed on him by the police made it difficult for him to do so. He also made special mention of the fans who had travelled to and supported him in Santa Maria, and wanted me to let them know how much he appreciated their support and that he drew strength from it.
Throughout our conversation, Michael continually made reference to one main subject, which is something I have been aware of both as a fan and a Fan Club President for almost 20 years: he recognises the support and contribution from ALL his fans, be that the fan who has little opportunity to travel to the city when Michael is in town – or perhaps can’t afford concert tickets and travel when Michael is touring the world – or maybe doesn’t even have internet connection to enable messageboard discussions. But they support Michael in their hearts, follow the documentaries on television, join the fan clubs and buy his records and merchandise when it is available. Michael was saying thank you to these fans, just as much as he was reaching out to those who at great personal and financial sacrifice, travelled halfway across the world to camp out in Santa Maria during the trial, so that Michael would know that he was not alone.
Michael then became very excited as he told me about a new song which he had written and which he wanted the fans to know about, saying, “I can’t wait to record it. I wrote it during the trial. You could let them know...” The song Michael was inspired to write for the fans during the trial is titled ‘You Are So Beautiful.’ I asked him to clarify for me - would this song be on the next album? And, this is a different song to the as-yet unnamed charity single? He confirmed "yes" to both questions.
Then, suddenly, Michael became very playful as he excitedly spoke about MJNI’s KING! magazine. He told me how much he loved KING! and mentioned a couple of his favourite articles (in particular, one about Neverland.)
I was very touched that Michael mentioned the magazine, because we are all very proud of it. I explained that we are looking forward to publishing again and I was pleased for the opportunity at this point to talk about some of the other projects we are ready to start as soon as he is.
Having already mentioned the new music, I asked Michael if he knew when the album would be released, but he wasn’t sure. He said, “I am writing constantly...” He said that it wouldn’t be too much longer and that he was in the studio.
I then asked Michael if he would be performing in concert, and that we would love to hear him sing live. Again, he answered that he wasn’t sure about that, and that he would probably be doing film. I told Michael that one of the reasons he had so many loyal fans was because of his amazing talent and that it would be wonderful to hear him singing live again. Recalling the time I became a fan myself during the Bad tour and the sheer enjoyment of hearing Michael perform live, and pushing the point – maybe too far – I suggested that a handful of concerts in small venues would be fantastic and that it didn’t necessarily have to be a grand world tour.
Michael accepted my comments with grace and humility – an attribute which, when describing Michael, can’t be emphasised strongly enough - but I’m not sure that he appreciates just HOW hungry we all are to have him back on stage. I could fantasise all day about Michael singing ‘Speechless’ to a ‘by special invitation only’ event for us - his loyal fans... but, back to reality!
Michael once again brought the conversation around to talking about his love for his fans, saying: “I love them and everything they do... everything. I see everything they do, I don’t miss anything. I notice and feel everything, from their letters and posters and signs and gifts...”
There was a sense of urgency in Michael’s voice and by this time, I was really beginning to become aware of a feeling of frustration in Michael at his inability to convey to his tens of thousands of fans across the globe, just how much he cares for them – that he would love to be able to show to them more, his gratitude and appreciation for their years of loyal support.
...And with that, the conversation was at its end. With sincerity in his voice, Michael bid farewell by saying “God Bless You” several times, and then excused himself. The conversation that will last for eternity in my memory was over.
As I mentioned at the opening of this report, this experience will stay with me as one of the highlights of my career as a Fan Club leader. It was quite a surreal experience, probably because it was so unexpected, but at the same time, quite natural, for the same reason. Since the call, and having spoken to my closest friends about it (some of whom are friends of Michael’s), I’m beginning to realise just how special this call was. Special, in particular, because it is very unusual for Michael to do this, so I am told. And, for that reason, it will be all the more cherished as I look forward to the next opportunity where MJ News International can do something extraordinarily special for Michael on behalf of his loyal fans...
11-10-05: New Title For Katrina Charity Song
Michael Jackson's all-star charity single has a new name, according to Ciara, who's just recorded her part on it. Though MJ's rep insists that "the name of the song will be announced" only when MJ's ready, Ciara revealed that "From the Bottom of My Heart" is now called "I Have a Dream." "It's a very beautiful record," she said. "The cool thing is that it has a message behind it and it's for a good cause." The single, once released, will benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.
9-06-05: Michael Working On New Charity Song
Michael Jackson has written a new song in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and is currently in the process of finding recording artists to collaborate with him on the track to help aid for the victims of the natural disaster. The song has a working title of "From The Bottom Of My Heart", and is part of a fundraising project titled "From The Gulf To The Gulf", according to Michael's spokesperson Raymone Bain, who released the following statement;
"In response to the widespread devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, Recording Superstar Michael Jackson has been moved to pen a song, with the working title, From the Bottom of My Heart.
Hoping to rekindle the success of We Are the World, which he wrote and produced, and which raised millions of dollars for aid to Africa, Mr. Jackson will be enlisting, within the next 24 hours, the involvement of other recording superstars to join him in this project. It is his intention to record this record within the next two weeks.
“It pains me to watch the human suffering taking place in the Gulf Region of my country,” says Mr. Jackson. “My heart and prayers go out to every individual who has had to endure the pain and suffering caused by this tragedy. I will be reaching out to others within the music industry, to join me in helping to bring relief and hope to these resilient people who have lost everything.”
The song will be recorded on 2 Seas Records, a label owned by Prince Abdulla Hamad Alkhalifa of Bahrain. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
8-28-05: Happy Birthday Michael!
Michael Jackson turns 47 years young today. On behalf of Michael's fans worldwide, POPonline wishes Michael a VERY HAPPY 47th birthday!
6-13-05: Michael Acquitted On All 10 Counts!
SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A jury acquitted Michael Jackson on Monday of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor at his Neverland ranch — exonerating the pop star who insisted he was the victim of mother-and-son con artists and a prosecutor with a vendetta.
Jurors also acquitted Jackson of getting the boy drunk and of conspiring to imprison his accuser and the boy's family at the storybook estate — a total legal victory but one that may do little to improve his bizarre image. Jackson had faced nearly 20 years in prison.
The courtroom was deathly still as the verdicts were read. Jackson, as motionless as he had been throughout the trial, dabbed at his eyes with a tissue. One of his lawyers burst into tears as the first verdicts were announced, and Jackson later stood and was embraced by his chief lawyer, Thomas Mesereau Jr. Some of the women in the jury also wept and passed around a box of tissues.
As he left court, Jackson, looking drawn, held his hand to his heart and blew kisses to the screaming crowd. He was escorted by his aides into a black SUV, and made no immediate public statement. Jackson later arrived at Neverland, where applauding fans ran after his caravan as it disappeared behind the bunting-decorated gates.
Screams of joy rang out among a throng of fans outside the courthouse. Fans jumped up and down, hugged each other and threw confetti in celebration of the news. A woman in the crowd released one white dove as each acquittal was announced.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon sat with his head in his hands.
"Obviously, we're disappointed in the verdict ... but we believe in the system of justice," Sneddon told reporters. He said he had not yet spoken to the accuser's family about the outcome.
The verdict — reached after about 30 hours of deliberations over seven days — ended a star-studded, four-month trial that offered a global audience a lurid look into the weird world of Michael Jackson and presented jurors with vastly different portraits of him: a creepy pervert who preyed on little boys, or the victim of a frame-up by mother-and-son shakedown artists.
During the trial, defense lawyers described Jackson as a humanitarian who wanted to protect kids and give them the life he never had while growing up as a child star. The boy had asked to meet the star when he thought he was dying of cancer.
The defense said the family exploited the boy's illness to shake down celebrities, then concocted the charges after realizing Jackson was cutting them off from a jet-set lifestyle that included limo rides and stays at luxurious resorts.
Prosecutors who had been pursuing Jackson for years branded him a deviant who used his playland as the ultimate pervert's lair, plying boys with booze and porn before molesting them.
The acquittals marked a stinging defeat for Sneddon, who displayed open hostility for Jackson and eagerly tried him — an opportunity denied him in 1993 when the star settled another threatened molestation case with a boy for $15 million to $20 million. Later, Jackson derided Sneddon in song as "a cold man."
Jackson was cleared of 10 charges in all, including four counts that he molested the boy in early 2003. Jackson also was charged with providing the boy with wine — "Jesus juice," the pop star called it — and conspiring with members of his inner circle to hold the accuser and his family captive to get them to rebut a damaging documentary.
Source: Associated Press