Why Dangerous Is My Favorite Michael Jackson Album (& HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!)

With the 25th year anniversary of the release of Dangerous and the current  #Dangerous25 social media campaign being held by the estate, I was inspired to share some of the reasons why Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album has been (and probably always will be) my favorite.

When you love something so much, it's often difficult to explain why. But I always pull from significant times in my life and try to understand where the feeling comes from. If I narrow it down to three different things, I would say that the tour, the Dangerous era campaign moments, and of course- the music, are all reasons why Dangerous is my favorite Michael Jackson album.

The music. 

My top 3 songs are "Keep the Faith," "Give In To Me," and "Remember the Time".

(And I'll throw in a bonus, a song that almost made it on the album, "Someone Put Your Hand Out".)
Believe it or not though, I have memories associated with every song on Dangerous.

“In the Closet” is one of the first songs that made me realize how much work Michael put into his art. This is the track I would listen to at full volume on my Sony discman. If the Dangerous album was a bakery and every song a different item, “In the Closet” would be a 7-Layer Cake. Between the glass shatters, the beatboxing, chains, and heavy breathing, “In the Closet” is the real deal when it comes to intricacy and being a song you can really get lost in.

Last December, I invested in a set of Bose headphones and my listening experience was totally heightened with the change of equipment. 

I would highly recommend all fans listen to this song with a higher quality audio device, if the opportunity is there. (Here's a link to the ones I have- if you're curious:  http://amzn.to/2gx6c1W   )

“She Drives Me Wild” is another one of the songs I fell in love with and identified with a lot. One of the most important communities I’ve ever been a part of was MJJForum (now MJJCommunity). This was the web page I visited during my lunch hour in high school and the one I was on for 5-6 hours a day during the trial. From the discussion, to fan meetups, to links to high quality photos and stories about meeting Michael, I really enjoyed it there. When I first joined, I used a generic username “MJsLiberianGirl”. After I made a few friends and felt like I wanted to show a little more personality. I wanted to show that my favorite album was Dangerous and listened to the entire CD 3x through until I could decide on a username.

My favorite part of the song is when he sings “Satin Lace and a Paisley Cut Top, The Girl Is Wastin’ Over and She Knows She Looks Hot! …” I had no idea what a mojo was (or what wastin’ over is…) but, that girl sounded like everything I wanted to be!! From then on, my alias on MJJForum was PaisleyCutTop. It paid to be creative- I’ve always gotten lots of compliments on it!

And then there’s “Heal the World”.
This wasn’t a song that I listened to a lot growing up. Maybe the content was too tame for that teenage angst I experienced when I first got into the Dangerous album. I was into the upbeat songs but, also the more deeply emotional ones towards the end.
But hearing a story about this song, kind of warmed my heart towards it. A friend of mine from summer camp was in the Brooklyn Children’s Choir that sang this song at the 30th Anniversary show. She told me how much she admired Michael and how much it meant to get his “wave and nod of approval” at the rehearsals. Hearing personal experiences like my friend’s story always gives a song so much more meaning for me.

The tour.
As a child, I spent every weekend at my grandparent’s house. On Thursday nights, I would pack a small backpack in preparation to head to my secondary home. My grandparents’ house was where many of my first Michael Jackson memories were made.

There were lots of awesome things about my weekends growing up.
Sleeping in, watching block marathons of my favorite shows on Cartoon Network, eating endless bowls of cereal… You know… all the things that kids love.  Most importantly though, I also watched the Dangerous Tour almost every single weekend I spent away from home.

My father taped Michael Jackson Live in Bucharest from HBO, including about 15-20 minutes of the teaser that aired prior to the show. The tape was played every time I was there. Sometimes I would even watch it twice in a row. To me, everything about the Dangerous Tour was amazing.

I still have the VHS tape my father recorded!

The breakdown at the end of Billie Jean. How funky the dance break sounded on Thriller. The freeze at the end of  "Workin' Day and Night" before the magical disappearing act at the end. The smoke, the green lights and miming at the end of Human Nature. And then there's my favorite- the grand exit Michael made. You couldn’t have told me that it wasn’t Michael strapped to that jet pack and making a sharp left to exit the stadium. He was the coolest person alive to me and I simply loved watching that HBO special.

It was through the Dangerous tour, that I grew an affinity towards the album.

The moments.
The Dangerous short films DVD was gifted to me the Christmas of my freshman year in high school. Just a few months after the 30th anniversary shows, before YouTube, and long after the album had been released. The behind the scenes footage was all brand new to me. I especially loved watching , the footage for the making of "Jam" and "Black or White". It was fun to watch Michael interact with other celebrities and in this instance, watch him play practical jokes, laugh, and be playful.

The Grammy Legend Award presentation from 1993 was an awesome addition to that DVD. After watching it once, this quickly became my favorite "Michael" moment. Everything about that night seemed magical to me. Michael's white military jacket adorned with pearls and crystals. The black sequin gloves. His sister Janet presenting him with the award. The video montage. His speech.
Michael's speech that night taught me a lot about who he was "as a person and not a personality," to put it in his own words. I think every fan should watch it.


Dangerous is the album that I listen to and feel most connected to Michael Jackson. I feel like the album collectively helped me know and understand myself a lot better. 

I'm thankful for that!!!

All of us fans have reasons why we connect to songs, eras, and albums. I've always been partial to ones I can "feel" or relate to.

When I was overjoyed, when I was feeling defeated, during moments of celebration, times when I felt alone - the album was there for me. A musical escape- that’s what Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album means to me.

Before I end this post.... can I share some fun news??

Combining my love for Japan and my love for the Dangerous album,...

All of my readers will have the chance to win an authentic and original Dangerous Tour Japan Tourbook** from 1992 AND an exclusive SOMEONE PUT YOUR HAND OUT cassette tape. 

Note:The tourbook I am giving away has some minor creasing but is in very good condition and is a rare collector's item! 

Enter below for a chance to win!

Good luck and until next time, xoxo
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My Top 5 Michael Jackson Fan Favorites (For December!)

December has been a month I’ve been looking forward to for a while. 
This season has always been one of my favorite times of year. 
But this December is extra special. 
I will be visiting Los Angeles for the first time!! I’ve been a fan for decades but, have never made the trip out west. I can’t wait to write about following in many of Michael’s footsteps and sharing all of the experiences I had there.

Anyway, I will have some very exciting posts to share in 2017. 
In the meantime, here are some of the things I am really into lately. 

1. Jackson 5 Christmas


I've recently started collecting vinyls again. Although it was always a staple in my music arsenal around the holidays, I had never owned the Jackson 5 Christmas album on vinyl until now. I scored my record on eBay but, they currently sell new pressings of it. I've seen it everywhere from music stores to Urban Outfitters and right here on Amazon.

2. Michael Jackson Official Pink mini- wallet

cafe latte and my new favorite wallet

perfect travel wallet!

On Black Friday, I decided to treat myself and get this pink wallet I came across. It's a faux leather official from Bravado. A lot of the merchandise that came out in 2010 was originally to be sold at the "This Is It" shows. I guess it's like my own little piece of history. I used it for the first time on my road trip to Los Angeles and it was fun to bring! it was easy to find in a bag full of stuff because of the bright color and I found the coin pocket and card slots sufficient for a vacation/road trip.

By the way, I've always been somewhat of a Michael Jackson merchandise collector. Those who have been reading for a while probably know this but, I am rarely ever on the boards these days. But, one of the things I still do is peruse eBay and the "shop my closet" apps like Poshmark . I find lots of Michael Jackson official merch on the cheap.

If you're interested in Poshmark, please click here to install the free app now
Oh and... sign up with code NWOCM to get $5 off your first order.  Trust me- it's worth it and super easy to start selling items from your own closet!  It'll alert me once you sign up and I'll follow you, so you can get linked to me. I post MJ collectors items on there when I come across fun things for the ladies :)

3. Michael Jackson PYT Boyfriend T-Shirt 

For this next item, there's a fun story behind it. My best girlfriend from high school was over at my house and I was proudly showing off my MJ T-shirt collection. We noticed that the majority of the shirts I owned were black. After realizing this, I was determined to bring a little more color into my Michael Jackson fan event wardrobe.


This is one of the shirts I came across on Amazon (and for an AMAZING price!) It's more of a lounging around the house shirt because it's a boyfriend cut but, I kind of like that.  (I went with my usual size, a small)  Although it's not technically a "Michael Jackson shirt," if you wear something like this to an event, you will definitely get lots of compliments.

4. Visual Map: What other artists did Michael Jackson influence?


Have you ever wondered how Michael influenced the greatest musicians of our time? Or what other artists they later inspired who also went on to have successful music careers?

While examining five of Billboard’s Top 100 Artists in history – Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, and The Rolling Stones – Readers compiled all of their connections, collaborations, and relationships listed on Wikipedia into this World Wide Web Of Music Influence Infographic.  

I learned a lot from it and I always feel like as an MJ fan, it's so important to be knowledgeable about the pop music industry as a whole. Michael was a HUGE influence on so many people so, it's cool to see how Readers mapped this out. Click HERE to read more and let me know if you have a favorite artist that was influenced by Michael.

5. A New Favorite Blog: Young Michael's Afro

I was browsing Instagram the other day and I came across an awesome Jacksons photo set that I'd never seen before.

I finally found the originator and one of the best places to find photos of Michael in this era- "Young Michael's Afro". Here's the link - http://young-michaels-afro.tumblr.com/ I highly recommend it!

I was compelled to include this because, finding new photos of Michael always makes me happy.
As much as I miss him, it's a blessing to still have archives of photos and videos that will allow us to continue learning and experiencing his presence.  I am so grateful to have all of these memories, it makes him being gone sometimes, not feel so bad.

Until Next Time... xoxo

How I ALMOST Met Michael Jackson (mjfangirl personal storytime)

I've been a fan for more than 2/3 of my life and have come to know a lot of people who've met Michael Jackson. I've also met others who have had close encounters like I have. Everyone has a different experience and a different story.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time and made a wrong decision.

Here's how my story begins...

I studied abroad for the first time in 2004. Through winning a scholarship from an international study organization, I was presented with the unique opportunity to live with a host family in Tokyo, Japan for a summer. I was seventeen, super nervous about going to Japan, and it was my first time leaving the United States. Unlike most homestay situations, my host family and I made the perfect match.
In a way, I’ve always believed that my study abroad experience was more a gift of family, than it was a language study experience. To put it simply, I struggled a lot during adolescence in having a relationship with my real mother. There has always been a disconnect between the two of us since I can remember. I always dreamed of having a stronger and more compassionate relationship with her. It never happened. But, I did meet my host family that year.

My host family and I, 2004.

I sometimes feel that meeting my host mother was some sort of divine intervention. Although she and I have never had much in common, she had the gift of making me feel loved, protected, and special.
In May of 2006, after completing my freshman year of college, I flew to Japan to visit her.
Most days, I would spend relaxing and talking with her. Sometimes we would watch classic movies on TV over endless cups of green tea. Others we would spend evenings together cooking and watching baseball games. The one thing we did every single night without fail?

We always ended up watching the evening news together.

On the evening of May 26th, 2006 there was a segment on Fuji TV news that showed a van driving through a dark street in Tokyo. I remember clearly, the broadcast of at least forty people chasing the van frantically.  Word on the street was, they were chasing Michael Jackson.

Unbeknownst to me, Michael had flown to Japan on the exact same week as I had. This was to be his first public appearance made since his acquittal in 2005.  Finally! I thought to myself, my chance to show how much I really loved Michael.

I suppose part of my desire to meet him stemmed from my sadness about not being at the trial. Now hear me out, I did see Michael perform live in 2001 at the 30th Anniversary show (read about my experience here) but, never up close.  Among my fan friends, I was one of the only people that hadn’t truly seen him in person. Of course, it was a choice I made. To prioritize school and work and other things over traveling to California. Looking back, I do wish I could have gone out to support Michael during those times.

Michael’s statement about his visit to Japan was short but, I remember the excitement I felt while reading it.

 "I look forward to my visit to Japan because I have so many fond memories of my visits there. I thank MTV Japan for this honor, and Mr. Morris for spearheading this visit. I look forward to seeing old friends, and saying hello to my huge fan base in Japan, who, like my other fans around the world, have for so many years consistently shown their love and support to me and my family."    
 (Source: The Washington Post. May 25, 2006. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501834_pf.html) 

With the help of my host family, I found out how to get to Yoyogi Olympic Stadium where the award ceremony was to be held. And even better, how to get a spot on the red carpet.  With a borrowed cell phone, my Sony Cybershot camera, and an anticipation I’d never felt before, I made my way to meet my hero.

MTV Japan VMAs.Tokyo, Japan.May 27th, 2006 

On a rainy afternoon, wearing my Jackson 5 t-shirt (a bright pink I figured would be enough to stand out and catch Michael’s attention), I stood at the red carpet.

I was fortunate that my host sister was willing to go with me. We waited together to see all the celebrities come in. She wasn’t an MJ fan but, was curious enough to see what Michael looked like in person. The other celebrities entered one by one, each less recognizable than the last to me. Rihanna was also there and did a performance of “Pon De Replay” during the pre-show. I love Rihanna but, when Michael was there, it was as if no one else really mattered. To be honest, I had never been very familiar with Japanese pop culture so, I didn't even take photos of anyone else. I was saving my attention for Michael.

My only photo from where I stood that day.

One hour passed. Then two…. Three…. Four…

After five hours, it seemed as if all the celebrities had already entered the building. People on the red carpet next to us also started to filter out and leave. It was cold, it was rainy, and it was over an hour into the start of the live VMA broadcast. Still no sign of Michael.

The organizers announced something after six hours of us standing there. My Japanese wasn't good enough to understand at the time so, I had to rely on a translation from my sister...
Michael wasn’t coming.

She noticed the tears in my eyes and gave me a hug. I will always remember how I felt leaving that red carpet. We’d take four steps and I would turn my head back around. I wanted so badly to see his car... or ANY car show up. I needed an excuse to run back to where other fans still waited. The chance never came.

We walked a few blocks down to Kyushu Jangara Ramen shop in Harajuku. As I trudged through the rainy streets of Tokyo, I remember feeling angry inside. Michael had never ever disappointed me before but, that day, I felt betrayed. As silly as that sounds, during those years, I took everything very personally.

I don’t remember much else of what happened that evening. I was disappointed but, tried to keep a smile of appreciation on for my host sister. She wasn’t a fan but, waited with me all that time.
We arrived to my host mom’s house and she almost knocked me down at the front door with eagerness. “How was it?! Was he all that you imagined in person?”

I spoke softly, “He never came… Michael didn’t show up at the red carpet today.”
She looked at me with confusion and brought me into the living room. The three of us sat down, as she rewound the recording she had of MTV that day.

There he was.
Michael arriving at the red carpet at Yogogi Olympic, 2006.

I watched Michael getting out of a black limousine with his publicist, Raymone Baine, the tears began to fall.  He had on a sharp but modern looking black satin blazer, adorned with crystals and an even more brilliantly sparkling arm band.  He arrived just at dusk. The sky was the first thing I noticed when I watched that video. We realized that we’d probably missed Michael by 10 or 15 minutes.

I skipped watching the evening news that night and retreated to my bedroom.
I was crushed.

As I laid in my bed, I heard my host mother scolding my sister. I have much more compassion for her now than I did at the time. I was so hurt. I felt she should have waited with me. I realize now though, that her decision wasn't intentional. She couldn't have known.

Mementos from that day.

Michael arriving at the red carpet at Yogogi Olympic, 2006.

10 years ago, I almost met Michael Jackson.
I still can’t watch the footage of him arriving at Yoyogi Olympic without getting emotional.

The stars aligned for me but, things didn’t work out as I had hoped and dreamed. For a long time, it upset me that I missed this opportunity. My experience in Japan that year is my very own fleeting moment in time. A time that most people have and reminisce often about.
What if I had done this? Or that? Would anything have been different?

It took me years to write this story and to realize …
I am a Michael Jackson fan that has never met him. And that’s okay.  

Have you ever had a close encounter meeting Michael? Have you ever felt less of a fan for not having met him in person? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Be sure to follow MJFANGiRL on social for more! 

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Gifts for the Michael Jackson Fan- A Guide (for Christmas - or anytime!) PART 1

Now that Halloween is behind us, Holiday season is in full effect.

Here in New York, icicle lights begin to illuminate the city, store windows boast their extravagant Christmas displays, and there’s that sense of cheer and brotherhood in the air. As Michael shouts in the Jackson Five “Christmas Won’t Be The Same This Year,” song- the time only happens once a year (!) and it’s always been one of my favorites. 

I’ve personally never been a big gift person but, growing up, I was always allowed to make a list of my top items I wanted for Christmas. Most times I got the items I requested but, as I get older… I realize that so much more of what I appreciate about the holidays were the memories I got to make with friends and family. 

Since my high school days, I’ve been known as the “token MJ fan” in my circles. People have always struggled with what to get me so, here is a list of some awesome gifts I think any Michael Jackson fan would love! I will break this list into 4 parts. First, here are some of my gift recommendations for the Jacksons lover!

These are all perfect gifts for the fan who enjoys Michael’s pre-Off The Wall solo days (or who is eager to learn more about his Jackson 5 and Jacksons days.

1. Hello World - The Motown Solo Collection [3 CD] Box set, Extra tracks

Simply one of my favorite parts of Michael's career. Some of my favorties are "I Wanna Be Where You Are" and "With a Chil'd Heart". This is the most comprehensive cillection in my opinion when it comes to Michael's solo career at Motown. I actually don't own this in disc form but, it is one of the albums I have downloaded in my Spotify account. The progression of Michael's voice from child to teenager is astounding and this collection is worth listening at least one time, the entire way through.

2. Jacksons: An American Dream- The Complete Miniseries (3 Discs)

Would you believe it if I told you it wasn't even Michael HIMSELF that introduced me to his own solo work? I became a fan of Michael while watching this movie, so it it incredibly dear to my heart. Disc 2 is everything!!

3. Jackson 5ive Complete Series

You may have read my review (here) of the J5 DVD when it first came out! I actually think this is an awesome gift for any fan that isn't really familiar with Jackson 5 music. I grew to love some of the favorites I have now "I Bet You," and "Can I See You In The Morning?" especially, after I was introduced to them via this show. Although the voices of the characters are not the actual Jackson brothers, each episode features two Jackson 5 songs- making it a must-have on this list. 

My favorite episodes are "Jackson and the Beanstalk" and "The Winner's Circle"!

Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever DVD

The photo says it all. Watch the moment that transformed Michael's career. This entire DVD program gives a great context to the moment because you can see what other performances were happening, who else was being honored, and get the feeling everyone did back in 1983 when they saw Michael moonwalk for the first time.


Michael Jackson’s VISION DVD Box Set

This is a bonus item that I’m including because of the Enjoy Yourself, Blame it on the Boogie, and Can You Feel It videos- which all are released officially on DVD for the first time on the box set. The quality is awesome and I find myself popping in the bonus disc more than the 2 others sometimes!

That's all for now! I will be posting the next installment sometime later this month. 
Until next time...xoxo

My Michael Jackson Fan Favorites- For October 2016!

This post comes up with only 5 days left in the month but... it's never too late, is it? :)

I've been through a lot of life changes in the past few week. I've been traveling a lot!
Even though I've been back and forth between different climates over the last few weeks... I still love Autumn in New York! Here are some of my favorites and things I'm enjoying this month.

Instagram stories > Snapchat
If you don't already, follow me on Instagram! It's where I have decided to post most of my life highlights (as it relates to being an MJ fan)! That being said, I do get the urge to sometimes share other aspects of my life. I do this on Instagram stories. I've been a member of Snapchat for a long time but could never get into it. I suppose I'm too old? Haha. Anyway, if you interested in learning more about me, definitely follow me at @mjfangirlblog on Instagram and on Twitter @mjfangirlblog !!

Michael Jackson makeup bag
I featured this in my last post but I really love this cosmetic pouch I picked up in Tokyo. Funny story...

I was one of those people who just threw everything into my purse. Talk about chaos! Pens, gum, lipsticks, you name it- my bags were always like a piƱata. It wasn't until I lived in Japan for a year, that I learned the importance of organization.  I discovered how much easier life was, using smaller pouches and dividers to make my purse easier to search through. I've been using this pouch for all of my little odds and ends that I bring with me to the office. Having a little MJ in my daily routine always makes me feel uplifted.

Hillsong Worship    Let There Be Light 
One of the most important things to me this year has been working on my relationship with God. Along with discovering bible journaling and a whole community of women who use this method as a way to dive deeper into their faith, I've also been incredibly moved by the music of Hillsong United/Hillsong Worship. When I'm not able to make the actual Hillsong services, I still can listen to the songs and take moments to connect with God.  

The new album from Hillsong Worship came out on October 14th and I immediately downloaded it on my Spotify. My favorite song so far is "What a Beautiful Name," followed by "Behold". Great stufff! Link here to the official Hillsong Store: http://hillsongstore.com/let-there-be-light/ 

Michael Jackson red varsity sweatshirt

Picked this up at the Michael Jackson One store in Las Vegas. So soft, so warm, and it will definitely be my go-to cozy clothing item this Fall! I wore this apple picking and it kept me nice and toasty.


That's it for now!
Until next time, xoxo

Ahhh! I visited the I LOVE MJ shop in Tokyo!

I've always given much props to Japan for always showing love and respect to Michael Jackson.
When my friend Yousuke told me that there was a Michael Jackson specialty store called I LOVE MJ Shop in Odaiba, I couldn't wait to check it out together!

I LOVE MJ is a shop tucked away in a mall, just steps away from the train station. Visiting this store is a MUST for anyone who is fascinated by Michael Jackson and visiting the Tokyo area. The store is quaint but, a hardcore fan could easily spend hours in here (like we did).

Before I continue, I must say: One of the things that makes me happiest about being a Michael Jackson fan are how often I met amazing people in the community. I never blogged about this but, I met Yousuke and his friends this summer in front of the Apollo Theatre in New York. We all totally hit it off and talked about when we became fans and how much we love Michael. Anyway, I never imagined I would be able to reconnect with the new friends I made in Tokyo, just months after meeting. I am very thankful for my MJ friends all over the world and SUPER grateful for the rare treat of being able to explore the merchandise and ask questions about things I'd never seen before. 

Signed memorabilia, tour passes, posters, and original film prints. T-shirts. Vinyl albums. Books. Calendars... and the list goes on. They had Destiny and Triumph tour DVDs and even a compilation disc of Michael Jackson Pepsi commercials! . Unfortunately, I was too nervous to get DVDs because I wasn't sure if I would be able to watch a DVD from Japan back in New York. (Anyone know and able to help me out with that?) I LOVE MJ is not only a great place to pick up some rare DVDs, there are also novelty goods with Michael Jackson's face and name noted on them.

I walked away doing less than $100 USD of damage with just a t shirt and a really cute pencil case/makeup bag.

Yousuke and I spent two hours at the shop. We were pressed for time during this visit because I was on a business trip. Since our schedules were both open on the day I arrived, this was my first stop after the airport (excuse the lack of makeup and the leggings, I travel in comfort- haha!) One of the store workers was kind enough to take photos of us in the Thriller and Beat It jackets (pictured at the top). So very cool!

I will be returning to Japan soon and heading back to the I LOVE MJ shop again.

If you want to check out this gem, visit their official shop blog below for more information:

If you want to visit it, it is in Odaiba, Tokyo at a shopping center called Odaiba Decks!

PS. The shop owner featured our visit in a blog post- I was so surprised -- scroll to the bottom of the page to check it out :)

Be sure to follow MJFANGiRL on social for more! 
 until next time-- xoxo!

Obsession or Loyalty? What is the TRUTH About Michael Jackson Fans?

Someone asked me the other day, if I thought that my fanship of Michael Jackson could be considered an obsession.

At the time, his question angered me. I secretly felt attacked and tried to explain to the best of my ability, why I was so enamored and interested in Michael- my childhood hero.



I think the best way to describe it would be LOYALTY. 

In fact, loyalty is one of the most important things I've learned as a Michael Jackson fan.

I've had friends throughout my life from all different places. Summer camps, high school, part-time jobs, and the list goes on. But I have to admit... Michael Jackson fans have always been my best friends.

Looking back, it was always a challenge for me to fit in with kids my age, especially during my adolescence. In middle school, we had to get groups of friends together to perform a dance or song for our school-wide talent show. All of the other groups did contemporary and current pop selections... while I chose to do Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation". I was Janet and the other two girls reluctantly agreed to be my background dancers... in 2002 (over a decade after the song's initial release).

To say I was living in somewhat of an alternate universe was a bit of an understatement. I enjoyed being different for the most part but, I did miss out on having the friendships I saw everyone else around me enjoying.

Until I found Michael Jackson forums.
I had friends in high school... but, it was my MJ friends who I hung pictures up of in my locker. I had always felt closer to them than any of my other friends in school (no shade to them). In spite of the many fans I no longer have relationships with... I wouldn't erase the years of friendship and the memories we made for anything. My Michael Jackson fan friends have been the most loyal to me, in the overall scheme of things.

If I were to take a step back and analyze why, I think it's because we've all learned how to be loyal to Michael. Through all of the setbacks and ups and downs, most of us (even 7 years after his death are still  true and devoted fans.).

I woke up this morning on a quest to find this poem so I could share it with you all. I first discovered it in 2006. Whoever wrote this, really captured the essence of the fan community and it really stands out to me as a true representation of who Michael Jackson fans are (at least the ones who were fans prior to his death in 2009 and actually had to experience all of those highs and lows with him).

What do you think of this poem? Does it ring true to you?

"Michael Jackson fans are a strange breed. 

One would be hard pressed to find another fan community whose object of admiration is the subject of so much unnecessary condemnation. Over time, Michael Jackson enthusiasts have watched their beloved's seemingly global idolization transform into apparent worldwide mischaracterization and mistreatment by the press and public alike.

Yet, through it all, true Michael Jackson fans have not abandoned him. 

If anything, the harder Michael's opponents try to shove him to the depths of despair, the harder his devotees love him, if only for summoning the courage to persist in the midst of it all. Michael's continued endurance is an exercise in strength and resilience in the face of adversity and uncertainty. Michael's fans have learned well the lesson, as they steadfastly brave the almost daily emotional roller coaster ride that is a requisite experience of every Jackson supporter. They marvel at his seemingly inexhaustible talents and applaud his victories. They laugh with him in his happiness; weep with him in his sorrow and pray for him in troubled times. Their hearts are warmed when he is embraced, and bleed when he is ill-treated.

Despite the stratospheric highs and seemingly cavernous lows that come with being a Michael Jackson fan, they remain loyal. They, like Michael, refuse to allow naysayers to steal their joy, obstruct their way or shape their opinions. They, like Michael, refuse to have their destiny defined or dictated by another. They also refuse to stand idly by as others attempt to deny Michael his rightfully earned legacy. Simply, Michael Jackson's fans are just like Michael in that they will not be deterred.

By nature of their calling, Michael's fans are constantly summoned to put on the full Armour, stand on the front lines and fight. Oftentimes with their pen as their sword, they fight alongside and for Michael's right of humanity. By so doing, they fight for tolerance over prejudice, unconditional love over criticism; wisdom over ignorance and justice over inequality - not only for Michael, but for themselves as well. The battles are never-ending, hard-fought and oftentimes mentally and physically exhausting. Still, rather than surrender or reconcile, Michael's fans resist. They resist the desire to abandon Michael when all seems lost. They forsake the notion that theirs is a lost cause. They refuse to throw in the towel and resign themselves to the path of least resistance, which so often involves renouncing their fan support of Michael.

When the going gets tough, with weary minds and heavy hearts, they press on. They press on through Michael's tribulations and the attacks to which he is subjected. They press on in spite of tire. They press on despite mockery and question as to why they bother fight at all for Michael Jackson, a man some deem undeserving of their adoration.

Hazrat Inayat Khan once said, "God breaks the heart again and again until it stays open". Michael's devotees can see him as living proof of this idea, as he seems to be the embodiment of the notion. His own heart has been broken much and his fans personally feel the sting of each break. By the grace of God, Michael's heart does not become hardened as a result of its frequent fractures. To the contrary, his shattered heart allows for its tenderness and openness. Since out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, Michael's fans are able to truly see the fullness of his heart when they listen to him articulate his desire for acceptance, understanding, positivism, love and peace through song and speech.

As their efforts to break Jackson himself have continually proven unsuccessful, some Michael Jackson opponents have turned their focus to attempting to disband the fan community by attacking his defenders. Time after time, the press uses condescending, defamatory terms to describe Michael's fans. Being referred to as "delusional" and "*****" is not foreign to Jackson's supporters. However, Michael's devotees choose to ignore the juvenile name-calling and taglines bestowed on them by the media. The fans refuse to allow the press to project its negative, inaccurate perception onto them. This is because Michael Jackson fans realize that such inflammatory terms do not depict their true nature as intelligent, grounded individuals with a healthy admiration for Michael's music, vision and humanitarianism among other things.

Interestingly enough, Michael Jackson's influence is global and thus, so is his fan base. His detractors are under the false impression that his fan base is minuscule as well as one-dimensional. To the contrary, Michael Jackson enthusiasts are nothing if not vast and multi-dimensional. They can be found on every continent, in every country worldwide. Michael's fans transcend racial, age and socioeconomic boundaries. The fact that Michael's fans are so diverse adds to their beauty.

Few entertainers, if any, can lay claim to having the type of dynamic and varied fan base of which Michael Jackson can boast. If it is true our lives are open books for others to read, then the fans' study of Michael Jackson has taught them more than they ever could have imagined they would learn about life, love and survival.

Michael Jackson is a living testament of the notion that whatever one dreams and desires for his or her life can be achieved. Michael lives by the mantra that love should have no limitations -no conditions. Michael has shown all who dare take notice that it is possible to not only stay alive, but to thrive, with grace and fortitude despite adversity. By merely existing, Michael Jackson has taught his fans what it is to dream without fear, to create without boundaries, to listen without prejudice and to love without judgment. Simply, Michael Jackson's fans are a hard act to outshine.

Their loyalty, enthusiasm, intelligence and genuine adoration of their musical idol is unparalleled by other artists' fan communities. However, for all their attributes, when it comes to one particular matter, Michael Jackson's admiring fans will always be bested. For try as they might, no matter to what infinite degree they say and believe they love Michael Jackson, the King of Pop in true regal fashion, will always say and prove he loves them more ... " - written by Fantam

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A Touch, A Kiss, A Whisper of Love. A Fan Review of "Michael And Me" by Shana Mangatal

Over the past few months, there has been considerable buzz about this book, which the author describes as the story of Michael Jackson's secret romance.

Now I'll be honest, I wasn't active on the MJ forums and boards much after the trial. I wasn't super familiar with Shana's name or her story while Michael was still here. But, when Michael Jackson died in 2009, I watched hundreds and hundreds of YouTube videos and came across some videos about her and their secret relationship.

If you are curious about Shana and think her face looks familiar- you are right. She was one of the actresses in the short film for "Ghosts" and also was featured in the short film called "Is It Scary". Filmed in 1993, "Is It Scary" was never finished or released but, is available on Youtube by doing a simple search.

Shana Mangatal's "Michael And Me" gives an intimate look at who Michael Jackson was behind closed doors. And interestingly enough, you find out that a love interaction with the King Of Pop was, at least for Shana, at times more challenging than fairytale romantic.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was how well Shana painted the picture of each moment. She keeps you engaged and entertained with the "little things". Shana describes how smooth and buttery his complexion was and how soft his hands were. Her descriptions made for a good read and painted Michael in a very intriguing and attractive light.

Another fun tidbit- some of you may already know that I was a Japanese major in college and really heavy into food, snack and novelty items from there. Shana wrote about fans from Japan meeting Michael and giving him a box of banana cakes. True story- I knew exactly what she was talking about and it is one of my favorite snack items - ever! To find out that Michael also loved "Tokyo Banana" just like I did, made me smile.

This is just one instance of how Shana makes you feel like you're right there with her, living in the moments with Michael. I do feel like the marketing lead me to believe there was more actual juicy content than there ended up being but, truthfully, I prefer it this way. (I really am not interested in changing my perception of Michael, particularly since he's not even here to deny or confirm any of the contents of the book.)

If you are picking this up because you expect to read excerpts of love letters, hear about late night conversations and rendezvous, see photos of elaborate gifts... memories of surprise flowers and jewelry... You will be disappointed.

You see...

"Michael And Me" is actually interesting because it's the typical tale of that confusing and "gray area" of dating.

Definitely not a one-night-stand.
Not quite a relationship.
A romance... still something real but, not quite defined.

If you want to read about a warm-blooded man, both seductive with his eyes and with his words, who knew exactly how to use his charm to get what he wanted... This is your book. 
If you want to read about what it would feel like to go from a starry-eyed fan, to Michael's secret lover... This is your book.

And finally, if you want to get a glimpse of what Michael would be like as a lover....

This is your book.

I would recommend "Michael And Me" to any fan who is interested in the intimate side of Michael Jackson and can keep an open mind while reading.

Check it out on amazon.com here:

Did you read "Michael & Me? What did you think about it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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15 Years Ago. Remembering my Fan Experience at the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Celebration.

The Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Celebration was an event to remember.

I attended the show on September 10th, 2001... Exactly 15 years ago today.

As a Jacksons fan first and foremost, I was excited to see all 6 of the Jackson brothers reunited on stage. It would be the first time in 20 years... and I just HAD to be there.

I was young. My dad (also a huge fan) had seen Michael 3 or 4 times and had always RAVED about how amazing Jacksons shows were. So, when the tickets went on sale- he and I used his cell phone, our house phone and AOL (yes, we still had dial-up at this time) and completely devoted ourselves to get them. After busy signals, Ticketmaster site crashes, we had no choice but to continuously refresh our email inboxes with fingers crossed.

Our purchase had gone through and we were able to get 4.

I've always heard that the ticket prices for this show were the most expensive ever (at the time). Not only was this a mini-Michael Jackson concert, this was a celebration of his 30 years as a solo artist. The program featured a long list of big-name performers. Our tickets were the lowest priced and were as far back as you could imagine being at The Garden. We were at the tippy-top of the arena. Literally so far in the back that you could walk up 2 or 3 steps and arrive at the popcorn stand.

But we didn't care. It only mattered that we were there.

Butterflies in my stomach all day at school, I remember racing home and being super anxious about getting there on time. Can't remember what I wore but, I doubt I had on a Michael shirt. I am not sure if I even owned one at the time. And sadly... we didn't even take any pictures that night.

Seeing the other artists perform was exciting of course but, at a Michael Jackson show, most folks are there to see him.We waited nearly 4 hours for Michael to come out. The time in between acts was ridiculously long and most of the people in our section that night got antsy. I even saw a couple of people get up and leave.

It was nearly 10pm when the Jacksons set began. 

Now keep in mind, at this point I hadn't truly delved into Michael's solo music. I was routinely falling asleep to Third Album, the Love Songs Compilation, or the 10-track Jackson Five "Best Of" album. So this moment meant a lot to me. The Jacksons medley was something I have vivid memories of. The sparks and smoke burst into the air, as the 5 Jackson brothers entered through their respective doorways.

And Michael rose from the floor.
He removed his helmet slowly and with that classic "I am the King of Pop and pretty much, the greatest ever...." stance. With one hand pointed in the air and one at his crotch, he gave the cue and the show began.

Here are 3 of my most memorable moments from that evening:

Three of the things that I remember most about the show:

1. Michael's performance of You Rock My World.  Dad and I literally ran out of our seats and down as many stairs as we could, from Section 400 to somewhere in the 100s to get a closer look. Thinking back, this sounds kind of obsessive and insane but... this is where Michael takes you! You totally get in the zone.

2. Seeing Michael doing the TWYMMF silhouette dance from the back. Had the privilege of seeing Michael behind the curtain. His moves were so perfectly timed and precise. (Not to mention, I've heard that Jermaine wrote in his book about Michael not having practiced for these shows at all. I suppose we have to take this with a grain of salt but, without a doubt Michael moved "with flawless precision".)

3.The Jacksons. I suppose that I've saved my personal best, for last. Experiencing the brothers all dancing together in unison to "Can You Feel It" was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. And that breakdown of "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)? Totally classic.

A lot of people like to rag on the 30th Anniversary Celebration concerts.
They don't think Michael was at his best.
And to be frankly honest, I can't say I reach for this tape first when I am in the mood to watch concert. I wasn't the biggest fan of the costumes that night... Or Michael's shaggy hairstyle and habit of hiding his mouth while he sang.

But, on September 10, 2001, I realized that there were other people in the world that felt as passionately about Michael Jackson and his message as I did.  I realized that Michael Jackson was an outstanding and electrifying performer. I got chills through my body just seeing him on that stage... and I don't care about how fangirly that sounds.

It's my truth.

I'll always cherish the memory of seeing Michael Jackson live for the first and ONLY time.
And I hope to save my ticket stubs until I get old and gray...  so I can tell my grandchildren about what it was like to witness a living legend... haha. :-)

Does anyone know how to preserve ticket stubs so that the ink doesn't fade away?
Were you also at these shows? What was your favorite moment?

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