Since its launch, the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait has grown beyond its original mission to complete David Ilan’s pointillist portrait of Jackson with one million dots representing one person per dot and expanded to encompass a thriving community approaching half a million members.
One example of its growth is the formation of the group known as Michael’s Angels. Realizing the power they could command through their ever-increasing size, members decided to put their numbers to practical use both by adopting specific causes and by duplicating some of Jackson’s own practices:
“For every show Michael had he visited the same number of hospitals and orphanages and provided them with gifts of books, games, stuffed animals and toys. So we collect the same items and will have two givings each year; one on Michael’s birthday, August 29 and one at Christmas.”
The Angels have also made it a point to target such humanitarian causes as garnering support for a young girl who was suffering from a debilitating malformation of the tongue, teaming up with environmental groups to support the maintenance and restoration of forest lands, and raising awareness about child trafficking in Haiti and elsewhere.
Moving On: The Chronicles of Michael Jackson
A collection of writings by MJ enthusiasts titled Fans in the Mirror, the CD compilation The Beat of Our Hearts: A Musical Tribute to Michael, and the MJ Tribute Portrait Magazine are all by-products of the project. The August 2011 edition of the magazine is a particularly notable one that features shout-outs acknowledging Jackson’s birthday and a powerful interview with Armond White. An award-winning film and music critic, White is also the author of Keep Moving: The Chronicles of Michael Jackson.
When Michael Jackson asserted that his more complex videos––like Thriller, Black and White, Earth Song, and They Don’t Really Care About Us–– were really short films, Armond White agreed. He began writing serious criticism of Jackson’s work––as opposed to sensationalized stories about the man himself or even unabashed hero-worshipping pieces, some twenty-five years ago. White is a three-time former chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle and in his Resistance Works blog provides posts on, and links to, his various projects. He also shares readers’ responses to Keep Moving.
In his interview with MJTP Magazine contributor Lauren Trainor, the critic discussed Michael Jackson’s need to “Speak truth to Power” through his work and the backlash sometimes, apparently, generated by that need. He further noted something rarely discussed when it comes to Jackson:
“The political content — the messages — of MJ’s work remain to be discovered and appreciated, but it’s a crucial aspect of his artistic project.”
NEXT, THE CONCLUSION: Looking at the World through Michael Jackson’s Left Eye Part 4
by Aberjhani, National African-American Art Examiner
co-author of ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love
and author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
Michael Jackson from a Counterbalanced Perspective
- Looking at the World Through Michael Jackson’s Left Eye Part 1
- Looking at the World Through Michael Jackson’s Left Eye Part 2
- Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait Update Page
- 3rd Annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration
- Michael Jackson and Summertime from this Point On
- Work and Soul in Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT
- Michael Jackson Legacies of a Globetrotting Moonwalking Philanthropist
- To Walk a Lifetime in Michael Jackson’s Moccasins