A new approach at Michael Jackson’s 1995 “HIStory” album,
and how its message is more alive then never before.
In June of 1995, Michael Jackson released his 9th studio album called “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I”. The double-disc featured a Greatest Hits collection and 15 brand new songs released by the King of Pop.
The release date marked 3 years after Jackson suffered from child abuse allegations made by Jordan Chandler’s family.
At a turbulent time in his life, the singer released an album exposing intimate topics which seemed to be a unexpected approach on a “closed” subject. So why shine a light on that again?
In 1993, Jordan Chandler and his family were the reason why Michael Jackson’s name became affiliated with pedophilia.
The Chandler family filed a civil lawsuit for negligence and a criminal lawsuit for molestation against Jackson while plotting extortion.
Since then, the media has wrongfully spread that Jackson himself paid off over $20 million so that the criminal charges were dropped, when in fact, that amount was paid by Jackson’s Dangerous Tour insurance team to settle the civil suit out of court. Otherwise, they risked losing $100 million if he were to spend too much time in court.
After settling the civil suit, his team was preparing for the criminal trial that never happened. The reason? After getting their hands on the $20 million, the Chandler family were no longer interested in facing a trial for the “alleged” molestation.
Stop Pressuring Me
Following the settlement and the dropped charges, the media became suspicious about Michael Jackson. Following a situation such as that one, what would be expected of him would be a complete change of strategy towards his image. It is very easy to imagine every kind of agent and publicist in Michael’s life at the time just telling him not to talk, write or definitely be around children anymore.
Well, Michael Jackson did not think like that.
Not only did Jackson continued his philanthropic work around the world (visiting and helping sick children in every city he stepped in), but he would also release his next album completely focusing on the allegations, his accusers, the media and all the injustice surrounding him in the recent years. His most personal and deepest album ever. By far.
“Off The Wall”, his first adult solo album, had more than half of its tracks consisted of love songs. On “HIStory”, there was only one, “You Are Not Alone”. A clear indication that his mind could not and should not rest from the exhausting episodes he was going through.
Even though that particular episode was over, it seemed that the King of Pop felt that the world needed to hear HIS story this time and for many more times to come.
The reason why Michael Jackson decided to release an album addressing the accusations from 1993 becomes clearer on the years that followed. Another boy, who was introduced in the singer’s life while suffering from cancer, was now the next best opportunity that Tom Sneddon had to achieve his dream.
Tom Sneddon (D.S.)
In 1993, the prosecution from the Chandler case was conducted by a man named Tom Sneddon. He assisted the family on which legal ways they could reach justice for their case, yet became obsessed with the idea of being responsible for putting the biggest star on the planet behind bars.
The prosecutor was after Jackson. Manipulating his way to destroy the singer’s career and life, making Jackson go through humiliating events of house and strip searches.
His obsession and coldness was definitely noticed by Michael, which even caused him on devoting an entire song on his new album to D.S..
That is the abbreviation of the prosecutor’s name which Jackson chose to name the song, but as Sneddon’s name kept being repeated verse after verse (Tom Sneddon is a cold man), it was pretty clear that Michael wanted everyone to know exactly who he was talking about.
On D.S., Michael suggests many times that the prosecutor might be involved with the FBI, CIA and even the KKK. One might wonder why the singer felt so threatened by him, but history would come to show us why.
Ten years later, Tom Sneddon approached Gavin Arvizo’s family and presented them an opportunity to sue Michael Jackson and eventually make millions of dollars. This time, Michael would no longer commit the same mistake. The King of Pop went to trial and was acquitted from all charges, once again destroying Tom Sneddon’s lifelong dream.
But even though his dream was destroyed, he left a legacy and an open door for others to take advantage and try to profit out of a deceased pop singer.
This Time Around
In 2019, a documentary featuring two men who once were close to Michael Jackson in their childhood was released by Channel 4 and HBO.
Dan Reed, a British filmmaker, was responsible for directing and producing the feature.
In its release, “Leaving Neverland” began to gain a lot of publicity and started calling the attention of millions of people around the world. In the rise of movements such as #MeToo, a one-sided documentary presenting no facts took advantage of people’s empathy to let them believe that the late king of pop should now be silenced forever.
A reaction, which in “Stranger in Moscow”, Michael would call as a “swift and sudden fall from grace”.
Eventually, Michael’s devoted fans and a few of the respectable and serious journalists out there began revealing facts that would completely contradict the lies that were being told in the documentary.
“Truth be told, the grassy knoll.
The blackmail story in all your glory.” — Tabloid Junkie
Dan Reed is a cold man
The similarity between Dan Reed and Tom Sneddon starts here.
A man who once called himself simply a filmmaker telling the story that two alleged victims wanted to share, now became a social media vehement defender of these men who became completely hidden after having their lies exposed.
The importance of the #MeToo movement is undeniable, yet unfortunately that drives the attention of people who will try to take advantage of it. Dan Reed and his accusers seem to be among these people.
TV appearances, tabloid interviews and daily retweets of people’s shocked reactions when watching his film. That has been Reed’s life ever since the release of the documentary. You may wonder why a director would go on defending and justifying these men’s false claims on his film instead of themselves. A new Tom Sneddon had arrived. As it was in 2003, and 10 years before that, a man was doing anything in his power to get his pot of gold and obtain the midas touch.
Anything for Money
Lie for it, Spy for it, Kill for it, Die for it.
While Dan Reed kept himself busy explaining how one of his film’s victims was abused (constantly) until 1992 in a bedroom inside a train station that was only build in 1994, the two alleged victims, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, were off the media proceeding with their billionaire lawsuit against Michael Jackson’s estate. A fortune which would be hard to believe that Dan Reed wouldn’t end up tasting a slice of it.
But people after his fortune was becoming a constant event in Jackson’s life. In “Money”, the singer says that “they don’t care, they use me for the money”, indicating that he already knew the kind of people that were in his surroundings.
“I’ll never betray or deceive you my friend, but…
If you show me the cash, then I will take it.
If you tell me to cry, then I will fake it.
If you give me a hand, then I will shake it.
You’d do anything for money.”
Wade Robson will do anything for money. The Australian choreographer, who saw his career sink further more while getting rejected to direct “One”, a Cirque du Soleil production of Michael Jackson’s music, was now stating that he was abused by the singer during his childhood. Interestingly, Robson was the first defense witness on Jackson’s trial in 2005 and had vigorously defended and admired Michael during his whole life.
The King of Pop was well aware of the power that money had in people. But something that bothered Michael even more, was how far they would go to get it. And the extremes that the media and tabloids reached to do that, was Jackson’s biggest and most constant criticism throughout his career.
“Who’s the next for you to resurrect?”
Ten years after his passing, this quote from the song “Tabloid Junkie” becomes slightly more meaningful. When it seemed that the singer could finally get his rest from the tabloid covers, they pull Michael from his grave to make fortune once more.
In this song, Jackson talks about speculating to break the one you hate, circulating lies and even mutilating. Actions which relate to what the late singer is suffering nowadays, regardless of weather he is here to defend himself or not.
In HIStory, Michael demonstrates his concerns regarding powerful organizations like KGB, CIA, KKK, which might be after him. Today, we have HBO and Oprah Winfrey producing and advertising a documentary with the sole purpose to destroy Michael Jackson, thus creating a focus to which people can turn their attention to and forget about the ones who are actually the real villains, such as Harvey Weinstein, Oprah’s lifelong friend.
Oprah said “it’s time to say goodbye to Michael Jackson”, but as Michael repeats in Tabloid Junkie, “just because you read it in a magazine or see it on the TV screen, it don’t make it factual”.
Michael Jackson devoted a whole album to themes such as isolation, greed, betrayal, injustice and media conflicts, which at the time, might have seemed irrelevant to his life and career.
Today, 24 years later, “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I” presents itself in a fresh and meaningful form, with lyrics that make you sit back and reflect on all the episodes that this man has been through. Almost as he knew it would be here to defend his legacy and humanity in a time where he himself could no longer do.
HIStory feels like a work of a visionary. One who can create something to stand the test of time. Worthy of his enormous legacy, all in the form of a piece of art and making sure that his voice goes on spreading the message that shall protect him forever, even when he is not here to do it himself.
Alongside that, there will always be his fans, whom he never left alone and always made sure to demonstrate his love and to spread the message that was most important for him, the only reason why a love song was still important among these other dark ones.
And the time has finally come for his fans to keep his legacy alive.
You Are Not Alone
“Remember to love the children” — Michael Jackson