Did Michael Jackson’s road lead to Rome too?
Michael Jackson throughout his career used countless symbols and military images were among them. But what was the meaning of the mysterious Roman statue in his films MOONWALKER and BLACK OR WHITE and WHO IS IT, which seems to originate from military? What did the mysterious Roman statue stand for?
„Michael Jackson was infatuated with military history.“Michael Lee Bush, Michael Jackson’s designer. 1
„‚It is with such baubles that men are led.'“ Napoleon has said these words to indicate the significance of the medals with which he regaled his soldiers. This quote was one of Michael Jackson favourites.“Michael Lee Bush, Michael Jackson’s designer. 2
In the book „48 Laws of Power“ by Robert Greene Michael Jackson marked the following paragraph:
„Find an image or symbol from the past that will neatly fit your situation, and put it on your shoulders like a cape. It will make you seem larger than life.“Quoted from the book „The 48 Laws of Power“ von Robert Greene. 3
Michael Jackson marked this paragraph in the book „The 48 Laws of Power“ with the following words:
„Like me and military – great on armband/ do this find an image“Handwritten note by Michael Jackson in the book „The 48 Laws of Power“ by Robert Greene. 4
picture: Handwritten note by Michael Jackson in the book „The 48 Laws of Power“ by Robert Greene.
Kings and other leaders based their public images on other famous people. Napoleon, for example, with his painting „Napoleon on the Imperial Throne“ served as a model for „MJ“ Michael Jackson on the royal throne on his DANGEROUS cover from 1991.
But Napoleon himself drew inspiration from other supreme leaders, such as the Sun King Louis XIV and also Emperor Augustus. Napoleon also promoted himself by using those ancient symbols that had been reserved by the Christian Church for God.
Emperor Augustus as a role model for „Napoleon on the imperial throne“ and „King MJ“ on the royal throne?
Napoleon´s portrait on „his imperial throne“ by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is considered a „faithful imitation of the Augustus portrait“. Emperor Augustus was a leader as well, he made it to the first „emperor of the roman empire“ and presented himself, for propaganda purposes of course, with selected symbols as the „chosen one“. And perhaps in some way a connection exists between the Roman Emperor Augustus, the French Emperor Napoleon and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. 5, 6
By the way, a right arm raised forward and slightly bent means power. 7 And strong Military. Which leads directly to the image of Michael Jackson in the form of the dog on his DANGEROUS album cover from 1991.
When the Frenchman Napoleon Bonaparte took the Roman Augustus as a role model, he wanted to be presented as both „divine“ and „imperial“ with the same, old successful methods. Napoleon had not only the pose and the folds of the robe, but also the hairstyle of the Roman emperor copied on his own statues, so that they could be erected all over the continent. Because Augustus also had his statues erected everywhere.
picture: On Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS cover from 1991 are military, Napoleon and manhood presented on the left side of the painting.
The right side on DANGEROUS is reserved for femininity and womanpower.
Emperor Augustus had his statues erected. Even back then, this was purely for marketing purposes. And in 1996 the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, also had his statues erected across the continent. Just like Napoleon and Augustus. This also served marketing purposes.
picture: Michael Jackson had a ten-meter statue of the King of Pop floated down the river Thames in 1996 and placed in those cities where he had performed. source BBC report
Emperor Augustus and the month of august
Emperor Augustus probably was what history books call „powerful“. But Augustus managed to become somehow immortal, because every time in august, we call his name. The august is by the way also the birth month of Michael Jackson. What a coincidence.
Augustus and Napoleon represent power and military. And ambition. Both men were pioneers and leaders.
Augustus, Napoleon and Jackson promoted themselves cleverly and because of that, it doesn’t even matter those 2000 years separated them. More than one of them crowned himself. Higher in the ranking than the King is the Emperor. Napoleon even crowned himself Emperor. Emperor of Pop? That would sound great.
The King of Pop and the mysterious Roman statue 1988, 1991 and 1993
In 1996 it was not the first time Michael Jackson decorated his appearances with military and statues. Even years ago, he placed a statue in his movies: the statue of a Roman figure in a war armor. What is significant in these moments, is the fact, that Michael Jackson’s image as the King of Pop always played in those moments an important part.
Michael Jackson and the mysterious Roman statue 1988 in MOONWALKER and 1991 in BLACK OR WHITE
In 1988 in his movie MOONWALKER, Michael Jackson, dressed from head to toe in black, clearly but purely symbolically already bears those traces of the black panther that he later literally embodied in 1991 in BLACK OR WHITE.
In 1988 in MOONWALKER, Michael Jackson is on the run and ends up in a film studio. During his escape, Jackson seeks shelter behind the proclamation of the American Statue of Liberty:
„Your proclamation promised me free liberty“.Michael Jacksons, years later in 1995 in THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US. 8
Next to Michael Jackson the Statue of Liberty is placed. Close by is the statue of the mysterious Roman. source
1988. MOONWALKER: Michael Jackson, who already looks like a „black panther“ here, before he actually turns into one in 1991´s BLACK OR WHITE.
The statue of the Roman figure in war armor, who represents military and power with all its symbols, thereby lines the path of Michael Jackson. This path that ends (prophetically) 1988 in MOONWALKER in a death end. A roman statue, the Statue of Liberty and Michael Jackson with traces of the Black Panther in 1988.
In 1991, Michael Jackson, now light-skinned due to his skin-disease vitiligo is politically blacker than ever before and turned literally into a „Black Panther“. Once again in BLACK OR WHITE Michael Jackson escaped from a prop room in a film studio. He did the same in 1988 in MOONWALKER. Also present is the American Statue of Liberty in 1991 in BLACK OR WHITE as well as in 1988 in MOONWALKER. Behind the promises of the Statue of Liberty, the Afro-American Michael Jackson had already sought protection in MOONWALKER.
„I’m tired of this stuff […] I ain’t scared of no sheets“Michael Jackson 1991 in the song to the short film BLACK OR WHITE. 9
1991 in the accompanying short film BLACK OR WHITE, Michael Jackson, in the figure of the „Black Panther,“ hisses at the statue of the Roman representing the military. In 1991, Michael Jackson´s path ends also in a dead end, as it did in MOONWALKER in 1988.
At the end of the film Michael Jackson transforms now literally into the figure of the „Black Panther“. Military in form of the Roman statue lines the way of the panther. source
picture: 1991, BLACK OR WHITE. Again, Michael Jackson shows himself with the American Statue of Liberty. The roman statue in war armor, who represents military and power with all its symbols, thereby lines the path of Michael Jackson. source
In 1999, Michael Jackson explained to the audience the violent scene in the „Panther sequence“ from his short film BLACK OR WHITE. The „Panther sequence“ had been censored in 1991:
„I wanted to do a dance number where I can just let out my frustration about injustice, and prejudice and racism and bigotry.“Michael Jackson, 1999 about his „Panther sequence“ in 1991 in BLACK OR WHITE. 10
The mysterious roman statue in WHO IS IT in 1993: Michael Jackson and military?
In Michael Jackson´s short film from 1993 WHO IS IT once again deals with (his) career. In WHO IS IT, too, Michael Jackson takes off at the end of the film. Here as well he finds himself in a dead end, albeit this time a clearly emotional one. This time, Jackson disappears in a helicopter and subsequently in a plane.
A plane symbolized Michael Jackson’s career. More about the symbol plane and Michael Jackson in this article:
In WHO IS IT the helicopter lands on a helipad that has an „MJJ Production“ logo on it. Again, on the right sight there is the statue of the Roman, which already accompanied Jackson´s departure in MOONWALKER and BLACK OR WHITE: There is the sign of Jackson´s own company, the „MJJ Production“ and all signs are on business.
picture: The Roman statue in 1993 in Michael Jackson’s short film WHO IS IT. Also visible is the sign of Jackson’s own company, „MJJ Production“. All the signs are business in this scene. source
A Black Panther, the American Statue of Liberty, the King of Pop and his escape-like exit and three times the mysterious statue of the Roman. After these observations, the only question that remains is: What is the meaning behind it?
Michael Jackson, Military, Napoleon and the Triumphal Arches. „Boys will be boys.“
Whenever Napoleon celebrated successes with his military, he built himself a triumphal arch. So did Michael Jackson.
And an army, perhaps the army of fans, is on the move.
Some kind of obelisk to mark conquests or „Boys will be boys!“
Augustus used the treasure chambers of ancient Egypt to decorate Rome. Augustus preferred obelisks in his Roman decoration. Obelisks are the epitome of male superiority. His own, of course.
Napoleon, from the same category of male supremacy, also brought obelisks from Egypt and placed them in Paris. Napoleon marked his conquests with them.
Michael Jackson, from the same category … also took obelisks and placed them to his left and right at the end of his movie THRILLER in 1983, which belongs to the best-selling album of all time. Michael Jackson marked his conquests with them.
“ …represents aggression and masculinity. The ancient male symbol was the blade, it’s a basic phallus. It’s still used today on military uniforms.“11
„Yes, and the more penises you have, the higher your rank. Boys will be boys!“
picture: 1983. THRILLER. Michael Jackson and male power after his conquest of the girl and the audience with the best-selling album of all time. source
Michael Jackson, Sir Charles Chaplin, military and Napoleon. „Numbers sanctify“. A bizarre fantasy
In schoolbooks, our children find crimes like those of Napoleon under the keyword victories. Those books taught our children about „successful battles“. Michael Jackson s „The King of Pop“, however, saved lives during his reign, sacrificed his time and his money fort it. The images of military used Michael Jackson to pass on the message of peace.
„Napoleon … He gets praised for all his genocide, whereas Hitler gets called the Devil, which he was. But they both did the same thing. But one was doing it for his country and the other one was too! But a lot of people died with Napoleon. There are statues of Napoleon.„Michael Jackson, 2000. 12
Sir Charles Chaplin was declared by Michael Jackson to be his idol. Charles Chaplin had planned to make Napoleon the subject of one of his films. Charles Chaplin’s project finally culminated in 1940 in the portrayal of another megalomaniac: Adolf Hitler. 13, 14
„One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero. Numbers sanctify“Sir Charles Chaplin, 1947. 15
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres‘ fantasy painting of „Napoleon on his Imperial Throne“ was widely rejected by critics even during the lifetime of the tiny Frenchman who had crowned himself. After all, it was probably too much.
„It is a bizarre fantasy but one that perfectly reflects that illusion of inviolability and infallibility, with dangerous megalomania, that was eventually to be Napoleon’s downfall.“Andrew Graham-Dixon. 16
185 years later Michael Jackson released his album DANGEROUS.
Michael Jackson and „it is with baubles that men are led“ and „one must be a military man in order to govern“
In 1995, Michael Jackson used the medium of film and presented in his HISTORY-TEASER – in the style of Leni Riefenstahl’s „Triumph of the Will“ – military, power and authority that would have made Augustus and Napoleon green with envy. 17 Michael Jackson, who was said to be „quite infatuated“ with military history, thus had a favorite quote attributed to Napoleon of all people:
„‚It is with such baubles that men are led.'“ Napoleon has said these words to indicate the significance of the medals with which he regaled his soldiers. This quote was one of Michael Jackson favourites.“Michael Lee Bush, Michael Jackson’s designer. 18
Michael Jackson wore military symbols on and off stage like all leaders. Jackson’s choreographies on and off stage are also influenced by military. Michael Jackson’s music is influenced by the rhythm of marching. When Jackson learned that even the choirs of angels were said to take the rhythm of a march, he was thrilled:
„For some reason, that fact is almost the best I have learned so far.“Michael Jackson. 19
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, used images of military in every decade of his unprecedented career:
„one must be a military man in order to govern.“Napoleon I. Bonaparte. 20
pictures: Michael Jackson in BRACE YOURSELF 1993, DANGEROUS – THE SHORTFILMS, Michael Jacksons HISTORY TEASER 1995 from MICHAEL JACKSON HISTORY ON FILM VOLUME I, Michael Jackson JAM from DANGEROUS concert in Bucharest 1992, DVD. Michael Jackson with soldiers in Africa, Russia, with policemen in Germany (Hamburg), source: YouTube.
And not only with these pictures Michael Jackson somehow satisfied the longing for a hero.
„People used to ask me, like, you always talk about HEAL THE WORLD, why do you need all these soldiers on the stage?’ I said, ‘They’re soldiers of love.’“Michael Jackson, 2003. 21
When Michael Jackson went on a „state visit“ and performed concerts in all the countries of the world, he had military policemen parade to his reception. Remarkably, to this day, they all answered his call and offered Jackson a state reception. Such a state reception is granted to major country leaders, but for how many entertainers?
When in 1996, Michael Jackson had larger-than-life statues of the King of Pop erected in all those cities where he celebrated the triumphs of his concerts for the HIStory-World-Tour, critics accused him of megalomania over this act of Barnum-style self-promotion. Michael Jackson reacted to this criticism with the following words:
„Good! That’s what I wanted! …They fell into my trap. … I wanted everybody’s attention.“Michael Jackson, 1995. 22
When the English director of the HISTORY – TEASER Rupert Wainwright during the shooting of the film indicated to Michael Jackson, that this kind of propaganda could appear conceited, Jackson did not bat an eyelash:
„You have statues of this woman all over the country, right?“Michael Jackson, 1995. 23
„You know, that woman … The Queen …“
- Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Die Fashion-Ikone, 2012/2013, „Michael was infatuated with british tradition and military history., Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 21
- Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Die Fashion-Ikone, 2012/2013, Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 21
- Greene, Robert, THE 48 LAWS OF POWER, auction house Bonhams. 1998, A Joost Elfers Production: „take the game further: Find an image or symbol from the past that will neatly fit you situation, and put it on your shoulders like a cape. It will make you seem larger than life. A Penguin Book, https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19036/lot/262/
- Greene, Robert, THE 48 LAWS OF POWER, auction house Bonhams. 1998, A Joost Elfers Production: A Penguin Book, https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19036/lot/262/
- Kemp, Martin, Geschichte der Kunst, 2000, 2007, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, page 66
- Kemp, Martin, Geschichte der Kunst, 2000, 2007, Translation: „This form of government […] made it necessary for the emperor to confront many people with different faces. On the one hand, the emperor was portrayed in Rome in a way that met the traditional expectations of the republican period. On the other hand, the people of the empire were free to form their own conceptions of the emperor, and so they adapted a image of the emperor to their own needs. The possibilities of representing the emperor in the medium of sculpture were flexible, providing a variety of manifestations by responding to different expectations in different parts of the empire“, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, page 40
- Lurker, Manfred, Die Botschaft der Symbole In Mythen, Kulturen und Religionen, 1990, Kösel-Verlag Gmbh & Co., Munich, page 150.
- Jackson, Michael, THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US, 15.06.1995: „Your proclamation promised me free liberty …“, HIStory: Past, Present and Future – Book I, SONY Music/ Epic Records.
- „I am tired of this stuff […] I ain´t scared of your brother/ I ain´t scared of no sheets/ I ain´t scared of nobody.“ The sheets, which were made a topic in this highly political song by Jackson, are these white capes under which the members of the racist, violent organization „KKK“ hide themselves. In1991, the Afro-American Jackson considered it necessary to charge the „Ku-Klux-Klan“ and its burning crosses worldwide. Jackson, Michael, BLACK OR WHITE, 1991.11.26., DANGEROUS – Album „I am tired of this stuff […] I ain´t scared of your brother/ I ain´t scared of no sheets/ I ain´t scared of nobody.“ EPIC Records
- Michael Jackson, 1999 MTV-Interview: „I wanted to do a dance number where I can just let out my frustration about you know, injustice, and prejudice and racism and bigotry.“ source
- The DaVinci Code – Sakrileg, November 2006, DVD „Robert Langdon: The ancient male symbol was the blade, it’s a basic phallus. It’s still used today on military uniforms.“ Sir Leigh Teabing: „Yes, and the more penises you have, the higher your rank. Boys will be boys!“ Conversation between the characters Robert Langdon and Sir Leigh Teabing in „The DaVinci Code – Sakrileg“, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Boteach, Rabbi, Shmuley, „A tragic icon reveals his soul in intimate conversation – The Michael Jackson Tapes“, 25.09.2009, „MJ: I tried to bring out the miracles of live, the children, look into their eyes, our bodies, how it all works just right, this can’t happen on its own, come on, no way. Then there are the questions I have about why we are here and why we are allowed to destroy each other. Because we are the only species who destroys their own. Every species on this planet… I don’t understand how all that injustice takes place. ‘Why didn’t something in heaven stop the Holocaust or some of the great genocides that happen in the world, from the lynchings and slavery, to all the great problems, to Stalin, to…? I hate to say this but Napoleon, too. He gets praised for all his genocide] (note: comment by author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach) I assume Michael means all the wars he caused], whereas Hitler gets called the Devil, which he was. But they both did the same thing. But one was doing it for his country and the other one was too! But a lot of people died with Napoleon. There are statues of Napoleon.“, Vang
- Sir Chaplin, Charles Spenser, „The Great Dictator“, 15.10.1940, DVD/Arthaus Collection. Director, producer, leading role, music: Charles Chaplin, United Artists,
- Duncan, Paul, The Charlie Chaplin Archive, 20. July 2015, TASCHEN Verlag
- Sir Chaplin, Charles Spencer in „Monsieur Verdoux“, 1947, DVD, 2010, ARTHAUS, STUDIOCANAL
- Graham-Dixon, Andrew, ITP 240: Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres , 05.12.2004; accessed on 17.08.2015, https://www.andrewgrahamdixon.com/archive/itp-240-napoleon-i-on-his-imperial-throne-by-jean-auguste-dominique-ingres.html
- Jackson, Michael, „Michael JACKSON – HIStory ON FILM – VOLUME II“, DVD. 1997, DVD HIStory TEASER; Director: Rupert Wainwright, MJJ Ventures/Sony Music Entertainment,
- Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Die Fashion-Ikone, 2012/2013, Inside Edition/Seemann Henschel Verlag, Leipzig, page 21
- Jackson, Michael, „Dancing the Dream – Angel of Light“, 1992/1993, „Angels spend their entire lives, which are forever, spinning around the Creator’s throne, singing His praise. People with keen ears have listened in. The harmonies of the angelic choir are incredibly complex, they say, but the rhythm is simple. „It’s mostly march time,“ one eavesdropper affirmed. For some reason, that fact is almost the best I have learned so far.“ Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers, London/Goldmann Verlag Bertelsmann.
- Napoleon I., https://www.aphorismen.de/suche?f_autor=2745_Napoleon+I.+Bonaparte&f_thema=Herrscher%2C+Herrschen
- Jackson, Michael, MJ-Upbeat.com – (PT 1) – (Speech) – Michael Jackson 45TH Birthday Party, 30.08.2003, “I’d like to thank you for assisting me for bringing justice to Tommy Mottola. This is not a good man. He’s a racist. And he used a lot of other people’s careers to destroy other people’s careers. I won’t name names, but Sony fired him. It was you; it was you who put your heart on the line. It was you who stepped forward to defend someone that you loved. It was you on a worldwide basis, who supported me as my army, my soldiers of love. People used to ask me, like, you always talk about HEAL THE WORLD, why do you need all these soldiers on the stage?’ I said, ‘They’re soldiers of love.’“ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6NHsTbJcRM
- Jackson, Michael, Primetime Live Interview With Diane Sawyer, 1995, „Diane: Well the critics have said that it’s the most „body vein, glorious, self-deaffecation a pop singer ever undertook with a straight face“. Michael: “Good! That’s what I wanted“. Diane: For the controversy? Michael: „Yeah!“ Diane: And they… Michael: „They fell into my trap. Diane: But the people who say that… Michael: I wanted everybody’s attention. Diane: But for the people who say these symbols matter…“, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5xxK7ad-zg
- Cadman, Chris, „Michael Jackson – The Maestro. The Definitive A-Z, Volume I: A-J“, 2013, HISTORY TEASER „Rupert Wainwright felt the gigantic statue was not a good idea. He felt it was perhaps a little too conceited. „I sat beside him and tried to explain that people might see him as a very selfish person, but he looked at me without blinking. ‚You have statues of this woman all over the country, right?‘ replied Michael. ‚What woman?‘ Wainwright asked. ‚You know, that woman … The Queen …‘‚ said Michael.“, Authors OnLine Ltd 2013 Bedfordshire SG19 3 NU, England, page 574 .