Michael Jackson and rebellion against tradition
Michael Jackson quoted symbols of the British monarchy not only on his album cover and had traces of Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II hidden on it. But the question remains: what’s behind all this?
„You have statues of this woman all over the country, right? … You know, that woman … The Queen.“Michael Jackson about Queen Elizabeth II. 1
picture: The Queen on Michael Jacksons DANGEROUS Cover 1991. Painter Mark Ryden.
It is said that the English royal family with its traditions and ceremonies was a passion of Michael Jackson and the images of Elizabeth I and II served as a kind of blueprint for his own publicity and show effects.
In 1991 Michael Jackson released his DANGEROUS album, with a cover full of symbols. Painter of the artwork „King of Pop“, acrylic on wood 82” x 74”, is Mark Ryden. The image is on display at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 Tenth Ave, New York, NY 10001. Copyright SONY Music Entertainment source.
„Michael was infatuated with British heredity and military history“
„Michael was infatuated with British heredity and military history … When we toured in Europe, Michael made it his business to visit castles and ancient cities, where he was mesmerized by museum portraits of kings and queens. He would stare at them along the walls of Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, or the Houses of Parliament, absorbing it all – the glitz, the glamour, the medals and honors, the larger-than-life ways these royals and commanders were portrayed. Michael was fascinated by all of it.“Michael Lee Bush, the King of Pop’s Designer 2
In 1983, Michael Jackson appropriately declared Buckingham Palace, the residence of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, to be the ideal home for him. 3 And maybe out of this passion, the English Queen Elizabeth II is hiding in the funny bird on the throne of his DANGEROUS album cover from 1991.
Michael Jackson’s painter Mark Ryden created the figure of the Bird Queen on the DANGEROUS album cover with the imperial orb and the scepter in her hands. According to strict protocols and traditions, Queen Elizabeth II had shown herself the same way on the day of her coronation, June 2, 1953.
On the DANGEROUS album cover are thus two coronation portraits: one is the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in England in the figure of the bird. And the coronation of Napoleon I in France represented by the figure of the dog. More about the coronation portrait of the dog on DANGEROUS in this article:
Elizabeth I, the DANGEROUS Cover by Michael Jackson and the rebirth in the Renaissance
And yet there are significant differences between the bird queen on DANGEROUS and the coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. There is the stiff corset of the lace collar. This lace collar does not belong to Elizabeth II, but to her predecessor Elizabeth I, and made her look more mask-like, rigid and aloof four hundred years earlier.
Neither the I nor the II were queens one could touch.
Then there is the distinguished long nose of the first Elizabeth, which is replaced by the bird’s pointy beak on Jackson’s DANGEROUS cover. Eyebrows and also the hair are missing on the bird queen as well as on Elizabeth I, which is quite typical for a bird and quite typical for portraits of the English Renaissance.
The Renaissance, that was the age of „rebirth“ and the „bright new beginning“.
Michael Jackson, Queen Elizabeth I and a fairy tale about virgin royals: androgynous or „Are You a Virgin?„
Queen Elizabeth committed herself to her people as a „virgin queen.“ She is said to have created her image as androgynous regardless of any gender. 4 And the King of Pop had also committed himself to his fans, and Jackson’s alleged androgynous image is constantly discussed. The queen never married, because she was married to her fans … Pardon, her people. She remained the „eternal virgin“ and tailored this image to herself and her underlings. This was a political decision. She never shared the throne, that too she shares with the King of Pop. On DANGEROUS, the Queen sits opposite the King, who represents „MJ,“ which is Michael Jackson. „Are you a virgin?“, was also a question Jackson was bombarded with for the entertainment of an audience of millions in 1993. To which he assured that he was married. With his music. 5 (In 1993, it was Oprah Winfrey who set the standard for her future shows on American TV with questions like these.)
During the reign of Elizabeth I, Shakespeare celebrated his successes and was one of the first to bring a dark-skinned man onto the stage in the role of a prince. 6 Ancient Egypt experienced a rebirth under Elizabeth’s reign. When the queen went on „tour“ and traveled across the country with her entourage, artists and musicians were always to be found in her company. The queen is said to have been vain and capricious, and she is also said to have been somewhat untruthful. 500 years ago she glorified herself with mystical power and was so skilled at propaganda that a cult arose based on her persona. Somehow, she has something in common with Michael Jackson.
picture: „King MJ“ and the Queen 1991 DANGEROUS album cover. Painter Mark Ryden
Michael Jackson, Queen Elizabeth I and Renaissance and rebirth on DANGEROUS
A queen is the „beloved mother“ of the people. Queen Elizabeth I was no exception. She ruled in an era called the „Renaissance“. Renaissance is an age of rebirth and new beginnings, of leaving the old behind. The story of a birth is also told in the amniotic sac below the queen on DANGEROUS. Birth and death (EXITUS), which only build a whole as a result of their opposites, are very close to each other on DANGEROUS.
Queen Elizabeth’s reign began in 1558. Exactly 400 years later, the year 58 is the year Michael Jackson was born. Some coincidences do exist.
picture: The story of a rebirth, (a „renaissance“?) is told in the amniotic sac on the DANGEROUS album cover by Michael Jackson in 1991.
Dangerous Cover Jackson: male military (King/Napoleon) versus female tradition (Queen/Elizabeth) and contrasts that form a whole
On Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS album cover from 1991, military is represented by Napoleon on the left side. This military is opposed by the monarchy through the Queen on the right side. Male military and female monarchy facing each other.
„Michael’s interest in British heredity and rebellion became even more pronounced […] The tradition is still there, the artwork is there, but I’m rebelling against „the system“ in my own way.“Michael Lee Bush, the designer for King of Pop about the philosophy in Michael Jackson’s power. 7, 8
Elizabeth I. as the moon goddess and the Moonwalker Michael Jackson
Queen Elizabeth I presented herself as a moon goddess. The pearls in her portraits representing the moon are leading directly to the moonwalker. The blue moonlight and the twinkling stars in the night sky are included. 9
„Moons and pearls (because of their resemblance to the moon) were used to present Elizabeth as the goddess of the Moon, Cynthia (also known as Diana), who was a virgin and therefore pure. Sir Walter Ralegh helped to promote the cult of Elizabeth as a Moon goddess with a long poem he wrote during the late 1580s, ‚The Ocean’s Love to Cynthia‘, in which he compared Elizabeth to the Moon.„from „Symbols and emblems used in Elizabeth portraiture“. 10
l.: Moonqueen, 1991. source
r.: Moonwalker (picture Jackson 1999 from „Michael Jackson“ by Arno Bani, 2010, LE CHENE; Knesebeck Verlag, www.arnobani.fr/books.php)
„The moon rules over conception, pregnancy, and birth … over every kind of Becoming […] As the lord of ecstasy, the moon commands all ecstasy and all inspiration … The moon is the mystic kettle that contains the milky soma of immortality, the soul bark that transports the dead to heaven […] The moon is the unexplored territory of the soul.“The Archive For Research In Archetypal Symbolism 11
picture: „The moon rules over conception, pregnancy, and birth … over every kind of Becoming …“
And the Bird Queen as the moon goddess on DANGEROUS is the perfect counterpart to the King, who represents life and the sun god.
The Moon Goddess, the Moonwalker and the Sun King
Napoleon I and Queen Elizabeth I would have made a fantastic couple in terms of public relations. But since the peaceful-minded Elizabeth stands in contrast to Napoleon’s sword-rattling war lust, the emperor and the queen relate to each other like night and day.
The symbol of „King and Queen“ probably does not only on DANGEROUS represent ordinary people,
„[…] but divine forces like sun, moon and star: male, female and androgynous. The star stands for the wholeness of the human being, which is beyond the separation of the sexes and can only be achieved by putting male and female together and uniting them.“The Archive For Research In Archetypal Symbolism 12
picture: the emperor and the queen relate to each other like night and day.
May the sun, the moon and the star come together over Michael Jackson in a triumphant jam session on DANGEROUS. And may the king and the queen not only celebrate their wedding on DANGEROUS:
„The alchemical marriage of king and queen condenses a psychological process that begins with an initial hostility between opposites (Sol and Luna) and ends in harmonious union. Here we have the opposition of Sun and Moon as a human couple, as King and Queen. The encounter is at first still very distant. This is shown by the courtly dress. […] On the one hand […] a certain shyness, even secrecy, in the relationship, but on the other hand, it also indicates a certain driven nature. It is the proverbial attraction of opposites that acts on them. There are three living beings that make up the rose. King, queen and dove. These three are not to be considered ordinary human beings, but human representatives of the divine forces of Sun, Moon and Star; male, female and androgynous. The star represents the wholeness of the human being, which is beyond the separation of the sexes and can only be achieved by putting together and uniting male and female“The Archive For Research In Archetypal Symbolism. 13
„Elizabeth I Love You“, Michael Jackson, 1997
The King of Pop and the Queen of Hollywood
Another Dame named Elizabeth played since the middle of the 1980s at the latest an important role in Michael Jackson’s life. The queen of Hollywood, diva Elizabeth Taylor, bonded with Jackson in such a strong, lifelong friendship that even marriage was a topic.
He was the King of Pop and she was the Queen of Hollywood.
Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor shared the horrors of a lost childhood and the horrors about parents who pushed them into the limelight. Their relationship was so close that in 1993 Elizabeth single-handedly fed Michael in a hospital so that he would survive. A decade later, it was Michael who pushed Elizabeth around in a wheelchair.
At the beginning of their relationship, the gossip mill was bubbling and the press delivered the headline that Michael had built in his home a shrine to Elizabeth Taylor.
Jackson also made this false report at the end of the 1980s a subject of irony in his short film LEAVE ME ALONE, which of course did not stop the gossip press.
And maybe then in 1991, with the release of his DANGEROUS cover, Michael Jackson had decided to actually build a shrine in honor of the Queen of Hollywood. Side by side with „MJ“ on the throne.
By the way, Taylor is famous for her violet eyes. The robe of the Bird Queen reflects this color. And Taylor’s famous love for diamonds may be found in the gem-studded Bird Queen on DANGEROUS as well.
Elizabeth Taylor, by the way, like Elizabeth I and II, was a born Englishwoman.
In honor of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson composed and performed the song „Elizabeth, I Love You“ in 1997. 14
Elizabeth Taylor was named as godmother for his children by Michael Jackson.
On Elizabeth Taylor’s nightstand, in her bedroom next to her bed, she had two pictures of Michael Jackson until her death. Even Jackson’s suit jacket hung among the clothes in Elizabeth Taylor’s closet.
- 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.“, Authos OnLine Ltd 2013 Bedfordshire SG19 3 NU, England, page 574.
- Bush, Michael Lee, The King of Style – Dressing Michael Jackson, 2012/2013, Inside Edition/San Rafael California, page 8
- Cadman, Chris, Michael Jackson. Newspaper clipping of a questionnaire, „Home: Ideal home would be Buckingham Palace!“, Twitter, 09:52 – 24. Sep. 2015, https://twitter.com/TheMJArchives
- Wilcox, Racinda Denee, Queen Elizabeth I and her androgynous public persona., 2012.05.01., Emporia State University, esirc.emporia.edu/handle/123456789/996
- Jackson, Michael, MICHAEL JACKSON TALKS TO OPRAH – Live, ABC Network; Harpo Productions. 10.02.1993, „I’m married, I’m married to my music and there has to be that closeness in order to do the kind of work that I want to do and …“, tv-Livebroadcast
- Amisu, Elizabeth, The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona, and His Artistic Afterlife,
2016.09.26., see also: „With all His Beautuous Race“: High-Status black in The Masque of Blackness and The Merchant of Venice., Praeger Frederick a, Appendix A.2 https://michaeljacksonstudies.org/
- Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Dressing Michael Jackson, Bush, Michael Lee. 2012/2013, Inside Edition/San Rafael, California, page 136
- Bush, Michael Lee, Michael Jackson-King of Style – Dressing Michael Jackson Bush, Michael Lee. 2012/2013, Inside Edition/San Rafael, California, page 9
- Hamilton, A. C., The Spenser Encyclopedia, 04.1991, „… identification of Isis and Osiris: as the female and male generative powers, earth and water, moon and sun, Hera und Zeus, Demeter and Bacchus, and as patrons of death, fertility, justice, and monarchy. Like Diodorus‘, Spenser’s Isis and Osiris were an actual royal couple, deified in recognition of their virtues as rulers. Such euhemeristic interpretation would have appealed to him as a precedent for shadowing Elizabeth and her possible consort in Gloriana and Arthur. Plutarch, in contrast, rejects euhemerism as reductive and subversive to piety. Isis is identified with the moon by both Diodorus and Plutarch, who share an interest in synthesizing Greek and Egyptian myth. She is another Diane/Phoebe figure, and so readily assimilable to Spenser’s other images of the Englisch Cynthia, Queen Elizabeth. Less obviously, as a goddess of childbirth, marriage, and the female generative principle, she is related to marriage, sexuality, and the proper balance of female and male power treated in FQ III-V.“, ROUTLEDGE CHAPMAN & HALL.
- Royal Museum, Greenwich, Symbols and emblems used in Elizabeth portraiture, 2015.20.24. accessed, „Moons and pearls (because of their resemblance to the moon) were used to present Elizabeth as the goddess of the Moon, Cynthia (also known as Diana), who was a virgin and therefore pure. Sir Walter Ralegh helped to promote the cult of Elizabeth as a Moon goddess with a long poem he wrote during the late 1580s, ‚The Ocean’s Love to Cynthia‘, in which he compared Elizabeth to the Moon.“, https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/symbolism-portraits-elizabeth-i
- Ami Ronnberg, Kathleen Martin, The Archive For Research In Archetypal Symbolism, Das Buch der Symbole – Betrachtungen Zu Archetypischen Bildern, Editor: 2010, Mond: „Waltet über Empfängnis, Schwangerschaft und Geburt … über jegliche Art des Werdens. […] Als Herr der Ekstase gebietet der Mond über allen Rausch und alle Inspirationen […] Als Thoth, der pavianköpfige Gott des Maßes und der rechten Proportion, lenkt er lernen, Weisheit und Schreiben, aber auch Zauber und Bann. Der Mond ist der mystische Kessel, der das milchige Soma der Unsterblichkeit enthält, die Seelenbarke, die die Toten in den Himmel transportieren […] Der Mond ist unerforschtes Territorium der Seele.“, Taschen Verlag, Köln.
- Ami Ronnberg, Kathleen Martin, The Archive For Research In Archetypal Symbolism, Das Buch der Symbole – Betrachtungen Zu Archetypischen Bildern; King and Queen, 2010, Taschen Verlag, Cologne, page 470
- The Archive For Research In Archetypal Symbolism, Das Buch der Symbole – Betrachtungen Zu Archetypischen Bildern, Editor: Ami Ronnberg, Kathleen Martin;. 2010, König und Königin. (translated here in english), Taschen Verlag, Köln, page 470
- Cadman, Chris, Michael Jackson – The Maestro. The Definitive A-Z, Volume I: A-J, 2013, Volume II: K-Z; 2013/2015, Position 8171