Michael Jackson released his short film WHO IS IT in 1993, the accompanying song is from the album DANGEROUS and once again Jackson presented a story of fame, corruption but also of betrayal and loneliness. Another time he told the story of being crushed in a merciless, inhumane industry.
Michael Jackson’s WHO IS IT is about work, work, work and the pressures in a business where humanity and feelings are left behind.
WHO IS IT features a star at the center of desire and shows countless „making of’s“ of this star behind the less than glamorous scenes. Jackson’s story is set in an industry where anonymous workers are busy creating the illusion around the star. But Jackson also shows in WHO IS IT the yield of this main character, so passionately desired by the clientele. And he shows the pale, unflamboyant managers who make sinful amounts of money off the performance of the star they have under contract.
In WHO IS IT, Jackson shows us the protagonist as a box office magnet who prostitutes himself. To the death. And this time, too, she is endowed with all the signs of a whore.
Michael Jackson and the biblical „Whore Babylon“ not only in the shortfilm WHO IS IT
A Bible text pretty much describes the appearance WHO IS IT:
„And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls …“from source
Maybe what is meant here is the biblical „Whore of Babylon“, which is quoted again and again by artists, especially from the 1927 film „Metropolis“.
Jackson had already made the story about this „Whore of Babylon“ the subject of his 1992 Pepsi Commercial DREAMS:
And the short film WHO IS IT by Michael Jackson is also reminiscent to the 1927 film Metropolis: the big city, industry, corrupt businessmen, the „creation“ of the „Machine Maria“ who in turn symbolizes the „Whore of Babylon“ and finally Jackson, who, like Mary’s lover, is in search of the truth.
The Managers of the prostitutes in WHO IS IT, (their pimps ?) push their star from one performance to the next. Again, they are man and woman in managerial roles, the symbolic parental figures.
Michael Jackson, who in his childhood had his own father for a manager and had to train under his mother’s supervision, showed the constellation of symbolic parental figures/managers who earn their money with their star not only in WHO IS IT, but already in 1983 in the short film SAY, SAY, SAY. In this film, as well, the theme of the story is betrayal and deception in order to make money with illusions and desires.
„It is the most perfect and obedient tool that man has ever possessed. Tonight you shall see how she performas before the eyes of the upper hundred. You shall see her dance […]“from „Metropolis“ 1927 about the „Machine-Maria“.
„with scarlet … and adorned with gold“
left picture: This Bible text is shown in Metropolis, 1927.
l.l.: Jackson’s appearance in „Scarlet“ and „Gold“ in a costume reminiscent of that of the „Machine Maria“ in „Metropolis“. Jackson, before he starts dancing at the beginning of his HIStory concerts.
In WHO IS IT from 1993, the world also seems to coming to an end. The woman, this whore, dressed in „purple“ stands before the gates that also could be those of heaven. She is dismissed.
The last image of the scene shows a hand that could also be the righteous hand of God.
The star in WHO IS IT disobeys her managers. The mangers slap her in response. The question remains: How much autobiographical history is hidden in Jackson’s WHO IS IT from 1993?
Beatings for the star and for Michael Jackson. Not only in WHO IS IT
In 1988, Jackson took us behind the scenes of entertainment. In MOONWALKER he showed us how he was beaten by „Mr. BIG,“ the boss of an industry. Right in the middle of the concert arena under the eyes of the audience. This reminds of Michael’s story about the beatings of his father, who was also the manager of the child star Michael:
„He slapped me so hard in the face, as hard as he could, and then he’d thrust me out into the big room, where they are, tears running down my face …“
Jackson was eleven years old when his manager, who was his father, beat him and forced him to perform. 1
Jackson was 50 years old when another „Mr. Big“, the AEG concert promoter Randy Phillips, slapped him so that the King of Pop announced at a press conference a concert series that the had not wanted to announce. 2
1997. Prostitution. Manager. BLOOD ON THE DANCEFLOOR (WHO IS IT?)
Also in 1997 Jackson presented pimping, mass orgies and prostitution in BLOOD ON THE DANCEFLOOR. The red clothes, this time leather, Jackson wears himself right away. The bracelets on his wrist look like the chains of captivity. Again a woman appears who seduces him. Again he desires her, dances with her and unites with her in the darkness. Again, this is his death. „Seven Inches In.“ Stabbed this time. And the audience had watched.
In 1997 the King of Pop ended his world tour, he had called it HIStory, his last concert series. Perhaps Jackson had already announced the completion of his career many years earlier with the use of the nummer „1998“ in his art, in his autographs and in his autobiography?
In 2001, Jackson showed his audience YOU ROCK MY World 3 It is the last film of the King of Pop and somehow in YOU ROCK MY WORLD he announces the professional turning point of the King of Pop. In YOU ROCK MY WORLD, Jackson once again operates in the milieu of organized crime and is pressured by executive figures who pressure him to perform:
„Show me what you got!“
2001. Prostitution. Manager and Jackson moves out of the spotlight: YOU ROCK MY WORLD
But in 2001, in the depths of the underworld of YOU ROCK MY WORLD, symbolically located somewhere in the EXITUS of the DANGEROUS album cover, Jackson resists this woman his last time. The King of Pop no longer allows himself to be seduced and moves past this woman
Jackson always danced when the spotlight was on. This time the King of Pop does not dance. Jackson leaves the woman alone for the first time. Walks off. THIS IS IT. That’s it.
Jackson, on the right, moves out of the spotlight at the end of YOU ROCK MY WORLD source
Jackson’s announcement in 1998, at the turn of the millennium, that the King of Pop would retire and no longer provide his services to the industry, ended in a disaster with another Mr. BIG of the music industry: Tommy Mottola, head of Jackson’s record company SONY. Jackson had announced this disaster a long time ago. CHEATER Jackson called one of his songs, in which he tells about being cheated and ripped off in the business. 4
„I own you“
they had threatened him. He also sings
„working too hard for this kind of game.“
And he sings about physical injuries, about anger and about „wanting to give up“. Someone had told him that all he needed was „a knock on the head.“.
„Just sign your name on the dotted line, you´ll be fine“.
This also sounds like cheating and comes from Jackson’s PRICE OF FAME. 5
For decades, Jackson painted a picture of crime, corruption, money, drugs, mafia, sex and fraud in the entertainment industry. In MOONWALKER he interfered in these schemes and paid for it with his life. 6
„But it´s only a movie!“
„I’m done.“ Jackson, 2003.
Michael Jackson was born in the entertainment. His knowledge of the industry and his impact on the world’s attention made him a very special business partner. „Michael … he knew!“, his brother Jermaine later explained, and that those who made politics behind the scenes felt Michael was interfering too much in their business. They „thought he was a thread„. 7
In 2003, Michael gave one of his last interviews. He looked exhausted: 8
„It´s a conspiracy. I don´t want to say too much. I´m done!“
Maybe Michael Jackson just ended the interview with these words, and yet he sounds like he’s capitulating in front of running cameras. 70 police officers had just raided his home; pictures about Jackson’s arrest in handcuffs went around the world. We didn’t know it then, how literally we should have taken his words.
Michael Jackson had surrendered.
In 1988, in the film MOONWALKER, Jackson had told of the corrupt Mr. BIG, who, with political ambitions and mafia methods, had done everything to destroy him. Mr. BIG alias Frankie LiDeo alias Frank DiLeo, was actually Jackson’s manager from the 1980s. He was the behind-the-scenes operator who handled the money transactions, while Michael, in the role of the King of Pop, was the focus of the desire. Relationships with the Mafia, which are alleged to the real DiLeo, are perhaps only rumors, similarities with the criminal film character of LiDeo in MOONWALKER are, of course, freely invented. Purely symbolic. Probably. In MOONWALKER, Jackson hunts down Mr. BIG, who represents the „system“ behind the scenes, survives the massacre and returns to us in the end. 9
„But it´s only a movie!“
On 25.06.2009 Michael Jackson was destroyed by that system, he had made the subject of his whole career. But the Mr. BIG’s had survived and made money off his death. And not only symbolically. „Bucks and Drugs.“ 10. And we are still waiting for Michael to comeback.
1988, 1991, 1993, 2009: And the industry in MOONWALKER Jackson showed us again on DANGEROUS
f.r.t.l.: „Mister BIG“ in real life in 2009 in the role of the concert promoter Philipps, Manager DiLeo and Kenneth Ortega to the premiere party of the film THIS IS IT. source
THIS IS IT was the name they gave the footage of Jackson’s preparations for the concert series that ultimately cost him his life.
Similarities of both recordings we owe probably to his prophetic abilities. 12
The end of the 1993 star in Michael Jackson’s WHO IS IT source
WHO IS IT actually in the short film of Michael Jackson?
Jackson’s DANGEROUS Cover. A (his) grave?
The deadly ending in Michael Jackson’s short film WHO IS IT found its beginning in the DANGEROUS album cover: four female figures form four pillars. The four pillars are reminiscent of Caryatids. 13
Caryatids have had supporting functions on facades and temples since ancient Greece. And on tombs. With caryatids already decorated Michelangelo in 1515 14 the tomb of a leader of the church in Rome. 15
In 1646, an artist decorated the tomb of a nobleman in France with caryatids. 16
Did Mark Ryden also decorate with caryatids in 1991 the tomb of the King of Pop, who lost his life exactly 18 years later in the system of the entertainment industry?
- Boteach, Rabbi, Shmuley, „A tragic icon reveals his soul in intimate conversation – The Michael Jackson Tapes“, 25.09.2009, Kindle-Positions 1585-1594, „Michael Jackson: Well, um, no. He wouldn’t do it on the stage. Like, after a show, there’d be the room full of girls. He would love to bring the girls in the room, my father. And after the show we’d have something to eat, or whatever, and the room would be just lined with girls giggling, just loving us, like “oh my god!” and shaking. And if I was talking and something happened and he didn’t like it, he’d get this look in his eye like. . . he’d get this look in his eye that would just scare you to death. He slapped me so hard in the face, as hard as he could, and then he’d thrust me out into the big room, where they are, tears running down my face, and what are you supposed to do, you know? […], no more than like, twelve. . . eleven, something around there.“, Vanguard Press; Kindle-Version
- Note: Before a press conference on March 5, 2009, Jackson is pressured by concert promoter Randy Phillips to announce the THIS IS IT concert series, which he refuses to announce. Phillips loses his nerve over it in the hotel room. Phillips‘ Twitter messages about the day’s events become the subject of the trial. The trial observers‘ Twitter messages read as follows: „Phillips had doubts a week before whether Jackson would show up for the press conference. Jackson apparently was not going to make the concert series. Phillips was unable to reach him a week before the announced date. …Phillips began to worry that Jackson would break his contract with AEG Live for his „This Is It“ concerts. „If there had ever been a time to stop the process, it would have been in February,“ he testified. „That’s when we had the least amount of risk and the most amount of security. „I yelled at him so loud the walls shook,“ Phillips wrote in an email to (his boss) Leiweke. „Thome and I got him dressed and they do his hair. Then we race to the O2. This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen. He’s an emotional paralyzed mess, filled with self-pity and full of doubt that it’s showtime now. He’s scared to death. Right now, I just want to get through the press conference.“ Phillips vented his frustration with more than words. „I just hit him and yelled at him louder than I yelled at Arthur Cassel.“. Jackson initially will not appear at the March 5, 2009 press conference to announce the concerts. Phillips, financially and personally responsible for the event, ‚freaks out‘ after seeking out Jackson in his hotel room. (Twitter messages are from the Katherine Jackson v. AEG Live lawsuit. Oral arguments were held in June 2013). http://www.dailymichael.com/past-lawsuits/jackson-v-aeg/162-jacksons-vs-aeg-day-28-june-12-2013
- Jackson, Michael, DVD: NUMBER ONES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-7ABIM2qjU
- Jackson, Michael, CHEATER – Demo, november 2004, Chris Cadman – Michael Jackson – The Maestro. The Definitive A-Z, Volume I: A-J/Volume II: K-Z; 2013/2015, The demo was recorded in 1987, Album THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION
- Jackson, Michael, PRICE OF FAME. Published by Jackson’s estate on the album BAD 25, 2012, BAD 25, Jackson’s original demo is from about 1986/1988, Jackson had decided not to release it himself, Sony Music
- MICHAEL JACKSONS THRILLER, short film, 1983, Video Greates Hits – HIStory „But it’s only a movie!“ Jackson tries to reassure his movie girlfriend with these words when he leaves the cinema together with her. She had been too scared about one of Michael Jackson’s movies, Sony Music Video Enterprises; published on DVD in 1995
- Thomson, Charles, „Jermaine Jackson speaks to Charles Thomson about racism and the music industry„, 15.09.2011, „I’d like to say it was because he was a thread. Not to become a politician but he was … Michael knew. That’s why he spoke about governments. That’s why he spoke about THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US. He knew! I watched an Interview he did on 20/20 … (Note.: Ed Bradley, 12.2003, Jackson home had just been searched from basement to roof by 70 armed police officers) and he said, „I have said too much. I can’t say no more.“ „He was a thread […] Michael knew. That´s why he spoke about governments. […] He knew!“ Jermaine Jackson, 2011. „When you reach the level of success that Michael had reached […] he was athread […] „Michael knew! That´s why he spoke about governments […] he knew!“, https://www.charles-thomson.net/index.html, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ho0nVVMvRA
- Michael Jackson, Interview „With Ed Bradley On ‚60 Minutes‘„, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jackson-proclaims-his-innocence/, Michael Jackson: „It’s a conspiracy. Yeah. I don’t want to say too much. I’m done! I don’t want to say much because I’m hurting. I’m really hurting.“, TV Sender CBS, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrAl5IDJ_jY
- MICHAEL JACKSONS THRILLER – short film, 1983, Video Greates Hits – HIStory „But it’s only a movie!“ Jackson tries to reassure his movie girlfriend with these words when he leaves the cinema together with her. She had been too scared about one of Michael Jackson’s movies, Sony Music Video Enterprises; published on DVD 1995
- MICHAEL JACKSONS MOONWALKER – A Movie Like No Other, 1987.05.18., „Bucks and Drugs“. This is the target formulation of the (mafia?) boss MISTER BIG, DVD of February 18, 2005
- 1_Note: Criminal proceedings in 2011 against Conrad Murray, Jackson’s personal doctor from 2009. The trial is televised. At the beginning of the trial, prosecutor David Walgren shows Jackson’s photo, naked, in the autopsy tub. The artist and human being Michael Jackson is thus deprived of his absolute last dignity. For the evidence of the criminal case and for its progress, the publication of the photo, which made headlines in the media, was not necessary. Walgren’s career took a leap upwards after the conclusion of the proceedings.
- 1_Note: MICHAEL JACKSON DANGEROUS – THE SHORTFILMS. short film: WHO IS IT, 1993, The similarity of the last photo of the in WHO IS IT with Jackson’s last photo on the autopsy table can may be compared. It is unfortunately effortless to find in the Internet.
- See Isabelle Petijean, „Dangerous, from Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson. Pop Culture in the Pantheon of Fine Arts„, Delatour France, 2016, page 83 also here over this link on facebook
- Michael Jackson on 10.02.1993: „… I’m a great fan of art. I love Michelangelo! If I had the chance to talk to him or read about him I would want to know what inspired him to become who he is, the anatomy of his craftsmanship, not about who he went out with last night … what’ wrong with … I mean that’s what is important to me.“ MICHAEL JACKSON TALKS TO OPRAH – Live“, ABC Network; Harpo Productions.
- The Julius Grave of pope Julius II.
- Mausoleum of Henri II, Prinz de Condé in Vantilly, created in 1646 by Gilles Guérin, http://prettypoun.centerblog.net/6584377-eglise-de-vallery-yonne-visite-en-photos-persos.