“We want a Permanent Museum for Michael Jackson!”
This is the rallying cry of a group working hard to try to get the estate to come to a deal with Michael Bush (Michael Jackson’s longtime costume designer and friend) to place the items in his enormous collection in a proposed permanent museum in Las Vegas, rather than allowing them to go beneath the auction block of Julien’s as have so many, many other of Michael’s most iconic as well as personal items. But time is running out. The auction is scheduled to begin November 30th.
I don’t wish to turn this into a bashfest against Michael Bush, who I believe sincerely loved Michael dearly. Maybe he needs the money. But all the more reason why the estate should just work with him to make a deal and have the items on permanent display for all fans to enjoy. Heck, the revenue that such a museum could generate ought to pay for itself many times over! What continues to boggle my mind is why this has yet to be done; why so many of those who are in a position to make this happen seem so reluctant to the idea and/or have dragged their heels for so long, and most importantly, why is the legacy of Michael Jackson continuing to be sold off, piece by piece and scattered to the winds? To make an analogy, think of Michael’s legacy as a huge mountain (which it is!). But now imagine what happens to even the mightiest of mountains over time, as wind and water and other elements do their part in eroding it. Little by little, over time, the mountain is eroded away. At the very least, it becomes irrevocably altered, to something usually much inferior. What is currently being allowed to happen to Michael’s cultural legacy-via those iconic items associated with him-isn’t much different. Once items go into the hands of private collectors, they are as good as lost, for certainly they won’t be seen by the masses again-until and unless such time as that individual decides to give them up. But when that happens, it’s usually only for the purpose of being sold or auctioned off to yet another private collector. Again. And again. And then, what happens to these pieces if, say, that person passes on? Eventually, as precious items are handed down, sold and re-sold, their value becomes tarnished (too much wear and tear; too many exchanging of hands) until, finally, they risk becoming lost altogether, or too damaged to be of any lasting or practical value to anyone. And, as has been pointed out mny times, most of these items are not being bought by true fans or friends who will appreciate their true historical, cultural, or sentimental value. Rather, they are being bought up by rich businessmen who will simply re-sell them for profit first chance they get.
This is the fate that is happening to Michael Jackson’s most iconic costumes-those very items that we cherish in our collective memory as part of our culture and our growing up.
If you go to this group’s Facebook page, you can get a good sense of what has already been lost through the years:
I will excerpt just a few highlights from their page here, all under the rather morbid but truthful heading “Gone Forever!” because…well, that’s what they are.
A black wool single-button front closure suit jacket , a custom red vinyl costume shirt with Velcro closures and bodysuit style bottom with a sewn on black tie. Shirt shows evidence of wear and makeup residue at neck. Auctioned and sold for $ 250,920.00
Auctioned and sold for $120,000.00
Michael Jackson’s White Glove From Historic Motown 25 Performance in 1983. Sold for $420,000.00 on Nov. 21,2009
If the Estate had purchased this from the seller to put in an MJ Museum, wouldn’t it be great to be able to see a piece of History?
MJ’s own handwritten song lyrics. Winning bid is $10,000.00 Pencil on paper, Michael Jackson handwritten lyrics for the song “An Innocent Man.” Written on the back of a “Song Packet Info” sheet, this song was written by Jackson in 1993 …
Michael Jackson Clothes And Other StuffThe clothes we all know and loved on Michael…The shiny gloves,the black hats,the gold pants,the white socks….all his famous outfits are in this video and…
Michael Jackson AuctionMICHAEL JACKSON’S TREASURES FROM NEVERLAND Peek inside the private world of the late King of Pop when we glimpse treasures from Michael Jackson’s Neverland R…
Michael Jackson Original Drawing Sold for $30,000 on June 25, 2010
From the Julienne’s Idols and Icons exhibit last May. Exhibits I have no quarrel with. These items DESERVE to be seen. But when it comes to Julienne’s, an “exhibit” is nothing more than a display of the goods. It’s the same thing they do in Wal-Mart to get you to buy what’s on the shelf! Imagine going in the Smithsonian Institute and finding a price tag on Orville and Wilbur Wright’s airplane! Is this any different?
This was a poignant passage from Latoya’s book Starting Over. It is a passage that is also featured on the “We Want A Permanent Museum For Michael Jackson” Facebook page:
“Despite all of this licensing, I could not even have a few of Michael’s personal photos of him and me, just to have them hanging up in my house so I can be surrounded by happier memories of my brother. ” Absolutely not,” I was told. I become incredibly sad whenever I think about everything that has been taken from the family. The worst part is that th…e trustees have never asked the children if they want anything what once belonged to their father. I can’t imagine that the trustees ever will. I know Paris would love to have some keepsakes from her father, or anything, for that matter. Michael’s estate has begun selling off large numbers of his possessions at auction, including everything from his furniture and memorabilia to his handwritten notes. Because I miss my brother so much, I want a few mementos of him, and with the family denied access to his personal belongings, I have sent Jeffre and others to auctions several times on my behalf to buy pieces that Michael and I picked out together, pieces that have significant sentiment for me. I cannot bring myself to go in person because I feel too embarrassed that I am being forced to purchase my own brother’s possessions.”-Latoya Jackson
Where does respect for Michael as a business “entity” and as a father, son, brother, and husband begin? And when it comes to the business entity end of things, where do we separate the corporate end from the need to preserve a cultural legacy for future generations to appreciate?
Perhaps I’m just naive or incredibly idealistic, but I believe a compromise could be reached that would be a win-win for everyone. A permanent museum may not satisfy the instant need for cash, but over time, it could certainly generate enough in tourism dollars to pay for itself many times over. Why can’t the estate simply pay Mr. Bush what the collection is worth, and put the collection in the permanent museum in Las Vegas (or wherever, ultimately, the museum turns out to be?). Yes, a lot of Michael’s costumes and personal possessions have already fallen into the hands of private collectors, and there isn’t much that can be done about that. But there is still a lot of stuff left that could be salvaged for fans to enjoy now and in the future, and more importantly, for his children to have.
As for the charities that would benefit from this auction, could they not just as easily benefit from the proceeds of a permanent museum?
If you feel as strongly about this issue as I do, please take a moment and sign this petition! Petitions don’t always work-true-but they certainly can’t hurt, and at the very least, they send a strong message that this is an issue that people care about greatly.
On a cheerier note, Michael Bush’s book King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson comes out at the end of October!