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Happy birthday, MJ.

Today should have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday.

In a few hours, I’ll be in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, celebrating with Spike Lee, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and tens of thousands of people who love Michael Jackson just as much as I do. As wonderful a time as I’m sure we’ll all have, though, the sad fact is that MJ should be celebrating with us.

In the words of Spike Lee:

It’s going to be a joyous, festive, celebratory party. At the end, we’ll all sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Michael, We’re going to make sure he hears us, too. All over the world, people are going to be celebrating his birthday. But he’s going to hear Brooklyn; Brooklyn is going to be in the house. Deep.

There are (at least) two kinds of Michael Jackson fans: There’s the kind that loves a lot of his music and gets down to the ground when “Billie Jean” comes on at a party. And then there’s the kind who, yes, loves his music (even the stuff that went virtually unheard in the U.S. in the past 15 years), but perhaps more importantly, loves the man. I fall squarely in the latter group. For me, it isn’t possible to separate the life from the career—and frankly, it wasn’t possible for Michael, either.

This was a brilliant, kind, beautiful (and I mean that in every sense, and from birth to death) generous and truly loving man who literally gave everything he had to the world, and left nothing for himself in the end. This is the most misunderstood and hideously violated artist of our time, and his death has brought with it what will surely be many, many years of continued tabloid fodder based only slightly in truth, and primarily in sensationalist profiteering.

Yes, I am angry, and I am very, very sad.

Today, however, I will celebrate. I will dance and I will sing and I will forget to be afraid of how I look doing it. Can you feel it? Happy birthday, Michael. I hope you’ll hear us in Brooklyn.

Recommended Reading: Top Ten Questions Everyone SHOULD Be Asking About Michael Jackson, by Brenna Chase

(Photos by Albert Watson, 1999)

p.s. Yes, it’s been a while, I know. Tonight I read through some of the comments that were left on my last post over the last couple of weeks, and all I can really say is that I’m sorry I’ve disappointed those of you who have come to expect something from me here on a regular basis. I can’t promise that, though, because I’m a human being with human distractions (like what you’ve read about in this post) that devour my attention completely, often for long stretches of time. This isn’t a job, it’s an extension of myself. I hope you can understand that.

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  • Reply megan August 29, 2009 at 12:31 am

    thanks for this, anna. i miss him, too, and i fall squarely into the latter category as well.

  • Reply Sarah B August 29, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Dance your little feet off and sing like you know MJ’s watching and listening ( and smiling).

  • Reply Tamstyles August 29, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Hey! celebrate for me! you know I how I feel. I just finished watching the american dream movie for the uhptenth time. still love and miss his spirit….they can never kill his character to me with all that has come. he was a human with real issues just as the next man, only with money and people kissing his a$$ which aided in his death. regardless. Happy Birthday MY MICHAEL!

  • Reply Ames August 29, 2009 at 4:04 am

    Sounds amazing! Please blog about the experience when you get a chance!

  • Reply Alyssa August 29, 2009 at 4:33 am

    I loved him ever since I was little (alright, I’ll admit it, I wanted to marry him). I wish I could be there to sing the loudest. Happy Birthday Michael.

  • Reply beckster August 29, 2009 at 7:07 am

    I think maybe you are ready for a change…perhaps you don’t want to blog these days (it should be enjoyable, not homework), perhaps you want to take things in a new direction…after all, your house is “done.” Think about a new creative endeavor…and surprise us!

  • Reply Anna at D16 August 29, 2009 at 7:48 am

    My house is done? I missed when that happened…!

  • Reply Amanda August 29, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Great post, I feel the same. Happy birthday Michael. 🙁

    I hope you keep blogging, whether it’s regular or not. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites.

  • Reply Michelle August 29, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Did you know Michael Jackson personally?

  • Reply elizabeth oconnell August 29, 2009 at 8:50 am

    love your blog and do look forward to a new post, but no pressure here..keep it real.

    Sorry to miss the celebration in NYC. Hear in BA there is a flash mob happening at the kids school. Taking my son and some friends. Sadly I probably wont be able to dance, cant mortify spawn, I have already sworn I wont tap a foot…

  • Reply belinda August 29, 2009 at 9:04 am

  • Reply sweet fine day/Jenna August 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I’ll be there today too.

  • Reply Yolanda August 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Your MJ posts are so touching and heartfelt. Thank you for this. Check the Google logo today…..and party with those who love him. Happy Birthday Michael!

  • Reply Shashi August 29, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Have a great time in the park today

  • Reply Amanda Nicole August 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Beautiful, thoughtful post. I, too, love the man, and his music is and dancing is just a materialization of the abundance of love he had to give. I wish I could hear that party in Brooklyn 🙂

  • Reply jen August 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Anna,

    take a are entitled to it at anytime. I had thought the reason why you dropped off for a while was because of MJ. I was born in ’64, and have watched MJ as part of the Jackson 5, as a cartoon show, to my disco days and onward. I was lucky enough to see him in concert for his Bad tour 5 rows back. Nothing compares…I am still sad…

    It is a happy surprise to see when a new post comes up, whenever that may be!

  • Reply Rosanne August 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for posting this video — this is my all time favorite MJ song and you could really feel the love. BTW, the shots of the audience at the end were priceless.

  • Reply Kim August 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Happy Birthday MJ. Thanks for the beautiful post Anna, have a great day in Brooklyn.

  • Reply frannie August 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    anna, celebrate hard for those of us who can’t make it! xoxo

  • Reply Stella August 29, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I hope you danced and celebrated your heart out! As for people complaining about you not posting more… this is a blog, not a magazine or a newspaper column. You have every right to update when you feel like it. I wish some people would get over their entitlement issues already, and stop acting like because they follow your blog, you owe them something. You do your thing, Anna~

  • Reply stacey August 29, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    i agree wholeheartedly. here’s to a beautiful, genius man who gave his life so we could enjoy ours. happy birthday mj. you are missed.

  • Reply Cindy August 30, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Hi Anna,

    I love your blog, I discovered it from an apartment therapy link and I’ve been jonesing for more. But I do understand that real life seems to get in the way (for various lengths of time) for most people who blog or have long term projects and passions.

    Can’t wait to read more and hope that you’re back to posting soon!

    Hope all is well,

  • Reply rose August 30, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I am the same age as Michael Jackson. I danced to those Jackson 5 songs at 8th grade dances. He has just always been a part of my life. I can’t believe he isn’t here anymore. It is awful. I find listening to his music and watching videos is too painful. I hope I will be able to someday. I am angry that all the love shown now wasn’t there before he died. We take for granted that there will always be more time. So all of us need to take time to write a letter or email and tell those that have given us gifts that we love and appreciate them.

  • Reply Agnes August 30, 2009 at 2:36 am

    I honestly love the person you are, and your writings but I seriously don’t understand this obsession with Michael Jackson.
    You can’t be this naive not to realize the truth about him. Haven’t you read court transcripts??
    Please, this is so naive of you Anna. Open your eyes.

  • Reply dee August 30, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Hi Anna,
    So sorry to hear that Michael’s passing has opened up pain and sadness to you and so many others. We’ll never see anyone like him again in our lifetimes. Rest in Peace Michael.
    Wishing you peace too Anna and know that kind and healing thoughts are with you.

  • Reply paige August 30, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Heyo Anna!
    Did you survive? Can you tell us all about it?
    And I’m glad you don’t think your house is ‘done’. Hehe. I love your blog and will continue to read if you decided to start on another house, start all over or throw in the towel and open up a small dog shelter.
    Love & hugs,
    PS. Came THIS CLOSE to getting a second dog the other day…only to come home and find the first one had chewed through a belt I had left on the floor. Maybe I’ll stick with just one for now…. 🙂

  • Reply Anna at D16 August 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Agnes, yes, I’ve read the transcripts — and I mean I have read ALL of them, not just the excerpted bits that were spoon-fed by “journalists” like Diane Dimond and the like. Frankly, it is unfathomable to me how anyone could read them and come to the conclusion that Mr. Jackson was guilty of anything other than naïvité and bad judgment.

    Thankfully, the jury also paid attention to all of the evidence and testimony that was presented, and he was acquitted on all 10 counts against him.

    I am extremely well-versed in the details of both the 1993 extortion case as well as the 2005 trial, and I am happy to discuss either with you at length if that’s your wish, but I would prefer it not happen in this context (i.e. in blog comments) or with platitudes about me needing to “open my eyes”. I am not interested having a discussion about this subject based on anything other than FACT.

  • Reply frannie August 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    agnes, you have some nerve calling anna naive. i’d like to hear all this “proof” you have to the contrary of was shown in court to be false. the man was acquitted for very good reason.

    you say you love the person anna is, but don’t understand her “obsession”. well you needn’t. you either accept it or you don’t. there’s no need for a personal affront because of her opinion.

  • Reply The Countess of Nassau County August 30, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Anna if you truly want to pay tribute to Michael Jackson, support any local drug treatment program in whatever way best suits you. MJ could have danced and sung and thrilled us all for decades more, instead he let drugs overtake and ultimately end his life.

  • Reply Anna at D16 August 31, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Frannie: Girl, ILU. x

    Countess: That is no doubt an important cause and a wonderful way to give of one’s time — though I must say, one could just as easily give their time to supporting causes for the awareness of Lupus, Vitiligo, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder. That said, I need to focus on the positive aspects of MJ’s life right now. His message of love, tolerance, forgiveness, and charity was genuine and powerful, and I don’t want to see that aspect of him lost amidst the current focus on the very real and very human ways in which he suffered.

  • Reply dan August 31, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Hi Anna,

    I love all your updates, and appreciate all the effort that you put into the blog. I’m sorry that some people have felt entitled to things and have made the experience less enjoyable.

    Feel better.

  • Reply Elena August 31, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Hi Anna. I’ll admit I’m one of the people some of the other commenters are talking about regarding missing your posts. I think my exact comment was, “where are you, I’m in withdrawal.” I’m am so very sorry if I upset you, it was not my intention. I realize it’s not your job and I in no way feel entitled. I just really like reading your posts. It wasn’t said in a cruel or mean-spirited way as some above have suggested. So again, I’m sorry.
    On another note, MJ was awesome. Me and 4 my brothers one Christmas all got musical instruments and pretended to be the Jackson 5. It was so fun. And everytime I think about Michael’s passing and get sad, I can look back on those days as a little girl and smile.

  • Reply Edith Pearl August 31, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Anna,
    I heard on the readio today that in Mexico City a guiness record was broken for the number of people dressed up as zombies dancing to MJs Thriller. I had to let you know.

    Also I’ll continue to enjoy your blog when ever you post to it, regular or not. It constantly inspires me to tackle those projects that I would otherwise never get to.

    cheers and have fun tonight

  • Reply Jess August 31, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Hey Anna, glad you are back. Hope this concert will set you on a path of celebration of his life, rather than sadness from his death.

  • Reply Ainsley August 31, 2009 at 4:13 pm


    Definitely didn’t mean to be pushy with the previous “where are you?” comments. I discovered this blog semi-recently and have read the majority of past entries. I was just sad and concerned when I didn’t see anything new.

    Hope MJ’s birthday was a blast!

  • Reply Shashi August 31, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Anna, I concur with other posters about missing your posts whether they are about your house or mascara – which I have referenced regularly. Whenever you can post is wonderful and will be enjoyable to me. I hope you had a wonderful time in the park, as someone who grew up in santa Barbara I watched the mj trial with great interest. The charges never made sense to me. I can’t count myself as big of a fan as you or some of my friends but I loved his music and how he was a child at heart.

  • Reply Lori August 31, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Anna! Good to hear from you again and it will be great to read another new post! That said, like Elena, I joked about waiting to hear from you and in no way meant it to make you feel bad, only that you were missed! 🙂 With all the stuff you were/are doing to your house, the emotions that were obviously stirred up with MJ, maybe you just need a nice, long, break… Just from reading your blog, you keep quite a pace!! 🙂 So, know that you are missed but also no pressure to return. Go pet your puppy dogs, cuddle up with your husband and just relax… 😉

  • Reply Monica September 1, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Hope you had a great time in Brooklyn.

  • Reply Mary-Ellen September 1, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I couldn’t make this event, but can’t wait
    to see pictures of it. I am sure it was
    wonderful!!! Glad to see you back and
    no pressure. I just miss you when your

  • Reply robin September 1, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    i was born on august 29th and all of my life, when someone found out it was my birthday and wished me a happy birthday, i would reply thanks and tell them it was also MJ’s birthday. this year was no different. however, there was a sad twinge. happy birthday, michael. i’ll continue to celebrate for both of us.

  • Reply jessica September 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    soo wish i could have joined!

  • Reply Jo in NZ September 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I trusted we’d hear from you when you were ready, and wanted to post. This blog truly is one in a million. So yes, I miss reading you for sure (and that’s *all* of it — the house and the dogs, the Morrissey and the MJ) but in the meantime, I’ll be pootling away down in my little corner of the globe, and sending love and well wishes a-Newburgh-ways.

  • Reply ashley english September 2, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Anna, I was devastated too. I’ve always felt a kinship with MJ. “Will You Be There?” is one man’s dark night of the soul that has always, always moved me.
    I’ve enjoyed getting to “know” you here, as well as through Nicole (she really loves you!). I completely understand the pressures of life-I’ve got my blog, my d*s sponge column, and a book series to pen, not to mention all the other stuff of life. It’s a pleasure and a joy to be privy to your thoughts and musings, whenever they occur. My best to you.

  • Reply Tracey September 2, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Well, I haven’t been keeping up with my blog reading lately so I was almost glad you hadn’t posted because I hadn’t missed anything! I’m so glad to see someone else stand up for Michael. People always look at me as if I have grown another head when I say I DON’T think he was a perv. And it irritates me to no end that they automatically assume he was because he was “weird.” Being different does not make you bad, people!

  • Reply Mary-Ellen September 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I was just wondering how you feel about Michael’s children and the custody situation. Do you think Michael’s mother is the best caretaker for them?

  • Reply peggy September 4, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Dear Anna, I adore your blog and am so grateful you share your life with us. Your writing is beautiful. Please, never apologize nor explain that you need breaks. Much love to you. We’ll be here when you are ready.

  • Reply Anna at D16 September 5, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Mary-Ellen: Well, there really was never a “custody situation”. That’s something that’s created by the media just to create the appearance of drama. No one ever disputed Michael’s wish for his children to be with Katherine, and I think it’s wonderful that Debbie will be involved to a degree, even if it’s only peripherally. These decisions were made cleanly and without objection, and I think that’s what’s in the best interest of the children. Once you take a step back and look at this just as you would any other situation where a child loses a parent, it really isn’t all that complex or controversial at all.

  • Reply Kerrie September 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Anna- Love your blog and I’m glad you’re taking a break, doing what makes you feel good. I wish people were not so arrogant and uptight. Lighten up folks, focus on your own lives.
    p.s. I also love your home and renovations- truly inspiring.

  • Reply Down Pillow September 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    What an inspiration MJ was to soooo many people. Thank you for reminding me and for inspiring us all. Thanks to you both.

  • Reply Stephanie September 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I found this super cute umbrella with teardrops on it and instantly thought of you! I have a gingham one by this company. They are a bit pricey for an umbrella but really well made and sturdy.

  • Reply edwina September 9, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I suppose your fans have come to expect too much from you!!

    and as you put it , its an extension of your life’s muses , but Anna, its the truest form of flatery when people scream for more ,
    on a personal level thanks for all your posts they have

    been to say the least , inspiring !!!!!!

  • Reply onlygoodthings September 11, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Anna, where have you gone? I miss your lovely posts!

  • Reply Carol Ann September 12, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Well said…blogging is just for us, if someone wants more…well what can we say…I just do it when I have the time to do it and enjoy the process…
    Great video of MJ, thanks for posting it

  • Reply Jenny September 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while but am commenting for the first time – thought of you when watching the MJ tribute(s) at the VMAs and especially Madonna’s awesome, eloquent speech. I think I’m mourning him more than most of my friends and I’m sensitive to those whose own (very real, painful) issues may be triggered by the allegations that plagued Michael – so I don’t often get to express myself in the “real world.” It’s good to find community online, and I’ve loved reading your posts about MJ (not to mention design and all your projects, of course!). I hope when you return to the blog that you’ll share a bit about your experience at the birthday party – so envious of those who were able to gather and celebrate him together. Hope all’s well with you.

  • Reply lydia September 15, 2009 at 10:54 am

    loved seeing this candid MJ clip, thought you might enjoy:

    you’ve rocked since your Absolutely Vile days! 🙂

  • Reply Anna at D16 September 17, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Stephanie, thank you! I have a Marimekko umbrella with a similar pattern, but the quality is terrible — I could really use a well-made one. 🙂

    Lydia, yes, I LOVE that clip. 🙂 All of the MJ home videos are fantastic. Have you seen the one in the grocery store?

    Jenny, I completely understand. I am normally very private about MJ unless I need to defend him, and since his death, it’s been strange to see an outpouring of love for him from so many people. I’m not used to being able to talk about him without constantly having to defend MYSELF as well. Michael had (and still has) so much to offer the world, including those who have suffered the same kind of abuse that he did — both as a child and as an adult. I hate that his name has been used to turn very, very serious crimes into fodder for jokes. I find it greatly disturbing that people are even willing to make such flippant remarks and crude jokes about child molestation.

    The birthday party was wonderful. I have a lot of photos — I’ll consider doing a post about it, but I am nervous about this turning into the MJ-blog…

  • Reply Anna at D16 September 17, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    p.s. I though Madonna’s speech was fantastic. And I’m not even a fan of hers…

  • Reply A Merry Mishap September 25, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Your house is by far my favorite!!
    Everything you do is so great, I also love your guest bedroom. Such a great bedspread!

  • Reply A Merry Mishap September 25, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Oops, I left my comment on the wrong post!

  • Reply Maka September 29, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Thank you Anna for sharing your love to MJ. I miss him every. single. day. This world will never be the same without his presence… Hope you’ll do the post about the party!

  • Reply Fiona October 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I am truly, utterly touched by this post. I love MJ too not only for the music he made for 4 decades, spanning across since he was 8 to 50, but i love the man he was, always giving and never taking. No one could have done what he did, and no one could have went through what he went. He was magic, not he is magical and always will be. There will never be any that can come close to what he did to the World. I miss him almost every other day, and i listen to him almost every night.

  • Reply Dan November 8, 2009 at 11:02 am

    This post was absolutely wonderful. Thank you… I’m that latter group right with ya, btw. I miss him, so much.

  • Reply Elias December 14, 2009 at 9:00 am

    OMG! Just realized you’re an MJ fan after I posted that other comment. Those photos are unreal. Thanks for sharing, I never thought I’d see more photos from that shoot. I wish they were bigger, too. Love your blog.

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