On the anniversary of the King Of Pop’s passing I remember my meetings with Michael Jackson

blogmj3
I had first met Michael Jackson in Harlem, New York as Michael was there to speak out at a demonstration against Tommy Mottola and Sony Records. The press conference was held at Al Sharpton’s Harlem office. knowing security and fans would be rabid, I planned to sneak into the building before Michael Jackson arrived, in hopes of planting myself somewhere inside in order to have some access to Michael.

I found what looked like a private holding room that seemed like Al Sharpton’s office in his building. I decided to actually hide in the coat closet of this office in anticipation of Michael Jackson being ushered into this room.

Sure enough, my instincts and plan were correct and MJ arrived with an entourage of security, police and handlers. I was brave enough to go through all this effort and reveal myself from the closet, at which point I was almost ushered out of the room.

It was Michael himself who quickly calmed the security down and said, “it’s okay, I want to take a picture with him.”

blogmj4

My next meeting with Michael occurred during 2003 in Beverly Hills, CA when I learned that MJ was going to be shopping on Santa Monica Boulevard. Michael usually would shop after staff had been notified he was coming and the store would close temporarily for his privacy and protection.

However, I knew that if you were a shopper in the store while Michael arrived, you were not asked to leave – thus I quickly got inside the store just prior to Michael showing up with his kids.

Once inside the store with MJ, he not only signed several items for me and took a pictures, but MJ would once again come to my rescue.

I had left the store for a brief moment to retrieve a guitar I had in my car that I wanted Michael to sign. When I tried to come back inside, the doorman would not let me or anyone back inside. I managed to somehow get Michael’s attention and instantly the door was propped open and Michael summoned me over and beautifully signed a red guitar. All of this was captured by Entertainment Tonight and other media outlets and played on TV.

VIDEO OF MICHAEL JACKSON SIGNING GUITAR FOR ME

However, it wasn’t until a few more years later that I would start to really cultivate a relationship with Michael, and his large team of security and assistants. In October of 2008, Michael Jackson had moved from his home in Las Vegas back to Los Angeles in preparation for his “This Is It!” tour. From October Michael was staying at The Bel Air Hotel until January, when he moved into his last home in Holmby Hills.

From October until, what I still can’t believe his final days in June of 2009, I dedicated my time to being around MJ on a daily basis. From the very first rehearsal casting sessions held in a small studio in Van Nuys, to the daily rehearsals held in Burbank, and the several shopping trips ranging from Barnes & Noble in Westwood to many costume and collectible stores in Los Feliz and West Hollywood – I was always there to give Michael gifts and memorabilia he enjoyed collecting.

In April of 2009, Michael himself asked me if he could borrow a few of the vintage posters I had brought for him to autograph. Michael wanted these posters to decorate his daughter Paris’ Birthday party with. Of course I obliged, and I could tell Michael really appreciated this gesture.

Michael really enjoyed having his fans follow him around and it made him feel like people still cared, which is sad considering he cared for everyone else so much. Michael would personally tell me how much he liked the pictures, rare albums and posters I would bring to him to have autographed. In addition, I would research Michael’s passions, like his passion for string music, and bring him gifts of artists and rare albums that I knew he would appreciate. According to Michael’s Chief of Security, Michael was interested in employing me to work for him in some research capacity.
blogmj1

At the start of June last year, I once again managed to sneak my way into a store (Christian Audigier’s Ed Hardy on Melrose avenue) just prior to Michael showing up there. I was wearing a vintage “Beat It” jacket and had hoped to get inside the store and stay there to have Michael autograph this very rare Jacket. Once MJ arrived with his kids, the security recognized me and told the people in the store that I was “okay to stay.”

With hundreds of onlookers and paparazzi outside, and traffic on Melrose Avenue coming to a total standstill to see what was going on, I was inside having Michael take another picture and have him autograph the “Beat It” jacket while the cameras from TMZ and other media were rolling.
blogmj2

Having so many wonderful experiences with Michael and being fortunate to be around him for the last year of his life was what finally drove me to share my treasured stories and these once-in-a-lifetime items of memorabilia. I’m proud that over the last decade I have acquired and preserved the single largest and most diverse collection of authentic, in person signatures from The late, great Michael Jackson.