The first time I heard the bodyguards of Michael Jackson talk about him was in March 2010. Then the three of them Mike Garcia, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard were interviewed in “Good morning America” (the last two were presented by other names). They talked so highly about their former boss and were so emotional that it must have made an impression on many people.
By the end of the interview they said that they would perhaps write a book about this.
Then time went on. We heard little about the book.
Then in August 2012 the book “Defending a king His life & Legacy” by Karen Moriarity was published. She had had long conversations with the bodyguards and suggested to write the book for them. But it turned out that they had different opinions on the book and nothing came out of it.
Well, I thought, they will not write this book.
But then in the spring of 2014 news came that the book is coming in June. I pre-ordered it and couldn’t wait to read it.
The first review was very positive. It turned out that only two of the bodyguards stood behind the book. The third (Mike Garcia) had left. Apparently there had been a falling out. There were some people who opposed the book, but you get used to that dealing with Michael Jackson. There are many different opinions. I wanted to read this book anyway.
I don’t know if everything is true, but the respect for the King of Pop, the description of him as a father, the sad loneliness he lived in during this time, everything is beautifully written by their ghost writer Tanner Colby.
There are some pictures from the book that keep on haunting me.
The first one is from the opening; Michael Jackson comes back to USA after his exile in Bahrain and Ireland. It is 22nd December 2006. The airport of Las Vegas at night. The children come out of the plane. The smallest is carried by the nanny. Everything is dark. The children ask “Where is daddy? ” Then comes this dark figure out of the plane, all in black except for the white socks. They can’t see his face and they don’t know who it is. They were hired to escort “a high profile dignitary” from the airport to his home. There was no one to meet them. It was dark night and cold…….
I could not read more. This picture came to me in my dreams that night. The complete loneliness of that night at the airport. The most famous person on earth. A person that had given so much of himself for the world. A person that had given more to charity than any other. He should have been greeted with ovations when he returned to his homeland. No one was there.
The book goes on to tell about the time from December 2006 to his death 25th June 2009.
But from autumn 2008 Mr Jackson (they always call him by his last name in the book) and his family moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and other people took over the security in a mysterious way. The two are not fired but don’t hear anything. It all adds up to the mystery around his death. “Some people” took over and Mr. Jackson was not in control.
The book is really sad. The whole picture is sad. But there are moments of happiness and beautiful family time.
They tell about his big heart and handing out of money to the homeless, the rides around Vegas in the car, sneaking in to a restaurant where they suddenly hear his music. And he cannot believe that they still play his music!
The money problem grows bigger and bigger and they are not being paid. People in charge who don’t tell the truth about their spending. The very difficult relationship with his family who is not allowed to visit him. Only his mother Cathrine is allowed to come when she likes.
There is this tragic incident when his brother Randi tries to get in by driving through the gate and they don’t know who it is, so they try to stop him with a gun! Mr. Jackson is ready to go to Liz Tayler’s birthday party and has prepared for two weeks and seems happy for that. Then Randi comes and says he is not going before he gets his money! He has to be pushed out and Michael never goes to that birthday party and is not seen for two days.
His love for his children and desperate way of keeping them away from the public. No normal life. No friends. No contact to the world. His secret girlfriends. His love for his fans. It’s all there. Well written. Easy to read. As one radio journalist , who interviewed the bodyguards said: “This changed my picture of Michael Jackson.” Yes, if you still think he was a freak and a wacko, you will see something different here.
This is the man who was treated so unkind by so many. He had to hide away. No one came to his children’s birthday or for Christmas. He was there in this big house with no on to talk to, so some times he called the bodyguard at night just to talk.
And there was no money. His card was not authorized and he did not understand what that meant.
Yes, this book is worth reading. For everybody. Not only for the fans.