Creator of the Moonwalk. Owner of Neverland. King of Pop.
It can be a sad time for Michael Jackson fans with another passing year of his death, but many around the world continue to celebrate his life and talent in a number of different ways.
Two weeks ago I went to one of these gatherings with a friend in Newtown. The venue was Lentils as Acceptance, which was a non-for-profit vegan restaurant that helped the homeless.
Luckily enough we were seated right next to the host of the event, Zakaria Haroone, Michael Jackson enthusiast.
Why this location?
“I love this place and I love Michael Jackson. So I thought having it here would be a nice fusion.”
The mantra “everyone deserves a place at the table,” footed on all the tables sank in well with some of the philanthropic, peace-making nature of the celebrated artist’s songs like, ‘We are the World’ and ‘Man in the Mirror.’
It was all run by the help of the community; all the servers, kitchen staff and even the chefs were volunteers. A volunteer induction is held at the restaurant every Tuesday at 4pm for any new recruits.
Homeless patrons could come to the restaurant for a meal at the table and help out in the kitchen instead of making a cash payment.
My friend and I both got the same thing, the roasted vegetable pasta salad that looked like this.
The waiters passed out hot chai tea lattes just before the food, and apple cinnamon rice pudding was handed out at around the table after everyone was done with the main meal.
After eating we all went up into the room above us. We were told by a waiter that the space above was used a lot by the community for different talks and classes besides being rented out for functions such as these.
Upstairs party guests danced to Michael Jackson’s music while stage dances and performances performed by MJ played on the screen at the end of the room before those clips were later replaced by a video game where you could make Michael Jackson whipped the asses of swarms of burglars by shooting out magical gunk from his shoes and doing other famous Jackson dance moves.
“It’s like a love relationship,” Zakaria said earlier, gesturing to himself and then above. I was assuming he meant between him and the famous artist. Right now he was going around to everyone in the room, making sure they were included and welcoming them to dance, dressed in a famous Michael Jackson style black sequenced jacket.
When we asked him what was his favourite album he said he couldn’t decide. “I like all of the albums equally. Nothing better or worse.” Zakaria talked about how Michael Jackson viewed his music and how he couldn’t choose one album or single over the other,”…he couldn’t choose his favourite music like his albums, they were like his sons and daughters and babies.”
Michael Jackson was a big believer of his music changing the world and through it he wanted to be remembered forever. Six years later he still has on-going concerts globally by look-a-likes and impersonators. One of the last things Michael Jackson had said regarding his life was this,“my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance.”