Michael told Paul McCartney, “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” But Michael also had a warrior’s heart.
Warriors protect the people. That’s their traditional job, according to a native warrior friend of mine.
One astonishing example of Michael as warrior is in Earth Song. At the end of this moving epic lament during the History tour, a tank pulled on stage and Michael stepped in front of it, blocking its path towards the audience like the man in Tienanmen Square. Performed in front of many, many audiences that were just emerging from war, the tense stand off and powerful resolution left audiences in tears. Even those who had not just experienced tanks on their streets sometimes found themselves sobbing.
If you haven’t seen it (or even if you have), I invite you to celebrate Michael’s birthday and his warrior spirit by watching the video and the live performance today. I’ll be sharing it with my Cultivating Powerful Presence class on warriors tomorrow, a class inspired in part by Michael’s life and work.
P.S. I’m aware this is the version of Earth Song containing the bridge collapse in which Michael was hurt. And, it is also the strongest choreography of the tank episode that I’m aware of. It was clearly something he worked hard to develop over several years… Forgive me for sharing this one…
Editorial photo from Getty Images & Phil Ochs.