Michael Jackson with Jimmy Safechuck, who in May 2014 accused Jackson of sexual molestation
Shot #1 of 2 - we took another one right after this because Michael said he blinked in the first photo - and as this shows, he did.
Michael Jackson was staying at the same hotel I was at for 3 days, The Kahala Hilton in Honolulu Hawaii, in late February 1988. As I learned only later, Michael was on his way back from Japan and stopped to make an appearance at a Pepsi bottler's convention.
Michael was out near the hotel's swimming pool this night, with Jimmy Safechuck, who had appeared in a Pepsi TV commercial and was traveling with him. The pool area also has dolphins, turtles and other animals and the two of them were looking at the animals. I said hi to Michael and asked him if he would post for a picture. He said "Okay, but let's go farther away from the hotel. They don't know I'm out here and I would be in trouble if they knew." At the time, I assumed "they" meant his security people would be mad if they knew he had sneaked out on them, but maybe "they" just meant people in general. Maybe he was concerned he could get mobbed and had no security around to help him get out of such a situation.
The young boy, Jimmy Safechuck, moved to the side as Michael posed with me but I welcomed him back into the picture. I didn't want him to feel left out, like a nobody shoved to the side. Not knowing who he was or anything about him, except that he was a friend of Michael's, I said I would be happy if he joined us for picture.
We took a photo and I thanked them. Then, Michael turned to me and said he thought his eyes were closed, and suggested we take another one. Sure enough, when I later got the film developed and prints made, his eyes were closed in the first shot. (You can see this photo here on flickr, in this album). I'm glad he was kind enough to say something and suggest that we pose again for this one.
This time in Michael's life (he was 29 years old) was four years after his scalp was severely burned in a mishap during filming of a Pepsi commercial, two years after he was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin condition, and one month before he bought land in Santa Barbara, CA, for what would become Neverland.
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at age 50. In May, 2014 Jimmy Safechuck sued the Michael Jackson estate, accusing Michael of having molested him during this time.
As I said, Michael Jackson was staying at the hotel for 3 days and I saw him 8 times during those 3 days, around the hotel. For a supposed recluse, it got to be funny how we ran into each other around almost every corner. You can see all of my photos here on flickr in this set. Some of them show Michael and Jimmy with Jimmy's mom. One time, the three of them were making bubbles on the balcony of their suite on the 8th floor.
I've met hundreds of celebrities. Michael Jackson was the one who was genuinely the nicest to me.
Scanned from the original 35MM film negative.
NOTE: Permission granted to copy, publish, broadcast or post any of my photos, but please credit "photo by Alan Light" if you can. Thanks.