But this video is not about that. Back on October 1st, 1992 Michael Jackson performed in Bucharest, Romania. Maybe not such a big deal fro most of you. But when Michael Jackson comes to a country who only 2 years before was under the “iron curtain” the impact is huge. It changed my life and it would make the distance between eastern and western European countries smaller.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Jackson had seven of his solo albums promoted with music videos, or as he would refer them as “short films”. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular culture and the first African American entertainer to have a strong crossover fanbase on Music Television (MTV). The popularity of his music videos that aired on MTV, such as “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and “Thriller”—credited for transforming the music video from a promotional tool and into an art form—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame. Videos such as “Black or White” and “Scream” made Jackson an enduring staple on MTV into the 1990s. Some of his short films drew criticism for their violent and sexual elements; others were lauded by critics and awarded Guinness World Records for their length, success and expense.
At the “Budapest Royal Palace” close to the Danube, he shoots a video in which he appears as a freedom fighter “helping to chase Soviet Red Army out of Eastern Europe”, according to journalist Ruki Sayid, for promotion of his new album, “HIStory”. The video’s theme also remembers Hungary’s communist past, with Jackson liberating East Europe from the Soviet regime/control. In the video, Jackson is leading 200 soldiers in a march against communism. He will call them his “army of love”. A huge polystiren statue of him is also erected in Heroes Square. The teaser receives harsh critics, erroneously portraying it as a promoter of dictarship and fascism. “777” is the number appearing on a band on his left arm – the number of God and divine unity, whereas the giant metal star on his right arm represents the green star, a long-time historical symbol of Esperanto, the International peaceful Language; the star also appears on the caps of the multi-ethnic soldiers, who instead of saluting, do Michael Jackson’s dance moves at the Arch of Triumph. In addition, much of the background singing in the video is in Esperanto. The opening speech and choral music in the video are in this international language. “Ni konstruas i tiun skulptaon en la nomo de iuj landoj kaj tutmonda patrineco kaj la kuracpovo de la muziko.”, it meaning, “… everyone in the world builds this sculpture [the Jackson statue] in the name of worldwide motherhood and love, and the healing power of music.” The same person uttering these words (the construction foreman) later asks (translated) “Come here!” while motioning to others. Interpreting the video from this context, together with its cinematography, it proves an elaborate and profound work of an actual non-violent purpose, that of healing music conquering the world and bringing joy to it (i.e.: the exalted, fainting admirers). The massive promotional campaign for the forthcoming album, HIStory, is launched on MTV and around the world on May 22, 1995, with this teaser film. The 4-minute “HIStory Teaser” is filmed in early August 1994, and directed by Rupert Wainwright. Fans are invited to participate in the film, which features the enormous army of soldiers of peace and impressive special effects. The teaser is also an allegory of strength (the statue) standing through the vicissitudes of life, thus Jackson’s statement of resilience amidst various untruthful allegations, the child molestation ones in particular. As he would emphatically state in song ‘2 Bad’ (off HIStory): ‘I’m standing though you’re kicking me.’