The cover of the new album, ‘MICHAEL,’ is the subject of much debate. Painted by Kadir Nelson, it is a pictorial biography of Michael’s life. The painting was originally commissioned by Michael, and was re-commissioned by Michael’s Estate, after he died. Measuring nine feet by four and a half feet, it contains images from many scenes in Michael’s career, serving as a reminder for fans of some of his best moments.
Michael’s children, Prince, Paris and ‘Blanket,’ appear in the painting multiple times. In one scene, they sit alongside Michael, his hand gripping a supersized water gun. Michael’s older brother Jackie says, water guns were, and remain a family favourite.
“They’ve always got water guns down at Hayvenhurst, the Jackson family home in Encino,” Jackie says, chuckling. “You have to be careful; they don’t care what you’re wearing.”
Many friends also appear in the artwork, making the cover a lot of fun for fans, reminiscing and spotting moments in Michael’s life.
For the dominant image of Michael in the painting, Nelson focused on the idea of royalty, putting Michael in a suit of armour with his hand placed over his heart,
“Because Michael put his heart into everything that he did,” Nelson says.
Jackie gestures to a tiny Volkswagen in the painting that reminds him of the early years.
“The bus,” he says, remembering how, “freezing, going to Chicago in the cold and the snow,” they were back then, “taking instruments out of that bus and slipping on the ice.”
Today, he says, the family is still healing from Michael’s death;