As they enter adulthood, Paris and Prince Jackson have made sure that their father’s spirit is with them wherever they go.
Michael Jackson‘s eldest children are now 18 and 19—if you find out where the time went, pass along the message that we’re looking for it—and both recently took the plunge and had permanent tributes to their larger-than-life dad inked on their bodies.
Only 11 when her father died, Paris added a poignant moment of all too real grief during the massive, star-studded memorial for Michael in July 2009 when, her voice quavering, she informed the world, “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.
“And I just want to say that I love him so much.” And those feelings haven’t dissipated as the years have gone by.
Paris, who celebrated her big 1-8 on Sunday, had vowed several years ago to get a tattoo with words that her father once wrote to her on her wrist when she was old enough—and sure enough, that’s exactly what the tenacious teen did.
She had the words “Queen of My Heart”—drawn in a replica of Michael’s script—tattooed on her lower left forearm, followed by a blue lotus on her inner wrist in honor of grandma Katherine Jackson, who primarily raised Paris, Prince and their brother Prince Michael II (aka Blanket) after Michael died.
While her choice of ink was a more easily identifiable tribute to the King of Pop and her famous lineage, Prince Jackson’s more dramatic ink—which he showed off yesterday on Instagram—also has a less-obvious but still direct connection to Michael Jackson.
Prince had an image of the ancient Egyptian deity Anubis—traditionally depicted as a man with a canine head—wielding a blood-drenched scythe tattooed on his upper right shoulder. While the connotation could instantly be interpreted as morbid, Anubis’ roles in different variations of mythology actually included a protector of graves and a god who ushered souls into the afterlife—a heroic figure who helped ease the transition between this life and the next.
So actually a powerful, hopeful image if you consider it in that context.
Prince didn’t directly say, as Paris did, that his new tat was inspired by his father, but Michael Jackson was of course a very spiritual man—and he too was fascinated by Egyptian imagery, going full-fledged pharaoh chic in the video for his 1992 hit “Remember the Time.”
Also, when he shocked the world by marrying Lisa Marie Presley in 1994, he commissioned David Nordahl to paint “Camelot,” featuring himself on horseback and Elvis Presley’s only daughter in the Guinevere role. In the background—a statue of the Egyptian goddess Isis, the patroness of nature and magic (back when that word was uncontroversial).
So ultimately Prince Jackson is carrying on in his father’s footsteps when it comes to invoking mythological images that represent higher powers and otherworldly forces of strength in the universe.
Jackson, who was raised a Jehovah’s Witness along with his famous siblings, but he struck out on his own search for answers in the 1980s after the church criticized him for becoming too worldly.
Jackson often talked about a “oneness” he felt with the universe, and he recounted to Ebony/JET in 1992, quoting his song “Planet Earth”: “‘Life songs of ages, throbbing in my blood, have danced the rhythm of the tide and flood.’ This is a very literal statement, because the same new miracle intervals and biological rhythms that sound out the architecture of my DNA also governs the movement of the stars. The same music governs the rhythm of the seasons, the pulse of our heartbeats, the migration of birds, the ebb and flow of ocean tides, the cycles of growth, evolution and dissolution. It’s music, it’s rhythm. And 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. It’s like, my purpose, it’s what I’m here for.”
The cover of Dangerous also features a kingly figure with a dog’s head, reputedly inspired by the 1806 painting “Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne,” one of many examples of Jackson’s ongoing fascination with symbology, royalty and the supernatural. (There was also a two-legged dog on the 3-D deluxe cover version of the album.)
“I believe in spirituality and I believe in a higher source, such as God,” he told Diane Sawyer in 1994 (when she asked if he was interested in becoming a Scientologist like Lisa Marie. His answer was no). “I read everything. I love to study.”
And his children continue to find new ways to keep their connection to their dad very much alive.