Make sure to stick around until the end of this article in order to watch the whole video!
Prisoners are normal people just like the rest of us. Just because they’ve done something bad during their life doesn’t mean they can’t be taught how to do something creative.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be a prisoner in Southeast Asia?
The majority of people living in the USA would probably imagine it to be a pretty grim experience. But if this video is anything to go by, it’s simply a big glee club.
A few musicians have made a point of performing in prisons. Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra and a lot of other greatest recording artists of all time have visited prisons in order to play their greatest hits.
Michael Jackson once performed in a prison, well kind of. He recorded a music video his the single They Don’t Care About Us in a prison, with real-life prisoners showing up in the video.
But Michael Jackson never showed up to perform in prison ever again.
But, some people who knew Michael Jackson, have visited prisons ever since the musician’s death, and not in the “I’ve broken the law” order. Their names are Travis Payne, Jackson’s choreographer, Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid, who are both dancers.
In late 2009, in the wake of Jackson’s death, they went over to Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines. While being there, they taught the inmates performances which would have been seen in Jackson’s 2009 concerts. And the video must be watched in order to be believed!
The video starts off with an announcer telling the inmates to all form into a position. All the prisoners are amazingly disciplined and stand to attention in a prison yard.
Pretty familiar music begins to play, and the prisoners all begin to stomp to the song.
Shockingly, the men in the group are all perfectly timing themselves. They are all in sync. A team of professional dancers couldn’t have done a better job!
And then it gets even more surprising.The triangle of dancers who began the performance stomp forward to the beat, and hundreds of other prisoners march out into the yard from two sides of the prison.
Michael Jackson’s lyrics then begins to play. It’s They Don’t Care About Us, the song which Jackson precisely performed in a prison all of those years ago.
At the end of the performance all of the prisoners march to the center of the yard and form a peace symbol. How many hours did it take for them to learn how to do this!? Just curious.
For their last but not least move, the prisoners in the outer circle of the peace symbol all kneel down, while the other ones who are standing inside the circle all raise their hands. It’s a really striking image!
The performance then got uploaded on YouTube.
It quickly went viral. Up until now, it has gathered almost 34 million views. It also has more than 216,000 likes and 18,600 comments. People have been commenting things like this:
There’s a super important message behind the song and the performance shown in this video.
Prisoners are still people. Yes, they’ve done something they shouldn’t have which made them end up where they are. But prison systems are always much better when they focus on rehabilitation instead of making other people suffer. Just think of the team-building skills that the inmates in this video have been able to learn from choreography. These skills are undoubtedly transferrable to the outside world. Pretty much all jobs require someone to work well in a group of people.
We wholeheartedly hope that, when the majority of the inmates in this video get out of prison, they will be able to find fulfilling work and become functioning members of society.