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Sea of prison inmates stand in yard and immediately bust into a Michael Jackson flash mob

Prisoners are people just like anyone else.

Just because they’ve done something bad in the past doesn’t mean they can’t learn to do something creative.

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be in prison in Southeast Asia? Most people in the USA would probably imagine it to be a pretty grim experience.

But if this video is anything to go by, it’s just one big glee club.

Some musicians have made a point of performing in prisons.

Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra and many more of the greatest recording artists of all time have visited prisons to play their greatest hits.

Michael Jackson once performed in a prison, sort of. He shot a music video for the single They Don’t Care About Us in a prison, with real-life prisoners appearing in the video.

However, some people that knew Michael Jackson have visited prisons since the musician’s death, and not in the “I’ve broken the law” way.

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 headed to Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines.

While there, they taught the inmates performances that would have been seen in Jackson’s 2009 concerts. And the video must be seen to be believed!

The video begins with an announcer telling the inmates to all form into a position. All the prisoners are incredibly disciplined and stand to attention in a prison yard.

Familiar music starts playing, and the prisoners all start stomping to the song.

Amazingly, the men in the group are all timing themselves perfectly. They are all in sync. A team of professional dancers couldn’t do a better job!

And then it gets even more impressive. The triangle of dancers who started 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 start playing. It’s They Don’t Care About Us, the song that Jackson performed in a prison all those years ago.

At the conclusion 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 them to rehearse this!?

For their final move, the prisoners in the outer circle of the peace symbol all kneel down, while the ones standing inside the circle all raise their hands. It’s a really striking image!

The performance then appeared on YouTube.

It soon went viral. To date, it has gained almost 34 million views. It also has over 216,000 likes and 18,600 comments. People have been saying things like this:

There’s a really important message behind the song and the performance in this video.

Prisoners are still people. Yes, they’ve done something very wrong to end up where they are.

But prison systems are always much better when they focus on rehabilitation instead of suffering.

Just think of the team-building skills that the inmates in this video learned from choreography.

These skills are definitely transferrable to the outside world. Basically any job requires someone to work well in a team.

Hopefully, when many of the inmates in this video get out of prison, they will be able to find fulfilling work and become functioning members of society.

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