|Kanye West and he is smiling.|
Yes, I know that Kanye is a rapper but he has done and stated many things that remind me of Michael. First off, he, like Michael, is a creative person who wants to be a fashion designer. He mentioned in an interview that when he was in school, he would draw the famous Air Jordan sneakers. When it comes to his art, Kanye is an activist in trying to make sure that his work is out there for everyone to see and know about. When Kanye was ranting and comparing himself to Michael and Steve Jobs, Russell Simmons wrote an article on why he believe Kanye does and state the things that he does and states. He stated that Kanye,
"I recently sat down with Ye in New York and got the chance to hear about his hopes and ambitions, his frustrations and contradictions, his happiness and his anger. But through it all, what I felt from Kanye was an artist who desperately wants to leave his imprint in the history books. What’s often times misunderstood about Kanye is that people believe he wants all of this for himself, in fact, quite the opposite, he wants all of this for the rest of us. He wants to destroy the glass ceiling with 808′s and crack music…so one day WE have the power to see all of the lights. Certainly he wants a piece for himself…everybody would, but at his core, at the bottom of his heart, lies an inner-truth that has led to an external battle to make this world a bit easier for those who have been dealt a hand of struggle, by showing them a glimmer of hope through his art."In a twisted way, Kanye's art activism is similar to what Michael would state about his work, why he does the work he does and wanting his work to stand the test of time. However, that is where the similarities between he and Michael end. The main problem with Kanye is not his idealistic goals of his work but his attitude. Let's face it, Kanye is cocky, conceited and a narcissist. He does not understand that they way he carries himself and the things that he states are laughable. Let me give you a few examples - when Kanye was being interviewed on Sway's radio show, he had a verbal outburst when Sway asked him a very simple question. Watch Kanye's reaction to Sway's question:
“Jackson didn’t get to lay down with Kim Kardashian every night,” Kanye explained. “He had to take whatever that was to relax. I be relaxed. I be happy.”I guess he probably does not realized that trying to top Michael by stating that he did not sleep with Kim Kardashian is not going to work. I mean, Michael did not miss anything and besides, why would Michael even deal with Kim in that way when his own nephew, TJ, was Kim's first real love and time???? Kanye's egomaniac comments makes people want to completely ignore what he states and does and move on to other people.
It does not help that Kanye, unlike Michael, has serious anger issues. We all know about his recent brush with the law last week (1/13) when he assaulted an 18 year old for stating racial comments to his fiance. Kanye also fights with the paparazzi when all he could have done was completely ignore them or get a personal bodyguard so the bodyguard can deal with the detractors and Kanye can do as he pleases.
Usher Raymond IV
We all know how talented and charismatic Usher is and for over 20 years, he has been entertaining the masses with his dance moves and singing. Anyone that was ever a fan of Usher's knows that he is a huge fan of Michael's and reminds the public of Michael when it comes to his dancing. Like Michael, Usher was a teen heartthrob and it showed when he released his second album, My Way, in 1998. He also reminds me of Michael by his dancing skills and how he makes the girls and women go crazy. Who isn't turned out by this man? Whether he is talking, singing or dancing, Usher, like Michael, knows how to make a woman swoon. Thinking about all of the music videos that Usher has done over the years, there is one video that has a mixture of his style and Michael's presence and this video reminds me of the classic "Smooth Criminal" short film. Usher did a video for his hit 2004 song, "Caught Up" off of his Confessions album.
When it comes to finding and nurturing talent, Michael created a record label under Epic Records called MJJ Music. Under that label, Michael shaped and nurtured talents such as his nephews 3T, Tatyana Ali (from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air fame), Brownstone and Men in Vision. Usher did something similiar in 2008 when he and Scooter Braun created a label called Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG), nurtured and shaped the talent that is Justin Bieber. Now, we can get at Usher for putting that child in our faces or we can tell Usher to come get that boy and teach him some sense. Justin Bieber will be mentioned later on in this entry.
Justin and Beyonce are the only two artists on this list that are like Michael the most in very similar ways and in very different ways. Their beginnings were very similar: one of Michael's starts in the music business was when he and his brothers performed at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem in the 1960s. In the 1990s, Justin got his start on the popular show Star Search. Both entities dealt with the talent showing the audience what they can do. However, with the Apollo, if the audience did not like the act, they booed them off the stage. With Star Search, the judges make a decision if the act was good enough to return the following week. Michael was the heart and soul of the Jackson 5/Jacksons and no one can deny that. If there was no Michael, there was no group. That is the same with Justin when he was a member of Nsync. Even though Michael never really left the Jacksons, when he did his solo career, there was no way that he could have return to the group the same artist. I mean, how could he? He did Thriller for crying out loud. Once Justin started work on his successful solo career, Nsync was long gone.
It would be an understatement when one would state that Justin literally took a page from the book of Michael on how to be a solo megastar. Justin took several pages from that book and then some. First off, let's go back to 2002, when Justin was performing at the MTV awards as a solo artist. That was his Motown 25 moment: he was singing his first solo song, "Like I Love You" from his upcoming Justified album and he was performing like Michael. Then, there were the popular solo albums that included songs that were anthems for the previous decade: "Cry Me a River", "Rock Your Body", "Sexy Back", "My Love", "What Comes Around Goes Around", "End of Time". Of course, I cannot forget about Justin's fans, who have watched him grow from a preteen cutie to an handsome superstar.
When I found out that MTV was going to give Justin the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award at the age of 32, I was excited for him because he deserved it. When you think about all of the hits that Justin had with Nsync and as a solo artist, it covers half of one's life up to that point. That was the same for Michael. When Michael was 25, he was honored with the Lifetime of Merit Award at the American Music Awards in 1984. The award was given to him not only because the mega success of Thriller but because of the fact that Michael have been having hits since he was 11 years old.
There are a few songs that Justin has done that reminds me of Michael but his recent hit, "Take Back The Night" from his 20/20 album was the one song that really hits it home. If Michael was living today, he would make a song like that and sing it better than Justin.
I have always been critical of Beyonce and maybe that is because I really do not see the big deal about her. I do see the talent and the star quality but that is about it. What I am basically trying to say is that I am not a fan of Beyonce. However, I am not a hater and I do give credit when it needs to be given. Let's face it, Beyonce is not going anywhere anytime soon. Beyonce and I have three things in common: we were born in the 1980s, we are both nicknamed "Bee" and we love Michael. Without Michael, there will be no Beyonce. There are so many things that she does that reminds me of Michael. First off, let's start with the fact that she started performing in a young age, like Michael. Beyonce's father, Matthew Knowles, was her manager, same with Joseph being Michael's manager. Michael, like Beyonce, fired his father as his manager when his career started to become huge.
As we all know, Michael and Beyonce were lead singers in their respective groups: Jackson 5/Jacksons and Destiny's Child. They also has group members that left the group and the departure of those members were different for both Michael and Beyonce. Michael was lost without Jermaine for a while and Beyonce replaced LaToya Luckett and Latavia Robertson for Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. Michael and Beyonce were the heart and soul of their groups and were the stars in the group. When people think of those two groups, they think of Michael and Beyonce.
It was clear from the very beginning that Beyonce was molded and shaped to be one of the biggest entertainers of her generation. Beyonce released her first solo album in 2003 called Dangerously In Love. After the first single, "Crazy In Love" was a number one hit, Beyonce keep on going. In 2013, Beyonce did something that shocked everyone: she did a surprised album, her fifth, called Beyonce and did not even hinted that she was working on new material. When Michael innovated the music video format, called his videos "short films" and used the films to promote his music, Beyonce innovated the world of the Internet/social media, completed 17 videos and sold her secret album on itunes and later sold the physical copy to stores like FYE and Walmart. The album sold 1 million copies on itunes sells alone in less than a week.
Beyonce has a huge following known as #Beyhive and her fans has this obsession of comparing her to Michael because of her huge success. To be fair to most of these fans, they were not born or are way too young to remember Michael's impact and they have never really lived through his greatness. With that said, in this day and age, these fans can still look into Michael's impact and see for themselves that Beyonce could not hold a candle to Michael. Many of the stage gimmicks that Beyonce has done in her concerts, Michael has done 20 and 25 years earlier. Beyonce fans defend their girl like the #Moonwalkers or #MJFam defend Michael and if you do not believe me, check out the tweet that TLC member Chilli stated about Beyonce and the backlash that the #Beyhive shown her.
So, as you can see, her fans are not playing.
Like Michael and Justin, Beyonce was honored at a young age at the Billboard Awards in 2011, the Millennium Award, at 30 years old. There were a lot of people, including me, who had a hard time understanding how Beyonce would get such an honor before the likes of Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Janet, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, among others. Those women did more in their careers than Beyonce combine. There are a lot of conspiracies out there as to why she got an honor so early in her career but to dwell on them would keep me from completing this entry.
However, the one thing that we can all agree on is that Beyonce, like Michael, is humble and kind. Recently, footage surface of a young cancer patient name Taylon who had weeks to live and Beyonce saw the precious child and sang to her. If you were not moved by what she did, then there is something truly wrong with you. Beyonce's kind gesture reminds me of Michael; always including children into his concerts and in everything that he did in his career. Watching that footage of Beyonce singing to Taylon has help me really understand the hype around Beyonce. She might be overhyped but no one has ever stated that she was mean or nasty to anyone.
Shaffer Smith (Ne-Yo)
I remember the first time I heard of Ne-Yo and I was impressed. He was not trying to be any of his peers in the music scene but he knew how to make great music. Ne-Yo is not only a singer but he is also a songwriter and dancer. If you check out any of his music videos, he has done Michael-like dance moves. For example, his video for the song, "Because of You", he wears a black, sequin blazer that is very reminiscent of Michael's blazer that he wore at the Motown 25 Performance in 1983. You can check the video out here -
"During their meeting, the duo talked about the current state of the music industry, something Ne-Yo says Jackson wasn't too pleased with. "He believed what was wrong with a lot of music today is that people aren't singing about anything. If it's not about a party or sex then it's about money, and there's not really much to that."Ne-Yo, who has penned hits for Beyoncé and Rihanna as well as himself, explained that the entertainer wanted songs that were "melodic and meaningful." "Michael told me the melodies needed to be the ones you heard once and could sing back, and the lyrics needed to have meaning and depth," he said."
Ne-Yo seems to put what Michael told him into good use and made songs that are meaningful and had depth. When was the last time Ne-Yo made a song that was about partying and sex? It looks like Michael's lessons to Ne-Yo is showing in his work.
Peter Hernandez (Bruno Mars)
You probably might be thinking that Ciara reminds you more of Janet than with Michael but to me, she reminds me of Michael when it comes to dancing and performing. Now, there are not a lot of female singers who are great dancers and I can only think of three: Janet, Aaliyah and Ciara. There are not a lot of female dancers that can dance like Michael and did it well. Usually, we see male dancers dance like Michael but not a female. I was impressed when Ciara showed her dancing skills when she did the video for her 2007 hit song, "Like a Boy" off of her album, Ciara: The Evolution. Ciara stated in various interviews that Michael was a major influence in her career and her Evolution album was also influenced by Michael, along with Prince and Madonna.
Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga)
There are people, like me, who thinks that Lady Gaga is completely crazy and probably mentally off. However, that does not mean that I do not think that she is a very talented person. I think she is more connected to Madonna than Michael, music-wise however, she reminds me of Michael when it comes to preserving the legacy of legendary entertainers that came before them. For example, Michael was such a huge entertainer during his prime that he made it possible for his generation and the generations after him to know about Jackie Wilson and James Brown. When Michael was in his prime, he purchased the Beatles Catalogue and instead of keeping some of the publishing rights of certain artists, he gave their rights to them. He gave Little Richard his publishing rights and even tried to give his then wife, Lisa Marie Presley, the publishing rights of her father, Elvis', work. Michael, along with many famous people, honored the late, great Sammy Davis Jr. in 1989 for the pioneering work he has done for so many entertainers. Michael performed a song called "You Were There" specifically for Mr. Davis as a personal thank you to him. Michael has always been known to make sure that the legendary entertainers that came before him were treated with respect and were thanked.
Last year, I stated on this blog my disgust over Lady Gaga having Michael's belongings when she won them in a auction. You can read what I stated about it here:
At that time, I was not a supporter of what was going on because I felt that the Jackson family should have those items sent to them. My feelings are sort of the same now but I have learned to respect what Lady Gaga is doing for Michael's items. She wanted to make sure that the items were being taken good care of and there is a rumor that she might built a museum to house some of the items. I cannot stay mad at someone who loved Michael and is trying to make sure that his legacy, when it comes to his items, are going to be treated with respect. However, I still feel that his children should keep the items and maybe Lady Gaga will make sure that will happen. Let's hope so.
Another thing that Lady Gaga reminds me of Michael is her activism. Like Michael, Lady Gaga has a lot of love and respect for the young people and in the recent years we have been seeing, reading and hearing the horror stories of children being bullied in school and in cyberspace. As a victim of bullying, Lady Gaga wanted to do something for people going through this social epidemic. In 1992, Michael created the "Heal the World" foundation to:
"Jackson founded the charity in 1992, naming it after his hit song, "Heal the World". The purpose of the charity was to provide medicine to children and fight world hunger, homelessness, child exploitation and abuse. Jackson stated that he wanted "to improve the conditions for children throughout the world"When Lady Gaga created her "Born This Way" campaign, her goal was to:
“to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment."Their concerns for the future of humankind was the same concept but for different times.
I cannot think of a song that she did that reminds me of Michael but there was a speech that she did when she was honored as being the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year (one of them) in 2013 that sums up why she does what she does. Michael also used his talents to make the world a better place. You can watch Lady Gaga's speech below.
Chris Brown is a talented, but troubled young man who needs prayers. It would be so easy to bash him for being this way but I am not here to do that. I actually feel sorry for him because when I first saw him back in 2005, I knew that he was going to be a star. He had it in him: youth, looks, talent and charisma. Michael had the very same qualities which made me root for Chris. Everything seemed to be going great for Chris until nearly five years ago when the attack that was heard around the world occurred. After that, nothing was the same for Chris. Chris had the chance to be just as big as Usher and Justin Timberlake. I was on youtube months ago and I saw this interview that radio dj, Charlamagne, from the popular radio show, "The Breakfast Club", did with Vlad and his comments were interesting.
Chilli from TLC Getting Bashed by Beyonce fans -
Kanye's Comments on Michael -