Defending Michael's Blackness
To really focus on discussing this side of Michael, you have really understand how much of a black person Michael was. I am bothered when people even denied his blackness and some of the reasons why certain people do that are so ridiculous that I cannot even understand their thinking patterns. I watched an episode of the tabloid show TMZ Live earlier this year and they were discussing the twisted story about a white actor who was picked to play Michael in some "comedy" short about the horrors of September 11th, 2001, better known as 9/11. (Anyone that finds comedy in that are very sick human beings.) One of the host of the tabloid show, Harvey Levin, a vulture who I mentioned a few times on here, stated in such a hateful and racist way that Michael never wanted to be a black person. Where he got his assumption probably comes from his ignorance about being black and the way Michael carried himself. No where in that man's ill-informed comment was it mentioned that Michael had a horrible skin disorder called Vitiligo nor was it mentioned that Michael never proclaimed to hate his race. Not one time it was even a mention of any comment where Michael stated he wanted to be white. There was no evidence of any of that but Levin's hatred and ignorance towards Michael relates to many people's ignorance towards him and how he proclaimed his race.
That same ignorance portrayed by Levin and many people is why the UK's Sky Arts cast a white actor name Joseph Finnes as Michael Jackson. They believed that Michael wanted to be white because of the rumors that he bleached his skin. The lie that turned into the "truth" is the root to this stupidity. Of course, once the news spread, the fans, the haters, black twitter and certain members of the media had a field day expressing anger, disgust and confusion as to why these people would want a white man to play a black man. The casting is another of example out of many examples of Hollywood obsession of whitewashing. This article goes into detail about how Hollywood casts white actors and actresses to play characters or real people who were not white -
A great article that really broke down the absurdity of why the casting of a white man playing Michael Jackson is unfair and disrespectful to Michael from vox.com -
If Levin and singer Brian McKnight (who was interviewed on TMZ Live and stated he had no issue with a white man playing Michael. He also stated that Michael has "white kids" and tried to make it a reason why he did not want to be black.) actually did some research or read the article about this, they would know what Michael thought about when the rumor spread that he wanted a white boy to play him in a commercial. He stated to Oprah in 1993,
"That is so stupid. That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy. I mean why? Number one, it’s my face as a child in the commercial. Me when I was little. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American. I’m proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride in who I am and dignity."
If you were seriously going to check and see what Michael ever stated about his race, you would have easily found the Oprah interview and watched what he stated. Levin and McKnight were yapping about a deceased man based on their ignorant views of Michael and their belief of the lies stated about Michael over the years. This is why doing this blog post is very important because people still believe Michael wanted to be white when he never wanted to.
As for the "road trip" story of Michael with the late Elizabeth Taylor and the late Marlon Brando, that was a created story written by a person name Zadie Smith for the magazine The New Yorker -
The sad reality of today's media is that they report stories and do not care to fact check or investigate to see if what they reported is even true. In this case, this person made up a story that was probably based on a report that had plenty of errors. Forget the fact that there were Michael Jackson fans that were in New York around that time that can debunk the fables about this situation. Here are a few -
When you read these personal accounts, it is almost mind blowing how the media lie on Michael as if it was a normal thing to do. This does not happen to white entertainers a much as it happens to black entertainers. Michael really went out of his way to break records and change the music business and eventually the world. However, it came with a harsh cost.
Part of the reason why Michael's blackness was in question was because he suffered from a horrible skin condition called Vitiligo in which he had no control over. According to mayoclinic.org, Vitiligo
"is a disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches. The extent and rate of color loss from vitiligo is unpredictable. It can affect the skin on any part of your body. It may also affect hair, the inside of the mouth and even the eyes.Normally, the color of hair, skin and eyes is determined by melanin. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning.Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. It can be stressful or make you feel bad about yourself. Treatment for vitiligo may improve the appearance of the affected skin but does not cure the disease."
Michael had been dealing with the skin disorder since he was a child and as he got older, the disorder got worse and he could no longer cover up the white spots with make-up. When the media and the public noticed about his skin change, they falsely accused him for bleaching his skin, hating his race and not wanting to be black. Ignoring the fact that Michael never stated or even acted as though he did not want to be black. Michael seemed to have to prove to many people that he was not ashamed of his race. In 1993, Michael told Oprah and 90 million people that he suffered from Vitiligo and how he had to deal with the disorder. He told her,
“I’m a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity. I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of my skin, it’s something that I cannot help, OK? But when people make up stories that I don’t want to be what I am it hurts me.”
When Michael passed away, Quincy Jones was interviewed in Details magazine and stated this very evil and disrespectful comment about him,
"It’s ridiculous man! Chemical peels and all of it," he said. "And I don’t understand it. But he obviously didn’t want to be black."
"EBONY: Have you had a chance to do any reading related to the Black experience or in terms of Black history?
MICHAEL: Oh yes! I'm really thankful for what Mr. John H. Johnson has done in bringing books through Johnson Publications......I think it's good to show we are contributing to the world in many ways. That's what a lot of people think - that we haven't.
EBONY: How do you keep up with what Black people today are doing, saying and thinking? And who are some of the people, other than your family and close associates, who influence your thinking?
MICHAEL: I love the way John H. Johnson runs his organization. Seems like everybody's very nice. I'm sure there are quarrels and things, but everybody's very nice......and have such an influence on the young. People rule their lives by Jet and Ebony. I mean, they get their information from two magazines and the young kids, too. I'll say, where did you read it? I read it in Jet. And they keep up with what's happening in Jet and Ebony. And I think that's wonderful.......God, I admire people like Johnson and Walt Disney. I think they're phenomenal."
Michael loving Stevie Wonder's classic album Songs in the Key of Life,
EBONY: Stevie Wonder apparently shares similar feelings, judging by some of musical messages.
MICHAEL: That's why I love Stevie Wonder's biggest selling album called Songs In the Key of Life. He has a song on that album called "Black Man"....I just jumped up and down screaming when I heard the record because he's showing the world what the Black man has done and what other races have done and he balanced it beautifully by putting other races in there, what they have done. Then he brings out what the Black Man has done. Instead of naming it another thing, he named it Black Man. That's what I loved about it....And that's the best way to bring about the truth, through song. And that is what I love about it."
More evidence of Michael being black and helping his people is when he donated money to the United Negro College Fund. Michael started to do that during the Victory tour when he announced that he proceeds he made from that tour would go to the UNCF. In 1988, during their 44th Annual Dinner, UNCF honored Michael for his contributions. Along with performing a concert show dedicated to UNCF and donating $600,000 in page 178 from Ebony (June 1988),
"In appreciation for Jackson's generous gift, the UNCF honored him at it's 44th Annual Dinner, an event that provided a new and revealing look at Jackson's seldom publicized role as a philanthropist"
Michael was also honored with an Honory Doctor of Humane Letter degree with Fisk University, which is a private, historically black university.
During his honor, Michael wanted to state something about UNCF on page 182,
"I would like to say this about the United Negro College Fund. An education opens a person's mind to the entire world, and there is nothing more important than to make sure everyone has the opportunity for an education. To want to learn, to have the capacity to learn and not be able to is a tragedy. I am honored to be associated with an evening that says this will never happen. Thank you. I love you all."Another reason Michael's blackness was in question was because people assumed that he was not into black women and he did not marry a black woman. I do not understand how people can think that just because they did not see him with black women then that means that he was not into them. I also do not know what does marrying outside of his race have to do with his race. However, I also have to remember that not everyone has a brain and they do not think rationally. Michael had black girlfriends, he was in love with Diana Ross, dated Stephanie Mills, even one of his former girlfriends, Theresa Gonsalves, wrote a book about her relationship with Michael and he had a crush on Whitney Houston. A woman name Romonica Harris stated that she was engaged to Michael during the 1980s. The mother of Michael's youngest son, Prince Michael (Blanket/Bigi) was rumored to be black. Michael made sure to cast black women as the female leads in his short films and even did a song about black women when none was ever done during that time called "Liberian Girl" on his Bad album.
Speaking of his short films, Michael always incorporated racial situations in his films in order for people to understand the pain and issues people who are black are dealing with. The song, "Black and White" according to scholar and author of the book Dangerous, Susan Fast, stated on page 4,
"Predictably, 'Black or White' was his only number one Billboard Hot 100 single off the album - ironic given that the short film for this song, the first released, presented his strongest statement about race relations to date, was wholly misunderstood and condemned, and was the first real sign of his danger."
When Michael released History: Past Present and Future in 1995, he was angry, understandably because of the nonsense he had to deal with two years prior and he did a song called "They Don't Care About Us." This was a very "controversial" song at the time because the Jewish community thought that Michael was bashing them but in reality, he was discussing the injustices people had to go through. Writer Armond White put it best when he did a review of the album discussing the media's issues with the song and the album from page 5 of Dangerous,
"media complaints that come down to white, middle-class spokespeople saying 'shut up and entertain us'."
When it came to Michael's Jewish friends and how they handled the controversy, according to the book Michael Jackson Inc. The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire, Michael thought that they would go on the airwaves and defend him. On page 177, Michael's former manager, Sandy Gallin, did not want to do that and,
"This only made Jackson push Gallin harder to no avail. 'He tried to convince me to do it. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, I wouldn't do it. He was very upset about all of this, and he thought that maybe I thought he was anti-Semitic. And he fired me'."
Michael was woke before that was even a trend or, for many people, a way of life. Michael's entire life after he purchased the Beatles Catalog was of being a woke, black man. He knew that his life was going to be different once he started owning music done by white people.
I want to also state another lame comment that Quincy Jones stated about Michael that also questions his blackness. Rap and Hip Hop is a music genre and even a way of life for many people and was created by the black community. When someone like Jones, who is respected in the music business and has always been a supporter of rap and hip hop, claims this about Michael and rap,
"He told his manager that I was losing it, that I didn’t understand the business because I didn’t understand in 1987 that rap was dead. Rap wasn’t dead. Rap hadn’t even started yet.”
It makes you very angry and you cannot understand why this Quincy Jones person was so focus on discrediting Michael. Here is the facts: during the time he was working on the Bad album, Michael wanted to work with the iconic rap group, Run DMC on a song called "Crack Kills". One of the members of the group, DMC, discusses the time he met Michael.
Michael did various collaborations with rappers and you can check them out on this link -
Various rappers/hip hop stars from LL Cool J to Nelly to Wyclef Jean to Nas to Pharrell discussed the time Michael would call them on the phone in hopes of working with them.
Lastly, Michael's own opinions about rap music that he told to Ebony magazine back in 2007, page 106,
"Q: Can we expect more of Michael Jackson?
A: I'm writing a lot of stuff right now. I'm in the studio, like, every day. I think, like the rap thing that is happening now when it first came out, I always felt that it was gonna take more of a melodic structure to make it more universal, 'cause not everybody speaks English. And you are limited to your country."
Michael did not bashed the genre, he gave it a meaniful, understandable criticism of a genre that can become universal and it eventually did. Why would Michael have an problem with rap music if he was working with rap/hip hop acts? It is important to get people to understand that a lot of these people that claimed to know Michael like Quincy, have a way of changing the facts to benefit them and in the process, it hurts Michael because the media will not do any research on Michael. Michael will not get his side of the situation told. This is one of the reasons why it is so important that this blog post and others like this are done so that his side of the story is told correctly.
Michael donated $100,000 to the Million Man March in 1995 and in the Living with Michael Jackson documentary, he invited inner city children to his Neverland Ranch.
Michael had a very deep, loving connection to Africa. As a person who is Nigerian American, I could not be any more happier that Michael loved Africa from the bottom of his heart. I do believe that if he had it his way, he would have lived in Africa, stayed there and never come back to America. His love of Africa began when he was a teenager and he stated this on page 106 of his autobiography Moonwalk,
"We didn't get to see the prettier parts of Africa, but the ocean and the shore and the people were unbelievably beautiful near the coast where we were. We went to a game reserve one day and observed animals roaming wild. The music was eye opening too. The rhythms were phenomenal."
When he visited Senegal, he stated on page 108,
"It was a visit to Senegal that made us realized how fortunate we were and how our African heritage had helped to make us what we were. We visited an old abandoned slave camp at Gore Island and we were so moved. The African people had given us gifts of courage and endurance that we couldn't hope to repay."
Throughout his career and life, Michael have often spoke his praises about Africa and how much he loved visiting the continent. He even supported the anti-apartheid fund raiser in regards to South Africa because he was an opponent of the white supremacy government in that country. He would even allow the South African Council of Churches to hold an art auction in his former home in Encino, California. When he visited Africa in 1992, he was asked by Ebony magazine, page 40,
"EBONY/JET: Do you have any special feeling about this return to the continent of Africa?
JACKSON: For me, it's like the 'dawn of civilization.' It's the first place where society existed. It's seen a lot of love. I guess there's that connection because it is the root of all rhythm. Everything. It's home."
Michael was honored in 1995 for his work in helping the continent of Africa.
Finally, in his last interview, he spoke about his love of the continent to Ebony on page 90,
"I just love Africa. They have lots for us to do. They have simulator rides, movie theaters, wave pools, we go to the record stores, the candy store, the book store, there's so much there."
When one questions Michael's blackness, it is done out of ignorance and malice. The individual who does this isn't educated in Michael's life and usually have no idea what he or she is talking about. These people refer to the tabloid media for their "facts" on Michael and his own words and actions are ignored by them. If it was not for the media and their hatred towards Michael, the information that I presented would be known to everyone.
Racism and Media Hatred
I have always believed that the true root towards the hatred the media had with Michael had to be when he purchased the Beatles/ATV now Sony/ATV catalog in 1985. However, after reading a few pages of the book called Otherness and Power Michael Jackson and His Media Critics by Susan Woodward, I was stunned that Michael received his first harsh criticism in 1984. Michael did his last tour with his brothers known as the Victory tour and there were problems with the tour. Woodward goes on to state on page 8,
"But as problems emerged with the tour's planning, the mood of the media and the public changed. The public was dismayed at the $30 ticket price, which was very high for that time, and the requirement that tickets be bought in blocks of four, a scheme that many felt would exclude underprivileged fans. Jackson and his brothers were further criticized for not playing in areas where many of their African American fans lived."
That led to an book written by Dave Marsh who was a music critic, called Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream in which the author trashed Michael and questioned everything about him. With all of the criticism that he received for that, Michael tried to make it up even lowering the prices of the ticket sales. People magazine special on Michael in 1984, even reached out to one of his fans who wrote a letter to Michael that convinced Michael to lower the ticket prices. Yet, that was not enough for the media to cease the bashing they were giving him.
The next year, Michael purchased the Beatles/ATV catalog for $47 million with the help of his music lawyer at the time and now executor of his Estate, John Branca. The story that led to Michael's purchase is very interesting and it gets into how Michael's mind worked. However, the purchased of music asset and what Michael did with it, changed the way the media and the public viewed Michael forever. People need to be reminded of the the real story on how Michael purchased the catalog and why it is dangerous for anyone to ever imply that he "stole" the catalog from music legend Paul McCartney. In Michael's autobiography, Moonwalk, on page 189, Michael explains how this happened,
"Eventually, I would buy the ATV music publishing catalogue, which included many of the great Lennon-McCartney songs. But most people don't know that it was Paul who introduced me to the idea of getting involved in music publishing. I was staying with Paul and Linda at their house in the country when Paul told me about his own involvement in music publishing. He handed me a little book with MPL printed on the cover. He smiled as I opened it, because he knew I was going to find the contents exciting. It contained a list of all of the songs Paul owns and he'd been buying the rights to the songs for a long time. I had never given the idea of buying songs any thought before. When the ATV music publishing catalogue, which contains many Lennon-McCartney songs, went on sale, I decided to put in a bid".
When Paul McCartney found out about this, he was not happy and stated from the book Michael Jackson Inc. on page 106,
"I think it's dodgy to do things like that. To be someone's friend and then buy the rug they're standing on."
The media was not on board with Michael purchasing the catalog and writer/ author James Baldwin made an eerie prediction of Michael's future once he own the ATV catalog. Baldwin did an article for Playboy magazine called "Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood" and is now featured in a book of his writings called Baldwin: Collection of Essays, in which he stated,
"The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael. All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair…”
"The Beatles' own recordings had never been licensed for use in a commercial. That changed when Nike paid $500,000 to put 'Revolution' in a television spot. Jackson's team obtained permission from Yoko Ono before signing off on the deal. "
"Paul McCartney was furious. He felt the Beatles' recordings shouldn't be in commercials, period. So he joined the surviving Beatles in a lawsuit targeting Nike, it's ad agency, and Capitol-EMI."
The media began to truly hate Michael and it never ended. When Michael was getting ready to promote his now classic album Bad, the media trashed him. They did not want to give Michael all of the love and respect they gave him years earlier. On page 128 of Inc., the reviews from certain media outlets really showed a change of narrative towards Michael,
"The New York Times' album review noted his new chin cleft before discussing his music, while the Los Angeles Times' response began by referring to Jackson as 'the world's favorite frail manchild'. Rolling Stone said the album was better than Thriller but buried the observation toward the bottom of a review that opened by calling Jackson a faux-porcelain elephant man. A reader's poll conducted by the same magazine named Jackson the year's Worst Male Singer."
The book did not mentioned that Rolling Stone did a cover story of Michael depicting him as some kind of animal that resembles a rodent or mouse. This same magazine, back in 1979 when Michael released Off The Wall, passed on doing an cover story with him because he was told that black artists do not sell magazines when they are on the cover. Rolling Stone had Michael on the cover eight times even though he is the best selling artist of all time. Also in 1987, another magazine did a 360 on Michael: People magazine. In 2014, People magazine marked 40 years in the publication world and I did a blog post on them and their treatment towards Michael.
When the magazine criticized him by calling him weird among other things -
he wrote an heartfelt plea to the magazine and that was the only time Michael ever gave any sort of interview with the magazine.
The tabloid media started to call Michael "Wacko Jacko" to portray him as crazy and disturbed. In 2012, Dr. Joseph Vogel did an article called "How Michael Jackson Made Bad" in which he discussed that the term "Jacko" had racist origins.
"Jacko Macacco" was the name of a famous monkey used in monkey-baiting matches at the Westminster Pit in London in the early 1820s. Subsequently, the term "Jacco" or "Jacco Macacco" was Cockney slang to refer to monkeys in general. The term persisted into the 20th century as "Jacko Monkeys" became popular children's toys in Great Britain in the 1950s. They remained common in British households into the 1980s."
I have always believed that the term "Wacko Jacko" was racist and it was meant to demean and belittle Michael.
As Michael was creating, executing and inventing things, the media would continue to demean and defame him. The media started to become a different form of lynching. They can no longer physically lynch someone but because of the First Amendment, they have the freedom to write whatever fable about someone for no reason. Michael was a constant punching bag to the media and Michael has always defending himself when it comes to the media. Michael made it clear in his book, Moonwalk, about the media's obsession with his appearance, page 230,
"I don't understand why the press is so interested in speculating about my appearance anyway. What does my face have to do with my music or my dancing?"
Michael never had a great experience with the media and he even made it part of his legacy. The media's credibility started to slowly go away based on their coverage of Michael Jackson. When you really think about it, the many publications that you and I would consider non tabloid all belittled Michael in some way or form. On page 271 of Moonwalk, Michael stated about the media and how they skewed his image to the public,
"I think my image get distorted in the public's mind. They don't get a clear or full picture of what I'm like, despite the press coverage I mentioned early. Mistruths are printed as fact, in some cases, and frequently only half of the story will be told. The part that doesn't get printed is often the part that would make the printed part less sensational by shedding light on the facts."
Michael never made it a secret that he heavily disliked the media and eventually Michael had a feeling that he was going to have a long standing issue with the media that no other celebrity or public figure ever had. There are members in the media that really hated and still hate Michael Jackson. These people want to make it certain that Michael's good name and legacy will always be tarnished by lies and rumors about his life. That is one of the reasons why I do this blog because Michael's name has to be cleared so that people really see what the media was truly about. In 1984, Michael started to do less and less interviews because as he became a bigger star, he was becoming a bigger target. He did an interview with Ebony magazine and the historic publication became Michael's go to magazine whenever he had to do an interview to promote an event or album. Michael told writer Robert E. Johnson that, on page 156,
"Several months ago, he told me that he was tired of the wave of lies in the White press."
Now, there are some of you out there that know that Michael did plant stories about himself to the press so his issues about how the media covers him is partly his fault. I understand that but I also understand that Michael was a brand and had to promote himself. He was not the first celebrity to plant stories about himself and was not the last. Michael probably thought that the media would not go too far with bashing him. When Michael visit Africa in 1992 for eleven days, the media continue to make up lies and fables on him. In order for Michael to set the record straight, he granted Ebony magazine an interview and accompanied him to the trip. The publication decided to refute the terrible lies the media stated about his trip to the Motherland. He even told the magazine in 1992 when he was discussing his visit to Africa on page 40,
"You know, that's the most I've said in eight years......You know I don't give interviews. That because I know you, and I trust you. You're the only person I trust to give interviews to."
"I don't pay attention to that. In my opinion, it's ignorance. It's usually not based on fact. It's based on, you know, myth. The guy who you don't get to see. Every neighborhood has the guy who you don't see, so you gossip about him. You see those stories about him, there's the myth that he did this or that. People are crazy!".
Seven years after Michael's passing, he is being defamed by various people making up things about him and as recently as June, a tabloid known as Radaronline.com posted a laughable story about the Santa Barbara Police Department finding child pornography at Neverland. The story spread all over the media and it was just another reminder that the media will always be angry that Michael outsmarted them and still became the biggest star of black origin, without their help. Their hatred to him, mostly the mainstream media and white owned black media, is the evidence that exists that shows that they were a big part of making the public believe the lies about him. The media forgets the fact that Michael was vindicated by a jury of his peers in the 2005 and that anyone that read up about the case online. The media forgets the fact that Michael never harmed a child in his life and the the FBI did their own investigation on Michael that proves his innocence. The media will never care to show people that Michael was never a criminal, crazy or whatever lie that is out there about him. The harassment and the treatment the media had with Michael was planned and orchestrated. Linda Deutch, former Associated Press writer, discussed how the media handled the 2005 case in a interview.
As long as there is a want to discredit Michael's name and legacy, the media will continue to perform the acts of lying on Michael. This is a form of racism, pure and simple. This is not about Michael being different, weird or a celebrity. This is about rewriting the history of Michael Jackson's life and career.
In order for Michael to reached the heights that he had reached, he would have to find a strategy that he can do in order to become the greatest entertainer of all time. In the book Dangerous, Susan Fast stated what writer Mark Anthony Neal described that soul singers before Michael presented themselves as hyper black, hyper masculine and hyper sexual men and that it acted as a shield from the tradition of white emasculation of black men. Fast also states on page 48 that Neal suggests,
"Jackson's drive to be a best-selling commercial artist lead him away from this conventional performance of black masculinity and towards one that could be considered 'queer' in that it challenged the stereotypes and made Jackson seem 'safe' for young white consumers and their parents."That strategy led Michael to greatness and rewarded him to have the chance to own his Masters and purchase the publishing rights of the Beatles/ATV Catalog. Michael believe in the power of word of mouth and he described in his book Moonwalk on 239, about the Victory tour,
"I wanted incredible word-of-mouth response to the show so a wide range of people would come and see us. Word of mouth is the best publicity. Nothing beats it. If someone I trust comes to me and tells me something is great, I'm sold."
Michael's mindset to do the things he did when it comes to business and eventually owning and investing in a business started when he was at Motown. He just decided to think differently about many things and Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, discussed how inquisitive he was, from Michael Jackson Inc. on page 37,
"He was interested in what publishing was - what this was, what that was."
Even when it came to business matters, Michael would read through contracts and according to Walter Yetnikoff, former head of CBS Records (now Sony Music), page 42 from Michael Jackson Inc,
"He'd read them like a lawyer would. Peering, peering, make a note on the side. I'm sure he had a lawyer reading it also, but he wanted to read it and make notes on it himself. So it would appear that he knew what he was doing."
Michael had went through a hard reality when he was doing the Victory tour. He stated in his book Moonwalk on pages 257-258,
"We did a tour years ago when this guy who ripped us off, but he taught me something. He said, 'Listen, all these people work for you. You don't work for them. You are paying them'. He kept on telling me that. Finally I began to understand what he meant. It was an entirely new concept for me because at Motown everything was done for us. Other people made our decisions. I've been mentally scarred by that experience. 'You got to wear this. You've got to do these songs. You are going here. You are going to do this interview and that TV show.' That's how it went. We couldn't say anything. When he told me I was in control, I finally woke up. I realized he was right."
After Michael woke up, he started to take a control of his life and career and started to become more hands on into everything that he did. When he and his designer, Michael Bush with his partner the late Dennis Tompkins worked on the first leg of the Bad tour in 1987, Bush saw how Michael was in control. He stated on page 130 of Inc.,
"Who remembers Jackson leafing through magazines, tearing out images that inspire him, and Scotch taping them floor to ceiling. The two would sit down with one piece of paper, one eraser and two pencils. 'He would draw, I would erase. I would draw and he would erase."
This pairing and collaboration led to an invention that Jackson executed and Bush with Tompkins created was a special shoe that Michael wore that would create the "Smooth Criminal" lean. Years later, Michael got a patent for the shoe and shared the credit with Bush and Tompkins.
The real reason why Michael eventually owned the Beatles catalog he explain in his book, Moonwalk on page 189,
"I consider myself a musician who is incidentally a businessman, and Paul and I had both learned the hard way about business and the importance of publishing and royalties and the dignity of songwriting.".
Michael was very focused on purchasing the Catalog and he did everything he could possibly do to own the Catalog. He knew that this was going to be an important asset in his business pedigree.
The way Michael would work on building up the catalog was, according to Inc. on page 131,
"All the while, Jackson kept up with music industry goings-on-between concerts, scouring the charts for up-and-coming songwriters to sign to ATV."
Michael would purchased old songs and was interested in signing new artists in the ATV. With owning the Catalog, along with the success of Thriller, Michael made a huge impact. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Michael was so hated, on page 134 of Inc.,
"He had paved the way for black artists to dance and sing their way into living rooms all over the country - and for acts of all races to not only profit immensely from previously unheard-of brand extensions but to own the entities behind them as well."
That power that Michael had scared certain people and they were not ready for what Michael was going to do.
Michael made a point about the media in one of his interviews in which he stated that the media never reports the good things. When you really think about it, you almost forget after all of the nonsense the media stated about him that he was a humanitarian and philanthropist. Michael has always given back but he made it a priority in everything that he did in his life to constantly give back in any way that he can. This is another form of empowerment; to help people who are unable to to help themselves. It is also the purpose of being a human being. Michael's good works in his life correlates to his record breaking music career and it was always a given that the more Michael became popular and successful, the more he gave back to the world. When he did the Victory tour, he donated his earnings he received ($6 million) from the proceeds to various charities such as the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and T.J. Martell Foundation.
The famine in Ethiopia and the Sudan in the 1980s was horrific and when Michael saw the images of the people suffering, he had to do something. He discussed in his book Moonwalk on page 261,
"Around the time, I used to asked my sister Janet to follow me into a room with interesting acoustics, like a closet or the bathroom, and I'd sing to her, just a note, a rhythm of a note. It wouldn't be a lyric or anything; I'd just hum from the bottom of my throat. I'd say, 'Janet, what do you see? What do you see when you hear this sound?' And this time she said, 'dying children in Africa.' 'You're right. That's what I was dictating from my soul.'"
The charity song was "We Are the World" and the success of the song and single help end the suffering of the famine. The charity USA for Africa raised millions of dollars and according to Marcia Thomas, who was the executive director of USA for Africa, stated to Ebony magazine in 2009 on page 88,
"He didn't necessary have to go out and raise money for us. When that song hit, it just automatically became an instant fund raiser. We're still getting royalties from that song today."
Michael made it his trademark to donate his earnings from his legendary tours to charity. He did this during the Victory tour and when he went on the Dangerous tour in 1992, he donated his earnings to his foundation Heal The World. With that charity, along with Heal Los Angeles, funded immunizations, mentoring and drug prevention programs. Michael would often donate items such as sequin-studded jackets, hats and pants to an grassroots sickle cell anemia organization of six employees called The Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California (SCDFC). Michael gave so much money to so many charities and it was reported that he gave at least $450M of his own money to various charities all over the world.
In 1995, Michael merged the Beatles/ATV catalog with Sony Music which according to Michael Jackson Inc on page 174,
"The agreement created a 50-50 joint venture called Sony/ATV; the company paid Jackson $115 million for the privilege of merging its less-valuable catalogue with his, plus an annual guarantee just shy of $10 million that has since been negotiated upwards. Most important, the deal established a partnership instead of a sale (in addition, Jackson maintain complete ownership of the copyrights held under Mijac Music, both his compositions and those other songwriters.)"
There was also a demand that Michael and John Branca had for Sony, pages 174-175,
"Sony could not enter the music publishing business in any other form or capacity besides Sony/ATV, or force Jackson to sell his stake in the venture. That meant Sony was heavily incentivized to help Jackson realized his dream of having the world's top music publishing company."
By that time, Michael released his iconic album History: Past, Present and Future, he started to have problems with Sony and became worried about his catalog. From that point up until the trial in 2005, Michael became convinced that he was going to lose his half of the catalog to Sony Music.
In 2001, Michael's last studio album, Invincible, was released, debuted at number one and had a couple of top ten hits. However, it was not the usual promotion Michael would have with his previous albums. This was another way of Sony music not honoring Michael's wishes and in turn the company started to sabotage his career. In 2002, he decided to protest against Sony Music and how they operate. In London, Michael's fans created an event called Killer Thriller in which Michael told his fans what he was dealing with regarding Sony.
When he came back to the United States, he did another protest to Sony at their New York headquarters. He went to Harlem and spoke to the people at Al Sharpton's organization about his issues with Sony and the history that the record companies have with black entertainers, artists, songwriters and these people dying broke without anything left for their children and families.
Michael also stated that Tommy Mottolla is a racist and devilish. Michael's comments about Mottolla made a lot of news in the media and Michael was accused of having an album that flopped, he was no longer important anymore in the industry, and members of the industry such as Russell Simmons spoke against Michael's claims and stated that Tommy Mottola was not a racist. Berry Gordy even had to call Michael and stated to him, page 189 of Michael Jackson Inc.,
"The Motown founder told Jackson he shouldn't be playing 'the race card' and advised him not to do it again. 'We've never done that. Our philosophy is there's music for all people, and it's not about white and black. And we can't do that, especially you, because you've never felt that way. You're angry now, you're bitter now. Think it over."
That is funny because Gordy was known for screwing over the artists at Motown and Michael was not trying to play the race card. He was stating the truth about the music business. If they were not racists, they would not have an issue with blacks being on the cover of their albums or owning their Masters and publishing rights. Gordy prevented his artists from growing as artists and yes, just because he probably did not think the industry was racist, he never had to deal with what many people, like Michael had to deal with. By the time Michael stated what he had to state, he became a joke to the media and the industry. Even when he tried to own Marvel Comics in 2002 -
he never got a chance to and eventually, in 2009, the year Michael was murdered, Disney decided to own Marvel Comics. When you watch the video of Michael talking about how he would have like to own Marvel Comics, you noticed how he was thinking: he was always thinking about what he could do with Marvel Comics and how it can grow as a company. This was how Michael was thinking all of the time. He never stopped thinking about what was next. Also, Michael no longer wanted to tour because, like he stated in one of the videos, he did not want to end up like James Brown performing for the rest of his life. On page 191 of Inc.,
"Jackson did seem to be focused on building businesses that could replace the physically grueling process of touring as s major income stream in the next phase of his career."
There is nothing wrong with Michael wanting to do that. He was performing his entire life and he should not have to continue to perform when he was getting old, going through pain, having a family and was tired of touring. He already did enough with the touring and wanted to focus on building his empire. This is how people who are empowered think and operate.
In 2005, Michael had to deal with a bogus trial that wasted his time, energy and drained him of what he wanted to do. Michael believed that the trial was simply done to ruin him and according to his lawyer Tom Mesereau on page 196 of Inc.,
"He clearly thought the catalogue made him a huge target. That various interests wanted his catalogue and would do anything to see him destroyed to get his catalogue, would want to see him on prison so he couldn't fend off lawsuits."
Think about it, why do you think Michael had to deal with all of these lawsuits once he "settled" the 1994 case? It was to robbed him blind. If that did not work, there was always something else. The people/entities that wanted Michael to go to jail for the false allegations: the media, Tom Sneddon and Sony Music wanted Michael to pay for all of the things that he has done to them or because they were jealous of him or because of what he can do to influence people. Michael had the power to convince people to empower themselves and know everything they need to know about life. People who think like Michael are often silenced and if they are not, they will be ruined in some way. When you look back at all of the things that were stated about him that were lies, why are they still believed in this day and time? Sony wanted his half of the catalog because it made more money than the half they had. Since Michael was vindicated, he had to deal with lawsuits after lawsuits about Michael not paying them and things of that nature. Lawsuits that tried to strip him of his money. Since none of that work, set Michael up with concerts that there was no way that he could ever do and that led to his murder on June 25th, 2009.
In October of last year, a clause was triggered in the merger between Sony Music and the Michael Jackson Estate that would allow Sony Music to make a bid to take over the half that Michael owned. This was all a rumor, so we thought, and no moved was ever made. That all changed in March of this year when the executors of the Michael Jackson Estate announced that they will sell Michael's half of the catalog to Sony Music.
When John Branca was interviewed by 60 Minutes in 2013 or 2014, he stated that they were not going to sell any assets, which means the Sony/ATV catalog was not going to be sold. We should have known that this man was a liar when he stated via his spokesperson in 2013, that Neverland was not for sale. Neverland is currently on sale for $100 million. Now, the executors were hoping to according to the Los Angeles Times,
"to reach a deal to buy out Sony's stake and had spoken with potential partners, according to people familiar with the negotiations who were not authorized to comment publicly. But the purchase price from Sony ultimately proved attractive to the estate."
However, there is something that missing from the L.A. Times article: The IRS Filing. In 2014, the executors claimed that,
"in a tax return that Jackson’s 50% of stake in Sony/ATV – which includes the famed Beatles catalogue, and which it sold this week for $733,000,000 – was worth $0.00."
How can a over $2 billion company be worth $0?! How is that even possible? All of the money that Michael made with the catalog was worth nothing??? The amount that the executors paid to Sony, $750 million, covers for the back taxes and penalties. These people sold Michael's retirement fund, pension plan, 401K, his children's money, the future generational wealth of the Jackson family to the very company that literally sabotaged Michael's entire life! That is sickening. The sale was finalized on September 30, 2016.
It has been seven years after Michael was murdered and whenever I think back at those years, there was one thing that no one ever really discussed about him: his empowerment. I never even realized that he had this side of him until I started to listen to information from a scholar that would discuss about empowerment and owning a business. As I listened to this individual's podcasts and read his status updates on Facebook, I started to compare what he was stating to certain things about Michael and I realized that Michael really was someone who was empowered. The point this blog entry is to defend Michael's blackness and display Michael's empowerment. Michael never put his children in public school in the United States because he did not believe that they would have the best education and, as he stated in one of his protest speeches in 2002, history books lie. Michael homeschooled his children and that experienced benefitted them. They had a tutor who taught them what they were supposed to learn. After he died, the children were homeschooled until their grandmother Katherine decided to enroll them into the Buckley School which is a private school that prepares students for college.
Michael's journey to success in the entertainment business and eventually in the world of business was rare for him at his time. However, he encouraged and inspired future music entertainers to also become entrepreneurs. Michael was inspired to do this when he would read and be told the horror stories of his musical idols such as Sammy Davis Jr., James Brown, Gene Kelly and Jackie Wilson performing for the rest of their lives so that they can have food on the table because the industry screwed them over. A few of these entertainers would eventually die penniless, a fear that Michael constantly had. The ownership of the Sony/ATV catalog guaranteed that Michael would never go broke, it gave Michael the opportunity to be a full time businessman and have the freedom to do whatever he wanted to do. After all of the nonsense he had to deal with, he wanted to finally have a life filled with raising his children, growing his business empire and constantly give back. Michael soon realized that the life he wanted would have to come with a price and it did not include the valuable catalog. Michael's relentless personality would never let anyone take away an asset that he purchase for himself and his family. He wanted to keep it in the family because it was a family asset.
I hope that people who read this, especially black people who are trying to figure out some things in their lives, truly learn from what Michael had been though in his life. Most importantly, I hope they learned that you do not have to tolerate things because of the color of your skin, your gender, your beliefs, your education, etc. That anyone can be successful in their lives if they really want to. Michael became a businessman by accident; he was not in the music business to be a businessman but to be an entertainer. However, his love for knowledge, his undeniable drive to succeed and his motivation to never be poor again made him realized that being a business minded person was the only way he would know for sure that his empire for his children and grandchildren will be there for them. I want black people to really start to understand their true history and know their African culture. They must do that in order to understand what they are dealing with. I feel that every black person that really want to have a family must look into owning some type of business, looking into buying stock or investing in a business and make that just as important as getting an education.
Finally, I want everyone to really understand that Michael was more than just an entertainer. To view him as just an entertainer is not fair to him because one forces themselves to not see the other sides of Michael that made him the person that he ultimately became. Michael was a conscious man who saw the world the way that we are all supposed to see the world. Instead of letting the evil people win, he fought for his legacy in every chance he can. When people lie on Michael and state that he did not want to be a black man why should anyone accept that lie? You should really ask yourself what evidence that they have that "prove" to them that Michael hated his own race. You should look into why those evil people are so quick to believe the lies about him instead of learning about him and his life. You should be angry if people would rather believe the media talking heads view's of Michael instead of his words. Why should anyone believe that Michael would want certain people to run his legacy when he never wanted them around him? Why would anyone think Michael would want his family asset to be sold to a company that literally sabotaged his career and legacy? People need to think about certain things before they start believing them and people need to stop allowing the corrupted media think for them. Start thinking for yourself because God gave you a brain to use not to let it waste away. Once you start to think for yourself, no one can ever truly control you. Michael Joseph Jackson was proof of that.
Over the five years that I have been doing this blog, I have made it an effort not to do a entry on the false allegations that were surrounding Michael's good name and character. I do not see the point of doing a post about allegations that are not true and are created to simply ruin his good name. Why would I want to waste my time proving to people that Michael was and is innocent when the man already stated that he is not this child predator? It is a set up to ruin everything that he worked for. As I started to work on this blog entry, I realized that I have to eventually mention the laughable allegations if I want people to understand that what happened to Michael was indeed planned. So, I decided to use this section of this entry to post various links that I want people who are reading this blog for the very first time to look into and start educating themselves about this very topic and many other topics as well.
The False Allegations and Extortion Plots and FBI Clearence:
A fantastic rebuttal of the laughable rumors of child pornorpghy "found" at Neverland. There was never any of that. The video goes into all of the rumors that surrounded MJ and the false allegations he had to deal with. Please watch the video.
Dangerous. Fast, Susan. Pages 4, 5 and 48, 2014.
Otherness and Power Michael Jackson and His Media Critics. Woodward, Susan. Page 8, 2014.
Moonwalk. Jackson, Michael. Pages 106, 108, 189, 230, 238, 239, 257, 258 and 261., 1988 and 2009.
Michael Jackson Inc. The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire. Greenburg, O'Malley, Zack. Pages 5, 6, 36, 37, 42, 57, 62, 72, 80, 83, 97, 106, 109, 124, 126, 128, 130, 131, 134, 174, 177, 189, 191, and 195, 2014.
Articles (Websites) -
"The Whitewashing of Michael Jackson, Explained", Massie, Victoria, M. vox.com, February 2, 2016, http://www.vox.com/2016/2/2/10889998/michael-jackson-whitewashing-fiennes
"Vitiligo- Definition", Mayo Clinic Staff, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vitiligo/basics/definition/con-20032007
"The Pop Diplomacy of Quincy Jones", Goldman, Andrew. nytimes.com, September 21, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/magazine/the-pop-diplomacy-of-quincy-jones.html?_r=0
"How Michael Jackson Made 'Bad'", Vogel, Joseph. theatlantic.com, September 10, 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/how-michael-jackson-made-bad/262162/
"Sony To Pay $750 Million for Jackson's Estate's Sony/ATV Stake", Faughnder, Ryan. latimes.com, March 14, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sony-atv-michael-jackson-20160314-story.html
"Beatles Catalogue Sold Over Michael's Dead Body", TheMJAP, themichaeljacksonacademiaproject.wordpress.com, March 18, 2016, https://themichaeljacksonacademiaproject.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/sonyatv/
Writer James Baldwin's Prophecy About Michael originally from a Playboy magazine article from 1985 called "Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood".It is now in a book called Baldwin: Collection of Essays.
http://www.joevogel.net/the-baldwin-prophecy (link does not work)
"The Michael Jackson Nobody Knows", Johnson, Robert., Ebony, December 1984, pages 157 and 158.
"The New and Revealing Look At Michael Jackson", Johnson, Robert. Ebony, June 1988, pages 178 and 180.
"Michael Jackson: Crowned in Africa, Pop Music King Tells Real Story of Controversial Trip", Johnson, Robert. Ebony, May 1992, page 40.
"Michael 25 Years After Thriller", "Michael the Thrill is Back" and "Q & A Michael Jackson In His Own Words", Bennett, Joy and Monroe, Bryan. Ebony, 2007, pages 90, 106 and 109.
"Michael Our Icon Philanthropist", Gibbs, Adrienne Samuels. Ebony Commemorative Issue, 2009. Page 88.
Michael defending his black race from Oprah in 1993.
The lyrics of the song "They Don't Care About Us" from the History: Past, Present and Future album, 1995.
The pictures came from my personal harddrive and google.com search.
All videos came from youtube.com