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Michael Jackson’s Real Leaving Neverland: Framed By Victor Gutierrez, a NAMBLA Member Embraced By The Media

Chilean “journalist” Victor Gutierrez

The Michael Jackson allegations were a set up by a man you may never have heard of before named Victor Gutierrez.

Victor comes from Chile and moved to the US in the 80s where he claims he infiltrated a NAMBLA meeting and heard that after seeing Jackson’s relationships with children in the media, they wanted to make him a poster boy for their cause. [1] [2] He’s given various conflicting accounts on how he managed to “infiltrate” NAMBLA that are bogus, for example claiming he’d worked undercover for the LAPD. We called the LAPD and they’ve never had anyone by his full name who worked for them. The likely reason he was there: he too is a NAMBLA member.

Victor admits that it was then that he became obsessed with Jackson. He started trying to track down anyone who worked at Neverland and any family he saw spend time with Jackson in public. After claiming he’d spent 5 months trying to search for them, he managed to meet Wade Robson’s family in 1992 and on meeting with them told them immediately that he was investigating Jackson for being a pedophile. They told Jermaine Jackson in 2011 that at this point they reported him to Michael. [3] Jackson likely just figured Victor was another normal kook and ignored it. Perhaps the biggest mistake of his life.

In mid 1993 after Jackson had befriended the Chandlers, the father who wanted to become a big time screenwriter, suddenly became obsessed with Michael abusing his son, according to their own story, before Jackson had even started abusing him. [4] Phonecalls started coming in around May 1993 to the National Enquirer tipline claiming in fact that Jackson was abusing Jordan. Every week a journalist there told us they were getting these calls with more info on these allegations. [5] They didn’t print the story because the caller had provided no proof and hadn’t been looking to sell the story at the time. This was just as the Chandlers would claim Jackson had started abusing Jordan. So either the caller had been blessed with psychic gifts, had extrasensory perception or something else was going on. Evan hadn’t been around Jordan that much to have any real suspicions of his own, they’d only spent a weekend together at the end of May. [6]

Notably, the Chandler family had been seen in public with Jackson to the point that the Enquirer had already written a story about the family at the start of May, so if anyone had wanted to try and track them down for stories or info in the way someone had done with the Robsons, they would have been able to. Evan also would’ve therefore known how to get a hold of the Enquirer should something pressing like the idea his son was being sexually abused by a superstar turn up, because surely that’s the phonecall you make first before calling the police, a psychiatrist or even perhaps your lawyers.

Jackson had also started investigating Evan because he was making all kinds of weird threats and demands, like asking him to build an extension to their home. Jackson refused. Jordan’s step father and Evan were taped around mid June where Evan claims, “there’s other people involved” waiting for a phonecall to happen to unleash “a certain plan that isn’t just mine”. That Michael Jackson wouldn’t know what was going to hit him. “If I go through with this, I win big time. There’s no way that I lose. I’ve checked that out inside out. I will get everything I want, and they will be totally — they will be destroyed forever.”  Contrary to the later idea that this family was incredibly media shy, he brags on tape that he wants this to be as public as possible. He’s asked if he knows if Jackson has abused his son, he says he has no idea. That his well being is “irrelevant” to him. That all he has is his “imagination” now that neither Jordan, Jackson or his ex wife June had wanted to speak to him anymore after he’d begun his threats. [7] He’s never claimed to have evidence of any of this abuse on Jordan specifically, not at the time, not later, yet he’s utterly convinced that when this goes public there will be more happening that will condemn Jackson.

A few weeks after this after gaining back custody of Jordan, Evan would reportedly drug his son with sodium amytal in order to get him to admit he’d been abused. This was a very convenient choice of drug as it would make all testimony he gave inadmissible in court as that drug makes people highly susceptible. That would mean Jordan would never have had to take the stand, and if he ever did, that his testimony would not be considered trustworthy. [8] Evan had previously demanded that Jackson pay him $20 million for 4 movie scripts he’d written stating that working on them with his son would help bring the pair together which were his purported claims for why he wanted such extortionate demands, Jackson had refused. Evan would then lower his demands to $1 million, Michael Jackson still refused to pay. If he were throwing money at children and parents surely at this point this would have been the time to pay the money and make the whole thing go away. Evan would later brag in his book, “Had Michael paid the twenty million dollars demanded of him in August, rather than the following January, he might have spent the next ten years as the world’s most famous entertainer, instead of the world’s most infamous child molester.”

Instead of reporting this to the police himself like any normal parent, he takes Jordan to a psychiatrist who was legally bound to report it for them. Again, this was a convenient plan because it meant Evan couldn’t be sued for making false allegations as they were reported by someone other than him. It would seem the well thought out plan he’d told Schwartz about before he’d even known about any abuse was being carefully laid out and followed. If his son Jordan had told him that he hadn’t been abused at this point, Jackson could surely have sued him for extortion after all his private threats and demands, so it was very lucky for him that he seemed to know his son would be abused by Jackson before he had been, had called the National Enquirer to report that his son was being abused by Jackson as he was being abused without knowing for sure if he was being abused, and that his son had then admitted to being abused after finally being drugged by him in order for him to demand the exact same sum of money he’d demanded of Jackson without knowing his son was being abused.

The week the story breaks the Chandlers sell the story to the National Enquirer, with full direct quotes from both Evan and Jordan. They would later claim they didn’t take Jackson to court because they were scared of all the publicity. Yet it would seem they had been trying to take this to the National Enquirer since before Evan had even drugged his son to confess abuse, then sold a story the second it had become public.

It’s here where Victor Gutierrez is going to the journalist Diane Dimond at Hard Copy claiming he has the inside info about these allegations, she would later brag publicly that he was her “best source”. What did he impress her with that she believed he had impressive links to the Chandlers and others? A man named Rodney Allen starts messaging Dimond from Canada as soon as the allegations break, writing to her about once a week claiming that a Jackson family member had abused him in the past. He’s ignored as he comes off mentally unwell.

A week after the allegations break, Victor Gutierrez himself would be interviewed by the LAPD over two days, it’s unknown whether he made himself available or if they had sought an interview with him, but he would tell them that he’d been working on a book explicitly about this subject and had “interviewed” some of the boys that were being sought in connection by the authorities already. The boys he would cite in his book as victims he claims he knew about were: Spence, Safechuck, Wade, Brett, Macaulay, Jordan. [9]

Disgruntled employees spring up, overly eager to sell their stories to Diane Dimond’s Hard Copy and a few other tabloid outlets for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, claiming they’d witnessed Jackson in the shower, jacuzzi or touching a few boys:  Spence, Safechuck, Culkin, Wade, Brett Barnes. Conveniently none of them would claim that they’d witnessed the main victim in all this, Jordan, being abused. This would mean that the chances this would go to criminal court would be lower as there would be nothing but one word against another.

In a lawsuit against Michael Jackson, these employees would claim they’d been fired for “knowing too much about Jackson’s relationship with boys”, though earlier they had also told police and a jury that they’d seen nothing and in fact felt comfortable letting their children around him. They demand $16 million in compensation in the lawsuit. It’s from this suit we find out that they had all interacted with a certain Victor Gutierrez. They say they’d spent a few hours with him before selling their stories and that he’d helped them with their lawsuit, they would also later say he’d put words into their mouths and said things they hadn’t even claimed. Michael Jackson wins the lawsuit against these employees, the judge finds they have stolen from him, lied, sold stories about him, at one point the judge is so appalled by their behavior he leaves the bench in disgust. Jackson was awarded $1.4 million in damages which they never paid. Many of them like McManus still continue to sell stories recounting ever more lurid and graphic acts they’d seen Jackson perform without so much as a single word mentioned about this lawsuit or her many contradictory testimonies in court and to the police. [9] [10]

Around October or November of 1993, with a paucity of credible victims and witnesses, Gutierrez is claiming in Chile that two kids were abused by Michael in Latin America. That claim isn’t heard from again. Then in December of 1993 he contacts the FBI to tell them that they had already investigated Michael for sexually abusing two Mexican boys in 1985, but that it had been overlooked because Michael was receiving an award from the president. It was actually the previous year he’d received that award, but the FBI did a search on their files and could find no such investigation had ever taken place. I believe Victor would later claim that it was an FBI fact that there had been an “investigation” by the FBI into these allegations based on the phonecall he had made himself. [11]

The draft drawing the Chandlers (and Gutierrez?) had completed in October of 1993.

This month Michael Jackson also strips naked and allows his body to be documented by police, a brave decision to make if he knows Jordan had indeed seen him naked. Bizarrely it was the prosecution who then submitted a multiple choice to Jackson to either hand over the photos of his naked body, submit to taking more photos or have the photos barred from court. They wanted to force Jackson to make the choice to bar the photos so they could claim that Jackson wanted to hide something and not they themselves, because obviously there was no way he’d take more photos or hand anything over to them knowing that they could use it to work around or sell obnoxious stories about. Jordan who was Jewish had claimed Jackson was circumcised (as their writing on their drawing shows: “Mike – circumcised”), he was not. The Chandlers would later include a draft version of what Jordan had claimed in a book, where they have a little box which states “My theory” in regards to how they believe Jackson’s genitals looked, unintentionally revealing to us that they lacked that knowledge themselves. There are mentions to a secretary Jackson once had called Orietta Murdoch who had been fired before Michael had met the Chandlers, as well as graphic details about Brett Barnes. Orietta had been one of the people Victor had befriended and Victor had been obsessed for some reason with Brett Barnes. [12]

It’s around the same time in October when Jordan gives a further interview to Dr Abrams which contradicted some of the timelines in his earlier report to his case worker Rosata, and one of the things he also does is list boys he claims Jackson had told him he’d abused as though it were proof he were an abuser, their names were edited but in context we can tell that they seem to be: Spence, Safechuck, Wade, Brett, Cukin. The same names Victor had outlined in his book and the same ones cited by the “witnesses”. 

Jackson’s forced to stop touring and enters rehab, he’s then sued by $20 million for the cancellation. Jackson had been fighting to get the criminal trial started first; he wanted to risk going to prison over these allegations. But the judge ruled in favour of the Chandler’s who had been fighting from the very beginning so that the civil one could be allowed first, and that Jackson could be deposed for this. This would violate his first amendment rights as the Chandlers could use his testimony to amend their own stories and legal strategy. His legal team therefore wanted to settle the civil trial and encouraged him to do this at this point, though he’d resisted for over six grueling public months.

After he does so, the case goes through two grand juries in the summer of 1994 and they refuse to prosecute him. One juror states that no damaging evidence had been heard. They interviewed 40-60 children, 400 people. Apart from the Victor “witnesses” who went to the media first, nobody has any info about anything and there are no further victims. [13]

A year later a story breaks in January of 1995 by Diane Dimond that Jackson’s being investigated by the LAPD for a tape of him sexually abusing one of his nephews. Diane Dimond claims on air that the descriptions of these acts bear a remarkable similarity to the acts that it was described were committed against Jordan Chandler. Jackson sues over this. The source of this claim is our friend Victor Gutierrez. In court he would change his story numerous times and admit he had no knowledge of the tape or who the victim was, and in fact challenged Michael Jackson to produce both things for him. At this time he also publishes a book he claims is compiled of documents from the Chandlers, claiming detailed graphic accounts about the sexual abuse Jackson orchestrated on children including Jordan. He includes the “draft” drawing that the Chandlers would later use on their website, depicting what Jackson’s genitals supposedly looked like according to them. The book is very lurid and involves a lot of fecal matter, and also portrays the idea of child abuse as consensual and “loving” (Jordan never portrays it this way himself in his own psychiatric interview, this is a story conveniently added by the NAMBLA attendee and “boys and men can engage in sexually fulfilling relationships” proselytizer Gutierrez later). This book would be involved in the lawsuit and Jordan and Evan Chandler would give sworn declarations denying they had knowledge of any of various quotes in the book, but never once denying they’d met Victor. The judgement for this is in Michael’s favour at $2.6 million. Victor flees back home to Chile and pays Jackson nothing. [14]

Around this time a Canadian boy starts contacting Diane Dimond to tell her he’s also been abused by Jackson. He’s very graphic and comes up with detailed layouts for Neverland and even Jackson’s parent’s home. He’s able to identify Jackson’s staff by their photos. He completes a drawing of what he claims Jackson looked like during their alleged sex act. Dimond and Hard Copy fly up to speak to him, he continues with his story, never wavering. There was an intermediary who said he’d be there and he never shows up. They manage to find out that this man is Rodney Allen. The same one who’d been letter writing them previously. The boy breaks down and admits it was all a lie. Dimond never pursues this story, never wonders how this child was coached to give such compellingly accurate details about homes he’s never been to or why Rodney Allen went through all this, or even how odd and sinister it is that a boy has been coached to claim abuse by any man at all. [15]

Having refused to testify in front of the grand juries, Evan and Jordan Chandler sue Michael Jackson again for $60 million. They threaten Jordan will testify this time around. Evan wants Jackson to let him release an album called EVANstory where he wants to sing about his son’s supposed sex abuse, as loving fathers are wont to do. They provide monthly updates to the Enquirer about this. The case is thrown out of court and they’re required to pay Jackson’s legal fees. [16]

In 1999 Rodney Allen is arrested for the sexual abuse of boys, in a way in which anyone besides Diane Dimond could otherwise have predicted. At that time he was posting on online forums obsessed with Jackson, claiming he’d be caught for sexual abuse soon and sharing the numbers for the Chandlers and others in the case. He seems very upset at the uncle Ray Chandler, a man who Evan used as another intermediary with the press in order to get out of the NDA agreement; seemingly Victor and the Chandlers had had a falling out. The Chandlers had immediately tried to sell their book about the allegations in 1994 after the settlement instead of seeking to testify against Jackson, but no publisher would touch it because of their NDA. [17] Victor Gutierrez had used many notes and photographs sourced it would seem from the Chandlers; had the Chandlers originally intended to use Gutierrez to publish the book to get out of the NDA only for the lawsuit against him to jeopardize that? Or had they fallen out over the book for other reasons? Either way, Gutierrez’s illustrious relationship with the Chandlers would seem to draw to a close here and Ray Chandler, who would later publish their own book in time for the 2005 trial, would refer to Victor as a “sleazebag.” (Jackson would subpoena Ray to testify over their book in the 2005 case, an odd decision if he believed Ray could say anything damaging against him; Ray would refuse to testify against his nephew’s supposed abuser and would essentially claim his book was fiction [18])

Around the early 2000s a story breaks in Chile about a case involving a man named Spiniak being involved in child sex abuse. Suddenly another victim comes forward. A boy who claims he’d witnessed that Spiniak had been involved in orchestrating a child sex ring with politicians from a certain political party, and he’d participated in these orgies. The stories were incredibly graphic, at one point I believe he claims that a politician defecated into a child’s mouth. The claims fall apart when it’s discovered that Victor Gutierrez had paid this boy 20,000 pesos and bought him new trainers before he came out with this story, that he’s the only witness and that there’s no other evidence. [19]

“Lawyer confirms that Victor Gutierrez delivered money to L.Z (initials used to protect the alleged child victim)”

Either unaware of these aspects of his past or just blissfully unconcerned, Victor Gutierrez would continue to be used as a “best source” by Dimond, Martin Bashir, Vanity Fair, and in fact Tom Sneddon would say he believed Victor’s book was accurate and would attempt to examine witnesses using some of the scenes depicted, which for example June Chandler contradicted. [20]

After Michael Jackson’s death, some of us who’ve spent years researching these allegations would wonder about this Gutierrez. Why did he feature in almost every single allegation against Michael? Every witness was through him, every victim was someone he had met at some point. How did such a fortuitous thing happen? How was this Canadian man capable of learning enough about the intimate details of Michael Jackson’s life in order to coach a child to make such a compelling case about also being his victim? How would a man like Rodney Allen with a stated mental IQ deficit seem capable of organizing such a calculated thing and what would have been in it for him? Why was Victor so invested in the Neverland 5’s lawsuit against Jackson? We find out about the Spiniak case, learning he’s coached a child for money previously.

So we write to Rodney Allen in prison and ask him if he remembers his friend “Victor”. We deliberately don’t include Victor’s last name. He writes us back enthusiastically about his old friend “Victor Gutierrez” and a spiel about Michael Jackson. He tells us that he’s mad at Victor because he “and Evan Chandler” owe him money, but he doesn’t say for what. On the taped call with Schwartz Evan had claimed he’d already spent thousands organizing his “plan” against Jackson, including obtaining “information” against Jackson. [21] “I was to be paid a large amount of money when things settled down, I was promised by Victor Gutierrez and Evan Chandler that it would be paid. But they didn’t pay me. Michael never touched him [Jordan] and sexually hurt him.” He blames Victor for his own child abuse arrest and the fact that he had NAMBLA materials in his home. He tells us Victor had abused a boy in a hotel one time. [22]

So there are now at least two boys who have been coached into claiming sexual abuse connected to Victor Gutierrez, both in such a convincing manner that they did so to the police. Was Jordan also a victim of Gutierrez’s coaching via Evan Chandler? Was Gutierrez one of the men who Evan Chandler had in place waiting for their plan to unfold?

Some of the graphic descriptions in Victor’s book are believed by others, in fact they’re on websites. One of the people running those sites had once bragged in 2011 of sending a link to the site to James Safechuck, where they also asked him if it was true that he’d gotten “married” in Neverland (Jonathan Spence’s mother confirmed to us that it had been her son who’d gotten married at Neverland; in the 2005 trial Mesereau had been mistaken and had asked a witness if it were Safechuck), and told him they understood he wouldn’t say he’d been abused because he was still in love with Jackson. According to emails obtained from his own lawsuit, Wade Robson had sent one of the links to the site in an email to someone, but would later conveniently claim he didn’t know what it was about (his memory evolves and devolves in every deposition or oath he makes).

Safechuck has at least 5 stories from his account that match with Victor Gutierrez’s book. For example, Victor claims that Jackson had once attempted to anally penetrate Jordan Chandler with a finger, but Jordan had told him not to so Jackson didn’t. In Jordan’s accounts to the psychiatrist he states that Jackson had never tried to do anything to him anally. Yet Safechuck claims that exact same scenario happened to him in the exact same way Victor claims. Victor claims Jackson gave Jordan a medallion, Safechuck claims Jackson gave him a medallion. Not a story from Jordan. Victor claims Jackson and Jordan had a “honeymoon” and were like a married couple, Safechuck claims they got married and had a honeymoon (Jordan definitely never claimed this, he describes Jackson in his allegations as “just like a regular person” with no infatuated tone). Gutierrez claims Jackson would watch child pornography featuring children masturbating, Safechuck is the only person who suddenly claims he too witnessed child pornography movies featuring children masturbating. Jackson’s Neverland ranch, 2 condos, the home of his secretary and the home of a manager were raided in 1993 and in 2003. They went through all of his computers and books and video tape collection and could find no child pornography at all. [Full detailed photos of a few of the books found in Jackson’s 10,000 book collection as documented by police for the prosecution] The only person to ever previously claim such an extreme thing is Victor Gutierrez. Following on from that extreme child pornography claim, Safechuck would also elaborate in casual conversation with the director over their new HBO show that Jackson had once filmed himself having sex with Safechuck, only to “tape over it” [23] or “destroy” it later in a panic [24], in a storyline that seems remarkably similar to the Victor Gutierrez 1995 videotape that never existed. Safechuck had never even made such a claim in his lawsuit, it would seem he embellished likely as a means to explain why no proof of any of this had ever been found with Jackson.

It’s also exceedingly obvious at this point that the Chandler’s narrative about abuse has also been crafted by Gutierrez, which means any other alleged Jackson victim who uses details attributed to Jordan are also likely using stories from Gutierrez’s mind. As can be seen in their collaborative effort in their attempt at describing Jackson’s genitalia, where Victor has clearly been used to try and piece together an idea of what Jackson looked like naked using the knowledge of what Evan Chandler had seen of his buttocks after giving him an injection and from information that Victor seemed to have claimed he’d had from others like Orietta and his obsession with Barnes.[26]

The case against Michael Jackson has been created by a NAMBLA attendee and at best pedophile obsessed man, Victor Gutierrez. He has a hand in almost every graphic sordid story about Jackson. The only allegation he seemingly didn’t have a hand in was the Arvizo’s, and that was likely because he was still in Chile avoiding paying Jackson his legal fees.

Now I want to say our belief here isn’t that Victor Gutierrez met Evan and they concocted a plan together to extort Michael on the idea that he was a child molester. But that Evan was also somewhat of a victim in this initially. He was a bipolar by all accounts pretty unstable guy. We believe that Victor had tracked Evan down as he had done with the Robsons, telling him that he was investigating Jackson for being a pedophile. Evan was likely curious about this. So Victor started lying the way he would do in his book and to others, claiming he had “proof” that Jackson had abused other children that they had revealed so to him, and as Victor is very graphic, a huge fantasist and someone who Allen claims has abused boys too, he was able to give Evan vivid detailed descriptions. We believe he’d promised Evan his “proof” about this and that when the allegations came out, this proof would materialize. Of course he didn’t have these victims, so he had to create these using his witnesses and by trying to create victims like the FBI story, the video tape story and of course with Rodney Allen coaching a victim for them. Maybe the money he offered wasn’t for the coaching but because he believed Victor would provide him real proof and Rodney was meant to be providing this “proof” in the form of an actual victim. Or maybe they knew at that point the jig was up and were trying to pay for victims because they desperately needed one to back up their story. Considering Rodney knew that Jordan hadn’t actually been abused, this wasn’t a pretense any of them was keeping up in private.

Our guy Victor Gutierrez has been embraced by Diane Dimond, The Sun, the National Enquirer, Hard Copy, Vanity Fair, Channel 4, Martin Bashir, and of course Sneddon and the prosecution. He is not some small potatoes guy, he has been deeply involved in crafting the pedophile narrative around Jackson with all their complicity and likely others since the story broke in 1993.

Not a single journalist we’ve met ever went through Victor’s past. Not a single one tried to work out what his deal was, why he was involved in every story, what his obsession and investment in this was all about.

Now that Safechuck and Robson are seeking to profit from these lies once again, it’s time that the real orchestrator behind these allegations is held to account. And it’s not just Victor, it’s every single journalist who has enabled his lies and fantasies to spread throughout the media and to ultimately utterly ruin Michael Jackson’s life.

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101 Facts About Michael Jackson

101 MJ Facts

To celebrate Michael’s 54th birthday tomorrow, some random facts and trivia about Michael:

  1. Michael helped launch the careers of Wesley Snipes [Bad Video], Weird Al [parody “Eat It”], Sheryl Crow [Bad Tour singer], Alfonso Ribiero [1984 Pepsi commercial].
  2. Wesley Snipes said that he once spent three hours speaking with Michael “about metaphysics, psychology, ‘how the black man is treated,'” saying, “people don’t know about Mike on the real, Mike had a consciousness that could blow your mind and he could recite things that could blow your mind as well.” [Source]
  3. Michael went skinny dipping with Jane Fonda in 1981. [Source]
  4. Michael has directly intervened in at least two attempted suicides, Janet’s husband James Debarge in the mid 80s who threatened to jump from their roof [Source], and a fan who was threatening to jump off the roof of a hotel across from him in 1992. [Source]
  5. When Michael heard his friend and burn victim, Dave Dave, had attempted suicide because he felt his life wasn’t worth living, Michael hired him at Neverland to run odd jobs, to ensure he would feel as if his life had meaning. [Source]
  6. A friend of Michael’s in the 90s suspected Michael was having an affair with his wife because Michael would spend so long on the phone talking to her, so he set about taping the phone conversations and his son ended up selling them in 2005. [Source]
  7. Michael wanted to sign Lauryn Hill after seeing her in Sister Act 2, but she was already signed with the Fugees. [Source]
  8. Michael had a library of 10,000 books and one of Michael’s favorites was Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. Michael recommended this book to people like Kobe Bryant, Anthony Jackson, Frank Cascio. [Source]
  9. Michael’s family had a jokey nickname for him, “Doodoohead”, Lisa Marie had her own tongue in cheek take on that, “Turd,” which MJ would sign some of his notes to her as. [Source]
  10. At an after party in 1974 Michael taught David Bowie the Robot. [Source]
  11. One of the only happy memories Michael says he has of his father was of Joe buying the kids donuts to eat because he knew Michael liked them. In the Give In To Me demo Michael sings, “love is a donut.” [Source]
  12. Michael was a notoriously bad driver, Janet said he drove like Ray Charles.
  13. When Michael took off his sunglasses at the 1984 Grammys one fan yelled from the balcony, “Take it all off!”
  14. Some of Michael’s disguises: a fat suit, beard and dark make up, prosthetics, a Sheikh outfit, and covered in bandages. [Photos]
  15. Michael would write all over things, like on the back of paintings, clocks, mirrors, jewelery boxes, tables, figurines and stick notes all over his walls.
  16. Not realizing he was being taped, Michael can be seen flicking through a Playboy during an interview when he was 12. [Source]
  17. Michael was always visiting the Playboy Mansion in the 80s, when LaToya asked him why he was there so much, he said it was “to see the animals.” [Source]
  18. Director of Thriller John Landis didn’t think Michael knew what a Playboy even was, though Michael would go on to tell Ola Ray that he chose her because he’d seen her Playboy photos. Ola had also listed him as her favorite singer during the 1980 shoot. [Source]
  19. Michael once had a giraffe at his home in Encino but the neighbors complained so they had to get rid of it. [Source]
  20. Lisa has said she wouldn’t have married him if the sex hadn’t been good and that he was the one who made the moves with her. [Source]
  21. Michael’s kiss with Lisa Marie at the 1994 MTV awards was not his first public kiss. He’d kissed a fan at a concert in 1981, been kissed by the costar of The Way You Make Me Feel onstage in 1988 and kissed Iman in Remember The Time in 1992.
  22. Michael would wear the color red a lot because he felt it gave him energy.
  23. He had a whole wardrobe full of red shirts/black pants which he would wear all the time, one of the reasons why was so that it would make photographs of him worth less as it would be hard for anyone buying a magazine to see the difference between photos from different weeks.
  24. Michael would always dance in the studio while recording music, a lot of the percussive sounds he made while dancing were worked into the songs. [Source]
  25. Michael was good friends with Sammy Davis Jnr, who considered Michael like a son to him. His daughter once walked in on Sammy, Jesse Jackson and Michael praying in his office to give thanks for putting Sammy’s cancer into remission.[Source]
  26. Many people have said Michael had a photographic memory. He could remember names, stories, info relating to encounters with people many years before.
  27. Michael had initially turned down doing the 1993 Superbowl performance, and only agreed to do it once they agreed to donate his $100,000 fee to charity. At this, other sponsors then chipped in until the donations reached $2,000,000. [Source]
  28. Michael wasn’t often home at Neverland but would always keep it running so that sick children, children from inner city schools in LA and children from the Los Olivos area could visit it in his absence. 
  29. Billie Jean was reportedly inspired by a fan who claimed Michael was the father of one of her twins, when Michael ignored her she sent him a photograph of herself and a gun, that she told him to use on himself on a certain date. Michael was so scared of her he carried this woman’s photo everywhere, memorizing it in case he ever saw her. [Source]
  30. After the song came out another mentally unstable fan would change her name to Billie Jean and spend her entire life stalking him, staging regular break ins to both Encino and Neverland, suing him for spousal support and even after his death, suing and demanding custody of his children. [Source]
  31. When LaToya did Playboy Michael told a friend that at least people would finally stop saying that they were the same person. [Source]
  32. Muhammad Ali had been a friend of the Jacksons and Michael since the 70s [Source], he and Michael bonded especially over their mutual love for magic tricks. [Source]
  33. When Michael heard Magic Johnson had HIV he made sure to hire him for a role in his video, Remember The Time. [Source]
  34. Michael’s Billie Jean video broke the racial barrier on MTV. Prior to that no black artist had ever been put on medium or heavy rotation. But this was no easy feat, despite Thriller being a huge success at the time in order to get the video on MTV CBS owner Walter Yetnikoff had to threaten to pull the entire CBS music catalog from their station if they wouldn’t play it. [Source]
  35. In Michael’s bedroom they found an article on the G spot and another on the Second G Spot. [Source]
  36. Some of his internet logins were: BigMike, Privacy696, Tut777, Dr Black. [Source]
  37. Michael had a large photo of Diana Ross’ picture from the cover of When Fools Rush In on his bathroom wall at Hayvenhurst. [Source]
  38. Michael knew how much his sister LaToya wanted to take their mother to Europe, so in the early 80s Michael got them both tickets and an envelope, inside was $10,000 spending money and a note with the lyrics from one of Katherine’s favorite songs, Moon River. [Source]
  39. Michael was a secret biker; he owned a Harley and would ride it around late at night in parks. It had to be in secret or else it could jeopardize his insurance. [Source]
  40. He also gave his second wife Debbie Rowe, another ardent biker, a bike after they married, and included her in a painting in 1991 with black biker wings. [Source]
  41. Michael used to steal his mother’s jewelry and give them to his favorite female teachers as gifts in elementary school. [Source]
  42. Michael said he would only buy jewelry for three people: his mother, Elizabeth Taylor, and for any girl he was interested in at the time. Michael gave Elizabeth Taylor a 17 carat gold diamond ring, Brooke Shields an 11 carat and Lisa Marie Presley a 10 carat ring.
  43. One of Michael’s favorite gifts to people during the late 80s/early 90s was huge big screen TVs, two of the people gifted them were Jackie O and Elizabeth Taylor. When delivering Jackie O the TV they had to dismantle it first to get it inside the elevator.
  44. Freddie Mercury would refer to Michael as “little brother.” [Source]
  45. Michael was an opening act for strippers as a five year old.
  46. While being driven to a show Michael once saw prostitutes standing on a street corner in 1984, he thought they looked good so he stuck out his white gloved hand and waved to them, then stuck his head out to confirm it had been him, leaving them shell shocked while he drove off laughing.[Source]
  47. Michael is King of an African village in Gabon on the Ivory Coast. They claim he’s had his DNA tested and has been found to have descended from the area. [Source]
  48. After Michael bought the Sony catalog in the mid 80s he gave Little Richard back the rights to his songs. [Source]
  49. Michael helped pay for the funeral of Temptation’s lead singer David Ruffin. [Source]
  50. In 1984, a U.S. library accused Jackson of owing it over $1 million in overdue book fines. Officials said they would scrap the fines if he returned the books autographed.
  51. Michael enjoyed plays on words and used them in his songs, like Streetwalker which is slang for prostitutes, In The Closet which is slang for gay men who aren’t public about it (reversing it and making it about a secret relationship he had with a girl), and Eaten Alive, which seems to be a play on oral sex on a woman.
  52. He wrote Eaten Alive and Muscles for Diana Ross. Muscles was the name of Michael’s large… python.
  53. Michael had an albino python named after Madonna in the early 90s. [Source]
  54. At the Oscars in 1991 Madonna and Michael’s entrance at an after party caused such a scene that even celebrities like movie legend Jimmy Stewart stood on a chair to get a good look at them. [Source]
  55. Lisa Marie was so devastated by his death that she went to see a psychic to contact him on her birthday the first year after he passed. [Source]
  56. Liza Minnelli and Flo Anthony have said Michael proposed to a non famous woman with an African name before Lisa Marie Presley, she turned him down and he was devastated. [Source]
  57. To keep the women Michael was seeing a secret Michael would give them code names. [Source]
  58. Michael had wanted to get the roles of Spiderman [Source], Edward Scissorhands [Source] and the Phantom of the Opera [Source].
  59. Stan Lee has said that Michael was a friend of his and described him as “one of the nicest guys ever.” [Source]
  60. Michael was one of the few people who intimidated Freddie Mercury.
  61. When Freddie Mercury and Michael did some demos at Michael’s place, he didn’t have a proper drum kit, so Freddie’s assistant took a mic into Michael’s toilet and used the toilet door there for percussion.
  62. In August 1993 Michael was in Bangkok with his Dangerous World Tour sponsored by Pepsi. The second concert got cancelled because Michael was suffering from acute dehydration. Next day the rescheduled concert got cancelled again because Michael had not fully recovered. Pepsi’s rival run ads reading ‘Dehydrated? There’s Always Coke.’
  63. The gold leotard Michael wears during his Dangerous World Tour is actually a fencing outfit and was designed by Versace. [Source]
  64. Michael wore the white glove to disguise the beginnings of his vitiligo. [Source] Michael’s eldest son now also  suffers from that same rare skin disorder, with it also beginning on his hand. [Source]
  65. As well as vitiligo, Michael suffered from discoid lupus, another autoimmune disorder. [Source]
  66. Michael once told a friend he wore the mask because he felt ugly sometimes. [Source]
  67. Michael called scouting for hot women “fishing” so that people around him wouldn’t know what he was talking about. [Source]
  68. At its peak Thriller was selling 1 million copies a week. [Source]
  69. Eddie Van Halen performed his Beat It solo for Michael for free. [Source]
  70. Some music you might not have expected Michael to be a fan of: Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Guns’n’Roses, Jimmi Hendrix, Yes. One of Michael’s favorite songs was Owner Of A Lonely Heart by Yes, he even samples it in D.S and had Trevor Rabin play some things on They Don’t Care About Us. [Source]
  71. Michael had a lamb named after a character Sidney Poitier played, Mr Tibbs.
  72. Michael loved playing phone pranks on people, and would often dial random numbers and prank them without their ever knowing it was him, as well as doing it to his friends.
  73. Michael drank a lot of Red Bull and ate a lot of KFC.
  74. Michael once showed up a party PDiddy was throwing just to meet the “girl with the derriere” aka Beyonce and dance with her. [Source]
  75. The demo title for the song “Bad” was “Pee”, likely because it was due to be a collaboration with the musician Prince and “Pee” was code for his initial “P”. [Source]
  76. There are two naming traditions in the Jackson family: naming a son after yourself and the name Prince. There is a Jackson son named after every male member of the Jackson family (Sigmund, Marlon, Toriano, Stevana/Randy, Jermaine), and Michael had a grandfather and great grandfather named Prince. This is why Michael named his sons as such.
  77. Many of Michael’s most famous outfits are borrowed. His black sequin cardigan for Billie Jean was something he took from his mother, his white Thriller suit was something he asked to borrow from the photographer, and many others.
  78. This seemed to rub off on Blanket, once when a fan asked Michael to autograph his hat, Michael said that Blanket liked it and asked if he could keep it, so in exchange Michael and Blanket signed Blanket’s tee shirt and gave it to him [Source]
  79. Star of the first season of America’s Next Top Model, Giselle Samson, was featured in men’s magazine “Stuff” in early 2003 during the show and she said there that she idolized Michael; reading this, Michael then gave her a call and invited her to Neverland. [Source]
  80. Michael believed dancing and music was a way the universe had of expressing itself. [Source]
  81. Michael was a huge fan of art, especially the Renaissance artists and the Pre-Raphaelites.
  82. Lionel Richie’s band the Commodores were a support act for the Jackson 5 when Michael was just 12.
  83. As a kid on tour Michael would prank Lionel with itching powder in his hats, ice in his shoes, and buckets of water over his door. Lionel says the Commodores staged a pillow fight with the Jacksons in revenge for all their pranks. [Source]
  84. Michael was fascinated by the Ancient Egyptians and Tutankhamen, one of his online email addresses was even KingTut777.[Source]
  85. Michael once had the police called out in 1989 because he was wearing a disguise while shopping for a ring and they suspected he was a possible thief. [Source]
  86. Michael was detained while driving his Rolls Royce in 1981 because they thought his car looked “stolen.” Michael later told his mother he was just excited to have been inside a police cell. [Source]
  87. Michael loved the album What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, and kept the sleeve framed on a shelf in Encino.[Source]
  88. Michael believed Stevie Wonder was a “musical prophet” and was there throughout a lot of the taping of his album, Songs In The Key Of Life. [Source]
  89. Sometimes Michael would go out in disguise during Halloween trick or treating with friends and his kids and it would be the one time of the year he could blend in.
  90. In 2008 while at a Halloween party with his kids, people thought he was a Michael Jackson impersonator and played Thriller when he walked in. [Source]
  91. Marlon Brando’s son was a bodyguard and close friend to Michael throughout his life. He can even be spotted in the cinema watching the movie with him during Thriller. [Source]
  92. Michael loved the PBS documentary about Jack Johnson and the racism he endured, “Unforgivable Blackness”.
  93. Michael has had fans break in and stalk him relentlessly throughout the years. Some would be found sleeping in his loft, his kitchen, his bushes, by his garbage, would park outside his house and sleep there, others would turn up at Neverland with suitcases announcing they were about to move in before the police would be called. When Michael found one fan who had been living in his kitchen, Michael let her have something to eat with him before his bodyguards took her away.
  94. Michael’s mother was the same way and when fans would come to their home in the early 70s she would let them sit and eat with them, sometimes they’d be there till the middle of the night at the kitchen table because Katherine would be too polite to tell them to leave.
  95. Michael would get in trouble for feeding the rats and mice who lived in his home as a kid.
  96. Michael wrote the lyrics to Black or White 20 minutes before he had to sing it. [Source]
  97. Michael composed some of the music for the SEGA video game, Sonic 3, but at the time game consoles had poor sound quality so Michael didn’t like the result and therefore wasn’t credited. Brad Buxer has confirmed that one of the pieces would later inspire the song Stranger In Moscow. [Source]
  98. There’s lots of footage of Michael in the studio that has never been released, footage of him singing with Paul McCartney, singing some of the Bad and Dangerous albums, and all of the Invincible studio sessions.
  99. MJ told his bodyguards that one of the things he would have loved to have been able to do was just walk into a bar and say, “Bartender, give me a beer.”  [Source]
  100. Blanket keeps his hair long to remind himself of his father; Paris sleeps with a jacket of Michael’s under her pillow; Prince likes listening to Arabic prayer because it reminds him of being in Bahrain with his father. [Source]
  101. After Michael’s passing fans got together and raised money to create a children’s home named “Everland” in Liberia, to house 50 orphaned children. [Source]
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Michael Jackson, Feeling Ugly, Plastic Surgery And Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Michael Jackson, Feeling Ugly, Plastic Surgery And Body Dysmorphic Disorder

There’s been much speculation that Michael suffered from body dysmorphic disorder. With various media pundits, armchair psychologists, and real psychologists alleging he suffered from this disorder, as well as a host of many other mental disorders, normally only focusing on either soundbites out of context, photos taken at odd angles, or worse, just unfounded tabloid gossip. They also almost unanimously ignore the real issues Michael had with his appearance which were beyond his control.

Some of the external factors which influenced his appearance:

What we do know and what is often trivialized in any of those discussions is that: Michael suffered from two disfiguring diseases, vitiligo and lupus. The vitiligo resulted in loss of pigment in almost all areas of his body leaving his skin translucent and not white, and the physical manifestations of lupus resulted in hair loss, skin rashes and skin lesions.

He also suffered from severe acne as a teenager which caused scarring and he suffered a third degree burn on his scalp in 1984, something which according to his autopsy report had never healed, leaving a permanent bald patch.

To compensate for his vitiligo he initially tried to use treatments like PUVA to restore his skin color, but after they failed it was only in 1990, according to jury transcripts from 1994, that he was prescribed creams to even out the remainder of his skin. On top of that, he had begun to wear the glove and long sleeved clothing and heavy make up to hide the visible parts of himself which were not evenly pigmented. Something many vitiligo sufferers empathize with doing.

As a result of his lupus and vitiligo he had his scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes tattooed with dark pigment in order to disguise the recurring loss of hair and pigment in those areas. He also had treatments to his face to help restore the damage caused by his lupus lesions and rashes.

Initially, with the burn, he attempted to have a “balloon” inserted into his scalp in order to expand the skin there in the hopes of growing out the scar tissue, allowing hair to grow naturally there again, but after many attempts this failed. In the mid 90s it seems he gave up and had to start using hair pieces and other wigs to disguise the loss of hair. It’s also reported that he would sometimes wear the fedora to disguise this lump caused by the balloon on the back of his head, too.

With his nose, according to reports from a doctor for the District Attorney in 1993 who had looked over his medical records, it seems that his second nose job in 1983 had resulted in complications due to a flare up he was suffering with his discoid lupus, which was undiagnosed at the time, and because lupus can cause skin in the areas involved to “die”, especially with surgery, he had to have further reconstructive work there to fix it.

He seems to have kept much of this private because obviously  most of this would have been embarrassing and traumatic to him, as they would be for most other people.

These very real issues he had with his appearance which were beyond his control were added to how he had been bullied and teased as a child by his father and family over his nose and appearance. This was further compounded by the media who publicly also teased, mocked and vilified him over his appearance and how he was reluctant to seemingly just give them an extensive list of what he had done and why he had done it.

What we also know: According to the autopsy report Michael’s nose had not “fallen off” and there is no evidence that it had ever fallen off.

He never had his eyes altered, his lips thinned, or received cheek implants.

We know most of this from a simple look at his family: Michael, Janet, LaToya, Paris and Blanket all have the same large doe eyes and all the Jackson family have the same cheekbones that Michael had.

He had to go through so much with his appearance, under such scrutiny that it seems inevitable he would feel insecure and anxious about it.

I’m not sure if the media were satisfied in hearing him repeatedly state how unhappy he was with his physical appearance. On the one hand they would question why Michael didn’t feel good about his appearance, on the other, they’d spend countless news articles, TV documentaries, interviews with doctors who’d never met him/best friends who met him at a party once in the 80s, mocking and laughing about his appearance, especially his vitiligo.

So, my biggest problem is not that people want to state Michael was unhappy with how he looked and that he likely suffered from a complex about it, but that they never seem to use this empathy with his plight in order to understand him better, instead only seeming to wish to use this to vilify him further and erase what had really happened to him, ex. “He had body dysmorphic disorder and therefore this proves he had 100 nose jobs; he hated how he looked so this means he never really had vitiligo and just re-creationally bleached his skin; he changed absolutely everything about his appearance, including his actual bone structure. I know that he did all this because he felt he was ugly and so clearly he wished to utterly redo his face from scratch and because we know he had those nose jobs it must mean he was willing to bleach his skin and reconstruct his entire face.”

Nobody ever chooses to discuss or commend him on how hard he fought to look “normal” and to keep these issues private. He chose to wear make up, gloves, tattoos, long sleeved clothing, hats, wigs, so that people wouldn’t have to see things about him that could make them feel sorry for him, but instead people use this as a means to condemn him. “Well, why didn’t he just show us? Why didn’t he walk around half naked at all times carrying his medical records so that I could see all these things going wrong with him for myself? That’s the only way anyone could really know the truth about him. I really promise I wouldn’t just laugh at him again, and again, and again, the way I did when he spoke about his other problems.”

People also neglect to mention that illnesses like Body Dysmorphic Disorder are rooted in shame.  Sufferers are ashamed about the aspect of themselves they hate, they’re ashamed about what they do to disguise it, they’re ashamed at having it brought to anyone’s attention. So wondering why Michael wouldn’t address these issues while at the same time insisting he had this disorder shows that most people don’t wish to understand him, only to continue to label him. In the Oprah and Bashir interview he is visibly distressed and uncomfortable when asked about his skin, his plastic surgery and the bullying about his looks. Even when he isn’t being filmed and is just on audio his voice grows faint as he talks about it. But people still seem to have wished he could have made himself utterly vulnerable for them, to feel humiliated and degraded (it doesn’t matter if people say he wouldn’t have been; he would have felt as if he were), just so people could satisfy their ideas about how and why he looked the way he did.

One of my favorite quotes about this was from, Tom Chiarella, in Esquire Magazine of all places: “I never liked the glove, although when I saw his monstrous hand, I got it. And I admired what he’d done to cover it up. It was never clear to me if that hurt or not, but I imagine it did. Think about the beauty of that. Putting sequins on your open wounds. Think about the entire world staring at the one thing that makes you feel most ugly.”

[EXPAND Michael says the brothers call him Big Nose, Jackson 5 interview, Soul Magazine, August 19th 1970 ]

But the two oldest boys often tease their younger brothers.

“When Tito and Jackie really want us mad,” Michael laughs, “they call Jermaine ‘Big Head,’ Marlon ‘Liver lips’ and they call me ‘Big Nose.’ [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael tells first editor for Moonwalk, Steven Davis, about how he hated how he looked after he got acne, 1985 ]

“My skin broke out real bad. It was tough — especially after everyone had been calling me cute for such a long time. And the more I worried about it the worse I got.”

“I wore hats, I kept my head down all the time, I wouldn’t look at people when I talked to them. I wouldn’t say nothin’ hardly. It was terrible. I felt I didn’t have anything to be proud of. My success meant nothing.”

“On stage I didn’t think about it, it was gone. But when I came off stage, there it was again.”

When asked about cosmetic surgery, Michael defended the procedure, saying everybody did it.  “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to skin,” he said.

“But take Marilyn Monroe, and all those people. They got the works. Julie Andrews, Raquel Welch. Even Elvis. You look at his nose and the difference.. it’s true. But nobody ever mentions it.”

“You can clear up physically but still mentally you’re scarred — so you really haven’t improved.”

“I would look in the mirror and I didn’t like they way I looked, so… of course, never print this. Please don’t…” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND LaToya remembers Michael being teased in her book over his nose, Growing Up In The Jackson Family, February 7th 1991 ]

Adolescence proved awkward for Michael too. He sprouted from just over five feet to five feet ten. Overnight, it seemed, he went from a cute little boy to a gangly teenager. Certain body parts outgrew others, and now Michael was the object of merciless ribbing, especially from his father. “Look at that big nose on your face,” Joseph used to taunt. “I don’t know where you got that from… Bignose.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael confides in his friend Glenda Stein over private telephone calls about how he doesn’t like how he looks and alludes to having anorexia 1990-1992 ]

Glenda Tape 2:2

(This part seems to take place sometime during the Bad tour)

MJ: The other day, after my video came out,.. I don’t know what happened. They kicked me out of the trailer with my own band and stuff. And I’m on tour and stuff. Traveling with my (I) people and stuff like that. And — “Who was that?” – you know, it was like — I don’t associate with them. Only if there’s a rehearsal, or I have to be on stage. When we’re back in the hotel room. I don’t associate, really, with those people.
G: Not any of them?
MJ: No, I don’t associate with them. I stay off to myself.
G: Why? Isn’t there anybody you could be real close to?
MJ: No. I feel uncomfortable – It’s like… okay, this is my band, we got Michael here, we got so-and-so.”
G: (Started, interrupted by Michael)
MJ: “We got Sheryl, we got, you know, Jennifer.” And, I just don’t associate with people.
G: Do you, um? Okay. Maybe is it hard for you to (sigh) to be so open?
MJ: I just–
G: In a way, In a way, and to be looking at someone in the face or having someone look at you in the face cause you don’t want them to… ’cause…
MJ: You know what, I don’t want them to get close and I don’t want them to see into my soul. And then I deal with this anorexia thing… I feel sad…
G: Don’t, Michael. You look really good. (Silence) You look really good.
MJ: (After a silence – very low, strained) I don’t look good. I (inaudible)
G: (I)

(Sometime after Latoya posed for Playboy)

MJ: Joseph used to beat us all the time and… (inaudible) dance… would… He would, he would just… get to me. And I bought into that, he was like, “Oh you put on a few pounds.” The only thing that I could control in my life, what with Motown… ’cause they tell you – in the interviews, when we used to go on Carson or Mike Douglas or whatever back then, when we used to do interviews as the Jackson Five, you know when you’re in this kind of business they kinda like, they like…okay, girl… “Do you have a girlfriend?” “No.” Do this… You know got, it’s like, they dictate to you everything. What you wear, what you sing. ‘Cause back then we weren’t allowed to sing our own stuff and do our own stuff. They dictate to you what you can wear… If you’re on an interview, if you’re going on Carson, “This is what you say, this is what don’t say.” The only control I had over my life was eating. I had no control. We had no control. *clears throat* I didn’t, I didn’t… I wasn’t like my brothers. People, they’re angry and they take it out on others. I was angry and hurt, and I took it out on myself. And being brought up with Joseph and stuff like that… when we were rehearsing on 2300 – where we used to live. It’s like, If I danced wrong, if I sang the wrong note, I’d get the hell beat out of me, I’d get thrown in the basement. So instead of taking that out on other people, I withdrew and I’d take it out on myself. There was nothing I could control in my life but my eating. And Joseph told me, “Oh, you’re… oh you have such a big nose.”
G: He told you you were too…?
MJ: Yes. When I was little. “You look so, you don’t look like my child. Your nose is so big,” and this and that. They used to call me Big Nose and stuff. And instead of retaliating on them, I just did it with myself.
G: Michael? Are you happy with your face?
MJ: Yeah. I’m happy with my face and stuff.
G: Are you happy you did all that surgery?
MJ: Yeah. Because I don’t wanna look like “(inaudible)”[like that? Like him?]
G: Well, you don’t? (laughs)
MJ: I mean, people tell me, “Oh, yeah, you’re really Janet”. Or “Oh, (low voice) before LaToya posed nude.” Sayin’ “Toya and you is the same person and stuff.”
G: Who said that? (laughs)
MJ: Oh, god, it was in the media!
G: That’s just bad.
MJ: Toya even wrote that in Playboy. She said, “Well, at least I can put the rumor to rest that Michael and I aren’t the same person.”
G: (Laughs)
MJ: And showin’ her breasts and stuff like that. Then they say, “Janet and Michael are the same person.”
G: (chuckle) That’s crazy. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael talks about how puberty and acne made him insecure, how his father teased him about it and how he tries to avoid mirrors, Oprah, 10th February 1993 ]

Oprah : So I’m wondering for you, being this cute little boy who everybody adored and everybody who comes up to you they’re pulling your cheeks and how cute, how adolescence going through that duck stage where everything’s awkward, and I’m wondering when you started to go through adolescence having been this child superstar, was that a particularly difficult time for you?
Michael : Very. Very, very difficult, yes. Because I think every child star suffers through this period because you’re not the cute and charming child that you were. You start to grow, and they want to keep you little forever.
Oprah : Who’s they?
Michael : The public. And um, nature takes its course.
Oprah : It does?
Michael : Yes, and I had pimples so badly it used to make me so shy, I used not to look at myself, I’d hide my face in the dark, I wouldn’t want to look in the mirror and my father teased me and I just hated it and I cried every day.
Oprah : Your father teased you about your pimples?
Michael : Yes and tell me I’m ugly.
Oprah : Your father would say that?
Michael : Yes he would. Sorry Joseph.

Oprah: How much plastic surgery have you had?
Michael: Very, very little. I mean you can count on my two fingers, I mean let’s say this, if you want to know about those things, all the nosey people in the world, read my book Moonwalk, it’s in my book. You know, let’s put it this way, if all the people in Hollywood who have had plastic surgery, if they went on vacation, there wouldn’t be a person left in town.
Oprah: Mmm, I think you might be right.
Michael: I think I am right. It would be empty.
Oprah: Did you start having plastic surgery because of those teen years because of not liking the way you looked?
Michael: No, not really. It was only two things. Really, get my book, it’s no big deal.
Oprah: You don’t want to tell me what it is? You had your nose done, obviously.
Michael: Yeah, but so did a lot of people that I know.
Oprah: And so, when you hear all these things about you, and there have been more…
Michael: I’ve never had my cheekbones done, never had my eyes done, never had my lips done and all this stuff. They go too far, but this is stuff that happens every day with other people.
Oprah: Are you pleased now with the way you look?
Michael: I’m never pleased with anything, I’m a perfectionist, it’s part of who I am.
Oprah: And so when you look in the mirror now and so the image that looks back at you are there days when you say I kinda like this or I like the way my hair…
Michael: No. I’m never pleased with myself. No, I try not to look in the mirror. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael talks about how he thinks he looks like a lizard and doesn’t want people to look at him, The Michael Jackson Tapes, Shmuley Boteach, interviews 2000-2001 ]

SB: You have to live a long and happy life. But do you really think that one day you will decide to become a recluse and disappear?
MJ: Yeah.
SB: Live at Neverland and lock up the gates. Will that be it?
MJ: Yeah. I know I am.
SB: But why? Because you don’t want people to see you grow old?
MJ: I can’t deal with it. I love beautiful things too much and the beautiful things in nature and I want my messages to get out to the world, but I don’t want to be seen now… like when my picture came up on the computer, it made me sick when I saw it.
SB: Why?
MJ: Because I am like a lizard. It is horrible. I never like it. I wish I could never be photographed or seen and I push myself to go to the things that we go to. I really do.

SB: Michael, some people have written that your father used to say that you were ugly. Is that true?
MJ: Uh-huh. He used to make fun of… I remember we were on a plane one time, ready to take off, and I was going through an awkward puberty when your features start to change. And he went, “Ugh, you have a big nose. You didn’t get it from me.” He didn’t realize how much that hurt me. It hurt me so bad, I wanted to die.
SB: Was that a hostile remark aimed at your mother, “You didn’t get it from me?”
MJ: I don’t know what he was trying to say.
SB: Don’t you think your father instilled in you a belief that you are not handsome? So you tried to change your appearance a bit, and you are still not happy. So really you have to begin to love your appearance and yourself and all of that.
MJ: I know. I wish I could.
SB: We all have problems with our appearance… The other night, Thursday night, you looked fantastic [Michael had gotten all dressed up for Denise Rich’s Angel Ball cancer fundraiser]. You were the best looking guy there. So you don’t like being photographed?
MJ: I wish I could never be photographed and I wish I could never be seen. Just for entertainment so I design the dance the way I want it to look, and film the way I want it to look.
SB: Now you want to do movies?
MJ: I love movies, but I can control it, you see. I can’t control how those pictures come out with the lighting and my expression at the time. Arggh.
SB: If a child said that to you, “I hate being photographed,” what would you say to that child?
MJ: I would say, “You don’t know how beautiful you are. It’s your spirit that’s…”
SB: So why are you prepared to say that to everybody except yourself?
MJ: I don’t know. [He said this in a voice of confusion and resignation]

MJ: I have thrown up in his presence because when he comes in the room and this aura comes and my stomach starts hurting and I know I am in trouble. He is so different now. Time and age has changed him and he sees his grandchildren and he wants to be a better father. It is almost like the ship has sailed its course, and it is so hard for me to accept this other guy that is not the guy I was raised with. I just wished he had learned that earlier.
SB: So why are you still scared?
MJ: Because the scar is still there, the wound.
SB: So you still see him as the first man. It is hard for you to see him as this new man?
MJ: I can’t see him as the new man. I am like an angel in front of him, like scared. One day he said to me, “Why are you scared of me?” I couldn’t answer him. I felt like saying, “Do you know what you have done?” [voice breaks] “Do you know what you have done to me?”

SB: Do you think it’s important to tell children they are beautiful?
MJ: Yes, but not to overdo it. You are beautiful inside. Do it that way. Prince looks in the mirror and he’s combing his hair and he says, ” I look good.” I say, “You look okay.”

Interview regarding the tapes:

Springhill, Fla.: Why did Michael think he was ugly?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: What I write in the book is that all of us living in this culture have somehow been conditioned to believe that we are not attractive. There is too much self-loathing with regards to appearance in America. Michael was guilty of it, as are so many of us. In his case, he referenced the fact that his father made hurtful comments. But there can be no question that a culture that promotes external appearance over internal beauty is going to produce a glorification of youth over wisdom and Michael relates in the book that he desperately feared growing old. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND The director for You Rock My World, Paul Hunter, says he wanted to disguise how Michael looked in the video, Rolling Stone, 2009 ]

For one of Jackson’s final music videos, 2001’s Guys and Dolls-in-Cuba-style “You Rock My World,” director Paul Hunter simply resorted to hiding the star’s ravaged features as much as he possibly could — there’s even an extended dance sequence where Jackson performs entirely in silhouette. “One of the tricks that we did was we said, ‘We’re in this gangster world, so let’s come in with some swagger, get your hat brim pulled down, get a doo-rag going,” Hunter says. “What I tried to do was not call too much attention to it.”

MJ was filmed almost entirely in shadows in YRMW


[EXPAND Frank Cascio relates how Michael was devastated hearing about this, “My Friend Michael,” November 2011 ]

The summer of 2001 found us on the set for the You Rock My World video, when John McClain, a long term adviser to the Jacksons, called me. He had met with the director, he said, and reported, “They want to use make up to darken Michael’s skin for the video. They also want to fill in his nose with putty.” He wanted me to suggest these cosmetic effects to Michael. He clearly didn’t know Michael at all.

I was stunned. And I refused.

“John, I cannot have this conversation with Michael. There’s no way he’ll ever go for anything like this. If you need to, go ahead. But I’m not doing it.” I didn’t want to get involved.

A little while later I was back in my hotel room when the phone rang. It was Karen Faye, Michael’s makeup artist, calling from Michael’s room. She was supposed to be getting him ready for the video shoot, but he had locked himself in the bathroom and she had no idea why. She asked me to come to the room immediately.

When I arrived, I heard Michael inside the bathroom, freaking out and throwing stuff around. Clearly John McClain had talked to him about the proposed changes to his skin and nose, and he was extremely pissed of. I tried to get his attention, but the chaos inside the bathroom went on. Finally I heard him bang something with such force that I got worried. I started trying to break down the door.

At last, Michael let me in. He was sitting on the floor. He’d been in the middle of having his hair cut when he’d heard the news, so his hair was half long, half short. He was holding his hands over his face, sobbing.

“Can you believe it?” he said. “They think I’m ugly? They want to put putty on my nose? What the fuck is wrong with them? I don’t tell them how they should look. Fuck them.” Talking through his tears, he kept saying, “They think I’m a freak, they think I’m a freak, they think I’m a freak.”

Seeing him crouched on the floor, sobbing and with his hair half cut, was devastating, to say the very least. This was the second time in recent days that I’d seen him break down. Although for years, the media had been mocking and attacking his appearance, Michael didn’t always react so strongly to what people said about him. It depended on the day. Sometimes he didn’t care what people though. He was a strong guy. Then there were times when enough was enough, and he would break down. The fact that his supposed allies were criticizing his appearance at a time when he was in such a fragile state was too much for him to bear.

This wasn’t the Michael Jackson that existed for the rest of the world. This wasn’t Michael Jackson the icon. This was Michael Jackson at his most vulnerable, his most human, being pushed to the brink. While it had become a habit for me to force him to face painful truths, this time there was no truth at stake. There is no objective right or wrong to a person’s appearance. Michael had been ignoring headlines about his appearance for years, so my advice to him now was simply not to listen.

“We can walk away from this,” I said. “They need you, you don’t need them.”

I canceled that day’s shoot and told everyone involved that we would start fresh the next day. Michael and I returned to our rooms and stayed in for the remainder of the day. Before leaving, I spoke to John McClain and the director of the video, Paul Hunter.

“John,” I said. “I can’t believe you said what you said to Michael. We’re going to finish this project, but there will be no more conversations regarding Michael’s appearance in the video. If that’s a problem, we’ll walk off the set for good and deal with the consequences.”


[EXPAND Michael tells Bashir that his brothers, cousins and father would tease him about his appearance, February 2003 ]

Bashir: Did your father and your brothers tease you about your appearance, as an adolescent?
MJ: My father did. And some cousins did.
Bashir: What did your father say?
MJ: Oh God. It was pretty embarrassing. They used to tease me real bad about it.
Bashir: It’s cruel, isn’t it?
MJ: Yeah. It used to hurt me. I don’t think he realized how much he would hurt me.
Bashir: What sort of thing would he say?
MJ: He would tease me about how I looked and he would say, “Well, you didn’t get it from my side of the family. Must’ve been from Kate-” Kate, he would always say, meaning my mother. “You didn’t get that from me, you must’ve got that from her.“ [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Ahmed Elatab says Michael told him that he sometimes wore the mask because he felt ugly, 22nd November 2003 ]

Ahmed Elatab,22nd November 2003

Jackson also gave the teen the blue silk germ mask he was wearing that day – which he told Elatab he wears “only because he feels ugly sometimes.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael’s artist friend David Nordahl says Michael felt he was extremely ugly, 2010 interview ]

Link to interview

“Oh God no. We had many talks about that (his looks). He had that inner light but he always considered himself to be extremely ugly. He said he’s not a handsome man.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Jermaine talking about Michael’s issues with his appearance as he hit puberty, You Are Not Alone, September 2009 ]

Puberty is always a potential thief for a child star: it threatens to take away the image your dream is built on. Michael and I both struggled with acne; mine still stubborn and raging as an 18 year old, his rabid and new at 14. A liking for fried food and soda in dressing rooms had caught up with us. Like me, Marlon – who also suffered – accepted the break outs without too much angst, and I didn’t think Michael would be any different. I didn’t appreciate how much he worried about the threat his acne posed to his image because he never really spoke about it. We didn’t really talk about that sort of thing. What “cool” teenage boy does? We Jackson brothers were especially bound that way. We had been taught so much about pride, respect and performance that we had never learned the art of easy communication. We didn’t check in with each other unless it was album talk, tour madness, choreography ideas, basketball plans or girls. So Michael suffered quietly as his features changes and his skin flared up with pimples Indeed he locked it deep inside, except for the odd worry he expressed to Mother.

Michael’s acne was a confusion he wasn’t expecting. And then there was his nose. It widened noticeably and he hated it. In fact, he hated his nose so much that he found it hard to look at himself in the mirror. This wasn’t just typical teenage self consciousness: it became a full blown inferiority complex. The more he looked at himself, the unhappier he felt. In fact, he was painfully brittle during conversations with anyone, always looking down to avoid eye contact.

His comfort zone, as always, was the stage or platform of press interviews, when reporters spoke of how “energized”, “inquisitive” and “ebullient” he was. In performance mod, Michael’s teenage woes were well concealed behind makeup or the performance’s personality he projected. Offstage, our merciless teasing only made matters worse, but teasing is what brothers do, and we all had to go through it. When my acne kicked in, they – including Michael – called me “Bumpy Face” or “Map Face” and Marlon was “Live Lips.” I even received a second label, “Big Head,” because my head was, apparently, too big for my body. So when Michael was called “Big Nose” it was just part of the common initiation into manhood – but he struggled with it. Not that we knew so until much later.

Michael always recalled Joseph using the tease, and that was what hurt him most – hearing it from an adult’s lips and from the man who had driven home the importance of image all our lives. “Hey, Big Nose, come over here,” said Joseph. Michael said nothing and cringed each time.


“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

Posted in Feeling Ugly, Michael's Appearance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Michael Jackson and Dave Dave

1986: Michael invites David Rothenburg to Encino. His father had set fire to him in an act of revenge against his former wife leaving his body with 90% burns.

Michael Jackson and Dave DaveMichael Jackson and Dave DaveMichael Jackson and Dave DaveMichael Jackson and Dave DaveMichael Jackson and Dave Dave

[EXPAND After hearing that he had attempted suicide because he felt like he had nothing to live for Michael hired Dave to work for him, Conversations in Neverland, by Michael’s friend Dr. William B. van Valin II MD ]

Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson


One day Michael phoned and said, “I want to know if you’d like to bring your family up for dinner. I have a friend here that I’d like you all to meet.” I always knew when he said that sort of thing that it was bound to be something interesting and that I would be glad I’d done it afterward. I told him that we’d be happy to come. He said, “First, I need to ask you something. Do you think your children would be upset by meeting someone who has some deformities from an accident?”

I told him, “Michael I can assure you, my children will treat this person as if they had no deformities. I’ve taught them from a very early age that you never say anything to anyone that would hurt them. Especially about things they can’t help. But I will tell them about this before we get there.”

Michael said, “Good. Then I’d like you to come out for dinner to meet David Rothenberg.”

By this time, having been to the Ranch so frequently, we were usually waved on through rather than stopping to sign in. This visit was no exception and upon arrival we parked out in front of the house. Although I had told Michael many times that he didn’t need to, he always had the maids and cooks lined up outside the front door to greet us as we entered the house. Michael insisted that this was protocol and they were always to follow it.

I told him, “Really, I already know everyone by name since I’m out here so often. I feel kind of guilty for making them drop what they’re doing and stand out here and greet us.”

Michael replied, “You mustn’t feel bad. It’s one of the things that I pay them to do.”

Anyway, going to the house was always a treat. It was a lovely assault on all senses. Through the front door we turned to the left through the dining room. Two steps down the opposite end was a large fireplace that faced a bar making up the south side of the kitchen. On this night, Michael’s guest was sitting to the right of the fireplace. Michael looked at as and said “You guys, this is David Rothenberg,” and he introduced us one by one. Greetings went around my family. The kids ran off to do their own thing around the house leaving Criss, Michael, and me to talk with David. I imagine there are pictures out there of David for those who want to see him but suffice to say he had been ravaged by flames at some point in his life. What I remember clearly now was that there was a long tuft of hair on the back of his head and there was a young girl, apparently a cousin of Michael’s, who was meticulously braiding the tuft while David told us about his day at the Ranch.

When we all sat down to dinner, Michael turned to him and asked, “So, David did you paint today?”

David replied, “Yes, I did. I think I did some of my best work ever.”

Michael said, “Good. I need you out there painting every day that you’re here. I want you to express yourself.”

David assured him he was.

Later in the evening Michael and I went by the lake where he had an easel and paints set up and he showed me some of David’s paintings. They consisted of stick figures and V’s for birds. Michael told me, “I don’t care if he doesn’t become a great painter. I just think it’s important for him to do this while he’s here. I always want to keep him occupied.”

I asked Michael, “So, how did you and David meet?” Michael said, “Well, when he was quite young, his father spread gasoline on him and set him on fire. The reasons don’t matter. And actually there are none. Anyway, he ended up living through it and I’ve kind of watched through the years. Not long ago, I read in the paper an article saying that David Rothenberg tried to commit suicide. He was despondent over not being able to get a job. So I sent for him. One of my drivers went and got him and brought him back to the Ranch. When he got here, I told him that I heard what had happened. David told me that it was true and he was just depressed because, ‘Who would hire something that looks like me?’ I looked at him and said, ‘I would. I want you to work for me. Would you do that?’ David said, ‘Yes. I would like that.’ So I put him to work.”

I asked Michael, “Did you really have a job for him?”

He said, “Not really. I kind of made one up.”

I asked, “What was it? What did you have him do?”

He said, “I give him letters and packages and I have him take them to other cities telling him that it’s important that they be mailed there. So for example, I send him to Los Angeles or San Diego and tell him to mail something when he gets there. I gave him a car to take him everywhere he wants to go and he has a place to call home. He’d lost his sense of purpose and I wanted him to know he had one.”

I never saw David again after that and I never asked Michael what happened to him. I now know, from old news stories, that when David was six back in 1983 his father, Charles, who was in a custody fight with David’s mom, Marie, set him on fire and burned him over 90% of his body.

There’s a video on YouTube in which David, who changed his name to Dave Dave (which to me sounds like a name Michael would’ve given him), told Larry King just before Michael’s burial in 2009 about Michael’s kindness to him – which Dave said began when he was just seven years old and which his mother had always kept a secret. Dave told King that Michael opened Neverland to him and provided emotional support and was like a father he never had.  [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Dave made himself available as a character witness for Michael in 2005 ]

Fox 411, March 04 2005

Also on the list is David Rothenberg, a young man who was severely burned by his own father many years ago. He was taken in by Jackson, and has the full run of Neverland and may prove to be a dramatic character witness.


[EXPAND Dave says Michael has been there through everything, Leeza talk show, pre-2009 ]

Leeza: “Is there any celebrity you can relate to? Because celebrities say things like you’re saying, like they think that they get friends for the wrong reasons, that people treat them differently, that even their own family when they get to that level treat them strange. Is there anyone you identify with?”
Dave: “Yes, I relate with one person I know. He’s been my friend throughout everything that I’ve been through and he’s the only friend that I can say has been there for me always. Let’s call him ___. I think he’s really had an impact on my life, not because he’s a celebrity but because he’s been through kind of the same things I’ve been through.”
Leeza: “Not fitting in…”
Dave: “Yeah, definitely, definitely.”


[EXPAND Dave says Michael was like a father to him, Larry King Live, CNN, September 3rd 2009 ]

Michael Jackson Laid to Rest, CNN LARRY KING LIVE, Aired September 3, 2009 – 21:00 ET

KING: That was when we were up at Neverland with Jermaine Jackson. What an incredible night that was.

Joining us now here in Los Angeles, Miko Brando, who was with us almost every night after this untimely passing, long time Michael Jackson friend, attending the funeral.

And Dave Dave — yes, that’s his name, Dave Dave. He was David Rothenberg. He was set on fire in 1983. He suffered, as you can see, terrible scars. Michael Jackson befriended him and paid for a lot of his surgeries. Dave Dave is also attending the burial.

Why Dave Dave?

DAVE DAVE, MICHAEL JACKSON’S LONGTIME FRIEND: Well, to liberate myself from the confines of my father’s criminality.

KING: He caused the fire?

DAVE-DAVE: Yes. He — he is a criminal and he caused all this. To — to free myself of his name and his legacy, I decided to become my own person through changing my name.

KING: We’ll find out how Michael helped you.

But, Miko, is that a typical story of Michael, helping people like this?

MIKO BRANDO, MICHAEL JACKSON’S LONGTIME FRIEND: Absolutely. When he — when he’d hear about stories of people in need, who needed help, or when we’d watch the news together, he’d — he’d reach out to them, send them a basket, send them a, you know, a note — get well or whatever the incident would be. And he’d always reach out to people and help people. Even driving around town, he’d stop and help people.

KING: How did he find out about you, Dave?

DAVE-DAVE: He heard about me and he had contacted me and wanted to meet me.

KING: How old were you at the time?

DAVE-DAVE: I was about seven years old at the time.

KING: And were you in the hospital?

DAVE-DAVE: I was not in the hospital at the time. I was — I was in interim, back and forth from surgery.

KING: And what did he do for you?

DAVE-DAVE: Well, basically he befriended me. He — he took me in to his life, which is very rare for Michael to do. But he opened up his arms to me and accepted me as a very good friend of his. And throughout the years, he never let me go.

KING: I believe that’s the hearse carrying the body into Forest Lawn. He will be interred — it looks like a beautiful place they have for him, Miko.

BRANDO: It’s very nice. He has a very nice compound.

KING: Yes. We’re going to be showing you close-ups of that. That is Forest Lawn.

Were you surprised, Dave, to hear from him when you were seven?

DAVE-DAVE: Oh, it — it’s a very interesting story, Larry. It was kind — the visit to his Encino house was very impromptu. And it was kept a secret by my mother. And I had always been kind of an admirer of his, not a fan per se, but I always loved his music.

And my mother surprised me one day and brought me up to Neverland. And I entered an arcade and there were all these Paul McCartney records, all of this, “The Girl is Mine” and, you know, this and that. And I remember sitting down. And at the time, my — my favorite video games — my favorite video game was Pole Position. And I was playing Pole Position. And I — I felt a little tap on my shoulder. And I turned around and there was Michael. And…

KING: Hold it right there.

DAVE-DAVE: And you know what, Larry?

KING: What?

DAVE-DAVE: At that moment, we — we embraced and that embrace never ended throughout our whole entire friendship.

KING: Dave Dave, what don’t we know about him we should know?

DAVE-DAVE: Well, I believe what — what people fail to realize is that Michael was a human being. Throughout the years, I think he was kind of stigma — stigmatized by the media. And I believe that was — that wasn’t really helpful to him or to anybody around him.

I believe that Michael was a great person. He has never hurt a soul. And I am happy to have been his friend for all these years and been a dedicated friend.

KING: Did he pay for a lot of your medicals?

DAVE-DAVE: Actually, he — he did not pay for my medical. My mother had great insurance at the time. Michael…

KING: Then what did he do?

DAVE-DAVE: Michael offered a lot of emotional support for me. He was there for me whenever I need to talk to him. He opened up Neverland to me as a — as a means to get away. He — he was almost, metaphorically, he was almost like a father that I never had.


[EXPAND Dave gives a eulogy at Michael’s funeral, Time Magazine, September 3rd 2009 ]

Jackson’s lesser-known friends were also given a moment to share their memories of the fallen star. The spontaneous speeches were some of the most poignant. One in particular was delivered by David Rothenberg, a burn victim who Jackson took care of for years after 90% of his body was scorched in a childhood fire. “He was very scarred over all of his body,” says a guest. “He spoke about Michael and how he cared for [Rothenberg] for so long without asking for anything in return. It was very moving.”

Tom Mesereau:

DK: That’s so sad that the world is like that, you know what I mean?

TM: Everybody was hoping to profit off his destruction. It was terrible. It’s one of my proudest moments in my lifetime….just acquitting him, vindicating him. In retrospect now, he only had approximately 4 more years to live, at least he was there to be with his kids and just to be vindicated. The trial was so unjust. The case was so unjust and lacking in credibility.

Tom Mesereau: At his burial, which I attended, a young man who in the 80’s was a rather high profile case in southern California, a father doused his son with gasoline and set him on fire and burned most of his body including all of his face (this man is now known as Dave Dave, formerly David Rothenberg ). Michael took care of him. He (Dave Dave) got up to speak (at Michael’s funeral) about what a kind, decent, generous, wonderful person Michael Jackson was. I happen to know there were kids all over the world he did this for. Disabled kids, children with illnesses and disabilities. Michael would write checks for them and nobody publicized it. He didn’t do it to become well known for doing it. He did it because that’s what his heart wanted him to do. You know? I think one of the cruelest things that ever happened was to take his love for children, his desire to help kids, and turn it against him and try and call him a monster as they did in that trial. It was just horrible.

Brian Oxman:

I sat next to Dave Dave, whose father doused him with kerosene and burned 90 per cent of his six-year-old body.

Michael cared for Dave Dave for more than 30 years, never asking for anything in return. His eulogy was moving. The world should never forget how Michael gave back not only to Dave Dave, but to so many other needy people.


Posted in David "Dave" Rothenberg, The Allegations | 1 Comment

Michael Jackson’s Experience of Racism

[EXPAND KKK Paraphernalia left out for them when they arrived to perform in Mobile, Alabama, January 3rd 1971 ]

“You Are Not Alone,” by Jermaine Jackson

If there was one city that didn’t totally put out the Jackson-mania welcome mat, it was Mobile Alabama. We had looked forward to this date because it returned us to Mother’s roots, but there was no home coming. The fan reaction wasn’t the problem – that was typically raucous. It was the reception outside the arena that provided a sober lesson in the rich diversity of America. Our parents had warned us about the infamous prejudices of the Deep South and how black communities were still awakening after the Montgomery bus boycotts of the 1950s, and the civil rights and that had brought violence from the white supremacists of the Ku Klux Klan. We had seen images of grown men walking around with sheets on their heads, and we had seen them burning crosses, but our knowledge of history was scant until our first hand experience in Alabama, in January 1971.

The first difference we noted was when the white driver of our limousine was cold and abrupt, not talkative like other drivers we’d had. At our hotel, he refused to get out of the cat and open our doors, and no staff came out to help us with our bags either. This wasn’t a spoiled kid expectation, it was just an observation of a sharp difference in our treatment. It was as we pulled our bags out of the trunk that one of us noticed some KKK paraphernalia clearly intended for our eyes. We froze. It was like one of those moments in a thriller movie when you realize your driver has been the killer the whole time; it felt that sinister. We stayed quiet and kept our heads down. At the hotel reception, we faced the same old awkwardness. “We don’t seem to have got any rooms booked for you,” said the man at the front desk, all curt and stern. Suzanne de Passe, or someone, argued that this was a long standing booking; we were the Jacksons 5 and there must be a mistake.

“No mistake. We have no rooms booked,” he repeated.

We effectively begged for a room, which we were eventually given – facing an alley and trash cans. Michael was, typically, the first to question what had happened when we got to the basic quarters of our second rate room. “Why would someone treat us like that because of our skin color?” he asked. It confused him because he knew our fans were both black and white, and it was the first time we had been made to feel unwanted, let alone unpopular.

It made us more determined to kick some butt onstage, because we soon recognized the importance of being black kids performing for black fans who could now identify with us. We were carrying the torch for our forefathers, winning respect for every black kid with a dream. The screams and cheers that night felt like a lot more than just Jackson mania: they felt like defiance and victory. As Sammy Davis Junior had said in 1965: “Being a star has made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to go and get insulted.”


[EXPAND Michael beaten in a store while repeatedly being called “nigger” after being accused of stealing, late 70s or early 80s ]

“Growing Up In The Jacksons” by LaToya Jackson

Trouble seemed to stalk him. Ironically, my brother’s most terrifying encounter was with someone who didn’t even know who he was. He and Michael were visiting her mother and stepfather in Alabama, accompanied by Bill Bray. Michael and Bill went driving one afternoon, and stopped at a gas station. While Bill used the restroom, Michael browsed in a small shop next door. When Bill came out, he was surprised to find Michael gone. “Where are you, Joker?” he called out, using his pet name for my brother.

Suddenly he heard, “Help! Help!” It was Michael, yelling from inside the store. Bursting through the door, Bill saw my brother curled up on the floor and a white man kicking him viciously in the head and stomach, screaming with blood curdling venom, “I hate all of you! I hate you!” Over and over he called Michael a nigger.

Bill, a tall, middle aged black man, subdued the attacker and helped up Michael, who was crying and bleeding from several deep cuts. “What’s going on?” he demanded.

“He tried to steal a candy bar!” the man claimed, pointing at my brother. “I saw him put something in his pocket!”

“No, I didn’t!” Michael protested.

“Yes, you did!”

“Wait a minute,” Bill said skeptically. “He doesn’t even like candy and he doesn’t steal. Why would he steal a candy bar?”

It was obvious then that Michael’s attacker had no idea who he was. As far as he was concerned, this was just another black person – another nigger – to abuse. Bill rushed Michael to a local hospital to have his cuts and bruises tended to.

Mother called us from Alabama to tell us what had happened and we all cried in anger and sadness. How could this kind of thing still happen? If Bill hadn’t been with Michael, he might have been killed. Jermaine was livid, threatening to fly to Alabama and take the law into his own hands. It took some time to persuade him that vigilantism was no way to handle the matter.

Instead, a lawsuit was filed against the store owner. Two girls standing outside had witnessed the beating and one offered to testify on Michael’s behalf. We felt very strongly that racial violence must be stopped, but unfortunately, justice did not prevail in this case. The racist harbored no regrets. In fact, discovering that the black man he’d assaulted was a celebrity only inflamed his hatred. Now he threatened to kill Michael. Bill convinced us that this person was mad, that the threat was quite serious, and that it was better for everyone to drop the action. None of us was happy about this, but there was really no choice.


[EXPAND Michael invites Tatum O’Neal to be his date to the premiere of his movie The Wiz but she turns him down because her agent didn’t want her seen at a premiere with a “nigger”, October 1978 ]

Tatum O’Neal, “A Paper Life”

Unfortunately, my friendship with Michael came to an abrupt ending. He’d played the Scarecrow in The Wiz, the urban remake of the Wizard of Oz, which starred Diana Ross as Dorothy. For the film’s premiere, Michael invited me to be his date. I asked my dad, who didn’t care one way or another if I went, but my talent agency was dead set against it. I was told, in exactly these words: ‘You can’t go to a premiere with a nigger.’ Hollywood!


[EXPAND Rejection letter from Rolling Stone in 1979 – as it stands Britney Spears has been on the cover of Rolling Stone on more occasions than Michael has ]

Michael Jackson's Experience of Racism, Rolling Stone, racist

November 27, 1979

Dear Norman [Winter]:

Michael Jackson has, in fact, been on the cover of ROLLING STONE, contrary to your statement in your recent letter to me.

We would very much like to do a major piece on Michael Jackson, but feel it is not a cover story.


Jann S. Wenner
Editor & Publisher

cc: Walter Yetnikoff

At this point in time Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough and Rock With You had both recently been released as singles from his Off The Wall album and both had charted at number one.

Joe Vogel recently spoke about Michael’s feelings about Rolling Stone’s rejection and how he had been told that black musicians had never sold well on the cover of the magazine. That opinion seems reflected in how many cover stories have featured him in total versus other white musicians of his status:

Jackson was well-aware of this history and consistently pushed against it. In 1979, Rolling Stone passed on a cover story about the singer, saying that it didn’t feel Jackson merited front cover status. “I’ve been told over and over again that black people on the covers of magazines don’t sell copies,” an exasperated Jackson told confidantes. “Just wait. Some day those magazines will come begging for an interview.”

Jackson, of course, was right (Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner actually sent a self-deprecatory letter acknowledging the oversight in 1984). And during the 1980s, at least, Jackson’s image seemed ubiquitous. Yet over the long haul, Jackson’s initial concern seems legitimate. As shown in the breakdown below, his appearances on the front cover of Rolling Stone, the United States’ most visible music publication, are far fewer than those of white artists:

John Lennon: 30

Mick Jagger: 29

Paul McCartney: 26

Bob Dylan: 22

Bono: 22

Bruce Springsteen: 22

Madonna: 20

Britney Spears: 13

Michael Jackson: 8 (two came after he died; one featured Paul McCartney as well)

Is it really possible that Michael Jackson, arguably the most influential artist of the 20th century, merited less than half the coverage of Bono, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna?


[EXPAND Michael was stopped and detained while driving his Rolls Royce because the police officer didn’t believe the car was his, 1981 ]

“My Family” by Katherine Jackson

Michael usually drove himself to Kingdom Hall and his field-service routes. He’d finally gotten his driver’s license in 1981, at the age of twenty-three. Initially he didn’t want to learn to drive.

“I’ll just get a chauffeur when I want to go out,” he said when I began nagging him about getting his license.

“But suppose you’re someplace and your chauffeur gets sick?” I reasoned.

Finally, he relented and took some lessons.

After he began driving, Michael decided that he enjoyed being behind the wheel, after all. The first time he took me for a ride, he ventured up to Mulholland Drive, a winding road in the Hollywood Hills. It was a hair-raising experience.

“I’ve got a crook in my neck and my feet hurt,” LaToya, who was also in the car, complained afterward. “I was putting on the brakes’ with my feet and ‘steering’ the car with my neck trying to keep it on the road. I was so scared!”

It was white-knuckle time for me, too. Michael drove fast. He also had the same habit that I have: driving right up to the car in front and stopping on a dime.

After that, Michael started going out by himself.

“You shouldn’t go out alone,” I told him. “Get Bill Bray to go with you.”

But Michael wouldn’t hear of it. “I’m tired of having security with me every time I go someplace.”

When he began driving, Michael told me that he would never go on freeways; he thought they were too dangerous. So I was shocked one day when Michael suddenly drove us onto a freeway ramp.

“Wait a minute, Michael, what are you doing?”

“I can drive the freeways now!” he said, laughing. He had changed his mind about freeways when he saw just how long it took him to get around Los Angeles without using them.

Michael’s first car was a Mercedes. Then he bought a black Rolls-Royce, which he later painted blue.

It was in the Rolls that he was stopped one day — not for fans outside the gate, but by a Van Nuys policeman.

“This looks like a stolen car,” the officer said. He didn’t recognise Michael, who wasn’t wearing a disguise that day.

Michael explained politely that he did, indeed, own the car. But the officer went ahead and ran a check on the car, and found that Michael had a ticket outstanding.

The next thing Michael knew, he was sitting in the Van Nuys jail.

Bill Bray bailed him out. I didn’t even know what had happened until he came home.

“You should have asked the officer what a stolen car looks like,” I said after he related his adventure. Perhaps the cop had felt that a young black man didn’t belong behind the wheel of a Rolls.

But Michael was not only put out by the experience, he professed to be happy.

“I got to see how it felt to be in jail!” he exclaimed.


[EXPAND After hearing that Elvis Costello had called Ray Charles and James Brown “niggers” Michael kept away from him when they met, 1982 ]

The incident where Costello said this is recounted here:

In 1979, Costello was touring America in support of his album Armed Forces, which had become his biggest hit in the States. One night that spring, the tour reached Columbus, Ohio. It was a pretty good week for rock shows in Columbus — Stephen Stills and his band were playing at another venue and staying at the same hotel as Costello. In the hotel bar, Costello and some of the Attractions got into a discussion about music with a few of Stills’ bandmates, including backup singer Bonnie Bramlett. A 1979 People magazine story describes the substance of the conversation:

“Someone asked him what he thought of the old guys, like Buddy Holly,” reports one eyewitness. Costello replied with an obscenity. “What about Elvis Presley?” Costello snapped another obscenity. “Then he said American people are second-class white people, compared to first-class English people.”

Bramlett, a longtime paladin of rhythm-and-blues whose backup bands once included heavies like Leon Russell, Duane Allman and Rita Coolidge, kept cool until, she says, Costello “called James Brown a jive-ass nigger.” Next, according to an onlooker, “Bonnie said, ‘All right, you son of a bitch, what do you think of Ray Charles?’ He said, ‘Screw Ray Charles, he’s nothing but a blind nigger.’ That did it. Bonnie backhanded him, slapped him pretty hard, because she’s a healthy chick.”

What People didn’t report, but what has been frequently noted in reports of the incident in succeeding years, is that Costello really didn’t want to talk to anybody in the hotel bar, and was trying to get rid of Bramlett and the others. In 1982, Costello told Rolling Stone that the discussion started as “joshing” and “gentle gibes,” but got nastier and nastier the more intoxicated everyone got. And finally, “I said the most outrageous thing that I could possibly say to them — that I knew, in my drunken logic, would anger them more than anything else.”

Walking away from the bar that night, Costello figured it was just another bar fight. He didn’t expect what happened next: Bramlett called reporters to tell them about it. Within days, Costello ended up facing the press himself amid accusations of racism. He apologized, but went only as far as saying he was sorry “if he had offended anyone,” without actually apologizing to either James Brown or Ray Charles. He received death threats and eventually required extra bodyguards. His American record deal was even in jeopardy for a while, as Columbia reportedly considered whether to drop him. They didn’t, but they also stopped promoting Armed Forces, releasing no more singles, not even What’s So Funny (‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding), which might have become a breakthrough hit. The Armed Forces tour ended quietly, and it would be two years before Costello returned to the States.

For his part, Ray Charles was gracious, saying only: “Drunken talk isn’t meant to be printed in the paper.” In 2004, Costello told Rolling Stone that he never got the chance to speak to Charles about the incident. He insisted that he pays still a price for it:

I have to live with it, with every Afro-American musician I meet. Do they know? Do they think, “The guy’s being nice to me, but secretly I know he’s a racist”? I’ve heard people mutter it under their breath as they pass by, because they read it somewhere. What can I complain about? It happened. But if people don’t hear the respect by now, they’ve got their ears the wrong way around.

Even before he ever met Bonnie Bramlett at the Holiday Inn, Costello had been active in Britain’s Rock Against Racism movement. Some Costello fans blame Bramlett for using the incident to hype her own career. Costello’s track record in the 30 years since that night indicates that the incident did minimal harm to his career and reputation. And so, like most everything in life, the “Columbus Incident” was a lot more complicated than it looks.

Elvis Costello spoke about Michael’s reaction to meeting him in the September 2, 1982 edition of Rolling Stone in an article entitled “Elvis Costello Explains Himself”

I’m not saying I wasn’t responsible for my actions; that sounds like I’m trying to excuse myself. But I was not very responsible. There’s a distinct difference. I was completely irresponsible, in fact. And far from carefree – careless with everything. With everything that I really care about. And I think that inasmuch as it was said that we fed ourselves to the lions, you could say that whatever the incident was, it was symptomatic of the condition I was in, and that I deserved what happened regardless of the intentions of the remarks.

But it was only quite recently that I realized that it’s not only the man on the street, as it were, who’s never heard of me otherwise, who’s only read People – that it’s not only people like that who know only this about me. When we were recording Imperial Bedroom, Bruce Thomas was in the next studio while I was doing a vocal. Paul McCartney was there, and Michael Jackson came in to do a vocal – everything was nice until somebody introduced Bruce as my bass player. And suddenly – there was a freeze-out. Michael Jackson was – “Oh, God, I don’t dig that guy… I don’t dig that guy.”

He had heard about it third hand, from Quincy Jones. Two guys I have a tremendous amount of admiration for. It depressed me that I wouldn’t be able to go up to him – I wouldn’t be able to go up and shake his hand, because he wouldn’t want to shake my hand. Or James Brown, for that matter. But what could I say? What could I say? How could you explain such a thing? But there is nothing I’d like more.


[EXPAND In depth look in to the racial climate of MTV in the early 80s and how Billie Jean was a breakthrough for black musicians, 1981-1983 (quotes about this racial divide from MTV execs, record label execs, music journalists, Rick James, David Bowie, Keith Richards, Bob Seger, Bob Giraldi, etc) ]

“Inside MTV” By R. Serge Denisoff, published in 1988

Rick James, Michael Jackson, Versus Narrowcasting

Music publishers at the California Copyright Conference held in January 1983 repeated the controversies of the first Billboard Music Video gathering. The major issues were payment for clips and black music.

Ben Begun (Warner-Amex’s legal affairs vice president) was bombarded with questions concerning black music, especially by Jay Lowy (of Motown) and publishers with minority artists in their portfolios. Begun’s reading of a short list of urban contemporary acts rotated on the music channel only heightened the tension. The audience was unpersuaded. The heat was building on the MTV “corporate philosophy” and narrowcasting.

The MTV racism controversy that arose in the early months of 1983 was a case of economic interests wrapped in the mantle of civil rights. The rhetoric did not always point to the underlying monetary motivations pulling in some very well intentioned persons, such as David Bowie, Bob Seger and New York Times television writer John O’Connor.

A&M’s Jeff Ayeroff had told John Sykes (MTV promotions director) at the 1981 Billboard Video Music Conference, “Just try playing the [Rick] James video and see what happens,” and MTV ignored the suggestion. Bob Pittman (founder of MTV) stuck to his format philosophy: “You can’t go too far into black music or country music or you’ll alienate your target audience, which is interested in rock.” The demographically and geographically defined cable viewers of the network were white males in the suburbs and rural areas. The response was predicable, in light of radio’s fragmentation and cable’s narrowcasting structures. “Rick James is great. So is Parliament Funkadelic,” he told the writer, “but we turned down Rick James because the consumer didn’t define him as rock.” He cited the statistic that 85 percent of the targeted audience prefers rock adding, “But we do play black artists – Joan Armatrading, Gary US Bonds, Jimi Hendrix – because they fit in with rock and roll. So it has to not with race, but with sound.” He could have added the Bus Boys, and Phil Lynott, then a hard rocker from Ireland (he died in 1986). Variety got the same reply with one caveat: “We hope to find more black musicians doing rock and roll and new music.”

After MTV turned down the “Super Freak” video, “Slick” Rick James finally got into the fray. He told the Los Angeles Times that MTV was “racist.” His main objection was clear: “I figure if they played my video I could probably sell hundreds of thousands more records than I do now.” Slick Rick had a point. Black Entertainment TV in 1982 had about 2 million subscribers – 20% of that of MTV. Worse yet the RIAA estimated that the urban contemporary market accounted for about 2 percent of record and cassette purchases.

At a Los Angeles television studio James would expand views. “I’m hoping my speaking out in public about MTV’s discriminatory policy will make other acts go on record about it.” “I’m just tired of the bullshit,” he later told Rolling Stone. “I have sold over 10 million records in a four year period… and I can’t get on the channel. I watch all these fluffed up groups who don’t even sell four records on a program that I’m excluded from. Me and every one of my peers – Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, the Gap Band, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson – have great videos. Why doesn’t MTV show them? It’s like taking black people back 400 years.”

Rick James was a gadfly. Pittman cordially complained to a New York Times writer, “Why doesn’t anyone talk about all the music barriers we have broken down, like the areas between punk and new wave and mainstream rock?” The rhetorical query really didn’t address the charges, but was a defense of the format.

At the same time AC Nielson brightened the MTV picture. The television polling firm found that MTV viewers spent an average of 4.6 hours per week watching the channel. The October 1982 survey also found that 85 percent of the target audience watched the network. Record buying decisions were found to be equally affected, as 63 percent of the 2,000 respondents answered that they did purchase an album after seeing an act on MTV. Eighty one percent indicated that their first exposure to some acts was via the music channel. The most significant finding was that 68 percent of the sample rated MTV as important or very important, surpassing radio’s 62 percent.

A demographic profile from the same study showed that the typical viewer was around twenty three years old with an average household income of $30,000. More than 50 percent of those over eighteen in the viewership were college educated. These were the kind of numbers record companies and advertisers notice. The findings released in February underlined the import of MTV exposure – a fact that further fueled the black music polemic.

Veejay Mark Goodman, after conducting one of his usual fluff interviews with David Bowie, found the roles reversed. Bowie peppered the puzzled veejay with questions. “Why,” asked the superstar, “are there practically no blacks on the network?” Goodman, who merely introduced the clips and announced concert dates, explained: “We seem to be doing music that fits into what we want to play on MTV. The company is thinking in terms of narrowcasting.” Bowie pressed on. “There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I’m surprised aren’t being used on MTV.” Goodman placed in the uncomfortable position of defending a format totally beyond his control, echoed the company’s demographic policy: “We have to try and do what we think not only New York and Los Angeles will appreciate, but also Poughkeepsie or the Midwest. Pick some town in the Midwest which would be scared to death by… a string of other black faces, or black music.” He went on, “We have to play music we think an entire country is going to like, and certainly we’re a rock and roll station.” The exchange got hotter. Bowie asked: “Don’t you think it’s a frightening predicament to be in?” The intimidated veejay resorted to the radio analogy, “Yeah, but no less so here than in radio.” The British singer pounced on the reply: “Don’t say, ‘Well, it’s not me, it’s them.’ Is it not possible it should be a conviction of the station and of the radio stations to be fair… to make the media more integrated?” Leaving Bowie’s hotel suite Goodman may have had second thoughts about “meeting his idols” In all fairness, Goodman was in a very difficult position. Had he agreed with Bowie it would become a matter of disloyalty. Statuswise he was no match for the international superstar. Offending David Bowie was not the thing to do. Reportedly Entertainment Tonight was planning a segment on the inflammatory debate.

Looking back on the James charges, John Sykes, almost with resignation says: “Once the racial issue steps in everyone forgets everything else; it becomes a show of prejudice versus liberalism. Then everyone reads into it who is being held back.”

James’ allegations would create one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in the development of MTV. This is an industry where any significant move hits the “street” before actually occurring.

Epic Records, a subsidiary in the CBS Group, geared up to equal the success of their Off The Wall. Produced by Quincy Jones over a prolonged period of time with some of Los Angeles’ top session people, the nine cut Thriller album contained a duet with Paul McCartney (The Girl Is Mine), Eddie Van Halen picking high powered guitar solos (Beat It), and a Vincent Price narrative in the title song. Several Jackson biographers estimate the studio costs surpassed $500,000. CBS had a hefty commitment to the effort, going in.

Off The Wall had been an 8 million, multiplatinum crossover album of the year in 1980. To obtain this sales status a wide appeal to those beyond the urban contemporary market had to be established. If Thriller was to parallel or transcend this, the first Epic release had to reach the AOR and MTV audience. Neither were airing artists with Michael Jackson’s sound. Although it is widely believed that the network practiced a quota for black artists (an unproven allegation), MTV appeared an easier vehicle to promote than tackling the resistance of the myriad of nationally scattered AOR stations. There was also the question of the good will of music directors.

Michael Jackon’s Thriller, his second solo effort, bulleted up the Billboard chart to the number one slot by the last week of February. Billie Jean the single from the LP, reached the same position on the Hot One Hundred a week later on March 5th 1983. Both had been on the trade charts for at least seven weeks. A video clip of Billie Jean was commissioned to support the single and the album. Steve Barron of Limelight Productions directed the visual. The “concept” video cost considerably more than average, which at hat time was in he $8,000 o $20,000 range. Estimates are that the label spent $60,000 to $75,000 on it.

CBS Records’ aggressive promotion vice president Frank Dileo took the clip to MTV, “the music video” network. He recalls, “In the beginning they did not know what would be acceptable to their audience,” which was an understatement at best. MTV’s response was generally negative. Bob Pittman: “We chose rock because the audience was larger. The mostly white rock audience was more excited about rock than the largely black audience about contemporary rhythm and blues.” Les Garland echoes his superior’s view: “You cannot be all things to all people. You cannot play jazz and country music and funk. You lose your focus.” Privately, Pittman was labeling his critics as being “ignorant” of the format.

CBS was adamant. Dileo went back to MTV on several occasions to restate the label’s case. MTV continued to repeat: “It’s the format” and the decision had nothing to do with race.

Pittman’s argument was consistent with his past pronouncements. Originally he shunned “golden oldies” even if the clips were available, saying: “I don’t think our audience is very interested in the past.” The same applies to futuristic videos: “Musically, those songs do not fit into MTV’s format. They’re too avant garde.”

While enjoying some support from within the broadcast community, MTV was rapidly being pushed into a public relations corner. The perception was becoming, for some people, the reality. CBS Records, as many have discovered is a company that is willing to extend its clout. Epic did have an argument. Billie Jean with its chart position, was an obvious crossover hit appealing to both races. Thriller’s success only reaffirmed the contention. This view did not seem to originally persuade most of the MTV brass.

The March 2 MTV playlist had Billie Jean as an add-on. This 180 degree shift led to considerable speculation. None of the individuals reportedly involved will directly discuss the about-face.

In late February an informal meeting had been arranged at Black Rock, where some top executives met to consider their options with MTV. Persuasion was not working. One executive suggested having Michael Jackson appear on the CBS Morning News and repeat James’ charges of racism. Several participants indicated that the ploy had little effect in the Slick Rick situation. Several other strategies were discussed and dismissed. Finally, the ultimate weapon was introduced: curtail MTV’s supply of free videos – especially of name acts, such as Billy Joel. This was a step Motown never dreamed about, as their roster and market share were limited. “What could Berry Gordy do, threaten to pull the Dazz Band video?” noted Rock and Rock Confidential (RRC). The CBS Group, with almost 25 percent of the recording market, could withhold Journey, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel and many other artists aired on MTV. Allegedly Waltner Yetnikoff played this card and won. One CBS company employee cautiously noted, “All I can tell you is if that story is in fact true it was a helluva gamble. Chuzpah! MTV could have held firm. Then what?”

In light of the record companies’ experience with radio and the home taping issues, the outcome could have been quite different. Many broadcasters refused to go along with the labels’ “friendly persuasion” to halt playing entire albums without interruption. Record label executives at that time conceded that withholding product service would be counter productive. Pulling the plug on MTV, at the time, could have similar consequences. One CBS artist stated, “I was on MTV at that time. It was definitely helping record and concert sales.” The implication was that he would not have been overjoyed with an MTV boycott, especially with the state of AOR in early 1983. “Walter Yetnikoff and I never had a discussion about Billie Jean,” says Pittman. Dileo was negotiating the matter with MTV executives representing Pittman’s views. Deniability is a practice common in organizations outside the confines of the intelligence gathering community. It is doubtful Pittman or Yetnikoff would have been directly involved. Still, given the stakes even corporate vice presidents were not individually empowered to make he kind of hard decisions that situation invoked.

MTV put the best face on the turn around possible. “By the time we put that video into rotation,” John Sykes told a writer, “there was really no way for us to ignore Billie Jean. It had moved beyond being a “black music” hit; it was an across the board smash, pop, black, dance charts, you name it. It was a rock song, a pop song… it fit our format.” Veejay JJ Jackson said, “I think we all wanted to see Billie Jean on the channel.” Garlend would later deny any coercion: “No that’s absolutely untrue.”

The addition of the clip has been cited by many as the racial “breakthrough.” The debate raged on. Radio broadcasters privately and in trades had misgivings. Formats by their very nature had borders. One program director observed, “Jackson’s a universal, maybe Prince, but what happens if one of the biggies decides an urban contemporary artist should be on AOR?” Off the record another retorted, “I didn’t realize affirmative action applied to playlists.”

Jeffery Kelly, operations manager of WDMT (Cleveland), went public on the controversy. He wrote in Billboard that artists “have expressed their view that MTV should play ‘all’ contemporary music that is hot and on video. But isn’t it true that, like radio formats, this type of television programming is segmented. MTV doesn’t air Rick James’ video; it doesn’t air Neil Dimond’s video, either. MTV is a rock format… [it doesn’t] play black or soft rock or country music, because it doesn’t appeal to their segment of the audience.” Kelly went on to suggest that in the future an urban contemporary network would appear “appealing to that active, black, music loving public.” Dave Marsh in his monthly newsletter, without referring to Kelly, condemned MTV and the AOR radio fragmentation. “MTV’s racism is more dizzying in its complexity and dimensions simply because the channel is nation wide.” The cause for the writer was radio. “MTV’s programmers – Bob Pittman, Les Garland, and Lee Abrams – all learned their tricks at AOR, a true school for scandal.” Marsh’s newsletter piece would later be reprinted in the mass circulation Record magazine.

Michael Jackson's Experience of Racism, black musicians, Billie Jean, Rick James, Prince, MTV

Racism Charges Resurface

The race issue hung on. The “is” versus “ought” dialogue continued. Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” appeared on MTV. Grant, an iconoclastic funk fusion artist, originally dropped by Epic in 1980 only to be resigned for the Killer album on Portrait, was sanguine about the MTV issue. He informed Record’s Anthony DeCurtis: “I’ve never bowed to format or whatever it is, because, I don’t understand it. I understand only one thing: how to make music. And I make the music, and if people like it at the radio, or the TV, or whatever, fine. If they don’t, well that’s fine too. Because I’m used to it both ways.” Some of Grant’s urban contemporary’s were no so laid back over the issue. He was on MTV, and they were not.

Prince’s Little Red Corvette continued to complement Billie Jean on the cable network. On April 23, Garland Jefferys had two songs, What Does It Take and El Salvador on the light rotation; Beat It from Thriller, directed by Bob Giraldi and costing nearly $150,000 started on the “heavy” or most repeated category.

Beat It was perceived as the Stairway To Heaven of music videos. Thriller, prior to MTV, had sold some 3 million units. With video exposure it was in the 800,000 per month category.

Prior to James’ comments in the Los Angeles Times, the “racism” debate remained in the trade magazines and specialty publications such as Video. This was “inside baseball” material, as its termed in journalistic circles. A locally sponsored music video six hour symposium in Atlanta, April 16, found Les Garland denying “racism” charges and rattling off the black artists on MTV. Consultant Dwight Douglas prematurely objected, “I’m sick of the press jumping on MTV about this ‘racism’ business, it’s not true. You have to remember that MTV has a very expensive format to protect. If they broke their narrowcasting pattern, somebody could come along and blow them out of the water.” Douglas, president of Burkhart and Abrams, was hardly an objective observer.

Manny Sanches, the marketing director for Franklin Music, retorted: “Forget this black/white thing. The issue is ‘green.’ We need to get on with the business of selling records. That’s what we’re here for.” In May the nonexistant “press coverage” would surface. Ed Levine in The New York Times Magazine would write a lengthy piece on MTV published May 8: five days later ABC TV’s Nightline addressed the same subject, music video. Casey Kasem and Rick Dobbis of Arista Records, were joined by Rick James. James, it appears, was apparently incensed by the inclusion of other black artists. According to several insiders James felt even more personal discrimination because of the addition of other black artists. He would again exclaim his displeasure. The show opened with generally high praise from industry executives and even Ted Koppel, not known for his verbal generosity, commented, “It has done wonders for the sagging record industry. It has made overnight stars out of rock groups whose records had been gathering dust.” James dissented. The Motown artist complained that MTV “has refused to play five of my videos.” After some elaboration Koppel asked, “What’s wrong – I mean we tried to get a representative of MTV to come on the show; they wouldn’t. But they’re saying in effect, ‘Hey, Bloomingdales’s has its market, Nightline has its market….’ Why not?” James responded, “Well, then they shouldn’t call themselves Music Television.” The discussion continued;

Koppel: That’s their privilege, isn’t it?
Rick James: Yeah, but why call yourself Music Television then? I mean, why not then call yourself ‘We Play Sometimes Black Music Television.’ See, number one, you have a lot of black people out there and white people – they all buy records, they mix it up. You’ve got urban contemporary music happening, which is a form – the basis of it is black music form. That’s where it comes from. The beat, the tribal beat, as they say, or whatever, you know, all that crap… This show has a very strong impact on the market. What about all the white kids out there who have a Rick James and a Michael Jackson or – excluding Michael, who’s on the show. They didn’t put him on the show until he went number one. And then I also heard that Columbia almost threatened to take off every video on MTV until Michael was put on that show. When you have a record company threatening a cable show, telling them that if you don’t play this act, we’re going to pull all our videos – that means something. It means something for us to get our music to people, and it means something for us to get our visual concepts to people.

In retrospect, Pittman and associates mishandled the Nightline show. Addressing the guests Koppel concluded, “You’ve reached a few people tonight who may never have heard anything about you before.” The ABC host was right. The Jackson episode went unanswered. Rick James’ fiery rhetoric went unchallenged. Les Garlend’s belated denial was unconvincing as it came at a time when the CBS “video boycott” story had become conventional wisdom in the industry. John Sykes, who could have appeared on the program, might have diplomatically treated the topic as in the past.

Blacks increasingly were added to the MTV playlist, such as Donna Summer’s She Works Hard For The Money. The clip did not satisfy everyone. Speaking at the American Film Institute, scriptwriter Keith Williams charged he was instructed to use a white family in the clip.

Detroit’s hard rocker Bob Seger complained to Musician, “The thing I hate about it is that there’s no black music or R&B on it unless it’s syrupy stuff.” Seger found an ally in John J O’Connor, venerated television columnist of The New York Times. After describing the network as an important presence in programming and record sales, the journalist entered the debate. He wrote that MTV appeared to be “bent on returning the black musician to the status of ‘invisible man.’ … Critics have wondered if this ‘oversight’ is intentional, a demographic ploy for making MTV more palatable to the suburbs of middle class white America. MTV executives, for their part, have insisted, not a little arrogantly, that their product is focused on rock and roll, an area of music that supposedly is not frequented by black performers. Roll over, Chuck Berry.” O’Connor outlined the broad scope of music prior to returning to the race issue. He suggested that Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Musical Youth, and Prince were merely “promotional spots for MTV” or are being “used prominently in commercials for the format.”

The racism controversy was fueled by idealism, self interest and stubbornness. John Sykes’ original statement concerning “left out” artists had merit. Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire, a fusion act, complained on ABC-TV’s 202/20 that “I have trouble getting to play on it [MTV]. Even though our music has broken all barriers they consider our music R&B so they say they’re only playing rock music, which I don’t believe.”

The MTV high echelon, especially, Bob Pittman, was (or at least appeared) intransigent. Rick James was considered by most people in and outside of the industry as urban contemporary. Michael Jackson was an entirely different matter. He had clearly demonstrated a pluralistic market appeal. Pittman played directly into the hands of the critics by the original rejection of Billie Jean with the “it’s he format” rationale. The widely held belief that CBS forced the video clip on MTV only made matters worse. MTV’s arguments for the expansion of the playlist for more minorities because they were moving into rock music had a hollow ring to it. Rick James’ tactic failed. He admitted, “It hasn’t gotten any better for me… Michael Jackson was forced on MTV… [he’s] sold millions of albums… I still don’t like MTV.”

Belatedly the Rolling Stones Keith Richards joined in the fray. The “first thing I said after I watched a bit of MTV, you’re lucky to see one black every two hours, if that. Michael Jackson gets played; I heard MTV was playing the Bus Boys a few months ago, but it’s real tokenism. When you consider the contribution black people have made to American music, it’s disgraceful… it’s a little bit one sided.” MTV would remember these observations.

One year after the Billie Jean affair, Pittman would tell Variety’s Richard Gold, “Of the new artists being exposed on the service, some 25 percent are from the black music field.” Later senior research vice president Marshall Cohen would explain a ratings downturn with “we really got a huge benefit from playing the [title] clip from Michael Jackson’s Thriller at the height of Michaelmania.” He added that the ratings dropped “due to no Thriller.” Pittman concurs with Cohen’s assessment, but prior to the so-called “lull” he used Thriller’s title song for other purposes. At a roundtable discussion at Cablevision’s offices chaired by Victor Livingstone he observed:

“The record was out fifty three weeks before MTV played Thriller. Radio had the opportunity to make Thriller a single, but chose not to. CBS had the chance to push Thriller, but chose not to. Sales dropped about 250,000 a week from summertime levels of 1 million, 1.2 million. The first week MTV played it, sales jumped from 250,000 to 657,000 copies, next week to a million, and the third week in excess of a million.

You’ve got to figure that if they sold an extra 3 million albums at $2 an album, they make $6 million. Spending even 1 million on a video was a damned good investment, even if they didn’t get a penny of it back by selling the video.”

By mid-1986, Rick James remained absent from MTV’s playlist, but the tempest he had instigated smoldered.

In the fall of 1983, Robert Pittman was sick of the sniping at his format and the demands being made on MTV. The Acquisitions Committee had added Michael Jackson, Eddy Grant, Prince, Musical Youth and other black performers. This silenced some concerns but others persisted. David Marsh’s Rock & Roll Confidential, beginning with its first issue in May, urged: “If you’re as sick of this bullshit as we are, why not write MTV… and call your local cable outlet.” The same issue accused MTV of “deceptive advertising.” The next issue accused MTV of a “significant marketing failure” and continued to attack: “We billed them for a subscription to R&R, sent them the first issue, and still haven’t been paid.” Next issue contained: “Number of black performers with MTV concerts or specials in the history of the channel is still zero… MTV honchos like Bob Pittman aren’t lying… when they claim that black and white music has ‘always’ been segregated.” In the following issue David Bowie was urged to “withhold videos and interviews until the channel opens up.”

Despite the inclusion of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long, Bob Giraldi portrayed MTV as “racist bastards.” They “can say all they want,” he noted, “about over the line, across the line – they are obviously racist and there’s nothing else to say about it.”

Since the beginning of music broadcasting and record marketing segregation had been rampant. Billboard at one time labeled it “race music.” In the early years of white rock and roll, black artists were “covered” by the likes of the Crewcuts, Pat Boones, and a host of crooners. The Penguins’ Earth Angel stopped this practice when the original black version outsold the watered down release by the Crewcuts. The late Muddy Waters was an embittered man when the Rolling Stones popularized his music. Only then did he receive the attention he richly deserved.


[EXPAND President of CBS Records Walter Yetnikoff has confirmed this sequence of events over Billie Jean ]


Walter Yetnikoff, the president of Jackson’s record label, CBS, approached MTV to play the “Billie Jean” video. He became enraged when MTV refused to play the video, and threatened to go public with MTV’s stance on black musicians. “I said to MTV, ‘I’m pulling everything we have off the air, all our product. I’m not going to give you any more videos. And I’m going to go public and fucking tell them about the fact you don’t want to play music by a black guy.'” MTV relented and played the “Billie Jean” video in heavy rotation.


[EXPAND Seeking to buy a llama, Michael was first asked if he was looking for work, told they didn’t sell any, told he couldn’t afford them and then challenged to produce ID, 1983 ]

michael jackson, llama, louie, michael jackson's experience of racism

“You Are Not Alone,” by Jermaine Jackson

One day, Michael decided he wanted a llama. He asked me to take him to nearby Agora and we ended up at this lot packed with hay and horse trailers. From the car, we eyed four llamas out back. I parked between two trailers, unintentionally shielding my Mercedes from view. It was the only parking spot available. When we walked into the office – two kids dressed casual but smart in T shirt and jeans – this guy, bent across a counter doing some paperwork, didn’t even look up when he said, “We’re not hiring.”

“We ain’t looking for no job,” said Michael, wearing his shades. “We’re here to buy a llama.”

The man looked up. Not a flicker of recognition on his face. It took me about two seconds to know that his musical taste ventured nowhere near the Thriller album. “We don’t have any llamas,” he said. The look on his face said it all: you can’t afford it.

“You have four of them out back,” I said, trying to keep calm.

“You know how much they cost?”

Michael smiled. “We know how much they cost.”

Then came an incredible bombardment of questions, fired by the man’s prejudices and assumptions. “Can you afford a llama? What do you boys do to afford a llama? Where will you keep it? Have you ever thought about this?”

Ever patient, Michael explained that we had a house with grounds and were serious customers. “I know how to look after all kinds of animals,” he added.

The man begrudgingly asked to see some ID. Michael handed over a bank card. I handed over my driving license. And then night became day.

“You’re those Jackson boys?” said the man, his face lighting up. He began to back-pedal about how he had to be careful and he couldn’t sell to just anyone; you understand how it is. Bu we didn’t understand: we saw right through him.

“So you’re happy to accept me because now you know who I am?” Michael asked. The biggest misconception people had about my brother was that his legendary shyness made him timid, but he was a man of principle, especially where his roots as a proud black man were concerned and he wasn’t afraid to speak up on this when riled. Michael took back his ID and came right out with it: “You are an ass, and we don’t want to spend our money in here any more.” Then we walked out to the Mercedes the man had failed to spot when we arrived.

On the drive home, Michael was exasperated. “Can you believe that? What is this area about? What are they teaching their kids?”

We had always been told by our parents that no one is born with a prejudice. It is something that is taught, ignorance passed down from generation to generation. The more Michael brooded, the more fired up he became. He told me to drive to Tito’s.

That afternoon, Tito’s acoustic guitar and our free styling lyrics captured an angry inspiration for a song we called “What’s Your Life?” That was how Michael liked to work. When a true experience inspired a song, he liked to get it down on his tape recorder or in the nearest studio. We recorded that song within an hour at Tito’s studio, also in Encino.


[EXPAND Louis Farrakhan calls on black youth to boycott the Jacksons Victory Tour because he believed Michael to be too “sissified” as a black man, April 1984 ]

[Seemingly based on the idea that men, especially black men, need to aspire to a macho ideal.]

Michael Jackson called “sissified” by Farrakhan, Gaineseville Sun, April 12 1984

Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Black Muslim sect, has called on black youths to reject the “female acting, sissified” image of award winning entertainer Michael Jackson.

Farrakhan blamed the 25 year old Jackson, recent winner of eight Grammy awards, for his style that “actually ruins your young men and makes your young women have nothing to look up to as a real man for their own lives.”

Farrakhan’s criticism of Jackson was made in a March 11 radio broadcast. The Chicago Tribute recently obtained a copy of the Farrakhan broadcast and published details about the Michael Jackson statement Wednesday.

In the broadcast, Farrakhan said: “… we have today a Michael Jackson who is winning all kinds of awards because he is a great and marvelous performer. But the image that he projects to young black men is an image that we should all reject.”

Farrakhan said, “This… Jehri-curl, female acting, sissified-acting expression is not wholesome for our young boys, nor for our young girls. Certainly the man is a great singer, certainly, he’s a powerful entertainer. We cannot and we would never try to take anything away from our brother.”

He went on to contend that Michael Jackson is setting a poor example for black youth. “This is a shame. But, of course, men like this will live to die of old age, because they threaten nothing.”

A spokesman for Michael Jackson, whose latest album, Thriller, has sold more than 25 million copies, said the singer would have no comment. The spokesman in Los Angeles described Jackson as very religious and added, “I just don’t think he would subscribe to any way of life other than a very deeply religious lifestyle.”


[EXPAND Don King told him that to the rest of the world he would only ever be treated as “another nigger”, 1984 ]

Michael Jackson's Experience of Racism, Don King, Michael Jackson

As quoted by Taraborrelli in Magic and Madness, pg 377

King’s final comments on the subject [of the Victory tour] failed to ingratiate him to Michael Jackson. He went on, “What Michael’s got to realize is that Michael’s a nigger. It doesn’t matter how great he can sing and dance, I don’t care that he can prance. He’s one of the megastars in the world, but he’s still going to be a nigger megastar. He must accept that. Not only must he understand that, he’s got to accept it and demonstrate that he wants to be a nigger. Why? To show what a nigger can do.”

Jermaine Jackson “You Are Not Alone”

Don [King] didn’t win awards for tact and diplomacy, and his giant ego was the reason he was a promoter. He was brash but effective. Had you seen him – the loudest mouth – and Michael – the quietest soul – interacting, you might have thought, There’s the kid with the embarrassing uncle that he can’t help but find funny. I’ll never forget being in a meeting when we were discussing something about the show’s direction and Michael was talking about how he wanted to pay back the fans and keep pushing higher.

“Michael!” said Don, cutting dead the monologue. “Remember this. It don’t matter whether you’re a rich nigger, a poor nigger, or just a nigger. No matter how big you get, this industry’s still gonna treat you like a nigger.” In other words, and in his opinion, you’ll always be a servant to the music industry, so don’t ever think of becoming more powerful than that.

Everyone in the room froze. If the music industry blew smoke up everyone’s ass, Don blew in an icy blast of straight talk.

It was Michael who was the first to laugh, cracking the suspended silence. He found it funny, in a shocking way, and wasn’t offended. None of us was. A black man had been addressing black men, and that kind of talk was hardly foreign to someone from Gary, Indiana.


[EXPAND Foxboro Massachusetts officials banned the Jacksons Victory tour from their stadium claiming that too much of an “unknown element” would show up, a move residents believed to be racist considering many other famous white musicians had been allowed to play, June 22nd 1984 ]

Jackson Fans Angry At Foxboro, Herald Journal, June 22nd 1984

Radio station switchboards were jammed with angry calls Thursday and a state legislator branded town officials as racists following their decision to turn away two concerts by superstar Michael Jackson and his brothers.

“We have an awful lot of people who were upset with the town of Foxboro,” said Mark Williams, a producer of Boston radio station WRKO-AM’s morning talk show. “The switchboard is overloaded with calls.”

The yelps of protests from Jackson fans came after the three selectmen in this community 30 miles south of Boston voted Wednesday night to reject permits for two concerts at Sullivan Stadium.

Residents had complained the concerts would attract vandals, disrupt business and create traffic problems.

Many callers questioned to reject the black group while permitting stars like David Bowie and the Police to play the stadium last year.

“A lot of people think it’s a racist thing,” said Charles Laquidara, the morning disc jockey at WBCNFM. “It’s unfortunate because the man cuts across all color lines. You can hear Michael Jackson on every station on the dial.”

Foxboro officials “feel the town is going to be the ‘Mecca for Minorities’ when all the evidence is directly opposite said Sen Royal Bolling, a black legislator who traveled to Los Angeles earlier this year to persuade the Jacksons to come to Sullivan Stadium, the largest arena in the Boston area.

Bolling proposed legislation to limit the power of Foxboro selectmen to turn down concerts and said he would lead a multicultural march of thousands of Jackson fans to the concert site if Foxboro officials don’t change their minds.

The selectmen declined to comment, but town counsel Richard Gelermen called the charge of racism a “scurilous thing to say.”

“That was absolutely not a consideration and it reflects very poorly on the town of Foxboro,” he said. “The truth is that at the last two major  concerts there was disruptive behavior in the neighborhood and Michael Jackson has the capacity of drawing many unticketed people into the area.”

Stadium owner Charles Sullivan executive vice president of the National Football League New England Patriots wanted to bring Jackson and his five brothers to the 61,000 seat stadium on August 11 and 12.

Sullivan reportedly has guaranteed the Jacksons $40 million in exchange for the right to promote their summer tour across the country, winning the job through efforts to get the group to play at the Foxboro stadium.

“Naturally we’re quite disappointed,” said Michael Chamberlain, president of Stadium Management Corp. which is handling the tour. “The ironic thing is he wound up getting the whole tour and the first and only city that has turned down is Foxboro.”

Chamberlain said there would be no attempt to challenge the decision.

The Jacksons Victory Tour opens in Kansas City on July 6th and will include 39 concert dates in 11 cities. The main attraction will be Michael Jackson, whose hits like Beat It and Billie Jean made his Thriller album the biggest seller in history.

Chamberlain said Stadium Management offered to provide round the clock security to businesses near the stadium to win over the selectmen Sullivan even promised a black of the $30 tickets for Foxboro residents. But the selectmen turned down the concert despite the $50,000 the town would receive from the concerts.

Selectman Stephen Hickox told the 150 people who attended the meeting he shows would attract and “unknown element”to the town of 14,5000. Chairman Richard Thompson said safety officials feared traffic jams could black fire tracks and ambulances.

“I do not think that any security plan would be able to handle the large number of non ticket holders that may show up,” he said.

A caller to the radio station complained that Western Union refused a telegram to the selectmen calling them “low life scum.” Another radio station hired a limousine to transport live chickens to the selectmen.


[EXPAND Co-Star of Michael’s video The Way You Make Me Feel, Tatiana Thumbtzen, says she was told that MTV thought their music video was “too ethnic”, 1987 ]

Michael Jackson's Experience of Racism, The Way You Make Me Feel, ethnic, Tatiana Thumbtzen


David Banks, the co-writer of The Way You Make Me Feel, was a relative of Eddie Griffin. David had shared with me how MTV had complained about our video, saying that it was too “ethnic”. David had said to me, “He’s Black. What do they expect?”


[EXPAND Michael penned a letter to his videographer for the Bad Tour, William Pecchi Jr, sharing how hurt he had been on hearing how “Pecky” had been racist as he’d grown up in Texas, 1988 ]

From the Julien’s Auction website:

Three-page handwritten letter from Michael Jackson to William Pecchi Jr., written on Capitol Tokyu Hotel stationary c. 1988. The letter is affectionately addressed to “Pecky.” Pecchi was a camera operator on Jackson’s film Moonwalker (Ultimate Productions, 1988). After Moonwalker, Pecchi was asked to travel abroad with Jackson during the Bad tour. Pecchi rode to and from venues to capture the crowd’s reaction to Jackson. It was during these rides that Pecchi and Jackson talked at length and one such conversation in Tokyo provoked this correspondence. The letter discusses Michael’s goals for the film, encouragement to Pecchi, reactions to conversations about racism and Jackson’s vision of the world, signed, “love M.J.”


I very, very seldom write letters, but in this moving occasion I couldn’t help myself. I want to thank you for putting the effort forward to capture the magic and excitement of the people of the world. What you do is a very personal and powerful medium to me. It is the art of stopping time, to perserve a moment that the naked eye cannot hold, to capture truth spontaneous truth, the depths of excitement in human spirt. All else will be forgotten, but not the films. Generations from now will experience the excitement you’ve captured; it truly is a time capsule.

I will not be totally satisfied until I know you’re at the right angle at the right time, to capture a crescendo of emotion that happens so quickly, so spontaeously. What you have done was good, but I want the best, the whole picture, cause and effect. I want crowd reaction wide lens shots – depths of emotions, timing. I know we can do it. It is my dream and goal to capture TRUTH. We should dedicate ourselves to this. The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication. There is no other way to perfection than dedication, perseverance. Just tell us what you need to make it happen. Take the leadership to direct the other cameramen.

I enjoy working with you that is why I asked you to come, you have a gentle spirit that’s very likable. Maybe I look at the world through rose colored glasses, but I love people all over the world. That is why stories of racism really disturb me. You hurt my heart and soul when you told me of your boyhood in Texas. Because in truth I believe all men are created equal. I was taught that and will always believe it. I just can’t conceive of how a person could hate another because of skin color. I love every race on the planet earth. Prejudice is the child of ignorance.

Naked we came into the world and naked we shall go out. And a very good thing too, for it reminds me that I am naked under my shirt, whatever its color. I’m sorry to bring up such past news, but in the car I was hurt by what you said. I’m so happy that you have managed to overcome your childhood past. Thank God that you’ve graduated from such beliefs of ignorance. I’m glad I’ve never experienced such things. Teach your kids to love all people equally. I know you will.

I speak from my heart saying I love you and all people, especially the children. I’m glad God chose me and you.

Love M.J.


[EXPAND Michael’s speech against racism, Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, July 9, 2002 ]

“I remember a long time ago in Indiana, [when I was] like 6 or 7 years old, and I had a dream that I wanted to be a performer, you know, an entertainer and whenever I’d be asleep at night, and my mother would wake me up and say, ‘Michael, Michael, James Brown is on TV!’ I would jump out of bed and I’d just stare at the screen and I’d do every twist, every turn, every bump, every grind. And it was Jackie Wilson; the list goes on and on you know, just phenomenal, unlimited, great talent. It’s very sad to see that these artists really are penniless because they created so much joy for the world and the system, beginning with the record companies, totally took advantage of them. And it’s not like they always say: ‘they built a big house,’ ‘they spent a lot of money,’ ‘they bought a lot of cars’–that’s stupid, it’s an excuse. That’s nothing compared to what artists make. And I just need you to know that this is very important, what we’re fighting for because I’m tired. I’m really, really tired of the manipulation. I’m tired of how the press is manipulating everything that’s been happening in this situation. They do not tell the truth, they’re liars. And they manipulate our history books. Our history books are not true, it’s a lie. The history books are lies, you need to know that. You must know that. All the forms of popular music from jazz, to Hip Hop to Bebop to Soul, you know, to talking about the different dances from the Cake Walk to the Jitter Bug to the Charleston to Break Dancing—all these are forms of Black dancing! What’s more important than giving people a sense of escapism, and escapism meaning entertainment? What would we be like without a song? What would we be like without a dance, joy and laughter and music? These things are very important, but if we go to the bookstore down on the corner, you won’t see one Black person on the cover. You’ll see Elvis Presley. You’ll see the Rolling Stones. But where are the real pioneers who started it? Otis Blackwell was a prolific phenomenal writer. He wrote some of the greatest Elvis Presley songs ever. And this was a Black man. He died penniless and no one knows about this man, that is, they didn’t write one book about him that I know of because I’ve search all over the world. And I met his daughter today, and I was to honored. To me it was on the same level of meeting the Queen of England when I met her.

But I’m here to speak for all injustice. You gotta remember something, the minute I started breaking the all-time record in record sales—I broke Elvis’s records, I broke the Beatles’ records—the minute [they] became the all-time best selling albums in the history of the Guinness Book of World Records, overnight they called me a freak, they called me a homosexual, they called me a child molester, they said I tried to bleach my skin. They did everything to try to turn the public against me. This is all a complete conspiracy, you have to know that. I know my race. I just look in the mirror, I know I’m Black. It’s time for a change. And let’s not leave this building and forget what has been said. Put it into your heart, put it into your conscious mind, and let’s do something about it. We have to! It’s been a long, long time coming and a change has got to come. So let’s hold our torches high and get the respect that we deserve. I love you. I love you. Please don’t put this in your heart today and forget it tomorrow. We will have not accomplished our purpose if that happens. This has got to stop! It’s got to stop, that’s why I’m here with the best to make sure that it stops. I love you folks. And remember: we’re all brothers and sisters, no matter what color we are.”


Posted in Experience of Racism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Michael Jackson Last Girlfriends Friend Flower Bodyguards

Three bodyguards who worked for Michael through the years 2007-2009 have opened up about working for him, revealing that he had been dating at least two women in the years that they worked for him. These women were nicknamed “Friend” and “Flower” in order to protect their privacy.

[EXPAND Mike Garcia, Bill Whitfield, Javon Beard, Bodyguards from 2007-2009, Good Morning America interview, 9th March, 2010 ]


Interviewer: Was he a pedophile?
(all three shake heads)
Mike Garcia: No.
Bill Whitfield: No.
Javon Beard: Not at all.
Bill: Being a father myself and being a man, men know men, he had the desires of women like we do.
Narration: In fact, they say he had at least two girlfriends, dispelling that other rumor.
Bill: We had a curtain that covered the backseat, you couldn’t see in the backseat, they talked back there… I mean, you know.
Interviewer: So he’s making out in the backseat.
Bill: Or chewing loud gum (everyone laughs).
Interviewer: It sounds like you’re chaperoning two teenagers on a date.
(All nod and agree)
Javon: It was cute for us.

Narrator: They didn’t ask for anything for this interview. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND News article about that interview with a few more details, ABC News, March 9th 2010 ]


MICHAEL JACKSON’s former bodyguards have spoken out about their late boss, revealing the King of Pop romanced a string of women with dates in the back of his limousine.The Thriller hitmaker’s longterm security guards, Mike Garcia, Bill Whitfield and Javon ‘BJ’ Beard, agreed to be interviewed on U.S. TV show Good Morning America on Tuesday.

And the trio divulged personal details of the late singer’s life behind closed doors, insisting Jackson had at least two steady girlfriends whose identities have remained a secret – and he took them on dates driving up and down the Las Vegas strip when he lived in Sin City.

When asked about the child molestation charges which were levied at Jackson despite his acquittal at a 2005 trial, all three insisted the star was not guilty of the accusations.

Whitfield says, “Being a man… men know men, and we (were) around him long enough to know he was a man.”

While Garcia adds, “(He had) desires of women like we do. He had lovers.”

And Whitfield goes on to describe Jackson’s various romantic encounters in the back of his limousine: “In the cars that we had, we had a curtain that covered the back seat. You couldn’t see in the back seat. They talked back there, they didn’t do nothing out of bounds… you can hear the kissing.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND The Bodyguards revealing more details about these women on their facebook wall ]

link to their facebook

Q: I trust you Bill, but I don’t understand why you don’t want to answer some of the question here because you’ll be talking about them in the book, however you don’t mind answering other questions you also will be talking about in the book. To be clearer; why don’t you want to answer here any question about his girlfriends?

MJs Bodyguards – Questions such as what? I get questions every 2-3 minutes every day, I can’t answer everyone or every question.

– Its not that we dont wanna answer questions about his female friends, its NOT about them, its about MJ. Who they are shouldnt matter.

Q: Random question……..dont have to answer if you dont want are you gonna talk about romantic interests? just curious who he was cheating on me with lol jk

MJs Bodyguards – He was not cheating on… we never said dating two ladies, we said he had two friends that he knew. ppl took that as something else….

– Ok, I see many of you have different feelings on what we should or shouldnt write about in the book. Please understand, his children want this, they want the world to know and see the side of their father the press and media never took the time to acknowledge. Its not about his Love life, its about his being happy and real. He would have loved towalked thru the mall with a “friend” and not be bothered by the media. He didnt put his personal life out there because he couldnt without being hounded by the press. This book is for his fans too, if you beleive and agree great, if you dont we are sorry but I assure you, if your a true MJ fan you will Love this book!

Q: Were there any times or moments when Michael was in public and no one either recognized or bothered him? And did he try to go out by himself sometimes without security? Stay blessed!

MJs Bodyguards There were a few times we escorted him and no one recognized him, he would take long walks at night with a friend.

Q: Bill, who was the friend MJ use to go on long walks with? E. Taylor? Thanks and have a relaxing weekend!

MJs Bodyguards A friend [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND They reveal one was known as “Friend” and that she had a European accent, NYPost, May 9 2010 ]

Michael Jackson’s former bodyguards — Bill Whitfield, Javon Beard and Mike Garcia — are shopping a book, “In Defense of the King,” about their three years working with the King of Pop. The body men, who were interviewed by ABC in March, will sit down for another chat with the network to air in June, in which they will expound on Jackson’s financial troubles and try to kill rumors that the singer was gay. For one, confirms publicist Lelani Clark, the bodyguards say Jackson had two girlfriends toward the end of his life. One was called “Friend” and spoke with a European accent. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Dr Karen Moriarty spoke to Michael’s bodyguards and they shared details about his liaisons with these women, calling the other girl “Flower”. She also reveals details about Michael being seen with girls around Los Olivos when he lived at Neverland, the book: Defending a King, published January 2012 ]

“Defending a King,” by Dr Karen Moriarty

His Las Vegas security guards – Williams, James, and Garcia and Thomas Mesereau, all of whom knew Michael well, have confirmed that he was not homosexual.

Attorney Thomas Mesereau became intimately aware of Michael Jackson’s sexual proclivities during the months of the 2005 trial that delved into every aspect of the superstar’s private life. There was a massive and thorough investigation into every event and piece of evidence that might reveal Michael’s sexual preference and behaviors. Every item at his Neverland home – books, magazines, videos, articles of clothing, laundry hamper, papers, safes, and personal effects – was searched, confiscated, and/or filmed. Only some “girlie” magazines were found; nothing related to homosexual pornography was found – nothing. It is interesting to note that a photo of Marilyn Monroe was displayed on Michael’s bedside table.

Thomas Mesereau affirms that “Michael Jackson was a ‘red blooded male heterosexual’; he was not a pedophile – nothing could be further from the truth.”

His Las Vegas security team of three men have affirmed that “Michael Jackson was not gay.”

“Men know men,” they explained in a kind of shorthand to communicate that they got to know their boss intimately and that he obviously liked women. He would watch them from his vehicle, like any heterosexual man would do, and occasionally he would comment to his protectors on the attractiveness of various women.

Mr Jackson maintained a relationship with each of two women during the many months of guard service by Boyd Williams, Baron James and Michael Garcia.

Known to his security team as “Flower” and “Friend” each would occasionally come to visit their boss. Mike Garcia speaks about driving them to meet when one of the women came to Las Vegas to spend private time with him. Three men believed that Mr Jackson used nicknames for the women in order to protect their identities.

Mr Jackson did not entertain either of his female friends in the presence of his children nor did they come to his house. Nothing was more important to Mr Jackson than the well being of his family and he did not want to impose a single/unmarried female guest, as his “date”, upon his young, impressionable children. This behavior was in keeping with his self professed description as “old fashioned” and “a gentleman.”

It is fair to say that Michael Jackson was at the point in his life that he would not allow himself to open up thoroughly to any woman or allow himself to fall in love. Doing so would bring a world of his attention to his women friends, and the media would be relentless – like a dog with a bone – in chasing and hounding these women.

Ironically, it seems that the only ones outside of his security team – who ever saw Michael Jackson and one of his female companions together did not recognize him. Thankfully, no photos were ever taken. This situation is a tribute to his security men, who worked so diligently and intelligently that Mr Jackson and his special “friends” were not detected or revealed to the public.

When Mr Jackson was visited by one of the women, the security team covertly made all of his requested arrangements. The guards escorted Mr Jackson into his reserved hotel suite without the knowledge or cooperation of hotel management. It would be too risky to notify hotel personnel about the boss’ identity; his rendezvous with his lady could be easily and quickly ruined by the onslaught of paparazzi. “Michael Jackson with Mystery Woman!”

For the guards, it was great to know they could provide Mr Jackson with temporary peace of mind, which he so longed for and deserved. He could have someone he truly liked and she could reciprocate his feelings. They “acted like high school sweethearts,” laughing, giggling, and joking around. They spoke on the telephone often, so much that Mr Jackson accumulated huge monthly long distance phone bills.

The revelation of Michael Jackson and women friends comes as no shock to most of the residents of Los Olivos, the closest town to Neverland, at a distance of five miles. There, among the townspeople, it was commonly known that their neighbor superstar was dating women. Michael and his female friends typically avoided public places, as was his modus operandi in general, but sometimes he was spotted with a woman companion, who was obviously a “date” and the Michael Jackson sighting would be passed by word of mouth. Soon everyone would hear about it in this peaceful, scenic town in “wine country” with only 1,100 residents. It’s also interesting to note that, according to a recent US Census Bureau report, the racial make up of Los Olivos was 92.7% white, only one African American (.1%) and the remaining 7.2% of individuals were of other races. Michael Jackson was unique within his local community and in so many ways – the biggest celebrity, the wealthiest resident, and an anomaly as an African American man.

When Michael Jackson was seen in the Los Olivos area, especially with a woman friend, it was always notable. [/EXPAND]

Posted in 2007-2009 Last Girlfriends Flower Friend, Relationships | 13 Comments

Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston

[EXPAND Whitney had been a fan of Michael’s since she was a kid, “How sweet the sound: my life with God and Gospel”, Cissy Houston (published in 1998) ]

[While she was away touring for Elvis Presley when Whitney was a child]

I’d call home every night, allowing for the time difference and timing the call to be near the kids’ bedtime. Gary was a little bit older and kept his feelings in check.

Nippy was always into something — busy playing or watching her favorite performer, Michael Jackson, on TV. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Cissy Houston says Whitney wanted to be like Michael, Dailybeast, February 2012 ]

Was there a moment when you were watching her perform and realized there was something exceptional there?

Well, I thought she was a very special kid from Jump Street, not just because she was mine. She was beautiful and talented and very smart. And she was very observant, interested in the things around her. Most children are, I guess, up to a point. But she was exceptional in that area. She would listen very closely to music, and she was always very alert musically.

And then she started to sing herself. I called it screaming at the time—well, my husband did. But I said, “Hey, one day, maybe she’ll be a singer.”

And Whitney used to tell me she would. She would look at Michael Jackson and say, “Mommy, I’m going to be a star. I’m going to take care of you, and you’re never going to have to work again!”


[EXPAND Jermaine opens up about his affair with Whitney, “You Are Not Alone” by Jermaine Jackson ]

Michael Jackson Whitney Houston, Jermaine JacksonMichael Jackson Whitney Houston, Jermaine Jackson

[Sometime in 1984, Jermaine at a meeting with Clive Davis]

“Now, before you leave, can you put your producer’s cap on for a minute?” Clive Davis asked. “I have this new artist…” He pushed a tape into his VHS recorder and we sat back to watch this tall girl with model looks and an incredible voice singing in a club in somewhere like New Jersey. She must have been about 18. That was my first sigh and sound of Whitney Houston. “She needs material,” he said. “She’s going to be huge. I’m working with other producers. We’re not rushing her. What do you think?”

I blurted out what was in my head the moment I heard her voice: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. That’s the gold standard I had in mind. A duet. Me and her. “I’d be excited to work with her,” I said. “We’d be perfect together.”

THE FIRST TIME I SAW WHITNEY in the flesh she was at a studio in Hollywood. She was even more gorgeous in person. She walked over, we shook hands, and there was one of those recognitions that sends all sorts of wires sparking and fusing on the inside. I caught her during a break in recording, and she was smoking. “You don’t want to smoke those,” I said. “They’ll ruin your voice.”

She smiled. “You might want to live more dangerously,” she said. Touche. This girl was quick witted with a confidence that trod on your toes. She was that mix of street smart East Coast girl with an air of innocence and a vast talent. I found that a hypnotic combination.

Her voice had strength, passion and softness, and she could use every element of her range to tell a song’s story. She could sing anything. We would spend a lot of time in the studio together, recording duets and in production, and soon enough, she was calling me Jackson, not Jermaine, setting the easy atmosphere in which we worked. We had an instant mutual respect for each other and a growing attraction. During our increasing time together, it was what we didn’t say – yet still conveyed – that sent me into a head spin. I kept reminding myself about Hazel, the family, and everything I had built and everyone I loved. This was the stuff they didn’t warn you about when you got married, aged 19. They didn’t tell you that when you grew up there would be super human forces to drag you toward temptation. No matter your intentions, you should be tested. And this collaboration, with an as yet unknown artist, was to be mine.

VICTORY’S SCHEDULING MEANT WE WEREN’T SOLIDLY on the road for five months. We had periods back home and we had off days built in, which gave me time to continue my collaboration with Whitney Houston on her debut album. Clive Davis was still building the hype about his protegee, throwing parties on both coasts and clearly wanting to ride this collaboration on the crest of he brothers’ tour. There was always some club to attend, like the Limelight in New York, or a promotional party in LA, where Whitney and I made our well choreographed entrances. I didn’t know at the time, but someone from Arista was always nudging the writing elbows of gossip columnists in the hope of building an are-they-or-aren’t-they mystery. But it seemed the press was more interested in the fact that Whitney spent a lot of time with a woman named Robyn Crawford. Whitney once described their friendship as being “closer than sisters” – and that was all journalists needed to read between the lines. They were curious about her sexual orientation before her album was even released.

Having witnessed this kind of false diversion play itself out in Michael’s life, I had every sympathy, but we also laughed about it in the studio because, trust me, if you had spent more than two minutes in the charged energy of the “Whitney Whirlpool”, you didn’t need to ask how that fire smouldered.

I knew I was in trouble in the face of that fire when Clive booked us on to the CBS soap opera As The World Turns to test our duet “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” for the wedding scene of Betsy (Meg Ryan) and Steve (Frank Runyeon). I remember when she held my hand mid song as the cameras rolled – an unrehearsed moment – and something hit me. The frisson just kept developing the more we worked together.

Back in the studio, we recorded and produced songs like Take Good Care Of My Heart, If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful, Sweetest Sweetest, and two unreleased ones called Don’t Look Any Further and Someone For Me. With each session, we were in each others eyes, almost cheek to cheek around the mic, selling the lyric, feeling the song – and the intense professional chemistry crossed over. Come the end of a powerful rendition, Whitney would just stay close to the mic, close to me, and say “What are you going to do with me, Jackson?” She held the seductive gaze. I lost my words. Then she walked away.

These were turning into duets between temptation and forbidden love, and the studio sessions gave us what feel like stolen time together. I arrived on those days with butterflies, because the whole experience of being around Whitney was intoxicating. I admitted silently that I had the strongest feelings for a remarkable woman, whose heart was as beautiful as her face, and it became increasingly hard to sing love songs with all that emotion and unspoken passion between us.

I spoke to no one about this until the day Michael raised an innocent enough question:

“So how’s it going with Whitney?”

He’d heard me predict that “She is going to be the biggest thing when people hear her voice.”

“Were getting along very well,” I told him, smiling.

“You like her?” he asked.

“Yeah, I like her.” Still smiling.

“Oh, you really like her!” He started chuckling.

“I really like her,” I said. Smile now gone.

Michael got excitable. “You in love with her?”

“I can’t be in love,” I said. “I’m married.”

That was a deliberate lie. I was caught between the guilt of saying it out loud and respect for his position because he was, at this time, still a devout Jehovah’s Witness. I guess I didn’t want to be a disappointment to him having for so long been an example.

I can’t remember what his exact words were in the back and forth that we had, but for a man with limited experience of this kind of thing, he had the wisdom of a sage. He didn’t fuel the temptation as some guys would. He reminded me about Hazel. About family. About not getting wrapped up in the moment. He gave the soundest advice, and I knew that doing “the right thing” was ultimately what I had to do.

Whitney and I spoke endlessly about our shared predicament and as much as I wanted to lose myself in all these feelings, I told her to wait. I spoke of “one day” and “maybe.” Ultimately, we had to go our separate ways and it killed us both even if it was the right sensible option.

I don’t think anyone punched the air harder than I when the album “Whitney” became the biggest début album ever, selling 16 million copies worldwide after its release in 1985. Two years later, her follow-up album turned her into the first female artist to have an album début at number one. We didn’t see each other for years after we finished recording.

In fact, she saw more of Michael than of me backstage at one of his concerts in New York, and then again in 1988 when she was onstage with Quincy Jones to help present Michael with an honorary doctorate in humanities from Fisk University. I saw newspaper photographs of them together in this moment and I observed the irony of them side by side.

In 1985, I received a phone call from someone close to Whitney, telling me that she was releasing her new single “Saving All My Love For You.” Like Michael, she expressed herself through song. When I watched the official music video, I soon realized that it was also autobiographical with its parallels-and coded message-to what we had recently shared in the studio together. I guess we had both left a deep and abiding impression on one another and her positive impact has never left me. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND According to a source Jermaine held back from full details of their love affair in his book, The Sun, 5th March 2012 ]

But he claimed they quelled their feelings for each other before becoming lovers.

Revealing how he was torn between his wife and the beautiful singer, he wrote: “Whitney and I spoke about our shared predicament.

“And as much as I wanted to lose myself in all these feelings, I told her to wait.

“I spoke of ‘one day’ and ‘maybe’. Ultimately, we had to go our separate ways and it killed us both.”

But the friend revealed Jermaine was being less than honest — because he did not want to reveal the truth out of respect to Whitney while she was alive.

The pal explained: “Jermaine didn’t tell even half the story in his book.

“He made it sound like they flirted and backed away. But they were lovers.

“In those early days with Whitney, he was smuggled into her hotel rooms, they worked extra late in the studio and she even had a codename for him. She referred to him as ‘Ji’.

“The reason it ended was because Jermaine wouldn’t leave his wife — and Whitney was angry. The video for Saving All My Love For You was about all of that.”


[EXPAND Steve Dennis, ghost writer to Jermaine’s book You Are Not Alone, says Jermaine wrote about his affair with Whitney with “discretion”, Twitter, 4th March 2012 ]

Steve Dennis@SteveDennis71

Been no “confession” frm Jermaine @DrMALee. He wrote about #Whitney w/discretion & decency last yr. The Sun piece 5mnths later is v separate

Steve Dennis@SteveDennis71

BREAKING NEWS: Journalists lift quotes from books. UPDATE: Journalists don’t tend to tell authors in advance. (Shocking, I know)


[EXPAND Jermaine Jackson’s ex Margaret Maldonado says Jermaine and Whitney dated, Jackson Family Values, 1996 ]

“I later learned that he had romanced Whitney Houston, the beautiful model Iman, and Stevie Wonder’s sister.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney speaks about how she was having an affair with a married man while recording Saving All My Love, New York Daily News, July 1999 ]


About half the show is the new CD, the rest her past hits. “I have to do ‘How Will I Know’ and ‘Saving All My Love’ and ‘I Will Always Love You,'” she says. “Those songs brought me here. I’ll do them forever.”

And is that a burden?

“No, because they all had meaning for me. When I did ‘Saving All My Love,’ I was going through a terrible love affair. He was married — and that will never work out for anybody, never, no way, forget about it.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney Opening her first concert with Wanna Be Startin Somethin, 1986 ]



[EXPAND Whitney saying she wanted to record a duet with Michael, You magazine, Mar 2, 1988 ]

Whitney Houston the reigning princess of pop has her sights set on royal marriage of sorts. She says she’d like to do a duet with the prince of pop Michael Jackson: ”He’s one of the people I believe to be a genuine talent and for me to be able to sing with him would be the ultimate honor. It’s one of the goals I’m working toward to.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael honored at United Negro College Fund and Whitney Attends, March 10, 1988 ]


Michael Jackson Whitney Houston

“Michael winced when Whitney flubbed “Lift Every Voice And Sing” but loved her “America The Beautiful.”


[EXPAND Whitney Presents Michael With Award At the World MVA, video, photos, Jan 30 1989 ]



[EXPAND Talking about how Michael invited Whitney and the crew back to Neverland for that award, “Diva: Totally Unauthorized Biography of Whitney Houston,” by Jeffery Bowman, printed 1995 ]

In a televised interview, Whitney revealed, “Of all the people that I would like to do a song with, Michael Jackson would be on the top of the list.” She also mentioned that she had talked to the elusive superstar on the phone, but didn’t have the nerve, despite her own celebrity, to ask him to record an album with her.

The increasingly media-savvy young singer also couldn’t resist the temptation of hinting that she and Michael were an item. One reporter fell for the ploy and wrote, “Whitney seems to be trying very hard to get in good with Michael Jackson. She seems to be everywhere that he is–a coincidence?”

Indeed, Houston did seem to pop up in Michael’s life at regular intervals. In 1988, she was spotted a various functions that Jackson also attended. She made sure they were photographed arm in arm at the Grammy’s and she spoke of Jackson fondly in interviews. In March of that year, Michael was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Fisk University in recognition of his generous donations to the United Negro College Fund. Houston attended the ceremony, which was held at the Sheraton Center in New York, and a camera caught the two stars beaming at each other.

Houston’s presence at the event could be explained by the fact that she was also a major contributor to the United Negro College Fund. But the smile she sot Michael when she came onstage to sing the unofficial black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” suggested her motives were more than philanthropic. That suspicion was confirmed when she made sure the paparazzi photographed her with Jackson.

Later that year, Whitney flew to California to present Jackson with the Life Achievement Award for Video, which was broadcast as part of the “World Music Video Awards.” After the ceremony, Jackson further fueled rumors of a romance with Houston by inviting her to lunch at his family’s compound in Encino, California. That the superstars’ relationship was less than romantic was suggested, however, when Jackson also extended the invitations to the entire production crew of the televised awards ceremony.

After lunch, Jackson gave Houston and the rest of the party, a personal tour of the grounds, on horseback as though-the same pundit joked-he hoped to keep at least a horse-length buffer between himself and Houston. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney quotes Michael, Ebony, May 1991 ]

“Like my friend Michael [Jackson] says, ‘You want our blood but you don’t want our pain.”’ [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney speaks about wanting to duet with Michael, BET Video Soul, May 1991 ]

When interviewed on cable TV”s BET Video Soul in 1991, Whitney Houston revealed that she would like to work with Michael Jackson: ”I think he and I probably would create a lot of magic… Incredible!” She mentioned that two or three years earlier they had talked about it, but it didn’t happen. ”He hasn’t called me”, she smiled, ”but I can’t wait.”

She also confided, ”Now you know that ‘s another person I’d love to do something with. Bobby (Brown) and I would be explosive. As a matter of fact I wanted to do a duet with Bobby for the album I’m your baby tonight but that didn’t work either.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney Houston quotes Michael, Rolling Stone, June 10, 1993 ]

RS: How has your huge success changed your life?

WH: It’s really strange. Michael Jackson said it best: You become this personality instead of a person. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney Defends Michael Against The Child Molestation Allegations, The Deseret News, February 21st 1994 ]

Jackson And I Are Victims Of Racism, Whitney Houston says, The Desert News, February 21st 1994

Whitney Houston says she and Michael Jackson are victims of media racism.

“I see white folks do a lot of things – a lot of things that I wouldn’t even think about doing – and nobody cares,” Houston told TV Guide.

“I think a lot of emphasis is placed on black people because there are not many who are able to succeed. So when one does, it’s like, ‘Uh-oh.'”

Houston said she first recognized the problems last year when tabloids reported – falsely that she had been hospitalized for an addiction to diet pills.

Her awareness grew during the media frenzy over allegations that Jackson sexually molested a young boy.

“You do not convict someone of a crime that you have no idea they committed,” Houston said. “I hate the media for doing it to him.”


[EXPAND Whitney Houston: Her Grammy fears… and why she’ll “always love” Michael Jackson, TV Guide, February 26th – March 4th 1994 ]
Michael Jackson Whitney Houston. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael allegedly told Lisa Marie that he had once got drunk with Whitney and she stayed in his hotel room, Monica Pastelle, The Mirror, “THE FEUD’S OVER; Whitney calls off war with Madonna” The Mirror, February 9 1996 ]

THERE was a time when you could have told feuding firebrand Whitney Houston to bury the hatchet – and she’d have planted it between Madonna’s shoulders.

But not any more. For the two have retracted their razor nails, shaken hands and the egos have bonded.

They are even about to make music together – which isn’t bad, considering ‘Whitters’ once called ‘Madders’ “the high priestess of tack”.

But this new-found friendship is a key element in The Taming of The Houston, Hollywood’s latest drama, brought to you exclusively by the Daily Mirror.

“I’m too exhausted by the feuding in my life to keep them all going,” says 32-year-old Whitney. “I’ve made a resolution to end all battles.”

“And she always gets what she wants,” adds her close associate Freda Maguire.

Whitney – star of the hit movie Waiting To Exhale – is a very demanding diva.

But she’s also just a girl with feelings for her fellow females.

Take Madonna – upset and exhausted after giving evidence against a crazed stalker sitting opposite her in a courtroom.

The phone rang – with Whitney, her arch-rival, offering genuine sympathy.

A couple of days before, Houston had sent Ms Ciccone a huge bouquet with the message: “I know what you’re going through. Chin Up! Love, Whitney.”

Says Freda: “When Whitney heard about Madonna’s court case last month she said: ‘I don’t care what bad blood has been between us.

“‘It’s stupid for us to hate each other. It’s a horrible feeling not knowing where the next stalker may be coming from’.”

Freda adds: “Whitney said she wanted to bury the hatchet, which was pretty great considering she once called Madonna ‘revolting’ and ‘the high priestess of tack’.

“Then Whitney actually suggested that they do a duet together. She wants it to be about being stalked, about being afraid for your life.

“Madonna agreed and they’re going to do it. The duet will appear on Whitney’s next album. It’ll be huge – imagine how many millions it’ll sell,” Freda says.

This could be all about money, but no one denies that Whitney’s had her fair share of stalkers.

Her movie The Bodyguard may have encouraged a few weirdoes – but not the one who claimed to have had three-in-a-bed sex with her or the other who was discovered with enough explosives to put Houston on the moon.

For her part, Madonna was soon praising Whitney for keeping her tricky marriage going with singer Bobby Brown.

“Whitney said Madonna is ‘a true sister. I’m sorry I ever said a bad word about her’,” Freda explains.

If that was Hollyworld War One over, Hollyworld War Two also seems about to end in peace.

This one has seen ‘Whitney v Janet Jackson’ ever since ‘Hou’ discovered ‘Jack’ had once had an affair with Bobby before he became ‘Hubby Brown’.

Step forward Janet’s brother Michael ‘Peacemaker’ Jackson. Seven years ago he and Whitney spent the night in a hotel bedroom together.

Of course, nothing happened, though Whitney blushed and refused to comment.

But Monica Pastelle, a pal of Lisa Marie Presley, says: “Michael told Lisa that Whitney practically drank him under the table that night.

“She can handle champagne. He can’t. Poor Michael had one drink, got dizzy and swooned on the bed.

“Whitney slept on a chair and slipped out before he woke. It was pretty embarrassing for him.”

But Jackson so appreciated Whitney’s tight lipped discretion, that she won his never-ending loyalty.

Michael told Whitney that sister Janet was also a fan.

So Whitney called Janet in Malibu. “They agreed to ignore pressure to keep their feud going,” says Monica.

Now Hollyworld War Three – against Diana Ross appears to be ending as well.

It all started when Whitney, then 16, met Ross, 52 next month, in a nightclub. The teenager said she idolized Ross and wanted to be a singer too.

But Diana slammed her fist on a table said: “Girl this is the worst business in the world” and then offered her a job as a baby-sitter.

Step forward Whitney’s Mum yelling: “Don’t listen to her! She’s nuts!” Exit Houstons while Ross fumed. They became the best of enemies.

As Whitney’s star climbed she said she wanted to play the lead witch in Dreamgirls, a movie character based on ‘Rossie’.

Then Whitters said she’d like to star in the Josephine Baker story, a role for which Miss Ross would kill.

But at the recent Soul Train awards, Diana hugged Whitney for a full minute – in public.

“I was shocked,” Whitney said. “Maybe it’s all behind us.”

Now all she’s gotta do is sort out Bobby. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Michael listed as one of Whitney’s ex-lovers, Drum:a magazine of Africa for Africa, 1997 ]

Whitney’s explosive marriage to rap artist Bobby Brown is constantly in the news, and her string of ex-lovers includes stars such as Michael Jackson, Kevin Costner, Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro – not forgetting earlier rumours that she’s actually a lesbian. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney Houston Added To Michael’s Second NY Concert, MJ says she could sing the Yellow Pages and he’d buy it, August 16 2001 ]

Whitney Houston has confirmed performances for both Friday, September 7, 2001 and Monday, September 10, 2001 at the all-star tribute in honor of Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden. Producer David Gest said in a press release:

“Whitney is one of my closest friends and I am delighted she will share this special occasion with Michael, who happens to be her favorite artist. They will perform a duet together.”

Michael expressed his delight about Whitney joining him on both nights by stating:

“I feel Whitney is one of the greatest voices in the world. She could sing the yellow pages and I would buy it. I absolutely adore her and am her greatest fan.”

[EXPAND Whitney tells Oprah Michael’s death was devastating, 17th September 2009 ]

The second portion of Whitney Houston’s sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on Tuesday (September 15) and, in addition to opening up more about her marriage to Bobby Brown and her issues with substance abuse, she also spoke candidly about how she reacted to the news of Michael Jackson’s death.

“Devastating,” Houston told Winfrey. “I have so many good memories of spending time with him. I’ve known his family for so many years that I thought, ‘It can’t be true.’ ”

Houston said that she was aware of his troubles over the years and even heard about his painkiller addiction at one point. “I knew he was on painkillers at one time… I didn’t know how far and how deep it was,” she recalled.

She said that performing with him at his 30th-anniversary special in 2001 opened her eyes — she saw him as a “mirror” because he reflected her own problems with addictions. “I just remember doing the anniversary special and I remember looking at Michael and I remember looking at myself and I was getting scared looking at him,” she said. “I was looking at myself. I don’t want it to be like this. Mike and I were very close.”

That concert was the last time that Houston remembers seeing him, but she does note that the pair stayed in touch over the years via the phone. “I think it was that time [that I saw him last], but I spoke to him during the trial a lot. He would speak to me on the phone, but he didn’t want me to see him,” she said. “[It] saddens me.” [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney performs I Will Always Love You for Michael, St Petersburg, 12 of December 2009 ]

I had the honor and pleasure of knowing him personally. I had a telephone number. I could call up and say hey Mike what you doing? He’d say Whitney, I’m alright, I’m a little tired.

I’m missing you
I can’t call you on the phone tonight
I’m missing you Mike

I’m truly for real no joke or jive
From my heart to yours Mike
I’ll never forget you
This must be the hardest part of my show

[EXPAND Whitney’s Tribute Speech To MJ At Concert, Nuremburg, May 27 2010 ]

Michael and I were friends for at least 20 years. In our business, some things that are very precious you try to keep to yourself because…you know…you know how that is. We wanted to be very discreet about our friendship and our love for one another because it was a true friendship you know. He called me Whitney and I called him Michael. I don’t know what anybody else called him. I don’t know no other name but Mr. Michael Jackson. He was not the ordinary, just not the ordinary but the extraordinary. There will never ever be, in this life time, a man that (can’t understand what she says here).

I have to tell you he could do it all. Whatever he put his mind to. His body, his movement, his songs, his writings, his words and he loved entertaining you…he loved entertaining you.

I have to tell you, I spent time with Michael laughing, crying, crying, laughing, singing, talking, or not talking (she laughs).

Then she finishes by saying he would want her to tell the fans how much he loved him and he dedicated five decades of his life to entertainment.

Ad libs:

My love for Mike is out right now here on the stage
I’m not gon hide it
See Michael, I’ll always, I’ll always, I’ll always
I’ll love you in a place where there is no space or time

I’ll love you all my life
We were friends, dear friend of mine
And now that’s over
I remember when we were
Yes we spent time alone together [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Whitney talking about how Michael pulled out all the stops when she visited Neverland and her meeting with Bubbles, David Gest Documentary November 2011 ]

Michael Jackson Whitney HoustonMichael Jackson Whitney Houston
Michael Jackson Whitney HoustonMichael Jackson Whitney HoustonMichael Jackson Whitney HoustonMichael Jackson Whitney Houston

[EXPAND Whitney saying she really wanted to marry Michael, Outtake From David Gest Documentary, November 2011 ]
Whitney: “I really wanted to marry Michael and you [David Gest] were in the way all the time, so that’s why.”
David: “He should’ve married you.”
Whitney: “Yeah he damn well should’ve, right.”
David: “I love you so much.”
Whitney: “I love you, too.”


[EXPAND David Gest says Michael confided in him that he and Whitney had once kissed, The Sun, 21st February 2012 ]

My friendship with Whitney started in 1985 when I was introduced to her by my best friend Michael Jackson.

At the time, I was producing the American Cinema Awards in LA and as Michael and I were driving to Disneyland in his Rolls-Royce, I said I would love to have Whitney receive the Distinguished Achievement in Music Award. He dialed and passed me the phone saying, “Okay, here she is, ask her.”

I was like “Holy Focaccia, Michael, you’ve got Whitney Houston on the phone!”

I liked Whitney from the moment I spoke to her and she immediately said yes to the honour.

I produced eight shows with her, a number of them in aid of her Whitney Houston Foundation.

When I met with her last year, it was to interview her for my film Michael Jackson: Life Of An Icon.

She really loved Michael and he adored her. Michael told me they once shared a passionate kiss, and she told me she was at one time very much in love with him.

I think she really wanted to marry him but, although he had a crush on her, he was too shy.

Later, he confessed to me he should have made every move. If they had got together, I believe Whitney would not have done drugs or become a semi-recluse. [/EXPAND]

Posted in 1989 Whitney Houston | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Michael Jackson’s Favorite Music


[EXPAND 1812 Overture – Tchaikovsky ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

1812 Overture – Tchaikovsky

[EXPAND All Night Long – Mary Jane Girls ]


LL Cool J, Essence, September 30, 2009

He told me once that “Around the Way Girl” was one of his favorite songs because he like that ‘you got me shook up, shook down, shook out all your lovin’…’ , [which is from the Mary Janes Girls’ “All Night Long,”] you know.

[EXPAND Another One Bites The Dust – Queen ]


Michael Jackson, Rolling Stone, Feb 17, 1983

Freddie invited Michael. He has been calling all week, mainly about the possibility of their working together. They’ve decided to try it on the Jacksons’ upcoming album. Though they are hardly alike — Freddie celebrated a recent birthday by hanging naked from a chandelier — the two have been friendly since Michael listened to the material Queen had recorded for The Game and insisted that the single had to be “Another One Bites the Dust.”

“Now, he listens to me, right Freddie?”

“Righto, little brother.”

Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor:

“Michael came to several shows, I think at The Forum, in LA. And he loved Freddie and he kept saying, ‘You guys you gotta put that song out’. I said, ‘No, you’re kidding, that’s never a single’.

[EXPAND Around The Way Girl – LL Cool J ]


LL Cool J, Essence, September 30, 2009

He told me once that “Around the Way Girl” was one of his favorite songs because he like that ‘you got me shook up, shook down, shook out all your lovin’…’ , [which is from the Mary Janes Girls’ “All Night Long,”] you know.

[EXPAND Baby I Need Your Loving – Four Tops ]


[EXPAND Baby Love – Diana Ross and the Supremes ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Baby Love – Diana Ross and The Supremes

[EXPAND Beautiful Life – Ace of Base ]


[EXPAND Black Dog – Led Zeppelin ]


Russrags on Gearslutz:

1st off the song I always heard Michael singing around the Studio was “Black Dog” by Led Zep truly amazing to witness 1st hand.

Michael loved singing “Black Dog” and it was great hearing him sing it, but no recordings .. dang it !!!

[EXPAND Black Man – Stevie Wonder ]


MJ, Jet, 6th February 1984

“That’s why I love Stevie Wonder’s album called Songs in The Key of Life… He had a song called Black Man and I just jumped up screaming when I heard that record because he’s showing the world what the Black man has done and what other races have done… He named it Black Man and all these people who have got the album sing it. And that’s the best way to bring about the truth.”

[EXPAND Breathe Again – Toni Braxton ]


Toni Braxton, Pulse, 22 February 2010

I remember when I first met him; he came over to me which was a really big deal. We were at a charity ball and he came over to me and said, ‘Toni Braxton oh my God I love you, your voice is so incredible, so androgynous – it’s so unique. Breathe Again is my favourite song, let’s take a picture together.’

[EXPAND Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel

[EXPAND Climb Every Mountain – Sound of Music ]


Song that he first performed as a child in school, which lead to him pursuing singing.

MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

[EXPAND Close To You – Carpenters ]


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Crazy In Love – Beyonce ]


P.Diddy on a TV Special For Michael:

“I was throwing this party for the MTV movie awards. You know, I was starting to plan to really do my entree on the scene as an actor.

I invited everybody, everyone was there, the Beckhams was there, I remember Beyonce was there, Jamie Foxx, Ashton, Cameron Diaz, Will Smith, Chris Rock. Everyone that was moving and shaking in Hollywood. So the party’s going on, the party’s off the chain, party’s already a success.

I remember Beyonce had just dropped Crazy In Love. I remember that was what was just killing the dance floor and she was there and I remember the DJ he ain’t played it yet, and the dancefloor was warmed up, and everyone was saying, “we want to hear the new Beyonce joint,” that’s how hot it was.

Security comes to get me and says, “You have a guest here, who wasn’t on the list.” I’m like who, he’s like “Michael Jackson.” I’m thinking they joking around with me, I’m thinking like you know they trying to maybe Punk me. This is like – I think Punk’d, Punk’d was out during this time, I’m not knowing what’s going on.

So then I go towards the back, back where like the catering was and it’s Michael. I’m like, “Michael, what’s up, what’re you doing?”

And he’s like, you know, “I’m here with Brett Ratner, you know we came to the party, is that cool, can we come?”

I was always impressed about how down to Earth he was. But this is actually down to Earth, he’s asking if it’s alright to come to this party. He said, like, “This party’s really hot. You gotta invite me to more of your parties.” And then he leans over to me and he’s like, we’re taking some pictures and he’s like, “Where’s Beyonce?” I’m like, I’m like I didn’t think I heard him correctly. He’s like, “You know, I heard she’s here, where’s Beyonce?”

And I’m like, “Okay, well hold on, let me go find out where she’s at.”

So I round up on B, B’s on the dancefloor and I’m like, “B, um, you know, Michael’s here, he wants to meet you.” So I get Mike, you know bring him over, he’s like, “I love the record,” whatever, whatever.

He goes to tell the DJ to play the record. DJ plays the record.

And um, I recall them dancing, I don’t want to be quoted for that, that could’ve been in my imagination, but I do recall them dancing or something but even if they never danced that’s the way it is in my mind, but I’m pretty sure that they did dance.

But the whole recollection of that is that – it was so real that Mike recognized the greatness in Beyonce early. He had no ego about it and was ready to meet her and give her hers and he was also ready to go for his as a man. I think we all as men at the time wanted to dance with Beyonce. Michael had the courage enough to come to a party, ask for Beyonce and even dance with her.

[EXPAND Dancefloor – Zapp and Roger ]


Frank Cascio

Brilliant, Michael Loved this song, would always play this song while he would get ready in the morning…

[EXPAND Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles ]


[EXPAND Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears ]


[EXPAND Everything I Own – Bread ]


Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

I remember him putting on a group called Bread. I didn’t pay too much attention to the music – I was too busy making fun of the name, But when I settled down for a minute and really listened instead of making sarcastic remarks, they became one of my favorite groups. I wanted to know everything there was to know about Bread. Yes, Bread was my jam.

[EXPAND Fanfare for the Common Man – Aaron Copland ]


[EXPAND Feel Up – Grace Jones ]


Russrags on Gearslutz:

Once I was out at Michael’s Studio on Havenhurt in Encino, and I was going through a stack of vinyl records sitting by the console. One of the records I came across was Grace Jones “Nightclubbing” I picked it up to look at it front and back and Michael got kind of excited about it too. He took the record from me and asked if I’d like to hear a song that was very influential to him, and I thought are you kidding, YES please. He put on a song called “Feel Up” from that record and I about fell over !!! All the little inflections Michael creates with his voice on his records, are present on this Grace Jones track from 1981. Please check this song out, anyone reading this thread will be glad they did.

[EXPAND Fool On The Hill – Beatles ]


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Get On Up – James Brown ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Get On Up – James Brown

[EXPAND Go Home – Stevie Wonder ]


Michael Jackson: For The Record by Chris Cadman:

The line “Go on, girl!” [in the song “The Way You Make Me Feel”] was inspired by Stevie Wonder’s song, Go Home, revealed by Michael as he and Stevie were in an elevator, trading lines from The Way You Make Me Feel. Stevie said knowing he’d inspired Michael made him feel pretty good.

[EXPAND Happy Talk – South Pacific ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

[EXPAND Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

[EXPAND How Deep Is Your Love – BeeGees ]

Frank Cascio’s book “My Friend Michael”

Michael played DJ back at the chalet, saying, “You have to listen to this song. Now you have to hear this group.” We listened to Stevie Wonder and all of the Motown stars. He had us listen to the James Brown song “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” – all fourteen minutes of it. We listened to How Deep Is Your Love? (I still believe that it’s one of the greatest songs of all time).

[EXPAND How Do You Mend A Broken Heart – BeeGees ]


[EXPAND Gift of Song – Pride of Lions ]


Jim Peterik, co-writer of the song “Eye of The Tiger”

Also, what do you think of Weird Al’s “Rye & The Kaiser”?

Haha. I am big fan of his parody of Eye of the Tiger. Especially like the line “Stay away from the tuna, it smells fishy today.” Almost did not grant a license to Al for this song but I am glad that Michael Jackson changed my mind.

I knew Michael through Bruce Swedien – who was Michael’s long-time engineer. When Michael heard my song – “Gift of Song” – he said to Bruce “He is writing about me.”

When Michael gave Weird Al permission to “Beat It” as the template for “Eat It” – he convinced me that this was a cool thing to do. Never regretted it for a minute.

[EXPAND Ignition – R. Kelly ]


Michael seen dancing to this song in the back of Brett Ratner’s car in 2002 in his “Private Home Movies”:


[EXPAND Inside and Out – BeeGees ]


Barry Gibb, 1st September 2009

“[Our] songs like Love You Inside and Out in particular struck him as him and saying that’s what he wanted to do.”

[EXPAND Laughter In The Rain – Neil Sedaka ]


[EXPAND Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter, Paul and Mary ]


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye ]


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Lincoln Portrait – Aaron Copland ]


[EXPAND Living For The City – Stevie Wonder ]


[EXPAND Love Me Do – The Beatles ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Love Me Do – The Beatles

[EXPAND Nightclubbing – Grace Jones ]


Russrags on Gearslutz:

Once I was out at Michael’s Studio on Havenhurt in Encino, and I was going through a stack of vinyl records sitting by the console. One of the records I came across was Grace Jones “Nightclubbing” I picked it up to look at it front and back and Michael got kind of excited about it too. He took the record from me and asked if I’d like to hear a song that was very influential to him, and I thought are you kidding, YES please. He put on a song called “Feel Up” from that record and I about fell over !!! All the little inflections Michael creates with his voice on his records, are present on this Grace Jones track from 1981. Please check this song out, anyone reading this thread will be glad they did.

[EXPAND Nutcracker Suite – Tchaikovsky ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Nutcracker Suite – Tchaikovsky

[EXPAND On Broadway – The Drifters ]


[EXPAND Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes ]


Sampled by Michael in D.S in HIStory.

Robmix on Gearsltuz:

It was amazing how he’d come in with some song he liked and want to capture something about it – the energy, the tone, the mood.

He was really into “Owner of a Lonely Heart” too. So when Yes came to town, I made sure everyone knew it, and we got Trevor Rabin to come down and play some stuff on “They Don’t Care About Us”.

That is the orchestra hit from “Owner of a lonely heart” [on D.S]. . . . .

Nephew Taj Jackson on twitter, 3rd of January 2011:

tajjackson3Taj Jackson Every time I hear “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, I think of my uncle. It was one of his favorite songs. I can still picture him doing air guitar.

[EXPAND Papa Don’t Take No Mess – James Brown ]


Frank Cascio’s book “My Friend Michael”

Michael played DJ back at the chalet, saying, “You have to listen to this song. Now you have to hear this group.” We listened to Stevie Wonder and all of the Motown stars. He had us listen to the James Brown song “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” – all fourteen minutes of it.

[EXPAND People – Barbara Streisand ]

Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

He introduced me to all types of music – country, folk, classical, funk, rock. He even turned me on to Barbra Streisand. I fell in love with her song “People.”

[EXPAND Peter and the Wolf – Prokofiev ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Peter and the Wolf – Prokofiev

[EXPAND Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun – Claude Debussy ]


[EXPAND Red Corvette – Prince ]


[EXPAND Rodeo – Aaron Copland ]


[EXPAND Smile – Charlie Chaplin ]


[EXPAND Some Girls – Rolling Stones ]


MJ, 1980

”I have all kinds of tapes and music people would probably never think were mine . I love Some Girls [by the Rolling Stones].”

[EXPAND Standing in the Shadow of Love – Four Tops ]


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Staying Alive – BeeGees ]


[EXPAND Stop In The Name of Love – Diana Ross and the Supremes ]


Michael shopping in an old record store sometime in the early 2000s

At one point when we had taken him down to the basement to look through all of the junk, he turned and asked me, “Do you like Diana Ross and the Supremes’ music?” I said that I did and I asked him what his favorite song was by them. He said “Stop In the Name of Love”, I think. I told him that mine was “I Hear A Symphony”, and he said that he loved that one, too. He said he thought it was a shame that their reunion tour that was supposed to happen didn’t because they couldn’t get along.

[EXPAND Thank You – Sly And The Family Stone ]


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND That’s The Way Of The World – Earth, Wind, Fire ]


Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Yellow Submarine – The Beatles ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

[EXPAND Yesterday – The Beatles ]


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

Yesterday – The Beatles



Pet Sounds – Beach Boys
Spirits Having Flown – Bee Gees
To Kill a Mockingbird – Elmer Bernstein Soundtrack
[EXPAND What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye ]

Biography, “You Are Not Alone,” by Jermaine Jackson:

When What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye was released, Michael considered it ‘a true masterpiece’ and placed the album sleeve on a shelf at Hayvenhurst: an ornament to be admired; an example to follow. It is still there, propped up where he left it, to this day.

[EXPAND Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails ]

Robmix on Gearslutz:

He was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral . . . .

MJ never revealed if he wanted to work with NIN. He just liked the sounds. . .

[EXPAND George Benson – Live ]

Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Best of Earth, Wind and Fire ]

Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND C’est Chic – Chic ]

Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Children of the World – Bee Gees ]

Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

[EXPAND Aretha Franklin – Best Of ]

Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs
Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder
Talking Book – Stevie Wonder
West Side Story – Soundtrack
Nutcracker Suite – Tchaikovsky


[EXPAND Aaron Copland ]

Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

Michael went on about Aaron Copland, whom he considered the greatest composer of the twentieth century.

Aretha Franklin
Bob Marley
Boys II Men

[EXPAND Bread ]

Frank Cascio “My Friend Michael”

I remember him putting on a group called Bread. I didn’t pay too much attention to the music – I was too busy making fun of the name, But when I settled down for a minute and really listened instead of making sarcastic remarks, they became one of my favorite groups. I wanted to know everything there was to know about Bread. Yes, Bread was my jam.

[EXPAND Brothers Johnson ]

Michael ‘s list of favourite records, 1979ish

Michael Jackson's Favorite Songs

Burt Bacharach
Chicago House Music
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Doobie Brothers
[EXPAND Four Tops ]

David Gest, Observer, December 2009

One night, when he was in his late teens, we went to The Roxy on the Sunset Strip to see the Four Tops.

We went backstage with Stevie Wonder, and Michael says to the lead singer of the Four Tops, Levi Stubbs Jr, “I learned everything from you Levi, everything.” Stevie picked Michael up, threw him against the wall and went, “Who did you learn everything from? Who’s the greatest?” and Michael said, “You, Stevie! Stop! You!” It was so funny.

Glen Campell
Guns ‘N’ Roses
Herman’s Hermits
Jackie Wilson
James Brown
[EXPAND Jimi Hendrix ]

David Gest, Observer, December 2009

He also loved anything Motown as well as real, heartfelt soul. To both of us, James Brown was a god and Jimi Hendrix was his brilliant pupil.

Johnny Mathis
Kenny Loggins

[EXPAND Lauryn Hill ]

Interview with Jerry Greenberg, Aug 9 2010

What was Michael like as a person?

Wonderful. He was an incredible human being. The kindest, nicest, most wonderful guy I’ve ever met. He was really a God gifted entertainer.

I heard that he was brilliant in that regard.

He was a perfectionist. He had perfect pitch, which the only other person I know who had that was Roberta Flack. He would record a vocal track ten times to make sure it was absolutely correct. He had such a good sense about music. I wasn’t with the company for more than two weeks and he called me up in the middle of the night and said, “Jerry did you see Sister Act 2?” I said, “No”. He said, “There’s a girl in the movie that you have to see.” It was the lead singer of the Fugees, Lauryn Hill. He said, “I want to sign her.” I knew who managed the group so I called him and said, “Michael, I found out she is in a group called The Fugees, but I spoke to their manager and if the first record doesn’t happen I think she would love to do a solo record with us.” Obviously, the first record happened and we never got her, but it shows you that Michael can spot talent and what his gut instinct was. She turned out to be a big star. I had a great time working with Michael and when I look back at my career and I think about all the artists that I worked with at Atlantic and then Michael for ten years. That was a treat. I’d wake up and say, “You’re really paying me to do this?

Maceo Parker
[EXPAND Mahalia Jackson ]

“Trapped” by Dave Marsh

At the opening show of the Victory tour in Kansas City last June, a number of writers were struck by a couple of bits of gospel phrasing that you used. They’d never shown up before, and there was no real reason they should turn up now: You weren’t raised in Pentecostal church and Motown was shaped by gospel only in its rhythmic accents, not in its singing styles. After asking around, it turned out that you’d come across a videotape of Mahalia Jackson from the mid fifties.

“Michael apparently sits up all night and watches that tape over and over,” a friend told me. “Just sits there and watches it and cries.”

Mamas and Papas
Marvin Gaye
Nile Rogers
Otis Redding
[EXPAND Paul Robeson ]

MJ, Blues and Soul, May 6, 1980

Michael, we know you don’t like doing interviews and that you have a valid reason for feeling that way. For the benefit of your fans, would you like to tell us about it?

MJ: This is the honest to God truth. What a person says means so much to me. It can change a person’s whole opinion of another person. I’ve seen that happen so many times – Charlie Chaplin, Paul Robeson, Jane Fonda. All of whom are people who spoke out and the world opinion started to change on them. My biggest fear is of being misquoted. One word can be cut into a statement and change the complete meaning and coloring of what was meant.

A lot of geniuses in different endeavors have been hurt this way. Like Charlie Chaplin being called a Communist. Or the way that Paul Robeson was treated. So, if I can’t be quoted properly then I’d rather not be quoted at all.


Paul Leroy Robeson was an American concert singer (bass-baritone), recording artist, athlete and actor who became noted for his political radicalism and activism in the civil rights movement.[3] Robeson was the first major concert star to popularize the performance of Negro spirituals. He was the first black actor to portray Shakespeare’s Othello in a production with an otherwise all-white cast, in 1930.[4] Ira Aldridge had also played Othello, but his production had an all-black cast, as African-Americans and whites were not allowed to appear together onstage in the nineteenth century.

Peter Paul and Mary
Ray Charles
Richard and Robert
Sammy Davis Jnr
Sherman Brothers
Sly And The Family Stone
Smokey Robinson
Stevie Wonder
The Beatles
The Carpenters
[EXPAND The Doors ]

David Gest, Observer, December 2009

One day she was sick and Michael asked me if I could take him to a memorabilia show in Glendale. I said, “What’s memorabilia?” and he said, “You’ve got to get into it, David, you’ll love it.” So I drove him to a show where they were selling lots of old rock and soul posters, gold records, Beatles items and signed items by Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and the Doors. Michael loved the Doors and their music.

Three Dog Night

MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

[EXPAND Van Halen ]

MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”

[EXPAND Whitney Houston ]

Whitney Houston Added To Second NY Concert, August 16 2001

Whitney Houston has confirmed performances for both Friday, September 7, 2001 and Monday, September 10, 2001 at the all-star tribute in honor of Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden. Producer David Gest said in a press release:

“Whitney is one of my closest friends and I am delighted she will share this special occasion with Michael, who happens to be her favorite artist. They will perform a duet together.”

Michael expressed his delight about Whitney joining him on both nights by stating:

“I feel Whitney is one of the greatest voices in the world. She could sing the yellow pages and I would buy it. I absolutely adore her and am her greatest fan.”


MJ, 1988 list of his favorite things:

“I spend hours listening to classical composers. Tchaikovsky is the greatest. I also love songs from the great musicals like “Climb Every Mountain” and “Happy Talk”, as well as modern pop groups like U2, ZZ Top and Van Halen. Here is my all time top ten.”


Feel free to let me know about any that I’ve missed and for any sources that I should include.

Posted in Favorite Things, Music | 13 Comments

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley

[EXPAND LMP working on her music career, Deseret News – Oct 11, 1992 ]

Another Presley – Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie – is developing a singing voice in the hopes of starting a music career. She has been singing and writing her own material for demo records.


[EXPAND LMP working on her music career, 21 October 1992 ]

Elvis’ 24 year old daughter is doing her own thing and writing her own material. Insiders say Lisa Marie has an unusual and strong rhythm and blues voice and has recorded some demons for a possible recording deal. Stay tuned.


[EXPAND LMP gives birth to her son, October 21st 1992 ]

Lisa gives birth to son, Ben.


[EXPAND They meet at Brett Livingstone’s house, November 1992 ]

Excerpt from “Child Bride” about their meet up together, by Suzanne Finstad

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley

He had become a successful artist, famous for a million-dollar portrait he had painted of Michael Jackson, who had become his personal friend. Brett, the great connector, considered introducing Lisa to Michael. “She had the talent as well as the beauty and the name, so I thought Wow! The sky is the limit. What an image! I had known Michael for six years or more, and I thought maybe I could introduce Lisa to Michael Jackson. I thought, Hey, the person to get is Michael Jackson, because he’s an artist, instead of dealing with businessmen who would just categorize her and work her way up.” Michael had a new record label, Brett knew, and was looking for exciting, undiscovered talent. Who better than Lisa Marie Presley? “I didn’t discuss this with anyone,” said Brett. “I just thought about it and went about my business and thought that sometime in the future Lisa would like to have a conversation with Michael. From what I could see, Lisa was disenchanted with Jerry’s representation because she didn’t like what the head guy at Sony in New York had told her about where she had to begin and what she had to do—that she had to crawl before she walked.” Lisa wanted to emerge a full-blown star, and Michael Jackson, Brett believed, could help her.

Several months after the idea occurred to him, Brett telephoned Lisa, who was taking courses at the Scientology center in Clearwater, Florida. He said, “Lisa, if you’re really serious about your career, why don’t I put you in touch with Michael Jackson?….I think you should meet him and play your music and sing for him, and I think he could really encourage and inspire you on a direction you could take.” Brett told her that Michael had his own company, Nation Records, sponsored by Sony, and that he could “really launch her big time.” Lisa was intrigued.

Brett’s next step was to telephone Michael Jackson. “I said, ‘Michael, what would you say if I found talent for you that had the potential to be number one in the world in the recording industry—beautiful girl, great voice and also a reputation that would be a public relations dream come true?’ and he said, ‘Who are you talking about?’ So I said, ‘Lisa Presley.’ And he said, ‘What? She can’t sing!’ and I said, ‘She can.’ And then I asked, ‘Have you ever met Lisa?’ and he said no.” The conversation, recalled Brett, was brief, followed by lots of other conversations about it. Michael was “amazed at first, and then said, ‘Well get her to send me a tape.’ ”

At the time, neither Michael nor Lisa recalled their fleeting meeting introduction backstage, at the Sahara Tahoe when Lisa was six and Michael was sixteen. Lisa’s close childhood friend Myrna Smith, who was with Jerry and Joe Esposito when they took Lisa to that long-ago concert, confirmed this. “Lisa didn’t even remember meeting Michael as a child,” Myrna said. “She asked me, ‘Did I ever meet Michael Jackson?’ and I said, ‘Don’t you remember? We took you to see the Jacksons.’ ”

When Brett told Lisa about his conversation with Michael, she was offended that she would have to send a demo. She told Brett, “Forget it, I’ll play the tape for him in person.” Lisa called Brett constantly afterward, inquiring about the meeting with Michael. She told Myrna excitedly that Brett had arranged to have Michael and her get together at his house in Pacific Palisades and for Lisa to play her demo tape.

Lisa took her husband Danny, along to that meeting, and the group gathered in Brett’s living room. “Michael…was blown away by her music,” according to Brett. “She played the tape and was really excited that Michael Jackson was here, and at that point, she looked like a fan of his. And he was really tickled to see that she had a lot of potential, but he didn’t think too much more than ‘Wow, Brett is onto something here.’ ” There was, according to Brett, not even the slightest suggestion of anything romantic between Lisa and Michael at that meeting. “Her husband was here.”

Michael carried on with his own career interests after that meeting, but Lisa, recalled Brett, “kept calling me after that. Constantly calling me. And she wanted to get together with Michael more.” Lisa met with Brett a few times to talk about it, remarking that she had “a few things in common with the Jacksons and maybe she should pursue a friendship with Michael.” Brett, still their intermediary, offered to represent Lisa in a business contract with Michael for a recording deal, even though he had an art partnership with Michael and had been his friend for years. Brett had worked up some figures and talked to Michael, who arranged for Brett to take Lisa to meet with Michael Greenberg, the head of Jackson’s company, Nation Records in Santa Monica.

Lisa brought Danny along with her attorney, John Coale. “I didn’t know anything about that business,” said Brett, “but I wanted to make sure that Lisa made a deal at the top level…by saying, ‘Hey, Elvis is the King and she’s the Princess. She’s got the talent. All she needs is Michael to help record at the highest possible level and help her choose the songs and teach her some presence on stage. I was trying to get Michael to…make a deal with Lisa at the top—the deal that the other recording companies were making with Madonna and Barbara Streisand. And he was like, ‘Are you crazy? They have proven themselves.’

And I said, ‘No, make the same deal; a deal over a period of time…based on performance as the records sell. And not only will you make the deal with Lisa, you’ll promote the company.’ And I knew that’s what Lisa would love, if she was put on a pedestal.”


[EXPAND Lisa’s Lawyer, John P.Coale on this meeting, November 1992 ]

The newlyweds first met around November 1992, says Lisa Marie’s friend, lawyer John P. Coale, who was advising her at the time. Was it business or pleasure? “It was more of a social meeting,” he says.

The meeting took place in L.A. at a friend’s house. (“Nobody famous,” Coale says.) “She liked him. She thought he was real nice. In the beginning they were friends, just friends. There was no romantic hint of anything at the time. . . . I’m not sure when the romantic thing came in.”


[EXPAND Lisa’s uncle Garry Hovey on their meeting, Larry King, (aired April 16, 2005) ]

GARY HOVEY, UNCLE: She went to meet with record people, with a manager, and the [music deal] was just about set. She didn’t do the deal because she became pregnant with Ben, her second child, so it all got put on hold a year or two later, whenever she became interested in singing again, which happened to coincide with the time she met with Michael.

ZAHN: Five years into Lisa’s marriage to Danny Keogh, the relationship was buckling. It was during this time that a fledgling friendship with Michael Jackson began to evolve.


[EXPAND “You and me, we could get into a lot of trouble. Think about that, girl,” MJ to Lisa, “Magic and Madness,” Lisa Marie, November 1992 ]

“I always liked him,” Lisa Marie recalled. “Michael fascinated me with his talent. I loved watching him dance. He wanted to know me better, but I always thought he was sort of freakish. I didn’t really want to know him any better than I already did.”

At this time, Lisa had recorded four songs produced by her husband. She felt she had a lot to say about her unusual life as daughter of an icon, and she was looking for a way to say it through her lyrics and music. “I had a voice,” she once told me, in retrospect, “but I didn’t have the experience. Things always got too wild when people found out that Elvis’s daughter wanted to sing. It became a matter of deals and money, money, money: I lost my fire for it. I lost the urge to create. I was scared, I guess, so I pulled back.”

She had no confidence in herself as a vocalist,” Said Brett Livingstone Stone. “She was afraid of being compared to Elvis, afraid of rejection. When I suggested Michael could help her, she said, “He’s a superstar, do you really think he’d help me?” After dinner at my house, Lisa played tapes of some of her music, and Michael was blown away. He told her, “You have real talent… a fine voice. You could be a star. Let me see what I can do for you.”

As she sat with him and listened to stories about his life in the business, she found herself falling under his spell. According to Brett Livingstone, when Michael was about to leave, he offered Lisa a penetrating look and in a conspiratorial voice said, “You and me, we could get into a lot of trouble. Think about that, girl.”


[EXPAND San Jose Mercury News , Nov 23, 1992 ]

New once-again mom Lisa Marie Presley, 24, is said to be working on her debut album.


[EXPAND ”Lisa was in relentless pursuit of Michael,” Excerpt from Child Bride, February 1, 1993 ]

Lisa was torn. Part of her was in “turmoil,” recalled Brett, “on her mind was ‘I have my kids,’ and she was in turmoil with her husband and what should she do? If she wanted to be a star, she had to really want to live and breathe that.” Michael Jackson also advised Lisa similarly: If she wanted to pursue a singing career, she would have to dedicate herself to it. During the following weeks, Brett found herself the hapless man in the middle, caught between a balking and busy Michael, and an ambivalent yet driven Lisa.

Brett made arrangements for Lisa to visit Michael in Japan while he was on the tour for Dangerous, and tried to facilitate other plans, some of which occurred while others dissipated. According to Brett, Lisa was, “in relentless pursuit of Michael Jackson,” and phoned [Brett] constantly to find out whether the deal would occur. Michael, in Brett’s characterization, was obviously intrigued by the thought of signing Lisa Presley, “but there was more desire on Lisa’s part for something to happen.” Lisa, he recalled, finally said to him, “It doesn’t seem like I can make that deal with him, and I don’t want to push him too much.”

Brett, who was still hoping to bring them together for a record deal, finally arranged for a representative from Michael’s office to send a formal letter to Lisa stating that Michael was still interested in keeping things going. At the same time, Prince also began pursuing Lisa to sign a recording contract.

Lisa celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday with a huge party, planned by Priscilla, at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Prince was among the guests, along with a sprinkling of celebrity Scientologists such as Kirstie Alley, Nicole Kidman, and Juliette Lewis. Lisa invited Michael Jackson as her special guest, “and he would have loved to have gone,” said Brett, “but he had other things.” Brett suggested to Michael that he should at least send Lisa a birthday gift, “so he told me, ‘Well you go get it!’ ” Brett selected, as Michael’s gift to Lisa, an art book on Michelangelo and a silver picture frame in which he placed a photograph of Michael and Lisa’s original meeting in his living room. Brett, attempting to be gallant on Michael’s behalf, wrote sweet birthday inscriptions in the art book and on the birthday card, making them appear to be from Michael. “I was just trying to be a good friend for him,” said Brett. “I went to the party with my son Jason, and when I got there, Lisa was like, ‘Oh! Where’s Michael? I hope it’s all right that Prince is here.’ I said, ‘Michael just couldn’t make it, but here is a gift from him.’ And I didn’t say anything [else].” Lisa, he recalled, “latched onto the gifts excitedly and immediately opened them to check them out.”

He later figured out, said Brett, that he had inadvertently played matchmaker to Michael and Lisa by buying the birthday gifts, for Lisa, seeing the card and the inscription in the art book, both of which she believed to have been written by Michael, misinterpreted Brett’s affectionate words as an indication that Michael Jackson had feelings for her. “I wasn’t trying to bring two people together to get married. I look back on it now as a sign that [she was thinking], Wow! He really cares about me. And she secretly wanted a relationship with him, because I always talked about him as a passionate man [who was] extremely loving…and that attracted Lisa, that loving part, and loving children.”

Lisa never knew that Brett wrote the birthday card and signed her book. “I can’t recall what I wrote exactly in the book or card,” said Brett, “but that might have been something she read over and over again and thought, Jeez! And afterwards, Lisa kept calling me, and eventually, after the many calls and pursuits and my little bit of fairy dust that I sprinkled about the place, hey, those guys [got] together, and I thought, ‘Maybe they’ll record something,’

And I remember Lisa saying, ‘Brett, what do you want out of this?’ and Michael Jackson asked me the same thing, and I thought, ‘Boy, there must be something happening here.’ I told Lisa, ‘You can give me whatever you think is fair,’ and I told Michael the same. I thought up the idea and executed it, and I stayed on top of it. Any other business person would be claiming something, but since I am an artist, I told them, ‘If you do record something, give me a job at art direction instead of hiring somebody else.’ So we didn’t think anything else or more about that other than that it was going to happen.”


[EXPAND Brooke Shields on Michael kind of asking her to marry him around the same time, February 1993, ]

What did I think of his marriage to Lisa Marie? I think we’re not dealing with convention, so somebody like Michael, he’s not going to just fall in love with somebody and get married. I think there were a few people that he could identify with, and what I know about Lisa Marie, she was very sweet, she could identify with him, they could talk about things that I’m sure she understood with regards to her father. So I think he tried to create a convention for himself. There were times when he would ask me to marry him, and I would say, “You have me for the rest of your life, you don’t need to marry me, I’m going to go on and do my own life and have my own marriage and my own kids, and you’ll always have me.” ]

He never actually formally proposed to me, though. He would sort of say, “Why don’t we adopt a child together? The way your heart works is what I want in my life,” and I said to him, “You’re always going to have my heart, we don’t need to adopt a baby, and I think it’s wonderful that you want to have children, adopt a child.” I wanted to fall in love and get married and have my own babies, and I said, “I don’t think that you need to necessarily do that.” This was just before he married Lisa Marie in the Nineties, I guess. He had discussed it with me, and I said, “I don’t think that’s the best thing to do for me.”


[EXPAND LMP embarking on a singing career, Pittsburg Post Gazette, 23 Feb 1993 ]

Lisa Marie Presley, only daughter of Elvis, has decided to embark on a singing career. It’s all tentative, but this week’s People magazine says that Presley – who looks a powerful lot like her cultural icon daddy – has recorded four demon tapes produced by her husband, musician Danny Keough. Her tastes run to rock and R&B, and a friend says she sounds a lot like a black Bonnie Raitt.” Mercy. But don’t get too hepped up: Presley, the mother of two children, won’t do anything too mondo until her 4 month old is a little bigger. However she continues to dye her blond hair black. Tell me that doesn’t mean something.


[EXPAND LMP on her music career, Anchorage Daily News, 24 February, 1993 ]

“I’ve always had an ear for it, and I’ve always felt music,” the 25 year old daughter of Elvis and Priscilla tells People magazine. “I’ve been around it all my life. I definitely have it in me.”

“Dark hair really suits my personality,” she says. “I’m pretty aggressive and fiery. I don’t act like a blonde.”


[EXPAND MJ and Lisa get closer, “Child Bride,” Late February, 1993 ]

In late February, a few weeks after her 25th birthday, Jerry Schilling received a mysterious phone call from Lisa. “Something is going on,” she told Jerry, “but I can’t tell you what. And it has nothing to do with you, but I’m not going to continue with this record contract right now.” Lisa told him, said Jerry, that she was busy with her new baby and wanted to put the Epic deal on hold. Jerry, who had no idea Lisa had even met with Michael Jackson, simply said fine and puzzled over what might be happening in Lisa’s life.

Mike Edwards, who had also remained close to Brett after his breakup with Priscilla, began getting phone calls from an amazed Brett about this time. “He’s saying, ‘Gosh, Lisa’s calling me and Lisa’s really interested in Michael!’ ” Brett’s impression, said Mike Edwards, was that Michael was absorbed in his work, but that Lisa was really interested in him. “And I said, ‘Come on! What do you mean?’ [Brett] said, ‘You haven’t met him, but he’s very charismatic.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but I can’t believe it.’ He said, ‘Yeah, she’s kind of pursuing him.’ And I went, ‘My God! What’s gonna happen?’” “I could see that Lisa fell in love with him,” confirmed Brett. What attracted her in part, he felt, was that Michael was not after her money. “I think she didn’t know him very well, though. She didn’t know his quirks and eccentric lifestyle, and she thought, This guy is going to be great. A stepfather for my kids.”

Lisa, according to Brett, was the one who was in pursuit. “I think it was the passion of a woman who fell in love. And Michael wasn’t even interested at all. And he is a gentleman, he wouldn’t have wanted to pull her away from her marriage to Danny. And she pursued him. Family friend Bob Wall, who heard about it after the fact, confirmed this. “I know that Lisa is the one who pursued the relationship.” She did it, Bob felt, to create an identity separate from the Presley name, to be known as something other than “the daughter of.” “Lisa really wants to be credible,” said Bob. “You’ve got her father, who’s a genius. Her mother’s done incredibly well. And all she’s got is a lot of money. So maybe that’s important to her, to create her own identity.”


[EXPAND Considered attending Oscars together, Excerpt Child Bride, Around March 21st 1993 ]

Brett, seeing the progression of the friendship, suggested that Michael take Lisa to the Oscar ceremony that March, just as he had escorted Madonna the year before, but Michael balked, since Lisa was a married woman. The relationship intensified on Michael’s part that fall however, after 13 year-old Jordan Chandler accused him of child molestation, causing a scandal to erupt worldwide. Later, Michael would quietly escort Lisa to the Jackson Family Honors.

Lisa, who was then spending time with Myrna Smith, a childhood friend who use to sing with Lisa when Lisa was a child, told Myrna about her secret romance with Michael Jackson. Myrna perceived that Lisa felt sorry for Michael because of the sexual molestation charges and the devastating effect the scandal had had on his career and his image. Myrna also believed Lisa had sincere feelings for Michael. “Yes, she did, according to what she told me. She did. She’s like her father—they like the underdog…she did it for her own reasons, but she didn’t do it because Michael coerced her. She genuinely cared about him and she thought he cared for her.”

Myrna, who knew and knew of Michael through music circles, tried to warn Lisa about the relationship, which she considered both dangerous and absurd. “I can only guess what his motives were, and I could only tell what I thought, what a smart businessman he was, and that he was only pursuing her for what she could do for him, and that he wasn’t interested in women. And she told me he was.” Lisa did not tell Myrna whether she and Michael had sex, though Brett believed they did. “Yeah, sure, I think, because of what happened. I didn’t want to ask any questions. I could have asked Lisa the nitty-gritty.”


[EXPAND Michael and Lisa attend a Jimmy Carter fundraiser together, May 5, 1993 ]

Michael is invited by ex president Jimmy Carter to Atlanta in order to boost the Atlanta Immunisation Drive. Afterwards, Michael joins Ted Turner, Jane Fonda, Emmanuel Lewis and Lisa Marie Presley in the front row during the Kids Celebration at OMNI.

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley


[EXPAND ”You look like a woman who needs to let go and have some fun,” Michael to Lisa, Magic/Madness on Lisa Marie, Mid 1993 ]

He truly was misunderstood, he told her. “I know you think I’m gay,” he said. “But I’m not. I get tired of people thinking I am gay. But, oh well, fuck them. I know you’ve heard a lot of things about me, in fact, he continued, but most of it isn’t true. And that stuff that is true, you shouldn’t hold against me.” He winked at her.

“Hey, I’m a married woman,” Lisa said. “And you’re coming on to me.”

“Yes, but are you happy?” Michael asked.


“See?” Michael remarked. “I knew that. You look like a woman who needs to let go and have some fun. You look like a woman who needs to hook up with me.”

Lisa recalled, “I thought to myself, Wow, this is a real guy. He swears. He’s funny. I told him, ‘Dude, if people knew who the hell you really are, they would be so surprised. People wouldn’t think I was so crazy for being into you if they saw who you really are; that you sit around and you drink and you curse and you’re fucking funny, and you have a bad mouth and you don’t have that high voice all the time.’”

He said, “Well, just don’t tell them.” I thought he was normal and that everything you saw of him publically was just a mask.”

Lisa recalled, “As time went on, Michael and I talked more, I thought, I’m getting to know the real man here. He puts on an act for outsiders, this sort of victim thing, I thought, but I’m the one seeing the real deal, the real person. I started thinking I was special, that he was opening up to me as he never had to anyone else. He made me feel that way. He can be very seductive when he’s pulling you in.”


[EXPAND Magic/Madness on Lisa Marie, August, 1993 ]

“I was in on the beginning of the molestation stuff, and I was getting the phone calls, and he was telling me that it was extortion,” she recalled. “I believed him at the time. I mean, I was convinced. He was freaking out. I believe that he didn’t do anything wrong, and that he was being wrongly accused and yes, I started falling for him. I wanted to save him. I felt that I could do it.”


[EXPAND Michael’s addiction to painkillers according to Magic/Madness, September 1993 ]

When Michael telephoned Lisa from overseas in September 1993, he was high, incoherent and delusional. Alarmed, Lisa attempted to convince Michael to do as she had once done, enter a rehabilitation centre.

“Absolutely, I felt that I had a responsibility to save him,” she said. “I don’t know the psychology of it and what it had to with my father. I only know what I felt.”


[EXPAND Michael cancels world tour, enters rehab, November 12, 1993 ]

Michael announces he is cancelling his world tour to seek treatment for an addiction to painkillers.


[EXPAND Lisa was supposed to fly in to his Puerto Rico Dangerous World Tour Date, November 21 1993 ]

In the Diane Sawyer interview Lisa Marie says she was supposed to fly in to see him on this date.


[EXPAND Allegedly proposes to her over the phone at this point, Magic/Madness, November/December, 1993 ]

Michael decided to calm himself by calling the one person who could somehow help him forget that his career hung in the balance: Lisa.

She had certainly been persistent in her pursuit of him. She left telephone numbers for a house she was renting in Canoga Park, California.

She also left the number of the new three acre estate which had just purchased and was getting ready to occupy on Long Valley Road in Hidden Hills.

Then, just to be sure, she left the number where she could be reached in Clearwater, Florida, where she was planning to spend time at the Scientology retreat. She even sent him party balloons with messages attached. Somehow, she could always put a smile back on his face, even if it was just her raspy voice proclaiming, “Oh, fuck them!” He found her in Canoga Park.

Michael valued Lisa’s settling effect on him, so much so that during his phone conversation, he posed a question that surprised both of them. “If I asked you to marry me, would you do it?” Was this a joke? A hypothetical? Or was it a dare for Lisa to take him seriously? If it was a dare, Lisa was the woman to take it – even though she was still married to Danny Keough. Without missing a beat, she replied, “I would do it.” Michael didn’t say a word, at first. He then said, “Hold on, I have to use the bathroom.”

When he finally did speak into the phone again, he was speaking to his new fiancée. “My love for you is real,” Michael told Lisa. “Please, believe me.”

Unbeknownst to even Michael’s attorneys, Lisa Marie Presley had also tried to influence his decision to settle. A seasoned survivor of many publicity wars, she had long through that Michael should end the matter with a cash pay out. She was finally able to convince him that, as she later put it, “some things, like a good night’s sleep, are more important than public opinion.”

He wanted to get on with his life, Michael said, so that he could finally marry Lisa. Not much movement had occurred in their relationship since his odd proposal to her on the telephone, and he was afraid that she was becoming impatient with him. “The only thing I got out of therapy is that it’s my responsibility to have a good life,” he said, “and maybe I can have that with Lisa. I don’t want to lose her now.”


[EXPAND Michael returns to LA, December 10, 1993 ]

Michael returns to Neverland.


[EXPAND Lisa considering marrying Michael, Excerpt Child Bride, Christmas 1993 ]

By Christmas 1993, Lisa was discussing with Myrna the possibility of marrying Michael Jackson. “He told her,” said Myrna, “that she was the only woman he could see himself marrying. And I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding.’ ” Myrna recalled that Lisa responded, “Myrna, you don’t understand.”


[EXPAND Lisa and Michael together as a couple, Magic/Madness January 1994, ]

One of his closest advisers says: “Michael was living full time at Neverland Ranch. And all of a sudden, here comes Lisa Marie on the stairs in a bathrobe. We thought, “Well, hey, what’s up here? She spent the night up there? With Michael? And then here comes Michael down the stairs in his Mickey Mouse pajamas with a big grin on his face. The two were lovey dovey at breakfast and she hasn’t left his side since then. “

According to staff at Neverland, they knew things were serious when Lisa Marie began ordering around the servants. “Michael started talking about his “girlfriend” Lisa Marie. And she was around all the time,” said one.

“No woman has ever given orders to Michael’s servants, except for Elizabeth Taylor – and even she checks with Michael first before she asks for a Diet Coke.”

He was kissing her fairly passionately and, from many accounts, in public places. He seemed to enjoy doing it, too.

“I’m not a woman who goes for the norm, anyway,” Lisa said in explaining her attraction to him. “I like strange guys, the ones on the edge, the ones with an edge, the ones with fire in their bellies. That was Michael, to me.”

“Apparently, Michael Jackson is a freak in bed,” said Lisa’s friend Monica Pastelle. “Lisa said he was amazing, and she’s been around. Everyone was saying, ‘No way, Lisa. It can’t be true. Michael Jackson? Are we talking about the Michael Jackson, the one with the glove?’” However, she wasn’t joking, and it wasn’t long before she didn’t think it was funny, either.”

“He liked her to wear jewelry in bed. They were into role playing games, though Lisa would never say who was playing what kind of role.”

When Lisa didn’t become immediately pregnant, even before they were married, he began to express his disappointment. “I want children,” he said, “and I thought we would be expecting one within a couple of weeks of making love. But Lisa says it takes time. I don’t have time,” he said. “I want it to happen, now. I want children so badly.”


[EXPAND Michael and Lisa going to a movie together, David Foster’s memoir Hit Man, sometime early 1994 ]

Michael was also interesting to hang out with. The better I got to know him, the more elusive he seemed. One moment, in a little-boy voice, he would curse the head of Sony Music. “That Tommy Mottola is a mean person,” he’d say, sounding like a six-year-old. In the studio, he’d be a pro, a regular guy, and we really connected. (He struck me as Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly rolled into one). And with Lisa Marie Presley, whom he was dating at the time, he would be somebody else entirely.

Interestingly enough, my then-wife Linda had once dated Elvis, so she and Lisa Marie actually knew each other fairly well. You might say for a brief period Linda had played the role of Lisa’s step mom.

Anyway, the kids were visiting from Los Angeles – three of my daughters and Linda’s two sons – and one night they decided they wanted to go to the movies. We were staying at the Plaza Hotel, and Michael rented me a magnificent suite – on a low floor – that must have had six bedrooms. It was a palace, a lot better than the Zen-like concrete bunker at the Delano.

“I can’t go to the movies,” Michael said. We all knew what he meant: He couldn’t go out in public without creating a shit storm among the paparazzi. And one of the kids said, “We can dress you up and disguise you.”

And that’s what they did. They got in an elevator and went down to his suite and dressed him up in their own clothes. They put a scarf on him, and some jeans, and they tucked his hair under a cap and turned it to the side, gangster-style. Michael wasn’t wild about hiding the curl, though; he wanted it right out there on his forehead, for the whole world to see. The kids told him he had to hide the curl because it was a dead giveaway, but he was adamant. “No, no, I’ve got to have my curl out,” he said. I thought that was very telling. He didn’t want to be seen, but he kind of wanted to be seen – which I guess is often the issue if you’re famous.

Then they argued about what movie to see. My kids voted for Speed; Michael was more interested in Little Big League. Hmmm.

We had the valet bring the van around, and we piled in without incident. There were some paparazzi out front, but they must have looked at us and figured we were nobodies. And it was very interesting, because Michael and Lisa Marie got separated when everyone scrambled into the van, and it was clear that he wanted her to sit next to him. On the way to the movie theater, he turned to her and said, “Lisa, here. Come here. Sit here.” He said it just like a regular man, not in that little-boy voice of his. It was like, You’re going to sit with me, woman, and she did. I was very impressed, but I was also confused. I mean, who was this guy?

Maybe she brought out the testosterone in him. I don’t know. But I do know this: she loved him. And that relationship became one of the biggest tabloid nightmares of all time.


[EXPAND Michael invites Lisa to a Temptations concert in Vegas, Magic/Madness, 1 February, 1994 ]

On 1 February 1994, Michael telephoned Lisa Marie Presley at her estate in Hidden Hills, California. He was at his hide out in Westwood. “Hey, listen up, girl,” he said, according to her memory, “I’m heading up to Las Vegas to see The Temptations and The Fifth Dimension. Come with me. I’ll get us a suite at the Mirage and we can party like there’s no tomorrow.”

“Am I staying in the suite with you?” she asked.

“Hell, yeah,” Michael said. “What do you think, girl?”

“I think I’m still married,” Lisa said.

“Then separate rooms, if that’s what you want,” Michael responded.


[EXPAND Spotted “all up in her face, kissing on her,” by Otis Williams, at the Temptations Concert, February 2, 1994 ]

Michael attends a concert of The Temptations at the Sheraton Desert Inn of Las Vegas with his date Lisa Marie Presley.


Lisa agreed to go; the next day, the two flew up to Vegas in Michael’s private plane.

Otis Williams of The Temptations once told me, “Man, we were backstage after the show, and her comes Mike with this chick, and he’s all up in her face, kissing on her, and we were saying, “Who the heck is this girl?” Finally he introduced her: Lisa Marie Presley. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I said to the guys, “Check this out. The King of Pop and the King’s daughter, together. It had to happen. They looked pretty cozy.”

Two weeks later, Lisa accompanied Michael again to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for his appearance on the Jackson Family Honors Special.


[EXPAND Newspaper cited them as being seen together at this concert, King of Pop and a Princess, Feb 4 1994 ]

Brooke Shields is no longer Michael Jackson’s constant escort: The Gloved One stirred a Vegas crowd Wednesday night when he attended a Temptations and the 5th Dimension concert with The King’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.


[EXPAND Back in NL according to Magic/Madness, 21 February, 1994 ]

When they got back from Las Vegas, on 21 February, Michael invited Lisa to Neverland. The two spent hours walking hand in hand on the well manicured property, as Lisa’s children, played with their nanny. Workers at the estate recall seeing Michael and Lisa kissing while high atop the Ferris wheel, then nodding graciously to the Neverland staff members as they sauntered from one ride to the next.

For the first two days, Lisa and her children stayed in one of the visitors’ units on the property. On the third night, Michael ordered a dinner of poached salmon and cucumber salad to be served to him and Lisa on one of the candle lit terraces. Afterwards he presented Lisa with a gift: a three strand, pearl choker with a diamond clasp at the front, worth about $50,000. That evening, while her children and their nanny slept in the guest quarters, Lisa stayed with Michael in his bedroom.


[EXPAND Staying at the Trump Towers together, New York City, Trump Tower, April 28, 1994 ]

Michael accepts a Caring For Kids award during the Children Choice Awards at the City Center in New York City (where he rents a three bedroom suit at the Trump Tower )


[EXPAND Donald Trump recalls their time there together ]

Donald recalls seeing Michael and Lisa walking hand in hand on his estate, seeming lost in a mutual dream. In a photograph taken that day, Lisa was elegantly dressed in a severely tailored, black silk dress that fell in fluid lines around her shapely figure. Michael was wearing a sharp, black suit, scarlet- colored shirt and a matching tie. At one point, he dropped to one knee and kissed her hand. She urged him to is feet; the two embrace. Michael gazed at her intensely, mesmerized by her face. They kissed. He pulled from his vest pocket a small, wrapped box. When she opened it, Lisa’s face lit up. Pearls.

“It was romantic,” Donald Trump recalled, “Later, I asked Michael how things were going and he said “Great. I just got to kiss the most beautiful girl in the world. I hope I’m worthy of her. I think I might marry her.”

“For a while, those two were really getting it on.”

“They made love at the Trump estate,” said another one of Lisa’s confidantes. “She said it was intense, it took her breath away. I have no idea what they were doing, or what he was doing to her, but since she gravitates toward the unconventional, she was out of her mind over this guy. Maybe it’s hard for some to believe,” she concluded “but true, just the same.”

People Magazine on this:

Jackson, who is worth an estimated $100 million, and Presley, whose own fortune tops out at $100 million, have been seen together around New York City for at least six months. Lisa Marie, according to one source, is a regular visitor to Jackson’s duplex apartment in Trump Tower, just beneath Donald and Maria Trump’s triplex home. The romance first came to light early this year, about the time Jackson settled the civil suit filed by the child who had accused him of sexual molestation. Jackson was spotted dining with his friends the Trumps at Manhattan’s Le Cirque restaurant. Apropos of nothing, Jackson suddenly said, “You know what? I’m in love. Her name is Lisa.”

A few weeks later, when Trump invited his friend to visit his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Michael asked, “Can I bring my love interest?” Jackson spent the week with Lisa Marie and her two children, Benjamin Storm, 21 months, and Danielle, 5. She and Michael stayed in separate bedrooms but were otherwise inseparable and affectionate. They spent nearly every evening in a part of the mansion called the Grand Tower, looking at the stars, and left the house together just once. “They walked down Worth Avenue,” says one witness, “and caused a big commotion and came right back.”


[EXPAND Their stay at Trump Towers at Mar-a-Lago according to Donald Trump’s book, “Trump: The Art Of The Come Back”, published 1997 ]

One of my most interesting Mar a Lago experiences involved the turmoil over Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. Michael was a friend of mine and a very good guy – but very different. It began in New York, when I got a call from him one day, saying he would be coming to the city and would like to get together. He often called to say hello when he came to New York. This time I invited him out to [page missing]

… military outfit with a large black hat and picked up the menu. It was as if he had never seen a menu before, and we carefully went over each item. But what was most amazing were the looks on the distinguished faces in the room as they came over to our table practically begging for an autograph. These are people who had probably never asked for anyone’s autograph before, and I can guarantee you, it was not easy for them to do. They would always start by saying, I have a son who is a big fan of yours, Mr Jackson. Could you give him an autograph? But I believe it was for them, not their sons. One woman, one of the most socially prominent in New York, known for her attitude approached our table trying to look cool, then slightly tripped. She grabbed the table for support and asked in the same breath, “Mr Jackson, can I have your autograph?” It was amazing to see this woman, whom I have known for years, so flustered and nervous.

Somehow, Michael feels comfortable with me. I asked him how he was doing, and we started talking about his life, including his sex life. I was somewhat surprised when Michael told me he had a new girlfriend. I congratulated him and asked, Who is it? He was very shy and looked down into his napkin, then put the napkin over his face and said, “Trump, Trump, I don’t want to talk about it, I’m so embarrassed.”

I chided him. “Come on, Michael,” I said, “tell me who your new girlfriend is.” When he finally looked up, he said that it was a girl named Lisa Marie. That was the one of the conversation, and we went on to another topic.

A couple of weeks later, I got a call from Michael asking if he could go down to Mar-a-Lago with me. I said absolutely, and we flew down in my plane together. Michael had a small group of people with him. We did a lot of talking. On the flight down, he asked if it would be possible for his girlfriend to come over and say hello and even stay at Mar-a-Lago with him. I said absolutely, I looked forward to meeting her. I asked if it was the same girl, Lisa Marie. He said, yes, it was and she would be arriving sometime around eight o’clock, about an hour after we got to the house.

When the doorbell rang, the butler answered, and a beautiful girl walked through the door. I don’t believe people realize how pretty Lisa Marie Presley’s face really is. She’s got the best of Elvis and Priscilla and I don’t think she has ever been recognized for her incredible glow. In any event, Michael came running down to the living room, greeted her with a hug, and then took her off to look at the ocean. When they came back, holding hands and hugging, they seemed very much in love. I’m not saying that I was surprised at this, but there was never a doubt in my mind that they definitely had something going.

During the weekend we saw very little of Michael and Lisa Marie, since they stayed up in the tower. Then they made the mistake, on Saturday afternoon, of trying to sneak out to sneak out of Mar-a-Lago and go shopping, in disguise, on Worth Avenue. Well, the paparazzi broke out, and all hell broke loose. They were driven in a limousine back to Mar-a-Lago with the paparazzi in pursuit. The rest of the weekend was absolutely wild. Hundreds of cameras surrounded Mar-a-Lago and Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie were stationed in their love nest tower rising high above the house. The press didn’t bother them or me either, but it was quite a frenzy.

I had other guests at Mar-a-Lago, one of them the brilliant New Jersey businessman Arthur Goldberg. He took a company named Bally, which was in tremendous trouble – by any other account should have been bankrupt and defunct – and through sheer talent, energy and force built it into a great company in a short time, and sold it to Hilton Hotels for $3 billion. Arthur made over $100 million on the transactions, and I often cite him as one of the few examples I have seen of a top executive truly deserving of what he gets. He did an incredible job. He is now the president of Hilton’s gaming division and is working closely with Barron Hilton and Steve Bollenbach.

In any event, Arthur and I were having a meeting in one of the rooms at Mar-a-Lago when there was a knock on the door. Arthur didn’t know Michael Jackson was staying at the house, but he was aware that there was a great commotion and he was curious as to why there were so many people outside taking pictures. Arthur got up to answer the door. This particular room at Mar-a-Lagp, the Dutch Room, is done in very dark woods and is lit very dimly, in keeping with the look. Arthur swung open the door, and there was Michael Jackson. “Look, look, it’s Michael Jackson,” he said to me. Michael, on the other hand, saw somebody he wasn’t familiar with, put his hand over his face, and ran down the hallway. That was the last we saw of Michael that weekend. He went back to the tower to be with Lisa Marie.

People often ask me whether or not the relationship was a sham and I give them an emphatic no. I was there, and the magic of Mar-a-Lago brought it out, because after they left, it didn’t work so well. I can tell you, for at least a period of time, these two folks were really getting it on.

A photo of Michael at Mar-a-Lago from Trump’s book


[EXPAND Lisa Marie announces separation from husband Danny Keough, April 29, 1994 ]

Lisa Marie announces separation from her husband, Danny Keough.


[EXPAND Teddy Riley says Michael told him he didn’t know Lisa would leave her husband for him, on a Radio Station, Aug 24 2002 ]

One of the DJ’s asked about Michael and Lisa Marie. Teddy said that Michael had talked to him in great detail about Lisa and Debbie. One of the things that Teddy said MJ stated was, “Man, I didn’t know that Lisa was going to divorce her husband for me.”


[EXPAND Lisa and Danny’s divorce is made official, May 8, 1994 ]

Lisa Marie’s divorce to Danny Keough is finalized.


[EXPAND Travel to Dominican Republic together, May 25, 1994 ]

Michael and Lisa Marie Presley arrive at Casa de Campo de Campo in Dominican Republic .


[EXPAND Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson marry in the Dominican Republic, May 26, 1994 ]

Michael & Lisa Marie secretly marry in a 12 minutes ceremony only attended by Eva Darling and Linda’s ex brother in law, Thomas Keough (both Scientologists). Reportedly others from Michael’s side also attended but have never disclosed their presence.


[EXPAND Wedding Invitations To Celebrate Michael and Lisa’s Marriage ]

These seem to have been printed prior to the wedding

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, marriage, wedding invitationMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, marriage, wedding invitation

And these ones later

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley


[EXPAND Elizabeth Taylor and Monica Pastelle comments, Magic/Madness: ]

That night, Elizabeth was with friends at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel. When a reporter asked her if she would confirm rumors of Michael’s marriage, she snapped at him, “I am not in the business of clarifying rumors. Now, be gone!”

Even though Lisa was in love with Michael, she – not he – was the one with certain goals she hoped to achieve as a result of the marriage; chief among them was the realization of her musical career. “Michael told Lisa that he would attempt to get her a record deal at Sony,” says her friend, Monica Pastelle. “Yes, she loved him. She didn’t marry him because of the offer to help her career, but it was on the table as something he was going to work on for her.”


[EXPAND Honeymoon in Disneyworld, June 5, 1994 ]

Michael takes Lisa Marie and her children Benjamin and Dannielle to Disneyworld in Florida .

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley


[EXPAND Michael sighted in Palm Beach, Jun 20, 1994 ]

We previously reported that Michael Jackson visited Palm Beach to look at potential East Coast retreats, including the since-sold blue-roofed Martino estate on North Ocean. Michael supposedly was the guest of Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, but since then a couple of sources claim he actually stayed several weeks at a home near those of Mollie Wilmot and the Kennedys. A Palm Beach resident claims to have seen Michael walking the beach at 7 am.


[EXPAND Media learns about the wedding, July 11, 1994 ]

Media learn about Michael & Lisa Marie ‘s wedding.


[EXPAND Joe Elefante’s wife Caryn on having met him during this period, Summer 1994 ]

Michael had many questions for us like if any of us went to camp for the summer. He said that he always asked his parents if he could go to summer camp because it looked like so much fun and of course they told him no!! This was right around the time when the media was questioning whether or not he had married Lisa Marie Presley. I noticed a ring on his hand and I said, “so does that ring mean you are married to Lisa Marie?” He nodded his head yes and said “shhhhhh”. We chatted for a while, he signed our album cover and we went home having what I thought was the greatest day of my life.


[EXPAND Stay at Trump Towers, Magic/Madness: ]

Meanwhile, the two took a duplex apartment suite in Trump Tower in New York (directly below Donald Trump’s), while Michael began work on a new album.

One of his bodyguards remembered, “it was chaos with the media and fans suspecting the newlyweds were in the suite, but not able to confirm it.”


[EXPAND People Magazine’s Reaction To The News, People, July 25 1994 ]

The Jackson camp, confronted with the news splashed across the front page of Santo Domingo’s leading daily newspaper. Listin Diario on July 11, says the tale is fiction. “There was no marriage,” says spokesperson Lee Solters. Presley’s people say the reports sound false, but they also admit they couldn’t immediately locate the alleged bride—who announced her separation from her musician husband, Danny Keough, just three months ago. Jerry Schilling, her former manager and lifelong friend, says that until he hears it straight from Lisa Marie, he won’t believe a word. “Too tabloidish,” he says.

And yet if this is a hoax, it is a very elaborate one based at least in part on some persuasive evidence. Consider: Dominican civil judge Hugo Francisco Alvarez Pérez has produced documents purportedly signed by Jackson, 35, and Presley, 26, which Charles Hamilton, the handwriting expert who exposed the Hitler Diaries fraud in 1983, has told the press he examined and declared with 75 percent certainty to be authentic. (Pérez insists that he released the documents only after receiving repealed press inquiries and is not taking money for the information.) Janet Palli, director of publicity for the plush Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, 50 miles from Santo Domingo, says that Jackson arrived on their private landing strip in a Falcon 900 jet owned by his record company, Sony; government officials confirm Jackson’s arrival on May 24 and his departure three days later; and according to one witness, he was accompanied on his trip by two women.

Though not exactly proof, the documents and details have some of Jackson’s closest pals—insiders who usually know everything and tell nothing—scratching their heads. In New York City, Liz Taylor’s publicist Chen Sam read the headlines and phoned her boss to ask, in jest, if Liz had served as the maid of honor. (Taylor said she hadn’t heard a word from her very close friend in three weeks.) Meanwhile in Manhattan, some well-informed friends took the news of the nuptials with little wonder.

Jackson, who is worth an estimated $100 million, and Presley, whose own fortune tops out at $100 million, have been seen together around New York City for at least six months. Lisa Marie, according to one source, is a regular visitor to Jackson’s duplex apartment in Trump Tower, just beneath Donald and Maria Trump’s triplex home. The romance first came to light early this year, about the time Jackson settled the civil suit filed by the child who had accused him of sexual molestation. Jackson was spotted dining with his friends the Trumps at Manhattan’s Le Cirque restaurant. Apropos of nothing, Jackson suddenly said, “You know what? I’m in love. Her name is Lisa.”

;”>A few weeks later, when Trump invited his friend to visit his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Michael asked, “Can I bring my love interest?” Jackson spent the week with Lisa Marie and her two children, Benjamin Storm, 21 months, and Danielle, 5. She and Michael stayed in separate bedrooms but were otherwise inseparable and affectionate. They spent nearly every evening in a part of the mansion called the Grand Tower, looking at the stars, and left the house together just once. “They walked down Worth Avenue,” says one witness, “and caused a big commotion and came right back.”

Two months later, Presley announced her separation from Keough. Oddly—or perhaps not—the name one witness scribbled on the wedding certificate in May is Thomas Keough, the same name as the younger brother of Lisa Marie’s estranged husband. Since Presley and Danny Keough never announced an official dissolution of their marriage, and the Dominican Republic is a mecca for quickie divorces (Mike Tyson barely had to turn off the jet engine when he flew in to obtain a divorce from Robin Givens in 198, speculation is rife: Did Danny accompany Lisa Marie, obtain a divorce and then for some reason ask his brother to serve as a witness to her wedding? This much seems relatively certain: Michael and Lisa Marie are spending more time together than most married people. Last week, Jackson spent six days in a New York City recording studio, and according to a source, Presley was with him three of those days. Are they becoming the new Sonny and Cher? As Josefina Rodriguez, chief of the Dominican consulate in Miami, says, “Who knows? When you find out, tell me.”


[EXPAND Lisa Marie Releases A Statement Confirming Her Marriage To Michael, August 1, 1994 ]

“My married name is Mrs. Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson. My marriage to Michael Jackson took place in a private ceremony outside the United States [11] weeks ago. It was not formally announced until now for several reasons; foremost being that we are both very private people living in the glare of the public media. We both wanted a private marriage ceremony without the distraction of a media circus. I am very much in love with Michael, I dedicate my life to being his wife. I understand and support him. We both look forward to raising a family and living happy, healthy lives together. We hope friends and fans will understand and respect our privacy.”


[EXPAND WHAT A COUPLE! By Katy Kelly, USA Today, August 2, 1994 ]

Lisa Marie confirms: She and Michael are wed – Why did pop princess and king unite?

Mrs. Presley-Jackson says she loves him tender, but others have their doubts Theirs is a marriage based on true love, says the woman who now calls herself “Mrs. Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson,” daughter of one king, now bride of another.

After marrying King of Pop Michael Jackson in apparent haste – in a quickie Dominican Republic ceremony in late May – 26-year-old Presley-Jackson said in a statement Monday, she’ll “dedicate my life to being his wife.”

The question both fans and foes want answered: Why?

Theories abound: Cynics see it as an extreme public relations ploy aimed at restoring Jackson’s reputation, damaged by accusations of child molestation. Some speculate that he has joined Presley’s faith, the Church of Scientology, and guess that the two have found common ground in religion. Others see it as an old-fashioned royal alliance, aimed at consolidating and expanding two separate kingdoms.

It is, unquestionably, a monumental merger of money and music. She’s the sole heir of her father’s Graceland estate, reportedly valued at $100 million and grossing another $20 million a year. She doesn’t get all royalties on Elvis’ songs, but, says RCA executive Paul Williams, “I would assume that Lisa Marie participates in payments from RCA to the Elvis Presley estate.”

Jackson, 35, is worth a conservatively estimated $150 million and has an elaborate estate of his own called Neverland, which comes with its own amusement park. Included in his kitty: an extensive income-producing music catalog that includes classic Beatles songs and works by Little Richard and the father of the bride, Elvis Presley.

newlyweds first met around November 1992, says Lisa Marie’s friend, lawyer John P. Coale, who was advising her at the time. Was it business or pleasure? “It was more of a social meeting,” he says.

The meeting took place in L.A. at a friend’s house. (“Nobody famous,” Coale says.) “She liked him. She thought he was real nice. In the beginning they were friends, just friends. There was no romantic hint of anything at the time. . . . I’m not sure when the romantic thing came in.”

The May 26 wedding – which followed Presley’s May 6 Dominican Republic divorce from musician Danny Keough – was not without romantic elements. “She wore a beige, strapless dress; he was dressed in black,” said Luisa Rebeca Valentin, the reporter who broke the story for the Dominican Republic’s Listin Diario and got the juicy details from the wedding officiant, Judge Hugo Francisco Alvarez Perez.

It was an understated affair. “There were no flowers. It was very simple, very sedate.”

Valentin is a bit of a doubter: “You know how celebrities are, they don’t marry for love. There are conveniences.”

When Coale saw Presley in July, she didn’t mention that she and Jackson were married but “there were strong hints,” says Coale.

The usually chatty Donald Trump has also been keeping the secret. “I’ve known for a while,” he says. “They’re nice people and I wish them luck.”

The couple reportedly spent a week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach estate in February and they and Presley’s children (Danielle, 5, and Benjamin, 21 months) have been living in a $110,000-a-month Trump Tower duplex (below the Donald’s triplex) since early July. They’re expected to stay chez Trump through September, while Jackson finishes work on an album.

Some residents have spotted the pair hugging and kissing, and Trump acknowledges that Lisa Marie and “the babies are in and out all day.”

But even Trump, who has pulled a few marital surprises of his own, seems a bit amazed: “The whole thing is wild, isn’t it?” he asks. As for possible future offspring: “Can you imagine what they’ll produce?”

Family living is apparently on the couple’s agenda: “We both look forward to raising a family,” the bride said in her statement.

Jackson family spokesman John McLaughlin had no comment on Michael’s status (other Jackson spokesmen spent weeks denying marriage reports). As for the mother of the bride: Contrary to tabloid reports of maternal disapproval, “She (Priscilla Presley) said, `Please assure everyone I’m very supportive of Lisa Marie and everything she does,’ ” says Paul Bloch, publicist for both Presleys.

Ditto for the folks at Graceland: “All of us . . . are delighted for Lisa and Michael. We wish the best for them in future,” says Graceland spokesman David Beckwith, adding, “There will be no changes in the structure or operations of Elvis Presley Enterprises or Graceland.”

The Church of Scientology International issued a congratulatory press release: “We consider marriage and a happy family the most valuable building blocks of a stable society, and we wish the newlyweds the very best for a joyful future.”

Disappointing the masses, they added, “The Church has no other information as this is a private matter between Lisa-Marie and her husband.”

Not all fans are as enthused: “Oh God, no! Are you serious?” blurted Terry Marcos, president of Elvis’ California Fans (We’re Still Shaking). Jackson’s “not even a man as far as I’m concerned.”

Priscilla Parker, 54, of Pittsburgh, president of the We Remember Elvis Fan Club, is disappointed. “Partly, because Lisa Marie was just in one marriage and is jumping into another, and I don’t understand that, no matter if you’re famous or the person next door.”

Members of her fan club are phoning in reactions: “Some people are saying they’ll never go back to Graceland if this is true, (others are) saying that it’s her life and she can do what she wants. But it’s not her life. She has two kids to consider. If she were my daughter,” she says with a laugh, “I’d lock her up and throw away the key.”

Some suspect Jackson of ulterior motives: “Michael’s image took such a battering over the past year and a half, with him being linked to an underage boy, that what better stunt to pull off than to marry a very desirable woman?” says Mitchell Fink, People columnist and a CNN correspondent.

“I also think this makes sense for him professionally, because I’m sure he wants to buy every song he can connected with her father, because then he would control the music of the Beatles and Elvis Presley. And I believe as I have all along that he will produce her debut album. He wants to be able to say that he produced the daughter of the king. But I honestly didn’t think he would take it to this new extreme!”

Fink adds, “There’s no question that for many, many years, Michael has been a shrewd media manipulator.”

Stuart Fischoff, a media psychologist at California State University, is paid to ponder such questions. He doesn’t know what motivated the twosome but, “many women, given the opportunity to meet and marry Michael Jackson, would jump at the opportunity. She’s marrying a cultural Mount Rushmore.” And what’s in it for him? “The cynical point of view is that . . . this (marriage) would go in his mind a long way to dissuading people that he’s been fooling around with boys.”

Richard Johnson, editor of the New York Post’s gossip page, thinks “you can’t ignore the Scientology angle. I would think the people at Scientology would be urging her to nurture this relationship.”

John Coale thinks the union may well be a Love Me Tender story. “Lisa’s a pretty levelheaded woman,” he says. “I’ve always been impressed with her decisions. . . . If everyone just gives (the marriage) a chance, I think we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.”


[EXPAND Marking their first public appearance together Michael and Lisa arrive in Hungary, August 5, 1994 ]

Michael and Lisa Marie arrive in Budapest (Hungary) and make their first public appearance together causing a media frenzy.

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie PresleyMichael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley


[EXPAND Passenger On Board Concorde With Them Remembers Them “Canoodling” In The Back, Eric Seidan, 5th August 1994 ]
link to post

I’ve decided to blog about Michael Jackson briefly. Why so? He’s auctioning off tons of his stuff. I realize nobody I know would actually want it, but still. Looking through the online auction catalog is utterly fascinating. You can order one for $100 or $500 with autograph. As if.

I met Michael Jackson once when on Concorde — whilst exiting the on-board bathroom. Really. He was married to Lisa Marie Presley at the time. The story’s recounted in my personal website’s Concorde pages so I won’t repeat it here. I can’t find the story anywhere.

Anyway it was the same flight on which David Bowie and Iman were on. The return flight had Robert DeNiro. Anyway, I will skip all the details for now — but I wonder where I wrote about this — maybe a long ago email to friends. I am thinking this was in an email way back in 1993 after Labour Day weekend when this all happened. Maybe I have a copy archived on one of my Apple II disks that I can no longer read. No idea. If any of you have a copy of that old email, forward it to me and I’ll post it.

Anyway, he was in the waiting room for the flight but in a secluded side room. On board he was in the back of the aircraft with Lisa Marie. They appeared, in all honestly, to be very much in love. Anyway, nature called mid-flight, and I went to use the lavatory. I took a whizz, washed my hands, opened the door, and who should be standing in front of me? Michael Jackson. He’s taller than you might think. I smiled, said excuse me, he muttered something, and went in. That concluded my interaction. Concorde is always fun and that was my very first trip (and only one on Air France). It was memorable because it was celebrity packed.

This auction made me think of it.

I thought the Michael Jackson was somewhere on your site. I remember reading it, how Michael and Lisa Marie were canoodling in the back.

Eric Seidan’s quotes, USA Today Article, 2003

Growing up, Eric Seiden thought the Concorde “was just something cool” but assumed it was out of his reach. Then in 1994, Seiden, who lives in Miami and works for a distributor of screws, nuts and bolts, was unexpectedly upgraded from business class to Concorde on Air France.

“It’s as close as you can get to outer space,” said Seiden, who has his own Concorde Web site. “You can actually see the huge curvature of the Earth.”

Seiden’s fellow passengers included newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley canoodling in the back of the plane.

The marriage did not appear to be a publicity stunt, Seiden noted. “They were really in love.”

They both autographed a concorde menu