Inner Michael » Michael Jackson: It’s Time to Explore the Tide of Truth

Michael Jackson: It’s Time to Explore the Tide of Truth

Time is elastic. It sometimes acts like binoculars trained on reality while looking through the lenses from the wrong end. We know nine years have passed since Michael Jackson left this world; we’re amazed it’s been that long. For some, it seems like forever. In another reality, it feels like yesterday. Time is fluid… like water.

There are children walking around this world who don’t know who Michael Jackson is and who may have never heard of him. There are other children who upon first encountering his work, are magnetically drawn to the Jackson magic. One child was really upset with parents who never told him about Michael Jackson and he angrily demanded an explanation.

I searched all day today for an unbiased article to post about MJ but couldn’t find a comprehensive one without some kind of editorial slur or put down. It’s hard to find one without editorials. Even the positive ones make reference to his “bizarre” life or lifestyle, and there’s very little written about his music and its timelessness. It’s everywhere. Every grocery store I frequent has Jackson on its playlist.

Why is it so hard to cut him some slack even when a lot of material about his philanthropy and generosity is available to the public? How is it that nobody has made an accurate biopic of this man? It seems the estate is planning to do just that. We’ll see if it gains the success of “This Is It” the film, or his posthumous albums and even the hologram—all of which many fans find offensive. The Circque du Soliel show, however, was brilliant.

But it seems the Jackson family just can’t catch a break—even now. The rivalry between Michael and Jermaine is judiciously resurrected with every milestone in Jermaine’s life. Jermaine grieved his brother’s passing as did all the brothers; many did long and guilt-ridden soul searching after his death. Families are complex structures with lots of tentacles. Dysfunction is part of every clan. But it’s as if the rules are different for the Jacksons than for anyone else. Randy and Jermaine are vilified, the brother’s tour is slammed by purist fans who don’t like the Jacksons using Michael’s music even in tribute to their brother. Artists who begin in groups can sometimes come to a place where they have enough recognition and talent to branch out and go solo, but they wouldn’t have that recognition without the original group. We tend to forget that our music icons weren’t always single artists: Diana Ross was first a Supreme; MJ was first a Jackson 5, Lionel Richie was first a Commodore, Beyonce was a Destiny’s Child…

Janet Jackson was vilified for the Super Bowl in 2004 and for a racy moment brought to you by Justin Timberlake who never suffered any consequences and actually became well known after his part in it. Time to show Janet some respect– how about next year’s Superbowl instead of the tabloid criticism of her weight (post pregnancy) and her very public divorce? Now people are reporting that La Toya is a virgin. And Joe Jackson is supposedly on his deathbed.*Jermaine has refuted that claim and tried to right the record but the Jackson family is rarely taken seriously or taken at their word.

And Paris, Michael’s daughter has become fair game for the tabloids who even used the term “wacko” in connection with her. People talk about Jackson’s children as being White (because they are the “wrong” color—still a reference to race and racism) when they clearly have stated their ethnic origins and have traits like their father. And now that his children are of a certain age, it seems they too, will be considered fair game for yellow journalism. The tabloids, and even some mainstream media, still refer to the crime for which Jackson was indicted on 14 counts and then acquitted on every count, citing his “criminal” background in biographical materials. And the meme is mindlessly repeated as fact although it’s historically incorrect and has been archived in the public domain for decades. One is innocent until proven guilty; Jackson’s innocence was proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court and through a jury trial. The 2 families that accused him were serial extortionists, having attempted to make or having made money from other deep pockets. But the press doesn’t print that truth.

Shameful Journalism

The Jackson family can’t catch a break… ever. Is it because the Jacksons are African American? Yes. That’s the simple, truthful answer. Racism is rampant today; think back to the seventies, eighties and nineties—when it festered underground without Trump to foment and push its rise to the surface. Music moguls and record companies were thieves, stealing Black Music from those who sweated and bled it through the musical lexicon. Black artists rarely owned their own music or were paid fairly even when they sold millions of copies. When Michael Jackson’s trajectory toward superstardom was obvious, MTV refused to feature his music or videos because of his race. Make no mistake—racism is alive and well almost a decade after his passing. How can we even begin to think it didn’t exist then, when Michael was serenading the world and healing people in the meantime. If men are guilty for “driving while Black” think of the penalties for singing while Black or being wealthy while Black or having power while Black—monetary power, editorial power, public power, platform power, the power of fame and fortune. How dare an uppity black man, who didn’t know his place, become so rich, so powerful, so beloved.

They used to lynch people for that kind of audacity. It was, in many ways– kinder. Now they aim guns and shoot with a kill shot, lock them up for non-violent crimes or three strikes, or hang them out to dry in a public forum and dismember them with tabloid words like “bizarre,” “unhinged,” “wacko,” “a peter pan,” (as if that’s a bad thing.) Words like “thug” or “gangsta” or the n-word still single mean people of color. They just don’t bother with a rope anymore.

Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood is revered and Barack Obama can have children following and clinging to him like the pied piper, but neither of them are vilified in the media for their “unusual relationships with children.” Children loved Michael. Even now they are unable to hold their bodies still when his music begins to play. Even babies smile at the vibe in his iconic music and voice. And many adults credit Michael Jackson with saving their lives because life at home or school was so painful, they contemplated suicide. His lyrics told them he believed. So they believed. And he was the symbolic icon for that belief. A believed, beloved icon.

While many of us have written biographic material about him based on industrious and meticulous research, there is  yet to be a best-selling author who takes on his story. Certainly it’s not Ta-Nehisi Coates because his recent article: I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye included false Jackson biographic material and was as poorly researched as I’ve ever seen—making reference to his “wanting to be White” while even his autopsy—available to anyone online who cares to simply google it—confirmed his Vitiligo, a disease where the skin pigment is destroyed by an autoimmune process, and his Lupus that attacks cartilage and joints. (Yes, including nasal cartilage.) A best-selling author should know better.

I remember writing a letter to Mark Fuhrman asking him to, as a detective,  investigate the most interesting and compelling criminal story of the 21st century. Fuhrman has a track record and the literary pedigree to pull it off. I never heard back.

Let’s see what the Estate comes up with. What they should do is include a Jackson biographer in the plans– someone old enough, seasoned enough and savvy enough to guide the screen play through the dark waters of innuendo and slander to the clear waters of truth.

Yes time, like water, flows, bends and stretches. But time doesn’t dissolve truth. When the high tide of fiction retreats, the real artifacts that point to truth can be seen clearly scattered around the exposed landscape. For Michael Jackson and his family, it’s been high tide for too long. Truth is there for the finding. It’s time to tell it.

** Joe Jackson passed away two days after this entry was written. He died in hospice of Pancreatic Cancer with his family there.
I suspect that Jermaine announced that the report of his father’s impending death was exaggerated in order to spare his family from paparazzi and to keep their grief private.
Fans have expressed divergent feelings about his passing, but the loyal fans understand families are complex and imperfect structures; they wish the Jacksons peace and healing in their father’s passing. May Joe Jackson rest in peace.













  1. Greet Boete said . . .

    Thank you for this article. You have so much knowledge and truth about Michael. Did you never consider writing a biography yourself about him ? I think you would be the perfect writer to help the Estate in whatever they are planning to do! It is high time the general public learn the truth about this wonderful man . Thanks again .

    Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Thanks for the compliment. Yes, I have thought of writing a book with a collection of my essays. I wonder if it would sell? And thanks for recommending me but I don’t think the Estate will request input. They would do well to convene a panel with at least one biographer or writer and a couple long time fans. Nobody knows the history like fans. Namaste`

    Posted June 27, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Kerry McGrath said . . .

    Hi Barbara, Thanks so much for your, as always, incredibly refeshing and insightful summing up of a Michael Jackson context. It’s still a very painful and frustrating read in the media, but I truly believe that his legacy, in it’s entirety (including the highly developed humanitarian he was) will prevail, as truth always does. I feel Michael’s love everywhere, my children love him to bits, and his music will live forever. I too am pleading for an authentic biopic, as there’s so much to learn and enjoy from Michael’s rollercoaster life (he’s taught me so much already). Thank you for fighting the good fight Barbara.

    Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
  4. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Thanks Kerry. Keep the faith!

    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *