MJJCommunity Exclusive Q&A

Exclusive MJJC Q&A With Latoya Jackson (Second cousin to Michael Jackson)

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Firstly - we wanted to say Hi, we are MJJCommunity – Michael Jackson Community, the worlds most active Michael Jackson fan club online, its great to speak with you and we thank you for taking time out of you busy schedule to talk to us.

About you

MJJC - Can you tell us who you are and what your relation is to the Jackson family?

LaToya - I'm LaToya Jackson My Grandfather is Luther Jackson who is Joe Jackson's Blood Brother which makes me the second cousin to Michael Jackson

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A With Bill Whitfield And Javon Beard

MJJC EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH BILL WHITFIELD AND JAVON BEARD, 

AUTHORS OF REMEMBER THE TIME: PROTECTING MICHAEL JACKSON IN HIS FINAL DAYS

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MJJC: What made you want to write a book?

Bill & Javon: We wrote Remember the Time because we had a story to tell about the Michael Jackson we knew. If you’re a Michael Jackson fan and supporter, you deserve to know him more on a personal side, not just who he was but what he endured as a man, and as a father. You deserve a true account from those that were there, not from those who can only repeat what they heard second hand. 

We wrestled a long time with whether or not was should write a book. Fundamentally, we agree with those who say Mr. Jackson deserves his privacy and deserves to rest in peace. But ultimately we came to the conclusion that his fans deserve to know and, hopefully, in some way it will bring closure to some and truth to others. We also felt an obligation to tell the world about our time with Mr. Jackson because there really is no one else to tell this part of the story. During the time Mr. Jackson spent in Las Vegas, between his return from Ireland and the start of “This Is It,” there simply weren’t a lot of people around. Very often the only people there were us, Mr. Jackson, and the three 

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Brad Sundberg

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Brad Sundberg was technical director to Michael Jackson for nearly two decades. He recently announced a series of seminars to take place this June in New York called "In The Studio with Michael Jackson" ( thread here: http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/th...ichael-Jackson)

We reached out to Brad Sundberg to talk about Michael's music as well as talk about his ""In The Studio With Michael Jackson" seminars. You can read his answers below. Also check the end of Q&A for information about seminars and how to get tickets to them.

MJJC: What exactly is the job of a technical director and what did this position entail, as you worked in this role on some of the MJ albums?

Brad Sundberg: There is the short answer and the long answer. The short answer is “be ready for anything.” The long answer would go something like this: My responsibility was to have whatever recording studio we worked in, anywhere in the world, be up to Michael Jackson quality. I worked very closely with Bruce Swedien (not just on MJ albums, but also Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, among others), and his attention to detail is second-to-none. Every microphone, every patch-point, every machine and device in the studio had to tested and (if possible) calibrated to perfection. It was not uncommon for this process alone to take 1-2 weeks before the projecting would even start. The funny thing is that so few production teams do this, yet it is a vital part of the reason our projects sounded so good.

Additionally, I would be involved in day-to-day recording, setting up microphones, headphones, booking studios, keeping tapes organized, getting Michael’s hot water ready for his vocals, transcribing Michael’s lyrics for the liner notes, even making coffee! With various production teams working on the same project, it made for long yet very rewarding days. The hard work and dedication was also very rewarding in that I was privileged to see and be a part of so much musical history being created.

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Ralphige about the prank call - Read Ralphige's Answers (2)

After the recent news story that Michael Jackson Estate was going after Ralphige for the prank call he did to Michael, once again the contents of the prank call became the focus of the fans. In the light of the questions and anger Ralphige volunteered to answer any questions - even hate - coming towards his way. As MJJC we decided to take this opportunity (not to promote or support Ralphige but) to get the answers that we always wanted to know. Below is the MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Ralphige. 

We want to thank everyone that asked the questions and Ralphige for the answers. 

1. How did you manage to get Michael’s number and get through to him?

Ralphige: I am able to dream up these numbers. I wake up in the middle of sleep with the celebrity and their phone number in my head. I sleep with a notebook next to me so I am able to immediately write down the phone number before I forget it.

As a matter of fact, TMZ published a story yesterday about how Dr. Arnold Klein may have been the person who originally got Michael Jackson addicted to the medications. That story triggered Dr. Arnold Klein to show up in my dream yesterday. I woke up, went straight to my notebook and his phone number popped up in my head. As fans of Michael, I think you guys should have the phone number...... 310-xxx-xxxx

2. What did you want to get out of prank calling Michael?

Ralphige: I am a celebrity prank caller and I have prank called many other celebrities including Paris Hilton and even Donald Trump. Michael was simply just another target for me at the time. I simply wanted to add the biggest star on the planet to my list of victims.

3. Why the mention of Akon and the diamonds in Africa? Why not go with the topic he started, the charities and helping people in need?

Ralphige: In my dream, Michael Jackson and Akon were hanging out at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Naturally I went along with whatever I saw in my dream. Plus, this was supposed to be a prank call, not an interview about charities. However, I am glad this prank call happened because now everyone knows that Michael had these wonderful intentions of building a school in Africa. Someone should build one in his honor. 

4. How many times have you spoken to Michael? Did you talk afterwards the prank call, and if yes, what MJ said to you?

Ralphige: I spoke with him 1 additional time after the prank call. I always call my victims back and ask for permission to release the phone call. When I called back a real bodyguard answered the telephone and refused to let me speak to Michael. After some convincing Michael finally got on the line and we spoke for about 10 minutes. He told me that what I said was mean but that the damage was done and he had no control over it from that point forward. I asked him if I could release the phone call and he said "you can do whatever you want"

5. Please explain how you got permission from Michael. Did you also make a recording of Michael giving permission to use the clip?

Ralphige: I basically answered this one above. His bodyguard did not allow him to get back on the line until I promised that I was no longer recording. So, no, I do not have the permission on audio. 

6. It is obvious that Michael knew from the beginning it was a prank call, he went along with it. You ended up getting fooled. Did you know Michael knew it was a prank call?

Ralphige: He did not know it was a prank call. He had suspicions that I did not sound like Akon and possibly thought it was a prank call. He fired off some questions that only him and Akon would know. When I answered those questions correctly he assumed he was speaking to Akon and kept on going. He fell for the prank call. 

7. Do you think Michael Jackson was a child molester? Do you always judge people you don’t know or is that only reserved for Michael?

Ralphige: I do not know if he was a child molester. No one really knows. I honestly hope he wasn't but you can't rule anything out because truthfully no one knows except him. If you listen to my other prank calls, I offend everyone, Michael Jackson was no exception. 

8. Why bring up the accusations? Why did you feel the need to make fun of something that was very hurtful to Michael, knowing how he would take it after he played along with the prank call when he obviously knew it wasn't Akon?

Ralphige: It was a prank call and I wanted to hear his reaction. I prank called Suge Knight and accused him of murdering 2pac. Suge Knights reaction was very chilling and cold blooded. No one knows who killed 2pac and the whole world assumes Suge Knight had something to do with it. You can tell a lot by the way people react to accusations when they are not expecting it. 

9. Any 'prank' that is hurtful goes beyond the acceptable limits. Do you feel shameful to do something so cruel to a person? Will you dare enough to do such horrible thing to another celebrity? or you just feel it's ok because this person is MJ?

Ralphige: I have said worse things to other celebrities. 

10. Because you chose to use the most damaging and hurtful subject to ridicule MJ as a fan I would have to draw the conclusion that you have no respect for Michael as a human being. Do you respect his achievements within the music industry?

Ralphige: I certainly respected him as a human being and no one can deny his achievements in the music industry. There will never be another Michael Jackson. I am also a fan of Michael Jackson. 

11. Do you understand at the time how vulgar and harsh your joke attempt was and how ill-mannered it made you look? Do you understand it now? If yes, what made a change?

Ralphige: Everyone loved the prank call while he was alive. This call happened 4 years ago and had over 2 million views on youtube. After he passed people became more sensitive to what I said. However, if you go back and read the comments on youtube you can see people only thought it was offensive after he died.

12. Ever think about apologizing about the molester joke?

Ralphige: I already have when we spoke about the phone call minutes after it happened.

13. Tell us what’s happening between you and the Michael Jackson Estate in regards to the prank call and the sale of the prank call on your website?

Ralphige: Nothing is happening, they stopped pursuing it after they realized I had authorization from Michael Jackson,

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Siedah Garrett

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MJJC: Were you a Michael Jackson fan before you met him? How did your perception of him changed after you met him / worked with him / toured with him?

Siedah: I had been a Jackson 5 fan my entire life. In fact, during my childhood, Michael Jackson was my play husband. I began to love Michael when he became a solo artist, and I really fell in love with him when he decided to record my song. It was then that I realized that he was more socially conscious than anyone had given him credit for.

MJJC: What was your first impression of Michael?

Siedah: He was so cool, so unexpectedly approachable.

MJJC: Where did the idea of Man In The Mirror come from?

Siedah: Two years before I wrote the song, I was in a writing session with composer John Beasley. In the heat of our session, he decided to answer an incoming call, and responded as if he really wasn’t busy at all. I was seething. I then heard him say ”The man? What man? Oh, the man in the mirror.” That phrase stuck in my mind, and I wrote it down in my lyric book of random ideas. Two years later, as my new writing partner Glen Ballard was searching for sounds on his synthesizer, I came across the notation in my lyric book, and it just jumped off of the page.

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Andy Picheta (producer of Michael Forever Tribute)

As you remember Jackson family's "Michael Forever" tribute in Cardiff had raised a lot of interest and anger among the fans back in 2011. On August 10, Andy Picheta, one of the producers of Michael forever Tribute,  has released a book called How I Paid Tribute to Michael Jackson : The story of Michael Forever The Tribute Concert detailing what went behind the scenes of the tribute concert.

We approached Andy Picheta for a Q&A and he has agreed to it. Below you can find Andy's answers to our questions. Enjoy

MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Andy Picheta

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MJJC: Why did you decide to write this book? Why now? What do you hope your book will accomplish?

Andy Picheta: The process of Michael Forever was a huge, funny, tragic and bizarre happening that needed telling. I hope my book serves as a lesson to entertainment entrepreneurs: to respect the talent, and the fans. I hope it reaches a wide audience, and makes a lot of people laugh a little.  Why now? – couldn’t write it earlier, and would have forgotten a ton of stuff if I’d written it later

MJJC: How did your key partners in this project (Chris, Jeffre, Parojim) really felt about MJ? Would anyone call himself a hardcore fan? A casual fan maybe? Was it anyone’s motivation to actually really pay a tribute, or was it all just business?

Andy Picheta: As a professional, I approach every project with a real desire to do the best I can. I’m not a fan of Michael Jackson in the same way you are.  I’m dispassionate, but very aware that Michael (as every artist I have worked with) put his heart and soul into every lyric, all his talent into every dance step, and did everything to his utmost. I therefore can do no less with my work; it is crucial for me to respect the artist when filming or staging their work. I too put my heart and soul into the film or show, because to do less would be unprofessional and disrespectful. I want the best I can deliver, to be sure to do the right thing at the right time. I’m not unique in this; the desire to do the best possible was exhibited by everyone who worked on the show, from Ron Weisner to the assistant’s assistant. It’s why we stuck it out to the end.

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Joe Vogel

MJJC is happy to bring you the second Joe Vogel Q&A about his books and Michael's music. This Q&A is planned around the  e-book release of "Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson" as well as Joe Vogel's new book "Featuring Michael Jackson.

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MJJC: What peculiarity of Michael Jackson that initially attracted and motivated you to delve into the study of his music? In other words why did you decided to analyze specifically Michael's work rather than any other artist's work? I guess there are many reasons why you appreciate him, many of them you probably discovered during your work, but I'd like to know exactly what was, so to speak, the trigger 

Joe Vogel: Michael Jackson was just so different. I’m fascinated by artists that defy conventions and categories, artists that can take us places we’ve never been before, that challenge us. Michael, of course, paid a terrible price for being bold and different. When I started my book in 2005, the vitriol, hate and deceit being directed at him was awful. If anyone takes a look at media archives from that time, the level of callousness and cruelty is appalling. And I remember watching it unfold and being really angry. At first, I envisioned writing a sort of alternative biography, something more humane and nuanced and objective than what existed at the time, but as the project developed I really felt strongly about letting Michael’s creative work be the focal point and revealing the man through the music.

MJJC: You started writing “Man in the Music” book before Michael's death and were going to interview him. Did you have questions prepared that you were going to ask Michael, and if yes, can you give a few an example questions? Even if you had no questions prepared, what would you have asked Michael if you had the chance?  

Joe Vogel: I did have questions prepared. Most were about process. Michael was always so vague about his creative process. Of course, part of the problem was that so few interviewers ever asked him in-depth questions about his creativity. So my questions were all about details. I wasn’t as interested in sensational questions (how much plastic surgery?) or big questions (how do you want to be remembered?) as specifics (Tell me about these lyrics in “Stranger in Moscow” or this panther segment of “Black or White?). I wanted to show him the chapters I had done so he could see how it was laid out, how it was all about the art, and then proceed from there in terms of filling gaps and gathering new stories.

MJJC: In your last piece "The Top Ten Michael Jackson Songs of All Time" you wrote "If I were forced to gather together a group of songs to hold up against the best work of the Beatles or Bob Dylan or Prince, these are the ones I would bring." I'd like to know, if you were asked to put together an album not for the fans, but for people who do not know Michael Jackson or have never appreciated his music, which songs would you choose to include in this album to make these people know and understand Michael Jackson, the artist and the man, and his music?

Joe VogelIn a way, that was part of the philosophy of my Top Ten list: What ten songs really showcase Michael’s genius, working in different styles from different parts of his career. But if I were to throw together a mix for a non-fan, I might do: In the Back, Butterflies, Cheater, In the Closet, Give in to Me, Morphine, Stranger, 2Bad, Human Nature, Little Susie, Will You Be There, Threatened. I’d probably go with a lot of lesser-known tracks, because part of the problem with Michael Jackson is his classic songs are so familiar many people can’t hear them anymore.

MJJC: What has been the most surprising thing you have learned from your research on Michael Jackson?

Joe Vogel: I don’t know that there is one thing. I was really impressed with the intelligence that went into his work. I loved the stories about him tracking people down, calling in the middle of the night, going to an old folk’s home to visit Walt Disney’s massage therapist, reaching out to all the people he respected or admired. He was so curious, which is such a great quality for an artist.

MJJC:Why do you think so many overlook Michael's work after Thriller/Bad?

Joe Vogel: That’s a very complicated question. Part of it was a backlash to his success, part of it had to do with race, part of it was about his otherness and the media caricature that was constructed. And part of it was just sheer laziness. Critics latched onto a simple narrative—rags to riches to ruins—and couldn’t seem to find the intellectual acuity to move beyond that and recognize the evolution in Jackson’s art.

MJJC: Referring to Michael Jackson's music you often use terms like “he re-invented”. That sounds to me like an attempt to state - somehow - he has been the first to create something new in music while you are conscious that some other, although less publicized, musicians already did that before MJ. Is it correct? And if not, why you say he "reinvented" instead of "invented"? 

Joe Vogel: Well, no one creates out of a vacuum so I think I’m skeptical of the term “invention” for any artist. You always draw from what comes before you. Michael didn’t invent R&B or soul or disco, but he stylized these genres in ways that hadn’t been done before. I actually think Michael did, for all intents and purposes, invent “pop” as we know it today; but I think he re-invented it with the Dangerous album. Similarly, I might feel comfortable saying, with qualification, that Michael “invented” modern music videos. Of course, they existed before Michael; but he had an enormously profound impact on what they became.

MJJC: What do you think about those rock journalists who write about “criteria” in music, stating that “innovation” and “influence” are the most important criteria to judge music and according to these criteria don’t consider Michael Jackson an important musician in pop history?

Joe Vogel: Innovation and influence are important criteria, but they are criteria Michael meets in a major way. Look at the musical landscape today: Michael’s influence is everywhere. That being said, I don’t think Michael Jackson’s greatness is in any way tied to the existence of Justin Bieber, just as the Beatles aren’t assessed by their influence on the Jonas Brothers.

MJJC: Do you think Michael's artistry and his impact on pop culture will be thoroughly examined by more scholars in the future?

Joe Vogel: Absolutely. It’s already happening. There has been a proliferation of scholarship on Jackson over the past few years, including journals and conferences. He’s being taught in many different fields—music, film studies, English, dance, visual studies, cultural studies, African American studies, etc.—at universities around the world.

What seems to be taking a bit more time is serious writing on MJ aimed at a more mainstream audience. This is an audience I have been trying to help build with my books and articles. There are still a lot of people for whom Michael is more of a celebrity or entertainer than a serious artist. It’s strange because Michael has such an enormous fan base, but the audience for this type of work is still relatively small. There is quite a ways to go to catch up to the Beatles, or Dylan, or even Springsteen and U2.

MJJC: Were you as frustrated as fans were for Michael being reduced to tabloid caricature, and his music and achievements was basically dismissed? Do you think the tide is turning and people are finally seeing him as brilliant showman and musician and his music is not dismissible?

Joe Vogel: The tide is definitely turning. There’s been an enormous shift in public perception since 2009. It’s very sad that’s what it took for people to be reminded of his genius, but that’s the way it often goes with artists of his caliber.  I had the privilege of being a consultant for the upcoming Bad 25 documentary by Spike Lee and watching that footage was just incredible. The more people are exposed to Michael Jackson, the artist, the more his legacy will thrive.

MJJC: What is your favorite MJ album? Song?

Joe Vogel: My favorites change from month to month, year to year. My favorite album right now is Bad, especially the Bad outtakes and demos. Favorite songs right now: “Destiny,” “Cheater” and “She Drives Me Wild”

MJJC: How are the Stranger in Moscow and Scared Of The Moon pieces you are working on coming along? Do you have any idea when they might be released?

Joe Vogel: Unfortunately, both are on the backburner right now. These types of projects are nearly impossible to find publishers for, so they present a lot of challenges. Most likely I would have to do them independently as I did for “Earth Song.”

MJJC: Who really wrote "On the line"? Very confusing information Spike Lee said Babyface wrote the song, but Warner/Chappell's website & Ultimate, both list MJ as the writer.

Joe Vogel: My understanding is that it was co-written by Jackson and Babyface.

MJJC: Will you include new chapters in the paperback version of Man in the Music?

Joe Vogel: Umm…probably not new chapters, but definitely new material within existing chapters.

MJJC:After "Featuring Michael Jackson", what should we expect from you (regarding MJ and otherwise)? Do you have any more books about Michael planned? Such as books about Michael’s music videos or unreleased songs? Or even a book about Michael’s personal life?

Joe Vogel: There are endless projects that could be done on Michael (I have a few in mind), but my next major book will be on a different artist. No current plans to write on Michael’s unreleased songs or a biography.

MJJC Note: You can find Amazon links to Joe Vogel's books below and in near future we will have another Joe Vogel surprise for you all. Keep following us and Joe Vogel :)

Featuring Michael Jackson: Collected Writings on the King of Pop  - http://www.amazon.com/Featuring-Michael-Jackson-Collected-Writings/dp/0981650686

Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson  - http://www.amazon.com/Man-Music-Creative-Michael-Jackson/dp/1402779380

Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus  - http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Song-Inside-Michael-Jacksons/dp/0981650694

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A with DDA David Walgren

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MJJC is happy to bring you DDA (and soon to be Judge) David Walgren's answers to MJJCommunity's Exclusive Q&A.

From the start we have stated that not all of the questions would be sent to DDA Walgren. I and some members of MJJC Case team selected the final set of questions. We have omitted hoax / believer questions and questions about civil trials as they were irrelevant.

I have also notified that due to DDA Walgren being prosecutor in this case there could be questions he cannot answer. These topics included different possible charges, restitution and evidence related questions.

Enjoy the answers and please join me to say a big thank you to DDA David Walgren for generously agreeing to this Q&A despite his busy schedule.

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A With Jermaine Jackson

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MJJC: You occasionally call out celebrities who call Michael a drug addict, and we love you for it. However, you seem to stay silent when your own family calls Michael an addict. What is the truth? Are you at odds with certain family members that continue to call Michael a drug addict? Have you ever told them to stop it or to try and word their comments better?

Jermaine Jackson: I'm not at odds with anyone because everyone accepts that Michael died due to Propofol intoxication, and he used it because he was desperate to sleep, not because he was addicted. 

I personally felt it was important to point out the difference between Michael's one time addiction to painkillers, and the sensationalist addiction talk of him being "a junkie" that the media and Murray wrongly attached to his death. That was why I wrote what I did and why I called out all the bull-crap during the trial.

My siblings shared private conversations and concerns with our brother about his addiction around 2001/02 time, and they are entitled to talk about it, but talking about that period does not mean they are calling him a drug addict in 2009. He wasn't. 

MJJC: Why do you and many in your family continue to down play what Michael said was abuse in the hands of Joe? Obviously Michael was deeply affected by it. You and your family always say its discipline when it's not. Don't you think Michael has a right to tell it how he lived it and how for him it was abuse, whether you agree with it or not?

Jermaine Jackson: Yes, Michael had the right to tell it, and so do I because I experienced the same discipline from Joseph. I was disciplined. I was not abused. He treated us the same and I don't apologise for attempting to place all of this into context. In every family, there will be different perspectives of the same event. I have given mine. 

I will say this: I read many biographies that invented what Joseph was supposed to have done. The majority of it was pure fantasy or wildly exaggerated. It was designed to paint him as evil. Joseph has never been evil. Michael would agree with that. 

I don't dismiss Michael's experience and feelings. What I have tried to do is balance what happened and do what Michael tried to teach us all: be more understanding and more compassionate. That's why I used his Oxford University speech in the book because he didn't have the judgment or vitriol that some fans have for Joseph. He forgave him. He didn't judge him. He also loved him and history deserves to know that. 

MJJC: What made you feel that Tohme Tohme was someone worthy of meeting Michael and to be in business with? What were your thoughts of Michael being on tape saying he doesn't like Tohme and how he controls everything Michael does including his money and keeping him from seeing anyone he didn't want Michael to see?

Jermaine Jackson: I've explained this over many pages in the book because I know how concerned fans have been and I wanted to explain everything from the very beginning. The full story is in there. I can't go over it all again. But the biggest misunderstanding is that I introduced him to Michael as some kind of partner or manager. That's not true. 

I first met Tohme-Tohme as someone who could help fund the Crystal City project (described in the book) which I was working on with Michael around 2007 time. I had four meetings with Michael to get down our vision on paper. He was all about it. 

I met with Tohme-Tohme to find a consortium to raise the $5-6 billion we needed. Not once did I mention to him that Michael was involved in this project. Not once.

Soon afterwards, I heard that Neverland was in trouble. There was talk of foreclosure. That was the first time I went to Tohme-Tohme about Michael (April 13 2008) because if this guy could find billions for a leisure project, he probably knew businessmen who had $23-24 million to save Neverland. That was my thinking. 

Long story short, Tohme-Tohme introduced me to Tom Barrack at Colony Capital. Make no mistake; Tom saved my brother's financial ass. Folk out there have no idea how close to the wire things got. 

From that moment on, I wasn't part of the equation and Tohme-Tohme turned against me. He was no friend of mine and I know that he became no friend of Michael's. But, from April 2008, the choices and the appointments that were made had nothing to do with me. Michael was his own man with his own mind. 

MJJC: Why was Tohme-Tohme allowed at UCLA Medical Centre and even allowed to speak on June 25th, after Michael Jackson had fired him? 

Jermaine Jackson: I don't know why he was there or who authorized it. When I arrived, he was already there in the corridor, but you've got to understand that I wasn't thinking about any of that, or why he was allowed to speak. That day was a blur. 

MJJC: What is your opinion about Tohme-Tohme now?

Jermaine Jackson: My opinion of him? He was the same as everyone else who came and went in Michael's life - he didn't understand the revolving door he was caught in. I do think his heart was in the right place but I think the access went to his head. His manner was too sharp and fiery for Michael in the end.

MJJC: Do you believe Dr Murray’s actions on June 25th directly caused Michael's death or do you hold Latoya's view of what happened? In other words who do you think is responsible for Michael death?

Jermaine Jackson: With the wrongful death lawsuit going on, this is not something I want to get into, but I'll say this: Murray was the person who injected the fatal dose of Propofol, but that fact doesn't remove questions that I still have. Also, Michael's death was preventable by others, long before those early hours of June 25th 2009. He was dying long before he died and no one did anything and no one alerted us, his family. Had I known what I know now, I'd have been in there shutting it down and getting him to a hospital. 

MJJC: Why were you taken aback by Michael not naming his brothers, sisters and father in his Will? Was it because he took care of the family in life that you believed naturally he would do the same in case of death? Was this something Michael ever discussed with the family?

Jermaine Jackson: Who says I was taken aback? We didn't discuss Michael's death. Why would we? The rest of the family has had musical careers and we've got and always had our own money. 

Michael did what a father should in a will - he took care of his kids, and he also named our mother. By including her, he included us. The lioness takes care of her cubs, and that philosophy has always been understood in our family. 

MJJC: What do you think about the individuals that Michael appointed to run his Estate? And are you happy with his choice? Why does it seem as if your family is forever going against the Estate, by initiating projects without Estate approval and making hostile remarks to the press about the people running the Estate?

Jermaine Jackson: No Jackson needs anyone's approval to initiate a project that celebrates or remembers our own brother. We were not appointed hypothetically in 2002. We were appointed by blood at birth.

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MJJC: Why you and your family always say that you wanted to work with Michael again for albums and concerts when everybody knows that Michael didn't want to work with his family anymore? For example: on October 29, 2008 you announced a Family reunion. The next day, Michael released a statement that he didn't have any plans to reunite with his siblings. Why did you make that announcement without conferring with Michael first?

Jermaine Jackson: Who says that "everybody knows he didn't want to work with us anymore"? They cite one date and one example and apply it forever?? 

Everybody doesn't know, because Michael had agreed to do one "final" concert with the brothers and that was because Mother wanted to see us all on stage one last time in her life-time, not thinking that Michael would pass before her. 

He made that promise to her, not us, and we hadn't really spoken about it. But that concert was included in the many plans he had for after This Is it, including spot-dates in China and a performance at the Super Bowl 2010 (plans made prior to John Branca's return)

MJJC: Your ex-wife, Margaret Maldonado, said you were intensely jealous of Michael. Suzanne de Passe said a similar thing on Oprah in 1993 about the brothers being jealous of Michael. Were you, or were you not jealous of Michael at any point in your life? And what do you make of others who knew you personally, stating that you were jealous of your brother?

Jermaine Jackson: Too many folk listen to what others say. I don't care what others think they know, and it doesn't matter if they know me personally or don't - they can't know what I'm feeling on the inside. There is not one person out there who can say with any truth that I have said, shouted or complained about Michael in any jealous way. There were differences from time to time, but never jealousy.

I remain as proud of Michael as I always was when he was alive, and this is one reason why I wrote the book - to hear about our life and our journey in my words, no one else's. 

MJJC: In your book and your media interviews promoting it, you were adamant about the importance of family and how individually you were weaker compared to how you were collectively as a family unit. It was a theme that you related to Michael's professional career, when you talked about how music industry outsiders tried to separate him from his brothers and that this was not a good outcome. How do you explain then why you were the first brother to break away from the family group when you stayed with Motown to pursue a solo career rather than follow your father and brothers to their better record deal at Epic? If your career had blown up and been as successful as Michael, do you think that you would have been so keen to return to the family group?

Jermaine Jackson: I don't think I'd thought too much about me leaving the Jackson 5 until it came to the book, and it was pointed out to me that my leaving could have been an example set to Michael. If it's okay for me to break away, it was okay for him to break away. I see that in a way I never did before. 

But I use Joseph's story about the tree and the branches...how we are stronger when tight together, not separate. If you read the book, you'll see how lonely I was and how all I wanted was to reunite with the brothers. Regardless of success, I was always keen to return to those roots. 

That is a different thing to people in Hollywood who surrounded Michael and wanted him in isolation. I lay it all out in the book for folk to make up their own mind and ask themselves one question: Michael was a superstar in his own right, but was he better off as a person when isolated from family? I'll tell you now: had family been at The Forum or Staples for This Is It, those rehearsals would have been stopped long before and Michael would still be with us today. 

MJJC: In your book you wrote that you did NOT write "Word to the Badd" but in 1991, you DID interviews--both live and print--where you in no uncertain terms stated that you wrote the song. For example in a Times interview you said “I wrote this song--and it came from the bottom of my heart--was to help my little brother get a grip on reality. “. Which version is the truth? And regardless do you accept any responsibility for the song Word to the Badd? Even if you didn't write it, wouldn't you agree that singing/recording it is just as bad?

Jermaine Jackson: I have heard how some folk are keen to pin me to this kind of reported word or the odd sentence on video. The bottom line is that I didn't write it and everyone involved knows I didn't write it, regardless of what I said or didn't say in this interview or that interview. No one mentions the interviews where I said I didn't write it do they??!

The true story is the one I've told many times, and the one that is in the book. I accepted responsibility a long time ago and my remorse was true. It is a shame to me that some fans cannot move on from this in the same way Michael did. But honestly, what matters to me is that we straightened things out as brothers. 

MJJC: If you really have vitiligo as you stated in your book, what prevented you from coming out when everyone doubted Michael had the disease? Don't you think that it could have benefited Michael if you would have came out to his defence and said you had a vitiligo spot once, instead of mocking your brother in a song about his skin change? 

Jermaine Jackson: For us, it was nonsense to hear all those tabloid lies about Michael bleaching his skin but I'll say what Michael said: if we spent our time extinguishing every rumor and every lie that was ever said or written, none of us would have had lives. 

When I first started writing the book, I didn't intend to include anything about this. We are (as a family) very private. But I mentioned it one day and my ghost-writer thought it was significant. We talked about it and I agreed to include it after being persuaded that it was important information. 

MJJC: You claimed in your book that Michael didn't own a cell phone. There are many pictures, bodyguards, friends confirming Michael did own and use cell phones. Is it possible that Michael simply didn't want to talk to you?

Jermaine Jackson: Folk's interpretation of a photo doesn't mean that Michael owned his own cell just because he was pictured with one. To the best of my knowledge, there was no cell you could call Michael direct on unless it was someone else's. 

MJJC: What was going through your mind when you thought that telling everyone there was an 'escape plan' [if Michael was found guilty in 2005] was a good idea? Any escape or leaving the country during a trial (before or after the verdict) would have been a felony. Do you regret writing that?

Jermaine Jackson: Why would I regret writing it??! Once again, this is an example of newspapers misreporting what I had written in the book. I didn't say there was a plan "if convicted". I said it was a plan I had after the first few days of evidence. I didn't say it was rational, but it was the way I was thinking without the benefit of hindsight.

It didn't occur to me how right or wrong it was. This was a time when my brother was pursued, arrested and put on trial for something he didn't do, and I was supposed to sit back and trust the system that was screwing him? I had zero faith and I had nightmares about an innocent man going to jail. I have written in the book about the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing in that context. It's the truth, and I don't regret writing the truth. 

MJJC: To what extent, Michael owes his success to you and the rest of your family? Do you believe Michael's legacy is his own, and stands apart from the Jacksons or Jackson 5 legacy?

Jermaine Jackson: To the same extent that Paul McCartney owes his success to The Beatles. Michael's platform was the Jackson 5. Everyone comes from somewhere.

Michael's legacy is his own and he stands in his own remarkable light, and we feel proud as brothers to have shared in his early days because the Jackson 5 days are part of the Michael Jackson success story. History can't separate them. 

MJJC: While the Jackson family is an amazing musical force and they are American musical royalty, is the Jackson family aware that many fans do not see the Jackson family's legacy and Michael Jackson's legacy as one and the same - especially overseas, where Michael's fan base is so large? How do you think you can grow your Jackson family legacy without alienating Michael Jackson fans?

Jermaine Jackson: I think I've partly answered this one with the previous question. We don't wish to alienate anyone, because Michael had the most amazing fans who are fiercely proud of his legacy as much as we are. Michael's legacy and the Jackson legacy are interwoven without being one and the same. I think that's the best way to put it...our legacy started off on the same track and then Michael's track separated and went on its own way to create another legacy on top of the Jackson 5 legacy. 

MJJC: After all the privacy and protection Michael insisted on for his kids, why is your family promoting the kids and disregarding their privacy - especially with public Twitter accounts that expose them to haters. Do you see how putting the kids out there seem to fans to directly contradict everything their father wanted for them as children/young people? Some fans feel Michael's wishes are being disrespected. Please help us understand.

Jermaine Jackson: We are not disregarding their privacy, and Michael's wishes are not being disrespected. Those kids are fiercely protected. 

Michael entrusted his children to our mother's care because he knew the love, care and attention they would receive. As any parent knows, it is a fine line between saying "no" and respecting your child's wishes. As they grow and evolve, so must the decisions taken that affect their lives, development and ambitions.

MJJC: Are you aware that the internet blog where Jordan Chandler retracted his allegations against Michael is a hoax? In TV interviews you and Mrs Jackson when defending Michael from the child abuse allegations use this argument to prove Michael's innocence and because it is false it has the opposite effect of making viewers continue to question the accusations against Michael. There are so many good arguments to support Michael's innocence and it is extremely frustrating for fans and extremely damaging towards your brother when an argument which is clearly a lie is used.

Jermaine Jackson: I don't know what Internet blog is being referred to?? 

Michael's attorney Tom had a witness that was prepared to testify that Jordan Chandler had told him the allegations were untrue (should he have appeared as a witness in 2005) The boy had privately retracted it, and Tom was going to prove it. I think that's as good as any argument can get!

MJJC: Do you still feel strongly against the Cascio tracks? If so then do you or any other family member's plan to make issue with any future MJ albums that include any more Cascio tracks?

Jermaine Jackson: For now, I'll say what I've always said on this issue: when has Michael's music and voice ever been released with a question mark over it, as to whether it's 100% him? I think the truth will come out one day but no, that first album is not 100% Michael and no one can talk to me about the authentic sound of my own brother's voice.

MJJC: This is kind of random, but did Michael ever express any interest in Islam or becoming a Muslim? There were many rumours swirling around in the months after his death that said he was a Muslim

Jermaine Jackson: Michael did not convert to Islam. He was curious about it and I gave him many books to read about Islam. I write in the book how, during his 2005 trial, he returned to the Kingdom Hall to pray. It's fair to say that he died a Jehovah Witness. 

MJJC: What is the worst prank Michael ever played on you?

Jermaine Jackson: Buckets or bottles of water balanced on the top of doors. Water, water, water. Every prank I ever remember involved a soaking! 

MJJC: What do you miss about Michael most?

Jermaine Jackson: That's simple: his smile. He had a smile like no one else. 

MJJC: If you could say just one more thing to Michael, what would it be?

Jermaine Jackson: It wouldn't be one thing, it would be many things. Many private things, but I would probably remind him how brilliant his London concerts were going to be because his self-doubt worried about that. That's the saddest thing for me: that his death confirmed the lie that he wasn't ready or fit enough to perform again, when the truth is that he was going to produce the most amazing show on earth and prove everyone wrong with the comeback of all comebacks. 

MJJC: Do you plan to release a solo album of new material and would you ever do a show/tour of your own hits/new material?

Jermaine Jackson: I always have plans and ideas and I'm always working on new material. I'm not finished yet!

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MJJC: Is there a reason why we are mostly only seeing Marlon, Jackie and Tito together? Do you think you will ever work with your brothers again?

Jermaine Jackson: You only saw Marlon, Jackie and Tito last year because I was busy writing my book, and then there was the trial. I hold dear the hope that you will see the brothers working as one again.

MJJC: What do YOU plan on doing for Michael and his legacy for years to come?

Jermaine Jackson: My book was the first thing I could do to honour his memory and fight for the truth in a way that he never got the chance to. Looking ahead, my goal will be to always preserve his legacy on the highest level in any appropriate way that I can.

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MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Taj Jackson

As MJJC we hope that the readers can understand the importance of this Q&A. As Michael Jackson fans we had questions, we had concerns in issues related to the Jackson family and Taj Jackson agreed to take questions and answer them to best of his ability so that we can fix misunderstandings and overcome negativity and realize that despite our difference of opinions we are all on the same side - Michael Jackson. As MJJC it's our hope that we can all move towards a more positive and harmonious future. Enjoy !!!

MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Taj Jackson 


MJJC:  Many believe MJ wasn't close to his family for many years before he passed. Some have put the timeline as far back as Off the wall. Janet has confirmed this in her interviews prior to his passing, while Latoya & Jermaine book reinforced this notion. Can you tell us how close was MJ to his family in general? How often did you have contact with him & the children before June 25th? How often did you see MJ after he returned from Bahrain?

Taj Jackson: Well I think that answer depends on which family members you are talking about. I know that my uncle Michael had never stopped being close to us (me and my brothers). I also know that my uncle Michael was always extremely close to my Grandma.

Yes, I know some members of my family weren't as close to my uncle in the later years as before, but for us that never was the case. I talked to him and saw him very often.


MJJC: There have been some questionable ventures that included Michael’s children such as children being listed in the contracts as a condition, promoting products/ charities that are involved in legal fight with Estate, giving interviews to journalists (ie: Frauke Ludowig) that made disparaging remarks about MJ before. What do you think of your family putting Michael's three vulnerable children out into the spotlight every time something MJ's related happens? MJ went to extreme lengths to protect his children from the media, so why just a year after his death have his children begun to appear on TV in interviews all round the world, have pap photos of themselves appear constantly in the media, and have public twitter accounts which are picked up by gossip websites like TMZ. As his nephew do you think this is what MJ would have wanted for his young children? Do you ever think that maybe Michael wanted his children protected?

Taj Jackson: We are really trying to do our best with the situation in front of us, but we are only human. It's always easier to sit back and judge. But no one else is really in our shoes.

As for his kids, they are his legacy now. They are the ones that can and will carry on the MJ name and message. We don't force them to do that, they are proud to do it.


MJJC:  Are the adults aware of the ongoing cyber bullying Paris & Prince have been subjected to on Twitter? (Unsavory characters have tweeted them the autopsy picture, made crude jokes, curse and ridicule the children). Why are the children allowed to be on Twitter when so many hate on them? Are they being monitored when they go online? Are there concrete and serious steps being taken to protect the children against cyber bullies?

Taj Jackson: We take cyber bullying VERY seriously and appropriate steps have always been taken when warranted. However the last thing we want Prince, Paris, and Blanket to feel is that they are being imprisoned. No matter how much we want or try to protect them, there will always be people out there full of jealousy and hate.


MJJC: Do you feel, in your heart of hearts, that THIS GLE/JA-TAIL “MICHAEL FOREVER TRIBUTE”, was worthy of MJ? Do you really believe the lineup was the best for the greatest entertainer?  Were the fans concerns about the tribute ever taken seriously?

Taj Jackson: No tribute will ever truly be worthy of MJ. He is undoubtedly the greatest of all time. However that doesn't mean that there should never be any MJ tributes. Personally I think there should be MJ tributes all the time. My uncle should ALWAYS be celebrated.. not just for his music contribution, but for the incredible person he was.

I did this tribute for my uncle. And knowing my uncle… he would have much rather have seen his mother and kids there…and his own brothers, sister, and nephews 3T up on stage performing a tribute to him, then ANY other big named artist(s).


MJJC: We now learn GLE has filed for bankruptcy on October 8th, THE NIGHT OF THE TRIBUTE. What steps will you & your family take, to make sure GLE/JA-TAIL respects their commitments to the workers? Did the charities receive their promised donation?

Taj Jackson: I am not GLE, and don't have all the details on what exactly transpired, therefore I can not comment on this yet.  Sorry. I really hope there is more info in the near future.


MJJC: Since you were a consultant to the estate, you must not believe the will is fake. But do you know why some in your family would think the will is fake, but never went to court to legally challenge it? Have you ever discuss the issue with your family? What is their thinking, and how did they come up with the belief that the 2002 will wasn't signed by MJ? Has the Jackson family cooperatively decided to start working with the MJ Estate or are some still holding out and consider them an enemy?

Taj Jackson: I still am involved in the Estate. And regarding these questions , I can only speak on my behalf. Or things that I was personally part of.

I think the us (the family) vs them (the Estate) mentality is very dangerous and non productive. When you compete or consider someone the enemy, then there has to be a clear winner and a loser. Why would I want my uncle's Estate to fail? Communication is the key though and for the longest time there was definitely a lack of it on both sides. It also doesn't help the situation when you hear someone say go "Team this" or "Team that". For me it's all about my uncle legacy and not a game. The only team should be Team MJ.

Also the Jackson Family is a huge family and although we are a family unit, it is still made up of many individuals. Please remember, one person does not speak for the whole family or represent the whole family.

MJJC: Paris and Prince openly support other Artists music and Albums and even Jackson family endeavors on Twitter but no mention at all of their Dads new releases. They have even been tweeted questions from their followers but refuse to reply. Seeing how they are vocal of how proud they are of their dad's accomplishment, it raises a lot of questions. Have MJ's children been forbidden to support Estate ventures for their dad?

Taj Jackson: MJ's kids have never ever been forbidden to support Estate ventures. They have been to and supported many ventures that the Estate was directly behind. They are VERY proud of their dad's accomplishments.


MJJC: Do the oldest two know and understand the estate is theirs? Their dad's legacy? His gift to them?

Taj Jackson:I'm sure someone has told them all of this, but I would never have that conversation with them. I'm focused on their health and happiness. It is my job to make sure that they become something my uncle would be proud of.

My brothers and I have gladly put our music career on hold for over 2 years in order to make sure my Grandma and our 3 cousins were doing okay. That is our number one priority. And it's the least we can do considering everything our uncle did for us.


MJJC: Every new venture bring forth to capitalize on MJ's fame, arts, notoriety, not sanctioned by the MJ estate, is by definition, undermining MJ's wishes and taking money from his rightful heirs. Why are the children used in projects which are against the MJ estate's interest and so in effect against the children's long-term interest? Two examples - GLE tribute which appeared to ignore the Estate completely in their planning for the concert and tried to embarrass the executors and MJ himself by offering $100K to MJ's children who have been provided with untold wealth from their father, also public involvement of the children in the Heal the world foundation which is in a costly and lengthy lawsuit with MJ estate. Do you think it is fair or ethical to use these young children in that way? Do you understand how it is viewed from the outside that the children are being asked to endorse products that go directly against MJ's wishes in establishing an estate for them?

Taj Jackson:This is another family vs estate debate…. so I think I'll pass on this one :-)



MJJC: Do you understand the concern fans have over the people (such as: Dieter Weisner, Marc Schaffel, Melissa Johnson, Howard Mann aka Henry Vaccaro aka Vintage Pop) that had fall outs with MJ being in business with both your grandparents now? Anything you want to tell us about this?

Taj Jackson: That's a very interesting concern… but going by those rules, there would definitely have been no "This is It" movie or soundtrack, or "Michael" album, or "MJ" Julien auction either.


MJJC: Are people, outside or inside of the family, taking advantage of your grandmother? Many fans believe Katherine Jackson is used as a front because fans love her & respect MJ's deep affection for her. But many fans have woken up to the game being played, and the GLE revolt has shown that. Is it now clear to the family, that most fans will not blindly support a questionable venture, just because Katherine Jackson or MJ's kids are used as the selling point?

Taj Jackson: Is this a question or a statement? Not sure. But I will still try and answer it. :-)

People will believe what they want to believe. People will support what they want to support. People will think what they want to think. I always try and do my best to keep an open mind and see both sides of the story.


MJJC: Do you think Michael would be happy with the various book releases, merchandising deals and tributes that the Jackson family has endorsed in the last twelve months? What's your response to those who claim that the family have been cashing in on Michael's passing?

Taj Jackson: This question reminds me of when my brothers and I first started promoting 3T back in the day. All the French promo posters and billboards said "Nephews of Michael Jackson". The next time I saw my uncle I started to apologized to him about this. I started to tell him that we didn't tell Sony France to put that on all the advertising. He stopped me before I could finish and I'll never forget his response, . He said, "Applehead don't ever apologize, you are my nephews, flesh and blood and I love you. You are a Jackson. Be proud and wear that name like a badge of honor.  I'm counting on you guys to carry on this legacy when I'm done."

So…. my uncle Michael considered his legacy to be a piece of the Jackson legacy. For him, it had always been about the Jackson name living on. And I don't believe family can "cash in" on their own name.


MJJC: Even before your uncle was officially declared dead on 25th June, your family through its spokesman, Oxman, and various family members since, has made the serious allegation to the media that Michael Jackson's problem with overmedication was so bad that you as a family were attempting interventions.  Can you clear up this confusion with fans as it severely impacts on MJ's reputation, especially as a father?

Taj Jackson: If someone goes out and speaks on your behalf without your agreement or knowledge, does that make him your spokesman? Brian Oxman is not the family spokesman and he definitely does not speak for the entire family or me.


MJJC: About Cascio Tracks: How can you be so sure that the voice in the tracks is not real? Do you have any evidence to support that besides your own ears? Did you guys seek out experts to analyze the tape and having forensic evidence? If you believe the tracks were fake, why did you not take legal action? Did you talked to Eddie Cascio or any member of the Cascio family about the tracks before or after the album fiasco? Do you tried to reach out each other and hear both side of opinion and tried to sort thing out? Why did you feel you had to involve the public by bringing the fight on twitter? Do you take some responsibility for the major division this has created within the fan community? Do you reckon, some will FOREVER question the veracity of every new project? 

Taj Jackson: That's a very sore subject, the Cascio Tracks. But just know, A LOT went on behind the scenes before things went public and plenty of time before the "Michael" track list was even finalized. I really shouldn't say anymore otherwise I might say things I'll later regret. :-)


MJJC: You have tweeted that Michael's fans don't understand and that we only know part of the story. We can understand how that must be frustrating, equally from Michael's fan base perspective it is also frustrating when we reach out to the family and don't get any feedback. The fans look to the family for support and answers to various questions, but it appears there is not if much if any response from the family. What can the family and the fans do to correct the breakdown in communication'? Would the family be willing to establish an official line of communication and if so, what method of communication would the family be comfortable with? It would be great to see a dialogue between the fans and family.

Taj Jackson: That's a tough situation. I'm not sure anyone in our family wants to be the messenger or liaison anymore. People always want to blame or kill the messenger when something goes wrong…lol 

Every problem, concern or incident would lie squarely on that person's shoulders. No thanks. As much as I would love to help with that now. I've been there… done that. That's not for me… I would rather put that energy into my uncle's mother and kids.


MJJC: Did MJ ever record his own solo version of Why? If he did, what can you tell us about Michael’s original demo for WHY? Do you think it could see a release?

Taj Jackson: No, unfortunately it doesn't exist. There was only my uncle's backgrounds on the demo. There is a Babyface version of Why with MJ backgrounds though.


MJJC:We all know MJ was an amazing person, what do you love most about him?

Taj Jackson: His heart. Period. "Amazing person" is totally an understatement. His care for children and the world was not a gimmick, it was who he really was. If I could be a tenth of the man my uncle was, I would be happy with my life.


MJJC: What's your favorite memory of MJ?

Taj Jackson: One favorite memory is the time my brothers and I spent with him in Nagasaki, Japan. There is a Dutch Village Theme Park called Huis Ten Bosch. We had such an incredible time there and laughed so much during that trip. I am blessed and lucky to have so many great and happy memories with him. Enough memories to last a lifetime. :-)


MJJC: How was it like to work with MJ? Was MJ still being like an uncle when working or he was just pure professional?

Taj Jackson: He was absolutely a creative genius. Every time I worked on something with him, it never ever felt like work.

For example, the music video shoot for "Why". My first worry was that my uncle was playing around just a little too much…. cause he kept trying to make us laugh every time the camera was rolling. But afterwards I understood exactly what he was doing.

I was way too serious for the video, thinking in my head…this is a music video with Michael Jackson…

But that was never the relationship we had with our uncle. Our relationship with him was filled with love, fun, respect and mutual admiration. And the video at the end of the day captured that perfectly.


MJJC: What is the single most important advice MJ had given you or your brothers, and you would like to share with his own kids?

Taj Jackson: We have shared almost everything my uncle has ever said or taught us with his own kids.

The single most important advice he has ever given me is to truly believe in my dreams. Also to be appreciative of and grateful for what I have and always give back to the world…to those less fortunate… and stand up for those without a voice.

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