Michael Jackson Said, What?
edited: Sunday, July 14, 2002
By Kimberley J. Wilson
Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2002
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Michael Jackson has accused Sony Music of racism? What's behind his comments?
Michael Jackson just pulled the race card. At a July 6th summit meeting of the National Action Network (NAN), the Reverend Al Sharpton’s civil-rights organization, Michael Jackson stated that he’s a victim of institutional racism. He said that the reason his last album, “Invincible,” did so poorly ---it only sold l.99 million units in the United States---is because Sony Music Entertainment refused to promote it properly. Why would Sony, which spent 30 million on making “Invincible,” do that? Michael says it’s because he’s Black. That’s right. Sony deliberately threw away millions because the company just now discovered that Michael Jackson is technically, a Black person!
When I read the accounts of Jackson’s antics in the newspapers I had to laugh. Sony is the parent company of Epic Records. Michael Jackson has been with Epic for 20 years. Isn’t it a little bit odd that he just noticed this racism problem now? Michael also stated that Sony chairman, Tommy Motolla is mean spirited, “devilish” and a bigot. Michael Jackson went on to say that the record companies traditionally mistreat Black artists and told his fans that if they fight for his cause they’ll be “fighting for all Black people, dead or alive.”
I have to say that Michael Jackson is absolutely correct about one thing. Black singers and song writers have been cheated by the music industry for years. Think of Scott Joplin, the great blues singers and most of the Black singers who recorded in the 50s and 60s. Jackie Wilson was buried without a headstone for his grave. Florence Ballard, one of the original Supremes, died broke. Mary Wells sued Motown and won but died in poverty before she could collect the money. In recent years groups like TLC and singer Toni Braxton have accused their record companies of not treating them right, financially. However, Jackson’s situation has been, at least since he turned 21, totally different. He’s had access to the best lawyers and accountants and has long been praised for his hard-headed busy savvy.
Michael Jackson specifically accused Tommy Motolla of being racist. Is this true ? I have no way of knowing, but several Black singers, producers and even Al Sharpton, himself have come out in Motolla’s defense. It’s purely anecdotal but I have to wonder why on earth a mean, evil, hardcore racist would marry a woman with Black ancestry (Mariah Carey) and then after the failure of that marriage turn around and marry Latina pop singer, Thalia. Michael Jackson was close enough to Motolla to attend both weddings. Why didn’t he realize how “devilish” Motolla supposedly was, years ago?
Michael blames Sony and Motolla for the failure of “Invincible,” but are they really to blame? Nope. Jackson’s word-wide popularity has decreased because of his own peculiar ways. I’m talking about his penchant for appearing in public dressed like an chorus boy from an old time Broadway musical. I’m talking about this 43 year old man’s habit of hanging out with white children. I’m talking about his nose, which used to look perfectly fine and normal and now resembles nothing human. Even the bone structure of his face appears to have been altered.
And then, there’s the whole mystery of his skin. Michael Jackson went from being milk chocolate brown to skim milk white. He says it’s due to vitiligo and he’s probably telling the truth. After doing some research I learned that complete depigmentation is an accepted treatment of patients who have the most severe cases of vitiligo all over their bodies and who can’t use PUVA, a vitiligo medication. Is this what Jackson has? Maybe, but because of the oddness of his behavior many people don’t believe him. Finally, there’s the child sex abuse scandal that hit him a few years ago. Although nothing was ever proven and the investigation had to be dropped the smell of impropriety has stuck to him. All these things combined have hurt his career. He’s gone from being known as the King of Pop to being routinely referred to as “whacko Jacko.”
“Invincible” wasn’t a horrible album but it wasn’t particularly good either. In fact, Michael hasn’t put out a really great, radio worthy album since “Dangerous”. It may be true that Jackson has a bad financial deal with Sony but that’s not a racial issue. Like O.J. Simpson before him Michael really hasn’t been seen in the company of anyone Black for years. Now that he needs help he’s suddenly identifying himself as Black again and is screaming racism. So far, the reaction among Black singers and the Black community hasn’t been too sympathetic. If Michael Jackson wants to know what happened to his King of Pop status he has only one person to blame and that’s the man in his mirror.
Web Site: Kimberley Lindsay Wilson
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|Reviewed by J Michael Kearney
|Very well written and right on point. There is a lot of abuse in the entertainment business and most of it transcends race. TLC were ripped off by their promoter, former pop singer Pebbles, who is also black. Established Hollywood movie studios have been known to rip off scripts (Universal Studios was nailed for ripping off Art Buchwald's story and turning it into "Coming to America") and established singers have been known to rip off songs (George Harrison got caught ripping off the melody to "He's So Fine" for his song "My Sweet Lord"). It's a dastardly but not uncommon thing, but I don't think Michael Jackson's claims hold up at all. He's damaged his reputation with weirdness and scandal and, just as it has with Woody Allen, that has consequences at the box office and at the record shop. /// Fine writing!|
|Reviewed by Janet Caldwell
|Wonderful and 'newsy' article. I read your Bio and am happy that your parents didn't listen to the nay-sayers. Entertaining & informative. Thank you. JC|
|Reviewed by Janet Caldwell
|I don't know either. You have made some good points.|
|Reviewed by Dena Moore
|Very well-written and I agree all the way.|
|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
|What does MJ mean, Sony is racist? What race is he supposed to be, anyway?? He looks like the title of one of his songs, "Black or White." He doesn't know what he is!! GREAT article...well written, Kimberly! :) (((HUGS))) and love, Karla. :)|
|Reviewed by Fritz Barnes
|Well-written and well-thought-out.|