Thank-you Anitka for Originally Posting this Article
The professionals in radio and the music industry who were welcomed aboard and helped contribute to the MJ phenomenon recall many of those moments when they learned firsthand the work ethic, discipline, passion and pursuit of excellence through which Michael defined not only his artistry but his very lifeform—a template upon which to build a better world.
When I first met Michael Jackson, he was 10 years old. A friend of mine, Mavis Staples of the world-famous Staples Singers, introduced me and said, “You are not going to believe this.” She was right…I was knocked off my feet. Without a shadow of doubt, Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer ever to grace the face of this earth. The pop culture world is measured by this man—a man who had a good and kind soul. During one of the tours, he wanted to visit Haiti. When we arrived, it was a cultural shock for all of us, but to see the hurt on Michael’s face—at these poverty-stricken people—it was devastating to him. He was real quiet all the way back.
I have been very fortunate to be raised with James Brown, to work with Elvis Presley and to know Michael Jackson. It just don’t get no better than this, to know Michael Jackson—the man, the pioneer, the humanitarian. There are so many who owe this man so much.
—Lonnell “King Ro” Conley, Announcer and Blues Director Jazz City Radio
I’ve had the opportunity to talk with people like Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey, but the relationship with Michael was very special. Every time I left him, I’d be sad seeing him standing on the porch waving good-bye. He was always so welcoming, so hospitable. He was never about selfishness or harming anyone. He was always about trying to be closer to God, to be Christ-like. He loved more than he was loved and was always trying to get closer to God, to do the right thing even though it wasn’t always what he wanted to do. And whenever he was tested, he looked for his strength within, from bringing God into his body and putting him first in his life. Michael was really very spiritual and put God in control of his life. He was truly blessed by God.
Michael was truly the greatest performer. When he hit that zone, no one could touch him. I remember him doing three shows in a row and Justin Timberlake was supposed to join him onstage, but when Justin came out, he just froze and Michael was poppin’! Awesome! He didn’t need the special effects or anything else; he was the real performer.
And you could see him going into that spiritual zone backstage when he was getting ready for a show. He was always calm, relaxed, smooth. He would do his own makeup and take a few minutes alone in his dressing room where he had a picture of The Three Stooges that he liked on the wall. Then he would very calmly emerge and just blow the audience away. Even in Japan on his comeback tour when he was a little nervous about how people felt about him then, he always had the utmost professionalism and was always on time, and again, just blew them away.
Japan has more orphanages than any place in the world and Michael wanted to do something for them while he was there so we picked one to visit that just so happened to be supported by Bill and Melinda Gates. Michael would arrive with no publicity and with multiple toys for each child. His own kids would go with him and he would be educating them as to what was going on. The kids were delighted, but Michael would also take the time to personally shake the hands of each of the nuns at the orphanage thanking each of them for taking care of the children.
And people just melted around him. One time when he was taking his kids to Disneyland, word had gotten out that he was coming and everyone knew his favorite ride was Peter Pan, so there was gridlock by the time he arrived. But he just held his hands up and the crowd opened up like parting the Red Sea. Then he would watch the parade from the Main Street rooftop and eat hot dogs and French fries with his kids. I thank God everyday that I was graced by this angel and am reminded even moreso that we can’t take our time here for granted. There is no tomorrow promised and you’ve gotta let people know you love them. That’s what Michael was about.
—Qadree El-Amin, Southpaw Entertainment
On the occasions that I talked with Michael, I found him to be very attentive, a very good listener, and he was very much in control of that group even though he was the youngest member. He knew his place on stage, and as quiet as he seemed to be with his soft-spoken voice, when he was on stage, he was in command…There was something about him that was attractive. He had two decades of greatness, and it’s easy to see that staying power was not going away. When he walked into a room, even CEOs of major companies acted like groupies, running to the stage, doing everything they could to get autographs. His persona was gigantic, and his talent matched that. Michael’s music is his legacy…
-“Super” Jay Johnson, ABC/Citadel Media, Dallas, Texas
I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Jackson a few years ago at BET CEO Debra Lee’s home. Down to earth. That sums him up, and he deserves every accolade bestowed upon him!
—Rosalind R. Ray, Esq, Co-Manager The O’Jays
The thing I admired most about Michael was what a hard worker he was. He was a perfectionist who gave his all to whatever he did, writing, dancing or singing We all need something that drives us and pushes us into staying on top of our game, no matter what it is. Michael worked so hard that he’s still making money even though he’s no longer with us! He only wanted us to have his best.
—Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” founder of REACH Media, Inc, the Tom Joyner Foundation and BlackAmericaWeb.com
Though it ended way too soon, Michael’s life was beautiful. Sure there were some sad times, but Michael Jackson accomplished everything he dreamed of.
My memories of Michael are of a 10-year old, whose passion was to be the greatest entertainer in the world and he was willing to work as hard and do whatever it took to become what he indeed became—the undisputed “King of Pop” the world over. What kid wouldn’t give his right arm to fulfill his wildest childhood dreams? Michael loved it all…every moment on stage, every moment in rehearsal. Michael loved creating what had never been done before. He loved everything and everybody. Especially his fans. Off stage Michael was shy, soft-spoken and child-like. But when he took that stage in front of his screaming fans, he turned into another person, a master, a “take no prisoners” showman. It was kill or be killed. I mean, Michael was awesome!!! Totally in charge. In fact, the more I remember and talk about Michael Jackson, the more I feel the “King of Pop” is not big enough for him. I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.
–Berry Gordy, Founder of Motown
Michael should be the Man of Every Year! He was truly a nice person who put his everything into everything he did. He was more gifted than anyone I’ve ever known.
Michael has always had a big heart. One time he came to Atlanta at the request of me and then President Jimmy Carter and his appearance enabled us to immunize some 37,000 pre-school kids. He was phenomenal.
—former UN Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young
I remember in 1975 as a “lil girl” I won a Jackson 5 ‘45 from the legendary AM 850 WRAP in Norfolk, Virginia. OMG! Still today I can recall my excitement. At the time Michael Jackson had all the potential to be a musical genius–a star in the making. He became that and more and I will always treasure the fact that from the beginning I would live to see the entire legacy of this musical genius as a fan and professional. The world has not yet grasped the true loss of this icon. With his solid encore performances in “Michael,” we get to hear musically what was on Michael’s heart and the message that he wanted to give the world. His trademark sound is heard throughout the project, but I wonder what it would’ve sounded like if it had Michael’s final touches on it, a promotional tour to see this giant at his best with his signature style and dance performances… we can only dream, but thank God I have an archive of music and memories to last me a life time.
—Frankie Darcell, syndicated host of the “Mid-Day Mix” and “Sunday Morning Talk of the Town” on WMXD-FM (Mix 92.3) in Detroit, Michigan
All the explosions, nakedness and poorly choreographed steps we see today couldn’t replace ONE of Michael’s “moonwalks.” All I can say is Michael, the WORLD misses you! Your time, dedication, sacrifice and financial support will never be forgotten. Your life itself was a gift to all of us!
—Skip Dillard, PD Inner City Broadcasting UAC WBLS-FM (107.5), New York City
Some people spend their lives loving Michael as a fan.
Some people fulfill their life’s dream working with Michael as a colleague.
Some people were blessed to know Michael as a friend.
I have experienced all three and my life is enriched because of it.
There are a million beautiful and personal memories of Michael worth more than the most precious thing the world has to offer.
I will cherish those memories forever.
–Greg Phillinganes, musician, artist
I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the best, from Frank Sinatra to Elton John, Dylan to Garth Brooks…and, then there was Michael. Mike was more fun than Barnum and Bailey, exciting, incredibly smart, with unbelievable and unequaled gifts. There is no doubt he was the greatest entertainer of all time.
—Norman Winter, More Than the Norm