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Jesse Jackson Interview (March 2005)

 

Jesse Jackson Interviews Michael Jackson
Sunday, March 27, 2005

From the Jesse Jackson’s Radio Show Keep Hope Alive

Jesse Jackson: Good morning. God Bless you. Happy Easter. Welcome to Keep Hope Alive with Reverend Jesse Jackson radio program. This is Reverend Jesse Jackson and this morning I wish you a happy and glorious Easter.

Brothers and sisters, I encourage those of you who are listening today, to tell your friends about us and to listen to us on live on the web on Sunday mornings from 7-8am Central Time, 8-9am Eastern Time (sic) on your website, on our website keephopealiveradio.com. And please email us with your thoughts and comments. We want to hear from you. So drop us an email throughout the week at the same address keephopealiveradio.com.

But what can I say today about our special guest this morning. This legendary singer, dancer, songwriter, extraordinary, has transfixed the role for more than 40 years. He became an instant star at age eleven. Is the front man in Motown’s phenomenally successful family act, the Jackson Five. One of the best selling groups of all time. Hickering off their Motown tenure in 1969 with the unprecedented feat of four consecutive number one singles. Who can forget “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “Mama’s Pearl”, or “I’ll Be There”?

Where were you when you were having barely turned thirteen? He began his solo career. Released a successful string of solo singles including “Got To Be There”, “Rockin’ Robin” and “Ben”. We’ve all marveled as he continued to scale at unprecedented heights with the success of three of the biggest selling albums of all time: ‘Off The Wall’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’. Indeed, ‘Thriller’ is the biggest selling album of all time. Having sold 51 million copies world-wide, beyond the numbers how important and pyridine shifting has Jackson recording and shattering record, how… How phenomenal has it really been? What a phenomenal feat.

As producer Quincy Jones told Time magazine. “Black music had to play second fiddle for a long time.” In the spirit is the whole motor of pop. He has connected with every soul in the world. He has been proclaimed the biggest selling artist of all time. The singer most awarded entertainer the world has ever known. The most popular artist in the history of show business. And not so modestly, the world’s most famous man. And of course, the King of Pop.

And still our world goes on, on about this genius, about this icon for ages. Brothers and sisters, members of the Keep Hope Alive family, today we have the rare opportunity to take a journey from Gary to greatness. Hear the King of Pop share the story of his life as only he can tell it. It’s with great pride and pleasure that I bring to you this morning Michael Jackson from California.

Good morning Michael.

Michael Jackson: Good morning Jesse. How are you?

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Good. It’s good to hear you there. Many listening ears around America and the world for our conversation today.

Michael: Yes.

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Good.

Michael: Good.

Jesse: We’ll my friends lets get this conversation started. We have a shared conversation with our nation. Stay right there. You don’t want to miss this conversation with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. We’ll be right back with Keep Hope Alive with the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]


Jesse: Welcome to Keep It Alive with Reverend Jesse Jackson. Our regular Sunday morning talk show. Today we have a phenomenal guest in Michael Jackson. Michael has taken this phenomenal journey from ground zero to outer space. Good morning Michael.

Michael: Good morning Jesse. How are you?

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Remember when we met on 47th Street way, way many years ago. Your father brought you and the guys by the office in your station wagon and U-Haul. You were performing at the Regal Theatre. Do you remember that?

Michael: Yes, I do remember. It was a long time ago. I was just very little.

Jesse: What do you remember about that period?

Michael: Oh, I remember what we were wearing kinda like dashikis (sic) and bell-bottoms pants and I just remember the love from the public was very great and accepting of what we had to offer. And the support from you know the people from the times was just beautiful, the black people was fantastic. You were always very kind to us as well.

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Did your mom make those outfits?

Michael: Yes she did. She always made all of our clothes. My mother would sew and stitch everything. Everything we wore before we really making it at Motown.

Jesse: I remember so well that uh Julius Griffin and up your dad came over and asked if you guys could be a warm-up act at Expo, and we had to make room for you in our schedule and you guys stole the show.

Michael (laughs): I remember those shows. You had a big time Afro at that time.

Jesse: Don’t remind people of that Michael. You did so very well.

(Michael laughs)

Jesse: During that time you were being whipped up by Motown. Who discovered you for Motown?

Michael: Well in complete truth, it was Gladys Knight and a guy named Bobby Taylor. And they were on the bill of some of the shows who were doing that you would see like…you would do a show and there would be like twenty or thirty acts. It was pretty much like Bonneville. You would do just a certain number of songs and you would go off. They were always on these shows. And they would watch us and they were so impressed with what we were doing. And Barry Gordy wasn’t interested at first. But eventually he loved us and wanted to sign us. And after being signed, and uh, since Diana Ross was their biggest star at the time, that he used her as the vehicle to…you know…introduce us to the public. The first album was called “Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five”.

Jesse: At that time, who was your favorite artist?

Michael: Oh God, I loved Diana Ross and uh, I loved James Brown, I still do. I love all these artists…still to this day. I love Jackie Wilson. The real show stoppers. You know the real entertainers.

Jesse: did you did…

Michael (interrupts): Sammy Davis, Jr, I loved him as well (laughs).

Jesse: Did you get any of your moves from Jackie Wilson?

Michael: Oh yes of course! All these artists inspired me very much. I couldn’t help but be inspired by these great entertainers.

Jesse: A little later, remember we were out in Los Angeles and at that time Suzanne dePasse was your the godmother for the group and she had you at Fred Seigel’s shopping for some, shopping for some jeans.

Michael: Yes! Remember Suzanne dePasse, she was so wonderful, you know. She was pretty much our manager with my father at the time and with Tony Jones. They were all wonder people. I thank them from the bottom of my heart, you know.

Jesse: She was such a wonderful person, and she remains, she’s so top-notch in that what she does.

Michael: Yes, she is. She was very helpful and instrumental in the early days of our careers that she remains a friend. And I do, I do…I miss her. I haven’t seen her in awhile. She remains a wonderful person… so does Berry Gordy.

Jesse: Michael in this whole developmental period. I call it ground zero like Gary and the Regal Theatre and the Expo and early meeting of Barry Gordy and Motown, would you reflect, what was out of this period that you remember the most?

Michael: Which period was this now?

Jessie: Kinda like this period of Gary, to the Regal Theatre, to Expo to meeting Gladys Knight, to going to Motown. From what about this period that stands out the most in your mind?

Michael: This period for me which stands out is because I was so young around that time. I was like eight, eight or nine. I just remember the environment, what it was like, all the music I was hearing. My father played guitar. My uncle played guitar. Everyday they would come over, and you know they would play great music. And we would start to perform to the music. I remember seeing marching bands go down the street. I would remember the rhythm of the band and the beats of the drum. And every sound around me seem to record in my head and start making rhythms and dancing. I use to dance to the rhythm of the washing machine. My mother went to the corner store to wash the clothes. I would dance to the rhythm and people would crowd around. I remember those kind of stories. They would crowd around pretty much and watch me. Those kind of little things. They are reflections really.

Jesse: Well, you remember you said that Jackie Wilson, and James Brown and Sammy Davis were heroes. Did you ever see them perform?

Michael: Yes, of course I did and they were friends of mine. All these great artists. That’s why I was so lucky. I was just such a little kid, looking up to these people. We were real catatonic, awestruck with their talent. Not only did I get to see it, but I got to see it close up right on the side curtain, on the side of the wings. I got to know these great artists. These were the best entertainers in the world. They were show stoppers. And I would have to go onstage sometime after them, you know. It was amazing!

Jesse: But the thing is that at first I remember Tito and Jermaine you were like so little, so small. You was part of the Jackson Five. At what point did you know that you realize you were a show stopper?

Michael: You know when you have a special ability. You don’t realize it because you think everybody else has the same gift that you have. So you don’t realize it. When I used to sing at such a young age, people were so inspired by my singing and they loved it. I didn’t realize why they were clapping or crying or start to scream. I really truly didn’t Jesse. And it just uhm, just later on in life, people would come up to me and say you know do you realize you have a special gift or you have a special talent. I just remember from my mother who is very religious always telling us to always thank God, to thank Jehovah God for your talent, your ability. You know it’s not from, it’s not our doing, and it’s from above. So we were always humbled by people would come with accolades or you know, adulations or whatever it is. You know, it was a beautiful thing.

Jesse: When did you stop going to school formerly?

Michael: Oh I was very young. I think it was…oh boy, hmmm. I think it was the fifth, fifth, fourth or fifth I think. Then I had tutoring the rest of my life. Because we did so many tours and concerts and TV shows and things, all the albums and all the recordings because we would have three hours of schooling, then we would do the concerts, then we travel to another state or another country. Then by that time we would do some concerts again and then it would be time to record the next J5 album, then after the J5 album, it was time for another Michael Jackson album. So in my youth, as a little kid, I was always busy. I remember across the street from Motown recording studio, there was a park. I used to hear the roar of the kids and the throwing of the football and the basketball. I remember going to the studio everyday, and I was just feeling kinda sad, because I wanted to go to that park. But I knew I had a different job to do, you know so going in and make the records. All day till late at night, then you would go to sleep, then you were up for the next day, just the same regimentation.

Jesse: Does that insintu-… you missed a certain body of childhood experience. How did you compensate for this loss of ordinary childhood experience?

Michael: I-I – It’s true. I didn’t have a childhood. But, when you don’t have a childhood like people like myself and other child stars, you try to compensate for the loss for later on you try to catch up. That’s why you see, like you may see a theme park or amusement rides, that type of environment at my home. But what I like to do is help other children who are less fortunate than I am. You know kids who are terminally ill, kids who have diseases, poor children from the inner cities, you know the ghettos, to let them see the mountains, or to let see or go on the rides, or to watch a movie or to have some ice cream or something.

Jesse: Of course one of the difference about you Michael, you did have a family. How many of, how many is in the family?

Michael: The immediate Jackson family?

Jesse: Yeah.

Michael: There were originally ten of us. There’s nine. There’s nine. And my mother Katherine and Joseph Jackson are still alive. We all were born in Gary, Indiana.

Jesse: Well in that setting, did Tito and Jermaine beat up on you and give you some normal childhood experiences as a younger brother?

Michael: We would be on tour. We would go to Miami. We would, you know, be able to use the beaches. We were so popular at that time. Wherever the Jackson Five would go, there would be a mob scenes. We couldn’t go in the shopping center or anywhere because there were kids screaming. We had hit records back to back to back. We were playing these arenas all across America. And so it was difficult. We would did get to have a chance to have some fun in the hotel. We would have pillow fight in the hotel or if we wanted to swim after hours, we swim in the pool downstairs. You know that type of thing

Jesse: Who would win the pillow fights?

Michael: Pretty much Tito or Jackie. [laughs] They were the oldest.

Jessie: You know you kind of grown from this kind of phenomenal rise to the artist that has sold the most records in history. You look back from that period that we call Ground Zero to the period of your maturing in writing. Who was your greatest influence in learning to write? You write so well.

Michael: My greatest influence learning to write music. I think this is when I was lucky. In my opinion, I came into the Factory, the greatest song writers at that time in the sixties. Holland, Dozier, Holland of Motown. These two guys were phenomenal. You know, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland. These guys were amazing. They wrote all the great Supreme hits and the Four Top hits. They were just amazing. And I got to learn and work with these guys. And I love of course some of the Beatles stuff. I love the Beatles music actually. I love a lot of the show tune writers. Richard Rogers, and Oscar Hammerstein and Leonard Lowe and Harold Arland, Johnny Mercer and these kind of show tune. I love melody. I love the great Irish pub songs. I love English melody. The rhythms of Africans. Which is the roots of rhythm . That’s my favorite music. That’s my favorite music of the world because all music is defined from that. Africa is music. It is the origin. It is the dawn of existence. You can’t avoid that. It is in everything that is about myself.

Jesse: So much as you went through these stages and you began to write, sing and dance, did you ever have like a dancing coach?

Michael: You know what, I never studied dancing before. It always became natural for me. Whenever I was little, any music would start, they couldn’t sit me down. They couldn’t tie me down actually. Even to this day, if anyone played a beat, I’ll start kicking in and making counter rhythms to the beat that I’m hearing. It’s just a natural instinct. I never studied. And Fred Astaire who was a good friend of mine, and Gene Kelly, they used to always marvel at my ability for dance. When I was a little kid, Fred Astaire used to always tell me how that he knew in his heart that I would be a special star. I used to just look at him thinking what are you talking about? [laughs] But uh, you could see, you know

Jesse: Michael, where did the moonwalk come from? [laughs]

Michael: The moonwalk is a dance. I would love to take credit for but I can’t because I have to be completely honest here. These black children in the ghettos are, they have the most phenomenal rhythm of anybody on the Earth. I’m not joking. I learned, I get a lot of ideas from watching these black children. They have perfect rhythm. From just riding through Harlem, I remember in the early, you know, late 70’s early 80’s, I would see these kids dancing on the street and I would see these kids doing these, uh sliding backwards kinda like an illusion dancing I call it. I took a mental picture of it. A mental movie of it. I went into my room upstairs in Encino, and I would just start doing the dance, and create and perfect it. But, it definitely started within the black culture. No doubt. That’s where it comes from.

Jesse: Well then, connected to that piece when you were dancing, did you ever watch Don Cornelius Soul Train?

Michael: Oh I love that show. Are you kidding? Of course I did. I would wait for the Soul Train line. They would have a line that they would make, like a wall of people and the dancer would come through the middle, dancing to the song. It would give them a chance to showcase their talent and what they could do with their body creatively. I used to watch that catatonically, just watching that! I was mesmerized by uh, and studied the rhythms and the dancing of course. Of course I watched it. [laughs]

(19:17) Jesse: Michael, you know as you look back, you kinda make this kind of transition from ground zero in Gary and you begin to ascend, and you became, in many ways, a man in a child’s body and I mean, you never gained any weight! How did you manage?

Michael: (laughs) Well, I’ve never been a great eater, I’ve, uh ~~ to tell a little secret, I hate to tell it, uh, I’ve never been ahhh, great eater or a great admirer food, even though I appreciate food and the gift of food and how God has given us food to eat, but my mother has always had a hard time with me, all my life, uh, forcing me to eat ~~ Elizabeth Taylor used to feed me ~~ hand feed me at times, because I-I-I I do have a problem with eating, but, I – I do my very best, and I am eating, yes I am! So I don’t - Please, uh, I don’t want anyone to think I’m starving, I am not …

Jesse: But you’ve…

Michael: My health is perfect actually.

Jesse: You’ve maintained this weight man, that’s what people is most jealous of and so excited about…

Michael: No no, my health is perfect actually, I’m a great believer in holistic natural foods and eating and (sp) herbs and things, you know, God’s medicine, instead of Western chemicals, not those things, you know.

Jesse: You know Michael, as you look back on this phenomenal career, you—you remember at least the 5th grade in Gary and how you guys became a- a big hit so-so quickly, what do you remember, what is to you, the high point, you know ~~ I’ve asked people all week long the high point for them - it may have been Thriller, it may have been Beat It, it may have been some performance, what for you represents the kind of ah, high point?

Michael: Well, one of the great high points, ahem, I would have to say….. because I remember before ’82, in the early ‘80s ~~ I had done an album called ‘Off The Wall’ – it was an important point for me because I had just the movie ‘The Wiz’ and I wanted to express myself as a writer, as an ah, artist, you know to write my own music, do the music, pretty much put it together. And Quincy Jones, who I’ve loved – I was fortunate to work with him and I love this man, he is very gifted. But I was writing these songs at the time, ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, you know, ‘Shake Your Body to The Ground’, you know ‘Billie Jean’, and ‘Beat It’, you know, all these songs were written at this time. Ahem, so I pretty much was setting mental goals of what I want to do as an artist and I uh, it was a high point for me, during the uh, the winning of the Grammys for the ‘Off The Wall’ album, but I wasn’t happy. Because I wanted to do much more than that... I wasn’t happy with, uh ahem, the way it was accepted, even though it was a HUGH success, it was the biggest selling album for a solo artist at that time ~~ it was over 10 million, and ahem, ahem, for a Black solo artist. And I said for the next album, I refuse for them to ignore, and that’s when I set my heart (clears throat), on-on writing the Thriller album and I really said I ----

Jesse: What-what-what gave rise to The Thriller?

Michael: Pardon?

Jesse: What gave rise to The Thriller?

Michael: What gave rise to ‘Thriller’ was that the time, was pretty much disappointed and hurt – I lived in an area called Encino, and I used to see signs of graffiti saying “Disco Sucks” and “Disco is this” and “Disco is that” and disco was just a happy medium of making people dance at the time, but it was so popular, that the uhem, uhem, society was turning against it. I said, I’m just going to do a great album, because I love, uhem, the album Tchaikovsky did, The Nutcracker Suite, it’s an album where every song is like a great song. I said I wanted to do an album where every song is like a hit record, and that’s what pretty much the hit, ‘Thriller’ spawn from that… And I did that album and it made, er, all time history, the Guinness Book of World Records proclaimed that it was the largest selling album of all time and it’s still to this day and I’m, er, I would say that it was a pinnacle, that was a – I’d reached a certain zenith point, I would think, but I still wasn’t er, pleased after that – I was always wanting to do more, wanting to do more. And

Jesse: And somewhat you---

Michael: And the Victory tour came along.

Jesse: And somewhat you reached out, before we get to the Victory tour, and we had this phenomenal crisis of people dying and you used your celebrity to pull artists together to do ‘We Are The World’.

Michael: Yes.

Jesse: What was that like?

Michael: ‘We Are The World’ was a great project, because er, ah, Quincy Jones called me on the phone and he asked me to write a song, for ahem, for ah, ahem, the devastation that was going on in Africa ~~ and Ethiopia was hit very badly, and he knew my love for the people over there, because I would go to Africa all the time. I-I loved the culture, I love the people, I love what they represent, and er, so I put this song together, he said let Lionel Richie help you (clears throat), so Lionel came over ~~ we started, you know, putting ideas together, and ahem, we talked most of the time because we pretty much caught up with old times because I’ve been knowing Lionel Richie for many, many years, and ahem, so Lionel, er, and I put something together, but I wasn’t happy with it completely, so after that, I just went into the studio myself and pretty much completed it and finished it and packaged it and did all the music, put everything together and turned it in. Quincy was very impressed with it and he said this is the song, we’re going to go with it and we put the song out and it became the biggest selling song single in history and it raised a lot of money. It was called ‘USA For Africa’ and we heightened, it heightened, er public awareness on the subject. It was relief for Africa, it was a beautiful thing. We gave a certain percentage to America and the majority share went to Africa. It was a great, great thing.

Jesse: Reverend Jessie Jackson, Keep Hope Alive, our very special guest for our edition today, with Michael Jackson. So many people are listening all around the nation, all around the world ~~ just a kinda family talk with Michael, I’ve known him since he was like seven years old, but the entire family ~~ at some point in time, his father, driving a ahem, station wagon with a U-haul brought the guys by our office and asked if they would be a warm up act for Expo and of course, they were a warm up act, in fact, they set it on fire and the Expo was never quite the same again. Matter of fact Michael, when we did the film ‘Save the Children’ that was a big hit too.

Michael: Yes it was, yes it was…. I remember those times… it was a little cloudy, but I do remember Jesse and I remember how wonderful you were to us and uh, I remember the love from the audience and I could hear the screaming of the crowd. and I could see all of the Afros and the dashikis and er, it was just a wonderful time, it was a wonderful cause…

Jesse: On that show, it was Marvin Gaye, and Roberta Flack, and

Michael: Ah!!!

Jesse: … and the O’Jays

Michael: Wow!!!

Jesse: … and the Staples Singers and er…

Michael: Wow.

Jesse: …Cannonball Adderley, it was a huge deal.

Michael: That’s amazing ~~ an amazing list of people, that’s some of the greatest talent ever – that’s amazing.

Jesse: We going to re-release the ‘Save the Children’ sometime soon and people who missed that period will really enjoy watching it. Michael, you know, when we think about the-the kind of rise from Gary, Indiana, you were but a child and you went through your teenaged years being tutored along, but then I remember another phase, I-I think is a another phase, when the Victory Tour occurred. At that time, you were a full grown ~~ all of your brothers and sisters were full grown and we met in Kansas City, remember? With your family?

Michael: Yes.

Jesse: … We all had prayer together, ahem…

Michael: Yes we did.

Jesse: The Victory Tour. Describe that season.

Michael: The Victory Tour was one of the great pinnacles of our-our, my success because Thriller had won more Grammys than any other album in the history of – of music, and it created so much phenomenon and such adulation and notoriety at the universal level, and it was very, very hard to-to go anyway, do anything without press and helicopters and people sleeping in your bushes and hiding in your trees, and it was just a phenomenal pinnacle, it really was and after all of that, I announced that I was going to tour. And to tour and perform those songs live, in front of an audience so the world was going just really, really wild at that time. And we did this tour that broke records all over America and we played stadiums, for instance, the-the setting record at Dodgers Stadium, before we played it, it was one show and a half by Elton John. We did 8 shows there – sold out, and they wanted another 2 – so we did 8 sold out shows there. (Clears throat) This happened all over America ~~ the first city was Kansas City and that’s where we met with you Jessie and I remember you coming to the suite and you gave prayer and it was a beautiful thing and ah, it was an amazing time, it really was. My dreams had come true.

Jesse: Good. Good. But you know Michael, in this life, they say some rain must fall and you’ve had these seasons of just ahem, tailwinds like pushing you forward. But life is of such that’s not a straight line, ah, some argue you either in a storm, or you are just leaving a storm, and going to a storm and it’s not difficult to handle the sunshine of bright skies, tailwinds days, but then these headwinds come that kind of uh, test what you really are made of, the kind of test your metal, your true grit. And so you’ve had these high points. What do you consider to be the low point?

Michael: Probably the low point, the lowest point, emotionally and experience, is probably what I’m going through (clears throat).

Jesse: In the sense – what, what about it has kind of stung you?

Michael: What about it … has what?

Jesse: Has stung you, so to speak.

Michael: Has, …. Use the word again…

Jesse: STUNG. You said it’s kind of hurt you, you said the low point.

Michael: Yeah, just the pain of what I’m going through, where I’m being accused of something, where I know in my heart and in my experiences in life I’m totally innocent, and it’s very painful. But this has been kind of, ah, a pattern among Black luminaries in this country.

Jesse: And so since, you-you have been going through this and you feel the pain, you think it’s a kind of pattern? How are you handling it spiritually? Because you go from being held so high and now your very character, your very integrity is under attack. How your handling it?

Michael: I’m handling it by using other people in the past who have gone through this sort of thing. Mandela’s story is giving me a lot of strength, what he’s gone through and the Jack Johnson story was on PBS ~~ it’s on DVD now. It’s called ‘Unforgivable Blackness’. It’s an amazing story about this man from 1910 who was the heavyweight champion of the world and bust into a society that didn’t want to accept his position and his lifestyle, and what they put him through, and how they changed laws to imprison the man. They put him away behind bars just to get him some kind of way. And-and Muhammad Ali’s story. All these stories. The Jesse Owens story. All these stories that I can go back in history and read about gives me strength Jessie. Your story gives me strength, what you went through. Because I didn’t, I came in at the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement ~~ I’m a, ah – I-I didn’t get the really, I’m a 70’s child, really, but I got in on the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement and I got to see it, you know?

Jesse: And so, you-you-you-you had these hits, ahem, and people that you have embraced are now facing you in court on a daily basis. How does your spirit handle that?

Michael: Ah, I gained strength from God. I believe in Jehovah God very much and ah, and I gain strength from the fact that I know I’m innocent ~~ none of these stories are true ~~ they are totally fabricated, and it’s very sad, it’s very, very painful. And I pray a lot and er, that’s how I deal with it and I’m a strong person, I’m a warrior. And I know what’s inside of me. I’m a fighter. But it’s very painful. At the end of the day, I’m human, you know, I’m still a human being. So it does hurt very, very, very much.

Jesse: You and I were watching, you know you and I were talking last week on the phone and – and there was this rhythm of the trial, which we will not get into at all today, but then they shifted from the focus of the trial to say you are broke. And last week, people are calling in, all around the nation saying, “Is Michael broke”? Michael, are you broke???

Michael: That’s not true at all. It’s one of their many schemes to embarrass me and to just drag me through mud. And it’s the same pattern, like I told you before with these other people in the past. Same pattern. Don’t believe, you know, this is tabloid, sensationalized kind of gossip.

Jesse: Well, how did the money issue get in it in the first place? Some people called and they thought it was about the Sony catalog. What’s- what’s in that catalog?

Michael: In my Sony Catalog, is all the Beatles music, ahem, all of the music I own – I own Sly and the Family Stone, I-I own such a volume of so many, I own Elvis – so many Elvis songs and it’s a huge catalog, very valuable, it’s worth a lot of money. And there is a big fight going on right now, as we speak about that. Now, I can’t say whether or not – I can’t comment on it, but there’s a lot of conspiracy, I’ll say that – conspiracy going on as we speak.

Jesse: It was suggested by a number of your friends and family members was that this fight was really more about this catalog issue than it is any thing else. Do you believe that?

Michael: Well, you know, I don’t want to comment. I don’t want to make a comment, Jessie ah—it’s a real delicate issue and uh, I’ll let you, I’ll let you make the comment on that one.

Jesse: Let me shift this to this extent. Ahem, since so many people are listening and there have been so many opinions – I was in London a couple of weeks ago, and 24/7 was Michael Jackson all-day-long and all-night-long and the day that you came to the hospital late [to court], you said you were injured. What happened that day?

Michael: I was coming, er, out of the shower and I-I-I fell. And all my body weight, and I’m pretty fragile, all my body weight fell against my rib cage. And I pretty much, er, er, I bruised my lung very badly. My lung is on the right, it’s very [sp], it’s, I’m in pain as we speak and ah, I’ve been going to court everyday in immense pain and agonizing pain. And I sit there – and I’m strong, I try to be as strong as I can. So I can, ahh, but what we are looking for is the coughing of blood now. The doctor said I should – he said it’s still very dangerous as we speak, and if I cough the blood, he said it’s a very dangerous thing, so we’re, we’re still watching it very closely.

Jesse: The cynics said you were faking. And it seems that the judge is [sic] will not even willing to believe you, even though you had just left the hospital.

Michael: You know the – there’s no faking with this at all. I mean there was a scan done and you could see, uhhh, the swelling on my whole rib cage, I mean, uh, it was you could see it and it’s bright red. And how it, it [the fall] busted my chin, and it put a huge gash over my forehead, blood, it was er, it was very bad actually. And er, but errr, we’ve treating it actually, I do have some medicine for it, but we are watching it very closely.

Jesse: As I listen to your talking about this whole ordeal that you are going through, and how you’ve er, stood strong sometimes amazingly so, ah, at some point last week, you – you cried. What-what touched you? What made you, breakdown, as it were?

Michael: You mean at court?

Jesse: Yeah.

Michael: I was in pain. I was sitting there hurting. And er, the pain was so immense, all I could do was to sit there and cry. See, because it er, it was so intense at that moment, ah, ahem, I just couldn’t handle it. So I just grab tissues and just put it to my face… and…

Jesse: So, it was more about your personal pain, than the, than the challenges of the, from the stand?

Michael: No, it had nothing to do with what was going on inside. It was totally with personal pain, physical pain.

Jesse: Michael, since so many people are listening, I’m trying to gleam from some of our calls on the phone today and from last week, as people listen to you, what do you want people to know? Those listening to you on the phone – I see calls from Philadelphia, and from Holland and from Britian and New York and Mississippi and Florida, California – what do you want people to know?

Michael: About?

Jesse: About you. About where you are now in the head, how you are feeling?

Michael: Well, ahem, pretty much to-to be strong for me, to pray for my children and my family and myself. This is uh…uh very difficult time and to not believe what they hear, and see and read and just because it’s in print does not make it… just because it’s in print does not make it the gospel. And uh… you know, because they have sensationalized this thing to an immense degree. It’s a feeding frenzy – it’s because of uh, my celebrity. The bigger the celebrity, the bigger the target. And they have to remember that. So they’ve turned this into money – it’s like who gets the biggest ratings, you know, it’s terrible what’s happened with it. But it’s part of what I have to suffer [through] as a celebrity. It’s part-part of what I have to go through. And to just uh, just know in the end that I will be vindicated, I pray, because I know the truth. I’m an innocent person. And I believe in God and love God. And just continue to pray for us.

Jesse: You know that, given your faith, in God and in yourself, and your declaration of innocence and while you are going through this storm ahem, presuming that you ah – win this, this has been a close battle, ahhh, a very intense battle, because the battle is-is not over, ah, the, appearance, given your relationship ahh, has called for lots of consternation. Is there anything that you will do differently? When this season is over?

Michael: Is there anything that I would do differently?

Jesse: Differently? When this season is over?

Michael: (Clears throat) Ahem, my level of trust will change. And ah, there-there there’s a lot of conspiracy going on. I’ll say that much. A lot of it.

Jesse: Do you think that….

Michael: All around me.

Jesse: Is the conspiracy connected to the celebrity or to the trial or to the catalog – what do you think the source of it is?

Michael: I-I can’t comment. I can’t comment Jessie, I-I don’t wanna… it ah, I’m under a gag order and it’s a very serious thing. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. With the wrong flavor. It’s a very delicate area. Very delicate where we are now.

Jesse: Good. Good. Let me ask you this question though, that for those who are praying fervently, want to help and look forward to seeing Michael Jackson again. What can people expect next from you?

Michael: Well, like-like I always say, I’m-I’m a person of the arts. I love the arts very, very, very much. And ah, I’m a musician, I’m a director, I’m a writer, I’m a composer, I’m a producer, and I love the medium. I love film very, very much. I think it’s the most expressive of all of the art mediums. The sculptor can sculpt, the painter can paint, but they capture a moment, ah, they freeze time with the moment. In film, you live the moment. You live, you have the, audiences for two hours. You have their brain, their mind – you can take them any place you want to take them. You know, and that idea is mesmerizing to me – that you can have the power to do people, to move people to change their lives and that’s where you to marry the music [and the] individual together. And that’s what excites me so much about film and the future. Because I love motion pictures very, very much.

Jesse: Given, ah, the, heat that is on you and the taxing issue that you are facing now, does it deter you from pursuing your career when this is over?

Michael: No! No. Not at all. Because ahem, I know who I am (clears throat) inside and outside and I know what I want to do. And I will always – er – you know, go with my dreams and my ideals in life. And I’m a very courageous person and I believe in perseverance, determination, and-and, you know, and all those wonderful things, and those ideals are very important for a person who is goal-orientated, you know?

Jesse: Since people have-have risen so high and so far with your dreams, what are, what are you dreaming of now?

Michael: Oh ahem (clears throat), like I was saying before, ahem, it’s to innovate, to tie in the medium of-of film, and there’s other things I want to do, which are some surprises. Ah, things in society that I want to do in the future. You know, in Africa. I have some great plans, ah, that I’ve been preparing to do there. I’d had several meetings with people whose flown out to see me since I’ve been going through what I’ve been going through and so my heart is set on doing some things there, very much so as well.

Jesse: You ah, your next project. Because often when people at a stage like this is kind of frozen, but you’re thinking about the next project. What do you see as the next immediate project? What’s hitting you right now?

Michael: Probably, ahemmm… the tsunami song that we want to do to raise money for tsunami because Africa was ummm, was it Madagascar? One of those countries…

Jesse: Indeed. Madagascar…

Michael: Somalia and Madagascar was hit very hard, and they never…talk about that, the way they talk about the other countries. Now, we have, I mean, uh, my heart is going out for everybody, but at least, when they distribute the truth, distribute it right and ahem, it – they never talk about the devastation down in Africa, so we ~~ I wanna do something for that. And of course, I’ve been working on doing, planning a resort that I’m building down in Africa. Ah, beautiful hotels, ah, just a beautiful setting for people and families and something beautiful down there. There a lot of beautiful places down there. So I want to do something that is more international. You know?

Jesse: Well, you know, it’s interesting about the tsunami with this huge national - natural disaster uh, couldn’t be stopped, maybe if we had early detection devices, we could have saved some lives perhaps, but it was a natural disaster, but what you raised is that while that we’ve lost 200,000 lives in the tsunami, we’ve lost 2 million in the Sudan and that’s a manmade disaster and oil and materials all caught up in that stuff, and then 4 million in the Congo. And ah, and I think as we talk about it, you know you and I talk almost everyday, you are reaching out to these African crisis – appears to have er, taken up a large part of your dream at this stage in your life.

Michael: Yes it has. Because Jessie, in my heart, deepest of heart, I really love Africa and I love the people of Africa. That’s why, whenever I get the chance, the children and I, we jump on the plane and fly to Africa and we vacation there. I spend more of my vacation in Africa than in any other country. And ah, we love the people and we love the environment. Topographically, one of the most beautiful places on the surface of the Earth. They never show the sandy white sugar beaches, and it’s there! And they never show the beautiful, you know the landscaping, never show the buildings, the metropolis and urban – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kenya, ur, you know the Ivory Coast ur, you know, Rwanda, how beautiful the place is! And it’s really stunningly beautiful! And I want to heighten that awareness with what I’m doing and it’s been my dream for many, many years. And everybody around me knows that, because I go there very much.

Jesse: You know, we knew about the high points of Rome, because we see it on film.

Michael: That’s right.

Jesse: We know about the high points of Britain and the palace, we see it on film. On Paris, we don’t see much of Africa on film. We see Africa as misery and Africa as problems. We do not see it as being this phenomenally endowed continent of sand and sea and

Michael: Because the…

Jesse: oil and resources…

Michael: Because, yeah. The world is jealous of Africa for many centuries because it’s natural resources is phenomenal. It really is. And it is the dawn of civilization. The history, a lot of our bible history is right there in Africa. And King Tut, all those great civilizations – that is right there in Africa. Egypt is in Africa!!! And they always try to separate the two, but Egypt is Africa!!!

Jesse: Well, it’s certainly true that when Jesus was threatened, ah, with death, when Harod sent out the edict for [the] genocide of all of the first born babies, that Joseph took him to Egypt, to Africa, kept him there for 12 years.

Michael: That’s right. That’s right.

Jesse: You’ve shown an amazing level of depth and commitment. Let me say this and in closing Michael, because people are listening and the reason I didn’t want to open up the lines today is because you have, you’re sharing stuff with us that you never quite really hear, but as people go and watch the trial next week and the coming days, what do you want your fans… we have callers on here right now from London, Holland and all around America, so people out there are listening today to you. What do you want to say to your fans and even to your detractors today?

Michael: I just wanna say: fans in every corner of the Earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart. You know, thank you for your love and support and understanding during this trying time. I would love your prayers, and your goodwill. Ah, and ah, please be patient and be with me and believe in me because I am completely, completely innocent. But please know a lot of conspiracy is going on at this time as we speak.

Jesse: Well, it’s Easter time, ah, we fall down, we get back up again. The good news is that, ahem, nothing is too hard for God. And those who believe, fervently believe, no matter how far down that they reach for a rope and not a shovel. They’d be pulled up and they will rise again. Michael, thank you for sharing yourself with the nation today, and the world and for getting up so early in California …

Michael: God bless you.

Jesse: God bless you and keep hope alive. Talk to you a minute off the air, okay?

Michael: Bye-bye.

Jesse: Alright.

At Large With Geraldo Rivera (Feb 2005)

 

 

geraldo

On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera conducted an intimate and revealing interview with Michael Jackson. Here we see a glimpse of the real man, the father, the warrior and the tender heart behind the media's often very inaccurate portrayal.

Geraldo Rivera: How you doing, man?

Michael Jackson: How you doing?

GR: Good to see you.

GR: You get to smile anymore?

MJ: Of course, I smile a lot.

GR: You smile when you’re in a recording studio like this one, doing music?…

MJ: Of course, I love music.

GR: Is it nice to get back to the music? …

MJ: It’s fantastic. Because ahhh… It’s my life. That’s what I do.

GR: You’ve been so distracted, you know, you want to talk about how you’re feeling?

MJ: I’m doing fine Geraldo, how are you?

GR: Despite whatever else goes on in the world, you’re doing ok?

MJ: I’m doing very well, thank you.

GR: You know, it was wonderful, seeing you with the children. That I think, is the real Michael Jackson that has not been seen… you with your own children, one in diapers the other two toddlers… I don’t know how you manage without a nanny.

MJ: Well, I enjoy taking care of my children myself it’s... it’s fun that’s why I had them so I could take care of them and it’s just great relief for me you know it’s a pleasure it keeps me happy and laughing and you know, they’re wonderful sweet innocent children.

GR: I saw you as kind of the arbitrator between the Nickelodeon and the Disney channel there. You got some really difficult problems to solve there. But you have such a- a kind of a normal life there. It’s sweet to see.

MJ: Thank you. They bring me that.

GR: Tell me, tell me what the children mean to you, your own children.

MJ: They mean, it’s hard to put it into words because they mean everything. The way you would explain how your children make you feel... They’re the world for me, I wake up and I’m ready for the day because of them. I get them breakfast, I change diapers, if they want to read, we do a lot of reading, we play hide and seek, we play blind fold and have a wonderful time with it.

GR: And you can create a world that at least begins to seem normal? They don’t know any other world obviously.

MJ: I do my best for sure.

GR: So, that is obviously a priority to you

MJ: Yes of course. I want to be the best father in the world of course.

GR: Do they know who you are? Or what you mean to people?

MJ: Yes, they do. They’ve been on tours with me and in limousines among a sea of fans.

GR: Do they like it?

MJ: They find it exciting. They want to get on stage. They bug me to go on stage with me. So, pretty sure I ‘m going to take them on with me and let the world see them for the first time.

GR: They don’t say, ‘Daddy I want to go home and watch Nickelodeon?’

MJ: (Laughs) Probably, probably.

GR: They do that too.

MJ: Yes.

GR: So how do you feel being here again, being in a recording studio again, focussing on the music again? Is it a relief, in a sense?

MJ: It’s a great relief. It makes me feel like I’m totally at home. I’m into my own. Which is what I’m here for. Any of the arts… like that could be film, you know, music, any type of art, I love it.

GR: So, when you’re being the quote on quote, King of Pop, that’s when you’re the most comfortable? Or is it the creative process?

MJ: The creative process, yes. I’m obsessed with creating…

GR: I saw you and Randy, the way you guys react - it’s very reminiscent of the way my brothers and I are together. Who’s top dog?

MJ: Randy.

GR: That’s not what I saw

GR: But, uh, you trust your family.

MJ: Of course, you have to.

GR: Is it a ‘blood thicker than water’ thing? What is it?

MJ: Family is everything. It’s love. It’s what we were taught. We’re friends at the end of the day, which is important. Other than what the public or press people say, we’re friends. We love each other very much.

GR: So, is the family closely knit, despite all the tabloid stuff?

MJ: That’s sensationalism.

GR: How do you deal with that?

MJ: How do I deal with sensationalism?

GR: Yeah. How do you deal with everything in your life being magnified, exaggerated, almost to a grotesque level.

MJ: It’s like looking at a fictitious movie. Because its fiction. It’s like watching science fiction. It’s not true. And I know myself and it’s sad when people have to read those things and they believe it.

GR: Do you feel like holding a press conference every week and saying, this is the rumor du jour, it’s not true

MJ: I know eventually, the truth will prevail and I’m about truth.

GR: I’ve researched it and I can’t find anyone who has been more frivolously sued than you for the most outrageous reasons. One of your attorneys told me that a woman called Billie Jean Jackson called and said, ‘Stop accepting any paychecks, Mr. Attorney, I’m the wife - Billie Jean…’ obviously from your hit song, I mean, how do you… First of all, how does it affect you?

MJ: Does it affect me? Yes, but I’ve become immune in a way too, I have rhinoceros skin but at the same time I’m human. So, anything can hurt like that, but I’m very strong. And, I just don’t like people hearing about such false information.

GR: For instance, did you father quadruplets last year?

MJ: That was a crazy rumor.

GR: Then they became twins. I don’t know what happened to the other two, maybe they were abducted by aliens.

MJ: I heard about that story and I don’t have any twins. They said I’m hiding them or something? Another made up rumor.

GR: So it’s completely false.

MJ: The bigger the star, the bigger the target. I’m not trying to say I’m the super-duper star, I’m not saying that. I’m saying the fact that people come at celebrities, we’re targets. But truth always prevails. I believe in that. I believe in God, you know?

GR: Does that faith sustain you?

MJ: Of course, it does.

GR: How about friendship?

MJ: What about friendship?

GR: Do you rely on friends? Have people stayed with you through thick and thin? Who are your best friends?

MJ: My children, my family, my brothers and my sisters and yeah, most people have. Most people have.

GR: Do you want to mention the names of the true blue?

MJ: The faithful, you wouldn’t know them so, it’s uh…

GR: Elizabeth Taylor?

MJ: Oh, she’s very loyal, I see Elizabeth Taylor all the time. She’s my dear friend, I was just at her house. We have wonderful talks on the phone at night, several times a week sometimes…

GR: So how long have you two been friends?

MJ: I’ve known Elizabeth closely since I was 16…

GR: And you’ve been making music since you’re five

MJ: Yes

GR: So you’re in your fifth decade of making music. That’s forty-one years of making music.

MJ: Yes.

GR: You ever get sick of it?

MJ: No, no, not at all I never get enough of it (music).

GR: Really.

GR: Do you ever get sick of Randy?

(Laughing)

GR: He’s here, ladies and gentlemen.

MJ: Never, never, never He’s (Randy) wonderful. He’s been amazing, supportive, and amazingly brilliant.

GR: So, they’re all different. Your whole family is crazy, exocentric… like my family.

MJ: Every brother, sister is completely different, like any family, you have all the different elements… that’s what makes it a family.

GR: When you have such intense scrutiny, how do you live any kind of a normal life? How do you have any kind of fun outside of your own property?

MJ: I don’t. I go off property sometimes, but not all the time. I create my world behind the gates you know because I can’t go to the local movie theater down the street or the local park down the street or go pickup ice cream at the market, at the corner store. So, you want to create that world behind the gates and that’s what I try and do. And it’s not just for me if I could share with my family, friends, or whoever I do.

GR: And that necessity for some privacy, drives all these crazy rumors and speculations. A difficult balancing act that you have to endure.

GR: But you’re not complaining are you? I don’t. I try to rub it off. I don’t know what I’m the king of… the king of getting shot at maybe. Ha ha ha ha.

MJ: “The king of journalism.”

GR: So, what is it about children in distress? You mentioned the Tsunami relief effort. What is it? Is it your own fatherhood that motivates that?

MJ: Caring. And reading the Bible, learning about God, Jesus, Love. He said, ‘bring on the children’, ‘imitate the children’, ‘be like the children’ and ‘take care of others.’ Take care of old people. And we were raised with those values. Those are very important values and my family and I we were raised with those values and they continue strong in us today.

GR: What about movies for yourself again? You had The Wiz and some of the others but we haven’t seen you on the big screen in a while.

MJ: I’ll be directing myself. I love directing. I love creativity and I think when an artist steps forward with a production of some type, if he can express himself the way he sees it should be done. I feel it and I see it. I’m a visionary. If I can give that, I do and that’s what I love to do with music and dance and the arts.

GR: And do you think art has a role in real life? Specifically referring to this record and Tsunami relief?

MJ: I saw it the day after Christmas and as the numbers kept escalating, it just became phenomenal and not even I could believe that it was true. I was amazed. I said, I thought I should do something. That’s what God gave us talent for. To give and to help people and to give back. So, my brothers and I decided to put a song together…

GR: What did you pick up the phone and say, “hey bros?” What did you say?

MJ: We just say, hey, we want to do something in the studio for the Tsunami victims. Let’s get together and organize it. And they just said great.

GR: However, you’re back, I think that people will appreciate the fact that you’re back. Wouldn’t you kind of exalt in a world where you could concentrate on your art and your kids?


MJ: I would love it. I mean that’s what drives me. The medium. The art. That’s the world I’m most comfortable in.”

GR: In Gary, Indiana, did you ever expect where your world would be as a 46 year old man?

MJ: I never thought about it. I knew I wanted to do something wonderful all of my life and to help people and I never clearly really thought about it when I was really little. I just sang and danced and didn’t understand whey people were applauding and clapping and screaming. You really don’t. You don’t know why…

GR: When you grow up like that on stage, when do you get it? When do you understand where you fit in to society?

MJ: It takes longer when you get older. You get a more rounded personality and your brain starts to grow. You start reasoning and understanding more things, researching.
.
GR: Isn’t it nice to have a conversation on television where people can just hear you being ordinary, normal, reasonable.

MJ: I’m like this all the time. I’m just being myself.

GR: At a certain point, Michael Jackson and the brothers Jackson kind of separated artistically, is this a moment in your life where you’re coming back together? Obviously you’ll continue your solo career, but what’s the big plan, what’s the big picture at this stage in your life? What has been left unachieved? What would you like to do?

MJ: There are a lot of surprises. Film. I love film. It’s innovating, taking the medium to a new place. I used the music video medium as a short film medium to take me to the next level. I’m having a lot of fun.

GR: Do you ever look back and contemplate, oh my goodness, Thriller is the biggest selling musical performance ever, do you ever get your arms around that?

MJ: I try not to think about it too hard because I don’t want my subconscious mind to think I’ve done it all, you’re done now. That’s why I don’t put awards or trophies in my house. You won’t find a gold record anywhere in my house. Because it makes you feel you’ve accomplished. Look what I’ve done. But I always want to feel, no I haven’t done it yet.

GR: ‘The King of Pop’ and now I look at some of these performers- there’s a new one - there’s 50 cent and another one- I forget his name, but they’re well-known because they survived violent attacks where they almost died and they’re into hip hop kind of - it’s a different era in popular music- do you think you’ll be more like them- more urban kind of- or will the world come back to more pop and traditional rock?

MJ: Great music & great melodies are immortal. Culture changes, fashion change, customs, great music is immortal. We still listen to Mozart today, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, any of them, any of the greats. Great music is like a great piece of sculpture, a great painting. It’s forever. That’s a fact.

GR: On the other hand, I interviewed Barbara Streisand at one pivotal point in her career, she was going to do duets with the BeeGees and other popular artists- she kind of changed the tempo to surprise people.

MJ: I’ve done a lot of it already… I don’t really rap, but I could… I’ve written songs with rap versus in them for very famous rappers, but they’re much better at it than I am.

GR: Don’t you appreciate, despite your isolated life and despite the fact you’ve been a star so long, you still have what appears to be a very passionate and profound relationship with the community. Does that support you? Does that sustain you? Do you agree with me?

MJ: Yes, I do agree, because it’s important to love your neighbors…

GR: But were does it come from… where does that almost instinctive love of you come from?

MJ: I truly think it comes from my mother and God (instinctive love) The way we were raised. The values my father instilled in us in youth. She was always with the Bible teaching us - we’d go to service all the time. Four times a week and I’m so glad we did that because those are values that are very important. I don’t know if I could have done as well without them.

GR: Do you still spend time with mom and dad? They’re not far from here right now? And what is that relationship all about? I’m so close to my mom, obviously.

MJ: It’s wonderful. At this stage, you tend to appreciate more who your parents are more and what they’ve done for you. You start to retrack where you are in your life and all the wonderful things they’ve instilled in you. You start to see them come forth. I’m starting to see a lot of things. Traits that my father influenced me on and my mother.

GR: My friend Cheech, who you know, whose partner Tommy Chong helped discover you guys, ‘Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers’, he says that as he gets older, he looks at his father’s face in the mirror. Do you feel that? Are you becoming like your dad?

MJ: I’m very much like my father in a lot of ways. He’s very strong. He’s a warrior. He’s always taught us to be courageous and to be confident and to believe in our ideals. And no matter what, no star is too far to reach and you never give up. And our mother taught us that as well.

GR: So you’re a warrior also?

MJ: Absolutely.

GR: That’s the way you see yourself?

GR: Tell us more about the way you see yourself?

MJ: I try to be kind and generous and to give to people and to do what I think God wants me to do. Sometimes I pray and say “where do you want me to go next, God? What do you want me to do from here?” I’ve always been very spiritual in that way. It’s nothing new.

GR: Did you ever see the movie “Finding Neverland” or read about J. M. Barrie, the man who wrote “Peter Pan.”

MJ: I know a lot about Mr. Barrie and I’ve been a fan for many, many, many years.

GR: You know, he had a rocky road, similar to you, I don’t want to get too far into it. Tell us what led to the creation of Neverland. I mean, specifically the place – There are 2 Neverlands, there’s 3. There’s Peter Pan’s Neverland, there’s the Neverland in Michael Jackson’s mind and then there’s the physical place you created up there where I visited you when you brought up all the inner-city children. Why did you create that place?

MJ: I created Neverland as a home for myself and my children and it was created simply, it was almost like it was done subconsciously, like I said earlier, where can I go? I mean, it’s hard. I’ve tried to go out as myself and I’ve had policemen tell me, “put on a disguise! And give me an autograph for my wife!” They tell me, “why are you out here with no security?” I can’t do it. I do it sometimes, but it’s very difficult.

GR: But you owned Neverland before you had the kids, was it for you? The exotic animals, were they for Michael Jackson?

MJ: For me and sharing with others. It gave me a chance to do what I couldn’t do when I was little. We couldn’t go to movie theaters. We couldn’t go to Disneyland. We couldn’t do all those fun things. We were on tour. We were working hard. And we did enjoy it. But this allowed me to have a place behind the gates where the entire world I love is there.

GR: You create, like Barrie, this imaginative world, do you ever outgrow something like that Michael? Do you ever think this is silly to have the llamas and the choo-choo trains and the rides?

MJ: It’s calling God silly if you do that, because God made all things great and small. Other men have their Ferraris and their airplanes or helicopters or wherever they find their bliss. My bliss is in giving and sharing and having simple innocent fun.

GR: Your homes. For all the grandeur of Neverland. Your home is quite modest. And your personal style. I don’t see any bling for instance. How come you don’t have the big diamond thing that says Michael?

MJ: I’m modest in that way. If I had it on, I would probably give it away to the first kid to say, ‘wow, I like your necklace.’ When I was growing up, stars like Sammy Davis, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly… if I admired something they were wearing, If I simply said, ‘I love that shirt you’re wearing,’ they would give it to me. It’s a show business trait. Hand it over.

GR: Despite the glare of the media attention and even the day that I was there and you invited the inner-city kids there, what’s it like to have the kids there? Why do you do that? I wanted to ask you that question that day but I pose it to you know.

MJ: I’ve traveled the world over 8 times. I do as many hospitals and orphanages as I do concerts. But, of course, it’s not covered (by the press). That’s not why I do it, for coverage. I do it because it’s from my heart. And there are so many children in the city who haven’t seen the mountains, who haven’t been on a carousel, who haven’t pet a horse or a llama, never seen them, so if I can open my gates and see that bliss, an explosion of screaming laughter from the children and they run on the rides, I say “Thank you, God.” I feel I’ve won God’s smile of approval, because I’m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people.

GR: So, you’re close to your siblings? How does it affect you when they get involved - like Janet’s superbowl flap? Just tell me how you responded as a brother and a viewer?

MJ: Oh, I can’t speak for my sister. With love. Actually, I was looking right at it and I didn’t see it. I was at a friend of mine’s house, Ron Burkle and in a movie theater, it was huge on the screen and I didn’t even see it. I heard all this controversy the next day and I said, “That’s not true.” I didn’t even see it.

GR: Do you think the controversy was overblown? Do you think it’s a Jackson related phenomena or is it a testament to our times socially in this country?

MJ: That’s an interesting hypothesis too. It’s both. It’s hard to answer. I’d rather not answer that one.

GR: Did you call her and say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff?’

MJ: Something like that. ‘Be strong. This too shall pass.’ ‘Don’t worry about it.’ I’ve seen worse things. I said, “Janet, you’re too young to remember but, I once watched the Oscars with David Niven on it and a naked man came running out, streaking. Now, he didn’t get there on his own. That was organized and nobody - they didn’t say much about that.” I’ll just say that much. That was live, around the world. The next day it was a joke.

GR: I think there is a Jackson component. I think the thing was exaggerated. I think the Jackson thing was part of the reason.

MJ: Thank you.

GR: So as you go forward in this record, what are we going to expect? Are we going to hear this on the radio and then people are going to send in their money and it’s going to go to these kids in the Indian Ocean region?

MJ: I would like that very much.

GR: Now tell me, how that act of largesse, that compassion, will make you feel? Sometimes, I think, I feel better giving than receiving in my life, explain the mechanics of that in your own life.

MJ: It’s just the idea. I don’t know if its the psychology of it or what. I just love working hard on something. Putting it together. Sweating over it and then sharing it with people and then having them love it and I always pray that they like it. That’s what gives me great satisfaction as an artist.

GR: Does it frustrate you professionally or personally when people say that this Jackson project flopped or that happened. Your ‘Number Ones’ compilation for instance, 7 and a half million copies sold. Now I think that’s quadruple platinum or whatever it is you label it. And yet the characterization by some in the music business at least is that you’re not- you know, that it wasn’t a hit.

MJ: I don’t know which project you’re talking about… because of negative news. Sensationalism seems to sell more than wonderful, positive news. People would rather hear gossip. My last 8 albums have all entered the charts at number 1, so people like to sensationalize things and make up stories and rumors and sometimes…

GR: Does it hurt your feelings? Do you want to scream out and say, “Hey wait a minute, check the numbers!”

MJ: It’s a commonality in mankind that I don’t like. That part of it, but then there’s a beautiful side to mankind too, isn’t there?

GR: But not to Eminem. We’ve spoken about it. I think that you should. Why not?

MJ: And what’s your question?

GR: Stevie Wonder said that he was piling on and how really rude it was for someone who made his money from the community to ‘diss the community in a sense in a racist and, I’ve said it, very bold faced, bigoted presentation. Tell us how that hurt you and how you’re feeling about it now.

MJ: I’ve never met Mr. Eminem, and I’ve always admired him and to have him do something like that was pretty painful as an artist to another artist and it’s sad because I think what Stevie Wonder said is true, I just don’t want to say too much more than that. He (Eminem) should be ashamed of himself what he’s doing. Stevie said he’s bulls***. He used the word. That’s what he said. I’m not saying it, Stevie said it. Stevie’s amazing. He’s one of the sweetest men in the world.

GR: Stevie did and he is bulls***. So, when Stevie said that, did you feel a tremendous sense of reassurance, of brotherly love, there?

MJ: I love Stevie Wonder. To me, he’s a musical prophet. I’ll always love him. A lot of people respect Stevie and he’s a very strong entity in this medium, in this business and when he speaks, people listen and it was wrong of Eminem to do what he did. I’ve been an artist most of my life and I’ve never attacked a fellow artist. great artists don’t do that. You don’t have to do that.

GR: I mentioned Janet’s fiasco and the exaggerated response to it. Once again do you think he only did it because he knew he could get away with it because you’re Michael Jackson?

MJ: Yeah, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s silly. It’s kind of elementary. I hope he’s having fun…

GR: Like a poo-poo joke. It still hurts your feelings and you don’t want your kids to see it.

MJ: Oh god, I would hate it if they saw it. I would hate that”

GR: Finally, we’ve studiously avoided the case and not talked at all about the case that’s pending. You’re under this gag order. I know that you have received permission from the judge to read a statement. I hate to end an interview that way, but if you’d like to read that statement now, I think it’s important.

MJ: IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS, A LARGE AMOUNT OF UGLY, MALICIOUS INFORMATION HAS BEEN RELEASED INTO THE MEDIA ABOUT ME. APPARENTLY, THIS INFORMATION WAS LEAKED THROUGH TRANSCRIPTS IN A GRAND JURY PROCEEDING WHERE NEITHER MY LAWYERS NOR I EVER APPEARED. THE INFORMATION IS DISGUSTING AND FALSE.

YEARS AGO, I ALLOWED A FAMILY TO VISIT AND SPEND TIME AT NEVERLAND. NEVERLAND IS MY HOME. I ALLOWED THIS FAMILY INTO MY HOME BECAUSE THEY TOLD ME THEIR SON WAS ILL WITH CANCER AND NEEDED MY HELP.

THROUGH THE YEARS, I HAVE HELPED THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN WHO WERE ILL OR IN DISTRESS.

THESE EVENTS HAVE CAUSED A NIGHTMARE FOR MY FAMILY, MY CHILDREN AND ME. I NEVER INTEND TO PLACE MYSELF IN SO VULNERABLE A POSITION AGAIN.

I LOVE MY COMMUNITY AND I HAVE GREAT FAITH IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM. PLEASE KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND LET ME HAVE MY DAY IN COURT. I DESERVE A FAIR TRIAL LIKE EVERY OTHER AMERICAN CITIZEN. I WILL BE ACQUITTED AND VINDICATED WHEN THE TRUTH IS TOLD.

GR: Michael is there anything else you would like to say?

MJ: Yes. I would just like for the public to keep my family and myself in their prayers. That would be very nice. Thank you, Geraldo.

 

CBS 60 Minutes (December 2003)

 

061109 Ed_Bradley_obit

ED BRADLEY: What is your response to the allegations that were brought by the district attorney in Santa Barbara, that you molested this boy?

60-mins1

MICHAEL JACKSON: Totally false. Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists. I would never hurt a child. It's totally false. I was outraged. I could never do something like that.

EB: This is a kid you knew?

MJ: Yes.

EB: How would you characterize your relationship with this boy?

MJ: I've helped many, many, many children, thousands of children, cancer kids, leukemia kids. This is one of many.

EB: So, when he would come over, what would he do? What would you do?

MJ: I'll tell you exactly. When I first saw (BLEEP), he was total bald-headed, white as snow from the chemotherapy, very bony, looked anorexic, no eyebrows, no eyelashes. And he was so weak, I would have to carry him from the house to the game room, or push him in a wheelchair, to try to give him a childhood, a life. Cause I felt bad. Because I never had that chance, too, as a child. You know? That the-- and so, I know what it... it felt like in that way. Not being sick, but not having had a childhood. So, my heart go out to those children I feel their pain.

Michael says he tried to help in the healing process by taking the boy around the grounds of Neverland to Jackson’s favorite places.

MJ: He had never really climbed a tree. So, I had this tree that I have at Neverland. I call it, "My Giving Tree." Cause I like to write songs up there. I've written many songs up there. So, I said, "You have to climb a tree. That's part of boyhood. You just gotta do it." And-- I helped him up. And once he went up... up the tree, we looked down on the branches. And it was so beautiful. It was magical. And he loved it. To give him a chance to have a life, you know? Because he was told he wa s going to die. They told him. They told his-- his parents prepare for his funeral, that's how bad it was. And I put him on a program. I've helped many children doing this. I put him on a mental program.

EB: What was going through your mind when you're taken into a police station, in handcuffs, to have a mug shot taken, that you know is gonna be shown around the world?

MJ: They did it to try and belittle me, to try and to take away my pride. But I went through the whole system with them. And at the end, I... I wanted the public to know that I was okay, even though I was hurting.

EB: What happened when they arrested you? What did they do to you?

MJ: They were supposed to go in, and just check fingerprints, and do the whole thing that they do when they take somebody in. They manhandled me very roughly. My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It's hurting me very badly. I'm in pain all the time. This is, see this arm? This is as far as I can reach it. Same with this side over here.

EB: Because of what happened at the police station?

MJ: Yeah. Yeah. At the police station. And what they did to me... if you... if you saw what they did to my arms... it was very bad what they did. It's very swollen. I don't wanna say. You'll see. You'll see .

EB: How did they do it? I mean, what, physically, what did they do?

MJ: With the handcuffs, the way they tied 'em too tight behind my back...

EB: Behind your back?

MJ: Yeah. And putting it, they put it in a certain position, knowing that it's going to hurt, and affect my back. Now I can't move. I... I... it keeps me from sleeping at night. I can't sleep at night.

And Michael says there was more:

MJ: Then one time, I asked to use the restroom. And they said, "Sure, it's right around the corner there." Once I went in the restroom, they locked me in there for like 45 minutes. They was doo doo , feces thrown all over the walls, the floor, the ceiling. And it stunk so bad. Then one of the policemen came by the window. And he made a sarcastic remark. He said, "Smell... does it smell good enough for you in there? How do you like the smell? Is it good?" And I just simply said, "It's alrig ht. It's okay." So, I just sat there, and waited.

EB: For 45 minutes?

MJ: Yeah, for 45 minutes. About 45 minutes. And then-- then one cop would-- come by, and say, "Oh, you'll be out in-- in a second. You'll be out in a second." Then there would be another ten minutes added on, then another 15 minutes added on. They did this on purpose.

EB: How did you feel when they went into Neverland, I mean, with a search warrant? I mean, what were they looking for? What did they take?

MJ: My room is a complete wreck. My workers told me. They said, "Michael, don't go in your room." They were crying on the phone, my employees. They said, "If you saw your room, you would cry." I have stairs that go up to my bed. And they said, "You can't even get up the stairs. The room is totally trashed." And they had 80 policemen in this room, 80 policemen in one bedroom. That's really overdoing it//They took knives, and cut open my mattresses with knives. C-- just cut everything open.

EB: Did-- did they take anything from Neverland?

MJ: A... I'm not sure what they took. They never gave me a list.

EB: But you're saying that they destroyed your property?

MJ: Yes, they did. And then they, what they did was they made everybody that work at the property (SIC), they locked everybody out of the house. They had the whole house to themselves to do whatever they wanted. And-- they totally took advantage. They went into areas they weren't supposed to go into-- like my office. They didn't have search warrants for those places. And they totally took advantage. And the room is a total, total wreck, they told me. I don't think I wanna see it. I'm not ready to see it yet.

EB: So, you haven't been back there?

MJ: I've been back there. But not in my bedroom. I won't live there ever again. I'll visit Neverland. It's a house now. It's not a home anymore. I'll only visit there.What time is it? Cause I'm hurting. You know what? I'm... I'm hurting. I have to go pretty soon anyway. Yeah. Okay. I don't feel good.

Michael goes on to talk about how he thinks it's all about the money...

MJ: Somewhere greed got in there, and somebody... I... I can't quite say. But it has to do with money. It's Michael Jackson. Look what we have here. We can get money out of this//That's exactly what happened.

EB: You had helped him with his cancer. ...What I don't understand is why today and I know you say it’s money, but ...why would he turn around and say, "Michael Jackson sexually molested me," if it weren't true?

MJ: Because parents have power over children. They feel they have to do what their parents say ...But...the love of money is the root of all evil. And this is a sweet child. And to see him turn like this, this isn't him. This is not him

EB: So, you don't think this comes from him? This...

MJ: No.

EB: ...comes from his parents?

MJ: No. This is not him. No. I know his heart

Michael said he would NEVER settle this case.

EB: When the accusations that were made, the allegations back in 1993, you were innocent of those allegations then?.

MJ: Yes.

EB: So-- if you were innocent, why would you pay, I mean, to keep you quiet? I mean, why not go into court, and fight for your good name? I mean-

MJ: I'm not allowed to talk on that

Male Voice: I'm gonna stop you for a second.

EB: Sure.

Mark Geragos (Michael's Lawyer): I mean, remember what happened to him ten years ago. He was humiliated. He was... he went through where somebody... was examining him. Was photographing him. Was having him-- humiliating him in the worst way in terms of looking at his private parts and photographing his private parts. And... and he was subjected to some of the most, just intrusive kinds of things that you could ever imagine. I can only try to put myself into that situation and... and say look; If money could make that situation go away, maybe that... that was the calculus then. I don't know and I don't wanna second guess it

EB: But-- but what you end up with is the public perception that this has happened not once, this has happened twice. That young boys have... have come forward to accuse him of... of sexual molestation over the last ten years. And he has made public comments about how he enjoys sharing his bed with children. Can you understand how the public might feel that, hey, maybe there's something here. There's a lot of smoke.

Mark Geragos: Well, look. There's a lot of smoke. But a lot of the people who blow the smoke are-- are twisting what's happened. I understand when people say, now, there's somebody else who came forward. But I... I think, in all fairness, most people 'get it.' Most people understand that this case is not about anything but money.

EB: That British documentary last February-- which you didn't like

MJ: Yeah, I didn't like it.

EB: You... you said in that documentary that... that many children have slept in your bedroom.

MJ: Yeah.

EB: You said, and-- and I'm gonna (SIC) quote here, "Why can't you share your bed? A most loving thing to do is to share your bed with... with someone."

MJ: Yes.

EB: As-- as we sit here today, do you still think that it's acceptable to share your bed with children?

MJ: Of course. Of course. Why not? If you're gonna be a pedophile, if you're gonna be Jack, the Ripper, if you're gonna be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I'm not. That's how we were raised. And I met... I didn't sleep in the bed with the child. Even if I did, it's okay. I slept on the floor. I give the bed to the child.

EB: You're a parent. You've got three children.

MJ: Yes.

EB: Would you allow your children to sleep in the bed with a grown man, who was not a relative, or to sleep in the bedroom?

MJ: Sure, if I know that person, trust them, and love them. That's happened many times with me when I was little.

EB: Would you, as a parent, allow your children to sleep in the same bedroom with someone, who has the suspicions and allegations that have been made against you, and about you today? Would you allow that?

MJ: Someone

EB: If you knew someone, who had the same

MJ: I'm not

EB: kind of allegations...

MJ: Ed, I... I know exactly what you're saying.

EB: --that were made against you-- would you let your children...

MJ: My children?

EB: ...sleep in that man's bedroom?

MJ: Mmm, if I... if I knew the person personally. Cause I know how the press is, and how people can twist the truth, if I knew the person personally, absolutely yes. Absolutely. I wouldn't have a problem with it.

EB: Do you know how this looks to a lot of people? I mean, do you understand that?

MJ: How does what look?

EB: How the fact that you...

MJ: Know why? People think sex. They're thinking sex. My mind doesn't run that way. When I see children, I see the face of God. That's why I love them so much. That's what I see.

EB: Do you know any other man your age, a 45 year old man, who shares his bedroom with children?

MJ: Of course. Not for sex. No. That's wrong.

EB: Well, let me... let me say, from my perspective, my experience, I don't know any 45 year old men, who are not relatives of the children, who share their bedroom with other children.

MJ: Well, what's wrong with sharing your bed? I didn't say I slept in the bed. Even if I did sleep in the bed, it's okay. I am not going to do anything sexual to a child. It's not where my heart is. I would never do anything like that. That's not Michael Jackson. I'm sorry. That's someone else.

EB: What... what has this done to your career?

MJ: What... what has it done to my career?

EB: What has it done to your career?

MJ: In what way?

EB: How has it impacted-- you know...

MJ: I'm... my album...

EB: ...touring, record sales...

MJ: --album is number one all over the world. All over the world. America is the only one, because I... I don't wanna say too much.

EB: But it's not number one in the United States?

MJ: It's a conspiracy. Yeah. I’m getting tired.

EB: Michael, what would you say to you-- your fans, who have supported you through all of this, and... and who today, some of them might have questions? What would you say to them?

MJ: Well, I would tell them I love them very much. And I... I... they've learned about me, and know about me from a distance. But if you really want to know about me, there's a song I wrote, which is the most honest song I've ever written. It's the most autobiographical song I've ever written. It's called, "Childhood." They should listen to it. That's the one they really should listen to. And thank you for your support, the fans around the world. I love you with all my heart. I don't take a ny of it for granted. Any of it. And I love them dearly, all over the world.

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