All Articles Tagged "Michael Jackson"

Lap Dances And Fugees Reunions: 15 Of The Greatest BET Award Moments

June 26th, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Source: BET

Source: BET

With the 2015 BET Awards going down this weekend, we decided to take a look at some of the best tributes, reunions, performances, and hilarious moments from the award show over the years. What’s your favorite moment?

I’mma Let You Finish, Caitlyn, But Michael Jackson Could’ve Been The Greatest LGBT Advocate Of All Time

June 8th, 2015 - By Anslem Samuel Rocque
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

When the Olympian formerly known as Bruce Jenner made her big reveal as Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair you could hear the Internet break. Sorry, Kimye, but news of baby number two was immediately eclipsed by CJ’s coming-out party. Folks were just too curious to finally get a glimpse of her transition, and when we did, our collective jaws dropped in shock and awe.

Of course, we live in the digital age, so it wasn’t long before a flurry of memes flooded our timelines. Some were humorous (mostly at Kris Jenner’s expense). Others were just ignorant of the many complexities of what it means to be transgender, not just as a public figure but also as a human being. But there was one meme in particular that stood out from the pile for me.

Featuring a pair of adjacent Michael Jackson photos (one dark-skinned and the other light-skinned) atop a pair of before-and-after flicks of Jenner, the caption called attention to the idea of MJ often being “insulted and judged” for his physical transformations, while CJ is being “praised and called brave” for hers.

Let’s be 100 percent clear. It’s a major error in judgement to compare vitiligo and cosmetic surgery to transgender identity because, truthfully, the reasons for both are worlds apart. One procedure can be viewed as completely elective while the other is a necessary change that most may (obviously) never understand. Still, the anonymous meme got me thinking beyond sexism, racism, classism or any other suggested ism:

Is it possible that the media’s decades-long (mis)perception of Michael Jackson is far different than any of us ever thought? Could it be that the King of Pop’s physical transformations were not about self-hate but rather a misunderstood search for self-discovery? What if Jackson was struggling with a similar inner conflict as Jenner and just didn’t know how to express it?

Of course, there are absolutely no facts or proof of that being the case, but with approximately 700,000 transgender people living in the U.S. today, who’s to say that MJ couldn’t have been one of them? At the very least, it’s something worth considering as a slight possibility, no matter how improbable. But maybe that’s just me.

Sure, Jackson spoke in a soft, effeminate voice, wore elaborate costumes and had his hair laid in immaculate doobies on the regular, but let’s be real. None of the above automatically points to him (or anyone else for that matter) being gay, transgender or other. Being eccentric is par for the course when it comes to many celebrities (think Jaden Smith, etc.). Unfortunately, so is the ridicule that often comes with being different (again, think Jaden Smith, etc.).

Over the years, we literally watched Michael change before our eyes. His complexion lightened, his facial features shifted, and his hair texture morphed from kinky to bone straight. It all reminds me of a “joke” I once heard about Michael being the greatest man in the world because he was born a poor Black boy in Gary, Indiana and grew up to become a rich White woman in Europe. They say that behind every joke is a little bit of truth, but neither transgender identity nor Michael Jackson’s assumed issues are a punchline.

Still, people continued to speculate about Jackson’s mental state and even questioned his sexuality and the sincerity of his humanitarian support of young people. With unsubstantiated descriptors like “gay,” “asexual” or even “pedophile” thrown around in the media, stand-up comedy routines and regular conversations occurring whenever the singer’s name was brought up, it’s no wonder he eventually moved his family abroad and limited his time in the public eye.

If it took Jenner—an international star in her own right albeit microscopic in comparison to Michael—65 years to publicly embrace her true identity, imagine the pressure someone like Jackson could have experienced if feeling trapped in the wrong body was at the root of his inner conflict. It’s hard enough for the average Joe/Jane to come out and truly feel free, so the burden of wanting to change genders would be tenfold for a perpetually persecuted man who was arguably the most recognizable person in the world.

Of course, this is all theoretical rhetoric on my part, and there is no reported evidence of Jackson even considering himself transgender, but a part of me still wonders: What if he was? Not for my personal conspiracy theories or some desire to publicly out someone who can no longer defend himself, but for what that could have meant for the world’s acceptance of Black LGBT rights. Can you imagine all the good MJ (transgender or not) could have done if he were to have become an international advocate for Black trans issues?

His music, which was at times politically tinged (think “They Don’t Care About Us,” “Earth Song”), could have been the soundtrack to the movement. He could have been the face of change and acceptance for people of color the world over. But that’s just wishful thinking on my part because only Jackson truly knows the reasoning behind his many physical transformations over the years. And since the singer is no longer with us in the physical form, we have no clue as to where he would have stood publicly on LGBT issues, but I’m an optimist.

In the six years since Jackson’s passing, the world has still managed to change albeit at its own pace. In recent years, trans women like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Isis King and countless others who don’t get national headlines have emerged at the forefront of the new millennium civil rights movement. While their advocacy and acceptance has helped the cause, a public figure of color the likes of Michael Jackson could have made their journeys somewhat easier. Because for all the praise Jenner receives for her brave revelation, it still leaves a large section of voices unheard.

Cox explains it best on her Tumblr page:

“Most trans folks don’t have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have. It is those trans folks we must continue to lift up, get them access to healthcare, jobs, housing, safe streets, safe schools and homes for our young people. We must lift up the stories of those most at risk, statistically trans people of color who are poor and working class. I have hoped over the past few years that the incredible love I have received from the public can translate to the lives of all trans folks. Trans folks of all races, gender expressions, ability, sexual orientations, classes, immigration status, employment status, transition status, genital status etc. I hope, as I know Caitlyn does, that the love she is receiving can translate into changing hearts and minds about who all trans people are as well as shifting public policies to fully support the lives and well being of all of us. The struggle continues…”

Regardless of your views on Jenner, Jackson, or transgender issues, the message here is about how much the world needs to change and I’m starting with the man in the mirror.

What about you?

 

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Up For Sale For $100M

May 29th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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WENN

WENN

Got a $100 million handy? You could use it to by Michael Jackson beloved Neverland Ranch, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The California ranch is 2,700 acres and features a train station, six-bedroom house, 50-seat movie theater, and two lakes. No one has lived on the estate since Jackson’s death in 2009.

If Neverland does sell for its asking price, it will far exceed the $19.5 million Jackson originally paid for the land in 1988. He did, of course, spruce it up more than a bit by adding such grand amenities as a zoo and small amusement park, which have since been removed, reports Billboard. Jackson dubbed his estate Neverland after the home of the fictional children’s character Peter Pan.

Jackson defaulted on a $24.5 million loan in 2008 and was bailed out by real estate company Colony Capital LLC.

There had been rumors that Neverland would turn into an attraction similar to Elvis Presley’s Graceland. But it looks like Colony Capital, which has maintained the ranch, has no plans in doing so.

The property is also infamous because Jackson was arrested on charges he molested children on the property. He was acquitted in 2005. After that, Jackson rarely stayed at the ranch.

The United Negro College Fund Announces New Michael Jackson & Ray Charles Scholarships

May 20th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is channeling the golden hearts of the iconic Michael Jackson and Ray Charles to dole out scholarships for high-achieving students in need, EurWeb reports.

The Michael Jackson scholarship will provide financial aid for high school seniors planning to major in social science or communication arts in a UNCF college or university. Candidates must write an essay, complete an application profile, and provide a transcript. Candidates must also have a 3.0 to 4.0 grade point average (GPA).

If selected, the student will be moonwalking with a $5,000 award.

As for the Ray Charles scholarship, UNCF partnered with the Ray Charles Foundation to make this college grant a reality. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must be African-American juniors enrolled at a UNCF college or university and demonstrate an unmet need in financial assistance.

If you don’t have a GPA between 3.0 and 4.0, you can “Hit the Road Jack” because this scholarship is for students with impressive grades.

“The mission and purpose of the foundation came from Ray Charles himself,” ScholarshipOnline wrote. “In 1996, under his direction and guidance, the foundation embarked on a pattern of generous contributions and donations to various educational institutions across the United States.”

The award amount from the Ray Charles scholarship is $4,500.

Are you interested? For the Michael Jackson scholarship, click here. For the Ray Charles scholarship, click here.

Since The Oscars Were So White: The Blackest Award Show Moments Ever

February 23rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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blackest award show moments feat

Don’t know if you noticed but the Oscars didn’t exactly have that much for Black people. With the exception of Common and John Legend performing and winning the Academy Award for their song “Glory,” the show was a sea of White faces. It’s the reason we didn’t live tweet the show like we usually do. Instead, we simply showed you what our faves were wearing on the carpet. So in honor of our disappointment and in anticipation for tonight’s BET Honors, we’re highlighting some of the Blackest moments from award shows in the past decade or so.

King Of Pop Still No. 1 On Forbes’ List Of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

October 16th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Source: Epic Records

Source: Epic Records

Michael Jackson is still the King of Pop! Jackson has once again topped Forbes‘ list Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. There were 13 late celebrities in all who earned a total of $363.5 million over the last 12 months, reports the magazine.

Jackson ranked No. 1 with a whopping $140 million in earnings. His second posthumous album release, Xscape, which debuted at No. 2 on the charts, put him back on top for yet another year. You may also recall, in a controversial move, Jackson “performed” (in hologram form) on stage at the Billboard Music Awards.

After Forbes looked at estimates of what each estate brought in between October 2013 and October 2014 (not deducting for taxes or things like management fees), Elvis Presley came in second place with an estimated $55 million in earnings over the 12-month period. The Presley estate got a boost after Authentic Brands Group bought the rights to everything Elvis last year for a reported $125 million. Besides this, Presley’s estate still makes millions due to the hordes of tourists who visit Graceland annually and Elvis’ extensive music library. Like Jackson, ABG plans to increase earnings with a performing hologram Elvis. ABG CEO Jamie Salter informed Ad Week that hologram Elvis will tour in the spring and may even make an appearance in Elvis’ old stomping ground of Las Vegas. Or get this — even perform with hologram Michael Jackson.

Snoopy cartoonist Charles Schulz was third with $40 million. His Peanuts characters continue to live on due to online versions of the comic strip. Then there’s the mega merchandising and the MetLife ads featuring Snoopy and the bunch. Soon there will be a 3-D movie from Fox studios, debuting November 2015.

Jackson’s longtime friend Elizabeth Taylor was fourth with $25 million in earnings. Her best-selling perfume and movies, landed her in that slot.

In fifth place is reggae singer Bob Marley with an estimated $20 million in earnings. The extensive merchandising–from mugs to  messenger bags to T-shirts to a line of fruit-flavored drinks–kept Marley in the top five.

Jackson Family Treasures–From Sex Toys To Master Recordings–Being Sold Online

September 12th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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michael jackson, man in the mirror,

Source: Epic Records | “Man in the Mirror”

Would you buy a pair of used socks possibly worn by Michael Jackson? Or LaToya Jackson’s sex toys? Peter Siegel of Gotta Have It! Collectibles is hoping so. His auction house is handling the sale of an odd array of items once belonging to the Jackson family.

Due to a bankruptcy court proceeding involving a major collector, a boatload of Jackson family possessions is being auctioned off online. “Some of the items are ordinary items that could come out of any household — but when it has the provenance of being from the Jackson household, that’s history,” Siegel told the New York Daily News.

There are a tons of items–from fascinating to valuable–including a black tuxedo that was worn not by the King of Pop, Janet Jackson’s bras, photo albums, and even court documents from a 1987 restraining order Michael Jackson took out against a woman who claimed she was the Billie Jean from his 1983 hit song of the same name.

The most collectible are probably 56 master recordings of the Jackson 5 and reel-to-reel tapes that contain versions of never-released songs, including the group covering the Donny and Marie Osmond classic “A Little Bit Country.” But Siegel warns that while the tapes are the highlight of the auction, they aren’t being sold with copyrights to publish the songs.

The online auction runs through Sept. 19 via the auction house’s website. Most of the bids are starting at $100, with the exception of the master tapes, which start at $1,000.

The possessions previously belonged to New Jersey-based Vintage Associates, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013. And it had gotten the goods from one of its creditors, Henry Vaccaro, a major collector of Michael Jackson memorabilia, according to court records.

Amazingly, the items have been in a storage locker for decades. A federal bankruptcy court in New Jersey selected Gotta Have It! Collectibles to auction off the property.

Other possessions will be sold as individual lots, such as filing cabinets packed with Joe Jackson’s business documents; Michael’s Peter Pan collection, his personal stereo, and some of his childhood toys — including a troll doll with yellow hair; miscellaneous clothes once worn by members of the Jackson 5 for performances; costume jewelry;  shoes; belts; and exercise equipment.

Additionally some of the possessions are being sold as grab bags (grab boxes, really). There are 24-by-36-inch boxes filled with hundreds of “mystery holdings,” Siegel said.

“This is a great way for the general public to own a piece of Jackson family history for as little as $100,” Siegel said.

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of Michael Jackson’s “Bad”

August 29th, 2014 - By Deron Dalton
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Source: Epic Records | "Bad" Album

Source: Epic Records | “Bad” Album

MadameNoire compiled a list of iconic moments and behind-the-scene secrets about the making of the legendary album, Bad. The visionary pop album came out two days after MJ’s 29th birthday. The release date was August 31, and he was born on today, August 29. The Bad album became MJ’s third consecutive number one album and another historic moment for the King of Pop.

Bet you didn’t know, MJ originally planned for Bad to be a third-disc album, after MJ wrote over 60 songs for the album, but Quincy Jones convinced him to make an one-disc LP.

Ray Charles Could’ve Seen Those Mistakes! 20 Successful People Who Lost it All

August 29th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Whether it’s living outside of your means, making a bad business deal or trusting the wrong people to handle your finances, things can happen that might leave you in the red. It’s very easy to assume a person who we think “has it all” is living free of issues when in fact they could very well be on their last. Here’s a look at some successful people who at one time lost it all. Luckily many have bounced back, though some continue to go through the fire.

Do you think they are to blame, or is it on their accountant?

Check out the trailer for “When The Checks Stop Coming In,” the latest from Moguldom Studios. And purchase this new documentary, click here.

The King Of New Jack Swing: 11 Hit Songs You Probably Didn’t Know Teddy Riley Wrote And Produced

August 19th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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WENN

WENN

A majority of the music we were jamming to in the late ’80s and early ’90s we can thank Teddy Riley for. One of the big New Jack Swing producers of the time, Riley made hits for all your favorite artists. Jams for Heavy D. “Remember The Time” for Michael Jackson? Yeah, that was him. He also collaborated with Jay Z (“City is Mine”). And it should be known that all Guy songs and Blackstreet jams (“No Diggity” anyone?) were brought to fruition with the help of Riley. He’s a genius really. And while we knew he was behind some major hits, there are others we found out about that surprised us, like the following songs:

 

“It’s In The Mornin'” by Robin Thicke feat. Snoop Dogg

The song, off of Thicke’s Sex Therapy: The Session album 2009), was probably the biggest hit on the CD next to the song the album is named after. It was the anthem for those who enjoy fooling around first thing in the morning.