by Chris Stevenson
Early this summer another black man died with needle marks in his veins. It’s not that I was shocked when I heard the news that Michael Jackson had passed. I was really surprised he lived this long. Sure, like many others I became misty-eyed. Two images of Michael automatically came to my mind as I was on the I-90W headed to Cleveland listening to announcers read the TMZ press release; My first recollection of Michael and his brothers on that 1969 “Ed Sullivan Show” and Michael’s still unbeatable solo-performance on that “Motown 25” Anniversary special. Those two images were of a young Michael, healthy Michael, black Michael. How many of us blacks wish Michael continued to look like that, for our own gratification. Were that the case this might be a completely different story, but coming around the corner was-sadly enough- naive Michael.
It’s no accident that the major media has once again focussed on Dr. Conrad Murray after a 2-to-3-week lack of exposure. From the beginning of this episode I got the feeling the African American physician was/is being used for something. This is just as important to discuss as it is unpleasant to write, because what happened to Michael between then and now settles the whole issue as to why he’s gone. Beneath the smokescreen of legwhips, Moonwalks and tight spins lay the mind of what would become the greatest recording genius and ruthless business genius of all time. I use “ruthless” in a good way at this point. Consider how the recording industry has run their mind-game on so many black artists. Michael flipped the script and in the long run it cost him his life.
Quincy Jones no-doubt was the source of much of Michael’s early business knowledge. Jones wasn’t just a great musician/writer/producer and arranger, Q knew shit, lessons he learned from people like Ray Charles, protecting your music, protecting your master tapes. Jones’ jazz group the “Jones Boys;” Eddie Jones and Reunald Jones toured the US and Europe to great acclaim, but they lost money. As the story goes, Q had to learn the difference between music and the music business. Mercury Records would loan him money and gave him a promotion to run their New York office, becoming Vice President in 1964 Around this time he founded the Institute for Black American Music (BAM). Nothing to sneeze at for a black man during the Civil Rights era.
Michael was 6-years-old in ’64 and already leading his family’s R&B group even though he was the youngest. By the time the Jackson Five became hitmakers for Motown and then Epic, Michael would record a few solo albums and would eventually become a surviving icon who made it through the ’70’s, and early ’80’s. Unlike Lennon, Marley and Gaye, Jackson didn’t change to the political message. Body Politics was his thing, songs about rats and he’ll be there evolved into songs about women he didn’t sleep with (Billie Jean, Dirty Diana), or girls he admired from afar; Liberian girls, librarian girls, it didn’t matter. There would be no libertine girls for Michael. He said “No” to Dirty Diana’s blowjob and Shamone to Dirty Dr. Nosejob. Soon to be followed was a wave of plastic surgeries. What the first 3 had in common for the most part is having undergone intense government surveillance and the eventual assassination. They can’t kill us fast like they used to. Today they do it slowly so as to prevent the backlash of political unrest and awakening. Read the rest of this essay very carefully.
You may think I’m poking fun, but realize the genius of making songs about celibacy and detachment into the greatest recordings of all time. Only with Michael and only under the production of Jones could that have happened. In 1980 Michael was already earning a record 37% royalties per album. His lawyer John Branca negotiated the deal. During this period Jackson was already close friends with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, even recorded a couple hits together. It was his discussions with McCartney that watered his appetite for royalties and music catalogs (according to Wikipedia, McCartney was earning $40 million per year on songs by other people). When ATV Songs went up for sale Jackson jumped at the opportunity but not before contacting McCartney first. ATV owned the copyright to thousands of popular songs including most of the Beatles and Elvis Presley music.
McCartney was at first not interested due to the high price, but changed his mind and tried to put on a late rush with the surviving Beatles and John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono in tow (He must have been nagged by Lennon’s ghost). At any rate McCartney pulled out and Jackson won the bidding.
I talked to an old friend, a trusted family friend from way back who wished her name not to be mentioned. She-like many sisters coming up in the ’70’s was a big Jacksons fan. She would meet Michael and see him and his brothers when the Victory Tour came to Buffalo NY and Rich Stadium (now Ralph Wilson Stadium): “I met Michael at the hotel (that she worked at) during the Victory Tour. He was a very soft-spoken person. I just don’t think someone like that could molest a child. He was a very mistreated person, ‘Wacko Jacko,’ that was the most insulting name anyone could give anybody.” The official OK for blue-collar white America to commence treating Michael with suspicion and disrespect came from non other than the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Though accused of Child Sexual Abuse in ’93 and ’03, investigations were closed and he was acquitted. Conspicuously absent were the lack of forensics to prove such gargantuan charges. Considering the televised photos of Michael’s body parts that were bruised and scarred as a result of treatment he endured due to the police ransacking his home in ’03, you could more than expect photographic evidence of just such molestations in question. Putting it bluntly, networks, news-shows, major national press and internet outlets that had no qualms showing photos of abused prisoners at Abu-Graib would have salivated at the mouth over obtaining rectal photos of penile penetration, abrasions, bruises etc., of the little white boys Michael allegedly entered. During the ’03 raid , the police finally discovered… they had nothing, nothing for Michael’s debunkers to use to validate such horrific accusations. All they had was the well orchestrated and nationally televised perp-walk, to give the impression Michael did something. Michael in part dug his own grave, his ’93 accuser was Evan Chandler; the son of a Dentist. His ’03 accuser was Gavin Arvizo.
Though Jackson had been close enough to Arvizo to finance his cancer treatment, the boys in blue weren’t going to go away being proven wrong. In this respect Michael wasn’t treated any different by local law enforcement than many blacks suspects under question in Compton. What he and we didn’t see beneath Gavin’s family drama was the probable beer-and-guts interrogation and determination to make Arvizo turn on the King and literally put words in his mouth to testify against Michael. Michael’s pivotal legal business decision was to replace his attorney Mark Geragos with Thomas Messereau Jr.
After that Neverland would live up to it’s namesake, Michael would never, never live on that land again. White Blue collar disrespect entered the home of the perennial child/man thought by many as trying to be white himself. The ranch he built in 1988 for a mere $17 million and now valued at $100 million became worthless in his eyes.
What am I saying? The events leading up to the first sexual allegation of 1993 is what made the King of Pop a target and those have nothing to do with any sexual misconduct. Enter Dr. Conrad Murray; Occupational Hit-Man. Murray claims to be a Cardiologist, according to “People” magazine, he is financially strapped. Just Michael’s luck to have the world’s only cardiologist to not know how to perform CPR, but he did ride with Jackson to the hospital. There is speculation that Jackson died before Farrah Fawcett. As of late Jackson’s personal chef Kai Chase told Associated Press that Murray usually arrived between 9-9:30pm and would leave late in the evening. She said she was accustomed to seeing him come down some steps carrying oxygen tanks. On the 25th of June Chase states she didn’t see him come down that morning, so she thought he was sleeping late. Suddenly Murray rushes down at noon screaming “go get Prince (Michael’s Oldest son).” On June 23rd , “she said Jackson told her ‘I’m packed and I’m ready to go,’ two days later he was dead.”
Questions about this man start well before Michael’s death, on 6/15 TMZ reported Murray closed his practice. There’s also Dr. Tohme Tohme (not licensed) who was Jackson’s manager and was dismissed by him some time ago, reportedly he also claims to he Ambassador to Senegal. He too was cited as among those who medically treated Michael for several weeks. Another Suspicion Murray raises is he reportedly didn’t call an ambulance. One website said he tried to call 911 but was unable to get a line due to security restrictions: “He considered using his personal mobile phone but realized he didn’t know the address and so shouts for the other staff to help him. Dr. Murray was said to have continued doing CPR on Michael while he was still on the bed. Let’s see now, Personal doctor, doesn’t know CPR or only patient’s home address, hmmm. What does this guy know?
Jackson has known Murray since ’06, but only began using him as a personal physician last month. He is no longer certified with the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) and was never certified in cardio disease. He is said to live in a country club community. A lot of ideas and plots are thought of and planned at country clubs, that one or two blacks are occasionally at those meetings is immaterial. Events relating to Murray’s past finances and credentials bespeak that of a patsy. Murray said weeks ago he found Jackson in bed not breathing and with a faint pulse, others are saying he fell asleep while administering a highly dangerous and restrictive medicine. It was believed Jackson received an injection of Propofol (AKA Diprivan, a sedative commonly used for insomnia) or Pethidne (AKA Demerol and injected with oxygen); a painkiller he was rumored to be hooked on, just prior to his death. Some believe he fell asleep while administering it, but I don’t buy it. This procedure must always be done in a clinical setting (not at home) and an Anesthesiologist must always be present during this period due to the danger involved, Murray was just conveniently unqualified to handle Michael period, therein lay his value; kill Michael and make it look like an accident.
Bass-player Marcus Miller’s tribute to Michael (one playing a wind instrument). Live from France
Conspicuous by their absence is any significant intervention by Michael’s family during the final months of his life. Rumors of them having limited or no access because Michael’s handlers had him sequestered just don’t fly. Michael’s older sister LaToya says there was an occasion in early ’09 where some of his brothers and sister Janet traveled to his Las Vegas home only to be turned away by security guards under orders not to let them in. This should only have been the beginning of the attempted family intervention, for my money Janet, Jackie, Jermaine etc., are the wrong Jacksons to send after Michael. Who woke Michael up at 3am when he was 4 and said “dance boy!” Then who should be his handler in this particular situation? It was Mr. Jackson’s job to bring the boys and some of his old-gangster buddies from Gary and push his way into Michael’s home regardless of who was there. Especially given Michael’s far-famed fear of Joe, only he could have smacked some sense into Michael. But as they say hindsight is 20/20.
Latoya also claims during the late evening (roughly 11pm) of the day of Michael’s death, Tohme (according to Mr. Jackson and former Jackson promoter Leonard Rowe, AEG brought back all the people Michael dismissed) fires all of the staff at the Beverly Hills property and at the 2nd rented home in Las Vegas. If AEG is divisive enough to prevent their client’s family members from visiting them as it seems evident with the Jackson’s, then why hasn’t any of the ran-sack-crazed west coast police precincts put the bum-rush on them? That’s about as close as it gets to kidnapping. But blue collar white law enforcement and greedy manipulative white concert promoters are essentially the same animal. AEG seems obnoxious enough to have brought back people Michael wanted out and criminal enough to have really elevated drugs into the life of someone known to be drug-free. Actor Jamie Fox was correct, we loaned him to White America, only he didn’t complete the dreaded truth; that they returned him to us damaged goods.
It wasn’t just for money that Michael was destroyed, Michael mastered how to handle finances like very few black men can. Look at the people who handed this down to him, Joe, Berry Gordy, Quincy, McCartney. The American music industry isn’t designed for black artists to know that much. Blacks originated almost all of America’s music; blues, ragtime, folk, Gospel, Jazz, Swing, big band, rock & roll, r&b, heavy metal, funk, fusion, “smooth Jazz,” rap, hip-hop. White Americans only originated Country and Western but control music almost completely. Though it indeed seems Michael did have that rare skin disease, there is still no escaping the fact that he had an identity problem and it’s the same identity problem America-at large has; race. The situation will not improve with you expecting powerful whites to feel guilty while concurrently expecting black artists to act like little individuals. This is just the beginning.
Chris Stevenson is a syndicated columnist, his articles also appear in the Buffalo Challenger respond to him at the comment link below.