Episode 087 – Happy 60th Birthday MJ!

On this episode celebrating Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday, Q, Elise and Jamon go on a trip down memory lane with special guest Sean Fitzgerald, who was part of the team who ran The Magic World of Michael Jackson Fan Club in the U.S. from 1989-1995. Sean recreates the incredible moments he experienced during this golden era for MJ fans, such as attending Michael’s fabled Bad World Tour shows at Madison Square Garden and having front-row access to the filming of MTV’s 10th Anniversary Special, where Michael performed Black or White and Will You Be There for the first time. He also talks about the infamous 1995 HBO Beacon Theatre show that was cancelled when Michael fell ill and organising ‘MichaelFest’ fan gatherings.

Plus, Sean goes into detail about his fan club’s very positive relationship with MJJ Productions, who invited Sean and other fan club organizers to their LA office on multiple occasions. Sean also gives interesting insight into how the fan community was organised pre-internet, and how that time contrasts to the online community today.

Sean Fitzgerald is based in New York, and now works in marketing. He’s been married to his high-school sweetheart (who is also an MJ fan!) for 27 years, and they have five children together. Sean is also very active in Church ministries (prison ministry, youth ministry and bible study) and has multiple degrees in Theology. He still has many very personal items from his collection of MJ memorabilia, including a range of items signed personally from Michael Jackson.

The MJCast can’t imagine a better way to celebrate sixty years of Michael than with these fantastic memories.

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Episode 086 – Dick Zimmerman Special

Q and Jamon are excited to welcome to the show renowned photographer and artist Dick Zimmerman, best known in the Michael Jackson fan community for his iconic portrait of Michael used for the Thriller album cover, which is said to be the most distributed portrait in history.

Zimmerman, known as ‘The Image Maker’, has, in over 45 years as an artist, captured the images of a wide range of celebrated entertainers, dignitaries and politicians, including everyone from Jane Fonda, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Mick Jagger, Robin Williams and of course, La Toya, Janet and Michael Jackson.

Originally from New York, Zimmerman studied painting at the School of Visual Arts, the Parsons School of Design, New York University, the Brooklyn Museum, and throughout Europe, including the Musee D’orsay. His work has been featured in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, CNN, NBC’s ‘The Today Show’, ABC’s ‘Access Hollywood’, ‘Dr. Drew’ and more.

The guys chat with Zimmerman about his background as an artist, the concept development behind the Thriller cover, working with Michael, and his new DVD package, ‘Memories of Michael, the Thriller Cover Session Interview’.

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Thoughts on Sony…

As Sony Music issues an email to retailers calling Michael Jackson the ‘self-proclaimed King of Pop’ and referring to him as ‘Jacko’, The MJCast’s Jamon Bull explores the star’s troubled relationship with the label.

In the summer of 2002, Michael Jackson put his career on the line. Taking the stage on July 9th, at the headquarters of Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem, New York, Jackson was the main speaker at an event titled “Equality for Blacks in the Music World”. Standing shoulder to shoulder with a host of musicians, producers and music executives, the King of Pop accused the record industry of racism and corruption, alleging a ‘conspiracy’ to create a systemic disadvantage for black artists signed to major record companies, including himself. His childhood heroes – game-changing artists whose innovations continued to inspire new generations – were never adequately compensated, he lamented.

“It’s very sad to see that these artists really are penniless,” he told the crowd. “They created so much joy for the world and the system, meaning, the record companies, totally took advantage of them. And it’s not like they always say, you know, ‘They built a big house, they spent a lot of money, they bought a lot of cars’. That’s stupid. That’s just an excuse. That’s nothing compared to what artists make [for the record labels]. I’m really, really tired of the manipulation. I’m tired of how the press is manipulating everything that’s been happening in this situation. They do not tell the truth.”

The July 9th event was the third time in less than a month that Jackson had excoriated the music industry in a public speech – and the media reaction to the previous two had been unkind. His latest album, Invincible, had sold just over five-million copies since its release eight months earlier – a colossal hit for any other artist, but below what Jackson, his label and the media had come to expect from the King of Pop. The project had been branded a ‘flop’ and a public war of words had broken out between the artist and the label.

Sony claimed it had spent twenty-six million dollars on promotion but that Jackson had demanded unjustifiable sums for music videos and refused to travel or tour to boost sales. Jackson countered that Sony was lying about how much it had spent, saying he believed the label was deliberately sabotaging the project to ensure it made a loss, so executives could try to seize his fifty per cent share in the company’s music publishing catalogue as payment for the debt. Sony’s former vice president Cory Rooney would later say in an interview that Jackson had been correct all along.

His trip to New York had come shortly after a visit to London, where he had demonstrated outside Sony’s UK headquarters with fans and, on June 15th, delivered a speech claiming the label was trying to sabotage him.

“Being the artist that I am at Sony, I’ve generated several billion dollars for Sony,” he said. “I’m leaving Sony a free agent, owning half of Sony… and they’re very angry at me because, well, I just did good business, you know? So the way they get revenge is to try and destroy my album.”

“Michael’s going gangsta today!” one excited fan screamed.

But he wasn’t done. On July 6th, he took to the stage at the National Action Network for the first time and ramped up the pressure on Sony, this time making a potentially industry-shaking claim – that the company’s CEO, Tommy Mottola, was a racist.

“The record companies really, really do conspire against their artists,” he told an assortment of national and international news crews. “They steal, they cheat, they do whatever they can. Especially the black artists. Sony, Tommy Motolla is the president of the record division. He is mean, he is a racist and he is very, very, very devilish… Tommy Motolla made some very racist remarks. What he said was, to one of the artists who worked at Sony, who has a contract with the record company – he called him a ‘fat, black n****r’.”

The comments sent shockwaves throughout both the record industry and the media. One can’t underestimate just how bold an act this was for Jackson. He wasn’t just attacking one of the most important men in the recording industry, but as a board member of Sony Music and fifty per cent owner of its publishing empire, he was blowing the whistle on his own company, which he had helped to build.

But what fans saw as Michael’s ’emancipation’ moment, the media appeared to consider as little more than an uppity black man playing the race card. The media scolded Jackson for daring to bite the hand that fed him.

Sony issued a statement calling Jackson’s allegations ‘ludicrous’, ‘spiteful’, ‘hurtful’, ‘unfounded’, ‘unwarranted’ and ‘a serious abuse of the power that comes with celebrity’. Suggesting Jackson was mentally unstable, the company he co-owned stated: “The bizarre, false statements Mr Jackson made on Saturday make it clear that his difficulties lie elsewhere than with the marketing and promotion of Invincible.”

According to several media outlets, Sony sources began briefing off-the-record that the real reason Invincible hadn’t sold well was because Jackson was perceived as a child molester – although that would fail to explain the far greater sales of other Jackson projects released subsequent to his having been accused in 1993 of abuse. The New York Daily News quoted one anonymous executive saying: “Charges of pedophilia have really spooked a lot of American record buyers.”

The Washington Post accused Jackson of ‘pulling the race card’ because his career was ‘sliding into the abyss’. It said ‘riled up’ Sony execs were briefing the media that Jackson was a ‘weirdo’ and a ‘pouty diva’. Mocking Jackson’s skin condition vitiligo, WPGC-FM radio DJ joked that Jackson’s next song should be, ‘Say It Loud, I’m Vanilla and I’m Proud’. Michael Miller, at Columbus Business First, branded Jackson ‘a flaky, spoiled has-been, more famous for his plastic surgery than his music’.

The New York Post’s Eric Fettmann said Jackson’s ‘wild charges’ had made for a ‘bizarre spectacle’, particularly given Jackson was ‘racially androgynous’: “[Jackson] has made millions upon millions of dollars, but now plays the race card in a desperate attempt to deal with his declining popularity and precariously dwindling finances.”

The media backlash was so severe that even Al Sharpton distanced himself from Jackson’s comments, saying: “I have known Tommy for fifteen or twenty years, and never once have I known him to say or do anything that would be considered racist.”

But the suggestion that Jackson’s gripe with Sony was rooted in poor sales of his album Invincible was disingenuous. The first sign of tensions between the two appeared in an interview Jackson conducted with a fan magazine, Black and White, in 1998. The star and his interviewer were discussing his 1997 album Blood on the Dancefloor, which – despite fairly recent allegations of child abuse – had broken a Guinness World Record to become the biggest selling remix album of all time.

Asked whether he liked the remixes, Jackson responded that he didn’t: “The least I can say is that I don’t like them. I don’t like that they come in and change my songs completely. But Sony says that the kids love remixes.”

Upon hearing from the fan that the fans didn’t really like remixes, Jackson reportedly threw a fist in the air, then sighed and shook his head, muttering: “I knew it. I was sure.”

In the next few years, as he recorded Invincible, relations between the artist and label worsened – particularly between Jackson and Mottola. According to a source who spoke to Rolling Stone magazine, Mottola became somewhat obsessed with Jackson, hiring spies to monitor his activities. The source was quoted as saying: “The minute Michael would get close to anyone, Tommy would hire a detective to investigate him.”

Jackson was even seen crying in the studio during recording sessions Mottola would visit. Music producer Bryan Loren recently sat down with The MJCast for a podcast interview and discussed how emotionally disturbed Jackson would become when Mottola showed up at the studio.

“I watched him go through a bunch of stuff even while I was with him… I watched Tommy Mottola dig in on him because he wanted to get the record done. We were working on Dangerous and I watched Tommy dig in on him. I didn’t see it. You know, Tommy came to the studio, went in the room, they were in the room for ten minutes, he came out and left and when Michael came out he was crying.”

Jackson’s aversion to Sony continued long after 2002, until his death – again undermining any suggestion that it was, as Sony called it at the time, a mere ‘publicity stunt’. Bodyguard Javon Beard said of Jackson’s final years: “His hatred of Sony was on a whole other level. One day, Mr. Jackson told us he wanted some headphones to listen to music while he walked on the treadmill. One of the other security guys went out and got him a pair. I was in the house less than a week later, and I saw that they’d been broken in half. These things weren’t dropped. They were broken on purpose. I picked them up and saw they were Sony headphones. I wouldn’t have bought him anything that said Sony on it, but whoever purchased them probably wasn’t aware of the situation.”

In terms of knowing exactly what Michael stood for, the 2000’s was simply not a confusing for Michael Jackson fans. It was a trying time perhaps, seeing their hero so embattled, but not confusing. Jackson was actively protesting Sony. And so did his fans. They saw him bravely waving protest placards above an open top bus, wearing a bullet proof vest. It was a call to arms, and fans proudly defended their hero through boycotts. Many still do.

In 2009, Jackson was tragically killed whilst rehearsing for his sold out London concert residency. Months after his homicide, the executors of his Estate sold him straight back to the very company he’d despised and spent the last seven years boycotting. Just over a year after his manslaughter, Sony released its first posthumous album – of remixes – to extreme criticism. Acting directly against the express wishes of his grieving relatives, studio collaborators and fans, Sony included three fake Michael Jackson songs, sung by a white vocal impersonator, on the album’s track-list. That incident remains the subject of ongoing litigation, in which Sony and Jackson’s Estate have conceded that the tracks are likely fake – but they continue to sell them.

Now – eight years after the Cascio fiasco, and sixteen years after Jackson’s anti-Sony protests, the label continues to disrespect him. Roughly a week ago, on July 23rd, a listener of our podcast leaked us an email from a high level executive at Sony Music Australia. This email, titled “SURPRISE: PRE-ORDER SETUP :: MICHAEL JACKSON PICTURE DISC VINYL RELEASES” contains extensive information around track-lists and “blurbs for websites” that wish to promote this new product. This collection of picture discs is a box set being released by Sony and Jackson’s Estate in celebration of his ‘diamond anniversary’.

Although there are a myriad of issues with this instructional email, there are two that can’t be overlooked. The author of this email provides the following information for retailers in describing the album Invincible:

“The question for a 42-year-old Michael Jackson heading towards the end of 2001 was whether or not the self-proclaimed King Of Pop could make his presence known on the charts after having spent much of the ’90s laying low. If the chart-topping position achieved by INVINCIBLE is any indication, then the answer is a resounding yes. The album is primarily produced by Jersey wunderkind Rodney Jerkins, and Jacko wasted no time tapping other top-flight artists and knob-twirlers to help out, including Teddy Riley, Babyface and R. Kelly.”

For a casual observer not averse to poking fun at Jackson as some kind of societal punching bag, the terms ‘self-proclaimed King of Pop’ and ‘Jacko’ may not appear particularly inflammatory. But for educated Michael Jackson fans, the use of this language by a company supposed to be representing Jackson’s interests is beyond incompetence. This belittling description was disseminated in an email by one of Sony’s highest paid employees. Their identity is being protected at the request of the person who leaked us the material.

The term ‘Jacko’ has long been a thorn in the side of Michael Jackson fans around the world. It was first used by British tabloid The Sun during the mid-to-late 80’s in the form of ‘Wacko Jacko’. This effort to paint Jackson as mentally ill and then mock him for it with a demeaning moniker stands in stark contrast to how the press have elevated white entertainment icons like Elvis and Bruce Springsteen, referring to them, respectively, as The King and The Boss. 

Using the term ‘Jacko’ wasn’t the first instance of The Sun publicly belittling a black luminary through attaching a derogatory title that calls into question their mental state. Following world boxing champion Frank Bruno’s retirement, and eventual mental health problems, the Sun ran a front page calling him ‘Bonkers Bruno’. The outcry was immediate, enormous and the paper had to change the front page for later editions and publicly apologise. Meanwhile, ‘Wacko Jacko’, also a slur on somebody for perceived mental health problems, continues to go totally unchallenged.

Michael Jackson himself made clear how hurtful he found the name ‘Jacko’ in a 1997 interview with Barbara Walters. When asked about the derogatory name, he passionately responded: “You should not say he’s ‘Jacko’. I’m not a Jacko. I’m Jackson… Yeah, Wacko Jacko. Where did that come from? Some English tabloid. I have a heart and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me. It’s not nice… Don’t do it. I’m not a wacko.”

Yet here we are in 2018, and his own record label is instructing music retailers to call Michael ‘Jacko’.

Sony’s instructional email also expressly tells retailers to call Michael Jackson the ‘self-proclaimed King of Pop’. Jackson himself refuted the allegation that he’d given himself this title, telling Oprah Winfrey in 1993: “I didn’t proclaim myself to be anything. I’m happy to be alive, I’m happy to be who I am. ‘King of Pop’ was first said by Elizabeth Taylor on one of the award shows.” In this instance, it’s likely that Jackson was actually wrong. The phrase ‘King of Pop’ was used to describe him as early as February 1985, by TV Guide.

The frustration for Michael Jackson fans with Sony’s album blurbs will not end with the use of this denigrating language. They are also riddled with errors. They claim that Jackson was ‘laying low’ in the 1990’s and that HIStory album includes the theme of suicide. The label even gets his age wrong and lists Leave Me Alone as being on the Bad vinyl when it actually isn’t.

Upon spotting these errors, The MJCast contacted the Sony executive who sent them out. Correspondence lasted several days. He seemed more interested in finding out the source of the leak than actually fixing the problems. Of course, the problems weren’t fixed, as retailers like JB Hi-Fi and Sanity are still using Sony’s descriptions on their websites.

In some handy investigative work, Richard Lecocq, co-author of ‘Michael Jackson: All the Songs – The Story Behind Every Track’, discovered that the text certainly didn’t originate from Sony, but was probably lifted from this website.

This has to stop. Sony and the Estate’s ongoing disregard for Michael Jackson must stop. They continue to sell fake songs on the Michael album. They continue to produce factually incorrect and ludicrous social media posts on their official accounts, including accidentally tweeting photos of impersonators, tweeting fabricated images and praising magazines who used the word ‘Jacko’. They continue to ignore fans’ wishes. And now, they’re actively calling Jackson a belittling name that he detested, while instructing major retailers to do the same. Michael Jackson didn’t protest this company in 2002 for nothing. He did it so his fans could rally behind him in demanding they treat him and all other black artists with the dignity they deserve.

To join us in expressing your frustration around this, email Sony Music Australia’s CEO at [removed] and tweet the company publicly at [removed] on Twitter. Demand that they contact music retailers and ask them to amend their advertisements to fix inaccuracies and remove the insulting names ‘Jacko’ and ‘self-proclaimed King of Pop’.

He’s not a Jacko. He’s Jackson.

Jamon Bull

Update (06/08/2018 5:50pm) – Gordon Pitt (General Manager of Sony Music Australia​, Legal & Business Affairs) has emailed The MJCast​ to apologise for errors in their marketing email and not correcting the language when I pointed it out to them. Sony has now contacted retailers who used the information to have it corrected. I can confirm that this is the case. JB Hi-Fi and Sanity have both updated their Invincible vinyl re-issue listings to remove offensive descriptions of Michael Jackson and factual errors. Thanks everyone in the fan community who raised their voices as one to fix this. Gordon has given us permission to share the below email.

Episode 085 – For all the YANA Lovers Out There?

After hosting four (epic!) back-to-back special episodes, Jamon takes a well-deserved break, handing the reins over to Q, Elise, and Damien Shields, who catch up on more than a month’s worth of MJ and Jackson Family news. They revisit The MJCast’s recent interview with Judith Hill, and look ahead to events planned for MJ’s birthday on August 29th, including a screening of Moonwalker at the British Film Institute, as well as developments around the Estate’s ‘Diamond Celebration’, which include partnering with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the release of a vinyl anthology box set.

In other news, Michael has been making appearances on tracks by major recording artists, including Christina Aguilera’s ‘Maria’, and Drake’s ‘Don’t Matter To Me’, which has earned Michael Jackson his 30th Hot 100 Top 10 Billboard hit. Plus, developments are in the works for a Broadway show based around Michael’s music, and Omer Bhatti reveals the long-rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork. In Jackson family news, Janet continues her big year by receiving the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards, and reports are circulating that she is collaborating with Bruno Mars, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on her new album. Lastly, be sure to check out the Michael Jackson Academic Studies courses, which have recently been made available for free online.

Q and Elise also get a chance to ask Damien about the revised and expanded edition of his book, Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault (previously titled Xscape Origins), and about the progress on his “A Truth Untold” project.

News

  • A new German-language book about Michael has been released, Make That Change: Michael Jackson: Botschaft und Schicksal eines spirituellen Revolutionärs (Message and Fate of a Spiritual Revolutionary) by Sophia Pade and Armin Risi.
  • Reports are circulating that Janet Jackson is to collaborate with Bruno Mars, as well as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for new album.
  • New Christina Aguilera song, “Maria, featuring an MJ sample.
  • The Michael Jackson Estate is set to partner with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation for Michael’s “Diamond” birthday celebration.
  • Janet Jackson receives the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards and gives another inspirational acceptance speech.
  • A Michael Jackson Broadway show may be coming in 2020, organised by the Estate and Columbia Live Stage.
  • New Drake song with previously-unreleased MJ vocals, “Don’t Matter to Me“, which has earned Michael his 30th “Hot 100 Top 10” Billboard hit.
  • London’s prestigious British Film Institute has announced a screening of Moonwalker on August 29th for Michael Jackson’s birthday.
  • The National Portrait Gallery has opened its Michael Jackson – On the Wall exhibition, which will be travelling to France later this year.
  • Fashion house Balmain launches its Spring 2019 Menswear collection featuring Michael Jackson-inspired designs from designer Olivier Rousteing.
  • SWG (Single White Glove) has released a new (10 minute long!) You Are Not Alone Extended Mix. Enjoy, YANA-heads!
  • Omar Bhatti reveals the long rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork.
  • MJAS have just made all their courses available for free.
  • MJ60 Birthday events: What’s happening? Let us know details! Organise something yourself!
  • Most of MJ’s albums are to be officially re-released as picture discs in a US$175 vinyl anthology box set. (No BOTDF!)
  • Elise shares a few Los Angeles MJ Week stories.

 Main Discussion Topic

Finds of the Week

  • Q – Soundtrack (iTunes) for the film “Love, Simon”, which features the Jackson 5 Christmas classic, “Someday at Christmas”. (Check out the film, it’s great!)
  • Elise – MJ FAQ by Kit O’Toole.
  • Damien – ?

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comKeep Michaeling!

Episode 084 – Judith Hill Special

Jamon and Charles host this week’s episode, and welcome a very special guest to the show; Grammy Award-winning soul and R&B star Judith Hill. Judith first captured the world’s attention in 2009, when she performed at Michael Jackson’s Staples Centre memorial service. Prior to Michael’s passing, she had been selected as the lead female soloist in Michael’s band for his ‘This Is It’ residency at the O2, and would have been his duet partner in every show. Those rehearsals are featured in the ‘This Is It’ film.

Judith has also toured with Stevie Wonder, Prince, Josh Groban, John Legend, and was a contestant on The Voice. She featured extensively in the Oscar-winning documentary ’20 Feet From Stardom’, and won a Grammy Award for her contributions to its soundtrack. In 2015, she released her fantastic debut solo album, ‘Back In Time’, produced by her friend and mentor, Prince. Judith has recently released her new funk-laden single The Pepper Club, which she’ll undoubtedly be performing her Summer Tour in Europe, which will run through this month. Judith has a new album and stage musical called Golden Child due later this year.

Jamon and Charles are thrilled to have this chance to discuss Judith’s memories about working with legends Michael Jackson and Prince, her experience as a recording artist, and her upcoming projects.

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Episode 083 – Reflections on Joseph Jackson Roundtable

On June 27th, 2018, the patriarch of the Jackson family, Joseph Walter Jackson, passed away. Jamon and Q welcome return guest Taj Jackson to discuss memories of his grandfather, and to set the record straight regarding the way the way the media has handled news of Joe’s passing. For this very special roundtable episode, the guys are also joined by The MJCast’s Jackson Family Correspondent, Janneke van der Linden, and Legal Correspondent, Charles Thomson.

Joe Jackson, also known as ‘The Hawk’, started life with a rough childhood in Arkansas. He married Katherine Scruse, and fathered ten children with her, all while working two jobs, one at a steel mill and another as a welder, imbuing his children with a love of music and performance. Joe quickly started managing his son’s blossoming musical careers, and, though he became known for ruling the group with an iron fist, loved ones say his fire only sprang from wanting the very best for his children. He pushed his sons to achieve greater and greater heights, from local talent shows, to national competitions, to Steeltown Records, Motown, and international stardom.

Joe was a complex and sometimes controversial figure, but he is remembered now, by his family members, for his amazing will and the sacrifices he made to help his sons reach incredible levels of success. He was also there for his son, Michael, through many of the hardest years of his life, particularly during the 2005 trial and in the lead up to Michael’s ill-fated This Is It tour.

The MJCast’s entire team offer their condolences to the Jackson family on their loss, and thank Taj for sharing his memories. May Joe rest in peace.

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Episode 082 – June 25th Special with Damien Shields and TJ

June 25th, 2018 marks the ninth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s tragic passing. Jamon and Q are joined by their long-time MJ mates, Damien Shields and TJ, to celebrate and honour the King of Pop. This episode is one of inevitable sadness, but also a time to share good memories and even a laugh or two. Friends since they were teenagers, the ‘Awesome Foursome’ reflect on their childhood fandoms, the birth of their friendship, and how they came up with the original seed of an idea that would become The MJCast. As this is TJ’s first time on the show, he tells his fan story. This episode also features memories about Michael Jackson from previous guests and correspondents, along with tribute songs.

Damien Shields last appeared on The MJCast way back in Season Two, though, as regular listeners know, his work is referenced often on the show. Damien is the author of the book Xscape Origins, runs A Truth Untoldwhich investigates the truth around the posthumous Michael album, and has published a wide range of articles related to Michael Jackson. He plans to release an updated version of Xscape Origins this year, and has some new projects in the works, as well.

TJ is an Aussie MJ fan best known for his “Aussie English translation” videos on YouTube. His open letter, “To The Bullies”, was featured in the 2011 book, It Gets Better, alongside a myriad of inspirational contributors such as Chaz Bono, Darren Hayes, Ellen Degeneres, and President Barack Obama. His latest video is a half hour documentary, “The Michael Jackson Trial: One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History”, based on the incredible article by Charles Thomson.

Main Discussion Topics

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.comKeep Michaeling!

Episode 081 – Vindication Day Special with Aphrodite Jones

The MJCast present their fourth annual special episode recognising Michael Jackson’s acquittal from false child molestation allegations on June 13th, 2005. On each of these annual episodes, The MJCast’s Legal Correspondent Charles Thomson along with hosts Jamon Bull and Q, bring a very special guest onto the show to discuss their experience with the trial that so deeply affected Jackson’s life.

A photograph originally used as evidence in Michael Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial.

In this year’s show, the guys welcome author of the newly released special edition of Michael Jackson Conspiracy, Aphrodite Jones. Aphrodite is a journalist and the author of several bestselling true crime books, one of which was turned into the Oscar-winning movie, Boys Don’t Cry. During Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial, Aphrodite initially found herself on the side of the prosecution. However, after the trial was over, she reassessed her stance, and admitted that she got it wrong. She went on to write one of the most comprehensive books about the trial, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, which includes a Foreword by Tom Mesereau. Self-published in 2007, the book went on to become a cult hit, and is being re-released in a new edition this week. Michael Jackson Conspiracy is the last book Aphrodite published, though she has gone on to be a successful true crime documentary host as well as host of her own podcast, called Sex, Love & Murder.

The new edition of the book features colour photos, exclusive links to footage of accuser Gavin Arvizo being led in a police interview, Michael Jackson discussing a children’s holiday with Martin Bashir and Neverland Valley Ranch during the trial era.

Jamon, Q, and Charles talk with Aphrodite about her early life, her experience being one of the few reporters given permanent seats in the courtroom throughout Jackson’s trial, how she fell under the pro-persecution spell and how she changed her mind. Topics also discussed include her interpretation of how the media handled the trial and how it impacted Michael in his final years.

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Aphrodite’s 2005 photograph of fan made posters from Michael Jackson’s criminal trial.

 

Episode 080 – A Good Kind of Weird

Jamon and Q have lots of exciting news and discussion items to get into in this week’s regular episode, including their anticipated follow-up chat about Jamon’s interview with Bryan Loren in Episode 079, which inspired strong reactions from listeners across social media. They get into their personal thoughts on that episode, and also talk about the MJ social media storm around Twitter’s #TweetLikeTheMJEstate.

In Jackson family news, the guys discuss the new Pepsi can design featuring Michael Jackson, as well as updates on La Toya (nope, she did not have a stroke!), Jackie Jackson’s new record label, and the upcoming Jacksons events in Detroit. And, of course, they celebrate Janet Jackson’s well-deserved ICON Award and incredible performance at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards.

In controversial news, an essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates, published in The Atlantic, causes quite a stir, leading Joe Vogel to respond with his own article in Forbes. Plus, the debut of the ABC documentary “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” has the fan community talking, and the Estate suing. And, Lenny Kravitz releases a new “duet” with Michael Jackson called “Low“.

Last, but certainly not least, the guys are thrilled to have J.D. from HIStory In The Mix with them on today’s show. J.D. is a massive fan (and very wise for his young age!) whose must-watch web-series chronicles the life and career of Michael Jackson. Jamon and Q will talk with J.D. about his fan story, history of his web-series, thoughts on Michael Jackson, the Estate, and more.

News

  • Michael Jackson features on new Pepsi can design and accompanying TV ad.
  • La Toya wins “Celebrity Worst Cooks in America” cooking challenges, and visits the Cannes film festival for the South Korean film, “Burning”.
  • La Toya and B. Howard feature together in the finally-released track “Let Me Know (Dimelo)”.
  • After all that, obviously La Toya did not have a stroke.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates publishes a controversial essay in The Atlantic, comparing Michael Jackson to Kanye West, to which Joe Vogel responds with his own article in Forbes.
  • Janet Jackson performs at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards and receives the ICON Award.
  • Janet Jackson opens up to Billboard in new interview.
  • A new ABC documentary “The Last Days of Michael Jackson” airs, not endorsed by his family nor his Estate Executors.
  • Jackie Jackson discusses his new record label, Critically Amused, and his signed artists.
  • The Jacksons receive a key to the city of Detroit, and get an honorary street renaming, as they are set to headline the Detroit Music Weekend, June 14/17.
  • Lenny Kravitz releases a new ‘duet’ with Michael Jackson, called “Low”.

Main Discussion Topic

Finds of the Week

Additional Links

Ad & Music Breaks

Correspondent Appearances

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.com. Michael on!

Episode 079 – Bryan Loren Special

As regular listeners of The MJCast know, Jamon and Q are sensitive to the delicate nature of leaks. While often thrilling for fans, they can profoundly affect the trajectory of a song, an album, and a career. In the case of renowned record producer, singer-songwriter, and instrumentalist Bryan Loren, much of his work with Michael Jackson, to which he dedicated years of hard work, leaked out to the public. Because of these unfortunate events, as well as other factors, Loren never got credit or compensation for much of the material he created. Loren is now inviting Michael Jackson fans to consider respectfully offering him a token of thanks, a voluntary sum of money through his website, along with a note on how we’ve enjoyed his music over the years.

In this week’s exclusive interview, Jamon, who is hosting solo, welcomes Season 4’s first musical collaborator special guest, Bryan Loren. Loren has worked as a producer with a number of notable artists, including Whitney Houston, Barry White, Sly Stone, Sting, and, of course, Michael Jackson. A talented musician at a young age, Loren was a professional session artist by age 15 and had signed his first contract at only 17. He had two Billboard-charting R&B songs in 1984 as a solo artist, including ‘Lollipop Luv’ and ‘Do You Really Love Me’. Loren started working with Michael Jackson in the years leading up to the release of the Dangerous album in 1991. They collaborated on several songs together, including, to name just a few, ‘Work That Body’, ‘Serious Effect’, ‘She Got It’, ‘Man In Black’, ‘Superfly Sister’, ‘Mind Is The Magic’ and ‘Do the Bartman’. Their collaborative relationship and friendship would last for many years beyond those early sessions. Loren continues to make his own music as a solo artist, and plans to release his new album in the Summer of 2018.

This week’s episode is a a tough but important discussion about the deep and complex impact that leaks and other events have had on Loren’s life and career. Ultimately, The MJCast hopes that this interview will inspire listeners to think about the rights of artists, and about where lines must be drawn.

Links

Music Breaks & Ads

  • Michael Jackson – Work That Body
  • Michael Jackson – Serious Effect
  • Do The Bartman
  • Michael Jackson – She Got It

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on the show, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.com. Keep Michaeling!