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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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.

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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

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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.

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  • Michael Jackson – She Got It

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Episode 078 – That was a Q-incidence

Jamon and Q are excited to dig into a big news roundup this week, with lots of developments in the world of Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. They cover the outcome of the Moonwalkers documentary on Kickstarter, a new book publishing this Fall by Richard Lecocq and Francois Allard, and news from Will.i.am regarding music he worked on with MJ. They also discuss the new Bad World Tour concert footage released by the Indy Channel, and Bryan Loren’s public plea to fans for monetary compensation regarding his leaked tracks.

On the Jackson family events front, Janet Jackson has announced additional tour dates (and launched a national back-up dancer search!) and will be headlining a major music festival in Los Angeles this summer. The Jacksons will perform at the Detroit Music Weekend, a three day festival celebrating their impact and legacy. And, in Tulsa, OK, a Michael Jackson Tribute event will be held on June 24, hosted by Jankins of Moonwalk Talks.

Jamon and Q will also discuss the news from 3T, who have released their Chapter III song, “Fire”, as a single in France. And on TV, La Toya Jackson dons her beloved classic headband on the reality show, “Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition”. Plus, Paris Jackson has a star-studded 20th birthday bash, and gets some well-deserved attention for the important work she’s doing on the activist front by publishing an op-ed in Teen Vogue about HIV/AIDS awareness. Paris will receive the LIFE+ award on behalf of her godmother, Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS foundation, at the 25th Life Ball this June.

This episode also features several of our correspondents, including Steven Hodges of MJFFC (Charity Correspondent), Charles Thomson (Legal Correspondent), and Janneke van der Linden of Jackson Source (Jackson family Correspondent).

News

  • Richard Lecocq and Francois Allard are set to release a new book on Michael Jackson titled Michael Jackson – All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Song, Every Video, Every Dance Move.
  • Will.i.am again tells reporters he won’t be releasing the songs he worked on with Michael Jackson.
  • The Indy Channel has released a retrospective article on Michael’s final performance in Indianapolis featuring never-before-seen footage from the Bad World Tour.
  • Record producer Bryan Loren has released a plea to Michael Jackson fans asking for monetary compensation regarding his many leaked tracks
  • Upcoming Michael Jackson Tribute event, Sunday, 24 June 2018, Tulsa Oklahoma, held by Jankins of the Moonwalk Talks podcast. Games, trivia, movies, dance, art, prizes and charity, tickets are $10, or $5 for 14 and under.
  • Paris Jackson Said Goodbye to Her Teens with a Star-Studded 20th Birthday Bash
  • Paris writes inspiring op-ed piece for Teen Vogue magazine on why HIV/AIDS awareness is close to her heart, and also will receive the LIFE+ award on behalf of her godmother, Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS foundation at the 25th Life Ball, June 2 charity event in Vienna.
  • The Jacksons are set to participate in Detroit Music Weekend, a three day festival celebrating their impact and legacy
  • 3T to release their Chapter III song, “Fire”, as a single in France.
  • La Toya Jackson participates in the new season of “Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition”
  • Janet Jackson to perform at LA’s FYF Fest in July
  • Janet Jackson launches #DanceWithJanet campaign, and announces further dates for her successful State of the World tour.
  • Will Smith shares his story of the one time he met Michael Jackson.

Main Discussion Topic

  • Random fan chat!

Finds of the Week

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Episode 077 – Let’s Make HIStory Special with Brice Najar

Q flies solo today, welcoming returning guest Brice Najar back on the show, along with his wonderful wife, Laetitia Latouche. Brice is well-known in the Michael Jackson community for his books on The Jacksons and the King of Pop, but this discussion is focused on his most recent book, Let’s Make HIStory. Najar’s book goes into detail about the recording of Michael’s brilliant HIStory album. Based around interviews with key collaborators, the book is a comprehensive and fascinating look into the creation of a masterpiece.

Q, Brice, and Laetitia discuss what makes Let’s Make HIStory an important contribution to Michael Jackson literature, why the HIStory era is of particular significance, what it was like to interview collaborators, the process of getting this book published, and surprises that Brice discovered along the way. Brice and Laetitia also talk about MJ Music Day in France, and how that event came together.

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Episode 076 – MJ101 Special: Thriller 35

In celebration of the recent 35th anniversary of Thriller and the accompanying MJ101 eBook, Jamon and Q have returning guests Andy Healy and Chris Lacy back on the show for an in-depth, track-by-track discussion of the album for the first special episode of Season Four.

Andy, creator of the free MJ101 eBook series, and Chris, a long-time fan, dancer and Albumism contributor, share their insights and stories alongside Jamon and Q as they take a deep dive into the world of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Thriller remains the world’s best-selling album and has inspired more than three decades worth of iconic dance moves and fashion. Through this discussion of each track, the guys get to the heart of how Thriller changed pop culture, and the world.

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