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 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 070 – Nobody Gonna be Payin’ Us

Q and Jamon are back in the saddle and ready to discuss all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family! The fellas kick things off with some discussion around a previously unseen version of the Victory album cover, Michael’s influence across the hip-hop genre, Tito Jackson’s interview around unreleased Michael music and a recent Dee Dee Jackson Foundation and Heal Los Angeles Fundraiser. Q and Jamon then delve into the new Blood on the Dancefloor X Dangerous (The White Panda Mash-up) remix, Paris Jackson’s Melbourne Cup visit, Janet’s State of the World Tour and Out100 Gala appearance and Austin Brown’s new EP Canyon Sessions. To round out the news, the boys update listeners on Katherine Jackson’s position as guardian of Bigi ‘Blanket’ Jackson, Mike Smallcombe and Andy Healy’s book announcements and the Dangerous World Tour (Live in Oslo) leak. The main discussion topic for this episode is all around Q and Jamon’s thoughts on the CBS TV special Michael Jackson’s Halloween.

P.s. We apologise for the audio issues on Jamon’s vocal throughout this episode. He needs a new mic chord!

News

  • Michael Whelan, illustrator of the Victory album cover, has revealed two early concepts for the design
  • MJ’s influence across hip-hop video
  • Tito Jackson gives an interview around unreleased Michael Jackson music
  • Dee Dee Jackson/Heal Los Angeles fundraiser event takes place at Hayvenhurst for Halloween
  • Sony have released a new mash-up video for Blood on the Dance Floor X Dangerous (The White Panda Mash-up)
  • Paris Jackson visits Australia for the Melbourne Cup and suffers terrible treatment by Australian media, and also some great media here, here and here.
  • Janet Jackson attends official LA #SOTW Tour after-party and performs at Hollywood Bowl with Jackson’s in attendance. Reunites with previous dancers for If, Scream & Rhythm Nation medley.
  • Janet Jackson honoured with the 2017 music icon award at the Out100 Gala
  • Austin Brown releases a new EP titled Canyon Sessions
  • Katherine Jackson resigns as guardian of Bigi Jackson
  • Mike Smallcombe is set to release a revised version of Making Michael
  • Andy Healy’s Bad 30 101 is available for download
  • Michael Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour (Live in Oslo, 1992) has leaked
  • LaVelle Smith Jr shares footage of Michael’s 2002 “A Night at the Apollo” lip-synced performance of Heal the World
  • Stance launches official Thriller socks range
  • Director John Singleton shares memories of working with Michael
  • Jermaine Jackson performs on Dutch TV show Tijd voor MAX as well as engaging in some interviews while in the Netherlands.

Main Discussion Topic

  • Michael Jackson’s Halloween

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Episode 069 – C Q&A

Jamon and Q have gone AWOL and left yours truly alone at mission control. Yep, that’s right, I’ve been let loose, unsupervised, for only the second time in the show’s history. So firstly, and most importantly, discerning listeners can rest assured that this week’s show is a remix-free zone. Collect your P45s and go peddle your blib-blobs and doof-doof-doofs elsewhere, cretinous vandals of the MJ sphere; Charles is in charge and believe me, your services have never been less required than they are today.

The remixes are out on their ear and so is any pretence at balance. There’ll be no benefits of the doubt for Sony and the Estate this week; no polite swerving of awkward topics and no filter. Strap yourselves in for two hours of unfiltered truth as I answer listeners’ questions about everything from the AEG wrongful death trial to the darkest days of Michael’s career to the politics of the MJ fan community.

We received more than 40 questions. I answered as many as I could but by the end of the recording, as you’ll hear, my voice was getting raggedy and it was time for bed. If your question didn’t get answered, perhaps I’ll answer it in my next Q&A – assuming Jamon and Q ever allow me near the mic again without a chaperone.

NB. I did answer two questions from @whogrl on Instagram, but a recording error meant they had to be cut from the show. Sorry @whogrl. That’s What You Get For Being mad enough to let me record solo, Jamon & Q.

The questions answered were as follows:

From Lachlan Bradbury on Facebook:

  • You’ve mentioned in the past your dissatisfaction with Invincible. Why do you think it’s one of Jackson’s weaker works, and what do you believe would have made it a stronger album?
  • Do you believe that the affiliation between Michael Jackson, his catalogue, his ‘vault’, etc, and Sony will ever come to an end, given the current state of Jackson’s Estate? What do you think would lead to Sony and the Estate parting ways?

From Debbii Longshaw on Facebook:

  • Do you believe that the media’s attitude to Michael is really softening over the years?
  • What is your honest belief in regards to Michael’s death?
  • What are your thoughts in regards to John Branca and that will, along with the undervaluing of Michael’s Estate and the whole IRS thing?

From Carley Swan on Facebook:

  • If MJ was still here with us and you had a chance to ask him a question, what would it be?

From Andrew Sly on Facebook:

  • What is your favourite MJ book, author and why?
  • What are your top five Michael tunes and why did you choose them?

From Q (The MJCast co-host):

  • What is a perfect day for Charles Thomson?

From  G-o Meter on Facebook:

  • What impression did you get when you first saw MJ appear at the conference to announce This Is It? When I first saw it I thought this is not MJ, this is an impersonator. And in my view, this was the first time his ‘I love you’ sounded dishonest.
  • Why do you think Conrad Murray still walks this earth unharmed?

From Ryan Michaels on Facebook:

  • On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being horrible and 10 being magnificent, would you give the performance of Blood on the Dance Floor, where Michael lays down on the stage, a 9 or a 10?

From @michaeljosephmusic on Instagram:

  • Charles, don’t you think it’s better to look at everything Michael did (at least as an artist) positively?

From L Josefin (@LiJosefin on Twitter):

  • What do you think are some of the most cringe-worthy decisions Michael made in his later years?

From Elaine Holloway (@lovemj829 on Twitter):

  • Do you think MJ’s mother had a case against AEG? If so, why didn’t she win against them?
  • Do you think he was murdered by Sony? If not, who?

From Bruce Aguilar (@yensid98 on Twitter):

  • What’s your least favourite MJ song from each of his solo albums?

From Jamon (The MJCast co-host):

  • Talk to us about what you do for a living. What have you been most proud of in your line of work as an investigative journalist?

From Bongani (@Bongani_md on Twitter):

  • What would you say to folks who are of the view that you come across too harsh on Mike at times?

From J.D. (@MixingHistory on Twitter):

  • How did you get involved with Q and Jamon?

From Azmat Mahmood (@azmatmahmood98 on Twitter):

  • Would MJ have ascended to the top if he had never worked with Quincy Jones?
  • Which songs would you have wanted MJ to perform live on his tours that he never did?

From Liam (@wceliam on Twitter):

  • If MJ survived, how would This Is It have played out and the years after for MJ, in your opinion?
  • At what point did you realise that the Estate are fucking trash?

From Bella (@bellapopov on Twitter):

  • How did you react when MJ passed away? I don’t think you’ve shared your June 25, 2009, story.
  • Why do you think there is so much wilful delusion and denial in the MJ fan community? How can we combat this?

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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. Michael on!

Episode 068 – Thriller Night Special with Ola Ray

Thirty-five years after Thriller album’s release, Michael Jackson’s titular short film remains a Halloween staple. To mark the anniversary, Q and Jamon are joined on this special episode by none other than Michael’s Thriller co-star, Ola Ray.

In 1983, it seemed like every young woman wanted to be Ola Ray, strutting hand-in-hand with the King of Pop at the zenith of his career. But in this exclusive chat with The MJCast, Ola talks about the dark side of Hollywood. Among her revelations is that she was high the first time she joined Michael on the set of the video.

After discussing her brief friendship with Michael – including the last time she ever saw him – Ola speaks of her annoyance and not being invited to Sony/Estate events organised to mark Thriller’s 35th anniversary, and also gives an insight into her ongoing legal action against the Estate over its alleged failure to pay her the royalties demanded by her contract.

Additionally, Ola gives listeners a preview of her upcoming book, The Thrill Of It All, in which she says she will spill the beans about her time as one of Hugh Hefner’s playmates and – in the wake of the recent litany of allegations against various powerful men in Hollywood – claims she will expose how she was taken advantage of as a young, aspiring actress.

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Episode 062 – They Didn’t Need an Expert to Say That

Jamon is back from his paternity leave, rejoining Q to co-host Episode 062 after a few months off. They are joined by recurring guest host and legal correspondent Charles Thomson, plus lifelong MJ fan Angela Kande. Charles and Angela discuss their recent visits to Santa Maria, Forest Lawn and the Jacksons’ 50th Anniversary Tour, before helping Jamon and Q dissect all of the latest MJ and Jackson family news.

After the news, Jamon and Q first delve into Angela’s fan story, where she shares some of her most vivid memories from the ‘frontline’ of MJ fandom in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to attending the HIStory Tour in 1997 and the World Music Awards in 2006, Angela spent time at Michael’s hotels and other places he visited during his trips to the UK. She recalls the lows (like witnessing a photographer assault Michael outside a recording studio) and the highs (like bagging a seat right behind Michael at a London theatre) of her time spent in Michael’s orbit. She also discusses the origins of her spoken word poem ‘Legacy’, about the impact of Michael’s death on his fan community.

The hosts then turn their attention to Charles. Despite first appearing on the MJCast in Episode 002 and having been a frequent contributor ever since, Jamon and Q recently realised they had never asked Charles some of the key questions they usually ask guests during their first appearances on the show. What begins as a simple interview about Charles’ favourite songs, albums, videos and concerts turns into an emotional discussion about what Michael means to his fans – and the wider world – and how the fan community must fight for his legacy as his Estate allows it to crumble.

This episode marks Angela’s first ‘live’ appearance on the MJCast, although she did appear as one of Charles’ interviewees in his World Music Awards 10th Anniversary Special last year.

News

  • Michael’s Estate announces a one-off cartoon, ‘Michael Jackson’s Halloween’, featuring ‘reimagined’ versions of his music.
  • A 3D version of Thriller, plus the Making of Thriller documentary, are to be shown at the Venice Film Festival.
  • Producer Teddy Riley, a major contributor to Michael’s Dangerous album, discusses his time in the studio with Michael in a new two-and-a-half interview.
  • Remixed by Nick* has made a large number of his Michael Jackson remixes available for download.
  • Jimmy Safechuck’s posthumous demands for money over alleged abuse by Michael have been thrown out of court by a judge, and Wade Robson’s case looks set to follow.
  • Quincy Jones has been awarded more than $9million by a jury after he sued the Michael Jackson Estate for underpaying him.
  • An attempt by Frank Cascio to auction a CD of fake Michael Jackson songs for upwards of $50,000 has been called off – but the disc remains available for private sale.
  • Jermaine Jackson performs at the grand finale of BBC talent contest Pitch Battle.
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller has been used as the soundtrack to the new trailer for Stranger Things – Season Two, after producers were eventually able to secure the rights
  • Michael Jackson’s Estate has granted Sony, a company Michael despised, continued permission to control the licensing of his music.
  • New transcripts from the class action lawsuit over the release of fake Michael Jackson songs reveal a judge has accused lawyers for Sony, MJJ Productions and the MJ Estate of throwing their co-defendants under a bus by conceding they may have been duped into selling bogus material.
  • Michael’s son Prince has produced a music video for Swedish singer Nano.
  • FIlmmaker Spike Lee has announced his latest Brooklyn Loves MJ street party.
  • The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has added new Michael Jackson exhibits to its collection.

Main Discussion Topic

  • Angela and Charles’ fan stories

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Episode 043 – Thriller Night Special feat. CJ DeVillar

episode-043-2016-thriller-night-special-feat-cj-devillar-show-art

Happy Thriller Night! To celebrate Halloween 2016, Q and Jamon are joined by host of fellow Michael Jackson podcast Moonwalk Talks, Jankins along with bassist, studio engineer and MJ collaborator CJ DeVillar. CJ collaborated with Michael on a range of songs including the unreleased and authentic version of Monster (which we discuss in detail on this episode), Blue Gangsta, A Place With No Name, Break of Dawn and multiple tracks on the HIStory album.

To kick things off, Jamon and Q spring an impromptu interview on Jankins, followed by a discussion around all the latest news in the MJ world. Topics include the recent and unfortunate passing of Thriller songwriter Rod Temperton, a new Michael Jackson project as revealed by John Landis and Nick Amideo’s Monster Movie Mash video. The team then discuss Travis DeRose’ marathon moonwalk across Europe, a competition around Smooth Criminals – The Songs of Michael Jackson and a new dance video set to Black or White. The news is capped off through an update on the Sony/ATV acquisition and a brand new book coming from The Jacksons called The Jacksons: Legacy. The main discussion topic for this episode is a chronological exploration into Michael’s horror themed work.

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Episode 038 – Michael It’s Your Birthday, Happy Birthday Michael

Episode 038 - Michael It's Your Birthday, Happy Birthday Michael Show Art

Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson! On this special birthday episode of The MJCast, we are joined by dear friend James Alay. Aside from also being a Michael Jackson megafan, James has worked with us over the past couple of years in making The MJCast a reality by contributing his technical expertise. Thank-you, James! In Episode 038 we kick things off by discussing Quincy Jones recently being honoured by the BBC during Proms, Spike Lee’s 6th annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson event, a never-before-heard MJ song called Family Thing and Taryll Jackson’s new website, music and upcoming podcast. We then discuss the new 2017 official Michael Jackson calendar, 3T’s first Power of Love radio show, Paris Jackson’s thoughts on Kanye West breaking one of Michael’s records and Rihanna receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient at this year’s MTV awards. Our main discussion topic this week is all around James’ fan story and his favourite MJ products. We hope you enjoy this episode of the internet’s premiere podcast on all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.

News

  • Quincy Jones has been honoured in England this year by BBC’s Proms.
  • Spike Lee honours Michael Jackson with the 6th annual Michael Jackson block party Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson.
  • Brad Sundberg releases a promo video for In the Studio With MJ feature the never-before-heard song Family Thing as background audio.
  • Taryll Jackson launches his new website, debut’s new music and has a podcast on the way.
  • Michael Jackson’s official 2017 calendar gets Dangerous!
  • Taj, Taryll and TJ Jackson of 3T host their first Power of Love radio show on LA Talk Radio, sponsored by their Dee Dee Jackson Foundation.
  • Paris Jackson responds to an MJ fan on social media around Kanye west beating one of her father’s records.
  • Rihanna is set to receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.

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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.comKeep Michaeling!

Episode 026 – Diana Walczak Special

Episode 026 - Diana Walczak Special YouTube Art

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Welcome to The MJCast’s first special episode for Season Two, a conversation with none other than filmmaker, artist and Michael Jackson collaborator, Diana Walczak. Before working with the King of Pop, Diana first came to the technology and entertainment industry’s attention when pioneering computer generated imagery in the late 1980’s for Marvel Comics. Following this, Diana began innovating through creating some of the first CGI humans in live action films.

It was in 1994 that Diana had the opportunity to work as a sculptor for Michael Jackson himself when Sony commissioned her to create what has now come to be known as the iconic HIStory Statue. This amazing sculpture of Michael features on his seminal 1995 album, HIStory – Past, Present and Future, Book I and depicts him in his opening pose from the Dangerous World Tour. The statue itself has come to represent Michael’s glory as the King of Pop not only in our hearts as fans, but in physical locations around the world where ten metre versions of the statue from the HIStory era still stand today.

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In this conversation you will hear all about Diana’s life as an artist and filmmaker, her work with Michael Jackson and her current artistic and philanthropic endeavours. This truly is a masterclass in Diana’s artistic endeavours and her own HIStory as a Michael Jackson collaborator. We also discuss her official product line, The Diana Walczak Collection from which 60% of proceeds are being put aside for a permanent Michael Jackson HIStory monument for fans all over the world to visit. Please take a moment to explore Diana’s official product line, there you will find a the HIStory police embroidered patch which is inspired by the patch Michael is wearing on his right arm in the HIStory statue and the stunning heather HIStatue t-shirt! Make sure to get your hands on these limited edition products to support Diana and her vision to further Michael’s legacy through her own art. We hope you enjoy this special episode of the internet’s premiere podcast on all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.

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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.comMichael on!

Episode 025 – Right Place, Right Time… Black Magic

Episode 025 - Right Place, Right Time... Black Magic YouTube Art

On this episode of The MJCast, there’s plenty of news and discussion on Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. Jamon and Q are joined by Paul Black, a long time Michael Jackson fan and Q’s first ever ‘MJ mate’. Paul’s been fortunate to have had some great Michael Jackson experiences, both here in Australia and in Los Angeles, including meeting Michael, doubling for Michael, and singing a Michael Jackson song on stage with none other than the legendary PrinceIn this episode, the guys talk about Miguel’s performance of She’s Out of My Life at the Grammy’s, some rough cut Captain EO leaks, more ‘making of’ footage leaks from the set of Black or White and Ghosts, a new snippet of Michael Jackson’s Ghosts (including never before heard ad lib vocals), the passing of Jackson family friend Majestik Magnificent, Donald Trump’s ‘interesting’ thoughts on his friendship with Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson’s future performance at the Dubai World Cup, why the Michael Jackson Estate is suing the owner of KingOfPop.com and Quincy Jones‘ lawsuit against the Estate and Sony going to trial in June.

This episode’s main discussion topic is all around friend of the show Paul Black and his experiences with Michael Jackson, seeing Michael live and even meeting him.Thanks so much for listening to the internet’s premiere podcast on all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. We hope you enjoy this episode of The MJCast!

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Discussion Topic

  • Paul Black’s Michael Jackson experiences

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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.comKeep Michaeling!