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 Michael on his 21st birthday, interview with Leonard Pitts Jr, 1979

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Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Michael on his 21st birthday, interview with Leonard Pitts Jr, 1979   Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:25 pm

Interview with Leonard Pitts Jr, 1979

I got to interview Michael Jackson only once, at the family home in Encino, Calif.

This was on the occasion of his 21st birthday, and I remember thinking that for a guy approaching a milestone, he didn’t seem very happy. Truth is, he seemed tired. Not from fatigue or exertion.
It was an existential tired, as if he felt worn down by the simple act of being.

I remember Jackson did not walk about the place so much as haunt it, slumping from room to room as a great weight rested upon his sparrow shoulders.

He complained to me that he was lonely, told me how he wandered the streets outside the security gate sometimes, late at night, just looking for someone to talk to. I took it for image-making hyperbole until a friend of mine, singer Sam Moore of the old duo Sam & Dave, told me about driving through Encino one night and finding Michael, just walking.

One other memory from that interview: Michael was telling me in that soft, fey voice of his how some girl had climbed the security fence and been found wandering the property early one morning. She was lucky, he said, that the dogs were not out because they’d have eaten her alive. Moments later, by way of illustration, he took me to see the dogs in question.

We were standing before a pen in which the canines were lounging. And Michael said, “Pretend you’re attacking me.” I said, Beg pardon? He repeated it: “Pretend you’re going to attack me.” So I did as he said, hesitantly raising my hands toward his throat. In an instant the dogs had gone zero to bloodlust, barking and snarling, climbing the fence and trying to chew through the chainlinks. Suddenly, I was doing a statue imitation and wondering if I had soiled myself. Michael was laughing his head off.

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