Loyalty meant the world to Michael Jackson and to him, a few people were as close or as trustworthy as Steve Manning. In 1970, Manning started out as the president of the Jackson 5 Fan Club and later became the group's devoted publicist at Epic Records. Manning's devoted relationship evolved into a 44- year relationship with Michael, who called him "brother." The Jacksons consider him as a member of the family. Manning shares memories about the friend who shared his life with the world, but who few people really knew.
Was Michael a good judge of character? Yes and No. Time really reveals what people want and what they are all about. There are some people [who] are not good people at all. It really hurt him deeply how people talked about him. So many people in Hollywood betrayed him, people he trusted. Hollywood turned on him. He was sensitive. You could not find a person who cared more about [other people's] suffering. [And so] he had to forgive. When you are a kind person and man of God like he was, [you have] to forgive. [He believed] holding grudges holds you down. He forgave, but he did not forget.
ON HIS LOVE OF READING
Whenever [the Jackson 5] traveled in the early days, they would always go to Black Bookstores in different cities. It would be Michael and his mom. People said he didn't know Black history, but he loved Black history. He loved "Before the Mayflower", by Lerone Bennet Jr. His parents always instilled Black history in him. He also loved Greek classics, fables, and Greek mythology.
ON FAVORITE PASTIMES
Sometimes he would drive by himself. He would say " Steve, come and ride with me." We would ride in his Mercedes or Rolls Royce. Just him and me. He wouldn't do the freeway. He wouldn't go too far without a bodyguard. He drive cautiously.
He liked fantasy, escapism,. He certainly could afford to escape. I believe [he did that] through movies, through the dancing, through the books. He loved films. Three Stooges and kid movies. We saw The King and I with Yul Brynner. He must have seen The Wiz on Broadway 100 times and Annie a million times
He also liked to draw. He sketches pictures during 9/11. He drew clowns, Mickey Mouse, children and captains. He liked to sketched.
ON JACKSON'S FAMILY'S REACTION
The family was overwhelmed and they loved Rev. Sharpton said to [Michael's] children. Katherine Jackson, especially, was extremely impressed. It was just the way he delivered it. He hit the right note.
They still can't believe it. They will be grieving a long time. The media are attacking them and it's unfair, the crazy things they are saying. They want to thank the million of people all over the world who have supported them. They were touched by that.
source: September 2009- Ebony Magazine Commemorative Issue- Michael: Our Icon
by: Margena A. Christian