Jesse Jackson Interviews Michael
On Sunday morning, Rev. Jesse Jackson conducted an hour long interview with Michael.
Jesse Jackson: Good morning. God Bless you. Happy Easter. Welcome to ‘Keep Hope Alive’ with Reverend Jesse Jackson radio program. This is Reverend Jesse Jackson and this morning I wish you a happy and glorious Easter.
But what can I say today about our special guest this morning. This legendary singer, dancer, songwriter — extraordinary — has transfixed the role for more than 40 years. He became an instant star at age eleven. Is the front man in Motown’s phenomenally successful family act, the Jackson Five. One of the best selling groups of all time. Hickering off their Motown tenure in 1969 with the unprecedented feat of four consecutive number one singles. Who can forget ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘Mama’s Pearl’, or ‘I’ll Be There’?
Where were you when you were having barely turned thirteen? He began his solo career. Released a successful string of solo singles including ‘Got To Be There’, ‘Rockin’ Robin’’ and ‘Ben’. We’ve all marveled as he continued to scale at unprecedented heights with the success of three of the biggest selling albums of all time: ‘Off the Wall’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’. Indeed, ‘Thriller’ is the biggest selling album of all time. Having sold 51 million copies world-wide, beyond the numbers how important and pyridine shifting has Jackson recording and shattering record, how… How phenomenal has it really been? What a phenomenal feat.
As producer Quincy Jones told Time-magazine. “Black music had to play second fiddle for a long time.” In the spirit is the whole motor of pop. He has connected with every soul in the world. He has been proclaimed the biggest selling artist of all time. The singer most awarded entertainer the world has ever known. The most popular artist in the history of show business. And not so modestly, the world’s most famous man. And of course, the ‘King of Pop’.
And still our world goes on, on about this genius, about this icon for ages. Brothers and sisters, members of the ‘Keep Hope Alive’-family, today we have the rare opportunity to take a journey from Gary to greatness. Hear the ‘King of Pop’ share the story of his life as only he can tell it. It’s with great pride and pleasure that I bring to you this morning Michael Jackson from California. Good morning, Michael.
Michael: Good morning, Jesse. How are you?
Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Good. It’s good to hear you there. Many listening ears around America and the world for our conversation today.
Jesse: Good. Good.
Jesse: We’ll, my friends, let’s get this conversation started. We have a shared conversation with our nation. Stay right there. You don’t want to miss this live-conversation with the ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson. We’ll be right back with ‘Keep Hope Alive’ with the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Jesse: Welcome to ‘Keep Hope Alive’ with Reverend Jesse Jackson. Our regular Sunday morning talk show. Today we have a phenomenal guest in Michael Jackson. Michael has taken this phenomenal journey from ground zero to outer space. Good morning, Michael.
Michael: Good morning, Jesse. How are you?
Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Remember when we met on 47th Street way, way many years ago. Your father brought you and the guys by the office in your station wagon and U-Haul. You were performing at the Regal Theatre. Do you remember that?
Michael: Yes, I do remember. It was a long time ago. I was just very little.
Jesse: What do you remember about that period?
Michael: Oh, I remember what we were wearing kinda like dashikis [sic] and bell-bottoms pants and I just remember the love from the public was very great and accepting of what we had to offer. And the support from, you know, the people from the times was just beautiful, the black people was fantastic. You were always very kind to us as well.
Jesse: Good. Good. Did your mom make those outfits?
Michael: Yes she did. She always made all of our clothes. My mother would sew and stitch everything. Everything we wore before really making it at Motown.
Jesse: I remember so well that uh Julius Griffin and up your dad came over and asked if you guys could be a warm-up act at Expo, and we had to make room for you in our schedule and you guys stole the show.
Michael laughs: I remember those shows. You had a big Afro at that time.
Jesse: Don’t remind people of that, Michael.
Jesse: You did so very well. During that time you were being whipped up by Motown. Who discovered you for Motown?
Michael: Well, in complete truth, it was Gladys Knight and a guy named Bobby Taylor. And they were on the bill of some of the shows who were doing that you would see like… you would do a show and there would be like twenty or thirty acts. It was pretty much like Bonneville. You would do just a certain number of songs and you would go off. They were always on these shows. And they would watch us and they were so impressed with what we were doing. And Barry Gordy wasn’t interested at first. But eventually he loved us and wanted to sign us. And after being signed, and uh, since Diana Ross was their biggest star at the time, that he used her as the vehicle to… you know… introduce us to the public. The first album was called ‘Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five’.
Jesse: At that time, who were your favorite artists?
Michael: Oh God, I loved Diana Ross and uh, I loved James Brown, I still do. I love all these artists… still to this day. I love Jackie Wilson. The real show stoppers. You know the real entertainers.
Jesse: Did you did…
Michael interrupts: Sammy Davis, Jr, I loved him as well [laughs].
Jesse: Did you get any of your moves from Jackie Wilson?
Michael: Oh yes, of course! All these artists inspired me very much. I couldn’t help but be inspired by these great entertainers.
Jesse: A little later, remember we were out in Los Angeles and at that time Suzanne dePasse was your… the godmother for the group and she had you at Fred Seigel’s shopping for some, shopping for some jeans.
Michael: Yes! Remember Suzanne dePasse, she was so wonderful, you know. She was pretty much our manager with my father at the time and with Tony Jones. They were all wonder people. I thank them from the bottom of my heart, you know.
Jesse: She was such a wonderful person, and she remains, she’s so top-notch in that what she does.
Michael: Yes, she is. She was very helpful and instrumental in the early days of our career, and she remains a friend. And I do, I do…I miss her. I haven’t seen her in awhile. But she’s a wonderful person… so is Berry Gordy.
Jesse: Michael, in this whole developmental period. I call it ground zero like Gary and the Regal Theatre and the Expo and early meeting of Barry Gordy and Motown, would you reflect, what was out of this period that you remember the most?
Michael: Which period is this now?
Jessie: Kinda like this period of Gary, to the Regal Theatre, to Expo to meeting Gladys Knight, to going to Motown. From what about this period that stands out the most in your mind?
Michael: This period for me which stands out is… because I was so young around that time. I was like eight, eight or nine. I just remember the environment, what it was like, all the music I was hearing. Because my father played guitar. My uncle played guitar. Everyday they would come over, and you know they would play great music. And we would start to perform to the music. I remember seeing marching bands go down the street. I remember the rhythm of the band and the beats of the drum. And every sound around me seem to record in my head and start making rhythms and dancing. I use to dance to the rhythm of the washing machine. My mother went to the corner store to wash the clothes. I would dance to the rhythm and people would crowd around. I remember those kind of stories. They would crowd around pretty much and watch me. Those kind of little things. It’s just reflections, really.
Jesse: Well, you remember, you said that Jackie Wilson, and James Brown and Sammy Davis were heroes. Did you ever see them perform?
Michael: Yes, of course I did, and they were friends of mine. All these great artists. That’s why I was so lucky. I was just such a little kid, looking up to these people. We were real catatonic, awestruck with their talent. And not only did I get to see it, but I got to see it close up right on the side curtain, on the side of the wings. I got to know these great artists. These were the best entertainers in the world. They were show stoppers. And I would have to go onstage sometime after them, you know. It was amazing!
Jesse: But the thing is that at first I remember Tito and Jermaine… you were like so little, so small. You was part of the Jackson Five. At what point did you know that you realize you were a show stopper?
Michael: You know, when you have a special ability, you don’t realize it because you think everybody else has the same gift that you have. So you don’t realize it. When I used to sing at such a young age, people were so inspired by my singing and they loved it. I didn’t realize why they were clapping or crying or start to scream. I really truly didn’t, Jesse. And it just uhm, just later on in life, people would come up to me and say, you know, “Do you realize you have a special gift or you have a special talent?”. I just remember from my mother who is very religious always telling us to always thank God, to thank Jehovah God for your talent, your ability. You know, it’s not from…, it’s not our doing, it’s from above. So we were always humbled by people would come with accolades or, you know, adulations or whatever it is. You know, it was a beautiful thing.
Jesse: When did you stop going to school formerly?
Michael: Oh, I was very young. I think it was… oh boy, hmmm… I think it was the fifth, fifth, fourth or fifth I think. Then I had tutoring the rest of my life. Because we did so many tours and concerts and TV shows and things, all the albums and all the recordings, because we would have three hours of schooling, then we would do the concerts, then we travel to another state or another country. Then by that time we would do some concerts again and then it would be time to record the next J5 album, then after the J5 album, it was time for another Michael Jackson album. So, in my youth, as a little kid, I was always busy. I remember across the street from Motown recording studio, there was a park. I used to hear the roar of the kids and the throwing of the football and the basketball. I remember going to the studio everyday, and I was just feeling kinda sad, because I wanted to go to that park. But I knew I had a different job to do, you know, so going in and make the records. All day untill late at night, then you would go to sleep, then you were up for the next day, just the same regimentation.
Jesse: Does that insintu-… you missed a certain body of childhood experience. How did you compensate for this loss of ordinary childhood experience?
Michael: I — I — It’s true. I didn’t have a childhood. But, when you don’t have a childhood like people like myself and other child stars, I would think you try to compensate for the loss. So later on you try to catch up. That’s why you see, like you may see a theme park or amusement rides, that type of environment at my home. But what I like to do is help other children who are less fortunate than I am. You know kids who are terminally ill, kids with diseases, poor children from the inner cities, you know the ghettos, to let them see the mountains, or to let see or go on the rides, or to watch a movie or to have some ice cream or something.
Jesse: Of course one of the difference about you Michael, you did have a family. How many of, how many is in the family?
Michael: The immediate Jackson family?
Michael: There were originally ten of us. There’s nine. There’s nine. And my mother Katherine and Joseph Jackson are still alive. We all were born in Gary, Indiana.
Jesse: Well in that setting, did Tito and Jermaine beat up on you and give you some normal childhood experiences as a younger brother?
Michael: We would be on tour. We would go to Miami. We would, you know, be able to use the beaches. We were so popular at that time. Wherever the Jackson Five would go, there would be a mob scenes. We couldn’t go in the shopping center or anywhere, because there were kids screaming. We had hit records back to back to back. We were playing these arenas all across America. And so it was difficult! We would did get to have a chance to have some fun, but in the hotel. We would have pillow fight in the hotel or if we wanted to swim after hours, we would swim in the pool downstairs. You know that type of thing.
Jesse: Who would win the pillow fights?
Michael: Pretty much Tito or Jackie. [laughs] They were the oldest.
Jessie: You know you kind of grown from this kind of phenomenal rise to the artist that has sold the most records in history. You look back from that period that we call Ground Zero to the period of your maturing in writing. Who was your greatest influence in learning to write? You write so well!
Michael: My greatest influence learning to write music… I think this is when I was lucky. In my opinion, I came into the Factory of the greatest song writers at that time in the sixties. Holland, Dozier, Holland of Motown. These two, these three guys were phenomenal. You know, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland. These guys were amazing. They wrote all the great Supreme hits and the Four Top hits. They were just amazing. And I got to learn and work with these guys. And I love of course some of the Beatles stuff. I love the Beatles music actually. I love a lot of the show tune writers. Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein and Leonard Lowe and Harold Arland, Johnny Mercer and these kind of show tune. ’Cause I love melody. I love the great Irish pub songs. I love English melody. And the rhythms of Africans. Which is the roots of rhythm. That’s my favorite music. That’s my favorite music of the world because all music is defined from that. Africa is music. It is the origin. It is the dawn of existence. You can’t avoid that. It is in everything that is about myself.
Jesse: So much as you went through these stages and you began to write, sing and dance, did you ever have like a dancing coach?
Michael: No, I never studied dancing before. It always became natural for me. Whenever I was little, any music would start, they couldn’t sit me down. They couldn’t tie me down actually. Even to this day, if anyone played a beat, I’ll start kicking in and making counter rhythms to the beat that I’m hearing. It’s just a natural instinct. I never studied. And Fred Astaire who was a good friend of mine, and Gene Kelly, they used to always marvel at my ability for dance. When I was a little kid, Fred Astaire used to always tell me how he felt in his heart that I would be a special star. I used to just look at him thinking what are you talking about? [laughs] But uh, you could see, you know.
Jesse: Michael, where did the ‘Moonwalk’ come from? [laughs]
Michael: The ‘Moonwalk’ is a dance that I would love to take credit for but I can’t because I have to be completely honest here. These black children in the ghettos are, they have the most phenomenal rhythm of anybody on the Earth. I’m not joking. I learned, I get a lot of ideas from watching these black children. They have perfect rhythm. From just riding through Harlem, I remember in the early, you know, late 70s, early 80s, I would see these kids dancing on the street and I saw a kid doing these, uh sliding backwards kinda like an illusion dancing I call it. And I took a mental picture of it, a mental movie of it. And I went into my room upstairs in Encino, and I would just start doing the dance, and create and perfect it. But, it definitely started within the black culture. No doubt. And that’s where it comes from.
Jesse: Well then, connected to that piece when you were dancing, did you ever watch Don Cornelius Soul Train?
Michael: Oh I love that show. Are you kidding? Of course I did. I would wait for the Soul Train line. They would have a line that they would make, like a wall of people and the dancer would come through the middle, dancing to the song. It would give them a chance to showcase their talent and what they could do with their body creatively. I used to watch that catatonically, just watching that! I was mesmerized by uh, and studied the rhythms and the dancing of course. Of course I watched it. [laughs]
Jesse: Michael, you know as you look back, you kinda make this kind of transition from ground zero in Gary and you begin to ascend, and you became, in many ways, a man in a child’s body and I mean, you never gained any weight! How did you manage?
Michael: [laughs] Well, I’ve never been a great eater, I’ve, uh… to tell a little secret, I hate to tell it, uh, I’ve never been ahhh, great eater or a great admirer of food, even though I appreciate food and the gift of food and how God has given us food to eat, but my mother has always had a hard time with me, all my life, uh, forcing me to eat. Elizabeth Taylor used to feed me… hand feed me at times, because I, I, I… I do have a problem with eating, but, I…,I do my very best, and I am eating, yes I am! So I don’t — Please, uh, I don’t want anyone to think I’m starving, I am not…
Jesse: But you’ve…
Michael: My health is perfect actually.
Jesse: You’ve maintained this weight man, that’s what people is most jealous of and so excited about…
Michael: No no, my health is perfect actually, I’m a great believer in holistic natural foods and eating and herbs and things, you know, God’s medicine, instead of Western chemicals, not those things, you know.
Jesse: You know, Michael, as you look back on this phenomenal career, you — you remember at least the 5th grade in Gary and how you guys became a big hit so quickly, what do you remember, what is to you, the high point, you know… I’ve asked people all week long the high point for them — it may have been ‘Thriller’, it may have been ‘Beat It’, it may have been some performance, what for you represents the kind of ah, high point?
Michael: Well, one of the great high points, ahem, I would have to say… because I remember before ’82, in the early ’80s… I had done an album called ‘Off the Wall’ — it was an important point for me because I had just the movie ‘The Wiz’ and I wanted to express myself as a writer, as an ah, artist, you know to write my own music, do the music, pretty much put it together. And Quincy Jones, who I’ve loved — I was fortunate to work with him and I love this man, he is very gifted. But I was writing these songs at the time, ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’, you know, ‘Shake Your Body To the Ground’, you know ‘Billie Jean’, and ‘Beat It’. All these songs were written at this time. Ahem, so I pretty much was setting mental goals of what I want to do as an artist and I uh, it was a high point for me, during the uh, the winning of the Grammys for the ‘Off the Wall’ album, but I wasn’t happy. Because I wanted to do much more than that… I wasn’t happy with, uh ahem, the way it was accepted, even though it was a hugh success, it was the biggest selling album for a solo artist at that time. It was over 10 million, and for a Black solo artist. And I said for the next album, I refuse for them to ignore, and that’s when I set my heart [clears throat], on writing the ‘Thriller’ album and I really said I…
Jesse: What gave rise to the ‘Thriller’?
Jesse: What gave rise to the ‘Thriller’?
Michael: What gave rise to ‘Thriller’ was that the time, was pretty much disappointed and hurt — I lived in an area called Encino, and I used to see signs of graffiti saying “Disco Sucks” and “Disco is this” and “Disco is that” and disco was just a happy medium of making people dance at the time, but it was so popular, that the uhem, uhem, society was turning against it. I said, I’m just going to do a great album, because I love the album Tchaikovsky did, ‘The Nutcracker Suite’, it’s an album where every song is like a great song. I said I wanted to do an album where every song is like a hit record, and that’s what pretty much the hit ‘Thriller’ spawn from that… And I did that album and it made, er, all time history. The Guinness Book of World Records proclaimed that it was the largest selling album of all time and it’s still to this day and I’m, er, I would say that it was a pinnacle, that was a — I’d reached a certain zenith point, I would think, but I still wasn’t pleased after that. I was always wanting to do more, wanting to do more.
Jesse: And somewhat you…
Michael: And the ‘Victory’ tour came along.
Jesse: And somewhat you reached out, before we get to the ‘Victory’ tour, and we had this phenomenal crisis of people dying and you used your celebrity to pull artists together to do ‘We Are the World’.
Jesse: What was that like?
Michael: ‘We Are the World’ was a great project, because ah, Quincy Jones called me on the phone and he asked me to write a song, for ahem, for ah, ahem, the devastation that was going on in Africa. And Ethiopia was hit very badly, and he knew my love for the people over there, because I would go to Africa all the time. I, I loved the culture, I love the people, I love what they represent, and so I put this song together, he said let Lionel Richie help you [clears throat], so Lionel came over. We started, you know, putting ideas together, and ahem, we talked most of the time because we pretty much caught up with old times because I’ve been knowing Lionel Richie for many, many years, and ahem, so Lionel and I put something together, but I wasn’t happy with it completely, so after that, I just went into the studio myself and pretty much completed it and finished it and packaged it and did all the music, put everything together and turned it in. Quincy was very impressed with it and he said “this is the song, we’re going to go with it”, and we put the song out and it became the biggest selling song single in history and it raised a lot of money. It was called ‘USA For Africa’ and we enheightened the public awareness on the subject. It was relief for Africa, it was a beautiful thing. We gave a certain percentage to America and the majority share went to Africa. It was a great, great thing.
Jesse: Reverend Jessie Jackson, ‘Keep Hope Alive’, our very special guest for our edition today, with Michael Jackson. So many people are listening all around the nation, all around the world — just a kinda family talk with Michael. I’ve known him since he was like seven years old, but the entire family, at some point in time, his father, driving a station wagon with a U-haul brought the guys by our office and asked if they would be a warm up act for Expo and of course, they were a warm up act, but in fact, they set it on fire and the Expo was never quite the same again. Matter of fact Michael, when we did the film ‘Save the Children’ that was a big hit, too.
Michael: Yes it was, yes it was… I remember those times… it was a little cloudy, but I do remember, Jesse, and I remember how wonderful you were to us and uh, I remember the love from the audience and I could hear the screaming of the crowd. and I could see all of the Afros and the dashikis and it was just a wonderful time and it was for a wonderful cause…
Jesse: On that show, it was Marvin Gaye, and Roberta Flack, and…
Jesse: … and the O’Jays…
Jesse: … and the Staples Singers and…
Jesse: … Cannonball Adderley, it was a huge deal.
Michael: That’s amazing. An amazing list of people, that’s some of the greatest talent ever — that’s amazing.
Jesse: We going to re-release the ‘Save the Children’ sometime soon and people who missed that period will really enjoy watching it. Michael, you know, when we think about the kind of rise from Gary, Indiana, you were but a child and you went through your teenaged years being tutored along, but then I remember another phase, I, I think is a another phase, when the ‘Victory’ Tour occurred. At that time, you were a full grown. All of your brothers and sisters were full grown and we met in Kansas City, remember? With your family?
Jesse: … We all had prayer together, ahem…
Michael: Yes we did.
Jesse: The ‘Victory’ Tour. Describe that season.
Michael: The ‘Victory’ Tour was one of the great pinnacles of my success because ‘Thriller’ had won more Grammys than any other album in the history of — of music, and it created so much phenomenon and such adulation and notoriety on a universal level, and it was very, very hard to go anyway, do anything without press and helicopters and people sleeping in your bushes and hiding in your trees. And it was just a phenomenal pinnacle, it really was and after all of that, I announced that I was going to tour. And to tour and perform those songs live, in front of an audience so the world was going just really, really wild at that time. And we did this tour that broke records all over America and we played stadiums, for instance, the, the setting record at Dodgers Stadium, before we played it, it was one show and a half by Elton John. We did 8 shows there — sold out, and they wanted another 2 — so we did 8 sold out shows there. [Clears throat]. This happened all over America. The first city was Kansas City and that’s where we met with you, Jessie, and I remember you coming to the suite and you gave prayer and it was a beautiful thing and ah, it was an amazing time, it really was. My dreams had come true.
Jesse: Good. Good. But you know Michael, in this life, they say some rain must fall and you’ve had these seasons of just ahem, tailwinds like pushing you forward. But life is of such that’s not a straight line, ah, some argue you either in a storm, or you are just leaving a storm, and going to a storm and it’s not difficult to handle the sunshine of bright skies, tailwinds days, but then these headwinds come that kind of uh, test what you really are made of, the kind of test your metal, your true grit. And so you’ve had these high points. What do you consider to be the low point?
Michael: Probably the low point, the lowest point, emotionally and experience, is probably what I’m going through [clears throat].
Jesse: In the sense — what, what about it has kind of stung you?
Michael: What about it… has what?
Jesse: Has stung you, so to speak.
Michael: Has, … Use the word again…
Jesse: Stung. You said it’s kind of hurt you, you said the low point.
Michael: Yeah, just the pain of what I’m going through, where I’m being accused of something, where I know in my heart and in my experiences in life I’m totally innocent, it’s just very painful. But this has been kind of, ah, a pattern among Black luminaries in this country.
Jesse: And so since, you have been going through this and you feel the pain, you think it’s a kind of pattern? How are you handling it spiritually? Because you go from being held so high and now your very character, your integrity is under attack. How your handling it?
Michael: I’m handling it by using other people in the past who have gone through this sort of thing. Mandela’s story is giving me a lot of strength, what he’s gone through and the Jack Johnson story was on PBS — it’s on DVD now. It’s called ‘Unforgivable Blackness’. It’s an amazing story about this man from 1910 who was the heavyweight champion of the world and bust into a society that didn’t want to accept his position and his lifestyle, and what they put him through, and how they changed laws to imprison the man. They put him away behind bars just to get him some kind of way. And… and Muhammad Ali’s story. All these — the Jesse Owens story. All these stories that I can go back in history and read about give me strength, Jessie. Your story gives me strength, what you went through. Because I didn’t, I came in at the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement. I’m a, ah I, I didn’t get the really, I’m a 70s child, really, but I got in on the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement and I got to see it, you know?
Jesse: And so, you — you — you — you had these hits, ahem, and people that you have embraced are now facing you in court on a daily basis. How does your spirit handle that?
Michael: Ah, I gain strength from God. I believe in Jehovah God very much and ah, and I gain strength from the fact that I know I’m innocent. None of these stories are true. They are totally fabricated, and it’s very sad, it’s very, very painful. And I pray a lot and that’s how I deal with it and I’m a strong person, I’m a warrior. And I know what’s inside of me. I’m a fighter. But it’s very painful. At the end of the day, I’m still human, you know, I’m still a human being. So it does hurt very, very, very much.
Jesse: You and I were watching, you know you and I were talking last week on the phone and — and there was this rhythm of the trial, which we will not get into at all today, but then they shifted from the focus of the trial to say you are broke. And last week, people are calling in, all around the nation saying, “Is Michael broke”? Michael, are you broke?
Michael: That’s not true at all. It’s one of their many schemes to embarrass me and to just drag me through mud. And it’s the same pattern, like I told you before with these other people in the past. The same pattern. Don’t believe, you know, this is tabloid, sensationalized kind of gossip.
Jesse: Well, how did the money issue get in it in the first place? A number of people called and they thought it was about the Sony catalog. What’s — what’s in that catalog?
Michael: In my Sony Catalog, is all the Beatles music, ahem, all of, you know, Little Richart’s music, I own,I own Sly and the Family Stone, I — I own such a volume of so many, I own Elvis — so many Elvis songs and it’s a huge catalog, it’s very valuable, it’s worth a lot of money. And there is a big fight going on right now, as we speak about that. Now, I can’t say whether or not — I can’t comment on it, but there’s a lot of conspiracy, I’ll say that — conspiracy going on as we speak.
Jesse: It was suggested by a number of your friends and family members was that this fight really is more about this catalog issue than it is any thing else. Do you believe that?
Michael: Well, you know, I don’t want to comment. I don’t want to make a comment, Jessie ah… it’s a real delicate issue and uh, I’ll let you, I’ll let you make the comment on that one.
Jesse: Let me shift this to this extent. Ahem, since so many people are listening and there have been so many opinions — I was in London a couple of weeks ago, and 24/7 was Michael Jackson all-day- and all-night-long and the day that you came to the hospital late [to court], you said you were injured. What happened that day?
Michael: I was coming, out of the shower and I — I — I fell. And all my body weight, and I’m pretty fragile, all my body weight fell against my rib cage. And I pretty much, er, er, I bruised my lung very badly. My lung is on the right, it’s very [sp], it’s, I’m in pain as we speak. And I’ve been going to court everyday in immense pain and agonizing pain. And I sit there — and I’m strong, I try to be as strong as I can. So I can, ahh, but what we are looking for is the coughing of blood now. The doctor said I should — he said it’s still very dangerous as we speak, and if I cough the blood, he said it’s a very dangerous thing, so we’re, we’re still watching it very closely.
Jesse: The cynics said you were faking. And it seems that the judge is [unaudible] will not even willing to believe you, even though you had just left the hospital.
Michael: You know, the — there’s no faking with this at all. I mean there was a scan done and you could see, uhhh, the swelling on my whole rib cage, I mean, uh, it was you could see it and it’s bright, bright red. And how it, it [the fall] busted my chin, and it put a huge gash over my forehead, blood, it was it was very bad actually. And ahm but…, we’ve treating it actually, I do have some medicine for it, but we are watching it very closely.
Jesse: As I listen to your talking about this whole ordeal that you are going through, and how you’ve stood strong sometimes amazingly so, ah, at some point last week, you — you cried. What, what touched you? What made you, breakdown, as it were?
Michael: You mean at court?
Michael: I was in pain. I was sitting there hurting. And… the pain was so immense, all I could do was to sit there and cry. See, because it, it was so intense at that moment, ah, ahem, I just couldn’t handle it. So I just grab a tissue and just put it, you know, to my face… and…
Jesse: So, it was more about your personal pain, than the, than the challenges of the, from the stand?
Michael: No, it had nothing to do with what was going on inside. It was totally with personal pain, physical pain.
Jesse: Michael, since so many people are listening, I’m trying to gleam from some of our calls on the phone today and from last week, as people listen to you, what do you want people to know? Those listening to you on the phone — I see calls from Philadelphia, and from Holland and from Britian and New York and Mississippi and Florida, California — what do you want people to know?
Jesse: About you. About where you are now in the head, how you are feeling?
Michael: Well, ahem, pretty much to — to be strong for me, to pray for my children and my family and myself. This is uh… uh a very difficult time. And to not believe what they hear, and see and read and just because it’s in print does not make it… just because it’s in print does not make it the gospel. And uh… you know, because they have sensationalized this thing to an immense degree. It’s a feeding frenzy — it’s because of uh, my celebrity. The bigger the celebrity, the bigger the target. And they have to remember that. So they’ve turned this into money — it’s like who gets the biggest ratings, you know, it’s terrible what’s happened with it. But it’s part of what I have to suffer as a celebrity. It’s part — part of what I have to go through. And to just uh, just know in the end that I will be vindicated, I pray, because I know the truth. I’m an innocent person. And I believe in God and love God. And just continue to pray for us.
Jesse: You know that, given your faith, in God and in yourself, and your declaration of innocence and while you are going through this storm ahem, presuming that you ah — win this, this has been a close battle, ahhh, a very intense battle, because the battle is — is not over, ah, the, appearance, given your relationship ahh, has called for lots of consternation. Is there anything that you will do differently? When this season is over?
Michael: Is there anything that I would do differently?
Jesse: Differently? When this season is over?
Michael: [Clears throat] Ahem, my level of trust will change. And ah, there, there there’s a lot of conspiracy going on. I’ll say that much. A lot of it.
Jesse: Do you think that…
Michael: All around me.
Jesse: Is the conspiracy connected to the celebrity or to the trial or to the catalog — what do you think the source of it is?
Michael: I, I can’t comment. I can’t comment Jessie, I, I don’t wanna… it ah, I’m under a gag order and it’s a very serious thing. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. With the wrong flavor. It’s a very delicate area. Very delicate where we are now.
Jesse: Good. Good. Let me ask you this question though, that for those who are praying fervently, and who in some way want to help and look forward to seeing Michael Jackson again. What can people expect next from you?
Michael: Well, like,… like I always say, I’m,… I’m a person of the arts. I love the arts very, very, very much. And ah, I’m a musician, I’m a director, I’m a writer, I’m a composer, I’m a producer, and I love the medium. I love film very, very much. I think it’s the most expressive of all of the art mediums. The sculptor can sculpt, the painter can paint, but they capture a moment, ah, they freeze time with the moment. In film, you live the moment. You live, you have the, audiences for two hours. You have their brain, their mind — you can take them any place you want to take them. You know, and that idea is mesmerizing to me — that you can have the power to do… to move people to change their lives and that’s where you marry the music [and the] individual together. And that’s what excites me so much about film and the future. Because I love motion pictures very, very much.
Jesse: Given, ah, the heat that is on you and the taxing issue that you are facing now, does it deter you from pursuing your career when this is over?
Michael: No! No. Not at all. Because ahem, I know who I am [clears throat] inside and outside and I know what I want to do. And I will always, you know, go with my dreams and my ideals in life. And I’m a very courageous person, and I believe in perseverance, determination, and, you know, and all those wonderful things, and those ideals are very important for a person who is goal-orientated, you know?
Jesse: Since people have… have risen so high and so far with your dreams, what are, what are you dreaming of now?
Michael: Oh, ahem [clears throat], like I was saying before, ahem, it’s to innovate, and to pioneer the medium of film, and there’s other things I want to do, which are some surprises. Ah, things in society that I want to do in the future. You know, in Africa. I have some great plans, ah, that I’ve been preparing to do there. I’d had several meetings with people whose flown out to see me since I’ve been going through what I’ve been going through and so my heart is set on doing some things there, very much so as well.
Jesse: You ah, your next project. Because often when people at a stage like this is kind of frozen, but you’re thinking about the next project. What do you see as the next immediate project? What’s hitting you right now?
Michael: Probably, ahemmm… the tsunami song that we want to do to raise money for tsunami, because Africa was ummm, was it Madagascar? One of those countries…
Jesse: Indeed. Madagascar…
Michael: Somalia and Madagascar was hit very hard, and they never…talk about that, the way they talk about the other countries. Now, we have, I mean, uh, my heart is going out for everybody, but at least, when they distribute the truth, distribute it right and ahem, it — they never talk about the devastation down in Africa, so we… I wanna do something for that. And of course, I’ve been working on doing, planning a resort that I’m building down in Africa. Ah, beautiful hotels, ah, just a beautiful setting for people and families and something beautiful down there. They habe a lot of beautiful places down there. So I want to do something that is more international. You know?
Jesse: Well, you know, it’s interesting about the tsunami with this huge national — natural disaster uh, couldn’t be stopped, maybe if we had early detection devices, we could have saved some lives perhaps, but it was a natural disaster, but what you raised is that while that we’ve lost 200 000 lives in the tsunami, we’ve lost 2 million in the Sudan and that’s a manmade disaster and oil and materials all caught up in that stuff, and then 4 million in the Congo. And ah, and I think as we talk about it, you know you and I talk almost everyday, you are reaching out to these African crisis - appears to have…, taken up a large part of your dream at this stage in your life.
Michael: Yes it has. Because Jessie, in my heart, deepest of heart, I really love Africa and I love the people of Africa. That’s why, whenever I get the chance, the children and I, we jump on the plane and we fly to Africa and we vacation there. I spend more of my vacation in Africa than in any other country. And ah, we love the people and we love the environment. Topographically it’s one of the most beautiful places on the surface of the Earth. They never show the sandy white sugar beaches, and it’s there! And they never show the beautiful, you know the landscaping, never show the buildings, the metropolis and urban — Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kenya, you know the Ivory Coast, you know, Rwanda, how beautiful the place is! And it’s really stunningly beautiful! And I want to heighten that awareness with what I’m doing and it’s been my dream for many, many years. And everybody around me knows that, because I go there very much.
Jesse: You know, we knew about the high points of Rome, because we see it on film.
Michael: That’s right.
Jesse: We know about the high points of Britain and the palace, we see it on film. On Paris, we don’t see much of Africa on film. We see Africa as misery and Africa as problems. We do not see it as being this phenomenally endowed continent of sand and sea and…
Michael: Because the…
Jesse: … oil and resources…
Michael: Because, yeah. The world is jealous of Africa for many centuries because it’s natural resources is phenomenal. It really is. And it is the dawn of civilization. Our history, a lot of our bible history is right there in Africa. And King Tut, all those great civilizations — that is right there in Africa. Egypt is in Africa!!! And they always try to separate the two, but Egypt is Africa!!!
Jesse: Well, it’s certainly true that when Jesus was threatened, ah, with death, when Harod sent out the edict for [the] genocide of all of the first born babies, that Joseph took him to Egypt, to Africa, kept him there for 12 years.
Michael: That’s right. That’s right.
Jesse: You’ve shown an amazing level of depth and commitment. Let me say this and in closing Michael, because people are listening and the reason I didn’t want to open up the lines today is because you have, you’re sharing stuff with us that you never quite really hear, but as people go and watch the trial next week and the coming days, what do you want your fans… we have callers on here right now from London, Holland and all around America, so people out there are listening today to you. What do you want to say to your fans and even to your detractors today?
Michael: I just wanna say: Fans in every corner of the Earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart. You know, thank you for your love and support and understanding during this trying time. I would love your prayers, and your goodwill. Ah, and ah, please be patient and be with me and believe in me because I am completely, completely innocent. But please know a lot of conspiracy is going on at this time as we speak.
Jesse: Well, it’s Easter time, ah, we fall down, we get back up again. The good news is that, ahem, nothing is too hard for God. And those who believe, fervently believe, no matter how far down that they reach for a rope and not a shovel. They’d be pulled up and they will rise again. Michael, thank you for sharing yourself with the nation today, and the world and for getting up so early in California…
Michael: God bless you.
Jesse: God bless you and keep hope alive. Talk to you a minute off the air, okay?