Thursday, September 6, 2007

Keeping it real

Hi bloggers, I hope all is well with you!

On Tuesday, I had the honor and pleasure to sit in the studio with the Reverend Al Sharpton and talk with him for an hour about Michael Jackson, the media witch hunt, and the new book I've written. The call boards were so full from people wanting to comment, that Rev Sharpton has asked me to come back next week to talk about the book again (we didn't have enough time to cover all the main points because of so many callers!)

Anyway, I will tell you a few highlights from my experience about being on KEEPING IT REAL, Rev. Sharpton's nationally syndicated radio show.

1) First of all, he is a humble spirit in person -- very down to earth and cool. I met his daughter, Dominique, and she is a testament to his great spirit, as were the rest of Rev. Sharpton's staff at his show. I was happy to be there and was made to feel at home.

2) Some of the callers thought I was black (African-American) and I loved that! I loved being called "Sister Jones" and the REV was cool with it too! (A lot of people who don't meet me in person think I'm African American because of my name -- it's a kind of cool little secret I've lived with all of my life.)

3) The whole business of Michael making a comeback is something that Rev. Sharpton wants to see. He told me that, at the funeral of James Brown, he, Rev. Sharpton, reminded Michael that James Brown was attacked by media and imprisoned for no reason and still went on with his career! The Reverend counseled Michael to do the same thing -- to forget all the media bias and just get out there and do his "thing." No one doubts that Michael is a musical genius. He can come back stronger than ever, and Rev. Sharpton wants to help make that happen, as do I, as do many, many of his fans who called in to express that same sentiment.

4) The idea of "taking down" African American celebs came up -- and we talked about that trend that started 100 years ago. I talked about the fact that DA Sneddon has had it "in" for MJ for years -- and said that I think Sneddon is a racist and brought up the fact that MJ was the only person of color living in the "rich folk" section of Santa Barbara County when Sneddon started with him in 1993 -- and I think that had something to do with Sneddon's alleged vendetta against MJ. In my opinion, he didn't just want to take down a superstar, he wanted to take down the world's greatest black superstar -- so there -- I said it! Of course, now Oprah lives in that "tony" county as well -- and Rev. Sharpton said: "Oprah better watch out!" -- but he was just kidding.(or maybe not!)

5) I pointed out that during the trial, the last witness called was actor/movie star Chris Tucker. When Mr. Tucker was shown a photo of himself with his family at Neverland, Tucker looked at the photo and confirmed that it was his likeness and asked Sneddon, kind of joking, if he could get a copy of the picture. DA Tom Sneddon replied: "If you're a good boy." WELL – Rev. Sharpton and I talked about that and I told him that MEZ later talked to the jury about "the comment to Chris Tucker" and jurors said they were not pleased with that comment. I also recalled that Sneddon's comment to Tucker infuriated the jury, and made the courtroom go dead silent -- though I think I forgot to mention this incident in my book -- YIKES!

6) I told the audience listening in that the jury had NOT ONE African American on the panel and that Sneddon and his team struck out 2 African American women who could have been jurors. MEZ objected on constitutional grounds, but in a U.S. court of law, each side has the right to strike 10 people for "no particular reason." Sharpton was not surprised.

7) But Rev. Al Sharpton was surprised that the jury panel was seated without any African American person at all. Sharpton didn't realize that Michael Jackson was found not guilty by a jury that had NOT ONE African American on the panel. He also thought it was odd, and unfair, that the media still went running after Michael all the way to the other side of the world -- to continue their accusations -- even after the man was found not guilty!!! We both agreed that this was clearly somewhat "racist" and biased, and we talked about other African American superstars who have been media targets. At the top are the BIG THREE : Michael Jackson, Michael Tyson, and Michael Jordan. Of course, these days, all superstars seem to have become targets (Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Paris Hilton, etc) but that doesn't change the fact, in my opinion, there was a racist overtone in the prosecution of Michael Jackson.

More to follow...

For now, I'm sending positive vibes to everyone who cares about the issues being raised in this blog. May God Bless you and keep you in prayer and in harmony.

With love, peace, and appreciation to those who have reached out to help us spread this word,



Bruce said...

Glad you had a wonderful experience on "Keepin'it Real" with Al Sharpton. And I am also glad he brought a token White on his show.
Now on Michael Vick. Sorry to say he is finished. He will not be rehabilitated. He killed Dogs for over 6 years. Allegedly according to Whoopi, it was his culture. Well his Father turned him in, so I guess his Father didn't come from that culture at all.
Sharpton is the Racist. Stirs things up and then walks away. Never apologizes. Guess you missed that point.

gilesmic said...

Is there going to be a transcript of the interview for those of us that were unable to listen?

And I also have to say that I, personally, don't think race really played a part at all in the case. I think the case was more a result of society's obsession with children, obsession with sex, the resulting "moral panic" from the intersection of the two as well as our countries love-to-hate-them relationship with celebrities. America has a pattern- we love to see new celebrities rise to the top. It's the American Dream- someone working hard and achieving great success, it reminds us that it's possible. We cheer for them as they rise to the top. But once they are their, the mood shifts. People become bitter and jealous, resentful. The celebrities are no longer "one of us" that made it, but they are now "one of them" who only reminds us of how far short we are of that ideal. In a society that values fame and fortune, seeing celebrities that "have it all" can be quite hard on our self-esteem, reminding us of all we don't have. The only way to make ourselves feel better then is to drag them back down.

I have digressed a little, but the point is that of all the social factors affecting Michael's prosecution/persecution, I think race is actually a very small if not negligent factor.

Been Told said...

Thanks for this interesting information - can't wait to hear the whole thing! :)

gilesmic said...

I tried to post a comment before but it seems to have not worked, so I'll try this again.

First of all, I hope a transcript of this gets up soon for those of us who were unable to listen.

Second, I just wanted to say that IMO, race wasn't really a factor in the MJ trial. Race is definitely a factor in the American justice system today, but I think in this particular trial, it was just not a factor. And personally it really bothers me when people imply that it was because to me it seems kind of like crying wolf- playing the race card here where it is not warranted I think just diminishes the significance race has in other cases where it IS a factor.

It's kind of like with Invincible- people say that the album flopped because Tommy Motolla is a racist and didn't promote the album becuase they wanted to steal the Sony/ATV catalogue from Michael because he's black. To me that makes NO sense. Invincible flopped because it was a poor album by Michael's standards. He put too much trust in his producers (especially Rodney Jerkins), and didn't put enough of himself in the album. THAT is why if flopped, IMO, NOT because of race.

And I think it's the same with the trial- prejudice and discrimination most CERTAINLY played a HUGE part in this trial, but IMO- Michael was NOT discriminated against because of his race, but he was discriminated against because of his celebrity status and unusual/eccentric lifestyle.

No disrespect to Al Sharpton, but I honestly believe that race played a negligent, if any, part in this trial.

Ayanthi said...

Great read Aphrodite! So you did get in contact with Reverend Al Sharpton. I saw footage of him talking about James Brown and the media at his funeral- and that it would be the same with Michael. It's unfortunate but being such a huge icon, Michael has the power to 'come back'.

I've had more positive reviews from your book on online forums and I can't wait to buy it once school finished!

All the best.

Susie said...

Do you really think it has to do with taking down an African American? The focus should not be about Black or White.

We as human beings should focus on the TRUTH...not about race...

The way I see it money, power is the foundation of this vendetta...

Not taking down an African American...


OliviaCD said...

As MJ said himself

''Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons''

Link to Azja Pryor's letter to Gavin Arvizo

The truth WILL out...

R.I.P MJ :o(

Alicia said...

I agree that race played a very small part, if any at all, in Michael's prosecutiom. Celebrities are built up to be torn down. Michael is 1 of the most famous people to have ever lived; of course he would be persecuted for it somehow.
It's possible that Tom Sneddon, specifically, was racist, but he didn't prosecute Michael alone. I think that America had gotten to such a place of fear about the safety of our children that no American could believe that a grown man could enjoy the company of children in a strictly pure form.
As for his "Invincible" album, I don't think it received enough promotion because I didn't even knew about it until after the trial. I don't think that the lack of promotion was racially-motivated; though.
I find it interesting that Michael says that his last album ever didn't get the promotion it should've. He had never complained of that before. I think that, maybe, the controvery surrounding the lyrics on the song "They Don't Care About Us", from the album he released just a few years before "Invincible" may have made the record company wary of supporting Michael.
After Michael's death, I did read a few music critics' reviews of the "Invincible" album & they were harsh. The harshness wasn't on the music on the album, but on Michael, himself. I think he'd spent so much time being thought of as just this court jester type, without really being taken seriously, that I got the impression that some of the album reviews came from people who hadn't even listened to it.

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