Michael Jackson was interviewed by Jesse Jackson yesterday, Easter morning, on his syndicated radio show “Keep Hope Alive with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.”
The reverend and the pop star have known each other for 36 years since the Jackson Five performed at Operation Push’s first Black Expo Chicago in 1969. Setting the tone, before MJ came on the air Rev. Jackson referred to him as a “genius” and “an icon for our ages” who “has taken this phenomenal journey from ground zero to outer space.”
Indeed. The Reverend has also been providing frequent spiritual counseling via phone to Jackson during his trial, so he is perhaps not exactly neutral.
Some interview highlights:
“I know in my heart, and in my experiences in life, I am totally innocent. It’s very painful, but this has kind of been a pattern among black luminaries in this country. Mandela’s story has given me a lot of strength, what he has gone through.”
Jacko also compared himself to Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion some believe was persecuted for marrying white women; boxing great Muhammad Ali, a conscientious objector convicted of draft evasion during the Vietnam War; and Rev. Jackson.
“It’s like a feeding frenzy, just because of my celebrity. The bigger the celebrity, the bigger the target.”
Dude is not humble and isn’t exactly ebony anymore either.
Jackson denied rumors of financial distress. “That’s not true at all. It’s just one of their many schemes to embarrass me. It’s to drag me through the mud.” He implied a battle is under way over the music catalog he owns 50% of, which contains the rights to songs by the Beatles, Little Richard, Elvis Presley and others. “”It’s a huge catalog, it’s very valuable and it’s worth a huge amount of money, and there is a big fight going on right now as we speak about that. There’s a lot of conspiracy going on as we speak.”
Re his injury that required a hospital visit and caused him to be late to court, “I was coming out of the shower and I fell and all my body weight — I’m pretty fragile — all my body weight fell against my rib cage. And I bruised my lung very badly. I’m in immense pain. I’m in agonizing pain.” He said the injury has caused him “swelling on my whole rib cage,” to cough up blood and was so painful that it brought him to tears in court.
Jesse noted MJ is very thin and wan. “My mother always had a hard time with me, all my life, forcing me to eat. Elizabeth Taylor used to feed me, to hand-feed me, at times, because I do have a problem with eating. But I do my very best. I am eating, yes I am. I don’t want anyone to think I’m starving. I’m not. My health is perfect, actually.”
On childhood, being rich and famous and stuff. “I didn’t have a childhood. I remember going to the studio every day, and I would feel kind of sad because I wanted to go to that park. But I knew I had a different job to do, so I would go in and make the records, all day until late at night.”
“So later on, you try to catch up, and that’s why you see a theme park or amusement rides or that kind of environment at my home. 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 city, you know the ghettoes, to let them see the mountains, or to go on the rides or to watch movies or to have some ice cream or something.”
“I just want to say to fans in every corner of the Earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart.”
“None of these stories are true. They are totally fabricated. It’s very sad, it’s very, very painful. I pray a lot. That’s how I deal with it, and I’m a strong person. I’m a warrior, and I know what is 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.”
“I believe in Jehovah God very much and I gain strength from the fact that I know I’m innocent. I pray a lot, and that’s how I deal with it. I’m a strong person. I’m a warrior, and I know what is inside of me. I’m a fighter.
“I just know in the end I’ll be vindicated.”