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January 18, 2004

Taking Jacko Seriously

Taking Michael Jackson seriously is the last thing I want to do, but we have something serious going on here.

Here is the latest scoop that I have heard from Najee Ali, director of LA based Project Islamic Hope. Ali is the man who helped get legislation passed in the California and Nevada pursuant to the failure to prosecute negligent witness David Cash in the murder of seven year old Sherrice Iverson. He is the leader of an organization which has its rhetorical foot deep into R Kelly's butt. So here is a man with no problems defending children. He believes Jackson to be innocent.

Not being a legal type myself, I don't know what the reasons are that the district attorneys' office would bypass the grand jury process to persue a felony conviction. What I do know is, that according to Ali, Jacko's bail is set to 3 million dollars for child abuse, whereas Robert Blake, accused of murder, had his bail set at 1 million, as did Phil Spector, similarly charged with murder. Depending on your suseptibility to outrage at the criminal justice system, this can be merely curious or a complete outrage. Ali leans towards the latter.

Jackson is a good guy who has donated many millions to black charities over the years, quietly and consistently. So there are a number of good reasons for him to have black political support. But even if he didn't do any of that, I have learned something about Jackson today that makes me respect him a great deal - for which if he did nothing else in his entire life this would be good enough. We are mostly aware that Jackson owns most of the Beatles' songs. What I didn't know was that he owns most of Elvis' recordings too. Most symbolic of all, he purchased the rights to Little Richard's music. He gave that all back to Little Richard, so now he won't die broke. Whether that is materially too little too late or not, it is a trenchant symbol of respect for black culture we probably didn't know Jacko had. That may count for a great deal from where I stand, but it doesn't mean squat in a court of law.

If people on the Kwaku Network are right, or close to being right, we should be prepared for another round of black vs white in the court of public opinion. MJ as OJ is just a verdict away. Najee Ali, who is a defender of Jacko's choice in the Fruit of Islam security detail (brother Jermaine is a member of the Nation) and who supports the notion that white jurors in Santa Barbara county will not give Jacko a fair trial will nonetheless present a complicated picture to a media eager to spin the divide. For he has said that if Jackson does get a fair trial and is found guilty, he will be the first to pour dirt on Michael Jackson's grave. Ali has no patience whatsoever for child abusers. So if Ali becomes spun as a racial defender of child abusers if the child is not black (I don't know anything about Jackson's current alleged victim and neither should you), remember that you heard it here first that this is a lie.

There is a kind of self-fullfilling prophesy in the matter of black and white opinion being divided on Jackson's innocence or guilt. What matters is how smartly the press plays that angle. Good thing we have blogs.

I know, according to the History album that somebody was 'a cold man'. Now I know that somebody was Tom Sneddon. He's the man determined to bring the King of Pop to the jailhouse. He's also the man who famously couldn't do it 10 years ago. So it's personal. Why there shouldn't be some kind of recusal in this matter is certainly a legal question I assume has been previously decided, but we should all wake up and smell the vendetta.

The Jackson defense is under a gag order, but Sneddon and the gang behind the allegations are having a publicity field day. This is why Ali has taken to the streets in defense of Jackson. If there are battles to be won in the court of public opinion Najee Ali is taking sides with no compunction. With allies like the NOI and the Gloved One himself, its going to be tough sledding for Najee Ali and the Jackson defense team. Nevertheless Ali presents a convincing case that if Michael Jackson is consistent about anything, it's that he loves children. What a cruel irony if it is a child that Snedden uses to destroy Jackson.

I don't believe that nobody knows or nobody can know whether Jackson has 'a history' or is a pedophile. But he has been exonerated by an investigation sponsored by the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, and surely his legal team knows whether or not Jackson merits special consideration or needs to be kept away from little kids. I think much of the public opinion will fall to a question of Jackson's sexuality and brains. A hard sell for a pseudo-black manchild.

I do beleive that Michael is smart enough to know better than to do something stupid but that his handlers know but never tell. Let's see if they are compelled to testify against him based on the new Iverson law which was established by Najee Ali.

Posted by mbowen at January 18, 2004 10:00 AM

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I'd be more likely to take Jackson's newfound public emphasis on his blackness seriously if he hadn't spent so much time and money working with plastic surgeons to efface that blackness from his own person. That "vitiligo" line of his is lame, lame, lame - if he does have vitiligo, it is more likely caused by his abuse of hydroquinone than it is a reason for his surgery. The guy is your classic self-hating negro, even if he did Little Richard a favor in the past.

As for why Jackson has to raise 3 million while Blake only had to raise 1 million; it's obviously a lot easier for Jackson to raise his bail than it would be for Blake to raise his, as the wealth disparity between the two men is greater than just 3 times. If anything, I'd say it was Blake who got the short end of the stick - but then again, he is an accused murderer.

I'm not going to expend any emotional energy on defending yet another wayward celebrity who rediscovers his blackness in the face of criminal allegations. I say let the courts decide whether he's guilty or not - we'll see what evidence they have against him soon enough.

Posted by: Abiola Lapite at January 19, 2004 08:45 AM

That's fair, I suppose. Even in the best of times, there's little to say about Jacko which is particularly edifying. It's ironic that his appearance counts for so much.

But you are right to notice that he claims blackness when he's in trouble. Now that you mention it, isn't it interesting that black people claim *him* now that he is. Folks who see everything wrong with the system will ape the line that 'if they can bring down Michael, what chance does the ordinary black man have'. But this is the axis of blackness and trouble, blackness and dysfunction that we are stuck with for the moment.

Posted by: Cobb at January 19, 2004 09:35 AM

You were on point with your comments, This was excellent.

Najee Ali

Posted by: Najee Ali at January 22, 2004 05:30 AM