Friday, June 29, 2012

Michael Jackson’s death was one of those game-changing moments in time.

This  a very good  article by Rahiel Tesfamariam..  Not just because Michael was in it but because it was sincere and spoke to important issues in our culture and the music industry. The author didn't just use Michael's name. Michael was the center of this story because he was the definitive example of the difference in our music, the industry and culture today .. (the greatest Loss) we have no great positive black or white innovators or luminaries in the music idustry leading the way.

I also like the respect she  got the first pragraph right. Most Lazy journalist with no integrity dont do any research for thier assembly line articles and just state MJ died of a drug overdose with no clalrification.. That irks me to no end
~ Qbee

Michael Jackson’s death,
 like those of the great artists before and since, results in a greater loss

By Rahiel Tesfamariam

It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since the world lost Michael Jackson. The “King of Pop” died three years ago Monday from an overdose of prescription drugs administered to him by his doctor, Conrad Murray, who was later found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in jail

Every generation has its moments when a beloved public figure is taken from us. It’s a memory that often is forever etched in our memories. No matter how much time has passed, you can look back and remember exactly where you were when you got the news that made you question if things would ever be the same again. For many of us, Michael Jackson’s death was one of those game-changing moments in time.

It feels like those moments are happening more and more often, especially in the world of black music. But the real tragedy is that we’re not just losing these beloved artists. We’re also losing our culture.

In the last year alone, we’ve lost musical legends like Etta James, Don Cornelius, Donna Summer and, of course, Whitney Houston. Locally, Washingtonians mourned the loss of Chuck “Godfather of Go-Go” Brown who put the nation’s capital on the country’s cultural radar.

Look at how we try to revive the past. It returns in the form of a resurrected Tupac at Coachella, rumors of a Whitney Houston biopic, and the Jackson brothers going on a 16-city tour without their brother Michael. But it’s never the same. With each death, a piece of the public’s artistic imagination and inevitably who we are as a people passes away with it.

 While not dismissing the cross-generational greatness that remains in our midst, I can’t help but be concerned for the state of black entertainment. We’re far from a cultural drought, but much of today’s music doesn’t pulsate with the same soul that eras past did.

Much of my disappointment stems from commercial hip-hop. I'm saddened that my nieces don't have an equivalent to Arrested Development rapping about brothas “disrespecting my black queen, holding their crotches and being obscene” on the urban radio stations they listen to daily. Where are the Fugees and Tribe Called Quest for the new generation? Even in the R&B realm — for every H-Town that talked about “Knockin the Boots,” there remained a Boyz II Men that sang about loving someone until the “End of the Road” or the “Water Runs Dry.” There was greater balance, and as a result, we could choose our music a la carte.

Steve Harvey drove this point home in “The Original Kings of Comedy,” when he talked about the difference between Earth, Wind and Fire asking “would you mind if I looked in your eyes till I'm hypnotized and I lose my pride?” and today’s artists asking “who shot ya?” The difference between Lenny Williams crying his way “Cause I Love You” and today’s artists making music saturated with sex but completely devoid of love.

Much like our food, the music we consume today is engineered through very advanced technology and far from anything organic or homegrown. The commercial, synthetic production of music has gotten so bad that a mainstream artist such as Jay-Z felt the need to call for the “Death of Auto-Tune” as a critique of and challenge to individuals like T-Pain, who popularized the audio-engineering technology.

The artists aren’t the primary ones to blame for this compromise of cultural integrity. The corporate-driven industry isn’t as invested in making timeless music like EWF’s “Love’s Holiday”as it is in keeping up with consumer trends for the purpose of having mass appeal. It’s down to a formula now. Artists are required to have pop crossover in order to be sustainable — even if the culture suffers as a result. Rapper Nicki Minaj is a good example of how a formulaic sound and a sex-driven brand will prosper against all odds. Her crossover single “Starships” debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, even though it was, as the magaizine noted, “a departure in sound for the Young Money rapper”.

With that level of calculated success, what will challenge this generation of artists to pursue music with the same global vision that Michael Jackson had? The genius behind “Thriller” crossed every human boundary that divides us. Very few artists can popularize a nation’s culture in the ways in which Michael did. He had his faults but he made America look good in the eyes of the world. And he made us, as Americans, feel good about ourselves.

 This isn’t to ignore the fact that artists like Rihanna have similar global appeal. But it wasn’t just Michael’s music that was global in scope; his passion for service was as well. MJ was a servant. It’s hard to imagine contemporary artists like Rihanna and Beyonce offering the equivalent to “We Are the World” with the sincerity that Michael’s charity work had. But that may not be a statement about them as much as it is about the difference between Michael’s baby boomer generation, which lived through the civil rights and Black Power movements, versus my generation, which seemingly has a much more self-centered and materialistic strand running through it. Selfish artistry permeates our contemporary cultural landscape because so many of us have taken our freedoms for granted and don’t feel a sense of obligation to live out a life of service.

We can’t bring Michael or any of these artists who have passed back. But we can hope to live in a world where entertainers understand that being the greatest of all time is about much more than just music; it’s also about touching humanity in a way that forever changes people. In the end, how much our culture thrives will depend on how concerned we are about the welfare of our neighbor and the needs of our world.


Rahiel Tesfamariam is a columnist and blogger for The Washington Post and The RootDC. She is the founder/editorial director of Urban Cusp, an online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. Follow her onTwitter @RahielT.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fans Pay Homage to Michael Jackson Bearing Gifts and over Ten Thousand Roses on Third Anniversary of his Passing.

Once again Fans Pay Homage to Michael Jackson with Hundreds of Gifts and Over Ten Thousand Roses on  June 25th, 2012.  The Third Anniversary of his Passing.

A throng of fans gathered at Forest Lawn Cemetery outside of Holly Terrace, the section where Michael's Tomb is located in the Great Mausoleum.  The Fans, Local and from all over the world sent and came bearing thousands of gifts and near 11 Thousand Roses in buckets marked "One Rose For Michael Jackson", lined the walls and walks ways.

 The devoted fans brought and sent thousands of gifts that were on display in the makeshift memorial.  Including stuffed animals, Beautiful homemade cards, quilts, Posters, bouquets and elaborate flower stands  to commemorate the passing of the Pop King entertainer and humanitarian, Michael Jackson

Among others who came to pay respect, notable was Michael's sister Latoya Jackson earlier in the week,  Michael's father Joseph Jackson,  Michael's Brother Randy Jackson and long time friend Frank Casico

Frank Casico with  fan Erin Jacobs

Randy Jackson, Michael's brother pay respects and allowed some of the fans to visit  his 
brothers private tomb. He signed a few autographs and spoke with fans before leaving.

 The "Sunflowers for Michael" group and Sandy Lee Scott. Delivered  these beautiful
 flowers on 6/24/2012,  taken inside the Mausoleum, by his tomb on 6/25/2012.

Robyn Starkand a Michael Jackson fan from  Los Angeles along with other fans helped organize the delivery of over 10 Thousand long stem Roses through the online, campaign “One Rose for Michael Jackson” . She was amazed at the huge response this year.  The roses allowed thousands of fans from all over the world unable to make the trip, be part of the 3rd Anniversary to commemorate  Michael.

The roses will be sent to Sr citizen homes and other select places in the LA area that can enjoy them after the memorial.


To pay homage to Michael's long time friend and confident, Elizabeth Taylor. Seven Long stem roses were place by the group at the foot of the Angel that graces Taylor's public memorial at Forest Lawn.

When asked why the group chose roses, Starkland said it was an easy pick.
 “It’s the creme de la creme of flowers, and that’s what he was."

If Roses grow in Heaven Please pick a bunch for me.
Place them into Michaels arms And tell him they're from me
Tell him that I love him And when he turns to smile
Place a kiss upon his cheek And hug him for awhile
Remembering him is easy I do it every day
But there's an ache within my heart for I miss him more today.
~ Irene Elsharkawy
 What is in a name? "Michael Jackson"
by any other name a Rose is still a Rose

The Rose - My Tribute to One Rose For Michael Jackson - June 25,  2012

If you would like to view many more pictures and discuss this event
come visit Michael Jackson - In Remembrance  at

Friday, June 22, 2012

Update on Spike Lee’s BAD 25 documentary

About Spike Lee’s BAD 25 documentary (EN)

The biggest surprise of the BAD 25 campaign should be the special documentary directed by Spike Lee … And, well, here is why:  A reel of the documentary (20 minutes approx) was recently sent to TV stations as a teaser of the full length version (that lasts 90 minutes).

This reel tells more about the content of this film. If the final product is of the same caliber, then the whole project should be considered serious business. Spike Lee, backed by Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson, called in MJ’s very close collaborators that helped him craft Thriller’s legendary follow-up: BAD. Thus, Glen Ballard and Greg Phillinganes go back to the making of Man In The Mirror. Siedah Garrett of course also tells her side of the story and also remembers the recording session of I Just Can’t Stop Loving You. But along with these cult members of the BAD gang, other key people, sometimes not that much known and exposed to the public, also share their memories: Walter Yetnikoff, former CEO of CBS Records, and Larry Stessel, former manager at Epic during the BAD era, speak about the behind the scenes of BAD. Yetnikoff tells the story of the album cover. If you are into even more in-depth comments, you should not disapointed by drummers John Robinson and Ollie E. Brown interviews.

Just like the documentary series « Classic Albums » produced in the 90s, the one geared by Lee seems to focus on the creation of each song and also documents the making of the corresponding short films. All these stories are brilliantly illustrated with rare footage from Michael Jackson’s personal archives. These rare clips show how the singer managed to come down the ceiling as seen in the legendary BAD music video. He is also shown rehearsing his part with then up and coming actor Wesley Snipes. Director Jim Blashfield unveils details on the creation of the Leave Me Alone short film (a Grammy Award winner). The documentary shows how the final scene in which the King of Pop rises and escapes from the fantasy island that built its roller coasters around him.

Jackson is also known for having filmed and documented a lot of his recording sessions. Clips of these rare moments are also part of the documentary, including one of Michael Jackson’s personal home video he shot himself with Sieddah Garrett rehearsing the song Man In The Mirror in his presence …

To help tell the story within the story, Lee also interviewed several of today’s most popular artists such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Chris Brown. Even if the impacts of many of these special guests on pop culture remains unsure, their presence help showcase the deep and transgenerational force of Jackson’s work.

If understandable questions about the final quality of the BAD Tour DVD remains yet unanswered (they will be when the DVD is available), the BAD 25 documentary directed by Spike Lee definitely stands out as a luxurious island on which it will be nice to land to relive and discover new things about this sacred BAD era. Stay tuned …

MJ Data Bank - Richard Lecocq

Monday, June 18, 2012

Michael Jackson's BAD 25th Anniversary Edition has its First #1 Single

Michael Jackson's  BAD 25th Anniversary Edition Already has its First #1 Single

The Estate of Michael Jackson along with Epic/Legacy Recordings announce: “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” / "Don't Be Messin' 'Round (demo)” CD Single Debuts at #1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart.

(PRWEB) June 14, 2012

On June 5, the original first single from Michael Jackson’s landmark album BAD, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," was re-released as a CD Single with a never-before released bonus track called "Don't Be Messin' 'Round (demo)." In its first week this Wal-Mart exclusive CD single was scooped up by fans, giving Michael a #1 debut on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart in a top five that includes Carly Rae Jepsen, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber and Coldplay/Rihanna.

“I Just Can't Stop Loving You” was written and composed by Michael Jackson and performed as a duet with Siedah Garrett. The song became the first of five consecutive number-one Billboard Hot 100 hits from Jackson's BAD album. It also reached number one on the Billboard R&B and adult contemporary charts. “Don’t Be Messin’ Around” is a previously unreleased demo from the singer’s vaults which was recorded during the BAD sessions.

MJ BAD 25th  Anniversary release date 9/18/12

On September 18th, the Estate of Michael Jackson along with Epic/Legacy Recordings will release BAD 25, which includes three CDs, two collectible booklets, and features the first-ever authorized DVD release of a concert from the record breaking BAD tour, the concert at Wembley Stadium on July 16, 1988 attended by Princess Diana, Prince Charles and a sold-out crowd of 72,000 fans.

More details on this and other exciting projects relating to BAD’s 25th anniversary will be announced soon.


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Suprise release of Michael Jackson's Previously unheard demo Don't Be Messin' Round

New Michael Jackson song Don't Be Messin' Round given surprise release

Previously unheard track
from Bad recording sessions will feature on album's 25th-anniversary reissue

A treat for Michael Jackson fans emerged on Wednesday with the surprise release of another song from his vaults. The track, Don't Be Messin' Round, features as the B-side to I Just Can't Stop Loving You, which Walmart are rereleasing. It will also appear on the forthcoming 25th-anniversary reissue of Bad, due on 18 September.

The track is taken from sessions for the late singer's 1987 album Bad, and was recorded with engineer Brent Averill. Based around a light Latin beat, and with minimal production, the song feels more like an out-take than anything else, lacking the drama and intensity that made Bad a landmark record for Jackson. But there is plenty going for the light-funk track, with Jackson singing in a higher register and using some of the distinctive vocal tics  and flourishes that characterised his work in that era.

The Bad 25 package is also set to contain unseen live footage from Jackson's 1988 show at Wembley stadium.

It follows 2008's Thriller 25, on which tracks from that record were reworked and remixed by, Akon, Fergie and Kanye West.

The untreated demo nature of Don't Be Messin' Round may appeal to those who were unhappy with the posthumous 2010 collection Michael, on which artists including Akon, 50 Cent and Lenny Kravitz updated and finished unreleased Jackson vocals. ... 

Source: Dan Martin,,


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Peek Behind Michael Jackson's Just Released Demo Song

The Story Behind Michael Jackson's Infectious, Newly Released Song
Joseph Vogel -

The demo of "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" is among dozens of unreleased tracks from the Bad sessions, and provides insight into King of Pop's songwriting and recording process.

michael jackson 1987 apimages 615 new song.jpg
AP Images

It's been 25 years since Michael Jackson was in Westlake Studio in Los Angeles putting the finishing touches on his classic 1987 album, Bad. Today, a demo of a never-before-heard song from those sessions will finally get an audience when Sony's re-release of Bad's original lead single, "I Can't Just Stop Loving You," hits Wal-Mart shelves. The B-side, an infectious rhythm track called "Don't Be Messin' 'Round," provides a glimpse into Jackson's creative process—and to his incredible profligacy as a songwriter.

Don't Be Messin' 'Round (c) 2012  Legacy

Jackson had a habit of writing and recording dozens of potential songs for each new project. This was was especially the case for the Bad era, a prolific period in his career. At one point, he considered making Bad a triple-disc album given the amount of quality material. So it's fitting that later this fall, Sony Music and Jackson's estate will put out a full album of previously unreleased material from the Bad sessions. While the track list has not yet been finalized and will not be made public until closer to the September 18 release date, more than 20 new, unheard demos from the Bad sessions are currently being considered for the album. The songs being evaluated include a number of real gems and a few titles previously unknown to the most ardent Jackson aficionados.

Jackson would pull out the song again during both the 'Dangerous' and 'HIStory' sessions. Clearly, it was a song he liked. But it never found a home.
A team of Jackson collaborators and caretakers—including estate heads, Sony VP John Doelp, producer Al Quaglieri (who oversaw the excellent 2004 box set, Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection) and recording engineer, Matt Forger—combed through the vaults to see what was viable for the Bad 25 release. The criteria used for identifying potential songs were simple: They had to be recorded during the Bad era (1985-1987), and they had to be developed enough to feel like a complete track.

The Michael Jackson estate and Sony Legacy are leaving Jackson's work raw and unembellished this time around, in contrast to the King of Pop's first posthumous album, 2010's controversial Michael. The tracks will thus be less polished but more authentic, organic and true to what Jackson left behind. Similar to the critically acclaimed 2009 documentary, This Is It, the goal is to provide an intimate glimpse of the artist in his element. The listener, in essence, is brought into the studio with Michael Jackson as he works out a variety of musical ideas in his follow-up to the best-selling album of all time.

"Don't Be Messin'" illustrates this concept well. In the track, we can hear Jackson giving instructions, vocally dictating instrumental parts, mapping out where to accent words or add percussion, scatting and ad-libbing many of the unfinished lyrics. "One of the main intentions is to show that these are works in progress," says Matt Forger, a sound engineer and longtime Jackson friend and collaborator. "To pull the curtain back. To actually see Michael in his natural work environment, how he directs, his sense of humor, his focus."

The finished product, then, is intentionally unfinished and spontaneous. "You can just hear him having fun," Forger says. "His spirit and emotion are totally there. He knew in demos he didn't have to be totally perfect in his execution. So he'd be loose. He'd throw in ad libs and dance or sing or pop his fingers or clap his hands. You just hear him enjoying himself."

Jackson first wrote and recorded "Don't Be Messin'" during the Thriller sessions with engineer Brent Averill. Around this time he was working on a variety of musical ideas, including demos of "P.Y.T." and "Billie Jean." "Don't Be Messin'" features Jackson himself playing piano ("He could do more than he ever really let people know," Forger says.) He also produced, arranged, and guided many of the instrumental parts, including the cinematic strings, Jonathan Maxey's piano part in the bridge, and David Williams funky guitar licks.

Ultimately, since "Don't Be Messin'" wasn't fully developed and so much other strong material was coming in for Thriller, Jackson decided to put the song on the back burner, having in mind to revisit it for his next album. "That was kind of how Michael developed ideas and songs," explains Forger. "He let the song unfold in its own time. Sometimes a song wasn't ready or didn't quite fit the character of an album or a project and it would stay in the vaults. And then at a certain point of time, he would pull it out again."

In this case, the track re-surfaced in 1986, during the early stages of the Bad sessions. Jackson worked on the song primarily with recording engineers Matt Forger and Bill Bottrell in the "laboratory," the nickname for his renovated home studio at Hayvenhurst. As was typical for Jackson rhythm tracks, the song was quite long (nearly eight minutes) in its early phases. "Michael loves a song to be long," Forger says. "He loves it to groove because he gets to dance to it—which is a big thing, because when Michael feels the music is making him dance it means the groove is in the pocket."

Jackson's grooves, however, were unusual in that they often lacked the predictable repetition of much dance music, surprising with strange beat patterns, textures and nuances. "Some of these long versions of ["Don't Be Messin'"] really sound very interesting because there's different things happening in different sections," Forger says. "It's really not like you're sitting there for eight minutes thinking it's terribly long, because things are happening within that length of time that make it feel like, 'Yeah, this is cool.' It's actually satisfying to listen to the rhythm."

Cutting the song down was often a brutal process for Jackson, especially the intros and outros. As with other songs on Thriller and Bad, though, Jackson tried to trim it down into the four-to-five minute range, which is where the new mix of "Don't Be Messin'" clocks in.

Jackson continued to work on "Don't Be Messin'" into late 1986, at both his home studio and at Westlake. However, once Quincy Jones came on board, the serious paring began and "Don't Be Messin'" was left on the cutting room floor. Jackson would pull out the song again during both the Dangerous sessions and HIStory sessions, updating its sound and adding new elements. Clearly, it was a song he liked. But ultimately it never found a home.

The version Matt Forger mixed was the last version Jackson worked on during the Bad sessions in 1986. Forger feels it is the purest, most emotionally satisfying version: "It's exactly how Michael dictated it at the time. It's precisely Michael saying, 'this is how it has to be.'"

The 1986 demo isn't a groundbreaking song. The vocal is only partial-strength, the lyrics aren't finished, and the production isn't close to what it would be had it been fully realized by Jackson and Quincy Jones. However, it is a solid addition to the growing list of quality Bad-era outtakes (a list that also includes "Streetwalker," "Fly Away," and "Cheater"). "It's such a catchy underlying melodic hook," Forger says. "And it has a rhythmic feel that syncopates in such an interesting fashion." In a 2009 interview legendary recording engineer Bruce Swedien cited the track as one of his favorite unreleased Jackson songs. "It's just beautiful," he said . "Oh my God, there's nothing like it."

Like much of his work, the track doesn't fit neatly into a single genre, fusing flavors of Latin, jazz, and pop. With its breezy Bossa Nova rhythm and layers of interwoven hooks, it is a song that easily gets stuck in the head and makes you want to move—yet it also rewards multiple listens with its sophisticated syncopation and complex rhythm arrangement ("Music is like tapestry," Jackson once said. "It's different layers, it's weaving in and out, and if you look at it in layers you understand it better.")

For Forger, working on the track triggered memories of a simpler time in Jackson's turbulent career: "It just brought all the feelings back of what it was like in that era. Michael was just this exuberant, happy person. He wanted to challenge the world and make wonderful, great music."

What was Forger's goal in resurrecting the track?

"Just to make it authentic. Something Michael would enjoy and be proud of. It's got his charm and energy. If people appreciate it and enjoy it for what it is then I'll feel great. All I want it to be is enjoyed for the simple thing that it is."


Joseph Vogel - Joseph Vogel is the author of Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. He is a doctoral candidate and instructor in the Department of English at the University of Rochester.   

Friday, June 01, 2012

Message from Estate Of Michael Jackson Re Wembley concert DVD Quality

DATE: MAY 31, 2012

It is great to see the overwhelming support and excitement in the fan community for the upcoming BAD 25 release. A few questions have arisen regarding the Wembley concert DVD. Although the press release wasn’t the place for background details, here is more information:

• We know that Nocturne captured on Umatic tapes the footage projected onto the JumboTrons at the various concerts including Wembley. These tapes were turned over to Michael’s crew and we have confirmed with Patrick Kelly (who headed Michael’s film crew for the European tour) that everything from Europe was sent to LA to be put in Michael’s storage facilities. The same procedures were followed for the US shows.

• Unfortunately, record-keeping in the storage facilities was sporadic, at best, so we do not know what happened to a tape once it was sent for storage. In most cases, once a tape was pulled from the box it arrived in, it was not put back in the original box and where it wound up doesn’t always make sense. As a result, 25 years later not all of the Umatic tapes from the various shows can be located, notwithstanding that we have conducted an extensive survey of all of the storage facilities. So while we believe that the Umatic tape for Wembley was initially sent for storage, we have not been able to locate it. And with regard to the Umatic footage of other concerts, the audio is extremely problematic and therefore these concerts are unusable.

• We know that VHS copies of the Umatics were made when Michael wanted to view a particular concert, but because of the lack of record-keeping, we also didn’t know which concerts existed on VHS. We ultimately did find Michael’s personal VHS viewing copy of the Wembley show attended by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, but not the Umatic. Even finding this VHS felt like a miracle to us!

• So while we continued the search for the Wembley Umatic master, we also researched the audio recordings that existed from all of the concerts including Wembley. Fortunately, the Wembley audio recordings were made using a sound truck, and appear to be the only multi-track recordings from the tour. The other audio/visual recordings that exist, whether Umatic or VHS, are “front of house” mixes, and therefore there are no separate audio recordings that can be used to create a high quality listening experience. It is for this reason that the Wembley audio is the only one suitable to create a live album.

• If we were going to include a live concert DVD in the BAD 25 release package, we had only one choice, Wembley. And there were only two options for visual – the Umatics for a different show or the VHS for Wembley. It would certainly be less expensive for the Estate to be able to create a DVD from a Umatic tape than to spend the time and money to painstakingly restore/enhance the VHS footage, but then we would not be delivering a truly authentic experience and we truly believe that watching this concert with the high quality audio will create a magical experience for all the fans as it has for us. We ultimately chose a lab that has developed its own proprietary technology for doing this kind of work (including restoration for NASA of VHS footage) in order to make the visual experience the best it can be under the circumstances.

We also could have chosen to release the Japanese concert from the first leg of the tour as there is a master of that show; but that concert was essentially a reincarnation of the Victory Tour with only two songs – “Bad” and “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” – added at the end. It isn’t what we believe the fans would want.

We could have elected not to release a DVD as part of the BAD 25 celebration (and hold out hope that someday we might find the Umatic of the Wembley concert) or we could share with the fans the chance to relive that magical night with pristine audio. We made the decision to go with the latter and provide the fans with the most authentic viewing experience. We believe that the fans will agree it was the right choice when the package is released in September.