Friday, February 5, 2010

Spike Lee wrote a letter to Michael

Legendary filmmaker Spike Lee, directed two controversial videos for Michael Jackson as well as the eulogy on film to accompany the posthumous single "This Is It". Jackson and Lee collaborated on both videos for "They Don't Care About Us. The first version was filmed in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia, Brazil and featured local residents and the cultural music group Olodum. It showcased the both the crushing poverty and resilient spirit of the area. The second video depicted Jackson as a prisoner in a prison filled with discontent inmates. Scenes of Jackson handcuffed and protesting in the mess hall were interspersed with images of police brutality, genocide, execution, and bigotry. This duo of videos remains among Jackson's most powerful in his catalogue.

Lee continued his support of Jackson by staging a community-wide birthday party in honor of Michael in Brooklyn last August 2009. At the beginning of this year, Lee released a touching music video ode to Michael to accompany the single "This Is It." The video featured scenes from Michael's life and his hometown of Gary, Indiana. Now, Lee has penned a letter to his friend for the luxurious coffee table book, Opus: Michael Jackson. The Opus is a massive 26 lb. book containing photos, drawings, letters, and more celebrating Michael. He had considerable input into the work and it is the last official book to gain his approval before his passing.

Read the text of Spike Lee's touching personal letter to Michael below:

October 10, 2009

Dearest Michael,

Last week I made a pilgrimage to your birthplace, Gary, Indiana. I stood
inside your family’s modest three-bedroom home on 2300 Jackson Street. I felt
the magic. It started there, nine kids plus your parents, jam packed, livin’ on
top of each other pursuing The American Dream. For this alone 2300 Jackson
should be declared a National Landmark. One has to go back to the beginning to
clearly see the entire journey. Gary, Steel town, Midwest, blue collar, hard
workin’, hard livin’, great work ethic and simple basic values. It’s there early
where you learned ‘you had to sing and dance like your life depended on it’
which it did. You and your family made the dream a reality. But as we all
finally learn (sooner or later) dreams have costs and costs have consequences. I
truly cherish the short time we worked together, visiting my home in Brooklyn,
huggin’ and kissin’ my newborn daughter Satchel, as if she was your own
daughter, our fantastic journey to Brazil to shoot the video for ‘THEY DON’T
CARE ABOUT US.’ I regret never getting to inform you that our video was directly
responsible for the great film CITY OF GOD being conceived and made. Michael,
your life touched people the world over you will never know. Michael, I’m one
year older than you, we grew up together. I had my Afro just like you. I wanted
to be like you. Wanted the cute girls to fawn over me the way they did you (the
girls were not going for it. They’d rather make goo-goo eyes at your pictures
plastered all over their bedroom.) At that young age I had no notion of what I
wanted to do in my life. You made me see the possibilities even though I could
not sing or dance a lick despite coming from a musical family. You, Jermaine,
Tito, Jackie and Marlon showed us the way. You guys were young Black boys like
us. Upon us was a new day, a new world and it’s on us to make the most of it. In
closing Michael, you checked out of here way, way too soon but while you walked
this earth in your physical form you changed it. You changed the World, changed
the Game forever.

May you rest eternally in Peace.

Spike Lee

P.S. Brooklyn luvs ya!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tennessee House Passes Michael Measure

The Tennessee House of Representatives narrowly passed a measure to honor Michael Jackson on Wednesday, February 3, 2010. The resolution, sponsored by Democratic Rep. G. A. Hardaway of Memphis, squeaked by Wednesday on a vote of 51-22 with 16 lawmakers present and abstaining. Measures need at least 50 votes to pass the 99-member chamber.

The measure has drawn considerable heat amongst the conservative constituency of the Southern state. This general disdain is echoed by the lawmakers who opposed the measure. Democratic Rep. Henry Fincher of Cookeville said he voted against it because Jackson was "credibly accused of child molestation." House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada said he objected to money being spent to honor entertainer, however he tendered an "aye" vote. Nevertheless, the state Congress regularly considers such measures; two years ago a measure to honor Tennessee native Justin Timberlake failed to pass.

If you would like to read the full text of the bill, click here.

Here is how the vote split:

HJR0773 by Hardaway - FLOOR VOTE: MOTION TO ADOPT 2/3/2010 Passed Ayes...............................................51
Present and not voting......................16

Representatives voting aye were: Armstrong, Bone, Borchert, Brown, Camper, Casada, Coleman, Cooper, DeBerry L, Eldridge, Favors, Ferguson, Fitzhugh, Gilmore, Hackworth, Hardaway, Harmon, Harrison, Johnson P, Jones S, Jones U, Kernell, Litz, Lynn, Maddox, Marsh, Matheny, McCord, McCormick, McDaniel, Miller, Montgomery, Moore, Mumpower, Naifeh, Odom, Pitts, Pruitt, Richardson, Sargent, Shaw, Shepard, Sontany, Swafford, Tidwell, Tindell, Towns, Turner J, Turner M, West, Yokley -- 51.
Representatives voting no were: Bell, Carr, Cobb J, Dunn, Faulkner, Fincher, Floyd, Ford, Haynes, Hensley, Johnson C, Lollar, Lundberg, Matlock, McDonald, McManus, Niceley, Roach, Rowland, Shipley, Stewart, Weaver -- 22.

Representatives present and not voting were: Barker, Bass, Brooks H, Campfield, Coley, Dennis, Evans, Fraley, Harwell, Maggart, Ramsey, Rich, Todd, Watson, White, Mr. Speaker Williams -- 16.

We ask that you take the time to call or e-mail at least five legislators from this list who voted yes and five who voted against the bill. Contact information on all the congresspersons can be found here on the House Member Website. Please make sure you include Rep. Fincher in all your communications. He needs to know his statements are not only incorrect, they are unacceptable.
Cut and paste:
AYE (YES) VOTES:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

This Is It #1 in DVD sales

According to Home Media Magazine, Michael Jackson's This Is It rocketed to the number one position on national home video sales charts in its first week of release selling 1.2 million copies in the U.S. alone. This is a record performance for first week sales of a music film. According to Nielsen VideoScan, the film was also the number 1 seller in the Blu Ray format for the week ending January 31, 2010. Fully 21% of sales of This Is It were on the Blu Ray format, which is also a record for a release of any type.

This Is It chronicles the exhaustive rehearsals leading up to what would have been the largest concert tour ever. The documentary provides a glimpse of the creative genius that was Michael Jackson and offers the viewer the opportunity to meet the dancers, musicians, and crew behind the massive production. This Is It earned over a quarter of a billion dollars in its limited theatrical release worldwide.

SONY Corp. posts $871 million (USD) Quarterly Profit

The numbers are in: Sony's electronics and entertainment divisions posted a quarterly profit of $871 million USD (79.2 billion yen). That's QUARTERLY. Third quarter profits a year ago were only 10.4 billion yen. Sony attributes the surge in profits to cost-cutting measures and the performance of its consumer electronics division. We here might beg to differ; certainly the performance of the This Is It film coupled with strong sales of MJ's catalogue had a little something to do with it. Michael had a little something to say about Sony. Watch the video.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Centipede 2010

After decades out of the spotlight, Rebbie Jackson will take the stage in Scranton, Pennsylvania on April 24th to pay homage to her beloved brother, Michael. Rebbie will perform with Damon Harris of the Temptations and a surprise guest, possibly one of her famous siblings. The two will sing a duet of "Never Can Say Goodbye" along with a Jackson 5 medley.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Michael Jackson voted best performance at MSG

Michael Jackson's fans voted his 1988 concert the best concert ever at Madison Square Garden with 36.5% of the online vote. His 2001 performance took second place, garnering 30.3% of the vote. It really says something about the power and breadth of his fan base that he was able to earn over two-thirds of all the votes worldwide.

The Grammys 3-D Earth Song Tribute to Michael Jackson

I listen to this song nearly every day, but I still got chills when I heard Michael's portion of the song. I think this was beautifully done. Each singer brought something heartfelt and special to the tribute.

Michael would have been proud of his children

Both Prince and Paris Jackson were clearly nervous. Heck, I would have been terrified to speak in front of all those people in that room and millions more watching around the world. It was very nice of their cousins 3T to come on stage to support them. All of them looked very polished and grown up. Prince and Paris were very articulate and what they said about Michael was touching.

Interestingly, Randy Jackson tweeted other family members were not even invited to the ceremony and followed that up with something cryptic about "the truth". We are presently trying to get to the bottom of that...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Michael's appeal was truly universal...

The mariachi band at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama--yes, Alabama!--jams it out to "Beat It" on the regular. *shrugs shoulders*