Monday, June 29, 2009

Mixed on Michael Jackson's Children

Each day the media cloud over Michael Jackson's death mushrooms broader and wider with rumor, speculation, and tidbits of fact. Today the big story is that Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mother, has been awarded guardianship of all three of Michael's children, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. aka Prince, Paris Michael Katherine, Prince Michael Jackson II aka "Blanket."

CNN reports confirmation of this news. The picture of his two older children, Michael Jr. and Paris, is from CNN's confirmation story. You can also see the youngest, "Blanket," walking beside his sister.

I knew coverage of his death would get crazy, and as a journalist, I also know that you can't ignore a story this big, but I'm saddened that his children will continue to be part of that circus. I hope their grandparents can protect them. Folks are already openly debating whether his children are his biological children, and you can read people talking about it starting at one of Field Negro's posts in the comments section here, also here, and on this one as well. Eventually the media will pick this story up too, if not the MSM, then the tabloids, and what can come from this except more psychological pain for Michael's children?

Their parentage is something people have debated for a long time, but the masses should let the debate rest with the King of Pop in the grave and leave these children in peace. He said they are his children, and so, they are his children.

At, I wrote about a message MJ wrote on hotel stationery in 1995, which I as a writer consider the equivalent of leaving a desperate plea on a napkin, anything you can find to pen words that must come out. Here is part of that message, which liken mean-spirited critics to animals:
Animals strike, not from malice, but because they want to live, it is the same with those who criticize, they desire our blood, not our pain. But still I must achieve I must seek truth in all things. I must endure for the power I was sent forth, for the world for the children.

But have mercy, for I've been bleeding a long time now." (Written by Michael Jackson, 1995. Read more commentary on his plea for mercy here.)
Last night, Janet Jackson spoke at the BET Awards on behalf of the Jackson family, and by asking us to remember what Michael was to them, she too is asking for mercy, a measure of respect for human feeling and a loved one's memory. "To you Michael is an icon. To us Michael is family ...," said Janet.

The physician who was with him at the time of his cardiac arrest, Dr. Conrad Murray, is on the hot seat, and wisely has a lawyer.

The world awaits the results of the autopsy toxicology tests, and his family has asked for an additional autopsy. In the meantime, we hear over and over that MJ may have been addicted to prescription pain medication. If that's repeated enough, after a time, people will assume it's true no matter what the toxicology report says later. All this and we haven't had the funeral yet. Plus, the will and discovery of his assets will be a mess for the history books,

Make it stop!

I say that knowing it won't stop in my lifetime. Like Elvis, Michael Jackson's legacy is eternal, eternally praised and eternally smeared. But to his family, for those of us who were blessed by his music and appreciate that blessing, I paraphrase the rest of Janet Jackson's quote and say, he will live with dignity in the hearts of those who loved him.


le0pard13 said...

I very much agree on this re: his children. Biological or not, every legal entity recognized them as his children. So, they are. And, the children have lost their father--people seem to forget that, here. Most well-mannered individuals, groups, societies, etc. allow for this and keep open speculation to themselves, or at a minimum, out of respect, concern for those too young/innocent. But, speculation on parentage sells ratings, newspapers, viewership, etc. However, it accomplishes nothing for those kids and likely adds to their current anguish and loss. As a supposedly intelligent species, we're not exactly coming off as enlightened or glowing in this instance.

msladydeborah said...

This is one area of MJs life that the media and public need to back out of ASAP. Because there is a reality that seems to be over too many people's heads.

The Jackson children have lost their father. What a painful time this must be for them.

No matter how they were produced..MJ was their dad.

The lack of honest concern and respect for them is showing. I don't like the view because it really is not our business.

The good thing for them is the fact that Katherine Jackson has embraced them as family. Imagine how difficult it would be if they were rejected by their family?

PPR_Scribe said...

What a double standard, yes? The MSM largely respects Madonna's and other White celeb's rights to be parents of Black children but not a Black parent's rights to be a parent to (presumably) White children.

Yes, MJ's children's parentage and racial backgrounds is likely a reflection of his likely complicated racial identity. But it may also be related to his feelings about himself, beyond race, and what he did and did not want to pass on genetically to another generation...