Check out music by Doodlebug, now known as Cee Knowledge here.
Check out music by Doodlebug, now known as Cee Knowledge here.
This music video, made by D-Fro (a producer/MC out of the Owosso/Flint area) and directed by label mate Tim Evans, promotes you to never give up on yourself, even if the world around us wants us to sometimes. D-Fro is an advocate for self-discovery and awareness of world affairs. Check out more at www.fb.com/dfromusic.
Note: Original video has been removed
Watch Dangerous Lee TV on Youtube
As promised, I read my second of three Michael Jackson related books that I promised to review. This time around, it was that of longtime friend and assistant, Frank Cascio (aka Frank Tyson, then back to Frank Cascio – the name changes are explained in the book). As reluctant as I had been to read ’s book, I was even more afraid to attempt this one. After all, Frank was actually “IN” Michael’s life, not just watching from afar as Jermaine was for most of he and Michael’s adult life. Actually, preparing to read a book from someone on the inside actually made me a bit nervous.
As with Jermaine’s book, which I previously reviewed for this site, I had no regrets once I finished the book. In fact, it actually provided something for me that Jermaine’s book had not been able to provide. I’ll explain:
As a child, there are things that I had to endure. I understand fully what it’s like to be the accuser and to not be believed by people you love and trust. Because of this, my instinct has always been to believe the child in any type of abuse situation. I dealt with my issues as a child by using Michael Jackson as an escape into a fantasy world – that later as an adult – I would never let go. When Michael was accused of child molestation, it was as if the best thing in my life at that point had intersected with the worst thing in my life. I was frozen. As a fanatic, who worked vigorously with several MJ fan clubs throughout my life, traveled wherever I could to see him, supported him in any aspect that I could – this was a stab in the heart. However, I never waivered from my PUBLIC support of Michael. Privately, I was struggling to cope. By the time the allegations rolled back around and he was on trial in 2005, my job had done their version of a full out intervention. I had changed. I was in a dark and very sad place. I was afraid for Michael, but even more afraid that what was said was true. Apparently it was written all over my face, to the point that the staff at the elementary school I worked at took notice. I’ll spare you the details of this MJ intervention, but the fact that enough people there were concerned, really touched me. Long story short, I decided to change my prayer. Instead of the same chant I had said every night, “Please let Michael be found innocent’….I decided to change the prayer to, ‘God, do what you think should happen and I’ll accept that.’ When Michael was found not guilty, I took it as a personal sign to me that God was telling me it was okay and that I could love him as I always had…..but that didn’t last long. I continued to celebrate and love Michael – my whole house is practically MJ, anyone will tell you, but those allegations had broken my heart so bad, that I couldn’t let them go. However, I decided I’d never address them with myself again. I was going to keep loving him and leave that issue unresolved. That’s why it’s called unconditional love, right? And I did. I loved him. I ignored what I needed to for my peace of mind.
Now back to the book….as Frank detailed his long friendship with Michael – which began when Frank was five and lasted until the day Michael passed away, I found myself faced with those unspeakable issues again. Here was a grown man detailing the many years he and his brother had slept in Michael’s room. On the surface, I kept thinking that even this relationship seemed inappropriate. But the more I read, the more I got it. Michael had always treated these, and other children, as if they were his own children. In fact, most of the stories Frank shares, you’d think Michael was one of their big brothers – doing pranks, acting silly, sharing inside jokes. For the first time, I felt some inner peace about the allegations. I felt like everything Frank was saying was true. From the outside looking in, yes, it is difficult to not see these friendships as twisted or sexual. But from the inside looking out, which is Frank’s perspective, it appeared to not only be an amazing friendship, but a lifelong lesson for Frank. When traveling Michael would make Frank and his brother keep journals and take pictures, all to record their experiences of various cultures, landscapes, and people. They’d sit and read books Michael had purchased. He was continually expressing the importance of education, telling them if they don’t read, they’ll be “dumb and ignorant” as he so eloquently stated. When Frank began to speak on the first set of allegations, and then the second set of allegations, it was eye opening. After all, these were kids Frank would hang with when they were all with Michael and I was able to understand how and why everything came about. I had knew most of it, but for some reason, it was very different hearing it from the perspective of someone who lived it.
Michael would later hire Frank to work for him, speaking volumes of his dedication and trust to this family. But their friendship had many challenges and many breaking points, particularly when Frank tried to intervene with Michael’s doctors. And the stress of the trial almost damaged their friendship forever – but it didn’t.
I think overall, the book does what Jermaine’s book did – gives you a sense of Michael’s offstage persona. Clearly he loved his wine – and not in an alcoholic way of loving it, clearly he felt he needed his prescription medications, clearly he struggled with trusting those who were hired to represent him, clearly he overreacted at times, clearly he suffered from depression, clearly he loved his children (their conception is discussed, as are Michael’s marriages), clearly he was often paranoid – sometimes rightfully so…..but clearly – he was human! There’s a small mention of smoking pot, so don’t be alarmed. And a couple of ghost stories add to the books sensationalism, but believe me, the worse part of the book is when Michael’s death is discussed. You leave the book feeling like you were on this roller coaster ride of Michael’s life right there with Frank. When the ride ends, you can’t help but feel heartbroken – for everyone that loved him, including Frank. I read the entire book in nine hours, on two separate evenings. I was glad I did. Next up, Latoya Jackson’s book. Help me Lord.
Book reviews are not usually what I use my creative juices to write, but every once in a while, it’s okay to make an exception from the norm. Before I begin, I should tell you that I go by, “The Number One Michael Jackson Fan in the State of Delaware”. Without giving you the details behind the title, just know that it’s true.
Having said that, when I first heard that You Are Not Alone Michael: Through a Brother’s Eyes” – that’s a mouthful! However, I was compelled to purchase it and even more surprising, I actually began reading it.was writing a book about his brother, I cringed. Like everyone else, I thought, “Is there anyone who loves him enough to not try to capitalize off of him?” Plus I thought the title was ridiculously long (lol): “
It ended up being a good decision on my part. The cute childhood stories of 2300 Jackson Street were heartfelt and fun, and often made me chuckle a bit. As the story shifts to the development of the Jackson Five, Jermaine credits the people who truly helped pave the way and clarifies some of the many myths surrounding that time period, including Michael’s claim that they once lived with Diana Ross. He goes on to contradict Michael a few times in the book, but it’s nothing major or unforgivable.
What I enjoyed most is that the book seemed to really show Michael’s true character – a giving soul who put all his energy into his craft and into the art of making the world happy – although he struggled to do the same for himself personally. I also came away from the book wondering if at times Michael purposely blocked Jermaine’s success or purposely excluded him from projects that Jermaine had initiated. But remember, Jermaine wrote the book. That has to be taken into consideration since the other party is not here to defend himself. Despite that, what you clearly see is that regardless of what happened between the two at different parts of their lives, Jermaine was always there for Michael when it mattered most, as were the rest of the Jacksons. When reading, you get a sense of a loving and caring family that understood the importance of sticking together. They didn’t see Michael as often as they liked, and I’m sure he had his personal reasons for that choice, but when they did spend time with him, they speak of his laughter, his silly mannerisms, his practical joking, and his true compassion for the human race.
Being the emotional basket-case that I am, I did find myself bursting into tears at various parts of the book, especially the ending. And I’ll admit, although I’ve never been a conspiracy theory type of gal, the last few weeks of Michael’s life, as chronicled by Jermaine, do make you wonder…..was it all a part of someone’s master plan? But that’s neither here nor there. What the book did for me as someone who truly loves Michael Jackson with all my heart, is remind me of why I love him so much and what has been truly lost. That was worth it to me. Next on the list is “My Friend Michael”, by Frank Cascio, which I will begin reading tonight. Followed by LaToya Jackson’s “Starting Over”. I choose to skip LaToya for now and read Frank’s book first to give myself an emotional break. The family’s point of view can be unbearably heartbreaking at times.
Overall, I think if you love Michael, you’ll love the book. Yes, you will think Jermaine gives himself a little too much “I was there for Michael” credit, but really, it’s an enjoyable, sometimes heartbreaking story.
If you’ve never seen Michael Jackson live in concert, or even if you have, this show is a wonderful and touching substitute. It felt great being in the company of thousands of others who love Michael and his music. As I watched and enjoyed the show, I spent a lot of time ignoring what was happening on stage and instead focused on images of Michael when he appeared on the big screen.
I cried at the beginning of the show as a routine was performed to Childhood. There were other times when I got a lil’ teary eyed, but I held it together. The show highlighted songs throughout the span of his career and most were songs about unity, peace, and love. It’s amazing how Michael and his brothers kept that message constant in their music for over 40 years.
I really enjoyed this show and wanted even more when the 3 hour show was over! There are too many highlights and stand out moments to mention, but watch the video below for a few of them. I do plan to see it again if I get the chance. Great job Cirque du Soleil and thank you!