Michael's Kids: Forging Their Own Identities

From the time they were born, they were like The Three Musketeers. After Michael’s death, they seemed to find strength in presenting themselves as an unbroken shield to the world-one for all, all for one. Fans even refer to them affectionately as PP&B.

But over the last year, the inevitable seems to be happening. Michael’s babies are growing up. Prince and Paris are teenagers now. And as inevitably happens when kids grow up, they are starting to make their own way; forging their own identities apart from the pack.

Well, I don’t have to tell you that speculation has run rampant ever since Michael’s death thrust his three children into the spotlight-and into media scrutiny-in a way they had never experienced while Michael lived. From that time forward, the big question has been how each will carry forth their famous father’s legacy. I think we are finally starting to see some of those answers, in ways that are both good and not so good (and frankly, some that are downright disturbing). However, we should keep in mind that Michael raised three bright, intelligent kids and instilled in them the idea they could be whatever they wanted. From him, as well as a plethora of show business aunts, uncles, and cousins, I think they have the savvy to know how to navigate the show business world. But is it too soon, and is it what Michael would have wanted for them? These are the big questions that many are asking.

Prince may have set the precedent earlier this year when he appeared solo at the Bambi awards in Germany. There was much media hype over this being Prince’s first public appearnce minus his siblings.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OTMz9RwcGM&feature=related[/tube]

Since then, he has since gone further solo, embarking on an endorsement deal with his famous uncles to market “Thriller” replica jackets.

http://www.yrbmagazine.com/2011/11/jackson-5-and-prince-michael-for-j5-collection-limited-edition-thriller-and-beat-it-jackets/

But the intense media scrutiny on the individual identities of the children really began the moment when Paris stepped in front of the microphone at the memorial service to tell the world how she felt about her father. Yes, we were aware that three children had lost their father. But in that moment, 11-year-old Paris became the spokesperson for all three of them-and in a sense, that was the beginning of her thrust into the spotlight.

Paris' Memorial Speech Thrust Her Into The Limelight

My concern right now is especially for Paris and Blanket. I don’t worry so much for Prince, because he seems to be a smart and level headed kid and I think his main interest is going to be behind the camera, directing and producing (he’s already said as much, and somehow with this kid, you just don’t doubt his sincerity). I think he will be fine. I worry more about Paris, not because she isn’t as equally smart and level headed, but simply because as a girl, she is going to be much more subjected to the kind of sexual exploitation that often befalls young girls in the industry. Right now I can think of so many who have already been subjected to that path-Lindsey Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, etc (all of whom began their careers as wholesomely innocent teens, and whose image was meant to appeal to young, teen girls, but not surpisingly, we saw all of them more “sexed up” with every passing year, long before any of them were even 18 years of age). It usually does not end pretty for these girls.

Judging from the recent publicity shots promoting Paris’s movie debut in Lunden’s Bridge and The Three Keys, it looks as though Paris is being groomed as a new version of Miley Cyrus, wholesome and innocent yet somewhat provocative. Honestly, I don’t think shots like the above are any accident! The poster being used to currently promote the fillm also seems to be exploiting Paris in a somewhat provocative manner: Note short shorts, and the tight fitting top that accentuates her chest!

Granted, Paris Jackson is growinng up to be a beautiful young lady, and the camera loves her, obviouusly. But natural, wholesome beauty is one thing; quite another when packaged in a way that is obviously overtly sexual. I have absolutuely no problem with Paris being a sex symbol-when she is of age! But she is only thirteen yerars old right now! Just a few months ago, Paris was reportedly offered a position with the Lingerie Football League, which as described by Bleacher Report Swagger columnist Adam Wells is, “a sham of a league, designed to get perverted people to tune in and pay money to see scantily-clad women run around for no reason.”

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/901505-paris-jackson-lingerie-football-league-crosses-line-recruiting-13-year-old&nbsp

The fact that the offerer was reputed to take effect only after Paris reached 18 doesn’t really change matters. The fact is, it looks as though the sexploitation of Michael Jackson’s only daughter is just beginninng, and I don’t expecty that we will see the let-up of this anytime soon. The offers are going to come in, and they are going to be more and more temptingly lucrative. I just hope that in this sea of sharks and wolves, Paris can keep her head clear and be strong, and that grandmother Katherine can keep a firm hand, as well.

As The Child Who Looks Most Like Michael Physically, Blanket Is Going To Invite A Lot Of Intense Media Scrutiny As He Gets Older

 

I also think that there is going to be a lot of media scrutiny and  interest in Blanket as he grows older (in  fact, it has already begun-remember the world’s reaction to those leaked Youtube videos!). And I think a lot of it is going to be for one very simple reason: As the child who bears the most striking PHYSICAL resemblance too Michael, I think a lot  of eyes are going to be on him simply for his  looks, if nothing else. And no, by that, I do not mean necessarily in a perverted way (though that may be a factor, too!), but rather, simply that he is going to invite a lot of comparisonns to his father and there is going to be a lot of media scrutiny for this reason alone (ironically, of course, it will be the very same media who in one  breath will question the child’s paternity, while in the next breath, emphasizing shots of him to show off his uncannny resemblance to Michael!).

Notice in these videos, even though the intent is to interview all three children, how the camera shots purposely emphasize close-ups on Blanket’s expressions and reactions! Again, that is no accident.

 [tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO7zBtA_AJ4[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQJ2i3GIulI[/tube]

Last year, this quasi-sarcastic article appeared, emphasizing “10 Reasons We’re Obsessed With Blanket Jackson.”  This article is snarky and I dressed the writer down pretty good last year, but the only reason I’m linking to it now is because it does an excellent job of illustrating exactly what I’m talking about. The snarky comments regarding Blanket’s paternity are pure BS, but note that while questioning his paternity, they also go straight for his apparent ability to dance just like daddy (never mind-cough cough- that the video embedded there isn’t even Blanket, but a lookalike kid!).

http://www.thefrisky.com/2010-11-10/10-reasons-were-obsessed-with-blanket-jackson/

While the paternity issue may seem a bit of a digression here, it really can’t be underemphasized. Michael’s haters and cynics love nothing better than to question the children’s paternity. The reasons for this are varied and complex, and probably best left for another blog, another time. But one thing they manage to achieve in questioning the kids’ biological paternity is the love and affection fans have invested in them (somehow thinking this will be devalued if the kids are not biologically his) and because it is a way of undermining something that is probably the most undeniably positive aspect of Michael’s life-his love for his children, and their overwhelming devotion to him. But also, it’s a cynical way of undercutting the success of the children’s potential show business future.

Michael himself not only insisted that Blanket was his biological child (as were Prince and Paris) but that, contrary to the publicly accepted myth, he did not use a surrogate. In this video clip, he clearly tells Martin Bashir that Blanket’s mother was someone he had a relationship with. I’m not sure exactly why or how this particular segment of the Bashir interview has come to be so overlooked, but it seems to have gotten swept aside by all the controversy over the “two tales” of Blanket’s conception. However, it’s pretty apparent from this clip that he DID know, and was simply protecting the mother’s identity.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzadl5i0odU&feature=related[/tube]

That Michael’s kids are already being subjected to the kind of bullying Michael endured is evident:

http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/it-is-our-common-duty-to-protect-michael-jacksons-children-from-further-harassment/

This sort of thing is only going to increase as the children’s media exposure grows(and it looks as though there is no sign of it abating anytime soon). But especially, as they venture forth from the protection of family and each other to make their own paths.

The snarky article I referenced above  is a perfect example of the kind of scrutiny Blanket is going to be subjected to-in fact, he already is! My biggest fear for him as he grows older is that, same as with Paris, I think he is going to run the risk of being exploited for his looks, even if albeit for a different reason. Within the fan community, we make harmless, affectionate jokes about him as Michael’s “mini me.” I’ve often said that Michael will never be dead as long as Blanket is around! But  on a more serious note, I have to wonder what kind of impact this may have on him as he grows up in the glare of media scrutiny. I think there is going to be a lot of intense pressure on him to somehow be “the next Michael Jackson”-simply because, physically, he’s the one most capable of fulfilling that role. I’m sure he will get lots of offers, but the sad reality is that it won’t be because of him or his capabilities, but rather, who he looks like! It is going to be a lot of pressure on him to make his own way and prove himself-that is, if he does choose a show business career-and that is highly likely, given the track record and the fact that his two older siblings are now undeniably heading down that path. I’m thinking specifically of Julian Lennon, whose brief, fifteen minutes of fame in 1984 seeemd to rest squarely on one factor-his physical resemblance to John Lennon, and eerily uncanny vocal resemblance. But it’s hard for the child of any celebrity to sustain a full-length career on basically what amounts to a novelty. In the end, Julian Lennon was no John Lennon. He’s proof that though genes live on, genius doesn’t.

I just don’t want to see Blanket suffer a similar fate. The media will in no way be as kind to him if that does happen. Hopefully, it won’t but I fear for him because as I’ve said, I know already the potential for his exploitation is out there.

Whenever this question comes up, inevitably, it always comes back to what Michael would have wanted for his kids. Especially now that the news of Paris’s movie has broken, this debate seems to be really heating up. A lot of fans are questioning some of the decisions the Jackson family seem to be making, and some even questioning the intentions of the kids themselves! Personally, I think that’s a line that we, as fans, have to be careful about crossing. We know how strongly Michael felt about protecting his kids. Michael never said he was averse to his kids going into show business, but naturally, he wanted them to grow up first; to have a normal childhood.

This is what he told Barbara Walters in 1997 (the conversation about the children begins about 1:51):

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI7iTfmgpBU&feature=fvsr[/tube]

But it’s inevitable that kids do grow up, and part of growing up is exhibiting their own independence and free will. It’s also inevitable that they will want to strike out and forge their own identities; to be recognized as their own individuals. That Michael’s kids would eventually grow up, perhaps rebel, and want to do things that normal teenagers do would have happened regardless of whether Michael had lived or not. But there’s no question that in his absence, this natural process of growing up has probably been accelerated.

Personally, I think it’s only natural that the kids would gravitate towards show business careers. After all, they come from a show business family and have grown up surrounded by it their entire lives. I think there is a tendency on the part of some to project their disdain for the Jackson family onto these kids. These are the people who point their fingers and cry “foul” and “exploitation” every single time the kids appear in the media. They seem to conveniently forget that these kids have minds of their own (for example, it was their choice to attend the tribute concert in Wales). I think Prince and Paris, especially, are reaching the age where they are certainly old enough to know what they want to do with their lives. But that being said, they are still children and need guidance and discipline in making the right choices. I really hope they are getting that, because it looks like the wheel is already oiled and in motion-and from here, there will be no stopping it, no matter how strongly some MJ fans may feel against it.

In the end, we have to accept that these are/were Michael’s kids, not ours’. And now, they are the responsibility of their grandmother Katherine. We may not always agree with their choices, or hers. But sometimes we just have to take a step back from what we have no control over. Michael’s children are going to grow up, and yes, they are going to make some mistakes along the way. I think it’s important that we allow them to make those mistakes, and realize it’s part of the growing process.

 

It may also be important to remember that, without Michael, these kids now have a very huge void in their life. Perhaps they are attempting to fill that void by doing things they are happy and excited about doing.

It’s hard because in some vicarious way, we care about them because they are Michael’s children. We feel the pain of letting go. We want to protect them indefinitey from the evils of the world. In a way, Prince, Paris and Blanket are very lucky to have such an extended, caring family! But I’m sure it can have its down side as well. It’s one thing, after all, to have a parent, but sometimes these kids must feel as if they have a million!

For me, however, it’s been fascinating to see how all three have grown to forge their own identities. I think each in their own way will be a credit to their father’s legacy. Hopefully one day Prince will be a succesful director; Paris may be an Academy Award winning actress, and Blanket may be on a stage executing his own famous dance moves. But that’s provided they manage to succesfully circumvent all of the manure they are going to have to wade through to get there.

It won’t be easy, and as we know only too well, it’s especially hard for child stars. Their father knew this. All the more reason why I hate to see Paris already embarking on that path so soon. But like I said, it’s a decision out of our hands. I will wish Michael’s kids the best and support them in whatever they do.

They are growing up, and no longer quite The Three Musketeers. As I’ve said, there comes a point where that is inevitable. They will each want to carry on the Jackson family name in their own way, while at the same time carving out their own identities in the process. However,  their father had to grow up way too fast. His death, unfotunately, has no doubt caused his own kids to have to grow up too fast, as well.  It’s important at this age to slacken the reigns a tad and allow them to explore the possibilities; to allow them to forge their own identities which will be crucial for them as succesful and well adjusted adults. But for now, it’s also important for those closest to them to not lose sight of the fact that they are still children.

ETA: (12/12/11): I saw this article posted today on Facebook; I thought you guys might enjoy it as a nice addendum to this piece:

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20552767,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines

 

 

 

53 thoughts on “Michael's Kids: Forging Their Own Identities”

  1. Raven, here’s an interesting comeback to anyone who tries to argue with you about the paternity of the kids:

    Next time someone tries to say that they aren’t MJ’s “real kids”, tell them that if they really aren’t his “real kids”, then that means that MJ truly was NOT a child molester, and could be trusted to be around children who were not biologically his!

    Haters always say that MJ couldn’t be around other people’s kids because he couldn’t “resist his urges”, yet he NEVER molested Prince, Paris, or Blanket, so that refutes their argument right then and there!

    That’s a reply that Helena came up with, and it shows how you can turn lemons into lemonade by using one of the favorite criticisms that MJ’s detractors use, and turning it against them to prove that MJ was innocent!

    1. That’s a good one! Another paradox that haters like to use is to try to portray MJ as a naive fool on the one hand, childlike and easily manipulated, yet by the same token as some sort of manipulative, evil genius. Well, it doesn’t work both ways!

      BTW everyone, I had some major format problems with this article earlier. Several typos appeared as a result of trying to correct those errors. I am still working to correct these; hopefully, I just about have them all!

  2. Recently spoke with someone who knew Michael very well. Was told that if he were still here, what is addressed above would not be happening. Most definitely not.

  3. Raven,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. For your words, maybe some will begin to listen and accept what even they cannot change. Kids grow up and they grow up with a mind and destiny of their own. I wish Michael’s children happiness and much success.

  4. I don’t plan to be a regular but I just want to throw out this food for thought on the subject, since it was retweeted to my timeline by someone I follow on Twitter.

    First, it goes without saying that, in my opinion, nobody outside the immediate Jackson family can control WHAT those kids do. That energy would be better spent worrying about their OWN kids and keeping THEM out of trouble.

    Furthermore what MJ wanted for his kids when they were little may or may not have any bearing on his likely focus on what THEY want for themselves as they grew into teens and young adults. I seem to remember him saying in an interview, when asked if he would he mind the kids going into the business, “they can do whatever they want to do”. Paris has a dream she’s trying to fulfill and now she has the chance to fulfill it. I say good for her. Paris has several relatives in the business who can keep a closer eye on her and be a guide to her better than some fan from Siberia who can barely speak English and knows little about her other than what she herself shares two or three times a day at best.

    Of course one can always have opinions on the matter, just realize that in the end opinions are all that they are ever going to be. Speculators from afar will never be close enough to the situation to effect change one way or the other.

    Thank you.

    1. Disagreed.

      First of all, it goes without saying that we’ll take care of our OWN kids. What makes you believe that we are not?

      Further more, what’s wrong with MJ fans from Siberia who barely speak English but worry about his kids?

      Music and love are both borderless, that’s how I see it – btw, if you read more than one language, you’ll certainly find out by youself that most MJ haters speak English, LOL.

  5. I like the way Prince put it the other day: We know all possibilities are open to us. Just because Paris wants to experiment with acting doesn’t mean she will continue to want to be an actress. Just because Blanket likes to dance doesn’t mean he will want to be another MJ. And Prince obviously already knows that he might want to explore various professions.
    Let’s just keep on trusting that they have enough Michael-love inside of them to grow up to be the best they can be, whatever they wind up choosing. With all the love their father, their family, and their fans are capable of giving, they’ll be all right whatever they do. I trust their lives will go well. They are already stronger and braver and smarter than the tabloid press. No doubt Michael was able to educate them about the pitfalls along the way. Our job is to witness and cheer their successes, whatever they may be.

  6. Raven, I agree with your assessment of each and also feel that there will be more pressure on Paris and Blanket because of the issues you’ve stated. Like you, I don’t like the direction that Paris is being led to for all the reasons you’ve already stated. Thankfully, Katherine has already asserted herself in that regard concerning the ridiculous “football” league offer sent to young Paris. It was reported that Katherine strongly rejected such an offer to her grand-daughter and was completely disgusted by it. God bless you, Katherine! If only she could show strength regarding the more subtle issues as well. Sadly, I fear that won’t be the case.

    I too wish Michael’s children happiness and success and very much agree with Dialdancer’s sentiment. In the same breath I worry about what the future holds for them and who their primary influences really are. The very fact that the likes of Howard Mann was anywhere near their universe at all gives one pause. Maybe I worry too much. But like you said, Raven, being the children of celebrity is never an easy path, no matter what. The expectations can be an incredible burden. Many others have lost their way, some with tragic results. I TOTALLY agree that, like any child, these children will rebel to some degree and make mistakes along the way, and need to be given space, by the fan community especially, in order to grow through those mistakes. I’m confident most of the fan community will love them unconditionally through those mistakes. However, some will want to rebuke them directly. I’ve already seen at least one very vocal member of the fan community rebuke Paris on her Twitter account for her alleged perceived behavior. Suggesting elsewhere that she was acting like an “entitled spoiled brat.” Good grief!! Even if she was, a communication such as this to a child from a total stranger, even with good intentions(?), is at best non productive and will most likely be ignored. At worst it can be very destructive. The only people that can influence these children, hopefully for the better, are those they have real face to face relationships with. For strangers to scold from afar will have zero affect and is ill advised. Concerns should be addressed, with love, to their immediate family only, not to minor children directly. I hope you agree.

    This leads me to the issue of them having public accounts in the first place, whether it be Twitter or otherwise. I’ve never understood why this has not been discouraged. In fact, Latoya some months back confirmed Paris’ real twitter account. I would have thought that private accounts with their friends and family would have provided enough of a social outlet for each of them without having to deal with the inevitable abuse that has already been leveled their way. The stuff I’ve seen sent to Paris in real time over the last year is truly disgusting and heartbreaking….:-( Why do this????? I just don’t understand people sometimes. Yes, you can’t protect them forever but 13 is still too young for the kind of stuff she’s been sent. That said, for the most part I think she has handled it reasonably well for her age, although she shouldn’t have to be dealing with it at all. Not yet anyway. Sadly, that ship has already sailed.

    I can’t help being reminded of Omer Bhatti’s situation. I think everyone is familiar with Obee and how he was rumored to be Michael’s child. Of course he’s not but he has endlessly been compared to Michael over the years. And yes, there is a slight passing resemblance, especially in the eyes. He has talent but he doesn’t have Michael’s star power. Now in his late 20’s, he will always live in MJ’s shadow and certainly he knows that. I feel for him and feel he is trying to make his own way in the world despite that history. I do want to say that I was VERY moved by a song and video he did this last year as a tribute to his mentor. At the end of the video he is seen wearing THAT jacket. The black one with the glittery white lapel from This Is It. I was floored and brought to tears!…but I wasn’t critical. Many were. I found myself being O.K. with him doing that. It felt right and I felt he did it with a sense of love and respect for Michael.

    Although Obee has had a certain amount of attention and scrutiny over the years due to his association with his mentor, that attention pales to what MJ3 have yet to experience in their lifetimes.

    MJ3 and Obee are in my prayers.

    Raven, thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

    1. I’ve had a piece that I’ve wanted to do on Obee for some time, in fact long before the other site went down. Not any bombshells-I don’t know the truth about the Obee situation anymore than anyone else-but just some info that fans might find interesting.

  7. Timely post Raven. I have been wondering about them off late…and hoping and praying.

    Coming to the biology part first, when I was researching Michael, I saw his kids for the first time and felt like many others…that the first 2 bear little resemblance to him although I found many pictures where mixed parents had blue eyed kids and recently there was a black couple who had a blonde baby! Although, 2 white looking kids (now they do look mixed sort of) looked too much of coincidence and I badly wanted Michael to have passed his own genes. I was delighted to see Blanket Mike like and my heart told me if Michael could have had his own son in 2001, he surely would have managed it earlier unless Debbie was cheating on him! But I am sure Michael would have done a DNA test on the kids but then in the unlikely scenario of a mis-match, he surely would not have abandoned the kids…

    Anyway, since Michael said these are his kids, they are his! Prince even has vitiligo and that seals it. And may be Debbie has very dominating genes! 🙂

    And for the love of Michael like so many fans I watched his kids after June 25th. On the eve of memorial, I noticed that Prince was chewing a gum…he looked so indifferent and Paris was on her seat’s edge and so emotional and Blanket looked so helpless and devastated. I wondered if the death hoax could be true since Prince had the expression of almost being bored…I did not understand this.

    Then I saw them on the Grammy’s …such cute kids…proud of their daddy and Lo! within a year after attending school they had grown so much! To me Prince and Paris seem to be on the acceleration growth mode although I understand with neither parent around…children do grow and mature up faster…

    Then watched some morning show of Katherine and kids…and Prince and Paris sat slouched…the host asked, “what is ur fav. subject at school”…Prince said, “lunch break”…Paris said, “Ditto”. I know this is typical teen age but deep in my heart knowing how keen Michael was on learning these responses disappointed me. Then Paris tweets, I hate homework.. I do homework in front of TV…again typical behaviour but I think Michael as a dad would not have wanted it. It results in poor concentration.

    I guess when you are from an out and out show business family, that is the thing you want to do. But I wish Blanket passes out of an Ivy League college and becomes an intellectual…a respected figure in some field. That is not to say that show business is not a respectable field but if older kids are going there, the more Mike like I wish goes the traditional way…may be a great Dr who starts up the biggest hospital in the world Michael Jackson Children’s hospital and works there!!

    1. It sounds as though the kids may have been a bit in rebellion mode when they did that morning show, lol. Ever since the memorial, there has been a lot of pressure on them to be eloquent and poised with every public appearance. I’m sure they’re always being told that they are representing their dad every time they make a public appearance. That’s a lot for any kid to have to live up to, every single time. However, it also sort of makes me wonder if they are not getting some conflicting advice as well, as if maybe someone is saying, “You should act more like normal teenagers; give the kinds of responses that a normal teenager would say.” It’s really hard to know what goes on behind the scenes. But I do think I can pretty safely say that slouching on camera and saying they only do homework with the TV on is not something Michael would be happy about-at all. But I think they are going through a bit of a phase right now in finding themselves; like I said, forging their own identities and trying to make their way along this path that has been set for them, for better or worse.

  8. Raven, here is an article by Roger Friedman. Unlike most fans, he’s actually asking the tough questions that need to be asked, and he raises some valid points that were overlooked by overzealous fans who are too “excited” about the possibility of Paris becoming an actress. He makes the case that Paris is being exploited as a “fundraising tool” to get gullible MJ fans to donate to this movie project.

    I personally don’t think that any of them should go into showbusiness until they are 18, but I’m not their guardian, so I know that my opinion is worthless and I don’t let it bother me. It’s not because I don’t think they’re talented, but because I know they will be exploited by people who want to use them because of who they are, and because of how the tabloid media will be all over them like white on rice! If they could delay their entry into show business as long as possible, that would be great, but it’s a decision that Katherine has to make, and I wish only the best for them.

    http://www.showbiz411.com/2011/12/10/michael-jacksons-daughter-paris-already-being-exploited-by-hollywood

    1. I think Roger Friedman is right about this being a low-class production with no real credentials behind it. The whole project seems very cheesy to me.

      However, Friedman has always been (so it seems) very anti-Jackson when it comes to anything the family does. He is always very critical of every decision Katherine makes. I do agree with him on some issues (for example, everything he wrote about Conrad Murray, spot on) but I don’t necessarily agree with him on everything. Like I said, he seems to have a real axe to grind with Katherine and the rest of the Jackson family. While Katherine has made some poor choices, I think this is more about the vulnerability of an elderly woman than maliciousness or greed. I really don’t think that Katherine has a malicious bone in her body, but it does concern me that she seems at times too easy going and easily led. In the Gest doc, she says being too easy going has always been her biggest downfall, and worried that Michael was so much like her (but Michael had a lot more business savvy).

        1. Really can’t tell.

          I don’t think it’s simple gossip. The Jacksons felt differently about the kids on Oprah show, this time they may not want the world to know that they are once again divided.

  9. Thank you for this article. It was very spot on. I think we all worry about the kids (Paris especially for me since she seems to have the most public presence right now), but at the same time it is true that kids grow and want to do their own things. And I think you may be right in that doing these things may make them feel closer to their dad and that they’re trying to fill a void. I think as fans we can be concerned an worry from a distance, but that we have to trust the kids and their family members to guide them, as hard as that may be at times.

    1. Yes, I do believe very strongly that had Michael lived, we wouldn’t see this rush into show business quite so soon, but I think it goes deeper than just not having his discipline. I really do feel a lot of it is that they are now looking for some meaning and purpose in their lives to fill that void. Michael’s death caused them to have to grow up a lot faster than they would have had he lived, and this is true of any child who loses a parent at a young age.

  10. I have been a silent visitor of your blog for a while and Im glad you are back. Thank you for your intelligent and balanced essays.

    People should realise how damaging it is to identity and self esteem of Michaels children when constantly discussing Michaels paternity and the whole world cyberparenting them.
    All sense of reality is lost if we think we qualify, just being anonymous strangers on a message board who claim to be a fan of their father.
    Most of his life Michael was scrutinized, dictated what to do, how to live his life , what to think, how to behave , his parenting skills questioned. They even threatened to take his children away. Questioning his mother imo is an extension of the same disrespect .
    The only ones who know what Michael wanted for them are his own children, the only one entitled to decide is his mother. period.

    As for Roger Friedman, he is the last person in the world to be given credit after years of bashing and mocking Michael Jackson. Even Michaels children were not spared from his vileness.
    In Michaels words
    Why is it I cant do whatever I want to
    when its my personal life and I dont live for you.

    I wish Michaels children the freedom to be what they want to be,not limited because of who their father was or having to live up to other peoples expectations of them.

    1. Thank you. Yes, while I do have my opinions (and not shy about stating them) I try to keep this a sane and balanced place where all MJ fans can feel welcome to express their views. Others’ views may not necessarily reflect my own, but that’s ok. I always try to keep in mind that Michael Jackson was a very complex man and artist, and it is impossible to peg him in any way. I enjoy researching him, exploring all aspects of his life and trying to understand him in all of his complexity. I often joke with my students about being an “MJ scholar” but in truth, that’s what I am-and not ashamed to say so!

      I can understand why fans feel so strongly about the children being overexposed, going into show business so young, etc. But also, I think there is another faction out there (the haters) who, as I said, are projecting their hatred of Michael onto the kids and Jackson family. they hide behind their criticisms of the kids’ every public move and bash the Jackson family, but the subtle message they are REALLY sending out is, “We don’t want to see this happen because these children are an uncomfortable reminder for us that Michael did something RIGHT with his life, and we can’t have that.” These children are, in many ways, the wedge that was driven between the world and its cold, harsh judgement of Michael Jackson-and that doesn’t set well with some. So I think for this faction, the way they try to combat that is to knock the kids at every turn and hope to bully them into submission and hiding, and to bully the family into keeping them under lock and key. For this faction, I think the idea that Michael’s children just MIGHT be as succesful as their father-and thus keep his name and legacy in the spotlight for at least another generation to come-is something they want to try to squelch as quickly as they can. And every time any project the kids do is criticized-every time they might get a bad review, say, or a negative blurb-we’ll never know if it’s genuinely merited, or just some bitter critic taking out his disdain on them because they are Michael’s kids.

      It’s a two-edged sword because what we have is genuine concern for the kids’ well-being, which comes from the fans, mixed with…well, what I just mentioned. The former is understandable, but the latter is reprehensible. However, for the kids, the end result is the same, either way. Fans want to protect them from the very thing I just mentioned, but at the same time, they will have to face those odds and be strong if they expect to achieve any measure of success in show business. I would personally love nothing more than to see all three of them very succesful and happy in their lives-whatever they decide to do. The biggest gift they can give to their father is just that-to be happy in their lives. I think they are searching right now for their paths, and this is where we have to take a few steps back, be patient, and let them find their way, even if we don’t always approve of some of the steps they may take.

    2. I 100% agree with you that it is unreasonable for fans to try to cyberparent Paris Jackson, or her siblings. However, I have to say this she needs more supervision while online, all the Jacksons’ kids do. Was it really an unforeseen event that someone would send her pictures of her decease father in the hospital? Or that people would send her articles and links of men claiming to be her father? Really? She tweets pictures of herself, her room, her friends etc if she didn’t have White House style security I would be concern.

      We live in a celebrity obsessed culture, where sycophants would do anything to stay in their orbit and Paris is something of an online celebrity. Well there is another reality that comes with being a major celebrity and that is stalkers. When Paris makes herself so visible, and online accessible at 13 who knows what is going through the minds of some sick people. People that would do anything to be near a MJ offspring, or someone she innocently tweets back who takes it as an invitation for more. Like I said it is a good thing she has excellent security.

  11. Thank you, Raven, for putting into words that which I wanted to voice and yet could not. I’m a full believer of following your dreams and I can quote what M said about his kids going to the showbiz world just as well as the next fan. But I’m also a believer in letting children be children. The showbiz world is a harsh one, of that we have no doubt, it’s hardly ideal for anyone let alone a child. Nearly all child stars say how it affected them or you can just look at the likes of Lindsay Lohan to see it in action. I also think that, regardless to how much I complained myself at that age, school IS important. I worry enough about them going here, there and everywhere, this interview, that interview…I think, school anyone? Shouldn’t they slip into a private world and just attend school for the next few years? The showbiz world will be waiting when they hit 18!
    People say “this is what Paris wants”…well, had you asked me what I wanted at 13, I wanted to be an actress too. Then I wanted to be an author. Then a nurse. Then a doctor. Over a period of 6 years, for I’m 19 now, I turned on and off more times than a kettle. The decisions we make as teenagers are rarely those we’ll carry through to adulthood. When I look at my mindset when I was 16, I laugh and laugh. We change a LOT during teenage years and so I truly believe we should be left to learn and experience as the kids we are rather than attempt to forge out our adult careers so early. There’s time for that later.

    But, regardless, I wish PPB all the best. Like every other MJ fan, I’ll love them and support them anyway. But thank you again, Raven, for this article. I’ve heard countless people say “MJ would have supported this, so we should” and I feel bad for thinking “hold on, can’t it wait?” So thank you 🙂

    1. Lol, you’re still young at that. Just wait until you’re 48 (like someone cough cough who shall remain nameless!). Even at 19, I still had about a hundred more phases to go through. being a writer was the only thing that ever remained consistent. At 19, I wanted to be a rock star (never mind that I couldn’t even carry a tune!).

      So yes, absolutely, at 13 this could well just be Phase One of many ambitions.

  12. Hi Raven, thanks for taking on this subject, which evokes such strong and mixed fan reactions. On the subject of online accounts, I recall that, yes, Latoya did confirm Paris’ account which now is purported to be the fake account, both accounts having the Lundon’s website prominently displayed and now Paris’ thousands of followers have seemingly migrated to the newer account. I do believe most fans just want the best for Michael’s kids and are concerned about bullying, abuse and exploitation. From what I have read concerning the Lundon book, I believe it was initially written for younger readers and is now modified for teens, attracted by Paris being on the book’s cover. Guess I just really wish these kids would assume a lower profile, stick to their education and not become embroiled in the entertainment world until they are old enough for their decisions to be meaningful and truly their own.

  13. Raven, Paris will be on the Ellen show tomorrow! Here’s a clip:

    Also, Janet Jackson gave an interview to Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight (or one of those tabloid shows), and it will air on Thursday. He said that Janet told him that she doesn’t want Paris to be in showbiz until she’s 18. You can listen to Kevin talk about what he and Janet discussed, and what will be heard when the interview airs.

    http://rnbphilly.com/audio/tjoyner/kevin-frazier-talks-to-janet-jackson-about-personal-life-audio/

    1. @sanemjfan

      Thanks, I will post the video of the entire interview here if it’s made available later today-I’m sure it will be. I have to work today so I won’t be able to catch it first hand (and to make matters worst, it’s the day of final exams so it’s not like I can play hooky, lol). But if the video becomes available on Youtube, I’ll post.

      I don’t know if it’s just me, but ti seems she’s almost a little too polished here. I sort of miss when she was just that little girl with the glasses on who was so shy about being in front of a camera, but guess that’s all part of growing up.

      I really get tired of the subject of the masks coming up every time anybody interviews these kids. Michael was already allowing them to go out unmasked even before he died, as clearly evidenced by the Star photos in May of 2009

      http://www.celebitchy.com/59335/star_ok_michael_jacksons_kids_are_devastated_debbie_rowes_custody_fight/

  14. Hey guys, I could see this coming from a mile away! The tabloid media has ALREADY starting distorting Paris’ interview with Ellen to trash MJ and make him look like an unfit parent!

    In her interview with Ellen, Paris said that she originally thought that having to wear masks was “stupid”, but as she got older she realized it was for her protection.

    But look at how the Daily Mail tried to spin it with the misleading headline ‘The masks were stupid,’ admits Paris as she discusses father Michael Jackson’s attempts to protect his children on Ellen!

    I guess this is only a sneak preview of what we can expect the media to do to her in the future, now that she’s officially a public figure!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2074026/Paris-admits-father-Michael-Jacksons-attempts-hide-childrens-faces-masks-stupid.html

    1. That is a blatant distortion of what Paris meant, and is taking her quote out of context! She was referring to how she felt about wearing them THEN-when she was little.

  15. Now that Paris has made herself (or been pushed into becoming) a public figure, her teenaged words will continue to be distorted. Her words were typical teen words to describe the situation as she viewed it as a small child, but let’s think for a moment: were she older when she entered this public life, perhaps she would have learned from a distance what devious methods media used against her father and others and would not innocently use the word “stupid” to describe any aspect of her life with her father Michael. I feel this is just another argument, Paris, for waiting a while, before throwing yourself out there with the sharks.

    1. @June

      I agree, the teenage years are usually not the most eloquent years of our lives. But if the kids are determined o go into show business, they’ll have to grow up and learn quickly how the media can twist anything they say. It’s hard even for adults to be put on the spot when doing live interviews. Imagine the pressure of a kid!

  16. Great post Raven. I think we fans just have the best interest of the children at heart. While our hearts are in the right place, I do think some fans are displaced as to where to draw the line. At the end of the day, the children will have to take what Michael taught them and the values he instilled in them, in the various aspects of their lives.

    I too think that it would be best if the children wait, till they are older, to head into show biz, at least to avoid being exploited and dealing with the cut throat industry that show biz is. The media is already distorting Paris’ words about the masks. UGH! Michael was already letting the kids out with masks before he died.
    This is just the beginning, hopefully the kids have someone watching out for them.

  17. Dear Raven. Its very good to have you back. I have missed your blogs. I didn’t realise you were back on until I casually clicked on AllForLoveBlog just to check the other night on another website, and Voila! I agree that Paris would be better to wait until 18 before venturing into the world of acting and showbusiness.
    I think that Omar Bhatti is Michael’s son; there were a lot of reports about that in 2009 that sounded credible, and a 2009 Daily Mail newspaper dated 12th August, named a Mexican latino nurse as Blanket’s surrogate mother, and gave her name. An unknown woman was the egg donor, so the biological mother, and Michael was the father in an IVF procedure. No idea if any of this is true, but the ‘close friend’ said Michael went to a lot of trouble and expense to meet and carefully select the nurse to have the baby,so maybe she was not just a surrogate. MJ liked her because she was attractive, stable, intelligent, had long dark straight hair, and quite fair skin, the friend said. Do you think there is any truth in this?

    1. I don’t know if it’s true, but by the same token, I don’t have enough evidence to say it isn’t. I do believe with almost 100% certainty that Blanket is Michael’s biological child, but whether he was conceived via a natural relationship or a surrogate arrangement is debatable. Of course, the romantic in me would prefer to think Blanket was born out of love (the whole thing with surrogates and egg donors seems so sterile to me!) but in the end, all that really matters is that Blanket is his child and he loved him dearly.

      He says in the Bashir outtake posted above that he had a relationship with Blanket’s mother. However, he seems to stop short at saying it was an actual love affair. Perhaps his relationship with this woman was something more on a par with Debbie Rowe-the same type of relationship.

      I’ve heard just about every theory out there, from this Mexican nurse to Rushka Bergman, to an unknown woman whom Michael was very much in love with but couldn’t stop fighting with. But it’s doubtful we’ll ever know the whole truth.

      1. Frank Cascio tells in his book that Blanket’s mother was a surrogate mother and that he looked through a catalog together with Michael to choose her. He also writes that she was Italian-Spanish mixed. I think he is very credible. I don’t think any newspaper knows the identity of Blanket’s mother.
        I have the feeling that Michael really didn’t want to talk about it with Bashir, and that he just gave a rash answer which was used by Bashir to make a contradiction out of it.
        Frank also tells the story about Omar Bhatti. Omar’s mother is Pia, who worked also for Michael as a nanny for about a year together with Grace, when Prince and Paris were very small. Omar is not Michael’s son.
        I don’t see a reason to doubt what Frank writes in his book.

        1. I haven’t read Frank’s book yet. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to do so soon. Money is so tight right now: I usually just end up going to Jetzi but I haven’t seen Frank’s book posted there yet. The last book I actually bought was Latoya’s book back during the summer but there are so many others I want to read! (I have a huge Christmas wish list, lol). I know people have very divided opinions about Frank but I think his book might be interesting.

  18. The story I read was that Michael had a one night stand with Pia around 1983, who was one of his dancers. She was married or got married and returned to Stockholm, Sweden. Michael sent clothes, toys, presents and supported her and the baby, and even visited them, until he was sixteen. Then there are photos of Omar aged 12 with Michael coming out of an airport and the caption reads. ‘The Eyes Have It’, and he and Michael do have the same eyes. There are other scenes of them together, Michael just looking down at him with his arms folded,Omar looks about 11 and is grinning, and the caption this time says ‘Hello,Dad’. The other is of Michael taking him up in a high ride or balloon of some sort. Then Michael acted as a sort of mentor, taught him to dance, and he does look like Michael, and dance like him. A phpoto on MJJ-777 of him at 17 looks so like MJ. But what do I know, and you cannot always believe what you read in thre newspapers.
    I don’t think I shall buy Frank Cascio’s book, as it is being published by one of Rupert Murdoch’s groups, Harper Collins, I think.

    1. @Nina

      There is a lot of amazing physical similarity between Blanket and Omar at his age. Not identical, exactly, but something about the eyes and facial shape. Like I said, I’m one of those who has never ruled out the possibility and I have done a good deal of research into this. The information I do have doesn’t prove or disprove anything, but it’s just interesting food for thought. You have probably heard, of course, the theory some haters have, which is that the story of Omar being Michael’s son was a story invented just to keep down speculation about Omar being another one of Michael’s “boys.” I think that theory is very illogical but some people will believe anything that suits their agenda (they also believe this is why Joe jackson backs the story of Omar being Michael’s son). Then you have the crazy tabloid stories saying that Omar was really Blanket’s father, and that explains the physical similarity between them…more rubbish. In one of those videos you mention, Omar can be heard clearly calling Michael “Dad” (or “Daddy.”). Whether that was because he knew he was addressing his real dad, or if it was just a term of affection between them, of course, I don’t know.

      My own source within the Jackson camp (my friend’s brother who used to do cosmetology work for them) has said that Omar is Michael’s son but I know he only thinks that because he’s heard it from Joe (not because he knows anything first hand) so I take it for what it’s worth. As for myself, I would still like to connect a lot more dots but I definitely do approach it with an open mind.

  19. Oh. I forgot to say that Omar sat with all the Jackson brothers at Michael’s memorial service, and Joe Jackson said he is definitely a Jackson. Mind you…? Hmmm?

  20. Hi Raven!

    I really enjoyed this topic. That comparison photo of MJ and Blanket should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that Blanket is his biological son. But why, may I ask, has this been such an issue at all? He was there father in every essence of the word. If the “haters” would receive no response to their sewer drivel, they’d soon stop. It’s hard. But this is a fight we’ll never win by challening them. You can’t have a war of words if one party stops talking.

    You shared alot of mutally felt feelings about his children but you really highlighted the most important point of all–that you hope get to enjoy their childhood and not hurry through it, forced to grow up too fast in a world that has more pitfalls and booby-traps than we pedestrians can ever imagine. From what I’ve seen of both Prince and Paris, they are pretty secure and well-adjusted kids. I think they were so positively influenced by their father that they will be able to handle themselves rather well. Remember, Michael, was a voracious reader and he read countless books about child-rearing and child psychology so he was well prepared. When it came to being a parent, he took that responsibility as seriously as his performing–he wanted to be the best….and he was!

    If all children could benefit from the love and guidance of a father like MJ, we could turn this world around in five short years! That was his message. Heal the children! Be the best parent you can possibly be. I can still remember my mother holding me and looking in my eyes and telling me how much she loved me!

    Frank Cascio’s book is the best book about Michael so far. There may be some inconsistences but our memories do fail us. However, for anyone who doubts the authenticity of the love shared between Michael and this family, all they need do is to look at the photos in the book. Each one speaks a thousand words. They’re priceless and you can feel the love they shared.

    Thanks, Raven!

    1. @Ladypurr

      The reason why haters make such an issue of the children’s biological paternity is very complex, but basically comes down a fourfold purpose, which is:

      To denounce Michael as a liar and manipulator (since he claimed all three of the children were his biologically)
      To further their agenda that he was a self-hating Black man (since all of the children came out so fair skinned)
      To help further fuel the gay/pedophile/asexual myth (Michael wasn’t interested in women, and therefore no interest in conceiving children the natural way)
      To help destory the vested interest of fans of whose support and love for the children (according to them) is ONLY because fans believe they are Michael’s progency.

      It gets even more complex. For example, if the children set a good example (by doing humanitarian work, or being succesful in entertainment, etc) the haters love to try to prick the fans’ bubble by cynically saying, “But those kids are Arnie Klein’s” or, well, you get the idea.

      I’ve often said that if all of Michael’s kids had come out with dark skin and kinky hair, but looked NOTHING like him, we wouldn’t be hearing a peep out of these idiots. But with Blanket especially, they will totally ignore the fact that he has Michael’s eyes, his same facial shape and brow line; same smile; a similar if not identical nose (to me, Blanket’s nose is much wider than the avaerage Caucasion child)-but instead, they will only look at the color of his skin and texture of his hair, and see nothing past that.

  21. Just to add one more thing about Omar, and then I’ll leave it; he has been living with the Jackson family household, helping Katherine look after Blanket,(his half-brother?) in particular, since Michael died; there’s a lot of love there, on both sides. I suppose I don’t like to see him losing out, being left out, if he is Michael’s son.

    1. @Nina

      I do know Michael left Omar a very sizeable trust fund. Financially, he has been taken care of. He is no longer living in the Jackson household, though (hasn’t for some time).. He is back in Norway, I believe. I was supposed to have met and interviewed him last year at the Fanvention but he didn’t attend; they told us he had problems with his Visa.

  22. Haven’t read all th article yet, but just thought i’d point out that the clip from the Bashir doc WAS in the final programme and didn’t end up on the cutting room floor. I love MJ and the Bashir programme was evil, but the fact is he DID give conflicting stories about Blanket’s mother. We don’t like the media twisting things, omitting certain facts, so i don’t think we should do the same in his defence.

    1. @Lou

      Ok, well in all fairness I haven’t watched the Bashir doc in its entirety in a long while. I might have to go back for a ‘refresher.” What I remember distinctly in the doc was Michael saying that Blanket’s mother was an unknown surrogate, then telling Bashir she was Black. I did not recall this particular segment (and I thought I knew the in’s and out’s of this doc pretty well) but I could have had a rusty “senior moment” here, lol. I did not recall him ever directly stating he had a relationship with Blanket”s mother before, so just wanted to point out, if I was wrong, not an intentional distorting of facts at all-just bad memory. I will pull up the doc in its entirety again and watch that segment; if I made that statement in error, I will certainly correct it.

      But frankly, I still think Bashir used clever editing to make the inconsistency of Michael’s stories more blatant. What became so very obvious to me as I was watching the program was that Michael was trying to protect this woman’s identify while, at the same time, trying to be as honest as he could about Blanket’s conception without stepping over that line and revealing too much. Bashir, of course, was probing for info; Michael was trying to be as open as possible yet knowing he could not reveal too much-and I think this is why we end up with the inconsistent stories. But Bashir could have cleared that up with a simple voice over. He could have said something like, “It seemed that Michael did not want to reveal too much about Blanket’s mother’s identity, which perhaps he was protecting” but instead, he made the executive decision to leave it looking as if Michael was just a blatant liar who couldn’t even get his own stories straight. That is what bothers me, and still does, about that whole segment.

      1. Lou, I checked and you were indeed right. I have made the correction and removed the comment about that segment having been cut.

  23. Michael could have used one woman’s egg, his sperm and a different woman as the surrogate for Blanket, thereby making both “stories” actually true. Both women could have been people he knew, had a “relationship”/friendship with. If I were Michael and someone was asking me questions that were none of their business in the first place, and I had been going through years of this as he had been, I would have been very tempted to tell all kinds of conflicting stories – because they certainly didn’t deserve the “truth” when asking about something so personal and private and being therefore so affronting. I truly would.
    PP&B could probably use a lot of prayer from us – which has been scientifically proven to work – LOL – regardless of who you pray to.

    1. @gertrude

      Yes, what I’m learning more and more is that nine times out of ten that is the case. That is, there may be several facets to a story with some truth to all of them. But if you try to take just one element of the story and run with it, it doesn’t work; it becomes a distorted version of the truth, or worse yet, an outright lie.

      The media has always wanted to have it one way or the other with Michael, without really looking at the bigger picture.

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