The Day Michael Gained-And Lost-A Son

Meet Brandon Howard, The Son Michael Jackson "Gained"-And "Lost-In One Crazy Day On March 6, 2014
Meet Brandon Howard, The Son Michael Jackson “Gained”-And “Lost-In One Crazy Day On March 6, 2014

It never fails. Just when I am on the verge of being ready to post a new article that I have spent weeks putting together, there is some huge breaking story in the Michael Jackson camp that forces me to “halt the presses.” This week, we had the scandal of Brandon Howard and the bogus DNA test. And this story has sure enough been a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I went from dismissing Brandon Howard casually as “just the latest fruit loop with a hand out to the estate” to actually thinking there might be something to this. After all, as the old saying goes, DNA doesn’t lie and…well, as fishy as the whole thing seemed, they were claiming this was a legit DNA test, one that had come back 99.9% positive. And as I have said before, it would not shock me in the least to think that “maybe” there is a possibility that Michael fathered other children besides the three we know to be his legal offspring. I never believed Michael was a saint. He was, in fact, someone who had been famous for most of his life, and along with all the perks of fame come women willing to do most anything just to be near you. Michael certainly sang about his fair share of those women. They’ve become the stuff of legend-Billie Jean, Dirty Diana, Susie (who crops up in more than a few songs), and so on.

A lot of fans seemed upset about the revelation, and not without justification. The whole thing was carried out in a very tacky and tasteless manner, from the whole TMZ leak to the pseudo press conference to announce the “results” on FilmOn.com. But after the initial shock of the news wore off, my mind began to settle into the idea, and I realized…not only was I not upset, but I was actually kind of tickled pink to think that maybe Michael’s little family was really a bigger one that we intially thought. I looked at the photos of Brandon. I watched the clips of his interviews. I thought I could “see” a lot of Michael in him, but perhaps the brain and the eye sees what it wants to see. I did not know what to make of Brandon’s protestations of innocence during all of this. I didn’t quite believe him. Who gives a DNA sample unless it is for the express purpose of determining a parent? But that didn’t necessarily mean his intentions were corrupt.  He said he had no intention of going after the estate for money, so the other obvious explanations are either attention or the personal satisfaction of just wanting to know the truth. However, if it had been the latter, that could have been handled privately, I am sure, without involving the press. That leaves Option #2. Still, Brandon Howard seemed like a nice enough young man and a part of me began to half embrace the idea of looking forward to getting to know this “new” son of Michael’s. Additionally, it was kind of fun to see all the collective jaws dropping around the world from all of the idiots who had so long proclaimed Michael as either an asexual virgin or a pedophile. It seemed pretty hard to argue against scientific DNA evidence, and watching all of the creative ways that many of those people were now coming up with to back pedal their way out of those claims was at least quite entertaining.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEYLi7vqo8k[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj1BfNCLLJA[/tube]

Nevertheless, the shock waves were understandable because accepting a truth like that means, to some extent, reassessing everything we thought we knew about Michael-and that goes for all sides of the camp, fans and haters as well as anyone who has allowed their heels to dig in a little too deeply in their entrenched beliefs of who Michael was. The problem for haters, as well as those who want to cling to the caricature notion of Michael as some virginal asexual being (and this mostly includes the same people who will swear up and down that he has never fathered a biological child, either because he hated his race/didn’t like sex/was afraid to be intimate with women/ only liked boys, etc etc etc) is that any “proof” of a biological child pretty much shoots down all of those theories with one, single bullet. Also, undisputable DNA evidence that Michael fathered a child would help silence that faction who continue to insist he did not father Prince, Paris, and Blanket, at the very least putting to rest any issues of fertility or unwillingness to father a child naturally.

Inevitably, Rumors Of This Sort Will Always Arise. Every Once In Awhile, They May Force Us To Reassess What We Think We Know About Michael. That Isn't Always Necessarily A Bad AThing.
Inevitably, Rumors Of This Sort Will Always Arise. Every Once In Awhile, They May Force Us To Reassess What We Think We Know About Michael. That Isn’t Always Necessarily A Bad Thing.

Michael’s fans, on the other hand, have never had issues with accepting him as a fully intact, red blooded, and functioning man. But any story of an illegitimate child stepping forth-especially now-is bound to be met with a lot of suspicion. Additionally, there are some fans who will simply never want to accept that Michael was anything less than a pure angel who would never do such a thing-that is, father a child illegitimately and just leave the girl to raise it as best she can. And in theory, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Why would a man who claimed to want children so much turn his back on his own child? Well, of course, there could be any number of reasons, all of them perfectly legit, and all worth keeping in mind (you know, just in case this sort of thing ever comes up again, which could well happen). For starters, there is always the possibility of simply not knowing (happens to guys all the time, though in Michael’s case probably rarely since it seems likely any woman with a legit claim would take advantage of it; in Michael’s case it was far more of an issue having to disprove claims that were actually false). But still, we can’t rule out ignorance as a possibility. Secondly (and far more likely) is that such matters would have been kept in struct confidentiality, with special arrangements made between Michael and the young woman to provide for the child in a way that would not draw public scrutiny. Trust me, if Michael indeed had illegitimate children, knew of them, and had drawn up such a confidentiality agreement with the mother (or mothers) it is highly unlikely to be anything the world will ever know about except for them.

Indeed, the B. Howard story had no sooner hit than the snide (and cruel) comments were already starting to infiltrate the internet (you know the ones; how “unfair” it was for Michael’s “black” son to be left out while his “white children” inherit the fortune, and so on). My first reaction to these comments (before the story was proven false) was: And how do we know that Michael wasn’t amply providing for this kid for years?

This is worth keeping in mind regardless, because Brandon Howard hasn’t been the first and may not be the last such shocker. Even though most of these so-called “love children” of MJ never get beyond the tabloid rumor stage, there is still something worth keeping in mind, knowing as we do that Michael was both a globally famous pop star and, frankly, a human being.  As much as we sometimes like to believe that we, as fans, knew Michael inside and out, the truth is that we really didn’t. For all that he lived in the center of the public eye and a media whirlwind for most of his life, Michael was also very adept at keeping secrets. That he may have had a few skeletons in his closet doesn’t shock me (and, no, I don’t mean the Elephant Man’s Bones-sorry, couldn’t resist). And no, I am not necessarily referring to anything criminal. But Michael was a man who liked to keep his casual flings private. Perhaps compartmentalizing is a much better word. Michael was very good at compartmentalizing his life. He had to be. This is a side of him that I’ve long been aware of, ever since I first began researching him in earnest. And as a youth, Michael was just as prone as any young man to making foolish mistakes. Just because he sincerely wanted a family later in life may not have meant that he was necessarily ready to settle down to fatherhood in his early twenties, at a time when his mind was still set on building his solo career.

In other words, I think that when people say things like, “Michael would never do such a thing” it doesn’t take into account either his complexity as a man, or his right to have stumbled and made some honest mistakes in his life.

Although my connection to the Jackson family is minimal, I do have a friend whose brother-in-law has known the family well for years, and I can tell you this much: The possibility that Michael does have children other than Prince, Paris, and Blanket isn’t exactly a family secret. This, of course, is coming from a family for whom “love children” are nothing out of the norm. Joe’s “extended” family has been a common knowledge secret for years, and if we look at the history of Michael’s brothers, we see that none of the Jackson boys seem to be apples who fell too far from the family tree. For several years, I had assumed these whisperings were in regard to Omar Bhatti (though Frank Cascio debunked that myth pretty thoroughly in his book) but the B. Howard story made me start to wonder.

I am quite disgusted right now with Corey Feldman for his role in all of this. Yes, he has been up to now a good friend who has staunchly defended Michael, but why would a friend knowingly partake in something that could be so detrimental to Michael’s three children? Nevertheless, Corey has known the Jackson family for years, and his comment to The Daily Mail was quite revealing:

‘It’s not been denied that he’s part of the family, we just don’t know what part of the family.”-Corey Feldman, On The Possibility of Brandon Howard As A Jackson.
Let’s keep in mind that the Jackson family men have never been especially against sharing girlfriends and even wives, as we know to be the case with Randy and Jermaine. It’s not so shocking when you consider the unique dynamics of growing up famous and surrounded by groupies, some of whom would be willing to sleep with any Jackson in hopes of working her way up to the one that might really be her chosen prize conquest-usually Jackie or Jermaine in the early days, and Michael later. Heck, girls would even sleep with Joe if they thought it might get them a step closer to one of his sons! In such an atmosphere of sexual promiscuity and dysfunction, it’s not surprising that there are quite a few “mystery” kids in the family who, truth be told, are probably not as mysterious as we, the public, have been led to believe.
"Billie Jean"...Everything From The Lyrics To The Symbolic Red Bow Tie Stated Loss Of Innocence And Moral Consequences For The Wages Of Sin
“Billie Jean”…Everything From The Lyrics To The Symbolic Red Bow Tie Stated Loss Of Innocence And Moral Consequences For The Wages Of Sin

That Michael had somewhat of an obsession with this subject is a given. Pregnant girlfreinds, those claiming “the kid is yours” and the moral consequences of giving in to the temptations of the flesh crop up in too many songs to be mere coincidence. As news of the DNA “test results” spread (notice I am putting that in quotes considering what we learned less than 24 hours later) I started to cringe as every story brought up the lines from “Billie Jean.” This is how instant cliches’ are born! Besides, the history of Billie Jean” and that song’s origins are far more complex-and less mysterious-than any of these people know. Still, we all know how often this subject cropped up in Michael’s work. “The kid is not my son/”Don’t have a baby if you can’t feed your baby”/”She’s got your baby/It happened fast.” I don’t believe that such thematic motifs’ are accidental, or coincidence. Clearly, these were issues Michael was familiar with and working through, even if on some subconscious level. He claimed much of it came from witnessing other peoples’ experiences, but it is just as possible he was also drawing on personal experience, as well. Whatever the case may be, there was a reason why this particular topic-unwanted or unplanned children, manipulative women trying to entrap him, and the consequences of sin-was something he returned to repeatedly throughout his career, but especially in the 80’s when he was most struggling with the demands of a skyrocketing fame, experimenting with newfound maturity and independence, and all while still trying to keep a foothold in the religion that had been his lifelong anchor. It’s easy to read too much into anything, but the fact that illegitmate children seemed to crop up so often in his work-or at least the accusation of being the father-at least gives some pause for thought. It seems to be an experience that he was intimately, and painfully, familiar with, so much so that even the music became a kind of catharisis for it. It sometimes seemed that Michael was cautioning an entire generation of young men to “keep it zipped” and watch out for those wily girls who promise you anything-and only end up giving you babies with “eyes like” yours. (Ironically, while advising young men to “keep it zipped” he seemed to have no qualms in “Abortion Papers” about inadvertently advising pregnant girls that they were signing their names “against the word of God” when they signed those papers. The line he sings in “Wanna Be Starting Something”-“Don’t have a baby/If you can’t feed your baby” -is not advocating abortion, as some have mistakenly claimed. Rather, he is promoting abstinence, telling women in effect that if you can’t afford to feed it, then don’t be making it).

Now keep in mind, however, this was all going through my head during a phase of roughly about 24 hours, when I still thought there just might be something to this DNA story. But a couple of things were still nagging at me. 1: Who was to say this was actually Michael’s DNA that they had supposedly extracted from this 31-year-old orthopedic device? Had the DNA been authenticated in any way as belonging to Michael? 2: How did we know that these were authentic DNA tests that had been performed, in actual DNA laboratories? All we saw at the “press conference” was  an envelope being opened, and  a guy reading off a document that, for all we knew, might have just been a blank piece of paper! (the truth, as it turned out, was even more bizarre!).

Still…the story was growing like wildfire. Every time I hit “Google” it seemed at least one more major news outlet had added the story of “DNA TEST PROVES OHIO MAN IS MICHAEL JACKSON’S LOVE CHILD” and those words “99.9% positive” stood out like glaring head beams. A kind of surreal reality began to set in for me, that this thing just might be true, after all, and if it is…what then? I could already see the global reactions setting in, millions of us, just as I said, reeling and reassessing everything we thought we knew about Michael Jackson.

Such is the media’s power, even after all of the negative things we say and are certainly aware of. With the recent hoax of the Blanket story still fresh in our minds, however, it didn’t take long to realize something just wasn’t smelling right. I kept waiting to see an official media outlet like CNN pick up the story. When they didn’t, some doubt began creeping in. TMZ, after all, appeared to be the main culprits behind this-at least, the leaking of the story, if not the bogus test itself. In other words, we can safely say that, yes, DNA doesn’t lie…except when TMZ somehow has their hands in the DNA.

Tabloids Have Had A Field Day With Comparison Photos Like This One, Showing Brandon, Michael And Augie Johnson (Right). In The End, I Don't Know How Much Such Photos Actually "Prove"..The Eye Will See What It Wants To See.
Tabloids Have Had A Field Day With Comparison Photos Like This One, Showing Brandon, Michael And Augie Johnson (Right). In The End, I Don’t Know How Much Such Photos Actually “Prove”..The Eye Will See What It Wants To See.

As I went to bed that night, at least a dozen conflicted thoughts were swirling in my mind. I was nearing completion of an article on Gavin Arvizo that I had been working on for weeks, but those plans would have to be put on hold because I knew by morning, no one in the MJ blogosphere was going to give a damn about Gavin Arvizo and old history from 2005. Everyone’s mind was going to be on Brandon Howard, even if only to ask who is he, and why now? I thought of all the reasons why I hoped the story was true, as well as all the reasons why I hoped it was not true, trying to reconcile them all in my mind. I wondered what kind of revelations would the new day bring? Part of me already dreaded the feeding frenzy that I knew this story was going to create. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Prince, Paris, and Blanket, wondering how this story would affect them. Especially with headlines like “B Howard is Michael Jackson’s Only Biological Son.” I also felt bad for Brandon’s father, Augie Johnson. In a series of increasingly desperate sounding interviews, where his reactions ranged from denial of the story to lashing out at his son, one thing came through loud and clear-hoax or no hoax, there were real people involved, people whose lives were being torn apart over this story. What should have been a private matter for this family was being treated as headline fodder for TMZ and Alki David.

‘I KNOW Brandon’s my son – I was there in the delivery room, I have the pictures of him being born. I got the records, I got everything.

‘Before me, Miki wasn’t with anyone else – she didn’t even know Michael at that time. But you know what – I love my son and he can do whatever he likes. I’m not tripping on this – I want Brandon to have a successful career.’…

‘Brandon spent a lot of time with Jackson kids over there, this was during the time when Miki and I broke up and she was hating me for a few years because we didn’t get married.’

When asked if he would be happy to take a DNA text himself, Augie said ‘Oh yeah! That’s not a problem.

‘My name is on his birth certificate, when people talk to me, I tell them the truth. I know my son- he’s got a lot of drama going on.

Brandon was once praised as the ‘reincarnation of Michael Jackson’.

However, Augie said: ‘They have these pictures with Michael and Brand on looking alike, but how can you compare my son and Michael. Michael don’t look like that – that’s not his original look.

‘Brandon just happens to be one of those kids – the wannabe Michael kids – his whole life. He loved Michael Jackson so much.

‘He wanted to look more like him and  he had a little success in Japan, that’s where this whole thing started. It became this mystery that he would never answer.

‘It’s been a plan for a long time, he wants to help his career, that’s what I believe.

‘Any kind of controversy that gets out there in the world, right now, helps.’

Miki Howard joined Side Effect as a 16-year-old singer, and asked about any romance with Michael, Augie said: ‘She was never romantically involved with Michael. He didn’t even know her.’

Now friendly again with Miki, Augie said he spoke to her today, adding: ‘Miki thinks Brandon is losing his mind!-Excerpted From The Daily Mail

 

 

In reading Augie Johnson’s words, I thought of the very thing that fans have so often said about Michael when Mark Lester, Arnie Klein, Matt Fiddes or any of the revolving door of “wanna be dads” has tried to come forth claiming to be the father of Prince or Paris or Blanket. “It takes more than just donating sperm to be a father,” we always say. Yes, indeed. And by the same argument, I think we can pretty safely say-even had the DNA test proven authentic-that “99.9% match” or not, Michael Jackson was not Brandon Howard’s father, and never was. His father was Augie Johnson, the man who apparently was at least there in his life to change an occasional diaper and wipe his runny nose. Of course, I agree with those who have said that the only parent who probably deserves real credit as both Brandon’s mom and dad is Miki Howard.

We Know That Michael Was Father To His Kids-NOT Arnie Klein, Matt Fiddes or Mark Lester. Likewise, Brandon Howard Could Never Claim Michael Jackson As A Father, No Matter How Much He Might Want It To Be True. And No Matter What Any DNA Test, Real Or Phoney, Says.
We Know That Michael Was Father To His Kids-NOT Arnie Klein, Matt Fiddes or Mark Lester. Likewise, Brandon Howard Could Never Claim Michael Jackson As A Father, No Matter How Much He Might Want It To Be True. And No Matter What Any DNA Test, Real Or Phoney, Says.

So what is the point of trying to “prove” a biological link to Michael Jackson, even if one existed? Well, we all know the answer to that one. The media just wants a story. And Brandon wants…? Well, if not money, at least the fame and notoriety. I think Augue Johnson hit the nail on the head with that one.

All day at work, I waited until I could get to a computer to see what the latest developments on the story were. It didn’t take but a quick browse on Twitter to see that the story was already being reported as one huge hoax, and boy oh boy, what a hoax it was!

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/michael-jackson-paternity-claim-b-howard-shown-false-report-article-1.1714154

I suppose the big question is: Why would Alki David and company go to such lengths to create such a hoax in the first place? Why the driving need to create a phony DNA test to link Michael Jackson to this man? The media’s handling of this entire story-as well as the public’s reaction to it-has only served to remind me of the bizarre dichotomy that exists with both the media’s and the public’s fascination with Michael Jackson. He is probably the only person I know of who is so routinely emasculated in the media-who is so often portrayed interchangeably as asexual, or as a pedophile, or as gay-and yet, by the same token, an apparent super womanizer who has secret love children all over the planet. Heck, at least one love child is guaranteed to pop out of the woodwork every few years-and oddly enough, the media never seems to have any problem swallowing the idea that Michael Jackson-who according to them had to solicit donors to father his own, legal children-must have nevertheless been quite the stud muffin when it came to making babies he evidently didn’t want. How he managed this feat while still being, apparently, afraid of women or only interested in little boys-if you believe the popular narratives-remains the biggest mystery of the last century. Scientists, philosophers, and theologians, I’m sure, are all at work trying to figure it out.

All of which goes to show that the world’s fascination with Michael Jackson’s penis-what he did and didn’t do with it, apparently-continues to be an even greater obsession than his music.

But on a more serious level, this story-just as the phony story about Blanket that surfaced recently-points to a very disturbing media trend, and shows just what depraved lengths these people will go to. It becomes easier, perhaps, to believe and understand all of those stories such as how even after routine haircuts, the hair of Michael’s children is immediatly swept up and placed in bags, so as to avoid any attempts at DNA theivery. Such stories sound rather extreme, paranoid, and highly suspect. Until we witness what transpired this week.

It’s scary as hell to think that slimeballs like Alki David are out there; people who wouldn’t think twice about conducting a “public” DNA test on Michael’s kids-and even worse, skewering the results to fit whatever agenda they want. That, for me, has been one of the scariest and most disturbing realizations of this whole event. We tend to rely on DNA tests as definitive truth. If DNA tests are now something that can be willfully fabricated, like any tabloid story, what’s to stop them from making up any lie they want; claiming parentage or not with anybody they choose; playing God with any target they decide to go after? The media, as always, will copy and paste such stories, spreading them like wildfire with no thought as to whether they are true. In this instance, the bogus story was revealed, but only because Harry Levin (for whatever personal reason, I am sure) decided to turn the cards on Alki David and FilmOn.com. And only because, in this case, the exposure of the hoax was bound to generate even more hits than the phony story.

It has been said that the movie “The Truman Show” was based on Michael’s life. Observing what transpired this week truly makes that reality hit home. If the events of this week began with forcing us to reassess what we thought we knew about Michael and his life, it ends with a surety that is exactly what we have known for years. Michael Jackson’s life continues to be a highly manipulative and profitable media sport.

But the new levels to which that sport is sinking are scary indeed.

That's Life In The MJ Blogosphere. For Sure, It Never Gets Boring!
That’s Life In The MJ Blogosphere. For Sure, It Never Gets Boring!

So…as per my post’s apt title, Michael Jackson both “gained” and “lost” a son in less than 24 hours. I am being only partly facetious. The fake story, at least for a little while, may have shaken some deeply held beliefs about Michael on all sides, for better or worse. But now that the dust is settling, what really emerges from this is the lesson it may teach us in just how depraved the media’s tactics are, the depths to which they will sink, and the desperation of the motives of those who surrounded Michael. It’s not a new lesson by any means. But if we ever needed a refresher course, boy this was it!

As for the rumors that Brandon may, in fact, be Joe’s son instead of Michael’s…well, that’s another Jackson family soap opera I will tackle some other time, some other day. Right now I just need an Excederin. Yep, it’s been one of those weeks.

And what’s even funnier…I still get people who ask me, all the time, what can there possibly be left to write every week about a guy who’s been dead for five years?

LOL. If they only knew…

45 thoughts on “The Day Michael Gained-And Lost-A Son”

  1. This whole story proves that if you delve into sleaze, you get covered by sleaze. No exceptions, not even for your blog, Raven.

    1. I don’t read TMZ. The story was spread via the fan community. I am expressing the very real and honest emotions I experienced as a reaction to it. We hear a lot of BS stories about Michael in the press all the time BUT this is the first time we had a claim of actual DNA evidence. I think even those of us who figured it was most likely BS would still have to admit that the news shook us a little. This story is definitely worth commenting on because, in all honesty, this reaches an all-time low in tabloid tactics (I thought the Blanket story was bad enough, but even that could be pinned down to mere stupidity and laziness. This was an all new kind of malicious). As for my honest reaction to the possibility of Michael having another child, I stand by everything I said. A thing like this is bound to produce a lot of mixed emotions. That’s just the way it is.

  2. The story lived and died with TMZ. It is disturbing that the fan community continues to believe any story from TMZ. I hate that those links are spread around. Although I believe it is very possible that Michael Jackson may have fathered other children besides his three acknowledged children, the very nature of this story was tacky and ridiculous. If someone does come forward, it should be through the proper channels, not TMZ nor any ridiculous public spectacle such as this. Children are a serious matter, not a a tabloid joke. I truly believe that any children Michael knew about would have been provided for because that is who he was.

    1. If you notice, I never include links to those sites. But I suppose it’s inevitable that people will be discussing these stories, especially something of this nature. I don’t believe it is so much that people necessarily “believe” everything they read on TMZ. But once something like this is out of the bag, it is bound to stir a lot of emotions. I think that people tend to react to these emotions, for better or worse. In 24 hours’ time I went from absolute disbelief, to thinking “What if…?” to thinking “Maybe; could it be…?” to nagging suspicions about the authenticity of these “tests.” I wanted to capture something of what it felt like to be a fan during those twenty-four hours, with all of these conflicting thoughts and reactions to the story. Something like this will always inevitably raise a lot of questions because I think an important connection of what we feel to Michael is that belief that we know him. I am by no means immune to it, but I like to think that I’m flexible enough to bend with whatever new knowledge or facts that come to light. For me, a story like this (real or not) raises a lot of important issues, from the media’s perception of Michael to both fan and hater reactions when certain long held cherished beliefs are challenged. I certainly don’t make it a habit to believe every media gossip story about Michael but again, it is not every day that we have reports of a DNA test with 99.9% accuracy. I don’t think we are being honest with ourselves if we say we are never prone to the gullibility of the mass media. Just the other day, I was having a discussion with my students about the Salem witch trials. I was shocked how many said they did not believe such a thing could happen again, when history has continued to prove time and again just the opposite. The problem is that they are interpreting the question too literally. I know that. They tend to think, “Okay, people don’t believe in witches now, and we are much more tolerant as a society, and spectral evidence isn’t allowed in court…” Yes. BUT. Replace witches and witchcraft with most anything else that people fear or don’t understand. I tell them, “Look at what happened in the McCarthy era. Look at how people responded to the AIDS epidemic, less than thirty years ago. And look how quickly we single out a scapegoat, and believe anything the media tells us about a person.” The media can only have this power if we let it, but I think we also have to understand why we sometimes allow ourselves to become gullible to it. I was interested in exploring why this story, in particular, had invoked in me the reactions and feelings that it did.

    2. Also, this was why I took a “wait and see” attitude. I knew if there WAS any authenticity to this story, that it would eventually make its way into mainstream media. There would be some follow up of authenticity, or a statement from the family or the estate. Something. The big thing I kept questioning was, “How the heck do they even KNOW that was Michael’s DNA? How do we know there was any DNA at all?”

      Remember that in October of 1938, all it took was a Halloween radio broadcast from Orson Welles to convince the entire nation that we were being invaded by Martians. In the 60’s people were writing letters to the government of the United States asking them why on earth couldn’t they rescue “those poor castaways” (referring to “Gilligan’s Island”).

      It would be quite funny if it weren’t for the fact that these things affect real lives.

    1. It’s not loading for me right now, June. I’ll try again later. It’s my computer; been having issues with it all evening, which was partly why it took me so gosh darn long to get this piece posted today. I’m taking it this has been since the fake story was revealed?

        1. I was able to access it this morning. Obviously, they are attempting to put their own slant on the story, as tabloids will. Just because LaToya was having dinner with Brandon doesn’t mean anything; as they said, he’s been a family friend for years. But it does seem kind of suspect for LaToya to be so cozied up with Brandon and Corey. Honestly, I’m not going to be expecting anything in the way of Jackson family outrage over the story. I’ll just say they know more than we do-whatever the case-and leave it at that.

          What’s interesting to me, in an observational kind of way, is how they seem to be wanting to continue to milk the story, now trying to tease readers with the possibility that the EXPOSURE of the hoax may, in fact, be suspect. Note how they very carefully refer to the test as a ‘controversial” DNA test, rather than a phony one. That is no accident. It leaves the term “controversial” as one wide open for interpretation. Which, in turn, could potentially lead to a whole host of other questions. Who contested the results, enough to go out of their way to try to “prove” it a hoax? And what was THEIR motivation?

          You see what I mean. Something like this can just keep getting deeper and deeper-and crazier and crazier.

          If we let it, lol. That is the key.

          1. Raven said “but it does seem kind of suspect for LaToya to be so cozied up with Brandon and Corey”. Yes, particularly with the new season of her series starting shortly on OWN. My other thought is why in the heck is Corey even involved in the announcement of the results of this fake (yes I believe it’s fake) DNA test? Corey, too, has a role in a soon-to-be released film. Could not the opportunist from the “film company” and the dental surgeon with the 30-year old mouth mold have handled the announcement themselves? Although we would love to see this issue fade away, maybe there’s another shoe waiting to drop.

  3. Sorry, I just saw in the article I linked there was a brief mention of the fake DNA claim. Still think it’s an attempt to make some connection.

  4. I ask Where’s the Proof? If I don’t see it, I move on.

    Any successful Deception needs two players — The Deceivers and the Willingly Deceived.

    The Deceivers are trash media (TMZ and its fellow tabloid proctologists and foot soldiers) and the entertainment whores and wannabes looking for attention at any price (B Howard who may want a career boost or a dream-come-true Father; the sadly fragmented and resentful Corey Feldman currently at war with himself, his family, and his past; and LiveOnTV, hopeful purveyor of titillating tell-all celebrity projects to come.

    The Willingly Deceived is the Public — We the People who permit trash media to insert a ring in our nose and drag us down a road of irresistible speculation, mystery sources, cloak and dagger fakery, unsubstantiated rumor, and virtual reality. We fall for it every time. The media and entertainment whores get our attention, our Tweets, Facebook posts, site hits and comments, then laugh at us while filling their pockets with gold. We get angry for being fooled — yet line up every time to get fooled again.

    Michael Jackson’s name is mentioned. TMZ and other tabloid proctologists are off and running, flashlights blazing and dragging us along. First we hear that Michael Jackson is gay. Then we hear he is heterosexual. No, he’s asexual. No, he’s pre-sexual. No, he’s bi-sexual. No, he’s post-sexual. No, he’s metro-sexual. No, he’s a pedophile. Maybe he’s tri-sexual. No, he’s a ‘player’ depositing his valuable seed in secret wombs over the years. Jackson’s life was so BIG and panoramic that anything could be believed by somebody, somewhere. A gift that keeps on giving to anyone who wants to make use of it — the tabloid press, a Jackson wannabe, an aggrieved colleague, a disaffected employee, an obsessed admirer, a jealous competitor, or an embittered friend. There is no shortage of squawkers in all categories — especially now that Jackson is no longer here to confirm, deny or defend anything. It probably wouldn’t do much good if he were here.

    Jackson once said about media power (paraphrase), “If the tabloids said I was an alien, people would believe it without question. But, if I told you I was an alien, you would call me a liar”.

    It’s time for the Willingly Deceived to take its share of responsibility for the Deception-Gone-Viral, stop being tools of the Deceivers, and totally reject Media Terrorism that stalks individuals like prey, destroys their lives and then smugly exonerates itself by saying, “We only give the People what they want.”

    Yes, we’re only human but we also have the capacity to rip out the nose ring, move forward and get better.

  5. “The line he sings in “Wanna Be Starting Something”-”Don’t have a baby/If you can’t feed your baby” -is not advocating abortion, as some have mistakenly claimed. Rather, he is promoting abstinence, telling women in effect that if you can’t afford to feed it, then don’t be making it).”

    Funny, it never occurred to me that Michael was directing this admonition to women. Considering that he supported four of his brothers’ children for years, I thought he was complaining about men who father children they can’t or won’t provide for.

    Michael also supported a fifth child whose origins are (rightly) not known to the public, but he sure looks like a Jackson and is completely accepted by the family, so it’s likely he’s a blood relation. One time it was suggested he was Michael’s child, but that story was quickly quashed, perhaps because it didn’t fit the Michael-as-asexual narrative. And of course there’s Omer Bhatti, whom MJ’s children refer to as their “brother”. Jackie Jackson’s adopted daughter has long been rumored to be the ‘secret’ child of Janet Jackson and James DeBarge, but she’s also been put forth as Michael’s. There’s a young man in Germany, the son of one of MJ’s dancers, who supposedly resembles him enormously. In fact so much so, his mother posts photos of her other son, but not of him, in order to protect his anonymity. Then there is Mocienne Petit Jackson, who insists she’s the secret daughter of Michael and Diana Ross’ sister, a physician seventeen years MJ’s senior. She even has her own website:

    http://www.mpjjacksonrevelation.com

    Mocienne was born in Haiti and lives in Holland – MJ’s sperm really got around. All the more amazing when so many were dedicated to the idea that he had no sperm at all – remember the shock waves when the coroner’s report included the revelation that Michael was “actively producing sperm”? He could have kids all over the place!

    1. It’s funny but my reaction to the lyric has always been just the opposite. I always assumed it was being directed at a female, mostly because he seems to be singing about a female throughout the song. Plus, the fact that he says “Don’t have a baby” rather than “Don’t make a baby” seems to make it more likely that it is directed towards promiscuous girls. It’s the word “have” that makes the line problematic for me in interpreting it as being aimed at males, since we usually use the phrase “having a baby” to mean giving birth. However, I could be wrong. I just never even thought of it that way, but you could be right. And this was 1982 when a reference to “making” a baby might have still been a little too crude for radio play, so it’s possible that he simply used “have” as a kind of euphemism. For sure, it’s a line that can have just as much relevance for males as well as females (after all, it takes both to have a baby). Interpreting it as a line intended for other guys actually puts it more in the line of “Billie Jean” and that whole, reoccurring motif of cautioning all males against the dangers of promiscuity. And I’ve often thought of both Billie Jean and Wanna Be Starting Something as companion pieces that were intended as part of the same concept/storyline (hence the reason why “Billie Jean” appears in both songs). Although to be honest, I’m still not 100% sure what that connection is. But both songs seem to be thematically linked.

      Your comment makes an interesting point. One thing that I’ve noted about this story is the especial glee that the media seems to have taken in retracting this story. It’s like dangling a carrot (okay, we’ll whet their appetites for a bit; tease everybody with the “idea” that Michael has a love child, and then we’ll get even more pleasure out of admitting it was all a hoax) just so they can goad fans and haters into all of the usual arguments. What do they care, as long as it generates traffic, right? I really find it suspect that TMZ, after being the ones to leak the story, would suddenly sprout a conscience about the “authenticity” of the tests. I think Harry Levin knew from the beginning that it was bogus. The only thing bigger than a story about a DNA test “proving” Michael Jackson had a secret love child would be the revelation that it was all BS, so that the media, late night comedians, and all the trolls would have all the excuse needed to say, “Ha ha, we knew it had to be bogus. Michael Jackson having sex with a woman? Come on!”

      Of course, that’s exactly the kind of reaction they’re betting on, and they are getting it. It’s very frustrating because anything of this nature only fuels those flames and further clouds any hope that the truth about Michael will ever be fully understood-or taken seriously.

  6. Well, in 2009 I’d have been much more gratified if the coroner’s (or anyone’s) report had revealed that Michael was “actively producing music”! And Simba, I don’t believe any of us can declare in such certain terms what the lyric “If you can’t feed a baby/then don’t have a baby” is promoting or advocating.

    Raven, you say: “Michael’s fans, on the other hand, have never had issues with accepting him as a fully intact, red blooded, and functioning man.” It’s not clear what you mean by any of these terms: “red blooded,” “functioning,” and “intact”; but I don’t think any of these states of being (!) are necessarily incompatible with an asexual identity. In general, I think we all could use more comprehensive education about the entire spectrum of human sexuality (and gender). A person may be “asexual,” for instance, and still be capable of biologically producing children; and, as you point out, MJ’s (biological) fathering of a child at one phase of his life wouldn’t necessarily preclude his reluctance to do so later on. He was complex; he was changeable. As are we all.

    I completely agree, Raven, that lining up the three photographs of Michael, B. Howard and Augie Johnson “proves” nothing, since people see what they want to see, as you point out. For the same reasons, when fans juxtapose a photo of Michael with one of Blanket or Prince in order to “demonstrate” biological paternity, we are on similarly shaky ground. In fact, a series of photoshopped images that once made the rounds on fan sites had essentially split Michael’s face down the middle, using halves of his face from different decades to “demonstrate” that his plastic surgery wasn’t as extensive as some had claimed. But these images, too, “prove” nothing.

    For the record, I remain unconvinced that Paris and Prince (and perhaps even Blanket) are Michael’s biological children. Everyone can label me an infidel if they wish.

    1. I do see physical resemblance between Michael and Blanket, but because Blanket is lighter skinned and has straighter hair, I just think those resemblances don’t leap out as much to casual observers. There’s something about the eyes. But as I’ve said many, many times before, all the world was ever really looking for in order to believe Michael as the father of a child was to judge whether the child looked “black enough.” I always said-and still maintain-that if a black man who nevertheless looked NOTHING like Michael claimed to be his child, the gullible public would believe him before they would believe his own legal sons, Prince and Blanket. And to some extent we saw this borne out with the Brandon Howard story (although I do believe he looks like he could be a Jackson, to be honest). But if you read closely between the lines of all the media stories, this was exactly what they were implying-“Oh yes, here is the REAL son of Michael Jackson, and THIS is what he looks like.” You didn’t have to read it. The insinuations were there, loud and clear.

      As for what I mean by using terms like “red blooded,” “functioning” and “intact” this all goes back to the common narrative that has been created of Michael as somehow less than “a normal guy.” It’s a discussion we’ve hashed out here many, many times. For some reason, they could never be content just to allow Michael Jackson his status as a black male sex symbol. From at least the 80’s forward, you see almost every kind of ridiculous theory put forth in order to effectively “castrate” him in the eyes of the public and to cast him into the mold of “some weird ‘other.'” We know there have even been ridiculous stories floating around-for years; rumors that he was a castrato, etc; just all kinds of crazy stuff. This was why the autopsy report was at least a kind of validation because we could finally put a lot of those nonsensical rumors to rest once and for all. Well, or so we thought. Believe it or not, there are still people who, every so often, try to start up those rumors all over again, I guess thinking no one will dig deep enough to challenge them. As recently as 2012, we have Randall Sullivan theorizing that Michael died a virgin. And on it goes. But this is the sort of thing I am referring to when I use those terms.

      I know to some these issues are moot points but I think they are important issues to address in that this was, for so long, used to help create the caricature myth of Michael Jackson-the one that became the butt of jokes and ridicule. Yet on the other extreme side of the spectrum, there seems to be no problem presenting him as a player who had love children all over the globe, apparently. For all of the “attempts” to cast him otherwise, there still remains something deep in our psyches that clings to the image of tough guy Michael chasing Tatiana down the alleyway, or reaching out to stroke Sheryl Crow’s thigh during “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” Michael created a myth; then the media created a myth FOR him, and perhaps it is very possible that somewhere in the middle of it all, the real Michael was lost to us.

      1. I see a strong resemblance between Michael and Paris. Forget the nose and look at the facial bone structure. I do see some “Debbie” parts, particularly with the chin, but those cheek-bones and the jaw line is pure Michael. In fact, I see more of a resemblence btw. Michael and Paris than with Blanket and Michael, but that may be because Blanket’s face is still changing and the bone structure is not yet “set.” As far as Prince is concerned, I find him so delightful that I don’t care whom he resembles.

    2. One wonders, what is it about Michael Jackson that makes you believe he would raise another man’s children as his own? He had his name writ large on the gate of Neverland, his monogram on everything from his pajamas to the children’s school uniforms, even his name on a plaque at Havenhurst. His corporate entities are the Michael Jackson Company and Mijac. Clearly, from a very young age, his identity, and his ego, were very important to him.

      He left his first wife because she would not bear him children, and perhaps married the second wife not because “his mother wanted him to”, but because there could be no legal challenge to his paternity as the husband. On top of that, it’s been reported that he had his children DNA tested in utero, to make certain they were his. Thanks to the coroner, we know he produced sperm, so why wouldn’t the children be his biologically?

      Not believing it does not make one an”infidel”, but there must be some though process behind the disbelief? What is it?

      1. Simba: I don’t believe he raised “another man’s” child. I believe he raised his own children. And he didn’t *wear* them like an insignia, for goodness’ sakes. Thankfully, he didn’t do that.

        It was “believed” that he had them DNA tested in utero. For what? I haven’t heard that, but no matter

        If you’re expecting me to say that my ‘thought process’ has has convinced me that Michael was impotent, infertile, homosexual (not that that would preclude his fathering children biologically), bisexual (ditto), uninterested in women (which he may or may not have been, imo), asexual (I don’t know about that)—or any other permutation of the possibilities—then I can’t oblige you in that way.

        My *opinion* is simply that they are not biologically his children, because I don’t believe they look anything like him. So what? He was their father. They are his children.

        1. Actually my question wasn’t about your opinion, which you are certainly entitled to. I was curious as to what it was about an egotist like MJ that would make you believe that he would be content to try to pass off another man’s children as his own, and spend hours personally teaching them about ‘their’ African American heritage? Finding resemblances is subjective. Leonardo DiCaprio’s father looks like one of the Super Mario brothers, but they have similar smiles. If we’re looking for ‘plausible’ Jacksons, how about Bruno Mars? He looks nothing like the man who is supposed to be his father, he’s darker than all his many siblings and hs parents, and, unlike B. Howard, he’s tremendously talented and can actually sing. He looks like Thriller-era Mike to me. Oh, I forgot – according to current internet scuttlebutt, Berry Gordy is Bruno’s ‘real’ dad!

    3. BTW, just to point out, Simba was quoting me with the interpretation to Wanna Be Starting Something, so if anyone here is guilty of imposing what it is “advocating” that is me. Keep in mind, I’ve been in academia for a long time, and am somewhat accustomed to stating my interpretations assertively. That doesn’t mean, of course, that they are infallible or that readers aren’t free to reject them. Simba actually brought up a good point that forced me to re-think that interpretation. This, of course, is what having a good, open dialog is all about.

    4. I too doubt whether Prince and Paris are Michael’s biological children. I just do not see anything Jackson about either child and although I know biracial children can come out looking more white now and again it is still rare for biracial children, 2 in a row, to have hardly any hint of African Ancestry in their phenotype. I would like my thoughts to be wrong and regardless of genetics Michael was their father.

  7. Judith Mason, I love this funny image of the nose ring! But I think the matter is more nuanced than pitting the Deceptive and Willingly Deceived against each other. On another site, someone who was remarking on this matter quoted the famous line by P.T. Barnum: “there’s a sucker born every minute.” In response, I wrote:

    We all know that Michael Jackson was a great admirer of P.T. Barnum’s, whose “Greatest Show on Earth” he wanted to emulate. According to at least one account I’ve read, Michael read Barnum’s autobiography and told his staff (paraphrase): “I want this to be my career,” and asked them to read it.

    It always intrigues me to ponder the many and varied influences Michael drew from, not only in his work as a singer and dancer, but as an entrepreneur and general showman as well. It kinda goes without saying that Brandon Howard would be unlikely to match his achievement in any of these ways. But what fascinates me about this whole matter is how much hope, desire, and yearning people invest in this possibility: that Michael might actually have a son who looks (sort of) like him, who sounds (sort of) like him, whose video “Dancefloor” shows some elements of classic Michael visuals—notably, “Rock With You.”

    It’s as though people yearn not only for the “second coming” of MIchael Jackson, but a *specific* (“unsullied”) version of Michael: the early Michael, before his appearance changed significantly, before he became entangled with rumors of “weirdness” (hyperbaric chamber, Bubbles, Elephant Man bones, the whole litany of “eccentric” behavior that gets repeated *ad nauseam*), and of course, before he was beset by allegations of child molestation.

    It speaks to me as a widespread, collective yearning to *redeem* Michael and rescue him from the jaws of history: even to go back in time to an “innocent” vision of a Michael Jackson who—it was hoped—was the emissary who could unite the world and heal the deep wounds of American racism. In some ways, i think, Brandon Howard may be an embodiment of that long-standing hope.

    It’s astonishing to think about the collective hopes, dreams, wishes, nightmares, etc. of an entire society played out on Michael Jackson’s seemingly indestructible psyche and body, even now.

    The spectre of Brandon Howard is the latest in a series of nightmares (dreams?) that emerge from fantasies that the public can’t seem to entirely suppress, and must investigate—a bottomless pit of mystery that everyone must somehow “get to the bottom of.” But the “bottom,” by its very nature, will always remain out of reach, while the purveyors of this merchandise–who have a very different kind of “investment” in the deal–will be laughing all the way to the bank.

    What people who purchase and participate in this “cacophony” (as James Baldwin presciently put it nearly thirty years ago) are NEVER encouraged to do, of course, is to critically examine *themselves* and their own responses. Consumers of this kind of news story, no matter which side of the “debate” they stand on, will be actively DISCOURAGED from asking themselves why they are drawn to this story of Brandon Howard’s paternity, why they are so keen to affirm (or debunk) it, why it matters to them one way or another, and just *what* they have invested obtaining some definitive “answer.”

    1. I think this hits on so many levels of exactly what I was trying to say in examining my own reactions to the story. Remember how I said I felt conflicted because part of me wanted the story revealed for the bs that it was; part of me wanted it to be true. It was the part of me that wanted it to be true that I felt most in need to question. Why on earth would I feel that, unless there were some very deep and complex reasons? I don’t think it has so much to do with looking (hoping) for another version of Michael. There will never BE another Michael Jackson. Nor do I think in my case it has anything to do with wanting to go back to some unspoiled or untainted version of Michael (at least not on any conscious level that I am aware of). I am perfectly happy with the incarnate that Michael became-changed appearance, controversies, and all-these are all the things that actually make him MORE fascinating to me, not less.

      But I do think, if I am honest with myself, it has more to do with some deep seated need to see those factions proven wrong who have so long tried to put Michael off to the sidelines as a “freak” and as someone/something “not normal.” Denying his sexuality in any kind of normal sense is one way they have achieved this for over thirty years. It’s kind of weird to think that, yes, if the world thought Michael had an illegitimate child he had fathered (and perhaps even abandoned) they would actually respect that as more NORMAL somehow; more in keeping with what is expected from a so-called “normal” male pop star, while the irony is that it would actually make him LESS admirable as a human being. And then consider the irony that something like that would actually go much further towards redeeming him in the public eye than ALL of the humanitarian deeds he has done combined, and you start to think, “Wow, this is really screwed up on so many levels.”

      As fans, we tend to put a lot of faith into Michael. That faith is often “tested” under severe conditions, from public scorn and ridicule to outright disbelief. We are labeled “fanatics” and branded as crazy in the press. Just look at any of the most hotly debated topics about Michael, from his vitiligo to innocence of the molestation allegations, to this. I think for a lot of us-again, if we are completely honest with ourselves-longs for that validation, in whatever form it takes. A reason to say, “I told you so” or “I was right.” It’s a natural human reaction.

      But I don’t feel that I would be true to myself, or to my purpose with this blog, if I cannot raise these kinds of honest questions here and attempt to work my way through them. Sometimes when we have a story like this, I may react to it in two very distinct ways-one, the common sense reaction, the one that is expected; the other, a raw gut reaction that I know comes from some wellspring I am not quite aware of, forcing me to take a step back and ask, Why is this?

      I believe, like many fans, I’ve become so conditioned to the bullying and castigating of Michael-the victimization of him, if you will-that a subconscious part of me WANTS to see these people proven wrong. I want to see them having to eat their own crow. This is true if I’m honest with myself even though the common sense side of me says, It doesn’t matter, and shouldn’t matter. It’s sort of like those old cereal commercials where the actor says, “The grown up in me likes the wheat side but-(instant camera switch to same adult shrunken to kid size, in too big clothes-“the kid in me loves the frosted side.”

      Sometimes there are emotions, and reactions, that we know aren’t necessarily the ones we are supposed to have, or perhaps they go against the common grain. But if they’re there, it may be for a valid reason that shouldn’t necessarily be repressed.

      In the long run, no such revelation would change my feelings about Michael (nor would I expect any kind of mass exodus from the fan base) but it would, as I said, require a bit of reassessing and acceptance of a new “truth.” I think, more than anything, even though I knew the story was most likely phony, it was forcing me to ask these questions of myself and to reflect on them.

    2. Nina, you had posted a duplicate response to Judith. I deleted the first one, since the second one already had responses. Both posts had identical content, so I assumed it was done accidentally.

  8. I tend to dismissed these stories as BS. I call them the “billie jean” stories, usually featuring some wacky fan. However, the problem with this story is the woman that can really answer the key question behind the rumours is not some crazy arse fan. Miki Howard is a respected Artist in her own right who has known the Jackson family for a long time. She has been very discreet about her relationship with the family and her only statement about the saga still does not reveal much. I really don’t know whether Brandon is MJ biological son or even Joe’s biological son, but I do know many people out there, especially non fans, are looking at this story with more scrutiny than previous, similar stories.

  9. Yes, Raven; I had a duplicate post, and I was going to ask if you could delete it. Thanks.

    I’m glad you’re true to what you believe is necessary and important, Raven. I think all material should be on the table, and not swept under the carpet—so to speak. And I understand the ambivalence you mention: wanting something to be true, and not wanting it.

    In my case, I suppose the fantasy I entertained regarding B. Howard was the one I attributed to “people in general,” above. I was mainly talking about myself. For one thing, I know you’ve stated you liked Michael’s appearance in his later years, Raven; but I have to admit the that I did not. I wouldn’t judge him, or critique him, or try to second-guess his decisions, or whatever exigencies the situation demanded of him. I don’t view him negatively (“as a person”) because his appearance changed, even if he HAD been entirely responsible for those changes. It’s his business. Nonetheless, what I found myself most moved by was the face and body of a dark-skinned and curly-haired young man of 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. So I suppose my draw to B. Brandon (who I actually have no particular opinion about) reflects that.

    When I speak or write, I very *scrupulously* avoid using the word “NORMAL.” I find that it’s often used as bludgeon for people who don’t have it; an accusation about an unspecified something that doesn’t feel right to a person who has never been forced to look at their own difference, alterity, and “weirdness,” a person who judges others without the least awareness of how they come across to others.

    There’s a closely related issue called “Respectability Politics” that has cropped up lately; it centers around the demand that African Americans and other people of color “straighten up and fly right, which creates an internalized sense of “not measuring up” to the norm. Everywhere, there’s the “tyranny of the normal”; so I try to be very aware of how this word is being used.

    That said, I had another of my (many) harangues on another site about how I didn’t want Michael to be “normal,” and I didn’t think he was or wanted to be. I mentioned my own identification with a non-normative figure—I was never normal myself, to the end a freak, and proud of it!

    The present case is interesting, because

    (1) A “normal” man—especially a “normal” black man—would definitely have a child out of wedlock, wouldn’t he? What kind of racial stereotypes, then, would we be promoting if we adopted this view?

    (2) If paternity could be proven, even worse transgressions could be countered. Michael desired women, and had them, which of course is an oversimplified way of saying “NOT gay,” or “NOT asexual,” or “NOT bisexual,” etc. A person can identify in these ways, and STILL impregnate a woman.

    Be that as it may…. I don’t care. I don’t care personally, and I don’t feel any need to prove anything to anybody about Michael. I’m interested in a more detached way about all the speculation; but, frankly, nothing he was ever accused of doing strikes me as all that outlandish (except for the crime of child molestation, which is clearly wrong and criminal.)

    So I have no stake, for example, in “proving” how straight he was, or not. Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful post, Raven.

  10. I m surprised this story got so much attention, used as we are to fake stories ( Blanket s violent video) paternity claims( Klein, Lester )and other more hurtful ‘revelations’( Wade Robson) people have made since Michael passing but also when he was alive.
    Compared to Wade Robsons accusations which are really disturbing this is like a slap stick and so transparant.
    Not that Michael could not have a ‘love’ child. Many celebrities have, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Eddy Murphy AND Jacksons and as you said:
    “As much as we sometimes like to believe that we, as fans, knew Michael inside and out, the truth is that we really didn’t. For all that he lived in the center of the public eye and a media whirlwind for most of his life, Michael was also very adept at keeping secrets’ Raven.

    And he was entitled to keep to himself what he didn’t want to share with the world. There comes a time when we have to stop cultivating bs
    I wholeheartedly agree with Judith Mason .
    ‘We get angry for being fooled — yet line up every time to get fooled again.’

    And Nina YF
    What people who purchase and participate in this “cacophony” (as James Baldwin presciently put it nearly thirty years ago) are NEVER encouraged to do, of course, is to critically examine *themselves* and their own responses. Consumers of this kind of news story, no matter which side of the “debate” they stand on, will be actively DISCOURAGED from asking themselves why they are drawn to this story of Brandon Howard’s paternity, why they are so keen to affirm (or debunk) it, why it matters to them one way or another, and just *what* they have invested obtaining some definitive “answer.”

    1. “Compared to Wade Robson accusations which are really disturbing this is like a slapstick and so transparent.”

      You hit on a point that I absolutely should have made in my post. This is another reason I simply can’t bring myself to get too bent out of shape over stories about so-called “love children” and such. Of all the false stories (or even “fake” stories that “sorta could be possibly true”) that will ever come out about Michael-and probably WILL continue to come out for years to come-we have to keep in perspective that his legacy can and will absorb, endure, and overcome any of them-with one exception. And that is more accusations of child molestation. Honestly, in a world where most male pop stars are even EXPECTED to go around populating the globe, this sort of thing doesn’t even register on the Richter scale. People may choose to believe it or disbelieve it. But in the long run, it simply doesn’t matter as it does not affect the legacy of his body of work. Things like this aren’t even considered scandals by today’s standards. They are gossip; nothing more.

      Compared to what Wade Robson is doing, Brandon Howard is small fry stuff. Stories of illegitimate children will come and go. I wouldn’t be surprised if, generations from now, we still have people coming forth claiming to be Michael Jackson’s “only great-great grandson.” Claiming blood relation to Shakespeare is still a hot commodity, after four centuries.

      A story of this nature is really a circus act by comparison. These kinds of stories may invoke a lot of reaction initially, but over time are either absorbed or forgotten. They simply become a part of a legendary performer’s mystique-and the music goes right on selling, regardless.

      On the other hand, additional accusations of child sex abuse is another matter entirely. I think Wade Robson’s accusations are a huge farce, but for sure, the world will be watching to see how his case plays out. Michael’s legacy has absorbed and endured two such accusations, but with every additional such accusation, more damage is done, even if only in the form of adding more doubt or appearing to give more credence to the idea of “where there’s smoke there must surely be fire.”

      Truth be told, I can live with most any story about Michael that the media cares to fabricate, but it is stories like Wade Robson’s that, when all is said and done, must bear the brunt of our energy and scrutiny. Anything else is just a circus side show in comparison.

  11. I am drawn to this topic because I care about Michael Jackson and what is said about him. It matters. Like others have said, Brandon is probably Joe Jackson’s son; he was promoting Miki, his mother after all. And of course, the DNA would provide the 99.9% match. If Michael was the father, wouldn’t it be 100%? The only young man I am convinced really is Michael’s secret love child is Omar Bhatti. I’ve read so much about Michael supporting him until he was 16, mentoring him, being in many photos with him, like the one of Omer aged 12, at an airport with the caption ‘The Eyes Have it’. In another newspaper, there is a amusing photo of a serious unsmiling Michael looking down at Omar, who is looking up at him cheekily; that caption says ‘Hello Dad’! Omar did have Michael’s big dark eyes and looked so much like him, dances like him. At the memorial service he sat with the Jackson brothers, and his head shape resembled theirs a lot. It was reported that his mother was a Swedish dancer in one of Michael’s videos, and Michael travelled to Stockholm many times taking money, toys and gifts, which, of course, he would do being a loving caring person he was. Even though this may have been one of his early ‘mistakes’, he did not abdicate his responsibility as the father, I’m sure he was.

    1. “If Michael was the father, wouldn’t it be 100%?”

      Not necessarily. The “99.9%” figure is the one most often quoted in DNA paternity tests that are determined a positive match. A 100% match seems to be rare. I suppose the 99% is considered a safer figure to quote; it allows “some” margin for error, but the likelihood of error is slim to none. In a court case, for example, where the outcome hinged on proving paternity, a 99.9% match would definitely hold up legally.

    2. “If Michael was the father, wouldn’t it be 100%?”

      Not necessarily. The “99.9%” figure is the one most often quoted in DNA paternity tests that are determined a positive match. A 100% match seems to be rare. I suppose the 99% is considered a safer figure to quote; it allows “some” margin for error, but the likelihood of error is slim to none. In a court case, for example, where the outcome hinged on proving paternity, a 99.9% match would definitely hold up legally.

      ETA: I probably should add, provided the test itself is legit, of course.

  12. B. Howard was around the second generation Jacksons when Michael was alive, yet neither he nor his mother ever claimed that MJ was his father. To my eye, he looks nothing like the Jacksons. I am baffled at those who swear he’s the image of Michael – I find him quite unattractive, not even as handsome as his actual father Augie Johnson.

    Evan Ross resembles Michael somewhat, and his also slim. On some websites they joke about him being MJ’s son, but since Diana Ross is his mother, and he had a close relationship with MJ, the media won’t touch that story. It’s too plausible I guess.

    There is one young man who has always held himself out as Michael’s son, since long before MJ’s death. He disclosed this information to many people. His mother worked for MJ. He looks like a Jackson. He graduated from Fisk University, a school that MJ supported generously. MJ’s name is on his birth certificate. His birth name is Prince Michael Jackson. He’s not a secret – he made a claim on the estate. If the media was actually interested in finding a ‘real’ son of Michael Jackson’s, they’d be all over this guy. Instead, they cover an obvious fake like B. Howard, just so they can shoot him down.

    1. I definitely don’t think he is “the spitting image” of Michael by any means, and anyone who would say that would have to be blind. However, I suppose there is “enough” resemblance to make the claim credible in some eyes. Very few children are carbon copies of a parent. We see that occasionally, but it is very rare. Just for the sake of argument, if Brandon was Michael’s son, his face would most likely be a composite, with some of Michael’s features, perhaps, but also with all of the genetic makeup from his mother’s side. This is what makes every child a unique creation. In Brandon’s case I think he happens to have “just enough” Jackson family resemblance to apparently make his claim credible to some. That, of course, does not mean it IS credible. Personally, I think Blanket comes much closer to being his “spitting image” than anyone who has claimed paternity.

      I am familiar with the story of Prince Michael Jackson. I have kept an open mind to it, as I have with many of these claims (at least the ones that bear more credibility).

      BTW, speaking of birth certificates, I have heard that Brandon doesn’t even have one. I don’t know if that’s true. I only heard it from one source and not a reliable one, at that. If it’s true, though, it is very odd.

      Prince (the singer) had a son who was born in 1996 and died shortly thereafter of a birth defect. There was never a birth certificate filed for him, either. Reportedly, it was an attempt to keep the child’s birth out of the press.

      1. Of course Brandon Howard has a birth certificate. He was born in a hospital, not in a cave or a tent somewhere, and sooner or later that BC is going to turn up. He’s been abroad – how would he get a passport without one? In that interview with Augie Johnson, his father says “My name is on the birth certificate”. He also says that Michael didn’t even know Miki Howard. In an interview with Wendy Williams done in 2006, Miki complains that the father of her children didn’t pay her child support, but she never suggests that the father is rich and famous, let alone Michael Jackson.

        Augie Johnson has nothing to gain from this story. On the other hand B. Howard and Miki have gotten a lot of mileage out of it. He’s trying to make a career and she’s trying to revive hers. I believe Augie.

        1. A man’s name on a birth certificate doesn’t prove anything as far as being a biological parent. And as for whether Miki knew Michael then, she would be in a position to know more about that than Augie, I would think. And let’s just say for argument’s sake if she’d had a fling with Michael during that time, it’s plausible that she would have kept it a secret. She would hardly be the first or last woman to keep such a secret from her boyfriend. I’m just saying Augie’s words alone aren’t proof of anything, but like I said, as far as being a father-legal, biological or otherwise, he is the one who has been Brandon’s “dad” all of his life. I don’t think Miki is behind these claims, though of course she will get mileage out of this story by default because it has made the media curious about her. I suspect that Brandon, however, does have ulterior motives. I think they are motives driven more by attention than money. Miki could be behind it as well, of course. I don’t know. I just don’t feel that is the case. I think this has been a decision Brandon has made, for whatever reasons. He’s being ambiguous because he knows ambiguity is the way to milk the story.

          Augie’s interviews came across to me as someone reeling from shock, as well as being bitter about what was happening (not that I blame him). His words didn’t make me believe or disbelieve him, but I did feel sorry for him that this whole mess was being dragged out in the public spotlight.

  13. To add to what I said earlier, I for one am delighted that Michael has left his mark on the Earth in more ways than one! And Brandon would look like Michael if Joe Jackson was his father too!

  14. When people chose to ‘share’ with (leak to) the public private information, providing just enough to titillate but never clarify, that sets off a huge alarm for me that ‘the game is afoot’. It means they want to create buzz about themselves on some pretext — be it He’s My Daddy, I Was Abused and Must Tell to Get Closure, or something else. The media is more than willing to provide a platform for almost anybody provided Michael Jackson’s name is attached.

    If B Howard genuinely wants to confirm his paternity, surely there are ways to do it confidentially and maintain his privacy and credibility. After all, he’s not wildly famous or instantly recognizable — at least not yet. Instead, he chose to stage an event, giving (we are told) a DNA sample to civilians complete with a photograph to mark the occasion complete with show-business types as witnesses. Anyone can don a white coat, a face mask and perform a mouth swab with a Q-tip. Then he claims ignorance about how this material would be used. Then, there’s the Michael Jackson dental mold artifact purported to contain oodles of his DNA for comparion. Where has it been all these years? How was it stored? Has its authenticity been verified and, if so, by whom and are they credible?

    As a writer and former reporter, I was trained to ask these questions as a rule. But, celebrity reporting (for want of a harsher term) isn’t interested in those questions. In fact, the murkier the story and the more loose ends and unanswered questions, the better. The story is never resolved but remains dormant to erupt time and again.

    When Michael Jackson revealed his vitiligo publicly to Oprah Winfrey in 1993, I wondered if she and her large, very devoted audience believed him. I don’t know. But any skeptical rookie reporter could have followed up and verified the story once Michael spilled the beans on network television. Jackson’s dermatologist Arnold Klein, skin doctor to the stars and serial blabbermouth, confirmed Jackson’s vitiligo (and lupus) in an interview with Larry King. Yet, such confirmations were never vigorously reported over the years to either correct or counterbalance the ubiquitous and profitable scenario of Jacko, the Self-Hating Black Man. Same with questions about his sexuality, surgeries, relationships with kids, marriages, and his children’s paternity.

    Sloppy reporting and misinformation went basically unchallenged and took hold to gradually malform our view. We saw the result during the 2005 trial and how easy it was to resurrect and re-sell the old myths rather than cover the news in the courtroom.

    Fortunately, inquisitive and courageous writers are revisiting and exploring the whole of Jackson’s life. Hopefully, this work will chip away at the concrete monoliths of ignorance, misconceptions, half-truths and lies. It probably won’t move the willfully ignorant, but it will certainly put things in perspective for new generations, including Michael Jackson’s children.

    It’s one amazing story and worthy of all the time and effort it takes to tell it!

    1. Where oh where are these “inquisitive and courageous writers” in today’s journalism? When it comes to Michael Jackson, they simply don’t exist. Easily debunked tabloid stories, like the UK bilge about damning FBI files, are republished in mainstream newspapers as if they were legitimate, with nary a peep. Truly “if it bleeds, it leads”, as long as it’s Michael Jackson’s blood being spilled. The media coverage of his life, death, and children is indicative of the near-total collapse of professional journalism. It should be studied and taught in journalism schools as a prime example of ethical failure, and maybe it will be a hundred years from now. But other than the occasional piece from Charles Thomson on Huffington Post, there are no challenges to lies about Michael Jackson.

      1. There are other avenues from which more balanced thinking will emerge. I see an increasing number of seminars and discussions about Michael Jackson’s life and work. They appear in schools and universities where the next generation’s ideas are formed and take root. Authors like Joe Vogel, Zack O’Malley Greenburg (Forbes magazine), and Michael Bush explore Jackson’s creative process, business acumen and personal style. More will come. Lopsided reporting has a strong grip on our culture and it will take time to counter it. But it will happen.

        The idea is not to ignore or deny controversies attendant to Jackson’s life, but to build an effective counterweight to the exclusively tabloidist-style coverage focusing on real or perceived scandals. As I’ve said before, Michael Jackson lived a BIG and panoramic life of triumph and challenge both professionally and personally. It is a life imo worthy of balanced exploration.

        1. I can’t help but compare the journalistic reaction to anything regarding MJ to the fulsome defense of Woody Allen. From Barbara Walters to the front page of the New York Times, the media powers that be have launched a slash and burn campaign against Dylan Farrow and Mia Farrow, for daring to accuse Woody of molestation, even though there is ample evidence of questionable behavior on his part. There was no such defense of MJ, about anything.

  15. No, Augie Johnson never seen the Birth Certificate. That’s what he said out his own mouth in a Interview on a Radio station on youtube.

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