April 28, 2010
Posted: 04:26 PM ET
Best-selling true crime writer Aphrodite Jones has been covering Michael Jackson for years. On her TV program, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones, she has set out to prove that the allegations of child abuse and the fallout from his criminal trial were as responsible for his death last year as the drugs he was taking.
True Crime with Aphrodite Jones: Michael Jackson airs Thursday, April 29th on Investigation Discovery. Jones spoke to the LKL Blog about her thoughts on the Jackson case. The interview has been edited for clarity and content.
LKL Blog: You’ve spent years looking at Michael Jackson, his legal troubles and the man that he was. In terms of connecting the dots for your program, tell me a little about what you learned.
Aphrodite Jones: I think what I learned is that we really forgot, while Michael Jackson was alive, that he was a human being. We made him into a caricature. The interesting for me is that nobody after the acquittal of Michael Jackson turned around and said, “gee, wait a minute, we reported only what we could to dig up dirt and never considered that this man has no place to turn now.” Frankly, the media ran after him harder after the acquittal.
It all got turned around on Jackson, in a big way. I think people don’t realize – when Mihcael Jackson did anything, like the baby-dangling incident, it was blown out of such proportion because everybody made him out to be a freak.
LKL Blog: There’s no denying his talent but he was such a polarizing person. People just wanted to know every detail – why do you think people had that kind of reaction to him?
Jones: First of all, Michael Jackson broke the color barrier. And he did it in such a way, with his music, with his friendships and later with his vitiligo. Here’s someone whose life was dedicated to not looking at races, being of only one color. His music united the world. He went to every country in the world with his music. If his music landed there, he usually went. And he embraced people of every culture. Not many entertainers when you think about that really have that kind of stronghold or embrace of people in China, people in Singapore, people in Thailand. My book [Michael Jackson Conspiracy] has been translated around the world. In Japan, China, Taiwan, France, Italy, all over Europe.
LKL Blog: The theory that you’re operating on in the show – that Jackson never recovered from the allegations, from the trial, from the documentary…
Jones: Imagine this – imagine you are one of the most famous people in the world. And not only are you famous, but you’re an entertainer and people want to imitate you – that was Jackson. You can’t walk anywhere without being bombarded as yourself. If you walk into a supermarket or a mall, he was immediately surrounded. Everybody wanted a signature, everybody wanted a photograph, “oh, it’s Michael Jackson.” He described some of those situations. He would try to go to the Beverly Center to get a shirt like a normal person and he couldn’t do it. And then people wondered why he was in disguise or what’s wrong with him? He had no ability to walk around the planet as himself. And that’s a weird thing, if you think about it. Because it happened to him since childhood. It’s not like he became an adult and decided to pick this life for himself. He was chosen by his father for that life. Or by a higher source, based on his voice and talent. So from his childhood, all he knew was people following him around, adoring him, wanting to be like him. But at some point, it gets tiring and you want to have a private life, you want to be able to move around.
LKL Blog: With all of this stuff that happened, the stress of having to move around, the trial, everyone picking him apart – was his death avoidable? Or was is just bound to happen based on everything that had happened to him up until that point?
Jones: I’m one of those people who believe when it’s your time, it’s your time. Michael Jackson gave to us from the time he was six. That’s a lot of giving. He died trying to make a comeback, to prove to his fans that yes, he was still the talent that he was. And to his kids who hadn’t seen him in any other shoes other than the freak that they made him out to be in the media.
I think had Michael Jackson been given the opportunity to first of all, not have to fight for his own name, his own legacy to the extent that he did, I don’t think he would have agreed to the 50 concerts. And by having agreed to the 50 concerts, he then worked himself into such a frenzy. He really was in good shape.
This guy’s voice was there, his dancing was there, his moves were there.
But he lost the ability to perform and do what he loved to do because of all these allegations and insanity that swirled around him for years. And the Bashir [documentary about Jackson] and the trial and the charges made it even worse. He couldn’t trust anyone in the media and he didn’t even want to perform in the United States – that’s why he was doing it in England.
I think he overestimated what his potential could be – or got pushed into it or coaxed into it. And then he realized he had to work really hard to get in shape to have the stamina to do this.
Michael was trying so desperately to resuscitate his legacy that he died trying. He couldn’t get to sleep because he was riddled with the idea of being betrayed, being belittled, being picked on – how much can one person take?
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