Five Suggestions for Michael Jackson, by Kimberley Jane Wilson

While shopping recently, I ended up in one of those boxy, warehouse-like stores with a dreaded common dressing room. Four women of different races, ages, shapes and sizes pretended not to notice each other. Suddenly, we heard Michael Jackson’s voice coming from the loud speakers singing “I’ll Be There.” Some of us paused to listen. “What a shame,” one of the women said when the song was over.

That remark melted the ice, and we were soon talking about Michael. One of the women staunchly defended him but conceded that his behavior during the last ten years made him look suspicious. Another said Michael was a victim of a conspiracy – an idea the rest of us rejected. After the conversation, we went our separate ways.

Michael Jackson the celebrity has been reduced to a joke, but Michael Jackson the man is in a world of trouble. California Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville ruled that past allegations could be introduced in his child molestation trial. Witnesses have testified that they saw Jackson engage in inappropriate behavior with young boys. The family of one of the witnesses, a former maid who said Jackson touched her son in a lewd manner, already received a $2 million settlement.

According to defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau, the witnesses are simply liars with grudges against his client. But the prosecution says Jackson has a pattern of grooming and preying on vulnerable boys with weak families. He allegedly lulled parents into complacency while luring their sons into his trap.

The oddness of the accuser’s family and other witnesses play in Jackson’s favor. For instance, if he came to your house and asked if he could play with your son for the weekend, what would you say? “Go jump in a boiling lake,” would be my response. That the parents of Jackson’s young accuser and the families of the boys apparently didn’t have similar reactions is bizarre.

What will the jury believe? Will Michael Jackson go to prison or will he moonwalk right out of that courtroom? My hunch is that, unless the forensic evidence against him resonates with the jurors, Jackson will go free. But you can expect to see him in a courtroom and on tabloid covers again unless he makes five drastic changes:

* Leave the little boys alone. Forever. Maybe you really do mean well. Maybe you’re just being charitable. You may even be the victim of a conspiracy, but that’s not how it seems. To the average person, you look like a predator on the prowl.

* Get rid of Neverland. Sell it. Donate it. Better yet, burn it to the ground. It’s the site of a number of disgusting alleged criminal acts. Even if you are truly innocent, why hang on to what has now become an extremely expensive source of bad publicity?

* Speaking of publicity, avoid it for the next decade. Forget about resurrecting your career right now. Musical taste has passed you by, and no one except the hardest of your hardcore fans would buy your new album anyway.

* Find yourself a wise priest, pastor or some kind of mental health practitioner to talk to. You’re over 40 now, Mike, and it’s time to grow up. If your current behavior really has to do with childhood issues, you need to seek help.

* If you ignore the previous four suggestions, heed this one: get on the next plane to France. Artists are revered in that country. Roman Polanski lives a very pleasant life there, as did Ira Einhorn – the hippie “Unicorn Killer” – before he was finally extradited to the United States.

Michael Jackson can’t go back to his old life. The rumors and watchful eyes are not going away. He must either change for good, or buy a one-way ticket out of here.

Kimberley Jane Wilson is a member of the national advisory council of the black leadership network Project 21. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.

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