Three days after Michael Jackson’s death, Joe Jackson talked up his record label on the red carpet at the B.E.T. Awards. Some people have quietly questioned the actions of Michael Jackson’s father during the grieving process.
Journalist and blogger Jimi Izrael is questioning his behavior loudly on theroot.com, calling Joe Jackson “shameless.” He spoke to Kiran Chetry Thursday on CNN’s “American Morning.”
Kiran Chetry: You have some pretty harsh words about Joe Jackson. Why do you feel he did not necessarily look like the father in mourning after the death of Michael?
Jimi Izrael: Well, look, you know, when somebody dies – like when Nipsey Russell died for instance I was looking to his family as I was mourning to get some idea what the tone was. And the way it goes when people die, you look to the family members to get some idea of how to react. The sister's all broken up, the mom is in pieces and the dad's off in the corner trying to sell bootleg T-shirts and CD’s. I got to say it’s a bad look. Joe Jackson just hit the wrong note.
Chetry: You were especially critical of that red carpet appearance. He spoke to our Don Lemon saying he owned a record company called Ranch Records distributed by Blu-ray technology and that's the next step. You say he was pitching his music label. How did other people react to that when you spoke to them?
Izrael: … On theroot.com, the piece has gotten as of now about 813 comments. And about a quarter of those, you know, people didn't agree with me and accused me of being just another white man, shilling for the white man and who couldn't understand the pain that obviously black people go through. And I’ve got to tell you, it's hard out here for a white man.
Chetry: Well, there were some other people who commented. This piece got a lot of comments, more than 800 as you said. And one of them wrote, “what a person does in public and in private can be two different things. Plus it depends on how the person handles grief. Joe Jackson strikes me as a person that would not let the public see him in an emotional state.” Is that a fair point that perhaps he is doing some grieving but it’s just not in his nature to show it?
Izrael: You know what? If he had went to the B.E.T. Awards dressed up like his son with the hat on and the glove and kind of as a homage that would have made a lot of sense. I don't think that people grieve by selling CD’s out of the trunk or anything like that. That doesn't strike me as a grief thing that strikes me as an opportunism thing. That’s what I think it is.
Chetry: Michael and Joe certainly have had their arguments through the years. Michael Jackson, in a brutally honest interview back in 1994 to Oprah, said about Joe, “…he was very strict, very hard, just one look would scare you… there’s been times when he'd come to me and I’d get sick.” He went on to say that he beat him and at times even as an adult he would start to regurgitate when Joe came around and even in that interview he said “He’s never heard me say this, I’m sorry, please don't be mad at me.” It strikes me as a complicated relationship especially when you look at Joe Jackson not being in Michael Jackson’s will.
Izrael: It's not complicated at all. Joe Jackson is a monster and he must be stopped. It's like Godzilla. He’s not the guy you want raising Michael Jackson’s kids. What? Flavor Flav, Rasputin – they’re not available? Joe Jackson, no, we've got to cut that short.
Chetry: How ugly do you think this is going to get within the family as all of the legal issues start to ramp up. Who gets control, who executes the will and who ultimately gets guardianship of the children?
Izrael: You know the circus has started when Al Sharpton comes, right? And you know how it's going down. The circus has just begun. So we're maybe we’re a third of the way through the first act. We haven't seen anything yet. It's going to get even messier. You wait until Debbie Rowe steps into the arena and then maybe Al Sharpton will do a little rendition of "Thriller." I’m telling you we haven’t seen anything yet. So stay tuned.