How Michael Got Gangsta With Sony Music Over Black Music
This is what I liked about Michael Jackson. Call him weird, call him eccentric, but the man was no dummy and he would step if needed to.. I am including a story we ran the day after Michael Jackson was in Harlem where he called out Tommy Mottola and Sony Music. He said Mottola was a racist which was bold given that at the time Motola was one of the industry’s most powerful executives in the industry..
This is the article that we ran in June 2002 in my FNV Newsletter
SHARPTON, COCHRAN & MJ GEAR UP TO BATTLE MUSIC BIZ!
The article below is reprinted with permission from Ayana Soyini firstname.lastname@example.org who documented this historic event which originally appeared on the website http://www.goldeneyesonline.com. The new website is Khamouflage Productions www.khamouflage.comPLEASE FORWARD TO FRIENDS, FAMILY AND COLLEAGUES…
PASS THE WORD ALONG TO STAY INFORMED!
Greetings: On Tuesday July 9, 2002 I attended a music industry summit
in Harlem at the headquarters of the National Action Network. The
Summit was called by Rev. Dr. Al Sharpton, Johnny Cochran, Michael
Jackson and many other prominent people in the entertainment, legal,
and political activist communities. Contrary to what some of the
media has been reporting, the Summit was not solely for the airing of
grievances by Michael Jackson. As you may or may not know, Michael
recently said some very candid, open and straightforward comments
about the historical racism and economic disparity that is prevalent
in the music industry. This has been extremely detrimental,
specifically to the African-American community who has historically
been at the forefront of innovation in America. One cannot talk about
the history of the United States without talking about the
contributions African-Americans have made. Most notably, all
recognized popular American musical art forms have been created and
developed first from within the African-American community (i.e.
Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, Soul etc…)
Our music was often called “race music” by white Americans to
highlight the fact that as a people, the African-American experience
is unique and our expressions culturally rich. Let me emphasize once
again that the focus of this Summit was not on Michael Jackson. No.
The focus of this Summit was on calling attention to the historically
corrupt, exploitative and one-sided business dealings perpetuated by
the music industry. The focus was on what particular strategies can
be implemented to end the injustice.
Let me clear up some of the inaccurate reporting being done by the
larger media outlets.
THE LIES: Michael Jackson is disgruntled because his last musical
project “Invincible” only sold 2 million copies and he is desperately
trying to save his career.
THE TRUTH: Michael informed the audience that Invincible has actually
sold 10 MILLION copies worldwide to date and he is personally
satisfied with the numbers.
THE LIES: Michael has gone crazy and this is just another “bizarre
publicity stunt” to call attention to himself.
THE TRUTH: The larger media outlets have always been fond of attacking
him at random. Michael was in Harlem just 7 weeks ago along side the
likes of former President Bill Clinton at a fundraiser for the
Democratic National Committee and the larger media outlets called him
an ICON then. Why is he “Wacko Jacko” now for bringing up some very
real issues that directly impact peoples lives?
THE LIES: The idea that racism and economic disparity exists in the
music industry is farfetched considering the success of certain
individual artists and people like Will Smith, Mariah Carey, Sean “P
Diddy” Combs etc…
THE TRUTH: There are absolutely no Black owned public relations firms,
travel agencies, advertising agencies etc… that have contracts with
any of the major corporate labels. If $20 million dollars is being
spent on marketing and promotion of an African-American artist or
someone doing a recognized African-American art form, then why have
the talents of African-American business men and women been overlooked
and not deployed to help facilitate the process? Are African-American
businesses unable to effectively market, promote and work in tandem
with any of the major labels? With African-American consumers making
up a large percentage of the buying public through our extensive
spending power, how much of the monies generated from successful
commercial endeavors pushed by the music industry goes back into
African-American neighborhoods? For every Will Smith who has
generated tons of income for his employers you have a multitude of
artists stuck in unfair contracts that find them in debt to their
label for expensive which they have no control or say of.
THE LIES: Many African-Americans in the music industry do not support
THE TRUTH: This has been a long-standing concern in the
African-American community. A broad based coalition has already been
mobilized. Some of the supporters who were in attendance included:
Londel McMillan – the legal mastermind who helped Prince free himself
from a horrible contract with Warner Bros. He also represents the
Artist Empowerment Coalition which includes members such as Stevie
Wonder & Chaka Khan.
Terrie Williams – founded the Terrie Williams Agency in 1988 and is
recognized as one of the top public relations and communications
firms. She has written a number of best-selling books and has a
client roster which includes Fortune 500 companies.
Dave Mays – founder of The Source magazine. One of the more popular
and influential publications geared towards Hip Hop music, culture and
James Mtume – Musician and Producer extraordinaire as well as a
longtime community activist and spokesperson.
Shakim Compere – Manager of Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit Enterprises.
David Patterson – New York State Senator.
Doug E. Fresh – longtime Hip Hop entertainer and grassroots community
Also in attendance were reps from National Music Distribution, family
members of W.C. Handy (credited with pioneering Blues music), the
daughter of Otis Blackwell (the man responsible for writing many of
the hit records for Elvis Presley) and many others just too numerous
to mention. The room was packed and the media turnout was extensive.
There are many who support the issues being discussed and are
committed to lending support whether quietly behind the scenes or by
more visible and public actions. Look for a possible Class Action
Lawsuit to be filed as well as an upcoming meeting being called with
the heads of the 5 major distributors and their respective label heads
(i.e.. Tommy Mottola, Clive Davis, Doug Morris etc…).
In closing, please don’t believe the false hype and negative media
propaganda tactics deployed by the larger communications outlets.
They are only presenting distorted facts in an effort to discredit
what is credible. They are trying to put the emphasis on a few people
(i.e.. Michael Jackson… who happens to be the best selling artist
of all time and has generated BILLIONS of dollars) to fool you into
believing that this issue is irrelevant and inconsequential to the
lives of the everyday person. If you have any sort of conscious or
soul, please don’t make snap judgments as to the motives of this
movement and the people who are spearheading it. It is really the tip
of the iceberg of a long overdue need to reform how big business
operates in the United States and globally. It is also tied into the
growing Reparations Movement that has also attracted many heavy
hitters (i.e.. Russell Simmons). It is time for this generation to
pick up the torch and continue to build on what our ancestors have
accomplished so far. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently
stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Thank
you for reading and Blessed Love!!
Below is a video we attached where, Jackson speaks before a crowd in London and explains whats really cracking off. He starts speaking about 3 minutes into this 9 minute video..
Below is an article where long time activist Dick Gregory
Dick Gregory’s Comments On Michael Jackson
By Bakari Akil II
Dick Gregory, activist, health guru, ex-comedian as well as advisor to many influential people is a man who has been a mainstay in American culture for decades. As a friend to Michael Jackson for many years he offered insight to the current situation involving Mr. Jackson and provided a perspective that has not been evident in many media outlets.
On a radio show entitled Make it Plain, hosted by WOL’s Mark Thompson in Washington, D.C., Dick Gregory stated in response to the mad media frenzy and tilt toward guilt coverage, that those who believe in Michael Jackson’s guilt or innocence should first ask for truth to be exposed. Whether it is damaging for Michael Jackson or not, he insisted that truth is the most important aspect of this issue.
However, Mr. Gregory does not believe that Mr. Jackson is guilty of the
charges and raised many questions concerning the events leading up to the actions of law enforcement and consequent media coverage. He asked why was it necessary for 40 police officers and 20 FBI agents to raid Michael Jackson’s property. More specifically, why were FBI agents present, especially since the allegations against Mr.Jackson are not a federal offense?
He also questioned the legitimacy of the claim of law enforcement that they did not know of Mr. Jackson’s whereabouts and the timing of the raid. According to Mr. Gregory, there is a monetary element to this entire situation. He states that Michael Jackson purchased the Beatles catalog for nearly $48 million and it is now worth $1.5 billion. He also owns the rights to the Elvis catalog and found out after his purchase of the Beatles collection that these rights also included ownership of Little Richard’s catalog of which, Michael Jackson promptly called Mr. Richard and returned it to him.
His suspicions arise from the fact that Michael Jackson has taken out loans and his lenders wanted collateral, which was none other than his Beatles catalog. Mr. Gregory stated that Michael Jackson did not mind offering that up as collateral because every time he would come out with a record he would make around $500 million from his efforts. For those who doubt those claims, he explained that there is a mischaracterization that occurs when
people think about what is success for Michael Jackson. Although he different. He also admonished the audience not to forget that Michael Jackson embarrassed SONY and music mogul Tommy Mottola when he claimed that they were racist and that they took advantage of and mistreated Black artists.
Not holding anything back, Mr. Gregory stated that Rev. Al Sharpton, who came to the defense of Michael Jackson during this time was soon
overwhelmed by media coverage of a video tape which showed individuals attempting to frame him in a drug deal.
He went even further stating that this type of behavior could be traced to Bill Cosby and the suspicious murder of his son Ennis, who was gunned down while changing the tire of his Mercedes on a California highway. He claims that this happened after Mr. Cosby hinted that he wanted to purchase NBC when it was up for sale.
Dick Gregory also alleged that when they showed Michael Jackson in
handcuffs, it was symbolic and when they handcuffed him, they handcuffed us all (Black communities). He stated that they allowed Mr. Jackson to board his private plane in Las Vegas, fly back to California and then handcuffed him and immediately took them off when inside the police station. According to Mr. Gregory, law enforcement had not judged him an extreme flight risk if they let him fly in and obviously not a danger if they immediately uncuffed him once inside, so why the posturing?
Mr. Gregory further intensified his discourse by reiterating that the value of Michael Jackson’s catalog cannot be underestimated and asserted that Mr. Jackson could easily be killed, have it consequently ruled a suicide and thus his collection will be forfeited in lieu of his debt.
He further commented that people such as Liz Taylor, whom he knows Michael would rush to their aid in times of need, have not come to his defense or spoke out on his behalf. He also talked about how many people take “Michael” for a joke, yet he is very intelligent and that he knows what is going on.
Yet for all his concerns, Dick Gregory stated that Michael Jackson will
“come out clean” in this dilemma and he called for people to say a daily
prayer for the “truth to come out” about this situation concerning Mr.
Jackson at 12:00 P.M., no matter what the time zone. He believes,
ultimately, people will be shocked at what that truth is.
In the final analysis, many may balk at the comments and observations of Mr. Gregory, believing that governmental officials, media organizations and corporations in the music business may be beyond collusion or conspiracies (when two or more make a conscious effort to bring about a certain reality), which is fine. Yet, free and independent thought that Mr. Gregory exhibits is absolutely necessary, especially in an era where fact and fiction has taken an equal seat in mainstream media and thought.