Michael Jackson’s Victory Tour Outfits To Be Displayed At The Smithsonian’s New African American History Museum


Even in an era where new pop music is as ubiquitous as coffee shops and music royalty like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Kanye West make headlines nearly every day, Michael Jackson still reigns king as the best-selling artist of all time.

According to the Recording Industry of America, last year Jackson’s Thriller was the first album to be certified platinum 30 times, and has sold 32 million copies to date. For comparison purposes, behind Thriller are the Eagles’ and Billy Joel’s greatest hits albums at 29 million and 23 million albums respectively.

In a gushing Rolling Stone review from 1983, Chris Connelly noted that Thriller’s producer, the acclaimed Quincy Jones, was “working with what might be pop music’s most spectacular instrument: Michael Jackson’s voice. Where lesser artists need a string section or a lusty blast from a synthesizer, Jackson need only sing to convey deep, heartfelt emotion.”

In 1988, following a show at Madison Square Garden, the New York Times asked, “Can anyone, then, dance like Michael Jackson? Only if you can rise up on your toes without toe shoes, stay there, and keep up what is basically a nonstop two-hour solo.”

But it wasn’t just the angelic voice and mind-boggling dance moves that solidified Jackson’s throne in pop royalty history, it was also his unapologetically fabulous style underscoring each toe stand, heel pivot and crotch grab.

In his autobiography Moonwalk, Jackson wrote, “my attitude is if fashion says it’s forbidden, I’m going to do it.” Now some of Jackson’s rebellious pieces—a black sequined silk jacket, an equally-sequined red, white and blue shirt, and his signature fedora—are part of the collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and will be on view in the museum’s inaugural exhibition “Musical Crossroads.” The show is chockablock with iconic treasures tracing musical traditions and genres from gospel to rock ‘n’ roll to hip-hop.

“I think of Michael Jackson as kind of a sophisticated yet glamorous and otherworldly persona when he put on these clothes,” says Dwandalyn Reece, a curator of music at the museum who organized the exhibition. “That’s the Michael Jackson of that period. Obviously he morphed into different images since the Thriller heyday. But his clothes were really about him projecting who he was and who he likes to see himself as.”

Jackson wore these sparkly costume pieces on stage in 1984 during the six-month Victory tour, a series of concerts he performed alongside his brothers. Though the tour, named after the Jacksons’ 1983 album, featured all six Jackson brothers, it was clear that the crowds were there for Michael— Thriller hit the top charts almost two years earlier.

Jackson’s domination of the music world at that time is evident in the media coverage from the era. In an end-of-year review of popular music in 1984, Robert Palmer, the late New York Times music critic wrote about the tour:

An exceptionally broad cross-section of pop music consumers—black families and their kids, white families and theirs, young professionals of all sorts—flocked to 1984’s longest-running pop roadshow, the Jacksons’ ”Victory” tour. After their last shows, which took place in Los Angeles December 7-9, the Jacksons announced total attendance figures of 2,331,500 and a gross of some $70 million. The real victor was Michael Jackson. He was the one the crowds came to see, and his lead vocals and lithe dancing dominated every show. The proof is in the albums sales figures; the public bought more than 2 million copies of the Jacksons’ ”Victory” album, but that was peanuts compared to the still-skyrocketing sales of Michael Jackson’s ”Thriller.”

His undeniable electric stage presence, which sent fans into screaming fits, was only amplified by his sharp and shining stage style. The sequined jacket is the design of Bill Whitten, the designer also responsible for Michael Jackson’s famous white glove. The two sparkly shirts and the fedora will be on display in the “Beyond Category” section of the exhibition, sharing the limelight with artifacts from Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Nina Simone and other groundbreaking artists.

Jackson was certainly beyond category. His exquisite voice, seamless dance moves, and eccentric fashion were unparalleled by other artists of the time and continue to influence artists today. At Super Bowl 50, today’s queen of pop Beyoncé recalled Michael Jackson’s image, sporting a military-style black and gold jacket similar to the one Jackson wore during his own Super Bowl performance in 1993.

Many other celebrities have stepped out in Jackson-inspired outfits, and Lady Gaga even purchased some of his most famous pieces at auction. And designers have looked to Jackson for style vision such as French brand Balmain did with its spring 2009 collection featuring what Vogue dubbed “Drummer-boy Michael Jackson jackets.”

“He’s not the only pioneer but he certainly paved the way for all the entrepreneurs and artists that we have today who are doing a variety of things not only in the studio but in the industry,” Reece says. “I think we have Michael to thank for a lot of that.”

Read more at Smithsonian Magazine.



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SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, August 27, 2016 from 12P-6P

Join Spike Lee as we jam to the magic of Michael’s music throughout the day.

Bring your family, friends and a pair of comfortable dancing shoes cuz DIS IZ GONNA BE EPIC!

Where: Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington Avenue & Quincy Street

Hosted by Sway & Spike Lee. Music by @DJSPINNA




Source: Spike Lee | All Things Michael

Acapella Group Duwende Will Perform For Michael Jackson Birthday Tribute At The Highline Ballroom


In 2011, Duwende released “Remember: The Music of Michael Jackson,” gaining them widespread acclaim.

On August 29, 2016, they will once again pay tribute to the King of Pop in honor of his 58th birthday at the Highline Ballroom.

Duwende (Doo-WEN-day) is an award winning, six-person acapella band best known for their fiercely original, bass-and-beatbox-driven funk/pop style of music. The  group consists of J. Aaron Boykin (Baritone/Tenor), Derrick L. Hicks (Tenor), Abbey Janes (Soprano), Tomas Cruz (Tenor), Edward Chung (Vocal Percussion), and David Lane (Bass).

The doors will open at 6pm. Showtime will begin at 8pm. Tickets cost $20 to $38.

Full Dinner Menu Available * $10 Minimum Per Person, for all ages.

Get your tickets here.

Sources: Highline Ballroom | All Things Michael

Flashback: When Michael Jackson Came To Cork 1988

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It was billed as the greatest show the country had ever seen.

As part of Jackson’s UK and Irish tour, in which he played 14 shows at five different open-air venues, the two concerts in Cork over the August bank holiday weekend of 1988 generated £2 million in ticket sales.

The Jackson entourage was holed up in Jury’s Hotel in Cork, apparently taking over an entire floor that was fitted with a temporary dancefloor so Jackson could practice his pitch-perfect routine right up until show time.

130, 000 fans packed into Pairc Ui Chaoimh, dubbed Pairc Ui Pepsi, and Cork city itself was swamped with fans arriving from all over the country. Friday evening saw standstill traffic outside Dublin as the exodus began its journey south, although the hype that surrounded the concerts didn’t extend to the land locked fans who were said to be “as abstemious as a pilgrimage to Ballinaspittle.”

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The show was packed with wow-factor props, including a hydraulic crane that emerged from the stage floor and propelled him up and over the adoring crowds, as well as a Tarzan-like rope that hurtled him through the air as Thriller streamed through the speakers and ghoulish dancers stormed the stage.

The two-hour was show was choreographed to a tee, with the Irish Independent reporting that there was hardly a discernible difference between the Saturday and Sunday night performances. In homage of their rock god, the crowd was largely decked out in bleached and ripped jeans, Stetson hats, shades-on-a-string, starched white t-shirts and the ubiquitous Eighties sweatband.

Concert merchandise was a lucrative add-on for the Brockum Corporation, an American company that supplied the official Jackson merchandise and who ordered an injunction and court order against anybody daring sell their own wares, but that didn’t stop illegal bootleg tapes of the concert cropping up in the days following.

A “leather clad vendor” gave a tip-off that the concert had been recorded by a “high-definition Japanese recorder not normally available on a commercial basis”. These black market tapes were then sold on prominent places like Dublin’s O’Connell Street, much to the chagrin of official merchandise sellers.

Another company that made a tidy profit from the Jacksonmania was Pepsi, who reported a 28% spike in consumption in Ireland in the two weeks prior to the concerts. Although he refused to pose with a can himself, Jackson earned $20 million for his role as spokesperson, with half a million posters of Jackson delivered to households across the country in the lead up to the shows.

Click here if you’re interested in purchasing these exclusive Independent Archives photos

Read more at the Independent

Unveiling And Ceremony Of Michael Jackson’s HIStory Statue This Thursday At Mandalay Bay


The Estate of Michael Jackson, Cirque du Soleil’s MICHAEL JACKSON ONE and Mandalay Bay invite the public to join cast members of the popular and critically acclaimed show for the unveiling of Michael Jackson’s HIStory statue at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Mandalay Bay’s main lobby.

The ceremony will include the unveiling of the statue, a performance by cast members of ONE and photographs with the artists post-performance. Also expected to attend: Jerry Nadal, senior vice president, Resident Shows Division at Cirque, and Darren Davis, Mandalay Bay vice president of Entertainment.

The performance will be to “Scream,” the first single from the “HIStory” album created for this event by cast members. In 1994, Jackson commissioned U.S. sculptor Diana Walczak to create the statue, which became the inspiration for the cover of his fifth solo album “HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1.” The album became the biggest-selling multiple-disc album worldwide. The 10-foot-tall statue was featured at stops on Jackson’s “HIStory Tour.”

On loan from the Estate of Michael Jackson, the statue is the third piece of memorabilia to be lent by the Estate for display at Mandalay Bay. The other two pieces, Jackson’s red-and-gold military-style jacket from the 1984 American Music Awards and a pair of black loafers and crystal-encrusted white socks, are on display adjacent to the MICHAEL JACKSON ONE boutique.

An additional historic Jackson item from the Estate will be revealed Aug. 27 to kick off a three-day birthday celebration planned for The King of Pop inside the ONE theater. This will be the fourth-annual celebration organized by the Estate and MICHAEL JACKSON ONE for Jackson’s birthday.

Read more at Review Journal

Kelly Rowland’s New Girl Group Covers Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal The World’

Kelly Rowland’s new R&B girl group, June’s Diary, finally has a name all their own to match their unique sound and they’ve also been keeping the music coming full speed for their growing fanbase.


For their latest musical contribution, the talented quintent decided to try their hand at a cover of Michael Jackson’s inspirational 1991 hit “Heal The World.” They shared the finished product to their new group Instagram page over the weekend and as you might imagine, they totally nailed it. Hear their rendition in the video clip below.

The ladies are currently making their way around the country to do a few shows and meet with fans while they continue working on their upcoming album.

Source: Essence | All Things Michael

Diehard Michael Jackson Fan Demetria Evans Keeps His Memory Alive


A couple of weekends ago, one south city woman upheld her bi-annual tradition, despite the blazing sun and a heat index of 109 degrees. Demetria “Dee” Evans started her Saturday morning by dragging her stereo system out to her front porch and arranging her music memorabilia to be viewed by the people traveling down nearby Chippewa Street.


Evans is a Michael Jackson super fan. She’s celebrated his birthday every year since she was a kid, and she now also holds a memorial each year on the anniversary of his death. Evans’ fandom dates back to the first time she saw the Jackson 5 on the Ed Sullivan Show in May of 1970.

Back then, Michael Jackson was a bright-eyed kid with incalculable talent and charisma to burn. After that magical moment in front of her television, Evans was hooked. She began a life of obsessively following Michael Jackson. She used Jackson as her fashion muse (winning awards at school for her creative ensembles) and he also inspired her to dance and sing. She calls him “Mike” and speaks of him with a smile, explaining how she felt that he encouraged her to shine.

Since that first exposure at age seven, Evans has been collecting any Jackson items that she could find, including rare items that weren’t ever even offered for sale. (She laughs when she recalls weeks of hounding Pepsi corporate headquarters until they finally sent her a display case from when Jackson was a spokesperson.) Each year she gathers up all of her memorabilia and thoughtfully arranges it all on her front lawn. She blasts Jackson’s music all day from her porch and soaks up the cheers from passersby on Jackson’s behalf.

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That Saturday afternoon I spent a couple of hours hanging out with her and her mom on her front porch. There, just a couple of blocks from the former site of Frederick’s Music Lounge, we kicked back and talked and watched all of south city roll by.

On that hot summer day, Evans told me that she’s visited every major Michael Jackson destination in the United States (except for Neverland) and that she knows of no other bigger Jackson fan than herself — with the possible exception of Corey Feldman, with whom she feels a strong kinship. She told me about how her mother spent months saving up to surprise her with tickets to see Jackson at the Checkerdome (the St. Louis Arena) on the Bad tour in 1988.

Evans also said that she can’t believe the child abuse allegations against Jackson and offers a list of Jackson’s many philanthropic acts as a counter-argument. I didn’t push her on this topic because I’d already been thoroughly charmed by her kind smile, decades-long devotion and the passionate way that she sang along with his songs.

In the past, Evans’ pop-up tribute museum has included balloons and life-size cutouts and rare Jackson vinyl, but this year the collection was a bit more subdued. Sadly, Evans’ husband died unexpectedly a couple of years ago and she had to quickly scrape together money for his cremation. During this time she sold many of her most precious possessions, including much of her Jackson memorabilia.

When Evans told me about her husband’s death she said that she wished I could’ve seen her collection before she sold the majority of it. I told her that I’d seen pictures of her spread from a couple of years ago that were taken by my friend. Evans asked to see the pictures, and when I showed her, she began crying.

I started apologizing profusely and she shushed me, saying that all of those items being gone now is just proof of how much she loved her husband. Still, I continued to apologize until her mom sweetly patted me on the knee and said, “Don’t worry, honey. She cries all the time.”

Evans asked me to send her the photos that Mueller took a couple of years ago (and to include them in this story), and then told me that during the week that Jackson died she got his name tattooed on her arm, and about how friends and family showed up from miles around to console her as if she’d had a death in the family.


As if on cue, a car pulled up in front of Evans’ house. It was her brother and sister-in-law, arriving from two states away so they could all spend the day together. I talked to them for a while and then excused myself, not wanting to intrude on a private reunion.

As I was about to leave, Evans looked around and said, “I do it for the fans. And for Mike.” She said she thinks of Jackson as family and her brother nods in agreement. Which makes sense, really. Michael Jackson has been a part of their family for 46 years.


Read more here

Source: Riverfront Times


EU Regulators To Decide On Sony’s Michael Jackson Deal By August 1st

Sources: Reuters | All Things Michael


BRUSSELS – EU antitrust authorities will rule by Aug. 1 whether to allow Sony Corp buy out the Michael Jackson estate’s stake in its music publishing joint venture, a move which rivals such as Warner Music Group say gives Sony too much power.

Sony requested approval on June 24, according to a filing on the European Commission website. The EU competition enforcer can clear the deal unconditionally or demand concessions.

It can also open a five-month long investigation if it has serious concerns the deal may harm consumers and rivals.

ony signed a deal in March to acquire the stake that the deceased pop star held in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the world’s largest music publisher, which owns copyrights to most of the Beatles’ songs and songs by the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West.

Warner Music Group has conveyed its concerns to the Commission, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, while lobbying group Impala which represents independent labels and national trade associations, has also done the same.


Read more here