Reflections: Father Knows Worst


There are those who should speak up, and then there are those who are better off remaining silent (at least publicly) because they have a knack for saying something inappropriate. Joe Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family, fits in the second category.

His recent diatribe regarding who was chosen to be the overseers of his late son Michael’s will is just the latest example. Matriarch Katherine Jackson was right: Since Michael opted to not include his father in his will, Mr. Jackson has no say-so in the matter. Reportedly, his only income is from Social Security and what Mrs. Jackson gives him.

Actually, it is easy to understand why being left out of the will would be hurtful. (And according to published reports, the estate of the late singer has made approximately $100 million since his passing).

But Michael surely had reasons he felt were valid, and it is no secret that Michael had long had issues with his father. Then too, Mr. Jackson should keep in mind that Michael’s brothers and sisters were not in the will either. Everything was left to his mother, children and various charities.

We are sorry about Mr. Jackson’s health challenges, but his crassness was also made evident when he recently said his son “is worth more dead than he was when he was alive.”

Even if that is true, he was wrong to make the statement.

And speaking of the Jackson parents, in her autobiography Mrs. Jackson said one day her husband hit her. However, he never did that again because she used what you might call an equalizer to let him know that she was not one to be struck.

ALICIA KEYS says she has a huge amount of respect for the great ladies of song who came before her, including Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. In fact, there are pictures of them and other heroes of hers, such as Muhammad Ali, in her recording studio (named “the Oven”) on Long Island, New York. Keys is also very fond of Nina Simone.

It’s nice when new artists see the connection between themselves and those who walked the path before, in many cases paving the way.

Another legendary lady of song, Aretha Franklin, will have a new album next year, interestingly titled “Aretha, A Woman Falling Out of Love.” Naturally, some people will wonder if it’s personal, and Aretha is not likely to tell, but she will enjoy the speculating.

Keith Sweat performed in Paris recently for the first time and was surprised that the large venue was sold out. He didn’t realize he had such a following in France.

RIHANNA is hopeful that eventually people will stop talking about her massively publicized violent falling out with Chris Brown.

“Five years from now I don’t want people to every time they see me think of Chris Brown beating me,” she said. “That’s not who I am. That’s just one thing that happened to me.”

Speaking of violence, Oprah Winfrey reportedly will not allow BeBe Winans to appear on her show until the domestic abuse charges against him are resolved. of the Black Eyed Peas and Wyclef Jean are sometimes mistaken for each other.

Mariah Carey and Eminem, who dated at one time, have had a pubic feud going, but Carey’s husband, actor-rapper-TV host Nick Cannon, says Eminem has gone way too far with the insults and he believes that  it is just a matter of time before they come face to face, at which time the matter can be resolved, hopefully amicably.

Mya, the singer who has shown a different side of herself on “Dancing With the Stars,” will have a new CD in February.

Joan Rivers once said you should always cherish the things that make you different from other people. No doubt, Lenny Kravitz can relate to that. “I’ve never fit in,” he said. His upcoming album is rather strangely titled “Negrophilia.”

Kravitz, by the way, believes that computerized music has become much too prevalent among so many artists, himself not included.  “The Grammy should go to the computer,” he said sarcastically.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW….that Jimmy Ruffin’s classic hit “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?” was actually intended for the Spinners. However, Ruffin talked the Motown decision makers into letting him have it.

MEMORIES: “Native New Yorker” (Odyssey), “More Today Than Yesterday” (Spiral Staircase), “The ‘In’ Crowd” (Dobie Gray), “Tell It Like It Is” (Aaron Neville), “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” (Major Harris), “Daddy’s Home” (Shep & the Limelites), “Oh How Happy” (the Shades of Blue), “Stay Mine For Heaven’s Sake” (Eddie Holman), “One in a Million You” (Larry Graham), “You Can’t Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On)” (High Inergy).

BLESSINGS to Ingrid Hatcher, Theresa Robinson Stanley, Danny Williams, Mark McMorris, Rosetta Brooks, Floyd Tinsley, Denise McClung, Horace Boyington, Ray Henderson, Eric Merchant and Chris Campbell.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “Say yes when you mean yes, no when you mean no, maybe when you mean maybe, and I don’t know when you mean I don’t know.”

Let the music play!

(Steve Holsey can be reached at and P.O. Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)

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