*Michael Jackson’s daughter didn’t want to say anything during the Grammy tribute to her late father on Sunday night.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Jackson matriarch Katherine Jackson “prompted” 11-year-old Paris to speak up after her 12-year-old brother, Prince Michael I, finished his self-written speech. No wonder Paris looked and sounded so uncomfortable while she was up there on the Grammy stage.
Even before I read the ET story online Monday morning, I wondered if the little girl had been pressured to go up there. Michael’s youngest child, 7-year-old Prince Michael II (aka “Blanket”) reportedly became “overwhelmed” at the last minute and didn’t want to walk out onstage. Did Paris have similar misgivings?
I truly hope that no one in the Jackson family is pushing these sheltered, distraught youngsters into the spotlight against their will. But a red flag went up for me a few days before the Grammys when Brian Oxman, a lawyer who represents notorious patriarch Joe Jackson, told CNN: “The whole world is waiting to see these children blossom.” As if Michael’s kids owe some debt of responsibility to billions of people around the globe.
Well, those youngsters don’t owe us a thing. Their pain does not belong to us and it is not their job to “blossom” in order to help you and I feel better about Michael’s heartbreaking, untimely and unnecessary death. They have no obligation to fill their father’s place, to serve as living links to the icon that we lost or to be recipients of our intrusive adoration. Nor is it their job to soothe the misplaced guilt that some fans, like Madonna, feel for supposedly not loving Michael enough when he was alive. (Although, when Madonna made her “we abandoned him” comment at the MTV Video Music Awards, http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/436439/madonna-pays-tribute-to-michael-jackson.jhtml#id=1620604. I couldn’t help wondering if she was speaking from the heart or chasing headlines. Drawing the line between sincerity and self-aggrandizement is rarely easy with Madonna.)
We all loved Michael Jackson and we continue to mourn his passing. But no one (except maybe his mother and siblings, especially Janet) is mourning more deeply than the kids who called our King of Pop “daddy.” Their emotions are complicated enough without us dragging them out on public display in order to boost our spirits. Their father was an international icon. They are children. We’ll do right by them if we’re guided by the words of one of Michael’s songs: just leave ’em alone.
Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.
THINK! IT AIN’T ILLEGAL…YET!
Read more “Turner’s Two Cents” on www.UrbanThoughtCollective.com and www.PasadenaJournal.com. In Los Angeles, watch Cameron Turner on “The Filter with Fred Roggin,” Tuesdays at 11:30 AM KNBC Channel 4.