Organizers of a DNA test confirmed Thursday that the test proved the late music legend is Howard’s biological father.
But wait a minute, as our headline says, TMZ is claiming the test is a sham. OK, more about that further down. But first, here’s what the NY Daily News is reporting :
The results of the test were revealed by Dr. Joseph Goodman, a Beverly Hills dental surgeon who claimed he obtained a sample of Jackson’s DNA from a dental device that belonged to the vocalist and was purchased by Goodman at auction. Continue reading →
Joseph Jackson attends the ‘Michael Kohlhaas’ premiere during The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festival on May 24, 2013 in Cannes, France
*Is Papa Joe really Brandon Howard’s daddy?
Organizers of a DNA test claimed on Thursday to have proven that Michael Jackson is the biological father of Howard, a claim that TMZ has called into question because details surrounding the testing were suspect.
In today’s development, the New York Daily News is citing an unnamed source who claims that Jackson patriarch Joe Jackson is actually the father of Brandon Howard…and Michael is his half-brother.
“I’ve been hearing for years that Brandon is Joe’s son,” the source said.
Vesta home going program is held by a mourner at the services on Tuesday
*In a heartwarming outpouring of love and admiration, family, friends, fans and Los Angeles’ entertainment community came forth in adoring force to say goodbye to all-around entertainer Vesta Williams. The beloved singer/songwriter/comedienne/actress/radio personality was feted with a home-going celebration fit for a queen at Williams’ home church, West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
The skies were dark with rain clouds when the 11:00AM service began but by its conclusion at 12:30PM, the sun came shining through. In between, a fond farewell was bid to Williams with a touching cross section of loved ones. Resolutions from elected officials came from U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, CA State Assemblyman Mike Davis, and City of Los Angeles Councilman Bernard C. Parks.
After a joyous selection sung by the West Angeles Cathedral Singers, three special friends shared deeply touching reflections. Songwriter Tena Clark touchingly shared her story of Vesta boldly championing her – a woman – as the only one who could produce the song they had just co-written, “Congratulations,” and how Williams’ belief in her gifts resulted in the turning point of Clark’s career. Record executive Jesus Garber who was VP of R&B Music at A&M Records while Williams was signed to the company recalled Williams’ unflinching dedication to her fans and how “Congratulations” had the longest chart run of any song at Black radio in 1988. And Iris Perkins, her longtime manager and close confidante, reminded all that above and beyond her acclaim as an entertainer, she was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister and grandmother. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. provided the profound closing Message of Comfort.
A view of the home going services for Vesta at West Angeles Church
And then there was the music. Jesse Campbell sang an amazing a cappella rendering of “Amazing Grace” filled with hair-raising emotive twists that brought the house to its feet. Later Bridgette Bryant, in possession of a heavenly soprano, sang an elegantly modulated version of “His Eye is On The Sparrow” that also received a standing ovation yet was less a performance than a transfixing channeling of what Williams surely wanted all gathered to understand about where her spirit faithfully resides – now and forever. However, Ms. Vesta Williams herself had the last musical word via a video of her joyously wailing – in that very church – the welcoming number, “I’m So Glad You’re Here.”
As one guest stated of the bravura performance in an exclamation the funny lady would appreciate, “Leave it to Vesta to turn out her own funeral!”
Another attendee concluded, “It was a day of remembrance, sadness, some heartfelt laughter and wonderful musical tributes as many came to say goodbye to Vesta Williams.”
Vesta Williams is survived by her daughter - Tandia White, her mother – Joan W. Tate, her sisters – Margaret Wilson, Martaé Collins and Marlena Robinson, and her grandchildren – Taya McNeil, Alexia McNeil and Brendon White.
Celebrity attendees included:
Singers Miki Howard, Freda Payne, Shanice and Sy Smith, actresses Loretta Devine, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jackée Harry and Anna Maria Horsford, director Bill Duke, jazz musicians Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason and Nathan East (of the super group Fourplay), singer/guitarist Tony Maiden of Rufus, singer/guitarist Sheldon Reynolds (formerly of Earth, Wind & Fire), EURweb’s Lee Bailey and Steven Ivory, BET Networks executive Robi Reed, music publisher Brenda Andrews, and many others.
Vesta's daughter Tandia White and her sisters: Martaé Collins, Margaret Wilson & Marlena Robinson
The Jazz band Four Play came out to support: Vesta sang vocals on one of their albums
*How do you establish your own identity as an artist when everything about you has an uncanny, down-right-freaky resemblance to one of the biggest entertainers to ever live?
Chances are you’ve never witnessed anyone inhabiting the essence of Michael Jackson like Brandon “B” Howard. The singing voice, the speaking voice and the dance moves all match those of the late King of Pop, but Howard’s bloodline actually comes from another family of powerhouse singers.
Brandon is the son of R&B vocalists Miki Howard and Augie Johnson (Side Effect), and grandson of gospel great Josephine Howard of The Caravans.
Although he is very close with the Jackson family (his mom was managed at one point by Joseph Jackson), Brandon insists his similarity to MJ is not intentional.
“I just do what’s naturally in my heart, and that’s what comes out,” he tells EUR’s Lee Bailey exclusively. “I’m doing me.”
“Who hasn’t been inspired by Michael and the Jackson brothers?” he continues. “Most of the people out now, even my good friend Ne-Yo, he’s come out with the sequined jacket and everything. For me, it’s more of I’m doing me. …I’m just me. I’m Brandon.”
The singer/producer/songwriter has worked with the likes of Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Missy Elliott, Trey Songz, Dru Hill, Jay Sean, Marques Houston, Lupe Fiasco, Vanessa Hudgens and a handful of artists overseas. Last year, he teamed with Wyclef Jean and Jazmine Sullivan for the World Cup song “Ke Nako.”
His first official credit was on Ginuwine’s 2003 single “Love You More,” and before that, he collaborated with Joe Little of the Rude Boys under the mentorship of his mom’s very close friend and one-time lover, the late Gerald Levert.
He’s got three different record deals around the world, including a production pact with Universal Music linked to his own company 6 Point Entertainment. But despite this impressive resume, folks of a certain age will still take one look at B. and see nothing more than Michael Jackson circa 1983, assuming his style is a strategic attempt to copy one of the greats in music history. Just look in the comment section of his various YouTube clips and note how many times Jackson’s name is mentioned.
Howard said the constant comparisons used to bother him, but his mother advised him long ago to just keep being himself – even if it just so happens to be Michael-esque – and everything will fall into place.
In the bonus audio below, B. Howard – who slept at Katherine Jackson’s house the night before Michael’s death and was with Jermaine’s ex-wife Alejandra at a business meeting when news broke the next day – says by no means is he attempting to replace the legendary entertainer.
Scroll down to see the videos for his current single “Dancefloor” (available on iTunes) and 2010 international hit “Supermodel,” from his debut album “Genesis.”
*Certain eras in time are marked by certain mental stimuli. In our minds the sights, sounds and vibes of the past can become more vivid than they ever were when recalled from the present.
Our memories are funny that way. When viewing the screening copy of “Unsung: Miki Howard” my memory went to a place of junior high school angst. A moment nearly 25 years in the past when I first heard Miki Howard flashed into my mind. I saw her singing on “Soul Train” and the voice, the lips, the cheek bones … wow! A 12 year old boy in Trenton, NJ was smitten with by a chocolate angel.
Yes, that’s how I remember it, but after watching Howard tell her story on TV One’s “Unsung” I realized this heavenly body went through hell on earth. Now her story is finally being told.
“It was humbling, purging in fact. The chance to just get it all out,” Miki says when asked of her initial emotional response to the show. “People say so many different things. And I’m just hopeful that now people will get a chance to know and understand why things went certain ways and why I may have behaved a certain way. People are critical and ridicule you for things and they don’t even know what’s going on.”
This “Unsung” episode is, like most of the others, a self-contained work of art that is designed to frame the life of a tragic genius. Miki’s genuine pain is apparent throughout the show, but she tells EURweb.com’s Lee Bailey that she is over the old pains now.
“I am a happy, wonderfully enthusiastic woman,” said Howard. “I’m in transit with life still, I am still passionate about singing, I love it. I am thrilled to look at my children, see that they’re all grown up and doing well for themselves. I mean what else is there?”
In watching the drama filled show, and listening to the testimony of her loved ones, the impact all of the turmoil had on Howard’s family was apparent. It seems to resonate deepest with her son Brandon, who is seen giving an emotional testimony and stating his disdain for those he feels have wronged his mother.
“Of course he’s not healed,” said 49-year-old Howard. “That was traumatic for my children and myself, but that’s not his problem. He’s healing, but those are not his problems. Those are my problems. My children are grown people and are doing their own thing now. It was especially traumatic for him because he’s in show business, he’s a producer. He’s worked with a lot of people and he’s been around. He’s heard people say awful things (about me) when they didn’t know he was my son. It was more devastating for him, but he’s good.”
Miki Howard’s towering vocals are a testament to growing up in a musical household. She is the offspring of Josephine Howard, of the gospel group the Caravans, and Clay Graham of the Pilgrim Jubilees. Both her mother and father were gospel mainstays, and her sister could hold her own as well. Though Howard credits God with her emotional resurrection, here’s what she had to say when asked whether she would consider singing gospel.
“I do gospel! Gospel is your life. I don’t separate my life and church. I grew up in that situation where people lived one way and preached another,” said Howard. “Well, I’m not perfect and I’m not going to be perfect unless God gives me some super-duper blessing that makes me perfect. I feel like all my songs are gospel, they are true. You can apply them to God, you can apply them to your love life, you can apply them to yourself. The truth is the truth. Your values, your morals, your spirituality. You should live by that and not just preach it. I’m not that person that’s going to sing ‘I’m going up yonder’ because I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t think I’m going to hell, but then again my beliefs are different than a lot of people. I have studied the Bible, have studied people, have studied my sins, and my behaviors. I’ve learned what God and myself can live with because that’s our personal relationship. So, I do sing gospel in my mind and in my heart. The Bible doesn’t only talk about your spiritual needs. It talks about your physical needs, the needs of your heart, and things like that. When you constantly call yourself a spiritual being, and you’re not a spiritual being, you’re going to fall short. Everybody talking ’bout ‘I’m not of the flesh, I’m not of the flesh’. Well, I’m of the flesh!”
Part 0f Howard’s story is having grown up in a household where homosexuality was being practiced. This subject was far more taboo in the 60s than it is today. Couple that with the fact that her mother was a lesbian gospel singer and one can begin to understand why she may be torn about her relationship with gospel music. But she’s not only shunning singing “for the Lord,” she’s shunning performing secular concerts as well. She tells Lee that she would much rather be doing something on television.
“Promoters are very unkind these days, they don’t have a lot of money, people are just don’t have a lot of money to spend on going to concerts and things like that. And I’m certainly not in the public eye like I used to be. So, that’s just not my druthers. So I want to bring the audience to me instead of going to the audience. I love TV. I understand it and that’s what I really want to do right now.”
She told s2smagazine.com that her TV show is currently in development, and it’s based around her relationship with her sisters played by Kelita Smith and Bernadette Stanis.
And just how confident is Howard in her chances at landing a television deal?
“Honey, they’re as good as anybody else’s. Shoot, you keep looking out for me and tell me how good my chances are.”
In watching the “Unsung” episode it became apparent that Miki Howard craved love. As beautiful as she was as a young woman, she reminded Mr. Bailey that she was pretty naïve back then when it came to men.
“You’ve known me since I was 16, 17 years old, Lee. You had your cassette player way back then,” said Howard. “Most people, at that age, are out going on dates and they’re learning about men and boys and things like that. I was learning about singing, I was learning the music business and I didn’t have the opportunity to learn the things that you should learn. I lost my mom at 18 years old and the show says it was later, but it was 18. She put me out by the time I was 16. So, there was no parent to tell me. Besides that I grew up in a completely gay environment. So, I had no idea about men. I knew nothing! When I tell you nothing, I mean nothing. I just put them on a pedestal and held them in high esteem, whether they deserved it or not. That’s not a good thing, so I had to learn the hard way that you don’t cast your pearls among swine. There are men that are swine and, most likely, they’re the first ones that come up. When you don’t have a lot of time and you don’t have a lot of knowledge you kind of go with the first Joe. ‘Hey you like me, you love me? Ok, let’s do this!’ I didn’t go to the movies, smooch in a theater or fondle in the backseat of a car. I didn’t do any of those things that teenagers are supposed to do in learning about your sexuality. So, in all of my 20s and early 30s I made serious mistakes with men.”
Howard was discovered by Augie Johnson of the group Side Effect. She sang vocals on some of their greatest hits. Though Augie’s testimony on “Unsung” paints one picture, Miki tells EURweb.com of a slightly different one.
“Augie Johnson,” said Howard as if making a grand announcement. “He held on to me until I was 25 and he wasn’t righteous in terms of being a man, but he was a fantastic mentor in terms of show business.”
Even though she and Johnson ended up having two kids together, he wouldn’t marry her. However, Miki credits him for showing her the ropes of the industry, but still feels he took advantage of her. Despite that she says she holds no grudges.
“Doesn’t everybody take advantage of people that don’t know anything and they have the upper hand? Even if you don’t mean to, sometimes you just do,” said Howard. “I don’t want to put anything bad on anybody. We all pay the same wages, the wages of sin are death. I’m still here, I got two great kids out of the relationship with Augie, a great career and it was not anybody’s fault. It just happened!”
Eventually Howard did get married to a guy named Eddie Phelps and boy was that ever a wrong move. It was such a bad situation that she completely blocked a lot of it out of her mind. But in speaking with the producers of Unsung, a lot of the ugly memories came flooding back.
“They asked me things I forgot had happened. When I was married to this guy we used to have horrible fights and they reminded me that he tried to hang me.”
There are some things we couldn’t mention for the sake of space, but let’s just say Gerald Levert played a prominent role in her career, her life, and her recovery from the abyss of drug abuse.
“He gave me more life with his death,” Miki said. “He always wanted me to stay in the game and it just made me want to be better and not disappoint him.”