I stanned for Michael Jackson long before “stanning” was a thing. My childhood is rich with memories of jamming to “Bad” and “Beat It” and I will never forget watching the world premiere of “Remember The Time” (or, as I call it, “THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO THAT EVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF ALL MUSIC VIDEOS AND I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE*”), which aired during The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
As I was born long after the days of the Jackson 5, it was through my mother and media references to the iconic band that I was able to experience the group that started it all. For years I’d heard references to the J5 cartoon—which paved the way for the short-lived MC Hammer and Kid ‘n Play series of my own youth—but had never been lucky enough to see even a clip. Now, as I prepare for the birth of a little one who is unfortunate to be born into the bleak post-Michael Jackson world, I’m super excited that the entire series is on DVD/Blu-Ray and she can experience the whole shebang for herself.
Jackson 5ive aired for 23 glorious episodes from 1971-1973. Clearly, little Colored girls were living in homes without Nielsen boxes, because I don’t understand how such a cute show didn’t last forever. Or until the group became “The Jacksons” in 1976 and every one was getting a little grown, whatever. Though the actual Jacksons didn’t provide the voice talent for the show (boo), two of the group’s recordings are featured in each episode and were sometimes blended in with actual concert footage.
My personal favorite episodes are all of them, of course. And my top favorites are “Jackson Island,” in which the brothers are stranded on deserted island (all shows did this trope prior to 1999, right?) and Michael hallucinates that he’s met a bunch of pirates and “Who’s Hoozis,” which involves a bird with the voice of a jazz musician, a greedy Howard Hughes-inspired land grabber and a message about tearing down nature to build things.
Thank you, technology for making this blast from the past available for those of us who missed it or who just want to relive the Jackson magic over again!
*”Can You Feel It” is not a close second, but it is far superior to anything that may come in third. Just an FYI. JACKSONS FOREVER.
Once a week, one of EBONY’s digital staffers will declare their love for “That Thing” and offer readers the opportunity to win one of their own! We have two copies of the Jackson 5ive Animated Series DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack to give away! Want to win? Follow us on Twitter @EBONYmag and be ready to answer a Jackson Five trivia question on Thursday, February 7th at 2pm EST!