Color me confused. For the last week now, we’ve been watching Jackson Family drama unfold—largely on social media—and not one of us can make much sense of it. The one thing we do know? It must be the money. Eh. Maybe?
The King of Pop died in 2009, and strangely—to some folks, anyway it was strange—he left his three children to his elderly mother, Katherine Jackson. That told us that Jackson trusted—out of anyone else in his large, mostly famous family—the matriarch of the Jackson clan with the things most precious to him.
For years, we’ve wondered what life was like outside of the Jackson family compound. Grown folks and ex-wives and sibling-cousins (two of the brothers married, divorced and procreated with the same woman at one point) all live there and are seemingly taken care of by the 82 year-old mother of the family.
Long before I was a watcher and reporter on the empire that the Jackson family has created, I was a fan. Like many other Black Americans, we stood in awe of the heights that this talented Midwestern family was able to reach. They’d left their humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana, moved out to California, and their talents enabled them to live the real American dream.
Over the years, they’ve given us great music. But they’ve given us even better headlines. This latest cluster you-know-what of Jackson family news is mind-boggling.
Long Story Short: We thought Katherine Jackson was missing. And Michael Jackson’s kids weren’t happy about it. They were told nothing, according to pleas Paris Jackson has tweeted out on social media. And even stranger—though perhaps, maybe not much so, given the oddball dynamic of the Jackson family—there’s been NO word from the family’s patriarch, Joe Jackson.
This news has transfixed cable news. Economy, forthcoming political election be damned: we need to know where Katherine Jackson is. And we won’t rest until Paris Jackson tweets otherwise.
Most of us on the outside think this whole dustup with the missing Katherine is about a money grab. And that some of the members of the family wanted a slice of the King of Pop’s fortune.
Katherine Jackson’s attorney, Perry Sanders, who held court outside of court (after Tito’s son, TJ, was granted temporary custody of the children), said that wasn’t the case. A judge suspended Katherine Jackson’s guardianship earlier Wednesday, and he spoke about it to reporters outside of court.
“He’s a really great kid. What you see is what you get,” Sanders said of TJ, who also tweeted his unhappiness with how things (what things?!) were being handled. “He’s who Mrs. Jackson trusts to leave the kids with. He’s the logical person … she certainly needed somebody, the children needed somebody in this regard. I always figured she was fine. It turns out she is fine. I hope this dies immediately down. I can guarantee you she has been in a place that is not conducive to what is going on in the outside world.”
Translation? Mama Jackson wasn’t allowed to have a cell phone in the spa-like place she was residing in in Arizona. So Sanders told us. He said even he went to Arizona to see her in person, and wasn’t allowed to bring a cell phone inside, nor was he allowed to talk with her. The family that was there was upset that his visit might upset her. He says that Randy says his mother is on her way back to California.
I’ll wait for Paris’ tweets to confirm that.
Back to Sanders—he tried his best to clear up what had folks on social media launching a “Free Katherine Jackson!” campaign. Sanders agreed that the Jackson kids – Prince, Paris and Blanket – have “inherited a rather complex family dynamic.” You can say that again.
“In hindsight, maybe it would have been best to have done something differently,” he said. “I really do believe that once this sort of domino effect started, it was really hard to get it reigned in.” And it still is.
For a week, we were left to following the Jackson members in this online back-and-forth. Paris tweeted out things like “Yes , my grandmother is missing . i haven’t spoken with her in a week i want her home now,” and Jackson brothers were breaking down in tears during studio interviews.
Then there was a leaked security video that showed what looked to be Janet and Paris getting into it outside of the family home. TMZ reported that Janet slapped Paris and called her a “spoiled little b*tch.” Paris took to Twitter to deny that happened.
Here’s what we’re left with now: Katherine Jackson is allegedly on her way back to California, and she will—at some point, we’re left to assume—be reinstated to her guardianship role, a role that CLEARLY her son wanted her in.
If the worst of it is in fact over, and if this whole thing really was a strange dustup of epic proportions, then sounds like the Jackson family just needs to head on back to 2300 Jackson Street in Gary, fire up a barbecue grill, and go back to being the kidnap-free, strange, but talented family we’ve all come to love. Or something like that.
Kelley L. Carter is an Emmy-award-winning celebrity reporter who has covered the high profile deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. You can find her on twitter @kelleylcarter.
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EBONY Entertainment Editor