The issue is inspired by the song 'They Don't Care About Us'. The Iconic team were on a mission to move away from lovey-dovey, softly-softly portrayals of Michael Jackson, so we got stuck into some nitty gritty topics.
The not-to-be-missed interview in the mag is with director Spike Lee.
For my part, I wrote about Michael Jackson's speech at The Oxford Union and all of the hullabaloo that surrounded it...
Remember The Time: Protecting Michael
Jackson In His Final Days by Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard with Tanner Colby
Body guards - hardly renowned for
their way with words. Fortunately 'Remember The Time...' does not see two
security professionals, who looked after Michael Jackson and his children for
the last two and a half years of his life, weaving their memories into a
narrative. Instead, with the assistance of author Tanner Colby, hired heavies
Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard have recorded their observations of a life less
ordinary through a series of transcribed conversations.
By the authors' own admission their
view into the life of Michael Jackson is a limited one. As they confess, it's
not a security guard's place to know the whys and wherefores. They execute
orders without asking questions. Thus what 'Remember The Time...' provides is a
timeline of events viewed from an outsider's position with little scrutiny. It
is an interesting timeline nonetheless: Michael Jackson's constant coming and
goings around Las Vegas (usually on someone else's expenses account), late
night entertainment excursions and shopping trips, ugly and unwelcome visits
from the wider Jackson clan, and the feckless management of one of music's
biggest stars and his crippled assets.
The fact that 'Remember The Time...'
covers just the period of 2006-2009 (although it's worth noting that this security
duo were phased out of the picture once AEG seized control of Michael Jackson's
life, and Conrad Murray, his death) gives a startling portrayal of a powerless
and directionless existence Jackson had endured for goodness knows how long. He
seemed unable to shoo away the vultures he had allowed to feast upon him. It
was a sad, limbo-like state that simply could not continue.
There are warm moments: the
descriptions of time Michael shared with his children showed that they were his
only solace. There are also jarringly cold ones: Jackson blissfully shops up a
storm of festive abandon right in front of the two security guards who had been
expected to live without payment for months on end and themselves unable afford
gifts for their own family.
Despite it's own inherent limitations
- narrow time span and restricted access to Jackson - 'Remember The Time...' is
a partial yet valuable account of the reality of being Michael Jackson.