Oprah Winfrey‘s show yesterday featured interviews with Michael Jackson‘s parents, Katherine and Joe, and his children, Prince Michael, Paris, and Blanket. It was pretty fascinating stuff, especially when you compare his well-spoken children who referred lovingly to their father to Joe’s harsh admission that he beat Michael with a belt. Here are some of the more choice quotes we were struck by from the hour long show.
Paris Jackson jumped into the spotlight at her father’s funeral with an impromptu speech eulogizing her father. She was the most vocal and open of Jackson’s children while speaking with Oprah, telling her “I kinda felt like no one understands what a good father he was. I’d say he was the best cook ever. He was just a normal dad, except he was the best dad. He made the best French toast in the world.” She acknowledged the masks that Jackson made the children wear by saying “He tried to raise us without us knowing who he was, but that didn’t really go so well.”
Jackson’s mother Katherine also spoke lovingly of her son, but was more frank about his behavior, such as the addiction to plastic surgery and his skin-lightening. She said her son lightened his skin because he started to lose pigment due to vitiligo and that he “didn’t want to start looking like a spotted cow.” However, she says, “I don’t know what in the world he did to change that, but he did.” We’re guessing the stockpiles of skin-whitening creams had something to do with it. Katherine also says she thought his nose got “too small, like a toothpick” and spoke to him about his addiction to surgery, going so far as to ask Michael’s plastic surgeon to perform dummy operations on Michael’s nose so he would be tricked into thinking he had work done when he hadn’t. It’s sort of heartbreaking to listen to a mother discuss her son’s issues like this, but it explains so much in retrospect.
Even more issues were explained when Joe Jackson spoke and tried to explain how he disciplined his kids. Joe said he disciplined his kids because “It kept them out of jail and kept them right,” and that “I never beat him. That never happened.” Katherine later clarified “You might as well admit it, that’s the way black people raised their children. He used a strap.” Oh, see, it wasn’t Joe administering the beatings, it was the strap that beat his children.
So many questions were answered but so many more remain. And while we cringe thinking about everything in Jackson’s past and all the issues he had with his looks and his addictions and his family history, it’s reassuring to see his children turning out so well.