Archive for Michael Jackson

Who Are Your Top 5 Live Musical Performers?

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Concert Shot

Answer:  “James Brown was the greatest live performer I’ve ever seen, closely followed by Prince.  My next three are Earth, Wind & Fire, The Jackson 5 and Brian Culbertson — in that order.  Period, paragraph, end of sentence.”

Gary Johnson

Founder & Publisher, Black Men In


James Brown Knees

The Godfather of Soul


The One and Only Prince


Earth, Wind & Fire

jacksons 2

Michael Jackson reunites with his brothers, The Jackson 5 for the Motown 25 TV Special

Brian Culbertson2

Brian Culbertson

Honorable Mention – Lenny Williams

Lenny Williams2

With this song, Lenny Williams gives one of the most soulful performances ever.

Click here to watch other classic performances by Charlie Wilson, Chanté Moore, Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, etc.

10 Wealthiest Black People in the World

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Money/Economics with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Natalie Dawson

Billionaires and millionaires aren’t always white or oil barons.  African Americans can also throw down when it comes to wealth.  To prove it, we have listed ten of the wealthiest black people in the world below listed by current estimated worth.

  1. Aliko Dangote – Never heard of him?  Most Americans haven’t.  He is a businessman based in Nigeria and head man for The Dangote Group, which was founded in 1977 as a small firm.  Since then, it has substantially grown and earned Dangote himself an estimated worth of $13.8 billion.
  2. Mike Adenuga – He runs Conoil Producing, the first Nigerian company to strike oil in significant quantities during the early 1990s.  He is also the owner of the second largest mobile company in the country.  A true success story, he made his first million at age 26 by selling lace and soft drinks and is now worth $4.3 billion.
  3. Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe – He is another African and another billionaire.  His company is called African Rainbow Minerals and deals in gold, platinum, and other precious metals.  From South Africa, he was born royalty and became the first black partner in a local law firm in 1994.  His estimated worth is $3.28 billion.
  4. Oprah Winfrey – Her own show and now her own network took this small town reporter’s dreams to places girls of her generation never thought they could go.  By investing in herself and her own show, Oprah was able to create a wealth of $2.7 billion.
  5. Michael Jackson – His estimated worth is sketchy.  Although he made hundreds of millions of dollars from album sales alone, Jackson had a notorious spending habit that was also in the hundreds of millions.  However, he did purchase the rights to many Beatles songs, which are estimated to be worth between $500 million and one billion.  After his death, sales of his own music also spiked into the hundreds of millions.
  6. Jim Ovia – His nickname is “the godfather of Nigerian banking.”  He founded the Zenith Banking Group in 1990, and it became one of the largest financial services provider on the continent.  He also founded a mobile company and is estimated to be worth $775 million.
  7. Robert Johnson – If not for the recession, he would be higher on the list with over one billion dollars in net worth.  However, the founder of the BET network still enjoys a net worth of $550 million.
  8. Michael Jordan – The “air man” is most known for being one of the best players in NBA history.  It also didn’t hurt that his brand of clothing and especially shoes are still a top seller.  Between the endorsements, investments, and more, he is worth $525 million.
  9. Tiger Woods – As with Robert Johnson, if it wasn’t for his divorce and lost proceeds from a scandal, he would be farther up the list.  However, with an annual salary of $85 million, golfing legend Tiger Woods is still worth $500 million and is the youngest person on the list.
  10. Bill Cosby – Proving that you can make money by telling a simple, family oriented story is the legendary Bill Cosby.  Critics believed his show wouldn’t make it past year one when the comedian debuted it in 1984.  Over 25 years later, he is worth $450 million and rising.

Natalie Dawson owns the site Masters Degree. She enjoys writing articles about everything in the education field.

The Bridge—The Sadness of The Man In The Mirror

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , , on November 9, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Dr. Conrad Murray has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.

I wonder if those who ignored Michael Jackson’s drug addiction will give it any attention.

I wonder, because in America, the citizens tend to give celebrities an exalted status above others.

Jackson was given exalted status above other drug addicts.

Yes, I said it—Jackson was a drug addict.

Does that mean I disliked him?

No. Like other music fans, I loved the music of Michael Jackson. I loved his dancing and I loved growing up watching him develop—until he began to take actions against his beautiful Blackness.

But I’ll get to that later.

I remember when Mike got burned during the Pepsi commercial and I prayed that he would emerge whole—we all did. But even though he emerged and pressed on, apparently, he pressed on with a dependence on drugs that few of his fans knew about.

Ultimately, it was that dependence that blossomed into a full scale addiction that played a part in his untimely death.

“Untimely death.” As if death is ever timely for those we love.

At any rate, Michael Joseph Jackson had an addiction to drugs that was no different from the average crackhead’s addiction. The difference is that the average crackhead on the street is without fame, fortune or steady means to feed the addiction, and so must rely on crime at some point—something MJ never had to deal with.

Instead, he engaged a physician to commit a crime by supplying him with the drugs that ended his life.

And for that, the doctor will pay.

But apparently, that is not enough for the conspiracy theorists who have made wild claims of everything from the US government having MJ killed, to the Middle Eastern financiers of his ill-fated tour having him killed for the insurance, to his own father doing him in.

The conspiracy theorists are right in line with others who want to avoid the good old fashioned explanation of simplicity: Someone placed themselves in harm’s way and they were harmed.

We’ve seen this before with other celebrities.

Elvis Presley was fat and in very poor health, yet when he died, theories abounded regarding the “true” cause of his death.

And, some nutty Elvis fans refuse to let him die, claiming that he lives and even that he has been seen in recent times.

Let me be clear: I was and still am a huge Michael Jackson fan. I grew up on his music and watched his artistry develop beyond belief.

But I also watched him do things as a broken human being that I just didn’t like, even though I understood that his life without a childhood or a private life had broken him.

I watched his dance moves with individuality become as deep and funky as his dance with plastic surgery, until he became one of the greatest entertainers and one of the freakiest looking humans on the planet.

And I understood that being burned and dealing with the subsequent pain launched a relationship with pain killers that turned into a lifelong dance with drug addiction.

But these things having been said, I saw Michael Jackson as a human and not as a god. I loved his art, but I hated his self-destruction.

So, when I heard the news of his death and the manner of his dying, I was sad for his family, but not so sad for him. I couldn’t be sad for a man who made poor choices when better choices were available.

But the general public was sad. Sad for a Michael Jackson they held on to whether it was the real MJ or not. They were sad for the death of his music and sad for the death of his freak show on parade whenever he would hang his children over balconies or when he would be dogged by child abuse allegations from children he tried to help.

I believe that many so-called fans were sadder to lose the freak show Jackson had become rather than the immensely talented human being who had already begun to die long before he made his final transition from the world of flesh.

I pondered when he died: “Isn’t there something titillating about the freakish, hedonistic and/or downright debauched behavior of our artists that makes us pay attention while supporting the art they make?

“Is Michael Jackson, who became a physical freak and an emotional train wreck any different?  Sadly, no.”

The public loved the freak show Michael Jackson had become and when he died, they demanded someone to pay for his death.

And that someone was a greedy, foolish, pathetic clown named Conrad Murray.

Murray took a job that many doctors had probably refused, agreeing to be the de facto drug dealer for a man who was clearly a drug addict. High priced drug dealing, but drug dealing nonetheless.

And for that Murray must pay.

But many so-called Michael Jackson fans didn’t want Murray to go to jail for anything less than murder.  They didn’t give two damns about the law and wanted him to give a pound of flesh for the death of Michael Jackson.

And that is sad, indeed.

Murray will go to jail and lose his license.

Michael Jackson will still be a dead drug addict who brought the world some great entertainment.

I’m not certain that his fans care that a father and mother lost a son, or that siblings lost a brother, but some are happy that a pound of flesh will be delivered.

Earlier in this column, I asserted that Michael Jackson began to take actions against his beautiful Blackness when he began to cut and paste over his African features and bleach out his African skin color.

Michael Jackson went from being a beautiful Black man to a pale monstrosity and far too many were willing to excuse it because they loved his music. They excused his self-destruction as much as they excused his drug addiction as they sought someone to pay.

For the longest, Michael’s father was blamed for the self destruction.

For me, the blame game is less important than the sadness he must have felt and the untimely death his loved ones had to bear.

Perhaps the real tragedy in all of this mess is the pathology that perhaps created the need for drugs in the first place.

Not loving who you are is a sign of a deep dark hole in your soul.

Who knows what life was like for him having to look at what he had become in the mirror every day.

I just hope now that Murray has been convicted that we no longer have to hear about the blame and the unfortunate death. I hope we can focus on the good music he left us.

I hope we can now focus on drug abuse no matter who is abusing the drugs and make real help the goal.

At the end of the day, perhaps the man in the mirror looking at Michael Jackson wanted people to help him.

So many people failed.

Including the man in Michael Jackson’s mirror.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running throughout 2011. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


Michael Jackson Dead At 50

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags on June 25, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is dead.  The sensationally gifted singer and dancer who emerged from childhood stardom to become the entertainment world’s most influential singer and dancer was 50 years old.

The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear.  According to media reports Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2009.

In addition to his talent and fame, Jackson had enormous legal and financial troubles.

As the tributes pour I clearly understand Jackson’s iconic status in American popular culture.  He was more than just a singer.  He made monumental business moves that catapulted him to the star the likes of which we will probably never see again in our lifetime.  Michael Jackson was a mega star on numerous fronts.  I get all of that.  What I don’t get are some of the people being shown on television who are not able to function since the news of his death.  People who apparently cannot function and go to work, people camping out all night at the hospital, Neverland Ranch, the Apollo Theater and Michael’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  What does that say about those people?  What does that say about me?  What does that say about Michael Jackson?

On Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Friday, June 26, 2009, the House of Representatives held a moment of silence for Jackson.  Many people seem to be temporarily paralyzed by Jackson’s death.  It appears that almost every corner of the world has been affected by Jackson’s death.  I guess that speaks to his “reach” and his ability to connect with people.

I am the same age as Michael Jackson. I saw him perform several times as the lead singer of The Jackson 5 and as a solo artist.  He was magic when he performed on stage.  Much will be made of Michael Jackson’s death for years and years to come.  For now people are choosing to pay tribute to a troubled man who grew larger than life.  His controversies have been placed on the back burner as people choose to remember the show-stopping entertainer.  I guess that’s the way it should be (at least for now).

What are your memories of Michael Jackson?  How would you characterize the life of Michael Jackson?

This article was written by G. A. Johnson.

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