Bryton met Michael when he was 5 yrs old. With Raven Simoné he was invited to give Michael the Artist of the Year at NAACP Awards in 1993. He also sang on the chorus of ‘What More Can I Give’ and appeared with other artists at the United We Stand Concert with Michael. He has also appeared on stage with Michael during concerts. Bryton was also asked by Michael to be a representative for his Heal the World Foundation.
[From the age of 3 -7, Bryton played Richie Crawford on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters. He currently plays Devon Hamilton on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless.He guest starred on the drama The Vampire Diaries during its second season as Luka Martin, a warlock. Bryton also does several voiceover programmes.] Bryton founded a charity in 1996 called “RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) Kids” and is a spokesman for many charities.
**THE INTERVIEW **
Q: How did you and Michael meet?
Bryton ~ When I was about 5 years and I played in ‘Family Matters’, we met someone who worked for the film’s production company. I wrote him a letter and my parents handed it to him to see if she could pass to it to Michael. I told him that I loved his music.
Q: At 5 years, you were already a fan?
Bryton ~ Even before the age of talking, I already loved EVERYTHING that was related to Michael Jackson. It was really inexplicable but I had this affection for him, like everyone else.
Q: Obviously, you heard from him then!
Bryton ~ He wrote me a letter back! I was invited to attend the filming of one of his music videos, “Will You Be There” From the album Dangerous. I could meet him after his performance and take a picture with him. It was very brief.
Q: When did you see him afterwards?
Bryton ~ A few months later. I was asked, Raven Simoné and myself, to give him the reward of Artist of the Year at NAACP Awards. We were just kids! My parents and I were able to talk to Michael backstage and he invited us to his home. The first time I went to Neverland Ranch, I was accompanied by my father. We spent two days there and some members of Michael’s family were also present. I became friends with two cousins younger than him, who was a little older than me. Even today, they are like brothers to me. After that, Michael kept in touch with me by phone and I went to Neverland several times a year with my parents. He opened the doors of the ranch to anyone he considered a friend. Even when he was not there, we could go and spend time there. It was the most generous person I have ever met.
Q: What was your room? Is it that there are themed rooms, such as “The Circus Room” or “The room Spaceship?”
Bryton: No, nothing like that. The rooms were very normal. His house was very simple and warm. It was not like a museum or a hotel. It was an old style, like a large cottage.
**Q: Which was your favorite activity in Neverland? **
Bryton ~ There was a big castle with four towers connected by bridges. At each station, there were giant water cannons and it was great to shoot with. There was always music and animals were amazing. And then there are things that we take for granted: there was plenty of room and it was very peaceful. When we crossed the gate out, we said, “Ugh, now I have to return to reality.”
Q: When was your last visit to Neverland ?
Bryton ~ When I was 16 or 17 years, I went to the ranch when he was there with his cousins and Chris Tucker, I stayed about two weeks.
Q: Do you think we should turn Neverland into a public park or on the contrary, it must remain private property?
Bryton ~ I want it to be maintained in the same way as when I went there. Each week, he was coming from hospitals busloads of seriously ill children, children with illnesses or who could not do normal things like going to Disneyland, in fairgrounds or parks, so that they spend the day there. I wish it continues to preserve what he did and how he opened for sick children.
**Q: Did you already asked his opinion on your music? **
Bryton ~ When the iPod came out, I had one and he had never seen one before. He thought it was really cool and I had one of my top songs. He listened and he gave me great advice. He always did that with everything I’ve done on television and in music, but he was also keen to ensure that I live things that children should live. He realized that I was totally happy to do what I did, but he wanted me to take advantage of being a child.
Q: Which is your favorite memory of Michael?
Bryton ~ There are two that I will never forget. The first is when he asked me to sing on a track he wrote for the victims of September 11. With Michael, there was Celine Dion, * N’Sync, Usher, Mariah Carey and Destiny’s Child. All these other musicians and he asked me to join the chorus. I had to go to Washington to sing with him and all the other artists. Being on stage with him and sing with him at the same thing that is an experience I will never forget. The other experience was when I went to Neverland one night and we were awoken. Everyone went to bed and we sat in the chairs in front of the huge fireplace, and we just talked and shared stories.
**Q: Where were you when you learned of his death? **
Bryton ~ I was at home and I had no idea what was happening. My father called me and told me to turn on the TV. I saw the news and at the time, I did not believe it. It took me a while to realize that it was true. I received thirty missed calls and SMS to people who knew how much I was close to him.
Q: When was your last contact with Michael?
Bryton ~ Last time I talked to him, it was just before the main trial he went through a few years ago. The previous year, I saw and I spent some time with him.
Q: What do you think of all these crazy stories that surface since his death? Bryton ~ I hope that people try to understand what it was like, his life. I hope that people will leave give him a little peace now. It happened once that I talked to him on the phone and he was on the verge of bursting into tears because he did not understand why people treated him as they treated. I believe that in the end, he understood perfectly what was the price to pay for being who he was.
Q: If you had to summarize Michael, what would you say?
Bryton ~ Based on what I experienced, it is really a example of how I want to live. He faced many intrusions into his private life and difficulties on such a grand scale … It’s amazing what people can tell of someone they do not even know. And yet, he was still someone generous, altruistic and benevolent. The thing I want people to realize is that despite all the bizarre stories, jokes, the hype, the media circus and the tabloids, he was still a nice man.
IMPORTANT -Translated article which appeared in the weekly Soap Opera Digest. Post compilation, please credit https://www.facebook.com/pages/UK-loves-MJ/116222408446161
2009 on Bryton’s official website, he left a message to pay tribute to Michael ~ “God bless my friend Michael Jackson. I cannot begin, he was a major presence for me and my family. His love, his respect, his authority and his kindness were truly amazing. Michael I miss you and I will love you forever. Thank you for some of the best moments of my life” ~ Bryton
Other source: http://www.tumblr.com/search/bryton+mcclure