French Panel Discussion: The Present Legacy of Michael Jackson –

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Isabelle Petitjean (musicologue, auteur d’une thèse sur Michael Jackson), Léna Lutaud (Figaro), Richard Lecoq (spécialiste de Michael Jackson) décryptent l’image de l’artiste, écornée par les accusations de pédophilie, 10 ans après sa mort.

Isabelle Petitjean (musicologist, author of a thesis on Michael Jackson), Lena Lutaud (Figaro), Richard Lecoq (Michael Jackson Specialist) Discuss the image of the artist, chipped by accusations of pedophilia, 10 years after his death.

Translation courtesy of Twitter @Dom10155252 

Do you still enjoy listening to MJ ? that was the question asked on twitter today What’s the answer ? 73 % yes 27% no – Yes people still enjoy listening to MJ

We also have questions and how do people react to the comments of our guests ? They are sad, the word legend keeps coming back, and it’s always quite sad to talk about him again, mainly the fans are sad. Someone called Philippe notices that MJ was fabricated like a product internationnally, he wonders what’s left of his companies ? His companies ?

RL : MJ is a planetarian star, the artist who reached everybody worldwide, he toured everywhere in countries where few other went. Today we realize his legacy is managed the way it is but his image is still present, we saw it recently in Japan with an incredible campaign. I just come back from Asia and you have to search for his records because there’s none left, when they have some in stock it goes straight away.

Journalist : yes MJ’s music is still trending as well as his records sales, it has not been impacted as feared since the allegations. I now ask you Isabelle, do you think that in 10-20 years’ time what will be left of MJ is his career, his legacy and the allegations out ?

IP : surely ! I would only like to come back on the idea of the fabricated artist ! Michael Jackson is NOT a fabricated artist, he is not a product contrary to what is being said, he is a self made artist, he had the potential, he is an artist we could not do without him, and that is what bothered most, he was independent, he had the capacity and the creative genius and someone who stayed as much as possible independent. One could not take him off. A child who grew and his genius too thanks to Motown and else but he is NOT a puppet thrown in a marketing department. Actually today artists, before having a musical repertoire, they are sent to the picture department to create an image which matches a certain audience. Michael Jackson never went through that he managed his own image including his music. So I wanted to make it clear because as far as a product, it bothers my ears. And as far as what will be said about him in 10-20 years, I think that all the parasites we have now, all these people very much interested, because once again, we still are very much dealing with polemics, whether social polemics, linked to racial image or row image or single parent family that is advocated on one side and criticized when it’s him on the other side, when all passions and money extortions will be over, I think that at last we’ll be able to find out exactly what lies under the dusty iceberg and talk about his art, like a Mozart or Beethoven who also had a hectic life and about which nobody cares today. There’s so much more to say and I have the feeling that it might be a bit by laziness that we favor easy information, if one can call that information, in any case spectacular things which impact immediately the audience etc. and I think we should work more at saying interesting things because as for myself who did a thesis on him of 1200 words and haven’t finished yet, who wrote books, believe me there are much more instructive things that rhyme with work, that rhyme with respect, that rhyme with idealism with values that society advocates and for that Michael Jackson should be praised rather than being dragged in the gutters where he does not belong.

Léna Lutaud : I don’t agree at all with the extortion bit because now we don’t know what are asking the 2 accusers and if they don’t ask for money then you can’t say extortion.

RL Yes they do

LL No they don’t they asked for money in the previous suit but now we don’t know.

RL : they appealed and were dismissed

LL : no it’s not an appeal it is a new suit against the companies

RL : you don’t have the right information

IP : with a bank account in the Cayman island to cash in if ..

RL : you don’t have the right information because they seek millions.. to fight for Michael Jackson does not pay much but to sue him yes it motivates for millions of dollars. Regarding the « fabricated » part, indeed MJ starts his career at Motown where he learns the precept, being in a family environment type but little by little he will have his own vision and make it his own way.

Another question : who could succeed to Michael Jackson ?

RL : I was thinking to the WE on a vocal point of view

Journalist : His inspiration comes from MJ

RL : I say that lightly but today we are still wondering who will be the new MJ, you don’t say who will be the new Freddy Mercury, who will be the new SINATRA, the new Marylin so it shows clearly the impact he had, he is an artist who synthesized many talents in one person and who was a multi media artist before all, with Jackson we see MTV opening up, MTV is the video clip business, very different business from the music world, Thriller allowed to launch some careers like for SHADE, Cyndi Lauper or else in the 80s so this is it, who today can do that ?

IP : there was Mozart and then Beethoven, there was not Mozart 2 I mean there will not be another Michael Jackson

Journalist : I think we can’t blame Michael Jackson of being unique and remain unique forever

IP : of course all artists are unique and surely there will be new geniuses and great artists, Michael Jackson is an independent, he has his childhood, he grew up in a special era of civil rights, he is afro american in a racialized industry, you cannot copy paste, so I don’t know if that question has lucrative or business aims or if it’s really nostalgia, in both cases we can understand, there is and there will be other artists but one has to stop looking for another Michael Jackson.

RL : he is also a great humanitarian

Journalist : yes indeed since the beginning of his career he did a lot for charities, for the welfare especially for children worldwide Another question from someone called Michael, not Michael Jackson who wants to know where he is buried, of course we don’t know but he would like to know why it’s such a secret. Journalist : I’ll let you answer Léna cause maybe you are aware of where the tomb is there were leaks this morning on Europe 1 radio.

Léna : yes indeed, last time I went to LA I went to the cemetery and I asked the security and truely it was total secret, you can understand the family you don’t want to have I can imagine like Johnny Halliday in St Barth, maybe after your father or your son was exposed all his life to the media maybe he can rest in peace.

Journalist : maybe we can give more details but not reveal all, people can search on Europe 1 website

IP : It’s in LA at Forest Lawn I went there, we know exactly where he is, in the big chapel on top of the mausoleum but this chapel is closed, first it was opened but it was damaged but there’s no mystery regarding the location where he was buried, of course there are stories, the Estate also contributes to maintain this mysterious side of Michael Jackson, they create real-fake stories, in reality things are much simpler than that but it’s part of the game. You can see where he is buried, I think there are about 10 000 or 15000 roses delivered today and even each year, no real mystery Journalist : the tomb is of white marble, is 5 meters long, 3 meters wide and 2 meters high

IP : he is in the resurection chapel or saint family i can’t remember Another question : we hear often, KING, ICON, LEGEND does any artist today follow hi spath ?

Journalist : we mentionned that already maybe let’s speak about how the family manages the legacy of Michael Jackson, I want to ask you Lena I saw after Michael Jackson passed, his family wanted to find in a young audience a financial windmill to perpetuate his legacy, did they manage ?

Léna : of course, first there was the wonderful movie THIS IS IT everybody bought the DVD, and now in schools you can see that children love Michael Jackson, it is a visual universe, new generations of fans, younger generations but when I spoke to FG, owner of MJ site, he was not very happy with some of the stuff the Estate put out, he did not recognize his voice, he felt that on some videos the quality was not good enough and that the songs did not match with the Halloween theme, so he is not happy at all from an artistic point of view.

Journalist : we coming to the end of this interview, what would you like to remain of Michael Jackson forever, what the public should remember of him, whether you are a fan or not?

IP : well, not to forget that he is a human being, and beyond this huge career he had, beyond this charismatic dimension he brought and the message he spread that was erased by some entertainment, I think that Michael’s legacy goes far beyond music and dance and I hope we’ll still be here but the next generations will be the ones who will unveil him.

RL : yes I agree, there will be a before and an after MJ in music history and if I can add, he managed to live 50 years, that was not easy.

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