Archives for : LIFE QUOTES

Oprah Winfrey Inc.

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Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928- May 28, 2014)

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Poet Maya Angelou dies at age 86Maya Angelou, a renowned poet, novelist and actress whose work defied description under a simple label, has died, her literary agent, Helen Brann, said Wednesday.
She died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Brann said.

A professor, singer and dancer, Angelou’s work spans several professions. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
She spent her early years studying dance and drama in San Francisco, but dropped out at age 14, instead becoming the city’s first African-American female cable car conductor.
Angelou later returned to high school to finish her diploma and gave birth a few weeks after graduation. While the 17-year-old single mother waited tables to support her son, she acquired a passion for music and dance, and toured Europe in
the mid-1950s in the opera production “Porgy and Bess.” In 1957, she recorded her first album, “Calypso Lady.” In 1958, Angelou become a part of the Harlem Writers Guild in New York and also played a queen in “The Blacks,” an off-Broadway production by French dramatist Jean Genet.
Affectionately referred to as Dr. Angelou, the professor never went to college. She has more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.
“I created myself,” she has said. “I have taught myself so much.”
Angelou was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up between St. Louis and the then-racially-segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas.
The famous poet got into writing after a childhood tragedy that stunned her into silence for years. When she was 7, her mother’s boyfriend raped her. He was later beaten to death by a mob after she testified against him.
“My 7-and-a-half-year-old logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years,” she said. From the silence, a louder voice was born.
Her list of friends is as impressive as her illustrious career. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey referred to her as “sister friend.” She counted Martin Luther King Jr., with whom she worked during the Civil Rights movement, among her friends. King was assassinated on her birthday.
Angelou spoke at least six languages, and worked at one time as a newspaper editor in Egypt and Ghana. During that period, she wrote “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” launching the first in a series of autobiographical books.
“I want to write so well that a person is 30 or 40 pages in a book of mine … before she realizes she’s reading,” Angelou said.
She was also one of the first black women film directors. Her work on Broadway has been nominated for Tony Awards.
Before making it big, the 6-foot-tall wordsmith also worked as a cook and sang with a traveling road show. “Look where we’ve all come from … coming out of darkness, moving toward the light,” she once said. “It is a long journey, but a sweet one, bittersweet.”

NeNe Leaks: Professional Drama Queen?

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UCLA: Young, Gifted, & Black

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There are 1,100 students currently enrolled in UCLA’s School of Law. Only 33 of those students are black, representing a dismal 3 percent of the student body.

To express their feelings of isolation and the frustrations that come with the burden of “representing the race,” UCLA’s black law students created a video called “33,” Buzzfeed reports. The intent of the montage is to “raise awareness of the disturbing emotional toll placed upon students of color due to their alarmingly low representation within the student body.”

“I think the fact that I was a black woman really played a lot into why people stopped listening to me,” one student said. “No one can help me,” another student said, reflecting on her classroom experiences. “No one can jump in. No one can at least acknowledge that anything I’m saying has any truth.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: The Herion Diaries…..

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According to the New York Times, Philip Hoffman “perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation…died Sunday at an apartment in Greenwich Village. He was 46.” The Times said, “Investigators found a syringe in his left forearm, at least two plastic envelopes with what appeared to be heroin near where his body was found in a bathroom, and five empty plastic envelopes in a trash bin, a law-enforcement official said.”
I spent a number of years in d…rug prevention work and learned why so many addicts tragically overdose. Whenever we place anything in our bodies, whether it’s food, liquid, or drugs, we exercise faith (trust).
However, the problem with illegal substances is that there’s no regulation.  Pushers can double or triple their profit by splicing heroin (or whatever) with another similar-looking substance. That’s what often causes the death of so many.
The news media are ready with their obituaries when an older celebrity dies, but they scramble when someone younger suddenly passes into eternity. They are ready because they probably believe the old maxim that only two things in life are sure: death and taxes. But that’s not true. Plenty of people avoid taxes. Nobody avoids death.

Angela Stanton: The Truth!

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In an official statement Stanton wrote:

“In 2012, I released my personal memoir, Lies of a Real Housewife: Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil. In the book, I detailed the struggles I faced as a young woman drawn to the temptations of crime and the false glamour it affords. I alone am responsible for the mistakes I made as a young woman. Yet, I have felt a certain sense of anger toward the people who used me during that period of my life. Certain individuals found me at a time when I was vulnerable and searching for friendship, and used those traits to lure me into doing their bidding.

I read with sadness the news that Phaedra Parks’ husband, Apollo Nida, was arrested for alleged schemes that are remarkably similar to those that lured me years ago. I was troubled to learn that the alleged crimes involved the use of a vulnerable woman to carry out the schemes. The story is all too familiar to me. I sincerely hope that Ms. Parks has not been part of his alleged crimes. I hope that she, like I, learned from her mistakes.

Although tragic, the news of Apollo’s arrest has been vindicating for me. Since I published my book, Phaedra Parks has used her wealth and influence in an attempt to silence me. She filed lawsuits against my publisher, and threatened them with years of expensive litigation if they did not cease publication of my book. As a result, I lost nearly all the royalties I was owed. Ms. Parks used her influence in the media to discredit my story and smear my name, casting me as a delusional liar on the pages of popular blogs. After going to prison and losing everything, my story was all I had left, and she took that from me.

I’m Rick James (2009) : Release Date?

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The Rick James Story comes to the screen with all same unstoppable energy and outrageous humor that made him famous. It’s a non-apologetic celebration of the man and his music. The songs drive the journey, with many never before heard tracks and Rick’s hits like “Give It To Me Baby,” “Mary Jane.”

“Party All The Time” and “Superfreak.” The documentary is told by the people who knew him, partied with him and slept with him –from club owners in Buffalo to Hollywood’s biggest celebrities. But there’s a twist. Rick narrates his own life story.

From existing on camera footage Rick literally appears in the film, providing his uncensored opinions and commentary. Quotes from magazine and newspaper interviews are his narrative voice. So when Supermodel, Janice Dickinson, claims to be the inspiration for “Superfreak,” we’ll give you Rick’s take on what really happened that night at Studio 54. “Cocaine is a hell of a drug!” This is an autobiographical chronicle from the grave.  – Written by Downtown Movies

Floyd Mayweather:International player!

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Up early eating breakfast on the balcony of my Presidential Suite in Hawaii. Just enjoying life!  www.themoneyteam.com

Tracee Ellis Ross: RUMP SHAKER!

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I’m not the type to post booty pics…I love my body but I try not to objectify it! But today I wanna…so I made a damn collage! The pic on the right made me n…auseous the first time I saw it. I thought my face looked crazy  but the pic is always popping up somewhere so I’m embracing it…crazy eyes, bra bulge and all!!! ‪#‎IWokeUpLikeThis‬ ‪#‎FeelingFrisky‬ ‪#‎Freedom2014‬

Zora Neal Hurston:Happy Birthday!

ZORABorn in Alabama on January 7, 1891, Zora Neale Hurston spent her early adulthood studying at various universities and collecting folklore from the South, the Caribbean and Latin America. She published her findings in Mules and Men. Hurston was a fixture of the Harlem Renaissance, rubbing shoulders with many of its famous writers. In 1937, she published her masterwork of fiction, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston died in Florida in 1960.

Born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, writer Zora Neale Hurston created several acclaimed works of fiction, including the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. She was also an outstanding folklorist and anthropologist who  worked to record the stories and tales of many cultures, including her own African-American heritage.

Hurston was the daughter of two former slaves. Her father, John Hurston, was a pastor, and he moved the family to Florida when Hurston was very young. Following the death of her mother, Lucy Ann (Potts) Hurston, in 1904, and her father’s subsequent remarriage, Hurston lived with an assortment of family members for the next few years.

To support herself and finance her efforts to get an education, Hurston worked a variety of jobs, including as a maid for an actress in a touring Gilbert and Sullivan group. In 1920, Hurston earned an associate degree from Howard University. She published one of her earliest works in the university’s newspaper. A few years later, she moved to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, where she became a fixture in the area’s thriving art scene.

Living in Harlem in the 1920s, Hurston befriended the likes of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, among several others. Her apartment, according to some accounts, was a popular spot for social gatherings. Around this time, Hurston experienced a few early literary successes, including placing in short-story and playwriting contests in Opportunity magazine.

Hurston also had serious academic interests. She landed a scholarship to Barnard College, where she pursued the subject of anthropology and studied with Franz Boas. In 1927, Hurston returned to Florida to collect African-American folk tales. She would later publish a collection of these stories, entitled Mules and Men (1935). Hurston also contributed articles to magazines, including the Journal of American Folklore.

Also in the mid-1930s, Hurston explored the fine arts through a number of different projects. She worked with Langston Hughes on a play called Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life—disputes over the work would eventually lead to a falling out between the two writers—and wrote several other plays, including The Great Day and From Sun to Sun.

Hurston released her first novel, Jonah’s Gourd Vine, in 1934. Two years later, she received a Guggenheim fellowship, which allowed her to work on what would become her most famous work: Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). She wrote the novel while traveling in Haiti, where she also studied local voodoo practices.

That same year, Hurston spent time in Jamaica conducting anthropological research.

In 1942, Hurston published her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. This personal work was well-received by critics, but her life and career soon began to falter. Hurston was charged with molesting a 10-year-old boy in 1948; despite being able to prove that she was out of the country at the time of the incident, she suffered greatly from this false accusation.

Despite all of her accomplishments, Hurston struggled financially and personally during her final decade. She kept writing, but she had difficulty getting her work published. Additionally, she experienced some backlash for her criticism of the 1955 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which called for the end of school segregation.

A few years later, Hurston had suffered several strokes and was living in the St. Lucie County Welfare Home. The once-famous writer and folklorist died poor and alone on January 28, 1960, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida.

More than a decade later, another great talent helped to revive interest in Hurston and her work: Alice Walker wrote about Hurston in the essay “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston,” published in Ms. magazine in 1975. Walker’s essay helped introduce Hurston to a new generation of readers, and encouraged publishers to print new editions of Hurston’s long-out-of-print novels and other writings. In addition to Walker, Hurston heavily influenced Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison, among other writers.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

TLC:”No Clothes”!

 

184629276-1383766555Former teen queen Miley Cyrus caused quite a stir when she stripped down to her skivvies and twerked on a teddy bear at the 2013 VMAs. They grow up so fast, don’t they? Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with Hannah Montana’s racy coming-of-age style — including Tionne “T-boz” Watkins and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas of TLC.

“A lot of females are pushing the sexy envelope now because they see it gets them attention. “Miley is a bigger deal because she came from Disney,” T-Boz told In Touch. “We had a way of being sexy without showing all our goody-goodies. We proved you could be successful by keeping your clothes on!”

Amen, sister friend! While the ladies of TLC certainly pushed the boundaries with their socially-conscious song lyrics and sexy midriff-baring outfits, they always kept it classy. In fact, their message was pretty empowering when you think about it. They promoted safe sex, rapped about believing in yourself, and refused to let anyone make them feel “unpretty.”

Nowadays, T-boz and Chilli are busy recording a new album, including their new song “Meant to Be,” which features footage of the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in the video. Additionally, T-boz and Chilli were both executive producers on VH1’s biopic CrazySexyCool, which highlights the group’s rise to fame and simultaneous financial downfall.

“There’s nothing fake about TLC,” T-boz continues. “We didn’t want to give that false sense of glitz and glamour about the business. We wanted people to know the reality of what we were living. We wanted to tell the truth: You can sell a lot of records and do a lot of things — and you’re in the poor house!”

Hopefully these ladies can use their voices not only to inspire a new generation of up-and-coming female artists, but also to encourage them to stay true to themselves. And cue “Waterfalls.”

Do you agree with TLC, or are they being too critical of Miley? Weigh in below.

Source: In Touch

Broadway:Talent Has No Color!

Gershwin discussed Etta Moten Barnett singing the part of “Bess” in his new work Porgy and Bess, which he had written with her in mind. She was concerned about trying a role above her natural range of contralto. In the 1942 revival, she did accept the role of “Bess”, but she would not sing the word “nigger”, which Ira Gershwin subsequently wrote out of the libretto. Through her performances on Broadway and with the national touring company until 1945, she captured Bess as her signature role.999442_613544122041117_473139520_n

Judge Mathis Project

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Set your DVR’s now! Don’t miss my new show ‘The Mathis Project’ on @bet tomorrow night at 10pm. Also, you can continue to see me everyday on the ‘Judge Mathis Show’.

Trayon Christian:Young, Black, And Dangerous?

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By Andrew Siff, NBCNewYork.com

A 19-year-old college student from Queens says he was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell after buying a $350 designer belt at Barneys on New York’s Madison Avenue because he is “a young black man.”

Trayon Christian told NBC 4 New York on Wednesday that he saved up from a part-time job for weeks to buy a Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barneys.

When he went to the store to buy it in April, he says the checkout clerk asked to see his identification. After the sale went through and he left the store, he was approached by police about a block away, and asked “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Officers hauled Christian to the local precinct, where he showed police his identification, as well as his debit card and the receipt for the belt, the lawsuit says.

Police still believed Christian’s identification was fake, and eventually called his bank, which verified it was his, according to the complaint. Christian, who has no prior arrests, was released.

He told NBC 4 New York that questions were racing through his mind while he went through the painful experience of being handcuffed and taken to a cell.

“Why me? I guess because I’m a young black man, and you know, people do a credit card scam so they probably thought that I was one of them,” Christian said. “They probably think that black people don’t have money like that.”

He later returned the belt to Barneys because he says he “didn’t want to have nothing to do with it.”

He is suing the city and the luxury department store for unspecified damages as a result of “great physical and mental distress and humiliation.”

Christian’s attorney, Michael Palillo, told the Post, “His only crime was being a young black man.”

Barneys said in a statement Wednesday that none of its employees was involved in any action with Christian other than the sale, and added that the store “has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.”

Jamie Foxx: Fit & Fine!

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The November issue of Men’s Fitness Magazine featuring your boy hit newsstands yesterday! Who already has their copy? Go check it out today. I hope to inspire you. Shout out to Ben Watts for the dope photography work.

Diana Ross: Thankful for her mentor.

1381685_220107631498907_120949979_nDiana Ross pays tribute to mentor Maxine Powell
Recalling her upbringing in a Detroit housing project, Diana Ross paid tribute today to the mentor who showed “the possibility of beauty, grace, integrity and meaning to my life.”
In a statement provided to the Free Press, the Motown superstar offered an emotional remembrance of Maxine Powell, who died Monday at age 98….
Powell ran the Detroit record company’s in-house finishing school, coaching groups such as the Supremes on “class, style and refinement” and serving as a mentor to the label’s young female artists.
Powell died at Providence Hospital in Southfield after months of steadily declining health. Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at 18700 James Couzens, Detroit. It will be preceded by a 10 a.m. memorial service at the church.
The full text of Ross’s statement:
Girls growing up in underprivileged areas need to know their worth and their value.I was born in the Brewster housing project and meeting Maxine Powell showed me that there was the possibility of beauty, grace, integrity and meaning to my life.The wisdom she shared with me and all of the young artists at Motown will never be forgotten.She was the true example of a mentor and coach and just someone who cared about us I also hope to be such an example as I live my life.
We will truly truly miss her.
Diana Ross

Jackson Family Secrets Part III:By Stacey brown

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After a chance meeting as a young fan, Stacy Brown became friends with the bizarre family of Michael Jackson. For 25 years, he hung out at their Hayvenhurst estate in Encino, Calif., and even ghostwrote their memoirs. He previously wrote about Katherine Jackson’s letters to her son and Jermaine’s jealousy of Michael. In the final entry from his three-part series about life with the Jacksons, he talks about how Michael loomed over — and sabotaged — so much of his family’s plans.

Just before Michael Jackson’s 2001 concerts at Madison Square Garden to celebrate 30 years in show business, Jacko and Jermaine engaged in one of their bitter battles.

Jermaine criticized Michael for high ticket prices and for excluding certain acts. Jacko told Jermaine to beat it — he was off the show.

Jermaine and Michael’s parents, Katherine and Joseph, drove the two-and-a-half hours from Encino to Neverland to resolve the dispute. They were stopped at the gate.

“Mother is tired, she needs water and she has to use the bathroom and Michael has ordered security not to let us in,” Jermaine said over the phone. He had called hoping someone could appeal to Michael’s people.

The standoff went on for two hours.

Finally, Jacko sent word — his mother could use the bathroom in the first guest house, but that was it. They had to be on their way.

“He won’t see us. His own mother,” Joseph protested. “He probably is on those drugs. Or something.”

Life at Neverland

What drugs, what something, no one knew — Michael Jackson was a mystery even to his family.

They had attempted no less than a half-dozen interventions, with no luck. Three months after the 2001 concerts, at a hotel in New York, Janet, Randy, and others attempted to rid him of dependence.

“Leave me alone, mind your business, I’ll be dead in one year anyway,” Jacko told them.

Michael had cut them off, one by one. He preferred to stay locked inside his rooms, watching the world through cameras.

My family and I were invited to stay at Neverland once, in 1997, and over four days we never saw Michael. But I’m sure he saw us.

Michael made all guests at Neverland, including his family, sign waivers every time they visited. The waivers allowed Michael to eavesdrop on telephone calls, videotape comings and goings and simply spy on those on the grounds.

Jackson siblings warned me to cover my bedroom and bathroom walls with sheets because you likely were being filmed, even if you were naked.

For some, Neverland was the ultimate paradise. It’s a ranch with several buildings, including a main house, Indian Tee-Pees, an amusement park, a state-of-the-art movie theater that houses a collection of films to make any public or private theater owner jealous, and a library with a collection of more than 10,000 books.

To others, though, Neverland is an enormously expensive lure for unsuspecting child victims, the ultimate candy from a stranger.

There was a specialized alarm system that sounded anytime anyone went near Jacko’s bedroom. We’d sometimes test it and, sure enough, a security guard would come inside to make sure that no one was near the quarters.

The zoo on the property rivaled those in the Bronx, Baltimore and other places. “Pet the lion, its OK, Stacy,” Jacko said to me on another visit. I refused.

From time to time, snakes would slither across the grass, frightening horse drawn carriages. A ride on a golf cart and passed the zoo had to be met with caution, particularly when passing cages that contained Patrick the orangutan, who replaced the famous Bubbles the chimp, and whose displeasure for strangers was evident in his spitting about 40 yards at those who would come into his view.

Sabotaging the Family

Despite his isolation, Michael maintained his control over the family.

At one point he demanded that sister Janet, who had become almost as famous as him, stop using their surname. He wanted to be the only superstar named Jackson.

Other family members protested that Michael derailed their careers.

“That’s the problem I have with him,” Jermaine said. “OK, so he doesn’t want to do anything with us, but he doesn’t’ want us to make our own money, either. He wants us to depend upon him to provide and we’re adults.”

Rebbie, whom Michael had gifted her only hit, the 1985 single “Centipede,” also was stifled by her little brother. When she recorded her most recent album, 1997’s “Yours Faithfully,” she admitted to making a big mistake. “I did it for Michael’s label,” she told me.

Rebbie had done a lot press in support of the CD, which included the duet, “Fly Away,” with Jacko. She appeared on Regis and Kathy Lee, BET and other shows. After the first single was released, the CD disappeared from stores.

She alleged that Michael campaigned to kill the careers of his family members, even paying off A&R and radio executives to not play his brother’s and sister’s music.

“Michael did it again, he dangles the carrot and we’re supposed to jump,” Rebbie said.

It wasn’t that Michael couldn’t be generous. When Rebbie and her husband Nathaniel wanted to buy a house in Las Vegas, Jackson ponied up $100,000 towards the $300,000-plus price tag.

But even that seemed to have an ulterior motive.

Michael had become aware that Grace Rwarmba, the children’s nanny had been visiting Rebbie in Vegas and she had expressed concerns over Jacko’s drug dependency. Jacko’s divorce from Lisa Marie Presley was also, in part, because Presley had sought advice from Rebbie about Jacko, something Jacko detested.

“Don’t go to my family for anything, stay away from them,” he ordered Presley.

Remoras on Jacko

Jackson’s paranoia grew over the years. He thought his siblings were plotting together. He was convinced his ideas were being stolen, even by Steven Spielberg.

“Look at the logo for Neverland,” he told me once. “It’s the little boy in the moon with a fishing pole. Now, look at what those Jews have for DreamWorks. A boy inside the moon, fishing!”

As for his belief that people were out to get him, well authorities were — because of the increasingly compelling accusations of molestation.

I had ghost-written a book with Bob Jones, Michael’s long-time publicist, called “The Man Behind the Mask,” which detailed Jones disgust at much of what he witnessed.

Jones, who is gay, told me angrily: “When I’m horny, I call another man. When King Michael gets horny, he’s on the phone with some little boy.”

During the 2005 trial, I was called as a witness for the prosecution, to back up some of the things Jones said.

Michael approached me before I testified and handed me a Bible. “Stacy, is this yours?” he said, pretending I had somehow dropped it on the ground. I just wished him well.

Most of the family didn’t care if Michael was guilty or innocent. They just worried about two things: the collapsing Jackson legacy and the money Michael would lose if he went to prison.

They defended him to the end, even those who suspected, because the Jacksons were dependent on him — a situation he encouraged. He owned the Encino estate; he funded, or more often refused to fund, their tours.

Over the years, I have written about the Jacksons, but many continued to talk to me — because they so often did not talk to each other.

In December 2005, several family members called me, worried about rumors that Michael had died of a drug overdose in Bahrain. Four years later, they called me again. “Is it really true this time?” Rebbie asked. Yes, I said. She put her husband on the phone.

“He probably had a needle in his arm,” Nathaniel said. “That selfish jerk.”

 

 

Jackson Family Secres Part I By: Stacey Brown

After a chance meeting as a young fan, Stacy Brown became friends with Jermaine Jackson — and later the rest of the Jackson family, including Michael. He helped write some of their memoirs, traveled on their tours, and even gave them loans (never to be repaid). Here, for the first time, Stacy explain what it’s like to be friends with the strangest family in America.

Randy Jackson, the second-youngest of the storied musical dynasty, likes to call his family “the black Kennedys.”

Maybe. But they certainly weren’t as smart with their ­finances as the Kennedys.

Even before this month, when the family lost a $40 billion lawsuit against AEG over the death of Michael Jackson, they’ve struggled with debts. Especially when the family’s richest members, Michael and Janet, decided to cut off their seven other siblings and parents out of whim or spite.

particularly low point came in 2003. No money was coming in, few of them had actual jobs and ­Janet gave but one gift to her siblings: free meal cards to Baja Fresh, a fast-food chain with which she had an endorsement deal.

I visited Rebbie, the oldest of the Jackson kids, in Vegas, to work on a book. It was Baja Fresh for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From there I drove to Hayvenhurst, the family’s estate in Encino, Calif., to meet Katherine, the matriarch, and Jermaine.

And for 2¹/₂ weeks it was . . . Baja Fresh.

Finally, for the sake of my stomach, I offered to take Katherine to Trader Joe’s. She loaded the cart with groceries, and I ended up with the bill — $700.

There was no “thank you.” The money was never repaid. Whatever courtesies are shown to them are met with the air of “You did what you ought to. We are the Jacksons!”

‘Why No Black Boys?’

As a friend, ghostwriter and confidant of the Jackson family for nearly 25 years, people ask how I could put up with such behavior.

It wasn’t easy — but there’s something seductive about the ­craziness

I first met patriarch Joseph and his sons Jermaine, Jackie and Tito in 1984. The brothers had just played the Victory Tour at Giants Stadium. I was 16 and went to the show with my girlfriend, Ameena, who was in love with Michael.

After the show, we traveled to the Helmsley Palace Hotel, and amazingly we got to speak to the Jacksons in the lobby. Ameena gushed and handed them a letter for her idol.

A couple of years later, I was visiting a friend in a hospital in Canoga Park, Calif. Randomly, I ran into Jermaine. “I know you,” he said. To my shock, he remembered that night in New York in detail.

We spoke for a long time and ­exchanged numbers. Two weeks later, he called me and invited me to Hayvenhurst, the seven-bedroom mansion Michael paid for. It’s full of family memorabilia, and a guesthouse is filled with dolls and stuffed animals.

I later became a journalist and, because of the friendship, I was enlisted as writer on two books — “Rebbie Jackson: The First Jackson” and “Legacy: Surviving the Best and the Worse,” the latter with Jermaine.

But for every little kindness, like Jermaine remembering me as a fan in the crowd, there was plenty of selfishness and bizarre behavior.

The Jacksons have been described as dysfunctional, but that’s an understatement. They loathe each other, particularly Michael — for whom they felt varying degrees of jealousy and disgust. The King of Pop rarely wanted anything to do with them, which only ­increased the psychosis.

They’re not the Kennedys, Katherine’s longtime assistant, Janice Smith, said to me once. “They are more like the Corleone family. And Michael is Michael Corleone.”

To his parents, Joseph and Katherine, however, Michael could do no wrong.

One day, after the brothers were complaining about Michael not including them in his plans, Joseph exploded: “Y’all are lazy. He did all the work, and he figured out that if he were going to do all the work, why bother with your lazy asses?”

Katherine would defend Michael constantly — to a point.

Watching a news report that showed Michael boarding an airplane with a young boy, Katherine murmured: “Why is it that he’s always got to have those little white boys around? Why doesn’t he ever have little black boys with him?”

I said, “Well, there was a time that he had little Emmanuel Lewis, who played Webster.”

“That was just for show, for the cameras,” Katherine said. “Those boys he flies around with ain’t nothing but little Jews.”

The question I desperately wanted to ask but did not was, “Well, would you rather him ­molest little black boys?”

Secret Therapy

The dysfunction culminated in 2002. Michael had played a 30th-anniversary celebration the year before. He paid Marlon Brando $1  million to appear. He paid his brothers $1,100 each. Then he canceled a promised tour with the ­entire Jackson family.

Randy figured the family needed therapy. Janet paid for it, and once a week the whole clan would pile into SUVs for secret trips to Malibu.

Rebbie began by talking about the abuse she allegedly suffered as a child in Gary, Ind., at the hands of Joseph, and which her mother witnessed. “Mother would simply say, ‘Joe, leave her alone tonight,’ ” Rebbie said.

Jackie, the second oldest, yelled at her for “bringing up things in the past that just pull us apart.”

“We’re in therapy!” Rebbie cried.

They all complained about Michael until finally the therapist said it was best if they didn’t even think about him.

“Michael is not your family, in his mind,” the therapist told them during those clandestine sessions. “Elizabeth Taylor is his mom, and you guys should move on.”

That sent Katherine over the edge. She already hated Taylor — on visits to Neverland Ranch, Katherine would decide where she’d have her lunch or dinner depending upon whether or not Liz had ever used the spot.

“I’m not sitting where she sat,” Katherine would say. “She’s ­stolen my son away.”

Joseph felt the same way about Motown boss Berry Gordy, who signed the singing children to the label in the 1960s.

“Michael better realize, it’s my blood running through his veins,” the family patriarch said. “Mine and nobody else’s. I’m his father, Katie is his mother.”

The therapy sessions ended. No one really felt better.

During this period, Jermaine was trying desperately to get on Michael’s good side. The brothers tried to trick Michael into attending therapy by saying there was going to be a “family day.” Jermaine tipped him off that it was a ruse.

Every single time a scandal ­involving Jacko broke, there we were, Jermaine and I, hotfooting it to “The View” or some other talk show.

When Michael dangled his newly acquired 9-month-old son, Blanket, off a hotel-room balcony in November 2002, Jermaine and I went to “old reliable,” Larry King, to defend Michael’s actions.

“Nobody complains about [crocodile hunter] Steve Irwin, who has his small kids around those dangerous animals,” Jermaine said.

Following that appearance, Michael’s assistant called.

Michael wanted to speak with Jermaine. “Don’t do any more television, Jermaine. Tell the family no more. I have this huge, huge television special coming out in February that is going to shock the world and change ­everything,” Michael said.

Ironically, the “huge television special” turned out to be the horrifying Martin Bashir documentary “Living with Michael Jackson,” which ultimately led to the molestation charges.

I remember watching it with great anticipation with Jermaine, Joseph and Katherine, and the looks on their faces were priceless.

When Michael pointed out that he’d rather climb a tree than have sex, Joseph let out a very disapproving groan. When the young accuser leaned against Michael, the warm feelings in the room quickly turned to ice. They knew what was coming.

Katherine’s Letters

And they certainly weren’t surprised by it.

Way back in 1993, when the first public allegations of child molestation surfaced against Michael, sister La Toya accused the rest of her family of being “silent collaborators.”

She said Katherine had written letters to Michael in which she called him a “damn f – – – – t” and knew about payoffs, for as much as $1 million, made out to the parents of one of Michael’s victims.

Katherine and several of her children held a press conference outside Hayvenhurst to denounce La Toya. “She’s trying to sell her brother down the river,” Kath­erine said.

A decade later, Jermaine and I were hanging out at Hayvenhurst in the courtyard near the swimming pool. Katherine emerged from inside the house.

“Jermaine, they got all of our things,” she said. The family had lost a civil judgment over a failed concert tour, and creditors took a storage locker full of memorabilia, including gold records.

“They got the letters, too, and those canceled checks,” Kath­erine said.

Normally I didn’t ask questions, but I had to ask what she was talking about. “The letters,” she said, as if I were supposed to know.

Jermaine completed the sentence for her, “Those letters in which mother called Michael a ­f – – – – t.”

I was stunned. Ten years later, I realized that La Toya really did tell the truth.

“You tell a lie long enough, people will believe it’s true,” Michael once said.

It could be the Jackson motto.

Kwame Ture:LoveOurDaughters!

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Idris Elba:Shy Guy!

 

Idris+Elba

 

When I was 15, I could grow a beard, I was an athlete, and I definitely got attention. In college, where it was all about being good-looking, all about performing, that’s where I gained confidence. But I’m so shy now.

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