The fight over Michael Jackson’s children and estate has turned into a messy mess of an affair, with accusations of mama kidnapping, auntie slap boxing, brothers turning against sisters and cousins “rescuing” cousins, culminating with Katherine Jackson losing custody of Paris, Prince and Blanket, the children the King Of Pop willed her to take care of when he died.
Word is Katherine, no doubt shook by Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff’s order that Tito’s son, TJ Jackson, get temporary custody of Michael’s children, is back at her Calabasas estate after disappearing for an almost two week-long “visit” at daughter Rebbie’s Arizona home, where she’s been hanging with Janet, Jermaine and Randy—playing Uno and, according to her children, following her doctor’s orders to “rest.” Katherine is vowing through attorneys that she’ll fight to get the kids back into her care.
That any of us know this many details into the Jackson family’s affairs is, while super awesome and juicy and the realest Reality TV show on television right now, beyond disturbing. Frankly, nobody needs to witness an 82-year-old grandmother, an heir to her son, Michael’s, fortune, being pulled in 20 different directions by family members who are not heirs to the pop star’s billion dollar estate. Nobody needs, either, to watch plastic TV news interviews that offer up platitudes and denials aplenty, but little explanation for the drama unfolding on TMZ and every other gossip column, blog and TV show on the planet. And we especially don’t need to be watching a 14-year-old disrespect her grown aunt—laying her hands physically on and cursing at Janet Jackson—or taking to Twitter to air out grown folk family business.
On the latter point: why is that child still on Twitter? Can someone explain to me why this little girl still has a phone? A computer? Access to social media? Do you know how many different ways Bettye Millner would have gone clean up the side of my head if I stood out in the middle of the world (the equivalent of the amplification of a celebrity Tweet) and engaged in a word tantrum about and against my elders? If I inserted my little girl knowledge and naiveté into complicated, deeply personal family affairs, and then physically lashed out at my aunties and uncles? I’m no advocate of physical discipline, but I am the daughter of an African American mom from the South, and I have not one iota of a shadow of a doubt that Bettye Millner would have taken the same tact at Gladys Knight suggested yesterday when she told The Talk how she’d handle Paris:
See, I’m from the south and [we] was raised in that southern way. You have to understand Paris is what, 14? How old is Janet? Who’s the one who tries to direct the other one here? And I would think that it’s a good thing she let’s Paris know who she is. She is a Jackson, she shouldn’t be putting the business out there like that. Cause people read into whatever they want to read into, that’s how they get the drama. So, she’s just trying to protect her, in a way. But if she [Paris] called me that, she wouldn’t have any teeth…You respect your elders.
Make no mistake about it: this whole Jackson family debacle is about family. And money. And control. And money. And love. And mo’ money. And positioning. Access. Relationships. Honoring Michael Jackson’s true last wishes. And, make no mistake about it, money. A billion dollars will make you do some thangs.
Poor Michael must be up behind the Pearly Gates, crying out. Prayers up that Katherine Jackson gets a hold of her children and grandchildren, that Paris gets some respect and social media etiquette—particularly as it pertains to her family—and that whatever it is that’s bugging Janet, Jermaine, Rebbie and Randy gets resolved quickly, sans the Negro theater and escalating tensions. None of this, after all, is fitting into the narrative of what Michael was all about: the love. Get it together, y’all.
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Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.