There’s not much fact in Jermaine Jackson‘s newest attempt to cash in on his late brother Michael. His book, “You Are Not Alone,” reads like a compendium of fictions and half-truths to anyone who’s reported anything about Michael Jackson over the last 20 years. It’s so far from reality that Jermaine defends his father while citing his abuse; still argues that Michael’s kids are his biologically; and basically excises the people closest to Michael like his personal assistant Evvy Tavasci and surrogate family, the Cascios.
This is largely because Michael didn’t have much to do with Jermaine after his 1991 recording, called “Word to the Badd.” Jermaine was jettisoned from Michael’s life. And yet, the older brother would continue to try and get back into Michael’s inner circle, playing on his vulnerabilities.
“You Are Not Alone” contains at least one anti-Semitic reference and is full of inaccuracies. It’s hard to believe, really, that a reputable publisher (Simon & Schuster) did no fact checking on “You Are Not Alone.” The anti-Semitic part is not a surprise. Jermaine is happy to go into details of his life as a Muslim, his following of Louis Farrakhan, and his introduction of the Nation of Islam into Michael’s life. Ironically, it’s NOI bodyguards who don’t let Jermaine in to see Michael in Las Vegas.
It’s Jermaine’s description of Joseph Jackson’s original business partner, Richard Aarons, that says it all. Jermaine writes of Aarons: “A short Jewish lawyer who always wore suits arrived on the scene.” There’s only other passing mention of the “short Jewish lawyer” in Jermaine’s book. But it was Aarons who partnered with Joseph Jackson, brought the Jackson 5 to Motown, and made the deals. For a long time, their company was called Jackson-Aarons. It was Aarons to whom many of the Jackson kids turned when their father was abusing them.
Jermaine does give credit, however, to their tutor, Rose Fine, also Jewish, also pointed out in case we didn’t get it.
None of this is terribly shocking. It was Michael who wrote and sang in “They Don’t Care About Us”: “Jew me. sue me…kick me, kike me…”
Otherwise., “You Are Not Alone” is quite a fanciful read. Jermaine basically absolves his father of all wrong doing, and says Michael misunderstood his “abuse.” It was just Joseph trying to keep the kids away from gangs. So he beat them. Jermaine dismisses all press reports of Joseph’s violence. But I can tell you that between Joseph’s own admissions and those of past employees–even Katherine Jackson on “Oprah”– none of what Jermaine says is true. This is sad.
Jermaine is wrong about so many things–about Michael’s manager Frank Dileo, and about how the “This Is It” concerts were originally conceived. He says that Michael’s manager in 2008, the non doctor Tohme Tohme, came up with the idea. In fact, it was Randy Phillips of AEG Live, in 2007, who first told me he’d approached Michael to play a series of dates at London’s O2 Arena. And it was not AEG that brought in Dileo and John Branca during the 2009 rehearsals. Michael happily brought Frank Dileo back, and Dileo brought back Branca. If anyone was unhappy, it was Jermaine–he was cut out again.
What Jermaine does reveal: that he and his wife Halima (there’s no mention of Jermaine’s second wife, Alejandra, mother of two of his children, and mother of two children with brother Randy–that whole episode of spousal sharing is absent) found Tohme and introduced him to Michael in 2008. In an interview I did with Tohme in 2009, the faux doctor made it seem like he’d been friends with Michael and the Jacksons for years. In fact Jermaine says he and Halima heard about him from mutual friends in Gabon, Africa in 2008. Later Jermaine is shocked when Tohme turns against him and tries to auction off all the possessions from Neverland without authority.
But you can only feel sorry for Jermaine Jackson. He rationalizes his father’s abuse while detailing beatings and violence, including the use of “switches.” He confirms that “over time, Randy and Janet got to know what the belt felt like, mainly for disobedience.” Jermaine admits “There is no denying that Michael was terrified of our father.” But in the same breath, Jermaine writes: “If he [Joseph] had truly abused us, we wouldn’t still be speaking to him…” I would counter that Michael was not speaking to his father at the time of his death, and would be mortified to see how Joseph Jackson has since behaved.
That Jermaine lives in denial is most evident when he writes about his own relationship with Michael.. Jermaine wrote and recorded a song called “Word to the Badd” in the 90s as a rebuke to Michael’s scandal-ridden life style. Now he blames LA Reid and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds for allowing out a “leaked” version that Jermaine never intended. The result was a sit down with Michael and their parents. Of course, in Jermaine’s version, Michael forgives him and the brothers become closer. And so “You Are Not Alone” becomes a fantasy.