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'Dance Crew' Judge Shane Sparks

I Believe

Wade Robson

5/12/2013 6:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0510-shane-sparks-michael-jackson-wade-robsonFormer "America's Best Dance Crew" judge Shane Sparks -- a convicted statutory rapist -- has Wade Robson's back ... telling TMZ, he believes Michael Jackson molested the choreographer.

TMZ broke the story ... Wade has filed a claim with the MJ Estate, alleging the King of Pop molested him for 7 years, from the time he was 7 until he turned 14.

Shane tells TMZ, "I've been knowing Wade forever. Because of the man he is, I do believe him. I don't think he would lie about this because this could hurt him ... He don’t need the publicity or the money. I think this is something that has been on his mind and he had to get it off."

Shane tells us, a big clue emerged soon after he met Wade, who was not much older than 7 at the time.

According to Shane, Wade's tiny apartment was filled with ridiculously expensive electronics -- mixing boards, beat machines, video games, and other "rich kid" toys ... all of which were gifts from Michael.

Shane says Wade was so tight with MJ, he was allowed to host birthday parties at Neverland Ranch without Michael present -- and the only room that was off limits was Michael's bedroom.

Background on Shane, a self-professed MJ fan ... back in 2011, he was convicted of having unlawful sex with a minor under 16.


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Truth is everyone really believes Wade. It's just that he didn't come out and admit it during the trail but he prob didn't because he was afraid MJ would go to jail. Mixed feelings and fear.

527 days ago


Hey TMZ...

How many celebs did you ask did you ask
If Wade Robson is a Liar ???

Harvey, is it true your Gay ?

527 days ago


Look at all of these pedophile lovers.

526 days ago

The Truth    

Why do people persist with this nonsense Michael's unamed insursers made him settle, how?

It's his signature on doc-uments released, no mention of any insurers.

When was the last time an insurance company insisted not questioning a claim for $20m ?

How come Michael Jackson was the only one who said an insurance company paid over his head, that has to be a first?

Why did Michael Jackson fight tooth and nail to prevent the financial details of the '93 agreement being made public when the lawyer who'd acted for the claimant was quite happy for them to be known?

The same as when Michael's meat & veg were slapped infront of the LA Police he knew the game would be up.

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526 days ago


Ray charles could see micheal was a pedophile.. But we all thought he was a saint when he died.. I thinks its rediculous that this wade individual would Wait.. until the man is dead to bring this all up.. considering the fact he had an opportunity to TELL THE TRUTH. He swore before god and lied..

526 days ago


A CONVICTED child raspiest making assumptions on MJ who was found INNOCENT in a court of law ? LOL What idiots anyone of you are to believe or agree with this idiot! MJ always bought others RICH BOY or GIRL toys and gifts! LOL He wasn't molesting ANYONE! He just believed he should share his wealth with others less fortunate! And was taken advantage by those who were greedy too!

526 days ago


A CONVICTED child raspiest making assumptions on MJ who was found INNOCENT in a court of law ? LOL What idiots anyone of you are to believe or agree with this idiot! MJ always bought others RICH BOY or GIRL toys and gifts! LOL He wasnt molesting ANYONE!@ NHe just believed he should share his wealth with others less fortunate! And was taken advantage by those who were greedy too!

526 days ago


MJ is an embarrassment to the black community. There I said it. All you brothers and sisters should stop defending the pedophile, its crazy man.

Call a spade a spade. If yall would stop burying your head in the sand, maybe Michael would be alive today!

526 days ago


Can a law suit be filed against the Estate for what MJ did while he was alive? How could the Estate defend the law suit?

526 days ago


The amount of support for Michael Jackson at this point is pretty disgusting. When have we become a society that looks over not ONCE, not TWICE, but several children that have been molested now because the guy "wrote good songs and was a great dancer" What happened to not caring about someone's wealth enough to overlook damaging young members of our society? There is NO way a lawyer would have instructed him to file if he thought it would result in perjury. It's not.... because of the simple fact he had repressed memories, so clearly wasn't aware at the time of trial. Psychology 101 tells us this is a very real condition. If he was so concerned about money, why would he file a case and then leave the state? You don't think it's going to be expensive to fly to meet all necessary requirements? The man had a nervous breakdown which resulted in a realization he had been molested and he was diagnosed by a reputable child psychologist.... who I'm sure cares more about his patients then getting a "piece of the pie." Why is it so hard for everyone to believe the obvious just because the guy can sing? If I wanted to attract a bunch of diabetics to my yard, I'd fill it with sugar....if I wanted to attract a bunch of young boys, I'd build a carnival and call it neverland - kind of like the lost BOYS of Peter Pan (can someone remind me who the lost GIRLS were?) EXACTLY. Now should we start on how he died? Cause drug addicts who constantly get their way are SUPER stable people, right? People don't protect children at all anymore...and it's tragic...that's why our kids are going to movie theaters to kill, or elementary schools. Just because you like the moonwalk, doesn't mean you have to be so contrite about this man losing his career, reputation and livelihood. I'm pretty sure he won't win the case....but I am pretty sure it's more about closure and justice than making a dime.

526 days ago


Choreographer: No signs Jackson was ill in 2009

May 13, 2013, 7:56 PM EST

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY , AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An associate choreographer who worked on Michael Jackson's planned comeback concerts testified Monday that she didn't see any signs that the pop superstar was ill or might die in the final days of his life.

"I just never in a million years thought he would leave us, or pass away," Stacy Walker told jurors hearing a lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother against concert promoter AEG Live LLC. "It just never crossed my mind."

Walker, who is testifying for AEG, said Jackson appeared thinner than he had been in previous years and wore multiple layers of clothes while rehearing for his "This Is It" shows planned for London's O2 arena. She said despite Jackson missing multiple rehearsals, she was convinced based on his performances the last two days of his life that he was ready for the series of shows.

Her testimony was supported by Travis Payne, an associate director on the "This Is It" concerts. Payne, who rehearsed one-on-one with Jackson and helped craft the creative vision for the show, said he never saw signs that Jackson was ill or impaired in early preparations.

"I thought he was thinner than he was in the past, but I didn't have any reason to be alarmed," Payne said.

He briefly discussed Jackson missing rehearsals, but has not yet addressed Jackson's appearance in his final days. Payne resumes testifying Tuesday.

Walker said she attributed Jackson's multilayered wardrobe to a personal preference. She said she recalled one incident in which Jackson may have appeared groggy or drugged, but she said she couldn't remember whether she witnessed or heard about it from others on the show.

Walker was the first witness called by AEG in a trial filed by Jackson's mother, Katherine, against the concert promoter. Her suit claims AEG didn't properly investigate the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death and that its executives missed signs that the singer was unprepared for the comeback shows.

AEG denies all wrongdoing, and contends Jackson hid his struggles with prescription drug addiction. Jackson died in June 2009 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, which he had been using as a sleep aid.

Previous witnesses have testified that Jackson was shivering, had to be fed by others and appeared unprepared while preparing for the "This Is It" shows.

Walker said she never saw any of that behavior, although she acknowledged that her job was to work with other dancers and not Jackson directly.

"I wasn't looking for things at the time," she said. "I wish I was."

Payne, however, worked with Jackson individually almost every day for the last three months of the singer's life. He ate lunches with Jackson, saying the star's appetite varied daily. The "Thriller" singer was able to perform many of his familiar dance moves, although they had to be modified because the singer was 50 years old and not as limber as he had been decades earlier.

He said Jackson was tired for some of the sessions and that "some days would be better than others."

A medical examiner who conducted Jackson's autopsy testified Tuesday that Jackson was not underweight when he died and appeared to be in excellent health.

Despite testimony from some witnesses that Jackson appeared emaciated, Dr. Christopher Rogers said the singer did not bear the signs of someone who was starving when he died.

Walker and Payne, who have worked with Jackson since the 1990s, were called Monday because they are slated to leave the country for work. The trial is expected to last several more weeks.

526 days ago


Witness: 'Everybody was lying' after Michael Jackson died

By Alan Duke, CNN

updated 9:43 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013

The death in 2009 of superstar Michael Jackson, who died of cardiac arrest at the age of 50, sent shockwaves around the world. The death in 2009 of superstar Michael Jackson, who died of cardiac arrest at the age of 50, sent shockwaves around the world.

The Jackson 5 perform on a TV show circa 1969. From left, Tito Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Jackie Jackson and Jermaine Jackson.

Michael Jackson quickly became the stand out star of the Jackson 5. Here he performs onstage circa 1970.

Michael Jackson poses during a portrait session in Los Angeles in 1971.

Michael Jackson performs with The Jacksons in New Orleans on October 3, 1979.

Jackson achieved superstardom with his solo career in the 1980s. Here Jackson is shown on stage in Kansas in 1983.

Michael Jackson performs on stage circa 1990.

Jackson broke a world record during the Bad tour in 1988 when 504,000 people attending seven sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium in London.

Jackson perfoms in concert circa 1991 in New York City.

Known for his dance moves, Jackson is seen here jumping in the air while performing during the Dangerous tour in 1992.

Michael Jackson performs in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Jackson performs with his brothers.

Jackson performs during the Bad tour at Wembley Stadium in London.

Jackson performs during the taping of "American Bandstand's 50th: A Celebration" in 2002.

Michael Jackson earned the Legend Award during the MTV Video Music Awards in Tokyo in 2006.

Michael Jackson, King of Pop


"I can see Michael's heart beat through the skin in his chest," stylist says
"Get him a bucket of chicken," manager says
"It was such a cold response, it broke my heart," makeup artist says
Wife Debbie Rowe "was obviously in love with Michael," witness says

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The portrait of Michael Jackson in the last week of his life, painted by people close to him, is a disturbing picture of an emaciated man, unable to sleep or eat, and unlikely to be ready for his comeback concerts just days away.

"Oh, my God, Turkle, I can see Michael's heart beat through the skin in his chest," stylist Michael Bush said after a costume fitting six days before his death on June 19, 2009.

Turkle is the nickname of makeup artist Karen Faye, who testified Thursday and Friday in Jackson's wrongful death trial. Her testimony has been the most dramatic so far.

Proceedings continue Monday with choreographer Stacy Walker on the witness stand.

Katherine Jackson: Michael's mother, 82, was deposed for nine hours over three days by AEG Live lawyers. As the guardian of her son's three children, she is a plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit against the company that promoted Michael Jackson's comeback concerts.

Prince Jackson: Michael's oldest son is considered a key witness in the Jacksons' case against AEG Live, since he is expected to testify about what his father told him about the concert promoter in the last days of his life. Prince, who turned 16 in February, is becoming more independent -- he now has a driver's license and jobs.

Paris Jackson: Michael's daughter, who turns 15 on April 3, is on the list of witnesses and was questioned by AEG Live lawyers for several hours on March 21 about her father's death. Paris is an outspoken teen who often posts messages to her 1 million-plus Twitter followers.

Blanket Jackson: Although AEG Live asked the judge to order Blanket, 11, to sit for a deposition, and he is one of the four plaintiffs suing them, Michael's youngest son will not be a witness in the trial. His doctor submitted a note to the court saying it would be "medically detrimental" to the child.

Kevin Boyle: The Los Angeles personal injury lawyer is leading the Jackson team of at least six attorneys in the wrongful death suit against AEG Live. One of his notable cases was a large settlement with Boeing on behalf of two soldiers injured when their helicopter malfunctioned and crashed in Iraq.

Perry Sanders, Jr.: Katherine Jackson's personal lawyer is helping steer the Jackson matriarch through her relations with her son's estate, probate court and the wrongful death suit. He is also known for representing the family of Biggie Smalls in their suit against the city of Los Angeles over the rapper's death investigation.

Marvin Putnam: He's the lead lawyer for AEG Live, defending against the wrongful death suit. The primary focus of his legal practice is "media in defense of their First Amendment rights," according to his official biography.

Philip Anschutz: The billionaire owner of AEG, parent company of AEG Live, is on the Jacksons' witness list. He is the force behind the effort to build a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles to lure a National Football League team to the city. He recently pulled his company off the market after trying to sell it for $8 billion.

Tim Leiweke: He was recently fired as AEG's president as Philip Anschutz announced he was taking a more active role in the company. The Jackson lawyers say Leiweke's e-mail exchanges with executives under him concerning Michael Jackson's health are important evidence in their case.

Joe Jackson: Michael's father, 84, is on the witness list for the trial and may testify. The Jackson family patriarch, who lives in Las Vegas separately from his wife, has suffered several ministrokes in the last year, which some close to him say have affected him.

Randy Phillips: He's president of AEG Live, the concert promoter that contracted with Michael Jackson for his "This Is It" comeback shows set to start in London in July 2009. The Jackson lawsuit says Phillips supervised Dr. Conrad Murray's treatment of Jackson in the weeks before his death, making the company liable for damages. E-mails between Phillips and other executives showed they were worried about Jackson's missed rehearsals and sought Murray's help getting him ready.

Paul Gongaware: The AEG Live co-CEO worked closely with Michael Jackson as he prepared for his comeback concerts. He testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that he contacted the physician and negotiated his hiring at the request of Jackson. AEG lawyers say it was Jackson who chose, hired and supervised Murray. Gongaware knew Jackson well, having been tour manager for the singer in previous years.

Kenny Ortega: He was chosen by Michael Jackson and AEG Live to direct and choreograph the "This Is It" shows. Ortega, who choreographed for Jackson's "Dangerous" and "HIStory" tours, testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that "Jackson was frail" at a rehearsal days before his death.

Dr. Conrad Murray: He was Michael Jackson's personal physician in the two months before his death, giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic that the coroner ruled led to his death. Murray, who is appealing his involuntary manslaughter conviction, has sworn that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination and refused to testify in the civil trial. There is a chance that Murray will be brought into court from jail to testify outside the presence of the jury to allow the judge to determine if he would be ordered to testify.

John Branca: He's one of two executors of Michael Jackson's estate. Branca was Jackson's lawyer until about seven years before his death. He said Jackson rehired him just weeks before he died.

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Mesereau: AEG arguments may backfire
"Get him a bucket of chicken," manager Frank DiLeo said in reply to concerns about Jackson's weight loss, Faye testified.

"It was such a cold response, it broke my heart," Faye said through tears.

Witness: Jackson was paranoid, talking to himself in last days

Michael Jackson's mother and three children contend concert promoter AEG Live is liable in Jackson's death because its executives ignored his health problem and pressured him to prepare for his "This Is It" shows set to debut in London in July 2009.

AEG Live negligently hired, retained and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the pop icon's death, according to the Jackson's lawsuit.

The coroner blamed Jackson's June 25, 2009 death on an overdose of propofol, combined with sedatives, given to him by Dr. Murray as a treatment for insomnia.

AEG lawyers contend that it was Jackson, and not AEG, who hired and supervised Dr. Murray, and that he was responsible for his own decisions. They said these were influenced by a drug addiction its executives did not and could not be expected to know about.

Witness: "Everybody was lying after he died"

The Michael Jackson the public saw in the do***entary "This Is It" -- produced months after his death with 80 hours of video shot during his last rehearsals -- is not reality, Faye said.

She was asked to help retouch the video to make Jackson look healthier on the big screen, she testified. But she refused.

"It was a lie. I didn't want to lie," Faye said. "Everybody was lying after he died, saying that Michael was well, and everybody knew he wasn't. I felt that retouching Michael was just a part of that lie."

Before Faye testified, jurors heard a similarly disturbing description of Jackson in his final days from "This Is It" associate producer Alif Sankey.

Jackson "was not speaking normally" at the June 19 costume fitting, Sankey said. She and producer Kenny Ortega cried after he left because of his appearance and what he said.

"God keeps talking to me," Jackson told Ortega, Sankey testified.

Faye said Jackson seemed "frightened," and he was talking to himself, repeating "the same thing over and over again."

"He kept repeating, 'Why can't I choose?'" she said.

Jackson was shivering from chills, and it was "like I was touching ice" when she put on his makeup, Faye testified.

Faye said she raised her concerns with AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips. He told her, "Yeah, this is bad. It's not so good. I had to scrape Michael off the floor in London ... because he was so drunk," she said.

The Jackson family's legal representation contends Phillips should have gotten Jackson medical care from someone other than Murray.

Sankey, who knew Jackson since she first danced with him in 1987, said she screamed at Ortega in a phone call after the June 19 rehearsal, begging that he get help for Jackson.

"I kept saying that 'Michael is dying, he's dying, he's leaving us, he needs to be put in a hospital,'" Sankey said. "'Please do something. Please, please.' I kept saying that. I asked him why no one had seen what I had seen. He said he didn't know."

Michael Jackson defender files sex abuse claim

Debbie Rowe was "in love with Michael"

The trial, which enters its third week Monday, could offer more previously unpublicized insights into Jackson's life and death.

Along with his oldest children Prince and Paris Jackson, his ex-wife and their mother, Debbie Rowe, is scheduled to testify.

Faye's testimony on Friday offered a glimpse at Jackson's relationship with Rowe, suggesting there was romance involved, or at least jealously.

Faye said that after she was fired from her job during Jackson's "History" tour in 1997, she learned it was because Rowe felt threatened by her relationship with Jackson.

"She was obviously in love with Michael," Faye said. "She had told me for many years that it was her desire to be with him."

Rowe later apologized to her for asking Jackson's manager to let her go, she testified.

"She told me she was jealous of me," Faye said. "She thought that Michael liked me better."

526 days ago


Michael Jackson Remains A Global Phenomenon

Michael Jackson Maintains U.K. Chart Dominance

Michael Jackson went from being Gary, Ind.'s most talented kid to one of the most recognizable human beings on the planet. And while his worldwide album sales were astounding, that wasn't the sole reason for his fame. his ascendancy went far beyond the cash register—he inspired dance moves, dictated fashion trends and raised awareness for social causes around the globe.

Billboard's Full continuing Michael Jackson coverage, including video, charts and more.


Less than a day after Michael Jackson's death, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, announced that the city would erect a statue of the singer in Dona Marta, a favela that was once notorious for drug dealing and is now a model for social development. The change was spurred partly by Jackson's 1996 visit to film the video for "They Don't Care About Us."

Jackson shot two videos for "They Don't Care About Us," the fourth single from "HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I": one in a prison and another in Dona Marta and Salvador da Bahia, a colonial Brazilian city known for its Afro-Brazilian culture and music.

When Jackson came to Brazil to shoot the video, directed by Spike Lee, Rio's local government became concerned that the singer would show the world an unflattering picture of poverty. At the time, Brazilians, like people the world over, saw Jackson as an idol. He'd been to the country twice before, once with the Jackson 5 in the '70s and again in 1993, when he played two concerts in São Paulo to 100,000 people each night.

At the time, the concert promoter Dodi Sirena recalls a "sensitive" artist who asked for an amusement park to be reserved for his use, then invited children from the poorest public schools. "He displayed great concern for everything in the country, with poverty, with street children," Sirena says.

In that context, Jackson's choice of locale for his video made sense. "The video is about the people no one cares about," says Claudia Silva, press liaison for Rio's office of tourism.

When Jackson shot the video in Rio, Silva was a journalist for the daily newspaper O Globo, but Lee and his staff had banned journalists from the shoot because Dona Marta drug dealers didn't want the attention. But Silva found a family that let her spend the night at their home and saw the favela residents washing the streets to prepare for Jackson's arrival. "The people were so proud," Silva says. "That was the best thing for me. People got up early to clean the area, they prepared for him, they took out the trash."

Jackson arrived by helicopter but walked the streets of Dona Marta shaking hands and distributing candy. "People were very surprised in the end, because they were expecting an extraterrestrial guy," Silva says. "And he was—it sounds strange to say this—a normal guy."

Jackson shot scenes in Salvador, alongside throngs of people, accompanied by the Afro-Brazilian cultural group Olodum. In the video, he can be seen dancing to the beat of hundreds of Olodum's drummers and with cheering fans who reach out to touch him—and at one point burst through security and push him to the floor.

"This process to make Dona Marta better started with Michael Jackson," Silva says. "Now it's a safe favela. There are no drug dealers anymore, and there's a massive social project. But all the attention started with Michael Jackson." --Leila Cobo


"Growing up as a young black kid in a township, you either dreamed of being a freedom fighter or being Michael Jackson. It was as simple as that."

So recalls the leading South African R&B artist Loyiso Bala, whose five South African Music Awards are a testament to the fact that he chose to follow the King of Pop.

The 29-year-old likens Jackson's impact on his family—which includes his high-profile musician brothers Zwai and Phelo—to that of former President Nelson Mandela.

"The whole family would drop what they were doing and watch, mesmerized whenever Michael or [Mandela] came on," he says of life in his Kwa-Nobuhle township home, located outside the Eastern Cape town of Uitenhage.

Lupi Ngcayisa, a DJ on Metro FM, South Africa's biggest national urban commercial station, says Jackson's "rich lyrics changed the complexion of black radio."

"He forced black families to debate issues surrounding individualism and race, so his cultural impact here extended beyond simply the music," he says.

That impact was most visible in 1997 when the HIStory tour came to the country for a five-date run that ended Oct. 15 at Durban's King's Park Stadium, the performer's final full-scale concert in support of a studio album. The shows are still the largest the country has ever seen, attracting 230,000 people, according to Attie Van Wyk, CEO of the presenting promoter, Cape Town-based Big Concerts.

Equally notable for a country just three years into post-apartheid democracy was the audience mix. "Black and white, young and old, Michael drew a huge crossover audience that we still don't see often at shows," tour publicist Penny Stein says.

Duncan Gibbon, now strategic marketing director at Sony Music Entertainment South Africa, who worked Jackson's catalog as far back as the apartheid era, says Jackson sold more than 2 million albums in South Africa. More importantly, he says Jackson's music was a unifying point for a deeply divided society.

"South African radio was very racially segmented in the years before 1994," he says. "But Michael proved to be the one artist whose music was played on white pop stations and black R&B stations. It doesn't sound like much now, but it was a very potent thing when you think back to how apartheid attempted to keep everything about black and white society separate." --Diane Coetzer


After 30 years of vilifying everything American, Beijing re-established diplomatic relations with Washington, D.C., Jan. 1, 1979, the same year Jackson released "Off the Wall." At the time, most of China was still clad in drab blue Mao suits, state-controlled radio was almost devoid of Western pop music and record companies had little distribution. But Jackson's music soon took root--with a vengeance.

Beijing-based musician Kaiser Kuo says that the only time he felt physically threatened during the volatile spring of 1989 was because of Jackson's popularity.

On June 3, 1989 -- just as pro-democracy students reached what would prove a fatal deadlock with the government in Tiananmen Square -- Kuo's heavy rock band Tang Dynasty was playing a show in Jilin Province, unaware it had been billed as "Michael Jackson's backup band." Realizing they'd been scammed, the audience "went nuts and burned down the ticket booth," Kuo says. "Jackson was just that popular."

For many in China, reflecting on Jackson means dredging up memories of that era of dashed hopes. Blogger Hong Huang lived much of her childhood in the '70s and '80s in the United States, where her father was a Chinese diplomat. "Back then, I thought nobody in China could be listening to Michael Jackson," she says. Yet Hong hosted three evenings of her late-night TV talk show "Straight Talk" about Jackson's death while the Chinese Internet lit up with discussion of his life and music. The top video-sharing Web site has dozens of posts of Chinese youths moonwalking to his songs in black loafers, white socks and high-water pants.

Jackson's sales in Asia have been strong despite rampant piracy, according to Adam Tsuei, president of Sony Music Entertainment Greater China. Sony says that since 1994 it has sold about 1.2 million Jackson albums in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Jackson never visited mainland China, but Sony says it has sold about 300,000 albums there since 2002, although censorship has prevented the release of his entire catalog.

There had been unconfirmed reports that AEG Live planned to bring Jackson to China after his sold-out London dates. Instead, Shanghai warehouse manager Jin Hailiang says the 150 regular members of the local Jackson fan club he helps manage will host a party Aug. 29, Jackson's birthday.

"His music is so important because it's about love," he says, "and it makes us feel free to dance." --Jonathan Landreth


For many people in India -- a market where international repertoire accounts for just 5% of physical music sales -- Michael Jackson is Western pop.

Alone among Western artists, his popularity isn't confined to English-speaking urban Indians. Among the country's rural youth his celebrity competes with Bollywood stars for one reason: his trademark dance moves.

"Anybody who dances well is compared with Michael Jackson," says Nikhil Gangavane, who founded India's official, 13,000-member Jackson fan club. "The moonwalk made Michael reach from the classes to the masses in India."

The way Bollywood appropriated Jackson's moves and style connected with Indian fans. "Actors, established choreographers, aspiring composers, kids in dance shows—everybody borrowed ideas," says British-born hip-hop star Hard Kaur, now a Bollywood star.

Indian actors, from Javed Jaffrey to Hrithik Roshan, say they were inspired by Jackson's dancing. And the southern Indian movie industry still uses Jackson-esque routines, thanks to the influence of dancers and choreographers like Prabhu Deva, known as "India's Michael Jackson" for his lightning-fast moves.

Jackson's recorded-music sales are also significant. Arjun Sankalia, associate director of Sony Music Entertainment India, says the 25th-anniversary edition of "Thriller" sold 15,000 copies. The album's initial release sold more than 100,000, according to Suresh Thomas, former branch manager of the southern region for CBS India—a joint venture between India's Tata Group and CBS America. "Bad," which had an inlay card translated into regional languages, sold 200,000. None of the totals include the millions of pirated versions that have been sold.

Jackson proved his popularity on the subcontinent with the one show he performed in India -- Nov. 1, 1996, at Mumbai's Andheri Sports Complex. A 70,000-seat sellout, it was organized by Shiv Sena political party leader Raj Thackeray to raise funds to provide jobs for young people in the state of Maharashtra -- and boost the party's popularity among young urban voters.

Jackson arrived at Mumbai airport Oct. 30 and was greeted by actress Sonali Bendre, who put the traditional Hindu "tilak" mark on his forehead. A motorcade escorted him to the concert, and he stepped out of the car several times during the journey to wave at the thousands of fans lining the streets between the airport and his hotel lobby.

Fans still remember. "Go to any village, any corner in India and you'll find everyone is familiar with the name Michael Jackson," Kaur says. "There is no musician who can replace MJ." --Ahir Bhairab Borthakur


There's big in Japan, and there's Michael Jackson.

Fans ranging from teenagers to 50-somethings -- many dressed in Jackson's trademark outfits—staged an impromptu candlelit memorial June 27 in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. While some showed off dance moves and sang songs, others wept openly and prayed at makeshift altars.

"It's funny," one attendee said. "The gathering at [Harlem's] Apollo Theater was like a celebration of his life, but Japanese people go straight into mourning."

Jackson won over Japan like few Western stars before or since. Famous in the country since the release of "Off the Wall," he became even bigger in 1987, when he started his "Bad" world tour at the Tokyo Dome. He sold out 14 shows, drawing about 450,000 fans and taking in an estimated 5 billion yen ($52 million). Hundreds of screaming girls greeted his arrival at Tokyo's Narita Airport, which was covered by 1,000 journalists; another 300 covered the arrival of Bubbles, Jackson's chimp, who came on a separate flight.

"No other performer had Michael Jackson's star power in Japan," says Archie Meguro, senior VP of Sony Music Japan International. "He was so loved for his talent, his music, his dance and his gentle soul."

Sony reports career album sales of at least 4.9 million for Jackson in Japan, making him one of the top-selling international artists. "Thriller" alone sold 2.5 million copies. But his impact went beyond sales. His 1987 tour helped reshape J-pop's choreography, as performers tried to appropriate his moves.

The news of his death caused such a stir in Japanese society that three cabinet ministers took the unusual step of commenting on his passing.

Sales of Jackson's catalog have spiked, and six of his albums made SoundScan Japan's Top 200 Albums chart. By the morning of June 27, Tower Records' seven-story flagship store in Shibuya had three displays of his albums and DVDs. Jackson had attended an event there in 1996, presided over by then-Tower Records Japan president Keith Cahoon. "The fan club members who attended were mostly young girls who shrieked ‘Michael!' in incredibly loud and high-pitched voices," he recalls, "and Michael replied in a soft voice that was nearly as high."

"Michael is the biggest entertainment influence on the Japanese people after the Beatles," says Ken Ohtake, president of Sony Music Publishing Japan. "He will always remain in the hearts of the Japanese people as an extraordinary and unparalleled artist." --Rob Schwartz

525 days ago


Billboard - Michael Jackson Related Stories

525 days ago


Court urged to reject appeal of Michael Jackson doctor

Published May 14, 2013

Associated Press

Jackson AEG Suit_Cala.jpg

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, file photo, Michael Jackson's former doctor Conrad Murray sits in a courtroom during his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles. Jurors hearing a civil case on Wednesday May 1,2013 against Jackson's concert promoter that Murray was more than $500,000 in debt and his finances were severely distressed. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, Pool, File) (AP2013)

LOS ANGELES – The involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michael Jackson's doctor should not be overturned because there were no serious errors made by the judge overseeing his criminal case, a state attorney wrote in a filing urging a court to reject his appeal.

Supervising Deputy Attorney General Victoria B. Wilson wrote in a response Monday to Conrad Murray's appeal that the former cardiologist's own lawyers forfeited several opportunities to object to a judge's rulings in the case.

"The record shows that (Murray) was playing Russian roulette with Mr. Jackson's life over the course of several months."

- from the written statement of Supervising Deputy Attorney General Victoria B. Wilson

Wilson's filing also states jurors were presented overwhelming evidence that Murray's actions caused Jackson's death and his conviction should be upheld.

Rulings cited by Murray's attorneys as legal errors by Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor were not mistakes, but rather kept the jury focused on whether the physician was responsible for Jackson's June 2009 death, Wilson wrote.

Murray remains jailed after being sentenced to four years behind bars for providing Jackson with the anesthetic propofol, which the singer overdosed on in his bedroom.

"The record shows that (Murray) was playing Russian roulette with Mr. Jackson's life over the course of several months," Wilson wrote.

His attorney Valerie Wass appealed the conviction in April, arguing that Pastor erred by not allowing jurors to hear evidence about Jackson's troubled finances, his contract with concert giant AEG Live LLC, and by not sequestering the jury and allowing television coverage.

Wilson wrote that none of those rulings were errors, or would warrant overturning Murray's conviction.

"The argument is nothing more than the reflection of a criminal defendant who harbors no sense of responsibility or remorse for taking the life of a human being," Wilson wrote.

"Of course I disagree," Wass said Monday night. "I believe there were serious errors made."

She said Wilson's filing didn't address her argument that the prosecution theory about how Jackson overdosed was incorrect and how additional forensic testing could demonstrate that.

Wilson's filing however noted that Murray's three-person legal team had access to evidence in the case for months before the trial, and in some cases conceded they hadn't thought to raise certain issues.

Wass said she would raise what she said were omissions in Wilson's response in a subsequent filing.

Jackson's finances and his relationship with AEG and Murray are the subject of a civil lawsuit being heard at a courthouse down the street from where Murray was convicted. The case brought by Jackson's mother against AEG claims the concert giant failed to properly investigate Murray before allowing him to serve as a tour doctor, and ignored signs of Jackson's poor health.

AEG denies wrongdoing, and a deputy medical examiner who conducted Jackson's autopsy told jurors Monday that the pop singer appeared to be in excellent health when he died.

Allowing the criminal jury to hear evidence of Jackson's massive debts and pending lawsuits would have been a distraction, and a mistake, Wilson wrote.

Pastor was right to be concerned that presenting evidence of Jackson's financial troubles "would result in a salacious sideshow of Mr. Jackson's finances and lawsuits and run the risk of distracting the jury from its task of deciding (Murray's) guilt," she wrote.

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