If you lived through the 80′s, you know the big question everyone was asking: Who’s better, Michael Jackson or Prince? Even if you missed the 80′s, chances are, you’re more than familiar with The Great Debate that still rages to this day. And although I think the rivalry was more about the fanbases than the artists themselves, the debate has at times gotten quite ugly and fierce. Heck, there are even entire websites dedicated to it, in best “Celebrity Death Match” style!
http://www.convinceme.net/coldebate/676/Caged-Fight-Michael-Jackson-vs-Prince.html (Warning: Some of the jokes are kind of mean, but some of them are pretty funny!).
Since I’ve been a fan of both, to greater and lesser degrees throughout the years, I think I can offer up a pretty fair, unbiased analysis of this “rivalry.”
First of all, how did such a perceived rivalry come about in the first place? Well, for the same reason that people endlessly debate The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones, or The Munsters vs. The Addams Family, or Pepsi vs. Coke. It goes without saying that before you can successfully compare or contrast any two things (or persons) they must first have a Basis Of Comparison-in other words, they must share enough fundamental things in common to make the comparison valid.
The bottom line is that I think their real basis for comparison lies in these factors: Both black males, the two biggest selling solo artists of the decade; both with wide cross-over appeal and perhaps, most importantly, a global and diverse audience made of…well, many, many female fans. Female fans of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities. Together, they personified Black Male Sexual Power in a way few artists before them ever had.
Performance in Europe showcases Michael’s sexual appeal to a mostly all-white, female audience:
Maybe it was the comeuppance for all those years that pretty white boys like Elvis Presley got to steal the music and corner the market, while managing to get all the girls, and of course it was all perfectly “safe” since guys like Elvis were sanitized, white…and “safe.”
But for all their commonality, it was their differences that really fueled the fire of the “rivalry.” Although I will argue that their differences were perhaps not as pronounced as many think, and in some cases complete myths (such as the incorrect assumption some Prince fans have that Michael didn’t write his own music or play instruments) we can’t ignore the fact that their differences are what eventually compelled most fans to choose allegiances, depending on personal preference.
Early on, Michael came across as more of a cleancut, Disney-esque personae. Even though early videos like Billie Jean and Beat It made it evident that he had definitely sexed up and toughened up his Jackson 5 image, it still never felt dirty. Even when his music rocked out, it still maintained a pop sheen. Prince, by contrast, came across as much edgier, more like an updated Jimi Hendrix than a pop artist. He played electric guitar. He sang dirty, raunchy lyrics-and what’s more, he gave the apperance of really meaning them!
In short, despite all their elements in common, they seemed-at least deceptively, at first-to be polar opposites. In the mid 80′s, the lines seemed very clearly drawn. Michael Jackson was like a one-man version of The Beatles-poppy, polished, clean and happy. Prince was like the one-man version of The Rolling Stones-dark, dirty, a bit dangerous and full of angst.
Or in other words, if you asked most girls in the 80′s which guy they would bring home to meet their mothers, the answer most certainly would have been Michael Jackson. Prince was more like the dirty boy you met up with in a backalley and didn’t dare tell anyone.
But it wouldn’t take long for those clearly drawn lines to blur considerably.
Just as The Beatles gradually became darker and more angst-ridden as the 60′s progressed, so, too, did Michael eventually become a darker, angrier, and more sexual personae. By the same token, as Prince became more spiritual in his personal life, he reinvented himself onstage to become more of a prophet than a boy toy for Darling Nikki.
As far as arguing “who is better” I think that is really a moot point that doesn’t interest me. Both have a legacy that is untouchable. Both have proven their mettle by the sheer number of awards won between them and their respective record sales. Between them, they have both written some of the most enduring pop classics of the past thirty years. If it’s true that Prince played more instruments than Michael and was better at it, it is equally true that Michael Jackson’s dance talent alone put him in an entirely different stratosphere-and one for which he owes no aplogies to anyone!
As songwriters, one of the common myths is that Prince was more prolific. However, this isn’t true, either. Both Michael and Prince have been two of the most prolific songwriters of our generation. It has often been said that Michael wrote literally hundreds of songs for every album he did. The only reason it appears that Prince was the more productive of the two is because many more of his songs were released, either on his albums or covered by other artists, whereas Michael, being the picky perfectionist that he was, tended to hold back more, often sitting on songs for years if he didn’t feel they were up to his standards. Michael’s releases were fewer and further between, but I think few would argue that his was clearly a case of quality over quantity.
I also think it goes without saying that Michael was the bigger humanitarian, and most philanthropic of the two, though Prince has certainly contributed to charities and his music has reflected a growing spiritual awareness of the problems of the planet. In all fairness, he may do a lot more under the radar-just as Michael did-than what is reported. That fact is somewhat confirmed by this article:
But I do believe Michael had the edge, simply as more recognizable and beloved global icon who had the influence to make a difference. However, I’m sure Prince fans could make a good arguement for the fact that Prince’s personal life has never been plagued by the scandals and allegations that Michael had to contend with, either.
Overall, however, I don’t think it really has to be an arguement as to “who is better.” That is, and has always been, a fan-driven debate, just like football fans will debate infinitely as to why they prefer one team over another. In the end, it simply comes down to personal preference. Obviously, I have a bias in favor of Michael. But there was a time in my life when I was probably a bigger Prince fan (no tomatoes, please, lol!). Obviously, my tastes and preferences evolved through the years, but I think that is normal. As human beings, we shouldn’t be static. Prince and Michael certainly weren’t! They both recognized the importance of evolving. And naturally, their art reflected their evolving lives. So, just as life and art are not static, neither should we allow out tastes to be.
Thus, my focus for this article is not to attempt to answer the “who is better” debate, or to focus on their differences, but rather, to look at some of the amazing parallels in their lives. The truth is, these two artists have (and yes, I am writing in present tense because when it comes to his art, Michael is still very much alive) much more in common than not-including some things that might surprise you!
Birth and Family Names:
Prince Roger Nelson and Michael Joseph Jackson both entered the world during the summer of 1958. Baby Prince arrived just a little over two months before Michael, on June 7, 1958 (Michael would arrive August 29th). Interestingly enough, Madonna would complete the trilogy of Future 80′s Superstars Born During the Summer of ’58, arriving just a few weeks before Michael on August 16th. Both Michael and Prince made their auspicious debuts in midwestern America. Unlike Michael, Prince came from a relatively small family of only two siblings, himself and a younger sister. Michael would begin working by age five; Prince would not become a star until adulthood. However, they both displayed amazing aptitude and talent at very young ages, and both had fathers with musical backgrounds. Joe Jackson played guitar in a local group called The Falcons. Prince’s father, John Nelson, performed in a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. Both were pushed into musical careers more by their fathers than their mothers. Of course, we all know the story of how Joe Jackson pushed his sons into becoming the phenomenonal Jackson 5. Likewise, Prince’s father was quoted as saying, “I named my son Prince because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do.”
The somewhat unique first name that John Nelson chose for his son was also a name that had been handed down for years in Michael’s own family, on his maternal side. Prince Albert Screws (later changed to Scruse), Michael’s maternal grandfather, bore the name, as did his father before him. Although Michael himself would be given the common name of “Michael,” he retained the tradition with the birth of his own sons, who would carry on their great-grandfather’s name.
Two different families; three different generations of Prince!
And…you want a REAL Twilight Zone moment? Prince’s mother’s maiden name was Mattie Shaw. Michael Jackson’s maternal grandmother bore the very similar name of Martha (Mattie) Upshaw!
In Touch With A Higher Power:
Both Michael and Prince displayed at a very young age an indication that they were extra sensitive children with an ability to tap into a spirituality far beyond their years. Before Michael was even ten years old, he would cry at the images of starving children on TV, and told his mother that when he got big enough, he would help all the children of the world (and he did just that!). Prince was said to have been born with epilepsy. But at a very young age, the seizures mysteriously vanished. Later, he would recount in an interview an incident that occurred before he was even old enough to remember.
“My mother told me once day I walked up to her and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be sick anymore,’ and she said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because an angel told me so.’”
Awards And Accolades:
There’s no doubt, as far as music awards go, that Michael won more. Michael Jackson has 18 Grammys to Prince’s 7, and additionally, 26 AMA awards (as compared to Prince’s 4 wins), 40 Billboard awards, and 13 World Music Awards. In all, Michael’s number of awards won totals an impressive, whopping 387!
However, Prince did win the one award that would elude Michael Jackson throughout his life-the Academy Award! (For Purple Rain as Best Original Song in 1985).
A bit of trivia: What is the one award they both won, and the same number of times? Answer: The Golden Globe Award. They each won once, Michael for Ben in 1971, and Prince for The Song of the Heart, from the movie “Happy Feet,” in 2007.
For a complete list of all awards that Prince has won or been nominated for:
The Curse of “The Big One”:
Where do you go once your own album has been not only the biggest selling album of the decade (in Michael’s case, of all time) but one of its two most iconic albums of the decade? For Michael and Prince, living up to Thriller and Purple Rain would be the two biggest challenges of their respective careers. For both, every subsequent album would be held up to these two. Although in my opinion, they both went on to better work, their commercial success-or lack thereof-would always be gauged by these two albums-the albums that both defined, and ultimately, confined them.
The Girls In The Band:
Female guitarists were still a novelty in the early 80′s, when Prince hired Lisa and Wendy to be part of The Revolution. Never one to be outdone by Prince, Michael’s answer was the blonde bombshell Jennifer Batten. Although it’s never been expressly stated that Michael was trying purposely to keep up with Prince, Jennifer Batten herself said when I attended her Q&A session at the Fanvention last August that Michael had a very specific image in his mind for what he wanted in a girl guitarist-and she, the mousy little gal with the glasses and brown hair, was made over in that image! While Wendy and Lisa played on every man’s lesbian fantasy, Jennifer offered up her own somewhat gender bending contrast to Michael’s male energy, as the Nordic rock goddess with chops of steel!
Prince performed a duet with Madonna on her 1989 album Like a Prayer and played guitar on several tracks, including the title track. It is unknown if he became a Madonna Boy Toy although I’m sure Miss “Express Yourself” at least gave it her best shot, if I know her!
Michael and Madonna had planned to shoot In The Closet together, but ultimately, disagreed over Madonna’s concept for the video (her bright idea was for them both to dress in drag and turn the video into a controversial gender-bender romp; thank goodness Michael’s common sense prevailed!). It is unknown whether she was 100% succesful in making Michael her Boy Toy although she did confess at one point they were “sucking face.” (Can partial victory count?).
Dirty Diana vs. Darling Nikki:
As if it wasn’t enough that they were already considered rivals in every respect, they each even came equipped with their own groupies! While Prince’s “Darling Nikki’s” sexcapade antics may have sent Tipper Gore into a frenzy, and expedited the formation of the PMRC and those “Explicit Warning” stickers we still have even today, Michael’s “Dirty Diana” was a whole ‘nother brand of Medusa, an ambitious, souless, siren of a groupie who could literally lure a man to his ruination. While Darling Nikki was masturbating with magazines (a relatively healthy and harmless pursuit), Dirty Diana was on the phone telling your wife “he’s sleeping with me” and plotting your demise! Darling Nikki would show you a really good time. But Dirty Diana would strip your flesh bare, eat you alive for breakfast, and pick her teeth with the leftover bones!
Morale to the story: Explicit lyrics do not a dirty vixen make. Dirty Diana lived up to her name, and played far dirtier than Nikki ever could!
But their two most well-known groupies also reflect something very fundamental about the way both performers (at this stage of their careers) viewed women and sex. Prince had adopted the stereotypical, macho rock ‘n’roll personae which basically states that all women are playthings to be enjoyed in their own good time. Michael’s approach, as so often in his 80′s songs about women and sex, is the moralistic, cautionary tale approach. In other words: Lust comes with a heavy price, and moral consequences.
At the end of the Dirty Diana video, Michael opens the limo door to find HER there, in the backseat, waiting. The sudden, discordant, ominous note; the look on his face, says it all. Interestingly enough, an online reviewer analyzing this video’s criteria for the “Ten Things Every 80′s Video Must Have” noted how Michael did NOT look happy to find Dirty Diana in his backseat. The implication seemed to be that here was one more bit of evidence that Michael Jackson was asexual or didn’t like girls. To that person, I would highly suggest going back and watching the video again, and really paying attention to the MESSAGE! The reason his character does not look happy in that moment is because he knows he has just walked into the trap, and that his soul’s been had!
Which perhaps leads me to my next category:
Love, Sex, and Witnssing For Jehovah:
The greatest parallel in the lives of Prince and Michael Jackson cannot be underestimated: They have both served as devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, though not at the same time. In fact, it’s very interesting that Prince actually became a Jehovah’s Witness long after Michael had broken away from the church. Michael had been raised as a JW from an early age, and throughout most of his young adult life, was a devout believer and follower. Prince, on the other hand, who had been raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, converted to the JW faith in 2001.
From: Sean O’Hagan, “Royal Blush”, published in The Observer, 4 April 2004 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,1186112,00.html; viewed 15 November 2005):
Given all that has happened, then, it is perhaps unsurprising that, like many pioneering black artists before him, Prince has sought solace in the church. Though he was brought up as a practising Seventh Day Adventist he has recently, like Michael Jackson before him, become a Jehovah’s Witness.The story of his conversion broke in typically surreal fashion last October, when a newspaper in his hometown reported how a married couple had answered their door to find Prince proffering a copy of the Watchtower. Though they were orthodox Jews, and it was Yom Kippur, they were also Prince fans. They welcomed him into the house where, with his friend Larry Graham, erstwhile member of Sly & the Family Stone, one of Prince’s core influences, he spread the word of Jehovah for 20 minutes before moving on to the next house.
Although he has always spoken openly about his religious beliefs – ‘The Cross’ from Sign ‘O’ the Times was a veritable hymn – and his conversion had been signalled in retrospect by his recent album The Rainbow Children, which can now be read as a paean to his new-found faith, the media viewed his outing as further confirmation that Prince was now second only to Michael Jackson in the pop oddball stakes.
What this means in terms of his musical direction is probably of interest to none but the most diehard of Prince fans. The rest of us, many of whom anticipated Prince’s Eighties releases with the kind of excitement that only attends the work of the truly gifted, now look forward to the release of yet another Prince album with a mixture of resignation and wishful thinking.
‘You hope against hope for him to come back and cut it like he used to,’ says DJ Norman Jay, a man who played at several Prince parties in the Eighties, ‘but with every hyped record that turns out to be just another Prince album, that hope diminishes. He’s the classic illustration of the old A&R adage that if you give an artist total creative control, you’ll destroy them. He’s been allowed to release far too much stuff, and he’s probably surrounded himself with people who are all telling him everything he touches is great. That’s a recipe for pure self-indulgence even – especially – where genius is concerned.’
It’s intereting to note the overall, sarcastic tone of this article (aside from the “second to Michael Jackson in the pop oddball stakes”). It’s the same sort of “criticism” that would befall Michael as he attempted to broaden and evolve his artistry in the 90′s and beyond. In the case of Michael and Prince, they would both be criticized for the rest of their careers for daring to stray away from being happy “song and dance” men. However, the reasons for their artistic evolvement were, I think, fundamentally polar opposites.
For Michael, the break from his childhood religion probably gave him more personal and artistic freedom than he had ever known, but at a heavy price. That price was the floundering, doubt, and insecurity that came from letting go of the firmest anchor he had known-his faith. For years afterward, he would be torn by feelings of guilt over that decision, although in his later years he did find solace again in traditional Christianity:
The upside was that the break finally freed him of many of the restraints that had held him back. As he became more liberated sexually in his personal life, this was also reflected in a newfound maturity and freedom in his art. He could finally explore many of the themes he had always wanted to, without fear of censor or being de-fellowshipped. His onstage and video personae became more sexual, ironically, just as former “Bad Boy” Prince was becoming more evangelical and “cleaning up” his image.
For someone who had always expressed a fascination with apocalyptic imagery in his work, Prince’s newfound religious zeal seemed cemented with albums like Sign O’ The Times. (Not to mention, I heard he alienated much of his female following by his insistence that the missionary position is the only sanctified sexual position for a man and woman, but that’s an old story and I haven’t been able to find anything that verifies it). This is a quote from a very bitter website that seems to be authored by a frustrated ex-fan (and I will apologize to Prince fans for using this as a source of reference; however, perhaps it’s fitting that as a study in the parallels between the two, we can also note how they have both been subjected to this level of scrutiny):
Quoted from The G Spot, November 8, 2010
“That’s the saddest thing of all – Prince lost his mojo by being lame and getting scared of death and dying.”
This reminds me very much of the same type of criticism that has been heaped upon Michael Jackson for taking on themes such as the media and his persecution.
In short, as both artists began to explore more personal and global themes, they became criticized for self-indulgence and egotism.
Which also brings us to another element in common: Both of them had songs featuring apocalyptic visions, since it could be argued that Michael’s Earth Song was the environmental equivalent of Sign O’ The Times, reflecting the prophecy of the Earth Changes as much as Prince’s song reflected the global crisis of humanity.
As for personal relationships, despite both being linked to a string of high profile celebrity relationships, they have shared through the years an almost identical reticence when it comes to the press and doing interviews. Both have (as of this present writing) been married and divorced twice. Michael was married to Lisa Marie Presley in 1994, and divorced in 1996; and Debbie Rowe, married in 1996, and divorced in 1999. Prince was married to Mayte Garcia in 1996, and divorced in 1999 (ironically, their marriage began and ended exactly the same time as Michael and Debbie’s), then married Manuela Tesolini in 2001. They divorced in 2006.
Largely because of their reluctance to speak to the press, and their somewhat androgynous stage personaes, both artists have been plagued by gay rumors, though both have staunchly denied the rumors and no evidence exists to suggest that either are, or ever were.
First Child and Tragedy:
Sadly, Michael and Prince share something else in common. They both lost their first child-within the same year! Debbie Rowe suffered a miscarriage in early 1996 and lost the baby that would have been her first child by Michael (Michael’s son Prince would be conceived later that year, on the couple’s second try). I found a really nice video where Debbie Rowe talks about the miscarriage (a subject she has rarely spoken out about) but, unfortunately, embedding for this video has been disabled. However, you can watch it here:
Meanwhile, Prince’s son by Mayte Garcia-Boy Gregory- was born the same year, but died of Pfeiffer syndrome after only one week.
Independent attempts to verify the child’s birth and death proved difficult. A birth certificate wasn’t filed with state authorities until Dec. 6. But while Garcia was listed as the mother, ”Father’s name” read, ”Mother refused information.”
Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star Tribune tracked down what it believes to be the baby’s death certificate, filed Nov. 4. It states that a ”Boy Gregory,” born Oct. 16, died Oct. 23 of the extremely rare Pfeiffer syndrome type 2 — a condition in which the skull’s bones fuse together, causing pressure on the brain.According to the certificate, the death occurred at Children’s Health Care Minneapolis, which is affiliated with the hospital where the child was born, and was followed by cremation. The mother’s name is listed as ”Mia Gregory,” the same initials as Mayte Garcia.
At press time, local officials were investigating whether the death certificate was filed under a false name — a misdemeanor in Minnesota. A source at EMI, Prince’s new label, says execs have urged the singer to make a statement, but nothing has materialized.
While Prince’s lawyer, Londell McMillan, maintains that the artist ”expects extraordinary privacy,” one unguarded moment can be found on Emancipation. On the song ”Sex in the Summer” (originally titled ”Conception”), Prince included a recording of his then-unborn child’s heartbeat.
In a situation like this, it would be pointless to argue which is more tragic. For Prince, who at least got to see his baby son and hold him in his arms, the loss must have surely been devastating. But knowing how desperately Michael wanted a child by 1996, Debbie’s miscarriage must have been every bit as traumatic. Losing a child is still losing a child, and if one has any doubt, one need only ask a parent who has just been delivered the news of a miscarriage. I don’t know about fathers, but I know for mothers a miscarriage is often a scarring emotional trauma that never heals. For a sensitive father like Michael, I’m sure he probably took the loss as hard as Debbie, if not moreso.
And reading the EW article, one can surely sympthaize with Prince as he had to attempt to hide the very personal and painful details of his son’s death from that nosy, probing cow Oprah Winfrey!
As was alluded to just a few days ago in “The Invincible Saga,” Michael and Prince were both known for their notorious and very public battles with their record labels. Michael’s battles with Sony have already been well detailed here:
and in great articles like this one:
However, Prince had already blazed that trail almost a decade before, in his epic battle with Warner Brothers over his creative output and control of his name. In 1993, he famously appeared in public with the word “slave” written on his cheek, and then changed his name to an unpronouncable symbol:
“The first step I have taken towards the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Bros. was to change my name from Prince to the Love Symbol. Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote. The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros… I was born Prince and did not want to adopt another conventional name. The only acceptable replacement for my name, and my identity, was the Love Symbol, a symbol with no pronunciation, that is a representation of me and what my music is about. This symbol is present in my work over the years; it is a concept that has evolved from my frustration; it is who I am. It is my name.”-Prince
Both were not only the most succesful male black solo artists of the decade-or the most succesful, period, for that matter, regardless of race-but also highly succesful business moguls who shook things up in a heretefore white-dominated industry. With the possible exception of Berry Gordy, there had been few black entrepeneurs in the music industry who had succesfully managed their own labels and companies. In 1985, Prince launched his own label, Paisley Park Records, with the support of Warner Brothers. Acts such as Sheile E., The Time and George Clinton would be among the biggest names on the label. In 1994, incensed by Prince’s public feud with the label, Warner Bothers retaliated by pulling distributuon of the label. However, Prince would go on to launch another label, NPG Records.
Michael Jackson, of course, became one of the richest and most powerful men in the music business with the succesful acquisition of The Beatles catalog in 1985, and then later as co-owner of Sony/ATV publishing, a move that made him not only owner of over 200 Beatles songs, but also the catalogs of artists such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Eminem (yes, for all those who despise Eminem to this day over “Just Lose It” you may take some comfort in knowing Michael effectively “owned” Eminem!). Michael Jackson was also founder of his own production company, MJJ Productions, which later became Michael Jackson Co. LLC, and now MJJ Productions, LLC and Inc.
This website has some pretty detailed info on the company:
They both served as models of black artists who could not only be succesful, but could also take control of their success. Unfortunately, however, as both woud learn the hard way, they were still very much commodities of the corporate entities that controlled them-and who would fight tooth and nail to see to it that they remained “in their place.”
A “Colored” Man Is Still Judged By The Color Of His Skin:
Although the media was unquestionably much crueler to Michael Jackson (no contest there, sorry!) both performers came under media scrutiny as a result of not “looking” black enough. The whole notion is as ludicrous as comparing a tanned, olive complexioned Italian to a pale Norwegian and arguing that the Italian is “not caucasion.” Yet, at various times, Prince and Michael Jackson both found either their racial identity or their loyalty to their race in question. Because of Prince’s light complexion and the fact that not much is known about his immediate family, a rumor has persisted for years that he is biracial. Early press releases listed him as “mixed” although it seems those sources have been largely discredited. Prince himself has always identified himself as a Black man, although conceding that his father had a mixture of Italian blood, as well. And as with Michael, he did undergo the knife, sculpting and defining some of his ethnic features. There is a good discussion of this topic on this forum:
Since The Jacksons, on the other hand, had been in the spotlight ever since Michael was a child, there was little doubt as to his Black heritage, although his father Joe-like Prince’s dad-is mixed and there is prominent Native American blood on both sides. However, it was the skin disease vitiligo that resulted in the most dramatic change, transforming him over a course of roughly ten years from his natural coppery brown, to the lighter bronze of the Bad era, and finally, the porcelain, translucent, fish belly white of his last twenty years. Sadly this little-understood disease would be the cause of much ridicule and public scorn of Michael Jackson in the media. He was accused of bleaching his skin and hating his race. Even when his autopsy report confirmed that he did indeed have vitiligo, the media mostly ignored this finding and have continued to perpetuate the myth of an “alleged” disease.
The accusation was ridiculous on many levels. Michael certainly couldn’t deny being black; after all, he had grown up in the public eye! Secondly, there was never a time in his life when he didn’t look black. Even in the most advanced stage of his disease, and after he had mostly depigmented all remaining color, he still looked like what he was-a black man without skin pigment. People who say he “erased” all traces of his ethnicity have not closely observed his face. Michael was always proud to be a black man. His disease was something he could not help. And the insecurities that drove him to cosmetic surgery were rooted in other issues that had nothing to do with race, but everything to do with the fact that he simply thought of himself as being physically ugly.
“We’re called colored people because we come in so many different colors, from light as my hand to dark as your shirt (to Martin Bashir, who is wearing a black sweatshirt). My father has blue eyes.”-Michael Jackson.
Victims of the Vindictive:
It goes without saying, they have both been on the receiving end of vindictive ex-friends, ex-employees, ex-fans, and hack journalists with an axe to grind, all looking to make a quick buck. The following are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I suppose one could argue that it all goes with the territory of being rich and famous. However, it seems that Prince and Michael have both had a more-than-usual share of backstabbing friends, fans and associates. With “friends” and “fans” like Bob Jones and Alex Hahn, who needs enemies?
So now that we’ve looked at some of their many parallels, there is still one burning question: What did Prince and Michael Jackson really think of each other? Well, I don’t want to say too much until next installment, but here are a couple of fun spoiler quotes to chew on until then:
Prince to Michael (upon learning that the first line of the lyrics to Bad is “Your butt is mine”): “Which one of us is supposed to sing that line? Cause I ain’t singing it to you, and you sure ain’t singing it to me!”
Michael to Will I Am at a Prince concert: “Prince played his bass in the middle of my face. What’s up with that?”
“He plays ping pong like Helen Keller.” -Prince