Oprah holding a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. that was drawn by Michael Jackson.
The magnitude of each name in that sentence
Corey described Jackson as being someone who would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it, ‘If you admired a pair of his famous Ray-Bans, he might pluck them from his head and give them to you, to keep.’
He would say that for a superstar Michael wasn’t as hard to get a hold of as you might imagine, ‘He didn’t have his personal assistant answer his private line. He didn’t have some sort of elaborate screening process. What he had was a great sense of humor. Michael had many voices. One of his favorites was an imitation of what sounded like an uptight, conservative Caucasian; not unlike the way comedian Dave Chappelle sounds when, during some of stand-up routines, he pretends to be white. Sometimes Michael answered the phone that way. If you didn’t know this game and you asked to speak to Michael, he might say, ‘There’s no Michael Jackson here. I don’t know what you’re talking about, mister.’ But for those on the inside, you’d recognize this voice and introduce yourself accordingly. Then he would immediately switch back into that familiar, high-pitched falsetto. ‘Oh, hi, Corey,’ he’d croon. ‘How are you?’ I figured it was a clever way to avoid talking to people he didn’t want to.
I don’t know a lot of things that happened in the years I wasn’t around, but all I can tell you is remarking about the person that I know, the person that was my close friend, that was like a brother to me. He was not that guy.
He taught me so many things. He taught me about loving animals, vegetarianism, animal rights, environmental issues, caring about your fans — how to treat your fans. The fact that the moment you meet your fans may just be a fleeting moment to you and sometimes you’re in the middle of things you’ve got to take time for, but to them, they’re going to remember this moment for the rest of their life, so how important it is for that exchange and how to treat them. He was the big brother I never had, honestly.
The fact that when I did get arrested for drug possession in 1990, even though his image was still squeaky clean and by all rights he could have stepped aside and moved me back, he didn’t.
He called me. I got that message on my answering machine, which said, ‘Hi Corey, it’s Michael. Is everything ok? Call me if you need me.’ You know, he was a friend. He was supportive. And thank God for that.
That really showed me the value of what type of person he was.