Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm A Man Now, Worth Something, Don't Forget That

On August 29,1979, Michael Jackson turned twenty-one. He was known to say, "When I become twenty-one, things will be different. I really feel that being a man is doing exactly what you want to do in this life and to do it successfully and conquer a goal. That's the whole thing in life, I guess, to do what you want to do. And is it's great, to share it. To me, Walt Disney is a real man. Charlie Chaplin, a real man. Fred Astaire, a real man. Bill Robinson, a real man. Because not only have they conquered goals, how many people have they influenced. Other people looked up to them. They made paths."
Michael and Joe had some words when Michael said that he wanted more control over his career. Joe did not think that Michael would follow through with his plans. Michael set up an meeting with a new attorney, not using attorneys that Joe used, to look over his affairs and follow where his money was going.
Michael's accountant at the time, Michael Mesnick, recommended John Branca, an entertainment attorney, to Michael. Michael and Mesnick did their studying before the meeting with Branca, and were ready for any line of questions.
Michael stated that he wanted to distance himself from his family. To be independent, especially from his father. He wanted his business , publishing and record sales reviewed.
After the meeting, Michael knew he had found his man, and let him know what he wanted to accomplish, one, to be the biggest star in show business. Second, to be the wealthiest. Branca was impressed by Michael's belief in himself, and he started to feel the same . It was time to go to work.
John Branca wold become, over the next eleven years, the most influential person in Michael's career. Many of Michael's associates would say if not for Branca, Michael would not be as successful as he had become. He negotiated every every business deal for him, became a friend and adviser.
One thing that Branca did was renegotiated his contract with CBS. Branca got Michael the highest royalty rate at that time, thirty-seven percent of hundred percent of wholesale. People like Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan were making that. In addition, an agreement was made with Yetnikoff and the Jackson's legal adviser, that Michael could leave the Jacksons anytime he wanted. He didn't have to record another record with his brothers if he didn't want to. Of course, the brothers were none too happy about this arrangement.
Michael wanted to be a cover story with Rolling Stone magazine. But, according to a letter sent by publisher Jann Wenner to Michael's publicist, Norman Winter, "We would very much like to do a major piece on Michael Jackson, but feel it is not a cover story."
"I've been told over and over again that black people on the cover of magazines don't sell copies," Michael said angrily. "Just wait. Someday those magazines are going to be begging me for an interview. Maybe I'll give them one. And maybe I won't."

Thank you J.Randy Taraborrelli, MICHAEL JACKSON -The Magic and the Madness pages 233-236.

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