MARIE-FRANCE BORNAIS, QMI AGENCY
NEW YORK — If people knew everything that Michael experienced growing up, Jermaine Jackson thinks they would have thought about him differently.
“He hated the titles,” Jermaine said in an exclusive interview.
“They were calling him names, ‘Freaking Wacko-Jacko’ and all these kinds of things. That hurt him because here’s someone who’s taking the time, with his fame, to give a message that is so divine and so pure for the world, and for children, and for people. And all they can do is look at things that are not important, like the colour of his skin.
“It’s horrible to be accused of horrible things, false allegations of child molestation which (were) just horrible. They tried so hard to bring him down on so many other things… That’s just horrible because they knew he loved children and they tried to bring him down on the very thing that he loved, which was kids.”
Jermaine said that Michael donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charity, before his tragic death in 2009 at age 50.
“He would go to any hospital, anywhere in the world, and walk down the emergency corridors, and find who needed operations and he would pay for them, and give lung transplants and all kinds of things. And liver transplants. That’s what he did. And people who couldn’t afford burials in our industry, in the music industry, he would bury them (and pay for it).”
Jermaine, 57, recalls his family’s beginnings in a poorly insulated bungalow in Gary, Ind., like it was yesterday. Michael and Jermaine had seven siblings — Jackie, Tito, Marlon, Rebbie, La Toya, Randy and Janet.
“Going back to the Gary days and writing about our childhood was very easy, because it’s something that will never go away in our minds, and the Jackson Five days were some of the most incredible days in our lives.
“It was just the beginning of us wanting to be like the Temptations, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and The Supremes, and all these (artists that) we grew up wanting to be like. And we were on our way, and that’s because the Jackson Five gave us that international fame — and that gave Michael an incredible launching pad to become Michael Jackson.”
When Michael was young, all members of the musical family thought he was something special.