Barack Obama owes his presidency to Michael Jackson, says late singer's brother Jermaine


Kunal Dutta
Monday 25 June 2012 11:22 BST

Barack Obama would not have made it to The White House had it not been for Michael Jackson, according to an emotional testimony from the late singer’s brother.

Speaking to The Independent ahead of the third anniversary of his brother’s death today, Jermaine Jackson expressed his deep-seated disappointment at how his brother has been commemorated in America since his death in 2009. "I think America has let Michael down. If he was from any other country they would have erected permanent tributes to him for what he's done for music."

Instead, he said, the Jackson family remain locked in grief and still seeking closure on what really happened during Michael Jackson's final hours. The singer died in a rented estate in California where he was preparing for a comeback tour. "The family still need to know who else came into the house that night. In time we might get answers but there will never be closure."

Jermaine Jackson is currently on a US tour with his three brothers, the first since the 1984 Victory Tour. Speaking from a rehearsal in Burbank in California, he argued that it was brother that had paved the way for America's first black president. Citing Michael Jackson’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993; in which the singer conceded to suffering from Vitiligo, he claimed the admission had the combined effect of reiterating Jackson's Afro-American heritage while propelling Winfrey to fame. Winfrey's backing of Obama in the 2007 primaries is cited by some as the moment that secured his nomination as leader of the Democrats. "Michael invited her [to Neverland] and that was the moment that put her in 90 countries around the world and made her successful. What did she do with that success? She put it behind Obama."

Michael Jackson's mother is pursuing a wrongful death suit against AEG Live, the promoter of the series of concerts that were supposed to mark Jackson's comeback before he died of a propofol overdose administered by his personal physician Conrad Murray. Earlier this year Murray was jailed for four years on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Michael Jackson spent a life surrounded by rumour and speculation. The latest edition of Jermaine Jackson’s book attacks British tabloids and blames The Sun for coining the "Wacko Jacko" nickname that was to dog the singer for years: "The bully mentality of the British tabloids was particularly upsetting because it had the effect of denying Michael's humanity, making him a simple caricature to poke fun at."

When informed of the Leveson Enquiry and the latest scandals to beset The Sun, Mr Jackson said: "I'm glad that the British press are starting to be aware of the effect of the things they did. It seems as though everyone is beginning to understand the reality of things and the truth is coming out. The question is why didn't they understand him while he was here?"

At the time of his death, Michael Jackson was at a turning point in his life. In massive debt and with a reputation damaged despite being cleared of allegations of child abuse, he was preparing to undertake a gruelling comeback tour at the age of 50. The concerts could have proven the start of a career rebirth, with talk of a world tour, new albums and feature-length movies.

Yesterday his brother added: "No one knew Michael like we did. He wasn't weird or strange he was just different. And it is only since his death that people are finally beginning to truly understand him."

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