OPINION: Being honest with myself and you

Devan Shepard

HBO aired the controversial documentary film Leaving Neverland last week. This film details alleged abuse by two of the young boys that Michael hung out with and who danced alongside him. One of them Wade Robson had become a very successful choreographer in the early 2000s. The documentary, which is very graphic, has divided people with some praising the film, others crying foul at it being one-sided, and also has even led to another icon Oprah being called out and “canceled” on social media over her interview with the two men at the end of the documentary. There have been calls to ban Jackson’s music on Spotify, radio stations, and on Pandora as well and he has even been compared to R. Kelly.

I have sat and watched all of this unfold and I have to admit I am extremely mad. I am mad because I never take anything that is one-sided at face value. I was talking to someone earlier today about Jackson when another person decided to butt in our conversation saying “just watch the documentary there is your proof.” When did a documentary determine proof when it only tells one side of the story? My biggest problem is Jackson is gone and cannot defend himself. I also cannot stand the fact that the media has already convicted him and have left out very important pieces of information. They have left out the FBI files which cleared Jackson and the fact that when he died some kids came out saying their fathers forced them to lie on Jackson and there is audio of the man trying to frame Michael. They left out how Michael’s bedroom was described as being two stories and not just a single bedroom and how his housekeeper testified that he would sleep on the second floor while the boys slept on the first floor.

I have always believed that Michael never touched any of these boys. I believe he had formed unhealthy attachments to these boys and enjoyed their company because he could be himself for once and he felt he could trust him. I think this man had lost his mind mentally and was not thinking straight at all. So I will admit that all of this is Michael Jackson’s fault. I wish someone in the Jackson family could have sat down and talked to Michael. That someone could have gotten him some counseling, some guidance, hell even Baker Act the man. But I do not think the man was a child molester based on doing my own research.

I am alarmed that we have reached the point where anyone can make an allegation and no one can question it without being accused of victim blaming. I question everything. I do not just take what the media tells me as gospel and just blindly follow anything just cause Oprah tells me to do that. It alarms me that the media only allows a certain narrative to be pushed and there is not a difference of opinion. I questioned the hell out of Jussie Smollett and I was criticized so much by people who I knew and worked with until it came out that Smollett’s story was fabricated and certain people apologized. I question everything I hear, and to me, something is not sounding right.

I also hate how people are saying how delusional Michael Jackson fans are and how hateful they are when I am seeing none of that at all. I have been seeing people pull up information about Michael’s cases and how they too believe that he is innocent and that this is a smear campaign. I have seen people, especially people my age, who have pulled up every document they can find and are concluding that something is not right here. They are the ones who are being attacked, called out their name and I even saw someone get called a racist name on a Youtube video for defending Michael Jackson.

These past few days I have listened to Michael’s music because I wanted to see if I could still listen to the man’s music. I was never the biggest Michael fan. As a matter of fact, I have always enjoyed Janet Jackson a little more. But two songs really stand out to me. The first is “You Wanna be Starting Something” and the other is “Scream“, his duet with his sister Janet. I, finally at age 22, understand the meaning of both of those songs. Because I too have wanted to Scream because I think the way the media is acting and the response of the entertainment industry is unethical and unfair.

I have never been one to believe in conspiracies before. I scoff at them and I think they do not have much merit. But I am starting to wonder if there’s some truth to these conspiracy theories. There has always been a belief in the black community that when you are black and an icon and you try and own your own music or masters as it is called then the powers that be either will try and kill you, make you look crazy, or try and stop your career. Michael was one artist who owned his music and the music of the Beatles. I am seeing many people use this as proof that the Illuminati exist or that the music industry is trying to ruin Michael’s legacy because he started talking about pro black things as the years went on. I don’t know, I have no proof of any of this but it is something that has crossed my mind.

I do think something is extremely deceptive about how on the eve of the documentary appearing a lot of journalists rushed with these editorials about the documentary commenting on how it was one-sided but still powerful and I have to admit it felt weird. It also felt unfair that Oprah did the interview with his accusers and was very one-sided as well. I have been a long time fan of Oprah and I have never seen her be as bias as she was until I saw that interview. There is a conspiracy about that as there have been rumors circulating that Oprah has never liked the Jacksons or that Oprah is trying to cover up for her friend Harvey Weinstein as his trial was supposed to start this week. Again I have no proof but that thought has also crossed my mind as well.

Am I getting t0o worked up over this? I believe I am, but I also believe that something is weird or something is missing from all of this. I don’t know if that makes me foolish, if it makes me naive, or if it makes me a plain ole jackass. But I cannot deny how I am feeling because it has been boiling up inside of me. I cannot help but feel that there is something ethically wrong about jumping to condemn a man who cannot defend himself and people not looking at it from all sides. I also feel torn because I could always be wrong. I never believe I am just this smartypants detective like Encyclopedia Brown who can solve every problem just by always reading.

Jackson could very well be guilty and if he did do these things then I will be destroyed. However, based on what I have seen and heard I have come to the conclusion that I have stated earlier in this post. I may be foolish. I may be naïve. But I am always honest.

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