CHICAGO–Minister Louis Farrakhan preached a sermon July 26 about “The Crucifixion of Michael Jackson.”
That’s a curious subject.
As I awaited the Minister’s entrance, three sisters came forward offering a singing tribute to Michael Jackson. It was thrilling! It was almost too good to be something you’d expect at a religious service.
But then again, what would choirs of angels look and sound like anyway?
At your typical Nation of Islam meeting, you always hear shouts and cheers, from the faithful–they call it “Bearing Witness to The Truth.” Their enthusiasm adds an exciting element to his lecture. “Teach us!” “Wake us up!” it’s almost like being at a live concert or a sports event.
Min. Farrakhan’s subject: “Crucifixion of Michael Jackson.” Why compare MJ to crucifixion of Jesus, the Minister asked.
“This is a strange subject. Why would we put Michael Jackson in the same kind of trauma, dilemma, torture, and scourge as the man Jesus?” Farrakhan said before pointing out that Jesus was mocked when he was crucified and that a sign was placed above him, “King of the Jews.”
Michael Jackson was also a king, “the King of Pop,” and he too was crucified.
Before Michael Jackson, others Black folks who were crucified unjustly in this country included Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Brother Malcolm X, and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, to name just a few. Min. Farrakhan was firing on all 8 cylinders in this speech!
“Michael Jackson was a warrior!” the Minister declared.
The “crucifixion” of MJ as it were, was intended to destroy his reputation and to defame him in the eyesight–especially of Black people in America–of his young fans, because the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) was still in effect, and its goal was to prevent the rise of a Black “messianic figure” behind whom Black people in this country might coalesce into a unified mass to demand their own upliftment.
Before this address, there were whispers and aspersions cast, right and left that MJ had been cut off from the good people who knew what was best for him, only to be replaced by “Farrakhan’s goons.” The fact is MJ did use some Nation of Islam members as bodyguards during his prosecution on child molestation charges and his brother, Jermaine Jackson, converted to Islam in 1989. But who ever heard of identifying the church membership or other religious affiliation of any of the other thousands of people who provide security for Hollywood celebrities?
What possible good could a man like Farrakhan have ever done for someone like MJ, the hate mongers whispered? He could only turn the superstar against White people, and probably try to rob him in the process.
“I told Michael, don’t be angry with your father,” Farrakhan said in his speech, “because even though you didn’t have pillow fights and sleepovers (a real “childhood”), those who had pillow fights and had sleepovers — they’re the ones buying your records and they’re the ones coming to see you. You had a purpose for your life,” Farrakhan said.
Farrakhan’s advice to MJ was that he should transform the pain he felt in his life into creative genius. He said Jackson was born into this world for a purpose, one greater than his music.
“Michael, then, was on his way to the cross, because Michael had touched the hearts of people all over the world,” Farrakhan said. “Michael touched the hearts of every race, every culture, every ethnic group, and every tribe.”
The affect of the Minister’s advice may have been reflected in a lecture the singer gave at Oxford University in England, which showed he was coming to terms with the relationship he had with his father. In his speech, Jackson spoke of seeing his father’s harshness as love, honoring his dad and no longer judging him for things he’d done.
But the clincher for me was two revelations. MJ’s “Outside appearance” went from Black to White as he grew from youth to adulthood a superstar all the while. But inside MJ “went from White to Black,” the Minister said of the content and commitment his music to hasten the liberation of his people.
And then the Minister revealed: MJ was persuaded to not sing “Man in the Mirror” at Million Man Mach, which Farrakhan had personally asked of him, but the superstar did donate $100,000 to the cause.
Those, the Minister said, are the reasons the singer’s reputation was under constant bombardment, why his character was “crucified” right before our eyes.