From The Grio — Pop icon Michael Jackson has been dead exactly one year. But the controversy that surrounded his life isn’t over.
On the eve of the first anniversary of his death, Latoya Jackson loudly declared that her brother was murdered. Why? Because he had grown too rich, powerful, and posed a threat, she said. Latoya didn’t say who or whom exactly he posed the threat too. But then she didn’t have to. The charge that Jackson was the victim of foul play has been bandied about by Jackson family members, legions of fans, and hotly discussed and debated on blogs and websites since that fateful day one year ago.
The murder conspiracy theories are just the tip of the iceberg of ongoing Jackson controversies. On the eve of the first anniversary of his death, news reports were filled with rampant speculation and guesswork about Jackson’s financial woes, squabbles between his attorneys and former attorneys over who represents who and what in divvying up Jackson’s estate, and reports of more finger-pointing by Joe Jackson about Jackson’s death. This is no surprise. Jackson made news even when he didn’t do anything during his life.
Jackson’s infamous child molestation trial in 2005 for a time was the centerpiece of much of the chatter back and forth about his lifestyle. His eventual acquittal on all charges didn’t quiet the questions. Debate still rages over whether Jackson was an innocent victim of greedy, media hungry parents, or of his own eccentricities.
Then there was Jackson’s on again, off again, quirky, ambivalent relationship with African-Americans and his seemingly confused racial identity. For many blacks, Jackson was little more than a Casper-the-ghost-looking bleached skin, nose job, eye shade, straight hair and gyrating hips. An ambiguously black man who had made a ton of money and had been lauded, fawned over, and adored by whites. This was more than reason for some blacks to view him with a jaundiced eye.