We all remember where we were when we heard the news, the world was stunned when we heard of the shocking death of Michael Jackson. Several days later, younger sister Janet spoke on behalf of the family. At the time of his death, Janet had just started production on her latest film, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? You can feel the pain and raw emotion in Janet’s performance. Welcome Janet Jackson.
They hug. Oprah says that every woman needs a golf club now and then, referring to the scene in the film. Janet says that it felt nice. On the first take she broke the club and it hit her in the ankle and it hurt. Really, says Oprah. Oprah says that obviously Janet was in character but had to use her own self and emotions. Janet says that she used her own pent up emotions and it was very therapeutic. Oprah says that we all remember where we were when we heard the news about Michael, it’s one of those seminal moments in history. Janet was at home in New York, she got a call from her assistant who said that there was something on TV about Michael being ill. She called home and reached her sister Latoyah, her nephew and her brother Jermaine. They were all on their way to the hospital. She can’t remember who she called back to see how he was doing, but then she was told that he had passed. Oprah reiterated that in Janet’s statement after the death, she said that to the world he was an icon, but to them, he was family. Does it feel surreal? Janet says that it is still hard to believe, not a day goes by when they don’t think about him. Oprah asks who in the audience has seen This Is It? Some of the audience applaud. Janet has not seen it and doesn’t know if she will ever be able to watch it. She had to turn away at the clip. Oprah says that it was great to see him in process and it’s great fro fans to have that document. He did look awfully thin and didn’t seem to be the Michael that we’d known in the past, says Oprah. Was Janet and the family aware of a problem? Janet gave her parents a surprise party a month before and they knew he had a problem, as he was thin then. They had tried interventions but he didn’t think that he had a problem. Of course they were all worried, but he was in denial. The last time she wasn’t able to attend, but everyone else was there. Oprah was at an intervention once and says that it is remarkable, it is like being bombarded with love, with everyone trying to reach out. Janet says that she had to leave once, she was so overwhelmed with emotion she had to walk out the room, it was too much for her to handle. What people were saying, and knowing him and hearing what everyone said, and knowing that he had a problem but seeing the denial. We have to remember that a lot of Janet’s relationships have had problems with addiction so she knows something about it. Its difficult when you recognize it because she has dealt with it with past relationships. Oprah says that some reports said that Michael was severely depressed before he died, does Janet think that was true, because we can’t tell because he was such a consummate performer, and that he was most himself when on stage? Janet says that she thinks you have to be to get to that place. Oprah says that we all know how lack of sleep affects us, how we feel when we haven’t slept for a couple of days. In Feb, Los Angeles prosecutors charged Dr Conrad Murray with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. They say that he administered a lethal dose of Propofol, a powerful operating room anaesthetic which actually killed Michael. He pled not guilty to the charges and has returned to practice. Oprah asks if Janet blames the doctor for Michael’s death. Yes she does. He is the one that was administering the drug from what she knows. Oprah asks about the children. Janet says that they are well. Oprah says that for years Michael protected them and kept them out of the public eye and it is interesting that wherever they go now, to the store or to get an ice cream cone the paparazzi are there, how are they handling that? They are ok, all her nieces and nephews are ok , says Janet. It is difficult, there father passed but they are dealing with it. Thank God they have their family around and all their cousins, some of whom are very close in age. Are they being raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses asks Oprah? No, they used to go to the Kingdom Hall, Michael would take them from time to time. Oprah says that in the religion you don’t celebrate birthdays or holidays, so she wonders how Janet feels with them being raised Jehovah’s Witnesses.; how Michael would feel about that? They do celebrate birthdays says Janet, they do celebrate Christmas, it was a foundation. They do get to celebrate birthdays.
They show footage of Janet awarding the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award to Michael, seventeen years ago. Oprah notices that Janet can’t watch it. Janet says that she can’t watch images of him or listen to his music
Isn’t it hard says Oprah because you cant be in Los Angeles, without seeing billboards everywhere? Oprah was in LA before This Is It came out there were adverts everywhere. Janet says it was hard, she had to keep looking away. Oprah asks Janet when she is able to go the space, the warmest place with thoughts about him, what are those thoughts? Janet says that when they were kids, how much fun they had together. They spent all day together. She can look at the photos of them as kids, it takes her to that place where they were as kids, she has a beautiful photo of them as babies in her home. They take her to that place she missed even when he was here. Oprah asks when she began to lose him as a brother? Janet replies around the time of Thriller, she wound up getting into music and left home and he was still at home. They still kept in touch. Oprah asks if Janet was the closest to him in the family- growing up, yes, says Janet. Oprah asks if she was still able to give him advice as the younger sister? Once in a while, Janet says he’d look at her and say what, and she’d know he didn’t want to hear it. But he listened. Oprah reiterates that Janet is able to be surrounded by earlier memories because that was a different time. She mostly remembers his laughter. The last time she saw him was two days before her birthday at the surprise party. She was being silly like they did as kids and he was looking at her just cracking up. The last thing they said was I love you. That’s a good thing, says Oprah. Yes, says Janet.
At the time of Michael’s death, Janet was filming with Tyler Perry, who said he could see Janet channel her emotions into the role. Come on out Tyler Perry.
The crowd goes wild, Tyler kisses them both. Oprah says that she doesn’t know how to introduce him anymore, he is so all of that and everything. Your friend says Tyler. Obviously you had contacted Janet with the movie script and written the script with the golf club scene, which people thought was a Tiger Woods thing, says Oprah. He says he wrote it long before there were any golf clubs in the news. Oprah says that he says that Janet channeled her emotions into the scene. Tyler says that Janet is extremely private with regards to her family and they spoke of intervention but that he will not speak of it more than she wants her to, but that he wants to tell everyone that they really tried so hard. Oprah says that its really important to say for Janet’s family and the millions out there dealing with abuse, that the perception was that Michael had been enabled. Oprah thought when she heard it, who loved him, as she has participated in an intervention. Tyler knows that Janet is very private but he wants to make sure that everyone knows how hard they tried. Oprah says that it is hard to do when a person is in denial, but it is extremely hard to do when they are in denial and have power and money. But you never give up says Janet. Oprah asks Janet if she was shocked when she heard he was gone from drugs. Janet always felt that day could come, everyone feels that when they have a family member struggling with drugs. Which is your fear, which is why you do an intervention, says Oprah.
In his latest film, Tyler Perry reunites with Janet Jackson for Why Did I Get Married Too? Where four couples meet in the Bahamas for their annual get-together, but soon there is trouble in paradise, secrets are uncovered and everything unravels. There you go, says Oprah. Ok. Oprah asks if it has hard for Janet to cry on cue? Not that week, says Tyler, not really says Janet it’s been easy since she was a kid. That’s really…really, says Oprah. Tyler says that the first movie was so much fun and they really wanted to see each other again, and they all came together at this time and were so protective of Janet. Tyler wanted to be sure that she was protected, they took the snotty crying pictures out of the film, they didn’t want them to be leaked to the press and taken out of context. He changed the ending so that she didn’t have to speak at a funeral. Janet didn’t want him to do that but he did anyway They hold hands. Janet says that Tyler is so kind and everyone was so kind and she just wants to thank him. Oprah says that Tyler is a nurturing guy. Janet says that he was by her side the whole time making sure that she was ok. Oprah was going through some stuff one day and Tyler showed up at her place in California and turned up to say that he wanted to see her face and see that she was ok. Janet is working on a book, she has been doing it for a while,. Many people had asked her about her weightloss and instead of writing a nutrition book she decided to go back into her childhood and look at issues of self esteem. Oprah asks her if she’s an emotional eater. Absolutely. Oprah asks if she put on weight during all this because it would have sent her to a bag of chips. I did, says Janet. Oprah says that she said to someone the other day that they don’t need to worry about her with drugs or alcohol, but if they ever see her with a bag of blue chips she’ll be mainlining them. The crowd laugh. Janet turns to food when she is stressed and down. Other people forget to eat; Janet and Oprah turn to food. Oprah asks if she has girlfriends who helped her through this? A few, yes. Oprah asks if they go away together for a trip like in the films. Janet says has she done it with her girlfriends? No, but she has done it with guy friends.
Oprah loved the scene where all the women were gathered around Janet. She says that she loved it because first of all, women gather. It is like a laying on of hands- did that happen with your friends? Yes, says Janet. Tyler felt that it was a pivotal moment in the film where they could all gather and cry about everything that was going on. Tyler speaks of the Wailing Women in the Bible, and the power of women coming together to cry and bawl and pray. Janet brought so much to the film, it was great. Oprah asks how he writes so well for women? My momma, he says. They all cheer.
Tyler Perry has been in Chicago this week with a funny musical, Madea’s Big Happy Family. They go backstage with Tyler. He introduces two of the lead singers that Tyler found on You Tube. They sing, he tells them they are going to Oprah. Tyler loves making people’s dreams come true. Oprah says that she surprised Tyler by going to his show in Winston Salem North Carolina. She came in the turnstyle with 6000 other people, and all the crowd were screaming. Oprah says that the show is like a revival, a picnic, a show, a good time, its like an entertainment that you have never seen, and people take their whole families. Oprah talks to the You Tube guys, who have never worn suits before and says that she was so impressed by them, but surprised that Tyler found them on You Tube. They were doping around singing the Brady Bunch. They were friends working at a restaurant, they were on You Tube singing and then they got an email from Tyler’s people and they thought it wasn’t true. They met Tyler on a Wednesday and were rehearsing for the play the next day. They go on stage to sing the Brady Bunch song. That’s great says Oprah, they do gospel like she has never seen on that show. Thanks to Janet Jackson, Tyler will stick around. The film comes out tomorrow.
He is all over TV in one of the steamiest ad campaigns of the year, it’s the manly man Old Spice commercial. Oprah loves that commercial. She loves it so much that she’s going to buy some Old Spice. Isaiah Mustafa is the man in the commercial, he joins them from his bathroom by Skype. Look at your audience, then back at me, then at the audience and back at me, he says. Anything is possible when you are Oprah, he says, if she flies him to Chicago next week she can smell him. Oprah says she loves it. How is he doing? Its been amazing, its opened alot of opportunities for him, its getting him up the ladder. Oprah asks wasn’t he a major football player? He says yes but not major. He’d be cut in and out for a few weeks, he played for the Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland browns and Seattle Seahawks. Wow, that’s major, says Oprah. How did he get this advert? As an actor you take commercial jobs to pay the bills. He asked his mom to look after his daughter while he ran over to do the audition, on the way he called his buddy, left his audition as a message, listened to the way he did the take and liked it so that was what he went with. To get people to listen to you, you “pull it back a little bit and drop the register”. Oprah chuckles and says very good. So every woman wants to know what are the chances of smelling him? He says that he is not smellable, he is taken, only his girlfriend Brandi can scratch and sniff.
Oprah asks if he’s had any big offers since doing the advert, he says that it has been fast and furious and that he just went up for a Tyler Perry movie. Oprah says that she had Tyler here a couple of days ago, what was the film? Colored Girls. Oh yeah, says Oprah. Oprah says that Tyler is a good friend of hers, Isaiah says that maybe she could put in a good word for him. You can do that yourself says Oprah, Tyler is here in the studio. Isaiah is shocked. Tyler asks him to put his shirt on and get out the bathroom. He got the part, he did a great job. Oprah says that is terrific, all from an Old Spice commercial. Congratulations Isaiah, we’ll look forward to seeing you on the big screen.
They play an extract from Janet Jackson’s latest CD Number One. Everyone in the audience is going home with that, yay. Tyler’s movie is coming out today, and they will all go and see it. Oprah asks if he goes to boost the box office numbers, he says that he likes to see it in real time with the audience. Oprah has a screening room but she has a ticket bought for her, so that her vote counts. Tyler agrees to sign the No Phone Zone Pledge, he will commit to only using a hands-free set. Oprah says that means that he can only use a hands free set only if necessary, don’t conduct your meetings in the car. He signs it and says that he had everybody in the studio sign it. Wow, oh my, says Oprah. Tyler says that this is very important because only a few days ago someone was injured here in Chicago. Oprah says that it is happening all over and that having his whole studio sign the pledge was a great surprise, one that she could handle. Why Did I Get Married Too? opens tomorrow. Thanks everybody, goodbye.
WHAT WE LEARNED TODAY:
Janet Jackson and her entire family repeatedly tried to stage interventions for Michael Jackson.
Janet Jackson believes that the doctor who administered Propofol to her brother is responsible for his death.
Janet Jackson can not look at images of Michael as an adult, nor can she listen to his music or watch him in film.
Tyler Perry is a kind, sensitive, nurturing friend to both Oprah and Janet Jackson.
Isaiah Mustafa, the actor in the popular Old Spice commercials will only allow his girlfriend to scratch and sniff him.
A VERY QUICK SUMMARY:
Janet Jackson and Oprah Winfrey are both close friends with Tyler Perry, but probably not with each other.