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Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 07/ 9/2009

The Jackson Kids: What Now?

By Liz Kelly

Prince Michael II (aka Blanket) clutches a Michael Jackson action figure at Tuesday's Staples Center tribute to his father. (Reuters)

I have one nagging Michael Jackson-related issue that just won't let me rest until we talk about it.

Michael Jackson's children, had the singer been alive and able to attend his own memorial service, would have been covered in veils or masks and daughter Paris would never have been allowed near the mic to share her heart-wrenching grief with 31 million viewers (in the U.S. alone).

If the rest of Jackson's life -- his finances, health, career -- were a bit scattered, he was meticulous in one thing -- guarding the privacy of his three children. Until his death on June 25, the peeks we had of Prince Michael (12), Paris (11) and Blanket (7) were rare and, as mentioned above, their faces were often obscured by masks or veils. We never saw them go to school or playing or cavorting with other celeb-spawn -- instead they were most often snapped shopping with dad or ducking into a limo.

All of that changed when Jackson unexpectedly died last month. The kids -- now in the care of grandmother Katherine Jackson -- have been a regular presence in coverage of the pop star's tangled legacy. And at Tuesday's excessive (and excessively covered) tribute to the fallen star, the children were not only front row, center and easily accessible to photogs, but 11-year-old Paris was allowed to address the crowd, telling the world that "Daddy was the best father you can ever imagine."

But do Jackson's kids now, more than ever, need their privacy? Or is a rapid transition to a more structured, normal life (or as normal as possible given the circumstances) the better option? These children led an extraordinarily sheltered existence and, aside from the trauma of coping with the death of their father and the possibility of a coming custody battle, adjusting to a post-Jackson world could involve a level of culture shock. And should we, the media, keep our distance from the kids until they're old enough to realize the implications of sharing their innermost feelings with the world?

By Liz Kelly  | July 9, 2009; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  Michael Jackson  
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Comments

they should be acclimiated to the real world, but not sure his crazy family can do it. after all, they threw the daughter up on the stage. horrifying that she was made to talk about her loss.

Posted by: frieda406 | July 9, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

i didn't take it that way. it seemed to me she wanted to say something. both she and prince also acted like they wanted to participate in "we are the world."

poor little blanket just looked verklempt.

Posted by: memphis1 | July 9, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Don't let Ozzie Osbourne get custody. He'll forget about them and leave them outside to get eaten by coyotes while he watches celebrity memorial services on television.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | July 9, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I have to ask. When are we going to stop talking about MJ? I get it, people need to mourn, but at what point can we all stop fixating on it? I am coming off six of the hardest months of my life (going on seven) and I crave escapism of the celebrity gossip kind. The feeding frenzy over Michael Jackson just isn't cutting it.

Posted by: StuckatWork | July 9, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the best thing for those kids would be some sort of structure, away from the glare of publicity--meaning, don't go out of your way to parade them before the media, but don't hole up at the Jackson compound or wherever the heck they're going to live.
And while I understand Liz's questions/curiosity about what will/could/should happen to the kids, I think it's time to shut down the MJ coverage. It's been ridiculously excessive.

Posted by: pras40 | July 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that these kids seem polite and well-mannered? Paris wasn't giving attitude and Blanket wasn't throwing a tantrum. Maybe Michael actually has been raising nice kids; imagine! Dina Lohan, take note.

The media definitely needs to keep some distance. Losing a parent is hard enough -- grieving, changing routines. I went through it at a young age, but it's worse for them because they've lost the only parent they've ever known.

The last thing they need -- but the biggest thing they'll likely get -- is being hounded by more paparazzi. Sure, photographers took their picture before, but veil photos held limited appeal without any facial expressions showing.

I still say Mia Farrow should adopt them. Chances are Katherine will die before all three reach the age of 18. The idea of Debbie Rowe is increasingly unthinkable. As for other Jacksons, any aunt (Janet?) who not only let Paris near the mic but also lowered the stand for her is not going to be the best role model.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | July 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

What Pras40 said, and second the motion that the Jacksons aren't up to the task. It's going to take nerves of steel (and a small army of private security and lawyers) to keep the paps at bay, but they need to be. Unfortunately, the elder Jacksons - Katherine and Joe - are among the worst of stage parents, and I don't trust them to do right by these kids at all. Michael's siblings... maybe one of them is up to it in terms of moxie and common sense, but private security and lawyers also cost money, and I'm not sure any Jackson has hit that trifecta.

Posted by: northgs | July 9, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't know. Perhaps the Jackson Family is precisely the perfect family to raise these children. Have you ever heard anything about any of Michael's nieces and nephews? Anything at all? When it comes to the third generation, this family is in lockdown.

Kids can survive this. Sydney Simpson was 8 and her brother Justin was 5 when their mother, Nicole was murdered. Sydney went on to go to college and Justin is playing high school football. From all reports, they're normal kids who did not get hounded by the papparazzi.

Posted by: mdreader01 | July 9, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

While as I feel for the kids why does everyone make a hero out of the child molester mj? These kids should go to a NORMAL home and Keep the bloodsucking media away from them. The person that put the little girl on the mic should be hung! I wonder which one of the Jacksons made money on that? Hopefully the courts will put some normal things in there for the kids. We have good black people doing great things,how about them?

Posted by: m-walters | July 9, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I just don't understand this idea that Paris was "forced" or "exploited" into making her statement. I felt she wanted to do it. Maybe she was tired of some of the lizards saying all kinds of evil things about her dad. Who knows? And for people who are bored by the story, there's other stuff out there. This is big. I think Daniel Craig is the ugliest man to walk the Earth, but many of you here beg for pictures everyday. I don't throw up my hands and refuse to come back. I realize other people have other interests and just skip those posts and requests. You can do it too.

Posted by: lafilleverte | July 9, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Two thumbs way up for lafilleverte - Right on (except for Daniel Craig being the ugliest man to walk the earth; sorry - we have to part ways there ;)).

Posted by: Lizka | July 9, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

It looked to me like Paris wanted to speak and she took the others by surprise -- at least that's how it appeared to me when I watched the whole thing, not just the part when Paris is already at the microphone.

As for the future, I think Liz has the right words for it -- they are bound to be in for a culture shock regardless of who raises them. I think the second option is better in the long run, and the risk of ocassional paparazzi intrusion is worth taking.

Posted by: Podunk | July 9, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Did any lizards out there ever have action figures of their parents when they were children?

Posted by: jes11 | July 9, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The Obamas seem to be doing a fine job in raising children in the public eye. The kids are all about the same age. How about a big blended family in the White House?

Posted by: PipTheCat | July 9, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

If my parents had action figures made of them when I was a child, I would probably cling to them too when at their memorial. The child is 7 years old. Sometimes to this day if something is really hard on me, I'll hold onto a stuffed animal for some time just to feel better. I'm amazed that anyone would see anything wrong with a KID holding onto something, anything that would remind him of his father who had just died THE WEEK BEFORE.

Posted by: lafilleverte | July 9, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or do MJ's kids not look like they could possibly be biologically his? They do not appear to have a trace of African-American in them, and MJ was once black.

Posted by: Californian11 | July 9, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

the children need privacy while they grieve and make the transition to a more normal life. How were these kids schooled? Or because it was MJ, the compulsory education laws didn't apply?

I don't want Ma and Pa Jackson to have the kids. Ma didn't do so well protecting her own kids from Pa. Pa will exploit them. The only reason we don't hear about the other kids is because MJ was the famous one that all the paps focused on. No one cares about Jermaine or Tito's kids.

Posted by: epjd | July 9, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Did any lizards out there ever have action figures of their parents when they were children?

Posted by: jes11 | July 9, 2009 12:16 PM

-----------------------------------------
Yep.

Fay Wray and Mighty Joe Young.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | July 9, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I think something is missing in this discussion. The kids seemed to me very comfortable with their family. They were constantly leaning on their grandmother's shoulder throughout the ceremony. I think it is wrong to assume the level of shelter these kids experienced. From what I saw it is pretty apparent that these kids are comfortable with and love their extended family. I believe that is why MJ left them with his mother because there will be pretty of relatives around for them to interact with.

Posted by: dcet | July 9, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

So what if Paris wanted to speak at the service? I'm sure there are lots of things that children want, but it's not in their best interest to have their way.

Who were the adults responsible for saying "No" to her? Anyone who was in a position to prevent her from speaking at the service but failed to do so, should be automatically disqualified from having custody of her and her brothers, because clearly they put her best interests behind their own.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

mdreader, who had primary custody of Nicole Simpson's children, timewise? The Browns? OJ seemed too busy playing golf, or whatever, to spend much time with them.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Nosy_Parker, wow. Just wow. If these children wanted to play in the street or go backstage with 50 cent, I'd agree with you. Of course children don't have the total capacity to understand all their actions and what they are doing. If Paris told her grandmother she wanted to wear a bra top and a mini-skirt to the memorial, I'd agree that she should bring down the hammer. But to deny a little girl the right to say how much she loves and misses her father AT HIS MEMORIAL tells me you don't totally get it. Try to tell me I'm not allowed to speak at my father's memorial and see where that "concern" goes.

Posted by: lafilleverte | July 9, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't see anything wrong with Paris speaking at her father's service. I did not get the sense AT ALL that she was made to speak against her wishes -- it seemed like she had something she wanted to say. It was her big chance to let the world know that she loves her father and is going to really, really miss him. Getting to speak her piece could be very important to her healing process; why should anyone try to stop her from that?

Also, just because those kids have had a very public week, doesn't mean they're fair game for all eternity. They should be given some privacy now.

And amen to dcet!

Posted by: Fruitfly1 | July 9, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the kids wearing veils. They only wore the masks when they were in public with Michael and there were paparazzi around. The idea was that if strangers didn't know what the kids looked like then they could go out in public freely when they weren't with Michael. If they were with friends or the nanny no one would know who they were and security wouldn't be an issue.

Posted by: buffysummers | July 9, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

lafilleverte, I assume your father's memorial service wasn't held at the equivalent of the Staples Center and attended by 16,000+ members of the public whom you didn't know, and that it wasn't televised worldwide. Essential difference.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Correct, Buffy. And apparently they played with Dr. Klien's kids (I know...I know...) the extended Jackon family, and other family friends without ever being bothered because nobody knew what they looked like.

Posted by: mdreader01 | July 9, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Did any lizards out there ever have action figures of their parents when they were children?

Posted by: jes11 | July 9, 2009 12:16 PM
========================
No, but I could have substitued Archie and Edith Bunker, had those action figures been sold.

Posted by: mdreader01 | July 9, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Precisely Nosy. The point is the girl wanted the world to know how much she loved her father. She is old enough to decide if she does or doesn't want to speak. If the Jacksons were forcing her to do it, I'm sure they would have forced the two boys as well. I just can't find anything sinister about a little girl grieving over her father's loss no matter how many times I try. And I certainly can't knock the family for supporting her and allowing her to do something she clearly felt was important to her and her father's memory.

Posted by: lafilleverte | July 9, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Action figures of my parents:
GI Joe & Midge

Posted by: pras40 | July 9, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'ts not my business and why should I care?

Posted by: jezebel3 | July 9, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

lafilleverte, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point. Paris is a legal minor by a far cry still, so her personal judgments are preempted by the adults who are (or at least ought to be) responsible for her best interests. IMO, they failed her miserably.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

mdreader01 - we must have been separated at birth

Posted by: PipTheCat | July 9, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"Is it just me, or do MJ's kids not look like they could possibly be biologically his? They do not appear to have a trace of African-American in them, and MJ was once black."

There is actually a tabloid story out that MJ was NOT the biological father of the two oldest kids. The story is that it was the sperm of his dermatologist, with Debra Rowe. The story showed a picture of the two kids (a lot younger) next to a picture of the doctor, and man, I have to say I could sure see a resemblance!

Posted by: cjbriggs | July 9, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

PiptheCat, is your cat's name Pip? (I ask because that is highly cute :-)) I am adding a new kitty to my family and may just name him that!

Posted by: Californian11 | July 9, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Does it freak anyone else out that everyone commonly refers to MJ's youngest as Blanket? Is this what the family calls him, or is just a lingering nickname from when he was dangled? And, I have seen pictures where he was bleach blonde and short, but this week it's dark and long.

Posted by: Laura118 | July 9, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I am starting to think that the posters who don't think a mixed child can look white are from a different planet.
Don't any of you know any mixed race couples who have kids? I know at least 10 mixed race couples (black and white) with kids and guess what? Some of the kids look 100% black, some look mixed, and some look 100% white.
My wife is Asian American and she has several relatives that are married to Caucasians like me. Of the 14 kids from these marriages 5 look 100% Asian, 6 look mixed, and 3 look 100% white.
Stop being either A) ignorant, or B) racist and learn that interracial kids can look like they are not mixed.

Posted by: Iowahoosier | July 9, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

HERE COMES THE TABLOIDS - starting with this ONE!!!!
That's why MJ shielded his children from the media, covered their faces when he was with them so the media would not do to the children what they did to Jackson.

The veils and masks were there so that the people will NOT remember their faces and the children can actually go out, walk around and play freely like normal children (without masks/veils & without Jackson) with their nannies without being recognized. NOW, their lives have changed forever. The media knows who they are and the media/tabloids/nosy people are going to psychologically kill the children as they did Jackson.

Posted by: tij12345 | July 9, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The problem now that their faces are known all over the world is that when they go out, people are going to be staring at them. They won't have that normal childhood freedom that MJ was looking for and that he wanted to give to his children. MJ did not want their children's faces to be be known so they can freely go outside in the streets, the fair, the park, the stores, the beach, restaurants, ChuckECheese, etc. (without their masks and without MJ) with their nannies without being recognized. Now, they can't do that anymore. Yesterday, I saw a girl that looked like Paris and I just stared at her like "Huh. She looks like Paris." No one wants to be stared at- the children loses their freedom now.

So once again, Bashir who was commentator of ABC during the memorial is very wrong that exposing the children to the public/media would make it all normal to the children. It will be the opposite because the TABLOIDS/people are now busy giving their opinions about the children.

Posted by: tij12345 | July 9, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

When Jackson visited the zoo with his children, they have to kick everybody out of the zoo so they can visit and not put the children in danger. But if the faces of the children are not known, the nannies can take the children to the zoo anytime without having to clear out the zoo for them. That has all changed now.

Posted by: tij12345 | July 9, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I too noticed how close the kids seemed to be with the extended family. Made me feel better for them. No matter who they end up with, no chance at a normal life but no matter who they end up with it will be more normal than it was.

Posted by: hodie | July 9, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

fr Laura118:

>Does it freak anyone else out that everyone commonly refers to MJ's youngest as Blanket? Is this what the family calls him, or is just a lingering nickname from when he was dangled? ...<

Um, I can't figure out WHO would refer to a kid as "blanket". I hope they allow the poor kid to choose what name he wants to go by. I feel sorry for kids who got weird names at birth, just because "daddy" or "mommy" 'liked' a certain word. There was a gentleman in my church who is now gone who was named Walter, and he never liked it. Would refuse to answer to it. Finally, when he was 3 years old, his mother asked what he would like to be called, and he said "Kimball" (his father's name). Mom and Dad changed the child's name, and everyone was perfectly happy.

Posted by: Alex511 | July 9, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: PipTheCat "The Obamas seem to be doing a fine job in raising children in the public eye. The kids are all about the same age."

The point that Michael Jackson was making was when he was a child, he wanted to play baseball with the kids on the street but he couldn't. Can the children of Obama go out on the streets in their whim and play softball with other children without 20 security service people around them? No one knew the faces of MJs kids, so really, one of them could have been signed up to play youth baseball in a team. So really, MJs kids probably lived a very normal life where they can freely go outside without Michael and not be photographed and judged by the media and people.

Now, as you can see here. The kids are being judged by the media and public by the minute. Even the poster above complains about Blanket's name. If the kids turn out to be weirdos later in life, it is because of the media/public judging and criticizing them.

The kids' lives have changed dramatically after MJs death because they were shown to the world. They will be judged, criticized, put down, etc. by people who do not even know who they are. So normal life? Not anymore. Their lives are now a circus and they are the animals/clowns that people want to watch.


Posted by: tij12345 | July 9, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Does it freak anyone else out that everyone commonly refers to MJ's youngest as Blanket? Is this what the family calls him, or is just a lingering nickname from when he was dangled? And, I have seen pictures where he was bleach blonde and short, but this week it's dark and long.

Posted by: Laura118 | July 9, 2009 2:02 PM
------------------
I read through the memorial program that Liz posted yesterday. This was a family that had nicknames for everyone. There were messages from "Rubba" "Ya-Ya" and "Turkle."

Michael was referred to as "Applehead," "DooDoo" and "Siggy." Ahern Lossa's message referred to himself as "Big Blankets."

I think nicknames were just part of the deal.

Posted by: mdreader01 | July 9, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Paging sorcerers_cat, Californian and any other Lizards in Southern California:

On Liz's online chat today, someone asked re the Jackson children's education. I believe that thus far they've been privately tutored, and are fluent in French as well as English. I recall that child stars Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields (who went on to graduate from Ivy League universities) both attended a lycée in the LA area that was bilingual English/French. Are you familiar with this school? It sounds like it might be a feasible choice for the Jackson children, where their late father's celebrity might not be such a novelty to the student body and faculty.

Re the Simpson children, who reportedly have turned out well, does anyone recall whether the Brown family had principal custody of them? If OJ had custody, I can't imagine he spent much time with them, as he's been so busy since 1995 golfing, romancing, and of course looking for Nicole and Ron's "real" murderer (wink, wink).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Hi,

Im not use to leaving comments online but i think people should just leave the Jackson family alone. We have no right to judge them or think what's best for them.

Come on, they're just as normal as us. Just because they're famous, you guys have to add in your two cents.

Let them decide what is best for the Michael's kids..

Peace! :)

Posted by: island_princess | July 9, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

island_princess
Come on, they're just as normal as us.

Excellent point. I think the bone of contention here is how best they can be provided a normal life now that MJ is dead. They seem like terrific children.

BTW, if you're interested, I believe the position of Island Princess is still vacant here on Lizard Island, as we regulars call this blog (get it, Liz-ard, after Liz Kelly?).

Signed, Nosy Parker
Lizard Island casting director

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Considering that the Jacksons are all uber media savvy, I can't imagine that they would just have spontaneously given any one of the children the microphone at the memorial service. Not without prior instruction.

I also think that all of the written statements of the other memorial participants had been cleared with the family beforehand.

Paris's words were very touching but the expression on Auntie "speak up sweetheart" Janet Jackson's face also spoke volumes.

Janet Jackson's face said **Take that all of you who dare to speak critically of Michael Jackson. Let's see you take on the tears of a child.**

IMO, the sentiments expressed by Paris, though very moving and sincere, had nevertheless been calculated and engineered by the family beforehand.

They wanted that soundbite and they wanted it to be the last words uttered so that it would have maximum dramatic effect. They were well aware of the inevitable impact.

I think that just as Auntie Janet painted Paris's nails red to match her own (think about it, does Paris look like the kind of girl who gives a darn about nail polish), so Janet also planted the suggestion about speaking at the memorial service and gave her a suggestion about what to say. Maybe even rehearsed it with her.

And Paris, who allowed her nails to be painted to please her Aunt (just my speculation) also went along with speaking at the service to please her Aunt.

The boys were probably less susceptible to suggestion and just did not go along with it.

That's just my opionion of how things probably played out. I think everything about that memorial was calculated for it's symbolic impact. Including seating Joe Jackson in the seat right next to Michael Jackson's children. Katherine Jackson was on one side of the children and Joe Jackson the bookend on the other side.

That pretty much restored him to equal power within the family to Katherine Jackson, probably at his insistence.

Posted by: trwv | July 9, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes those kids need more of a structured life, but slowly. It is going to be soooo hard for them to be in the public eye. Let them grieve for their father surrounded by family. They should not be subjest to any more news media or paparazzi. For a while they should be out of sight. Media can be cruel with or without meaning to be.

Posted by: GPandori219 | July 9, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"The Obamas seem to be doing a fine job in raising children in the public eye. The kids are all about the same age. How about a big blended family in the White House?

Posted by: PipTheCat | July 9, 2009 12:19 PM"
****************************
Sasquatch, dear, did our son post this?

Ms. Snatchquatch
(I can't get my computer here at work to recognize me as Ms. Snatchquatch, so I remain under my maiden name of Scooter964.)

Posted by: scooter964 | July 9, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Something we need to remember is that children grieve somewhat differently from adults. In general, they have highly intense but briefer periods of grief, followed by more cheery periods (maybe something to do with a shorter attention span?).

Although I share a good deal of trwv's cynicism re the Jackson family (especially Joe), I'm inclined to give a pass on the fingernail polish, even though I'm not that type myself. I suspect the specialness of polish as well as the added attention of the ritual fingernail painting were good for Paris' psyche at a most trying time.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Is it just me, or do MJ's kids not look like they could possibly be biologically his? They do not appear to have a trace of African-American in them, and MJ was once black."

There is actually a tabloid story out that MJ was NOT the biological father of the two oldest kids. The story is that it was the sperm of his dermatologist, with Debra Rowe. The story showed a picture of the two kids (a lot younger) next to a picture of the doctor, and man, I have to say I could sure see a resemblance!

Posted by: cjbriggs
To cjbriggs:
SO what...he was still their father. Biological or not. You don't have to make a baby to be a father. Whether they were through surigate or he is the biological father to me it doesn't matter. He was their daddy and wow those kids really loved him. He did something right.

Posted by: GPandori219 | July 9, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hi,

Im not use to leaving comments online but i think people should just leave the Jackson family alone. We have no right to judge them or think what's best for them.

Come on, they're just as normal as us. Just because they're famous, you guys have to add in your two cents.

Let them decide what is best for the Michael's kids..

Peace! :)

Posted by: island_princess

WOW!!!! That's the smartest thing I read all day! BRAVO to you island_princess

Posted by: GPandori219 | July 9, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

GPandori219, one major worry is that Grandpa Joe will exploit and abuse the children as he did Michael. Grandma Katherine needs to be vigilant to prevent that.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Iowahoosier - to be fair, I think the poster was surprised that not one of the three kids seemed to show their african american heritage in any sort of noticable physical manner. The friends that I have with more than one mixed race child have kids that have varying physical characteristics, but there is usally something, either curl to their hair (even if it is platinum blonde) or slightly darker skin tone.

My stepson is half thai and but for his beautiful mochachino skin, you'd not realize it. But there is the 'but for'...

Posted by: LTL1 | July 9, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The kids are young enough to be resilient in the face of change.

I also think the fact that Michael Jackson, no doubt, brought them up with a lot of kindness counts for a lot.

Paris seems to be a truly lovely child. The boys seemed at times more self-absorbed but then that is understandable. They had never attended a memorial service
before. How could they know it was probably best not to sit there chewing bubble gum. But it is interesting to note that no adult gently asked them to stop.

And Michael's sons were very caring toward their sister Paris after she spoke and broke down in tears.

I think Michael had constructed an elaborate rationale for why he kept his kids so isolated (Joe Jackson said that they had never played with other children before their present contact with their cousins)that he had convinced himself was based in altruism but maybe a lot of it was that he just did not want to share the kids with anyone else.

As the kids grew increasingly older and sought some independence this may have become problematical for Michael.

And the kids do have the safety net of a trust fund. So whatever challenges they have throughout their lives, at least they know that they will be financially in good shape.

Posted by: trwv | July 9, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Unless the trust fund was set up before his death, there is no safety net trust fund. The estate only consists of what is left after all debts are paid. His indebtedness is well documented. All those songs he allegedly left behind, unless they were already part of the trust, are part of the estate and will be used to pay his debts. Those kids could well be left with nothing.

Posted by: epjd | July 9, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I am not familiar with the Lycee school, Nosy, but I'm a couple hundred miles south of L.A..

While waiting for my flight last week, there was a child in the departure lounge named ... yes ... "Satchel". Poor thing. Maybe, like Mia Farrow's son lumbered with the same unfortunate moniker, he will change his name as soon as he is legally able, after the trauma of being referred to on the playground as "bag", "purse", and who knows what else.

Posted by: Californian11 | July 9, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I suspect the specialness of polish as well as the added attention of the ritual fingernail painting were good for Paris' psyche at a most trying time.
Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009
************************************

You're probably right. Paris does seem to be a very tender-hearted child and open to warmth and affection. I just hope Janet Jackson does not attempt to turn her into a miniature version of herself.

Posted by: trwv | July 9, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Californian11, Are you a baseball fan? Pitcher Satchel Paige was (still is, in memory) a revered figure in baseball, finally entering MLB in his late 40s after the color barrier fell.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Having lost my father at a young age and sitting through others talking about him, (now in my 50's) I still regret not being given the opportunity to say something about him in my own words. I told the clergyman what I wanted him to say but he didn't say it. I think it was great that they gave MJ's daughter a chance to say what she needed. It was healthy for her (it wasn't for the audience).

Posted by: joe817 | July 9, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

fr joe817:

>Having lost my father at a young age and sitting through others talking about him, (now in my 50's) I still regret not being given the opportunity to say something about him in my own words. I told the clergyman what I wanted him to say but he didn't say it....<

I'm very sorry for your loss, Joe. I lost my grandmother when I was young, and remember VERY vividly being told to "go out and play" with the others when I was trying to be an adult.

Posted by: Alex511 | July 9, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I think there should be some supervision of the children as they grow, but not by paparazzi. The Jacksons are a very dark-spirited family who are surrounded by men who look like thugs; and look at what they turned out: commercial successes but some children -- most especially Michael -- of questionable character. Michael, if nothing else, taught children to let their guard down around adults who could abuse them. He slept with children!!! He also suffered from delusions of grandeur, drug abuse, a tremendous sense of entitlement at the cost of others; and I have a feeling the rest of his family is much the same in one sense or the other because their parents (now the kids' guardians) did not raise them well.

Michael bought these children so he actually trafficked in children, and the poor kids are going to have a rough ride, which the family -- even if they keep Joe away from them -- is only going to exacerbate.

I truly believe these children are victims of child abuse, and the whole world is watching and doing nothing.

Posted by: Emilt | July 9, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Since we didn't know them (they were always covered in veils when out with their Dad), we have no idea whether they've lived a normal life when they weren't out with Michael, behind the veils.

I, for one, don't want to perpetuate the 'they didn't live a normal life' gossip line because I have no idea what type of life they lived. Apparently, it was a happy one, just as Paris told the world! She wanted us to know. Now we do. Must we dig and dig into the child's own words for a more truthful truth--something more sensational? Uh huh. I thought so.

Posted by: smartgirl312 | July 9, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

11 year old children are perfectly capable of speaking in memory of a loved one at a memorial service; my daughter did so when she was the same age. Paris apparently wished to, her older brother did not. If Paris had not spoken, I imagine some would have criticized the Jackson family for muzzling the children...

The issue of the children's paternity now being a free-for-all is deplorable. Other than curiosity, why is Good Morning America interviewing MJ's doctor about biological paternity of the children? Legal paternity is what matters.The law allows the creation of families through donor sperm and surrogacy. There is no basis for challenging paternity other than a voracious curiosity by people whose business it isn't. I hope and pray the family can keep this speculation and gossip from the children as they mourn the loss of their father.

On that point, whether the children are MJ's biological offspring, they were raised by an African American and apparently knew their extended family, which is African American. Again, other than curiosity, why speculate about whether the children "look" bi-racial? We accept that people of a variety of cultural identities adopt children of different backgrounds than theirs and raise them in the parents' culture. If MJ decided not to sire biological children--and with a diagnosis of lupus and vitiligo he may have had good reason for not doing so--why do the children have to "look" African American or bi-racial in order to be his children or have an African American identity?

Stuart Backerman, a former publicist for MJ, told the NY Post that once when he was at Neverland, then-6 year old Paris spit out her food. Backerman quotes MJ as saying to Paris: "We don't spit out food and we don't talk badly about other people in this house, and we have good manners".

Adults, can we take a cue?

Posted by: abigail2 | July 9, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

California11 - yup, from Great Expectations. She was such a wee thing when I found her, but I knew she was destined for big things.

Posted by: PipTheCat | July 10, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

if she loves her father so much as she said, she should do what her father would want her to do, and this stands for all of his kids

Posted by: vujnicmaja | July 10, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

As a teacher, I cannot photograph and publish pictures of children without parental permission, and yet a stranger can freely photograph and publish pictures of the children on the playground, at the park, or when we take a walk. Why are children free fodder when they are seen in public?

As when Princess Diana died, we should be demanding that the press back off and leave the grieving children alone. John Kennedy Jr. had to deal with paparazzi his entire life. Just imagine being under that kind of invasive scrutiny throughout your day to day existence --let alone after having lost a parent. These children never chose to live a public life.

When adults use technology in irresponsible and disrespectful ways, then we establish laws to prohibit their unethical behaviors. I think it's about time that we enact laws to protect children from photographic predators.

Posted by: CosmicTinker | July 10, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I just don't understand this idea that Paris was "forced" or "exploited" into making her statement. I felt she wanted to do it.
****
your feelings don't come into it.

Posted by: frieda406 | July 10, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

they're normal kids who did not get hounded by the papparazzi.
***
in reference to o.j. simpson's kids, going to college and playing football do not necessarily make a "normal" child. o.j. simpson played football and look what he did. when your mother has been murdered, and probably by your father, there are many issues of which we are unaware. you never get over that kind of death.

Posted by: frieda406 | July 10, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Now What?

How about none of your business?

Posted by: BenjaminS1 | July 11, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

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