Lifetime’s Michael Jackson Movie Reveals A Side The World Never Saw From The King Of Pop

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Admittedly, I was nervous about Lifetime doing a Michael Jackson movie, after the epic failures of films revolving around Aaliyah and Whitney Houston, which were ripped to shreds by viewers on social media. The ‘Search For Neverland’ premiered May 29th to two million viewers giving fans a look at their hero in the later stages of life, while paying respect to Mr. Jackson. It was pretty cool to see how much of a caring father Michael was to Prince, Blanket and Paris. A side that was not publicized by the media, who scrutinized him time and time again after his legal issues.

The film is loosely based on the novel titled, Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days which was written through the lens of Javon Beard and Bill Whitfield who wore many hats in roles ranging from friend, confidante, life coach and their main job, protector of one of the most popular men in the world. I later read that an executive producer on the movie, Suzanne de Passe, worked with MJ when he was a member of the Jackson 5 growing up. Early on in the film you can tell that the people involved gave a shit about the process and protecting the legacy of Michael Jackson. The “number one Michael Jackson impersonator” in the world Navi stars as the “Thriller” artist and has been doing it for twenty years, even meeting the real MJ on multiple occasions throwing off paparazzi as a second MJ in town, producing parties and playing the role of a faux Jackson at events throughout the world.

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Throughout this era, Michael was not working and his legal fees and debts were adding up. Who would think a multi-millionaire could somehow be broke enough to the point where Javon and Bill weren’t paid for months (movie shows 5 months in between getting paid) and maxed out credit cards along the way. One thing I want to point out was how growing up I thought it was weird that Jackson would use masks for his kids whenever they were out in public and even gave them code names. Now you see he just wanted to protect them from paparazzi just so they could live the most normal life possible as kids when he wasn’t around. Genius move from the Jackson 5 member.

My favorite thing I learned from the production had to be Michael bringing his own spray butter and hot sauce to the movie theater. It doesn’t get much more hood than that. Jackson also loved Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” and was a Jehovah Witness. Another crazy visual was seeing Mike’s brother Randy Jackson pull up at his house demanding money that he was owed on the night of Elizabeth Taylor’s 75th birthday party, which he missed out on.

By the end of the film Bill and Javon are phased out as head bodyguards and replaced by a whole new security team as Mike geared up for a 50-concert tour in London to get him out of debt once and for all, “this is it.” The final scene has Bill getting a call from a stressed emotional Jackson as he pleads for the only two people he really trusted at the time to come visit him in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, that phone call would be the last time he heard MJ’s voice, as he was hospitalized the next day and passed before Bill could take a flight out.

Overall, I thought the film did the Jackson legacy justice, even if that is by Lifetime standards. The producers obviously cared. Bill and Javon were loyal to Jackson even to a fault. If they were there on June 25th, 2009, would MJ still alive today? That is the question you are left with. Searching For Neverland is definitely worth a watch for the avid Michael Jackson fan, and it is followed up with two more documentary-styled hour-long specials, which delve more into the life of Jackson and his eccentricities told by others around him. Is there a more polarizing finish to an astonishing career? Shout out to Paris, Prince and Blanket (now known as Bigi) who are on the path to finding their “Neverland.”

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