Michael Talks to Oprah - 10 February 1993
Michael sings "Who Is It" live - click here
Oprah : You're invited to
Michael Jackson's house-four minutes from now.
Cut to clips of Michael as
people make remarks:
- Boy : He's like
famous. He dances good. And when he was a little boy he
was singing so cool.
Young woman : I grew up with his music and I think
he is extremely talented.
Man : This kid does a little bit of everything. He's
just so different, so unique in his style.
Boy : His thing is his music. O.K. He's just
himself, you know?
Young man : People would die for him. You see all
those pictures of people crying and trampling over each
other just to get a glimpse of him.
Young man : I think he is the ultimate live
Lady : I don't know how he can dance like that.
Child : He's a great singer. I just love him.
Man : He's a genius.
Boy : He's the King of Pop.
Man : The man is just tremendous. And I am in my
seventies and I love him, so you can imagine what my
Man : He's always been the greatest in my book.
Woman : I think he's a gift, you know, to people
who love music.
Young man : I just wish that he would just kinda
take down his walls and show the world who he really is.
Oprah : Good evening. I am Oprah
Winfrey, live to you in North America and countries around the
globe - bringing you a world exclusive interview with the most
elusive superstar in the history of music, Michael Jackson. I'm
here in front of his California home, it's a ranch on the
outskirts of Santa Barbara, where just inside is the man who has
broken every possible musical record, denied inter- views, and
defied definition for years. For nearly a quarter of a century,
he has been an innovator of music, of dance, of videos, even
fashion, and nothing he does is anything short of spectacular.
Tonight, Michael Jackson will continue to surprise us with a rare
personal tour of his astounding home, which includes a private
movie theater and a full scale amusement park. You're also going
to see a special performance by him and the world premiere of his
latest music video. In the next live, and I do mean unedited
ninety minutes, Michael Jackson will reveal himself, I hope, as
he has never done before. Tonight, his silence is broken. Tonight----------
Cut to clips for intermission.
Announcer : Live from Santa Inez,
California-Michael Jackson talks to Oprah.
Oprah : [from Michael's living
Michael Jackson's home is nothing like anyone would expect. I
thought there were going to be a few llamas wandering around the
living room and maybe some-uh-chimps jumping around. Don't get me
wrong, I wasn't dead wrong. There are plenty of mind-boggling
areas on this 2700 acre ranch which you'll see in this next
ninety minutes. But, where Michael Jackson eats, and where he
sleeps, and where he lives is quite simply a beautiful home.
There is a library here filled with leather bound classics and
art work on the walls, not at all what we thought we'd find.
Before we meet the man who does live here, it is important to
know where he came from, for his history is nothing short of
[Cut to clips of photos of
Michael and family as he grew up.]
Oprah : Michael Jackson is the
seventh of nine brothers and sisters born in Gary, Indiana to
steel mill worker Joseph and mother Katherine. Some say the
Jackson's turned to music the day their television set broke down,
but from the day they started performing, they were destined for
stardom. Beginning at a place called Motown------
[Cut to clips of Michael and his
Oprah : This video tape of the
Jackson's Motown audition shows James Brown's influence on young
Michael and the boys' performance brought almost the entire
company in to watch. Motown head, Berry Gordy knew right away. It
was the start of a career that broke almost every record in the
book, beginning with a string of four number one consecutive hits.
[Cut to clips of the Jackson 5
appearances on Ed Sullivan and other shows.]
Oprah : For the Jackson family,
their lives changed almost overnight. They went from obscurity to
super stardom, filled with concert tours, limousines, and
television appearances. But, it was little Michael that was
getting the most attention. As the number one hits continue to
accumulate, Michael became a star in his own right, releasing
song after song, each one turning to gold. As the years roll by,
the Jackson's success continues while their music changed with
the changing times. But, as the boys grew older, who could have
guessed what lay in store for Michael Jackson.
[Cut to clip of Michael being
interviewed as a child--]
Interviewer : So what's going to happen when your voice changes?
little Michael : It just changes!
Interviewer : Are you going to be able to stay singing?
little Michael : Yeah. (smiles broadly)
Oprah : Ladies and gentlemen,
Michael Jackson enters the
living room of his home. They shake hands and Michael kisses
Oprah on the cheek.
Oprah : How nervous are you?
Michael : How what?
Oprah : How nervous are you
Michael : I'm not nervous at all,
Oprah : You really aren't?
Michael : No, I never get
Oprah : Not even for your first
interview and it's live around the world? I thought you'd be a
little nervous but you're not and that's great because if you're
not nervous I won't be nervous. I just wanted to let the world
know that when we agreed to do this interview you said you would
be willing to talk to me about everything.
Michael : That's true.
Oprah : Very true. I was
watching you in the background there watching you in the video of
the early years. Did that bring back memories for you?
Michael : It made me giggle
because I haven't seen that footage in a long time. Did it bring
back memories? Yes, me and my brothers who I love dearly and it's
just a wonderful moment for me.
Oprah : I saw you laugh when you
saw yourself singing Baby, Baby, Baby.
Michael : Yeah, I think James
Brown is a genius you know when he's with the Famous Flames,
unbelievable. I used to watch him on television and I used to get
angry at the camera-man because whenever he would really start to
dance they would be on a close-up so I couldn't see his feet. I'd
shout "show him show him.", so I could watch and learn.
Oprah : So he was a big mentor
Michael : Phenomenal, phenomenal.
Oprah : Who else was?
Michael : Jackie Wilson who I
adore as an entertainer, and of course music, Motown. The Bee
Gees who are brilliant, I just love great music.
Oprah : When I look at those
tapes of you, and heaven knows, putting this together I think I've
seen every piece of video ever done of you, and watching those
tapes when, especially in the younger years, you seem to really
come alive on stage. Were you as happy off stage as you appear to
be on stage?
Michael : Well, on stage for me
was home. I was most comfortable on stage but once I got off
stage, I was like, very sad.
Oprah : Really?
Michael : Yes.
Oprah : And sad from the
beginning, sad since it first started, sad?
Michael : Lonely, sad, having to
face popularity and all that. There were times when I had great
times with my brother, pillow fights and things, but I was, used
to always cry from loneliness.
Oprah : Beginning at what age?
Michael : Oh, very little, eight,
Oprah : When you all first
Michael : Yes.
Oprah : So it wasn't what it
appeared to be to the rest of the world, all of us .. I remember
I was a little black child, wanted to marry Jackie Jackson, your
brother, so I mean to all of us we thought this was the most
wonderful thing in the world, who wouldn't have wanted that life?
Michael : It was wonderful,
there is a lot of wonderment in being famous. I mean you travel
the world, you meet people, you go places, it's great. But then
there's the other side, which I'm not complaining about. There is
lots of rehearsal and you have to put in a lot of your time, give
of yourself a lot.
Oprah : Do you feel... I talked
with Susan de Passe the other day, and Susan de Passe worked with
you at Motown and really groomed you all and found the outfits
for the Ed Sullivan Show. We talked about whether or not it was
really lost, was it?
Michael : Well, especially now I
come to realize - and then - I would do my schooling which was
three hours with a tutor and right after that I would go to the
recording studio and record, and I'd record for hours and hours
until it's time to go to sleep. And I remember going to the
record studio there was a park across the street and I'd see all
the children playing and I would cry because it would make me sad
that I would have to work instead.
Oprah : I want to go to this and
show some pictures of you as a little boy.
Michael : OK.
Oprah : Susan said it was a
heavy price. I want to know how big of a price it was, losing
your childhood or having this kind of life?
Michael : Well, you don't get to
do things that other children get to do, you know, having friends
and slumber parties and buddies. There was none of that for me. I
didn't have any friends when I was little. My brothers were my
Oprah : Was there ever a place
where - because you know children - because I remember talking to
myself and playing with my dolls - was there.. and I think every
child needs a place to escape into, a child's world, a child's
imagination, was there ever a time you could do that?
Michael : No. And that is why I
think now because I didn't have it then, I compensate for that.
People wonder why I always have children around, because I find
the thing that I never had through them, you know Disneyland,
amusement parks, arcade games. I adore all that stuff because
when I was little it was always work, work, work from one concert
to the next, if it wasn't a concert it was the recording studio,
if it wasn't that it was TV shows or interviews or picture
sessions. There was always something to do.
Oprah : Did you feel, Smokey
Robinson said this about you, and so have many other people, that
you were like an old soul in a little body.
Michael : I remember hearing
that all the time when I was little. They used to call me a 45-years-old
midget wherever I went, I just used to hear that and wherever I
went .. just like when some people when you were little and you
started to sing did you know you were that good? And I say I
never thought about it, I just did it and it came out. I never
thought about it really.
Oprah : So here you were,
Michael Jackson, you all had hits, you all had so many hits, four
hits in a row, and you were crying because you couldn't be like
Michael : Well, I loved show
business and I still love show business, but then there are times
you want to play and have some fun and that part did make me sad.
I remember one time we were getting ready to go to South America
and everything was packed up and in the car ready to go and I hid
and I was crying because I really did not want to go. I wanted to
play. I did not want to go.
Oprah : Were your brothers
jealous of you when you started getting all the attention?
Michael : Not that I know of, no.
Oprah : You never felt a sense
Michael : Oh, let me think - no.
No, I think they were always happy for me that I could do certain
things, but I've never felt jealousy among them.
Oprah : Do you think they are
jealous of you now?
Michael : I wouldn't think so. I
don't think so, no.
Oprah : No. What's your
relationship like with your family? Are you all close still?
Michael : I love my family very
much. I wish I could see them a little more often than I do. But
we understand because we're a show business family and we all
work. We do have family day when we all get together, we pick a
person's house, it might be Jermaine's house or Marlon's house or
Tito's house and everyone will come together in fellowship and
love each other and talk and catch up on who's doing what and....
Oprah : You weren't all upset
about LaToya and LaToya's book and the things that LaToya has
said about the family?
Michael : Well, I haven't read
LaToya's book. I just know how to love my sister dearly, I love
LaToya and I always will and I always see her as the happy,
loving LaToya that I remember growing up with. So I couldn't
completely answer on that.
Oprah : Do you feel that some of
the things that she's been saying are true?
Michael : I couldn't answer
Oprah, honestly I haven't read the book. That's the honest truth.
Oprah : Well, let's go back to
when you were growing up and feeling all of this, well, I guess
it's a sense of anguish, I guess, so there was no one for you to
play with other than your brother's, you never had slumber
Michael : Never.
Oprah : So I'm wondering for you,
being this cute little boy who everybody adored and everybody who
comes up to you they're pulling your cheeks and how cute, how
adolescence going through that duck stage where everything's
awkward, and I'm wondering when you started to go through
adolescence having been this child superstar, was that a
particularly difficult time for you?
Michael : Very. Very, very
difficult, yes. Because I think every child star suffers through
this period because you're not the cute and charming child that
you were. You start to grow, and they want to keep you little
Oprah : Who's they?
Michael : The public. And um,
nature takes its course.
Oprah : It does?
Michael : Yes, and I had pimples
so badly it used to make me so shy, I used not to look at myself,
I'd hide my face in the dark, I wouldn't want to look in the
mirror and my father teased me and I just hated it and I cried
Oprah : Your father teased you
about your pimples?
Michael : Yes and tell me I'm
Oprah : Your father would say
Michael : Yes he would. Sorry
Oprah : What's your relationship
like with him?
Michael : I love my father but I
don't know him.
Oprah : Are you angry with him
for doing that? I think that's pretty cruel actually.
Michael : Am I angry with him?
Oprah : Because adolescence is
hard enough without a parent telling you that you're ugly.
Michael : Am I angry with him?
Sometimes I do get angry. I don't know him the way I'd like to
know him. My mother's wonderful. To me she's perfection. I just
wish I could understand my father.
Oprah : And so let's talk about
those teen years. Is that when you started to go inside yourself?
Because obviously you haven't spoken to the world for 14 years.
So you went inside, you became a recluse. Was it to protect
Michael : I felt there wasn't
anything important for me to say and those were very sad, sad
years for me.
Oprah : Why so sad? Because on
stage you were performing, you were getting your Grammies. Why so
Michael : Oh, there's a lot of
sadness about my past and adolescence, about my father and all of
Oprah : So he would tease you,
make fun of you.
Michael : Yes.
Oprah : Would he ... did he ever
Michael : Yes.
Oprah : And why would he beat
Michael : He saw me, he wanted
me ... I guess I don't know if I was his golden child or whatever
it was, some may call it a strict disciplinarian or whatever, but
he was very strict, very hard, very stern. Just a look would
scare you, you know.
Oprah : And were you scared of
Michael : Very. Like there's
been times when he'd come to see me, I'd get sick, I'd start to
Oprah : As a child or as an
Michael : Both. He's never heard
me say this. I'm sorry, please don't be mad at me.
Oprah : Well, I mean, I suppose
everybody has to take responsibility for what they've done in
life. And your father is one of those people who also have to
Michael : But I do love him.
Oprah : Yes, I understand this.
Michael : And I am forgiving.
Oprah : But can you really
Michael : I do forgive. There's
so much garbage and so much trash that's written about me it is
so untrue, they're complete lies, and those are some of the
things I wanted to talk about. The press has made up so much ...
God ... awful, horrifying stories it has made me realize the more
often you hear a lie, I mean, you begin to believe it.
Oprah : Um, we talked about all
of the rumors just before we went to the break and there are so
many. First of all, I have been in this house getting prepared
for this and I've been all over the house upstairs when you weren't
looking, looking for that oxygen chamber and I cannot find an
oxygen chamber anywhere in the house.
Michael : That, that story is so
crazy, I mean it's one of those tabloid things, it's completely
Oprah : Okay, but you are in
something there, there's a picture of you, where did that come
from? How did it get started?
Michael : That's ... I did a
commercial for Pepsi and I was burned very badly and we settled
for one million dollars and I gave all the money ... like we
built this place called the Michael Jackson Burn Center and that's
a piece of technology used for burn victims, right, so I'm
looking at the piece of technology and decide to just go inside
it and just to hammer around, somebody takes the picture, when
they process the picture the person who processes the picture
says, "Oh, Michael Jackson," he made a copy and these
pictures went all over the world with this lie attached to it. It's
a complete lie, why do people buy these papers. It's not the
truth and I'm here to say. You know, do not judge a person, do
not pass judgment, unless you have talked to them one on one, I
don't care what the story is, do not judge them because it's a
Oprah : You're right, that story,
it was just like it had legs.
Michael : It's crazy! Why would
I want to sleep in a chamber? (Laughing)
Oprah : Well, the rumor was that
you were sleeping in the chamber because you didn't want to grow
Michael : That's stupid. That's
stupid. It's completely made up and I'm embarrassed. I'm willing
to forgive the press, or forgive anybody, I was taught to love
and forgive, which I do have in my heart, but please don't
believe these crazy, horrifying things.
Oprah : Did you buy the Elephant
man's bones, were you trying to get them for ...
Michael : No that's another
stupid story. I love the story of the Elephant Man, he reminds me
of me a lot and I could relate to it, it made me cry because I
saw myself in in the story, but no I never asked for the ...
where am I going to put some bones?
Oprah : I don't know.
Michael : And why would I want
Oprah : I don't know. So where
did that come from?
Michael : Someone makes it up
and everybody believes it. If you hear a lie often enough, you
Oprah : Yes and people make
money selling tabloids.
Michael : Yes
Oprah : All right. Just recently,
there was a story and I know one of your attorneys held a news
conference, there was a story about you wanting a little white
child to play you in a Pepsi commercial.
Michael : That is so stupid.
That is the most ridiculous, horrifying story I've ever heard. It's
crazy. Why, number one, it's my face as a child in the commercial,
me when I was little, why would I want a white child to play me?
I'm a black American, I am proud to be a black American, I am
proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride
and dignity. That's like you wanting an oriental person to play
you as a child. Does that make sense?
Oprah : No.
Michael : So, please people,
stop believing these horrifying stories.
Oprah : Okay, then let's go to
the thing that is most discussed about you, that is the color of
your skin is most obviously different than when you were younger,
and so I think it has caused a great deal of speculation and
controversy as to what you have done or are doing, are you
bleaching your skin and is your skin lighter because you don't
like being black?
Michael : Number one, as I know
of, there is no such thing as skin bleaching, I have never seen
it, I don't know what it is.
Oprah : Well they used to have
those products, I remember growing up always hearing always use
bleach and glow, but you have to have about 300,000 gallons.
Michael : Okay, but number one,
this is the situation. I have a skin disorder that destroys the
pigmentation of the skin, it's something that I cannot help. Okay.
But when people make up stories that I don't want to be who I am
it hurts me.
Oprah : So it is...
Michael : It's a problem for me
that I can't control, but what about all the millions of people
who sits out in the sun, to become darker, to become other than
what they are, no one says nothing about that.
Oprah : So when did this start,
when did your ... when did the color of your skin start to change?
Michael : Oh boy, I don't ...
sometime after Thriller, around Off the Wall, Thriller, around
Oprah : But what did you think?
Michael : It's in my family, my
father said it's on his side. I can't control it, I don't
understand, I mean, it makes me very sad. I don't want to go into
my medical history because that is private, but that's the
Oprah : So okay, I just want to
get this straight, you are not taking anything to change the
color of your skin ...
Michael : Oh, God no, we tried
to control it and using make-up evens it out because it makes
blotches on my skin, I have to even out my skin. But you know
what's funny, why is that so important? That's not important to
me. I'm a great fan of art, I love Michelangelo, if I had the
chance to talk to him or read about him I would want to know what
inspired him to become who he is, the anatomy of his
craftsmanship, not about who he went out with last night ... what'
wrong with ... I mean that's what is important to me.
Oprah : How much plastic surgery
have you had?
Michael : Very, very little. I
mean you can count on my two fingers, I mean let's say this, if
you want to know about those things, all the nosey people in the
world, read my book Moonwalk, it's in my book. You know, let's
put it this way, if all the people in Hollywood who have had
plastic surgery, if they went on vacation, there wouldn't be a
person left in town.
Oprah : Mmm, I think you might
Michael : I think I am right. It
would be empty.
Oprah : Did you start having
plastic surgery because of those teen years because of not liking
the way you looked?
Michael : No, not really. It was
only two things. Really, get my book, it's no big deal.
Oprah : You don't want to tell
me what it is? You had your nose done, obviously.
Michael : Yeah, but so did a lot
of people that I know.
Oprah : And so, when you hear
all these things about you, and there have been more...
Michael : I've never had my
cheekbones done, never had my eyes done, never had my lips done
and all this stuff. They go too far, but this is stuff that
happens every day with other people.
Oprah : Are you pleased now with
the way you look?
Michael : I'm never pleased with
anything, I'm a perfectionist, it's part of who I am.
Oprah : And so when you look in
the mirror now and so the image that looks back at you are there
days when you say I kinda like this or I like the way my hair ...
Michael : No. I'm never pleased
with myself. No, I try not to look in the mirror.
Oprah : I have to ask you this,
so many mothers in my audience have said to please ask you this
question. Why do you always grab your crotch?
Michael : (Giggle) Why do I grab
Oprah : You've got a thing with
your crotch going on there.
Michael : I think it happens
subliminally. When you're dancing, you know you are just
interpreting the music and the sounds and the accompaniment if
there's a driving base, if there's a cello, if there's a string,
you become the emotion of what that sound is, so if I'm doing a
movement and I go bam and I grab myself it's... it's the music
that compels me to do it, it's not saying that I'm dying to grab
down there and it's not in a great place you don't think about it,
it just happens, sometimes I'll look back at the footage and I go
... and I go did I do that, so I'm a slave to the rhythm, yeah,
After a commercial break, some
of Michael's major achievements are shown:
- # 1 Album of All Time
- # 2 Album of All Time
- Biggest Concert in History
- More Music Awards Than Any
- The 80's Most # 1 Hits
- Biggest Endorsements Deal
Ever - 15,000,000 dollars
- Billion Dollar
- Entertainner of the Decade
Oprah : When you have broken all
those records, when you have the number one album ever
sold, when you've broken every record there is to break,
when you become an icon of an industry, is there always
the pressure to do something bigger and something better.
Michael : Oh gee, that
is something, um, it makes it harder each time to follow
up. You try to be as original as you can be without
thinking about statistics, just you go from the soul and
from the heart.
Oprah : And so when you
think of that what do you do, you go, you meditate, you
think, well I will now do the Superbowl.
Michael : Nooo, I just
create out of my heart, really.
Oprah : Liz Taylor said
you were king of pop, rock and soul. Where did this whole
notion that you proclaimed yourself king of pop come from?
Michael : Well, I didn't
proclaim myself to be anything. I'm happy to be alive, I'm
happy to be who I am, king of pop was first said by
Elizabeth Taylor on one of the award shows.
Oprah : And that's where
this all started?
Michael : Yes, and the
fans ... all the stadiums that we played at they'd bring
banners saying king of pop and jackets that say king of
pop and T-shirts that say king of pop and they chanted
outside my hotel, so it just became something that just
happened all over the world.
Oprah : Do you go out,
do you date?
Michael : Yes.
Oprah : Who do you date?
Michael : Well, right
now it's Brooke Shields. Well, we try not to be
everywhere, go everywhere, it's mostly at home, she'll
come over, I'll go to her house, because I don't like
going out in public.
Oprah : Have you ever
been in love?
Michael : Yeah.
Oprah : With Brooke
Michael : Yes, and
Oprah : And another girl?
Let me ask you this, and it's embarrassing for me to ask
you this, but I'm gonna ask you anyway, are you a virgin?
Michael : Uhhhhh, how
could you ask you that question?
Oprah : I just want to
Michael : I'm a
Oprah : You're a
Michael : I'm a
Oprah : I would
interpret that to mean that you believe that a lady is a
lady and therefore..
Michael : That's
something that's private, I mean, it shouldn't be spoken
about openly. ......... You can call me old fashioned if
you want, but, you know I mean that's very personal.
Oprah : So, you're not
going to answer it?
Michael : I'm
Oprah : Well, we would
like to know whether or not there is a possibility that
you are going to marry one day and have children?
Michael : I would feel
my life is incomplete if I do not 'cause I adore the
family life, I adore children and I adore that whole
thing. And I would love to, that's one of my dreams, but
I couldn't right now because I'm married, I'm married to
my music and there has to be that closeness in order to
do the kind of work that I want to do and ...
Oprah : What kind of
woman makes you - in the video we're going to see later,
we premier the world video, there's a line where you talk
about being quenched, so what kind of person does that
Michael : (Sings) Quench
my desire ... Well Brooke, I've always liked her and when
I was little I used to stay with Diana Ross, me and my
brother stayed with her for years and I never said, but I
always had a crush on her.
Oprah : You did?
Michael : Yes.
Oprah : I heard too,
this was another one of those rumors, that you had
proposed to Elizabeth Taylor at some point.
Michael : Elizabeth
Taylor is gorgeous, beautiful, and she still is today, I'm
crazy about her.
Oprah : Yeah, but did
you propose to her?
Michael : I would like
Oprah : Well, Elizabeth
Taylor is here. Liz? Can we bring Liz out now? Liz had
said she wanted to be here to hold your hand through this.
You don't look like you need your hand held. Elizabeth
Michael : Hi, Elizabeth.
Oprah : Hi.
Elizabeth : Hi.
Oprah : Have a seat.
Elizabeth : Thank you.
Oprah : Did Michael ever
propose to you?
Elizabeth : No! And I
never proposed to him.
Oprah : Never did! What
do you think is most misunderstood about Michael Jackson?
Elizabeth : All the
things you mentioned. He is the least weird man I have
ever known. He is highly intelligent, true, intuitive,
understanding, sympathetic, generous almost to a fault,
Oprah : Uh-huh.
Elizabeth : Uh, and he
just, if, if he has any eccentricities, it's that he is
like larger than life and some people just cannot accept
that or face it or understand it. His talent on stage,
why I call him the King of pop, rock, soul, music,
Oprah : Yes.
Elizabeth : there's
nobody that can come near him. Nobody can dance like that,
write the lyrics like that, the music, uh, cause the kind
of excitement that he does.
Oprah : And why do you
think you all are such good friends? What has brought
about this kind of bond? Because people try to make this
Elizabeth : Well, it's
not. I mean, our childhoods are very similar, and we have
that from the very beginning in common. Um, I was a child
star at nine, had an abusive father, um, and that kind of
brought us close together in the very beginning.
Oprah : And what is it,
I am going to ask Michael this question later on, but,
what is it you most want the world to know about him?
Elizabeth : What a
wonderful, giving, caring, generous man he is and how
good he is.
Oprah : And he's funny,
Elizabeth : Oh, he's
Oprah : He can crack
some jokes, I tell you.
Elizabeth : Yes, but he
is a good man.
Oprah : When we come
back - Thank you for joining us too -
Elizabeth : That's fine.
Oprah : ...cause I know
you did not want to be on camera at first, but thank you.
Coming up next, Michael is going to give us not only a
tour of his incredible amusement park and movie theater,
but also a very special dance performance. For all of you
who say he is faking the Moonwalk with mirrors, we've got
some proof coming up in a minute. Cut to dance clips for
intermission Announcer : Live from Santa Inez, California.
Michael Jackson talks to Oprah.
Oprah : Now this is what's
shocking to me, that you even drive. What we're doing,
everybody, is that we are coming from Michael's house
down to this amazing amusement park, which is, oh, about
several hundred yards from the house. And this is, it's
Michael : Thank you.
Oprah : And I want to
know whether or not you did this for yourself or did you
do it for all the children that you entertain here?
Michael : For myself and
the children. Every three weeks we - terminally ill
children that come to - uh-
Oprah : To the house?
Michael : Yes, yes.
Oprah : Make a wish
foundation, Dream Street, Starlight, yes?
Michael : Every three
weeks - and these are sick children, children with cancer.
And I entertain them.
Oprah : Uh-huh.
Michael : And they come
here to enjoy themselves.
Oprah : This is
unbelievable. What I have to say is, these are, as I was
talking to some kids that were here, these are not just
grandma rides here. These are some major rides.
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : I mean the Sea
Dragon, the Ferris Wheel, and there's that Zipper over
Michael : The Wipeout.
Oprah : Yeah, the
Wipeout, and there are Bumper cars here, it's really-
Michael : Thank you.
Well, it brings out the child that lives in every- body.
I love rides and things like that and I share it with the
Oprah : Were you able to
do that when you were a kid?
Michael : Not really.
Sometimes, sometimes, but not often enough.
Oprah : But now you can
Michael : Every day. It's
right in my back yard.
Oprah : How often do you
actually come out here and do this?
Michael : Whenever I'm
here I come out and I go on the rides.
Oprah : Well, is this a
part of you, what we were talking about earlier, the pain
of growing up and not being able to experience all the
things that kids normally experience and so now you are
fulfilling all those fantasies.
Michael : To compensate,
Oprah : Really.
Michael : Yes, it is
Oprah : Do you think you
can ever really recapture it though? Does it feel the
same? I mean, I don't know.
Michael : (laughs) It's
Oprah : Really?
Michael : I wouldn't
change the past if I could. I'm enjoying myself.
Oprah : And here we are
inside the theater. I had one too many sugar babies at
the candy counter.
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : But the candy is
here for all the kids. Pinocchio is here, ET is here. Did
you - what's fascinating to me about you is that
obviously you have this childlike aura about you and I
see children with you and they play with you like you are
one of them. But, a child did not do this.
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : A child did not
put this together. This is really magnificent.
Michael : Well, thank
you. I - I love to do things for children and I try to
imitate Jesus - and I am not saying I am Jesus, I'm not
Oprah : Yes, we're clear
Michael : Right, I'm
trying to imitate Jesus in the fact that he said to be
like children, to love children, to be as pure as
children, and to make yourself as innocent and to see the
world through eyes of wonderment and the whole magical
quality of it all and I love that. And we'll have like a
hundred bald headed children, they all have cancer, and
they're all running around.
Oprah : Um-huh.
Michael : And they are
enjoying themselves and it makes me cry happy tears that
I was able to do this for them, you know.
Oprah : Um-huh.
Michael : Makes me so
Oprah : Well, when I
came here to, um, about a month ago to shoot a commercial
with you for promoting tonight's event, one of the things
that really impressed me the most, I hope you guys are
getting shots of this. I don't know how you are, if all
the cameras are on us, but, oh, we got other cameras - is
that there are, built inside the walls here-beds-beds for
some of those sick children who come. And what I realized
when I saw this is that you have to be a person who
really cares about children to build it into your
Michael : Yes, yes. We
have children that come who are - who intravenously -
they are very sick, bedridden-
Oprah : They can't sit
Michael : Right. They
can't sit up and these beds, they are hospital beds, you
push a button, you go up or you go down and they are able
to watch. We have a magic show, we show the current films,
there's cartoons, anything you know, anything so they can
escape to that world of magic that they don't have a
chance to experience, the world I was deprived of when I
Oprah : Now let me ask
you this. You know I believe everything happens in people's
lives for a reason. Do you think that had you not missed
a lot of, uh, the life and fun and fantasy of childhood
that you would be so in touch with children today. Would
you relate to them as you do?
Michael : I probably
would, but not as much. That's why I wouldn't change a
Oprah : Really?
Michael : Because I am
happy with the way things are and my caring for young
people and everything.
Oprah : Are you really
happy now, because you seemed so sad for a long time.
Michael : (laughs) I was
sad for years and years and years. But I'm happy, I'm
getting there. Yes, I'm very happy.
Oprah : And what has
made you happier.
Michael : Being able to
give back, you know, and to help other people.
Oprah : Uh-huh.
Michael : Heal the World
Foundation which I've formed which helps children in
healing in the world. We're doing Heal L. A., which is uh,
we have three primary goals in mind: immunization of
children, mentoring-a big sister, big brother program,
and education in drug abuse. And Jimmy Carter has teamed
up with us to do Heal Atlanta and we're going to go from
state to state healing-- you know we've gone to Sarajevo,
we've done lots of places.
Oprah : I know, I know,
we have photographs of you from all over the world where
you are with all these children. One of the things I was
saying before we went to the last break, before the alarm
went off in the house and all that-
Michael : Yeah-
Oprah : is that, uh, we
were talking about the rumors. One of the strangest ones
I heard was that when you're Moonwalking, you're faking
it, that you have some mirrors in your socks someplace.
Michael : Oh, boy!
Oprah : And it's not
Michael : No, that's not
Oprah : How did you,
first of all, you know we've spent so much time trying to
dispel the rumors, trying to get the truth out that I
haven't had a really opportunity to talk to you about how
you conceive your music, how you conceive the dance.
Where did the Moonwalk come from?
Michael : Well, the
Moonwalk came from these beautiful children, the black
kids who live in the ghettos, you know, the inner cities,
who are brilliant, that just have that natural talent for
dancing any of these new - the running man - any of these
dances. They come up with these dances, all I did was
enhance the dance.
Oprah : O.K. I want to
see you dance.
Michael : Oh, God, no,
Oprah : I want to see
you dance. I want to see you dance, live.
Michael : No, no. I can
show you a step or two, but, I'm a little rusty right now.
Oprah : A little rusty?!
[Michael goes on stage
and dances to Dangerous.]
Michael : That's the
Moonwalk - wait, you need to catch it from the - sideways.
Oprah : You gotta turn
Michael : Are you from
Oprah : Yeah, we got ya!
Michael : Catch it from
Oprah : O.k. Just show
me slow motion. Could you show me slow motion?
Michael : O.K., wait, it's
like, it's pushing and then there's like a popping type
[Michael stops dancing
and comes down from stage.]
Michael : I'm sorry.
Oprah : (applauding)
Well, I saw it live, I saw it live, I saw it live. And so
you took it from the kids who were doing it.
Michael : Yeah, because,
um, I think they are the real dancers.
Oprah : Yeah! And when
you are, for instance, when we were here before, when we
were here before to shoot that commercial, you were--
Michael : You were
supposed to do this with me! (laughing)
Oprah : I don't know how
to do this!
Michael : (laughing)
Oprah : You know I don't
know how to do this!
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : You know what? I
mean all the things that were printed in the tabloids,
the only thing that's ever been true was when they said I
couldn't dance. Now that's the truth!
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : When we were
here the last time shooting the commercial, you were like
in between shots running off and conceiving the dance,
choreographing the dance, you were up all night dancing.
Michael : For the Super
Oprah : Yes, yes.
Michael : Yes, well, I'm
never satisfied. Even when I see something that I've done
and people say oh it was so phenomenal - when I did
Motown 25 and I did the Moonwalk for the first time, I
was backstage crying afterwards.
Oprah : Why?
Michael : Because I was
Oprah : You cried after
Michael : After Motown
25, yes. But, then as I was walking to the car there was
this little boy, he was like 12, was a little Jewish kid,
and he said, " OOOOO, you were amazing. Who taught
you to ever dance like that?". And for the first
time, I felt I did a good job, because I know children
don't lie and I just felt so good about it then.
Oprah : You wanted to,
you felt so good, you probably wanted to say- (imitating
Michael : (laughs) Heh-heh!
Oprah : I want you to
sing something acapella for me, if you can.
Michael : Oh, no! What
could I sing?
Oprah : Who is it, you
know do that whole little beat thing, since we're here in
Michael : Um, oh, boy,
what could I sing? Who Is It?
Oprah : Where did that
Heh-heh thing come from? Heh-heh.
Michael : Heh-heh! (starts
the beat and makes instrument sounds to Who Is It?) (sings)
I gave my money, I gave my time, I gave her everything in
life one heart could find. It doesn't seem to matter and
it doesn't seem right, but the will has brought no
fortune, still I cry alone at night. Don't you judge of
my composure cause I'm bothered every day, and she didn't
leave a letter, she just up and ran away.
Oprah : OOOWWWW! Fabulous!
Michael sings "Who Is It" live - click here
Michael : I mean, you wanted me
to do it! I get embarrassed. I'm sorry. I get embarrassed.
Oprah : I like it very
much. Thank you very much for that. We're going to come
right back with more of Michael Jackson live--- That was
GREAT! (hugs Michael)
[Cut to clips for
Oprah : One of the
reasons we wanted to look at that piece when we went to
break there was because music videos used to be you, used
to just be people singing their song until you came along
and changed music videos. Did you know when you first
conceived your first one that's what you were doing?
Michael : Yeah. The idea was to make something that was a
story so it had a beginning, a middle and an ending.
Oprah : Uh-huh. Michael
: So it felt like a mini movie, that's what I wanted to
do. And that is what we did with Beat It and Thriller and
Smooth Criminal and all those type of things.
Oprah : So when you
start to look at a piece of work or look at a piece of
music, are you already thinking about how you are going
to -- Michael : Sometimes, yes, that is very true.
Oprah : Uh-huh. I wonder
what it feels like, I will never know since I cannot sing
one thing, but, what it feels like to be on stage with a
sea of people, a sea of people. One of the things that
has impressed me in putting the pieces together for you,
is all around the world, the response to you is so
incredible. I just wanted to, for the rest of you in the
world who haven't seen how people respond to Michael
Jackson to take a look---
[Cut to concert clips
and crowd scenes from around the world, with Will You Be
There playing as background music.]
Oprah : So, when you're
standing there and there's a sea of people responding to
you, screaming you name as they were, what does it feel
Michael : Love, you just
feel lots of love and I feel blessed and honored to be
able to be an instrument of nature that was chosen to
give them that, what I give them. I'm very honored and
happy about that.
Oprah : An instrument of
nature-that's an interesting way to describe your- self.
Michael : Thank you, yes.
Oprah : Are you very
Michael : In what sense?
Oprah : I mean, do you,
do you meditate? Do you understand that there's something
bigger than yourself at work here?
Michael : I believe in
God, absolutely, absolutely, very much.
Oprah : Uh-huh. And I
believe that everybody comes to the world for a reason. I
think, um, most of us spend our lives trying to figure
out what the purpose of our being here is. What do you
think yours is?
Michael : My purpose?
Oprah : Uh-huh.
Michael : Oh, boy, I
think, um, to give in the best way I can through song,
and through dance and through music. I mean, I am
committed to my art. I believe that all art has as it's
ultimate goal the union between the material and the
spiritual, the human and the divine. I believe that to be
the reason for the very existence of art.
Oprah : Uh-huh.
Michael : And, um, I
feel I was chosen as an instrument to just give music and
love and harmony to the world. To children of all ages,
and um, adults and teenagers.
Oprah : Do you think
that by talking now, setting the record straight for
yourself, that maybe people will be able to focus more
attention on your music and not judge you for anything
other than the kind of music that you play?
Michael : I would hope
so. I would love that.
Oprah : Well, I hope
that comes out of this, too. I'm also excited that the
world is watching, and because the world is watching, we
thought this was a good time to let the world see the
world premiere of Give In To Me. Cut to world premiere
showing of Give In To Me video.
Oprah : So, we want to
know how it starts on a piece of paper-quench my desire-and
turns into that.
Michael : Well, Give In
To Me, I wanted to write another song, you know, that was
kinda exciting and fun and had a rock edge to it. You
know, like when I did Beat It and Black or White. And
Slash, who's a dear friend of mine, we love animals and
things like that, he wanted to play guitar and I wanted
him to play guitar. We got together and we went to
Germany and we shot this thing in just like two hours. We
had no time at all to shoot it. We wanted it to be
exciting and fantastical and fans, you know, like it's a
rock concert and that's how it ends up-that's the result.
Oprah : You mentioned
animals. I know everyone's going to ask me when I leave
here, where are all the animals? I said it in the opening,
I expected chimps to be jumping all over the living room
and I didn't see any. Where's Bubbles?
Michael : (laughs) Well,
the animals are everywhere. They're in their habitats.
They're all over the ranch. And they come out in the
daytime and they play and jump around, they have their
own playground and area.
Oprah : Why, why were
you so fascinated by animals, do you think?
Michael : Because I find
in animals the same thing I find so wonderful in children.
That purity, that honesty, where they don't judge you,
they just want to be your friend. I think that is so
Oprah : I do, too. We'll
be right back with Michael Jackson, live.
Announcer : Michael
Jackson talks to Oprah. Ninety prime-time minutes with
the King of Pop.
Oprah : We're live at
Michael Jackson's house, in his theater and we asked NBC
for ninety minutes. I don't think it was enough time.
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : I think we've
cleared up all the rumors though. There are no chimps
running around the house-
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : No oxygen tank
in the house. I don't know, are you going to lay off the
crotch a little bit?
Michael : (laughs) Ask
Oprah : Ask the music
will you lay off the crotch. Oh, we didn't get about the
inauguration. Did you tell President Clinton that you had
to be the only person there singing?
Michael : That is
horrible. That is the stupidest, craziest story that I
have ever heard. I mean, why would I just want me and
nobody else could be on the show, just me. That's so
stupid, to me. I mean, it's crazy. That's not even in my
heart. I would never say any- thing like that. Again,
somebody made it up and the whole world believed it . It
is so false, it's incredible.
Oprah : What do you want,
want most-what do you want the world to know about you
most? I asked Liz that of you, what do you want them to
Michael : Like to be
Oprah : Not to be
remembered for-what about for now? Forget remembered.
Michael : Oh, known for
now. As to be an artist, a great artist. I, I love what I
do and I would love people to love what I do and to be
loved. I just simply want to be loved wherever I go. All
over the world, because I love people of all races from
my heart, with true affection.
Oprah : Hmm. You know,
Gene Siskel who's a movie critic asked me this question
once. And I love the question, so I am going to ask you.
Michael : Yeah?
Oprah : You're 34 years
old. What do you know for sure?
Michael : Hmm. What do I
know for sure?
Oprah : What do you know
Michael : Oh, boy, I'm
still learning. I mean, life is an education for me. I
can't say that I know anything for sure. I really believe
Oprah : I can't thank
you enough for letting us in and I wish you all the
happiness in the world. I loved being here because it
makes me feel like a child again and one of the things I
promised myself was that when this interview was over-live
around the world- I was going to go get on that Ferris
Michael : (laughs)
Oprah : And that is
exactly what I intend to do. I'm gonna take off my blue
shoes and I'm gonna ride that Ferris Wheel!
Michael : (continues
Oprah : I'm gonna have a
good time and have myself a little popcorn, maybe, and
maybe when it's all over, you'll teach me how to do the
Moonwalk-when everybody's not looking!
Michael : O.K.! O.K.!
That sounds good.
Oprah : Yeah! This was
Michael : Yeah! Lots of
They leave the theater
together to go to the amusement park.
End of program.
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