Chapter 3

November 14th, 1991.


At around 8:00 pm, Michael's phone started to ring like crazy. He knew that it must have had something to do with his new short film 'Black or White.'
  The video had just premiered on all the major T.V. networks, and it was already causing an uproar.
   After his phone rang for the tenth time that night, he finally answered.
   "Hello?"
   "Hey Michael, this is Kevin; we need to release a statement quick! Your new music video is getting a lot of complaints, but it's also received a lot of raving reviews!"
   Sighing deeply, Michael stood up and walked towards his bedroom window, "What are they saying, Kevin?"
   "The T.V. networks are calling us with a lot of complaints from viewers concerning the 'Panther Dance.'  WPTY-TV in Memphis, Tennessee, informed us that they received over 100 complaints. Viewers are saying that the dance is too sexual and violent!"
   "Shit! The video is being misinterpreted," he shouted as he hit a nearby wall, causing it to shake profusely.
   "I was simply letting out my frustration about injustice, prejudice, racism, AND... BIGOTRY THROUGH DANCE," He spoke angrily, his voice becoming louder and louder.
   "I know, Michael! We'll fix this! We can re-edit the video and send it to the Television Networks right away, but first, I need a statement from you," Kevin urged.
   "That's' fine! Give me 10 minutes, and I'll fax it to you right away!" he yelped before hanging up the phone.
   Sitting down to pen his apology letter, he grumbled.
   "Compared to all of the wild stuff that I've seen on t.v. This doesn't make any Mmm Mmm sense!' He said aloud, trying not to curse again.

***
   Sparkle's head nodded up and down as she tried to stay awake. She wanted to catch the ten o'clock news, but her need for sleep was over-powering her.
 And next on 'KTLA,' Singer Michael Jackson releases an apology for his latest controversial music video. Stay tuned to hear what he has to say.
   When Sparkle heard Michael's name on the t.v, she became instantly awake. She hadn't seen his new music video yet, so she had not the slightest clue of what was going on.
   After KTLA news returned from their commercial break, they read the following statement issued by Michael:
 "It upsets me to think that 'Black or White' could influence any child or adult to destructive behavior, either sexual or violent. I've always tried to be a good role model and, therefore, have made these changes to avoid any possibility of adversely affecting any individual's behavior. I deeply regret any pain or hurt that the final segment of 'Black or White' has caused children, their parents, or any others.
   Immediately after the news segment was over, Sparkle changed the t.v. Station to MTV. As luck would have it, they were playing the original version of "Black or White" at the top of every hour.
   "Alright, Michael!" She quipped. "The imagery in this is everything! We so need this message right now."
   Whenever she watched Michael's Music videos or listened to his albums, it transported her back to a more happy time in the world. "God, I miss the eighties," she sighed.
   As she continued watching the video, her eyes became wide when Michael turned into a beautiful and sleek black panther.
   "Wow! this is genius," she whispered to herself as she watched him perform a passionate dance while destroying racial slurs written on cars and storefronts.
   At the conclusion of the video, her thoughts drifted back to Michael's apologetic statement.
   "He shouldn't have had to apologize! It's not his fault they missed the point he was trying to make."
   Feeling sleepy again, she laid back down in her bed and thought, "Maybe... Just M-A-Y-B-E! He is different from other celebrities."
   Soon after falling into a deep sleep, she bolted upright, drenched in a cold sweat. For the past two weeks, she kept having the same reoccurring nightmare that hit too close to home.
   In her dream, she envisioned a man walking out of a door, as she cried, "Please don't go! Please don't go! We'll be better!"
   On Sparkle's 11th birthday, her parents had been arguing with each other in their bedroom for most of the day.
   When they finally exited the room, she noticed that her dad was holding a suitcase. Without looking back, her dad left their home, never to return.
    A few days later, Sparkle's mom had been served with divorce papers from her dad. He had been cheating on her mother with a famous actress he met on his job. 
    Since both of her parents worked in the entertainment industry, she was used to being around famous people all of her life, but it wasn't until her parent's divorce that she started to despise celebrities.
   When she was just seventeen years old, her dad died suddenly of a heart attack. After his funeral, she learned that she was included in his will. Her dad had left her a large sum of money that was to be used for her well being and further education.
   At first, it was hard for her to accept the money, but she also felt it was the least he could do for breaking their family apart.
   Since not only was her father the cause of her parent's break-up, she also felt the celebrity was at fault as well—she made a personal vow never to date or get romantically involved with one herself.
***
November 26th, 1991.


Despite the controversy surrounding the 'Black or White' short film, Michael's latest album 'Dangerous' was projected to debut at #1 on the music charts.
   "Congrats, Michael! The new album is kickin' ass!" His chief of security exclaimed during their game of pool.
   "Thanks, Bill! I was a little worried at first due to the backlash of the video, but if anything, it has helped further album sales." He replied as he bent over to strike the white cue ball.
   Bill Bray was a former Los Angeles
police officer who served as Michael's longtime security chief. Throughout the years, Bill had become a second father to Michael. Whenever you saw Michael out in public, Bill was never too far behind.
   "You know Michael... Compton isn't the safest place to go," he said concernedly.
   "Oh, come on, Bill! We've been to other places that weren't deemed exactly safe."
   "While that's true, Michael, My top priority is protecting you. Listen... I'm not trying to prevent you from going there, but we have to remain smart and vigilant at all times." He spoke firmly while pointing his pool stick at Michael.
   "I understand... And thanks, Bill! I truly appreciate you for keeping me safe all of these years."
   Bill always kept Michael up to date about their security details. He needed Michael to know the in's and out's of protocol so that he knew exactly what was going on at all times in case of an emergency.
   "Ok, Michael-- here's what's happening. I've hired a few cops from the LAPD to help secure the perimeter of the building. Even though people will be coming and going, the mere presence of the cops should prevent anyone from acting stupid. So... with the extra cops, myself, Wayne, Skipper, and the rest of your security team, we'll have the place efficiently secured."
    "Sounds great, Bill! Now let's get back to this game so that I can finish whooping your butt!" Michael chuckled.
   "Just remember who taught you how to play in the first place!" Bill quipped as he patted Michael playfully on his shoulder.

***

November 27th, 1991.


Michael was all set to volunteer at the community center. His security team was on the money, and he had received all the disclosure forms back from Sparkle. He meant to call and personally thank her for allowing him to volunteer, but it had slipped his mind due to his busy schedule that week.
    As he settled down for the evening, he decided to call her up. It wasn't too late yet, and he needed to ask her something important about the community center members.

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