After a chance meeting as a young fan, Stacy Brown became friends with Jermaine Jackson — and later the rest of the Jackson family, including Michael. He helped write some of their memoirs, traveled on their tours, and even gave them loans (never to be repaid). Here, for the first time, Stacy explain what it’s like to be friends with the strangest family in America.
Randy Jackson, the second-youngest of the storied musical dynasty, likes to call his family “the black Kennedys.”
Maybe. But they certainly weren’t as smart with their ¬finances as the Kennedys.
Even before this month, when the family lost a $40 billion lawsuit against AEG over the death of Michael Jackson, they’ve struggled with debts. Especially when the family’s richest members, Michael and Janet, decided to cut off their seven other siblings and parents out of whim or spite.
A particularly low point came in 2003. No money was coming in, few of them had actual jobs and ¬Janet gave but one gift to her siblings: free meal cards to Baja Fresh, a fast-food chain with which she had an endorsement deal.
I visited Rebbie, the oldest of the Jackson kids, in Vegas, to work on a book. It was Baja Fresh for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From there I drove to Hayvenhurst, the family’s estate in Encino, Calif., to meet Katherine, the matriarch, and Jermaine.
And for 2¹/₂ weeks it was . . . Baja Fresh.
Finally, for the sake of my stomach, I offered to take Katherine to Trader Joe’s. She loaded the cart with groceries, and I ended up with the bill — $700.
There was no “thank you.” The money was never repaid. Whatever courtesies are shown to them are met with the air of “You did what you ought to. We are the Jacksons!”