Interview with Marlon Brando Conducted, by phone, by James Grissom 1991
The talent was like lightning--sharp and bright and dangerous. The addiction to fame, attention, love and husbanding, was toxic, unending. The primary function now, I think, is destruction and erection: Destruction of the biography, history, and reality of the person Michael Jackson, and the erection of the desired, artificial artifact that the world must always remember as "Michael Jackson."
He is a construct, and a construct whose scaffolding is suffused with hatred.
If his talent attracted me, it was our mutual hatred of our fathers that bonded us. I have been involved in the healing, the revision, the understanding of my father, but Michael has been desperately seeking to remove all vestiges of his father from his mind, his body, his face, and his memory. I do not know why, nor do I care to find out. Whenever Michael seeks to walk down those dark hallways, I change the subject. In the healing process, particularly with our fathers, our parents, we need to apply love first. Let love be the hallway you walk down. I say this after years of hatred--obvious and hidden--dominated my thoughts and actions toward my father. It does not work.
Michael equates abuses of all kinds with his father and with all black men. Black is bestial to Michael, and while he admired me for my actions in the cause of civil rights, he has never asked me a single thing about why I fought in this way, or who I knew who had been discriminated against, abused, or anything about the abhorrent history of racism in this country. Not a thing. He only wanted to know about the famous black shoulders I had rubbed in this world. His comment about two of them--James Baldwin and Miles Davis--was identical: "They so black!" Judgment and dismissal.
Some of the most creative people in the world are myths, constructs, figments. Read the early biographies I wrote for playbills when I began. Fiction. Caprice. Petulance. Irene Worth was called by Tennessee [Williams] "The Goddess of Re-Invention," and he was right. Everything was revised, but in her case so that she could more clearly arrive at truth and beauty. Michael revises to vanquish his very identity, his true heritage.
I have heard Michael say things about black men that are as abrasive and virulent as anything uttered by the Klansmen and disgruntled people who hurled insults at me as I marched for civil rights. Fear is the basis, I think, of racism, and as a white man, I might feel that a black man is taking something from me, is superior to me, is planning revenge on me for what my people have done to his people. Or all of the above. But Michael is racist because he cannot fathom being black at all. For him there is no beauty in anything I can tell him about his lineage. There is only the father. There is only the unwanted black person who cannot walk in the front door or be with the better people. Michael equates white with acceptance, and on he goes in pursuit of the purest white.
Killing the father. Killing himself.