His music streaming service Tidal partnered with Harry Belafonte’ssocial justice organization, Sankofa.org, for an exclusive protest video inspired by slain teen Trayvon Martin and others who have died by the hands of racial and police violence. This month marks the five-year anniversary of the teen’s death— he was 17 when he was shot and killed in Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, Newsweek pointed out.
17, a beautiful 17-minute visual EPfeatures music by Ty Dolla $ign and Big TC (“No Justice”), Raphael Saadiq (“The Answer”), Mali Music (“Drama”) and Elijah Blake (“Hanging Tree”). Written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, 17 conveys a day in the life of 17-year-old Jacobi Nelson, a beloved son and brother and on the cusp of a college scholarship, who has fatally wounded by police.
For the creators, this project represents the countless young people whose lives are tragically cut short.
“We want to remind you that so many of these kids don’t see their 18th birthday,” Gerard Bush tells Newsweek. Bush also notes that this type of violence isn’t relegated to the inner city or impoverished communities.
“What happened to Trayvon was in a gated community in Florida. You’ve got these kids from middle-class backgrounds that are still seen through the prism of racial bias and often that costs them their lives.”
Bush also gives props to Jay Z and his wife Beyonce for their dedication to combatting police and state violence in Black America.
“Jay Z and Beyoncé are very serious about social justice work. They speak through action rather than talk—[releasing] 17 is a great illustration of that,” he stressed.
Now if you want more of 17, don’t worry: It will be followed up soon with a full-length album that features the four tracks used in the EP, and new songs by the likes of John Legend and Sting.
1. MJ was a victim of physical abuse from his father as a child. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he shed tears and claimed that he was so terrified of his father that he would often vomit when he saw him.
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2. His favorite animated character from childhood was Pinocchio.
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3. When MJ listened to the songs from his days in The Jackson 5, he said he sounded like “Minnie Mouse.”
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4. His middle name was Joseph – Michael Joseph Jackson.
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5. “Billie Jean” is allegedly based on a true story. MJ claims an obsessive fan tried to say he was the father of her child.
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6. His first song to hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart was “Ben” in 1972.
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7. MJ was a huge Beatles fan. He paid $47 million for the publishing rights to the Beatles back catalogue in 1985 and sold a share of it to Sony in 1995 for $95 million.
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8. Get this… The costumes for the “Thriller” video came from the Salvation Army.
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9. Jackson invented and owns the patent for the special anti-gravity boots he wore that allowed him to lean forward extremely far in live performances of “Smooth Criminal.”
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10. MJ loved animals, and had several…strange pets. He had a python called Crusher, two llamas called Louis and Lola, and his most famous pet was Bubbles, the chimpanzee.
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11. Sources say MJ “borrowed” the Moonwalk from street dancers he saw outside a hotel.
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12. The original song title for “Thriller” was “Starlight.”
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13. Sources say MJ slept in an oxygen tent to live longer and for cosmetic purposes.
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14. MJ was a proud owner of a 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch that has a theme park, a menagerie, and a movie theater.
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15. “Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin was one of MJ’s closest friends, and is the godfather of two of Jackson’s children.
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16. MJ’s estate signed a deal with Sony that gave them access to his unreleased recordings for $250 million.
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17. MJ often wore a black armband to remind people of the suffering of children around the world.
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18. The Los Angeles mansion he was renting just before he passed away once belonged to Sean Connery.
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19. MJ was allegedly a pretty avid reader… He was once accused by a library of owing $1 million in overdue book fines.
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20. Wikipedia, Twitter, and AOL’s Instant Messenger all crashed at 3:15PM on the day MJ died: June 25, 2009.
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Continue reading Tidal Releases Visual Protest Video Honoring Trayvon Martin And Others
20 Things You Didn’t Know About The Legendary Michael Jackson