July 11, 2012
Opinion: A Presidential Medal of Freedom for the Jackson 5?
Last Sunday I had the thrill of attending the famed Jacksons’ Unity Tour in Baltimore, MD.Â The Jacksons, of the legendary Jackson 5 featuring Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, and Marlon (and of course, Michael Jackson is no longer with us) were a sight to behold.Â (You can read my tribute to Michael here.)
Their harmony was impeccable, the choreography was spectacular, and their stage presence was magnificent.
I didn’t realize that this was the first time the family had been on tour together since the 1984 Victory Tour.Â Marlon reminded me of this fact when I went backstage to see the family before the concert started.Â Backstage, the family was very relaxed, playful, and full of energy.Â The Jacksons still had the “itâ€ factor!
Their voices were just as strong as when they were at the height of their popularity in the 70s and 80s.Â Their harmony and pitch were intoxicating, taking you back through the history of your life with songs like “ABC,” “Dancing Machine,” “I’ll Be There,” and “Stop the Love You Save,” just to name a few.
Their choreography was truly spectacular!Â It was nonstop moving and grooving.Â Remember, they are all over 50 years of age, but danced like they were in their 20s.Â Marlon was running around the stage doing splits a la Prince. I have never known Marlon to be so acrobatic.
Their stage presence was truly something to behold.Â Though they had been away from the stage for many years, it was quite obvious that they had not forgotten how to entertain.Â Younger artists on the scene today cannot compete with the Jacksons’ command of the art of entertaining.Â Their Motown training was on full display.
Michael would always say he felt invincible while performing on stage; and it was quite obvious that his brothers felt the same way.Â Whatever may have been going on in their private lives, all disappeared the moment they hit the stage.Â Having entertained hundreds of people at a time on stage, I know from personal experience that the stage is truly intoxicating.Â It’s only when you leave the stage that you realize how drained you are.
They performed for over 1 Â½ hours straight!Â Remember, they were singing, dancing and entertaining simultaneously.Â It may sound easy, but in reality, it is quite difficult to do.Â You have to be in great shape, physically, vocally, and mentally to perform at this level.
I strongly encourage you to check out one of their concerts when they come to your town.Â You can find out more about their tour atÂ www.thejacksons.com.
Being a Jackson myself, I am so very proud of how, despite growing up in the glare of the spotlight, they have all developed into men that Joseph and Katherine can be very proud of.
The Jacksons have been a huge part of not only America’s musical history, but also part of our cultural history.Â They paved the way for New Edition, Menudo, New Kids on the Block, N*SYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and the Jonas Brothers, Â just to name a few.Â Wouldn’t it be nice if the first Black president were to bestow upon the Jacksons the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom?
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established in 1963 by President Kennedy.Â It recognizes those individuals who have made an “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the U.S., world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.â€Â The award is similar to knighthood in Britain.
The Jacksons taught us the ABCs of how to tell a girl that I’m Gonna Get You, now that I’m Going Back to Indiana, because I Want You Back and Maybe Tomorrow you will realize that The Love You Save will prove We’ve Got a Good Thing Going.
So, if you agree with me that the Jacksons are a national treasure, please join me in nominating them directly to President Obama here.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. His website is:Â www.raynardjackson.com.