Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

August 29th = Jackson Squared

August 27, 2009

jackson-squared1August 29 is a notable day in U.S. history — it’s the birthday of the late pop icon Michael Jackson (in 1958) and the day that Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, flooding 80 percent of the city and killing 1,500 people (in 1995).

A group of musicians who think the King of Pop has stolen the Crescent City’s thunder are seeking to combine the two through an art campaign called “Jackson Squared.”

The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund group has commissioned pop artist L. Steve Williams Jr. to paint “Jackson Squared,” which shows Jackson, with his signature white glove and epaulettes, astride the statue of Andrew Jackson in the city’s Jackson Square. In the background, a red hurricane warning flag flaps in the breeze.

“He’s probably going to get more press on his birthday than one of the worst disasters in U.S. history,” said musician Jeff Beninato, chairman of the group. “This is a way to forever tie the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, with the City of New Orleans, the cradle of rock and roll.”

Beninato’s group has secured charitable donations of money, furniture, and even band uniforms for Hurricane Katrina victims, with the support of musicians like Dr. John, Wilco and REM.mjbrooklyn

It’s not the only Jackson-related event. Actor Spike Lee is promoting an event in Prospect Park in Brooklyn to commemorate the “Thriller” singer’s birthday.

Fossett Entertainment Group will also throw a block party to commemorate Jackson’s birthday near his childhood home in Gary, Indiana, according to local media reports.

The “Thriller” singer suffered cardiac arrest and died  on June 25 at age 50 in Los Angeles, where he was preparing for a string of concerts in London.

He died from a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol given in a cocktail of drugs, leading authorities to suspect his doctor of manslaughter, court documents show.

So what does 8/29 mean to you? Has U.S. media given just coverage to the horrible destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina? How will you mark Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday?


And also – I’m the Katrina survivor who penned the first personal account of Hurricane Katrina (“The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina”) — AND the new MJ poster title is borrowed from the title of my new novel, Jackson Squared, which is a comedic murder mystery.This is my 4th book in 4 years in 4 genres/forms; one thing Katrina taught me is there’s no time to waste, things can change overnight.I am happy to do anything to support New Orleans musicians!–Robert Smallwood


Thanks for the support Robert, and keep up the good work. You’re right – we’ve all learned that things can change overnight and are very grateful so much of the nation still remembers.Sincerely,Jeff


I love MJJ therefoe, I’m excited that the Big Easy has decided to beat everyone else by offician honoring MJJ with Jackson Square tribute on hsi Bday.Thank you New Orlean; continue to pray for your full recovery from Katrina and other issues!R.I.P. MJJ. God continue to bless Mrs.Jackson with everything she need to raise and care for those beautiful 3 children and keep them safe from crazy, evil people, Godfathers, and friends as well as PAPZ!

Posted by Rosy11 | Report as abusive

Sounds like there will be great celebrations. Long live the city of New Orleans!

Posted by Ingrid | Report as abusive

Exciting news! Did you hear? They’re auctioning off a rare Michael Jackson glove, worn in the 1984 Victory Tour!! Here’s the official page: ex.php?option=com_jackson

Posted by MJsBiggestFan | Report as abusive

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