Chapter 57

Chapter 57

I knew Frank wasn't going to get me those tickets. It just wasn't going to happen. But a small piece of me hoped he would. Michael is getting sick of him anyway. It's only a matter of time before Michael gets rid of him. I really wanted to be with Michael this time around, but it's alright. There are more Grammy Award Shows to go. Michael has his "single" image that Frank is so gung-ho about. Frank is more concerned about it than Michael is. Michael could careless, so I don't see the problem. I think that's Frank's problem with it though. That Michael could careless and would much rather announce our marriage.


"Mrs. Jackson, the Grammys are about to start. Do you need me to get anything for you?" Roland asked me.


"Um, can you order room service? Let's get some cake and ice cream. Order something you want too, okay?" He nodded and picked up the phone. At least I have Roland to watch the Grammys with. I turned the channel to CBS and got comfortable on the couch. I can't even be with my husband on one of the most important days of his career, but at least I can hang out with my bodyguard... Oh and Tatiana is there, meanwhile I'm watching my husband from a hotel TV screen. Nice.


"Vanilla or chocolate and what kind of ice cream?"


"Vanilla and cookies and cream, please. Hurry, Roland, Whitney is getting on stage!" I sat up as Whitney started to sing "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." She wore a yellow blouse and black leggings with a belt that had a large butterfly belt buckle. I don't think that's Grammy attire, but she looks good. Her hair is so beautiful. She's such an excellent vocalist. I hate that she didn't get to sing with Michael on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," but Siedah did her thing regardless. Where did she get her belt from? I love that butterfly belt buckle! I wonder what Michael thinks of her performance. He loves her as a singer, so I know he's probably living it up watching her on that stage. I'm glad she's opening the show. Her album "Whitney" was amazing! I had it on repeat when I finally bought it. I don't care what anyone else has to say about her. She may not do "black" music as most black folk expect her to, but her music is still amazing. Michael doesn't necessarily do "black" music and people accept him for it. Why doesn't Whitney get the same treatment? It's a cold world out there. The double standards are sickening. She's so charismatic though. She's not a dancer like Janet, but she does what she can for the sake of the show. Whitney ran backstage for god knows what. Oh! Anita Baker is going to be there. Along with Cab Calloway, Andrae and Sandra Crouch, Celia Cruz, Terence Trent D'Arby, Miles Davis, Roberta Flack, Kenny G, Siedah, Lena Horne, Quincy, Little Richard, Liza Minnelli, Diana, Run- DMC, Patrick Swayze, Jody Watley, and Suzanne Vega. Oh, this is going to be a great show! Whitney came back with a white dress paired with white pantyhose and white heels. Oh... I don't like her dress. Especially paired with those pantyhose, but she's still putting on a good show. They cut away to the audience showing Cyndi Lauper, Cissy Houston and I spotted Prince right behind her row! I haven't seen Prince in a while. We must catch up soon. Michael may have his feelings towards Prince, but I think he's amazing. His album "Sign of the Times" was simply amazing. "Starfish and Coffee" was beautiful in so many ways. I had "If I was Your Girlfriend" on repeat so many times Michael wondered if I had a thing for Prince. I can't help but laugh at the thought. Michael can't stand that song. He thinks it's so raunchy and uncalled for. Michael just doesn't understand Prince's mind. His mind is legendary. And don't let me forget "Adore." Ugh! That song made me want to make love to Michael so much. It's a surprise I'm not pregnant!


"The food will be up shortly," Roland sat on the other side of the couch. "What did I miss?"


"Whitney! She did one heck of a performance. And I only caught a glimpse of Prince, but he looked absolutely dashing. Even from afar. I have to see him soon. It sucks that I could have seen him tonight. Frank hasn't liked me for quite some time," I rolled my eyes.


"Why doesn't he like you?"


"I go against everything he wants Michael to stand for right now. Michael is supposed to be this single, sexy pop star, not some tied down married guy. I'm sure he's asked Michael plenty of times why he got married in his prime."


"Well, that's no reason to not like you," Roland shrugged.


"That's my reality," I rolled my eyes looking back at the television to find Billy Crystal talking. He must be the host. Pretty funny guy, but he's not really my cup of tea. You could tell the audience had to laugh at his whack jokes. The canned laughter was annoying, but that's show business for you.


"Do you think the boss will win all the awards he's nominated for?" Roland asked me.


"Oh, I have no doubt about it. You should have seen how hard he worked on the album. If he doesn't win, I don't know what to think." Billy Crystal introduced the first presenters Anita Baker and Robbie Robertson to present Best Pop Vocal Female. The nominees were Carol Simon for "Coming Around Again," Belinda Carlisle for "Heaven Is A Place On Earth," Whitney Houston for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," Suzanne Vega for "Luka," and Barbra Streisand for "One Voice." I really enjoy Whitney and Suzanne's songs. I hope either one of them wins, but I'm mostly rooting for Whitney. She deserves it. Robbie opened the envelope and announced Whitney as the winner. I'm so happy for her! She looks just as happy too. She deserved it immensely. She's such an amazing vocalist. Her speech was short and sweet. I hope to meet Whitney someday. Maybe we'll cross paths. Who knows? Once she got off stage, Los Lobos began to perform their cover hit "La Bamba" for the movie of the same name. They're an excellent band.


"Do you like Mexican music, Mrs. Jackson?"


"Oh, yeah. I don't discriminate. It's all music to me. Don't ask me what they're saying though. I have no idea," I laughed.


He laughed, "me either. As much as I listen to their music, I feel I should know something, but alas, I do not."


"Same! I hope to learn Spanish one of these days though. It's only right."


"I'm sure your music library is pretty diverse."


"Oh, yeah. I listen to just about anybody and anything."


"Does the boss have any influence on your music choices?"


"Not at all. What makes you ask that?"


"I mean, he's a musical genius. I'm sure what he likes or dislikes, you may like or dislike it as well. Especially since he's your husband. You guys must be pretty in sync."


"I mean, we are," I shrugged. "But his music choices don't influence mine or vice versa. Take, for example, Prince. The world loves to say they hate each other when in actuality they don't. They're friendly rivals actually. But there are some Prince songs that I actually love so much that Michael can't stand. Michael likes classical music. I can't stand it. But we both don't like Madonna's music equally," I laughed. "He thinks she's a sweet person, but her music is too much. I just don't like her at all."


"Ah, I get it," he smiled. I turned my attention back to the television to find that Cab Calloway was performing. All that scatting and the audience just couldn't keep up. In fact, the majority of the white audience members looked confused. I'm sure Michael had it down pact though. He loved Cab Calloway. And here comes Celia Cruz. Ugh! Such a beautiful woman. It's interesting what she's gone through in the music world being a colored Latin Entertainer. Celia was simply terrific and anyone who tried to discredit her could kick rocks. She walked so Selena y Los Dinos could run. I still have their "And the Winner Is..." album on repeat. I have high hopes for Selena. She's going to go somewhere one of these days. I can just feel it. Suddenly Run DMC was on stage. The audience was so confused. All I could do was laugh! They weren't ready! Hip hop is really coming up in the music community. Most people my parents' age don't know what to think of it. My brothers have mixed views. I just think music is evolving. Mariah just eats this hip-hop stuff up though! She says it's a revolution. And we're too old to understand the concept. Michael likes it. In fact, he wanted to work with Run DMC for the "Bad" album, but unfortunately, that didn't work out. It would have been nice though. I'm glad to see hip-hop on the rise though. It just shows how diverse music is and how multifaceted black music is. We have Jazz, R&B, Rock, Blues, Pop and now Hip-Hop. I love the evolution and I can't wait until other people appreciate it as well.


A knock came to the door signaling the room service. Roland got up to obtain our food and came back over to me, "here you go," he handed me a slice of cake and sat the ice cream on the coffee table before us. He ordered a fried chicken meal which I certainly envied, but it's okay. Cake is better.

After all the performances, we were finally back to the announcements of the awards. Billy Joel and Herbie Hancock walked out to name the nominees for Song of the Year. Michael Masser and Will Jennings for "Didn't We Almost Have It All," U2 for "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "La Bamba," Suzanne Vega for "Luka," James Horner, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil for "Somewhere Out There." The only songs I know are the ones by Whitney, "La Bamba," and "Luka." I hope Whitney's song wins. "Luka" is cute, but I don't think it deserves Song of the Year. Herbie Hancock opened the envelope and announced James, Barry, and Cynthia as the winners. Oh. I've never heard their song before. But good for them. At this point, I just can't wait to see Michael perform. That's what I'm looking forward to. They need to start calling out the awards Michael put in for.


After several cringe-worthy jokes from both a racist comedian and Billy Crystal, the lights finally dimmed to show Michael's silhouette on a large screen. Over the speakers, you could hear Michael doing a slow background crooning as the intro to "The Way You Make Me Feel" began. A loud applause arose from the crowd that I hadn't heard before any of the other acts came on stage. I guess Michael just had that effect. Michael began to strike pose after pose and dance move after dance move which projected wonderfully against the large screen. Once the screen came up, the applause got louder with people cheering at the reveal of my husband. Ugh! I really wish I could be there to experience this live! He nodded and slowly walked down the stairs, beginning to sing "The Way You Make Me Feel" acapella. Oh, he looked so good in his blue blouse and black high water slacks! He slowly strutted toward the front of the stage singing so beautifully. I loved the fact that Michael's show was exactly that. A show. Call my husband extra all you want, but compared to the other performances, just the beginning of Michael's made the others seem incredibly mediocre. No disrespect to the legends that are Cab Calloway and Celia Cruz or even the likes of Whitney, Run DMC, Billy Joel or Suzanne Vega. But I'm incredibly biased right now. Michael has to show them what a show really is. He stopped to dance, popping his entire upper body to match the acapella beat of the song and slowly danced to the beat as well. He grabbed his crotch gyrating his hips accordingly with the beat, which only made me slightly embarrassed, but what are ya gonna do? He still looked fine doing it. He has rhythm and he isn't afraid to show it. I'm lucky I'm his wife. I wouldn't have it any other way. Suddenly the music stopped, he crooned and made his way over to the left side of the stage where Tatiana was coming from. She walked past him and all he could do was nod in her direction. She stopped center stage as the track to "The Way You Make Me Feel" started. He threw his hat across her as she blew him a kiss and walked off stage right. This whole tour she's been giving me grief. Michael tells me every night that when she walked past him, she would try to tell him something, but he wouldn't pay her any mind. I'm glad she didn't do that this time around. Not in front of the entire country. I've been telling Michael to fire her, but he still says he has no good reason to fire her yet. She still hasn't technically done anything wrong. I don't even want it to get to that point, but whatever. It's business. I can't take it too personally. Michael was dancing his way through the song. Finally, his background dancers came out to dance with him in a choreographed down. Ugh! I love this breakdown so much. Then when Michael gets up from doing the cry baby into his solo dance. The lights dimmed so only Michael was shown by the spotlight amidst the fog. He paused for applause and nodded toward the audience until he was handed a microphone to begin singing "Man in the Mirror." He was lip-synching, but you wouldn't really know that unless you had listened to the album a billion times as we have. He didn't lip synch often, but this was definitely one of those times when he had to. Siedah and other background singers came to join him on stage. I'm sure the audience members are in awe right now. They're catching a glimpse of what a concert must look like. Simply fantastic. Suddenly, a large choir stood behind Michael to join in song. Michael was so passionate. You could tell his heart and soul were in the performance. The audio track suddenly messed up. But I think they were taking too long to switch the track to Michael's microphone. He started singing and doing the adlibs for the song. Sheesh. I feel like I'm in church. I've seen him rehearse this, but there's nothing like actual show time. Michael dropped to his knees. He was so into the song. Oh my God... I know the audience is speechless. Roland didn't even have anything to say. He was in awe like I was. Michael was taking the audience to church knowing dang well they probably haven't been in a while. I know God is in that room. I could feel him through the television screen. Michael, of course, received a standing ovation. Even Prince was standing, although he wasn't doing much clapping. I can't seem to wipe this smile off my face. He really put on a show! Michael commanded their attention for ten minutes. And I know no one could complain about that. He showed them how it should really be done! I'm so proud of him! I really wish I could have been there. I am in complete awe. Quincy looked so proud. Like a proud father. Speaking of father, I know Mom and Joseph are proud. Shoot, I know my own parents are proud of Michael. That was beautiful.


The camera finally switched back to Billy Crystal as he announced the presenters for Album of the Year, Herb Alpert and Diana Ross. Oh, this is the moment we've all been waiting for! The nominees are of course, "Bad" by Michael, "Joshua's Tree" by U2, "Sign of the Times" by Prince, "Trio" by Dolly Parton and "Whitney" by Whitney Houston. They finally got a close up of Prince. He actually smiled. Kind of. More of a smirk. He had one hoop earring in and his hair was straight. He's so handsome. Oh, I have to meet up with him one of these days. It's been a while. This is a tough call. "Sign of the Times" was good, "Whitney" was great," and of course "Bad." I haven't listened to the other bodies of work. My bias, of course, points to my husband. So, fingers crossed, he wins.


Diana opened the envelope, "'Joshua's Tree' by U2!" My heart dropped. Roland looked over at me. Oh, no... Michael is crushed. I know he is. We knew he was going to get Album of the Year. How come he didn't? I mean, I knew he was up against some tough acts, but "Bad" was supposed to win. He worked so hard on that album. So very hard. I wouldn't have imagined this. Oh, God. I know if I'm hurt, Michael is beyond hurt right now.


"I'm sorry, Mrs. Jackson," Roland touched my shoulder.


I sighed, "I feel bad for Michael. We just knew he had it in the bag." How could they do that after he just performed the show of a lifetime?! He literally just graced their stage with excellence, and he doesn't win? This has got to be rigged. I've never heard a U2 record in my life. Who even is U2?


"You think the boss is upset?"


"Livid," I assured him. "We didn't prepare to lose, Roland. We prepared to win. Michael had his hopes up for this. You saw how many stories there were about his appearance instead of the album. They focused more on my husband's face than they did the album he worked so hard to get out. They didn't even give the album a chance! I don't even want to watch this anymore. They're lucky Michael put in for two more categories," I sighed. I can't believe this. What a slap in the face.


After a commercial break, Al Jarreau and Reuben Blaze came out to present Producer of the Year. At least Michael and Quincy had a chance at winning for producing the album. The nominees were Emilio and the Jerks, Michael and Quincy, Brian Eno and David Lanois, Don Gehman and Narada Michael Walden. Michael didn't even look phased. You could tell his mind was on other things. More than likely the loss. Quincy looked tense as if he hoped they would win this. He knew how hard he and Michael worked on this album. At least give them this if they couldn't get Album of the Year. Michael didn't smile at all. In fact, he looked like he was avoiding eye contact with everyone. He's so hurt. I can tell. Quincy at least tried to save face despite looking tense, he smiled a bit.


Reuben Blaze opened the envelope, "Narada Michael Walden." My heart dropped yet again. I feel so so bad for Michael. His losses felt so back to back. Narada at least went over to hug Quincy. I could see Michael smiling, which made me feel a little better, but I know he's hurt. This year's Grammys were so important to him. After taking such a long hiatus working on himself and this album, you'd think the Academy would recognize his efforts. But no. I honestly have a feeling that the negative press towards my husband played a part in this. The media has been portraying him as a weird single guy for the past couple of years and they're letting it affect the music, which just isn't fair! Maybe Narada did deserve that Grammy. I mean, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was a good song. He and Whitney deserve that win, but I'm biased. Michael deserved at least Album of the Year or Producer of the Year. Come on now. This just isn't right.


The rest of the show was so mediocre. I honestly don't even want to watch it anymore, but Michael has one more category. And I have hope that he's going to get it. He won Best R&B Vocal Performance – Male three years ago. I'm sure he'll get it again this year. Jody Watley and three members of LeVert came onto the stage to announce the R&B winners prior to show time and went on to announce the nominees for Best R&B Vocal Performance Male. "Bad" played and the camera cut straight to Michael. He looked so distraught. As soon as the song played, he immediately shook his head in disappointment. He looked so defeated. You could see all over his face that he was hurt, and it only hurt me to know how hurt he truly was. You could tell in his eyes and everything. He glanced up probably noticing himself on the screen above and wiped his lip almost as if he was trying to wipe away his frown and forced a weak smile. I'm about to cry just seeing the sad expression on his face. You can't fake that. He was hurt and it showed. Once he noticed how hurt he looked, he tried his best to wipe it away. Oh, my baby. My heart literally hurts for him. I know once he gets home, he's going to have a lot to say. Wilson Pickett for "In the Midnight Hour," Smokie Robinson for "Just to See Her," Johnathon Butler for "Lies" and Stevie Wonder for "Skeletons" were the remaining nominees. I really hope Michael wins this just so he can at least come home with a Grammy. I want him to win because he's already taken two losses on an album that meant so much to him. I want him to win because the expression on his face was clearly defeat. I want him to win because the press drug his name through the mud for no apparent reason, when they should have been focusing on the music. I want him to win because he deserves to.


"And the winner is..." one of the LeVerts said before opening the envelope. "'Just to See Her' Smokie Robinson." I swallowed the growing lump in my throat. Michael looked so defeated just hearing his name being called as a nominee. To see him not win any of the categories he put in for is heartbreaking. There's just so many factors. The music was good. Biased or not. "Bad" has some soon to be legendary songs on it. "Man in the Mirror" is sure to go down in history. "The Way You Make Me Feel" is iconic in its own right. "Just Good Friends" is a fantastic duet with Stevie Wonder. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" is such a beautiful ballad. And don't get me started on "Smooth Criminal," "Dirty Diana," and "Leave Me Alone." How could the media let such an amazing album flop like this? I blame the media. I blame Frank for starting that bullshit about the hyperbaric chamber. I blame the fact that the public focused on things that really aren't their business, to begin with. "Bad" did not deserve to flop like this. It simply did not. Michael was robbed. They couldn't let Michael win unanimously as he did in eighty-four for a second time. I can't say race is a factor because Michael just lost to Smokie Robinson and Narada. It's not a race thing. It's a "Michael has too much power" thing. Michael bought the ATV catalog. He won unanimously in eighty-four. After so many wins, they simply could not let him win again. Call me biased all you want, but Michael doesn't deserve this blatant disrespect. I don't even want to watch this anymore.


VII


The Grammys ended with a tribute to Dion and the Barnettes with "Runaround Sue." A good majority of artists were on the stage celebrating the tribute. I happened to spot Michael in the back with Whitney. Why was he in the back? I have no idea. But he at least looked happy talking to Whitney.


"Mrs. Jackson, you and I both know Michael deserved those awards," Roland assured me.


I sighed, "yeah. They robbed him for sure. Thanks for joining me, Roland. I'm going to get ready for bed. Sleep well, okay?"


"Yes, ma'am," he nodded and made his way to his own suite. I undressed and went to the bathroom to take a shower. I can't believe Michael lost like that. He looked so defeated by the third nomination almost as if he knew he wasn't even going to win that one. He deserved to go home with something. The whole past year has been interesting in terms of the album. The media focused more on his face and those stories he and Frank put out. They portray him as this weird single man. It seems like Franks "single image" has certainly backfired. I know Michael probably feels like Frank and Quincy failed him. Quincy and Michael were going head to head about how they wanted this album to be. Music has evolved. Q was stuck in the past and Michael was looking towards the future. They somehow met in the middle which produced "Bad," but that common ground won Michael nothing but six weeks in Billboards top two hundred and no Grammys. Meanwhile, Frank has him out here looking like a complete weirdo. I'm not going to hear the end of this. When Michael gets back here, I know he'll be livid.


After getting out the shower, I put on a robe and went out to the living room to turn off the lights. As soon as I made it to the kitchen Michael came in. He took one look at me. I could just feel it. He was hurt. I went over to hug him. As soon as I wrapped my arms around him, he burst into tears...


VII


Authors Note:


So, I was lucky enough to find the 1988 Grammys on Youtube.  I was so excited to find it and to be able to travel back in time to watch this. I was so excited I told my entire family that of course didn't care lol.

I must admit, it was truly heartbreaking to watch Michael lose after putting on such an amazing performance, but after much research, I get why he lost... I think I'm going to listen to the albums/songs that beat his because I like to understand the WHY.


I watched the Grammys for a good two days to capture it in words the best way I can. Especially to try to capture in words Michael's body language and facial expressions. The hurt I saw on his face when they called him as a nominee for the third category literally broke my heart. I tried my best to put his expression into words, so please tell me if I did a good job or not. I'd greatly appreciate it.


Anyway, I do not claim to have made up this Grammy show. I literally watched it and put it in my own words the best way I can. All credit goes to all performers and CBS.


I really feel like I traveled back in time watching this. Times were simpler and watching this was certainly an escape (despite Michael's losses) from all the crap against Michael in the media now.

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