Freddie Jackson Once Revealed Why He Had Serious Problem w/George Michael
ILOSM fam’ we all love us a good Freddie Jackson classic, right? And we also dig George Michael’s classic hits too, right? So why was it that while music lovers everywhere were feelin’ these legends music, that they were not seeing eye to eye with each other about it. At least according to Freddie’s side of the story they weren’t.
In an interview Freddie did with LATimes back in the day for their article titled, ‘Freddie Jackson Won’t Sell His Soul For A Pop Hit,’ he made it no secret that he had a major issue with the “Careless Whisper” singer.
Simply put Freddie called out the White singer with the English accent for pretty much doing the cultural appropriation thing. He voiced his dislike for George’s incorporation of many elements of the Black R&B sound into his pop artistry and in turn, dominating the music scene by doing what many Black artists were already doing, but selling far less records doing so. Check out the brutally honest excerpts from Freddie’s LATimes interview below:
“That . . . that George Michael,” soul singer Freddie Jackson groused. “Who does he think he is? We’ve gotta stop him.” Realizing his statement might have sounded too harsh, he diplomatically backtracked: “Just kidding, George, wherever you are–just kidding. He’s doing better on the Black charts than the black singers. […] What gives? The brothers must not be doing something right if he can come in and take over.”
“Listen, the black man is still the soul singer,” he asserted. “People like George Michael and Michael Bolton (who recently made the charts with a version of ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’) are good singers. I’m not taking anything from them. White singers can have soul too, but it’s not the same as black soul. Black singers are born with soul, we live it.”
As his intensity grew, his monologue began to sound like a sermon. “I grew up in Harlem, eating collard greens and fried chicken,” continued Jackson, who’s noted for his candor. “That’s not learned soul, it’s not acquired in some singing school or from copying what you hear on records. I live soul. That’s what you hear in my music or in the music of any black singer. “That George Michael hasn’t been through any of that. Who does he think he is?”
Freddie Jackson said those words in the late 80’s. When we fast forward to today, with the many talented White artists with Black culture-inspired sounds who are dominating the music game- like Adele, Sam Smith, the late Amy Winehouse, etc. (all of whom are English born as well)- many would argue that Freddie’s words are relevant in 2017 as well.
While others would argue that it should not make a difference the color of one’s skin in Black culture-ish music, a point well stated. However, one thing that can’t be overlooked is that unfortunately when record sales and bank statements are compared between most Black R&B singers, versus their White R&B-inspired colleagues, there’s no denying that fans clearly see color.
Freddie does not lack talent by far, but he simply will never see the 20 million records sold on just one album alone, as his then rival, George Michael, was able to rack up- not just for his talent, but for his “marketability” (a cool word the music industry uses to say ‘skin tone’). Honestly, I dig many R&B and/or pop-R&B influenced artists…and I also understand Freddie’s and many other R&B singers’ harsh realities as well.
By the way, maybe Freddie Jackson’s way of explaining his point was harsh, but overall, this is not a ‘race bashing’ situation whatsoever, this is simply a real assessment of what has been proven already within the music business. Hopefully one day we’ll see a more fair and balanced music industry, only time will tell.
Join us on Facebook for the most engaging discussions from the Old School! Old School News With A New Point Of View!