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Old School Friday: The Jackson Family!

20 February 2009 14 Comments


By now you may have seen the news item about Marlon Jackson and his investment in a Nigerian slavery-themed amusement park. I had too much to say and I just didn’t have the heart to start delving into the Jacksons and their weirdness, so I’m glad for this week’s theme! I do love the Jacksons, I really, really do, I just don’t always have the patience for the madness that results from getting yelled at for leaving towels in the pool or whatever else it was that Joe Jackson cracked those kids’ hides for – the surgery, the unreasonable drama, the ill-advised hair. Ultimately, I have to respect the clan as a concept; for a black family to make such a huge contribution to pop culture is unprecedented, and white people get to be weirder as they get more successful so why can’t we? I want to take full advantage of this theme and focus just on the offbeat Jacksons, so allow me to get a tad Thembi with it.

I’ve been waiting since like my second post to bring up some 3T – do you remember them? If you weren’t sure where their obvious Jackson-faces came from, the group consisted of Tito’s three sons Taj, Tarryl, and TJ (if you are feeling a Smollet vibe right now you are not alone). Can you imagine being a mixed Jackson? Their very existence is some sort of intriguingly fantastic hybrid . . . a liger, a tangelo or a Wuzzle. Anyway, the trio’s mother was murdered in 1994 so the boys dedicated their 1995 debut, Brotherhood, to her memory. Can you believe that it sold three million copies worldwide? “Anything” is one of my favorites as a song and the video has EVERYTHING 1995 – a tied-to-midriff shirt, lil’ mixed boys only distinguishable from each other by their individually tragic hair, torrential rain, and a wardrobe by Aeropostale. It really is almost perfection.

I know I’m focusing on offbeat Jacksons but I don’t have much to say about Rebbie because ol’ girl may be the only normal one of the bunch – no mater what anyone says I still think Janet is barely containing her true nuttiness. Rebbie’s 1984 jam “Centipede,” hit #24 on the Pop charts and #4 on the R&B charts, which is considered a failure by Jackson standards. I had never seen the video until recently and it is DELICIOUS.

Rebbie Jackson Centipede
by chilavert

Ok just one more? Why didn’t I know this was Jermaine Jackson singing 1984’s “Do What You Do?” This is one of the songs that brought me into the easy listening fold back in the day that no longer has much of a home on the radio. This video is another story…

Check out other Old School Friday participants!

Electronic VillageFresh And FabDanielleKimMs GrapevineQuick|Marcus LANGFORDCassandra |iriegalMahoganyHagar’s DaughterLisa CChocl8tDPDallassouthJohnCC GroovyKreative TalkMarvalus One |ReginaClnmikeVivrant ThingAJSharonThe Creole PimpInvisible WomanBeleiver 1964CooperSJPBriaBklynQueen 86Hey ShaeFrom the BattlefieldThembiD SpotMalcolmPop Art DivaPjazzypar |MsLadyDeborah


  • Julian said:

    LOVE this post. I had a 3T poster on my wall in high school that made my mother so sad. Your blog is a national treasure. Seriously.

  • Dionne said:

    I can’t believe you brought up the wuzzles!!! girl, you are out of your damn mind! :)

  • Keith said:

    You know, I gotta say I like your selections, but I love your brief history and bio of the Jacksons even better. Learned some stuff I didn’t know.
    Thanks much for this, and Happy OSF!

  • aaliyah said:

    I LOVED 3T and had that album, I have no idea where it is. Those little mulattoes made me soooo happy. And yes, I agree, Rebbie has to be normal and sane. Its the only reason she was never successful. That cintepede video used to be my sh*t!!

  • jazzfan360 said:

    “…a liger, a tangelo, or a Wuzzle.” Holy crap. I was the target age of 3T’s demographic, but my mother was the one who bought all their stuff and loved them to pieces. I’d forgotten about them entirely. That song is vaguely familiar. You forgot another major 1995 staple: The big, empty warehouse apartment with exposed brick wall. After Friends broke, everybody wanted one in their project.

    I’ve always had big respect for Rebbie, so I’m gonna let her slide on that video, which is quite possibly the very worst I have ever seen. That was…a tragedy, a blight on mankind, an affront to art. Just…wow.

  • Marvalus said:

    “EVERYTHING 1995 – a tied-to-midriff shirt, lil’ mixed boys only distinguishable from each other by their individually tragic hair, torrential rain, and a wardrobe by Aeropostale. It really is almost perfection.”


    I can’t say anything else…you’ve said it all!

    Happy OSF!

  • msladydeborah said:

    I remember the song by 3T but I did not realize that they were Jacksons. But after taking a look at the video it is obvious that they are part of the family.

    Rebbie never struck me as being that interested in being the business. My ex really liked Centipede. She can sing defintely. But I believe that you have to have that deep inner desire to be an entertainer.

    I never like the video that goes with Do What You Do. But I did like the song.

    Great choices! And there is no such thing as being off beat on OSF! The Jacksons are definitely one of America’s pop-dynasty families. Without them we would not have the Osmonds et. al!

  • Malcolm said:

    “Centipede”(although a good song) is definitely from that period when being a member of the Jackson family practically guaranteed some chart success. Hell, even LaToya hit #56 on the pop chart with “Heart Don’t Lie”.

  • Mo said:

    Great post!! I’ve always thought Jermaine Jackson is very underratted as an artist. His song “Don’t Take it Personal” is still one of my favorites. I’ve always liked it, but once I grew up and really understood the meaning I loved it even more.

  • Monica said:

    1st of all…dying laughing at the wuzzles. And I am off to read about this slavery amusement park. Talk about 3 words that don’t belong in a sentence together. 3T isn’t mixed though. DeeDee their mom was blackfolk. I remember when they came out all anyone could talk about was their eyebrows. It was all we could see besides the hair “styles”. OK, enough of my randomness for the day.

  • Regina said:

    Wow, I mentioned 3T in my comments on Ms. Marva’s blog! I didn’t think anyone else knew who they were! I kind of feel sorry for them, I can only imagine the pressure they were under to be great.
    I love Centipede!

  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    Rebbie is normal because she was basically grown before The Jackson 5 even really took off in the late 60’s. Plus, I think she’s still married to that same guy. Adn she always looked good as hell, too.

  • A.Fobi said:

    Interesting facts about Marlon. Will check them out.Thanks for the throw back videos. You made my day :-). I love the Jackson family and I will take them as they are because I know that, really, every family had some degree of disfunction yes including mine too. Their’s seems magnified because there is a mix of money, childhood showbiz success, race , abuse, trust, religion etc etc etc. And like you said,”white people get to be weirder as they get more successful so why can’t we”?

    Anyway this is a fav video of mine from Rebbie in the late nineties


  • Janet said:

    I felt so guilty watching Jermaine’s video because all I could think of was that he looked like a cross between Sylvester the gay disco star, and the Soul Glo commercial guy. I love the Jacksons, plus I’m a sucker for suspenders and wife beaters so thats a plus in my book. Oh yeah, Michael looks so hot in that pic. They are a beautiful family.

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