MICHAEL JACKSON AND BRANDON HOWARD–two names that will forever be linked to the changing meaning 0f fatherhood.
Their story began decades ago, when rumors circulated that Brandon—a 31-year-old singer who performs under the name B. Howard—was the son of Jackson and R&B singer Miki Howard. Those rumors resurfaced last week, when FilmOn.TV founder Alki David claimed to have genetic proof. However, David’s claims quickly fell apart when the genetic lab behind the tests was exposed as a fake.
But in my estimation the saga of Michael Jackson and Brandon Howard isn’t about fake DNA tests. It’s about the fact that no one stopped to think what it would mean for Michael Jackson to have a biological son.
“If Brandon Howard were actually Michael Jackson’s son, the tragedy would not be the money he failed to collect. The tragedy would be the love he failed to receive.”Imagine, for a moment, yourself as Brandon Howard. Born in 1982, a year before the release of Michael Jackson’s fatherhood denial hit, Billie Jean, Brandon was the subject of rumors from the day he was born.
Family patriarch Joseph Jackson managed Miki Howard, Brandon’s mother, and both Miki and her son were friends with the Jackson family. That means Brandon could have very well witnessed fleeting moments of Michael Jackson raising his other children. It means that Brandon, if he believed Michael Jackson to be his father, could have spent a portion of his childhood longing for Jackson’s acknowledgement. Of course, we’ll never know that for sure.
Michael Jackson and Brandon Howard. What do we know?
We know that Brandon Howard is a human being, just like the rest of us; one who lives in the same vicious world we all inhabit. So in all likelihood he heard the ugly whispers, ached for the truth about his father, and held onto that pain for decades. And if he believed, even secretly, that Michael Jackson could be his father, he would have asked the same question as anyone in that position: Is my father ashamed of me, or is he simply unwilling to love me?
In my estimation, that is the point of this story. But for the hangers-on who still survive on the late Michael Jackson’s money, it’s about something else altogether. That’s why Jackson Estate Attorney Howard Weitzman went out of his way in published reports to say that Howard had no claim to Jackson’s fortune. “I’ve never heard of [Brandon Howard],” Weitzman said. “He’s never made any claims with the estate or with any recognized tribunal that I’m aware of.”
Sounds ugly, doesn’t it? But for far too many people in our society, that’s what fatherhood boils down to—money. That’s the shame of it, because if Brandon Howard were actually Michael Jackson’s son, the tragedy would not be the money he failed to collect. The tragedy would be the love he failed to receive. That, after all, is what fatherhood is truly about.
It’s about taking the time to train and to hug, to talk and to laugh, to teach and to discipline, to love and be loved. It’s about spending enough time and energy on our children to make mistakes, to learn from them, and to have the opportunity to try again. As much as the Real Housewives of Wherever would like us to believe it, fatherhood is much more than a figure on a check. It’s a figure taking his place in the life of a child.
For Brandon Howard, however, that ship has sailed, and he seems to be at peace with it. In fact, he seems to be the one person in this story who has a firm grasp of who he is, regardless of his father’s identity.
Brandon Howard speaks out for himself
“It seems a lot of people are speaking on my behalf, so I’m going to keep this short and simple,” he said in a video released on social media shortly before the results of the alleged DNA test. “One, I did not call TMZ, I didn’t put out a story, nothing. Two, I never proclaimed to be [Michael Jackson’s] son. Three, I am definitely not suing the estate.
“I have been taken care of very well and also I make my own cash. Four, It’s true I had a DNA test, but this had nothing to do with any of this, I swear on my life.
“I’m done, wherever you guys go from here, that’s what it is and whatever the DNA results come out to be, the results, it is what it is. This is coming from me personally, so spread it around and make sure everybody knows this is me, OK, me, alright? So thank you for listening and talk to you soon.”
Whatever happens in the future concerning the link between Michael Jackson and Brandon Howard, I believe Brandon will be all right. I only hope that fatherhood will be all right, as well.
Featured photo Michael Jackson as Captain EO © Disney
Solomon Jones is creator and editor of Solomonjones.com