MJJC Q&A WITH BILL WHITFIELD AND JAVON BEARD, AUTHORS OF
REMEMBER THE TIME: PROTECTING MICHAEL JACKSON IN HIS FINAL DAYS
What made you want to write a book?
We wrote the book because we had a story to tell about the Michael Jackson we knew. It wa about sharing what we personally witnessed and were a part of. If you’re a Michael Jackson fan and supporter, you deserve to know him more on a personal side, not just who he was but what he endured as a man, and as a father. You deserve a true account from those that were there, not from those who can only repeat what they heard second hand. We wrestled a long time with whether or not was should write a book. Fundamentally, we agree with those who say Mr. Jackson deserves his privacy and deserves to rest in peace. But ultimately we came to the conclusion that his fans deserve to know and, hopefully, in some way it will bring closure to some and truth to others. We also felt an obligation to tell the world about our time with Mr. Jackson because there really is no one else to tell this part of the story. During the time Mr. Jackson spent in Las Vegas, between his return from Ireland and the start of “This Is It,” there simply weren’t a lot of people around. Very often the only people there were us, Mr. Jackson, and the three children. Mr. Jackson has been robbed of the opportunity to tell his own story, and the children were too young to really know a lot of what was going on at the time. That leaves us. If the world ever wants to fully understand what happened to this beloved and incredible man, this is a story that needs to be told. We already know how Michael Jackson died. Our aim is to help people understand why.
How long did it take you to write the book? Was it a challenge putting the experience of protecting Michael Jackson into words? Please tell us about this experience.
The longest and hardest part of the process was finding the right publisher who understood our approach and our philosophy. When he was alive, Mr. Jackson’s world was full of vultures looking to take advantage of him in every way possible. We saw that with him and we saw it again after he passed away, in the way people approached us about our story. There was a long, on and off process of interviewing possible collaborators, close to two years. Once we found the right partners, people that we trusted and felt comfortable with, the actual writing of the book actually took about a year. We spent several days sitting down, reminiscing and just telling our story, and then over the next several months, spent hours on the phone going over chapters, making edits, and so forth. In the beginning, it was difficult talking about our experiences. Often times it made us angry, thinking, “Was there more we could have done?” It was also painful to relive some of the bad things that happened to him. He was not at peace a lot of the time, because of how bad he was portrayed in the media, because there were so many