MICHAEL II: Did you, too, wonder if...

MICHAEL II: Did you, too, wonder if it was more than a coincidence when all the MTV veejays started calling Michael Jackson “the king of pop” when introducing his “Black or White” video?

Well, others did too, and England’s irreverent Melody Maker pop weekly came up with a memo from MTV bosses to on-air personalities.

It read:

“Here’s a unique one. We need to refer to Michael Jackson as ‘the king of pop’ on-air from time to time. Here’s how we’ll handle it:


"* Veejay segments--Each veejay should refer to Michael Jackson as ‘the king of pop’ at least twice in veejay segments over the next week.

"* Shows--'Yo!,’ ‘Top 20,’ ‘Most Wanted,’ ‘Fade to Black.’ Refer to Michal (sic) Jackson as ‘the king of pop’ at least once per week for the next two weeks.

"* Please be sure to note which segments you do this in case we need to send dubs to the king of pop himself. I know this is a bizarre request, but Fox and BET are already doing this. Thanks for your cooperation.”

What gives?


Why was there a “need” to refer to Michael as the king of pop? Was it a condition for MTV’s being allowed to premiere the “Black or White” video the same night it debuted on the Fox Network and Black Entertainment Television?

No, no, an MTV spokeswoman insists.

Carole Robinson, vice president of publicity for MTV, said someone from Jackson’s organization did ask the music channel to refer to Michael as the king of pop, but that it wasn’t an all-or-nothing demand.

“It was a request, not a deal,” Robinson said. “Given we couldn’t think of anyone else who was the king of pop, we figured we’d send out a memo to our personnel on how to handle it with the proper spirit. The memo indicates we had some fun with it.”


Well, fun’s fun.

But what’s MTV going to do the next time Guns N’ Roses issues a video and Axl or Slash decide they want the title?