Today in MJJ HIStory
1978 – Lisa Robinson interviewed Michael by phone from California.
L.R. So after filming The Wiz here, you told me you wanted to come back to New York and spend more time.
M.J. I love it—it’s the perfect spot for me, for the things I’m interested in in life. When I’m in New York, I get up early and I’m ready to start the day. You have a whole schedule: I’m going to see this play at this time, and I’m going to have lunch, I’m going to see a movie—that’s what I like about it, so much … energy. Whenever I come back home, I look forward to going back to New York. I love the big stores—I love everything.
L.R. You’ve been seen out with Janelle Penny Commissiong, the former Miss Universe. Is it a romance?
M.J. [Laughter, giggling.] That’s a hard question to answer. Like most of the people you may see me out with, like Tatum [O’Neal] and Janelle, they’re kind of on and off, they’re friends, and [hysterical laughter]… I talk to them. I don’t know how to describe it, really [more laughter]. I don’t know what to say.
L.R. O.K., change the subject. What was it like to work with Diana on The Wiz?
M.J. It was incredible, wonderful. I learned so much from her. We’re like brother and sister, really. She was such a help—she made sure I was O.K. on the set; every morning she’d come to my room and ask if I needed anything. She was very protective. I just loved the world of moviemaking; I love it more than reality. Sometimes I just wish I could wake up in the morning to a big production dance number.
L.R. As for reality, do you still like meeting your fans?
M.J. I enjoy all that sometimes, seeing people who love me, or buy my records. I think it’s fun, and I enjoy meeting my fans and I think it’s important. But sometimes people think you owe your life to them; they have a bad attitude—like “I made you who you are.” That may be true—but not that one person. Sometimes you have to say to them, If the music wasn’t good, you wouldn’t have bought it. Because some of them think they actually own you. Someone will say, “Sit down,” “Sign this,” or “Can I have your autograph?” and I’ll say, “Yes, do you have a pen?” And they say, “No, go get one.” Honestly. I’m not exaggerating. But I just try to deal with it.
L.R. Are you having fun with your new car [a recently purchased blue Silver Shadow Rolls-Royce]?
M.J. Yes, it’s my favorite car. I know how to drive it, but I hate to take pictures in it. You know, you see so many people with their new cars, and it’s a little show-offy. I’m really not like that.
Source: The Boy Who Would Be King
1997 – Michael performs HIStory world tour at Festwiese stadium, Leipzig, Germany