That's a fact, Jackson Promotion: When a radio station promised an appearance by pop's biggest name, a crowd gathered. Looks like someone had fun.

October 14, 1998|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,SUN STAFF

Rule No. 127 in the game of life: Radio DJs don't always tell the truth.

Did anyone really believe pop superstar Michael Jackson, as in the brother of pop superstar Janet Jackson, was going to come to Baltimore for a radio station?

Nope. A blizzard on the Fourth of July was more likely. A trip to the moon in the Popemobile would happen first. President Clinton would leave office to become a monk.

However, these things must be checked out, no matter how unlikely. So, when urban music station Majic 95.9 said Michael Jackson would pick the winner of a Janet Jackson look-alike contest, we called DJ personality Sasha.

"You're not talking about the real Michael Jackson, are you?"

"Yep, Michael Jackson."

"No, I mean the Michael Jackson, as in brother of Janet Jackson? The Janet Jackson who will be in concert at the Baltimore Arena this week?"

"Michael Jackson. You know, he's been showing up at some of her concerts around the country. We are so excited! We've been working on this for months. We just have to confirm what time he will be here."

Michael Jackson's appearance in Baltimore, she says, is to show support for Janet Jackson's concert today at the Arena. The Janet Jackson look-alike contest was held in front of the radio station at 100 St. Paul St. at about 8: 30 a.m. yesterday. The top four Janet Jackson look-alike contestants would get concert tickets.

"We were going to have a few celebrity judges, but when Michael Jackson said he would do it, we said: 'We don't need anyone else! Who is bigger than him?' " says Sasha, the day before the contest.

By 6 a.m. yesterday, a small, highly skeptical crowd began to gather at 100 St. Paul St. to see the Gloved One's scheduled appearance.

"My boyfriend told me about Michael Jackson being here, and I said, 'Yeah, right.' Michael Jackson the football player, maybe," says Roslyn Brown, referring to the Ravens wide receiver.

Brown, who lives in East Baltimore, called deejay Sasha and left a message, asking the question on everyone's mind.

"I said, 'You're talking about Janet Jackson's brother, not Janet Smith's brother, right?'

"And Sasha called me back and told me, 'Yes, Janet Jackson's brother.' But I don't think so. It's probably all a promotion," says Brown, who was due in to work later that morning.

Floyd English, from West Baltimore, got there at 6: 05 a.m. "I don't believe it. It's probably going to be somebody who looks like him," he says.

Daryl Taylor, also from East Baltimore, arrived at the street corner at 7 a.m. "I don't know if he's going to show, but I'm hoping," Taylor says.

By 8: 20 a.m, the crowd had grown to around 60. The tension was building.

"The limousine has picked him up," says Sasha, broadcasting live on the corner along with radio personality Randy Dennis. "Michael Jackson is on his way."

Ten people entered the Janet Jackson look-alike contest -- judging by the contestants, resemblance to Janet Jackson wasn't a requirement -- and a white limo with darkened windows pulled up.

Comments such as "Give me a break!" and "No way" and "Hell, no, it ain't him," rippled through the crowd even before the doors opened.

Finally, the door of the limo was opened and out walked -- Michael Jackson!

Michael Jackson, the Ravens football player.

Sasha insists there was no fibbing on her part. "I just kept saying, Michael Jackson!"

Luckily, it was a good-natured crowd who really hadn't believed the singer was likely to grace a Baltimore street corner for a local radio station. So disappointment was minor.

"You know," Roslyn Brown says, "whether it was true or not, there is so much other [stuff] going on in the world. At least this is something fun and something positive."

Pub Date: 10/14/98

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