Tito Jackson, one fifth of iconic Motown group The Jackson 5, recently revealed he is planning a comeback with a follow-up to 2016’s Tito Time. The legendary guitarist got candid with the Associated Press about what personally spurred him to come out with new music. He also talked about his relationship with his brothers, with whom he is currently on tour with in Europe.
Speaking with the publication, Tito explained his return was in part motivated by a comment made by Charles Barkley nine years ago. In 2010, Barkley opined that Tito did not contribute to the group’s historic success. While his brothers went on to launch their own careers, he surmised that Tito took a step back from music to raise his family.
“I took that sort of personal,” Tito said. “He’s trying to say that I don’t contribute. So then I say, ‘Maybe it’s time they hear from me.’ I love Mr. Barkley. I am not upset about it. But it just hurts in a way where I tried to do the right thing in life, you know, raise my sons as good young black men who do the right thing by people. But now, that time has come and I’m going to do my thing.”
With the topic of the Jackon’s 5 legacy on the table, the conversation took a turn towards HBO’s highly controversial Leaving Neverland documentary and the shocking sexual abuse allegations that were made against Tito’s brother Michael Jackson. In the four-hour documentary, two men — Wade Robson and James Safechuck — alleged that MJ molested them when they were boys.
Multiple members of the Jackson family have spoken out against the documentary. Paris Jackson, Jermaine Jackso, and Jackson's nephew Taj condemned the accusations as lies, and the pop star’s estate denounced the explosive documentary as a “public lynching” of the pop icon. Last month, Janet Jackson spoke positively about MJ’s enduring impact on music.
While Janet shied away from mentioning the allegations or the film, Tito's sentiments fell in line with other family members’ defensive stance.
The 65-year-old lambasted the way his brother was portrayed in the film. Although he didn’t mention Robson and Safechuck by name, Tito said that his brother’s kind nature was taken advantage of and used against him.
“The people that know Michael Jackson, it just boils our blood because he’s not anything like the perception that they’re trying to put out on him. He’s totally opposite,” Tito told the AP. “And it’s just not heard of a person being so caring and giving. But that’s, Michael has been that person ever since he’s been a kid. You know he cares about others and very giving and just like to make people happy. And sometimes people can use that against you. And that’s exactly what happened to him.”
You ran read the interview in full here.
(Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)