Thuli Zuma & Omar Holmon spent their weekend watching Michael Jackson videos and discovered numerous nerd elements within them. After much more extensive research via youtube and dance choreography re-enactments, they reported the conclusion of their analysis.
Omar: Look, I ain’t gonna say this but one time: Michael Jackson is one of the most nerdy entertainers to do it. The man was the king of entertainment, but that shy, quiet, awkward demeanor off stage? That had nerd written all over it.
Thuli: You are right about his off stage demeanor, but it wasn’t just that — Michael Jackson was never trying to be anything other than exactly what he was. He never tried to hide his nerd, he brought it into his dress, his performance, and his music videos. Michael kept his nerd strong.
Omar: Here are three instances that showcase the nerddom levels of MJ so you can truly understand the multitude that Mike’s nerdness encompassed.
Thuli: It is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Omar: You can’t tell me Mike Jackson wasn’t on some superhero shit in this video. I don’t want to hear it. Look at the play by play of this glory, man. Cats are comin’ from all corners of the earth for a gang fight, dudes straight coming up out the shadows on some urban warfare Ninja Gaiden.
Thuli: And from underneath sewers. Listen, what city do you know where gang members are just chillin’ under sewers? What are they doing down there? Are they just waiting for the call? Is there a spades table? What is going on underneath that sewer?
Omar: We don’t knoooow! The fuck part of LA is that? They’re all gathering for this fight to go down right, then cut to Mike who wakes up in his bed. You know what wakes him up? The streets.
MJ knows he’s needed because some senseless violence is about to go down. So what does he do? Throws on a t-shirt and leather jacket on his superhero suit-up scene. And here is why: MJ is on some vigilante shit. My man walks into the middle of a knife fight and diffuses it not with his fists, not with weapons, but with his honorary theater degree and the power of dance. That’s some next-level vigilante hero power of persuasion, man. When the last time you seen Batman break up a fight between gang bangers with his pop and lock routine? Never! MJ literally walks over, puts his hand on these dudes that are in the middle of the most graceful knife fight I ever seen…
Omar: I’m saying, though! No questions asked, these cats immediately realize the error of their ways. They out here trying to stab each other when all along they should’ve been united to take over the choreography game. Now, let’s be clear: over 80 members of the bloods and crips gang were actually recruited for this video in hopes of some kind of peace being brokered. Mike was out here doing the law’s work, for really reals.
Thuli: Remember The Time Michael Jackson took us all to Egypt and blew our collective minds? First he gave us the casting of ancient Egypt Ridley Scott wouldn’t, a quarter century before we even knew we needed it (hashtag visionary). But the real magic begins when the real Magic (Mr. Johnson) ushers in some entertainers for the pleasure of her majesty Queen Nefertiti and his royal highness Ramses The Great. All the acts are thoroughly unimpressive, but then enter the wizard — this dude is cloaked head to toe in a thick dark robe. It’s hot as the Sahara but dude got robes on? You know something’s up. Suspicions are confirmed when Sir Wizard straight up vanishes into a pile of sand on the floor then re-emerges in Egyptian business casual wear. It’s Mike!
Omar: “That time in Spain doe?!” Nefertiti got the “Oh-no-no-no, you gonna show up to my job for real?” face on and Ramses is like, “Ummm, I don’t know if this magician man remembers you from a bachelorette party or something but you best set the record straight. Baby…? You not gon’ set the record straight?
“Okay, look Nefer-T, I don’t mean to embarrass you in front of your King or whatever, bringing up your pre-Ramses life, however, I just need to know… Do. You. Remember?!” And Nefertiti ain’t having it either, but Mike isn’t here for games. Now let’s be clear, at this point the song is rightfully over, but Mr. Jackson’s got a good 3 minutes left in him, and you will answer the question. So he goes off script and is like, “Yo, I don’t want these people I got body-rolling behind me thinking I’m just some thirsty-ass wizard up here claiming things…
…so let me help jog your memory.” Commence the handing out of the receipts. “Nef, baby, Remember? You and me, on the phone, till dawn, till 3, after dark, at the park, on the beach, in Spain, in Spain, do ya? Do ya? IN SPAIN! *dtrrrii-rrupp-dah-dtupp duht- trrrr-ruapp d’at-tuht-tuht* You know what that skat talk means. She knows what it means, dtrrrii-rrupp-dah-dtupp duht- trrrr-ruapp d’at-tuht-tuht indeed. And with that, Magic Mike’s work is done and he dissolves back into a pile of sand and gracefully whirlwinds his way out of there.
Thuli: So here’s the thing: if we are being real, the only evidence that needs ever be put forward in a case for Michael Jackson’s nerddom is the first 8 min of the “Bad” music video, directed by none other than Martin Scorsese. The 8 minutes before the subway, before the beat drops, before any singing or dancing. Don’t believe me? …just watch.
Omar: This is actually peak nerd Michael, man. He’s going to a high-end high school, then back in the streets with his homies who are trying to get him back to the stick-up kid game (mostly Wesley Snipes). Here’s the thing: they trying to tell Mike he’s gone soft ’cause he ain’t ’bout that life anymore. Mike is trying to keep it nerd and chill, but they keep pushing him. They push him so much that Mike transforms into his other-self. The “Bad” self. Much like in Bleach when Ichigo went to his Hollow form or when Spider-Man got the symbiote suit. The homies done fucked up and made Mike bring out his final form.
Thuli: Without warning, everything goes into color, Mike drops from the ceiling in all-black leather and hella buckles, and he’s all: “You wanna know who’s bad? Lemme tell you about a few gentlemen I met in a pool hall back in my crime-fighting days.” And from behind the subway pillars emerge 30 odd tough guys who seem to just have been waiting there for their cue. Apparently, the same gang from “Beat It” stuck with his message. They’re older and wiser now, but dance is still the only weapon they need.
Omar: This is some Gangs of New York shit happening in the subway. Bad Mike is out and can’t be contained, he needs to know “Who’s bad?” We know the answer is him, but he’s so far gone in his rage because he had to come back out to prove he still runs shit, that even if you tell him he’s the baddest, he’s not satisfied and will keep asking said question. Look, if I come down to catch my train and I see dudes dancing on the turnstiles to my right, taggin’ walls and moon-walking in skates to my left, and Bad Mike spinning around in pre-Passenger 57 Wesley Snipes’ face repeatedly asking, “Who’s bad?” I’m turning around and jogging back up them stairs.
And then in classic Mike style, the song is over. The instruments have run their course, but Michael is far from done, he turns back to his crew and is all “stay with me guys, whatever I say just say it back,” then he starts softly chanting “who’s bad, who’s bad…, they’re gonna have to tell me now that I’ve taken it down to a breathy whisper.” Then, when finally he’s satisfied with the answer, Mike gets serious: “Well, since I have this platform, let me take a minute to tell you a thing or two about life.” He then proceeds to straight up preach on Snipes, still backed up, as ever, by his gang of merry men. “Listen bruh, you’re doing wrong. You gonna get locked up, which will be awkward not just for you, but for your mother, your brother, your sister, and me.”
Omar: The older guys from “Beat It” are like, “This took a weird turn, but he promised us pizza after this sooo…” At this point Wesley Snipes realizes the error of his ways, like “Look Daryl — uh, Bad Mike whatever — I obviously didn’t realize what I was getting myself into with you and your… dancers? Merry men? Ah, Warriors. Sorry, I’ma change my ways, man. I’ma take my acting more seriously and see if there’s some way I can combine it with my hatred for vampires. We’re good, man. We’re good. You’re bad. I heard someone say something about pizza.