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Jackson family tastelessness heads to Nigeria.

February 18, 2009 |  4:45 am

Michael Jackson, Neverland ranch, auction, Nigeria museum, slavery theme park. I usually think of slavery as having been a bad thing. As a descendant of slaves I’m clear on that point. There are times, however, when I try to find a silver lining. I tell myself that the transportation of 12 million Africans to the Americas ultimately spared the continent some of the world’s supreme embarrassments. You know, like J.J Walker's buffoonery, Al Sharpton's hair, Clarence Thomas' self-loathing and most of all, Michael Jackson and all things Jackson-related. Sure, losing millions of young men and women in their prime crippled the continent's development but hey, at least Africa never had the shame of watching its top superstar cavort with chimpanzees and underage boys while he sculpted, bleached and permed himself into a white woman. A white woman with chin stubble. It could shrug off iron-clad nipples and secret marriages. In moments of dark humor I would say so be it: America’s got to pay for its sins and the Jackson wackiness is par for the course. But now it turns out that Africa has not been spared.

The Guardian is reporting that Marlon Jackson, one of the brothers we hear least about and had assumed might be sane, is working with American developers to build a slavery theme park in Nigeria:

A museum for the Jackson Five is to be built in Nigeria, American developers have announced, as part of a $3.4bn (£2.4bn) luxury resort including concert halls, golf courses, casinos – and a memorial for Africa's former slave trade. The Badagry Historical Resort, located near Badagry's former slave port, will include a multimillion pound memorial, slave history theme park, five-star hotel and Jackson Five museum. The project is supported in part by Marlon Jackson, one of Michael Jackson's brothers.

"The Jackson family had been looking for a place to site their memorabilia collection," explained Gary Loster, chief executive of the Motherland Group, to the BBC. "We visited the site of the slave port in Badagry and Marlon turned to me and said: 'Let's put it here, this is right.'"

I’m all for African nations stepping up and acknowledging their complicity and responsibility when it comes to the slave trade, but a theme park? Ride the Tara Express! You’ll be torn from your family! Cross rough seas lying down and journey through the cotton fields. That’s right, Go with the wind and never come home!

Michaelart Jacksonfivehandout_photo_2

I was pondering how anyone could think up something this tacky, when my cursor happened to land on a preview of the Michael Jackson memorabilia auction coming this April.

Now I understand.

But remember when they all seemed so normal?

Photo: from left, Tito, Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon and Randy Jackson, with brother Michael in the center. Credit: Handout photo

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