A street-naming ceremony in Detroit to honor Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop, was canceled just two days before the festivities were to have taken place — and it is his brothers’ fault.
In May, according to the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan city announced it would pay tribute to the pop music legend by renaming a stretch of Randolph Street, in the theater district, “Michael Jackson Avenue.” An official bash to unveil the street sign, which would be around the corner from “Aretha Franklin Way,” was scheduled for Friday, June 13.
However, the Jackson family believed that all of the members of the Jackson 5 — the pop group formed in the 1960s featuring MJ and his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy — were going to be honored, not just Michael.
But there’s an amendment, passed just last year by the Detroit City Council, that prohibits ceremonial street designations for organizations or groups, noted the Detroit Free Press.
So, in order to placate the living Jacksons, plans to pay tribute to the deceased legend have been scrapped.
“We’re still working through the process,” said Stephen Grady, chief of staff for Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The amendment to the ordinance is fairly new, and we’re trying to understand what we can do. We still plan to do something for the Jackson 5.”
Why Detroit? The Midwest city was home to Motown Records and its founder, Berry Gordy, the label the Gary, Indiana-based Jackson 5 auditioned for back in 1968, and then signed with, making the band of brothers pop music superstars. The young artists also recorded some of their early songs in Detroit at the Hitsville studio, according to the Detroit News.
Four members of the family, touring under the name The Jacksons, still plan on performing in the Motor City this Saturday, June 16, as part of Detroit Music Weekend. The group’s headlining set will include a video element that will allow Michael to be a part of the show.
“[In the 1960s] the Motown sound was so huge around the world, and on the radio, in terms of coming here, and seeing how that music was made at Hitsville, and meeting the musicians who played on those records — it was amazing,” Jackie said in an interview with the Detroit News. “It was a dream come true for all of us that we would be part of this musical family at Motown.”