Conversations – Tanay Jackson: Rollin’ and poppin’ into the spotlight
In the music business, the The Jackson family is to music what the Gracie family is to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts.
Being a Jackson can mean dealing with successes, failures, expectations, controversy and pressures in the public eye almost from the start. It’s something that can break you down if you let it, but can also toughen you up.
Tanay Jackson is part of the current generation dealing with their own sets of expectations.
She is the only daughter of Tito Jackson and the niece of Michael Jackson. A court case proved it she says, much to the chagrin of those who disagree.
There are also her critics, but in our conversation with Tanay, she’s determined to pursue her musical career on her own terms.
And her knowledge of mixed martial arts might surprise you.
She recently stepped into The Crossfire and spoke with Kenai Andrews about her emerging music career and much more.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA CROSSFIRE CONVERSATIONS – TANAY JACKSON
MMA Crossfire: Welcome Tanay. I’ve been listening to your songs and the one that stands out for me is Naughty Girls (Need Love Too). Talk to me about that song.
Tanay Jackson: Yes! That song is a remake of Full Force original with Samantha Fox. They [Full Force] were almost of a similar culture as my mom. They are from the Dominican Republic. Their niece was in my class growing up in the 80s. So I got to see them, I got to meet Lisa Lisa and all these great people I looked up to on television, so when I got older and I said let me look at some freestyle music, I said this would be great for me to make over because I have a bit of a naughty side. So I said let me call him up and ask him if it’s ok for me to remake it and he said are you kidding me? Of course. A Jackson making over a Full Force song is great publicity.
MMA Crossfire: And I guess the rest is history. That would also explain Bowlegged Lou at the beginning of the video.
Tanay Jackson: Oh yes! Bowlegged Lou, I don’t know if you know him personally, he is like a Martin Lawrence. He is so hilarious and full of jokes. He thought it would be a good to do his comical thing in the beginning because he is also a trained actor. He was very supportive of the whole thing, he even helped me get licensing for the song.
MMA Crossfire: That’s a nice story. So you went to school with their niece.
Tanay Jackson: Yes. Her name was Sparkle, yeah.
MMA Crossfire: Obviously you’re not afraid about investigating ideas to the fullest.
Tanay Jackson: Of course. Being a creative person, it’s all about exploring your creativity. Growing up, I actually hid the fact I could sing. Nobody knew that. The only people who knew were little friends in school or whatever. But the cat got out of the bag not too long.
MMA Crossfire: You can only hide that for so long I guess…
Tanay Jackson: Well, I got caught (Laughs). My fourth grade teacher all of a sudden decided to do a play. All of the classes had to a play throughout the year. It was her turn to do a play and she said Tanay has to be the lead because she has a beautiful voice. When she said that, it was the biggest shock of my life because I wanted to know how she knew. So, when that happened, everybody has to see the play, they’re calling my parents, everybody’s telling the family oh you know she going be the star of her play the teacher says she has a beautiful voice… that’s when it was a done deal.
MMA Crossfire: Did everybody back then know you were a Jackson? How long did that take for that to come out of the bag?
Tanay Jackson: The only people that knew the connection was my Dad’s family. You see, at that time when they were at the height of their career, and they didn’t want anything to tarnish their image especially back in the 80s. A lot of horrible stuff happened in the music industry back then, but everyone seemed clear cut. So him having a child out of wedlock wasn’t a good idea and my Mom decided to tuck it in as well. And she thought it would be within my best interests because I was a child and I didn’t need that much attention. She wanted me to grow up normally, go to school and have a normal life.
MMA Crossfire: I see. Can you confirm your mother’s name?
Tanay Jackson: I’m not going to do that.
MMA Crossfire: Oh, ok. That’s fine. What do you say to the haters, the people who question and say you’re not Tito’s daughter.
Tanay Jackson: People who question me at this point obviously just want to pin a stigma on me. Because there’s enough information out there that proves I’m his daughter. I won the case. Therefore, it’s set and done. So people try to come back and say is she really his daughter… and it’s usually insecure females. It’s not too many males. So when they do that, I just look at them because I am who I am. Father (Tito Jackson) has not denied who I was, my grandfather (Joe Jackson) has not denied who I was. And he runs the entire family, my granddad. So if you have haters, I think you’re making it. If nobody is even interested in hating, then you’re really not much to talk about in my opinion.
MMA Crossfire: (Laughs). That’s certainly one way of looking at it. That must have helped you to do your own thing, I guess.
Tanay Jackson: Well I’ve been fighting for some time now when I came out… I’ve been fighting for some time to acquire my own individuality, but people have this way of attaching me to the family. OK, that’s my Dad, this is my heritage, but I do have a different style. And I would appreciate if people would gravitate that a little bit more so I can show who Tanay is.
MMA Crossfire: So let’s start. Who is Tanay and what is her style?
Tanay Jackson: My style (Laughs)… I’m not trying to be anybody’s role model. I am naughty. I am a good-hearted person. I do like to give to charity; I do care about people. But I have a little bit of a naughty side. Not a wild side. A naughty – playfully naughty – side, you know?
Because I remember when I first started out, my dad was actually trying to manage me. His thing was, oh you can’t be too sexy, don’t walk outside with any makeup because when they snap pictures they’ll try to make other things out of it… I said come on: This is not back in the time when you were a member of The Jackson 5. It’s a big deal if I walk outside with no makeup. And look at the Rhiannas and the Beyonces and even the Miley Cyruses for god’s sake. They’re overly sexual and these who I am competing within my genre. So for me to wear a turtleneck with an umbrella and a broad hat makes no sense.
MMA Crossfire: Yeah. (Laughs)
Tanay Jackson: (Laughs).
MMA Crossfire: You have it so you have to flaunt it a little I guess…
Tanay Jackson: Right, because who knows how long I’ll be able to keep it?
MMA Crossfire: Although I suspect you’ll be able to keep it for awhile. Listening to your songs Spotlight and Its Over… Any thoughts or experiences about those songs you’d like to share?
Tanay Jackson: Yes. Now when I write songs, I write them based them on other people’s experiences as well as mine. It’s Over was about a guy I was very much in love with and I guess he liked me but he just recently married. When I realized it was over, I made that song and poured my heart out into it.
Listen to It’s Over by Tanay Jackson.
In the Spotlight, that is based on my feeling of being in the spotlight because I was covered up for so many years. It’s about me coming out and showing my talents and being appreciated for my work. When I graduated high school, all I knew was how to dance and write songs. I know that that’s my thing and I just wanted to be appreciated for it.
Listen to In the Spotlight by Tanay Jackson.
Listen to Addicted (Rollin Poppin) by Tanay Jackson.
That song is also for all those people out there who just want some recognition for the great work that they’ve done.
MMA Crossfire: Gotcha. And athough you have the name, you started from the bottom, primarily as a dancer.
Tanay Jackson: Yes, I was a dancer. I was in junior high school, going into high school when I was in Remember the Time. I started off doing shows with various dance companies but that’s what I wanted to do. I wasn’t dancing to become a recording artist; I was dancing because that’s what I wanted to do – at first.
My uncle – rest in peace – Michael, asked me well why don’t you sing? Why don’t you become a recording artist? I said, well I’ll be a backup singer. He said why do you feel you need to be in the back? You need to be in the front. And I said I just don’t feel I could be like everyone else. He said how are you going to know if you don’t try?
He said I’ve watched you perform. I don’t feel that you should be in the back. And I listened to that. That stuck in my head; How do you know what you can do if you don’t try? When he told me that, it stuck in my head for years.
MMA Crossfire: Fascinating. You were shy then at that time, as a youngster.
Tanay Jackson: Yeah, I was. I was shy growing up. When I was a toddler, I was really really shy. I was very timid. When I became a teenager, I wasn’t shy to do certain things. I got confidence in certain areas. In other areas, I was still kind of shy and not confident.
MMA Crossfire: I’m guessing one of those areas was dancing.
Tanay Jackson: Oh yeah, because when I started dancing, I saw how good I looked dancing and people used to crowd me to watch me dance. And I went to dance school, they actually accepted me in the dance company part of the school and that’s for professional dancers. They really thought I had it. That really showed me I can do this and this is what I’m good at. Also, dancing made me feel great. If I was upset and put some music and started doing a piece of choreography, I felt great afterwards.
MMA Crossfire: It sounds like you had a normal childhood, found some things you liked and pursued them. That was primarily in Maryland.
Tanay Jackson: Yeah, I did go back and forth. I stayed in California with my Dad for a short time, but most mf my life I did live with my Mom. When she came to this country, she lived in Brooklyn, New York. Then when she made a little bit of money, she moved to Maryland. I was between homes, California, New York, California, Maryland, like that.
MMA Crossfire: So are you a city or country girl then?
Tanay Jackson: Hmm. Well, a little bit of both.
MMA Crossfire: (Laughs). I see.
Tanay Jackson: (Laughs). And I understand you blog about mixed martial arts?
MMA Crossfire: Yeah! I was going to ask you about that. Are you a fan?
Tanay Jackson: Guess what! My ex-boyfriend was a mixed martial artist (Laughs).
MMA Crossfire: Get out of here.
Tanay Jackson: Yeah. He used to show me some moves and watch it a lot on cable. I kind of found similarities in it with kickboxing. I said is mixed martial arts kickboxing and he said it’s a little bit of everything. It looks like kickboxing but it is not. I do know the name mixed martial arts was coined by the television critic Howard Rosenberg in 1993. What else do I know about it?
MMA Crossfire: Go on with your bad self…
Tanay Jackson: It’s a full contact combat sport. It involves striking, grappling techniques… modern mixed martial arts can be tracked back to the ancient Olympics…
MMA Crossfire: Maybe we should call you a mixed martial artist.
Tanay Jackson: Really? Why? I don’t fight. (Laughs).
MMA Crossfire: You’re a mixed martial arts of the showbusiness genre. And you have the spirit of fighting. I’ve noticed talking to artists, performers – people who are trying to make something of themselves – they have the fighting spirit that helps them get to where they want to get to.
Tanay Jackson: That, I’m going to tell you right now happened from since I came out of the womb. I’ve been fighting from the time my mother gave birth to me. When my mother gave birth to me, I almost died. She went to the hospital, the hospital was a block away from where she was. She told the nurse please get the doctor in here, the baby’s about to come. The nurse told her when the doctor’s ready they’ll see you. She said are you kidding me? Do you want me to deliver the baby myself? So they made her wait so long, that by the time doctors did show up, had shifted to another part of her birth canal, and they had to C-section her to pull me out.
When they did pull me out, my skin was a little blue from lack of oxygen and they had to disconnect the umbilical cord and run down the hall with me to put on an oxygen mask. So I made it, obviously because I’m here, and my Dad heard what happened and said if anything would have happened, he would have sued the hospital. Because I’m actually my father’s first and only daughter. So he was excited about that; he and my mom had problems when she was pregnant with me but when heard he was having a girl, he showed up to the hospital that day. He heard about what happened and he wanted to sue them but he couldn’t because I was actually healthy. The only complications I had was a bleeding nose and a sinus problem. But they gave me stuff for that; I don’t have that anymore.
MMA Crossfire: Well that’s good it turned out. I’m glad you’re here (Laughs).
Tanay Jackson: (Laughs) Thank you.
MMA Crossfire: Your MMA knowledge is impressive. Did you go to his fights too or do you train?
Tanay Jackson: He went to a gym that did MMA training. It’s very brutal and bloody. I did watch it with him a few times. If I was creating music or something and I’d pass through the living room, I’d see him watching it.
MMA Crossfire: Right.
Tanay Jackson: So I am a little bit familiar with it. I just know about it…
MMA Crossfire: The women are really taking over things now…
Tanay Jackson: That’s another thing. I actually a fight with some chicks. I said wow! I didn’t know the ladies were getting into it.
MMA Crossfire: Oh yeah. They’re not just getting into it, they’re on top of it. They have some pretty strong women at the top that are more popular I would argue than a lot of the male fighters. In fact, they have a reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, where the coaches are women and those coaches are the world champion and #1 contender and they’re going to clash at the end of December. So it just goes to show you how far the women have come.
Tanay Jackson: Wow! And that does make a great reality show because that’s interesting. Women doing mixed martial arts, that is something to look into.
MMA Crossfire: Right. And they have a bunch of female and male students on teams that are trying to outlast each other. The one standing at the end is crowned the Ultimate Fighter but through that process the company discovers a lot of talent that they usually sign on. It’s a great thing for the women because they are more opportunities now for them than ever to earn a living in MMA doing what they love..
Tanay Jackson: It’s certainly getting popular in North America.
MMA Crossfire: Yeah. They’re celebrating their 20th anniversary so if the UFC ever invited you would you go? Say they wanted you to sing the national anthem.
Tanay Jackson: I would. I sang the national anthem before at a boxing match in Miami.
MMA Crossfire: Really?
Tanay Jackson: Yeah I did. Who was fighting? The son of the one that died. The Spanish boxer, I forgot his name…
MMA Crossfire: Hector “Macho” Camacho?
Tanay Jackson: Yes, the son. The son also fights, you know. So his son was fighting… I forget who he was up against but I sang the national anthem for that one in Miami.
MMA Crossfire: Wow. So you’re already there, OK.
Tanay Jackson: (Laughs).
MMA Crossfire: You have the bases covered. I was reading some of your idols are Prince, Chaka Khan and especially Bruno…
Tanay Jackson: (Laughs). Yeah I do. Not only because he’s cute but I really value him as a true artist. Because of the age of music we’re in now with the autotune and the synthesized sounding poppy music, you don’t have too many people who can actually give raw talent, that can actually sing and play instruments. He plays instruments, genuinely sings and writes music – and that is like a Prince or a Michael or a Chaka Khan.
MMA Crossfire: So tell me more about your thoughts on the industry. What do you see?
Tanay Jackson: I mean, it has changed a lot from the days of when I was growing up and seeing it. Modern technology has taken over and it made a couple of changes to the business. It hurt it in some ways as far as song sales. Records are now obsolete, CDs are almost obsolete completely and all we have is downloading and that is because the record industry was so eager to get the modern technology connected to it.
But I do not trust modern technology because the same thieves that steal your bank account or something online, they are in the same schools as other people who are just learn something to get a decent job. They’re going to the same schools those people are going to.
MMA Crossfire: Do you think they were a bit lazy early on technology wise because they could have jumped on this and monetized it… they were dragged kicking and screaming into acknowledging the technology side, weren’t they?
Tanay Jackson: They were actually… I don’t know how they could have turned it around. There’s so many people in the business who are so savvy and smart who could have turned certain situations around to make the industry more profitable. They couldn’t fight it. They just couldn’t fight it. They found a few ways around it, but they couldn’t fight it. Right now, the only way an artist can make money is if they do concerts, which is good for me because I love doing stage shows. I started off doing theatrical dance.
MMA Crossfire: I know you’re a businesswoman too. You have your degree and know the back end of the business. Is it difficult handling both sides?
Tanay Jackson: It’s not difficult for me. It can be stressful, the business side. I have people trying to offer me deals. People want me to come and perform for them because of my name, but then they don’t want to pay me properly. I find that to be very disrespectful because if it were my Dad or if Michael were still here they know they would have to pay a pretty penny.
I am a trained entertainer. I am a trained dancer. I am a trained singer and I am a noted songwriter. You need to pay me what I charge, not try to pay me scraps and expect me to come across the country to perform for you. It’s almost like slavery.
MMA Crossfire: You have to keep on top of that I guess. Somebody is always trying to take advantage.
Tanay Jackson: Yeah. It happens on a daily basis. It happens to not just me but a lot of people on my Dad’s side of the family. It happens sometimes to the ordinary average person on the street.
MMA Crossfire: What about iTunes, do you see any potential there?
Tanay Jackson: iTunes is good but I mean… I order for people to buy it, you have to make them aware of it. That’s the tough part. And when they are aware of it, they have to like it. Some people won’t even spend 99 cents to buy your song… because they’re not familiar with it. They have to know your song.
MMA Crossfire: So what is a typical day like for you?
Tanay Jackson: Oh my gosh, A typical day… There’s so much that goes on in my day… Let’s see… I wake up, I eat breakfast, I go to the gym. I come back. I’m on the computer making deals, doing stuff for my music career. I have clients because I have my own business; I have to deal with them. Those two things can become a long day if I have to my hair and nails, if there’s stuff that has to be done around the house. If I have family coming over… you know? My duties are long. Then if I have to travel for a show, forget about it, I can’t do none of that stuff. I don’t have an assistant right now, so it’s really tough. My management and I are handling all these things right now. From last year to now, people have been wanting me to come out more, wanting to investigate and see what I’m doing so the demands for me got a little higher. I actually do need at this point an assistant.
MMA Crossfire: How long have you been doing this professionally?
Tanay Jackson: About 5 years.
MMA Crossfire: I assume things increasing steadily to the point where you have the album or what’s the deal on that?
Tanay Jackson: I don’t have the album. Because the way the music industry is, I have to put one song at a time. When I have a compilation of songs, then I can put out an album for sale. Right I have to sell singles and that is what I have right now. I have singles that will be put together one full album.
MMA Crossfire: I see. And your thoughts on shows like American Idol and The Voice. Are they a help or hindrance for today’s artists?
Tanay Jackson: It’s a help for some of them, it depends on their situation in this business and personal wise. It can be a hindrance… like I said, It all depends on that artist’s situation.
Look at Ruben Studdard:
He was doing well but as he became more popular and more popular and after one or two songs, they had to leave him alone because he became morbidly obese. And that was not good for marketing and imaging, because you always have to look extra beautiful, extra good-looking. And it’s hard. I have shows to do and I can’t look like I have a belly… I can’t look like this because they take a picture and people will murder you on social media. Its really really tough. This girl… and everyone says I look like her and I don’t know what’s wrong with people but… what is her name… she was also on American Idol…
MMA Crossfire: Jennifer Hudson?
Tanay Jackson: Jennifer Hudson. It worked for her. She had a situation where she wasn’t wealthy and she was singing on a cruise ship and then she decided to go on American Idol. She didn’t win, but someone still picked her up and she got a good career. She decided to lose some weight and she did and this is where the conflict comes in. Now Ruben Stoddard and her were both very heavy, but for some reason they kept her and didn’t keep him. Now when you perform for these shows anything that you do, they get a percentage afterwards especially if they get you a deal. So it can be a hindrance to some and rewarding for some.
MMA Crossfire: That’s one of the issues you like to challenge, the whole weight thing.
Tanay Jackson: Well, if you’ve seen my Dad, he’s not exactly the most skinniest man in the world. And as far as my body is concerned, I take after my Dad’s side of the family and they like to eat…
MMA Crossfire: Eating is good.
Tanay Jackson: Eating is great; overeating is not (Laughs). But some of them are actually very big in size. The ones that are entertainers or have to be on film or in the public eye, they lose that weight before they take the pictures, so you’d never know or you’d never see them very big. I struggled with my weight because I was also… when I graduated from high school I snuck out and got married. I didn’t even let my parents know for a year that I was married, they just thought I had a boyfriend…
MMA Crossfire: Wow, that was naughty…
Tanay Jackson: Yeah (Laughs). When my Mom found out, she hit the roof. My father didn’t really mind. But when he heard how the guy was treating me he was like you know what? You were too young; you did not know any better, you were too young. I did divorce the guy, but during the marriage I did get pregnant. I did not have the baby but I have not been able to kick that weight off. I didn’t have one pregnancy; I had two so it was really hard for me to get my body back… I was also a chubby adolescent. It was tough. I finally lost the weight and I still have to lose more to keep up with the standards of Hollywood.
MMA Crossfire: You can’t avoid that.
Tanay Jackson: Yes.
MMA Crossfire: It sounds like though you have the tools to combat that perception and kind of control it instead of it controlling you.
Tanay Jackson: Yeah, yeah, and it took awhile. It wasn’t an overnight thing.
MMA Crossfire: It’s a constant battle I suppose.
Tanay Jackson: Yes, it is. And it will be a constant battle until I decide to just lay low and hopefully reap the fruits of my labour years down the line.
MMA Crossfire: Do you find through it all everything you’ve done, your experiences – good or bad – prepares you for where you are today?
Tanay Jackson: It’s definitely made me stronger. It’s definitely going to make me appreciate all that I’ve fought for and got. You see, my brothers grew up with our Dad all their life; I had to be in between homes. I graduated from college; they did not. I really did not have… I got the silver spoon on occasion… on far off occasions…
I never lived the life of having being fed with a silver spoon all my life. So, being that I had to suffer a little bit or be the average Joe at one point, it made me grounded. And it has made me a strong person, strong enough to gout there and face the world and combat whatever comes in my path.
MMA Crossfire: I’m curious about [your brother] TJ. Did you bond with him? Has he been a supporter?
Tanay Jackson: TJ is a very good man. A very good man. When he was younger, he always talked about being a Dad. He just recently had another child.
MMA Crossfire: Great!
Tanay Jackson: I’m not even sure how many children in total he has. This guy has so many damn kids! He loves kids, but TJ and I bond a little better because were closer in age. The other two… the older one Taj, he’s not very mature. He’s 40 years-old, but he doesn’t have a mature mind, he’s a little bit slow. Taryll… he has a heart. I remember when Taj got on social media – I believe it was Twitter – and wrote a year-long blog disgracing me, saying I wasn’t his sister. I mean, the things he said you would have to know me to say that. He didn’t realize that he was telling on himself.
Secondly, he did this after I won the case [Editor’s Note: The case decision was not made public according to ABC News] and after there were pictures amoung pictures of me and my Dad. So he made himself look a fool, and then he’s 40-years-old, still not accepting the fact that he has a sister outside.
Now their Mom has passed away, and I’m sorry for them. And they want to keep the loyalty to their Mom, but keeping the loyalty to their Mom is not trying to hurt their little sister.
Because when they were in 3T, I was a dancer at that time. And when they were in 3T, I used to support them. I supported what they did. I bought the CD and I even encouraged my school friends to do it too. I did promotion, I got people to help promote for them and now that it’s my chance to come out, he doesn’t want to support me, and that’s very very selfish…
MMA Crossfire: I’m sure you put on a brave face, but that had to hurt inside.
Tanay Jackson: It hurt at first, but then after a while it didn’t hurt because I thought to myself: You’re 40! Why would you behave like that? That’s insane. I was embarrassed for him because he didn’t look right. It just didn’t look right. The image that he displayed to the fans from since 1990 to now got tarnished when he did that.
The other one… they never got major publicity. I was on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and E! News they never got that and they had a group, an album and a record deal. So now that I came out and I’m doing a little better without all that they have, they can’t stand it.
Now, TJ did not side with them; he didn’t have anything to say because he did not feel the same way that they did. Taryll tweeted to E! News: Oh, she’s not my sister, get your information right and listen to the last line: I am sorry for any confusion this is going to cause.
@eonline Tanay Jackson is NOT related to us. Please clear up any confusion you may have caused. Thank You.
— TARYLL Jackson (@tarylljackson) July 29, 2012
There is someone now going on tv shows all over the U.S., claiming to be our half sister. As much as I would (cont) http://t.co/XT3vNMH2
— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) August 1, 2012
This guy is already feeling guilty for what he did. He was already apologizing for what he was doing. I am sorry for any confusion this is about to cause. Of course, because you know you’re lying.
But, that was last year I believe and my grandfather put his foot down. He said this year don’t skip the family reunion. Come to the family reunion and take as many pictures as you want with me. And he said give it to your publicist and everybody and put it all around.
And he got Geraldo (Rivera) to interview me at that time and Geraldo is the biggest news show in America, I believe. And he got Geraldo to place the picture up and show that I was at the family reunion with my granddad. That just killed everything my two brothers did.
MMA Crossfire: That quieted the critics.
Tanay Jackson: That quieted the critics. The only thing that people were shocked about was his behavior. People who were jealous or just wanted to deny me, that gave them something to hold up but there’s too much evidence supporting what I’m saying. No one really believed him; it was just the people who wanted to side with him that were jealous of me.
MMA Crossfire: I see.
Tanay Jackson: And my grandfather already spoke to them. As we speak, they’re not currently allowed to represent the family publicly.
MMA Crossfire: And now you’re making your way with your singles.
Tanay Jackson: I hope so (Laughs).
MMA Crossfire: It’s always tough, but what is the plan going into 2014? What are you focusing on?
Tanay Jackson: I just have to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m trying the best that I can. I’m really focused right on what I’m doing and just hope it all comes into play. That’s all I can say about 2014; let’s see what 2014 brings to me.
MMA Crossfire: In this era of auto tune, the ability to really sing is a premium. I understand why people compare you to Jennifer. You both have that raw voice.
Tanay Jackson: They compare me to her because of the way I look and that’s what annoys me. I respect her – she has a beautiful voice – I just don’t feel I look like her. We don’t even have the same skin tone.
MMA Crossfire: I think if you blindfolded people and heard both of you sing, it would be hard to distinguish who was who.
Tanay Jackson: OK.
MMA Crossfire: (Laughs). And that’s good. I know you keep up with current events…
Tanay Jackson: Sometimes, yes.
MMA Crossfire: I know you must have kept up with the Trayvon Martin thing.
Tanay Jackson: I just think that in the day of age that we’re in… right now discrimination has changed. People don’t really discriminate against of you because of your colour anymore; they discriminate against you because of your income now. And I think – and I’m not saying any discrimination is good – but that’s far off better than racial discrimination rather than just looking at a way a person is born and the colour that they’re born and making dumb assumptions. Now they say Trayvon Martin beat the cop up and… this guy was bigger than Trayvon Martin. I’m trying to gather how Trayvon Martin could have beat him up. It just doesn’t sit well with me, and Trayvon… even if he did curse him out and say all this and that, Trayvon Martin was not looking to shoot him.
MMA Crossfire: There was a story after the trial about Zimmerman’s wife filing an incident with police saying that she feared for her life…
Tanay Jackson: Which tells me he’s a violent man. I do know that Zimmerman’s parents worked for the courts. I think his dad was a judge or something like that, so it was easy for him to get the verdict he got. No? Because from what I understand, Zimmerman’s parents one of them if not both were employees of the court system. [Editor’s Note: Robert Zimmerman Sr. served as a magistrate in Fairfax County’s 19 judicial district.]
And when they said that Trayvon attacked him… OK, I’ll fight for my life too if I was attacked. Even if Trayvon Martin, even if he fought Zimmerman, he wasn’t looking to shoot and kill Zimmerman, but Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon! It’s not sitting very well…
MMA Crossfire: You obviously disagree with the verdict.
Tanay Jackson: Yeah! There’s not enough evidence, logical explanation and evidence to support the fact that Trayvon Martin was attacking Zimerman then here comes the wife saying that he feared for her life being with Zimmerman. Why? So right there that just throws it away.
MMA Crossfire: Alright. The untimely death of Cory Monteith.
Tanay Jackson: Well, you know my heart goes out to his family. God knows best with a person’s lifespan and I’m just sorry to see that it happened, he’s talented. I never knew him, I’m supposing he was a good guy. I saw so many people cry over him that loved him. He was very dear to a lot of people. So, it is sad.
MMA Crossfire: The government shutdown and the debt ceiling issue.
Tanay Jackson: I don’t see how it affected anybody. It was shit down for a short period of time. I guess they saved up the money they needed to save up or what- have-you. I didn’t see how it affected the economy. I was still able to go out and eat, I was still able to do the things that I do. I run my business. Clients, I’m not going to lie to you. They weren’t as hearty as they used to be. Business was pretty slow, but it did not stop when the government shut down but it did not stop.
MMA Crossfire: I really appreciate your time Tanay. Anything you wanted to convey to the readers before we go?
Tanay Jackson: If you’re an entertainer, don’t give up, just make sure that’s the right calling for you. Thank you for having me Kenai, I really enjoyed myself.