When King of Pop Michael Jackson Was Officially Crowned King of a Small African Nation

Michael Jackson sits with orphaned and abandoned Ivory Coast children he invited to the Intercontinental Hotel in Abidjan on February 16, 1992.
Michael Jackson sits with orphaned and abandoned Ivory Coast children he invited to the Intercontinental Hotel in Abidjan on February 16, 1992.
ISSOUF SANOGO, AFP/Getty Images

As Michael Jackson's private plane landed in Abidjan, a populous city in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), thousands of people were waiting near the tarmac, hoping to meet the superstar. But Jackson's visit that day, February 13, 1992, got off to a rocky start.

Rather than greet the crowd of government officials, journalists, and fans, Jackson held his nose as he stepped off the plane and reportedly sprinted toward a waiting limo. Although his team later claimed that the gesture was a nervous twitch, fans were disappointed that Jackson seemed to snub them. Even worse, police used batons and tear gas to attack a crowd of fans who were waiting for Jackson outside his hotel. Already-heightened tensions between police and student protestors in Abidjan may have contributed to the violence, but some media reports blamed the presence of the musician and his larger-than-life image.

Despite these setbacks, Jackson had always felt a deep connection to Africa. In a May 1992 interview with Ebony magazine, he explained how he fell in love with the continent on a trip to Senegal with the Jackson Five when he was a teenager: "Drums and sounds filled the air with rhythm. I was going crazy … This is it. This is where I come from. The origin."

Among the many stops on this February 1992 trip, Jackson's itinerary included meeting with Tanzania's president to talk about saving African elephants, receiving a medal from the president of Gabon, and visiting orphanages, hospitals, and churches. But for the biggest honor, Jackson traveled to Krindjabo, a village in the southeastern corner of Ivory Coast. There, the King of Pop became Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh, an actual king.

In Krindjabo, the Agni people have lived in the Kingdom of Sanwi, an African region, since the mid-18th century. Based on mystic readings and possible DNA tests, a tribal chief asserted that Jackson was a descendent of Sanwi royalty and, accordingly, invited him to be crowned king-in-waiting (akin to a prince in the West).

According to NPR's Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, Jackson's coronation was full of joy, dancing, and the frenetic sounds of traditional Agni drumming. Jackson put on a colorful, traditional toga-style cloth and sat on a golden stool under a sacred tree. Agni chiefs and elders took turns crowning him and chanting, and villagers drummed and topless women danced to celebrate Jackson's coronation as Chief of the Agni and King of the Sanwi.

 

After he was crowned, Jackson gave his thanks in French and English, then he signed documents to make his coronation official.

But Jackson's ties to the Kingdom of Sanwi didn't end there. As Sanwi beliefs dictate, when Jackson was crowned he became the spiritual son of King Nana Amon Ndoufou IV, a Sanwi leader who participated in Jackson's coronation. In 1995, Jackson invited Ndoufou to his home in Los Angeles, and for four days, Jackson and his then-wife Lisa Marie Presley hosted Ndoufou. On his trip, Ndoufou also met attorney Johnnie Cochran, and Jackson took him to Universal Studios.

Young child in Krindjabo, Ivory Coast, wearing a hat memorializing Michael Jackson following his death.
A young child wears a hat memorializing Michael Jackson, which reads "Sanwi African region will not forget you," on August 1, 2009 in Krindjabo, an Ivory Coast village where Jackson was crowned king in 1992.
KAMBOU SIA, AFP/Getty Images

Jackson's unexpected death in 2009 spurred the Sanwi Kingdom to hold a two-day royal funeral for their king. Dancers, Jackson lookalikes, and more than 1000 villagers gathered to mourn. Tribe members asked Jackson's family for his body, hoping they could give him a royal burial, but Jackson was ultimately interred in Southern California. Sanwi chiefs eventually found a successor for Jackson's crown—minister and politician Jesse Jackson.

Asked how it felt to be a real king—a title perhaps even harder to obtain than his still-relevant King of Pop honorific—Jackson remained humble. "I never try to think hard about it because I don't want it to go to my head," he told Ebony. "But, it's a great honor."

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige Says No MCU Character Is ‘Unkillable’

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

Though Marvel fans have been counting down the days until Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters so that they can finally find out which of their favorite characters survived Thanos's deadly snap, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige issued a word of warning to those who believe that immortality is in the DNA of every MCU superhero. In short: No one is safe.

In a wide-ranging interview with /Film, Feige talked about the recent success of Captain Marvel and how no one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is immune to death:

"In future stories, well, none of the Marvel characters are immortal. Even ones that seem immortal, some people might be very hard to kill, but nobody’s unkillable. So if we’re lucky enough to see future adventures with Captain Marvel, of course there will be limitations and there will be Achilles heels and there will be things that we learn and see that it’s not as easy as a slicing through whatever she wants to at any point. But this wasn’t the time to accentuate that."

Since Avengers: Endgame will be the final film in the current MCU phase, many fans believe that since the phase is ending, all of its characters will be saying goodbye as well. But we do know that Captain Marvel will spearhead the next MCU phase, so it's probably safe to say that she's safe ... for now anyway.

[h/t: /Film]

Disney Shareholder Reportedly Saw Parts of New Stars Wars and Is Sharing His Thoughts

Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

It’s hard to believe that Disney and/or Lucasfilm would let anyone screen parts of the highly anticipated (yet-still-untitled) new Star Wars: Episode IX. But WIRED is reporting (with "probably very accurate ... if infuriatingly vague" confidence) that some lucky Disney shareholders were reportedly given a sneak peek at some of the upcoming film's footage, and at least one of them is sharing some very minor details.

Ok, so it's not much. But if true, we now know that that Rey, Finn, and Poe will all be in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon; that Lando will appear; that Rey will wield Chewie's crossbow; that some Stormtroopers will be blown up; and that Kylo Ren will once again look at his grandfather's helmet. Which is a lot more than we knew yesterday.

Star Wars: Episode IX will arrive in theaters on December 20, 2019.

[h/t: WIRED]

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