The Voice - March 23 1998 - Dionne St. Hill
Rebbie Jackson is the eldest of the Jackson clan. But, far from wanting to spill the beans on them
, she's determined to carry on the family tradition of musical success.
It must be tough being a Jackson. After all, there's so much to deal with. Weird and wacky stories
published every day, estranged delinquent siblings determined to expose 'the truth', a plastic
surgeon who obviously won't be satisfied until he's carved every Jackson nose into the pointed
family trademark it's become, and, if your name ain't Michael or Janet, a permanent residence in their
shadow. Yeah, it sure sounds tough, but according to big sis Rebbie (the first born of the Jackson clan)
it's not so bad. In fact, she wouldn't have it any other way.
"I don't try to erase the fact that I'm a Jackson", she states firmly. "I am very proud of who I am
and so I should be. I have nothing to feel negative about."
That's debatable, but Rebbie, who hit town last week to promote her forthcoming album and single
'Yours Faithfully', is a real sweetie. She absolutely refuses to play ball Latoya style. "When Latoya
went to the press with her supposed exposť I felt terrible. It hurts, but you can't let it get you down.
I don't have any idea why she said those things. I just now that she was married then and she's not
married now and she maintains contact with my family."
Rebbie is still sensitive to headlines suggesting the Jacksons are freaksin a circus of their own making.
"I go into the food market with blinders on half the time because something is always written about
my family in those cheap tabloids", she laments. "Stories are always twisted. I try to hold my head up
high and do what I have to do."
That's when she's not being harassed by confused fans. For, despite a considerable age gap between
her and Janet, there's a remarkable resemblance between them, so shopping trips often turn into autograph
frenzies. "People either assume I'm Janet or think I want to be Janet", she laughs. "I just let them
think what they want. I can't be bothered to tell them that Janet looks like me."
If the success she's hoping for with her new album comes off, explanations may soon become surplus
to requirements. After a string of hits back in the 80s, including the memorable 'Centipede', Rebbie
has decided to invest all her energies into a return to the stage. Busy bringing up her three children, two twenty-something
daughters and her twlev-year-old son Austin, she manages to squeeze in performances in the Middle East
and Europe. But now she's getting busy with an album she's very proud of.
"It's alot of work being back in the spotlight, but I enjoy it." Little bro Michael has even helped
out. He wrote 'Fly Away', a track featured on the album, and managed to take time out of his
busy schedule to lay some vocals down. He has told her he loves her album. "That really made me feel
good, considering his expertise and his knowledge."
In fact, Rebbie is happy about a lot of things. Her husband, to who she's been married for 29 years,
is her biggest fan and her road manager. "Everything I do, I do fo him", she explains
wiping tears from her eyes. "He's such a special man, I'm so glad he's in my life. I get
really emotional when I talk about him because I love him so much. I've had a very happy marriage.
No marriage is perfect but what's imortant is that there has to be a giving of not 75 per cent,
but a 100 per cent. I feel very lucky. i love my famil, my life and I love music and
no one can ever take that away, whatever they say."
Maybe being a Jackson isn't so bad after all.