Since Michael Jackson’s death last June, networks like BET and MTV have paid tribute to the King of Pop at their award shows. The Grammys will follow suit, with a planned 3D video and performances by Usher and Jennifer Hudson, among others. For the Jan. 31 broadcast, Omarion hopes they pull out all the stops for the man who changed music.
The R&B singer tells VIBE that a tribute without himself, however, wouldn’t be the same. “If I’m not a part of that, then that’s not… I’m not gonna say it’s wack,” he says. “But I’m just saying, everyone knows what I do, so if you gon’ have an MJ tribute…”
Still, a lighthearted O, who recently released his solo album Ollusion, acknowledged that since so many artists were influenced by MJ, the options are plenty. “I take that back because Stevie [Wonder] did an MJ tribute. Everyone loved Michael. I’m not gon’ say that,” he says. “I’m just meaning the performance [aspect]. How you gon’ have a Michael tribute without the playboy? [Laughs]. That’s my only thing, and I mean this in the humblest and the most competitive way. I’m competitive — that’s what the game is about.
“Especially after Mike passed away, I feel like the stage, it’s more important now. It’s a responsibility to me when I hit the stage to not play with it,” O continued. “If you walk back and forth that’s cool, too. If that’s how you entertain, that’s cool, but for the performances and for the dances and for the people that look up to Michael in the fashion I look up to Michael? I hope they bring it. Because if they don’t, then I will.”
Omarion thinks the music industry as a whole could benefit from more artists taking risks. “I just want people to elevate and go to the next level,” he says. “I think a lot of my peers are safe and I haven’t seen a performance yet that has [kept] my eyes glued to the TV. With certain artists you know what you’re gonna get. That’s what I wanna bring back to the game.” —Clover Hope