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Thursday, July 22, 2004  

Confession: Ms. Jackson and the Diva -- macking

Toni and Foxxy, cold Crystile in wine glasses.
We macking -- Brown and Braxton.

Toni Braxton and Foxxy Brown

"You're Making Me High"

Rich people are different. So, it would be presumptuous of me to declare much commonality with Ms. Jackson. I had my wisdom teeth removed at 18. Janet Jackson had a CD, a starring role on a television series and a Rolls Royce at 18. 'Nuff said. So, it is with some amusement that I admit to sharing an experience with a Jackson family scion. In a recent interview in Blender magazine, Jackson describes certain prurient aspects of her early adolescence. The Vancouver Sun summarizes the article.

NEW YORK -- Long before her right breast was exposed to the world during the Super Bowl halftime show, Janet Jackson says she had thoughts about sex. "As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that I had a very active sexual mind at a very young age. I hope that doesn't sound bad," Jackson tells Blender magazine for its June-July issue.

"My first crush was on Barry Manilow. He performed on television, and I remember taping it. When no one was around, I used to kiss the screen."

Jackson also recalls having a "major crush" on Teddy Pendergrass when she was 12.

"I thought he was singing to me," says the singer, now 38.

"When you're a kid, you have little fantasies, but I saw myself being with him as an adult, not as a kid."

Make that a double.

Wait a minute. I do not mean Barry Manilow. Scratch him and the donkey he rode in on.

But, Teddy Pendergrass? TP? Teddy Bear? For Ms. Jackson's fantasy to come true, she would have had to knock me down to get to him. The gift of a TP CD has reminded me how enthralled I was with the sensuous singer back in the day. He may be the last of the soul men and deserves more attention than he gets. The late Barry White pales in comparison, despite his reputation for being the man to get down to. For more than a decade Teddy ruled that roost. That voice -- always 'reasonable,' yet sensual and commanding. From smooth baritone to gruff growl. That face -- soulful eyes that seem to look right into yours, luscious lips that beg to be kissed, and possibly the only beard I've ever wanted to run my fingers through. That body -- long and lean, deep chocolate, and always clothed, though somehow it seemed not to be.

Teddy Pendergrass' genius was to transcend the material he was singing, to endow it with a soulfulness that it lacked in the voices of less magnetic singers. From his early 20s on, he had the ability to convey both sexuality and spirituality in a manner that mesmerized. The songs, some sensual ("Close the Door," "Love TKO," "Do Me") and some evangelistic ("Somebody Told Me to Deliver this Message," "Wake Up Everybody") made him the first African-American male vocalist to have five albums in a row go platinum. His erotic appeal, acomplished without ever removing clothing or sexually explicit dancing, took American girls and women by storm. Millions must have fantasized about 'their' Teddy Bear.

That one Teddy CD was not enough. I bought Life is a Song Worth Singing and Joy this week. Couldn't stop there. I have TP's autobiography, Truly Blessed, and hope to finish reading it soon. Watch for the review.

It is difficult to describe how convincing Teddy's songs can be in print. Suffice it to say that when he wheedles, "Let me do what I want to do. All I want to do is make love to you. Let me do. . .do. . .do" on "Close the Door," even a nun might be not just willing, but eager. Ms. Jackson's judgment might be questionable sometimes, but she couldn't have chosen a man more worthy of erotic fantasy than Teddy Pendergrass.

Whats's the art?

Teddy Pendergrass' smile.

Reasonably related

Read the article in which Ms. Jackson gets nasty at Blender.

Read a capsule history of Teddy Pendergrass' career at MP3.com.

4:45 PM