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Podcaster Leon Neyfakh And Radio Vet Jay Smooth Take On Michael Jackson’s Story In New Series.


More than a decade since Michael Jackson’s death, there is a new podcast about the artist’s enduring global influence and Jackson’s complicated legacy from journalist and podcaster Leon Neyfakh and hip-hop radio veteran Jay Smooth. Think Twice: Michael Jackson will also examine Jackson’s staying power in pop culture despite years of disturbing allegations.


“To me, Michael Jackson is the most interesting person who has ever lived. But what Jay and I realized as we dove into this project was that his story is not just about him, but everyone he influenced with his art, and everyone connected to his tortured personal life,” Neyfakh said. “It’s also about the moral calculations we make as consumers of culture, as we decide for ourselves what to believe and what to look away from.”


In the 10-part series, Neyfakh and Smooth say they are looking to bring a new perspective to the Jackson story, based on dozens of original interviews with people who watched it unfold from up close. The podcast will take on the highs of Jackson’s career, including his hit “Thriller” album, appearing at Bill Clinton’s inaugural gala, and performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, to lows including allegations of child sexual abuse, his eccentric behavior and ever-changing appearance.


“When Leon reached out to me about collaborating on a Michael Jackson documentary series, I won't lie, I was equal parts intrigued and alarmed,” said Smooth. “But as we both agreed to be up front about our own complex feelings on Michael's legacy, and let that guide our process of gathering all these different voices and perspectives, I quickly came to see just how rich and rewarding this show would become. Both as a fresh look back at the Michael Jackson story, and even more so as a way to understand—through Michael's life and afterlife—how our world and culture evolved around him.”


Smooth was previously the host of the hip-hop focused news and interview show “Underground Railroad” on WBAI New York (99.5).


Think Twice: Michael Jackson is an Audible and Wondery joint production, produced by Prologue Projects and Jigsaw Productions.


Morgan Jones, Wondery Head of Commissioned Originals and an executive producer on the series, said Wondery has always wanted to work with Neyfakh. “He has a unique ability to dig into a story we all thought we knew and make us reevaluate it. Think Twice is no different,” Jones said.


Think Twice: Michael Jackson will be released April 27 on Audible and ad-free for Prime members on the Amazon Music app.

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