On Tuesday Sept. 18 at 8 p.m., BET Networks will premiere “BET Presents: BAD25 — The Short Films of Michael Jackson,” a two-hour tribute to the “industry-redefining short films” emanating from the landmark Michael Jackson album, “Bad,” which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The TV special airs the same day as the release of “Bad25,” available in multiple formats, which will include CDs of the original album plus rare and previously unreleased audio as well as the first ever authorized DVD and CD release of a concert from the record breaking Bad World Tour.
The network states that it partnered with Sony Music and The Estate of Michael Jackson to create “a unique and spectacular televised tribute to the short films from Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad.’” Through photos, visuals and interviews with celebrity fans, cultural critics and contemporary artists who have been influenced by Jackson, the special will take viewers on a fascinating journey celebrating the everlasting influence on the music video art form by “one of the most historically significant works of modern music.” The special will include interviews with Ne-Yo, Ashanti, Michael Eric Dyson, A$AP Rocky, Beverly Johnson, Affion Crockett, Al Sharpton, MC Lyte and others.
“Bad” is not only a multi-platinum album; it is a cultural phenomenon. The album was number one around the world, made history with five consecutive number one singles on the Billboard chart, produced nine chart-topping singles, and nine groundbreaking and iconic short films, including “Smooth Criminal,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Bad.” To date, the “Bad” album has generated over 45 million units in sales. The “BAD World Tour” was Jackson’s first concert tour as a solo artist, and his only North American tour, and included 123 concerts attended by more than 4.4 million fans over 16 months. When it concluded, the tour had shattered all previous touring records for attendance and local gross revenue.
Even so, Jackson reportedly felt some anxiety over the project, which followed “Thriller,” a masterpiece that remains the bestselling album of all time.
“He wanted to top himself every time he came out,” said filmmaker Spike Lee, who directed the video for Jackson’s “They Don’t Really Care About Us.” At the 69th Annual Venice Film Festival, Lee premiered “Bad 25,” his documentary commemorating the 25th anniversary of the album being released on Aug. 31, 1987. The film will makes its broadcast debut this Thanksgiving on ABC.