Who Is Jaafar Jackson? (& Who Are Michael Jackson's Other Niblings)

Over a decade after his death, Michael Jackson continues to exercise a strong pull on pop culture. His music still fills the airwaves, and questions over the scandals and accusations thrown at him linger; a lawsuit related to his alleged child abuse was still being pursued until it was dismissed by a judge in 2021 (per the BBC). And in early 2023, it was announced that a biopic on the king of pop was in development. Per Deadline, Antoine Fuqua was set to direct from a script by John Logan. Cast in the title role was none other than one of his own nephews.

The biopic's announced star was Jaafar Jackson, Michael's nephew by his brother Jermaine. Advance publicity stressed that the biopic would not shy away from the darker aspects of Michael's life, but Jaafar's involvement, and the cooperation of Michael's estate, led some to question how objective or honest the film would be. Despite that, Jaafar's singing and dancing talents being up to the job went unquestioned.

Jaafar is from the third generation of the Jackson family, as marked by the union of Joe and Katherine Jackson. It's a long branch of the family tree; by Entertainment Tonight's list of names, Jaafar is one of 26 nieces and nephews to Michael Jackson. And several of them have followed the lead of their uncle and parents in pursuing work in the public eye.

Jaafar Jackson

The nephew tasked with bringing Michael Jackson to life on the silver screen has been honing some of the prerequisite skills for the part since childhood. According to Deadline, Jaafar Jackson has been enthusiastic about singing and dancing since he was 12 years old. He featured both skills in the music video for his single "Got Me Singing," released in 2019 (via YouTube), and he has appeared before cameras for his cousins' reality series and music videos (per People).

One of Jermaine Jackson's nine children, Jaafar received public support from his family after being announced as the star of Michael's biopic. According to Deadline, his grandmother Katherine considered him ideal casting. Director Antoine Fuqua and producer Graham King both insisted that Jaafar was their only choice for the part. King claimed that the search for an actor to play Michael spanned the world over, but only Jaafar could channel his uncle's personality properly. Fuqua said that he and Jaafar had an instant chemistry with one another that would suit the film well.

For his part, after the announcement, Jaafar took to Instagram to share his excitement. "I'm humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael's story to life," he wrote. Playing his uncle marks Jaafar's first time appearing on screen as an actor.


After The Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson himself, one of the most successful musical acts to come out of the Jackson family is 3T. The name stems from its three members, all sons of Tito Jackson and all with names starting with a T: Tariano Adaryll Jackson (known as Taj), Taryll Jackson, and Tito Joseph Jackson (known as TJ). Per AllMusic, they got their start as a group in the early 1990s, writing music for the "Free Willy" movies and projects related to their more established relatives. The boys' first album, "Brotherhood," was released in 1995.

Speaking to the Irish Independent in 2014, 3T collectively described their uncle Michael as an early teacher and supporter. Taj said that Michael had expressed the wish that they take up the family's musical legacy. But Michael's career proved an impediment to their own in 2000, when an issue between Michael and Sony spoiled 3T's latest album. A 2009 effort to revive their musical fortunes was set back by their uncle's death.

In 2015, the brothers moved from records to reality television with Lifetime's "The Jacksons: Next Generation." They told Ebony that a prime motive for the series was to refute various claims about their family from over the years, amplified in the age of social media. The effort received mixed reviews, with Variety dismissing the series as a cynical promotional vehicle for the brothers' joint and solo projects.

Taj Jackson

The oldest of Tito Jackson's sons, Taj Jackson came into the world on August 4, 1973, and immediately landed on the cover of Jet magazine (per the fansite Jackson Source). While he started performing alongside his brothers at a young age, he held another passion besides music, one he shared with his uncle Michael. In an interview with GQ Portugal, Taj said that his uncle introduced him to the worlds of film and photography. It was his uncle who bought Taj his first camera. And before Michael's death, the two talked about possibly making films together.

Taj started down the road to feature films without his uncle in 2014. Market Wire reported (via Yahoo! News) that Taj had been tapped by Big Screen Entertainment to direct and co-write, with the Sco triplet writing team, a zombie movie titled "Code Z." It was intended as the maiden entry in a trilogy, though as of 2021, Taj's personal website featured only a clip from a proof-of-concept short produced in 2015.

Taj was among the producers of the reality series "The Jacksons: Next Generation" (per Variety), and he returned to his family for subject matter in 2019. I Heart Radio reported that Taj was planning a documentary on his famous uncle, "Re-Righting HIStory." It was intended as a rebuke to HBO's "Leaving Neverland," which Taj had fiercely criticized. The director sought fan support through GoFundMe; as of 2023, less than half the targeted budget has been raised.

Taryll Jackson

In an interview with GQ Portugal, Taj Jackson said that, while he most enjoyed discussing film and photography with his uncle Michael, younger brother Taryll was the most passionate about music. Taryll's personal website states that his talent was sufficiently apparent by age 12 to win him a contract offer, one he passed on. When he did enter the music business, as a member of 3T with his brothers, Taryll was the primary writer for the group. He also acted as their producer, a service he also performed for Bruno Mars and Jennifer Lopez, among other artists.

By 2012, Taryll decided to begin creating solo work while maintaining a working relationship with his brothers. He released two singles in 2012, "My Life Without You" and "Best of All Time." The former was a tribute to his late mother, the latter to his late uncle. In 2019, Taryll released the LP "Crazy Love" and embarked on his first live shows as a solo artist.

Promoting the release on Grown Folks Music (via YouTube), Taryll said that the roots of his album went back to a self-imposed challenge to write 10 songs in 10 days from 20 years ago. He credited the exercise with motivating him to finish music rather than laboring over them only to never share them.

TJ Jackson

The youngest of Tito Jackson's three sons, TJ Jackson had his own relationship with his uncle Michael. Taj Jackson told GQ Portugal that while he bonded with their uncle over film and Taryll over music as an art, TJ liked to talk about the music business as a business. He and Michael would also discuss child education. When Michael died, according to Ebony, it was TJ who became the legal guardian of his uncle's children, alongside his grandmother Katherine.

As a performer, TJ was exclusively tied to his brothers as a member of 3T until 2017. Desiring a public musical identity of his own, TJ heeded the advice of friends and relocated to Nashville, Tennessee (per News Channel 5 Nashville). Two years later, he released his first single as a solo artist, "Insomnia," and said he enjoyed the experience so much that he was prepared to do all his solo work in Nashville going forward. TJ's first album, "Pressure," followed in 2022 (per Rated R&B). In between, he produced a cover of "Human Nature," one of his uncle's songs.

Away from music, according to the fansite Jackson Source, TJ maintained a real estate company for a time and dabbled in acting. He and his wife, Frances, created The Family Rules in 2017, a website dedicated to parenting and relationship advice.

Yashi Brown

The music business was only briefly tempting for Yashi Brown, Michael Jackson's niece by Rebbie Jackson. According to the fansite Jackson Source, she appeared in one of her mother's music videos as a child and considered forming a musical trio that would release through her uncle's label, but her creative outlet of choice was poetry. It might not have become so if not for a personal crisis.

Brown told APB that she had a happy and supportive childhood, but after hitting a rough patch in her teen years, she became severely depressed, and later began speaking and acting on racing, illusionary thoughts. She was eventually diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder. After treatment with therapy and mood stabilizers, Brown found herself able to focus her emotions through creative outlets, and poetry was her outlet of choice.

Having experienced her mental health crisis at a time when such matters were rarely discussed in public, Brown became involved in mental health advocacy in 2011 (per her personal website). She's been a speaker on panels and news programs, performed poetry about recovery, and worked on mental health initiatives by the Obama administration. She, her mother, and her sister Stacy Brown received the Special Recognition Voice Award for their advocacy in 2016.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Austin Brown

The fansite Jackson Source says that Austin Brown, the younger child of Rebbie Jackson, showed no interest in sharing the family's spotlight while growing up. He only reversed course after leaving home at age 18 in 2004. A performance at SXSW eight years later attracted the attention of CNN, who sat Brown down for an interview. He told them that he, and all his cousins, received a certain degree of coaching from his uncle, Michael Jackson. A more prominent influence within the family, however, was his aunt Janet.

The following year, Brown released his first album, "Highway 85." Per Billboard, the effort met with a mixed reception, mild praise mingled with comparisons to his family. Ironically, Brown went out of his way to not emphasize any connections to the Jackson clan. "It's a blessing and a curse," he said of being tied to famous names. "I'm not trying to be anybody else. I can't help the way I sound, I can't help the way I look, I can't help the way I dance. I just create naturally." Brown also worked alone on "Highway 85" to avoid having to exploit his family.

More recently, Brown released the album "Heart Over Mind." He told Connection is Magic that it was an outgrowth of an experience of his during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just before it hit, he and a former romantic partner had reconnected.

Siggy Dealz Jackson

The music world, like the literary world, has its share of ghosts. Specifically, ghostwriters, who are talents hired to work under another name. According to the fansite Jackson Source, Michael Jackson's nephew by his brother Jackie first got into music via that route. Sigmund Jackson, known as Siggy, told Positively Michael that his family, which he insisted was normal except for the diminished privacy, warned him how difficult music could be as an industry. But Siggy said he didn't have anything else he was that passionate about.

After leaving ghostwriting behind, Siggy led a solo career under the stage name Dealz. His work has included a collaboration with his father and his uncle Jeremiah, the single "That's How I Feel." 

Siggy has also indulged a passion for motorcycles, with his personal Instagram bio leading with his love for the bikes and cars that regularly feature there. With his wife Toyia, Siggy also maintains the podcast A Jackson View.

Jermaine Jackson Jr.

Jaafar Jackson isn't the first member of his generation to play another member of the Jackson family. In 1992, ABC aired "The Jacksons: The American Dream," a five-hour miniseries that followed the family from the marriage of Joe and Katherine Jackson to their children's "Victory" tour in 1984. According to Variety, the family had a hand in the production; Jermaine Jackson was one of the producers. The wide span of time covered by the miniseries necessitated the dual casting of the Jacksons. And for the younger version of himself, Jermaine had his own son, Jermaine Jackson Jr., in the part.

The miniseries received mixed reviews, and Jermaine Jr. has not kept up an acting career. He's largely kept a low profile in adulthood. His longtime partner, Asa Soltan Rhamati, is an actress and part of the reality series "Shahs of Sunset." She told Madame Noir that their relationship is the one aspect of her life she keeps private, and though Jermaine Jr. made rare appearances on "Shahs of Sunset," he would most likely want no part of a bigger role.

Randy Jackson

Not all of Michael Jackson's nieces and nephews have followed his lead, or their parents', in pursuing public careers. However, the spotlight can be unavoidable in a famous family. Randy Jackson, according to the Jackson 5's official website, has three children: Genevieve, Steevana, and Randy Jr. Genevieve's activities are mentioned on the Jackson Source fansite, but the children lead largely private lives. Yet they all became entangled in their father's disputes with their mothers in their younger years.

In 1991, Randy faced jail time for physically assaulting his wife, Eliza Shaffy Jackson, and their daughter Steevana. Per AP, an earlier incident saw him ordered to attend domestic violence counseling, but Randy never complied and continued to abuse his wife. When she reported this to a lawyer on October 30, she said that Randy was coming to take the phone from her. He was ultimately sentenced to a month in jail, given two years probation, and once again ordered into a domestic violence program.

Years later, Randy became entangled in legal battles with his former girlfriend, Alejandra Loaiza. According to the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Loaiza and Randy had Genevieve and Randy Jr together in the 1980s. When they split, Loaiza moved to oblige Randy to pay child support in 1989, something he claimed to be unaware of until 2008. Maneuvers by Loaiza against Randy were dismissed in 2014, on the grounds that he hadn't been served with the summons.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Brandi Jackson

The "Leaving Neverland" documentary faced significant pushback from Michael Jackson's relatives of all generations. Brandi Jackson, his niece by his brother Jackie, specifically went after the claims of one of the film's subjects. She told Billboard that Wade Robson, one of the two men who accused Michael of sexual abuse in the documentary, was a former boyfriend of hers. Their association went back to childhood, she said, and lasted seven years. She disputed Robson's version of events and the amount of time he could have spent with her uncle, and she dismissed the persistent charges against him as stemming from racism.

Apart from speaking out in defense of her uncle, Brandi's public profile is relatively low-key compared to some of her cousins. She names herself a photographer and videographer on her Instagram page, and she's listed as the secretary of the Savong Foundation Cambodia, dedicated to offering free English language education to rural children.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Elissa Al Mana

The Jackson family's third generation got its newest member in 2017. The year prior, according to the BBC, Janet Jackson was set to begin touring her show "Unbreakable" when she abruptly postponed it in April due to her pregnancy. At 50, it was her first time expecting a child, and she and her husband, Wissam Al Mana, wanted to take some time to prepare for their future as parents.

Their son, Eissa Al Mana, was born on January 3, 2017. But Janet and Al Mana's hopes for their family sadly did not come to pass. Not long after Eissa's birth, according to People, they filed for divorce. Janet's brother Randy alleged that his sister suffered verbal abuse from Al Mana. And reports emerged the following year (albeit through anonymous sources) that Janet and Al Mana were in conflict over how to parent their son, with Janet placing phone calls to the police when Eissa was in his father's care (per People).

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services. If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.