Michael Jackson struts stuff in shantytown

Jackson filming

But Rio politicians not amused

February 12, 1996
Web posted at: 11:45 a.m EST (1645 GMT)

From Correspondent Marina Mirabella

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) -- Pop star Michael Jackson shook up Rio de Janeiro Sunday as his hips gyrated, his voice resonated and his body glided across the rooftop of a shanty.

In the background, Rio's colossal statue of Christ looked on as enthusiastic fans crowded the slum to catch a glimpse of Jackson, who was shooting a music video by director Spike Lee. The song is called, "They Don't Care About Us." (1 MB QuickTime movie)


But Rio's politicians weren't smiling at the show. They've accused the singer of using Rio's poverty to make money. The video is being shot in Dona Marta, one of Rio's most violent shantytowns where 12,000 people live.

It's not an image of Rio that local politicians want the world to see, especially when the city is campaigning to be the site for the 2004 Summer Olympics. But, they failed to keep Jackson away.

Jose Oliveira, president of a shantytown residents' organization, alleged that Jackson had negotiated with drug traffickers to gain authorization to film there.


"To enter Brazil, Jackson needs a visa. To enter a shantytown, you need an OK from drug traffickers," Oliveira said.

Some residents called it the biggest thing that's ever happened in Dona Marta, especially for the children who saw the mega-star take an interest in their area. Others hope Jackson's visit will prompt city officials to improve living conditions.

dancing border

Jackson arrived in Rio on Saturday, prompting nearly 1,500 policeman and 50 residents to seal off the area where Jackson was to shoot the video. The tight security didn't stop one woman who broke through security guards and gave Jackson a bear hug.

When two police officers tried to remove her, the group tumbled to the ground. Jackson, who emerged unscathed, simply brushed off his jeans, and the cameras continued to roll.

"It was just a little hug. It was the others who knocked him down. I felt an urge to do it," chambermaid Solange Xavier dos Santos said.

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Reuters news service contributed to this report.

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