Navi interview

Trinidadian Michael Jackson impersonator in Dubai

Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge
Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge

You’ve been to Dubai many times. What do you think of the city?
It’s so cosmopolitan – such a global city. What isn’t there to like in Dubai? I’m like a kid in a candy shop – it’s so new and so fascinating.

You met Michael – what was he like?
He’d say I was a great dancer, and I’d say, ‘No, you are,’ and he’d say, ‘Seriously?’ like he was humbled. When he won an award at the World Music Awards, he immediately wanted to see the dancers who had performed for him to thank them. He cared about the people no one else cared about.

What was it like working as a decoy for Michael?
I basically came out of hotels at the same time as him – I’d go out one way and he’d go out the other. His management had such a tight schedule for him that he had to get from A to Z quickly, but people wanted to see him so badly that they’d be reckless and do things like jump in front of cars. It was safer if they thought I was him because I could drive slower instead of having to speed off.

Were you ever actually mistaken for Michael?
No, because when I’m not dressed up I look quite different. I’ve had surgery and there is a similarity between us, but Michael was unique, and there was always big fanfare with bodyguards around him so you knew when it was him. When he did the press conference for his O2 tour in London, the papers in the UK said it was me, but I was in the audience. I knew it was him – I could tell by his hands. I’d studied him so much, and he had quite unique, big hands.

What’s your favourite Michael Jackson song to pefrorm?
Billie Jean. You’ve got the glove on, and the hat… and it’s just a phenomenal groove to move to.

Who’s your second favourite performer?
In all my 23 years of doing this, that’s one of the most unique questions I’ve been asked.

Thank you! So?
It’s hard, but people like Bob Marley, Neil Diamond and Luther Vandross.

How did you feel about the abuse allegations against MJ?
If you are willing enough to listen to the allegations, then also listen to the truth that came out after the court case. I was in court and truth was spoken every day. He was cleared on 11 charges and the lady that brought the allegations against him is now in jail for fraud.

How did you feel when Michael passed away?
I never looked at the memorial and I’ve worked non-stop since that day. Part of me wants to keep busy so that reality can’t catch up. But the other reason I’ve kept going is that Michael lives on through his music and his fans and I can be part of that.
Navi performs at Chi on Friday June 17.

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