Rosie Perez Refutes Bobby Brown’s Claim That He Taught Michael Jackson the Moonwalk
Some fans may recall seeing him perform it for the first time live or in a music video. His magical glide across the stage during the 1984 Grammys elicited screams from the crowd for the few seconds he did it, and the moonwalk became Jackson’s signature move.
Recently, singer Bobby Brown of New Edition fame took credit for showing Jackson the dance, but actor and pro choreographer Rosie Perez says it’s not true.
Bobby Brown contributed to Moonwalk chatter
The Moonwalk is as famous as Jackson, and many have talked about how the slick move originated with street dancers. But Bobby Brown went viral after his appearance on Fat Joe’s Instagram Live show in July after he said he taught Jackson how to do the dance.
Brown recalled how the King of Pop invited New Edition to his home to hang out. “I had just come from Alabama learning how to do the moonwalk— the real moonwalk where you put the sand on the ground,” he said. “And Michael asked me to show him how to moonwalk.”
Brown made it clear he was “not insinuating” that’s what happened, and insisted that’s how Jackson learned the dance. He told Fat Joe that his New Edition crew could confirm it.
Following Brown’s claim, fellow group member Ralph Tresvant told Hip Hollywood Brown is the first person he saw ever do the moonwalk. He did not remember all the details of their visit at Jackson’s house but added, “There might be some truth to that.”
Rosie Perez says it was another singer/dancer
Perez, whose resume as a choreographer precedes her acting career, recently appeared on Fat Joe’s show. The rapper told her about Brown’s moonwalk revelation and her response was, “Word?”
For those unfamiliar, Perez choreographed Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” and “My Prerogative” music videos and has worked with other artists such as Janet Jackson and L.L. Cool J.
Perez let Fat Joe know that Brown was not responsible for showing Jackson how to moonwalk. Instead, she named the Jeffrey Daniel, a former member of Shalamar, as the teacher. Daniel was part of the R&B group and later went on to become a choreographer who regularly worked with clients such as Jackson.
Joe recalled Webster actor Emmanuel Lewis telling him the same thing about Daniel. He said Lewis explained how Jackson had a habit of asking people he knew to show him some dance moves, and it was possible he already knew it but didn’t let Brown know.
In a 2019 interview with Classic Pop Mag, Daniel said he was doing the backslide as a Soul Train dancer and connected with Jackson to teach him. “Michael was fascinated by the backslide, as was everyone, because it’s not so much a dance step as an illusion, and people couldn’t figure out how it was done,” he said.
“They thought I had wheels on my shoes or a rope was pulling me across the floor. He got in touch and wanted me to show him how to do it.”