On of Wesley Snipes big breaks in his early career was a role in Michael Jackson’s video for “Bad” directed by Martin Scorsese. Outside of Wildcats and Major League, this might be his most recognizable role from his early days. It’s certainly a project that carried some heavy hitters along with it, but he almost wasn’t a part of it. As Conan points out, we don’t really know what to actually believe here, but Snipes says that Prince was originally supposed to play his character in the extended video for “Bad.” Part of that is true, but the details around it are a bit more complicated.
A meeting between Prince and Michael Jackson, arguably during the height of their powers over the music world, would’ve been something. But, the problem with this and with the story from Snipes is that Jackson and Prince had quite the rivalry during the ’80s — something that our own Steven Hyden talks about in his book Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me: What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life — keeping it all quiet and boiling behind the scenes reportedly, with Prince even bailing on a planned contribution to “We Are The World.” Will.I.Am shared a tale about inviting Michael Jackson to a Prince show in Las Vegas back in 2006, recounting it in MJ: The Genius Of Michael Jackson according to Esquire:
There was a point during the show where Prince was playing bass and he came out into the audience with this giant bass—he knew where Michael was sitting—and he walked right up to Michael and started playing bass in Michael’s face. Like aggressive slap bass. The next morning, Will went over to Michael’s house for breakfast, and they’re talking about Prince and the show. And then Michael goes, ‘Will, why do you think Prince was playing bass in my face?’ Michael was outraged. And then started going on. ‘Prince has always been a meanie. He’s just a big meanie. He’s always been not nice to me. Everybody says Prince is this great legendary Renaissance man and I’m just a song-and-dance man, but I wrote “Billie Jean” and I wrote “We Are the World” and I’m a songwriter too.’