Kim Fields, the thespian who portrayed Tootie on The Facts of Life and Regine on Living Single, briefly toyed with a singing career in 1984. Releasing only two singles, Fields scored a minor club hit with “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not,” but her true musical legacy will always be her cover of “Dear Michael,” a song that walks the fine line between innocent and creepy. Reversing the perspective of the original song, a forgotten tune off Michael Jackson’s 1975 album, Forever, Michael, the 25 year old Fields adopts the persona of a 14 year old girl completely consumed by her obsession with MJ.
The recording is irreparably fused with memories of the Facts of Life episode “Starstruck,” in which Tootie has a nervous breakdown after Mrs. Garrett tries to stop her from attending a Jermaine (!) Jackson concert. Tootie then forces her way into Jermaine’s dressing room with predictably depressing results. While the show couldn’t afford to pair the right Jackson brother with Tootie’s lovesick teenage heart, Fields’ song makes no concessions. Fossilized in the blissfully idealistic daydream that’s callously shattered by the stand-in Jackson brother’s beefy entourage on The Facts of Life, “Dear Michael,” captures a pure and loving (if unsettling) reminder of Michael Jackson’s relationship with America at the height of his career.