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‘Because He Tried it!’: Van Lathan Sparks Debate After He Declares Brandy and Ray J the Michael and Janet Jackson of This Generation

During an episode of the “Higher Learning” podcast with Rachel Lindsay earlier this month, culture commentator and co-host Van Lathan Jr. shared his unbiased opinion and declaration about Brandy and Ray J Norwood. He said, “Brandy and Ray J are this generation’s Michael and Janet Jackson.”

Lindsay, who appeared utterly shocked, replied, “I’m gonna need some time to think about that…I think there’s a better one out there.”

Because He Tried it!': Van Lathan Sparks Debate After He Declares Brandy and Ray J the Michael and Janet Jackson of This Generation
Ray J and Brandy (L) and Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson (R). Photo by Brian Stukes/WireImage, Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Lathan continued with his argument, saying, “Brandy and Ray J are the most significant brother-sister combination in the culture since Michael and Janet Jackson. Give me another brother-sister combination that means as much to the culture as Brandy and Ray J since Michael and Janet Jackson.”

Fans caught wind of Lathan’s comments on The Neighborhood Talk’s Instagram page. Many went back and forth debating whether Ray J and Brandy’s success collectively could compete with that of the legendary Jackson family. It’s clear most felt otherwise.

“Took it too far.”

“No #respectfully.”

“Not a damn chance in hell or earth and damn sure not haven’t.”

“[At this point] people just say anything.”

“Just because there may not be another brother-sister duo in the culture and this generation doesn’t mean they’re the Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson… Because he tried it!”

Many refer to Brandy as an icon and legend when it comes to her Grammy-winning music career and award-winning acting chops. Her brother may not have a Grammy award, but Ray J certainly has a collage of hits, including “Let It Go” and “One Wish.”

But make no mistake, the Jacksons are a family of multiple Grammy winners. The “Thriller” genius and his astonishing catalog earned him 13 Grammy awards, while “Miss Jackson, if You’re Nasty” follows behind with five. Their brother, Jermaine Jackson, ended up grabbing five Grammy nominations of his own as well.

Despite their lack of Grammys, the Norwood talent is undeniable to some fans. A handful agreed that Ray J and Brandy are “important to the culture just not Mike & Janet level of importance.”

Meanwhile, many couldn’t help but notice Lindsay’s long pause in response to Lathan’s remarks. One person said, “The way she paused tho, I thought the screen froze lmaoooooooo.” Another said, “Sis had to ponder on that.”

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