Approximately 50 GB of unreleased Michael Jackson songs and videos were stolen and leaked after an opportunistic thief took recording engineer Brad Sundberg‘s laptop during a break in his In the Studio with MJ seminar in Brussels. News of the leak arrived just before it was announced that Jackson’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson, will portray the King of Pop in an upcoming biopic.

The leak was initially reported on Sunday by Kurrco, a Twitter account that tracks music leaks, who called it “one of the wildest music leaks in years.” The leaked material came from Sundberg’s stolen laptop, which contained a significant amount of unreleased material from the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jackson’s Bad and Dangerous eras. Sundberg, who runs In the Studio with MJ, played the unreleased songs and videos for fans who attended his events. During a break in his seminar in Brussels on Friday, Sundberg’s laptop was stolen by a “lone wolf” who apparently jumped out of a window and onto the roof to escape, according to Kurrco.

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Sundberg shared a video to social media in which he expressed disappointment about the stolen laptop, saying, “We do know who [the thief] is. And we are working with the police. And we’re doing all we can to bring this to some sort of a resolution.”

This is not the first time that unreleased Michael Jackson material has been leaked, though the circumstances under which it was obtained make it the most shocking.

Fans have urged others not to share or download the leaked material because it was not intended for public release and may contain unfinished versions of the tracks. Its proliferation could also negatively impact any plans for potential future releases.

Michael’s estate has yet to release a statement on the leak.

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Just after news of Friday’s theft broke, it was announced that Michael’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson (son of Jermaine Jackson), will play his uncle in an upcoming biopic entitled Michael. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Emancipation, Training Day) and produced by Graham King (Bohemian Rhapsody) in collaboration with John Branca and John McClain, who are both co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate, the film will cover Jackson’s entire life, from his childhood rise to stardom with The Jackson 5 and subsequent solo success to his controversy-plagued adulthood and untimely death. Lionsgate is behind the project, and John Logan (GladiatorThe Aviator) wrote the script.

“Jaafar embodies my son. It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” said Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael Jackson. The young Jaafar Jackson is a budding singer who released his debut single, “Got Me Singing”, in 2019.

“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” said King. “It was something so powerful that even after conducting a worldwide search, it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role. I am beyond thrilled that he has come on board to portray his uncle and cannot wait for the world to see him on the big screen as Michael Jackson.”

Michael will begin principal photography in 2023.


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