18. "Remember the Time" (1992)
Director John Singleton masterfully turned from the human drama of Boyz N the Hood to this stunning, CGI-laden Egyptian fantasy. "[Michael] said, 'Whatever you want to make this as cool as possible, let's do it. Let's get Eddie Murphy. Let's get Magic Johnson,'" says Singleton. Johnson had recently revealed he was HIV positive. "Michael said, 'We have to put Magic in this video.' I'll always remember that."
John Singleton, director: When I first met him I didn't feel nervous because I kind of felt all my life was leading up to that moment. As a fan, he was always in my life. I was 15 years when I went to the Grammy Awards and saw him win all his Grammys at the Shrine. He asked me, "What songs do you like?" and if I wanted to do a video. And I said, "OK, well, can we put black people in the video?" [Laughs] I was challenging him. And he said, "Whatever you want." He was cool with me because I was straightforward with him, and I felt that everybody was always goose-stepping around him and never telling him the real deal.
On the set he was mischievous. My choreographer in that video was Fatima Robinson, and the three of us got together and she did the routine with him. It was really a great vibe. Just seeing how he would get every little move, bit by bit by bit, the whole routine, like we were putting on a Broadway show. He said, "Whatever you want to make this as cool as possible, let's do it. Let's get Eddie Murphy. Let's get Magic Johnson." Magic Johnson was going through his thing where he'd just revealed he had HIV. Michael said, "We have to put Magic in this video." I'll always remember that.
He was a very visual guy. They weren't videos to him. They were short films – visualizing the funkiness of what he was trying to accomplish in the music. He was always trying to set the bar higher.