Sunday, June 28, 2009
#190. Michael Jackson (The White Version)
The world of popular culture has been shattered this week, with the news of the death of Michael Jackson tearing down one of the main pillars of pop iconography. The reclusive, somewhat bizarre Jackson endeared himself to millions of adoring fans worldwide and his death has left a permanent void within each of their pop culture-worshiping hearts.
An entire industry is now devoid of its largest source of revenue, as fears of tabloid magazines stopping publication run rampant. No more stories of failed plastic surgery; noses falling off; babies being held over the edge of a balcony; purported pederast-esque behavior; or horrible stories of bleaching of his epidermis to appear white.
No, the King of Pop Michael Jackson has beat it and will no longer grace the television sets of millions and the grocery store aisle news magazine covers with his enigmatic life.
White people and Black people - members of every race on the planet - loved Michael Jackson during the 1980s, when the singer was pumping out hit after hit and inventing dance moves that invaded the vernacular faster than any singer before, or after.
Michael Jackson was a Black person by birth, but decided for reasons psychiatrists will debate for all eternity, decided he wanted to be white. He married the daughter of the former King of Pop, Elvis - the man whom he usurped that moniker from - in hopes of merging the two family dynasties into one entertainment conglomerate. That marriage ended in tragedy - divorce.
Over the years, Michael Jackson developed a strange ailment, rumored to be Vitiligo. Normally, this disease turns the pristine ebony skin into a veritable patch field of light blotchy pigments. Jackson, however, developed perfect ivory skin and some would argue Jackson took the message of his hit song with Paul McCartney literally...
Black people however, began to dislike Michael Jackson when he decided he would rather be a White person. Black people do not like any Black person "acting white" and to have the King of Pop decided not to "act white", but try and have the outward appearance of white person is the ultimate unforgivable sin in the Black community.
Michael Jackson had died, and the Black community is embracing the artist that was formerly Michael Jackson, yet distancing themselves from the strange white exterior that he came to show.
He was the first Black person to get a music video aired on MTV, a station that now seems to focus primarily on Black people hoping to replicate the success of BET. At the end of his life though, it was hard to imagine Michael Jackson was a Black person and on that same channel that once played his color-barrier breaking video, his image was hauntingly white.
A new field of whiteness studies could and should be created to study the interesting life of Michael Jackson, the man who Black people loved in the 1980s, found odd and strange in the 1990s and 2000s and now have had the 1980ssfaith in him restored, solely through his untimely passing. Stuff Black People Don't Like will always include the White version of Michael Jackson, for in the eyes of Black people he did the truly unthinkable: he didn't just "act white"; he tried to become white.