Such tributes to MJ!
Michael Jackson is still at the forefront of my mind. I’ve read so many great, and so many not great, articles on Michael’s life and death. I thought I’d share some of my favorites.
On Michael Jackson: Respite, sadness and memory
by Sean Kirst / The Post-Standard
Gina Ingram is trying to avoid the endless media recaps of the spectacle and scandal that dominated the last 20 years of Michael Jackson’s life…
Once they hit school, she and Zach quickly learned what it meant to be biracial in an era when it wasn’t common.
Colorism: Prejudice seen through a painful prism
By DENEEN L. BROWN
The Washington Post
Colorism is the crazy aunt in the attic of racism. If you find it necessary to talk about her at all, do it in whispers among relatives and people who already know about her.
On June 25, when Michael Jackson died, there she was again: colorism, that sub-category of racism and prejudice based on skin color, staring us right in the face.
By the time Jackson died, he was perhaps whiter than any white man that you know. Those who looked at the constant stream of replayed televised interviews, at the pale skin, the thin lips painted red, the straight hair, saw in his face the psychological wound that has scarred so many in the black community.
You line up his album covers, from “Got to Be There” when he was 13 and brown with a big-tooth grin, to “Off the Wall,” when he still had a beautiful nose and a big Afro, to “Thriller,” when his skin was still beautiful brown, but his nose was smaller, to “Bad,” when his nose was even thinner and his skin was white.
“He is an over-the-top manifestation of that undercurrent in the black community,” says Alice M. Thomas, associate professor of law at Howard University. “If you are light, you are all right. If you are brown, you can stick around. If you are black, get back.
Jackson has insisted that his skin faded as the result of vitiligo, a condition that damages the skin’s pigment. But experts say that condition leaves the skin spotted and blotchy. To the outer world, Jackson’s skin appeared consistently white. And before-and-after photos of Jackson tell a deeper story about color discrimination, also known as colorism an intra-racial discrimination among African-Americans.
Colorism began during slavery when darker-skinned blacks were relegated to field work and lighter-skinned blacks, often the children of slave masters, were given housework. For years after, many blacks, some say, internalized the declaration that the lighter one was the better one.
Nobody wants to talk about colorism. And yet everybody talks about it.
“Colorism was venomous because it did so much damage to the psyche,” says Alvin Poussaint, media director at the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “There was nothing like walking around feeling you are a rejected person, a wretched person, as Frantz Fanon put it in ‘The Wretched of the Earth.'”
by Cynthia Boaz
And to paraphrase a well-known person of great compassion, let s/he who has never felt the sting of rejection or the despair of loneliness cast the only stones.
The memorial is about to start. I still can’t believe this is happening. I have been listening to MJ non-stop. Still watching everything they’re offering on tv. This video is probably my favorite tribute I’ve come across so far…
I also came across some of Nancy Malnick’s personal photos of Michael at parties and family gatherings. These are from a ’70s themed party she and her husband Al threw…
I love those pictures so much for some reason. It’s the first time I’ve thought “He’s so cute” of the ‘white’ Michael Jackson.
This week “The Girl is Mine” has emerged as one of my top 3 Michael songs. I keep listening to it over and over. Maybe because it sounds like it could be a duet in a musical. Now I want to write a musical with MJ music. I’m sure someone more qualified than I has almost finished such a project. I hope so.
Time to watch the big send off. I so wish I could be there. I am in spirit. So is Michael.
So, it’s been five days. This living in a world without Michael Jackson thing. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. I’ve been absent minded and forgetful in my preoccupation with this. Or are they the same thing? Anyway. He’s gone. And he came to a tragic end. And that is so sad. But much of his life was so bright, so brilliant. I am addicted to Michael Jackson right now. I only want to hear his music, hear about him, watch his work, listen to his voice. I can neither confirm nor deny any rumors that I may be bidding on some vintage MJ items on ebay.
Anyway, it’s quite a trip down memory lane I’m taking. Not only the thrill I got (quite literally) from Thriller, or nearly burning a hole in a notebook I had with MJ in the yellow vest on the cover by staring at it intensely for hours. But all the misinterpreted lyrics I would sing at the top of my lungs, and how I just couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could be with my Michael Jackson. I had it bad, no pun intended. I just loved him.
I recently stumbled upon the thought that maybe part of the allure was Michael Jackson’s “universal appeal.” Like McDonald’s, black and white people loved Michael Jackson. I didn’t get flack from either side about loving him unlike I did for my admiration for Luther (from the whites) and Phil Collins (from the blacks). I honestly hadn’t realized that he’d integrated mtv. I’ve also been reminded of how amazed I was by the Black or White video. Big shocker, right. I remember seeing it for the first time. Sitting so close to the tv. Glued. The whole thing was great! And then came the end. The morphing. And something about it really struck a chord with me and I think I was reminded about the secret and sacred biracial place I’d buried somewhere deep inside of me. That was magic. Michael Jackson was magic!
He’d already gotten kinda weird. Then grew weirder. Then I just became indifferent. A fair weather fan. I never bought into the child molestation stuff, but the surgery and the bleaching were too much. I am not proud of this. I’ve been feeling like Michael Jackson sort of sacrificed his life for us. To give us this wonderful, genius music. Not to mention the moves. To inspire us to be the best. To have no limits. To be our unique selves. And while he was cute and we could relate to him, we loved him. But when the going got tough many jumped ship. I know it’s a little dramatic, but it is simply how I’ve been feeling about it.
I’ve also been thinking that the sadness that was in Michael Jackson seems to stem from the reputed verbal abuse from his father. He never felt loved, good enough, or beautiful. It seems like something that plagues that family. I imagine horrible episodes of berating with the children being ridiculed for having dark skin and wide noses. And for that to matter more than all of the love and adoration in the world, well it must have been really bad. This has renewed my desire to point out all the negative stereotypes, images, self-images, and limiting beliefs that plague our nation. I think Michael Jackson is the worst case scenario of how this colorist society, “post-racial” or not, can harm a human being. He went from being the man on the shirt to the man in the shirt. Barely a recognizable trace of the former. The eyes tho. The voice. A respect and yearning for love and everyone’s right to it. A will to be the best and break the barriers. Those things never changed.
From now on I will think of Michael Jackson with a smile. When I get discouraged I will try to be like Mike. When someone tells me I can’t, I will. When someone who may seem troubled or difficult clearly needs love, I will remember Michael Jackson and offer it up. And when I have a hard time doing all of those things I have a plethora of music from Mr. Jackson to get me through. Thank you, Michael.