Monday, July 6, 2009

The problem of the 21st century is the colorline

W.E.B Dubois stated in The Souls of Black Folk, which has begun to haunt my dreams. Since every class I take being a Pan African studies major, requires this book as a main text. But constantly everyday I feel like color seems to always creep back into my life. With Michael Jackson's death all over the news and on the Eve of his huge memorial at the Staples center.
The issue of color in Michael's life always comes into my mind. I guess since it wasn't until his death that it really registered to me that Michael was a black man. I know it sounds stupid but I never really thought about it. I just accepted that he was a man that was once black then became something else. Something that he found attractive. Not that Micheal's change in skin color made me effect how I saw him, I love him either way. Hearing stories about his life made me really think about his impact on the world. An incredibly talented man that was a victim of the American dream. Growing up poor his father hustled him( to put it nicely) him in singing and dancing about loving woman before he was 9, and ended become a icon for the world. Michael's father was the epitome of an abusive father, and its no wonder he had so many issues. People always say why did Michael do that too his skin, whatever the reason was. I feel deep down Michael Jackson wanted to remove himself from any connection he could have to his father, and if that meant changing his skin color he did it. In his head no matter how attractive he was as a black man, looking white was how he wanted to see himself. Which is the a very common ideal of beauty petite nose, white skin, blue eyes etc. That's how heavy and dark this relationship with black and white comes.
Michael Jackson's music was all about unity between black and white he didn't hate black people. All he wanted is for their to be a world where they could be together. He himself just didn't want to be black. As drastic as Michael's plastic surgery was in someway he obtained this cross over appeal, bridging the color line gap. Since he isn't only adored as a Black entertainer, but as one of the biggest entertainers in the world. I wonder if he didn't change his "look," would he have the same fame on an international scale or would it remain as a black entertainer, a question I can't answer. But I believe this makes him such an interestingly amazing person to look at as an influence on American culture. Especially today where our president is of mixed race, it has become more and more appreciated for their to be diversity more than ever. Especially today when biracial or being mixed race becomes more common its nearly impossible to tell what ethnicity a person is by their skin color. I have blood cousins who have huge blue eyes and blond hair who are black and white. It becoming more of the norm to be of mixed race, the days of black and white has become less recognized. Though color and race will always be an issue, one that greatly affected Michael's life.
Though Michael Jackson's impact on the world was through music, he brought different people together through a common love for his music. With his death I am interested to see how Michael will be remembered in years to come, as an historical figure. Since he is no matter black or white, he is an icon for the world.


  1. he is truly a legend and wil forever be remembered

  2. You said alot of things to agree with and with that, there's always "something" to disagree with! lol...i will say, i believe as you stated, Michael indeed wanted to distance himself from his father, his looks, mentality, etc!! however, he had vitiligo and lupus which brings another element into the story and making of the man we know?! so many people don't believe the whole vitiligo thing, but i've been noticing it for years and would wonder why the color was so "unique" and even "bleaching" couldn't cause that reaction...people such as Donnie Osmond (grew up together) spoke up way before he even died to vouch & say it is true!! so, yes, i agree...he was proud of African Americans and how far WE have come, however he was very unhappy with what he saw in the mirror...not his race particularly, but the broken boy with a his own father molded and he later allowed to grow out of control...

    all in all, He's the greatest! and his life, his music, and his star quality has brightned and changed the world!! i'm happy we were able to know of him in our life time...years from now, he'll be "black history"..."American/world history"..."pop history"...all three individually yet all three combined :)