In his lifetime Michael Jackson met with much scrutiny over various aspects of his life. It would seem that the more famous he became, the more popular he was the more he was scrutinized. One of the things he was most scrutinized about was his general appearance. Especially the fact that it would seem over time that he had gone from being a dark skin African American man, to a much lighter skinned man. He was criticized by many for wanting to be white, and that he was ashamed of his African American heritage. It was so bad that his one-time Public Relations employee, Bob Jones wrote in a book, co-written by Stacy Brown, ("Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask"), that stated Michael hated blacks and that he referred to them often as Splaboo. Mr. Jones stated in this book that Michael would use the word a lot around actor Macaulay Culkin. I found this interesting because Macaulay Culkin has never mentioned this since Michael's passing. I also found Mr. Jones accusations interesting because many of the charities Michael gave to were African American causes. Then again, you have to understand that this book came out after Michael's passing and Mr. Jones had an obvious ax to grind against Michael since he was fired from MJ Productions after the "Living With Michael Jackson" diabolical. This documentary ended up a public relations mess that the Jackson's felt that if Mr. Jones had been doing his job, the Martin Bashir's of the world would have never been able to televise a documentary that had been edited to death with so many half truths. Anyway that documentary will be talked about in a later blog entry. (So stay tune for that at a later date)
Now, did Michael Jackson want to be white? I mean, he did change his color from black to white, didn't he? Huh, perhaps there are people who have done this sort of thing, but let's get serious here, there was just no way Michael Jackson was going to be one of them. He was too well known by the general public for him to be able to pass for white. But because his skin was getting lighter there were those in the African American community who found this offensive, here was Michael Jackson a well known and renowned member of their community apparently shunning his heritage and trying to be white.
Michael Jackson even confronted this issue in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. He admitted to her that he had a skin disorder that he had no control over. Oprah never asked Michael what the name of the condition was and Michael never said if anything it seemed to make him uncomfortable. This should have been the end of the subject, Michael may not have given the condition a name, but he did admit to it, so subject closed right? WRONG, believe it or not for some odd reason there were those in the media and the general public who chose not to believe this explanation. Why not? What did Michael Jackson supposedly do that made them think he was lying about this? I'm still not sure why this was such an issue to start with, but it became huge.
Let’s face it, Michael knew who he was and he wasn’t denying his heritage in any way shape or form that I could see, so why didn’t people believe this? Although, Michael never labeled the condition by name it was obvious to those who took the time to research it that he was referring to Vitiligo, which is a skin disorder that will cause light patches of skin to develop on various parts of the body. So how light is it for any of you who haven’t actually seen someone with the disorder? Well have you ever seen an article of clothing that had bleach accidentally spilled on it, did you notice how white these spots are. This is what Vitiligo looks like, which makes it something that is very hard to hide, especially if you have a dark complexion.
It is so bleach white that even Caucasian people who have the condition have problems hiding it. Perhaps some in the media and general public had a hard time believing this because Michael wasn’t too open or candid about it. I realize it must have been hard for him dealing with such a disorder, but imagine if you will how different it might have been if he had become the face for Vitiligo, and doing PSA’s to help people become more aware of this disorder, and what it can do. He might have even helped those like him who suffered with the disorder not to feel so self conscious and isolated from others. Still, I can’t judge this, I do know that he did indeed have the disorder; the Coroner confirmed it after his death, much to the shock of the media. My reaction was, well duh, he told us this himself, and you chose not to believe him. Anyway, as I said I can’t really judge Michael for choosing not to be so public about this disorder, it obviously caused him a whole lot of self esteem issues, and maybe it was very hard for him to talk about. After all, when you are in the public eye your appearance becomes everything. Most celebrities are scrutinized too death by the media over this issue alone. We see it every day from, is this celebrity putting on weight or looking too thin, from did they have plastic surgery. I'm sure you must all know what I am talking about.
Michael Jackon said in a live speech once that the media stated he didn't know what color he was. Michael stated, and I quote, "I know what color I am, I just look in the mirror. I know I'm black." Yes, you are Michael and I think everyone just needs to shut up in regards to this. Better yet, what business was it of all of ours anyway? The fact is the man was an amazing singer, dancer, composer, and entertainer, and the color of his skin should have never played into any of this. So hopefully this subject is now closed, and his record has been straightened out in regards to the color of his skin. Let's hope.