48 Hours Delves Into The Ambivalence Over Michael Jackson's Skin Color

Last night on 48 Hours, Harold Dow reported on how Michael Jackson's ever-lightening skin complicated his relationship with the black community. Spike Lee, Quincy Jones, and Al Sharpton weighed in on whether or not MJ was ashamed of his heritage.

Those interviewed for the segment weren't buying the story that Jackson suffered from vitiligo, as he claimed. (Quincy Jones even claimed that he confronted the singer about his many chemical peels.) However, the prevalent feeling was not that Jackson was ashamed of being black, but that he suffered from deeper issues over his looks, issues that stemmed, in part, from his upbringing. Sharpton maintained that Jackson "had his own way of being black," while Lee said that the black community felt territorial over the singer because society tends to view crossover stars of color as "colorless".


(For more musings on Jackson's skin color - and how/if it changed and affected the feelings of his fans and foes - click here, here, here, here, and here.)

Interestingly, during the segment, CBS made a montage of Jackson's metamorphosis that was reminiscent of his video "Black or White."


Related: Michael Jackson's Mirror. [Ta-Nehisi Coates]
For Some, It Did Matter If Jackson Was Black Or White [AP/Google News]
Michael Jackson On Race – And Who He Saw In The Mirror [Racialicious]
Michael Jackson Is Dead [Racialicious]
Finding Neverland [Newsweek]

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I still like to think he did a switch with someone else in the early 90s and is living on his own private island. I find solace in that.