It’s time for a change. Let’s not leave this building and forget what has been said. Put it into your heart, put it in your conscious mind, and let’s do something about it. You have to. We have to. - Michael Jackson’s speech against racism at Sharpton’s National Action Headquaters in Harlem.
It took me a little while, when growing up, to realize they’d/certain parts of the public completely forgot/made themselves forget about his stage accident and the fire; or didn’t want to remember he’d been horribly, horribly burned (head, scalp, parts of his face and neck too, I believe) and came back from that and still performed.
It’s so much easier to call him a ‘freak’.
Lets not forget that everyone and their mother still says he bleached his skin even though the LA coroner confirmed he had vitiligo and a form of skin lupus that suppressed the production of melanin in his skin. Not everyone wants to be white thank you. I also remember in high school ppl talking about how weird it was for a 40 y.o man to wear lipstick and make up. Not only is this sentiment homophobic, but it ignores the fact that MJ probably felt pretty self conscious about the blotches of unpigmented skin on his body. So yeah, he evened out his skin tone with make up. But I guess it’s easy to demonize someone who doesn’t fit into a heteronormative white supremacist patriarchal society.
#we did not deserve you MJ
We deserved him. They didn’t.
And yes as a burn victim and someone dealing with vitilago - his gender presentation (fluid or not) aside, he had plenty of reasons to use make-up to present a more comfortable face.
It’s also hit me recently how activist his songs and works were. As a child I was just singing along. But now I realize why my mom and her generation, specifically those who were immigrants to the US; absolutely burned for him.
I also often thought it weird people thought him befriending children as ‘odd’. Children can be cruel, yea. But children will also accept a person as they are when given the choice to do so. All ‘Oh, that’s just how Michael Jackson looks’.
Like how children can accept that some people use wheelchairs and canes - they point out it out and if given a straight answer? They go with it. It’s adults slapping hands going ‘don’t stare, that’s rude’ and not answering the question that creates this element ‘something we don’t talk about’.