Music

Mapped Out on the Body: Michael Jackson’s Vision for Inclusiveness

With his brown skin, button nose, and chemically straightened hair, it significantly matter that Michael Jackson was black not white, male not female, from a poor family, not rich one. Unsurprisingly, he sought to re-map the globe.

Please play more Michael Jackson. He is an original humanitarian. Michael Jackson was more than a pop star; he defined modern popular music. It’s basic ignorance that leads anyone to continue to discredit the way this artist lived. Fans, and anyone else listening to the words written, composed and performed by Michael Jackson would not be so greedy, angry and stupid of the sort that leads us to destroy the planet and divide people.

Earth Song, Heal the World, and of course, We are the World. This man clearly propagated ‘love’ as the way forward. This nation desperately needs to reconcile with Michael Jackson and come to terms with the fact that we created a monster. In spite of the self-mutilation, abuse of credit and addiction to “consumerism,” -- you know, sex, drugs and rock-n-roll -- we cannot deny that he was an apt mirror of this society. As a pop star, Michael Jackson mirrored the iconic status the United States enjoys in the world- and embodies the unreconciled contradictions as well.

I’m startin’ with the man in the mirror.

I’m asking him to change his ways.

And no message could have been any clearer:

If you wanna make the world a better place,

Take a look at yourself, and

Make that change.

Instead of displeasure with the ugly picture we see in the ‘brand-MJ’ we see on stage- but mostly screens -- Michael encouraged us to Keep the Faith. Now, name any pop star who does that, and your list will be real short. It’s time to reconcile and anyway our national leadership is finally catching up to this message and elected someone who would perfectly fit the visions Michael Jackson’s music set out.

No, it should not matter if you’re Black or white, girl or boy, young or old. Michael Jackson seemed to map out this vision on his body. Like the colored daughter in 1959’s Imitation of Life, Michael Jackson “passed” for Black and white, boy and girl, rich and poor. That’s one for Guinness Book of World Records.

In his capacity to feel and project human emotion through art, he came to embody King’s vision. Michael embodied the dream of Homer Plessy, who, in 1892 road a train before it was named desire, claiming that despite the practices of the land, it doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white. Plessy was one-eight black, which made him legally of African descent. Homer Plessy claimed that if the line were so easily crossed, then it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; both were mapped out on his body.

Down in the dirty-dirty, there are whites, blacks, coloreds -- creamy, chocolate, mocha, honey, caramel, butter, salt, pepper and everything in between. Folks had nappy hair, straight hair, silky hair and kinky and curly hair and wavy and every combination thereof. Certainly all permutations of rounded or pointed noses, flat or bodacious bums were filtered through the bunch. It truly does not matter if you’re black or white. Oh, but it does. The resulting Supreme Court decision in 1896- talk about speedy justice -- gave birth to Jim and Jane Crow, AKA American Apartheid.

With his brown skin, button nose, and chemically straightened hair, it significantly matter that Michael Jackson was black not white, male not female, from a poor family, not rich one. It mattered what man he saw in the mirror. No, for Michael all this may not have mattered for his alleged sexual perversion. But, we cannot deny the Jackson family’s strongest and most concurrent message of inclusiveness.

Inclusiveness, all the Jackson’s music seems to say, is the underlying means of respecting one another, and the planet. That’s a genuinely mature message for any artist to relay. We can map out inclusiveness on our societies as easily as Michael tried to do so on his body. Our society has the capacity to make provisions for inclusiveness more radically, and more easily than the pervasiveness of racism Homer Plessy called attention to by the existence of his colorful, uniquely American heritage.

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