On air: Does it matter if Michael Jackson was black or white?

_45984819_ap_bet_foxxgloveThis is what Jamie Foxx said at yesterday’s Black Entertainment Awards in LA. “We want to celebrate this black man. He belongs to us and we shared him with everyone else.” Just a couple of sentences, but it’s brought to the boil a heated debate that was already simmering.

Jackson of course sang skin colour didn’t matter, but the way some of you are reacting to his death suggests differently. Others are furious that a man who had fans of every nationality and colour, is being claimed as their own by black people.

Did you view him as black man? And did your view of him affect your feelings for him?

And then there’s the fluctuating relationship Michael Jackson had with his black fans as his skin became ever lighter.

Should the changes in his appearance that have affected how people felt towards him?

192 Responses to “On air: Does it matter if Michael Jackson was black or white?”

  1. 1 Jennifer
    June 29, 2009 at 13:06

    Oh my goodness? Are you serious? This is the most pressing subject in the world?

    Obviously, Michael Jackson was not proud to be black.

    Watch this video…It’s amazing!

    RE: “He belongs to us and we shared him with everyone else.”

    Technically, Michael Jackson belonged to Michael Jackson. When I hear an entertainer; I don’t think wow, that’s one great black entertainer….

    The man who had molestation charges against him and dangled his baby off a balcony…In my opinion; if the black community wants to “claim” him they can have him. All one has to do is watch the video above to see that MJ was not content being black…

    • June 29, 2009 at 16:46

      Oh Puhleeze…. your video stated it perfectly, if he were going through this much change on the outside, imagine what was going on on the inside. The man clearly had demons but it was not about his race. Michael was proud to be a black man. If it were not for the black men in his life: Joe Jackson, James Brown , Jackie Wilson etc, he would not be the icon he is today, for the foundations for his moves, his singing and entire performance were based on the talents and discipline of those black men. He recognized that and acknowledged that on many occassions.

      I have the same skin condition he is alleged to have had. I have a much milder version. I recently met a black woman who had a very severe case of it where she lost pigmentation all over her entire body. This happened over a series of years and she did not lose it all at one time, it left her looking like a checker board for many years. As a performer, I can imagine that he would seek a treatment that would even out his skin tone.

      But even if he did not think black was ‘pretty’ , he still identified himself as a black man.

      • 3 Chris
        June 29, 2009 at 18:27

        My eleven yr old son, who is black, has been riveted by the MJ videos we’ve been watching since Thursday. He said to me, completely spontaneously, “Not to be racist, Mom, but I liked Michael Jackson better when he was black.” In this one brief observation, I could see my son claiming Michael, showing pride of his race, and rejecting Michael’s personal experiments in transformation. Our celebrities definitely give us all a window into our own identities & how we view ourselves in society, therefore I think it’s totally appropriate for the Black community to claim his story as one of their own.

    • 4 Mkarabati
      June 30, 2009 at 21:25

      Black people should overcome their inferiority complex! The only reason one would want to glory in the fact that MJ or Obama or any other achiever is black is actually re afirming the fact that we look down on black people. If being black was not an issue (and it isnt) we wouldn’t be having this conversation would we?

    • August 23, 2009 at 22:19

      truly i think it dosn`t matter if your black or white and i also think m.j was proud to be a black proud man may be that just wasnt what he wanted to be or may be from th skin problem he had he just wanted to even his skin color out but it really does not matter

  2. 6 Wambui
    June 29, 2009 at 13:14

    Any black person growing up in the 1980s will tell you how important it was to have a black superstar. It just affirmed to us that colour didnt have to be a barrier to success (well in showbiz anyway). So yes, it did matter that Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey were black. MJ belonged to all of us black kids who werent always sure that the world had room for us. He was ours even if he didnt always seem comfortable about it.

    Wambui kenya

    • June 29, 2009 at 16:51

      Honey, Michael Jackson was my first boyfriend. He looked like me, we were the same age and boy could he cut a rug! I didn’t appreciate that I had to share my boyfriend with so many other girls and that the likely hood of us ever meeting was very slim, but those are the conditions with loving a superstar.

      I remember when Elvis died and watching his distraught fans. I remember visiting graceland 20 years later and watching people cry at his gravesite that is placed there. I did not understand their grieving then, but I understand now.

  3. 8 patti in cape coral
    June 29, 2009 at 13:15

    I understand how people feel, somewhat. My mother says when a Hispanic person excels and reaches a summit of success that is difficult for most, it reflects upon the whole Hispanic community whether he means it to or not, just as when a Hispanic person does something bad, it shames the Hispanic community. I guess it’s the same for black people, and others.

    I’m not sure if I agree or not, but I wonder how Michael felt, if he felt like he was a member of the black community, and if by cosmetic surgeries he was trying to get out of that community, or if it was just the usual pressure of show business to change your appearance.

    • June 29, 2009 at 16:55

      You cannot get out of the ‘community’ through plastic surgery alone. Michael was proud to be black , but clearly he did not see himself the way we saw him. Despite his appearance we allowed him to keep his ‘ghetto card’ and also handed out a few others to Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke.

  4. 11 Ann
    June 29, 2009 at 13:39

    It shouldn’t matter whether he was black or white – he was essentially a human being.

    But in a world full of racial prejudices, sadly it did matter.

    It seems to me he was seeking to escape the boundaries of race, gender and age…

  5. June 29, 2009 at 13:52

    It does not matter at all… Michael Jackson was and is for all people… skin colour does not interest me when heartmatter is concern… after all He was is original from Africa and lived and grew up in America… king of pop, philosopher, musician, writer, dancer, doctor, all do not carry or belong to any colour… black or white are only test of reasoning… to have changed his skin colour that was his personal choice and right for his personal reasons.

  6. 13 Grahame Shadbolt
    June 29, 2009 at 14:05

    Ann is right and Jamie Foxx is possibly a fool, beacuse he simply doesn’t understand the statement that Jacko intentionally made in his music, and possibly unintentionally made by his appearence. His appearence was white, we all know that genetically he was black – but so what. The only thing that was important and that his life tells us is to forget about colour, people are vulnerable and no matter what talent and riches you have you can still be alone and unloved, and sadly misunderstood – but you are still a human being. Jacko was beyond prejudice. The vast majority of his fans remember him for his vulnerabilities and his unquestioned talent – the colour thing simply doesn’t figure.

  7. June 29, 2009 at 14:06

    Again, Micheal’s Bogey continue to haunt the blogosphere..sigh..anyways, as an African, i really dont care if he was Black or White or Asian or a Martian(maybe he was), but what irks me is the way these BET guys play race issues everytime something goes wrong with people in the African – American Community. granted there were issues of segregation in the past and what not, but i think it’s time we Africans grew up, and stopped playing this racial card. i mean he is Black, but that statement “We want to celebrate this black man. He belongs to us and we shared him with everyone else.” by Jammie foxx was i think irresponsible. if Justin Timberlake went on ABC, commemorating Elvis, and said something like “We want to celebrate this White man. He belongs to us and we shared him with everyone else” what would they do.?

    *sidenote :
    instead of focusing on music and entertainment, i think the BET guys should focus more on the education of their young men, sadly we Africans have started following the entertainment culture of these African Americans.

    • June 29, 2009 at 17:09

      Ooh Ayotunde you make a great point. Basically the BET special was filed with class and crass. I know it is generational but I hated the Hip Hop performances. If you are going to sing a song on international TV, why sing one that will be bleeped because of its profanity? And then have little kids dancing with you while you are bleeping all over the stage. Hip Hop has become an incredible equalizer in the music industry. You can come from the most humble means and be a megastar as the rappers (of the day) were our modern griots. With that, those that were feeling the pain of that urban reality, were dropping the rhymes that were hits. But for the most part they are ill-prepared for the fame and money that followed. They dont come out of a tradition of discipline like a Michael Jackson. Wyclef Jean said on the BET show, ” I went from living in a hut in Haiti, to the projects in New York, to living in a mansion. ” That is a heck of a transition that if you are not careful, it is very easy to find yourself back in that hut again.

      I see the Africans emulating hip hop culture and dont even realize that it was them as Africans that laid down the roots of hip hop. What they see on the videos are not truley relevant to the African condition, but I see them mimicking the good with alot of the the bad.

  8. 16 Monica in DC
    June 29, 2009 at 14:19

    I’m sorry, what was the question? I think I misunderstood… Is that really a question?

    Jaime Foxx is clearly a racist idiot. How about- what impact on your life, or the world, did Michael Jackson have?

    Michael Jackson was an awesome performer. He was super talented and despite all the crap going on with him in more recent times, he will be missed. I grew up in the 80s and knew almost every song, the Thriller dance… had posters of him and his albums (in vinyl thank you very much). His race never occurred to me. He was Michael Jackson… King of Pop.

    By the way- I’m white. WHO CARES?

  9. 17 Peter in Jamaica
    June 29, 2009 at 14:21

    I don’t think that Michael cared about color or race when he made his music, he loved music so that whether you were black,white, yellow, pink, blue, orange made no difference to him as long as you enjoyed his music. We as black people are to quick to point out racial differences especially between black and white and maybe we have a legitimate right to, based on our history but we are also the first to fight for recognition as a people, as human beings and for equality. It seems to me that the statement that Jamie Foxx made is showing ownership and would only fuel segregation and racism. His music transcended boarders, political, social and economic and more importantly racial bounders. To clam ownership over Michael at this juncture, where he never expressed such an opinion, well not in public anyway, is inappropriate and in extremely bad taste and is in my opinion is a shadow over the loss of this world icon…..MICHAEL JACKSON

  10. June 29, 2009 at 14:24

    Michael Jackson looked weird for many because of his appearances that kept changing. Perhaps he was the first black superstar singing artist to wear outstanding cosmetics making him look more feminine than masculine. However he was accepted by hundreds of million fans because of his artistic genius.

    Concerning his colour it remains to know if he had a black or a white soul or merely as he put it if he was colour-blind.

    The fact that his art has transcended all the borders shows that he was an artist of all colours as many can still identify with his music. Perhaps those who still question his colour try to make of him a political figure. But art that actually transcends politics is more lasting than political figures.

  11. 19 John in Germany
    June 29, 2009 at 14:28

    Fello Beeb.
    Who are you asking? to the normal MJ fan not a bit, but to the Blacks or Whites that need such problems Yes.

    Claim the good let the bad fall 0n the way side. At the time of the child abuse accusations a lot of various colours let him drop, even before any legal decision had been made. The pop industry is short lived, your up, and a fast as a thunder bolt down!!!!.

    There is a lot of Hypocrisy about-one thing is sure i am happy that i did not have a childhood like him, if it is true what is written.
    All that he missed as a child, he tried to gather at various later dates..

    God rest his soul.
    John in Germany.

  12. 20 Bob in Queensland
    June 29, 2009 at 14:32

    It clearly mattered to Jackson considering the amount of effort he put into changing his appearance. I’m not going to enter into a debate about whether this is a worthwhile topic–I’ve made posts about him myself. However, I do worry about using a deeply flawed individual as an example for a broader topic about race relations.

  13. June 29, 2009 at 14:38

    Whatever his faults Michael Jackson managed to weave a fine tapestry of inter-racial affinity,bonding people through his music. In the 21st century, we should learn to respect other human beings irrespective of race, colour or creed. We should try to be decent human beings with true humility as our governing principle. Judging a person by his or her colour is most certainly fraught with prejudice. As a world citizen, one could grow learning from one another, making our short stay on this earth more productive. Learning to communicate is at the heart of the matter. Micheal’s music touched hearts and broke barriers!

  14. June 29, 2009 at 14:40

    No matter Michael Jackson’s appearance/identity in the end, he challenged American societal stereotypes in the 1960’s onward and was one, important force in America’s on-going struggle to dismantle the racial divide. Ultimately, it wasn’t Michael Jackson’s looks (though handsome as a black man, he looked more a caricature as he morphed into something else), but rather his innovation in music and the visual art that physically represented that music which touched so many around the world. Whether being black was important to Michael Jackson personally, or not, does not matter… in the end he was a success in a time when race DID matter and his exceptional talent blurred the lines for all of us to help make “the world as one”.

  15. June 29, 2009 at 14:40

    Hi Ros and global WHYSers,

    Now I have no problem with Michael Jackson {dead or alive} or those who are crying themselves dry over his death.
    But I think Ros and your team are losing it. Compare this debate with the one on the burqa in France and see which is newsworthy and actually eliciting interest from the esteemed WHYS global audience.
    But you still chose to go with this one on the skin colour of a dead man!!
    Let the poor guy RIP {Rest In Pit?} please.

  16. 24 Steve in Boston
    June 29, 2009 at 14:43

    Well let’s see:

    His skin was white, his nose was Caucasian, his hair was straight, his kids are white…

    Apparently it mattered to Michael Jackson.

  17. 25 Denise in Chicago
    June 29, 2009 at 14:44

    As a white woman I can’t know what it’s like to live in a sometimes prejudiced world, so I’m perfectly fine with Jamie Foxx’s comment. Jamie is an entertainer and he knew he’d get a great reaction with that comment – that is what entertainers do. As to whether Michael Jackson’s color mattered, I suppose it did to Michael. For me, race doesn’t factor into my music choices and I will continue to enjoy to Jackson’s music.

  18. 26 VictorK
    June 29, 2009 at 14:45

    It mattered enough to Jackson, who spent decades obliterating all physical evidence of his race, and whose children are anything but ‘Black’.

    It also matters to many African-Americans who, like Foxx, are far more inclined than their White counterparts to see things through a racialist, and sometimes racist, prism. Jackson’s repulsive personal history is forgotten for the sake of finding an opportunity in his death, however unlikely & inappropriate, to flaunt Blackness, Black consciousness, Black rage, etc in defiance of ‘White America’. Sharpton? Jesse Jackson? And some Africans seem to be desperately clutching at straws of self-esteem when they are reduced to taking vicarious cultural pride in a disgraced ex-Black performer with a freakish personal life.

    I don’t see that it matters much to anybody who isn’t Black.

    @Ann: is race a boundary to be transcended by Blacks and other people of colour only? I never hear this word – ‘transcend’ – used about Whites?
    @Wambui: does Africa ‘have room’ for Black people?

    • 27 Ann
      June 29, 2009 at 15:32

      Hi Victor – Not sure exactly what your getting at here? But if I understand your point correctly, you think I’m making an kind of racist remark? I can assure you wasn’t implying any such idea, indeed the very opposite is true – I think it would be wonderful to live in a world where the colour of one’s skin is not even a topic of discussion. But sadly the world’s not like that and I agree with you that this did sadly matter to Michael Jackson and he suffered terribly.

  19. June 29, 2009 at 14:45

    @ Ayotunde,

    I think you are right. That dude was Martian.

  20. 29 steve
    June 29, 2009 at 14:59

    I wonder what Morgan Freeman would think about this issue.

    • 30 Am
      June 29, 2009 at 22:10

      Morgan has it exactly right! Don’t look at my tan, my jewelry, my car, or my lack thereof…..Look at my heart! MJ had a great big loving heart! That is all any of us should be talking about!

  21. 31 Justin from Iowa
    June 29, 2009 at 15:03

    I’ve heard for ten years about his medical condition which destroyed skin pigmentation. If you take that at face value, then the reason for his make up and light skin tone is obvious. If you take that for a lie, well then there are all sorts of negative connotations. Regardless, he was a talent which transcended skin color, as well as a trajedy which did the same.

    The fact is, when most people think about michael jackson, they don’t first think about him being black. They think talent, voice, dancing, and his issues with children. Ultimately, the way he acted didn’t seem to emphasize his black ancestry. He acted like an eccentric celebrity first, black man or whatever else you want to classify him as, a distant second.

    • June 29, 2009 at 16:00

      Trust me, in the U.S. it is ALL about race. It is the first thing a person sees, make alot of presumptions about you before you even open your mouth. Then once you open your mouth, it is about tearing down those presumptions brick by brick.

      But race has an economic connotation. If you make enough money like a MJ, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, people magically have less of a consideration for race.

      • 33 Am
        June 29, 2009 at 21:47

        If YOU judge by color, YOU will be judged by color. If MONEY impresses you, you will judge those with less of it as LESSOR. Even if the one without it is yourself! If you judge by LOVE, you will be LOVED! Micheal loved ALL people as humans with souls, that is so obvious in his music and his life. Imperfect in body, as we all are, he loved in spite of those imperfections (ours and his). He refused prejudce, in spite of skin color, in spite of finacial advantage, MJ simply loved people. He loved to see them smile. I so appreciated how he shared his gift with me, a six year old on the other side of the glass box in my living room. We were both six years old, and we both loved to sing and dance. At that moment I judged him to be BEAUTIFUL. No one will ever convince me of anything else. I mourn our loss of a BEAUTIFUL and TALENTED loving soul. I am sorry for the way the world and media judged him guilty of so many sins. Now, for Micheal, the only one that can judge him is God. And God is LOVE….MJ will finally be judged rightly. He will be judged according to how he treated others…how he listened to the love in his own heart…what lengths he took to spread peace and joy. My heart aches that his life was cut short. I miss him.

  22. 34 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    June 29, 2009 at 15:07

    My American family is of white European extraction, but there is a black African branch, a black Australian branch, two Hispanic branches, both of which have a lot of AmerIndian blood, and an Asian branch.

    I guess it matters to a lot of people that MJ was black, but I consider myself fortunate to be colour blind. The guy was a great entertainer; why fuss about how much melanin was in his skin?

    • June 29, 2009 at 16:06

      Your color blind because you live in Switzerland where I imagine the African, Asian and Hispanic population has not speckled the landscape, or remains huddled in their corners of the city which probably is more economically depressed than other areas. They for now are striving for a little slice of the Swiss pie, dont make alot of noise and draw too much to their presence as such. When they start striving harder for a larger slice fo the pie and threatening the status quo that would require change, all types of comments will start to flourish and color will be right up there.

  23. 36 deryck/trinidad
    June 29, 2009 at 15:15

    Black or white doesn’t matter to me because Michael Jackson doesn’t give me my identity.

    He was an artistic genius that shone through any race and division and that’s why he was celebrated the world over.

  24. 37 Sarahw
    June 29, 2009 at 15:16

    Although I am not a Jackson fan, when I listen to his songs and watch his performances on youtube , I would not care wthether he was black and white, what I am seeing is his talent.

    I only think about his race is the time when I am reading some “gossip” news about him (all those “plastic surgery” news and stuff).

  25. 38 Patrick
    June 29, 2009 at 15:30

    No, it doesnt. What matters is what his message was and in my mind the message was not good. Certianly not a role model for any race, lets face it he had serious serious self esteem issues.
    On another note: to say “He belongs to us and we shared him with everyone else” is deeply offensive to all non-blacks and is stupid.

  26. 39 Shunjing
    June 29, 2009 at 15:33

    The ink is black , the paper is white , together we read and write. Ebony and ivory , together we make harmony . Need I say more?

  27. 40 John in Salem
    June 29, 2009 at 15:35

    Well, gee, Jamie, thanks for sharing!
    And while we’re at it, I’ll trade you some slightly used Britney for some of that Beyonce…

  28. 41 John Henry
    June 29, 2009 at 15:38

    It shouldn’t matter if MJ was black or white……but it does, even in death.

    Those who claim him to belong to them do so on the basis of colour. Fact is, everyone should claim him because he began with the end in mind. He began black but ended his days white. I can’t say if this was because of his pigmentation problem or whether he added to it by finding a way to bleach his skin or, as is more likely the case, a combination of both circumstances.

    MJ and his music was/is accepted by peoples of all nationalities, ages, religions, rich and poor alike, short and tall, differently abled and abled bodied, skinny and fat, sighted and sightless – you name it, and people of different colours.

    It shouldn’t matter if he was black or white because in life he made an unthinkable and almost impossible change which many of us witnessed…he was born black but died white.

    Now, here’s the rub. Christianity, without proof of any change in pigmentation, portrays Jesus as being a blue -eyed caucasian being. Maybe that’s why Jamie Foxx is holding on to a black MJ for fear that history will portray him as being white.

    John Henry – Trinidad and Tobago

  29. June 29, 2009 at 16:06

    Black,White,Red,Brown…MJ is a LEGEND.His music is beyond racial division.Like Michealangelo,he is a SUPERSTAR and what matters are the great works they produce not their colour or personal errors.


  30. 44 Nick in the Czech Republic
    June 29, 2009 at 16:10

    Actually Michael Jackson was neither black nor white. He was brown. And you, if you look at your skin, will notice that you are neither black nor white, but brown, one shade thereof.

    The reason I state the obvious is because the terms black and white, when applied to people’s skin colour, (a) are inaccurate and (b) merely reinforce colour prejudice.

    Genesis chapter 2 says: “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground”.

    What colour is the dust of the ground? Well the ground consists predominanrly of various shades of brown. Therefore the dust of the ground will consist predominantly of various shades of brown. Therefore we might reasonably expect that those descended from Adam are predominantly various shades of brown. And this is what we find. Various shades of brown. Not black or white.

    So Michael Jackson was a shade of brown – ok, various shades of brown, because of surgery.

    However he was born ‘black’ and as the ‘black’ peoples have been enslaved, colonised and expoited, in short deprived of opportunities to succeed by ‘white’ peoples, it is tremendously important that Michael Jackson was ‘black’ and has been seen to succeed on a global scale, indeed outsucceeding whites – his album Thriller is the highest selling album of all time.

    The scientists who said that ”blacks’ were inferior, may now all eat their hats!

    PS I am ‘white’.

  31. 45 Cyanocitta cristatta
    June 29, 2009 at 16:13

    It was important to those who wanted to claim him as some trophy that he was black. It’s a good underdog story. White guy, we wouldn’t have all these tribute shows. We will never get past race if we continue to discuss whether it mattered if black or white. A white person doing what he did would have been labeled a circus freak and would not get the publicity and notoriety like he does, ask Vanilla Ice. So yes, in Michael’s career it did matter if he was black or white.

    • June 29, 2009 at 17:16

      Cyanocitta, let us be clear. If a white guy did what Michael did under the same conditions, we woudl be celebrating him too. What was so special about Elvis? But I could have sworn when he died, the earth stood still for a second. Michael Jackson is not getting all this adulation becasue he was a black man, but in spite of being a black man.
      It did matter if he were black or white, but not for the reasons you state.

  32. June 29, 2009 at 16:27

    Yes race matters, it always will in the United States. Because the feed rarely talks of of MJ in the 60’s, you are missing a key aspect of his ascent to the icon status of the 80’s where the rest of the world finally met him.

    Jamie Foxx is not racist. He spoke the truth. Given the racism that drove (and still drives) the music industry in the U.S. , the rest of the world would not have known Michael Jackson if the black people of the U.S. did not support him first. Motown was created for Black artists because they could not catch a break in mainstream music making industry. The artists were pitched to and for black Americans. So if black Americans did not like the Jackson 5 , their would not have been a premise or interest of a white record label picking them up advancing them to a much wider market.

    Blacks in the U.S. did not waiver so much as you put it, on their love for Michael. Of course we are a not a monolith. Michael’s career spans TWO generations! Even with his increasingly strange behavior, he was still ‘ours’, but there are competing interests: the relevancy of his new sound, the meteoric rise of hip hop, and we watched him to the same dance moves for 25 years! It is challenging to stay relevant for 45 years but him along with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Elton John have managed it!

  33. 48 Monica in DC
    June 29, 2009 at 16:31

    LOL @ John in Salem. You’ve got that right man!

  34. 49 Monica in DC
    June 29, 2009 at 16:33

    @ Denise Gordon-
    Its only about race in the US when you CHOOSE to make it so.

  35. 51 Luz Ma from Mexico
    June 29, 2009 at 16:35

    I think he was not proud of being black. He changed his appearance to the point of becoming a freaky white person. In my opinion, he was deeply disturbed. So, maybe we could talk about his lack of self-acceptance and self-esteem, and why he feel the need to become white.

    I cannot deny he was a great singer and performer, but aside from that, there is nothing else that strikes me as worthy about him.

    • June 29, 2009 at 17:22

      Guys come on….. The U.S. does a census every 10 years where race figures heavily on the questionnaire. Do you really think that when it came to marking his race that he was putting down ‘white’? I realize that race can be fluid in certain countries, but it is not in the U.S. We have no shades of gray here. Legally, you cannot change your race. It is a one time declaration. Changing his skin color did not make him a white person. It just made him a freakishly light black man.

  36. 53 Anthony
    June 29, 2009 at 16:35

    Either way who cares, it’s not really news and there is SO much going on in the world, why waste another day on this media mess of a person.

    Also, it’s just more sad proof about whats messed up in the U.S., I’d like to see a white dude go to a surgeon and ask for “a black nose” (like the nose M.J. had) and see when the surgeon says.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • June 29, 2009 at 17:25

      If he has the money, they will make him a prominant , broad nose that could breathe fire. Money talks. And that is why Michael Jackson could submit to whatever he submitted (including the cocktail of drugs he was taking) and no one say anything because he had the money. Money talks

  37. 55 James Ian
    June 29, 2009 at 16:39

    Ok, am I the only person who was offended by part of Jamie Fox’s speech that emphasized the issue of Jackson’s color? I mean you can’t have it both ways, we’re either all the same “black or white” or we are not. Just having things like Black entertainment television seems separatist, but saying something like “This BLACK MAN, THIS BLACK MAN that we just shared with everyone else.” It just makes me want to scream! To ask for equality but then turn around and separate yourselves at every turn, with things like B.E.T. and the Black collage funds and things that are exclusive to black people is counter productive and only serves to highlight race. It has become increasing evident to me that black people do not want to be treated as equals but be treated special. If there is segregation in this country anymore it brought on by black people themselves, constantly highlighting the difference. The term African American is separatist in its self. Why can’t they just be Americans like everyone else? Even Mexican Americans, what the heck?? My great grandparents were from Germany does that make me German Amer ican?
    I don’t know I just don’t get it and I want to talk about it and get some rational reason for the self separation by Blacks and some Mexicans. Just be a human would ya? I don’t care about your race or color near as much as you do it seems.

    • 56 Afya (USA)
      June 29, 2009 at 18:33

      I am sorry to inform you that the reason there are things like, BET, the Miss Black America Pageant, Black Sororities and Fraternities, Historically Black Colleges, etc. is because blacks in general had long been excluded from mainstream television and other areans. Regular television IS White television. But whites don’t see it that way, because they don’t think about that fact when they watch tv, because what they see in general, reflects them. But now imagine if all you saw on TV were blacks or minorities, don’t you think that at some point, someone white would have come up with a venue which featured white actors/actresses and gave them a platform and reflected them better? Of course they would.

      Remember that in the US, blacks had to fight just to be considered fully human (as opposed to 3/5 human) and not property; nevermind to be considered “Full-fledged American” which didn’t happen until the Civil Right’s Movement in 1968. And you wonder why blacks have a hard time becoming a part of the so-called Great American Melting Pot?

      • 57 James Ian
        June 30, 2009 at 13:08

        So what you’re just going to hang onto the past and let it fester if not keep it alive?! Lets move forward shall we. No one I know has ever had a slave and your argument that ” blacks in general had long been excluded from mainstream television ” just seems silly to me. In a time where it is fashionable to be black or at least act black, talk black, dress black, sing black and where we have a black president. All that need to be let go so we can move forward. What dumb butt doesn’t know that slavery and segregation was wrong and who wouldn’t go back in time if they could and stop it? Lets just learn from the past and move forward, let’s not keep the division alive.

  38. 58 VictorK
    June 29, 2009 at 16:42

    @Ann: I don’t think you were making a racist remark. Just that you made (approvingly I think) a remark that I often hear, usually – but not exclusively – from people who are White with reference to people of colour. You wrote, ‘…It seems to me he was seeking to escape the boundaries of race, gender and age.’

    What strikes me about this remark, & its variations, is the assumption that non-whiteness is an affliction – like being handicapped – that people can be congratulated on for ‘transcending’. You often hear writers from developing countries being praised by Western critics for transcending their supposed limitations of place (the non-West), culture (non-Western) and race (non-White) to become ‘universal’ (i.e. just like a White writer), or a black singer or sports-star who is considered safe on the subject of race (i.e. anodyne and opinionless) will be praised for having transcended race (i.e. THEIR race).

    I think the opposite is true. Race is a part of everyone’s identity. You can deny it but you can no more transcend it than you can transcend your body. Jackson’s transcendence of race is pretty much a euphemism for self-hatred and mental ill health. Nobody need ‘transcend’ what’s a natural and essential part of them.

    • 59 Ann
      June 29, 2009 at 17:50

      Thanks for clearing that up Victor. I certainly did not mean to imply that I see non-whiteness as being an affliction, nor did I mean to imply that we should abandon the various aspects of our identity. As you say, it is precisely these things that led Jackson to such a fragile mental state.

      As an aside – I think you make some very good and clearly explained points here and elsewhere – you often say things that really make me think (as much as my foggy brain can!).

    • 60 dick
      December 14, 2009 at 07:45

      “Race is a part of everyone’s identity. You can deny it but you can no more transcend it than you can transcend your body. Jackson’s transcendence of race is pretty much a euphemism for self-hatred and mental ill health. Nobody need ‘transcend’ what’s a natural and essential part of them.” Well written, spot on.

  39. 61 Andrew in Australia
    June 29, 2009 at 16:42

    I just find it hard that people are so affected by this person’s death. Here is someone that no one really had much of idea who he was and what he did – although the police did otherwise they would not have gone for prosecuting him in court on child offence charges. I think as I see the hysteria surrounding his death that most of these people would probably not cry as much over the death of their own parents. Are people so empty within themselves that they put so much stock in others. He was a deeply flawed person, someone who had immense resources to do something positive not only for himself and reslove the conflicts within his life but do good for others. As a point to note, he passed on his ‘pets’ to refuges and didn’t even contribute to their upkeep. Apart from some entertainment value there was not much more to him other than a sad and sick individual but one who is held up and will further be held up as an icon, a role model. We seriously need to reassess ourselves if we continue to place so much faith not just in others, but flawed individuals who do not live up to a decent standard of behaviour. I for one will always remember him as someone who was disturbed and rather than move towards a positive lifestyle chose to hide behind his wealth and celebrity to get away with a great deal and indulged his desires at the expense of children. As a poster on the Have Your Say page commented and I agree, OJ Simpson was not convicted either!

  40. 62 Shannon in Ohio
    June 29, 2009 at 16:54

    Jamie Foxx and the audience present at the BET awards show seem to have forgotten just how much criticism was leveled at Jackson by the African-American community over the years. Jackson’s popularity here in the US waned among ALL groups–Black Americans included. His sugary, over-produced pop ditties were steamrollered by Rap and Hiphop. Black comedians like Eddie Murphy began taking shots at Jackson back in the eighties–gleeful innuendos about his effeminate mannerisms and his ever-lightening skin and ET face.

    One popular joke went like this: Ah, only in America can a black male grow up to become a white female–complete with silk pant suit and matching shoes.

    Foxx claims Jackson “belongs” to black people. If he did, he was the relative long ago disowned by most of the “family”.

    Now…could we talk about Iran? Iraq? North Korea? HIV? Sudan? The global economic crisis? Please?

    June 29, 2009 at 16:56

    Jackson was what Jackson was. What if you present him they way he hated? He is definitely going to be cross with you.

    This business of shoving the race in every path we tread is boring. He was black Whose black? He was white. Whose white?

    What is black music and equally what is white music? Only bigots ask themselves such questions when they are shopping for music and that’s how they lose on quality. What has color to do with it? I am a black man really so to speak, but do I have to buy black/or white dude music when I don’t find it agreeable? I am not here insinuating that his music was. In fact his music was harmless while he was still alive and it served the fans well if not me.

    It saddens me because given a chance, some people would tear Jackson’s body to find out which pieces of him are black or white. It won’t be easy because Jackson distorted all that evidence for you am sorry. I feel that it is the high time we left him alone to rest in peace if we have nothing better to talk about. This discussion will lead us to more trivia which is the bane of our wanting to stand upright in this century.

  42. 64 Ben in Cameroun
    June 29, 2009 at 17:03

    I think for the majority of MJ Fans, he was hardly seen in terms of race. He was viewed more as a talented entertainer. But for me, my personal disappointment was when he chose to look less black. It sent a wrong message to millions of black people around the world.

  43. 65 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    June 29, 2009 at 17:15

    Hi WHYSers!

    Firstly, I want to say how sad it is that Michael Jackson is dead. From what we can tell, he seemed to have a very difficult life, in part because of the colour of his skin which, for him, seemed to have affected his esteem. For me personally, it does not matter what colour he was or was not. I am saddened that he was given such a hard time and did not seem to have had time to redeem his own personal happiness. That is the real tragedy. As for whether he was black or white, I think it is fair to say that he was obviously black insofar as genetics go. The rest of the story get a little complicated, thereafter as rightly pointed out in the notes above. Despite this though, there is no questioning that the world has lost a great superstar and a musical legend -black, white, brown, it doesn’t even matter. I am sad that Michael left us so early and that his life, from all appearances, seemed to have been so difficult. May his soul rest in peace! Love you, Michael!

  44. June 29, 2009 at 17:20

    Jackson was a black man who was too ashamed to acknowledge his colour. He was indeed a great singer and we will appreciate him better if we leave his personal life and colour out of his achievements.

  45. 67 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    June 29, 2009 at 17:34

    Michael Jackson’s life, I think, will also be an interesting study in race (relations) as it affects the international entertainment industry, especially in America. I am not sure whether claiming Michael as raceless, necessarily, eliminates the issues of race in a real way, though. Still, what is interesting to me, is how even in death Michael Jackson is able to have this phenomenal impact on such issues! That is the power of real superstardom! Michael was The Man, alright! He was bold and courageous for daring to live his life on his own terms, notwithstanding the flack he received for doing so! I loved him, regardless! And, will miss him dearly!

  46. 68 Ramesh, India
    June 29, 2009 at 17:35

    No. Nor it would matter to me whether MJ is a male or female! yes, it appeared to me also that MJ might have dealt with inferiority complex for being a black american. I also wonder what if MJ is of mixed race.

    • June 29, 2009 at 18:08

      Sorry Ramesh, mixed race does not occur in the U.S. You do not have the luxury of choosing what you want to be. The government dictates that if you have one great grandparent who is black, you are black. Look at President Obama. He had one parent that was white. The only way he could be white is if he was born with looking white and kept his father a secret, but if he maintained presidential aspirations, he would have to shift his identity.
      Strange, sad, but true.

  47. 70 Carolyn
    June 29, 2009 at 17:40

    This is why race remains a divisive issue. It makes no sense whatsoever at this time, when we have finally elected a president who is not strictly a product of monied, white America, to say that “we” shared him with the rest of the world.

    Jackson was troubled, and it is a bit weird that he is being lauded as this amazingly talented man. If the ones who shared him with the rest of the world had bought his records when he was alive, maybe he still would be. I also think that it was in bad taste for grieving family members to show up at an awards show. Send a spokesman from outside the family for crying out loud!

    Maybe Foxx is to “black” America what Limbaugh is to “conservative” America. Ick.

  48. 71 Roberto
    June 29, 2009 at 17:46

    RE “” This is what Jamie Foxx said “”

    ———– Who cares what Foxx says. The guy made a mint skewering Jackson in most unflattering ways and now he’s gonna be all kissy-kissy on news of his death?

    Enough about the meaning of MJ. If anybody in the world deserved to be in a burqa, it was MJ who’s garish appearance and perversive behavior will not be missed. The people who miss him are the ones making money off his circus act and the rest of MJ’s vast posse of enablers and sycophants.

  49. 73 Chrissy in Portland
    June 29, 2009 at 17:58

    I’m not quite sure why so many people seem to assume that MJ’s plastic surgeries were done in an attempt to turn himself “white.” What about the millions of people in this world that altered themselves by means of plastic surgery. Does that mean that they are trying to change their race? Does that seem reasonable? Hardly!

    In regards to his skin color, so many people seem to forget that he suffered from a skin disorder called Vitiligo. The Mayo Clinic offers this description:

    Vitiligo (vit-ih-LI-go) is a condition in which your skin loses melanin, the pigment that determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or no longer form melanin, causing slowly enlarging white patches of irregular shapes to appear on your skin. In most cases, pigment loss spreads and can eventually involve most of the surface of your skin.

    Hmm… could that explain the sunglasses, masks, and long clothing?

  50. 74 chidi (from Minneapolis, US)
    June 29, 2009 at 18:08

    No it doesn’t matter but the bottom line is that Michael Jackson was black.

  51. 75 Vijay
    June 29, 2009 at 18:08

    Does it matter if Michael Jackson was black or white ?

    Yes,in the US context it does,he was a black man from Gary, Indiana ,one of the poorest places in America, who made it big by singing and dancing his way out poverty ,his career started in the mid ’60s when the Civil Rights struggle was going on and his life ended with a Black Man sitting in the Oval Office as President of the United States of America.

    Slavery is an issue for the descendents of slaves,race is an issue,racism didn’t go away when Barack Obama was elected.White America dealt with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, didn’t want hear what a Rev.Jesse Jackson had to say but was won over by the rhetoric of Barack Obama ,a young lawyer who had assimilated all the lessons learnt from
    his predecessors in the fight for equality,one of whom believe it or not,in his own way, was Micharl Jackson.

  52. 76 steve
    June 29, 2009 at 18:12

    There are plenty of black musicians who didn’t have massive plastic surgery nor bleached their skin in order to become successful. As your current guest stated, Michael Jackson was already successful before he started having the surgeries.

  53. 77 bjay
    June 29, 2009 at 18:13

    NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How, How stupid may you think !!


  54. 78 roboturkey
    June 29, 2009 at 18:15

    MJ was a very complex and trouble individual. He will be a debate topic as long as his memory lasts.

    My two cents: Michael tried over the 80’2 and 90’s to turn himself into a Diana Ross lookalike, gradually bleaching himself to a very pale skin tone. His courtship and marriage to white women and affection for white boys is well documented.

    If someone wants to “claim” MJ as a black icon, how do you reconcile his obvious choice in how he presented himself.

    When MJ was at his prime he was a huge entertainer. And that was when he was a child. a black child. As he grew into a man he became very strange.

  55. 79 bart in SF, CA
    June 29, 2009 at 18:16

    Yes, it matters that Michael was black. But we need to have the discussion about why he changed his physical look so drastically. His father reportedly abused him as a child over the large size of his nose — and look where that lead! Why does a person with vitiligo choose to bleach the dark parts of his skin rather than darken the unpimented parts? Talk about why black people straighten their hair, bleach their skin, and so on… I’m an old white guy. I don’t have these answers, but in fact I care deeply about these issues. What are these issues in the minds of black people in America? How can we solve them?

  56. 80 bjay
    June 29, 2009 at 18:16

    Does it matter if Michael Jackson was black or white?

    How stupid may you think !


  57. 81 Afya (USA)
    June 29, 2009 at 18:16

    I believe that Michael Jackson’s music belongs to everyone. But Michael Jackson himself belongs to his family, and there is no denying that he was a black man (skin pigmentation aside). What I find curious is that in many parts of the world it is considered a scourge to be “black” and in fact in some places, the blacker you are the further down on the socioeconomic scale you are. However, when a person becomes a person of stature (Celebrity, President, Athlete, etc.), THEN the world decides they want to embrace blacks. I find it is a bit hypocritocal. This debate that we are having today, it almost makes it seem as if they don’t want to acknowledge the fact that Michael Jackson was a black man. Does it matter? Not really. But what is wrong with stating the obvious?

  58. 82 steve
    June 29, 2009 at 18:17

    I’m white and my nose looks NOTHING like what Michael jackson turn his into. He did it to himself.

    The arguments I’m hearing on this show also happened in the movie Three Kings, where the Iraqi interrigator asked what’s up with michael Jackson. The Iraqi tried to blame US Society for him hating himself to make himself want to look white, and Mark Wahlberg responded “no, he did it to himself”. Face it, most people don’t have plastic surgery, let alone that much. It’s sad, but he was very insecure, but it was his decision to do it.

  59. June 29, 2009 at 18:18

    MJ was a black American, not African. Jamie Fox’s comment, i think, was more in refference to the U.S. national media’s reaction to MJ’s death. Treating it as almost as a passing moment in the wind and not giving this American icon (who happened to be black) the respect he deserved in his passing.

  60. 84 Anthony
    June 29, 2009 at 18:18

    Are you kidding me? Is this speaker serious? ANYWHERE YOU GO, in ANY society, the humans that are more successful and better off are the ones that others aspire to be like. Thats just human.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  61. 85 Cedric
    June 29, 2009 at 18:23

    It doesn’t matter whether Michael was white or black. He entertained everyone, and the world enjoyed his music. Its about time in this, day and age, that the colour of our skin melt away and we see each individual as a PERSON. Listen to michael said “Heal the world, make it a better place”.

  62. 86 80's Mom
    June 29, 2009 at 18:26

    Of course it matters. As much as any artists, his music set the mindset for a generation of people who are now at the heart of the change in attitudes that elected our first President of color. Michael Jackson personified the concept that a black man could be the person kids of every race wanted to be like. He personified the dream that color doesn’t matter, just as Martin Luther King did for my generation. But Jamie Fox was right in saying that he was, and is, a special figure for the black community. For persons of color, this concept that one will be judged for his talent and not held back because of his color is personal! So yes, it matters. He should be celebrated as a once in a lifetime talent. He should also be celebrated for courageously breaking color lines.

  63. 87 Jonathan (dazzling San Francisco)
    June 29, 2009 at 18:27

    Your Friday program made it clear that Michael Jackson transcended nationality, ethnicity, skin color, religion, even language. By example and by design, he bridged the canyon of tragic racial history. I was very moved by hearing voices from all over the world united in their love and their grief.

    Jamie Foxx cheapened and degraded that legacy, reminding us how narrow and small so many people still are. The fact that Mr. Jackson actually became less “black” over the years stands as an eloquent rebuttal of Mr. Foxx’s ugly point.

    San Francisco

  64. June 29, 2009 at 18:30

    As I saw it, Michael Jackson did not transformed himself in order to look “white” per se. It always seemed to me he was making himself look like a kind of animated cartoon–almost like a Disney character (Peter Pan, perhaps?). In any case, it wasn’t necessarily some ideal of “whiteness” that drove these physical alterations; rather it was a much more eccentric/ idiosyncratic and *theatrical* vision–so why read “shame” into this?
    African Americans have every right to celebrate his achievements as a black artist.

  65. 89 oscar carballo
    June 29, 2009 at 18:30

    Music does not belong to a racial group, or a nation. It belongs to those people who like it, and as long as these discussions arise about skin colour, it just demonstrates that there are barriers in people’s minds when they analyze the world,the suroundings, the society. Race is used as an ID, as well as religion, language, and nationality.

  66. 90 Mark
    June 29, 2009 at 18:30

    Whatever, black or white – despite the fact that he was never convicted and all psychological issues aside, anyone with half a brain can tell he did some undesirable things with CHILDREN. That our congress passed a resolution for him and people are so involved in 24/7 hero-worship of him should cast a shadow on our entire society.

  67. 91 A.J.
    June 29, 2009 at 18:31

    Well, “belongs” connotes ownership, so that should be eliminated from this conversation from the onset. Putting that aside, anyone who wants to claim Michael Jackson as theirs is welcome to do so. He was embraced around the world by all people. He was everyone’s pop idol. As far as the Black community “claiming” him as theirs: Michael Jackson spent years erasing his God-given features and skin color that helped identify him as the “black” man that he was (something that many in the black community fiercely resented). No one will dispute his race. But comments as specific and pointed as those by Mr. Foxx only put a divisive fissure into what is a worldwide celebration of the Michael Jackson phenomenon. Then there are others who would say, “go ahead, you can have him”. Black, white or anything else really…it just doesn’t matter.

  68. June 29, 2009 at 18:31

    Did Obama say anything about MJ’s passing?

  69. 93 M. Carter
    June 29, 2009 at 18:32

    Michael Jackson was a human being. Period!
    Black or white is an asinine question. It should not have been a WHYS question.

  70. June 29, 2009 at 18:33

    Emphasis on race makes many people uncomfortable simply because it announces the elephant in the room.

    Black, is not just a racial classification but in the US it is our ethnic group as well. Black is an inclusive group, that embraces, the confluence of all races and ethnicity, it simply has one prerequisite, know African blood. How can such an open concept be considered offensive?

  71. June 29, 2009 at 18:35

    Michael was a world class performer and a child who never really got to grow up. I am proud of him for doing what he needed to do in order to find happiness.

  72. 96 Craig
    June 29, 2009 at 18:36

    Of course it is relevant that Michael was black but only to a degree. It was his cultural education and background that gave him the foundation for his music and dance that we loved. Other than that, it means little to the everyday machinations of the human public. We loved the gift of entertainment he gave us. Beyond the foundation he needed for inspiration, his race should be irrelevant. He was an inspired and talented human.

    It is the same between men and women, we each bring our own gifts to the table. But in the end, we are both (male and female respectively) human.

    Battle Ground, Washington, USA

  73. 97 Scott [M]
    June 29, 2009 at 18:38

    Jamie Foxx is a racist by the standards we use to refer to racists in the USA. He doesn’t get a free pass because he is a racist who happens to be a minority. Then again, the Black Entertainment Awards are a bigoted, debased affair, which set a terrible precedent. You don’t fight bigotry with more bigotry! The apologist on air, who suggests we should bend our reasoning to find this acceptable as it best foolish.

    I never thought about what race Michael Jackson was. I suppose if Michael Jackson belongs to black-people-at-large, then so do the scandals, the alleged pedophilia, his alleged gender-identity issues and his alleged wish to be white.

    It is sad what the anger of oppression does to so many people, it turns them into the very people they hate.

  74. 98 Graham McBain
    June 29, 2009 at 18:39

    Does anyone remember the Michael Jackson song, ” Black or White”

  75. 99 Tinna
    June 29, 2009 at 18:40

    When white people enjoy their heritage, no one seems to have a problem with it. When the white Iris celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Brooklyn, New York with a annual parade, no one has a problem. So when Black people celebrate their own, especially when they overcome the racism that is very real in the United State.

  76. 100 Scott [M]
    June 29, 2009 at 18:40

    Mozart was a European. If the white ‘race’ wanted to claim him that would be different. Perhaps the black ‘race’ would like to also claim responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda—because that is the level of the stupidity and atrocity of this.

  77. 101 KC
    June 29, 2009 at 18:41

    I think Jamie’s statement was just an entertainers way of getting the crowd worked up. I bet many in the audience thought in the back of their minds that that comment might not go over to well – in other words they recognized what might be considered racist by whites. I think the statement came out of his mouth from a perspective of a black child growing up in white America and black cultural mind set.

  78. 102 steve
    June 29, 2009 at 18:41

    Music can cross all cultures, and in their creation. One of the founders of the Bossa Nova movement, which is considered Brazilian music, was a man name Stan Getz, who was a American Jew, from Philadelphia.

  79. 103 stephanie
    June 29, 2009 at 18:42

    Michael Jackson’s race matters, because it is right to be honest about every person’s personal and cultural history. He was African-American. There is nothing wrong with speaking that truth or honoring that truth.

    Mr. Foxx’s remarks are not insulting to me because I know he speaks within a context of restrospection, mourning and celebration.

    By the same token one might say, “He was American and we shared him with the World…..”

    Either remark is to express pride in Michael Jackson’s accomplishments and to associate oneself with him.

  80. 104 Vijay
    June 29, 2009 at 18:42

    Does it matter if Michael Jackson was black or white?
    Yes in the US context it does,he was a Black man from gary,indiana,singing and dancing his way out of poverty,his career began in the 60s when the civil rights struggle was going on and his life ended when a black man was sitting in the oval office as President of the United states of america

    • 105 Vijay
      June 29, 2009 at 18:49

      Slavery is an issue for the descendents of slaves,race is an issue ,racism didnt go away when Barack Obama was elected.”white America “dealt with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King ,didnt want to hear what a rev.Jesse Jackson had to say but were won over by the rhetoric of Barack Obama a young lawyer who had assimilated all the lessons from his predecessors in the fight for equality one of whom believe it or not,in his own way was Micahel Jackson

  81. 106 Jhenna Mortimer
    June 29, 2009 at 18:42

    The very fact that Micheal Jackson felt the need to change his appearance to becoming fairer skined highlights the social background that he lived in. It is for this very reason that Jammie Foxx to afrim him Micheal as a black man .. as he began.

  82. 107 Joel
    June 29, 2009 at 18:43

    I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and it never occured to me to think of him as black or white. I thought of him as one of the most powerful entertainers of my generation. The only person this hurts the credibility of in my eyes in Mr. Foxx.

  83. 108 Scott in Portland
    June 29, 2009 at 18:43

    Listening to the example of elvis – what if ‘white people’ claimed elvis? Well first, they do… But perhaps an explicit claim that elvis “belongs” to white people would be considered supremacist. It should be. Racism involves an unequal relationship of power – white people have an easier route, ceterus paribus, to success, than do people of other races. Michael Jackson had to struggle for success as a black man – he started “changing” color later. His identity was inextricably linked to blackness.

    Until white people put down the invisible knapsack, those who are not white and have to struggle more than whites should and can be proud of the success of those who make it.

  84. 109 Alan
    June 29, 2009 at 18:43

    Of course it is important that Michael was black. It clearly meant a lot to him, positive and negative. It formed his life, his world, his work. It’s a part of who he was – not all of what he was but a part. It’s appropriate for Jamie Foxx to claim him as “one of us.” Foxx identifies with Michael for one reason, I identify for very different reasons. He was an icon, and we find in our icons many different reasons to identify.

  85. 110 Jhenna Mortimer
    June 29, 2009 at 18:43

    The very fact that Micheal Jackson felt the need to change his appearance to becoming fairer skined highlights the social background that he lived in. It is for this very reason that Jammie Foxx felt he needed to afrim him Micheal as a black man .. as he began.

  86. 111 Michael, Portland OR
    June 29, 2009 at 18:45

    If a white man, on White Entertainment Television, stressed twice very loudly about a famous musician who just passed away “HE WAS A WHITE MAN” and then said “We shared him with you” people would go CRAZY and riots would probably start in various cities across the U.S.

    June 29, 2009 at 18:46

    I am not sure our argument here about color are nothing but obsession with cosmetics as if the world is not pouted enough. I think something ought to be said about those who are troubled by color or distorted political history. Racism whether black or white is just another fad that continues to turn a huge population into waste. Continuous delving in racism or base beliefs can only trivialize life; it trivializes reality on our existence here on earth and even in heaven itself.

    Then of the THEE IN ME who works behind
    The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
    A lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,
    As from Without–“THE ME WITHIN THEE BLIND!”


  88. 113 Evan (Oregon, USA)
    June 29, 2009 at 18:46

    I’ll buy the argument that Michael Jackson took “black” music to a “white” mainstream audience more than any other artist in American history. I’ll also buy the argument that Michael Jackson’s music was uniquely “black,” and would not have been created by a person with a white heritage within the same era.

    However, if you want to credit someone with bringing black music to white people, I don’t think Michael Jackson carries all that weight. Elvis brought black music to white people, and for that matter, so did Paul Simon…and so did Eminem and the Beastie Boys. There are other black artists whose work was widely accepted by a white audience, but certainly none more so than Michael Jackson. I think we can all agree on that.

    But really, Michael was simply an amazing artist who happened to be black in a country dominated by white people. And we all liked him. Sadly, he became a victim of his fame and his success, and had the means to explore his eccentricities afforded to a very few people. Would anyone else with that much money turn out any different?

  89. 114 Gregory
    June 29, 2009 at 18:46

    It does not matter whether Michael was “black” or :white” because he never labeled himself as either. He was a member of the human race and he made that clear by his manner of speech, fashion style and most significantly his music. He never succumbed to the need of many “black” artists and people as a whole to adopt eubonics as a choice of speech and actions.

    A person’s skin color does not determine if they are black or white but rather their lifestyle and behavorial choices. We make ourselves black or white regardless of color of skin.

    Here in Trinidad we have people of all colors and creeds and the same holds true here as for any other cosmopolitan nation.

    In this age, we should all be trying to remove all of these labels that we give ourselves and stop making statements that cause divisiveness. Let us all learn to live together as people of the human race.

  90. 115 Darin
    June 29, 2009 at 18:48

    I watched and heard this last night and didn’t read any racial commentary into Jamie Fox’s statement. I’m white and I accepted the fact that since Michael Jackson had so horribly transformed himself from who he was when he broke through in the Motown days that it was important to remind the world of his African American roots. Really, white people need to stop being so defensive and get over themselves.

  91. 116 Christine
    June 29, 2009 at 18:48

    When I heard the news I was devastated about Michael Jackson. I left work early to go to UCLA hospital to be where his body was and mourn with other fans. There was a mixture of races and I did not notice more of one than the other. We were ALL equally saddened. We all sang our hearts out and I felt no division amongst the hundreds of fans who met there at the hospital. My weekend was spent so sad and I feel I lost someone who touched my life. I have always supported Michael & have thrown myself in the firing line for him lots of times in discussions with people. Mr. Foxx’s comments made me feel separated from Michael for the first time since his death and that’s not fair. The world is mourning not just blacks. And black people did not share him as if they had a choice to. Michael Jackson shared himself with the world!

  92. 117 Lawrence
    June 29, 2009 at 18:48

    Come on, Michael J. Fox was at the “BLACK ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS” in L.A.! If being referred to by a skin color is so bad, then the N.A.A.C.P. needs to change their name.

  93. June 29, 2009 at 18:48

    It doesn’t really make any sense. We’re all human beings. The fact that we’re still segregating ourselves based on skin colour is preposterous. Why can’t we celebrate the diversity of our cultures while still unifying under our collective humanity? When will we learn that race doesn’t matter, nor should it.

  94. 119 Tom D Ford
    June 29, 2009 at 18:48

    “We want to celebrate this black man. He belongs to us and we shared him with everyone else.”

    Number one, let’s reject the idea of ownership of people.

    Number two, if Mr Fox wants to claim him, he has to take all of him, all the craziness, all the weirdnesses, all of the dysfunctional Michael Jackson along with the musician..

  95. 120 vpm
    June 29, 2009 at 18:49

    I think it is unfortunate that we (ALL of us) are choosing to remember MJ in racial & devisive ways. It is clear from MJ’s life and career that he loved and appreciated ALL the people of the world, and saw himself as a part of all and no racial categories. This is not to say that he is not a product of black america, he most definitely is. But, MJ of all people would probably want to be remembered as a multi-cultural icon, and not thought of in such simplistic terms as black or not-black, he was defined by so much more than his “racial” category. I think it also unfortunate that Jamie Foxx is being criticized; he was moved by the moment and was simply taking pride in MJ, and that was a positive thing.

  96. 121 Carolyn
    June 29, 2009 at 18:49

    Lamar: He gave his childhood for the benefit of the community? Are you kidding?? His childhood was given at the behest of his parents for the purpose of making money. Get a grip, please.

  97. 122 RightPaddock
    June 29, 2009 at 18:50

    Please let’s not pretend that MJ broke though any color boundaries. There were plenty of popular black American entertainers long before MJ became popular, in fact before he & probably his parents were even borne.

    I was bought up with the music of black entertainers in my ears, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Junior, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bessie Smith, Mahalia Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Marian Anderson are a few that come to mind. As a child I can almost remember being rocked to the sound of Paul Robeson.

    I don’t think any of these people and dozens more like them pretended to be anything but black Americans.

    For the record I’m an old white guy. I’m wondering if MJs idiosyncrasies were not, at least initially, a publicity stunt designed to maintain his celebrity status; if so then they seem to have gone terribly wrong.

  98. 123 james lee
    June 29, 2009 at 18:50

    The views being expressed are all very interesting, and I am sure very valid. My point of view however is that the issue of black and white is very much an internal thing. Its not about jamie fox or about michael jackson. It only becomes an issue if you believe it to be an issue. If you don’t believe in the differences between black and white, then its a moot point. Then the only important thing that remains is how much of an entertainer michael jackon was and how much the world, black, white, purple or otherwise, has lost.

  99. 124 Michele
    June 29, 2009 at 18:50

    I don’t believe Michael Jackson was rejecting his black identity in his physical transformation. In his art and his appearance he was something apart: truly not black or white, male or female. While I understand Foxx’s pride in Jackson, his tone was unfortunate; Michael Jackson the performer belonged to everyone and he worked hard to make that happen.
    –Michele, Indiana, US

  100. 125 lew
    June 29, 2009 at 18:51

    Is a post operation transsexual woman a woman? If the answer is Yes, then Michael was white.

  101. 126 Michael Mitchell
    June 29, 2009 at 18:53


    The Obama Era announces the transition from post slavery to post angry black man.

    It seems the height of irony that a young black man victimized by his angry, black father to the point that he renounces both his blackness and his maleness is dragged backward by Jamie Foxx.

    Tomes will be written psychoanalyzing the causes of Michael’s dysfunction, to reduce it to race is absurd.

    Let’s remember Michael as a precursor to President Obama in an era where we can both embrace and ignore our racial differences.

    phone 503 620 3203

  102. 127 stephen/ portland, Oregon
    June 29, 2009 at 18:53

    It’s hard to to move on from the black ,white issues when the black community never stops going on about it. Move on!

  103. 128 Tom D Ford
    June 29, 2009 at 18:53

    I think that Jamie Foxx just got caught up in the heat of the moment and spouted off. I wouldn’t make a big deal of it.

  104. 129 Mary Christmas
    June 29, 2009 at 18:54

    As a white woman who grew up in the 80’s, and as a musician- I think it is RIDICULOUS that there is such a reaction to Jamie Foxx’s comment. Of course Michael Jackson came up from the black music world… he and his family were black people who grew up in African-American culture. While it is true that Jackson transcended any previously determined level of stardom, his roots were in the black community and his music and dance- even to the end- stemmed from black and African traditions.
    Why is this such a problem for people? We all live together in this global community, but we also come from different ethnic and national traditions. I’m from an Irish-Catholic background, and if I became hugely successful, I’m sure some Irish people somewhere would make note of that.
    As a lesbian, I feel a special pride and sense of “ownership” of popular figures such as Rachel Maddow. Of course! She’s one of our own, and you rarely see people like her gain popular success. As a star, she “belongs” to everyone- but she came from the lesbian scene and will always be a part of our world too.
    The comparisons to Elvis and Kurt Cobain are ridiculous as well- no one ever stood up at their funerals and said “this was a great white man and he was one of ours,” but Southerners do feel and extra kind of pride towards Elvis, and punks from Olympia do feel more connected to Kurt Cobain. There is nothing wrong with noting that someone comes from your own community and made your community proud. In fact, NOT to notice that would be stupid.
    Give Jamie Foxx a break, and please devote this precious radio news time to something that actually matters.

  105. 130 steve
    June 29, 2009 at 18:54

    Fine, would there be a White Entertainment Television network awards?

    I’m from a tiny minority, and there’s no Jewish Entertaint Television network, let alone awards.

    There’s too much self segregation going on.

  106. 131 Mary in Cleveland
    June 29, 2009 at 18:55

    i write this in haste without reading many other comments; i am listening to the radio show and couldn’t figure out how to use long distance

    from my point of view, NO it doesn’t not matter if he was black or white?
    why would it?

    Black Americans are entitled to love him for whatever reason, but so are white people all types of people. Do i feel a kinship with white people? That concept is absolutely absurd. I do feel a kinship with other American music lovers, however

    Jaime Foxx’s comment should be disregarded- who really cares?

  107. 132 Vox T
    June 29, 2009 at 18:55

    Foxx clearly has made an idiot out of himself. What a ridiculous comment to make, definitely NOT what MJ would have wanted. The “white world”, if there is such a thing didn’t declare such racist comments when Lennon passed.

  108. 133 Patrick
    June 29, 2009 at 18:55

    That guy from Austria is crazy. He didn’t even know MJ was dead. That goes to show how out of touch he is.

    There is music that is marketed towards American Black culture and music that is marketed towards other cultures. The line drawn between the two is much thinner today and MJ crossed that line in his music.

    I’m offended by Jamie Foxx’s statement. Does he expect us to shake his hand and thank him for the kindness of sharing his with us. It is too easy to take credit for successful black men and then change their tune when there is a black criminal. Shall we say thank you for sharing black gang members? Shall white people say sorry for Madoff? No, because MJ success had everything to do with his talent and not the black communities generosity to share him. Now, lets not forget MJ was no roll model.

  109. 134 Keyvan
    June 29, 2009 at 18:55

    There is no scientifically validity to the words “race” it does not exist. There is also a difference between “race” and “culture”. We also cannot conflate “culture” and “psychology”. Yes, Michael was affected by “race” (anyone in a multicultural society would be) but it how he or anyone deals with it “psychologically” and emotionally that matters. He obviously had some serious emotional and psychological problems and self-image problems. It can happen to anyone regardless of skin color. What Jamie Fox said is a reflection of this own (and many others) emotional reactions. They are valid but no helpful at all, except to reflect where a person is psychologically. “Us” vs “Them” is not helpful as a distinction. Michael did have a problem with his self-image and in his case it included his skin color and if those who identify themselves as African-American are offended by Michael “self-denial” it may say alot about there own level of emotional maturity and self-acceptance.

  110. 135 Joe-Bob
    June 29, 2009 at 18:55

    wait a minute, I thought the US abolished slavery, since when did the black community “own” michael jackson?

    Joe-Bob -Chicago, IL

  111. 136 Puneet
    June 29, 2009 at 18:55

    Should any racial issues really hold as we are all Homo-Sapians after all,
    Black or White.

  112. 137 anne
    June 29, 2009 at 18:55

    Chill out everyone. Jamie phrased it poorly. Exchange ‘belonged to us’ with ‘our brother’. Also, folks need to understand that whites don’t understand the black experience, identity or psyche. Acknowledge that and move on with repsect.

    • 138 airicu12
      June 30, 2009 at 17:31

      Whites don’t understand the black experience…
      And thus blacks don’t understand the white experience…?

      How about everyone’s Life Experience is different, be it a black, white, or purple experience.

      I don’t know everything that you have gone through in this life, as you don’t know everything that I have gone through. But there are pieces in every person’s life that can be related to by someone, regardless of their skin color.

      Each person’s experience, identity, and psyche are unique in themselves. That is what needs to be acknowledged and respected.

  113. 139 Mosissa
    June 29, 2009 at 18:56

    whether “Black or white” conotations are not related to what the human person is. They are rather loaded with the mission of instrumentalism. people do not use such conotations or attributions in the normal course of life. They are used in the context of expression of dominance or reactionary language. Particular to this context are the ideological and political aspect. that is to say such languages are used when a person wants to achieve certain ideological or political goals as such. Therefore, what matters is not on what color you are but what ideology you have or what political goal you want to achieve and in what context

  114. 140 john N
    June 29, 2009 at 18:56

    Jamie fox said Michael Jackson “**BELONGED**” to the black community.
    He dared say this to black people whose ancestors once “**BELONGED**” to white owners.

  115. 141 Lawrence
    June 29, 2009 at 18:57

    Oopps…I misread the article…MJF should be Jaime Foxx. Sorry.

  116. 142 Tom D Ford
    June 29, 2009 at 18:58

    The bigger concern is the US Supreme Court ruling about the firemen case, the racist right in the Supreme Court got their way.

  117. 143 steve
    June 29, 2009 at 18:59

    Your last guest, states that Michael Jackson was the first african american on MTV, But when that happened, it wasn’t like MTV was an old institution. It had been around for maybe a couple of years, it wasn’t some institution from the 1920s that had kept blacks out for years like Major League Baseball. She also stated that blacks are “still” a minority. Yes, they are. It’s a matter of numbers. I’m a group that constitutes 1% of the US population, and will never be a majority, and honestly, I really wouldn’t care nor want to be the majority. But sometimes, you’ll always be a minority. Imagine living in Japan.

  118. 144 Derek in Vienna
    June 29, 2009 at 18:59

    Growing up in the US and listening to Michael Jackson (my first vinyl record, before cassette tapes came in), I can say as a white person that MJ was neither black nor white for me and my family. The tragic thing about him was his strange behavior later in life and the way the media and a lot of the machos and tough-guy, gangster types PARTICULARLY in the black community tore him apart publicly. MJ was a creator and a phenomenal talent, and his recognition and fame came from his talent and sales and appeal across racial lines.

    Black people are more critical than anyone of those who doesn’t conform to the horrible stereotype of weird handshakes, violence, and criminality, to which MJ did not conform. Michael Jackson was the best dancer probably in the world in the 1980s and a great singer, songwriter, and performer, irrespective of his race. Certainly, he was black, but that is not why he had appeal: this had nothing to do with his race. I find it humorous that now MJ is now being claimed by a group, which may have been ashamed to associate with him earlier.

  119. 145 Scott [M]
    June 29, 2009 at 19:00

    No, Professor, there is an attempt in America for all races, not to make it a point to identify with their race—because it is superficial, unsophisticated and unintelligent. There is no viable argument against this point. If you don’t get it—then you are simply incapable of understanding simple concepts in a rational manner.

  120. 146 CJ McAuley
    June 29, 2009 at 19:04

    I am as white as blanched, sifted flour and I believe that a lot of people outside of North America do not understand just what slavery and its legacy has meant over here. The ongoing problem with the treatment of aboriginals in Canada is also something that we Canadians have yet to honestly deal with! I was never a fan of MJ, but I welcome the discussion and hope that all people will re-evaluate their biases as a result.

  121. 147 Sofia
    June 29, 2009 at 19:05

    Fox’ statement was arrogant and reckless. Notwithstanding, these are the facts:

    He is black
    He was an artiste
    His music was made for the world and not confined to black ppl.

    Black ppl embrace and celebrate him in our world where being ‘black’ is unlovely. It is another opportunity to disprove that stereotype.

    White/Red/yellow etc. celebrate him because he was an excellent artiste.

    Michael jackson’s life blessed millions of lives regardless of colour/creed. That is the crux of the matter

  122. 148 tribbles
    June 29, 2009 at 19:09

    It is ultimately up to Micheal to define what his legacy and allegiance should be, and he has. The recurring motif of racial co-existence in his later works establishes that he wanted to be known not as someone who belonged to a specific racial group, but to the world as a whole. Or in his own words, “you can be my brother, it don’t matter if you’re black or white”.

    Dispute his perspective on this issue all you want, but don’t claim someone as “your own” who obviously didn’t want to be defined by any one group of people.

  123. 149 Len Mitchell
    June 29, 2009 at 19:11

    The fact that there is a discussion shows that it matters. Wasn’t MJ the first to “crossover” to MTV? Were it not for Motown where would the Jackson 5 have been? Like everyone else MJ had his personal demons but they were fed by the culture which does not prescribe to different but equal. If colour doesn’t matter why the fuss about Obama? America needs to grow up.

  124. 150 Casey
    June 29, 2009 at 19:12

    When I heard about Jamie Fox’s comment I knew that the world had benefited nothing from Michael Jackson’s central message. If the world wants to know how Michael feels about this, why don’t we ask him? Even though he has passed, he left a legacy of music to instruct us on how we should view one another, and I quote…
    “See, It’s Not About Races
    Just Places
    Where Your Blood
    Comes From
    Is Where Your Space Is
    I’ve Seen The Bright
    Get Duller
    I’m Not Going To Spend
    My Life Being A Color”

    Quoted from Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”
    Listen again folks, he wasn’t black, he wasn’t white, he was something bigger, something that we all are… human. His message is that we all make up humanity, and it’s up to us to carry on his message.

  125. 151 Steve G
    June 29, 2009 at 19:12


    What a huge amount of energy spent over the untimely death of an entertainer.

    Black/white get over it. Race was a big deal 3 generations ago but those times have long passed.

    The Europeans who colonized and built this nation believed in the equality of man. We fought the most destructive and deadly war in our countries history in order to free the slaves based on our belief in racial justice.

    Starting In the 60’s, feeling guilty about the lack of social progress made by American Blacks, we passed a series of laws to give them more than an even chance competing in society. Two generations have benefited from those laws and it may now be time to go back to a level playing field for all.

    and remember… Do not speak ill of the dead.

    cu..Two minutes is all I will give this subject

  126. 152 Johnny
    June 29, 2009 at 19:22

    I would have to say that an in-depth discussion over the so-called “blackness” of Michael Jackson is, at best, a useless exercise in pedantry; or at worst a divisive provocation of the less admirable aspects of our nature as humans. It’s a true and unfortunate fact that despite all the progress the human race has made in confronting the issue of racism over the past decades, racism still permeates society, not just here in the US but around the globe- and it’s important to have substantial public dialogues on this important topic. That being said, to frame a discussion on race around the legacy of a pop star (however talented he might have been) doesn’t really get us anywhere. There are more pressing and serious contexts in which this issue manifests itself, like affirmative action, de-facto segregation, or neocolonialism.

    -Johnny in San Francisco, CA

  127. 153 Kim Johnson
    June 29, 2009 at 20:40

    If he was white then the networks will not care that much and have 24 stupid hours covering his death?? Or they would call them racists! Welcome to politically stupid correct America.

  128. June 29, 2009 at 21:30

    In a slight alteration of Michael Jackson’s lyrics: does it matter if he was black or white? It shouldn’t. As regards his changing skin colour, be it dermitological condition or intentional skin lightening, why mind about it at all? Has anyone ever asked a white person that wishes to tan or spray tan if they are trying to join another race? Does anyone notice that George Hamilton has consistantly spent his life as a darker colour than Tyra Banks? Why are we talking about this aspect of Michael Jackson’s life when we should all be praising his talent and good works. Watch

    and then go out and plant a tree.

  129. 155 Helena, Denver, CO, USA
    June 29, 2009 at 22:37

    Hi Ros,
    This is really getting silly. What an odd question, as Michael never became white. Michael was a Black man; there was no doubt about that. I think that it was evident that somewhere along the way, he was made to feel ashamed about his outward appearance. I seriously doubt that this came from his fans, but do suspect that it came from both his society and those closest to him. And I think he suffered greatly as a consequence. I began to pick up on that as his appearance began to change so radically over time. Being Black myself and knowing the history of my people in this country (US) and how the attitudes of those closest to you can affect the way in which you choose to see yourself, I had nothing but compassion for the man. In addition, I suspect that most of his fans thought that he was naturally a very attractive person. But, I just can’t help suspect that now that he is gone, many Black American want to claim his as “our own” once again after rejecting him because they thought that he wanted to be white. Now, you’ll hear all the rhetoric about this and lots of brainless mouths flapping on in support of a man they had cast off. It irks me. I respected him deeply and understood his appearance and not a personal rejection of me, or our culture, but as a rejection of himself. And that just kills me because I can’t think of any other person in recent living memory who has had such an outpouring of love and show of grief upon death. I can’t think of anyone else who gave such joy to people all over the world. I hope that we can all get something out of this. Have you said something to make someone feel good about himself/herself today?

  130. 156 Toners Bruxtin
    June 29, 2009 at 22:45

    “Black Entertainment Awards in LA”

    Am I missing something here?

    Should it not read “the racist Black Entertainment Awards”
    Presumably a “white” person could “black up” to qualify?

    Political correctness is just closet Nazism.

  131. 157 Imbrium
    June 30, 2009 at 01:22

    Hello. New here. Ok, Michael Jackson. I didn’t know about his skin disease until recently. That could certainly explain a lot. King of Pop. Wonderful dancer, I mean, obviously, Smooth Criminal, not falling? How did he DO that? He might have been inappropriate with some children, not sure, but he had amazing talent. If he said himself that color didn’t matter, then he at least tried to make it not matter to him, if it did, than that just means that it is hard to let color not matter sometimes. To me, it doesn’t. I have loved many artists of all sorts of styles, and I find that color doesn’t matter in that case. It seems to me only certain people care about whether he was black or white, and no one but he will ever know how much it mattered to him. Bye, King of Pop, thanks for everything

  132. 158 Melina Buksh
    June 30, 2009 at 06:13

    I was on air with regard to this question last evening. However, I thought I would add this comment as well. After decades of controversy on slavery, colour issues, race and religion, I can’t still believe we are going back and forth on this topic Black or White. I don’t agree with what Jamie Foxx said ‘belonged to US’. MJ was an individual who belonged to himself. Yes, he did represent the black American community but that doesn’t mean he belonged to one sector. Trough his music he often told us that colour and race didn’t matter. In today’s world – we are in the 21st century – it is indeed sad to see that there are a few who are still trying to differentiate themselves. I don’t know if Jamie Foxx knew MJ well enough to classify him into one community. MJ shared his music with the world to spread goodwill and make oneness amongst all human races in this world. For all I know, MJ never said anything to Jamie Foxx’s comment made on him.

    Having said all this, I don’t think we need to make a big deal out of nothing. If Jamie Foxx thinks that way let him. We can’t change the narrow mind possessed by a grown man. We knew MJ for his fight for rights on behalf of all mankind for their betterment. And he didn’t do it in a sinister or a bias way. He chose to get through to people trough a strong weapon called music. And it’s a pity that people who claims to love him and listened to him and seems to love his music still hasn’t got the messages MJ tried to tell us through his music. What did MJ try to tell us through ‘Don’t matter if you’re Black or White and Heal the World.

    It will be wise for us to stop debating on sensitive issues. Especially over comment that was made by someone. Think someone in Jamie Foxx’s calibre should think twice, and make comments with conscientiousness before making a statement. This is a time a whole world is grieving at loss of a great mucisian who represented the people. All colours, all religions, all races who did or didn’t know MJ personally is hurting at his death right now. We need to forget the barriers and start living as one human race belonging to one father. We are all God’s children.

  133. 159 patrick nii-larsey
    June 30, 2009 at 06:21

    Michael Jackson was version of a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing but in this case a black man in white skin. Basically that was who he was even though he couldn’t admit it publicly fearing a huge backlash.
    I believe he felt trapped in his situation.

  134. 160 Tracy
    June 30, 2009 at 08:05

    Michael Jackson belongs only to Michael Jackson and not to any community.

    His family and fans need to let him go and let him rest in peace.

  135. 161 Pragya Gurung from Kathmandu
    June 30, 2009 at 08:55

    There is no doubt that as a performer,as an entertainer, as an artist Micheal Jackson “was the best”.he oviously was very troubled no doubt But i dont think that Jamie Foxx realises that MJ wasn’t that proud of the color of skin..so the statement he made is quite ridiculous ………considering the fact that MJ did everything humanly possible to look “NOT-BLACK”

  136. 162 Martin
    June 30, 2009 at 12:56

    No colour is not an issue. I would not have liked him if he had been white and not black! But in the USA there is still a “race” issue..the black community thought he was 100% inocent of the pedophile charges, while most whites the opposite.. He is dead..let him go..his life of torment and unhappiness is finally over. Now the fun starts as the legal fights start for his children and what ever money he still had!

  137. 163 Sano Nkuba
    June 30, 2009 at 13:39

    Michael Jackson was anything but black or white both in character and, needless to mention, appearance by skin colour. Surely the man wasn’t happy to be black and nor was he happy to be what he had turned himself into. Why? It all went horribly wrong for the poor fellow. His music talent has nothing to do with his race which is why it appeals to all transcending race.

    You listen to music because it appeals to you, the message in it somewhat brings back certain memories or simply reconnects you with so many things/experiences in life and you can relate to it in many ways. We must remember that these artists/musicians use common words of languages common to us all, which is also partly why their music transcends race.

  138. 164 Jens
    June 30, 2009 at 14:05

    The question is important as it is part the black and white relation, which is still far from being healty. It’s charged with bad conscious, envy, guilt and a certain complex of inferiority. The race question was crucial in Obama’s election and it is concentrated in Jackson’s figure as his change of skincolour was obvious to everybody and understood by hardly anybody.

  139. 165 Methusalem
    June 30, 2009 at 15:10

    I think, Jim Carrey should say: “We want to celebrate this white man. He belongs to us and we shared him with everyone else.” at the MTV-Awards — to even the score — and everyone will be happy.

  140. 166 Gaddafi
    June 30, 2009 at 15:30

    The man was never proud of being a black man,lets mourn him as the man he was.

  141. 167 Mulero James
    June 30, 2009 at 16:13

    Michael Jackson got even more popularity than his music. For those who did not know him for his song, if there is any, knew him for the change in colour. Race is no barrier at all to succeeding greatly in life.

  142. 168 Anton
    June 30, 2009 at 16:13

    Jamie Foxx claims credit for Jackson’s art for the black community. There is really no need for this, but it is just his way of being insecure about his identity, like was Michael Jackson. Black people categorically feel insecure about their identity, because our society is still insufficiently colour neutral.
    Myself, I am white and I feel sorrow for Michael Jackson. I always liked his music, but now that he died I find that I actually loved it.
    Race is not only about identity but also about confinement. Thus I here and now apply for a “ghetto card”. I want to be able to move freely without carrying a picture of my wife around. She, for very similar reasons, would like to apply for a “white ghetto card”.
    Noone likes to be confined because of his race. It is not acceptable.

  143. 169 afrocity
    June 30, 2009 at 16:30

    My Blog discusses this Jamie Foxx video as well


  144. 170 thewordseeker
    June 30, 2009 at 16:45

    I love MJ and never saw him as black or white. He was the man and in my opinion he is still the man. It should not matter the color of his skin. Yes he was black, but so what. I am tired of people, whether black or white, saying “he is own of us” MJ is a was human first not color. So yes He is own of us (Human). But Our culture seem to divide us. What I am trying to say that in today’s world a lot – not all – African American take this race thing too far.

    But it does not matter, It never did. However, it is funny how when he was alive we heard people like Jammie Foxx make fun of MJ saying that he is white, Now since he is dead he is black. Go figure.

  145. 171 boggartblog
    June 30, 2009 at 16:46

    Black has ben, white has been, who cares?

  146. 172 airicu12
    June 30, 2009 at 16:50

    Michael Jackson is a man.
    Why does everything have to be about color?
    Seriously? Jamie Foxx should be ashamed of himself. And that is one more person being removed from my Fan List.
    Yes, Michael Jackson was born a black man, in a black family.
    And I was born a white girl in a white family.
    So the F what!?
    Look beyond the color of a person’s sking for God’s sake!
    There is more to a person than the color you see.
    What is wrong with the world?

  147. 173 gokulnumerouno
    June 30, 2009 at 16:52

    When it comes to his music it doesnt matter whether he i s black or white. What is more important is beauty of the music…. but he wanted to change his colour to attract wider audience…but how he felt of being a black is unknown

  148. June 30, 2009 at 17:03

    Ok im just going to tell how i see it… The BET awards tried to do a tribute to Michael Jackson, not JACKO as some of you idiots have been saying. The mans dead have a little of respect.

    As for the comments that Fox made… Well Martin Luthor king was black and he was ours, we shared him with everybody else. Barrack Obamma is ours and we are sharing him with everybody else. I think essentially what Fox was meaning was Look of all the great things that Michael did . He was a black man that through down barrier , and did what other blacks couldnt. I really dont think he ment it to be racist. the whole thing that made this thing a race thing was the fact that the author posed the question as a race thing. Fox was proud and was celebrating a fellow black man achievements and life.

    You all focus on the one or two sentences that Fox said, but how many of you all watched the awards show? Did you know see how many times he said let give respect to the man, give him props, he was a icon for all.

    Just really you all we should pray for the Michael Jackson family, especially his kids.

  149. 175 Jennifer
    June 30, 2009 at 19:14

    Hey Jordan,

    President Obama is half and half, or do you not want to see that and admit it?

    MLK was a strong man; and I am proud to say be was a ‘publican! 🙂

    Michael Jackson was a deeply disturbed individual!

    Jaime Fox made a great statement. I think many people will see that much of the race issue lies squarely on black peoples’ shoulders. They lay claim to a man that did not revel in his race. As a matter of fact; he did everything he could to change himself! It’s men like Fox who are keeping the barrier UP!

  150. 176 Virgil H. Soule
    July 1, 2009 at 01:26

    Shouldn’t matter to anyone. Why are you even asking?

  151. 177 smithcopper
    July 1, 2009 at 05:16

    He was a star of our parents generation and our own. I will remember how his videos were always killin’ it. And will never forget the allegations. Some of his admissions were indeed “criminal stupidity”. I think his health was pitiful and hope his soul is at peace finally. We all want happiness and look for our freedom path. I think he was happy until his life became a business. Eventually his life became too complicated. May the family find peace and the ability to let go. God bless his mother. It’s hard enough to endure life especially under the scrutiny of everyone masturbating to your existence. I will remember the Michael as the hearthrob of the Jackson 5 and Thriller along with my rollerskating days.

  152. 178 Fwanshishak
    July 1, 2009 at 11:56

    Of course it matters! Thats exactly why you are asking! Black or White is not just colour, its race, identity and personality. It matters when we are human, when it defines our person…you might think its racist to consider race in anyway but we obviously cannot exist without it. So when someone spend his entire life fighting to define his colour, i think it does matter to him and of course it matters in the ways we relate with him. It does not matter to his music but it does to him and our relationship with him in live and now in memory.

  153. 179 Adrian Staszyszyn
    July 1, 2009 at 15:32

    If a horse sang, danced and played great piano, we’d probably accept that it had made a considerable contribution to music and had now elevated itself beyond the category of horse to musician.So, once it becomes a musician it seems to matter less that it’s still a horse!

    When, of course, the horse dies, Emphasising the fact that it was a horse appears to negate the fact that he acheived immortality through music not horseness.

  154. July 1, 2009 at 16:56


  155. 181 Delilah in the USA
    July 2, 2009 at 20:53

    What an obnoxious interview. One fellow felt the need to comment on Jamie Foxx’s statement, but wasn’t sure about the pronunciation of his name. If you don’t know who Jamie Foxx is, keep your worthless opinion to yourself. One caller joked (I hope) that he wasn’t aware that MJ died. A highly irritating question on race that only purported to incite the ignorant opinions of the masses, as witnessed in these comments. Thanks for nothing. R.I.P. MJ.

  156. 182 Dennis Junior
    July 7, 2009 at 16:33

    NO…I don’t care whether Michael Jackson was either black or white….Since, he had a good run in the music industry.

    ~Dennis Junior~

  157. 183 Sorin Botezatu
    July 7, 2009 at 20:03

    Hey… “Jordan of California”!
    Jenifer is right …people like you; Fox and Al Sharpton are the reason why arguments like this still exist. Sadly this has nothing to do with Michael Jackson and his legacy. You use every opportunity to emphasize the color of your skin and separate yourself for the rest of us: white, yellow, red and green. You want to be black and not a member of this society …Go Ahead! Be black whenever you have the chance.

  158. 184 K Peterson
    July 8, 2009 at 13:13

    We must separate musical talent from the obvious mental problems of the human being. I loved his music…….do I think that he is the role model that black children should follow? NO

    There are a lot of things that point to the fact that Michael Jackson did not accept his black identity. Skin bleaching (lied about having vitiligo), constant cosmetic surgery during the years to change his nose, everyone that he dated was white from Brooke Shields to the women that he used as surrogate mothers to carry his children. Then of course there are the children that he lied about being the biological father. People are not stupid…….it does not take a medical degree to see that those children are not biologically his!

    People have the choice to live their lives whatever way they choose so not here to debate about that. But when a black man becomes rich and famous, changes his appearance, only dates white women and ignored black women that could have been surrogate mothers to the children instead choosing white women. Ladies and gentleman we have “self hatred” on our hands pure and simple!

  159. 185 Emma
    July 8, 2009 at 17:42

    i think it dosn’t matter wether he is black or white, he was a great singer, dancer and entertainer. it was a tradity that he had passed away and i was very moved at the mormorial service. he was a icon in the pop world and the fact that e changed colour was p to him. we shouldnot jdge him by this. he was still the great singer and dancer but with different skin. so we should no judge him. i am only 12 and loved him and his music!!! i couldn’t care about the colour but he was and always be the king of pop!!!!! ♥♥♥ xxx

    R.I.P Michael Jackson!!!!! xxxxx ♥♥♥♥♥

  160. 186 signe
    July 9, 2009 at 17:57

    just wanted to say, that i never saw him as a black person. and neither a white one. to me he was a legend and icon and it just does not matter what color he was.

  161. October 31, 2009 at 02:47

    Fantastic thanks 🙂 This will go well on our website

  162. November 2, 2009 at 20:34

    i think micheal shold of been know as he song says it dont matter if ur black or white

  163. November 3, 2009 at 14:03

    Personally, I don’t care what anybody is as long as you belong to the Human race, but maybe for the African Americans in the US they need to add some famous figures into their number. Looking at Michael it is like he was half Black and half White.Wow! a good political combination. The truth about Michael is that he was good at what he did. I know he came from Black parents but did he consider himself Black?

    • November 3, 2009 at 15:24

      Wow, personally as an African American I take offence at the remark–…’..burt maybe for African Americans in the US they need to add some famous figures into their number.’ Spoken by someone who does not appear to know much about African Americans in the U.S. Trust me it is not about adding anything to the ranks other than the chance to have access to the same opportunities than everyone else in the U.S. — which by the way, is still not the case. When the overall message you get for most of your life indicates that you are not’ ‘good enough’ and you know that race plays an important role in it, then yes, it feels damn good when someone of your race , is able to transcend the negativity. They do in turn become role models

      For Pete Sakes…. Michael Jackson was black. He identified himself as a black person. His pigmenation change and plastic surgeries may have been about many things, but they were not about his race. I heard him speak personally and on numerous tv programs – he is proud to be black. He acknowledged his role models – Jackie Wilson , James Brown that it was their shoulders on which he stood.

  164. February 2, 2010 at 02:38

    Black, white or green— Michael Jackson was one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived and he had fans from all walks of life, of all colours, from all corners of the world. I don’t particularly think Jamie Foxx’s statement was defensible, but I can understand why he would want to “claim” him!

  165. 192 Amber
    February 12, 2010 at 04:57

    ok i just have to set the record straight. YES mJ is a black man…an amazingly disturbed one yes…but a black none the less. to the people who have said that black people need to get over their paranoid obsession with proving that we are just as good as if not better than other races, you are correct. However considering how many of us still face and pass the story of our persecution because of race and often times, economic status, this is hard to do. Until you’ve lived black in America…YOU REALLY DON”T UNDERSTAND.

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