Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, dancer, and a songwriter. He belonged to an African-American family and lived in Chicago. He was the eighth son of the Jackson family. Michael Jackson started his career in music with brothers. His popularity became dominant in the early 1980s when he chose to become a solo singer and a songwriter. ‘Thriller, Scream, Black or White, Bad and The Way You Make Me Feel’ are some of his breaking hits. Michael Jackson had a skin tone of medium brown color by birth, but later in the 1980s, he started growing paler. Jackson had been ill with the disease called Vitiligo, and his skin soon became sensitive to the light of the sun. His treatments to cure this disease further served to make his color paler. His appearance, therefore, completely changed after he had two rhinoplasties as treatments for his disease. Michael Jackson died in 2005 while being under the care of his physician name Murray. His death brought on about a great outpour of grief from around the globe.
Michael Jackson had usually been considered as a symbol against racism. It is because he also suffered from being a victim of racism as he was bullied and called ‘nigger.’ He began writing songs to stop discrimination against his race. His approach to stopping racism has been observed in many of the songs that he had written. He wrote songs that would break his racial barriers and transform the medium into art. His views against people who criticize his race had been really strong (Anton). He was of the opinion that racism was far beyond his understandings. He believed that all individuals are the same and that he had a good way to prove that. He said that he had played in concerts in many countries and that everyone usually cried, laughed, fainted, and went hysterical at the same places in his shows which meant that they all had commonality and were the same.
In an interview he mentioned about how he hated ignorance, which was similar to the prejudice issue in America. He told the interviewer how he would appreciate the love of a color-blind and wished he could bring that love to America. He repeated that it was ignorance that he was prejudiced against. He confirmed in the interview that he wasn’t a prejudiced person. He implied people to look closer at God and his creation such as to avoid discriminating any of his created races. He shared his views on how he felt about the human body, how the organs and the blood differed in color, how all the performed differently in the human body, and well their collaboration was. He said, “And if this can happen to the human body, why can’t we do it as people?” (Anonymous)
His approach to writing against discrimination that his’ and any other race faced can be observed in a variety of his songs. In the song called “Black or White” Michael wrote, “I said if you’re thinking of being my brother it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white” and “Don’t tell me you agree with me when I saw you kicking dirt in my eye.” Through these lyrics, he motivated his listeners that being friends and brothers doesn’t require a person to be of any specific or dominant race and that those who disagree with this opinion of his don’t need to lie about it.
He described in his interview how he communicated his feelings against racism through his songs, his dance, and his art as there were no other public forums where such views could be expressed. He explained how he would teach the world to be wise if the politicians didn’t make any appropriate decision on this case. He told in the interview about how a peacock has had praise and honor for its illustrious, charming beauty. It is the only animal that incorporates all colors. He got motivated by the beauty of the peacock and said, “We, like the peacock, try to integrate all races into one through the love of music.” He reckoned that people should act more like the peacock and through his music he could work to bring all races together. Another one of his quotes about race depicts his strong views, “It doesn’t matter which blood or race or creed or color an individual belongs to. Love is love, and it breaks all boundaries, and you just see it right away.” He meant that love is far from the consideration of who is white and who is black. It is a symbol of peace between people of various races and breaks every bound. Michael Jackson supported his ideas by saying “(Racism) it is cruelty, it´s ugly, and I hate It.” and “If you are black, white, or Arab, we are all the same. I love all races equally, and I love all people of the world.” It was not just a single time that Michael Jackson reported and defied the discrimination among races. Being a victim of these circumstances at a very young age, Michael Jackson served to eradicate this issue from the world through his career life in music. As a songwriter, he displayed the great courage to write about some of the most crucial issues of the world like racism, which most of the songwriters would never have the courage to do. He had been very open about his opinions and said that he loved his heritage, his kind and that he was proud to be black. He took the matter personally and hoped that a day would come when he and others of his kind were portrayed fairly in front of the world. In his song “Can You Feel It” he wrote: “All the colors of the world should love each other wholeheartedly.” Again and again, he wrote his songs to inspire the world with the thought of accepting each race of the world and loving each other such that there is no prejudice left in the world. In another one of his song called ‘They don’t care about us,’ he wrote about how his race was the one that had the least consideration of the world. He hated the idea of being discriminated just because he belonged to a race who was looked down upon by the white (Anton). The reason that he so strongly condemned the idea of racism was that he had suffered through it in his youth when his skin color was still brown. He knew how the words of discrimination hurt a person who has been attacked by them, which is why he had decided to lead his life in music while conveying the message of love, peace, and harmony among all races of the world. He related the situation of difference among races with a peacock, the organs and the color of blood, and to the crowds at his concerts and said that color difference could be stopped if one looks at these examples and tries to implement equality in their lives among all races under the influence of such examples. He credited his ideas by writing about the eradication of racial difference in his songs.
His ideas motivated the blacks specifically, and they soon began comparing him to Barack Obama. This had to be the greatest compliment he could receive because both of them served as being racial Harmonists and integrationists (Toure). Also, since both of these personalities worked to attain the highest peaks of success and did not let race keep them from doing so, therefore, both of them could be compared with each other. Both of them were African-American males and worked against race inequality. Among the entire black race, both Barack Obama and Michael Jackson are considered as moral heroes. Michael Jackson said in an interview, “Together we can stop racism and prejudice. It’s our only hope. Without hope, we are lost.”
From the above discussion, it can be said that Michael Jackson had undoubtedly a symbol of peace, love, and harmony who worked to eradicate from this world the thought of race inequality. He spread his views and opinions to his fans and the overall world through his songs which he used to write. Time and again, he confirmed how color difference can only prove to bring them doom and how every person has the right to be treated fairly regardless of what race he/she belongs to. Most of his songs that have been mentioned in the study above had the lyrics, which promoted his beliefs that all races are equal. He not only spread his thoughts through his songs, but also confirmed in interviews how he hated the concept of prejudice and ignorance. He had explained that he loved to maintain peace and being of the same race, which had been discriminated greatly, he knows what it feels like to be ignored and differentiated from the rest of the world. Hence, Michael Jackson had proven by writing in his songs that no person is superior to another and there should be no such thing as racism.
Anonymous. True Michael Jackson: On Racism and Equality. 2013. <http://www.truemichaeljackson.com/on-racism-and-equality/>
Cezara Anton. A story of Racism and Discrimination: the Impact Michael Jackson and Prince had on Popular Culture. 2000. <https://www.historia.ro/sectiune/general/articol/a-story-of-racism-and-discrimination-the-impact-michael-jackson-and-prince-had-on-popular-culture>
Michael Jackson. Black or White. 2008. <http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/michaeljackson/blackorwhite.html>
Toure. Michael Jackson: Black Superhero. 2014. <http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/michael-jackson-black-superhero-20140626>