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June 30th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Michael Jackson on race – his race

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/michael.jackson/art.michael.jackson.gi.jpg]

Carmen Van Kerckhove | BIO
Race and Diversity Consultant
President, New Demographic

I got a call yesterday morning from a radio show producer asking if I thought it hypocritical for African-Americans to celebrate Michael Jackson as a black man, since it seems to many people that he spent most of his life turning himself white.

She stopped short of calling Jackson a race traitor, but the implication was clear. And it did get me thinking about the strange role that race played - and didn't play - in Jackson’s life and career.

Race is never simple, especially when it comes to a complex artist like Michael Jackson.

Jackson often expressed in his music a hopefulness - “It don’t matter if you’re black or white” - about race relations that many found naïve. And yet had no qualms about using anti-Semitic lyrics in his song “They Don’t Care About Us” - "Jew me/Sue me/Everybody do me/Kick me/Kike me."

We will never know what drove Jackson to alter his appearance so drastically during his adult life. Jackson said that he suffered from vitiligo, a condition that eliminates pigment from skin leaving white blotches. His dermatologist and others close to Jackson, including Deepak Chopra, have also said he had vitiligo, even though many people have expressed doubt about it, fueling debate over whether Jackson was "trying to be white."

But what about the plastic surgery, the nose, the hair, and other obviously altered aspects of his appearance? On our blog Racialicious, Readers have been speculating about whether he was driven by internalized racism or something else: an extreme form of artistic expression, an obsessive desire to fix one's appearance called "body dysmorphic disorder," or a desire to erase any resemblance to Joe Jackson, his abusive father.

One of the best insights we have into Jackson’s emotional life is a television interview he did with Oprah Winfrey in 1993. He admitted then to being a perfectionist and added, “I'm never pleased with myself. No, I try not to look in the mirror.”

Whatever drove this apparent self-loathing, I don’t believe we can separate race from the equation. Race cannot be separated with precision from body dysmorphic disorder, hatred of his tyrannical father, or any potentially relevant theory being discussed right now.

Why?

Because if he hated his body, he was hating a black man’s body. If he hated his father, he was hating a black man. Race ran through it all; we cannot and should not dismiss its effect.

Does that mean we should take the alterations he made to his appearance as evidence that he hated being black?

Not necessarily.

Apart from the changes to his physical appearance, there is little compelling evidence that Michael Jackson tried to distance himself from the African-American community.

From Wesley Snipes in “Bad” to Eddie Murphy and Iman in “Remember the Time,” Jackson consistently featured black actors and models in his music videos. He also collaborated frequently with black producers such as Quincy Jones, Teddy Riley, and Rodney Jerkins, as well as with black recording artists such as Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, and R. Kelly.

And unlike some other celebrities who express unease with racial or ethnic labels, there was never a parcel of equivocation when he talked about his racial identity.

In fact, during the same interview with Oprah, Jackson stated emphatically: “I'm a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am.”

So was Michael Jackson a unique contradiction in terms? Is it possible to be filled with racial pride and self-loathing at the same time?

Of course it is. Race is a complicated thing.

My mother, for instance, is a fiercely nationalistic Chinese woman, to the point of near-bigotry. She rarely misses an opportunity to throw a spotlight on the supposed superiority of Chinese culture and often claims that the Chinese people were inventing gunpowder, paper money, and printing presses at a time when Europeans were still living in caves.

Yet as a teenager, this same woman collected photos of Caucasian babies and longed to have white children. She eventually married a European man and went on to have three biracial daughters - including me.

Like Jackson, my mother suffered verbal and physical abuse from her father - a compulsive gambler who once pawned the wedding ring he gave his own wife to pay off his debts.

Of course, not all racial self-hatred can be traced back to an abusive childhood. Each of our individual histories and the histories of our ancestors act in concert to shape who we become and what we value. And when personal histories are complex (as most are), they often result in a racial identity that is equally complex and sometimes even contradictory.

A rush to judgment accusing Michael Jackson of being a race traitor is unfair to the complexity of his life. Unless we take sufficient time to develop an understanding and empathy for his story, it’s easy to make simplistic claims or assumptions about why he wanted to change his appearance.

From what I have been able to discover, Michael was not trying to erase his race; he was trying to get comfortable with his face. He wanted, as we all do, to love the man in the mirror. Why he never did, we’ll never know.

Millions of people around the world loved the man who wore that face, no matter how many times it changed over the years. Had he known that, perhaps he would have left well enough alone.

soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. Tiiz

    ON RACE: Thank you for speaking so candidly about race. I am of the mind "let's celebrate our differences" rather than asking the world to become ONE boring place.

    I can imagine that Michael's experiences are similar to my own. As an African American woman, MOST Pantene commercials, revlon etc. feature long haired Caucasian women as beautiful. Until recently, there have been few African-American beauties (even now...these are typically biracial children with curly long hair). Like any other human...Michael wanted to be ACCEPTED first. I am sure this is part of what MIchael was experiencing. If you read Toni Morrison's, "Bluest Eye", it offers some insight as to how we get to that place of longing to be somewhere...anywhere else. For example, I don't have long hair. Many AA women don't feel comfortable when our hair is not straight b/c long hair is deemed beautiful. Every time we turn on a commercial, turn a page in a magazine...beauty is defined for us. Never mind our genetic constraints. Look at Michael. He wore wigs for quite some time. To him...that was what was acceptable (straight hair). I still have issues when I date, knowing what's accepted by the masses. I have fought to see my natural self as beautiful and plan to instill it in my children. RACE is an issue. How we got here...that's another story but it's not going away and it IS important as a social construct. Michael may have been torn between mass acceptance and self-acceptance. I know I am.

    I absolutely abhor accepting rumor as truth. Nobody TRULY knows what Joe Jackson inflicted upon Michael. We DO know he was harsh. He couldn't have known HOW his harshness would affect Michael. Each child is different and if he treated Michael like he treated the others...that is often a common mistake made by parents. We also KNOW Michael wouldn't be WHO he IS today without a Joe Jackson in his life.

    We shall miss Michael's added contribution to today's music. Remember...you did not not know him completely. Neither did I. Apparently, very few did, including his family.

    July 1, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  2. Rain

    this is so sad, agreed mj is an icon but let us not forget farrah fawcet, david carradine who was buried on saturday, mcmann, landon! there are other things to report, life around the globe and our own economic woes! let him rest in peace finally! mj has already been a legend but he isnt the only legend so lets celebrate them all, its not that he is the greatest, he can be remembered as one of the many legends in our history! white or black , black or white does it matter!

    July 1, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  3. Joanne Pacicca

    We create heroes to worship of debase. This is sad and no exception.

    July 1, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  4. Itai

    Michael Jackson did work with black people
    he did turn into white but he was still working with black artists
    maybe he did hate his black fater maybe he did hate his black skin
    maybe he did not hate his black skin but thoght he will be more accepted as a whithe (to think such things comes with reason, sadly) maybe he was jst sick

    but he was not a rascist, else he would not work with black artists or say that he is proud to be a black american

    maybe he just hated him self as he was, maybe he was just trying to break with his own roots ... not because he comes from a black family but maybe because his family was not his luke

    he did much good things for poor people of all colours

    ho ever is trying to connect michael jackson with rascism must be sick and just an ignorante idiot

    people who allways try to connect things with rascism are self rascists

    there can be many other reasons why he turned into white ... self hate ... sicknes .. maybe a psycic complex

    but to speculate if a guy who said that he is a proud black american was a rascist can only be done by rascists who ry to connect everything with racism

    and if he turned into white because he a race matters it must be very sad for a cilivilisated free world as the USA ... if michael jackson saw just any reason to change his race it can only be because he thoght that a black skin is not good as a white skin ... if that happens to anyone in the USA it is only because black and white is not the same in the USA ... and thats not free or civilicated ... thats rascism and the last trash as such on world

    so if people try to connect MJ with rascism they deliver us the reason in the same time as they try to connect the race of someone with some problems

    allways searching if the one race is better then a other race

    that a sad world with people who cand open theyr mind and allways keep on race and "the others"

    if they are right and if he turned into white because some reasons based on race it must be because in the USA not all races are the same
    and that mean nothing else that the USA is a rasistical trash because such people wo cant get over race

    i think he was sick ... maybe he had a illnes of skin ... maybe he was sick in his head .. but i dont think he was a rascist as the people who wanna turn him now into a rascist without any reason but theyr own rascism

    MJ was great and got over any race and he proofed it by working with all colors

    everyone who search now for rascism is a poor lost soul who still sticks in the time of slavery ... the best is to ignore theyr ideology and even better theyr existence because such ideas bring nothing else up then some kind of middle age

    July 1, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  5. Meg London on

    how many white people try to be darker by going to the beach to get a tan or tanning beds, or self tanning creams, are they all trying to avoid their race?

    July 1, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  6. Rebecca Bell

    I am so sad about Michael's sudden passing . I also have been watching all the coverage and only hope and pray for the best for his children and family with the outcome of his tragic death and his worldwide legacy.

    I just wanted to share that I saw him in 1974 at Marine World Africa USA, San Carlos, Ca. At the time, he must have been about 15 or 16 years old. I was on a school bus for an 8th grade field trip to that amusement park (we all were about 12-13 years old). Of course, we were excited and wanted to see Michael Jackson!

    We were then told by our teacher and the bus driver to stay in our seats and not get off the bus because Michael Jackson's limo was in front of us. We then watched a teenage Michael, not much older than ourselves, exit the limo with many adults, presumably body guards. After they entered the park with Michael, we were allowed off the bus; however, we were told to leave him alone and not to go near the vicinity of where he was at the park. I must say that memory of him has always stayed with me. His music, his legacy and his children will be his truth. I know I saw a musical sensation and entertainer grow up with me. I just watched "Michael Jackson Home Movies" on "Youtube" and I cried and laughed and saw with my own eyes again the man, son, brother and father he came to be. May he rest in peace.

    July 1, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  7. isa

    I think the BAD video was when he was at his finest , in fitness, and appearance also. He really looks good and healthy. After that things seemed to take a turn for the worst, appearance wise. When I watch the video now, I cry. I wonder what happened to such a talented dancer and entertainer. with so many people around him, no one stepped up to the plate for him. I think it is very tragic. He was a gentle spirit and very full of emotion, and no one nutured that in him when he was young growing up. You know what they say about your "INNER CHILD". He ended up having to nuture the child within him himself.

    July 1, 2009 at 6:59 am |
  8. Renee

    Bottom line, the famous Michael had become and was around Michael was White People and Michael had to at one point become not comfortable in his blackness so Michael had the money and change his color and his features to look like a White person. Poor,Poor man. I wish Michael could of Loved himself The Blackness that God made him to be.

    July 1, 2009 at 6:53 am |
  9. my 2 cents

    I might have been in MJ's shoes except that I didn't have abusive father.
    I am not white but admired white face that we can see on TV or runway.
    I wanted to have white features myself and didn't like the typical features of my own race. But at the same time, I liked the fact that non-white people age well after 20s.
    Well there are good and bad on both sides.
    So I think Jackson preferred the white face features to his own but he preferred the black DNA in music and dance to the white's.
    He was an insanely perfectionist which driven him to his own perfection to own a perfect face of his ideal.

    July 1, 2009 at 4:54 am |
  10. linda page

    it dose'nt make a differece if he is black or white he's a great preason with love for all man kind there will be no other to ever take his place 1 and 1 only micheal jackson that changed the world to be a better place he is a angel now and will god .please keep story to your seft please don't judge him . tell the true stosy and no lies let the man have peace god is a forgiving god . you cant beleave everything you read now of days my heart gose out to his beloved mother and micheal jackson kids . they will let us know what happen to there son . i am 50 years old to and i listen to his songs all my life from abc 123 .i never meet him but wasalways in love with micheall jackson like a brother i never had .heaven bound angel with wings now fly away micheal god bless him and his family .please just let his mother riase those kids it what he wanted song leave it alone

    July 1, 2009 at 4:20 am |
  11. ella

    what has become of this world, in which we live.we ask questions that we already know . we made micheal the icon that he left this world being and want an answer to what happen to him and that answer should be given,but his family,children,wives etc should remain private,the jackson's are a family who deserve respect and privacy like any other family that lost a family member.instead of all
    the questions about his children, his skin color his debt, wealth
    let us start leaving something we can all give prayers to micheal's
    family.may god bless this family and through the times to come
    keep them strong!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2009 at 3:59 am |
  12. Julia Rawdin

    I don't think that it is the public's business who are the biological parents of MJ's kids. Even in death the news media cannot let him rest in peace. Please let him rest in peace! He obviously loved his kids very much and he took good care of them. Biological parentage does not make you a parent. It is love and caring and being a positive loving force in a child's life that really matters.

    July 1, 2009 at 3:16 am |
  13. Bella

    Joe Jackson is a greedy, ignorant, unfeeling man with no manners.
    If he was my father I'd want to wipe off any trace of him too!
    Send Joe away, back to NV.
    No matter what Michael did to himself I still admired him. It just didn't matter why he did it.
    This is such a tragedy. Michael Jackson belonged to all of us, he belonged to the world.

    For those tired of MJ in the news...why? So you can hear about more freaking politics?! Now that's sickening.

    July 1, 2009 at 2:55 am |
  14. TRob

    DEBRA S. -None of us are in a position to judge anyone, however, Michael was allegedly abused as a child BY JOSEPH JACKSON, NOT his MOTHER...the one who has legal guardianship of his children and practically the only family member he fully trusted with all his heart...hence, he chose her to care for his children. Furthermore, Katherine lives at the family compound in Encino and Joe reportedly lives in Las Vegas and has been separated from his wife for at least the past decade. I'm pretty sure that with all the aunts and uncles, the children will be just fine and very well supported. ALTHOUGH~ I must say that this whole ordeal is pretty weird!!

    July 1, 2009 at 2:53 am |
  15. mertz

    great article. i liked all the perspectives in this as well as the anecdotes. same here. race is really hard because you feel like you have to identify with your race, and that if you don't that therefore means you've given up your i'm just like you card. people forget that in the finality of it all we're all human and we all bleed blood. we all have a brain, a heart and other phsycial things we share, and we even share some very metaphysical/unmeasurbale things as well, yet we always forget that WE ARE ALL HUMAN. i feel sorry and i also don't feel sorry for mj. i feel like of all things he couldn't overcome, or that he did but he became stuck in certain aspects of his physical and emotional life. i just wish it was different for him. i also wish i didn't keep feeling like he died so young and never accomplished what he truly wanted because you know what he was lucky. he was talented, even if his talent brought him a lot of pain. he lived life...however more constrained it became. he was 50 years old and has done more than a lot of people. he was a complex person. i concur with others that maybe cnn needs to move on and keep up on the news that is happening around the world and domestically. thanks for your insights though carmen. love your name. i will be visting that racialicious website.

    July 1, 2009 at 2:49 am |
  16. sara

    I hate it that now when Michael Jackson has passed everyone now says how great he was, we should all have done this when he was alive, honoring him for the great artist that he was. Now all you see on television is people who probably hardly knew him sayin that he was a close friend and just trying to get some 15 minutes of fame at MJ's expence. I heard one comment i think that it was on the BET AWARDS the other night they said that MJ was theirs as the black man that he was, and they said that they shared him with the world. that upset me, the reason for that is that now that MJ has passed now the black race wants to claim him like MJ was their property. I think that obviously he didnt want to be black but no matter what race he didnt belong to any one he is a human being , and a great artist the king of pop. The best thing that has happened to Music besides Elvis but they were both kings!! May they rest in peace.. But people really need to stop makin this a racial thing and stop trying to get their 15 min of fame at his expence.. We should all respect him and we need to remember he was someones brother, father, son. Please respect the family.. MAY MJ REST IN PEACE WE ALL LOVE YOU!! WISH YOU WERE STILL ALIVE!!!

    July 1, 2009 at 2:32 am |
  17. MC

    On the topic of Joe Jackson...I can understand MJ feeling as he did. I feel as the public, we are a little hard on him. He was called to raise 9 children, 6 of them boys. We forget they were being raised in Gary, IN at first, not Hollywood. Looking at the plight of African American men in this country it seems as though some of what he did helped groom them into the superstars they became regardless how harsh. There would not have been the Jacksons or Michael Jackson without Joe Jackson. Even those that work closely with them as children never reported witnessing any broken bones, black eyes, busted lips, etc. As far as emotional abuse, that's not always unusual in a close knit family. I feel that God don't put us into any situations we can't handle. Katherine Jackson was a strong, loving woman who balanced out what could have been really bad for her children. I feel that Michael and his siblings are the only ones who have a right to voice their feelings about their dad. Being an African American woman, I don't know the prescription for raising a son like Michael Jackson, an African American superstar and worldwide icon so I don't feel I have the right to criticize Joe Jackson. If he didn't achieve anything else, he achieved putting his children on the right track to stardom.

    July 1, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  18. Renee' Baumgartner

    Why does race have to come up all the time? Why is it even being given any attention? Only when it's a black person, does race become an issue.

    Can't people just understand that there is no greater gift to a child than self-esteem? Michael obviously didn't have any. Quit adding race to things as if it matters. i am a white woman, but no matter what is going on I don't mention, nor does anyone else mention that I am "white" about anything, from depression to any other decision I make.

    Why is it always the race card coming out and putting what is important on the back burner? Are we still that narrow-minded of a society?

    July 1, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  19. Yardie

    Greetings Anderson Copper, thank you for being on CNN, you are a good news reporter I rank you with Trevor McDonald ITV New At Ten England.
    Michael was my hero, I will miss him and his presence in the world. I strongly blame the Santa Barbra District Attorney's office for Michael death and the family from the first case should return the money the stole from Michael. The Santa Barbra District Attorneys office should pay all the legal fees and say a big public sorry for the witch hunt they brought around Michael. It is a shame in this day and time of so called civilization that people can still bring false allegations against an individual that are un founded, and then they expect the man to turn around and pay to defend himself this is total American Bull Sh*T

    Michael Jackson is the greatest man to be born, he will live for ever more in the hearts of his family, children and fans.

    I learned along time not to believe every thing that is reported in the news, but I do agree with many comments. The Child molestation charges where a witch hunt and should not be mentioned on any self respecting news team, channel or news paper.

    Let Michael rest in Peace and feel the love from all his family friends and fans

    One Love

    July 1, 2009 at 2:03 am |
  20. Andrea

    Michael has some issues just like everyone, but I don't think it was being black, but being offspring of Joe Jackson. That man is a piece of work.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  21. doris

    In my opinion, Michael did not look a thing like his father. You can see him in his mother and sister Janet and the few photos of his children flashed on television show them to look like Michael, his mother and sister Janet. I will be surprised if they are not his biological children, but anything is possible in Hollywood.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  22. Susie

    MJ changed his look but we all knew that it didn't make anyone what color Mj was he will always be "The King Of POP". I'm sure he wanted the one person he loved his mother to raise his children. And I'm sure she will be wonderful with her grandchildren.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  23. Beverly Pearson

    Before you judge micheal everyone look in the mirror! Their's something about everyone of us we don't like and if you had the money you would do it too! Haven't none of us walked in this man shoes, let us stop judging. We were all blessed to be able to see a young boy from a small town in Indiana become the greatest entertainer in this world! Celebrate his life and remember the good he have done for all ,not the negative. He was trying to bring a generation together through love. God bless you micheal,rest in peace!

    July 1, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  24. Jessica

    Whether Jackson wanted to change his race or not. No one will truly know except Jackson and God, so it's not fair for the outside world to judge a man when we don't know what he went through on the inside.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  25. mary

    I must agree with other posters on this site. I found Jamie Fox's comments objectionable, on the BET awards show. Micheal Jackson encouraged the sentiment that we are all brothers and sisters. He belonged to all of us and had fans and friends of all races.
    How can the BET awards say that they are celebrating Micheal Jackson and make such narrow minded comments. That point of view was definitely NOT representative of Michael Jackson.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  26. Tonya

    Michael Jackson was born a black man and died a black man.It's easy to see that he lacked self worth and wasn't happy with who he was.A lot of people make changes to themselves to feel better on the inside,such as cutting their hair,or getting a new hair color.Michael was fortunate that he was wealthy and could make more drastic changes.Most of the changes seemed to be cosmetic surgeries that went wrong.The changes he made shouldn't take away from the man.No matter what he looked like he was still Michael Jackson.It doesn't matter if he looked white or if he looked black.He was a man with a heart and feelings.He was a man that only wanted to be loved and be able to give love.He gave to others and asked for nothing in return.People have smeared his name and used him because of his willingness to be accepted.I don't care what color he was or what color people want him to be.I know a man that has made all of us dance and sing has passed away.Black or White he's gone.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:09 am |
  27. Tina, Toronto

    Thanks Anderson for your full coverage on MJ's death. I would like to ask all these people who are talking about MJ turning white. But most white people try to get dark by tanning and no one ever talks about it. So please let Michael Rest In Peace.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:58 am |
  28. Teresa

    Michael was not trying to be white, in his Black & White video the rap was "Im not living my life being a color'.There are so many other things that are important in life like trying to understand all people ,respect,love and giving of yourself as Michael did.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:50 am |
  29. glo'sha

    I do feel we should be celebrating Michael as a BLACK/AFICAN AMERICAN. I loved this entertainer I rememember when the Jackson 5 came to Cincinnati at the Gardens . I feel like we grew up together even tough i had started watching him from afar like he was taking away with his new skin color .even tough i new he was still the black Michael like mayb he was off limits. And now his being taking away from us again but brougt back at the same time if that makes any since.I will celebrare his life for the rest of mine.WELCOME BACK MICHAEL & R. I. P WE LOVE U FOR WHO U ARE NOT THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN

    July 1, 2009 at 12:40 am |
  30. Teresa

    I will miss you Michael I know you were waiting on the world to change the love that you had for all people was pure and real I only wish we could have given you the joy that you gave to all of us.The peace that you have been searching for has come and now you can rest in the loving arms of our creator hope to meet you there.I will rember you always. T

    July 1, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  31. Valerie

    Isn't it hypocritical of white people to tan? ...are they trying to change their race? I am not black, but I do observe that the whole race / skin issue always seems to have the focus much like a one-way street.

    Also, passing judgement is not the role of a compassionate and just society. MJ was and people all over the world are persecuted due to the negative energy of rumors. There was a dermatologist that commented MJ did have a skin disorder...either way – it's interesting that people aren't making nearly the same big deal with alterations like breast enhancement surgeries, they're completely fake – nothing real there...no breast tissue there at all! MJ was also a complicated artist...if he had a vision of himself, so be it...many people also paint themselves in tattoos.

    On the issue of MJ's parent's getting custody, I believe it is Katherine Jackson who is awarded the temporary custody, not Joe Jackson (who also lives many miles away).
    Now being an adult of a similar situation as a child, I would rather have been with family than an absent mother.
    However, in all fairness, you have to wonder why (as reported so far), that according to MJ's Will, he left Debbie Rowe as the guardian, and not his mother or aunts / uncles...were his wishes the ultimate best decision for the children? Sometimes people make judgements that lack in foresight, and the judge may consider this when making a permanent order.

    I pray that such a fate not befall anyone ever again. If MJ was still alive, many would still be calling him a freak. Did you hear the sound tracks from the rehearsals?...wow, the sound is magnificent, I hope they release any of MJ's new work as they can...the world could benefit from more MJ talent!

    July 1, 2009 at 12:30 am |
  32. Rob Harrison

    If these boards are a representation of what the USA is really about,
    may God have mercy on us all! Critical thinking skills must be taught
    in every school immediately, or we're done.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:17 am |
  33. Didi

    I heard this all began with the Pepsi accident. The fire burned his scalp and skin. African-Americans don't always do well in plastic surgery, due to scarring and significant hyper pigmentation. CNN has already interviewed a gentleman who said that the drug use began after that accident, but no one talks about the plastic surgery that occur. Someone told me the burns may have been so significant that Michael did extensive surgery trying to cover it up, one thing led to the next and the next thing you know. It's obvious Michael had real problems. It's a sad story.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:15 am |
  34. Mandy

    I am a fan of Michael Jackson. He was talented and became a bigger than life figure. However, as a black person I am insulted and feel betrayed that Jackson did everything possible to distance himself from his physical black heritage. Even though he embraced everyone and helped the black community, he did not accept his skin color. Even if you accept the fact that he had vitiligo, why wasn't he brave enough to adopt at least one black child. As a matter of fact, he despised his blackness so much that he couldn't bring it on to himself to donate his own black DNA to his kids. Yes, white people use all kinds of methods to get a tan, but I never heard or saw any of them wanting to turn their skin black. Jackson perpetuated the notion that to be black skin is taboo. Anyhow, except for the black betrayal, I love Michael, and I will miss him. Michael belongs to all of us, both blacks and whites.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  35. Sheila

    MJ is who he was.... and that should be good enough for everyone else. I have to agree with some of the blgrs. We should just let the man RIP he didn't ge there on this earth and he'ss not getting t now.

    I think MJ was just so sad that all the fame and money in the world didn't make him happy. He was very talented and it 's very sad that we have loss MJ AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE! MJ I loved you when you were black and I STILL loved you when you were white because truley it doesn't matter if you're black or white!

    MJ was the greatest entertainter that has ever live and he\'s still the greatest entertainter in dearh!

    I love you MJ!

    July 1, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  36. Kristi

    While watching the report tonight on if Michael is the kid's real father, there was a man who made the dumbest comment. He stated -look at the kids and look at Michael, it does not happen. White people don't seem to know very much about the African-American race. We were called colored back in the day for a reason. We come as light as MJ's kids and dark as night. So you can not look at his kids and say that he is not their father.

    My own grandfather a Black man was put in the White Army in the first world war. He tried to tell them he was black. When they finally got the picture they transfered him into the Black Army.

    So, please people try and remember that WE African-Americans come in many colors.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  37. Lupson Pasteur

    I believe the doctor did something wrong to Michael!! I think he did inject him with medication that led to his death..The police should investicated this case as a murder case!! This doctor did wrong he must pay for it!!! All doctors that has been given him drug should also pay!!! I have been a Michael Jackson fan all my life and I'm expremely sad over his death.I will be watching his memorial this friday since I'm not able to attend this in California..

    July 1, 2009 at 12:05 am |
  38. Natalie

    First to begin, keep up the good work CNN! As for MJ trying to be white- Are the tanning salons all over for people trying to be black, are they not happy with the way they look?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  39. Josh J

    The death of Michael Jackson has left me totally in sadness. "King of Pop". His music helped me through an abusive childhood. His story gave me hope. He is gone. I feel hopeless.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  40. BARBARA DANIELS

    Mr. Cooper I really like the way you have covered the Micheal Jackson story with class I wish I could say that for Ms. Nancy Grace, anyway, thank you for giving us the news about Micheal Jackson with class, compassion, and kindness. There is a saying my mother had that stays with me (When you live in a glass house don't throw rocks) and it would be good for Nancy Grace and every one else that is being mean to know that, because none of us are in a position to judge. And as a news reporters you don't have to do your job in a nasty, mean way, because at the end of the day you will have to LOOK AT THE MAN IN THE MIRROR.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:50 pm |
  41. neeta

    In addition to the above, I would like to mention I have been a nurse for 23 years and the ABC of a code when one has to perform CPR is to either put a board under thatperson or put them on the floor. in order to perform compressios effectively,there has to be a hard surface beneath them.I am a nurse and know this, so a doctor should definitely know this. My next concernis that if a doctor is going to be administering med at home to these people they should have a portable defib. You know that they get paid good money and to protect the patient and their license this should be a must. But, most importantly, let MJ die in peace and let's have a program named after MJ that is drug program to help others not die this way. Let's not let his death be in vein,but let's try to focus on making something good come out of this. After all,we can't bring him back and he did do good things during his life, so let's have something even more important than someone making money on his songs......SAVING SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  42. Shavon

    His DNA will reveal he is an African American male. Allow him to Rest In Peace and be remembered and celebrate by those who loved and cared for him.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  43. shannon

    I personally do not think MJ was ashamed of his race, I think that like his music, he was universal and because he loved all people, he tryed to do what no other "man" has ever done, he tryed to become one person of all nationalities and he wanted more than anything for love, peace and a happy world for us all!!! i also believe that because of his childhood he did not like who he was on the outside and it was another reason he kert changing his appearance, I just hope that he is in a better, more loving place and would like to see him buried at his neverland, he spent his whole life alone and I feel its just right he should lay in a place that for the most part brought him happiness and so all his fans who love him can visit and show MJ how much he meant to all of us.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  44. Rachelle (Michigan)

    I loved the BET Awards show and how Jamie Foxx said "He belongs to us...." ; it was sweet and it felt like he was including Mike as the larger black family of he Universe. It was lovely and warm. PS: Regarding MJ's nose, many Celebrities have had nose surgery; the only diff between MJ and other celebs, is that his surgery outcome went awry, as we know from multiple attempts to correct the problem. I like what Jamie Foxx said "I love MJ's nose, all the noses!" (I hope I quoted him correctly). I do too. MJ – I love all your noses.
    God Bless You Honey.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  45. Paula

    The RN's story just does not sit right with me.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  46. Audrey

    I grew up listening to MJ. He was someone that gave his all. He gave to many that was in need and what did the world give him. He like all of us just wanted to be happy and loved. I have been watching but I am tired of people putting him down even in death. We have never seen anything where he ever spoke bad of anyone no matter what was said or done to him.

    His children loved him as a father and he seemed to be a loving, kind father and now one day they will hear all this mess. Who cares if he was the real father. He loved them and they loved him and is the only father they knew and loved. He loved his family and they loved him.

    Please give him and his family some peace and RESPECT!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 30, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  47. Micah

    Michael Jackson viewed his self as a black man who entertained and loved every race. Who ever did this article is retarded and racist. I agree we need to focus on other things now it has been almost a week of the media trying to destroy Michael Jackson Legacy. No one even talked about Farrah Fawcett's funeral. Just a mess

    June 30, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  48. neeta

    I first would like to say that I am extremely sorry about the death of MJ. I am the same age as Micheal and grew up with him. He was extremely gifted and talented. He is the King of pop. His music and singing made us want to get up and join in. we are very priviledged to have been a part of this. my heart goes out to his family. I pray that God will be with his mother and give her strength now and the years to come. I hate all the bad publicity that is coming out. I will be glad when the memorial service is over. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I do feel like that we do have other important issues that we need to focus on. that is what a book for someone to write about for those who chose to buy and read about. let him rest in peace. Let his family and children have some peace.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  49. Andrew

    This article is a perfect example of how the press and media was unfair to michael...why don't you talk about all of the charities he gave to? He set a record for the most charities given to by a celebrity...haven't seen that very much on the news...what did this article do? Raise more questions. Nothing else. Michael Jackson was an amazing performer and an amazing person...Let's talk about his talent and his gentleness. If you are here to say anything negative, why? People who speak about him should want to remember him for what he was-the king. The media messed his life up, now they're trying to mess his death and legacy up. Give up and appreciate a human being

    June 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  50. Kyetra

    Who are we to judge MJ on his race change ?
    He was a black man, although his skin was not
    he was born black right ?
    I've followed Jackson's career since he was young watched
    all the movies,show and music videos.
    He did have a rare skin disease and he did suffer a lot from it
    and that is why he changed a lot though out the years.
    Either way MJ was a beautiful man if he was black or white he was the
    most beautiful man I have every seen

    Peace & Love

    June 30, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
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