The Forgiving Nature of Black Folk and an Open Letter to Michael Jackson
By now I’m sure you guys know how I feel about Michael Jackson – much like the colored race itself I find him both majestic and tragic, grotesque yet distinguished. He is to black pop culture what George Washington Carver and peanuts are to classical black history. Seeing him on this upcoming Ebony cover looking like a wax white woman has stirred certain feelings and I have a few things to say.
Michael Coming Home
On the left is Michael Jackson’s first Ebony cover without his brothers in 1982, and on the right is the last Ebony cover featuring Michael Jackson, in 1994. Are the similarities in composition between these two covers strong enough that I can justifiably suspect that an editor at Ebony was making a silent judgement on the humanity of Lisa Marie Presley? If I had been subscribing to Ebony for decades and got this in the mail I would be immediately upset by Lisa Marie’s pale knee poking out of her jeans and the fact that she is clearly trying to control Michael’s body with her white hand. But Ebony Magazine exemplifies the forgiving nature of black folk. They thought they were teetering on a fine line in 1994 by putting him and his white woman on the cover and thirteen years later Ebony is basically the only American magazine that can be bothered to put him on their cover at all. It is clear that Michael needs to be saved – not by the otherman, but by the brotherman. Enough is enough, so I have written this open letter to MJ hoping that he’ll see the light.
An Open Letter:
How are you and the kids? I hope fine. I’m writing to you because of your latest Ebony cover. You look fabulous! What I mean to say is, you look like a white woman. Please don’t be insulted, I understand now that you want to look this way and it’s OK. You’re color struck and hate your nappy hair just like most black Americans, the difference is that most of us don’t have millions of dollars to look anyway we want. Just because I’m dark and nappy doesn’t mean that you needed to stay that way too, and I know having vitiligo must be such a pain! Since I saw the Ebony cover I’ve been thinking about you and how great you are and wondering why you don’t seem to agree. Don’t you understand that we would all love you if you wore your hair natural? Don’t you understand that we would all love you if we could see your vitiligo splotches? I may even love you MORE if you didn’t feel the need to change the structure of your face so much (no one really needs a cleft in their chin). And NOTHING is going to stop people from talking trash about you no matter what you do! But it’s all water under the bridge now – what’s done is done and I think we should move forward. All of that aside, I have a small proposition for you. I would like for us to go on a little vacation together, I was thinking Barbados or something, on you, of course. I think that we should both get into swimsuits with no makeup and frolic in the ocean and not worry about what happens to our hair and skin. Would you be open to that? I think that if you let me see your perm go back and some of your vitiligo splotches, and I let you see my flabby thighs and my peasy kitchen we could really connect. I would love to see you all nappy and splotchy in the sun and just look you in the eye and say “Michael I love you no matter what,” just because it’s true and is something I think you need to hear. I’m no expert, but I have been accused in the past of loving myself too much and I think that if I could rub off on you a little you’ll live a happier life in the long run. I know I speak for so many people when I say that the time has come for Michael Jackson to love himself, no matter what he looks like. We all want you to stop what you’re doing to your face, skin, and hair, and come home to us even if in your own mind you look terrible. Remember, Michael, it all comes down to your power, that one moment where you changed black history, music, dance, in fact the whole world, forever. Watch this video and remind yourself, Michael. And let me know about Barbados.