Home » Celebutainment, Jacko, Long Live the Colored Race!

The Forgiving Nature of Black Folk and an Open Letter to Michael Jackson

5 November 2007 19 Comments

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:

Dear Michael,
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.


  • Stacy said:

    OMG, this is the funniest thing ever!! I am DYING b/c its so freakin true… why doesn’t Michael realize that he doesn’t have to try so hard to conform b/c we loved him from day 1. Dripping geri curl and all. Oh well…
    And I’m too mad at you about Barbados :o)

  • Phil said:

    well done…sad though. Michael is a complicated dude.

    Viva Michael Jackson!

  • Malcolm: said:

    When it comes to Michael Jackson, I am one of those people who will pretty much love him no matter what. Although it pains me to see what Michael has done to himself, all I have to do is play “The Jackson Five: Ultimate Collection”, “Off the Wall”, “Thriller”, etc. and all is forgiven.

  • ambboogie said:

    *pours some Likka out for black michael*

  • hottnikz said:

    Funny shit Thembi, but I think I don’t wanna see the splotches now. Mike’s been this way for so long would anybody even recognize him anymore?

    Effed up that Mike doesn’t realize the love he still gets from the black community. They still love R.Kelly, don’t they?

  • Anonymous said:

    picture that, Mike Jack and “the R” post-trial collabo. please someone, what would be some possible names for that song??

    Thembi, keep bringing the hits!

  • Cassandra said:

    Thembi, you are not right for this one!! I almost chocked on some candy. You could have warned us!!

  • Julia_Claudine_Deveraux said:

    LMAO! Thembi, Michael makes my soul cry. He would’ve aged to be a handsome brother had he not touched his face.

  • tamika said:

    Why did I almost shed a tear? I too have a very special place in my heart for Michael and go to another world when I blast Rock With You or Lady in my Life….ahhh….

    I also know the challenges of loving oneself. Seems to be a re-occuring theme these days. (You can never love yourself too much Ms. Thembi p.s.)

    I’ll send a little prayer out to Michael and all of us challenged with loving ourselves.

  • MrsGrapevine said:

    The problem with Michael is clinical, he needs more than anything a cushioned 5 x 8 cell, and Men’s small straight jacket. If he wasn’t rich he would be the old man on street corner singing and dancing about the end of the world. Michael needs some serious counseling…

    I can’t understand the turning into a woman part. I may be able understand the skin color if I try really hard, and may be able to understand the hair, but gender…I don’t know. The only thing he can do now to shock me, is to get some blond highlights. Then it’s officially over.

  • justjudith said:

    what do you think he does to his hair?? i’d really like to know.

  • Thembi said:

    I think he may have that Japanese straightening thing on hyperdrive.

  • Lola Gets said:

    Heres something most folks dont know. My family was featured in an article in the Ebony with MJ and ET on the cover. Theres even a photo. Just do me a favor – dont look for it – the early 80s were a very scary time for me, lol.

  • Anonymous said:

    Can I come on the trip? I’m in the final stages of growing out my Japanese relaxer, so I could be an inspiration…and I’m notorious for being caught singing Smooth Criminal in the summer with the windows down — I should get some reward for that kind of loyalty, don’t you think? (aida)

  • MsMarvalus said:

    Oh, girl…the letter is a riot! But so, so, so true! I think he looks…beautiful on the cover…gorgeous even…not sure if those are the words he wants people to use, but those were the words that popped into my mind when I saw it…

    I’m still laughing at the letter though…classic!

  • Nayluvsmj said:

    This entire post to me is nothing more than a display of the lack of education in our community. First of all, whether or not you believe him, the man is suffering from Vitaligo. There is a lot of information in the forefront now because of the African American anchor who has stepped out to talk about his struggle with the disease and how he can relate to Michael – even down to the red lips – which he explains. Don’t refer to him as a wax white woman. He is a man, an awesome man with incredible talent that most of us couldn’t dream of possessing. Seems like the only talent I see here is a bunch of HATING!!!!!


  • Anonymous said:

    I can see that what you wrote was in all good fun and …supportive,i guess. But I just wanna say that when I saw that cover I just thought, “wow, he looks happy”. And i think we must all agree thats what we ALL want MJ to be. He looks happy, healthy, and the article FINALLY proved what a well spoken intellegent MAN michael is. It was wonderful to see him all strong and determined again. He can look like watever he wants b/c we should all know that MJ is amazing no matter WHAT COLOR he is!

  • Amir said:

    Actually the story of MJ is a story ot its cure against vitilgo
    NO so mater if MJ wants to cure his disease.He is not alone, Many artists across
    the world specially in Asea use the bleaching or fairness creams and cosmetics to get the whitness.In case of MJ he has no doubt vitiligo many people accept this. Our million of population is sufferig from vitiligo as claimed by Vitiligo sites
    and millions of people use different types of
    medicine or treatment for their skin disorder so this is not so case if Mickel Jackson or
    some other use the
    surgery or some thing else to turning white (actually for the cure of vitiligo)

  • Nicole J. Butler said:

    I wish he would have taken you up on Barbados…

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