As onlookers into the life of Michael Jackson, we saw a black man rise to stardom like none other and also simultaneously witness his interactions with race, particularly his own blackness, and the complexity that comes with being a black person in a white world.
As Michael's physical appearance changed over years, Michael continued to complicate his image with song like "They Don't Care About Us" which showed that inside he was well aware of his black positionality and what that meant to the world. The music video for the song outlined a view that represented understandings of oppression that were complex and deep, from child famine to the abuses experiences by the prison industrial complex, ultimately illustrating the worlds war against people of color. The imagery of the black prisoner, societies scapegoat and phobogenic object, as the main image invoking thought throughout the video is brilliant to say the least. As a mainstream artist, Michael took it there, to say and show that the black prisoner subjectivity is a product of continual racialized oppression and not a factor as we have all been led to believe of unbiased justice.
I would push to argue that Michael is the biggest star the world has ever known, and in a world of anti-blackness who would have ever conceived that to be of the little boy from Gary, Indiana with the big voice and charisma.
Rest in Power Michael Joseph Jackson the world mourns you (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)