Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson was the first black superstar of the post civil-rights era | Music | guardian.co.uk

"Every year, approximately 12,000 white-skinned Negroes disappear," wrote Walter White, the head of the country's oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, back at the beginning of the last century. "People whose absence cannot be explained by death or emigration. Nearly every one of the 14 million discernible Negroes in the United States knows at least one member of his race who is 'passing'– the magic word which means that some Negroes can get by as whites. Often these emigrants achieve success in business, the professions, the arts and sciences."

But they are not supposed to ­disappear in full view. The point of passing was to leave your past behind, not bring it with you in the form of videographic ­evidence that blatantly reveals your transgression. The before and after shots of Jackson – the first as a black kid in with a microphone for hair and the second with chipped nose and taut lips grafted on to a pallid visage – looked like he had been the victim of some cruel surgical prank.
Michael Jackson was the first black superstar of the post civil-rights era | Music | guardian.co.uk
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