Video of the Day

Today’s video of the day comes from The O’Reilly Factor, where James T. Harris and I discussed the racial dimensions of the media coverage of Michael Jackson’s death.

19 thoughts on “Video of the Day

  1. I don’t have cable so I haven’t had a chance to see the range of MJ coverage beyond what clips hit the net. But I think the generational thing is a pretty significant factor. I am too young to have grown up listening to Elvis or having any idea of who he really was until I was older so hearing the Elvis jokes about his appetite, drug use and weight gain leading up to his death was fairly commonplace. But again I haven’t seen the range of coverage regarding MJ so I can’t say for sure if the it seems racist. I’m not bothered by the comments made by Diddy and Foxx because it’s impossible to talk about MJ’s legacy without talking about race; the man literally broke the color barrier when it came to music videos. I can still vividly remember MTV B.M. (before Michael) and it was so very different from what it became once the MTV suits had no choice but to play his videos in the early 80s. That was a defining historical moment and not only was the beginning of the new MTV, as we currently know it but it impacted every single music artist that has put out a video since 1983. No one dead or alive had that kind of influence like Michael.

  2. interesting discussion. generational differences do factor largely into a star’s legacy. my daughter grew up quite frightened of michael jackson. my son grew up laughing at him. in other words, michael had become a scary joke. i, on the other hand, have always had a fondness and respect for michael jackson even though i don’t really listen to his music anymore. and yes, i definitely viewed elvis through different lenses than my parents. i grew up with joke elvis. in the end, and with all of the objectivity i can possibly muster, i would judge michael jackson as having significantly more musical and dance talent than elvis ever had. but that might be, of course, because i grew up with joke elvis. and best as i can tell, joke elvis is still quite alive and well amongst the younger set.

    respect for the newly dead is an admirable goal, but most people have evolved well beyond that kind of virtue.

  3. I think the reason why black people are not feeling the negative coverage about MJ’s life is because as a black man he belongs to us and we feel the need to protect him. I feel in a way we are being territorial (rightful so), kind of on the lines of…”we can talk about him, good, bad, or indifferent, but y’all can’t.” Additionally, I do feel that not talking about his peculiar behavior would leave his life story incomplete. His behavior was and is his TRUTH and we shouldn’t ignore it. I think discussing it should be done with tact and compassion. The primary element of his life was music, thus that is where the focus should remain, but we cannot neglect the other areas of his life.

  4. MJ was a freak? You want to lay claim to him? You can have him (but you’ll have to share him with the pedophiles).

  5. Marc, you made a great point about how Bill wanted people to lay off criticizing Falwell after his death. Anyone who agreed with Bill then should agree with you now. As for the generational thing I did grow up knowing more about Michael’s struggles than his breaking down the barrier of race on MTV, however I had a different experience with Elvis. I hadn’t heard Elvis jokes about his drug use or how he died only positive things about how he changed music for the better, but maybe it’s cause I didn’t hang out with anyone who really cared about Elvis.

  6. I hear that JJG. and everyone as well. I just think that even though their were jokes about Elvis, and many other stars, the press went extra hard at Mike. And agreed, he was the biggest entertainer ever, I personally feel that the attack on Mike’s character was much deeper than his “wierd looks” and all of that stuff.

  7. The only racist or racialist component I see in this case, emanates from the choices made by Michael himself. He did something to his skin and nose to make himself look … “not black.” The odds of all three of those children produced by his sperm, and all three of them looking as white as they do is nearly impossible to believe. Michael married two times; both times to white women. Micheal anointed himself “the King of Pop.”
    He didn’t call himself the King of R&B or the King of Urban Music. Miles Davis once said, “Pop … that’s white right?” Michael died at the age of fifty years. The first twenty five of those years, he looked and acted “black. For the last quarter century, one could argue that Michael looked, and acted “white” The coverage only reflects these newsworthy decisions that Michael made in such a public way. It is an integral part of the coverage, and not racist.

  8. Yes! White heroes are treated with a far greater amount of respect than black heroes. I think that the destructive nature of the Americn collective killed Michael Jackson. The media has now launched a ruthless attack on his name and his image and I believe it is partly because they do not want him to out do Elvis’ dubious legacy. But too late! MJ has already soared to heights that Elvis could never even imagine. This society is not humane enough to be worthy of a son like Michael with such monumental talents. Had MJ been a son of the soil of any other society, he would have felt valued and have been embraced and treated like the national treasure that he was. A greedy, racist, jealous, American society chiped away at his heart and soul, took his kindness for weakness to the point that he could stand it no more. MJ’s family deserve respect for their dearly departed son and the time they need to morn his loss. But the media is a corrupt, hound dog. So, why should we even expect them to give Michael Jackson benefit of the doubt in death that they refused to give him in life! Now, he is no more! May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

  9. Poppycock, Frichy, I am neither black nor white and have no dog in the racial divide but I remember Elvis and Anna Nicole got no more respect than MJ, even though he was a far bigger freak than any of them. What do you expect the media to write about this freak show? The biggest joke were the comments of P. Diddy and Jamie Foxx. Let’s get real here. MJ DESPISED black people. What the hell did you think all his alterations of his color and looks were all about? And of course our boy, Marc Lamont Hill, who never saw an issue that he did not try to twist into something racial, even if he has to revise history to do it. You must remember, Marc makes his living keeping the racial divide alive. Just like Rev. Jackson and Sharpton and all the other race parasites. Who will listen to their drivel if every American really begins to believe what MLK said about the content of one’s character. No, no, no. There are too many who make a good living off of keeping racial conflict alive.

  10. MarioG, I believe that he did have that disease vitiligo as he claimed. But if I’m wrong and you are right that he changed his skin color from black to white purposely, then it speaks volumes for the emotional disturbance that he suffered trying to survive in a society where racial hatred could cause such deep self hatred and drive him to such lengths. I believe it was racism that created the conditions that caused him to be poverty stricken in his early years then persecuted in his later years. Just because you or I have the strength, will and determination not to be hampered by the destruction that racial animus can cause, it doesn’t mean that Michael Jackson had the same level of strength. Look at the five fingers on your hand. You’ll see that not all of them are equal in length–yet they are all still fingers. MarigoG, Michael was a far bigger star than either one of the two you mentioned, which is the main reason why he should command greater respect for his passing than either one of them. His black race got in the way of his stardom and his life was destroyed because of it. Remember, race is not a color; it is a condition. If he actually died of a drug induced death, which is still yet to be determined, the tragedy will not be the fact that he used drugs. The tragedy will be the reason why he used them–to ease the pain of his broken heart caused by a racist, ruthless society, that benefited way more from his gifts than they had ever had capacity to give to him in return!

  11. Oh and MarioG, you might want to step back from your attacks on Dr. Hill simply because he is a purveyor of truth in constant pursuit of knowledge and excellence. Furthermore, he is one of sharpest and most eloquent young brothers on the scene today! He can think circles around you any day of the week and twice on Sundays. So instead of attacking him just chill, listen and learn from the Dr. I really believe you stand to gain much more from what he has to offer than what you actually bring to his site.

  12. MarioG, you should really fall back on projecting your opinion and attempting to pass it off as fact. If you personally think that Michael never had vitiligo, if you believe that his obsession with plastic surgery is any different than that of Jocelyne Wildstein that would make complete sense to me because everyone can’t see the same thing the same way. But to state that Michael despised black people like it is some absolute fact that should be obvious to all because it’s simply what you think is ridiculous. Your opinion is just that, your opinion.

  13. What is “vitiligo”? How prominent is this skin disorder and does anyone actually believe Micheal when he claims this is what changes his skin color? His mentor Quincy Jones told the Los Angeles Times over the weekend that he is convinced that Michael chemically stripped his skin color. Jones said he grilled Jackson about this issue many times over the years, but Jackson continued to tell Quincy it was “vitiligo” and not a chemical process that changed his color. For the record, Quincy was married to a white woman, and has mixed-race children.

  14. Sorry for joining the party late. Dr. Hill, I thoroughly enjoy all of your appearances on O’Reilly. Embracing black solidarity is foolish at best.

  15. Everything under this cultural context is racial/racist! I’m tired of Blacks always having to explain ourselves to Whites! We can crown or knight anybody we want to in our race worthy of the honor! If whites don’t deem them worthy , then I guess we shouldn’t either…bull! Good, bad or indifferent MJ holds a special place in the Black collective…you don’t have to like him, but you outta respect him! Give honor where honor is due! Whatever problems MJ had stemed from the psychological warfare that we all suffer from….( post traumatic slave syndrome & the stolckholm syndrome) he just had the money to manifest what was in his subconscious! We all have to resist the temptation to desire to be like the oppressor … don’t hurt that bad being Black especially when you know who you are!

  16. michael jackson had vitiliog; his long term make up artist discussed it, janet jackson mentioned in a uk interview with jonathan ross; mj’s demartologist discussed it with larry king, and joe jackson, and and why is it difficult to believe that he had vitiigo, ag shame, race and racial politics seem to contaminate everything in this place. there are even photos of MJ showing his vitiligo!!

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