Jun 25 2012

Did Michael Jackson’s Escape to Whiteness Add to His Success?

♥♥♥ Michael Jackson died on June 25th, 2009, but not before gifting the world with his amazing talent–and not before he faded before our eyes into a white-skinned man.

Today, as Katherine Jackson is mourning the absence of her incredibly gifted son, I find myself thinking of Trayvon Martin’s mother, who will never know what contribution her young son might have made to the world because a paranoid neighborhood watchman judged Trayvon guilty of simply “walking while black.”
Though their lives may seem to have little in common, both of these American sons were born with brown skin–and both suffered the undeserved consequences of living in a society in which brownness is so often misjudged, disrespected and devalued.

“Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame
They’re throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can’t believe this is the land from which I came”
-Michael Jackson, They Don’t Care About Us

Though we have made many strides in race relations over the decades, this deeply-ingrained fear/loathing of brown skin in America leads many to wonder if the King of Pop would have risen to such heights if he had remained brown. Sadly, it seemed as though the whiter Michael’s skin became, the more the world loved him. Some even forgot he was ever a black man.

Whether due to a medical condition or by his own intention, Michael escaped his God-given brownness, while Trayvon was made a target by it through the eyes of an overzealous gunman who saw that brown skin and interpreted it as a threat.

Michael once sang,

“Before you judge me, try hard to love me. Look within your heart then ask, Have you seen my childhood?…the painful youth I’ve had…”

Painful youth, indeed.

Rest in peace, Michael.

Rest in peace, Trayvon.


Jun 25 2011

Two Years After His Death the Spirit of Michael Jackson Keeps Brazilian Kids Out of Trouble


In memory of Michael Jackson on this, the 2nd Anniversary of his death, a little something that would make him smile:

And, for your viewing pleasure — “They Don’t Care About Us”
filmed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and directed by Spike Lee


Jan 9 2011

I Socked My 3-Year Old Daughter in the Eye: Janet Jackson Made Me Do It

My three-year-old is a handful. She has more energy than any toddler I’ve ever seen. Sometimes she just runs around in circles in the living room trying to use up what seems to be a never ending store of kinetic abundance.

The day I socked her in the eye (did I mention that I socked her really hard?), I had repeatedly asked her to settle down, and finally, in an attempt to bring the zany level in the house down to a calmer tone, I sat her down on the couch and told her if she patiently waited her turn, she would get a chance to play the new Xbox Kinect Dance Central game we adults were playing with.

If you haven’t seen the Xbox Kinect in action, you have to get to your local gaming outlet and sample the awesomeness of it. Now, I remember when that Pong video game came out back in the 70’s, so maybe I’m a little more enraptured then you genXers will be by this technology, but I am so in awe of the fact that this gadget requires no controllers — it knows where you are in the room and has the ability to accurately critique and improve your dancing skills (yes, it does).

To keep it real, let me just admit that all the technological advancement in the world isn’t going to teach me how to dougie, and I majorly sucked at the Soulja boy Supaman dance, but the youngins couldn’t touch me on the Commodores “Brick House” and I was just getting ready to kill Janet Jackson’s “Control,” when Jadyn got a little too enthusiastic about mommy’s performance, hopped off the couch and collided with an especially energetic move called “the ticker.”

At the 43 second mark check out that potentially lethal “ticker” move and you’ll know why Jadyn is lucky mommy didn’t  knock her unconscious. (Note: that is not me dancing in this clip.)

If you want to see what it actually looks like for a kid to get royally clocked by their parent while playing with the Xbox Kinect, check out this shocking video:

Despite the hard lesson Jadyn and I learned together about space management and the presence of toddlers during a Kinect session (please, do feel free to learn from our mistake), I HIGHLY recommend this game. It is really a lot of fun to play with, it burns hundreds of calories an hour, and believe me when I tell you you will use muscles you didn’t know you had.

If every household in America had one of these, Michele Obama could consider the obesity problem among children in this country permanently eradicated. (Just be careful not to knock them silly in the process.)