Black or White?

So, while surfing random music from the 90s, I remembered Michael Jackson’s Black or White and youtubed the vid.

What do you think about the scene where he’s in “AFRICA” and the scene when he’s with the American Indians? (01.53-02.35 , 03.00 – 03.25) (pls click on the link, embedding was disabled, so I couldn’t insert the video in my post!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI9OYMRwN1Q

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2 Responses

  1. This video is perplexing on many levels. It looks like MJ is digitally inserted into some of the scenes in “Africa”, distancing himself from the place. In addition, with all the controversy on his constantly changing skin color, he appears to be the white counterpart to these African tribal men. The effort to appear globally aware in this video is mislead by the superficial portrayals of races, faces, places, etc. Tyra at the end, and all the changing faces is great though.

  2. In attempting to demonstrate his openness regarding ethnicity/race, MJ relies on stereotypes of various cultures that were already in place in the popular culture of the 1990’s. This is obvious in the first foreign scene in Africa. As smarks09 wrote, MJ definitely looks digitally inserted into this scene. This look is emphasized by the fact that MJ does not interact with the tribesmen of Africa as he does with other people in the other scenes (Native Americans, Asian, etc.). In the African scene, the tribesmen simply dance at peace amidst wildlife, lions and tall grass, of course. MJ’s video makes his diversity point, but what is more interesting is how it makes this point. His video does not create any new images of Africa, it simply relies on pre-existent ones.

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