Michael Jackson: Black Or White?

Illustration for article titled Michael Jackson: Black Or White?

Of course, the #1 jam off of Michael Jackson's 1991 album, "Dangerous," suggests that it "doesn't matter if you're black or white." But among the most heated controversies surrounding the recently passed musician was his public struggle with his appearance, his racial identity and his skin color.


Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo, a pigment-erasing skin condition, in 1986, and in the intervening years—in addition to the strange paleness that took over Jackson's previously brown skin—underwent a number of plastic surgeries to dramatically alter the shape of his face. In 20 years, Jackson transformed from a bona fide sex symbol into what some have called a "vampire" version of himself, drained of color and increasingly ill-looking.

Whatever pathologies or racial motivations we ascribe to this change, there's no doubt that Jackson didn't stop til he got enough—and the results were dramatic. Via Gawker, here is "what a plastic-surgery free Michael Jackson might look like."

It does not take into account the lightening of his skin, but it's nonetheless remarkable,

a well done imagining, a believable cross between Usher and Billy Dee Williams, rather than the ghost of Joan Crawford that you see on the left. A rare vision of one's life had a different turn in the road been taken.


And here, for your viewing pleasure, is "Black or White":

Michael Jackson - Black Or White

Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.